Author Archive: Mattie Miles

An Open Letter To The Parent That Chose Drugs Over Me

I’m sick of hearing these words. I’m absolutely sick and tired of hearing these words come out of others’ mouths. It’s repulsive and dehumanizing to say that someone “deserves to die” because of a struggle with substance abuse or alcohol abuse.

You can make the argument that he “made a choice.” Go ahead, do it. You’re entitled to your opinion.

But don’t you dare say that he deserved to die.

You’re saying that about someone’s loved one. You’re saying that about a human being who struggled with a very real and very prevalent problem in today’s society.

If the tables were flipped, how would you feel?

How would you feel if you had people say to you, “he made a choice, so he has to pay for the consequences.”

We talk about them like criminals. As if death is a “deserved side effect” of drug and alcohol usage.

When a teenager dies from an overdose, we’re saying, “wow, that’s tragic, he was so young.” But when an adult dies, we say, “oh, he should have known better.”

If that adult has been using since childhood, no, he or she really may not “know better.”

I get it, OK. I get that not everyone believes drug addiction and alcohol addiction are diseases. As I said earlier, you’re completely entitled to your opinion.

But to say someone deserved death, that’s repulsive.

When people say that people with drug and alcohol addictions deserve to die, it’s personal for me.

It’s personal because I lost someone from those very causes.

It’s personal because every day I choose not to drink even though I’m 21.

It’s personal because every day I see people using drugs in and around my campus while I walk by avoiding the shouts to “buy some.”

That person you have decided is nothing more than their addiction is so much more than that.

We all have our problems. Even Kim Kardashian, who the media believes to be perfect, has her problems.

But, until we recognize that someone who struggles with drug and alcohol usage is still a human being, our rhetoric isn’t going to change.

I’m sorry to break it to you, but if you’ve ever made a nasty comment about someone struggling with addiction by calling them a “junkie” or some other foul word, you’re part of the problem.

If you refer to someone who has gone through rehab as “clean” you’re also part of the problem because that implies that those who aren’t “clean,” aka those who are using, are “dirty.”

Again, that makes you part of the problem.

I’m not saying we are going to up and change overnight. I know that isn’t realistic.

We do, however, need to be conscientious of how and why we use the rhetoric that we do when it comes to those in recovery and those struggling with addiction.

Sit back for a second and put yourself in their shoes.

How would you feel if you had people telling you that you deserved to die?

Just let that one sink in, and then come back and tell me how you feel about that rhetoric you’ve been using.

Excellent Restaurants In Mayfair

There are not any prescribed themes to the meals, you don’t have to increase your hand to speak. The idea of small plates solves this issue perfectly. I do respect this since they need to carry on the heart of the establishment is that it’s a speak-easy picture, please! Words weren’t any longer my friend. This was a massive mistake, the entire thing, the entire trip. A possible consequence of this kind of economy is that local or neighbourhood businesses will not be able to compete. Coercion doesn’t do the job too well.

Taking away the air enables high speeds since it eliminates wind resistance. It’s like home, and it is still my favourite dish. Top Crazy Games is bringing you the ideal cooking and baking game together with all of your favourite pizza party recipes.

Our Executive Chef, Alberto Bini, can help you select a current menu item that fulfils your dietary restrictions, or craft a custom made dish with special ingredients. You must be into that form of cuisine to want to return, but the drinks were so good, we will probably come again. The restaurant wasn’t very crowded and our waiter wasn’t in an excellent mood. So, the very best fish restaurant is the ideal place to fulfil your appetite.

Delicious, although the ramp kimchi didn’t get the job done. Instead, I’d like to inform you regarding the magical food I ate in Sayulita. It’s not merely the pasta that’s noteworthy. By way of example, gluten-free pasta can readily be substituted for regular pasta. The bread was really great btw. It was some sort of ice cream or gelato.

If You Read Nothing Else Today, Read This Report on Good Italian Restaurant Mayfair London
Strong menu to pick from and fantastic atmosphere. We also learned from our server that this proved to be a very likeable drink from a number of clients. If you want it, just download and delight in this app! I keep seeking new Phantogram songs. Brace yourself folks heroine is starting to reveal herself! I chose to nudge my way back in the conversation.

My dream to reside in California. I saw my very first real life tumbleweeds driving by means of this valley. Hyperloop is tough to understand because it’s a deceptively straightforward idea nearly all of the media fails to comprehend. Under these conditions, it’s very likely that somebody will build a working Hyperloop within the upcoming few decades. Since you can see Hyperloop really has the capacity to disrupt everything. Both Hyperloop One and HyperloopTT have many partnerships with different organizations to create lines.

Boise seemed like the very best place. Honestly, Ashley was the very best portion of our whole experience! America is really a gorgeous nation. Moreover, Europe could grow to be totally economically dependent upon Chinese industry. For instance, it could put considerable amounts of oceanic shipping out of business. Thus, go on and try them out!

Everyone ought to have a food bucket list, and a new year is an ideal opportunity to refresh it. It is dependent on what you really feel like on that given day. I will not need to cook all of the moment. I felt the same manner at the moment. We’ve been here several occasions and always had a very good experience except for this previous weekend. It was my very first time in Europe. We anticipate serving you soon.

The seating along the face of the restaurant is very beautiful. You’re in the correct place.

Our extensive wine list includes over 350 wines from all over the Earth, or in case you want, we provide a complete bar with signature cocktails. At Amante’s, there are lots of choices, but it’s apparent that none of them is on the menu only to fill the webpage. Everything had a standard that I hadn’t ever seen before. Definitely, suggest this restaurant as a must try Italian restaurant if you’re in town anywhere in close proximity to Sacramento. I was quite disappointed… especially as it meant my buddy and I ate separately since I needed to watch for a new one! I’ve had a number of the best conversations of my life above a meal or a beer. We had an extremely intriguing experience this evening when eating here.

New Father Is Left With Giant Hole In Skull Because Of Energy Drinks, And Now His Wife Wants To Warn Others

For some of us, energy drinks are the only way we make it through the day. Most people, however, rarely consider how all of that caffeine and sugar is really affecting their body. Back in April, a teen in South Carolina died suddenly from a caffeine overdose aggravated by energy drinks. Now, a new father named Austin is lucky to have made it out with his life after overusing them for months to cope with a hectic work schedule, and has been physically changed forever.

His wife, Brianna, who was just weeks away from giving birth to their first child at the time, recently took to Facebook to share the harrowing story of how her world almost completely fell apart. Sara Endres, a photographer from Sacramento, CA, has also taken a series of moving portraits that document the young family’s daily struggles in the wake of Austin’s hospitalization.

Scroll down to read about what happened in Brianna’s own words, and share this with anyone who may doubt that energy drinks can be harmful.

A new mother has bravely come forward to tell the story of how energy drinks almost cost her husband his life, and changed hers forever

Image credits: Endres Photography

“Hello, my name is Brianna, and this is my story…

Love is not the little things. It is not the phone calls, the dates, or even the memories. Love is knowing you would sacrifice things that you didn’t even know you could sacrifice. Love is selfless.

Have you ever felt your life shake ? Have you ever been hit with so much emotional turmoil to the point where everything around you becomes fuzzy and shaken? Your lungs feel tight and for a brief second you can’t do anything. You are unable to move, unable to think, unable to even react. I have. I experienced something I never thought I would experience…all while nine months pregnant with my first child.

Being pregnant is supposed to be one of the most amazing journeys you will ever embark on. You’re creating a new life. You are experiencing unconditional love for someone you have not even met.

Austin and I were so excited to meet our little boy. To bring him home. To be a family.”

Austin had picked up the habit to cope with a hectic work schedule, never imagining they would land him in the hospital

Image credits: Daniel Juřena

“I never imagined as I went to sleep that night, that my whole world would be shattered within hours.

I still remember my mother in law waking me up that morning. ‘Austin had an accident’ she said.

All I knew was that my husband was in the hospital. The worst part? I didn’t know why.

After a two hour drive to the hospital, I learned that my husband, the father of my child, the person I am so deeply in love with, had had a brain hemorrhage. Why? The doctors concluded (after running his tox screen and ruling out drugs) that this horrible event was due to his recent excessive energy drink consumption (a habit he had built when he started working longer hours and commuting).

Surgery was already in motion… and after an agonizing 5 hour wait, we got to see him. But while everyone was focused on the almost unrecognizable face hooked up to all sorts of machines and tubes, all I could see was his parents. I saw the light leave his mother’s eyes as she saw her motionless son laying in that hospital bed. I saw his father break down crying as he held onto his wife.

They didn’t know if the life they created together would even wake up.

Watching this family — my new family, who I have grown to love and be a part of, be so shattered and broken…that is the worst feeling I have ever felt.”

One tragic brain hemorrhage and multiple surgeries later, Austin was left with an irreparable hole in the front of his skull, and a wife on the verge of giving birth to their first child

Image credits: Endres Photography

“The next day was round two of brain surgery. Following this were strokes, seizures, swelling, and more things we weren’t prepared for.

There was a moment, sitting by his hospital bed, just praying he would be okay, that I knew I would never give up on him. No matter how messy our life would become. I was going to be by his side through all of it.

After two weeks of living in a hospital, wondering if he would survive or be taken from us, we made our way back home.

The time had come for me to deliver our baby.”

Still under the stress of dealing with Austin’s recovery, Brianna faced the monumental task of bringing their son into the world

Image credits: Endres Photography

“I’m not going to lie to anyone, it was so hard. I had planned on Austin being a part of this huge moment. Being by my side. Holding my hand. Being there to cut the cord. Being there to welcome our son into the world. It didn’t feel right…

But a beautiful miracle happened as I delivered our son. Austin woke up. I went about a week without seeing him. I thought about him every day. I cried as I looked at my child who looked just like his daddy.

When the baby was only a week old, I left him with my in-laws.

I knew I needed to see Austin. I needed to tell him that our baby was here. To tell him how much we needed him.”

Miraculously, Austin awoke from his traumatic experience shortly after the birth, and finally met his baby boy 2 months later

Image credits: Endres Photography

“Weeks went by. We chased him all over the state as more operations and procedures were ordered. I saw him every chance I got.

At a little over 2 months old, our son finally met his dad. A day I wasn’t sure I would ever see. That was the day that my heart gained some of its happiness back.

Some time after that he could finally come home to me. Our life isn’t normal. There are doctors visits and hospital trips — so many that I loose count.

But we are here. Fighting.”

Brianna now spends each day caring not only for her new son, but for her permanently disabled husband, a role she accepts with strength

Image credits: Endres Photography

“I wake up every day to take care of our beautiful little boy and my husband. I prepare the meals, do physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. I help him with personal hygiene. I help him walk. I help him with every aspect of his life.”

These poignant photos, taken by Sacramento-based photographer Sara Endres, capture the beauty and pain of this young family

Image credits: Endres Photography

“And in between these tasks I take care of our very busy eight month old. It is hard, and I am tired, but we make the most of it.”

Their story is harrowing, but also a testament to the existence of true love and self-sacrifice

Image credits: Endres Photography

“He isn’t the same man I fell in love with, but I still fall further everyday, We are fighting to help him recover. To make his life better. One day we will get there.

Until then, I will never give up on him. Because love is selfless, and I love him more than life itself.”

Image credits: Endres Photography

Should people be taking the health risks of energy drinks more seriously? Tell us your thoughts below

‘Pure Genocide’: Over 6,000 Nigerian Christians Slaughtered, Mostly Women and Children | The Christian Post

‘Pure Genocide’: Over 6,000 Nigerian Christians Slaughtered, Mostly Women and Children

Clarification appended

Church leaders in Nigeria have said that Christians are experiencing “pure genocide” as 6,000 people, mostly women and children, have been murdered by Fulani radicals since January.

“What is happening in Plateau state and other select states in Nigeria is pure genocide and must be stopped immediately,” said the Christian Association of Nigeria and church denominational heads in Plateau State in a press release last week.

The church leaders said that “over 6,000 persons, mostly children, women and the aged have been maimed and killed in night raids by armed Fulani herdsmen,” which is prompting their cry to the government of Nigeria “to stop this senseless and blood shedding in the land and avoid a state of complete anarchy where the people are forced to defend themselves.”

The press release also pleaded with the international community, as well as the United Nations, to intervene in the Fulani attacks, fearing they might spread to other countries as well.

“We are particularly worried at the widespread insecurity in the country where wanton attacks and killings by armed Fulani herdsmen, bandits and terrorists have been taking place on a daily basis in our communities unchallenged despite huge investments in the security agencies,” they added, saying President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to bring attackers to justice.

They referenced several mass-scale attacks this year, including the slaughter of over 200 people, mostly Christians, at the end of June in raids carried out by the herdsmen on local area farmers near the city of Jos.

Although some international news media has sought to characterize the killings as a land conflict between community groups, the church leaders, along with major persecution watchdog groups such as Open Doors USA and International Christian Concern, have all said that Christians are being deliberately targeted.

“We reject the narrative that the attacks on Christian communities across the country as ‘farmers/herdsmen clash.’ The federal government has been so immersed in this false propaganda and deceit while forcefully pushing the policy idea of establishing cattle ranches/colonies on the ancestral farming lands of the attacked communities for the Fulani herdsmen as the only solution to the problem,” the press release declared, accusing the government of also pushing such a narrative.

“How can it be a clash when one group is persistently attacking, killing, maiming, destroying; and the other group is persistently being killed, maimed and their places of worship destroyed? How can it be a clash when the herdsmen are hunting farmers in their own villages/communities and farmers are running for their lives?” the church leaders asked.

“How can it be a clash when the herdsmen are the predators and the inhabitant/indigenous farmers are the prey? Until we call a disease by its real name and causatives, it would be difficult to properly diagnose the disease for the right curative medications.”

There have been different reports on the number of Christians killed in Nigeria since the start of the year.

The International Society for Civil Liberties and the Rule of Law, Intersociety, stated on Tuesday that a combined total of 1,750 Christians, along with non-Muslims, have been killed both by the Fulani herdsmen, and by Boko Haram radicals, who are a separate terror group.

Intersociety also warned of a genocide in its statement.

“Nigeria is drifting to [a path of] genocide through killing, maiming, burning and destruction of churches and other sacred places of worship, and forceful seizure and occupation of ancestral, worship, farming and dwelling lands of the indigenous Christians and other indigenous religionists in Northern Nigeria,” it said.

Roman Catholic Bishop William Avenya of Gboko separately told charity Aid to the Church in Need that the world cannot wait for a full-on genocide before deciding to intervene.

“Please don’t make the same mistake as was made with the genocide in Rwanda,” he pleaded, referring to the massacre of Tutsi people in Rwanda, where close to 1 million were killed in 1994.

“It happened beneath our noses, but no one stopped it. And we know well how that ended,” Avenya said.

Read more in-depth about the genocide: Searching for Truth Amid the Bloodshed 

Clarification: Sources say that due to inadequate government record keeping in Nigeria, the number of deaths reported in Nigerian massacres is only to be construed as an estimate. Because of this, different organizations put out varying estimates on how many were killed in 2018 as a result of the Fulani violence.

While the Christian Association of Nigeria and Christian leaders reported that as many as 6,000 were killed in the first half of 2018 alone in raids by Fulani militants, the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law estimates that no less than 2,400 were killed by Fulani herdsmen in 2018. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch estimates that at least 1,600 were killed in the Middle Belt as a result of the conflict between Fulani militants and Christian farmers.

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever

Detention of Migrant Children Has Skyrocketed to Highest Levels Ever

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CreditCreditMike Blake/Reuters

Even though hundreds of children separated from their families after crossing the border have been released under court order, the overall number of detained migrant children has exploded to the highest ever recorded — a significant counternarrative to the Trump administration’s efforts to reduce the number of undocumented families coming to the United States.

Population levels at federally contracted shelters for migrant children have quietly shot up more than fivefold since last summer, according to data obtained by The New York Times, reaching a total of 12,800 this month. There were 2,400 such children in custody in May 2017.

The huge increases, which have placed the federal shelter system near capacity, are due not to an influx of children entering the country, but a reduction in the number being released to live with families and other sponsors, the data collected by the Department of Health and Human Services suggests. Some of those who work in the migrant shelter network say the bottleneck is straining both the children and the system that cares for them.

Most of the children crossed the border alone, without their parents. Many are teenagers from Central America, and they are housed in a system of more than 100 shelters across the United States, with the highest concentration near the southwest border.

Stories of such behavior have emerged through reporting in recent months as the shelter system has faced intense criticism by members of Congress and the public.

“Being in congregate care for an extended period of time is not a good thing. It increases the likelihood of things going wrong,” Mr. Greenberg said.

The administration funneled children who were separated from their parents into the shelter system this summer under the earlier policy, without any apparent collaboration with the officials who oversee the shelter program.

The separated children injected a new degree of chaos into the facilities, according to several shelter operators, who spoke anonymously because they are barred by the government from speaking to the news media. The children were younger and more traumatized than those the shelters were used to dealing with, and they arrived without a plan for when they could be released or to whom.

But the system had already been overwhelmed for months, operators said, as children continued to flow in while fewer were being discharged.

The shelter system has overflowed before. In 2014, when unaccompanied children flooded across the border in unprecedented numbers, a lack of shelter space led to a backup of children at the border in what authorities referred to at the time as a humanitarian crisis.

Since then, new facilities have been constructed or arranged by contract — and they are now nearing capacity.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page A18 of the New York edition with the headline: Shelters Near Capacity As More Youth Migrants Are Detained Than Ever

How Inuit Parents Raise Kids Without Yelling — And Teach Them To Control Anger : Goats and Soda : NPR

For more than 30 years, Inuits welcomed anthropologist Jean Briggs into their lives so she could study how they raise their children. Above: Briggs during a 1974 visit to Baffin Island.

Jean Briggs Collection / American Philosophical Society


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Back in the 1960s, a Harvard graduate student made a landmark discovery about anger.

At age 34, Jean Briggs traveled above the Arctic Circle and lived out on the tundra for 17 months. There were no roads, no heating systems, no grocery stores. Winter temperatures could easily dip below minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

So Briggs convinced an Inuit family to “adopt” her and “try to keep her alive,” as the anthropologist wrote in 1970.

This story is part of a series from NPR’s Science desk called “The Other Side of Anger.” There’s no question we are in angry times. It’s in our politics, our schools and homes. Anger can be a destructive emotion but it can also be a positive force.

Join NPR in our exploration of anger and what we can learn from this powerful emotion. Read and listen to stories in the series here.

At the time, many Inuit families lived a lifestyle similar to the way their ancestors had for thousands of years. They built igloos in the winter and tents in the summer. “And we ate only what the animals provided, such as fish, seal and caribou,” says Myna Ishulutak, a film producer and language teacher, who lived a similar lifestyle as a young girl.

Briggs quickly realized something remarkable was going on in these families: Adults had an extraordinary ability to control their anger.

“They never acted in anger toward me although they were angry with me an awful lot,” Briggs told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview.

Maina Ishulutak (upper right, in blue jacket) lived a semi-nomadic life as a child. Above: photos of the girl and her family in the hunting camp of Qipisa during the summer of 1974.

Jean Briggs Collection / American Philosophical Society


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Even just showing a smidgen of frustration or irritation was considered weak and childlike, Briggs observed.

For instance one time someone knocked a boiling pot of tea across the igloo, damaging the ice floor. No one changed their expression. “Too bad,” the offender said calmly and went to go refill the tea pot.

In another instance, a fishing line — which had taken days to braid — immediately broke on the first use. No one flinched in anger. “Sew it together” someone said quietly.

By contrast Briggs seemed like a wild child, even though she was trying very hard to control her anger. “My ways were so much cruder, less considerate and more impulsive,” she told the CBC. “[I was] often impulsive in an anti-social sort of way. I would sulk or I would snap or I would do something that they never did.”

Briggs, who died in 2016, wrote up her observations in her first book, . But she was left with a lingering question: How do Inuit parents instill this ability in their children? How do Inuit take tantrum-prone toddlers and turn them into cool-headed adults?

Then in 1971, Briggs found a clue.

Storytelling Instead Of Scolding: Inuit Say It Makes Their Children More Cool-Headed

Teaching Kids To Control Their Anger



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She was walking on a stony beach in the Arctic when she saw a young mother playing with her toddler — a little boy about 2 years old. The mom picked up a pebble and said, “‘Hit me! Go on. Hit me harder,'” Briggs remembered.

The boy threw the rock at his mother, and she exclaimed, “Ooooww. That hurts!”

Briggs was completely befuddled. The mom seemed to be teaching the child the opposite of what parents want. And her actions seemed to contradict everything Briggs knew about Inuit culture.

“I thought, ‘What is going on here?’ Briggs said in the radio interview.

Turns out, the mom was executing a powerful parenting tool to teach her child how to control his anger – and one of the most intriguing parenting strategies I’ve come across.

Iqaluit, pictured in winter, is the capital of the Canadian territory of Nunavut.

Johan Hallberg-Campbell for NPR


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Iqaluit, pictured in winter, is the capital of the Canadian territory of Nunavut.

No Scolding, No Timeouts

It’s early December in the Arctic town of Iqaluit, Canada. And at 2 p.m., the sun is already calling it a day. Outside the temperature is a balmy minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit. A light snow is swirling around.

I’ve come to this seaside town, after reading Briggs’ book, in search of parenting wisdom, especially when it comes to teaching children to control their emotions. Right off the plane, I start collecting data.

I sit with elders in their 80s and 90s while they lunch on “country food” —stewed seal, frozen beluga whale and raw caribou. I talk with moms selling hand-sewn sealskin jackets at a high school craft fair. And I attend a parenting class, where daycare instructors learn how their ancestors raised small children hundreds — perhaps even thousands — of years ago.

The elders of Iqaluit have lunch at the local senior center. On Thursdays what they call “country food” is on the menu: caribou, seal and ptarmigan.

Johan Hallberg-Campbell for NPR


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The elders of Iqaluit have lunch at the local senior center. On Thursdays what they call “country food” is on the menu: caribou, seal and ptarmigan.

Across the board, all the moms mention one golden rule: Don’t shout or yell at small children.

Traditional Inuit parenting is incredibly nurturing and tender. If you took all the parenting styles around the world and ranked them by their gentleness, the Inuit approach would likely rank near the top. (They even have a special kiss for babies, where you put your nose against the cheek and sniff the skin.)

The culture views scolding — or even speaking to children in an angry voice — as inappropriate, says Lisa Ipeelie, a radio producer and mom, who grew up with 12 siblings. “When they’re little, it doesn’t help to raise your voice,” she says. “It will just make your own heart rate go up.”

Even if the child hits you or bites you, there’s no raising your voice?

“No,” Ipeelie says, with a giggle that seems to emphasize how silly my question is. “With little kids, you often think they’re pushing your buttons, but that’s not what’s going on. They’re upset about something, and you have to figure out what it is.”

Traditionally, the women and children in the community eat with an ulu knife.

Johan Hallberg-Campbell for NPR


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Traditionally, Inuits saw yelling at a small child as demeaning: It’s as if the adult is having a tantrum; it’s basically stooping to the level of the child, Briggs documented.

Elders I spoke with say intense colonization over the past century is damaging these traditions. And so the community is working hard to keep the parenting approach intact.

Goota Jaw is at the front line of this effort. She teaches the parenting class at the Arctic College. Her own parenting style is so gentle that she doesn’t even believe in giving a child a timeout for misbehaving.

“Shouting, ‘Think about what you just did. Go to your room!’ ” Jaw says. “I disagree with that. That’s not how we teach our children. Instead you are just teaching children to run away.”

And you are teaching them to be angry, says clinical psychologist and author Laura Markham. “When we yell at a child — or even threaten with something like ‘I’m starting to get angry,’ we’re training the child to yell,” says Markham. “We’re training them to yell when they get upset and that yelling solves problems.”

In contrast, parents who control their own anger are helping their children learn to do the same, Markham says. “Kids learn emotional regulation from us.”

I asked Markham if the Inuit’s no-yelling policy might be their first secret of raising cool-headed kids. “Absolutely,” she says.

Playing Soccer With Your Head

Now at some level, all moms and dads know they shouldn’t yell at kids. But if you don’t scold or talk in an angry tone, how do you discipline? How do you keep your 3-year-old from running into the road? Or punching her big brother?

For thousands of years, the Inuits have relied on an ancient tool with an ingenious twist: “We use storytelling to discipline,” Jaw says.

Jaw isn’t talking about fairy tales where a child needs to decipher the moral. These are oral stories passed down from one generation of Inuit to the next, designed to sculpt kids’ behaviors in the moment. Sometimes even save their lives.

For example, how do you teach kids to stay away from the Arctic ocean, where they could easily drown? Instead of yelling, “Don’t go near the water!”, Jaw says Inuit parents take a preemptive approach and tell kids a special story about what’s inside the water. “It’s the sea monster,” Jaw says, with a giant pouch on its back, just for little kids.

“If a child walks too close to the water, the monster will put you in his pouch, drag you down to the ocean and adopt you out to another family,” Jaw says.

“Then we don’t need to yell at a child,” Jaw says, “because she is already getting the message.”

Inuit parents have an array of stories to help children learn respectful behavior, too. For example, to get kids to listen to their parents, there is a story about ear wax, says film producer Myna Ishulutak.

“My parents would check inside our ears, and if there was too much wax in there, it meant we were not listening,” she says.

And parents tell their kids, if you don’t ask before taking food, long fingers could reach out and grab you, Ishulutak says.

Inuit parents tell their children to beware of the northern lights — if you don’t wear your hat in the winter, they’ll say, the lights will come, take your head and use it as a soccer ball!

Johan Hallberg-Campbell for NPR


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Inuit parents tell their children to beware of the northern lights — if you don’t wear your hat in the winter, they’ll say, the lights will come, take your head and use it as a soccer ball!

Then there’s the story of northern lights — which helps kids learn to keep their hats on in the winter.

“Our parents told us that if we went out without a hat, the Northern lights are going to take your head off and use it as a soccer ball,” Ishulutak says. “We used to be so scared!” she exclaims and then erupts in laughter.

At first, these stories seemed to me a bit too scary for little children. And my knee-jerk reaction was to dismiss them. But my opinion flipped 180 degrees after I watched my own daughter’s response to similar tales — and after I learned more about humanity’s intricate relationship with storytelling.

Oral storytelling is a human universal. For tens of thousands of years, it has been a key way that parents teach children about values and how to behave.

Modern hunter-gather groups use stories to teach sharing, respect for both genders and conflict avoidance, a recent study reported, after analyzing 89 different tribes. With the Agta, a Filipino hunter-gatherer population, good storytelling skills are prized more than hunting skills or medicinal knowledge, the study found.

Today many American parents outsource their oral storytelling to screens. And in doing so, I wonder if we’re missing out on an easy — and effective — way of disciplining and changing behavior. Could small children be somehow “wired” to learn through stories?

Inuit parenting is gentle and tender. They even have a special kiss for kids called kunik. Above: Maata Jaw gives her daughter the nose-to-cheek Inuit sniff.

Johan Hallberg-Campbell for NPR


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“Well, I’d say kids learn well through narrative and explanations,” says psychologist Deena Weisberg at Villanova University, who studies how small children interpret fiction. “We learn best through things that are interesting to us. And stories, by their nature, can have lots of things in them that are much more interesting in a way that bare statements don’t.”

Stories with a dash of danger pull in kids like magnets, Weisberg says. And they turn a tension-ridden activity like disciplining into a playful interaction that’s — dare, I say it — fun.

“Don’t discount the playfulness of storytelling,” Weisburg says. “With stories, kids get to see stuff happen that doesn’t really happen in real life. Kids think that’s fun. Adults think it’s fun, too.”

Why Don’t You Hit Me?

Inuit filmmaker and language teacher Myna Ishulutak as a little girl. Anthropologist Jean Briggs spent six months with the family in the 1970s documenting the child’s upbringing.

Jean Briggs Collection / American Philosophical Society


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Back up in Iqaluit, Myna Ishulutak is reminiscing about her childhood out on the land. She and her family lived in a hunting camp with about 60 other people. When she was a teenager, her family settled in a town.

“I miss living on the land so much,” she says as we eat a dinner of baked Arctic char. “We lived in a sod house. And when we woke up in the morning, everything would be frozen until we lit the oil lamp.”

I ask her if she’s familiar with the work of Jean Briggs. Her answer leaves me speechless.

Ishulutak reaches into her purse and brings out Briggs’ second book, Inuit Morality Play, which details the life of a 3-year-old girl, dubbed Chubby Maata.

“This book is about me and my family,” Ishulutak says. “I am Chubby Maata.”

In the early 1970s, when Ishulutak was about 3 years old, her family welcomed Briggs into their home for six months and allowed her to study the intimate details of their child’s day-to-day life.

Myna Ishulutak today in Iqaluit, Canada. The mother of two grown boys, she says, “When you’re shouting at them all the time they tend to kind of block you. So there’s a saying: ‘Never shout at them.’ ”

Johan Hallberg-Campbell for NPR


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What Briggs documented is a central component to raising cool-headed kids.

When a child in the camp acted in anger — hit someone or had a tantrum — there was no punishment. Instead the parents waited for the child to calm down and then in peaceful moment, did something that Shakespeare would understand all too well: They put on a drama. (As the Bard once wrote, “the play’s the thing wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.”)

“The idea is to give the child experiences that will lead the child to develop rational thinking,” Briggs told the CBC in 2011.

In a nutshell, the parent would act out what happened when the child misbehaved, including the real-life consequences of that behavior.

The parent always had a playful, fun tone. And typically the performance starts with a question, tempting the child to misbehave.

For example, if the child is hitting others, the mom may start a drama by asking: “Why don’t you hit me?”

Then the child has to think: “What should I do?” If the child takes the bait and hits the mom, she doesn’t scold or yell but instead acts out the consequences. “Oooww, that hurts!” she might exclaim.

The mom continues to emphasize the consequences by asking a follow-up question. For example: “Don’t you like me?” Or “Are you a baby?” She is getting across the idea that hitting hurts people’s feelings and “big girls” wouldn’t hit. But, again, all questions are asked with hint of playfulness.

The parent repeats the drama from time to time until the child stops hitting the mom during the dramas and the misbehavior ends.

Ishulutak says these dramas teach children not to be provoked easily. “They teach you to be strong emotionally,” she says, “to not take everything so seriously or to be scared of teasing.”

Psychologist Peggy Miller, at the University of Illinois, agrees. “When you’re little, you learn that people will provoke you, and these dramas teach you to think and maintain some equilibrium.”

In other words, the dramas offer kids a chance to practice controlling their anger, Miller says, during times when they’re not actually angry.

This practice is likely critical for children learning to control their anger. Because here’s the thing about anger: Once someone is already angry, it is not easy for them to squelch it — even for adults.

“When you try to control or change your emotions in the moment, that’s a really hard thing to do,” says Lisa Feldman Barrett, a psychologist at Northeastern University, who studies how emotions work.

But if you practice having a different response or a different emotion at times when you’re not angry, you’ll have a better chance of managing your anger in those hot-button moments, Feldman Barrett says.

“That practice is essentially helping to rewire your brain to be able to make a different emotion [besides anger] much more easily,” she says.

This emotional practice may be even more important for children, says psychologist Markham, because kids’ brains are still developing the circuitry needed for self-control.

“Children have all kinds of big emotions,” she says. “They don’t have much prefrontal cortex yet. So what we do in responding to our child’s emotions shapes their brain.”

A lot has changed in the Arctic after the Canadian government forced Inuit families to settle in towns. But the community is trying to preserve traditional parenting practices.

Johan Hallberg-Campbell for NPR


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A lot has changed in the Arctic after the Canadian government forced Inuit families to settle in towns. But the community is trying to preserve traditional parenting practices.

Markham recommends an approach close to that used by Inuit parents. When the kid misbehaves, she suggests, wait until everyone is calm. Then in a peaceful moment, go over what happened with the child. You can simply tell them the story about what occurred or use two stuffed animals to act it out in.

“Those approaches develop self-control,” Markham says.

Just be sure you do two things when you replay the misbehavior, she says. First, keep the child involved by asking many questions. For example, if the child has hitting a problem, you might stop midway through the puppet show and ask,”Bobby, wants to hit right now, should he?”

Second, be sure to keep it fun. Many parents overlook play as tool for disciplining, Markham says. But fantasy play offers oodles of opportunities to teach children proper behavior.

“Play is their work,” Markham says. “That’s how they learn about the world and about their experiences.”

Which seems to be something the Inuit have known for hundreds, perhaps even, thousands of years.

Inuit parents value the playful side of kids even when disciplining them. Above: Maata Jaw and daughter.

Johan Hallberg-Campbell for NPR


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Inuit parents value the playful side of kids even when disciplining them. Above: Maata Jaw and daughter.

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