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One Moment, Please... The Choking Game?

Mon, May 19th, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

Parents of school-aged children have a lot of things to keep their eyes on as they raise them to adulthood. And, those years seem to be just as much learning years for the parents as they are for their children.

When our children have homework, that pretty much means parents have homework -- helping the child navigate that which they don’t understand along with holding them accountable to get their homework done. When our children have a conflict with someone in school, we have to help them find their way. There are so many things that come up when raising a child, I don’t believe one-size-fits-all for parenting guidance. Being a parent can be equally rewarding and challenging, at the same time.

This is a game?

I recently heard about The Choking Game, because certain schools in Fillmore County have been notifying parents of cause for concern.

The Choking Game has apparently been around for more than a decade -- probably longer -- unbeknownst to me. I don’t recall this “game” as I was growing up, but maybe it was happening without my knowledge.

Since this was all new to me, I had to do some research. Apparently, the kids agree to choke each other until the other kid passes out. Essentially, each of these kids are intentionally cutting off oxygen to the brain with the goal of fainting or causing a euphoric state.

And, this is a very serious issue. Obviously, cutting off oxygen to the brain is not a good thing.

Nationwide, kids as young as elementary school age have fallen victim to participating in this peer-pressure-driven “game.”

If you conduct a Google search for “The Choking Game,” you’ll find a long list of deaths associated with this disappointing trend with young people.

And, the challenge or concern is that this could be happening at any of our schools. That’s why some Fillmore County schools have notified parents of this alarming trend.

Raising Our Children

There is an African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Most parents have heard that saying before.

While parents of school-aged children have a lot on their plate, it seems that our challenges will always go far beyond helping our children achieve academic success.

And, I think we want to believe that our primary focus with respect to school needs to revolve around helping our children with their education.

But, the reality is that our children are exposed to a lot of social issues at a younger age than we probably feel comfortable.

There are so many things that we can’t control beyond encouraging good homework habits. Bullying (maybe even on social media), drugs circulating within schools, and so much more. The Choking Game is just one example of how parents can get caught off-guard with the unexpected.

It can all start with one young and impressionable child, and flourish from there.

I think it is important for all parents to know who their friends are, what they talk about, and how they relate to each other. Yeah, sure, it sounds like I’m a little paranoid. But, we have to consider the reality that we are responsible for rearing our children in a certain direction. What direction are they heading without our direction?

And, yes, it does take a village to raise a child. We need to keep our lines of communication open with schools and other parents.

Personally, I think school administration and teachers are often blamed, burdened or pressured to moderate behavioral issues with little support from some parents. When I was growing up, I was usually guilty until found innocent. And, I usually deserved it. I spent quite a bit of time in the principal’s office up until the end of 1st grade. After writing “Jason will not...(fill in the blank)” nearly every day on the chalkboard after school, I must have figured out that this was taking away from my play time. I had a great 1st grade teacher. She reared my right, and my parents had her back -- and an open line of communication. My behavior was corrected.

Our Reality

From the day a child is born, parents have the responsibility to protect their children at all times. It seems to me that there are so many more challenges today than what we faced when I was growing up.

The Choking Game alert to parents of students attending any of our area schools definitely underscores the importance of our roles in the lives of our children.


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9:37:18, May 17th 2014 says:
I found out the hard way, 20 years ago, about the choking game. My son, Mike, played the game, fell backwards and hit his and died from his injuries three days later. And so I know that this game has been around for longer than ten years; and like you I was totally unaware of the game or its deadly consequences.
Since Mike's death I have been campaigning to alert and educate others -- parents, children, professionals -- about the so-called game. And since I began this work I have met so many other parents, in person and on line, who also wish they had known about the game before their child succombed to it.
I'm glad you have spoken out. Perhaps if more people would do that we might make some progress. Our motto is simple: Stop the Choking Game! Anne Phillips

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