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It’s time for young adults to grow up

Click on the link below to hear my take on Fox & Friends news about the “adult” college student  who decided it was ok to wear a fake bullet belt to school two days after Sandy Hook massacre because it’s a fashion statement.  I’m not buying it.





Student Arrested for Wearing Fake Ammunition Belt on University Campus




Just days after the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, a college student was arrested for wearing a fake ammunition belt. 20-year-old Andrew Despres spent a week in jail before his $50,000 bail was reduced to $500. Did the police overreact to this “fashion statement” or is the arrest justified?

Prior to this incident, the student had been expelled from college for possession of a knife and marijuana. Before returning to the school to collect his belongings, he was supposed to contact the university police. When campus security recognized him, he was arrested for trespassing and carrying ammunition.

Friends and family, including his mother, are coming to his defense, saying he always wore the fake belt in the past and it’s merely a fashion statement. Psychotherapist and school counselor Thomas Kersting isn’t buying that excuse.

Related Links:

This morning on Fox and Friends, he said there’s no justification for wearing a belt of that nature in the light of the Newtown tragedy. “Maybe he could get away with that 20 years ago but […] you got to have a better sense, better common sense than to show up on campus with a fake belt of bullets on.”

Kersting asserted that as a society we have kept 18-23 year olds in a perennial time warp of adolescence. He said, “It’s time for us as parents to start holding our kids accountable at a young age into adolescence and into young adulthood so that they make more responsible decisions in their life.”


Fox & Friends interview

Here is an interview I did for Fox & Friends right after the Newtown Ct. shooting.  Here I’m giving some advice to families across America, insisting that they sit down for dinner together, eliminate all technology distractions while together, and get to know one another again. 



The Ricki Lake Show this Friday

This Friday on The Ricki Lake Show I’ll be helping modern-day families who have trouble blending.  We’ll be talking with stay-at-home dads, the “Guncles” (gay uncles), of “Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood” and another family that has been forced to blend after a tragic death.


Tips for talking to your kids about the Connecticut tragedy

Here are my tips, from an appearance on Fox & Friends this morning, for talking to your kids about the terrible events in Newtown Ct.  Here’s the clip.

Clip    If you can’t click on the link to the left, copy and paste below in your browser


Is technology leading to animal attacks

I know this sounds crazy but it sounds like things have gotten so out of whack with technology and social networking that we’re putting ourselves at risk for animal attacks.   That’s what I said; technology is actually causing more animal attacks?  Let me explain.

I started reading this article (Alaska bear victim pleads for help in 911 call) because I’ve been to Alaska and I love it, and I happen to like bears.  The article is about a guy who climbed 30 feet up a tree after being mauled by a grizzly (good thing it wasn’t a black bear; they can climb trees).  As I was reading the article it hit me; it was another story of technology-gone-bad.  And you know how I feel about technology and how I believe it’s hurting us more than helping us.   Here’s a quote from the article:

“People are getting too close to the animals with their cell-phone cameras without the zoom power of regular cameras, said Dave Battle, a biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.”

Battle believes the rationale behind this behavior goes like this: “I want to get a picture, a close-up picture, so I can post it on Facebook and all my friends from all around the country can see what a neat place I live in.”

This supports what I’ve been saying all along.  Many of us have become so desperate for attention, so needy, that we actually risk our lives to get a close-up picture of a wild animal (a large and dangerous one at that) just to get a few “wow’s” from our facebook friends.  Unbelievable!!

Do yourself a favor and leave the camera/video phone behind when you go for a walk in nature.  The “oneness” with nature that you’ll discover just might help you turn inward a little bit more where you’ll find your real self-esteem.  This way you won’t need to post pictures on facebook to feel good about yourself.




Disney taking a stand on childhood obesity

I’ve done a lot of research over the years and given a lot of talks on the topic of childhood obesity and it’s good to see a major media company like Disney finally step to the plate.  Read article here




Junk food advertising, especially to children, is big business.  Here are few statistics that you probably were not aware of:

  • The McDonald’s Corporation distributes more toys per year than Toys R Us.  Think “Happy” Meals.
  • Obesity is the number one health threat to kids and is the number one cause of Type 2 diabetes
  • As recent as 15-year-ago, Type 2 diabetes was never seen in kids.  In fact it used to be called “Adult Onset Diabetes”
  • There are nearly 4 times as many overweight kids today as there were in 1985
  • Only 2 percent of kids meet the food pyramid guidelines
  • Less than 15 percent of kids get adequate servings of fruits and vegetables
  • Teenage boys eat 70 percent of their meals away from home
  • Fast food sales are higher than videos, books, music, movies and magazine sales combined
  • The fast food industry spends over $3 billion a year in advertising
  • Because of the childhood obesity epidemic, the life expectancy of today’s kids is less than ours.

Rachel Ehmke, 13-Year-Old Minnesota Student, Commits Suicide After Months Of Bullying

I just read the article below and I am super-angry.  Why did such a young life have to end so quickly.  I dissected the whole article and added my comments under certain captions.  I hope to bring to life some of the pieces of this tragedy that could have been prevented.  Perhaps a life could have been saved.

Rachel Ehmke, a 13-year-old seventh grader in Mantorville, Minn., died April 29 after hanging herself at her home. The months leading up to the tragedy were a whirlwind of peer abuse instances, her parents say.  (The bullying went on for months?  How did this slip through the cracks?)

Now following Rachel’s Friday funeral that was met with widespread community condolences, Rick and Mary Ehmke are speaking out against the bullying they say their daughter endured at Kasson/Mantorville Middle School and online.

Rachel’s family and friends say the teen fell victim to school bullying last fall when her chewing gum was stuck to her textbooks and the word “slut” was scrawled across her gym locker, the Austin Daily Herald reports. And while she was outgoing, athletic and friendly, the same group of girls reportedly threatened Rachel and kept calling her a “prostitute,” though she had never kissed a boy, according to KMSP.  (were the names of these students  reported to the school officials and were the students disciplined for their actions?  How did the bullies’ parents discipline their kids for their actions?)

Two days before Rachel’s death, an anonymous text was sent to other students at the school, KARE reports.”It was pretty explicit. Something to the effect of that Rachel was a slut and to get her to leave the Kasson-Mantorville School, forward this to everyone you know,” parent Chris Flannery told the station.  But after the text was reported to authorities, it was traced to someone who wasn’t a student at the school, according to Minnesota Public Radio. The district’s bullying policy prohibits threats both in person and online, and promises investigations within 24 hours of any reported bullying.  (How does the school go about “prohibiting” bullying, in this case cyber-bullying, by someone who doesn’t go to the school?  Is this really a “school” issue or should it be a police matter?)

Rachel reportedly pleaded with her father not to mention the bullying to school officials, for fear of worsening the situation.  (Well, did her father report it or did he let Rachel decide?)

A note that her parents found after her death read, “I’m fine = I wish I could tell you how I really feel,” alongside a picture of a broken heart, according to KMSP.

Dodge County authorities plan to meet this week to discuss possible criminal charges, the Star Tribune reports.  (Smart move) But Rick Ehmke says the family doesn’t plan to press charges against those who bullied his daughter.”They’re kids. They made some horrible decisions. If these kids would’ve known this would happen I’m pretty sure they never, ever would have done what they did,” Rick Ehmke told Minnesota Public Radio. (can charges be pressed against the parents of the bullies?) “Sadly enough, even those kids that know who they are will carry this bag their whole life. That’s a sad thing too, it really is.”

He also notes that the school should have taken heavier measures against the bullies when the taunting was first reported in the fall, adding that technology like phones and social media may have worsened an already bad situation by allowing the bully to essentially follow students home.  (Did the school provide the cell phones to the students or did the parents provide it to them?) 

Words hurt. Word can kill,” mother Mary Ehmke told KARE.

Community members have planned a prayer vigil and walk in Rachel’s memory for 2 p.m. May 19 at Mill Pond in Austin, Minn. The walk aims to show support for the Ehmke family and raise awareness for teen suicide and bullying.

The U.S. Department of Education has identified 16 “key components” in state bullying legislation, including a statement of scope, listing of enumerated groups, process of district policy review, definitions and reporting guidelines. Minnesota ranks last in the country with its state bullying law only covering two of the 16 components, according to an Education Department analysis of state bullying laws released in December. Nebraska ranks second-to-last by covering four of the 16 components. (When is the government going to create “at home” bullying legislation so that parents can prevent cyber bullying that occurs under their roof?)

Statement of scope, one of the most common components of state bullying laws, establishes where legislation applies and what conditions must exist for schools to have authority over student conduct.

According to the Education Department report, Minnesota is one of just three states — alongside Wisconsin and Arizona — that prohibits bullying but doesn’t define that behavior. The state also doesn’t provide for its districts a model bullying policy, and at a mere 37 words, its anti-bullying law is the shortest one in the country:

Each school board shall adopt a written policy prohibiting intimidation and bullying of any student. The policy shall address intimidation and bullying in all forms, including, but not limited to, electronic forms and forms involving Internet use.


“Energy” drinks for our Kids

A new study was just released about the effects of energy drinks on kid’s teeth.  The study showed that energy drinks can cause tooth enamel damage and increases the risk of cavities and tooth decay.  Hey parents, it doesn’t sound much different than soda does it?  So why do we buy these “energy” drinks for our kids?  The drink market has exploded so much over the last 20 years that if you go to the drink aisle in a mini-mart or a super-market it will be one of the most colorful, magical experiences you’ll ever have.  And if your kids are with you, watch out.  They’ll tug on your pants to the point where you’ll just say, “fine” and give in.

What you might not realize is that these “energy” drinks and other sugar-water drinks are packaged in a vibrant, colorful way so that you become subliminally attracted them.  You’ll also see big bold words on the packaging like, “energy” or “juice” or “vitamin”.  Then your brain says, “Oh, not only are they bright and colorful like real fruit, they’re healthy for my kid too.”  Nonsense!  Here are a couple of real healthy alternatives you can give your kids that won’t destroy the enamel on their teeth or make them fat.

1.  Give your kids water:  Nothing new here.  We all know that water doesn’t cause cavities, tooth decay or obesity.  You can filter your own water from your faucet or get 24-bottles of Poland Spring on sale for $2.99.  Not a bad deal considering that one bottle of some of these energy drinks can cost $2.99 each.  I’ve been giving my kids water from day one and guess what they ask for when they’re thirsty?  You guessed it – water

2.  Look for labels that say 100%:  The next time you’re at the supermarket and are about to buy a package of juice drinks, make sure it says 100% juice.  Do you know what 100% juice means?  It means that there is nothing else in it other than real fruit juice.  It’s actually healthy for your kids.  Not only will your kids love it, one serving of juice also counts as a serving of fruit.  If the package says, “made from real fruit juice” or “contains 10% fruit juice”, stay away; it’s a disguise for the fact that the drink is really just sugar water.  I’m so happy that Kraft’s CapriSun now makes a 100% juice variety.  Check it out here:

3.  Never Ever give your kids soda:  One can has 8-10 teaspoons of sugar. Need I say more?




My Fox New York: Social Media Impact

Dr. Tom Kersting participates in an expert panel, on My Fox New York, discussing the many issues related to Twitter, Facebook and other on-line forms of networking – from what it could mean at your job, to how it can impact kids at school.

Street Talk, July 10, 2010:


Tyra Banks Show: Weight Loss

Dr. Tom Kersting appearing on the Tyra Banks Show to discuss weight loss and his new book Losing Weight: When Diets Fail.