A Very Teachable Moment: Domestic Violence and Your Child

When recent events caused a media frenzy surrounding the domestic violence situation with NFL standout Ray Rice, it was only a matter of time that similar, professional entities would soon fall into place to ensure that their corporate policies included parameters to enforce appropriate sanctions as well in case another incident occurred.  Let’s face it – Ray Rice isn’t the first professional athlete to do something as cowardly as he did.  Several days after the Rice elevator “video,” suspension, and critics came out, Bud Selig, Major League Baseball’s current but outgoing commissioner, announced that he had directed his front office people to ensure that the rules surrounding domestic violence in connection with his players and their significant others would be discussed during the next contract talks.  Selig went on stating that, “We (MLB) haven’t had any cases - I’m happy to say - for a long, long time.  I can’t remember when the last time was.” 

Well, isn’t one case just one case too many? 

Social issues that involve sport teams, prominent athletes, movie stars and other famous members of society help bring important issues to your dinner table.  As a parent, guardian or even a relative of a young adolescent child growing up in Generation Y, it is extremely important that we utilize these very “teachable moments” to bring important dialogue to the forefront instead of sweeping it under the carpet.

Sign Up for E-News

Domestic violence is wrong – Period! 

Now, that goes for either partner of a significant other who decides to verbally or, in the Rice case, physical abuse the other partner.  It’s not right for a man or a woman to be the aggressor, and I’m sure we can sit around and debate “who started it,” and “who hit first” for months to come.  That debate really isn’t important.  What is important is the fact that we understand as parents and care providers of today’s millennials that both victims and aggressors usually are identified when they are adolescents.

This is your teachable moment. 

Nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year.  Don’t think it can’t happen to your child or your family - Maybe it is happening already.  Back in the early 1990’s when many parents of adolescents today were in the dating scene, estimates for courtship violence in teens ranged from 21-38% (Bergman, 1992).  Today, one in every three adolescents is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, in a society where 72% of eighth and ninth graders are already “dating.” (National Domestic Violence Hotline, 2014)  

It is important that you sit down and talk to your child about the effects domestic violence has on an individual and a family.  As important as the “sex talk” may be, the “domestic violence talk” can be considered even more critical.  Boys and girls start to discover each other earlier these days where it is not that uncommon to hear from a sixth grader that he is “going out with someone,” meaning that the two consider themselves in a relationship.  No matter whether you think this relationship is real or not, to your child it’s as real as it gets.  More important, ask yourself “who defined for them the roles of a relationship?”, and “where did he learn how to express his feelings to this other person?”  When entering the discussion about domestic violence and dating, keep the following in mind:

              Start by telling a story.

Maybe a story about a situation you were in at a younger age will “level the playing field” and make your conversation more relaxed.

              Make sure your discussion is age appropriate.

Do not use words, phrases, and analogies with your 4th grader that you would/could use with your high school child.  Speak directly to them and try not to “dance” around the issues.  Let them know that this topic is important to you and it should also be important to them.  Make sure to ask them what they already know about domestic violence and how people should treat each other in a relationship.

              My body is my body.

Your child needs to understand that no one is to do anything to his/her body that will make him/her feel uncomfortable, become injured or physically hurt.

              Talk about bullying.

Saying or doing things to hurt others is wrong.  Make sure that your child knows that he/she can tell you if there is a problem at school, on the playground, during basketball practice, etc.  Contact school officials and even the local authorities about what is occurring.  Speak with other parents as well to try and work the issues out between adolescents.  

Use a calm, direct voice.

Don’t beat around the bush.  If you think your daughter is having a domestic violence issue with her boyfriend, come out and ask.  Confront the boyfriend as well.  You may not get an answer or the reaction you were expecting, but it is now out in the open to be revisited later.  Don’t worry about hurting someone’s feelings – this is the welfare of your child we are discussing.

Correct your child and family members.

If you don’t like the way a member of your family talks about women in general or a “girl at school,” tell that person how disappointed you are that he/she is using those words to describe someone.  Ensure that your children and partner utilize appropriate terms when describing the gender, race, and creed of a person or group.  Vulgar language should not be tolerated.

              Remember to keep using those teachable moments.

Speak to your children and their close friends about domestic violence and other adolescent issues every opportunity you have.  Inform other parents if their child was part of your discussion during a teachable moment.

It may be too late for Ray Rice, but it’s never too late to prevent your daughter and/or son from becoming a victim or an aggressor.  Know when those teachable moments are right in front of you and use them to discuss those difficult topics that need to be discussed.  It won’t be soon but one day, many years from now your child will thank you for those talks.

Until that day….it’s OK to be “uncool.”

 Richard D. Tomko, Ph.D.   Dr. Tomko has spent the past 19 years as a school administrator and is currently a superintendent of schools in a K-12 public school district in N.J. and adjunct professor of graduate educational leadership at Manhattan College.  He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, Management, and Policy and a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Seton Hall University.   Dr. Tomko has also earned a Graduate Certificate in Community and Economic Development from The Pennsylvania State University, a Certificate in Leadership for his professional studies at Harvard University, and is presently pursuing a Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.) Degree in Children's Law and Policy from Loyola University of Chicago School of Law.   He is a managing partner of Tomko, Tomko, and Associates, an educational and community consulting firm based in Sparta and coaches several sports.  He resides in Sparta with his wife, Jaimie and four children who attend the Sparta public school system.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Sparta

Sparta Police: Drunk Brooklyn Man Asks Police to Shoot Him

May 20, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A Brooklyn man was taken for observation when he asked police to shoot him after having crashed his car down an embankment on County Road 517 near the Sparta Middle School.  On May 17 around 2:06 a.m. Sparta Police Officers Brian Porter and Timothy Lynott found Joshua Lindland of Brooklyn asleep in the driver’s seat of a gray Audi against a tree, police ...

Sparta Police: Passengers Face Drug Charges in Traffic Stop

SPARTA, NJ – Two Wantage women face drug charges after the car they were in was stopped for a broken headlight on Route 15.  On May 5 around 2 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Ben Griffin pulled over Alex Torres, 22, driving a white Honda Accord with two passengers, police say.

The officer saw a metal marijuana grinder behind the driver’s seat.  The car and ...

JCP&L Latest Information, Free Ice and Water

SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ – As of 8:47 p.m. JCP&L is reporting 12,745 customers or 22.11 percent, are without power in Sussex County.  In Sparta 2749 or 32 percent remain in the dark.

JCP&L said they anticipate the “vast majority of the remaining customers to be restored to service by late Thursday.”

JCP&L customers without power can get ice and water ...

Republican Party Values

May 21, 2018

Campaigns are interesting things.

Throughout the process, my opponents' supporters have labeled me a "political prostitute", "pimping" a message as a "spokesperson". I've been in a public meeting when referred to as a "lackey" who 
"belongs in a cage like the animal you are".

It's been said directly to me by a ...

Ethical Or Political Stunt

On May 9th Sussex County Freeholder Director Jonathon Rose announced formation of the Sussex County Transparency Committee. A committee established to monitor the ethics of County politicians.  

Alarming is what was left out of this announcement. Besides naming the dynamic duo Lazzaro and Graham, two other names show cause for curiosity. Jonathon never acknowledged, nor did he ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, May 26, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sun, May 27, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, June 2, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, June 9, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sun, June 10, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, June 16, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Thu, June 21, 2:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Summer Afternoon Garden Soiree

Home & Garden

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, June 23, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sun, June 24, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River

Education

Carousel_image_6f4ecc7e007a7b295623_farmers_market

Sat, June 30, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Newton's Petition to Move Election Certified, Tabled to May 30 by Council

May 15, 2018

NEWTON, NJ—The petition to move elections from May to November was certified by the clerk and presented to the Newton Town Council at the meeting on Monday night.  The petition has been circulating since April and was a point of controversy in the recent council election campaigns.

According to the town attorney, the town clerk certified “369 valid signatures of qualified ...

10-Year Old Boy Battling Cancer Receives Generous Donation From Randolph Hockey Family

May 20, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real life battles off the ice there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the Randolph Varsity hockey team, when they came together to deliver good wishes and ...

Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp Now?

 

Bottom Line


According to the US Census Bureau, ‘millennials’ are defined as 18-36-year-olds.


According to NAR’s latest Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the median age of all first-time home buyers is 32.


More and more ‘old millennials’ (25-36) now realize homeownership is within their grasp now!

Are YOU ready for ...

Find Your Dream Home During Our DOUBLE Open House Weekend!

The forecast for this weekend is rain, rain, and more rain---so why not spend your time touring your new home?  Team Nest Builder offers 2 wonderful Open Houses this weekend, PLUS a new listing for you to check out via video tour!

27 Hilltop Trail, Sparta

Step into your own fairytale with this Lake Mohawk, storybook-sweet 3-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom gem! Gather in front of the rustic ...

Help Feed Hungry Sussex County Families Through Foodstock

Did you realize food pantry shortages INCREASE during the summer months? Decreased donations and increased need due to the summer break from school lunch and breakfast programs leave many Sussex County families hungry.  

Enter Foodstock:  an annual spring countywide food drive started 15 years ago through the coordinated efforts of Pass it Along, United Way of Northern New Jersey, ...

3 Tips for Making Your Home-Ownership Dream a Reality

 

Here's Highlights:


Setting up an automatic savings plan that saves a small amount of every check = one of the best ways to save without thinking much about it.


Living within a budget right now helps you save money for down payments while also paying down other debts holding you back.  What are you willing to cut back on to make your dreams of homeownership ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!

 

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

DAWN of a New Day: New Treatment Insights Shared at Atlantic Health's 18th Annual 'Stroke Symposium'

May 21, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Time is of the essence when it comes to identifying and treating symptoms of stroke and it’s widely accepted that the sooner treatment is provided the better the outcome will be, however new research suggests that all hope isn’t lost for certain types of stroke victims whose symptoms aren’t treated until later in time after last being seen as ...