Transitions in Jewish Community Services

Shorter days, cooler temperatures, football and and the sweetness of apples dipped in honey.  All signs that we are in the midst of transitioning to a new season and a New Year.

Several of our programs at Jewish Child & Family Services are also transitioning to better serve the community. It's clear that the months ahead will be filled with energy!  Shanah Tovah - may this New Year be filled with health, happiness and peace.

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What Can Parents Do to Make “The Social Network” a Safer Place for their Children?

The Social Networking Parent

Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr…. These are just a few of the many social media platforms that children and teens use to communicate today. While there are many benefits to being digitally interconnected, there are also many dangers. No parent can possibly keep tabs on everything their children do on social media. However, there are certain measures you can take to help your children use social media more responsibly. But before diving into this subject, let us first briefly review the pros and cons of online social networks.

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Changing Language Can Change Your Life

Do you ever have those days when life is just overwhelming? When the meal preparation and clean-up, and the laundry, and the homework all need to get done, and your boss, and your kids, and your sister all need your time and attention? When you are sure there will never be enough of you to go around?  

When I have those days, I used to say to myself “I hate my life.” And when I thought “I hate my life,” everything would feel dark and heavy and endless. That heavy dark feeling led to my yelling at my kids, eating food that isn’t good for me and putting off doing the basic things that are needed to keep our lives going.

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Teen Transgender Film Sheds Light on LGBTQ Movement

A grandmother shared with Jewish parents, families and community members that she and her family are grappling with questions about whether or not their grandchild may someday identify as transgender; her 11-year-old granddaughter has connected with traditional masculine traits and behaviors since age four.

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Teasing vs. Bullying, and Why It's More Serious Today

When I speak to parents and members of our community about bullying, I most often am asked the following question:  “What’s the big deal?  Bullying happened when we were kids and we all survived!”

Flashback some 35-40 years ago and yes, bullying happened – on the playground, walking home, on the school bus, in the locker room.  Some of us were teased (“four-eyes,” “uni-brow,” “brown-nose”).  And yes, teasing is quite different from bullying.  How so, you may ask?

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Online/Offline: 10 Techno Tips for Parents from Response

The good news is, we can do most anything more efficiently and connect with friends and family members 24/7 with the wonders of technology!  On the other hand, technology follows us everywhere; from brushing our teeth in the morning to turning in for the night.  There is, literally, no escape!  For tweens and teens, this sense of being attached to an “electronic leash” can have negative consequences, including bullying behavior, sexting, online dating, etc.  Know how to set reasonable boundaries around the use of technology in your family and you’ll be way ahead of the curve. 

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Teen Pregnancy Prevention: Having "the Talk"

Everyone knows about the “sex talk” – also known as the conversation with your children about sexual health.  Some parents and guardians dive right into the talk, while others avoid it at all costs. If you’ve been practicing avoidance, which response below best describes your philosophy?

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1 in 10: Learning to Recognize Signs of Teen Dating Violence

Your 13 year-old may appear to be completely absorbed in math club, sports and preparing for his or her Bar/Bat Mitzvah – but 89% of 13 to 18 year-olds say they’re in or have had a dating relationship, according to a Children Now/Kaiser Permanente poll.

US government statistics reveal that 1 in 10 Illinois teens was a victim of physical abuse by a boyfriend or girlfriend in the last year, so it’s not too early to have a conversation about healthy relationships. The first people most teens will turn to when they are being abused are their friends – but JCFS wants you to know what parents and community members can do to help prevent teen dating violence and abuse.

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Tween Girl Drama: 7 Ways to Support Your Daughter

Parents of 9 to 12 year-old girls know “Tween Girl Drama” even if they cannot define it.  They see it in the struggles their daughters have negotiating friendships, their changing bodies, and their growing desire for independence.  They experience it in the moodiness and seeming over-reactions to the littlest of things. Here are 7 tips for supporting your daughter (or even your son) as she navigates these challenging years:  

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