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: Traffic Stop Yields Pile of Tickets and Active Warrants

February 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A Newton woman, pulled over for a broken tail light on her black Kia ended up in custody.  On February 16 around 12:50 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Thomas Herd stopped Meagan Klein, 44, on Route 15, police report.

Herd also found the car’s registration was expired.  The car was not insured and Klein’s license was suspended.  The passenger, ...

First Hand Account: Shouts of Racial Slurs Bring Police to Sparta Theatre

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to the New Vision Sparta Theater on Sunday night because of a woman shouting slurs in a screening of Black Panther.

Former New Jersey Assembly candidate Michael Grace was in the theater when two people started yelling racial slurs including “look at these ‘n-word’” and “can you believe these ...

Sparta Police: Double Vodka Before Driving Earns a DWI

SPARTA, NJ – Sparta police were called to help a Branchville woman who appeared to have broken down at the side of the road.  Sparta Police Officer Brian Perter and Arlene Lippencott went to see Wynter Garrett on the side of the road on Route 15, police report.

On February 15 around 11:30 p.m. the officers found Garrett standing outside her car because she said her windshield wiper ...

Upcoming Events

Sat, February 24, 7:00 PM

The Prudential Center, Newark

Sparta Education Foundation Night Out with the NJ ...

Giving Back Sports

Carousel_image_2f5911ae032b7193cdd2_girlscout_logo

Tue, February 27, 6:30 PM

Sparta United Methodist Church, Sparta

Girl Scout STEAM Program

Arts & Entertainment Education

Carousel_image_54f5549c693ec0512950_thedrowsychaperone_flyer

Fri, March 2, 7:00 PM

Wallkill Valley Regional High School, Hamburg

The Drowsy Chaperone

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_563fe88c2c7424a0dce9_newton_rotary

Sat, March 3, 7:00 AM

First United Methodist Church, Newton

Newton Rotary Pancake Breakfast

Food & Drink

Carousel_image_54f5549c693ec0512950_thedrowsychaperone_flyer

Sat, March 3, 7:00 PM

Wallkill Valley Regional High School, Hamburg

The Drowsy Chaperone

Arts & Entertainment

Paterson's Poet Laureate

February 13, 2018

PATERSON, NJ- The City of Paterson has given birth to famous athletes, business leaders, actors, and now, a poet laureate.

Born and raised in Paterson, Talena Lachelle Queen told TAPinto Paterson that she has been writing since she was five-years old, and, as she grew older, realized that when it came to pursuing studies and a career in writing, she “didn’t have a choice.” ...

How to Talk with Kids About the Florida Shooting

February 15, 2018

The tragedy of the Florida school shooting is devastating, leaving 17 killed and 15 injured. Our children can easily identify with what occurred yesterday. It will be the topic of conversation today in schools everywhere. School administrators are doing all they can to provide support and guidance. The shootings affect children, teachers, and school personnel. The school shooting ...

Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional When Buying or Selling in NJ

Team Nest Builder knows that whether you are buying or selling a New Jersey home it can be quite the adventure, which is why you need an experienced real estate professional to guide you on the path to achieving your ultimate goal. But in this world of instant gratification and internet searches, many sellers think that they can ‘For Sale by Owner’ or ...

Does Marriage or Mortgage Come First?

According to the National Association of REALTORS most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, married couples once again dominated the first-time homebuyer statistics in 2017 at 57% of all buyers. Team Nest Builder knows it's no surprise that having two incomes to save for down payments and contribute to monthly housing costs makes buying a home more ...

Height during childhood associated with increased stroke risk in adulthood

Researchers in Denmark studied the health records of more than 300,000 people born between 1930 and 1989 and found that those who were shorter than average height between ages 7 and 13 had a greater risk of stroke as adults. The results of this study were published in the February 15, 2018 issue of the journal Stroke.

Summary: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320922.php

Journal ...

Very Hot Tea Increases Cancer Risk

Researchers in China studying the consumption of “burning” hot tea, alcohol, and smoking habits of greater than 450,000 people ages 30 –79 for more than nine years found a five time greater risk of esophageal cancer in those who engaged in all three of the behaviors and a two time greater risk in those who either smoked or drank alcohol and consumed burning hot tea as compared ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!

 

Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders February 14 2018 Meeting Video

NEWTON, NJ - Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders February 14 2018 Meeting Video 

 

Sparta High School Book Drive for Reach Out and Read

February 21, 2018

Sparta High School is holding a Children's book drive. All books collected will be donated to Reach Out and Read, an organization which donates books to pediatricians who give the books to patients who cannot afford them.

Drop off boxes can be found in the Sparta High School Media Center from Wednesday 2/21 to Monday 2/26.