Unbelievable “suggested Christmas shopping list” circulating on the net

Moderation might be a thing of the past, even though we’re still coming out of the slowest recovery from a recession in history.

Here’s the suggested list for kids 10 and up:

Beats by Dr Dre audio accessories (Apple) – standard headphones start at $169.99
Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes (Disney Interactive) – starter pack: $74.99
Galaxy Tab tablets (Samsung) – starting at $159.99
GoPro cameras (GoPro) – starting at $199.99
iPad (Apple) – starting at $499.99
iPhone (Apple) – starting at $99.99
MiP Robot (WowWee) – $99.99
PlayStation 4 Console (Sony) – $399.99
SIMON Swipe Game (Hasbro) – $15.19
Skylanders Trap Team (Activision) – starter pack: $99.99
Xbox One Console (Microsoft) – $399.99

Despite the sticker shock, I know parents who already have made some of these purchases and are likely to round out the list in time for the holidays.

So, I have to hear my envious kids complain again this year.

I remember getting mostly clothes for Christmas presents! I wonder if and how my parents would have handled the Holidays if high-priced, high-tech gizmos were available 30 years ago.

Some parents need to “parent up”

Like any decent post, this diatribe will likely resonate with some parents and anger others.  I feel compelled to point out that a whole new generation of “push-over” parents are raising a new generation of brats with an over-the-top sense of entitlement.  There seems to be an emerging trend of parents who want to be friends with their kids.  I want to have a good relationship with my kids, but one has to draw the line at some point.

Parents know that parenting can often be a real drag.  Continually displining your kids and setting boundaries can be exhausting and unpleasant.  But, as discussed in other posts, I think kids need and want boundaries no matter how much they protest.  Obviously, parents have to pick battles selectively.  However, what happens when parents don’t pick battles at all?

Obnoxious brats.

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This becomes an issue for other parents because 1) it can rub off on your own kids if they spend enough time with these darlings, and 2) it makes social situations with multiple families unpleasant and awkward.  Who wants to listen to another parent’s kid argue, berate, or entirely ignore that parent?

We need to find a happy middle ground between Dr. Spock (the pediatrician, not the  pointy-eared guy) and our own parents’ old-school tough parenting.


Image Problems for Girls Introduced At A Very Young Age (Great YouTube Video At The End)

Another factoid from the Girls Leadership Institute: Girls are exposed to hundreds of images a day suggesting what they should look like.  These images are impossible to filter out, and girls are inundated by them from every form of media out there (TV, magazines, commercials, toy stores, etc.).

Here are some disturbing examples, and then a list of some tom-boy and girl power movies/shows to watch together to remind girls they don’t have to look perfect or, worse, like a bimbo…

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Now, for some good wholesome suggestions for your girl to remind her that she doesn’t have to be: really skinny, show lots of leg, have lips the size of balloons, wear lots of make up, and have a “come-hither” expression on her face at all times.

  1. Bad News Bears: Jodie Foster kicks butt.
  2. Harry Potter Books & Movies: Hermoine Granger shows girls can be smart and non-conforming to beauty stereotypes.
  3. Malala: MalalaYousafzai’s story is inspirational and focused on the inner person.
  4. Hunger Games: Books more than movies, because Katniss comes off more as a tomboy in the books.

And, check out this incredible video from a would-be beauty queen who choses to be her natural, pretty self.

America the Sexy: A look at beauty standards




“Girl Power” – Some useful tips from the Girls Leadership Institute


When the inevitable “fight” occurs between your daughter and another girl, I’m reminded every day how little I understand girls.

Girls, seem to file away each slight (intended or unintended) and have the uncanny ability to recall the most minute details years later.  Boys seem relatively easy and straightforward in comparison.  They will act like bone-heads towards each other, but they seem to get over it quickly.

As pointed out by our speaker from the Girls Leadership Institute (GLI), this attention to detail, coupled with a proclivity to hold grudges, creates a “snow ball” effect with girls.  Essentially, a minor dispute can quickly turn into drama of gigantic proportions.  The result more often than not is a hysterically crying daughter feeling like her soul is being crushed by the weight of the world!

So, what is a parent to do?  The speaker of GLI introduced the concept of “contribution.”  For the younger girls, the concept is described as a “double sorry.”  In my words, the concept is describing the old adage “it takes two to tango.”  The key here is for your daughter to recognize her own role in the dispute, take ownership, and put the actions of her offender in perspective.  For younger girls, GLI describes a double sorry as a way of making both girls realize there is something for each of them to be sorry about in a conflict.

The contribution concept is a very powerful one, in my opinion.  Instead of being the victim, your traumatized girl needs to understand what her role was in the confrontation.  You can ask her what she contributed to escalate the situation and how she could have prevented the escalation (well after the sobbing has stopped).

This exercise is meant to empower your daughter, not to make her feel she is to blame.  By recognizing that the elements behind a confrontation are not one way and straightforward, your girl can begin to think beyond the knee-jerk emotional response.  By examining her own contribution to a confrontation, your girl is in a better position to identify the actions and words that really upset her.

Admittedly, this is no easy task.  One of the hardest things for a girl to do is to approach a peer and talk about her feelings and how the other girl had hurt them. The GLI recommends role-playing with your daughter to help her practice so that she can choose her words and tone of voice in an appropriate manner.  As GLI pointed out, this process is difficult for anyone.  The only way to muster the confidence needed for good delivery is through practice.

I find the concept both powerful and enabling.  The ability to discuss hurtful comments with the person who made them is a useful skill and will serve your daughter well throughout life  The goal here is simple: help your daughter find her own voice and the confidence to use it.

For more information about the GLI, check out http://www.girlsleadershipinstitute.org/about-gli/The-Power-Of-Girls-Leadership-Institute

Been enjoying the writing, so who cares about not making money? Joan Rivers knows…

“People say that money is not the key to happiness.  But I always figured if you have enough money, you can have a key made.”  Joan Rivers

I think she had that smile made, too…joan rivers

Give your kids enough rope…part 2: why do moms hold each other to such high standards?

Many moms (and maybe some dads) have trouble just letting go.  Some parents feel guilty, others worry.  Many are driven by the fear of judgmental parents (mostly moms, by I’m trying not to be sexist).   Most guys don’t care if their kids go to school with bed-head and wrinkled clothes.  However, having other moms see your disheveled kids seems to be a high fear-factor for most.

Why do moms hold other moms to such high standards?  Why do parents drive themselves nuts trying to ensure that their kids look presentable?  Leave your kid alone, and they will probably look homeless at first.  However, they will get the idea pretty quickly; most people don’t want to look and smell like…well, crap.

Just try leaving themselves to their own resources in the morning, while keeping a watchful yet stealth eye on them.  What’s the worst that can happen?  When they are late to school and missing their homework, they will get in trouble with a respected authority figure..their teachers!

I’m not suggesting that we outsource the discplining of our children to their teachers.  But, it doesn’t hurt to let them fail now and then and face the consequences.  How do you expect to raise a self-reliant, responsible, well-adjusted child if you pamper, indulge, and babysit them on a regular basis?