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Navigating the challenge of blended families

Debuting in the fall of 1969, The Brady Bunch was much of America’s first look inside a blended family. Regularly grouped with programs like the Andy Griffith Show, The Brady Bunch was one of the last idealistic American family television shows during a period of time where a majority of children lived in a family with two parents in their first marriage.

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Blended Families infographics

Those who lived in a blended family, without a maid, knew The Brady Bunch was complete fiction. But even The Brady Bunch wasn’t perfect. Carol found a pack of cigarettes in Greg’s jacket in Season 2, even though the cigarettes weren’t his (obviously). Kids at every age level in The Brady Bunch had to figure out how to deal with one another.

The Bradys can teach us that bringing a blended family together is no easy task – even for a TV family. Setting up a home and creating a positive environment for every child will be difficult. It will take an immense of out of preparation, years of work, and maybe even family counseling to successfully navigate the challenges of bringing a blended family together.

Blending a family for the long-term with consistent discipline

It’s difficult not to look towards the future, but it usually takes between two and five years for a blended family, or stepfamily, to establish itself. Change isn’t going to happen quickly, and it will take a long time before everyone gets used to their new roles.

Children will take cues from their biological parent and their stepparent, so adults must lead effectively. Many times, new stepparents don’t anticipate the tough transition from fun-loving babysitter to full-time parent. How stepchildren view there new parent is extremely important when establishing a blended family.

Learn More: Rawhide Youth and Family Counseling Clinics

Creating an environment with consistent rules and discipline is essential to building a blended family.
Change is the only consistent during the blending of a family. Consistency should be presented as much as possible – from old routines to positive parenting practices. When parenting is not consistent with either partner, more pressure and stress can be exerted on the children in the family.

Children are intuitive and will notice if one parent starts to slip and could try to manipulate them. Marjorie Engel, Ph.D., president of the Stepfamily Association of America, says that the biological parent should handle the discipline at first, along with the full support of the stepparent.

10 helpful ideas to consider before you blend your family

  1. Create a list of values you want to instill in your children
  2. Write down your parenting beliefs (timeouts, etc.)
  3. Write down household rules (bedtimes, screen time)
  4. Commit to following your parenting guidelines (keep one another in check)
  5. Create new rituals with your blended family (new holidays)</
  6. Set aside time for just you and your biological kids
  7. Understand that a complete and total blend is not possible
  8. Try not to add unnecessary changes, consistency is huge
  9. Speak well of your ex-spouse; children want their parents to get along
  10. Anticipate difficult decisions

Age groups and how they adjust to blended families

Kids age 10 and under
Children under 10 are generally the most accepting when it comes to adjusting to a new adult and a blended family. These kids will need to continue to have their daily needs met.
Adolescents age 10 – 14
This age group will have the most difficult time adjusting to a blended family, especially if they have to compete for attention with young children. Even if they don’t outwardly express it, kids aged 10-14 generally need just as much support and attention as children under 10.
Teens age 15 and older
Teens and young adults will have less involvement in a blended family and will have already reached a point where they’re striving to be more independent. Having a strong family with love and support is still important to them.
Differences between boys and girls
Boys and girls tend to be uncomfortable with physical displays of emotion or affection from their stepparent. Specifically, girls will be more uncomfortable with physical displays of emotion from a stepfather, and boys will have an easier time relating to them.

Establishing a new relationship with your ex-spouse in a blended family

One-in-five separated or divorced parents say they disagree with the children’s other parents often.
Research shows that one of the primary sources of children’s problems after a divorce is the inability of parents to keep their negative feelings about their ex (or their ex’s new partner) to themselves.

Establishing a new relationship with your former spouse is another key component to building a successful blended family. Like it or not, you and your old spouse are going to have to navigate through a new relationship and you’ll be linked for the rest of your life. The adult partners hold the keys to success in every blended family. The more effort you put into all of your relationships, the easier the transition will be.

Read More: Is your child’s diet affecting their behavior?

It won’t be easy setting painful feelings aside, and your children will be watching and taking cues from your relationship with your former spouse. Keep in mind that rules in both households will probably never align perfectly. Be the best parent you can be when you’re around your children.

Change won’t happen overnight. Biological siblings disagree all the time – remember, you’re a real family! Even the Bradys argued. It’s okay to argue and it’s okay to seek expert advice during the transition. Many parents find it worthwhile to seek counsel even before blend happens, rather than just taking a reactive approach.

Keep the faith! Before you know it, your oldest kids will be arguing about who gets to convert the attic into a groovy new bedroom.

Outpatient counseling blended family issues

The joining of two families, different parenting styles, and new family routines will be a huge challenge.
Blending puts stress on every member of the new family situation. Some families find that therapy helps the transition. Family therapy is an effective way for a blended family to work through issues each individual member wants to bring to the table.

Parents of a newly blended family will have to set new boundaries and carve out new roles for each member of the family and family counseling can help keep everyone on the same page.
Rawhide Youth and Family Counseling offers outpatient counseling for children, teens, families, couples, and individuals.

Our licensed counselors hold Masters and/or Doctorate degrees from the State of Wisconsin and draw from over 50 years of combined experience to compassionately counsel clients on an outpatient basis.
Don’t be afraid or too proud to ask for help at any point during the blend.

Rawhide Foster Parents Receive 2018 Governor’s Foster Care Award

For years, Bob and Nan Pieper have been providing home-like care for children who are not able to live with their parents for a variety of reasons. Some of their homes are unsafe. Others have a special kind of treatment need that their parents are just not able to manage or have parents and family that are unable to care for them.

While placement foster care is usually temporary, Bob and Nan Pieper are determined to have a lasting impact on the lives of the children they care for. Their dedication and selflessness were recognized on May 15, 2018 in the Assembly Chamber of the State Capitol where they were recognized by the State of Wisconsin as a recipient of the 2018 Governor’s Foster Care Award.

 

READ MORE: Rawhide’s Treatment Foster Care Program

 

Youth in Rawhide’s Treatment Foster Care Program transition from our on-site residential program into a licensed foster care home in the community. While in this program, youth are fully integrated into the community while still having access to Rawhide’s services and professional staff.

Before Bob and Nan received their award, we sat down with them and talked more about their history as foster parents, rewards challenges along the way, misconceptions about foster care, and the support of Rawhide.

The process to becoming foster parents

Nan: We had an abusive marriage. I was at Advocates for Battered Women. I thought: Lord, I wanted to have 5 kids by the time I was 29. I had one, and I never wanted to get pregnant again because I was physically abused when I was pregnant. God spoke to me very clearly and said you’re going to be a foster mom someday. I thought, “Am I getting a new husband?”

But actually, that’s what happened. Bob quit drinking, made some good choices, went through therapy, and the Lord healed our marriage.

Bob: I am the original husband, by the way.

Nan: We’ve been married 32 years now. I told Bob (about what God told me), and he was not thrilled about being a foster parent. Why take care of someone else’s problem? That was his attitude at the time. When hurricane Katrina hit Haiti and everyone was adopting the babies, I said, “Lord, what about the teenagers?”

For more information on becoming a foster parent for Rawhide please contact us at 1-888-745-7445.

That’s always been my passion – troubled teens. No one was talking about the teens at all. Let me guess: teens can take care of themselves. That was really people’s attitude. I went on the internet looking for things, and then I came across Rawhide.

The next day, I called Angelica, the Clinic Supervisor at Rawhide. I said, “Tell me about Rawhide.” And she did. I said I wanted to come up. She said okay, we can make a plan for you.

I said, “I want to come up tomorrow. I know I am supposed to be a foster parent.”

She said, “No, you don’t understand.” And I said, “No you don’t understand. I’ve had this dream for over 20 years.”

So I met her and she said there was a long process involved – you would need to come up (to Rawhide). Your husband would need to come up. He’d need to be on board with this. It takes several weeks and months to get all of the paperwork done. I said, “Give it to me.” There was a lot of training involved. But I said, “We’ll do it.”

The support that we’ve gotten from Rawhide is amazing. They’re on call 24/7. The case managers are personable and go the extra mile

God had already prepared us for everything we needed: physicals, TB skin tests and other stuff like that. So, we got our training done and our paperwork done.

We probably waited about a year. There were three times where I had a real hard stirring in my spirit that we were supposed to get somebody.

Shortly after, we got our first guy, Tyler.

When he was coming to our house for a home visit, just to meet us to see if it would be a good fit, he went into Wendy’s bathroom and took a bunch of Vicodin. I knew that when I looked at him, something was not right. But I knew that he was the one we were supposed to have.

That was six years ago. Tyler was in and out of rehab. The more kids process things, the more difficult it gets. If you don’t have a biological parent support through that, it makes it even more difficult.

He did graduate from high school and went back home to live with mom and stepdad. He did not like stepdad. He told mom to get rid of stepdad, and he committed suicide. That was really hard.

Misconceptions about foster care

I think one of the biggest misconceptions about foster care is that if you bring a child into your home, they’re going to conform to everything that you say. That’s not it at all. With all the trauma that these kids go through, you need to change. You need to accommodate their needs and understand them.

That’s the biggest thing that people don’t understand. These kids have come from so much; lack of structure, lack of parenting. There are so many things that are missing from little on. You have to watch your attitude, listen to the Lord, and give them gentleness and love.

Bob: That’s one thing that’s hard for me right now. When you get these kids…you can’t blame the kid. And there’s a huge problem with parenting now in our society. So, do you get upset that the parents created this kid and the fact that they’re really messed up? Or do you get upset for the kid making bad choices? I struggle with that. The kid is only learned what they’ve been taught.

Nan: Another misconception is that a kid could be placed in your house and they’ll be fine with they get home. It’s unfair to the young man or lady, or to the parents. Placing kids back with their parents when their parents haven’t done the work is the probably the biggest disservice the kids.

Bob: We’ve had a few kids who worked their tail off and they want to change things. But when they talk to their parents and they go back home and their parents just skate through, it’s not fair to the kids.
 

READ MORE: Rawhide’s Treatment Foster Care is saving one life at a time

Rewards and challenges as foster parents

Nan: There are also little rewarding things – when you see them self-correcting after a meltdown, then you know they get it and they’re ready for the next step.

Last night Mike was able to admit that he was snarky with me. He understands that he was not acting appropriately with me, but I still chose to help him cut his hair and iron his graduation gown.

Bob: I can’t say it’s been easy. These kids have helped change me; the way I look at things and appreciate things and people. It’s really not all…the kids change us.

Nan:
Our marriage is better because of it. You can’t be petty or nit-picky. There is no time for that. They’re watching. They see us arguing and fighting and they wonder if Bob is going to have to sleep on the couch…

“No – what are you talking about?”

“Well, you guys were having an argument.“

“Well, we don’t agree on everything. And no, Bob is not sleeping on the couch tonight.”

 

2018 Governor's Foster Care Award

Nan Piper addresses the crowd in the Assembly Chamber of the State Capitol in Madison on May 15.

Bob: That is a hilarious thing at our house. All of the kids are always waiting to see me sleeping on the couch. Saturday nights I drive a limo, and I’ll come home late and sleep on the couch because I don’t want to wake Nan up. And then I have to make a statement: look, guys, I got home late. I was tired. That was why I was sleeping on the couch. If I had to sleep on the couch for some reason, it would upset their world.

They come from very unstable homes and have seen some very unhealthy behavior. Just because you don’t agree…they immediately revert to thoughts like, “Well they aren’t going to stay together.”

Bob: But for these kids, it’s big to have a husband and wife in a home and being able to roll model female and male obligations, dad, and mom obligations, and apologizing. Sometimes, Nan and I feel like ripping each other’s heads off. But we can say I’m sorry. And for the kids to see that…it’s something they’ve never experienced.



Nan:
They’ve never experienced a male helping in the kitchen or doing laundry so we can do other things as a family – or a female helping out in the garage!

Our current child is a girl, from Rawhide. She loves to work in the garage. She’s already done brake jobs and tire rotations and she likes doing it.

They like to hang out with Bob a lot.

It takes Bob about six weeks to build a relationship with the kids. After that happens…it takes that long for the kids to build a relationship with him. They usually trust me right away. I don’t know why.

After they get a relationship built with Bob, they really like that Dad. He takes them for motorcycle rides.

Bob: Mike’s been with us for 5 years. But he’s still waiting for the other shoe to drop. And we’ll joke with him. Mike, you’ve been here for how long and you haven’t seen the other shoe drop?

Nan: It’s safe. He’s dealing with trustworthy people. That’s a lot for these kids.

They need structure. They need to know what they can count on.

Is your child’s diet affecting their behavior?

From stabilizing mood to improving concentration and sleep, your child’s behavior can be greatly affected by the food they eat.

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Can a good diet help your child’s mood, learning ability, and behavior? Most nutritionists say yes. Some studies have shown that children with hyperactivity, ADHD, and ADD, and other behavioral problems are able to turn around some of their issues with changes in diet. Do you think your child’s diet is affecting their behavior?

According to the CDC, a healthy diet should emphasize a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, a variety of lean protein foods, and low-fat and fat-free dairy options.

Obesity now affects 1 in 6 children and adolescents in the United States. It is possible to use food to help your child overcome behavioral problems, but it won’t be easy, and it will require work with a healthcare professional.

Rawhide’s Outpatient Counseling Services provides help with ADD & ADHD from licensed therapists

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Every parent should be aware of what’s going into their child’s body. Keeping a food journal can help parents pinpoint problem areas in their child’s diet. But each individual is different. Whether your child is dealing with a diagnosed illness or not, there’s a good chance some of the food they’re eating is negatively affecting their behavior. Before making any radical changes to their diet, you should consult a doctor or healthcare professional.

Adding or removing certain types of food can have different effects on different people, especially when they’re taking medication. There are a few steps you can take as a parent to try to give your kid the best shot at dealing with symptoms of ADHD, for example. If you feel like your child might be suffering from symptoms of ADHD or ADD, it’s important to first speak with their doctor and not attempt to self-diagnose.

A study from 2011 compared groups of children with moderate to severe ADHD who were put on a strict diet consisting of water and hypoallergenic foods to a group on an unrestricted diet whose parents were coached on healthy eating. The study’s lead author, Dr. Lidy Pelsser of the ADHD Research Centre in the Netherlands, found that 64 percent of children diagnosed with ADHD experience some type of a hypersensitivity to food. The children that adhered to a strict diet showed a “significant change in both ADHD-symptoms and ODD-symptoms.” They speculate that an introduction to an elimination diet in young ADHD children can reduce the risk for long-term maladjustment.

However, even if the food you feed your child adheres to the most healthy, organic, plant-based diet, it is important they be able to tolerate all of the food they are consuming. Different individuals have different reactions to food. What could set off one person might not do the same for another.

What kinds of food should my child eat?

Finding healthy food isn’t all that difficult, but finding healthy food that your kid actually wants to eat is challenging. According to parents.com, parents should find a balanced diet that includes nutrients like protein, good carbohydrates (fiber and starch), calcium, fats, calcium, iron, folate, fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C.

Healthy food that is easy to introduce to your child:

  • Sweet Potato
  • Yogurt
  • Hummus
  • Salmon
  • Avocado
  • Nuts
  • Cauliflower

What kind of food should my child avoid?

Food and ingredients have been known to negatively alter behavior among children:

  • Dairy (cheese)
  • Gluten (pasta)
  • Food Dye
  • Broccoli
  • Fish that isn’t fresh
  • Soy Sauce
  • Preserved bread
  • Ketchup
  • Instant or preserved noodles
  • Fruit juice

Using a food diary to track meals

Parents can track what their kids are eating with pen and paper or with an app on their smartphone. Using a pen and paper might actually be the easiest route if you’re just trying to get a feel for what you’ve been consuming. Food and nutrition-based applications can help log food intake and also provide a breakdown of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and more. Great food tracking apps include Lifesum, MyFitnessPal, and Yazio Calorie Counter.

RELATED: Dangers of teenage caffeine consumption

Before you actually start to record food and drink your child consumes, it would be good to know the number of calories they should be eating depending on their age. Verywell fit put together a handy calorie counter for kids.

Overweight U.S. children

The over-consumption of fast food and junk food is not overblown. According to the CDC in 2011-2012, 34 percent of all children and adolescents aged 2-19 consumed fast food meals on a daily basis! Though McDonald’s is less popular than it was a decade ago, fast food preference has shifted to premium chains like Five Guys, Chick Fil A, Chipotle, or Blaze Pizza, especially among older adolescents.

Researchers in the UK have found that children who eat chips, pizza, and other junk food before age three are more likely to have lower IQs, noting good nutrition was essential for brain growth. If parents aren’t properly equipped to feed their children, they could be at a disadvantage later in life because of it.

In an effort to try and reduce calories, McDonald’s recently announced it has chosen to remove the cheeseburger by 2022 from their famous Happy Meals. But will the Happy Meal turn into a healthy meal? The new Happy Meals will include hamburgers and four-and six-piece Chicken McNuggets, along with smaller-sized French fries including other new items. Parents will still be able to add a cheeseburger to the meal if they choose. Bottled water will also be added later in 2018 to replace chocolate milk to help reduce sugar.

How can I encourage my kid to eat better?

Changing your diet along with your child’s is a no-brainer. If you’re still drinking cans of soda or eating sweet treats in front of your children, you’re sending the wrong message. Cutting sugar and processed food is good for adults too! Nutritionist Dr. Pauline Emmett says her studies “have found that if parents are eating fresh fruit and vegetables, the children are far more likely to as well.” She also notes that introducing new things to eat are essential for development – it’s up to parents to expand their children’s tastes.

Psychologies, from the UK, provides some excellent ideas to help your kids add healthy foods to their diet.

  • Have healthy snacks on hand when kids get hungry.
  • Roast vegetables to bring out sweet flavors contain in them.
  • Let kids choose their healthy food at the grocery store and invite them to help the cooking process.
  • Use positive language when talking about food.
  • Discuss the food you eat with your kids!

Information provided by Rawhide Inc. should not be treated as medical advice. Please seek the advice of a healthcare professional.

2018 Lent Fish Fries in the Fox Valley WI Area

Ash Wednesday begins the holy season of Lent. Fish Fries are commonplace during the season of Lent, especially in Wisconsin. There are certainly no shortages of 2018 Lent fish fries in the Fox Valley WI area.

While Wisconsin-style fish fries are popular year round, they ramp up during the Lenten season with many Catholic Christians choosing to abstain from meat on Fridays. Catholics abstain from flesh meat on Ash Wednesdays, Good Friday, and Fridays of Lent.

Rawhide’s Friday Night Fish Fry Menu

In addition to local taverns, supper clubs, and restaurants, some area churches feature fish fries during the Lent season. Which Lent Fish Fry in the Fox Valley is your favorite? Drop us a line in the comments section, and we’ll add it to the list!

Top Lenten Fish Fries near Appleton, Green Bay, and Oshkosh

We’ve gathered some of the highest-rated Lent fish fries around the Fox Valley area in Wisconsin. These local hot spots feature a traditional Wisconsin-style fish fry. We’d encourage you to arrive early and to be prepared to wait at many of these locations.

American Legion Posts
Appleton Post Website
Address: 3220 W College Ave, Appleton, WI 54914
Phone: (920) 733-9840

Wrightstown Post Website
Address: 924 Main St, Wrightstown, WI 54180
Phone: (920) 532-5542

Mark’s East Side – Appleton
Website
Address: 1405 E Wisconsin Ave, Appleton, WI 54911
Phone: (920) 733-3600

Van Abel’s – Hollandtown
Website
Address: 8108 County Road D, Kaukauna, WI 54130
Phone: (920) 766-2291

Out-O-Town Supper Club – Kaukauna
Website
Address: N2161 Town Club Rd, Kaukauna, WI 54130
Phone: (920) 766-0414

Tanner’s Grill & Bar – Kimberly
Website
Address: 730 S Railroad St, Kimberly, WI 54136
Phone: (920) 788-7275

The Wishing Well – Appleton
Website
Address: 2709 E Newberry St, Appleton, WI 54915
Phone: (920) 734-4472

Black Otter Supper Club – Black Otter Supper Club
Website
Address: 503 S Nash St, Hortonville, WI 54944
Phone: (920) 779-6975

Lake Park Pub – Menasha
Website
Address: 8904 Lake Park Rd, Menasha, WI 54952
Phone: (920) 739-1901

Cimarron Bar & Grill – Menasha
Website
Address: W7170 US Hwy 10 114, Menasha, WI 54952
Phone: (920) 733-3125

Wendt’s on the Lake – Van Dyne
Website
Address: N9699 Lake Shore Dr, Van Dyne, WI 54979
Phone: (920) 688-5231

Jansen’s Bar and Restaurant – Oshkosh
Website
Address: 344 Bowen St, Oshkosh, WI 54901
Phone: (920) 231-0690

Parnell’s Place – Oshkosh
Website
Address: 2932 Fond Du Lac Rd, Oshkosh, WI 54902
Phone: (920) 235-9770

The Roxy Supper Club – Oshkosh
Website
Address: 571 N Main St, Oshkosh, WI 54901
Phone: (920) 231-1980

Kropp’s Supper Club – Green Bay
Website
Address: 4570 Shawano Ave, Green Bay, WI 54313
Phone: (920) 865-7331

Kroll’s East – Green Bay
Website
Address: 1658 Main St, Green Bay, WI 54302
Phone: (920) 468-4422

VFW Post 2732 – New London
Website
Address: 305 E Beckert Rd, New London, WI 54961
Phone: (920) 982-9971

Pine Tree Supper Club – New London
Website
Address: E8095 WI-54, New London, WI 54961
Phone: (920) 982-5738

Black Otter Supper Club – Hortonville
Website
Address: 503 S Nash St, Hortonville, WI 54944
Phone: (920) 779-6975

2018 Lenten Church Fish Fries in the Fox Valley WI area

Churches often feature a Friday fish fry during the Lenten season for fundraising and community outreach. They tend to serve many of the traditional items found on a Wisconsin fish fry plate. It’s certainly not a requirement, but many of the churches that tend to serve Lent fish fry dinners are Catholic.

St. Edward Parish – Appleton
Website
Address: N2926 WI-47, Appleton, WI 54913
Phone: (920) 733-9266
*Serving Times: 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm
2018 fish fry menu available here.

St. Thomas More – Appleton
Website
Address: 1810 N McDonald St # B, Appleton, WI 54911
Phone: (920) 739-7758
*Serving Times: Feb 16, March 2, 16 & 23 from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
New in 2018: order online and request pickup time!

St. Pius X – Appleton
Website
Address: 500 W Marquette St, Appleton, WI 54911
Phone: (920) 733-0575
*Serving Times: Feb 23, March 9 & 23 from 5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Fish fry menu is available on the homepage of their website.

Holy Spirit – Kimberly
Website
Address: 620 E Kimberly Ave, Kimberly, WI 54136
Phone: (920) 788-7640
*Serving Times: 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm
More fish fry information can be found here.

Peter & Paul Parish – Hortonville
Website
Address: 105 N Olk St, Hortonville, WI 54944
Phone:  (920) 779-6133
*Serving Times: 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Fish fry menu is available on the homepage of their website.

Family First Ministries – Downtown Appleton
Website
Address: 300 N Appleton St, Appleton, WI 54911
Phone: (920) 903-1159
*Serving Times: Every 1st and 3rd Thursday & Friday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Fish fry menu is available on the homepage of their website.

St. Gabriel Parish – Neenah
Website
Address: 900 Geiger Street, Neenah, WI 54956
Phone: (920) 722-4914
*Serving Times: 4:30 pm – 7:30 pm
2018 fish fry menu is available here.

Trinity Lutheran Church & School – Menasha
Website
Address: 300 Broad St, Menasha, WI 54952
Phone: (920) 725-1715
*Serving Times: 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Check their calendar for updated menu or times.

St. Raphael Fish Fry – Oshkosh
Website
Address: 830 S Westhaven Dr, Oshkosh, WI 54904
Phone: (920) 233-8044
2018 fish fry menu available here.

*Serving Times: 4:30 pm – 7:00 pm

2018 Rawhide Fish Fry Dates

Rawhide Boys Ranch features fish fry nights with all the proceeds directed towards tuition assistance for at-risk youth. Read more about our fish fry season.

May 18

June 15

July 20

August 17

September 21

October 19

Does media exposure create desensitization?

Repeated exposure to on-screen violence may contribute to desensitization, or a lack of response when witnessing a real-life act of violence. Thanks to the prevalence and affordability of smartphones, teens and children have access to sex and violence on demand in their pockets.

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Desensitization to Media Infographic

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Ease of exposure

Researchers have been concerned with growing media violence and the effect that it has on individuals for decades. Research started in the early seventies as television content changed and started to show mild forms of violence. Media deregulation in the eighties, along with the growing popularity cable TV and VHS, changed the way people viewed content. It also made it easier for teens and kids to view adult content without any parental supervision. Trends continued throughout the next two decades with the growing popularity of violent films and TV shows.

It’s now easier than ever to view on-screen high-definition violence with the availability of smartphones and tablets. How many kids have access to smartphones? According to Growing Wireless, 56 percent of children ages 8 to 12 have a smartphone. As children get older, that number explodes to over 90 percent. A 2016 survey by Common Sense Media said that half of those kids feel like they’re addicted to their phones.

RELATED: The Digital Diet of the American Teen

Logan Paul and desensitized prank culture

Logan Paul is a popular YouTube star and vlogger. On December 31, Logan uploaded a YouTube vlog of himself walking through the Aokigahara Forest in Japan, unfortunately, known as the Aokigahara Suicide Forest. It’s the world’s second most popular place to take one’s life.

The video shows Logan, his friends, and production staff stumbling upon a body in the forest, presumably a victim of suicide. The video –viewed over six million times before it was deleted – shows him laughing and joking. YouTube prank videos generally capitalize on shock value with their young viewers. It was clear that the shock culture behind many of Logan’s videos played into the decision to upload the Aokigahara Forest clip to his YouTube account. His brand of shock and prank videos garners millions of views, typically from a younger audience demographic. After the video made its way around the internet, it was clear that Logan Paul had gone too far.

Almost immediately after the video was removed, Logan uploaded an apology video which seemed to follow the narrative of most remorseful celebrity apology videos. Logan noted on Twitter that the video was not uploaded for views, but it’s difficult to see it any other way. There’s a monetary value to every video upload. Would Logan have apologized if it were not for the worldwide outrage to the video?

The controversial video garnered thousands of Likes before it was removed by Logan. It’s a shocking example of how the teenage demographic has become desensitized to graphic imagery and outlandish content.

What are the effects of media violence?

Psychologists have been studying the potential effects of violence in the media for years. According to the APA, research on the effects of viewing real violence on television has found a desensitizing effect and potential for aggression.  After decades of research, there is evidence to suggest that viewing real violence on screen may result in children becoming less sensitive to the pain and suffering of others, and becoming more likely to behave in an aggressive fashion toward others. However, as the APA notes, “research by psychologists Douglas Gentile and Brad Bushman, among others, suggested that exposure to media violence is just one of several factors that can contribute to aggressive behavior.”

When it comes to violent video games, conclusions regarding desensitization to violence have been mixed. Psychologist Christopher J. Ferguson contends that research done on video game violence in a lab setting has not translated to the real world. Ferguson also suggests that most of the research regarding video game violence fails to take into account other variables such as mental health and family upbringing. These conclusions have been updated by Ferguson more recently in this Huffington Post article.

Our unfortunate history of desensitization

One of the most famous “lack of response” cases of involves the attack and murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964 in the New York City borough of Queens, long before the internet.

After the attack, the New York Times published a long report claiming that 38 witnesses saw or heard the attack, but failed to contact the authorities. The situation birthed what is known as the “bystander effect” or “Genovese syndrome.” The bystander effect proposes that a large number of bystanders decrease the likelihood that one of them will step forward and intervene. However, in 2015, Genovese’s brother said police were actually called twice but did not respond. Additionally, the New York Times also noted that its own report exaggerated the number of witnesses it thought were present during the attack.

While it probably isn’t likely that any of the witnesses in the Kitty Genovese case showed desensitization from media, the tragic events provide other insights. When the killer was apprehended, he famously remarked when asked why he attacked a woman in a public setting, “I knew they wouldn’t do anything, people never do” (Seedman & Hellman, 1974, p. 100).

READ MORE: Media Ratings Guide

 

Looking ahead at the changing media landscape

Ease of exposure to harmful video content will only accelerate in the future. Virtual reality and augmented reality are on the horizon and primed to explode with popularity. In 2018, Android and iOS devices will be able to provide better-augmented reality experiences than ever before, changing the way we use our mobile devices to buy products and consume media.

Fiction and reality will continue to blend, making it more difficult for our brains to discern what is real and what is not. It will be up to parents of children and teenagers to stay involved and set limits on appropriate content and the amount of time used in a virtual reality.

Keeping tabs on your teen

Parents today are generally less concerned about privacy settings on their television and more concerned about how to keep tabs on their child’s smartphone or tablet. Nearly all teenagers are using the internet on their smartphone to view video content and use social media.

It’s your right as a parent to monitor your child and provide a safe online experience. Free video content found on YouTube can be regulated with parental controls. Turning on Google SafeSearch in your smartphone’s internet browser will automatically filter out unsafe search content as well as video content from YouTube.

Android and iPhone operating systems also provide parent control restrictions that help limit unsafe apps, music, movies, websites, and more.

Google Family Link families.google.com/familylink

Apple Parental Control support.apple.com/en-us/HT201304

Why does the Tide Pod Challenge exist?

Children have been accidentally ingesting laundry detergent and other household cleaners for as long as they have been manufactured. A new teen social media challenge has shifted focus from accidental to intentional exposure. The “Tide Pod Challenge” has gone viral. Teens and even some adults are posting videos of themselves putting laundry detergent pods in their mouth, biting, and chewing the packets until they burst.

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Rawhide Terrifying Teen Challenges Infographic

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At the age of 16, teens are given the opportunity to obtain their driver’s license in the United States. Some of the same kids we entrust to obey traffic rules and drive responsibly are eating laundry detergent packets in a social media challenge. The hunger for social acceptance and temptation for virality must be overwhelming.

However, eating a laundry detergent pod or packet isn’t really possible. If you’d actually try to pierce the plastic packet with your teeth, detergent would burst through the air-tight seal sending laundry detergent down your throat. From there, you’d start to gag and cough. You may even ingest a cleaning agent like Linear Alkylbenzene Sulfonates or Polyethyleneimine Ethoxylate, a chemical that’s designed to lift dirt from your clothes. Even just a small amount of detergent can result in esophageal and lung burns.

Why do kids participate in the Tide Pod Challenge?

Self-harm is an intentional act of physically hurting one’s body without a direct suicide attempt. Some use self-harm as a coping mechanism to relieve extreme stress, emotional numbness, trauma, or abuse. The most common form of self-harm is cutting. Other forms of self-harm include burning, scratching, poison ingesting, wound picking, and hair pulling.

 

Related: Cyberbullying and teen suicide

 

Is the Tide Pod Challenge a form of self-harm? While the absurdity of the social media challenge may make it seem silly, choosing to bite through a detergent pod should be cause for major concern. Participation in these types of challenges could also be seen as a way teens attempt to cope with worsening depression.

The more time teens and adults spend on social media, the more likely they are to become depressed, according to a recent study done by the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine.

“It may be that people who already are depressed are turning to social media to fill a void.”

The lead author of the study at the University of Pittsburgh concluded that individuals who are depressed often turn to social media to escape, further fueling their depression. Spending more time on social media also contributes to internet addiction, idealized representations of reality, and exposure to cyberbullying.

The long list of teen social media challenges

Tide Pod Challenge

Blue Whale Challenge

Gallon Challenge

Choking Game

Cinnamon Challenge

Spray Deodorant Challenge

Eraser Challenge

Bath Salt Challenge

Fire Challenge

Hot Water Challenge

How many people have died from the Tide Pod Challenge?

In 2016 and 2017 there were 53 cases of intentional exposure to laundry detergent pods. Since January 1, 2018, this number has increased to 119 teenagers. The American Association of Poison Control Centers claims there were 10,570 cases of detergent exposure reported to poison centers for children 5 years of age and younger in 2017.

However, there aren’t clear numbers regarding the number of deaths that can be contributed to the Tide Pod Challenge.

The incredible media exposure has only exacerbated the problem accelerating intentional exposure. Eventually, the media exposure might help qualm future ingestion by creating awareness, helping parents move the detergent pods out of reach of younger children.

There has always a real and present danger of toddlers shoving small objects in their mouth. Unlike teens, toddlers can actually be protected from ingesting detergent pods. Some feel that the brightly colored candy appearance of laundry detergent pods is more attractive to toddlers or children with cognitive disabilities.

The more parents realize that the brightly colored detergent pods need to be out of reach, the better.

What is the Blue Whale Challenge?

The Blue Whale Challenge or Blue Whale Game is a social networking game that rose to prominence in 2016. The game has reached a number of countries across the globe. It originated in Russia and quickly spread through social media to America, Europe, India, Morocco, Algeria, and other developed countries. It features a series of self-harm tasks assigned to players by an administrator during a 50-day period. On the last day of the challenge, the participant is asked to commit suicide.

Named after whales that beach themselves and die in the process, the Blue Whale Challenge has been around for longer than the Tide Pod Challenge, and its goals are more sinister.

Once kids are pressured to join through social media, they’re blackmailed and cyberbullied to stay in the game by their administrator.

The digital world is an overwhelming arena. For many kids, it’s their only outlet for social interaction. What can a parent do to help their child becoming involved with a potentially deadly social media challenge?

Rob Gronkowski Tide Pod PSA

Tide Super Bowl Commercial 2018

Stopping the Tide Pod Challenge

Teenagers are incredibly curious, and the internet is the perfect place to explore the digital world without draconian restrictions. However, curiosity can sometimes be leveraged by nefarious actors.

Unfortunately, the temptation of social media use will only increase. Kids who engage a lot on social media may feel like they are not living up to unrealistic portraits of life that they find elsewhere online.

Though social media is now considered an essential avenue for interaction, your child or teen’s accounts and postings should be monitored. It’s also important to remember that not every child or teenager that uses social media is depressed or will become depressed. The more active we all are online the less time we’re cultivating meaningful relationships in reality.  If you feel that your child may be exhibiting signs of depression, get involved and start listening without judgment.

 

Read More: Our licensed therapists offer expertise in anxiety

 

We encourage parents to use online resources like the Anxiety and Depression Association of America to find more information and specific steps to take if they feel like their child might be suffering from intense anxiety or depression.

In the meantime, parents can keep laundry detergent pods out of reach of toddlers to help prevent possible ingestion. Parents of teenagers and young children can also avoid purchasing detergent pods altogether and use traditional liquid detergent when possible.

The Pink Whale Challenge

Ana Paula Hoppe and Rafael Tiltscher are credited with starting the Pink Whale Challenge. According to BuzzFeed, the Pink Whale challenge is structured similarly to the Blue Whale challenge. It asks players to compete in a series of daily challenges designed to promote positive ideas, like doing homework or pitching in to help around the house.

“People started to send messages asking for help, children who were hurting themselves and even the people who were thinking about taking their lives.”

Once they launched a Facebook page, they were bombarded with messages from teens who wanted to start the challenge.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for anyone in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

The number of the National Poison Help hotline is 1-800-222-1222. You can also text “Poison” to 797979 to save the number in your phone. It’s available 24/7 for free.

 

Remembering the life of Jan Gillespie

In the fall of 1941, Janice (Jan) Krull met John Gillespie in a grade school classroom. Little did they know, the love they would share and their subsequent 59-year marriage would go on to change the lives of hundreds of young men in their community. Today, January 25, 2018, Rawhide Boys Ranch celebrates the life and legacy of Jan Gillespie.

In the mid-sixties, a young boy approached Jan and John during a church service and shared the struggles he faced in his home life. He asked to spend the afternoon with the couple, and they happily obliged.

The afternoon shared with the young boy from church turned into so much more. John and Jan felt a calling that would lead them to open their home to more at-risk youth from the community.

Jan Gillespie with horses at Rawhide

Along with the support of Bart and Cherry Starr, John and Jan founded Rawhide Boys Ranch. She was instrumental in bringing the Starrs on board with Rawhide after insisting her husband, John, make a cold call to the Starrs, encouraging them to lend their influence.

Jan helped turn Rawhide into a top-rated charity and transform the organization from one boy’s home into its current state that includes seven boy’s homes, an accredited private high school, a mental health outpatient clinic, and numerous job training facilities.

A long-lasting legacy

Jan, along with her husband, served as a houseparent for over 27 years at Rawhide providing care, direction, and unconditional love to at-risk youth.

“They’re like your children and even though they weren’t born into your family, you treat them like your children and you love them unconditionally.”

Jan’s love of horses and horseback riding led her to pair young men residing at Rawhide with a horse on the ranch. Jan knew when responsible for the care of a horse, at-risk youth can better learn about trust, communication, confidence, and social skills. Today, Rawhide incorporates an Equine Program that helps at-risk youth work on issues like anger management, relationship building, boundaries, alcohol and substance abuse, and more.

Her legacy reaches far beyond the horse barn. Jan’s role as Housemother for over 350 young men helped instill values that many of those young men have passed on to their own families. She was instrumental in the development of each and every boy that entered her home as a houseparent at Rawhide. Houseparents at Rawhide Boys Ranch continue to strive to provide a family structure for at-risk boys from our community.

Jan remained active and close to the community at Rawhide for years after retirement, attending fish fry’s and keeping in contact with youth and alumni from the Ranch.

On January 25, 2017, Jan Gillespie passed away in her home with her husband and best friend John by her side. On the anniversary of her death, we look back and give thanks for her called life of service that touched the lives of so many and rejoice in her everlasting life in Christ.

Starr Academy Graduation at Rawhide Boys Ranch

The graduation ceremony at Rawhide‘s Starr Academy illustrates what is possible after months of study, hard work, and personal growth. Houseparents, youth care workers, job trainers, and school teachers all have an impact on the development of a student during their time at Rawhide Boys Ranch. A Starr Academy graduation ceremony is the perfect illustration of how every donation can make an impact in the life of a Starr Academy student.

Graduation from Starr Academy means that the “real world” is right around the corner. Most graduates don’t have the resources to drift through four or five years of college without a plan, hoping to find a passion. They need make it for themselves as soon as they step off the Ranch.

The Starr Academy graduation ceremony at Rawhide is little different from graduation at a traditional high school but still holds the same significance to the students, as well as friends and family. Those who graduate from Starr Academy are completing a difficult journey; one that started as soon as they got to Rawhide.

During the ceremony, family, friends, instructors, and employees at Rawhide are all on-hand to hear the stories and words of wisdom from staff and students.

Starr Academy graduation ceremony order of service

Introductory Remarks – An instructor or Starr Academy Principal opens the ceremony, introducing the graduate and previewing the ceremony ahead.

Case Manager Remarks – The graduate’s Case Manager provides an overall view of where the student was when he came to Rawhide, and where he’s at today; typically a huge transformation.

House Address – A housemother or father shows a more intimate view of how each graduate has dealt with the adversity they’ve experienced and how they overcame it.

Special Remarks – Other classroom instructors or work instructors offer a glimpse of the day in, day out grind on the Ranch.

Snap-On Presentation – The graduate is presented with a keepsake gift from Snap-On Tools.

Board of Directors Presentation – President and CEO, Alan Loux, speaks on behalf of the Rawhide Board of Directors, offering words of encouragement for the future, letting the graduate know that Rawhide will always stand behind them if things get tough.

Presentation of Diploma

Affirmation by Audience – This is a special time when staff, friends, family, and other Rawhide students can speak about the graduate.

Benediction

Graduation ceremony at rawhide

Graduation means more at Starr Academy

Youth care workers, houseparents, school instructors, and house members gather in the auditorium at Starr Academy. The Principal of Starr Academy, housemother, housefather, and assigned youth workers speak on behalf of the graduate. They generally do not speak of test scores or homework assignments, but on the character, as well as emotional and spiritual changes that have taken place at Rawhide – and things can get emotional. A recent graduate thanked 22 members of the Rawhide staff by name. From Academic Instructors to Work Experience Instructors, he recognized the potential that they saw in him; the same potential the staff sees in every student at Rawhide.

The housemothers and housefathers see life-altering changes happen during the time the guys spend at Rawhide, setting the course for a positive life trajectory.

Graduates speak of the challenges of leaving their friends and family, adjusting to life on the Ranch, changes in expectations, and the moment they realized they needed to make a change to lead a successful life. Rawhide’s family-centered care, boy’s homes with a mother and father, and traditional routine are designed to help guys adjust and open up. The love and care provided by everyone from the houseparents to staff at Starr Academy help the guys make necessary changes and persevere through tough times.

Learn more about Starr Academy

In addition to Rawhide staff, the graduate’s house brothers share personal stories about growth and development that have taken place during their time as students. Many of the guys tell stories about good times and funny moments. Others speak about shared struggle or a time when the graduate helped them through a difficult period.
Graduation speaker at Rawhide
The graduation ceremony serves as a reminder to the Rawhide guys in the audience: with strong faith, hard work, and determination, it is possible to permanently turn around your situation to lead responsible and successful lives.

Graduation is also a time to give thanks. The immense gratitude expressed by the grads is a telling sign of change that has taken place in their attitude and spirit.
The ceremony is a confirmation of the incredible work that guys have put in during their time on the Ranch and signifies the work and effort yet to come. Their time at Rawhide will be reflected on for the rest of their lives, and the lessons they’ve learned can be ingrained so they can continue to draw from after they leave the Ranch.

If a student wants to graduate from Starr Academy, they need to go above and beyond and commit to more intense study than other kids their age. One of the most recent Starr Academy grads came to Rawhide with only three high school credits. To obtain a diploma after less than two years of study requires incredible effort and dedication. In order graduate, many of the guys do considerable work outside of the classroom to rack up credits. A lot of hard work in a short amount of time is required to get a new student caught up to where they’re supposed to be since many of the students have fallen behind before they enroll at Starr Academy. Not only do they have to deal with rigors of class and homework, but they have to adjust to new surroundings, far away from family and friends.

Fortunately, getting a high school diploma is not out of reach at Rawhide. The intense courses and job training the guys receive at Rawhide is a blessing. The instructors, trainers, and staff at Rawhide help the guys realize their potential, and to use the mental and psychical tools they’ve honed here for self-improvement the rest of their life.

More success stories

Success stories aren’t only limited to graduation ceremonies. After leaving Rawhide, alumni use the skills they’ve obtained to help finish their diploma back home and in some cases go on to seek college or university education. Even a high school diploma might have seemed like a goal out of reach for a student like Dylan.

“Nothing else compares to Rawhide in its beauty, the love that you find with staff, and the care that’s here. Other places are darker, colder, and the staff was just there to collect a paycheck and drink coffee. At Rawhide, there’s more genuine concern that the staff has for the students. They want to see you succeed and they want to see you graduate, do good, and further your life in a more positive direction.”

Teens and Caffeine

For many adults, caffeiene usage is a necessity. Effectively used, caffeine can provide a much-needed boost to help improve memory performance, alertness, and aerobic conditions – even for teens. But overreliance can quickly morph into dependence for adults and teenagers. Overconsumption of caffeine by teenagers has a magnified effect on their body and brain, causing headaches, shakiness, rapid heartbeat, dehydration, upset stomach, sleep deprivation, and in some cases, much worse.

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Teens and Caffeine Infographic

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For teens who take medications like Adderall, or those who don’t consume sugar on a regular basis, caffeine can be particularly dangerous. One of the most publicized caffeine-related deaths in recent years involved a 16-year old male teenager from South Carolina. According to the county coroner, the teen suffered a caffeine-induced cardiac event causing a probable arrhythmia, stemming from an abnormal heart rhythm.

In the course of just over three hours, this healthy 16-year old consumed a cafe latte, a large diet Mountain Dew, and an energy drink. He collapsed at school in a classroom at Spring Hill High School on April 26, 2017, and died just a few hours later.

RELATED: Cyberbullying and teen suicide. When online harassment kills.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children and adolescents avoid energy drinks altogether, but there isn’t a set standard for children as far as caffeine consumption is concerned. Adults have no issues consuming amounts of upwards to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, which translates to around four cups of coffee or thirteen cans of cola! However, the equivalent of just a few cups of coffee or cans of soda can interrupt normal behavior and the state of mind of teenagers.

To actually reach a “lethal” dose of caffeine, you would have to choke down somewhere from 50 to 100 cups of coffee. But the most sugar and caffeine isn’t found in a can of Coke or café latte, it’s found in energy drinks. The real and more present danger to teens is how caffeine can react with other ingredients found in an energy drink and how it can react inside of their system.

Marketing caffeine to teens

Energy drinks can pose problems for teenagers. The energy drink market is projected to be worth over $60 billion by 2021. Tobacco-like regulations are also being widely considered to stop the marketing of energy drinks to children and teenagers. Bear in mind that this industry didn’t even exist 20 years ago. The incentive to market to a young demographic is enormous.

From 2005 to 2011, energy drink-related emergency-room visits rose from 1,494 to 20,783. Energy drinks like Monster Energy, Red Bull, Rockstar, or NOS contain much more caffeine than an average cup of coffee. Nearly all energy drinks contain other additives like guarana and taurine, which are uncommon in other types of drinks or foods and tend to intensify the already sizable portions of caffeine in energy drinks.

Problems arise quickly when energy drinks are mixed with the wrong kinds of medication or alcohol. A clinical report from the American Academy of Pediatrics notes that energy drinks are never appropriate for children or adolescents. In fact, all caffeine-containing beverages should be avoided. While there’s debate about whether or not the government should step in and reduce the amount of caffeine allowed in energy drinks, we can take steps to educate teens about the risks of abuse.

Side effects of too much caffeine in kids and teens

Small amounts of caffeine won’t harm teens. Consistent use and over-consumption can set off noticeable side effects that should serve as a red flag for parents.

Side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Shakiness
  • Sleep disorders
  • Irritability
  • Upset stomach
  • Rapid heart rate
  • A headache
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dehydration

 

Natural sugars found in fruit, along with the appropriate amounts of caffeine can sharpen mental focus. But too much of the drug in the hands of an adolescent can quickly get out of hand.

Teenage caffeine consumption

Teens have direct access to drinks packed with caffeine and it’s difficult for parents and schools to completely regulate caffeine. Consuming regular amounts of soda can have other negative effects like weight gain among teens. When teens consume soda or sports water instead of juice or milk, they miss out on dozens of essential vitamins and minerals during a time in their lives when they need nutrients to grow and develop. Schools and workplaces have been proactive and have taken action by removing soda vending machines.

Where to go from here

While it’s unlikely that energy drink sales will slow down anytime soon, we can take time to educate our teens about the real and present dangers from the regular consumption and overconsumption of energy drinks. Accurate warning labels and limits to caffeine could be put into place by local and federal governments. However, the quickest way to make an impact on youth is to explain the dangers of irresponsible consumption. Whether your teen is a gamer or an athlete, there’s no reason for children and teens under 17 to consume energy drinks.

There are alternatives to caffeine-packed drinks, however. Becoming more productive at school or at work could boil down to taking a ten-minute break to get exercise. Substituting fruits that naturally contain sugar can serve as effective alternatives to soda or coffee drinks. The naturally occurring sugar and vitamins in apples, for example, can help provide a pick-me-up. Staying hydrated can boost your metabolism, flush out toxins, and help you eat less. Engage with your teens and their teachers about ways they can stay energized throughout the day to avoid the temptation to tap into highly caffeinated beverages.

The intrinsic value of vehicle donation

Charitable giving can be done in a few different forms. For many individuals, giving is done by writing a check to their church, making a contribution to their favorite charity or another worthwhile cause. But giving doesn’t always have to be done with currency. Non-cash item donations in the form of a car or vehicle can make a world of difference in the lives of individuals or families in need. One small and seemingly insignificant act of kindness can have a ripple effect in a community, stretching the value of a car donation much further than a $500 tax deduction.

Mystifying for some, the process of donating a car or vehicle is easy and much less stressful than creating a listing on Craigslist or trying to find a private buyer and haggling about what the vehicle is worth. We have has taken considerable effort to remove the cloud of mystery behind the car or vehicle donation process.

More questions about Rawhide’s car donation process can be answered here.

Time is valuable. We’ve boiled down the car or vehicle donation process into three simple steps:

  • Filling out a vehicle donation form or contacting a call center
  • Arranging a drop-off or scheduling a pickup
  • Waiting for a tax receipt to come after the vehicle is sold

 

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Intrinsic-value-of-vehicle-donation infographic

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Benefits of donating a vehicle

Believe it or not, you can maximize the value of your vehicle by donating it – especially if it isn’t in good working order. Donors will see the immediate benefit of vehicle or car donations coming in the form of a tax deduction without the hassle of prepping the vehicle for sale or finding and negotiating with a potential buyer.

While Rawhide encourages local donation, we are supported by a large network that can arrange a free pick-up and transport services for vehicle donations, making it possible for donors across the state of Wisconsin and the country to make a meaningful contribution. Rawhide accepts cars of all ages and condition – whether it’s running or not.

OTHER WAYS TO SUPPORT RAWHIDE

Not only will you be receiving a tax break, but if you donate locally, you can help improve the lives of those who quite literally need a lift! At-risk youth at Rawhide gain valuable mechanical skills by helping inspect and sometimes repair donated vehicles, helping them find gainful employment after they leave our care. In other cases, cars at Rawhide are sold to families in need who don’t have the means to provide their own transportation. Access to an affordable car can open up a job opportunity or provide a way for a child to participate in after-school activities.

Daryl and Cynthia’s Car Donation Experience

Another way to make a meaningful contribution is to donate a vintage or classic car that needs maintenance. A car over the age 25 is considered “classic.” Even younger, more unique models like the Pontiac Aztek are rising in value thanks to groups of millennials and cultural significance. While your Aztek might no longer be close to your heart, chances are there’s a car collector out there waiting to restore it.

Why giving makes us feel good

Donating a car or vehicle is a simple, stress-free way to make a generous contribution to benefit real people in need.

While it’s easy to see the monetary value of vehicle donation, other donor benefits are longer lasting and are a little more difficult to quantify. Studies show that when we make a donation to charity, in any form, it makes us feel happier in the long run. In some cases, giving has even been shown to lower blood pressure!

You’ve probably experienced a “helpers high” or “givers glow” during the holiday season. When we give, regions of our brain that are associated with pleasure activate, creating positive feelings and brain-boosting benefits.

A study done by Nature Communications attempted to find a link between generous behavior and increases in happiness. They gathered a group of participants who pledged to spend money over a four-week span either on themselves or on others. They found that the participants who made more generous choices showed stronger increases in self-reported happiness. If you take a few minutes to search online, you’ll be able to find dozens of other studies that have made similar conclusions.

Tax benefits of donating a car

Vehicle donors at Rawhide receive on average a 48% higher tax deduction compared to other national car donation charities. Like most tax laws, information made available about donation can be a little confusing. And recently, car and vehicle donations have changed.

Donors can choose one of the following two options by the IRS for a tax deduction:

1. Based on the value of your car, you may opt to claim up to $500 immediately, without waiting for the re-sale price. (It is up to you, as the donor, to determine the fair market value of your vehicle.)

OR

2. You can wait until your vehicle is sold if you determine the vehicle’s value is over $500. (After your vehicle is sold, you will receive an official 1098-C receipt for your records.)

*Donors need to itemize their taxes to be able to claim the deduction.

Rawhide, Inc is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to staying debt free. The generosity of donors enables Rawhide to provide help for at-risk youth and their families.

FILL OUT A RAWHIDE DONATION FORM IN UNDER 60 SECONDS

How Rawhide’s funds are used

Rawhide directs 83% of funds to finance programs that serve at-risk youth and families including residential treatment care, education, counseling, foster care, therapeutic programs, and basic living needs.

Rawhide accepts vehicle donations in the form of cars, boats, RVs, motorcycles, campers, and more.
How Rawhide Boys Ranch donation funds are used