Google+ Authentic Parenting: March 2016

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Importance of Global Citizenship

In 1974, only 3 percent of Americans had a passport, according to Road Warrior Voices. Now, 38 percent have passports. While the 35 percent increase is laudable, it still is small in comparison to citizens in other countries. For instance, 60 percent of Canadians and 75 percent of people in the United Kingdom have passports.

Does this mean that Americans are not interested in being members of the global community? Not necessarily. Fast Company explains that technology is enabling people to lead more global and connected lives. The study shows that Americans are more willing to adopt social technology and interact with people in different countries.

What Is Global Citizenship?

While people technically can’t be citizens of the world, global citizenship transcends the standard definition of citizenship. It is more about social justice and how people treat everybody in the world, regardless of their nationality. People being aware of the world around them is global education; however, a global citizen is not only aware of world issues, but is also concerned and involved with those issues. It’s about action, even if it is just a tweet or Facebook post.

Technology and Global Citizenship

Updated smartphones with strong connectivity, like the latest Samsung Galaxy S7, and worldwide social media platforms, like Twitter, are leading the charge in helping youth become global citizens. Technologically savvy individuals are leading more globally connected lives because they use social media confidently to engage with others around the world and to promote face-to-face communication. They believe that the online presence promotes bonds between people from all over the world.
Connecting with people on social media is similar to the idea of writing letters to other students within the United States or in other countries. These used to be handwritten letters that necessitated envelopes and stamps. But now, even teachers in underfunded schools can connect their classrooms to those around the globe through social media networks and video conferencing. Students can friend and follow people from every corner of the Earth, enabling them to keep in contact with a slew of international associates 24-hours a day. This is a drastic change in how kids can learn about global citizenship from just a few years ago.

Global Products and Global Citizenship

Branded products provide another path to global citizenship. An article published in the Journal of International Marketing claims that branded products promote “cultural openness and consumer ethnocentrism.” For parents and teachers looking to lead young minds to becoming global citizens, global brands offer many teachable moments. Kids can study the brand's origins, controversies surrounding the product, the manufacturing of the product and how the product fits in with the culture and politics in the United States and around the world.

Global citizenship is important and needs to be instilled in future generations. It connects people to the rest of the world and keeps them engaged with world issues, many of which directly affect the United States. It also helps citizens think more critically about their place in the world, pushing them to become better as a whole.

Image source


Friday, March 11, 2016

Can a Pet Help an Autistic Child?

Pets bring joy into our lives in so many ways. If you have had a bad day, a dog is always there to

greet you with a wagging tail and lots of excitement. Cats are less demonstrative, but as many cat owners will attest, cats can be very affectionate and loving with their owners too, and it is lovely to have a cat to cuddle up to on a cold winter’s night.

Children and pets usually go together like peanut butter and jelly. One compliments the other and children get a great deal out of pet ownership, not least a sense of responsibility. But autistic children are different to other kids. They dislike changes to their routines and often lack social skills. So can a pet help an autistic child adjust to the world?

Research into Autism, Pets and Kids 

Research in the field of pets for kids with autism is fairly limited. A lot of the research carried out to date has involved dogs, but a study in Australia looked at how autistic children interacted with guinea pigs. Of the studies that have taken place, preliminary results are positive, and researchers found that introducing a pet was a positive experience.

Unconditional Love 

As we know, pets love us unconditionally. For an autistic child who struggles to find acceptance from his peer group, this is a very positive thing. Pets help build a child’s self-esteem and confidence. The child can spend time with their new friend without fear of ridicule or bullying, which for older children is very important.

 Reducing Anxiety Levels 

Autistic children are very affected by external stimuli. They hate loud noises, lights, people, and all these things can produce a stress response. When a pet is introduced, the child is distracted from the things they don’t like and concentrates on the animal instead. This reduces their anxiety levels because stroking the animal is comforting to them.

 A pet at home can help an autistic child develop a sense of responsibility. Even the smallest of pets require careful looking after. Allowing an autistic child to take care of a pet (under close supervision of course), will teach them empathy and responsibility. These are both skills autistic children will benefit from learning.

 Every Child is Different 

Not all autistic children respond well to a pet. Some find the experience frightening or react in an aggressive manner. Others can’t cope with the extra sensory stimulation being with a pet entails. The important thing is to do what’s best for your child. Have a trial run by taking them to a petting zoo or round to a friend’s house that has pets to see how they react. If the reaction is not what you were hoping for, persevere and let them watch the animal quietly for a few sessions before you suggest any petting.

 Pets such as Dorkie puppies from can really help autistic children in so many ways, so it is worth arranging some low-key contact sessions to see if your child is receptive.

Image: Cia de Photo