Archive for May, 2008

Who’s to say when you should mind your own business

While in a PG13 rated movie splattered with gratuitous violence, you witness a parent slapping a toddler knowing full well the toddler is smart enough to know he shouldn’t even be watching the movie.

While parking your car in a Dunkin’ Donuts lot, you see two young children with the window opened just a crack as their mom stands on the long line for coffee.

Selfish parenting, child abuse and neglect is not only about broken bones, bruises and abandonment. With the publicity surrounding the Texas polygamist-sect kids, one has to wonder exactly what does constitute a reason to step in.
The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled that the state offered “legally and factually insufficient” grounds for the “extreme” measure of removing all children from the ranch, from babies to teenagers.

The state never provided evidence that the children were in any immediate danger, the only grounds in Texas law for taking children from their parents without court approval, the appeals court said.

Think about the everyday situations you encounter where you aren’t certain if you should say something with the slight chance your response will be met positively; far more likely that you will be told to mind your own business.

The question is when is it our business? If the courts can’t figure it out – how can we?

Your thoughts? Please leave a comment, I’m really interested in what you have to say.

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Mandatory Parenting Classes? Who’s Teaching?

If Rockland County Legislator Jacques Michel, D-Spring Valley has his way, before couples can walk down the aisle they will be required to take parenting classes.

Three questions comes to my mind
1. Who’s teaching?
2. If we truly believe that every individual is unique, then we have an unlimited number of unique possiblilies. How can we possibly predict on the right way to parent considering that each person was parented differently?
3. Why assume that all people planning for marriage even want children? In a perfect world, people wouldn’t have children because it would be the next logical phase in their lives, or because they got tired of people asking them when they were planning to start a family.

The best reason to have children is because you really want children and have clearly thought through the decision.

The beginning is the most important part of any work. – Plato

But how do you think through something as unique as the experience of parenting? It begins with knowing yourself. This short list of questions may be helpful to review before you decide to have children.

10 Things to Consider Before You Have Children…

1. Would you want to have you as a parent?
2. Have there been times when you could have been more generous?
3. Do you treat the people that matter in your life as well as you should?
4. Is your relationship with your spouse strong enought to withstand the stress of children?
5. What sacrifices are you willing to make to be able to afford children?
6. What family traditions will you carry on, and what new traditions will you both create together?
7. What is your idea of quality family time?
8. How will you decide how to share family holidays?
9. Do you believe it is your job as a parent to tell a child what to think or how to think?
10. Is there something about your spouse that makes you look forward to becoming a parent, or is there something that has you concerned?

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

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Jury Duty Compared to Working Little League Concession Stand

Of all the wonderful memories I have of my children growing up, one of the worst was the rotation of working the concession stand at little league.

In order of preference I would put jury duty and root canal surgery ahead of that task.

A 7-year-old Massachusetts boy was benched during his Little League baseball game because his mother failed to show up to work the league’s concession stand, and the mother isn’t happy about it.

Jodi Hooper of Freetown said she was unable to fulfill her obligation at the concession stand because she couldn’t get time off from work, according to MyFOXBoston.

Dave Brouillette, head of the Freetown Youth Athletic Association, told MyFOXBoston that the concession revenues are necessary to fund the league’s programs and that he has to enforce the rules, which require parents show up for their assigned concession stand shifts or risk suspensions for their children.

Brouillette told the station that he wasn’t able to see his own son play because he had to cover the concession stand shift for Hooper, according to MyFOXBoston.

As usual, we’re focusing on the wrong things. Instead let’s consider:

1. We have too many adults involved in children’s sports which is taking away from the real objective; to have children learn a sport, have fun and team building skills without adult interference.

2. If parents sign up their child, they are there to see them play, not watch fries turn a lovely golden brown.

3. Why is the concession stand needed anyway? Don’t we have an obesity problem in this country as it is?

Adults, get out of the way and let kids play.

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Another Reason Families Love Steven Spielberg

Tell me a fact and I’ll learn,
Tell me a truth and I’ll believe,
But tell me story and it will live in my heart forever.

-Indian Proverb

One of the many happy memories I have of my children when they were little, was my son Michael walking around town with a Fedora as shopkeepers would call out, “Hi Indy.” My son loved the Indiana Jones movies so much, that at four-years of age, he wanted to be an archaeologist-adventurer.

A good story teller gets you to believe. As a family, together we enjoyed every movie Steven Spielberg made because you were told a great story and felt a part of that story.

Last night, with children now young adults, we went to the movies and saw the trailer for the new Indiana Jones movie with a fully grown Indiana Jones – and we can’t wait to once again enjoy it together.

Tina Nocera, Founder
Parental Wisdom

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Mom’s Job Description vs. Celebrity Mom’s Entourage

We applaud as they sit on Oprah’s couch just weeks after giving birth back to their svelte bodies as they tell us how wonderful motherhood is. They are celebrity moms, and babies are the new ‘must have’ accessory.

The reason they are svelte and showered is because the adage ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ has a totally different meaning for celebrity moms. They gush about the joy of having children, as we somehow do without the personal trainer, nutritionist, dietician, stylist – and let’s not forget round-the-clock nannies, housekeepers and nurses that take care of the kids. We’re lucky if we get to use the bathroom alone.

We suffer from ‘momnesia’ where we lose our memories because so much attention is spent on the children. We’re putting a load of laundry in as we get dinner started, homework checked, schedule doctors visits, and fundraise for little league all of which begins after we get home from work. And Microsoft invented multi-tasking?

Our prizes are not awards and our outings are not on the red carpet where the paparazzi fights to take our pictures. But we forever have the mental images of the parks, games, concerts, school plays, graduations and family dinners as we’re blessed with the most wonderful gift – each other.

Remember, we’re in this together so the next time a three-year-old is having a meltdown at the checkout line at Target, ask the mom if she needs a hand. Let’s not judge each other’s choices about working or staying at home, or how we spend what little time we have. Just give a nod, a smile and sometimes an encouraging word – after all, we share the world’s greatest job title – Mom.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Tina Nocera
Founder, Parental Wisdom

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Resident Evil

This is what evil looks like.

This story is the most horrible, unbelievable story I’ve ever heard. Read the news story.

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Build Me a Memory

In an earlier blog I had written about controlling the amount of money spent on children’s gifts, and recognizing when children are getting too much. I was referring to gifts that guests bring to the birthday child.

You see the gifts that really count are the ones you give to your child in the form of experiences and memories – no occasion or budget required.

I just had a wonderful experience with my daughter that we’ve been meaning to share; we finally visited Serendipity, a New York landmark famous for their frrrrrozen hot cocoa.

Unlike gift cards, memories have no expiration dates.

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