Category Archives: Psychology

Welcome to Bushcraft For Kids Learning Bushcraft

Bushcraft4Kids Helps children learn to take risks and have adventure in there lives

Welcome to Bushcraft4Kids-Learning Bushcraft.

All children, parents and families benefit from being outdoors. Learning bushcraft gives everyone skills that will help them have a greater understanding of nature and the world around them. Learning bushcraft is more than learning new skills. It builds stronger bonds between family members and improves communication between everyone.

Bushcraft, A Way For Adults, Children And Families Develop New Skills And Start On A Journey Of Personal Development And Healthy Living

As Individuals learning bushcraft skills increases knowledge of children and adults, plus it helps take them on a journey of personal development. Everyone seeing improvements in confidence, motivation, self belief, the ability to

Bushcraft4Kids Helps children learning Bushcraft

Bushcraft4Kids Helps children learn to take risks and have adventure in there lives

make decisions and deal with stress. Additionally there are the health benefits of being outdoors and being active.

Society is becoming obsessed with Risk and at an early age children are told things are dangerous. If it is dangerous or there is any perceived risk children told they must not attempt the activity. We need to educate out children to assess and manage risk and see challenge as a good thing as long as we minimise the risks involved. This is something Bushcraft is excellent at helping people understand.

Put Adventure Into A Child’s Life Experience Bushcraft

Let’s take our children into the amazing world there is outdoors, all around us. Step out of their front door into a world of adventure where they can have fun whilst learning about the world they live in. We can all start to make a difference. Take the first steps and encourage your children to have an adventure.

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Bushcraft Goals and Development

Bushcraft Goals

Bushcraft Goals and Development.

It is good to stop and reflect on what we are doing and have done. It is Essential to set new bushcraft goals, both as individuals and as a family in relation to Bushcraft. Here are a few questions to ask yourself.

  • What have I/we done in the last year?
  • Did we achieve as much as We wanted?
  • Did I/we achieve our  bushcraft goals?
  • What goals are we going to set for the upcoming year?

Setting The right Bushcraft Goals Is Empowering

When we look at what we want to achieve with regards to bushcraft it is easy to set huge goals. This is okay as long-term goals, but you need achievable short-term goals. At some time we have all set ourselves goals that are not achievable, and we have failed. The results can leave us dis-empowered. We give up feeling we are not up to the task and are a failure. I know I have done this in the past. The important thing to do is say that was then I am here now, and I will get it right this time, moving on from here.

I have had to set and achieve goals in.

  • The police as an undercover police officer and other covert policing methods.
  • Practicing and teaching bushcraft skill
  • in many other areas of my life.

In addition to the practical experience, I have had the opportunity to study various areas of psychology to post graduate levels. Combining this has led me to look at how you can achieve your goals in bushcraft.

Basic Principle of Bushcraft Goal Setting

Bite sized Chunks.

One of my mentors in the police was known as the cliché king, he would use cliché after cliché. It would drive some people mad, but I still remember many of the lessons he taught me and use them today. I can hear him saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” or “Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey” On most  occasions he was right. Stopping and taking a step back will help you learn and/or achieve more in the long run. It is true when you look to plan what you want to learn and how quickly you will do it. Secondly, you don’t need to learn everything now, this very minute. Take your time and learn a little and often will mean you will master the finer points of what you want to learn. This is very true when you look to set your bushcraft goals regarding developing bushcraft skills.

When you choose a new bushcraft skill to learn or master an existing bushcraft skill you need to acknowledge that they are big tasks and you will not learn the best technique or learn to the highest standards if you try and do it all in one go. In fact there is a big chance you fail or become disillusioned with the subject you are looking at.

Child or Adult, we all need our Bushcraft Goals.

The same goes when you are looking at planning what Bushcraft skills you will teach children. Overload their brains and you will put them off learning, not just what at that moment but in other learning environments.

Bushcraft Goals

Bushcraft Goals

If you set large bushcraft goals with short time frames it can appear a daunting, impossible task and even the thought of trying can be off putting. So break it down into small steps. Every small step you make is a goal achieve and will give you a boost and be motivating. In no time at all you will have achieved a larger goal, to a higher standard. This is important when we work with children and young people. It teaches them how to succeed and how to motivate themselves whilst they are learning other skills.

Step By Step, Mouthful by Mouthfull

During the training to become an undercover officer we were told we had to achieve some tough goals and we were put under pressure. We were told at the beginning what the main goals were and if we fail, we were history and would never be allowed to apply again. This was done to mess with our heads, they didn’t want quitters they wanted to know when it got tough you wouldn’t give up or break down. The answer to how you achieved success was to keep going one small step at a time and you will be successful. I thought about quitting, but it wasn’t an option. I wanted to be part of the special ops department. Each little goal I passed each step I took, was one more step towards my goal. On day one it seemed a million miles away and unachievable. Many fail the course but when you speak to those that pass they are all very different people, but they will tell you they just kept on taking small steps, bite size chunks.

How do you eat a mountain? The answer One mouthful at a time.

Keep Bushcraft Goals achievable, not too high.

Although you need to set bushcraft goals that can be achieved, it is important that you challenge yourself, or any children you may work with. Challenge is what gives us the satisfaction and motivation to be successful and to continue on our journey. Being out of our comfort zone helps to keep us stimulated and alert. With young people this is just as important. There is nothing worse that having young people lose interest and have to get them, interested and motivated again.

Keep Balanced

It is all about balance. Not to high, but not too low. Starting with some simple tasks that are very easy to achieve will help give confidence and help grab attention and interest in a subject. But then start adding more challenging tasks. Challenging your self and/or others also helps in another area of bushcraft/survival skills. Dealing with stress can be a challenge for many people. By increasing the challenges, you give yourself or others will mean you are under stress which increases as the goals become more challenging. This is great, because if you need to use any of the skills in an emergency or survival situation you have learned to deal with stress in bite sized chunks. (I wonder if I am getting hungry as I type, I keep talking about bite sized chunks.)

Look at your bushcraft goals and the time scale you are setting yourself and break it down. For example, knot are something people love or hate. So setting six month to learn 26 knots may seem a lot but, re-frame that to be one knot a week, you will have focused on it one knot at a time and learned 26 knots to a good standard in six months.

Start with your weaknesses

Everyone enjoys doing things they are good at and that they enjoy. If we do not plan our bushcraft goals well we will end up doing things that are hard and we wont enjoy them. We can then end up in a position where we only concentrate on things we enjoy and are good at. There is not challenge and progress is limited.

Rather than start on a new subject list what are your weaknesses. From there you can look at how you can develop them. Doing small chunks of working on your weaknesses, whilst working on maintaining good standards of skills you already have. This gives you a mixture of easy enjoyable, maintaining skill level and Hard, learning new skills. This creates a balance that will maintain interest, enjoyment and motivation, whilst learning new skills.

Learn About The Journey, Not Just The Destination.

That may sound like a phrase from a Chinese fortune cookie. So lets look a little closely at what this means. One skill

Study the Journey not just the destination

Study the Journey not just the destination

that most frequently people want to learn is fire by friction. So they get a bow drill set and attempt to create an ember. That isn’t mastering a skill it is going through the motions of getting an ember. To be a master of fire by friction using a bow drill you need to break the process down into smaller parts,

  • Selecting materials,
  • making the bow drill kit,
  • being able to make an ember,
  • a tinder bundle turn the ember into a flame.

It could be argued that this could be taken further and to master this you also need to know how to build a fire that fits your purpose and maintain it.

So the destination is lighting a fire by friction using a bow drill. The journey to get you there is more complex and needs to be mastered fully to be able to have mastered friction fire using a bow drill.

Keep It Simple

This process needs to be identified in any area you decide to master any area of bushcraft. Breaking these areas down is helpful when you are planning your goals.

I would recommend that you do a plan for how you want to develop your skills and knowledge in specific areas of bushcraft.

  1. Decide what time you can allocate to learning, practicing and developing new and existing skills.
  2. List Skill you want to learn and develop
  3. Make two lists in order of priority. One new skill to learn, a second of skills to develop.
  4. Start at the top of each list. Write out the process you need to learn and become proficient at.
  5. When you have half a dozen on each list with a process highlighted put then into a plan of how you will work through these task.

Think S.M.A.R.T. When setting Bushcraft Goals.

When you are planning how you will plan your time to achieve these goals bear this SMART system.

Specific – Bite sized chunks to create the process needed to master specific skills

Measurable – Document what you want to do so you know if you are on course to achieve your goal

Achievable – Make sure you can achieve what you are planning in the time you can spare

Realistic – When you are planning make sure what you are planning is realistic. Can you really achieve that goal. Do you have access to tools, location, finances etc

Timescale – Set a timescale that you will be accountable to.

If you look at how you will set your goals for you or children in this way bearing in mind what we have said about bushcraft Goals, motivation, enjoyments etc. You will not only learn new skills and maintain skills you already have you will learn more, do it quicker and enjoy it.

All I would say is be the best you can be and have fun. Here is a final Cliché. If something is worth doing it is worth doing well.

What Areas Can I work on?

This is a question I am asked a lot especially relating to children. Here is an example of where I start when working with children. It could be a starting point for some adults. It is a matter of assessing the people you are working with or yourself

In relation to children I would suggest that a good starting point is Tools and how to use them.

Tools and How To use Them.

With many skills children want to learn relating to bushcraft there is a need to use tools. These can range from knives to a compass. It is important to start with basic safety and how to look after and maintain tools. This needs to be done in an age appropriate manner. As well as using tools safely it is important that children know how to look after the tools so that they don’t get damaged. This can be as simple as how to look after a compass. Do not drop it or bang it and do not put it near powerful magnets. Giving children a good grounding in tools they may see or use and how to handle them gives them a good knowledge for when they start to learn task specific skills. Plus, it teaches them respect for tools and how to deal with them if they come across them on the streets

I recently took a group of seven years olds and was teaching about knives. Showing them various knifes, I showed them how to safely pick a knife up and pass it to each other. One boy started to get quite upset, saying he wouldn’t touch the knives because they were too dangerous. After explaining knives aren’t dangerous it is bad handling that causes injury, he took a knife and passes the knife to another child. Weeks later he attended a bushcraft course and helped make some fire sticks, using a knife, under supervision.

Record your goals, share what you plan to do.

Structure = Speed and Fun

No matter how old you are, or whether you are looking at your development, or that of another person, taking a structured approach is a great idea. By taking a structured approach to reviewing and planning your development of your bushcraft skills, will do several things.

  1. Speed up learning
  2. Improve quality the skills you learn
  3. Help maintain current skills to a high standard
  4. Be much more enjoyable and you all will have more fun.

In the next article I will look at some areas to look at in the coming year. This will help you maintain your current skill level, learn more new skills and as I said, have more fun.

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Situational Awareness. A Priority

Situational Awareness. A Priority

During the training all new, police officers undertake you are taught about situational awareness. You are told it is a skill that can save your life and it can. The during my assessment and training to work under cover they teach you to take it to another level. The more you look at situational awareness and practice to make improvements you will learn two things firstly how important it is and that it is necessary to improve it as a skill.

Before we start to look at how you can improve your situational awareness and teach your children we need to understand what it is. Most people would define Situational Awareness as knowing what is going on around you. That is true but to master it you need to understand more about what it is and how it affects us all.

As I said it is more than just “Knowing what is going on around you.” Some would tag on “The ability to scan your environment and sense danger.” This give a little more depth, but it isn’t just about picking up on dangers or hazards. I would use a definition along the lines of….

“Situational Awareness is being alert to your environment and any changes it. Giving you the knowledge to sense any danger, challenges or opportunities, whilst maintaining the ability to conduct normal activities.”

In one sentence it is “Paying attention to your surroundings, whilst appearing not to be paying attention.”

We live in a society where most people don’t appear to give any concern to situational awareness, many aren’t even aware of what is going on next to them. The biggest enemy to situational awareness is the mobile phone, I am not saying they aren’t good or useful, just that they cause a problem. As you walk down the street you see people walking along and in one hand is a mobile phone and they are glued to it, either chatting away, texting or even just playing games. The problem is if you are looking down at a mobile phone you can’t know what is going on in your immediate area never mind the wider environment. It doesn’t matter where you are or what you are doing situational awareness is essential for everyone.

Jeff Coopers Colour Code

To make it easy to understand situational awareness it is best to start with a system called “Jeff Coopers Colour Code” At some point in the 1970s, Jeff Cooper created what is often called the Colour Code. When he originally thought it up, and as he taught it, his purpose was to describe a shooter’s “…capacity…to cross the psychological barrier that inhibits [the] ability to take deadly action,” i.e. his or her mental preparation to press the trigger on a live target. (Jeff Cooper, “Commentaries,” Vol. 12, No. 5.) Nowadays it has been manipulated into a system for situational awareness. Some will argue this is wrong but personally I believe if it helps keep people safe it is a useful tool however it has been developed.

The Four Colours.

Situational Awareness, A Priority

Situational Awareness, A Priority

White.

This is the time our situational awareness is at its lowest. We are generally relaxed and in an environment, we believe to be safe e.g. our home. This is when we have let our guard down completely. If we are in this state, we are at our most vulnerable and if something happens we are not prepared at all.

Yellow.

If you are in condition yellow, you remain in a relaxed state, but you are aware of who and what is around you. You know what is going on in the area around you. Basically, you are paying attention to the sights and sounds that surround you were ever you are, whether you are at home or moving around in society.

Important Note.

This does not mean you are paranoid or have any other irrational fear of persons or places. You have simply shifted your alertness to a level of attention that will prevent you from being totally surprised by the actions of another person or situation.

As you move up these levels of Situational Awareness you are increasing your observation to what it is happening, and any changes there may be around you, whilst collating information such as where the exits are, fire escapes, what people are around you, what you can hear or smell.

In comparison to White where any change in your situation would be a complete surprise yellow means you are more responsive to change and would be able to make decisions and take action which could lead to further changes in the colour level you are in.

This would be the ideal level to be in when going about everyday activities.

Orange.

To be in Orange you will have noticed something in your environment or a change which has alerted you and you start to focus on it and anything in its immediate vicinity. Initially this may or may not be a hazard or threat to you or anyone with or near you. You are now prepared, just in case something develops or happens, and you need to act. Although you are in orange and you are focused on something specific you must not lose or stop your all round situational awareness. Depending on what you are doing or where you are it is likely that you will fluctuate between yellow and orange many times and you don’t come across any threats or danger. This is a time to be aware and make an extra effort to ensure you maintain situational awareness always.

Red.

If you are in Orange and something you are focused on develops and you realise you are going to have to act, whether it is dealing with the developing incident or just getting out of the area, you are in Red. Once you are in Red you are prepared for action, there are no surprises. You hopefully have a plan and because you have situational awareness you have a plan, because you have been gathering information being in Yellow, Orange prior to Red. Once in Red most of the planning is over and you are implementing your plan.

As you can see this isn’t about being paranoid. Situational awareness is about gathering information or intelligence and being prepared in what ever situation you are in. It is a fact that our society has changed, and we can’t walk around looking at our feet or mobile phone all the time. What you miss one second could delay you acting in a situation that could save your life and or your property. Although I would like to say the chances of being involved in a terrorist incident is unlikely, it has been shown recently that if you are going to be it will be when you are in a situation where you wouldn’t have thought it would happen. For example, a pop concert, sightseeing, catching a bus or train or even visiting a busy market.

Also, terrorism isn’t the only things we need to be aware of fire and building evacuations can be an extremely dangerous situation to be in. There is also that state of the art Smart phone that someone is watching you use whilst walking around and would like to relieve you of and have for themselves.

 

This isn’t about scaring people, it should hopefully make us stop and acknowledge the world we live in and we can feel safe and reassured that we have situational awareness and be prepared for changes in situations. You wont necessarily be the victim of a crime or get hurt when a situation changes for the worse. Situational Awareness is a skill we all need both young, old and older.

The fifth Colour.

I haven’t included this with Coopers Colours because you can and will fluctuate between  each area as your situation changes. The fifth colour is black and is the one area shouldn’t enter and shouldn’t want to, because black is “Panic” “System Overload” The breakdown of you both physically and emotionally. If you enter black it is game over, you are not in control and you do not have the required control to deal with the situation you are in.

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A Song For Your Child

Here is a song for your Child

Here is a song for you child. Motivating young people is difficult at times, here is a song that shows

motivate your child, make them feel proud

motivate your child, make them feel proud

what we should be teaching our children. What have they done today to make them feel pround.

Bushcraft for kids isn’t just about teaching children some new skills. It believes we all can help our children through nature and appreciating the world around us. We all want the best for our children, helping them to realise that they should be proud of their actions and achievements.

Here is a song for your child that says it all. Then again it is good for us all no matter what our age is, to listen and ask what have we done today, to make us proud.

 

 

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Bushcraft, Nature and Manners

Bushcraft, Nature and Manners, Does It Really Matter?

You may read the title, “Bushcraft, Nature and Manners, Does It Really Matter?” and think it is not relevant and some parents believe it isn’t a necessity in society today at all. I couldn’t disagree more, not only is it relevant for children involved in bushcraft and nature it is also essential in everyday life for both young and old people. Personally I cant stand hearing older people call young people disrespectful and bad mannered one minute, yet treat the young with the same disrespect and bad manners they don’t like. We all need to show the people around us a certain amount of good manners, if not where will it all end. Probably with no one having any manners and respect for anyone and everyone fighting for what they want.

Nature and bushcraft in my opinion are things that we need to start teaching our children about at an early age. Not just so they can learn new skills and have fun, but so they learn to respect the world around them. I have seen children throwing litter on the floor snapping young trees or damaging the things nature as that animals and plants may find of use. If challenged they react in various ways, from shouting abuse the running away, looking as if you have landed recently from planet Mars or parents will step in saying they are doing no harm to anyone.

Children shouldn’t reach this point, if parents led by example and explained what harm can be done to our environment at an early age it would be a good start. However this is a wider problem children are often told by parents manners aren’t necessary, there is no need to say please or thank you. Ask people to take hats off indoors and parents will often think you got off the same bus the children earlier thought you had got off from Mars. Here are a few manners I was taught, I am sure you can think of many more.

Manners and Respect

  • Always say, please and thank you.
  • Don’t speak when other people are speaking.
  • Don’t wear hats indoors.
  • Don’t eat with your mouth full.
  • Saying pardon or excuse me at appropriate times.
  • Saying pardon when you don’t hear someone. Pardon seems to have translated in English to “What!”or “Eh!”
  • Holding doors open for people.
  • Giving up your seat for elderly people, pregnant women etc.

Using these manners doesn’t make you special or mean you should get special praise, it shows you respect other people and their position or situation. As children get older I have noticed those who had it instilled into them at an early age to show manners get along better in the work place and life in general. I like to think this is because they respect what is around them. People see it as a quality in people and is often rewarded with responsibilities not given to the ill mannered

manners and respect essential for all children

manners and respect essential for all children

disrespectful person.

The same goes for nature, people who are taught that manners and respect are important in life also learn to respect the world around them and are open to learn why we should respect nature and the world around us. It all starts with education. I spend a lot of time encouraging young people to understand why they should use manners and show respect. If they cant respect the person next to them I certainly wont trust them to learn to use tools such as knives.

Having manners is important for all ages and people of all parts of society.

The only way to teach them is by example. That is from parents, teachers, youth leaders and every one they meet in society. We all have a part to play in the future of our children and shouldn’t be too keen to criticise if we aren’t willing to live by the same standards.

Drugs and Kids part 2 – Signs Of drug Use

LEAP UK

 Kids and Drugs Part 2 – Signs of Drug Use

What A Parent can do regarding Kids and Drugs?

What Are The Signs Of Drug Use?

After writing the initial article Kids and drugs, I wanted to write an article that moves on and is practical for parents and their own children, what are the signs of drug use and what can a parent do?

As our children grow up it sometimes seems as if they have suddenly become fluent in a new language and this can cause problems for some parents. They panic at the thought of all the new language that relates to modern day youth culture  and drug culture. Most children in secondary school will learn some phrases relating to drugs and their use. and kids and drugs often go together. But Don’t panic, keep your eyes, ears and nose open and be aware of change.  Before we go any further the best advice I can give any parent is use your lack of knowledge to encourage openness when it comes to drugs. Whilst I would recommend doing your own research, because you will find as with most topics young people will  make out they are the font of all knowledge, but get it wrong at times. If you can have an open relationship where you are able to talk with your children, you already are in the best position for addressing the issue of  kids and Drugs.

I want to cover two areas relating to drugs briefly in this article they are signs of drug use and a little advice on what you can do if you find yourself in a situation where you think there may be a problem and you need help.

Signs Of Drug Usage When It Comes To Kids And Drugs.

If we are honest we would all say we hope our children go through life and drugs have no impact on them in any way. Sadly it is highly unlikely to happen and most young people will come across drugs in some way shape or form during their live. I believe because people see someone who is advocating reforming drug policy to see them regulated by law rather than using prohibition and punitive punishments they believe they are are pro drugs and believe that we all should try drugs and it becomes some recreational past time we all enjoy, when ever we want. Personally I support drug policy reform, I have seen the failure of prohibition and at times when I reflect how I have supported prohibition via manipulation and victimisation without offering the necessary support I feel rather embarrassed. But, I am also still against drugs, just as I am against smoking. I recognise the harm that drugs cause in our communities and wider society. At the same time I also accept people will always take drugs whether they want to lose their inhibitions and feel the extreme experience ravers often claim to experience or it is to self medicate and try to feel “normal” for just a short period of time. I want to see change for our children and recognising the signs of drug use early is beneficial for any family, Recognising the signs of drug use is second to having open dialogue within families, which is the most important tool for any family

Having a balanced view can give us a better understanding as parents and equip us to deal with situations we initially thought we couldn’t. First things first, Don’t panic and try not to get angry. if you can have open dialogue with your child it will help. You will feel angry, let down, scared a failure. You will be very emotional. It is normal, so what next.

First, what are the signs of drug use.

This is a question that has always interested me and I think you could right a book on the subject. So I am going to try and do it in a couple of paragraphs. I love a challenge.

Sudden Changes In Physical Appearance That Could Be Signs Of Drug Use.

First here is a list of physical signs you may notice.

  • Extreme loss or increase in appetite, change of eating habits e.g. binge eating and unexplained weight gain or loss
  • Extreme loss of, or poor, physical coordination, including slow or staggered walk
  • A change in their sleep pattern.  For example, insomnia or increased need for sleep, keeping unusual hours or unusually lazy
  • Unusual Smells of what may be an unknown substance, foul body odor
  • Poor personal Hygiene. Unusual lack of bathing or grooming
  • Blank stare, red watery eyes, over or under dilated pupils
  • Hyperactivity and excessive talkativeness
  • Shaking hands or cold sweaty palms. This can also be tremors of the head as well as feet and hands
  • Puffy flushed or pale face
  • Runny nose, sniffing a lot, rubbing nose and coughing
  • frequent bouts of nausea and vomiting
  • Needle-like marks on extremities, including the bottom of feet.Although this is something most drug users can hide very well, especially in the early days of drug use.

When ever I have drawn up this list with parents they have often joked and said “Isn’t that a good description of a teenager?” It is a good point, it isn’t easy to spot these signs. What you need to remember is you know your child and whether there has been any sudden and or dramatic changes physically. For teenagers and young people change is a big part of their lives so it can take a lot of observation skills to recognise kids and drugs. But you should also look at the same time for any Changes In Behaviour.

Sudden Changes In Behaviour That Could Be Signs Of Drug Use.

Here is a list of behavioural changes you may notice.

  • Unexplainable changes in attitude and personality.
  • Avoiding contact with family and friends.
  • New friends who are known to take drugs.
  • Suddenly becoming  a ”loner” or showing out of character anti-social behaviors
  • A drop in work rate and in school and work results.
  • Suddenly starting to be forgetful and less attentive
  • A Change in habits and normal routine involving family and in their home
  • Lack of motivation and energy
  • sudden loss of control, out bursts of temper and irritability
  • Appearing outwardly nervous and  showing signs of anxiety
  • Giddiness and excessive laughter, without any apparent reason
  • Becoming more secretive and showing suspicious behavior
  • Money Disappearing, whether it is from a purse or wallet or around the home. This can be along side household items disappearing
  • You may notice strange items appearing in your home. When people start smoking heroin you will most likely find pieces of foil burnt on one side and a brown track or run from where the heroin has been burned to smoke it. Depending on the drug you may find various bit of drug paraphernalia, such as; rolling papers, pipes, bongs, syringes, digital scale, and razor blades.

Some of these things are not easy to notice as out of the ordinary. Also just because you notice one or a few of these traits it doesn’t mean your child is a drug user.

So what Can you do?

As I said earlier, try and stay calm. If drugs are being used they are likely to be in denial and or react angrily or defensive. The best thing you can do is try and start talking as a parent and child should. It is this relationship that can be the biggest help whether the problem is drugs related or not. It is by creating an environment where a child feels comfortable and that they can approach and talk with a parent that is the making of the best opportunity to move forward with your child.

Next don’t be afraid to get help. Now is not the time to feel guilty or start apportioning blame.

If you are involved with Bushcraft For Kids feel free to approach a leader for advice., we will give support where possible

Your G.P is a good place to start.

Your local Family Center

Local and national Drug Charities e.g. Frank

If you want to know more about addressing this problem take a look a L.E.A.P. UK website. You  will find information regarding Drug policy and an excellent Podcast you can download and listen too.

 

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Observation, Memory, Concentration, Skills For Tracking and Life

kim tracking observation skills

Essential Skills For Tracking And Life

Observation, Memory, Concentration

In a previous post I spoke about improving observation skills and gave some tips that can help not just children, but adults as well to develop their memory (Observation Skills, What to teach your children,) In this post is a game that is named after the character who played the game to improve his observation and memory skills. The book is Kim by Rudyard Kipling in 1901 and the game is “Kim’s Game.” It is a book that is well worth reading. These are skills for tracking and life.

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I always say it is important to get our children outdoors, but sometimes we cant. So here is a game that can be played anywhere, indoors and out

Improving memory, observation and concentration skills are  vital for all people especially children. It is beneficial for their education, learning about wildlife and nature and skills that are great everyday life skills, that can help keep us all safe.

Spittlebugs

Children hunted for spittlebugs, searching out spittle balls

Only today I was returning home from collecting my daughter from school. We were walking home with another family and the mum pointed out what

looked like spittle on one of the boys sleeves. I had seen a lot of spittle from spittle bugs on a privet hedge on my way to the school, so I got my daughter to find some on our way home. She found some and I showed them the immature spittle bugs in the spittle. The other family were amazed at what they saw. Many people just like this family walk past things like spittle bugs and other bits of nature and wildlife as they go about their everyday business. By enhancing our observations, memory, concentration opens a whole new world which is fun and exciting to many people. But the benefit doesn’t end there, these same skills help a child develop their education and improve their lives in a fun and healthy way.

 

Kim’s Game

In the book “Kim”, Kims game was used to teach Kim skills he needed to become an agent and remember important information. It is a simple game still played a lot by Beavers and Cub Scouts.

The basic game is set up by putting twenty items on a cloth. The items should have different uses and backgrounds. The person playing the game is then given one minute to look at the items then they are covered by a cloth or removed from sight. The person playing then gives a description of what he saw in as much detail as possible. The focus should be on detailed descriptions. Here are two examples.

  1. A door Key.
  2. A Yale brand key that is bronze in colour for a latch type lock.

Initially a child will most probably give a description similar to description one. Once they have remembered the item ask some open questions to encourage them to describe the item in more detail, like example two. Initially the game can be simply recalling the objects, it can then be developed into a more technical. The development of the skills should be gradual and fun. This can be done in a variety of ways.

Variations On Kim’s Game

Changing the format of Kim’s Game isn’t just about keeping the game fresh and fun. The variations

Kim's Game, skills for tracking and life

Kim’s Game, skills for tracking and life

make the person playing observe in different ways, so they start looking at situations from various angles and points of view. It teaches then to see what is in front of them, what is missing and what is out of place.

There are many ways to change the way the game is played.

  • Change the items for an object such as a package with an address, postcode, stamp, return address etc.
  • Let the participants observe a room for a given time then recall a description in detail.
  • Remove items then show the remaining items, participant lists missing items.
  • Present items a various distances.
  • Place distinctive or similar items to distract the participant.

The important thing to remember is to develop these skills in a fun way and take your time, these are skills for tracking and life. Have fun with Kim’s Game.

Bushcraft Mums Give It A Go. Encouraging Our Children

Over the last few months various bushcraft mums have been inspiring. It can be difficult to encourage some parents to get outdoors without there children. The most common being I don’t do camping I need a hotel to sleep in. I respect somethings are not for everyone. However recently I have seen mums taking the bull by the horns. They said they weren’t fans of camping out, but they gave it ago for there children.

Bushcraft kit

A selection of bushcraft kit

A mum told me that she had made a promise to herself that her children weren’t going to miss out on any experience because she wasn’t interested or didn’t like it. Both these mums camped out and took part in bushcraft skills.  The even seemed to enjoy it. It is seeing people do this that should inspire us to push our limits to ensure our children experience as much of life as possible.

For me that means experiencing outdoors, nature or environment. I have spoken with children who have never seen a sheep or understood where their food comes from. In my eyes bushcraft shows our children how amazing the world we live in is and what uses it has. This builds confidence in children and gives them skills that can help some many areas of their life.

Only this week I was speaking to one mum who told me each year she built a den with her son and slept out. They raised £179 last year. Bushcraft mums and kids never stop being a source of encouragement for all parents to as one author said “Feel the fear and do it anyway!” Bushcraft mums are certainly at the front of getting children involved in outdoor activities.

Start Developing The Mindset Of A Survivor. Psychology of Survival

How To Start Developing The Mindset Of A Survivor.

The Psychology of Survival

Psychology of Survival and it’s Nemesis

There is something that makes some people stand out as survivors. Whether it is the person who comes out smelling of roses every time something goes wrong at work or school, or the young girl who is the only person from a group who survived a plane crash in a rain forest who found help and survived. This relates to the “Psychology of Survival.”

psychology of a survivor

What Goes on in the mind of a survivor. The psychology of a survivor

I am not going to go into any great depth in this short article, when all books have been written on the subject and still not fully tackled the issue. What I have tried to do here is show some of the traits that survivors have shown. They are general traits that people have shown but they are traits in someone’s personality or thinking that can make a difference. This is not just in a survival situation, it could be at work, school or a bush craft course. By taking a honest reflection on Who we are and how we perform we can then work towards changing our approach and thought patterns in a given situation. I have tried to put an opposite to the traits and called it the Nemesis. It is the bad guy sitting on your shoulder whispering the wrong thing into your ear.

To change and develop a set of traits is not easy it is hard, it is tough looking at yourself and finding areas to improve. But it can be done with grit and determination. You will become more empowered to be a survivor in more areas of your life.

Positive Attitude.

I hate this as a term and it is mentioned ad nauseam in every survival book, Scout manual, survival video, and wilderness class. It is often seen as a cliché, “Be positive and your thoughts will become a reality.” That is nonsense but our mental outlook is of utmost importance. A Positive Mental Attitude is essential if you are going to survive.

I would put my neck on the line and say, it is a critical survival priority When you are in any difficult situation of any kind, being positive can have a huge impact on your outcomes and how you go about achieving them in the face of adversity. However, it is also one of the hardest skills to master.

The best way is to try and be aware of how you are feeling and the questions being asked inside your head. When you are struggling and that little voice says, “Why are you bothering, you are wasting your time.” Say you are going to achieve and finish what you started. Then when you finish tell yourself what an achievement, and you did it. It isn’t easy but by focusing on improving this area of your life you will increase you quality of life overall and improve your mood.

Positive Attitudes Nemesis: Pessimism

A pessimist will always focus on the bad side of a situation and often feel overwhelmed, for them the glass is always half empty. You will have met people like this, they drain you of enthusiasm. Be aware of what you say to yourself and others, try to stay as positive as you can. Remember “You Can Do It.”

Mental Toughness

This isn’t about who can do the most push ups or run the fastest mile, this is about how you deal with it when the going gets tough. Again, what goes on in your head. We’re talking about the strength of your will and the toughness of your mind. Being mentally tough, is learning to tolerate the intolerable, getting past the point where most give up and going the extra mile. I have seen many people start tasks being macho stating they are strong and mean. Then when faced with a difficult task, they give up. You have it in you to achieve your goals remember the only time you fail is if you stop and give up.

Mental Toughness Nemesis : Declining Mental Capacity

I am sure it is no surprise to hear that, it is uncommon for someone in a disaster or emergency to retain 100 percent of his normal mental capacity. They may be fatigued, injured, dehydrated, tired, and emotional stressed, do to their circumstances.

This will cause most people to become a become weaker mentally. Stay focused, set small achievable goals, try and see the funny side of things and be realistic about what you can achieve, in any give time period. Do whatever you can to avoid “shutting down” or giving in.

Motivation

What motivates a person to stay alive when everything has gone wrong? This can vary from person to person many survival stories speak of the survivors religious beliefs providing motivation and hope. Other survivors have told of their family, friends, and loved ones being a motivation to them. Ask your self what would motivate you to stay alive in a survival emergency? It’s doesn’t matter what it is, we are all different. I was once attacked at work I knew if I went to the floor I knew I would never get back up. I had thoughts of my children and I was certain I was seeing them again. Later I was told I was being beaten with bricks and the doctors didn’t know how I stayed stood up. What ever motivates you can literally be the difference between life and death.

Motivations Nemesis : Hopelessness

Hopelessness is the poison of motivation. If you feel hopeless you are in a bad place. Remember what is important to you, keep those memories at hand when you are ready to give up or you start feeling helpless

Work Ethic

One’s work ethic is a major factor in the psychology of survival. I see it all the time and I am sure you have for some people they won’t work hard or try their best. Luckily for these lazy people, their work ethic can be built up over time, just like any other skill.

Through experience they will hopefully learn that it is always worth trying your best when you get a chance. You might not get a second chance.

To be a survivor you need to have a strong work ethic and be able to stick with the “job” until it is done.

Work Ethics Nemesis: Laziness

People often believe being lazy and always seeking the easiest path will give you an easy life. A mentor of mine once (no repeatedly) said 90% of the work is done by 10% of the people. Be in the first group…there is less competition.

Adaptability

Being able to adapt and survival have always gone hand in hand. Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest. It wasn’t about how strong the plants or animals were it was about how they adapted to the changes in the environment. It could have been the theory of the adaptable. The ones that could not adapt to a changing environment died out. To be a survivor you must be able to adapt to changing events, situations, and environments. It is a skill well worth working on, take time to learn to recognize the things that are worth continuing and the things that need to be abandoned.

Adaptability Nemesis : Stubbornness

There are times when we need to dig you heels in and be stubborn. But more often than not, stubbornness will cause you problems, it is often a refusal to adapt. Most people who are stubborn know it they, it is then a question of can they use it only in circumstances where it is beneficial.

Don’t be afraid to change.

If something is not working, change it up.

Don’t be stubborn it could kill you or someone else.

These are all psychological points. relating to the psychology of survival. However they can be helpful in many situations whether at work or at home during leisure time. It is best to take a good look at yourself now than wait until you are in a dangerous or life or death situation.

Remember. “Do what you have always done and you will get what you have always got.”