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We live in an era where young kids now commit suicide. These happenings often catch parents by surprise because they may not have an inkling on what may have led to the death of their child. One of the root cause of this occurrence is bullying. A one-off fight, misunderstanding among equals is not the same as bullying.
Bullying is a continuous misuse of power and superiority, which can be physical, verbal, or psychological, social. It happens online and offline and it can be obvious or disguised.
Parents are encouraged to have conversations around the subject matter of bullying even before it happens. This is because sometimes when it happens kids may not be able to identify it even though they feel terrible about it.
It is commonly practiced in primary, secondary, university, and even the workplace! However, our focus is on the kids today. Having regular conversation helps you to know the state of the mental balance your kids have. You do not have to create a special time for this, you can hold conversations in the car, on the road, while watching a movie, etc.
- Is that bullying?
- Have you ever been bullied?
- How did you feel?
- Did you tell anyone about it? Why? Why not?
- Have you or your friends ever left other kids out on purpose?
- Have you ever bullied anyone?
- Have you ever tried to help someone who is experiencing bullying? What happened? What would you do if it happens again?
Sadly, research shows that many parents do not know when their children experience bullying and most kids do not disclose it too. In spite of this challenge, parents need to be observant of their kids’ behaviour.
Look out for these signs
- A drop in school grades and performance
- Changes in eating and sleeping habit
- Withdrawal from social interactions and sadness
- Touchiness and anger without reason
- Unexplained bruises or scratches
- Refusal and reluctance to go to school
- Damaged or lost items
What if your child tells you about his/her bully experience? What do you do about it?
- Keep calm and listen. I know this is hard but have to do this. Keep those outbursts of anger in and allow them speak without interrupting
- Contact the school and report the bullying experience
- Follow up with the school to hear the other side of the story of the alleged bully student
- Ensure your child is reassured of his/her safety and the situation is being addressed
- Teach your child strategies on how to handle bullies such as the use of body language and standing tall without showing emotions.
- Being proud of whatever the physical features she is being bullied for. For example Bully says:” See your big head” Bullied say “Thanks you know I have a bigger brain to fit in nicely”
- This bold response will make bullies back off and have a rethink.
- If nothing is done about it, consider changing the school, your child’s sanity, mental health is worth more.