Archive for November, 2007

Have We Really Evolved?

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Parents Say Online Bullies Caused Daughter’s Suicide

When your children are little, and when they fall and hurt themselves it’s easy to kiss the hurt and apply a band-aid.

But as they get older, the world can be cold and cruel, and situations that can’t be fixed with a band-aid and kiss.

The story in recent news is incredible and makes me wonder if we’ve really evolved at all. Parents posing as a teen age boy befriend a 14-year-old girl online. The girl’s parents took all the right precautions regarding Internet safety, but after ‘Josh’ befriended their daughter, he began to say cruel and hurtful things.

The intention of the parents pretending to be Josh was to see if the girl said anything bad about their daughter. That in itself is unreal. But the story gets worse because the teenage girl was on medication for ADD and depression, and hung herself because of the cruelty.

When it was realized that this was a hoax, the girl’s parents confronted the neighborhood family that created Josh and after losing their tempers did some damage to their property, and called the police.

The law cannot do anything to the family that created this hoax, while there is a family that no longer has their little girl. She had a name – it was Megan Miers.

Please remember her name because Megan’s parents are working on legislation to change the law so this doesn’t happen to someone else’s child. When they need support, I’m sure they can count on every parent that wants to protect their children.

My heart goes out to this family, along with my support.

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Reality TV and our boring lives

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Have you ever watched your life from the outside looking in? If someone were to do that and look in on my life, it would not be very good television. That makes me happy. It isn’t my goal to be a guest on Dr. Phil or Nanny 911. The same applies to my friends and family.

In fact I’ve often wondered about the families that appear on these shows. Where is their ‘village’ in their lives that offer support. They either don’t have any or didn’t listen if advice was offered.

A new book is out by Dr. John Rosemon entitled “Parenting by The Book” (Howard Books, 2007), his 12th book on parenting, Rosemond attributes parental stress, frustration, anxiety, and guilt to the fact that they’ve adopted a postmodern psychological parenting paradigm that doesn’t work.

He suggests that we move away from child-centered parenting, which he believes is the cause of so many negative parenting experiences.

Without having the benefit of reading his book, I would believe his theory has some merit. I know that many families are reluctant to abandon the play dates and aggressive activity schedules simply because they would be the first to do so, and then what would their children do?

Collectively, we need to start and take back control of our families. Now is a great time to start.

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Relying On Your Own Instincts

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I’ve always felt that there is a lot that business and parenting have in common, but at the top of the list is a tremendous reliance on instincts supported by good information.

This realization started for me when my kids were little and the experts said that they should cry it out when they went to sleep. That didn’t quite sit right with me. Not knowing any better, we let the kids sleep on our floor. The unspoken message was, ‘we not shutting the door on you, we’re always here for you.’

I suppose our problem is that we often look at things in black and white, when most are a bright shade of grey. The case of helicopter parenting is looked on as parenting having a long distance umbilical cord – I even wrote about this! But in reality, perhaps the difference between excessive hovering and parenting is simply about being there when needed.

Seems pretty black and white to me.

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Defining your Family Culture

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Here all mankind is equal: rich and poor alike. They love their children.

-Euripides

When you were growing up, there were different kinds of families. Did you ever wonder how they got that way? Somebody defined them.

Now, you are the grown up and you get to set the stage. Think of your home as your castle, where members of the family feel loved, safe, and unafraid of making mistakes. When family members do something that is not acceptable, they will know that at home they are loved, but that the negative behavior needs to change as it compromises the home environment and everyone in it.

One of the most powerful things you can do is to create a family culture, which defines your family as something unique.

Creating a Family Culture

Define your family. Even create a mission statement. Example: “Our home is a safe haven where family members are loved unconditionally and encouraged to pursue their own passion.”
• Have one message. Despite different parenting styles; have a single voice.
• Treat your family as you would company. Why wait to put out the good dishes and fancy tablecloth?
• Establish meaningful and even silly traditions. When they grow up, children will remember that snow days always meant hot chocolate.
• Have fun. Did you ever notice kids don’t have to be told to dance on the bubble wrap?
• Enjoy every stage of parenting. If you’re rushing through one stage, what makes you think that you’ll enjoy the next?

Exerpted from Because Kids Don’t Come With Manuals®: Contemporary Advice for Parents by Tina Nocera

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