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.

kid-yelling-at-mom-e1311649360391 shutterstock_103529144__1376054441_74.134.205.46 zzsnotty1

 

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…

640px-Bratz-bratz-dolls-23272890-1352-803 113609_max 428093_390701994292259_1418724410_n liv-dolls-300x300 monsterhigh-300x286

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Doll-faced girls teetering in 8-inch wedges; watch out!!

After attending a couple of  high school graduations this Spring, I’ve now had time to reflect on the popular style sported by many girls.  And, I have to ask the question – what were their parents thinking?

I’m sure we all remember the crushing angst of high school and the burning desire to ‘fit in.’  Fashions change over the year.  Girls will always want to wear an obscene amount of make-up.  I saw girls with enough mascara to even make Ozzy Osbourne feel out-done.

But, the most alarming fashion item this year, aside from the preponderance of skin tight dresses barely covering little bottoms, were the ‘platform wedges.’

wedges

These things don’t look like they were designed for walking.  I was on the edge of my seat as I watched girls precariously strutting up to the podium to receive their diplomas.  An apt analogy would be watching NASCAR – you don’t want to see a horrible wreck, but it seems as if one is always on the verge of happening.

So it goes for the teenager with little to no practice walking in high heels.  Yet, it seemed some girls were really trying to out-do each other with the height of their wedges.  I was reminded of the band KISS strutting out in crazy platform boots from outer space.

As parents, we just want our kids to be happy.  We want them to fit in.  Maybe, by the time they’re ready to graduate from high school, we’re just sick and tired of trying to talk sense into them.  Of course, falling flat on your face during a graduation ceremony would be much more traumatic than wearing flats to your graduation and after-parties.

Yes, as I guy, I had it easy – and still do.  Dress shoes with a blazer and khakis is the perennial favorite (thank goodness!).  But, I have a daughter.  As such, I have a vested interest in spotting fashion trends.

However, there were plenty of confident, self-assured and height-challenged girls wearing flats or something with heels 2 inches or less.  They looked lovely – in many ways much more so than the girls trying to be fashionable.  It gave me hope.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What if we could turn back the clock on intrusive technology?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a huge fan of tech.  Maybe I’m too much of a fan…

old phoneBut, there are times when you want your kids to be in the ‘now.’  You want them to pay attention, listen, and interact with you.

Dinnertime is traditionally the sacred time where no interruptions are tolerated.  Why do I often have to spy the phone concealed under the table while my kids try to covertly text their friends?

“Dad, it’s so unfair,” my kids say.  “All of my friends are allowed to have their phones at dinner.”  Yeah, and monkeys can fly.  I’m sure parents out there have heard similar accusations that “you” are the only parent setting limits.

Theoretically, we could take the cordless phones, smart phones, cell phones, tablets, etc. and lock them in a closet.  We actually have an old land-line phone in the basement for emergencies (i.e. power outages).  It’s the only reason why we haven’t jettisoned the home phone – a growing trend with younger generations who don’t see the purpose of a land-line phone (or have never seen one!).

Imagine only having a land-line phone in the house.  No voicemail or caller ID.  How would your kids deal with this situation?  I think my kids would go through the common stages of mourning – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and more anger.  I don’t think they’d ever reach the stage of acceptance.

How could they?  We can’t go back in tech-time, nor do we want to go back.  But, our senses are continually assaulted by text chimes, ringing phones, flashing icons, and devices vibrating incessantly.

The point of the exercise would be meaningless.  We would hope our kids realize that it’s OK to let that one text message wait until the end of dinner let that one call go into voicemail.

Until we adults can overcome these urges, how we can’t expect our kids to do the same? Good luck with that…

 

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

“You need to wear a helmet!”…”but none of the other kids do,” says my son. What the what?!

skateboarder

This is Shaun White, by the way.  He gets paid to be a lunatic, and even HE wears a helmet.

All of the tween/teen boys in the neighborhood are officially skateboard lemmings.  They ride their boards everywhere.  They try do out-do each other with fancy tricks.  One kid wears homemade gloves with steel spikes so he can make sparks as he cruises.

Leave it to the moms to introduce some safety into the equation.  All of the moms made a pact to enforce helmet-wearing while skateboarding.  Moms acting together are a powerful force and not to be trifled with…

When my wife informed my son he had to wear a helmet, he quickly replied that none of his friends did.  Of course, she was armed with several examples of (a few) kids in our neighborhood who actually wear helmets.

His reply, “You’ve always told me not to do what other kids are doing.”  Priceless…

And, yes, he is now wearing a helmet.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AOOs8MaR1YM

Signs of smart phone addiction (kids and adults)

Drum roll, please…

letterman

10.  A full battery charge barely lasts the day.

My kids have ingeniously procured these nifty battery pack/cases.  They are a protective case and double the battery life.  Pretty cool, right?  Not when you find them under the covers at 1am still ‘gaming.’

9.  You download apps just for the fun of it.

My kids easily have over 200 apps, and counting.  Unfortunately, I think the latest roll-out of Apple’s iOS (with folder function) theoretically allows the user to downloand something like 2,800+ apps.  Why?  Because they say it’s fun to download them.

8.  You actually use more than 10 apps on a regular basis.

Some apps are necessary and useful (contacts, calendar, online banking, maps, etc.)  Other apps have become a part of our lives (Facebook, Twitter, Kindle, iTunes, etc.).  Do you really need and use all of the apps you have?  My kids literally have more than 10 different game versions (apps) of ‘Tomb Raider.’

7.  Realizing you forgot to bring your phone with is a panic-inducing.

On a recent trip to do some day-hiking, my son left is iPhone at home.  Close to tears, he wanted us to turn the car around when we were almost at our destination (about 30 minutes drive).  When she forgets her iTouch, my daughter has been known to just stare at my son’s iPhone while he plays it.

6.  You’re on your smart phone even when hanging out with friends.

When my kids hang out with your friends, say at the park or at the house, I’ve noticed times when everyone is on their smart phone.  Sometimes they can play the same game online – the “virtual play date.”

5.  You take your phone to the bathroom.

My kids’ bathroom visits have lengthened considerably since they started taking their devices in with them.

4.  You “dress up” your smart phone.

Simply put, you own more than one smart phone case and change them regularly just to mix things up.

3. You feel the need to respond immediately.

When that chime goes off or the phone rings, my kids immediately rush for their phones.  When this behavior interrupted dinner, I initiated the basket rule (they need permission to take out their devices).

 2. You feel restless and/or bored when your phone is not in your hands.

If you experience intense curiosity or even anxiety when you can’t check your texts, Twitter, Facebook, or whatever, you are hooked.

And, the number one reason you know your kid (or you) are a smart phone addict –

1. You are oblivious to where you are and who you are with.

When I had to start repeating everything 3 or 4 times, I knew distraction-prone smart phones had to go.  When I noticed my kids (and myself) unintentionally ignoring or neglecting family members and friends, I realized we all had a problem…

 

inspiration for signs of addiction from: Huff Post article by Carolyn Gregoire, iMore.com, allgrownup.com (all of these signs were aimed at adults…until now)

Good quote from the writer on allgrownup.com  “Is what I’m looking at my phone for more important than what I’m choosing to look away from?”

 

 

Anybody know a good rehab center for child iPhone addiciton?!

In any elevator or line at Starbucks, almost every adult is in the smartphone prayer position; head tilted down, elbows bent at a 90 degree angle, reverently holding their smartphone talisman.

people-using-their-smartphones

We were out to dinner as a family Saturday night, and the young couple sitting next to us spent the majority of their dining experience on their iPhones.  I was turning to my wife to attempt a witty comment, when I noticed my own kids were bent over their iPhones and iTouch, madly swiping away with manic concentration.

That’s when it hit me – my kids were i-Addicts…We all know of the epidemic, and we are complacently allowing our children to get hooked.

Children using smartphones

drI thought my solution to the problem was straight-forward.  I put a basket on the kitchen counter and told the kids that, from now on, all devices go in the basket.   I told my kids they need permission from a parent to take a device out of the basket.

An onslaught of tears, outright insubordination, and claims of unconstitutional parenting ensued.  A family meeting (intervention) did not help the situation.  Their reaction is likely not dissimilar from taking drugs away from an addict…almost.

I looked up a couple of articles that deal with smart phone addiction.  Interestingly, I also exhibit many signs of an smart phone addict.  I guess the first step in solving the problem is leading by example.

In a follow-up post, the symptoms of an iPhone, Crackberry, or Android addict will be summarized.  Just watch where you’re driving…my posts aren’t that important.

drive text

 

 

 

The decandent, chinese-food eating wonder twins are back…

Moms and dads, do not try this at home…please…
chinese food kidsA previous post about poor eating habits we pass along to our children showed the wonder twins relaxing in between courses, if you recall…

fat kids 4 This has been a public service announcement brought to you by your local Chinese food restaurant.

Hey porky! The new kids of America…

The following article gives good insight on how today’s food conglomerates mirror the addictive additive techniques and shameless youth-targeted advertising of the infamous tobacco industry: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food.  

Because a picture is worth “a thousand words…”

fat kid 1 fat kid 2 fat kid 3 fat kids 4

Please be offended unless you’re raising your kids to be Sumo Wrestlers…

kid sumo

What ever happened to boys like the Beavers…

thin beavers

Tell your kids to get ‘pumped,’ not ‘stumped.’ Why some kids flip out while others can handle stress…

Some useful take-aways from a really longgg article in the New York Times titled “Why Can Some Kids Handle Pressure While Others Fall Apart?” If you want to read the whole thing: NYT article on kid stress

How ‘elite’ athletes view stress/pressure: “There are many psychological and physiological reasons that long-term stress is harmful, but the science of elite performance has drawn a different conclusion about short-term stress. Studies that compare professionals with amateur competitors — whether concert pianists, male rugby or female volleyball players — show that professionals feel just as much anxiety as amateurs. The difference is in how they interpret their anxiety. The amateurs view it as detrimental, while the professionals tend to view stress as energizing. It gets them to focus.”

Also, about 65% of students who were told anxiety/stress would actually make them perform better on the test did better than those who hadn’t been introduced to this notion. This reinforces the idea that how stress is viewed (positively or negatively) is key to performance.

The doctor conducting this studying is quoted as saying, “When people say, ‘I’m stressed out,’ it means, ‘I’m not doing well.’ It doesn’t mean, ‘I’m excited.”

Tell your kids to get ‘pumped,’ not ‘stumped.’

 

Who really manages the household when both parents work?!?

In this post-recession period (if it’s really over), money is tight, job security is a thing of the past, and both men and women are working longer hours.  What hasn’t changed?  In dual-income families, women still perform a disproportionate amount of child-raising and household tasks regardless of which spouse works longer hours or has a higher income.

overworked mom2

That’s not to say fathers don’t contribute.  But, the mother will typically take the lead when it comes to arranging play dates, signing up for activities, managing babysitters and nannies, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, and the list goes on…

Changing years of traditional gender-specific parenting roles is not easy.  However, dads are participating in child-raising duties more than at any other stage of our evolution.  The age of coming home, kicking back, and catching up on the news is a thing of the past…

lazy dad

Many dads cook, clean the kitchen, and even (shudder) fold laundry.  Dads read bedtime stories and tuck the kids in for the night.  But, when it comes to meeting with teachers, organizing activities, and working out car pool logistics, moms usually still take the lead.

But, now this is all changing with the emergence of competent & confident stay-at-home dads.  Kid of sucks for the traditional couch potato.

To be continued…