Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hazing from a Parent’s Perspective

Hazing is usually associated with fraternity/sorority life; however, national data on hazing reflects that almost half of all college students report having experienced hazing prior to college. According to HazingPrevention.Org, hazing is defined as: any action taken or situation created intentionally causes harm to members of a group or team regardless of the person's willingness to participate. You may assume that your child has the intelligence and confidence to prevent him or her from falling prey to such a situation. The desire to fit in, however, can be a powerful motivator. 

Hazing may be suspected if:
1.) Your child suddenly seems reluctant to talk especially about club or team related activities. 
2.) Your child becomes particularly annoyed, irritated or anxious when you talk with her about club or team activities. 
3.) You note changes in his or her moods. If there are significant changes in patterns of eating or sleeping. 
4.) He or she presents as distracted or distant especially when you try to talk about them club or team events.
5.) His or her academic performance suddenly declines. 
6.) There is an increase in physical complaints and/or he or she requires hospitalization due to an unexplained physical injury or alcohol abuse.

You can help prevent hazing by discussing the topic with your child. If your child is now in a leadership role in an organization or team, you have a real opportunity to engage in the prevention process.

Talk with your child about hazing. Let him know that he or she has a responsibility to model appropriate behavior to other members. Remind your child that leadership is about helping others learn through his or her example. It’s not about abusing power in order to demand respect.

Hazing is an archaic and horrific practice. Parents can play a pivotal role in the intervention and prevention of hazing practices.

Jennifer Powell-Lunder, Epsilon Gamma-Virginia,  is the Program Director of the Lodge Adolescent Inpatient Unit at For Winds Hospital.  Jennifer is also a parenting expert consulting and writing for Yahoo!, The Christian Science Monitor, USA Today, Parenting Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX.  She is the creator of and Jennifer earned her masters in school psychology and her doctorate in school-clinical child psychology from Pace University.  She is currently at adjunct professor at Pace.  

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