Posts Tagged ‘Kids and Teens’

Who’s In Charge Here?

Thursday, February 4th, 2010
Top and bottom retainers

I was talking with a friend who works in an orthodontist’s office recently, and the subject of retainers came up. I mentioned that Matt, my son, will get nagged to wear his retainers, which we picked up today. And then I said “but you probably hear that from all the parents, right?”

“You’d be surprised,” she said, and she went on to describe moms who say things like “Well, I can’t make her wear it. It’s her mouth.”

(Insert screeching-tire sound here.)

Wait a minute. Who’s the mom? Who’s the kid? Who is paying for those braces, that roof over the kid’s head, etc.? Who is supposed to be the mature adult who knows more and who is in charge of making good decisions for the sake of this kid’s health and future?

Do I sound a little fed up? Good.

I see so much of this in my community, and I can only assume that the “kids-in-charge” trend is spreading across the land:

“My kid will only eat fast food.”

“My three kids like three different things, so I have to make three different meals at dinner.”

“My kid won’t go to bed on time. I explain to her that she needs sleep, but she just won’t.”


Your kid has enough friends. He doesn’t need you to be his buddy — despite how much you don’t want him to be mad at you for acting like a parent. He doesn’t need you to never frustrate him. To tip-toe around and make three dinners every night and pay the ortho bill while that retainer sits on the bathroom counter.

He needs a parent. Be one. He’ll fuss and fight and complain. But secretly? He’ll be glad that you care enough to be the adult, the person who helps set him on the right path in life.

And when he looks in the mirror when he’s 25? He might even see straight teeth.

Happy Halloween From The Sena Family!

Friday, October 30th, 2009

Leave it to Smilebox to come up with this fun Halloween slide show that reminds me a bit of walking into the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland!

Here are some of our family’s favorite Halloween memories. Hope you make plenty of wonderful memories with your kids today and tomorrow! Happy Halloween!

P.S. Want to create your own slideshows? It’s easy! (You can even do it while grabbing that mini Snickers bar from your kid’s trick-or-treat bag… Check out all of these fun designs.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow: Happy Halloween!
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Make a Smilebox slideshow

Kids Seeing Porn on the Web

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

It's a great big world out there on the Internet. And much of it offers a terrific educational opportunity for our kids. But then there's the
not-so-kid-friendly side…

Are your kids seeing porn on the Web?

you know what your kids are checking out online? Do they have a
computer in the bedroom, where it's harder to monitor what they're up

An alarming percentage of kids and teens are being exposed to porn on the internet, mostly through accidental viewing while surfing the Web, according to researchers at the University of New Hampshire.

conducted a telephone survey of 1,500 Web users ages 10 to 17 (with the
parents’ consent). Forty-two percent of the kids said they had seen
online pornography in a recent 12-month span. Sixty-six percent of
those said they had not been searching for those images. Most of the
kids who reported unwanted exposures were ages 13 to 17. But a fair
number of 10- and 11-year-olds also had unwanted exposures — 17 percent
of boys and 16 percent of girls.

More than a third of 16- and
17-year-old boys surveyed said they had intentionally visited
pornographic sites in the past year. For girls that age, the figure was
8 percent.

A generation ago, kids grabbed a peek at a Playboy
now and then. Today, the stuff they can potentially run across
on the Web is mind-boggling — and could be pretty damaging.

Clearly, we don't want our kids to have unlimited, unmonitored access to the Web. They need us to keep a watchful eye. 

What’s The Babysitter Up To?

Monday, July 20th, 2009

Fascinating piece on about Miriam Forman-Brunell's new book "Babysitter: An American History."

For generations, parents have fretted about how their kids were being cared for while in the hands of teenage babysitters.

Most of our babysitters have been wonderful and responsible. One often brought fun DVDs to share, and always made sure the kitchen was clean after she and Matt had dinner. (A rare thing, that kitchen cleaning!) Another, accomplished in music, encouraged Matt's interest in piano. A third played silly games that left Matt in giggles.

But there were the ones who spent more time yacking on the phone with their friends than interacting with our kid.

Back before nearly every teen had a cell phone, we even had teens calling the house after we'd returned for the evening and the babysitter had gone home — because she had given out our home number to half the kids in the local high school, it seemed.

And we had a babysitter remain in the upstairs den, doing homework, while she allowed our young son to go downstairs and answer the door at night, open it and allow a strange man (a solicitor) into the house. This was after we had included in our house rules: "Don't open the door to anyone." Let's just say she didn't get any future calls.

I have my own confession from my babysitter days: I babysat for a sexy single mom who had a stack of Cosmopolitan magazines at home. After the kids were asleep, I'd devour the magazines, knowing full well that my parents would not have permitted such reading material for their 12-year-old  daughter.

(Funny, though… The first magazine sale I made when I became a freelance journalist was to — you guessed it — Cosmo. And no, it wasn't about sex!)

Can We Be Frank?

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Do you ever have the feeling that, between driving your kids to all their "enrichment" activities (ballet, baseball, karate — you name it) volunteering at school, working, doing laundry, arranging play dates, etc., etc., etc. that you're doing the right thing by your kids, but that your own life is somehow slipping away?

I've had that feeling lately, and it's a tough thing to admit, because we're all afraid of sounding selfish. Right?

Sure, we signed on to do all this, and much more, when we became parents. And we doing it willingly (OK, most of the time) and with love. But while you're watching your kids grow, experiment, learn and spread their wings, do you feel that your own life might be dying on the vine just a bit?

We're not doing our kids any favors if we end up exhausted and resentful.

When's the last time you had a mom's night out and just yucked it up with your girlfriends? Took yourself to a movie YOU wanted to see? (Harry Potter and Transformers don't count!) When's the last time you signed up for an improv class, jumped off the high dive, got in the car and had an adventure of your own instead of just heading to soccer camp for pick-up time?

Some days I look at my schedule, and between work and family commitments I have just about enough spare time to walk the dog. That's not healthy. So I'm making a different kind of commitment: to saying "no" to that next volunteer opportunity or to-do list item (anybody want to call the fencing company about our rusting one-year-old metal gate?) and saying "yes" to doing something that makes me feel more alive.

My son will still get where he needs to go. My work deadlines will be met. We'll still get dinner on the table. And no one will leave the house naked. But I will carve out more time for me. For my health, friendships and dreams. Funny thing is… That will also make me a better mom.

Care to join me?

A Blog for Parents of Troubled Teens

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

A friend just told me about the Troubled Teen Blog, and I'm impressed.

If you are dealing with struggling-teen issues — whether searching for
answers or seeking comfort from other parents in similar situations — this blog may be of help to you and your family.

It discusses residential drug treatment, sexuality, teen stress, teen pregnancy, runaway teens, self-destructive behavior and a lot more. Is it easy reading? No. But it's a great source of information, compassion and support for families who are dealing with one or more of these issues, some of which affect very young teens and even tweens.

Idle Time Can Land Kids in Hot Water This Summer

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

With the summer school break upon us, now is the time for parents to consider how they can keep their tween or teen safe and out of hot water amid the glut of seasonal down time.

In addition to health and safety concerns, “there are many unforeseen legal pitfalls parents should be aware of,” says San Diego, California attorney Jeff Isaac.

While specific laws and policies vary from state to state, these are some things to keep in mind over the summer, says Isaac:

1. Curfew:  Many parents have no idea about the laws relating to curfew, which vary from city to city, says Isaac.  Generally, 10 p.m. is the most common curfew time, but there are exceptions. Breaking curfew can result in legal consequences. (And don't even get me started on safety concerns here.)

2. Graffiti and Vandalism: Those who mark up community walls and buildings with graffiti are breaking the law. Kids may find themselves financially liable and may face criminal penalties. Parents also are often found financially liable when their kids damage or destroy the property of others, sometimes to the tune of thousands of dollars.

3. Underage Drinking: There are a litany of legal offenses associated with minors and alcohol or drugs, which range from misdemeanors to felonies. This in addition to the threats to the child’s health, safety and well-being.

4. Tobacco Use:
Most retail outlets check the identification of anyone seemingly under the age of 18 who is attempting to purchase tobacco products. Misdemeanor charges could apply if a minor uses a false ID to make such a transaction.

Bottom line: In addition to talking with your tween or teen about health and safety issues this summer, discuss legal consequences as well.

How Easily Are Our Kids Getting Prescription Drugs?

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

bitter pills?I'm so jazzed to be a guest blogger over at On Youth and Teens Today With Vanessa Van Petten. Vanessa writes a terrific blog for parents of teens, and I go there a lot for great advice.

My post "Teens Say Prescription Drugs are Easier to Buy Than Beer" is featured today on the site. Please stop by and check it out!

10 Things Every Teen Should Know

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

Vanessa Van Patten is a friend every teen should have. And, strangely enough, she's also a friend every parent of a teen should have. How in the world this talented writer balances both roles is beyond me, but she does it brilliantly over at her blog, Teens Today With Vanessa Van Petten.

Today's post, 10 Things Every Teen Should Know, is one I'm going to save for my 12-year-old son. And it's something I want to share with my readers. What a great checklist of stuff teens should know before they leave home!

It's so easy to get caught up in things like grades and SAT scores that it's easy to forget that a kid should be able to make a pot of spaghetti, use a checkbook and do a load of laundry (without turning his underwear pink) before heading off to college.

Van Petten's blog is loaded with good stuff — and it's addictive. Plan to spend some time there!

Hey Corporate Sponsors! How About a Little Halloween $$$ Help This Year?

Friday, October 24th, 2008

trick or treating in the marina district of sa...Jen Singer has the right idea. As the owner of the first house on a VERY popular street for trick-or-treaters, Jen is looking for a little “Halloween bailout” from corporate America to help sponsor the huge pile of candy she’ll be buying soon. In fact, I’ll let her make her pitch right here.

OK, all you companies out there. I’m betting that if you stop by and agree to add an extra zero or two to that check, Jen will even let you put up a few yard signs. So be generous. After all, have you priced a bag of Mars bars lately?