Parenting

  • 5 Steps to Helping Your Unhappy Child

     

    As parents,  we innately want to make our children happy.  We constantly walk a fine line between enabling and empowering, discipling and disregarding, etc. However, any parent will tell you that all of this easier said than done.  Thoughtful and intentional parenting is work, really hard work.  It takes another level of connectedness that can barely be explained.  Have you ever “felt” the pain of your child? When they hurt, you hurt. You’re elated when they are successful and beyond words when you feel like you’re unable to help them. That’s the level of connectedness that I refer to when I speak of thoughtful parenting.

     

    Temporary  Sadness vs. Unhappiness

    I’m not talking about my team just lost the game unhappy.  I’m referring to the type of unhappiness a child experiences when they feel as if they don’t ever fit in with peers or when they feel like they can never earn good grades regardless of how hard they’ve tried.  Watching our child feel lost, empty and downright unhappy, can feel like a punch in the gut. (more…)

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  • Back to High School

    September is just two weeks away! Honestly, where did this summer go? The rain just washed it away! Any who – we always hear about “back to school” tips. Usually in the first week of July when the kiddos just got out of those locker-lined halls. Instead of planning barbecues and laying out by the pool, we are bombarded with backpacks, pencils and binders flooding an entire fourth of Target. So, we decided to wait until the appropriate time to talk with you about a lesser discussed subject -“back to high school” tips! Today I am going to be writing about what you can do as a parent to help your child prepare for their first day as a high school freshman.

     

    1.    Familiarity

    Help your child get familiar with their new school. They’ve never been here before and it’s probably much larger and more intimidating then their middle school was. Some schools offer an orientation where all of the kids can come in and get familiar with the building as well as practice their locker combinations. However, if your child’s school district does not offer orientation at the end of summer, make sure to find a time where you and your kid can take a tour of the school. It is particularly helpful if you already have their school schedule, that way you can easily help them locate the classes that they will be attending and do a general run-through of their day! If possible, picking up a school map will help if your child gets confused and can’t remember where a class is located.

    1.    Organization

    Help your child prepare for their first day of high school. While many teachers don’t give out a list of supplies until the first day of school, it is best to come prepared on the first day with a folder, notebook, pen and pencil. Trust me, there are going to be a lot of handouts! When your child gets home from school, go through their lists of supplies with them and make a plan to get everything that they need. If you are looking to cut back on costs (who isn’t?), try to scavenge around the house for supplies that you may already have lying around from previous years. You can also plan a supply swap with friends and family. For example, while you might have an extra notebook you don’t need, a friend might have an extra folder that you do need. You can then swap items! If all else fails, the Dollar Store is always a great option!

    1.    Involvement

    High school offers a wide variety of clubs, sports and other opportunities. Encourage your child take advantage of these! You can help by taking a look at the school’s website and seeing what kind of extracurricular activities they have to offer. Sit down with your child and weed out the ones that they are not interested in and zero in on the ones that fascinate them. Having your child get involved in something like soccer, drama club, or student council will help them attain a sense of belonging. It will also help them expand on their circle of friends and find where they fit in. Multiple small middle schools often merge into one larger high school so there is a good chance that there are a lot of people your child does not know yet. Participating in activities will help them branch out while also discovering their interests!

    1.    Communication

    Always keep the lines of communication open. Your child is going through change and may be anxious about this new transition in their life. The work load changes from middle school to high school and your child may be under more stress than he/she once was. Your child is also experiencing bodily changes as they are now becoming an adult, which can be a very confusing time. You can help your child get through this by keeping an open dialogue about the struggles that they are going through. Monitor their feelings and let them know that you are listening and that you care. If you notice any warning signs of severe anxiety, lower self-esteem or depression, seek help. Talking with the student guidance counselor is a good place to start.

     

    These next four years are going to be exciting for your child. As parents, you’re going to be able to watch them transform from your precious babies into wonderful adults. Always remember that no one is perfect. Allow them to make mistakes, it helps them grow! Just make sure the mistakes aren’t too big. Happy high schooling!

     

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  • Public Nursing Now Legal in All 50 States – YAHOO!!!!!

    Last week, breastfeeding in public became legal in all 50 states. Hooray! We did it, ladies! While this is an amazing accomplishment and a step in the right direction for mother’s and women’s rights, surprisingly enough, it was still illegal for the longest time. Now, moms (finally) have laws and rights that specifically protect them from harassment while nursing in public. But that doesn’t stop the public from feeling offended or uncomfortable by this natural act.

     

    Back in July in Minnesota – a state that already has laws that protects nursing mothers – Stephanie Buchanan was at a public pool with her sister-in-law and her three-month-old son. Once Buchanan started to feed her son, she told CNN affiliate WCCO that “a patron came up, a lady, at the pool and told me that I needed to cover up because her sons were swimming”. She refused, and a few minutes later, was approached by an employee of the pool who asked her to go into a more private area. She again refused, and the police were called to the scene. Mary Davis, Buchanan’s sister-in-law shared her thoughts on the double standard of nursing to WCCO: “People have no problem seeing puppies feed from their mama […] But the minute mama’s breastfeeding, some people, it makes them uncomfortable. … They have a certain set of expectations how a mother should breastfeed” Buchanan protested this by organizing a “nurse-in” where hundreds of mothers across the state of Minnesota went to the pool to openly nurse in public. Buchanan also plans on filing a police report. Thankfully, she has the law on her side.

     

    Breasts only biologically exist to produce milk for nursing and feeding young children, but they have been so overly-sexualized by the media and the patriarchy that we as a society have completely forgotten their purpose. Breastfeeding in public has become so taboo because of societal beliefs and norms. Lawmakers have been afraid of legalizing public nursing because women would feel inclined to ”whip it out and do it anywhere” which was a popular belief back in 2003 and – believe it or not – was still a main factor in why it took so long to legalize this completely natural act.

     

    The last two states to pass the legislatures were Utah and Idaho. Utah Representative Curt Webb expressed his opinions during a hearing on the act. The Salt Lake Tribune picked it up: “This seems to say you don’t have to cover up at all. I’m not comfortable with that, I’m just not. It’s really in your face”. A Utah woman even talked to Buzzfeed News about her experience breastfeeding in public. She was excommunicated from her religion because the church leaders believed the act was sexualized and immodest. But it’s not sexualized and immodest, it’s a natural connection between mother and child; all mammals do it.  

     

    And this is exactly why Stephanie Buchanan protested her public pool. Some people today still believe that breastfeeding in public is an act of indecency. The fact of the matter is mothers can’t control when or where their kid gets hungry (they certainly wish they could, but this is not a perfect world). This is not an indecency issue. This is a sexism issue. Representative Paul Amador fought for the bill in Idaho’s state legislature and got it passed 66-0 with no debate or fight. He said to the House: “Personally, I find it disappointing that we’re in 2018 and we still haven’t passed this law in Idaho. I think we can take a proactive stance here through legislation to promote the natural bond and health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child. I also believe the health and nutritional choices of our families are best left as decisions for our families, not our government”. Amador is a new father of a 5-month-old son, which may have helped sway his opinion on the issue.

     

    With this incredible and progressive landmark, we can only hope that the stigma of nursing in public will become a thing of the past. It is important that we educate those younger than us and let them know that nursing is not an act of indecency, instead, it actually creates and strengthens the natural and healthy bond between mother and child.

     

    MOMS, KNOW YOUR RIGHTS:

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  • Summer Reading Tips

    I have always loved to read. Even as a kid I was never pushed to read. Give me a good book any day and I’ll get sucked right into it. Reading has many benefits that can especially help with brain development. The United States Department of Education found that children who choose to read on their own time are more likely to score higher on reading scores than those who don’t (from the National Education Association). The Department had polled 12th-grade students in the 1990s and found out that the number of students who said that they “never” read or “hardly ever read” rose from 9 to 16 percent (National Education Association). Most kids have a hard time getting excited about reading: when it’s assigned to them, it feels like a chore, and when it’s on their own time, it seems boring.

    “Incentives”

    Fortunately, there are always so many ways to help your child get excited about reading over the summer. Many organizations and companies have summer reading programs. For example, T.D. Bank will give $10 to kids in grades K-5th who have read 10 books over the summer months. The kids just have to track their reading on a sheet and hand it into their nearest bank (you can find the information here). The organization We Are Teachers posted a list of 10 programs that they love on their blog. It includes programs from companies like Barnes and Noble, Scholastic, and Chuck E. Cheese.

    Ideas

    We Are Teachers also suggests checking out your local public library. Public libraries will always have summer reading activities for kids of all ages. For example, the Princeton Public Library offers a program for kids ages K-5th, while the Woodbridge Public Library offers an escape room type activity for teenagers. The libraries have great programs that will not only get your kids reading, but will have them getting involved with their community as well.

    If your child is struggling to find something to read, Read Brightly has created their own list of what they think were the best children’s and YA books of 2018. Surely, your kid will find something to read on this list.

    Activites

    If you want to plan out an entire summer’s worth of reading, Reading Rockets has a list of activities and adventures that you can do with your kid over the 10 weeks of summer. These activities are more educational and help maintain reading skills over the summer months. One activity involves writing out favorite flavors of ice cream and listing them in alphabetical order. These are great activities for younger kids who are just developing their reading skills.

     

    Summer reading doesn’t have to be hard. There are so many helpful and amazing ways to get your kids’ minds active, and still make sure that their season off is one to remember.

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