Category Archives: Parenting

Why You Must Let Your Kids Play More

Are you a parent? Do the title of this post is making you crazy? Well, you might be wondering that your kid already plays and why you should let him or her play more! Actually, there are several reasons that show that kids should play more. However, there must be a balance between the study and play, and you should not let your kid keep studying for hours. Playing is a right for kids, and you must allow them to play. Whether your kid like indoor games or outdoor games, you must not stop them. So, now the question arises, why playing is important for the kids! Read on to know in detail.
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Fun Ways to Keep the Kids Busy During a Summer Camping Trip

While it may seem like a camping trip is exciting for kids and is enough to keep them busy and entertained, in reality that’s not always the case. With camping trips there can be a fair amount of downtime and since there’s no TV in sight, it can be a bit trying with kids. The last thing parents want to listen to while on a camping trip are those two dreaded words of “I’m bored” which means you may want to think ahead and be prepared for those moments.
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The Parent’s Guide to Twitter

Your older child or teenager is likely on social media sites like Twitter. As a parent, it’s important to know about these social media channels and how to keep your child safe while they interact with others on those channels. Even if you’ve never personally used Twitter, you should know what it is all about so you can keep your kids safe whenever they log online. So continue reading for a short guide to Twitter that’s specifically geared towards parents.

What Is Twitter?

Twitter is one of many social networks that have become hugely popular online. It’s different from Facebook in style and format, but anyone can create a profile and start following other individuals, as well as businesses from around the world.  Many of your favourite brands, like Netflix, Sun Bingo, Tesco, and Xbox all have Twitter accounts that individual users can connect with.

It’s also possible to post textual updates, along with videos, photos, and links, and direct messaging is possible between users too. Users can retweet one another to share posts, and they can also “like” posts by marking them as a favourite. The main difference between Facebook and Twitter, however, is the fact that every tweet you send out can only be a maximum of 140 characters long.

Teach Your Child About the Dangers of Social Media

First off, it’s important to teach your children about the potential dangers of social media, especially if they’re going to be interacting with people that they’ve never met in person before. It’s a great idea to advise your children to create profiles that don’t include their full name. For example, they can use their first name and middle name, and they can use a profile picture that isn’t a portrait of themselves.

Another way that they can protect themselves is by making their profile totally private so that people will have to request them to follow them. In this way, they can screen all of their followers, and you can screen their followers as well. As long as strangers aren’t added, interactions can be safer and personal information can be kept more private.

Track Your Child’s Activity on Twitter

The best way to keep your child safe on Twitter is to track what they’re doing on the social media website. You can create your own account and start following them so you can see every tweet that they post, and you can talk to them whenever they post something that’s dangerous or inappropriate so they’ll remove it promptly.

Be Aware of the Threat of Cyber Bullying

One of the things that every parent needs to be aware of is cyber bullying. In fact, cyber bullying can be just as dangerous, if not more dangerous, than in-person bullying because children end up going home after school, logging on to their computers, and finding a lot of messages that belittle them. This is why it is so important that you monitor who is following your child, who your child is following, and the interactions between those followers.

A Few Things That You Shouldn’t Do

Finally, there are a few things that you shouldn’t do when it comes to your child’s use of Twitter. First off, you should not ban your son or daughter from being able to use Twitter because this will probably just make them want to rebel and get an account even more, and they will end up being more inclined to go behind your back to do so.

Also, do not follow your son or daughter and their followers without first getting their permission. If you do so, your child will only think that you don’t trust them, and that could cause a variety of negative consequences to your relationship. Instead, make it known that you want to follow them, and that they can also follow you, so that you can monitor their activity for safety.

If your child insists on creating an account on Twitter for themselves so that they can interact with their friends, it is important to stay on top of that account. Also be sure that steps are being taken to keep information private and to keep interactions positive. Thankfully, there are several ways that you can go about protecting your child online with some parenting tactics that work.

Help your teen regain his self-esteem and keep life on a positive path

The teenage years are rarely smooth and easy. Teens are going through a transition from childhood to adulthood, and this transition can be difficult for even the most well-adjusted kids. Between the changes in their bodies, pressure from peers and ever-increasing school workloads, teens can become troubled and act out. Therapeutic treatment schools can help your teen regain his self-esteem and keep life on a positive path.

Why Boarding Schools?

There are many reasons that boarding programs are often the best answer to troubled teen behavior. These programs employ trained specialists who are fully equipped to address the unique needs of troubled teens. They can help your teen work through issues of self-esteem, peer pressure, depression and anger. These trained professionals can also give them the tools they need to cope with changing hormones and outside pressures that teens often face.

Sending your son to a program like Wood Creek Academy will allow him to bond with other teens in a safe and supportive therapeutic environment. These programs teach living skills, wilderness training and self-discipline and will help your teen discover his own strength. These programs will take him away from the outside influences—other troubled teens, drugs, alcohol—that are causing him to stray off course.

What many people don’t realize is that a teen’s sense of self has a large bearing on his academic success. Many programs for troubled youth offer an academic component that allows them to focus on learning without the negative influences that can hinder school success. These programs will help him to get the high grades he needs to succeed in high school and beyond. These accredited programs allow your teen to earn a high school diploma or transition back to the public school setting to continue his coursework.

When it comes to dealing with troubled teens, even the most loving parents can find the task overwhelming. Getting your teen through this time in their lives is often an uphill battle, and many teens make bad choices that can affect their entire lives. In many cases, it takes an intervention and immediate action to save a teen. By sending them to a boot camp wilderness program, they will not only learn to make better choices, but learn valuable skills and meet positive friends along the way.

Don’t struggle alone with your troubled teen. Take action now and enroll him in a therapeutic wilderness treatment school today.

My kids think I’m a bitch, and I don’t care

Several months ago in this post, I discussed how we had started what we call the Family Economy. For the most part, this had been going very well. But, for whatever reason, after a couple weeks off over Christmas, the whole thing had pretty much fallen apart.

Another thing that seems to have happened after our Christmas school break, is that internet usage has gotten completely out of control by not only the older boys but by the younger ones as well. I hadn’t realized how much they were asking to play on the computer or my phone until I said no, and I was witness to the ensuing fit.

I partly blame myself for this. I became pretty lazy about checking to make sure the boys were doing what they said they were, and there were a few cases of cheating the system by the kids which resulted in them losing pay for periods of time as a result. But as I said, after Christmas, this became much more pronounced and a lot worse.

I also blame myself for the internet usage, especially with the younger boys. Of course it’s easy to say yes when a kid wants to amuse himself with something, but shouldn’t I be more picky with what that something is? I realized this yesterday when both my 6 and 11 year olds said they had nothing to do, even though they have a room stocked with legos, kinex, and other toys.

So today, when I saw that again the stairs hadn’t been vacuumed, the entryway cleaned up, shoes kicked off against the wall leaving a muddy trail, leaves all over the basement floor from the back entrance (we live in a raised ranch so there’s one of those handy/not easy to keep clean stairwells in the back), the 6 year old asked me to play on my phone the minute he woke up, and my 15 year old hadn’t pulled himself away from his computer for the last week, well, let’s just say I’d had enough.

As far as the chores are concerned, the Family Economy is pretty serious stuff to me. My kids get tired of hearing me say it, but by the time I was my 11 year old’s age (he’ll be 12 in a couple of months), I was working very long, full time days for my parents every summer, over school breaks, and after school (when we were needed) until I was 20. It wasn’t easy work either. I remind them that their uncle was 9 and turned 10 shortly after we started working. To me, the Family Economy is the best way to teach them that a good job and work = payment and shirking work and responsibility leads to no pay and no extras.

I find it ridiculous that kids are trusted driving thousands of pounds of cars and trucks (in Iowa a child can get a school permit at 14.5 years old-yes to drive to school without supervision) but the government feels it isn’t a good idea for them to work before they’re 16. But, that’s another rant for another day.

So back to me being a bitch. I called a family meeting with the kids today and informed them of the following:

  • Their lack of follow-through with their jobs hadn’t gone unnoticed and because I hadn’t made any notes on exactly what hadn’t been done, they would all be receiving half pay for the week.
  • From here on out, if their chores were not completed, there would be no pay, but the boys older than 12 would still be responsible for half of their shoes and clothing as was the original deal. They’d have to figure out how that was going to work.
  • The one son who’s making payments for his computer (we fronted him some money to purchase it) will have to cash in his CD to repay the loan immediately if he stops getting paid or he will forfeit his computer as was the agreement.
  • Internet usage is being cut immediately. The children will be allowed two hours of internet in the morning to complete their schooling. After their chores are completed, they will be granted one more hour to be used on the computer or their phones.
  • Playstation time during the week will be awarded for extra work done without payment and will be allowed on the weekends at our discretion.
  • Computers and phones will be left upstairs and their usage will be monitored.

I was surprised at the reaction I received from one of my sons. Actual tears were shed over the internet being limited. He argued that he doesn’t have any friends here, which has been a constant struggle for all of us since we moved (even when the boys were in public school). For whatever reason, we just don’t seem to fit in very well.

My solution to that was to challenge the boys with finding a group, club, or class that they could be involved in outside the home. One has said he’d like to join 4-H, one has said he’d like to take swimming lessons, and one wants a class at the Y.

I also asked them each to list 3 things that they’d like to improve on, and was surprised to receive well thought out responses.

Regardless of the positive spin of improvement and community involvement I tried to place on our family meeting, I did get the ‘You’re a bitch.’ look from two of my kids.

I constantly tell my kids that I’m their biggest fan, but even their biggest fan will make rules that they won’t like and won’t agree with. There will be times they’re convinced they hate me.

My job as their parent is to raise 4 well-mannered, intelligent, compassionate, disciplined, responsible, and hard working men…not to coddle them the entire time they’re under our roof. I see too many children reaching adulthood without a clue as to what responsibility means not to mention how to be independent..

My dad has told me, “No one said being a parent was going to be easy,” and of course he’s right. And that’s why, today, my kids think I’m a bitch and I’m okay with it. Sometimes parenting is a really sucky job, but someone has to do it.

I’m game.

Mothering Boys: Sometimes I don’t look

This is my 15th year as a mom. What started out as being a mom to one son has compounded to being the mom to four.

Four. Boys.

When you see things like this for example:

it isn’t a clever saying or cutesy sign…

IT’S THE TRUTH!

Boys are the loudest most dirty creatures alive. For months we had no jeans in the house that weren’t stained or ripped in some way. There is no carpet produced that doesn’t weep when one of my kids walks on it.

Blood, mud, tears and stains…all par for the course.

Living with these boys is like living with a whole herd of the Peanuts character Pig Pen. I’m pretty sure on any given day there’s a little dust cloud following these guys around settling on any and all surfaces they come across.

And then there’s the smell. Boys have a specific aroma (you can read about my oldest son here. Smells like Teen Spirit? Uh. Teen Stench.)

Is that to say that I don’t love my boys? Not at all. I so love my children with such a passion that it surprises me.

This of course isn’t cutting daughters down in any way. I’ve just never been a mother to a daughter. I’m a stepmom to one, yes, but it’s not the same.

So on with my story: As the boys were playing Saturday night, and the decibels were rising, I knew I’d hear it sooner or later and as predicted, the boys didn’t disappoint. “MOM!! Come here and look at what Peanut did.”

Of course later this was followed by, “Oh my gosh. You should see their room!” (meaning Sweet Pea’s and Peanut’s).

Now, as a newer mother, I may have just jumped up in a panic and raced to wherever the children were anticipating the worst. Is he bleeding profusely? Did he put a hole in the wall? What’s ruined? Did someone light the carpet on fire?

As one seasoned at mothering boys however, I’ve become smarter…or perhaps better able to keep my stress levels lower with this one simple tactic:

Sometimes (more often than not) I simply don’t look.

Yes, you read that right.

Whatever the boys are up to, if someone isn’t crying then I know no one is seriously injured, if someone else isn’t screaming, then I know that no horrible wrong was done, if I don’t smell smoke then nothing is on fire, if there was no crash, then there’s no chance of a hole in a wall, and the simplest one of all: They’ve already ruined all the nice things we had, so the worst that could happen is that something got ruined-er.

Yes, as a mother of 4 very strong-willed energetic (loud) boys, I’ve had to learn how to pick my battles.

I’ve also had to learn to lock the door behind me to the bathroom and my office, threaten them all, and make it absolutely clear that someone had better be severely bleeding or have lost an appendage in order to make them disturb me, but that’s another blog post (or not).

By not policing their every move, mothering boys has been so much easier and less mom-tantrum inducing. The boys have also had to learn how to problem solve amongst themselves (which is a feat in itself considering the almost 10 year span from oldest to youngest).

Do I ever look? Sure I do. I look plenty. Sometimes I do have to step in. Sometimes someone is being  his own special brand of butt that day and needs to be corrected.

And sometimes I mess with them just to keep them on their toes.

What? Like you don’t know that messing with your kids is the best part of being a parent