SCHOOL OPENS OWN BANK

Pupils save over £100 in new school bank!

 

Ws4g3Students at Walthamstow School for Girls have thrown open the doors of their very own bank.

11-14 year olds have been trained by MyBnk to get fellow pupils into good financial habits by offering accounts and loans of up to £40. Using real money, their MyBnk-in-a-Box scheme opens once a week at lunchtime and is also accessible online.

“I opened an account today with £2 and I think it’s important to save so you don’t have to worry about your parents spending all of their money on you! I would like to buy things for myself and be independent”. Amy 12, young saver.

Ws4g2Also opening accounts on launch day were the Mayor of Waltham Forest, Saima Mahmud and our patron, broadcaster and campaigner, June Sarpong. Scores of young people deposited over £100 in a single lunch break.

The young bankers now will also run incentivised saving and enterprise start-up drives for their fellow pupils. This is backed up with financial education workshops covering everything from tax and pensions to student finance, supported by Prudential.

“At WSFG we believe that our girls should understand how banks work and understand how to manage their personal finances. We try to build in transferable and lifelong skills that they will use in their everyday lives, as well as ensuring that they achieve the very best academic achievements they can”. Marianna Philippou, Maths teacher, Walthamstow School for Girls.

 

Ws4gSoon, Walthamstow will be joined by another London school bank, run by young people for young people. Savers bank on average £3.64 a week, 59% of their pocket money, an adult would bank £295 a week on an a £26,000 salary!

“The sooner young people are familiar with banking, the better they can develop sound financial habits like saving and navigate the system. We’re going all out for a generation that will have to make smarter financial decisions and create their own opportunities”. MyBnk CEO & Founder Lily Lapenna.

If you are interested in running the MyBnk-in-a-Box financial education programme in your school, get in touch via info@mybnk.org or 0207 377 8770!

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REBUILDING RELATIONSHIPS

Family gatherings stressful?

Sadly, according to a new study, many families the first argument starts just after 10.13 on Christmas morning – with four or five more before the day is over! This can happen in families who don’t see each other very often and are then all together at Christmas. Christmas is a big focus, but other times like Easter or weddings, funerals and other family get-togethers can bring about pressure points erupt into family arguments. And the little things that trigger rows can be simple perhaps even the preparation of lunch, when a cook is trying to prepare a delicious meal and resents doing all the work or the other family members interfering too much. Couples often get into arguments because one or both has had too much to drink. Its particularly difficult where there are stepchildren. A couple may have different ideas about how to bring them up, and big decisions of how much to spend on the Christmas presents can cause disagreements.Six ways to stay close when your children leave home

Blended Family Matters

Blended families with step children can be part of the challenges faced during a Christmas festivity. If you have children from a previous relationship and your partner does not, you might disagree over the children’s behaviour. Or, if your partner does have children who are with the other parent for a big occasion like Christmas or a holiday, the presence of your children can cause resentment. The disciplinary lifestyles can be different and each parent may be softer in dealing with own child. It is good to be self conscious and aware of a child’s needs to treat them equally well.

Repairing family relationships

In the cold light of January try to make up with the family members you have fallen out with, even if you think it’s not your fault or that they might not react well. Pluck up courage and talk to them, face to face if possible, or by telephone or letter. Here are a few tips.My secret to feeling great at 56? Just do it!

  • Don’t restart the argument, wait until the person you need to talk to is in a good mood and then tell them that it is so nice when you do get on together that you would like it to be like that more of the time.
  • Tell them how much you regret the argument, that you are sorry if you upset them and that you love or care about them. It takes courage to say you are sorry.
  • Tread sensitively, no angry voices or unkind words, and make the person feel listened to and hopefully they might respond in a similar manner.
  • Ask what they need from you and say what you need from them.
  • If they don’t feel the same way, avoid another row and say, ‘I just wanted you to know that I am sorry we argued.’
  • Don’t be afraid to go to counselling if things seem really bad, it could make you happier in the long run.
  • Finally, make it your January resolution to think about how you would like life to be different, whether that includes drinking or spending a little less, or to have better relationships with the ones you love.”
  • DIY hair care tips for when you’re starting to go grey
  • Share the work

    babyhk20/11/2016

    Some people like cooking but if all avalanche on you over Xmas I have had to be honest so.I keep Xmas day for my husband and children as I explain i can only cook and cope with so many .Boxing Day is a running buffet which I top up with mainly cold food or things I can cook in 20 mins that just need throwing in the oven. I get decorations together and others sort out the tree . If anyone wants special food or find them something missing ot can shop for it.

    Be Close to kids who left home

    Yes it’s the end of an era, but your children moving out can sometimes bring you closer than ever. Keep in touch with each other daily. It easy if you know how. Meet up regularly if possible and Skype, telephone, visit.

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EARLY ADOLESCENT KIDS

kids-circleAdolescence starts earlier in modern generations than previous ones lasting twice as long as it did in the 1950s. So children are hitting puberty earlier than ever before said Psychology professor Laurence Steinberg who explained why to BrainwavesAdolescence is a period of life between starting puberty and becoming stable, independent adults. This time is being extended because some children begin puberty earlier.Kids-Diverse-1

Adolescence is three times as long as it was in the 19th Century and it’s twice as long as in the 1950s.
Professor Laurence Steinberg

According to Professor Steinberg, in the western world adolescence runs from age 10 or to about age 25. Professor Steinberg attributed this phenomenon of lengthening of adolescence to several surprising factors as follows:youth-world-header-large

Obesity & Man-made Chemicals

The first and most important is obesity. The kids who are fatter go through puberty earlier than the leaner kids he said. Man-Made Chemicals. There are other factors as well. One has to do with the exposure of children to endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the man-made environment. The chemicals are not just in food, they’re in cosmetics, they’re in plastics, they’re in pesticides they’re ubiquitous.” “When people are exposed to these endocrine disrupters it alters their hormonal development and many chemicals lead to earlier onset puberty mostly in girls.”hot

More SunLight exposure

The third factor that’s been discovered fairly recently has to do with exposure to sunlight.” It turns out that kids who grow up near the equator go through puberty earlier than kids who grow up near the north or south pole and that’s because, when you grow up near the equator, you have more exposure to sunlight over the course of childhood years.” While it may not be of too much concern to parents in northern Europe, recent research suggests a final factor which applies to many children here.

“Scientists discovered recently the light emanating from tablets or smartphones or computer screens can affect onset of puberty by disrupting brain’s melatonin system. Kids who spend more and more time in front of these screens especially in front of the blue light emitted by the devices probably contributed to earlier puberty as well. Light from the phones impacts brains of kids and adults.“World-Population-889x591.jpg

Adolescent Brainwaves

Brainwaves of the adolescent brain as Pennie Latin examines is relatively a young field of teenage neurology. It has revealed lack of frontal cortex ability to understand risk and consequences. And so although adolescent children may hit puberty earlier, they may not be able to handle the harsh realities of the trauma of war years, distress, rations, famine, lack of tough physical life forced upon previous generations. They worked in factories, chimney sweepers, railway as tracks as children making them more mature. They develop faster on growth spurt but face challenges of the modern generation.

EXPRESS MARRIAGE TRENDS

Sophy on her wedding day in traditional attireWith Valentine day approaching people are looking for love and romance for a form relationships. So couples celebrate established meaningful, love fulfilling a family bond. Others also ready to settle down prepare and advertise for love in new ways using social media, Facebook post and was married six days later. The marriage took place quite quickly than the normal traditional longer process of a family searching and taking years for the marriage to be finalised. CHIDIMMA AMEDU, did exactly that advertising for love and marriage on Facebook. He found a beautiful wife who said, ‘he is the most handsome man I’ve ever met and I liked him instantly.” Those who use Facebook come across pretty strange posts in their time. But this time however the random friends requests, being added to groups you did not ask to join, and tags allows “friends” to marry. Others clog up timeline with posts or photos you don’t necessarily want. But a Nigerian man took it to a whole new level posted unusual advert. Chidimma Amedu put up a post on 30 December, asking women interested in being his wife to reply, he told the BBC.Chidimma Amedu on his wedding day

The proposal

“Am of age to and I am ready to say I do and am wasting no time. “Send in your applications – the most qualified will be married on January 6, 2018. Application closes 12 midnight 31/12/2017 he posted. He followed up with subsequent posts. ‘Am serious about this oh and don’t say you did not see it on time Good luck.’ He received a couple of responses, but one from Sophy Ijeoma is someone special who caught his attention. She wrote in her reply “Am interested, just DM me… lols,” her post read. At first, she thought it was a joke and she simply replied to keep thread flowing. A direct message from him to her inbox, followed by a Facebook call, would change her life’s trajectory. Chidimma placed the advert initially as a joke but became optimistic when Sophy said she was interested. So two days after their first conversation, he travelled some 500km (300 miles) from his home in the northern city of Abuja, to Enugu in the east where she lived. She had been waiting for him outside a retail store and in true fairy-tale style, “it was love at first sight”, she recalled. “He is the most handsome man I’ve ever met and I liked him instantly.”The couple on their wedding day in Igbo attire

After 2 hours of awkward conversation, he asked her to go to meet an uncle who incidentally is also resident in Enugu. So he asked what was going through her mind at the time, she said she thought it was all a bit of a joke but was excited about it and thought Chidimma was also quite an interesting character. “We got to the uncle’s house and he said: ‘Uncle, meet the woman I want to marry.'” Like Chidimma his family don’t seem to hang about when it comes to getting things done because uncle gave his approval. The couple are friends on Facebook for over a year but never spoken to each other before the advert. Getting family backing for your choice of spouse is an essential part of Igbo culture. Whereas picking your future wife from dozens of respondents to a Facebook marriage advert and marrying her in six days is decidedly not. At this point in their day-old relationship, it was beginning to dawn on Sophy that this fellow was not playing, but how do you commit to marrying someone you only just me. She would not comment on whether they had even shared as much as a kiss at that point, but maintained she was captivated by how focused, determined her new fiancé was. “When I saw him for the first time, I definitely found him attractive, but what I didn’t know was how serious he was about marrying me. “It was after we met the uncle and his wife, I realised that this could actually happen and I wanted it.”A family member felicitate with the couple

The engagement

It was now her turn to worry about how she was going to get the approval of her family to marry a guy she had just met on Facebook. But they had momentum going for them. Having met and fallen in love at first sight, or first message, if you like, and getting Chidimma’s uncle’s approval, couple decided to complete the cycle by visiting Sophy’s family the same day. Approval from the family is essential in Igbo tradition and Sophy recounted how she relayed information to her mother. Her dad passed away, and her mum said she did not have a final word in terms of giving approval for her to be married, so up to Sophy’s elder brother to give his blessings. It appears the odds firmly in their favour as Sophy’s brother gave his blessings too. So after a few questions from her brother it became official. Chidimma and Sophy were engaged to be married in six days.The happy couple cutting their cake

On the rebound?

Last year Chidimma was engaged to another woman and the wedding was scheduled for December, but then that relationship fell apart in March leaving him dejected. As December approached, the disappointment of not being able to fulfil his dream of getting married made him put up the post, he said. In wedding it was a blend of old and new “I had the desire to get married, had date in mind, but no bride, decided to place an advert as a joke, but I was open and up for it.”  Asked whether she knew about earlier engagement and her thoughts on how this seemingly rushed marriage might be seen as a rebound, Sophy dismissed any suggestions that her relationship was not well thought through. “I don’t care about that when you see what you want, you go for it.” They are friends on Facebook for more than a year, but had never met or spoken to each other until the advert. Am interested just DM me… lols” was all it took for the union to be formed. Sophy admitted her friends were sceptical about the whole thing, while some are still in disbelief, but as she said: “When you see the one, you will know he is the one.” And they got married on 6 January in a traditional Igbo ceremony, and posted photos of wedding day on Facebook of course to the amusement of the social media community. Chidimma put up a post saying people may have thought he had been joking but clearly wasn’t. And as expected there was mixed reactions, but mainly a lot of support for the couple. They hope to have a church wedding in April and honeymoon somewhere nice.

GUILTFREE WAYS TO SAY NO

Saying No for the Sake of Your Wallet

Request: A friend in need asks for loan.
What you should say: “I wish I can but as a rule, I don’t lend money to friends.”
Why it works: So its clear you did not single out this person as untrustworthy.

You shouldn’t feel guilty: Lending any amount of money can cause problems, says the communications trainer Don Gabor. It changes nature of relationship if the person doesn’t pay you back.”
Avoid the situation in the future: Never lend money to friends, you won’t get reputation as a Mobile Bank ATM. 9f8eab4c34bbdd4065c5809378443d16

Request: A coworker wants you to chip in $25 for gift for colleague you would not recognize at the watercooler.

You should say: “Oh, I’ve never really had a conversation with Ian. I think I’ll wish him a happy birthday in person.”
Why it works: Chances are, the person taking donations has no idea how close you are (or are not) with the intended recipient. By clarifying nature of your relationship emphasises intention to get to know the person better. So you come across as thoughtful rather than cheap.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: A gift is not a gift if an obligation, says etiquette writers Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh.
Avoid the situation in the future: If workplace gift giving is getting out of hand, take the lead in restoring sanity by circulating a card before someone can break out the gift-donation plate. Make sure others know you don’t expect anything on your birthday.How-to-say-no-to-your-boss-politelyRequest: Your third cousin asks to bring her boyfriend-of-the-month to your $150-a-plate wedding reception.

What you should say: “We’ve already had to make so many tough decisions to get the guest list down to size. We really can’t squeeze in/afford another guest. But I would love to have you two over for drinks sometime so I can meet him.”
Why it works: If you illuminate some of behind-the-scenes planning, cousin may get clue of inappropriateness of request.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: It’s your party and your pocketbook, says author Patti Breitman.
Avoid the situation in the future: Make calls before you put together the guest list to see the new additions you should consider as you plan.sayno

Saying No for the Sake of Your Time

Request: You are offered a promotion that you don’t want. Though it means more money, it demands more hours or more of what boss calls responsibility and you call tedium.
What you should say: “I’m flattered that you want me, but for personal reasons I’m not in a situation where I can take this on. Perhaps in a year from now things will be different. Can we talk again if my circumstances change?”
Why it works: If in enviable dilemma boss will understand you have personal priorities that take precedence.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: By saying no to more time at the office, you’re saying yes to other things you cherish, long walks alone at sunset or evening time with your children.
Avoid the situation in the future: “If a position opens up at your workplace, you could let it be known that you are not in the running,” Breitman suggests. Being forthright saves your manager the trouble of pursuing a candidate who isn’t interested.maxresdefault (4)

Request: You are asked to coordinate bake sale again at your child’s school.
What you should say: “I know I am going to disappoint you, but I’ve decided not to volunteer this year, because I will feel stressed. Is there any way to get some of the other parents to step up?”
Why it works: People feel manipulated into doing something like The ice cream social won’t happen without your help! If address the problematic pattern of one person’s doing all the work, you sidestep manipulation. If you say no, it force others never get asked to say yes.
You shouldn’t feel guilty: “You’ve done your fair share, and now others can do this job,” says Robinson.
Avoid the situation in the future: Encourage school leaders to present the problem to all parents,” says Robinson. “If people know an important program may fail, usually remedy situation.maxresdefault (3)Request: If invited to distant relative’s annual Lobster Lua, 14th year in row.

You should say: “I’ve really had fun in the past, but I can’t make it this year. That week is already packed for me.”
Why it works: “You’ve explained it in a way that doesn’t sound like a personal rejection,” says Robinson. “And you’ve asked for understanding, based on your need to take stress out of your schedule. Everyone can identify with that.”
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: You have only so much free time―and so much tolerance for flying lobster goo. “Don’t R.S.V.P. yes, then back out at the last minute or, worse, not show up at all,” say Izzo and Marsh. “That is the least decorous way of handling invite.”
Avoid the situation in the future: In a note, thank the relative for thinking of you and explain that because you tend to be busy at this time of year, he should feel free to take you off his invite list.maxresdefault (2)

Request: Boss asks you to supervise this season’s intern last seen with feet up on a desk, iPod on, Gameboy in hand.
What you should say: “Wow, that’s an interesting project. I’m really busy with the ABC assignment right now, so let me know if you want me to re-prioritize.”
Why it works: “Asking boss to prioritize tasks for you means so do not have to actually say “no,” Breitman says. If told to just squeeze the new task in, then do it. But keep a list of all the extra work you’ve done for your next review.
You shouldn’t feel guilty: You really do have enough work to do as it is.
Avoid the situation in the future: If extra tasks keep getting dumped on your desk, ask your boss for a meeting. Explain that the added assignments are making it hard to do your primary job properly. Ask if she wants to review your job description and renegotiate your salary while she’s at it.  AAEAAQAAAAAAAANxAAAAJDczZjg2NDEyLTE1Y2QtNDllNi1hNjIwLWY2MzgyYzc0YTA2Mg

Say No for the Sake of Your Sanity

Request: A friend asks to borrow car because own in shop to repair dent got while driving, talking on phone, and unwrapping juice-box straw.
What you should say: “I do not lend anything worth more than $1,000.” Try to avoid “I don’t have insurance for a non-family member, insurance policies cover the car, not specific drivers. If friend got into accident, it could make your premium go up. If you have time, offer her a ride instead.
Why it works: “Avoid blame on you,” explains author Patti Breitman. “Don’t indicate you don’t trust the friend.”
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: “Your car is probably the first or second most valuable thing you own,” says Breitman. “You’re protecting a big financial asset.” Plus, if friend gets accident relationship might be totalled, too.
Avoid the situation in the future: Let your friends know that while you’re typically a generous lender (“Of course you can borrow my snorkeling gear!”), your car is off-limits. Say-NO-pic

Request: A guest offers to bring seven-layer dip to party. But doesn’t really go with Greek theme you planned.
What you should say: “What a kind offer thank you. I have already planned the menu, but do you have any dietary restrictions I should know about? Be nice and ask to bringing something, like bottle of wine or a loaf of bread.
Why it works: Acknowledging the offer of generosity let person know did all they could. If the person has dietary restrictions so cooking difficult for you, relent and let bring a dish to eat.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: Person offered to be courteous. Saying no, you gives license to relax, enjoy hospitality.
Avoid the situation in the future: When you invite people, ask if there is anything they don’t eat, because you want to make sure your menu works for everyone. Emphasize the word menu, so people know that you have a plan or a theme for the meal (and so they won’t try to upset it).thumbs-down

Request: Future sister-in-law wants to throw baby shower you don’t want fuss.
What you should say: “I really don’t want a party, but thank you so much for offering. Why don’t we splurge on visit to a day spa instead?”
Why it works: “Not everyone likes a party in honour or wants to be center of attention with a paper plate of bows on her head,” says etiquette writers Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh. Unless she has her own agenda, she should understand.
Why you shouldn’t feel guilty: “If you decline, you are taking away pleasure from the people who care about you, but it is occasion to shout about or be quiet about,” say Izzo and Marsh.
Avoid the situation in the future: Announce what you would prefer to do instead of a shower before anyone offers to throw one.

 

SPARE THE ROD SPOIL CHILD

Smacking (actors)Smacking ban goes to public consultation. Plans to outlaw beating, slapping, kicking, smacking, spanking, whipping children in Wales are going out to a three-month consultation. The ministers said removing the defence of reasonable punishment would make it clear smacking is no longer acceptable. Charities including the NSPCC said this would bring Wales in line with dozens of other countries. But campaigners against the law fear it could criminalise ordinary parents. Minister for Children and Social Care, Huw Irranca-Davies, said: “As a parent of three boys myself, I know being a parent can sometimes be a challenging experience. “Our knowledge of what children need to grow and thrive has developed considerably over the last 20 years. We now know that physical punishment can have negative long-term impacts on a child’s life chances and we also know it is an ineffective punishment.”

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Discipline is meted out by using alternative methods like, “grounding” punishment which means the child stays at home so cannot meet up with friends to go to cinema, party, or sleep over. The child’s privileges like toys, games, computers, phones taken away or asked to stay alone isolated in their bedroom. Others sit in a corner alone for 5 minute to 15 minutes within sight of the adult to stay there based on their age  This helps calm a child down and diffuses tension but the child enjoys TV in bedroom or favourite toys, phone, computer, are taken away for a few days or months depending on what the child did. This happens often so some parents feel it is better than physically hitting them with a stick. Some do not have toys or own bedroom so parents find other ways like asking them to do chores they do not like to do to teach them a lesson. In other extreme cases the child may pay for items deliberately damaged in anger with pocket-money or mow the garden and lawn.

spank

Scotland became the first part of the UK to confirm plans to outlaw smacking children last year. Now ministers in Wales want parents to choose “positive and more effective methods.”Some people think carrots and sticks are choices that makes a difference depending on preference. The “rule of the thumb laws” made by Parliament allowed husband’s to beat their wives with a stick the size of their thumb. God help the woman whose husband has the biggest thumb, you will not want to rub the wrong way. The proposed law would not involve creating a new offence but would instead remove the defence to the existing offences of assault and battery. So, any adult looking after a child would no longer be able to use physical or corporal punishment against them. Physical punishment has already been outlawed in schools and childcare facilities but Mr Irranca-Davies said it was time “to ensure it is no longer acceptable anywhere.”

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The Welsh Government is now allowed to legislate in areas of parental discipline, under the new Wales Act. The consultation runs until 2 April. The Bible says correct the child in love and not in anger because God Corrects those HE LOVES. So explain to the child you are not in a bad mood or hate them. Discipline must be done in context and effective against their behaviour. Mixed messages from parents does not clearly teach them why it is wrong to do something being punished and educate them on the effects of their action on their reputation, others and their peers and society in general. Safely nip the bad behaviour in the bud before it grows out of hand and becomes toxic and destructive. A lot of adults missed out on proper discipline as God said train the child so when they grow they will not depart from it. Children need to understand that discipline corrects and challenges bad behaviour so is not a negative cruel wicked vitriol. God tell parents in Bible not to provoke their children to anger so are to raise children to have consideration for others.семейное-отношение-14317792

A recent TV documentary experimented the carrot and stick approach to see which was more effective. One group was harsh, relentless, no fun, almost military training style of elite soldiers. The other group observed a laissez faire approach, liberal, praising them, mingling appropriately. Both groups performed almost the same without any extra head start or advantage over the other. In extreme cases where a child’s life or others are at risk, a meaningful discipline method is age appropriate and does not ‘hurt’ physically or kill them as happens sometimes. The stress and despair of the parents must never be put upon or projected on to the children. Parents with any psychological problems must seek therapy and not vent their anger on the children by harsh punishment in anger. In extreme cases children’s hands are cut off as punishment for working too slowly or taking and eating food without first asking permission. Sometimes the health of children must be taken into account for suitable punishment. To stop lawlessness, recklessness of society children need discipline important for their future self-discipline to live peacefully with others in community. 1.1994526-1

In Ghana the High Court ruled against smacking so children write apology letters. The Ho Polytechnic Basic School has instituted the writing of apology letters to replace corporal punishment in the school. Pupils now write apology letters, after a written report on the misdemeanor. So what does it mean to “spare the rod and spoil the child? This phrase “spare the rod and spoil the child means modern-day methods imply that if parents refuse to discipline unruly child the child will grow accustomed too set in ways too late to their change bad behaviour. Proverbs 13:24 says whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who corrects them loves them. This is not a licence for aggression and abuse of children for the slightest reason. Children lack FRONTAL CORTEX so do not fully understand life. So take time to make simple easy to understand visual images with rules to REMIND children. This can prevent forgetting rules and children will comply if the know the reasons why they are disciplined. Patents must set good examples to children.

co-parenting

Afterwards, explain again why disciplined, ask for apology from the child, hug and tell child you love them as is done in the UK.  Children mimic and copy adults so some behaviours reflect on the environment and the actions of the adults who need to set better examples and not pick on children mirroring their behaviour. Parent child bonding must not be destroyed by aggressive discipline or lack of discipline. The Bible says those who love their children care enough to discipline them. Whoever spares the rod hates child, but loves child if diligent to discipline child. A lot of brat, rude, bad behaviour can be traced to children left to own devices who grow up as Dennis the menace to society and untouchable majesty the child doted on by parents who think their beloved children do no wrong. This sensitive matter means each side is equally passionate about their approach. The danger is social workers called because of discipline the law ‘criminalise’ parents for training children for their own good. Yet some grow up and freely hit by batons for undealt with childhood issues. Caring-Adult_woman-high-five-boy_web Bible says the if a child listens and is disciplined that child lives long and it is well with that child. So discipline is not to inflict punishment for cruelty but to train a child into an upstanding valuable member of society. The purpose of discipline is to teach a child to understand the human rules and laws of society to fit in as an adult. Therefore unbred child will find the world harder than the child carefully trained from home to be self- aware and have self discipline and self respect. The world is full of untrained adults who act like children and have to nannied and apprenticed when they should be leaders helping other. The chaos in society and communities is because some have festered unruly children never disciplined because of saying ” it hurts the parent too much to inflict pain” on a child. A trust worthy child is trained to fear God and respect fellow human beings and follow the golden rule. Vilifying parents for any form of discipline sends the wrong message to children who will grow up to make similar decisions in future.

THE CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

The authors conferred, and they decided that there would be a special clause added to the list of symptoms of depression. None of this applies, they said, if you have lost somebody you love in the past year. In that situation, all these symptoms are natural, and not a disorder. It was called “the grief exception”, and it seemed to resolve the problem. Then, as the years and decades passed, doctors on the frontline started to come back with another question. All over the world, they were being encouraged to tell patients that depression is, in fact, just the result of a spontaneous chemical imbalance in your brain it is produced by low serotonin, or a natural lack of some other chemical. It’s not caused by your life it’s caused by your broken brain. Some of the doctors began to ask how this fitted with the grief exception. If you agree that the symptoms of depression are a logical and understandable response to one set of life circumstances losing a loved one might they not be an understandable response to other situations? What about if you lose your job? What if you are stuck in a job that you hate for the next 40 years? What about if you are alone and friendless?1296x728_depression_and_memory_lossDrug companies would fund huge numbers of studies and then only release the ones that showed success. The grief exception seemed to have blasted a hole in the claim that the causes of depression are sealed away in your skull. It suggested that there are causes out here, in the world, and they needed to be investigated and solved there. This was a debate that mainstream psychiatry (with some exceptions) did not want to have. So, they responded in a simple way – by whittling away the grief exception. With each new edition of the manual they reduced the period of grief that you were allowed before being labelled mentally ill – down to a few months and then, finally, to nothing at all. Now, if your baby dies at 10am, your doctor can diagnose you with a mental illness at 10.01am and start drugging you straight away. Dr Joanne Cacciatore, of Arizona State University, became a leading expert on the grief exception after her own baby, Cheyenne, died during childbirth. She had seen many grieving people being told that they were mentally ill for showing distress. 0084254001422867528_461504_600x458_actualno

She told me this debate reveals a key problem with how we talk about depression, anxiety and other forms of suffering: we don’t, she said, “consider context.” We act like human distress can be assessed solely on a checklist that can be separated out from our lives, and labelled as brain diseases. If we started to take people’s actual lives into account when we treat depression and anxiety, Joanne explained, it would require “an entire system overhaul”. She told me that when “you have a person with extreme human distress, [we need to] stop treating the symptoms. The symptoms are a messenger of a deeper problem. Let’s get to the deeper problem.” I was a teenager when I swallowed my first antidepressant. I was standing in the weak English sunshine, outside a pharmacy in a shopping centre in London. The tablet was white and small, and as I swallowed, it felt like a chemical kiss. That morning I had gone to see my doctor and I had told him crouched, embarrassed that pain was leaking out of me uncontrollably, like a bad smell, and I had felt this way for several years. In reply, he told me a story. There is a chemical called serotonin that makes people feel good, he said, and some people are naturally lacking it in their brains. You are clearly one of those people. There are now, thankfully, new drugs that will restore your serotonin level to that of a normal person. Take them, and you will be well. At last, I understood what had been happening to me, and why. However, a few months into my drugging, something odd happened.do-you-be-able-yo-explain-the-real-causes-of-diseases-from-genetic-5-638

The pain started to seep through again. Before long, I felt as bad as I had at the start. I went back to my doctor, and he told me that I was clearly on too low a dose. And so, 20 milligrams became 30 milligrams; the white pill became blue. I felt better for several months. And then the pain came back through once more. My dose kept being jacked up, until I was on 80mg, where it stayed for many years, with only a few short breaks. And still the pain broke back through. I started to research my book, Lost Connections: Uncovering The Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, because I was puzzled by two mysteries. Why was I still depressed when I was doing everything I had been told to do? I had identified the low serotonin in my brain, and I was boosting my serotonin levels – yet I still felt awful. But there was a deeper mystery still. Why were so many other people across the western world feeling like me? Around one in five US adults are taking at least one drug for a psychiatric problem. In Britain, antidepressant prescriptions have doubled in a decade, to the point where now one in 11 of us drug ourselves to deal with these feelings. What has been causing depression and its twin, anxiety, to spiral in this way? I began to ask myself: could it really be that in our separate heads, all of us had brain chemistries that spontaneously malfunctioning at the same time?07depressionTo find the answers, I ended up going on a 40,000-mile journey across the world and back. I talked to the leading social scientists investigating these questions, and to people who have been overcoming depression in unexpected ways – from an Amish village in Indiana, to a Brazilian city that banned advertising and a laboratory in Baltimore conducting a startling wave of experiments. From these people, I learned the best scientific evidence about what really causes depression and anxiety. They taught me that it is not what we have been told it is up to now. I found there is evidence that seven specific factors in the way we are living today are causing depression and anxiety to rise alongside two real biological factors (such as your genes) that can combine with these forces to make it worse. Once I learned this, I was able to see that a very different set of solutions to my depression and to our depression waiting for me all along. To understand this different way of thinking, though, I had to first investigate the old story, the one that had given me so much relief at first. Professor Irving Kirsch at Harvard University is the Sherlock Holmes of chemical antidepressants the man who has scrutinised the evidence about giving drugs to depressed and anxious people most closely in the world. In the 1990s, he prescribed chemical antidepressants to his patients with confidence. asian-man-yawning-and-sleepy-at-work-4k-resolution_emg5iw6cqx_thumbnail-full01He knew the published scientific evidence, and it was clear: it showed that 70% of people who took them got significantly better. He began to investigate this further, and put in a freedom of information request to get the data that the drug companies had been privately gathering into these drugs. He was confident that he would find all sorts of other positive effects but then he bumped into something peculiar. We all know that when you take selfies, you take 30 pictures, throw away the 29 where you look bleary-eyed or double-chinned, and pick out the best one to be your Tinder profile picture. It turned out that the drug companies who fund almost all research into these drugs were taking this approach to studying chemical antidepressants. They would fund huge numbers of studies, throw away all the ones that suggested the drugs had very limited effects, and then only release the ones that showed success. To give one example: in one trial, the drug was given to 245 patients, but the drug company published the results for only 27 of them. Those 27 patients happened to be the ones the drug seemed to work for. Suddenly, Professor Kirsch realised that the 70% figure couldn’t be right155771072

It turns out that between 65 and 80% of people on antidepressants are depressed again within a year. I had thought that I was freakish for remaining depressed while on these drugs. In fact, Kirsch explained to me in Massachusetts, I was totally typical. These drugs are having a positive effect for some people but they clearly can’t be the main solution for the majority of us, because we’re still depressed even when we take them. At the moment, we offer depressed people a menu with only one option on it. I certainly don’t want to take anything off the menu but I realised, as I spent time with him, that we would have to expand the menu. This led Professor Kirsch to ask a more basic question, one he was surprised to be asking. How do we know depression is even caused by low serotonin at all? When he began to dig, it turned out that the evidence was strikingly shaky. Professor Andrew Scull of Princeton, writing in the Lancet, explained that attributing depression to spontaneously low serotonin is “deeply misleading and unscientific”. Dr David Healy told me: “There was never any basis for it, ever. It was just marketing copy.”

A doctor writing a prescription

I didn’t want to hear this. Once you settle into a story about your pain, you are extremely reluctant to challenge it. It was like a leash I had put on my distress to keep it under some control. I feared that if I messed with the story I had lived with for so long, the pain would run wild, like an unchained animal. Yet the scientific evidence was showing me something clear, and I couldn’t ignore it. So, what is really going on? When I interviewed social scientists all over the world from São Paulo to Sydney, from Los Angeles to London I started to see an unexpected picture emerge. We all know that every human being has basic physical needs: for food, for water, for shelter, for clean air. It turns out that, in the same way, all humans have certain basic psychological needs. We need to feel we belong. We need to feel valued. We need to feel we’re good at something. We need to feel we have a secure future. And there is growing evidence that our culture isn’t meeting those psychological needs for many perhaps most people. I kept learning that, in very different ways, we have become disconnected from things we really need, and this deep disconnection is driving this epidemic of depression and anxiety all around us. Let’s look at one of those causes, and one of the solutions we can begin to see if we understand it differently. There is strong evidence that human beings need to feel their lives are meaningful that they are doing something with purpose that makes a difference. It’s a natural psychological need. But between 2011 and 2012, the polling company Gallup conducted the most detailed study ever carried out of how people feel about the thing we spend most of our waking lives doing paid work.

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They found that 13% of people say they are “engaged” in their work they find it meaningful and look forward to it. 63% say they are “not engaged”, which is defined as “sleepwalking through their workday so 24% are “actively disengaged”they hate it. Antidepressant prescriptions have doubled over the last decade. Most depressed and anxious people I know, I realised, are in the 87% who don’t like their work. I started to dig around to see if there is any evidence that this might be related to depression. It turned out that a breakthrough had been made in answering this question in the 1970s, by an Australian scientist called Michael Marmot. He wanted to investigate what causes stress in the workplace and believed he’d found the perfect lab in which to discover the answer: the British civil service, based in Whitehall. This small army of bureaucrats was divided into 19 different layers, from the permanent secretary at the top, down to the typists. What he wanted to know, at first, was: who’s more likely to have a stress-related heart attack the big boss at the top, or somebody below him? Everybody told him: you’re wasting your time. Obviously, the boss is going to be more stressed because he’s got more responsibility. But when Marmot published his results, he revealed the truth to be the exact opposite. The lower an employee ranked in the hierarchy, the higher their stress levels and likelihood of having a heart attack. Now he wanted to know: why? And that’s when, after two more years studying civil servants, he discovered the biggest factor. It turns out if you have no control over your work, you are far more likely to become stressed and crucially, depressed humans have an innate need to feel what is done day-to-day, is meaningful. When you are controlled, you can’t create meaning out of your work. Suddenly, the depression of many of my friends, even those in fancy jobs who spend most of waking hours feeling controlled and unappreciated started to look not at problem with their brains but a problem with environments. DSjrsX3W4AAzwwADiscovered, many causes of depression in my journey about finding the reasons why we feel so bad. The core was about finding out how we can feel better how we can find real and lasting antidepressants that work for most of us, beyond only the packs of pills we have been offered as often the sole item on the menu for the depressed and anxious. I kept thinking about what Dr Cacciatore said deal with the deeper problems are causing all this distress. I found the beginnings of an answer to the epidemic of meaningless work in Baltimore. Meredith Mitchell used to wake up every morning with her heart racing with anxiety. She dreaded her office job. So she took a bold step – one that lots of people thought was crazy. Her husband, Josh, and their friends had worked for years in a bike store, where they were ordered around and constantly felt insecure, Most of them were depressed. One day, they decided to set up their own bike store, but they wanted to run it differently. Instead of having one guy at the top giving orders would run it as a democratic co-operative. This meant they would make decisions collectively, they would share out the best and worst jobs and they would all, together, be the boss. It would be like a busy democratic tribe. When I went to their store Baltimore Bicycle Works the staff explained how, in this different environment, their persistent depression and anxiety had largely lifted. It’s not that their individual tasks had changed much. They fixed bikes before; they fix bikes now. But they had dealt with the unmet psychological needs that were making them feel so bad by giving themselves autonomy and control over their work.f6gu4kjvmomhwypo9ytj.jpg

Josh had seen for himself that depressions are very often, as he put it, “rational reactions to the situation, not some kind of biological break”. He told me there is no need to run businesses anywhere in the old humiliating, depressing way we could move together, as a culture, to workers controlling their own workplaces. With each of the nine causes of depression and anxiety I learned about, I kept being taught facts and arguments that forced me to think differently. Professor John Cacioppo of Chicago University taught me being acutely lonely is as stressful as being punched in the face by a stranger and massively increases your risk of depression. Dr Vincent Felitti in San Diego showed me that surviving severe childhood trauma makes you 3,100% likely to suffer depression as an adult. Professor Michael Chandler in Vancouver explained to me that if a community feels it has no control over big decisions affecting it, the suicide rate will shoot up. This new evidence forces us to seek out a very different kind of solution to our despair crisis. One person in particular helped me to unlock how to think about this. In the early days of the 21st century, a South African psychiatrist named Derek Summerfeld went to Cambodia, at a time when antidepressants were first being introduced there. He began to explain the concept to the doctors he met. They listened patiently and then told him they didn’t need these new antidepressants, because they already had anti-depressants that work. He assumed they were talking about some kind of herbal remedy. He asked them to explain, and they told him about a rice farmer they knew whose left leg was blown off by a landmine. He was fitted with a new limb, but he felt constantly anxious about the future, and was filled with despair. The doctors sat with him, and talked through his troubles so post partum requires help.

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They realised that even with his new artificial limb, his old job working in the rice paddies was leaving him constantly stressed and in physical pain, and that was making him want to just stop living. So they had an idea. They believed that if he became a dairy farmer, he could live differently. So they bought him a cow. In the months and years that followed, his life changed. His depression which had been profound went away. “You see, doctor,” they told him, the cow was an “antidepressant.” To them, finding an antidepressant didn’t mean finding a way to change your brain chemistry. It meant finding a way to solve the problem that was causing the depression in the first place. We can do the same. Some of these solutions are things we can do as individuals, in our private lives. Some require bigger social shifts, which we can only achieve together, as citizens. But all of them require us to change our understanding of what depression and anxiety really are. This is radical, but it is not, I discovered, a maverick position. In its official statement for World Health Day in 2017, the United Nations reviewed the best evidence and concluded that “the dominant biomedical narrative of depression” is based on “biased and selective use of research outcomes” that “must be abandoned”. We need to move from “focusing on ‘chemical imbalances’”, they said, to focusing more on “power imbalances.de545d9acba05f4a7e96f64bd08ecffe

I learned all this, and what it means for us all, I started to long for the power to go back in time and speak to my teenage self on the day he was told a story about his depression that was going to send him off in the wrong direction for so many years. I wanted to tell him: “This pain you are feeling is not a pathology. It’s not crazy. It is a signal that your natural psychological needs are not being met. It is a form of grief – for yourself, and for the culture you live in going so wrong. I know how much it hurts. I know how deeply it cuts you. But you need to listen to this signal. We all need to listen to the people around us sending out this signal. It is telling you what is going wrong. It is telling you that you need to be connected in so many deep and stirring ways that you aren’t yet but you can be, one day.” If you are depressed and anxious, you are not a machine with malfunctioning parts. You are a human being with unmet needs. The only real way out of our epidemic of despair is for all of us, together, to begin to meet those human needs for deep connection, to the things that really matter in life.

This is an edited extract from Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari, published by Bloomsbury on 11 January (£16.99). To order a copy for £14.44 go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over £10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of £1.99. It will be available in audio at audible.co.uk