Annie Fox's Blog...

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

More gun control laws or mental health resources?

January 6, 2016

Yes, but how?

Yes, but how?

Some people say, “No more gun laws! We can solve the problem of gun violence in America by helping folks with mental illness.”

Effective gun laws or effective help for people with “issues?” False choice. Don’t take the bait. It’s not an either/or thing.

Reducing violence is a worthy goal. We all agree. So how do we make progress toward that goal?

  • Make it more difficult for individuals with violent intentions to get their hands on weapons.
  • De-stigmatize mental illness and provide effective, affordable, accessible community resources for individuals and families.

Not either/or. Both.

One more thing…  the solution must also include teaching kids how to manage their emotions so no one gets hurt.

Filed under: Parenting — Tags: , , , — Annie @ 10:04 am

You were “bored?!” Geez…

August 21, 2013

Updated February 6, 2014

One of the three Oklahoma teens charged in the murder of Christopher Lane said “We were were bored. So we decided to kill someone.” There’s so much that’s crazy scary about that statement, I don’t know where to start.

I’ll start here: I know nothing about those bored kids, but they’re clearly suffering from acute empathy deficit. That speaks to the current state of parenting and teaching. It also speaks to the violence and cruelty that passes for entertainment and online “bonding,” but I’m going to keep this short and to the point.

Not all teachers are parents watching out for the well-being of their own offspring. But an educator’s job description includes teaching your students to be ethical people, who are respectful to others. It used to go without saying that ethics and social responsibility (we called it Good Citizenship) were part of every every class, every grade level, every day. People became teachers not only because they loved chemistry or English literature or geometry, but because they found purpose and pride in their ability to connect with students, mind-to-mind and heart-to-heart. Teachers took their role as mentors very seriously.

As for parents who are raising children and guiding them into adulthood, all of us are teachers and mentors and influencers. If we’re not consistently teaching our kids to be good people who can responsibly manage their emotions (and their boredom) then we’re failing our kids. And in so doing, we’re making our families, schools and communities much less safe for all of us.

UPDATE: The three teens who allegedly shot Chris Lane are due in court on Tuesday, February 11th.


NRA, come get me!

December 15, 2012

We have the right to be safe

There’s nothing more “right” than a child’s right to go to school in the morning and learn to read so she can open wide the windows in her mind and dream about the world and her place in it.

All children have the right to be loved and encouraged by their parents and teachers.

All children also have the right to be accepted by their peers, to play, and to come home safely to be with their family in the evening. And yes, all children have the right to sweet dreams. Sweet dreams are exactly right for children.

But last night, no parent who knew about Sandy Hook had sweet dreams. Not likely many children did either.

Something very wrong happened again. It’s been happening in America for a long time. It’s always hard to take it in, but we are experts at distracting ourselves. If it didn’t happen in our family, in our community… we forget.

It’s getting harder to forget.

But, as a nation, we are way past tongue-clucking, “what-a-tragedy” small talk. It’s absurd to pretend otherwise. It’s not as if we have no clue how to fix the problem. We know what to do to make it much less likely that another one of these will happen again. Does anyone really need to spell it out? OK. I’ll do it:

We have to do a better job identifying and reaching out to the troubled people amongst us (kids, teens, adults) and get them the professional help they need so they can feel “a part of” rather than “apart from” the rest of life. The rest of us will be safer.

We also need to reasonably restrict access to guns. There. I’ve said the four-letter word. Let the NRA come get me. I’ve got no gun here, so I’ll be an easy target. But please don’t bother posting comments about 2nd amendment rights. No hunter needs an assault weapon to shoot a target or a rabbit. Only a hunter of people needs an assault weapon. He has no license to kill so I don’t give a good goddamn about his rights.

I care only about the rights of children and the parents and teachers who love them. For those of you at a loss for the words to talk with your children about this tragedy, here is an excellent resource from the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement. (The fact that we even have such a place tell a lot about our current culture.)

Now please, email your Congressional representatives today and urge them to reinstate the federal Assault Weapons Ban.

Sign this petition from Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Or this pledge to take action for common sense gun legislation. Heck, sign every online petition on this issue. We have the collective power to do the right thing. ‘Bout time we got together and used it.

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