An unimaginable tragedy happened in Newtown, CT several months ago with 20 young children and six adults being killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School and it’s a shame that an event such as this is necessary to open dialogue and place blame on the reason for such a senseless act, let alone get in the way of making necessary changes.

Unfortunately the topics of conversation have pandered simple solutions such as stricter gun control laws and for better access to mental health care. For example President Barack Obama created a deadline for his administration to come up with proposals on how to effectively curb gun violence.

At the opposite end of the spectrum the National Rife Association maintains that all schools in the United States out of necessity will have armed officers or guards, yet what kind of atmosphere does that create? Schools are not prisons.

Another reaction is that much like the one of former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s who believes that it happened because of God being removed from the classroom and that is also way off base.

In New York the Journal News published an interactive map on Google Maps posting names and addresses of registered gun owners in Rockland and Westchester counties.

On Monday April 15th, 2013 two bombs exploded killing three and injuring 175 at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Obama has called the bombing “an act of terror” and there’s been examples of the great people of Boston stepping up offering places to stay, rides, and food.

Bon Appetit Magazine lists a number or Tweets from area restaurants that will offer free food to emergency workers and hungry citizens.

Citizens of the United States are united again and the last time that happened was after the 9/11 attacks. Isn’t it a shame that when someone shoots up an elementary school, high school or theater the country remains divided? The NRA had the audacity to setup robo-calls and sent postcards to Newtown residents.

Even with that though ignored is the bigger picture plaguing Americans and that is the amount of time a parent or parents spend working. There’s an excellent chart below from The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicating what a typical day looks like for someone who works.

Time use on an average work day for employed persons ages 25 to 54 with children

A study done in July of 2012 conducted by Good Technology of 1,000 people. Indicated that 80%  will continue working after leaving the office, which equates to another full day of work. Children aren’t getting enough attention at home. Meaning that it’s not surprising that bullying has become an epidemic in the United States and that teenage suicides continue to rise.

Three Days Grace released the song Unbreakable Heart and here’s an example of lyrics from the song that paint the picture clearly of what happens when someone gets bullied.

“They’ll try to take your pride
Try to take your soul
They’ll try to take all the control
They’ll look you in the eyes
Fill you full of lies.
Believe me they’re gonna try so when
You’re feelin’ crazy and things
Fall apart listen to your head
Remember who you are,
You’re the one, you’re the unbreakable heart!”

While there’s no question that gun laws need a makeover, it’s parents getting involved with their children that is needed more. Erin Kurt offers four ways to spend time with a child even if it seems like there’s no time.

  1. One-on-one time: Setting a time on the calendar minimum once a month to do something together such as going to a movie, sporting event, theme park, downtown, etc….
  2. Integrate together time into your daily schedule: If there are chores such as making dinner, a grocery list, mailing a number of letter ask for their help or participate in the process.
  3. Phantom time:  Let creativity rule here, write a note expressing how much you love them and if you work late record a video, so it gets seen at breakfast.
  4. Break time: Wake your child up 15 minutes early to spend some time with them or set a time to have a break that lasts between 15-30 minutes helpful to give a two minute warning as well.

Unfortunately for a number of families money is tight, so going to a movie, theme park or even dinner isn’t something that will happen. Also, there’s a misleading notion that in order for parent and child to have fun, it means spending money in reality that is not the case.

Stores like Barnes & Noble offers free story time, Home Depot has a free workshop for kids on the first Saturday of every month and Lowe’s Build and Grow classes are on Saturday too. Other options are to attend free concerts, take walks around the neighborhood, go to a local pond and feed the ducks and geese, camp out in the backyard and read with each other.

By spending time together it will allow the opportunity for mom or dad to notice a change in behavior or if their child gets depressed. It seems that when the media reports on a teenager who has taken their own life the parents didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary and the best friend or a friend knew and thought it was a joke.

According to the Mayo Clinic depression symptoms are:

  • Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
  • Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability or angry outbursts
  • Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy — even small tasks may seem to require a lot of effort
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself when things aren’t going right
  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide
  • Crying spells for no apparent reason

For teens it can also include:

  • Anxiety
  • Anger
  • Avoidance of social interaction
  • Schools work may suffer

With the strong relationship between parent and child the depression may have been secondary to a learning disability that hadn’t been diagnosed before.

Not only that it means those kids starving for attention will cease to exist and the need to bully others will no longer be there.  Which, in turn means that school shootings will become a thing of the past and the suicide rate among teenagers will take a significant decline.

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