Thursday, July 17, 2014

Are you listening? Do you HEAR me?

I took some time off from the blog to stop talking and to listen and hear some of what was going on in my own household.  We can so easily get distracted by the noise in our daily lives that we are simply moving forward with what is practically 'the prescribed plan'.  I'm going to talk about my teenage daughter, an athlete, who is was college bound with an athletic scholarship.  One that she doesn't really want to use.  Don't get me wrong, she loves her sport, but she is growing into a wonderful young woman who is career focused now. She is also an independent thinker.  I smile as I keep reminding parents to 'raise kids to become independent and ready to live their own responsible adult life', and it's happening here in my home.  But, was I paying close enough attention?  Was I listening?  Yes.  Was I hearing her as she expressed her desires for her career?  Maybe not as well as I should have.  But, I'm listening and hearing her now.

It was the middle of a sleepless night and I heard her.  I got it, so to speak.  I'm so grateful for that light bulb moment.  We've made some college and career changes, just in the last few weeks, based on her desires, not mine. Parents have to ask questions of their children, and guide them, but also know their heart.  What do they want to do with their life.  Some have no clue at age 17.  Some do.  Are you listening?  Probably.  But are you paying attention to what they really love?  What is their passion?  Did it change?  Think about your own life...are you doing what your mother and/or father wanted you to do OR are you doing what you want to do?  I certainly hope it's the latter.  Check in.  Love them no matter what.  Give them guidance and allow them to change their mind.

I've added a little Big Bang Theory comic relief on 'Bad Listening'...enjoy.  

Keep it simple...though sometimes, it's a little difficult.  ♥D

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

SelfieCop...Monitor Those Pics!

Selfie was added to the dictionary this past May.  How may times a day do you hear and/or say the word?  How many 'selfies' do you take each day?  Here's the real many selfies do your children take?  Do you even know?  Where do they post them?  What do they look like?  Odds are the popular site to upload a selfie to has changed since I started typing this blog entry.  As parents, we can hardly keep up.  I just learned of a new app that can keep you informed of what your child is posting as a selfie.  You might want to create a new email address.  The app is called SelfieCop.  It will send your child's selfies to your email address.  A link to an article is provided below and it is currently only available for Android users ('s coming soon)!  I have the app, and it's working.  Here's the details, and some of my thoughts to go along with it.

SelfieCop Article

1.  You have to tell your child you are installing it on their phone/tablet/etc.  Honesty is what you want to model.

2.  You are encouraging appropriate picture taking.  The goal is not to 'catch them' in a distasteful pose. I do wish the creators chose a different naming device other than 'cop' for this purpose.

3.  Stress the importance of keeping them safe and keeping communication lines open.  Remind them of the increase in internet crimes.

4.  Make sure you are not receiving photos on a work email.  You may want to consider opening a new email account for this purpose, especially if your child really loves to take selfies...your inbox may fill up quickly!

Finally, I cannot stress enough the importance of monitoring all of your child's internet activity.  It's a pain.  But you'll keep them safe.  They think they are invincible, and they trust.  You have to guide them.  Let this app help you out.

Keep it simple...but keep it safe!  ♥D

Sunday, July 6, 2014

July 6th - Are We Bored Yet?

How's the summer so far?  It has been lovely here in pure Michigan!  I'm sure the holiday weekend has been filled with family and friends.  As we move along, however, how many times have the summer vacationers chimed in with 'Mom, I'm bored'?  Once a week?  Once a day?  Once an hour?  I can only imagine a worst case scenario where you don't hear from them at all simply because they are plugged in to electronic devices all day, preoccupied with the current (and many) social media opportunities.  Personally, I don't find these 'social' media sites the best place for youth socialization skills to develop.

Boredom is ok.  You are a parent, and unless it is your chosen profession, not an entertainment provider for your children.  However, it is a great responsibility to help foster imagination.  We need to encourage and develop imagination.  When the kids are bored, given them 'things' to work with that they have never (or rarely) used before...and see what happens.  Household items, old toys, new toys, tools, boxes, etc...see what their imaginations create.  Cook with them, build with them, create with them.  Stop what you are doing (unplug yourself from the internet), if you can, and spend some time with them.  I think you'll be surprised, and impressed.

I've included two articles with lists of ideas for both young children and teens to overcome that summer boredom.  There's some great ideas.

For young children:  Boredom Busters for Younger Children

For teens:  Boredom Busters for Teens

Enjoy the summer - unplugged and full of new experiences.  But don't stress, leave it up to the kids to figure out what to do.

Keep it simple...and a little boring.  ♥D

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Baby, Those Are Fireworks!

It's time to celebrate our nation's freedom and independence!  Backyard BBQ's, pool parties, and the fun of...fireworks.  Depending on the age of your child, you may not be feeling so free and independent.  The fun of the 4th can suddenly go with the anxiety of the fireworks.  I'm no therapist or counselor, but over the years I've learned that the anxieties kids experience are real and should be treated with compassion, kindness and empathy.  Here's a few thoughts on getting through the next few days...

1.  Find out why your child is afraid?  Is it the noise (most likely) or is it the fear of the crowd of people and getting separated from you in that crowd?  Talk with your child about the fears.  Discuss the plan to ensure safety in a crowd.

2.  If it is noise, explain that following the noise, there will be beautiful lights and colors.

3.  Try to overcome the fear, or deal with the fears with's one you can sing together (to the tune of 'Jingle Bells') Firework, Firework, I'm not afraid of you, You are loud, and you are bright,  lighting up the night.  Or you can pick any of your favorite songs that works for your family.

4.  As each firework 'pops', let the kids jump, or yell at it...whatever eases and releases their anxieties.

5.  Give them headphones (the BIG ones, not earbuds) and let them watch from inside a house or car.

6.  Don't force them to watch if they are weary...invite them.  They will come when ready.

Finally, stay relaxed as mom or dad.  This is important.  If you are anxious for them, they will sense it.  Kids are so smart.  If you have to miss the fireworks for a year or two to spend those moments a little closer with your little won't regret it.  I promise.  Watch this sweet, sweet video of dad/daughter below and see how they get through the fireworks.  There's still time for you to go out and purchase your own little baby pink guitar.  ;)

Keep it simple...Happy 4th of July!  ♥D