Archive for January, 2008

Connecting the dots – obesity, behavior and the media

Friday, January 25th, 2008

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As I read my daily papers, The Wall St. Journal and USA Today, I cut articles that might be of interest to Parental Wisdom members. There is a pattern emerging where experts are trying to figure out what is going wrong with kids today. Three recent articles shed some light are where they are headed:

• In the January 14th edition of USA Today an article entitled ‘A lifetime of danger in childhood obesity’ paints a bleak picture of the medical issues that could result in overweight children and then explain how parents can create a healthful environment.

• USA Today on January 15th tells us of a ‘new direction’ on the part of PBS to create an online subscription based education website aimed at 3 to 6 year-olds.

• The January 17th edition of the Wall St. Journal asks ‘what’s gotten into kids these days’ and wonders why three-year-olds are being expelled at such an alarming rate.

Finally during a Parental Wisdom tele-seminar held this week on peaceful parenting, a caller asked what she could do to calm down her five-year-old at school because the teacher said he wasn’t sitting still. The teacher suggested the mom consider signing the boy up for a soccer team. The mom is already stressed about just returning to work and trying to keep it all together. Just what she needs, another to-do added to her already over-scheduled to-do list.

The solution to these seemingly unrelated problems is easy. Lighten up and let kids play. I mean real play, not online play, or signing them up with teams at such a young age they spend more time in the field picking their noses rather than listening to yet another round of instructions from adults running their lives. Involve them in your lives and the work that you need to do. Relationship building isn’t forced.
• Talk to your children when food shopping about healthy choices
• Have dinner together every night (or as often as possible) and talk about your day
• Give children chores such as setting or clearing the table
• Shoot baskets – no team shirts needed

Behavior problems will disappear, healthy living and family fun will be a way of life.

Is it this easy? Try it and prove me wrong. I would love to hear back from you.

Perception is not reality – the safety of our kids

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

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I was speaking with the mom of an eight-year-old girl. Her daughter wanted a friend to come over and the mom thought it would be a good idea to take the girls out to the park to play. The other mom’s response, “No, it isn’t safe.” The irony is that the 2nd girl has a TV in her bedroom with cable, a cell phone and a computer with Internet access. What that mom hasn’t realized is that she has opened the front door of her home to the entire unsupervised outside world.

Under pressure, MySpace.com announced that it will take further steps to protect children from adult content and possible predators on the site. Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children says that MySpace agreed not only to third-party monitoring but also to working on age verification technology.

I was curious about how this works so I downloaded a white paper on this topic to learn more. If you’re interested visit IDologoy.

The bottom line as always parents, the best protection our children have is us in their lives.

Teenagers – Like Rodney Dangerfield, They Just Need Some Respect

Friday, January 18th, 2008

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An article in The Patriot-News reminded me of a situation from a few years ago. We went to a movie theatre and just before the movie started, the door opened. The manager looked in, scanned the crowd and found a small group of adolescent kids who were eating popcorn and sipping soda, just like everyone else. The manager glared at them and yelled, “If you do anything, I’ll throw you out!”

They weren’t doing anything. I don’t know if some other incident happened earlier or another time, but at that moment, they were well-behaved.

I thought the manager was disrespectful and wondering how kids learn respect if they’re treated that way. Don’t get me wrong, there are adolescents and teens that behave badly, but stereotyping is wrong and unfair.

Let’s teach by example.

The Link Between Music and Family

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

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I’m grateful that our son Michael has shared his interest in music with us. In addition to the obvious benefits of learning something new with your child, I realized we can all learn a lot from musicians.

Passion
It is never work if you love what you do. Musicians don’t call it practice, they call it play. The more you play, the better you get.

Respect
Musicians appreciate and respect each other’s work. They encourage solos in performing and always share creative ideas.

No discrimination of any kind
Watch a concert by Eric Clapton and you’ll see him performing with B.B. King and John Mayer; always giving guest performers the limelight. He proves that you can learn from those around you, young and old.

There is always a new song to sing
Music is infinite, and we all have something to offer, and a new way to play it. Finding ways to harmonize our uniqueness with the uniqueness of others can be very rewarding.

As we try to teach our children life lessons, these are lessons we can all benefit from.

Hoorah! Finally, a Mean Mom

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

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Jane Hambleton of Fort Dodge, Iowa has dubbed herself “the meanest mom on the planet.” Despite her harsh personnel criticism, she has people cheering, and I’m one of them.

I would suspect that if you questioned educators, coaches, emergency room nurses, school counselors, and police officers they would stand up and cheer for the mom who put an ad in the paper and sold her 19-year-old son’s car after she found alcohol in

It appears that parents of teens choose a camp. They are either as President Ronald Regan suggests, from the ‘trust, but verify’ school of thought, or the ‘blissfully ignorant’ camp, or from that river in Egypt, ‘selective denial.’

Under age drinking doesn’t make sense at all – period.

Jane Hambleton decided to be a parent at the sake of friendship. Kudos to you!

Our Celebrity Crazed Culture

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

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The Wall St. Journal listed the most popular stories on the web. The most viewed was “Loyalty Points That Buy a Night With Travolta.”

For 124,000 Starwood Hotels & Resorts points, Michael and Georgia Soares might have spent six nights in Paris at Starwood’s Hotel Prince de Galles on the Champs-Elysees. Instead, the Southern California couple used their hotel points to spend one night with John Travolta and the cast of the movie “Hairspray” at the film’s New York premiere.

“We walked the red carpet and everything. It was cool,” says Mr. Soares, a 43-year-old father of four who owns a restaurant in Orange County with his wife. The Soares also attended the movie’s after-party, where they chatted with Mr. Travolta and snapped a few photos

While the hotels are thinking outside the box to provide new experiences that loyalty points can provide, I can’t help but wonder; what is the appeal of spending time with a celebrity?

Our culture treats celebrities as if they were royalty. Even if they were I couldn’t imagine trading in points to spend time with Prince Charles.

Isn’t it enough that we see celebrity photos in dozens of magazines on the checkout line, watch the intimate details of their life (or at least the ones they choose to share) on reality TV, while network and cable news shows lead off with celebrity stories as if the war in Iraq or potential recession was filler.

C’mon folks – let’s stop this feeding frenzy and live our own lives. I doubt that Travolta would trade in his points to meet with the Soares family.

Babies are the new accessory

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

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It is quite fashionable these days to have a baby. Better than a handbag or Chihuahua, babies are the new ‘it’ accessory.

Those of us who are professional parents (non-celebrities) always knew that. The difference is that when our babies become toddlers and eventually teens, we never loose interest in the fashion moment.

The next time a celebrity sits on Oprah’s couch and gushes about their baby, just be confident in the thought that your little star will always be shining even if your baby’s name doesn’t result in any Google hits.

Start the New Year appreciating what you have

Tuesday, January 1st, 2008

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The New Year gives us a gift – a new way of looking at things.

The stores that just weeks ago were overflowing with merchandise, are now clear of anything red or green, and now offer ways to better organize and clean.

More than anything, the New Year gives us a new outlook; some people set goals and objectives, others believe it is a waste of time. What we all should do is take a moment to think about all that we have and what we can be grateful for.

• The people in our lives
• Good health
• Opportunity
• Another year to build memories

Happy New Year, and wishing you a healthy, happy and memorable 2008!