Archive for the ‘Family Friendly America’ Category

Too Many Toys

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

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The KISS principle (which stands for Keep It Simple, stupid) relates to just about every area of our life. Not surprisingly it begins when our children are little.

Visit the home of any family with little kids and you see toys, toys, and more toys. The overabundance of toys makes each toy less special, less noticed and less valued. I have often found that putting toys away for a while and rotating them offered a better chance for the kids to appreciate them more.

But, as often happens the problem that many of us experienced, was resolved a mom.

Lori Pope launched Baby Plays, a web-based company that rents toys, think of it as a Netflix for toys.

Customers pay $28.99 a month to get four toys a month for three months and $35.99 a month to get six toys a month for three months. Families willing to sign a yearlong contract can get six toys a month for $31.99.

Baby Plays’ inventory includes popular toys by brands such as VTech, LeapFrog and Playskool as well as more obscure European manufacturers. Pope keeps at least seven of each kind of toy in stock so she can fulfill almost every request. She plans to double her inventory over the next two months.

Pope mainly stocks sturdy, easy-to-clean toys with few parts or parts that are easily replaced. She searches Web sites and catalogs for popular toys that are appropriate for small children and meet all European and American safety standards.

Check out this website for more great options on toys for your kids. Guess the kids would really look forward to a visit from the UPS driver!

The Grass Isn’t Greener – Even in Scotland

Friday, October 26th, 2007

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Known as one of the world’s best golf courses, one would believe that St. Andrews in Scotland is an indication that the grass is truly greener. That may be true in the literal sense, but not figuratively.

If you’re worried about parenting, then you should know that parents in Scotland feel undermined, under-valued and un-supported. Scotland’s parents are feeling the pressure to be perfect more than ever before and parents of teenagers are looking for help they say just isn’t there. That’s the findings from a new report which was launched today (16) by leading children’s charity CHILDREN 1ST during National Parenting Week.

The bottom line is the same arguments noted in the report are heard here in the U.S. I applaud UNICEF ambassador Kaye Adams comment that it is no longer ‘us and them’ – we need to work together to help parents, especially parents with teens.

But Mommy and Daddy Still Love You!

Thursday, September 20th, 2007

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Of the thousands of oxymorons, one of my very favorites didn’t make the top 20 list. Here is the list of the top 20 as defined by Oxymoron List (link here):

1. Microsoft Works
2. Healthy Tan
3. Jumbo Shrimp
4. Work Party
5. Dodge Ram
6. Virtual Reality
7. Tax Return
8. Working vacation
9. Head Butt
10. Pretty Ugly
11. Peace Force
12. Tight Slacks
13. Plastic Glasses
14. Taped Live
15. Same Difference
16. Living Dead
17. Silent Scream
18. Personal Computer
19. Alone Together
20. Government Organization

The one I feel is missing – Amicable Divorce.

It must be the most amazing coincidence, but every time I speak with someone involved in this situation, they are the wronged party. A recent discussion began innocently enough, “How was your weekend?” I asked. The separated dad went on for an hour about how his soon-to-be ex-wife was destroying their kids’ lives, while he sat alone at home miserably knowing he could do a better job raising them.

The bottom line is that most likely, they are both destroying their kids’ lives. Enter stage left; increasingly more divorced couples are enlisting the help of professional parent coordinators to resolve parenting disputes.

Although the service can be expensive (anywhere from $50 to $350 per hour) it still makes more sense than calling a lawyer each time you squabble over the cost of sneakers or dance classes. You would be paying a lawyer, but using the new ‘parent coordinators’ may help teach a lesson in better communication along the way. This Source  can get you the legal representation you need at a fair rate for family and more.

A good example is where a parent coordinator will suggest a line of communication such as email, and critique any emails that become sarcastic. The downside is that although they may be valuable, some parents may not like another person’s unsolicited input on how to raise their children, and an outsider involved in decision making.

The biggest benefit may be the parent coordinator’s ability to diffuse emotion, and let’s face it – these situations are wrought with emotion.

 

What Would You Do?

Monday, July 16th, 2007

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I received the following email.

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Today was a first for me… My daughter (5) and I pulled into a local store.

The spot I wanted to pull into was empty except for a woman who had her car door open and was loading groceries with her two small children still outside the car in the empty spot. Instead of hurrying the mom and scaring the children, I drove around to a spot further away.

My daughter thought I was parking and took her clasiq car seat belt off. I parked and took her out kissing and hugging her and went on my way. To my surprise, when I got back to my car there was a note from the young mother on my windshield with a paper from your website.

It said it was a stupid ticket and that she gave it to me for not having my daughter in a car restraining seat, and went further to say if I loved her I would keep her safe.

At first I was offended that she did not say it to me rather than leave it behind on my car. If she did she would know not only do I have car seats for my kids I made my older daughter who is now 10 and 5’2” sit in a booster seat until she was 9 to be safe. PA law is 8 years old or 4′ and although my daughter surpassed those marks she still sat in the seat. I also have been part of car seat safety checks two years in a row at a local dealership in my area.

My younger daughter took her belt off today because 1) she now can and
2) because I stopped to park. I did reiterate that she should not take her belt off until the car is off.

I don’t agree with the woman who did this. She mentioned she was a nurse and that she saw kids in terrible ways. I will give her the benefit of the doubt that maybe something shook her world and she is out there living with that.

I hope your website does not advocate people to be quick to judge, to run away with a hurtful note left behind.

– Mom from Pennsylvania

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I was really moved by this mom’s email and told her that at Parental Wisdom, we really try NOT to judge, and recognize there are misunderstandings (like this one) and mistakes because parents are often doing a number of things at once.

Yes, the Stupid Ticket is one of the Free Reports on the Parental Wisdom website. But stupidity is something that people do repeatedly and not ever learn a lesson. For that reason, we also have a Safety Ticket which is a reminder of the things you already know; and presents a much kinder, gentler approach.

Back to the parent that left the note – I do understand why she didn’t talk to the parent directly. Parents could be defensive at the very least, and violent at the worst. The dilemma – what should parents do if they see a situation that raises child safety concerns?

I reached out to Robert A. Brasky of the Lake Zurich Police Department in Illinois is an expert on Traffic Safety to learn what parents can do if a child is potentially in danger. The example I used was a time I spotted a three-year-old was left alone in a running car. His response, “Call the police and give them the information. Do not approach the parents.” Safe and sound advice.

Robert also shared the alarming statistic that approximately 95% of child car seats are improperly installed. To make sure you aren’t one of them, visit www.car-seat.org to learn what you can do, and www.nhtsa.gov to find locations where your child’s carseat can be checked for proper installation.

But let’s talk about you for a moment…

How would you respond to a situation where a child could be in danger?
How would you respond to someone correcting you about your own child’s safety?

Please leave a comment and let us know.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Thursday, May 10th, 2007

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This mother’s day let’s salute and thank all the mom’s who continue to work at this job every day. Let’s go a step further and give them some help.

Husbands, give your wives understanding and support. Real men do change diapers. Some of the best presents are heartfelt expressions of love and appreciation for specific things she does.

Employers, recognize the fact that if you want a good future work force, it is the mothers of this country that will help you realize that goal. They can’t do that if they are working unrealistic hours, because they need to be with their children to be an influence on them. Be more creative. We get it that you goal is to be profitable. We can help you do that. Consider job sharing and flexible hours at every level in your organization. Two part time moms just might be more effective than one full time mom. Give new moms time to spend with their newborn babies, even encourage them to do so by making it possible with paid family leave.

Educators instead of telling parents what their children cannot do, tell them what their children can do. Parents do want to be part of their children’s education, but recognize that today’s family is different than previous generations. If parents aren’t coming into school for meetings and events, you might want think of inventive ways of communicating with them; possibly free conference call services that are available like Telejunctions.

Legislators listen to us, we know what we’re talking about. We are your mothers. Pay attention when we talk about curbing drunk driving and tighter gun laws. Stop talking about American Family Values and do something about it. Parents know what your legislators are doing visit and look up Paid Leave Activity in Other States and be sure to read the report on balancing work and family which proves why paid family leave makes sense.

Moms give other moms encouragement and when possible, the gift of time.

Children, what mothers want most for mother’s day is for you to be healthy and happy. But there are also some great mom coupons that you can make up. Here are a few ideas, breakfast in bed, cleaning up your room without being asked, taking the dog out, taking out the garbage, and anything else that requires taking out. Be imaginative and look around at the things your mom does and help her do it. You’ll find coupon templates under free reports on Parental Wisdom.

Happy Mothers’ Day and have a great weekend, especially to all you wonderful moms out there. I’ll talk to you on Monday. Leave a comment after the beep or post a comment on the PW blog.

This message can also be heard on the Parental Wisdom Daily Inspirational Call Line – (641) 985-5999 ext. 24290#

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

Tuesday, April 10th, 2007

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In a scene from the movie Mean Girls, an eight-year old girl pulls up her shirt while dancing in front of the television watching a commercial for Girls Gone Wild.

Girls get this message repeatedly: What matters is how “hot” they look. It plays on TV and across the Internet. You hear it in song lyrics and music videos. You see it in movies, electronic games, and clothing stores. It’s a constant, powerful message.

Fortunately as a result of pressure, Hasbro has canceled plans to produce a line of fashion dolls modeled on the pop act the Pussycat Dolls after parents objected to the group’s racy image.

Hasbro saw the Dolls series as a line that would fit in with — and compete against — the Bratz fashion dolls from MGA Entertainment. But an advocacy group, Dads and Daughters, recently mounted a letter-writing campaign pressing the company to shelve the Dolls line.

SEXUALIZATION OF GIRLS IS LINKED TO COMMON MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEMS IN GIRLS AND WOMEN—EATING DISORDERS, LOW SELF-ESTEEM, AND DEPRESSION; AN APA TASK FORCE REPORTS

Psychologists call for replacing sexualized images of girls in media and advertising with positive ones

A report of the American Psychological Association (APA) found evidence that the proliferation of sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harmful to girls’ self-image and healthy development.

“The consequences of the sexualization of girls in media today are very real and are likely to be a negative influence on girls’ healthy development,” says Eileen L. Zurbriggen, PhD, chair of the APA Task Force and associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “We have ample evidence to conclude that sexualization has negative effects in a variety of domains, including cognitive functioning, physical and mental health, and healthy sexual development.”

As parents, you can teach girls to value themselves for who they are, rather than how they look. You can teach boys to value girls as friends, sisters, and girlfriends, rather than as sexual objects. And, much like the Dads & Daughters organization, you can advocate for change with manufacturers and media producers.

Our little girls have a right to be little.

Tina Nocera is the founder of Parental Wisdom, a patented parenting website.

What You Do Matters

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

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Yet again, parents have taken up sides in the mommy wars as a result of the media’s sound bite reporting on a child care study. “Study ties day care to some behavioral problems” was blasted across the news the other day, with some news broadcasters giving parents a clear choice; either you stay at home which may pose financial risk, or you and leave your child in daycare which could cause future behavior problem.

Are those my only choices?

I believe that what parents do matters more than anything else. Again, I find myself thinking that we’re asking the wrong question. The experts agree that a nurturing, quality day care setting would be beneficial to a child. So let’s provide more access affordable, quality child care. Provide tax incentives for employers to create job sharing, allowing parents to work part-time, which would require less time children were in child care settings.

Good day care is good for kids, while bad day care is bad for kids, but much like the education system, day care cannot bear the burden without including parents in the equation. What parents do really matters. One of the things parents do is to search for good quality day care, by asking the right questions.

Child Care Aware which has wonderful free publications they can send to you, or you can call their toll free number 1-800-424-2246.

The best way to find quality day care is through a recommendation of someone you know and to visit the day care facility yourself and meet with the director. You should also observe the setting. Children should look comfortable and happy in the setting.

Here are some good starter questions to ask. Please add your own.

1. Can I drop in anytime?
2. Are there opportunities for parent (or grandparent) participation such as story time?
3. What are your hours of operation?
4. What are the fees and what do they include? (Some facilities include snacks and lunch). Are there additional fees for music or field trips?
5. What is a typical day like?
6. What is the ratio of teachers to children? This will differ by children’s ages and must meet state standards.
7. What are the teachers’ qualifications? What is your screening/hiring process?
8. Do the caregivers receive benefits? (This question may seem odd, but if the caregivers have a good benefit package, there will be lower turnover, which is important to giving your child a more stable environment.)
9. What are your procedures if a child is hurt?
10. How do you work with children on behavior issues?

What is Real Talent Worth?

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

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A woman was strolling along a street in Paris when she spotted Picasso sketching at a sidewalk café. She asked if he might sketch her and charge accordingly.

Picasso obliged, and in just minutes, there she was, an original Picasso. “And what do I owe you?” she asked. “Five thousand Francs,” he answered. “What! It took you only minutes,” she politely reminded him. “No,” Picasso replied, “it took me all my life.”

Think about what real talent is worth to you, whether you were in need of a mechanic, a lawyer or a new hairstyle. What role did time play in the successful completion of the task – not much.

Why do we judge the value of a person by the concept of time? I have worked with many technical folks who with great effort would pour over a problem for days, but were not able to complete the task. Yet another technical person will come over and in minutes immediately and permanently fix the problem. Then why do we value time?

Recent articles and news programs talk about ‘Mommy Guilt’. Today’s moms are actually spending more time with their children, yet feel guiltier than their mothers. Guilt seems to be a natural byproduct of giving birth. You know how a turkey comes with a gravy packet? I have to believe that as we’re excitedly looking over our brand new baby, a ‘guilt’ packet is inserted into mothers. How else can you how these overwhelming pangs of guilt take over?

Here is a solution to the problem which seems to trouble working mothers much more. Employers need to create programs that allow working parents to have flexible hours by realizing it is about the work that needs to get done, not the ‘face time’ in the office.

Today is a good day to start a revolution.

Visit the following sites to learn more…

Work Options

Jobs and Moms Career Center

Handbook on Alternative Work Schedules

Moms Rising

Tracking the bad guys

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

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Parents’ fears that keep their children from playing outside, walking to school, or riding their bikes do more than contribute to increases in childhood obesity. We are all paralyzed by it. The underlying message is that there is something to be afraid of. That message is heard loud and clear by our kids.

Isaac Daniel received a call from his son’s school in 2002 saying the boy was missing. Fortunately, it was a miscommunication and his son was fine. But the incident sparked enough of a concern in this engineer that he immediately began working on a prototype of a Quantum Satellite Technology; a line of sneakers priced between $325 and $350 for adults, with a children’s line due out this summer.

I would imagine the parent of a missing child wouldn’t care if the price point was $1 million dollars if it meant getting their child back. For the rest of us, we would pay anything to prevent abductions in the first place.

Are we tracking the right people? Shouldn’t we be tracking the child predators instead of our children? There are questions as to our children’s privacy rights and parents immediately consider the alternative and cave in to all the tracking devices on the market. What about the families that can’t afford the new technology. What about families with lots of kids? Do they have to decide who gets to wear the GPS device?

Parents do all they can to keep our children safe and let them be kids, which means doing all the great things kids love to do without tracking devices. The government needs to keep our children safe, by putting tracking devices on the people we actually should be tracking.

In the meanwhile, be aware of child predators in your area by viewing Family Watchdog.