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Interpreting war talk for children

[MARCH 20, 2003]  URBANA -- Children rely on the cues they get from their parents, so mothers and fathers who feel jittery about war with Iraq should confront their own fears and get ready to talk with their children, said Aaron Ebata, family life expert at the University of Illinois.

Parents should limit young children's exposure to war footage on television and act as a filter for the information children receive. But once children are in school, parents can't control what kids are hearing anymore. Parents should be prepared to talk about the war, and Ebata is getting ready to do just that with his own kindergartner.

"My son already has a concept of battles and wars from videos and from TV. I've already told him there's going to be a war and that people might get hurt -- without going into a lot of detail," Ebata said.

"I've tried to answer some of the what, where and why questions. But I'm also going to talk a bit about my own beliefs and values and how I feel about what's happening," he said.

As children get older, those talks become even more important. Silence can magnify the fears kids are feeling. It also becomes important to grapple with the fact that people have different feelings about the war, he said.

"On the one hand, you can say here's what I feel, these are my values and I wish you would feel the same way. Or you can help them understand that other people may feel differently about this and they're not necessarily less American or less patriotic," he said.


If parents are confused, they may have difficulty explaining their feelings to their children, adding another layer of difficulty. "Parents should try to articulate how they are feeling, but if they are conflicted, they should try to say it in a way that doesn't scare kids -- because uncertainty can be scary for them."

"You have to help kids sort out the part that's personal from the part that's political. If friends or family members have been called up for combat, teach your kids that they can support their friends, no matter how they feel about the war," Ebata said.

Children and parents may fear that a war in Iraq will lead to more terrorist incidents in this country. "Managing these fears is tough, but a feeling of control helps. Actually, we are far more likely to die in a car accident than in a terrorist attack, but we don't live in a state of fear about getting into a car accident because we believe we have some control over that."


[to top of second column in this article]

"You don't live in constant fear of a tornado either. But partly, that's because you understand something about tornadoes, know there are warning systems in place and have an idea what you would do if there were a tornado. Having a strategy to deal with the thing you fear is useful," he said.

Knowledge does seem to be power, Ebata noted. When a disaster occurs, some adults become information junkies, reading every article and watching all the television coverage. Older children may feel the same way.

If it helps them to have this information, parents should let them have it. It may be an older child's way of managing anxiety, just as smaller children cope with their thoughts and feelings by engaging in "war play."

Parents know their own children and should be able to tell if such exposure is helping or hurting. "If a child appears to be getting excessively concerned or obsessed about something, you should seek help for that. It's pretty rare for an emotionally healthy child to develop an unhealthy obsession just out of the blue," he said.

Other children may benefit more from "doing something." They may want to write letters to a soldier, help out in the community or engage in some form of humanitarian aid so they have a sense of being involved in something bigger than themselves.

No matter how well children seem to be coping, they still need to know that their parents stand between them and the rest of the world.

"Reassure your children that, in any emergency, you will help them. Make sure they know you're going to do your best to take care of them," he said.

For more information about parenting in wartime, visit http://web.aces.uiuc.edu/familylife/war.htm.

[University of Illinois news release]


'Stories From Your Past -- A Legacy for the Future'

[MARCH 20, 2003]  No one lives without accumulating stories. Individual and collective stories represent the significant life experiences of our family members. This is why storytelling is a valuable and worthwhile way for families to share their family history. It is a way to make sure future generations learn from and about past generations.

 A workshop called "Stories From Your Past -- A Legacy for the Future" will discuss the historical and cultural aspects of storytelling, explore ways to preserve stories for future generations, and look at some ways to create traditions that celebrate families.

The workshop will be presented at 1 p.m. on Friday at the Christian Village Congregate Building by Patti Faughn, family life educator with the University of Illinois Extension Springfield Center.

For more information or to register call 732-8289. If you need reasonable accommodations to participate in the program, please make the request when registering. There is no cost for the program, and the public is encouraged to attend.

The workshop is being sponsored by University of Illinois Extension.

[News release]

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Call (217) 732-7443
or e-mail

Over-scheduling stresses
children and families

[MARCH 8, 2003]  In trying to give their children lots of experiences and opportunities, parents may be depriving their offspring of an important component in their healthy development.

"We're raising a generation of children who have not had the luxury of experiencing quiet," said Angela Wiley, an expert in family relations at the University of Illinois. "Pediatricians tell us that more and more children are experiencing stress-related symptoms. If they're involved in very competitive activities, children may also experience performance anxiety," she said.

Although today's children are busier than ever, Wiley said their parents mean well. Parents who have the resources want to let their children sample a variety of opportunities so they can learn where their strengths are. In dual-earner families, if time is scarce, parents may want to compensate for not spending more time with their children. Other parents may want to fill their child's time with supervised activities so the child doesn't get into trouble.

However, children also need some "nothing time" -- time that is unplanned and open for relaxation, thinking and talking, she said.

Bill Daugherty, author of "The Intentional Family," says that parents have unwittingly modeled their families on our consumer culture. They see themselves as a provider of services to their children -- giving them taxi service, piano lessons and the chance to be involved in sports camps. All of this activity can crowd out "nothing time." Daugherty says parents should be wary of the service-provider model and spend more time with their children. He says that family time and family rituals are the glue that binds family members together.

Like Daugherty, Wiley advocates establishing and protecting family rituals. She said most families find that a block of family time once a week is a good start. Mealtimes, movie nights and weekend rituals, such as a Saturday morning pancake breakfast, create predictability and a sense of connection to the family. They also give parents a chance to teach their children what is important to them.


[to top of second column in this article]

"We know that children are more likely to talk to their parents while they're relaxing -- for example, if they're sitting around eating popcorn when a movie's just gone off. Especially as they become teenagers, kids are more likely to talk during these little windows of downtime," she said.

"It's also important for parents to try to spend one-on-one time with their children, but that might not be reasonable in larger families. Accessibility to one-on-one time is the important piece," she said. If children know they can have time alone with a parent when they want it, they feel good about that, she said.

Wiley recommends that a child not be involved in more than two activities at a time and that they be different types of activities. In a family with four children, two activities per child may not be practical. Parents and children should sit down and figure out what works for their family. Learning to extricate themselves from their hectic schedules teaches kids valuable problem-solving skills, she said.

Wiley notes that children may resist cutting down on activities at first. Well-meaning parents may have predisposed their children for a high level of "busy-ness" from the time they were small. "Now these children don't know what to do with free time. Even when they're stressed, they crave stimulation, say they're bored and beg to go somewhere or do something," she said.

Not to worry, Wiley said. Children faced with curtailing their activities may actually feel a sense of relief. If parents resist the urge to structure every moment of the child's day, children will soon learn to enjoy downtime, she said.

"The other thing we're finding is that when children are over-scheduled, parents are over-scheduled too. They're grumpy and crabby, and their parenting skills suffer. Parents need downtime too," she said.

[University of Illinois news release]

Just out: results of the
Logan County substance use poll

[MARCH 7, 2003]  The results are out! In October 2002, Lincoln Daily News and Logan-Mason Mental Health conducted an online community needs assessment. The findings below are taken from that survey.

  • 89.5 percent of Logan County parents said they would do EVERYTHING possible to keep their child from using alcohol.

  • 87.8 percent of Logan County parents say they would be upset if their child drank alcohol.

  • 86.8 percent of Logan County parents said they feel their own use of alcohol influences their child.

  • 83.3 percent of Logan County parents feel that adults who allow teens to drink in their homes should be arrested.

  • 97.4 percent of Logan County parents say they would be upset if their child used marijuana.

  • 92.1 percent of Logan County parents say that it is their job to keep their child from using marijuana.

  • 91.9 percent of Logan County parents believe that it is NOT OK for adolescents to buy over-the-counter drugs to alter their moods.

If you are interested in getting a copy or copies of the statistics, you may contact Kristi Lessen, substance abuse prevention specialist, Logan-Mason Mental Health, a division of Mental Health Centers of Illinois, 304 Eighth St., Lincoln, IL 62656; phone (217) 735-2272; fax (217) 732-9847; lessen.kristin@mhsil.com.

[News release]

Parents worry most about teen driving -- DaimlerChrysler survey

[MARCH 7, 2003]  A survey just released by DaimlerChrysler shows that of 400 parents asked about concerns for their teenager, 51 percent ranked driving issues as their overall concern -- this over teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, drugs or alcohol.

This is no surprise to Gary Direnfeld, executive director of the I Promise Program, a teen safe-driving initiative.

"In our conversations with hundreds of parents, we have also learned that they are most white-knuckled a week before their teen gets their license to about three weeks thereafter," he said.

He has teamed up with insurance agents across North America, since he recognizes that parents call their insurance agent within this time frame, saying they are looking to make an insurance purchase to cover their teen. "This is precisely the time for agents to tell parents about the I Promise Program," he says.

Direnfeld is a staunch advocate of this initiative. He is quick to point out that if a teen dies in America today, the odds are that it will be from a teen driver car crash.

Statistics from the government's CDC website bear him out. In year 2000, 4,657 teens ages 16 to 19 died in car crashes. The next four leading causes of death in this age group are homicide, suicide, cancer and heart disease. But if you add these up, they still do not equal the number of deaths from car crashes alone. [See also "Teen Drivers" fact sheet.]

[to top of second column in this article]

The I Promise Program provides a safe driving contract and has parent and teen discuss and agree to expectations and responsibilities for the use of the car. Research from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development shows that parents who used a similar contract were more apt to place greater restrictions on their teen drivers than parents who did not.

The I Promise Program builds on the concept of parental monitoring, as social science research shows that parents who are more aware of their teenagers' whereabouts, friends and how they spend their time and money have teens with lower pregnancy rates and are less likely to smoke, drink and do drugs.

Information about the I Promise Program is available from www.ipromiseprogram.com. There you can view the list of agents currently recommending the program.

[News release]

Animals for Adoption

At Logan County Animal Control   (Updated 2/1/03)
Big to little, most of these dogs will make wonderful lifelong companions when you take them home and provide solid, steady training, grooming and general care. Get educated about what you choose. If you give them the time and care they need, you will be rewarded with much more than you gave them. They are entertaining, fun, comforting, and will lift you up for days on end.

Be prepared to take the necessary time when you bring home a puppy, kitten, dog, cat or any other pet, and you will be blessed.

[Logan County Animal Control is thankful for pet supplies donated by individuals and Wal-Mart.]  


[Hi!  I'm Mike!  I'm a 2- to 3-year-old male looking for a family.  My favorite activities include watching my breath and licking your face.]

[This is Jeff.  Jeff is a 1- to 2-year-old mixed breed looking for a good home.]

[Just look at those faces!  These 9-week cuties love to roll and tumble and play.
But don't let their small size fool you.  They are Boxer-Collie mixes, so they'll get quite a bit bigger!]

Want your ad to be seen all over Logan County?

Advertise with

Lincoln Daily News!

Call (217) 732-7443
or e-mail

Our staff offers more than 25 years of experience in the automotive industry.

Greyhound Lube

At the corner of Woodlawn and Business 55

No Appointments Necessary


is the place to advertise

Call (217) 732-7443
or e-mail

Ten reasons to adopt a shelter dog

 1.  I'll bring out your playful side!

 2.  I'll lend an ear to your troubles.

 3.   I'll keep you fit and trim.

 4.   We'll look out for each other.

 5.   We'll sniff out fun together!

 6.   I'll keep you right on schedule.

 7.   I'll love you with all my heart.

 8.   We'll have a tail-waggin' good time!

 9.   We'll snuggle on a quiet evening.

10.   We'll be best friends always.

[Logan County Animal Control is thankful for pet supplies donated by individuals and Wal-Mart.]  


In the cat section there are a number of wonderful cats to choose from
in a variety of colors and sizes.

Farm cats available for free!

[This big boy is Sam.
Sam's a little pushy, so no small kids, please.]

[This fine looking girl is Snake.  She's just a kitten, and she's ready to slither her way into your heart.]

[Snowball and Sunshine, a beautiful girl-boy pair, can't wait to bring joy and warmth into your home.]

These animals and more are available to good homes from the Logan County Animal Control at 1515 N. Kickapoo, phone 735-3232.

Fees for animal adoption: dogs, $60/male, $65/female; cats, $35/male, $44/female. The fees include neutering and spaying.

Logan County Animal Control's hours of operation:

Sunday    closed

Monday    8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Tuesday    8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Wednesday    8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Thursday    8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Friday    8 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Saturday    closed

Vickie Loafman, animal control warden

Maurice Tierney, deputy animal control warden

Tammy Langley, part-time assistant

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