Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

Got a Teen? Don’t Take the Bait!

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Recently, on the way to school, my teenage son and I heard a silly commercial on the radio. I commented that it must be running at the same time every day because we had heard the exact same commercial while sitting at the same stop light the day before.

Just making conversation, right?

My son suddenly must have realized that he hadn’t fulfilled his “if mom says the sky is blue I must insist it’s green” quota for the day. So he came up with: “It wasn’t exactly the same commercial as the one that ran yesterday.”

Then he looked at me expectantly…

For the record? Yes, friends, it was EXACTLY the same commercial. But to my credit, I did something I don’t often manage to do: I didn’t take the bait. I just sort of shrugged as if to say “Oh well. You may be right. Who knows?”

Drove him nuts. Who was this mom who failed to engage in a debate over… nothing? After a couple more attempts resulted in less that his desired results, we moved on to another topic.

Success! I was not the catch of the day. I wish I could say it went this well every day, but I’ll take my victories where I can get them.

Have you been baited by your teen lately? How did you handle it? Today I was on my game. But tomorrow? I may need all the tips I can get!

The Little Princess

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

Spoiled Girl

I was on a flight from to L.A. the other day. A mom with three three kids sat across from me, with one next to her and two in front of her.

The woman is sitting behind her six-ish-year-old who has just trashed the floor around her seat with food, toys, and papers. It’s about time to land and the place is a mess.

The flight attendant is on her hands and knees, cleaning up around the kid. The kid never thanks her. (The mom, a bit sheepishly, thanks the flight attendant after the fact, but never encourages her daughter to show any appreciation.)

I think the mom missed a real opportunity by not reminding the girl to say thank you (and perhaps reminding her to help — or to not create such a mess on a crowded airplane in the first place).

It bothered me to see the girl sitting there, like a little princess, while this hard-working flight attendant was on her hands and knees at the girl’s feet, cleaning up.

What has happened to our manners in this country? What can we do about it?

Busted! A Mom’s Secret Hideaway

Thursday, January 14th, 2010
Mom seated in car, 1983

A friend sent me these comments from her Facebook page, which she gave me permission to share with you (sans names, of course). Is there a mom out there who can’t relate?

Mom 1: “Sometimes I sit the car while it is parked in the driveway. It’s like my office. I make phone calls from there and have important meetings. Go through my mail. It is the only place I can find that is quiet.

Mom 2: “Hahaha! That’s what I use the bathroom for.”

Mom 3: “Mine has heated seats. I could sleep out there!”

Mom 4: “I go to parking lots and take naps in mine sometimes, in the middle of the day. Waiting for a cop to tap on my window to test me for something!”

The Parenting Thing: Dads Just Do It Differently

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

Dads

OK mom, be honest. Have you ever pushed your partner aside because he didn’t diaper the baby exactly the right way, didn’t make the eggs the way your daughter likes them, didn’t follow the bedtime routine to the letter?

And then did you complain because Dad retreated to the den with the TV remote and didn’t participate with the kids the way you think he should?

According to an article in the New York Times this week, “uninvolved fathers have long been accused of lacking motivation. But research shows that… even as more fathers are changing diapers, dropping the children off at school and coaching soccer, they are often pushed aside in ways large and small.”

It’s easy to disagree on discipline, TV limits — even how to change a diaper. That’s why it’s so important for parents to talk, and for moms to perhaps loosen the reins just a bit and realize that Dad may parent a little differently, but that it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Check out the article and let me know what you think. (This means you, too, dads!)

Is Spanking OK?

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

As the hosts of ABC’s “The View,” Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Joy Behar, Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Sherri Shepherd share a common bond: motherhood.

As mothers of varying ages and backgrounds, they express their thoughts and experiences with parenting, often clashing on their individual approach to rearing kids in an ever-changing world. Take spanking, for instance…

“A healthy fear, I feel, turns into a healthy respect later on.” — Sherri Shepherd

“I believe that there are some times when a swat is what you’ve got to do and it’s okay that other people don’t feel like that.” — Whoopi Goldberg

“Let me just say I believe you should never spank a child. I don’t think even a little. We’re putting out a message to the world and to women, who are at their tethered edge and who might lose control and say it’s okay to spank and then they go over the edge.” — Joy Behar 

Of course, a little controversy on The View is what it's all about. But what about when you go out with your mom friends? Does the subject of spanking come up? Or is it a topic you and your friends avoid?

Photo credit: Copyright Bob D'Amico/ABC (American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.)

Manners? We Don’t Need No Stinking Manners!

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

My family was at a nice Mexican restaurant recently and a 4-year-old at
a nearby table was standing on her chair talking loudly and making a game of throwing
chips on the floor (for the staff to pick up).

All the while, her Mom and
Dad sat there with friends, relaxing, drinking their beer…

What's
wrong with these people? They made no attempt to clean up after their
child, to make sure she talked at a reasonable volume or to show any
concern for the restaurant employees or their fellow diners.

I've
been seeing this situation more and more frequently in the past year or
so. Do I just live in Rudeville, U.S.A., or are you seeing this, too?

The
sense of entitlement — the attitude of "it's all about me" — seems to
be increasingly common these days. What can we do to turn this trend
around?

Are You Becoming a Helicopter Parent?

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Last August I wrote here about helicopter parents and how so many of us don't seem to know when to back off and let our kids learn about the world and take a few lumps.

Frankly, I'm getting tired of hearing about kids who get in trouble at school and instead of also getting in trouble at home because they got in trouble at school (my own parents' approach — which seemed to work), their parents are busy marching down to the principal's office with their attorney.

Are there times when the school might get it wrong? Of course. Do we need to be supportive parents? Definitely. But doesn't it seem as if this pendulum has been swinging WAY too far in one direction for the past decade?

What are these parents so afraid of? That their kid won't get into Harvard because he doesn't have a perfect record? It seems like, for too many parents these days, if their kid is caught cheating in school, doing drugs on campus, repeatedly dressing like a hooker or drinking in the restroom, their first thought is to put up that umbrella, to pave the way to "success," to hover and to do everything but teach their child to be responsible for his or her actions.

I know of one high school that has completely given up on having a dress code because too many parents were up in arms about their kids' right to "express themselves." Some threatened legal action. (I kid you not.) So now they have 15-year-old girls running around in sexy cropped shirts with the top of their thongs hanging out, ready to be snapped by 15-year-old boys. On campus. In English class.

Nice.

Behavior has consequences out in the real world. Parents can't justify every action and smooth a kid's way in life forever, nor should they. If they try to, how does that lead to healthy, well-adjusted young adults?

Kids Wanting to Cruise YouTube? Point ‘Em Here

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

I just love Vanessa Van Petten. Her blog, Radical Parenting: Parenting From a New Perspective always inspires me, and it often makes me laugh out loud or think about a post long after I’ve left my computer.

If you’re like me, you don’t like the idea of your child just aimlessly surfing YouTube for funny videos. There’s an amazing amount of garbage there. Van Petten suggests videos that are not only appropriate — they’re terrific. Even better: You and the kids can watch them on her site right here.

P.S. She has also added a section on Best Videos for Parents. Love that.

Here’s a sneak peek:

Keep Kids Safe When Using Inflatable Slides, Jumpers

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

A post on the Consumer Reports Safety Blog, "Inflatable Accidents Are Up, Up and Away," caught my eye yesterday, and I wanted to share it with you. 

(Disclosure: I work part-time as the social-media reporter for Consumer Reports at @CReporter on Twitter. Actually, it's a job that comes in very handy for me as a parenting writer, because I learn about these issues from folks who really know how to test equipment and check on safety issues.)

Recently an 11-year-old boy flew 40 feet into the air, clinging to a poorly anchored inflatable slide that was caught by a gust of wind. Fast-thinking parents punctured the slide and brought it back to earth before the boy was injured.

But, as CR notes: "The newest numbers from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which
were last updated in 2005, are sobering. The CPSC reported four
fatalities in inflatable-related accidents from 2002 to 2005. In 2004,
the most recent year for which we found complete data,
inflatable rides, such as inflatable slides and bouncers, accounted for
an estimated 4,900 injuries treated in hospital emergency rooms,
according to the agency. That was up sharply from 1997, when the CPSC
estimated only 1,300 such injuries — a whopping 277 percent increase
in just eight years (a time in which inflatables grew in popularity)."

My son has been bouncing in inflatable jumpers and sliding down inflatable slides since he was a preschooler. When he was little, I made sure he wasn't getting jumped on by the bigger kids, but I didn't realize the dangers in these structures being caught by a burst of wind or suddenly deflating.

Does this mean we need to stop using inflatable slides and jumpers? I don't think so. But should adults supervise their use and be available to prevent kid pile-ups and to make sure the structure is safe? Absolutely.

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?