3/20/2010

Big Bullies

Question:
There is a boy in one of my classes that really intimidates me and bullies me. He always seems to do it when the teacher isn't paying attention. I try to avoid him a sit far from him, but he always seems to follow me and single me out. I have really started to be afraid of him and hate going to this class. I hide anytime I see him in the hallway. I don't want to tell my parents because I am afraid that they'll freak out, but I'm really scared, I need to do something. What should I do?
-A high school freshman

Answer:
You're right, you need to do something. You shouldn't be afraid to go to class. Talk with a few close friends. Chances are someone has had a similar experience and knows which teacher, principal, guidance counselor handles these situations best. If that doesn't work, talk to your high school guidance counselor or assitant principal. There's a really good chance this kid is bullying others and they will know the best way to handle it. If you are afraid of repercussions, stress to them that you are afraid and you really need this handled annonymously.


Whaddya think?

Cherished Trust

Question:
I have a friend who was raped. She made me promise not to tell anyone but I would really like to. Should I break her trust and tell someone, and if so, who?
-A high school sophmore

Answer:
Wow, that is quite a dilema. The short answer is yes, and this is why. After such a traumatic experience your friend will need help healing and processing. She told you because whe wants help and doesn't know where to go for it. The best person to tell is your parent(s). Life lessons will have taught them what to do and where to go for help. If you don't have this kind of relationship with your parents, find someone- an adult- that you trust. A school guidance counselor or principal, a church youth leader, a teacher, a grandparent. If you can't think of anyone that you can go to for help for your friend, tell me. I'll help.


Whaddya think?

A Heming and Hawing Husband

Question:
I am a stay at home mom with one child and one on the way. Although we are still young, up to this point my husband has been very wishy washy while choosing a career. Currently he is in the military with 6 months left on his contract before he can take advantage of the G.I. Bill and go to college. He is kinda an adrenline junky, so after his contract is up, he wants to go to school and then do something like join the FBI or the DEA. I want him to do something that isn't as dangerous and will allow us to live close to our families. I have served my time as a single parent while he's lively dangerously everyday and I love living close by my family. How can I help my husband pick a career that will keep him safe and close by our family?


Answer:
I do agree that your husband needs to make up his mind and choose a career. He's fathered two children and has a responsibility to provide for his family. And no career is going to be fun and games all the time. Yours isn't- I'm sure if given the choice you would choose to not deal with stomach viruses and potty training. He needs to find a career that he will enjoy most of the time. Having said that, he does have a little more time to waffle around. He still has time left on his contract and then there will be quite a few general courses he can take before he has to decide on a career.
Most importantly, don't forget in this career pursuit that he has graciously allowed you to make your own career choice. You chose to be a stay at home mom, which is a noble career choice and kudos to you. You need to allow your husband to do the same, even if he chooses something you would not have chosen for him. You get veto rights (ie- you can not be an undercover cop, we will not move our family to Brazil or NYC) but ultimately you need to allow your husband to choose a career that he will be happy at everyday (or atleast most days). It is very difficult living with a husband who hates his job (and its miserable for him as well), and that will trickle down and affect the family as a whole. You can absolutely brainstorm and come up with lists of ideas. But, it is HIS choice and you need to respect that, just as he honored and respected your choice.

Whaddya think?

3/12/2010

Life in this Digital World

Growing up we were taught to look both ways before we crossed the street, not to answer the phone/door when we were home alone and not to go with strangers. But, our parents didn't teach us how to be safe in a digital world because there wasn't a digital world.
There has been lots of studies done on the effect of television on kids, but not internet use. Our kids ARE the study. There is no rulebook, only common sense and lessons learned from mistakes. So, whether your kids are 2 or 52 (or you don't have kids at all) I want to know what you've learned and what you think.

1. Blogging Safety. Here are great links to blogging safety...

Because I don't want to be a Dateline Special

Blog Safety


2. Internet Safety. Kids nowadays have facebook accounts at 14 and email addresses at 8. My friend told me today that her 8 year old runs home every day to check her email account and was asking her the other day how to google an image and add it to her outgoing email. Our kids are going to grow up to be much more computer literate than we are, so how do we stay ahead of them now? What things must we be doing to keep them safe? What should we be teaching them and what guidelines should we be setting?

With facebook, youtube, myspace and personal email addresses, there is a whole new world out there for our kids.

3. Cell Phone Safety. A kid in a nearby town just got arrested for child porn because he was sexting. In this case he forwarded on a naked pic of his ex-girlfriend to his current girlfriend and the pic went viral. What guidelines do we need for cell phone use? What should we be teaching our kids here?

My kids are still kinda young, but they are growing up fast and before I know it, I'm going hear, "Mom, can I have my own email address? But, John, Sam, and Harry ALL have their own." I don't want to hide my kids away from the world. I want to teach them how to safely live in it. Without being featured on Oprah.

So, tell me, my digital friends, What do you think?

Here are some safety links to get you started..

Safekids- Entertainment Media

Safekids- Online Safety

I Spy on My Kids

Little Surfers

12 Tools TO Keep Kids Safe

Risks for Kids Online



Whaddya think?

3/10/2010

Today's Tiny Tip

If you find yourself at Rite Aid in the pregnancy test isle, just bite the bullet and buy the multipack. Chances are if the test is negative, you are going to need another one within the next year or two (and this will save you money and time later) and if the test is positive, you aren't going to fully trust it and you are going to want to take another in a day or so.

3/08/2010

Backwards or Forward?

Question:
My baby just turned 1! Can I turn his carseat around so he is front facing now?
-Mother of Four

Answer:
The Short answer: No. The Long Answer: Legally in most states, the answer is Yes. But, most states have minimum car seat requirements; it is up to you as the parent to continue to keep your child safe. So, legally you can turn your child around but that is not the safest thing for your child. Your child is MUCH safer rear facing for as long as their car seat weight limit allows. For most seats, that is around 30 lbs (check your car seat for its rear facing weight limits and do not confuse it with the seat's front facing weight limit- front facing usually has a higher weight limit). Crash tests have shown that children are substanially safer rear facing for front impact and side impact tests which are where the majority of major damage is sustained. You might think that the child looks uncomfortable when its legs get long enough that they have to cross, but that usually does not bother the child, it is natural for a child to prefer sitting cross legged. Some countries in Europe keep their kids rear facing until they are 4 years old and 55 lbs. There are plenty of crash test videos, and they are quite scary and very convincing. For more information on car seat safety, you can visit The Seasoned Parents

Still not convinced? Take 10 minutes and watch these videos. You'll thank me if you ever get in a crash.

Rear vs. Front

Rear is Best



Whaddya think?

Is It Worth A Shot?

Question:
My baby will be a year in about a month and a half. She has had all her shots up to now, however, I'm debating on continuing the immunizations. I know there's a lot of information out there saying shots are bad, but then most doctors try to push them on your kid anyway. What have you guys done with your own kids, and where have you gone to find information that you trusted that helped you make your decision. I've done some research, but I'm not exactly sure where to look and if I should trust some of the sites I've found. I just want to do what's best for my kid, and that may or may not be what society and the government tells me it is. So any infomation would be helpful. Thanks.
-Mother of One

Answer:
My opinion: vaccinate your kids. The studies were linked to the amount of mercury in the vaccines and so the CDC reduced and/or eliminated the amount of mercury in the vaccines (even before they did this- the amount was less than what you'd get with a bite of tuna fish). Much of the bad press was due to a former playboy bunny who claimed her child had autism from vaccines and that she cured him (it was later proven that he had stomach issues not autism). Children are dying from diseases because their parents are not vaccinating them. This is what is comes down to: would you rather have your children die or potentially get a disability.
One mom of three with an autistic child says: "Our generation is doing a very poor job of accepting our children as they are meant to be."

For more information:
Vaccines and Autism

Whaddya think?

3/04/2010

Life

Life is a balance of things we can control and things we can't control.

For example:
I can't control whether my husband will loose his job. He can control how well his work is and we can control how we can prepare for such an event, but we cannot control whether or not he keeps his job.

I can't control whether my children will be injured or not. I can try and keep them safe and I can control how I respond to an accident, but I cannot control whether or not it will happen.

I cannot control how the nurse at the doctor's office will treat me. I can be kind, patient and polite and I can control my responses to her rude comments, but I cannot control how she speaks to me (and seriously, she was pretty raunch!)

Our lives are filled with elements we have no control over as well as elements we have complete control over. It is a waste of time to concern ourselves with all of the things we can't control. We can, and many times should, prepare for them, but no amount of worry will ever prevent them. How much happier and simpler our lives would be, if we reserved our energy for the things we can control.

Whaddya think?

3/03/2010

Do I Stay or Do I Go?

QUESTION:
I have a class that I want to drop. I overslept a couple of days and attended a few field trips and it left me REALLY behind in class. If I keep the class and I fail, I won't have enough credits to graduate in 3 months, but if I drop the class and become a teacher's aide for the remainder of the semester, I will end with enough credits to pass. My parents want me to keep the class, but I want to drop it. What should I do?
-A high school senior

ANSWER:
oh, the dilema. Quitting could actually help you get your diploma, but then... you're a quitter. Sometimes in life we need to suck it up, put our nose to the grindstone and get on with it. And sometimes we need to cut our losses and get out. As parents, it is ok for us to see our children fail once in a while. What we don't want to see is our children fail again... and again... and again. So, sit down and weigh your options and see what is really in your best interest... for your future. Then, if you decide dropping the class is in your best interest, come up with a game plan of how you will prevent this from happening again. Then, go to your parents and present your game plan. Own up to your mistakes, let them know you've taken this seriously and let them know you have a plan to keep it from being a repeat pattern. This is the time in your life for learning. Your parents will handle your mistakes better if they can see that your learned from them.

Whaddya think?

Things

Life seems to have become centered around fancy things. Cool phones, mp3 players, flat panel tvs, and other high tech gadgets. I find it interesting that many of these items are owned by young adults and kids. People who are dependent upon their parents to help with their bills or are taking out loans to pay for school. When did it become ok to ask your parents to buy your groceries so you could buy a Droid or to sign by the X so you can have that cool 46" flat panel tv right after you returned from signing by the X on student loans. People, they are just things! And in my opinion doing things like that are completely dishonest. My husband makes quite a nice salary (really- we are quite comfortable financially) and yet my car is 6 years old and has been paid for, for 3 years and there is not a tv in our house that cost more than $200 (to clarify 1 of them was $200 and the other two were each $50 off of craigslist). Of course we want a 50ish" flat screen with a new entertainment system in our family room (our current entertainment system cost $75 on craigslist), but I think its more important to pace ourselves and keep our savings high in the event of a "rainy day". Those "rainy days" are becoming the norm not the exception. And the cause of our drowning economy is the result of a society that wanted it all and couldn't say no. Its been blamed on bad business practices of companies (primarily banks) but they weren't handing out loans to people who weren't asking for them. Live within your means and learn to say "no". Its is healthy for us to realize we can't have it all, all at once. And your parents have worked hard to get where they are. They have already supported you, so get off your butt and get a job. And if you have one, don't spend more than you make! Our society has been raised with a sense of entitlement. Just because your parents can have, doesn't mean you should get it too. I mean, you can, but earn it yourself!
I can count on one hand the amount of times I've been "bailed out" or "helped along" and all but one of them were loans, that were paid off in a timely manner and *gasp* I survived! They are just things people. A fancy phone, owning that new release, having the latest gaming system or a high tech tv will NOT make you happy. Financing your home improvements or taking out a loan for new living room furniture will NOT make you happy. Maybe temporarily, but in the end you will come out with the stress of debt or at the very least not learn the lesson in humility that is vitally important to the the success of our society.
Now, don't get me wrong. I don't think these "things" are evil. I really want to travel to Australia. I want a new flat panel tv and entertainment system really bad. And I LOVE my uggs and coach bags. And to get these things I will continue to buy my new kitchen table off of craigslist for $260 (it is beautiful) because I need to spend less than what we earn and save for a rainy day. I don't need it all at once.
So, who's with me? Just say "no" (or atleast "not now") so that we can be financially secure and independent (and humble) tomorrow!

Whaddya think?