, ,

8 Ways Parents Can Combat the Stress of Growing Up in Today’s Competitive Culture

What do you mean you have a B?

What do you mean you got third place?

What do you mean you’re not taking that honors class or that SAT prep course?

What do you mean you don’t know where you want to go to college or what you want to study yet?

And our parental anxiety heightens as we question if our child is falling behind in this race toward college called childhood.

It’s no wonder youth suicide rates, depression and anxiety are at an all-time high. The pressure to keep up is intense as our children are constantly evaluated and expected to compete at a high level in every aspect of their life.

Teenagers are taking their own lives because they feel they can no longer keep up with the competitive culture they are living in. When are we going to wake up to the fact that just maybe the expectations we are putting on this generation of kids are too much?

What can we parents do to combat the crazed competitive culture that our children are growing up in? 

1. Make your Home a Haven

Let your home be a place where your child can relax, restore and be rejuvenated. We need to purposely provide a calm away from our kid’s daily storm by providing them a peaceful home away from the craze of the outside world.

This doesn’t mean that we never raise our voice (a.k.a. yell) and let our child continuously veg out on the sofa, scrolling a device, while we run around and serve them. It means that we, as a leader in our home, purposely create a low-stress environment, as often as we can. Gather around the family dinner table regularly so that authentic conversation and relationships may be strengthened.

2. Refrain from Promoting Parental Pride

It’s only natural to be proud of our son’s big win or our daughter’s accomplishment but it doesn’t mean we need to constantly post about their successes online. Our children are always watching us. When winning the games and earning the awards become what we regularly promote on our social media feeds, we subconsciously send the message to our children, and our friends, that this is what we deem most important.

If you don’t own the school or team you are promoting with the sticker on the back of your vehicle, maybe you should remove it. Because even if you don’t voice it, that logo slapped on your window or bumper tells your kids, and all of us trailing behind you, what you prioritize.

3. Say No to the Parent Portal

The parent portal apps where we can monitor our kids’ academic activity only add to the pressure and stress for all involved. How can our child own their own learning if we are constantly getting on them about missed assignments or low test scores?

If we are regularly checking the portal to see where our child is falling short than our son or daughter will never learn to feel the consequences of their mistakes or successes themselves. They will naturally come to rely on Mom or Dad to tell them what move to make next.

Set yourself up for success in this area by removing the portal off of your devices. Every now and then ask your child to pull it up on their device and show you how things are going.

4. Prioritize Play

What happened to the fun? We mustn’t take life so serious all of the time when raising kids today. Our families and homes need more laughter, play, and silliness. Don’t mistake sitting on the sidelines of your child’s life watching them perform and compete as playtime. Figure out where your family playgrounds are and head there more often. How Playful is Your Family?

5. Normalize Failure

Our children must feel the pain and discomfort of failure. They must face the consequences of not studying or forgetting to do their homework. Kids must gain experience failing and learn to recover from their mistakes in order to build resilience.

Talk regularly in your home about times when you mess up as an adult. Let them see you embrace failure. When we as parents expect straight A’s and winning sports seasons, we wrongly teach our kids that perfection is the goal.

6. Set Limits on Technology

Our children come home from school, fall on the coach and begin mindlessly scrolling and gaming in their downtime. As the parent, we must allow them the space to unwind while setting limits for technology use in our home. Kids need a break from the pressuring world around them, but always seeking reprieve in a screen is not healthy.

Children of all ages need space without digital devices to experience boredom and opportunity to build relationships with friends and family face-to-face.

7. Allow them to take a Mental Health Day

This is a recent shift in thinking for me. It wasn’t until I witnessed the negative effects of my high schoolers’ juggle of honors class homework, club sports, academic clubs and working a part-time job, that I began to allow my teens to turn off their alarms and take a day or morning off to regroup once in a great while.

How to Know If Your Child Needs a Mental Health Day

Managing normal stress is a healthy part of life, so know your child well enough to know when he or she is overstressed. If you see your son or daughter has time for playing video games, scrolling social media or watching television than they probably don’t need a mental health day off from school. They may need to learn to manage their time better. Know the difference between when your child actually needs a break and simply wants one.

8. Drop the College Conversations

There is so much pressure on kids, in middle school even, to begin thinking about where they will go to college and what they will major in. Friends and family discuss GPA’s, class schedules, scholarships and college essays on a regular basis.

Parents have their children join clubs and organizations hoping it will help their child appear well rounded and heighten their chances of getting into college. We as a society have begun to worry so much about building up our child on paper that we are forgetting to build up the real person.

Even if we parents aren’t pressuring, our child is still growing up today surrounded by stress and expectations. How are you purposely combatting the competitive culture that your child is growing up in?

5-Reasons-To-Be-A-Less-Productive-Parent
,

5 Reasons You Need To Be a Less Productive Parent

We must stop being so productive in our parenting today so that our children can learn how to be productive in their own lives.

5-Reasons-To-Be-A-Less-Productive-Parent

In the morning the productive parent wakes the child up.

Makes the breakfast.

Goes back in to wake sleeping beauty again.

Packs the lunch.

Throws in the laundry.

Cleans up after breakfast.

Reminds Johnny to take his washed and folded PE uniform and his library book that is due.

Off to school, he goes.

Good thing he has a cell phone to text Mom when he realizes she forgot to remind him to bring his math book.

And because the productive parent wouldn’t want him to be without what he needs, she runs it to school.

And the scenario goes on….

Is it possible that our productive parenting is hindering our children from becoming productive adults?

One of our goals as parents should be to raise a confident, responsible and independent adult who can capably live in the real world one day without us. It’s time to recognize if we are stealing opportunities from our child to grow into the productive person they are meant to be.

Here are 5 reasons we need to be a less productive parent in 2018

1. Our kids don’t know how to fail

We can’t stand to watch our offspring face disappointment and hardship so we do all we can to keep our babies from feeling discomfort. Failure doesn’t feel good, and we want our children happy, so we shield and protect our son or daughter from anything that may make them feel uncomfortable.

But as adults, we have mistakingly forgotten that failure is a necessary part of life. How will we ever know when we’ve truly succeeded if we’ve never been allowed to fail?

Most of our parents didn’t pick up the pieces when things fell apart for us. We learned how to do that ourselves. Why then aren’t we allowing our child the same space to learn and grow from negative experiences?

2. Our kids don’t know how to problem solve

Recently I interviewed several university deans, professors, teachers and employers about the difference between young adults today compared to past generations. They unanimously said that adolescents don’t know how to solve problems for themselves.

Who’s to blame for this? Siri, Alexa and hovering parents get my vote.

No matter who’s to blame, we as parents have to be adamant about giving our child the confidence and space to figure out solutions for themselves. Only then will they get to experience the consequences that follow their decisions- good and bad.

How can we begin to empower our child to make choices for themselves instead of them relying on us or technology to do the work for them?

3. Our kids don’t know how to fend for themselves

Teenager-Doing-Laundry

My viral post on the 8 Things You Should Stop Doing For Your Child touched on how we need to purposely raise an adult instead of big kids who leave our home clueless instead of capable.

It’s up to us parents to let our child become productive instead of us continuously producing for them. It is the rare child who is going to ask to wake themselves up, do their own laundry, make their own breakfast, fill out their own paperwork and the list goes on. Children of all ages like having things done for them, so you are going to have to take the lead in teaching them what they need to know.

As parents, we must strive to balance nurturing our child and teaching them life skills. Don’t mistake doing everything for your teen as love. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do for your child is to say no to bringing that forgotten item to them at school.

4. Our kids don’t know how to be face-to-face with another human

Technology is ruining childhood if you haven’t figured that out already. We parents must have boundaries and rules for devices, so our child grows up learning that their iPhone is an asset, not a part of their anatomy.

We must carve out space in our child’s life for them to be with people of all ages in person without a screen to hide behind. The group of professionals I interviewed also agreed that young adults are very unsure of themselves in social settings today. They don’t know how to look another person in the eye or how to have casual, yet meaningful conversation face to face.

It’s up to us parents to create opportunities for our children to develop lifelong relationship and communication skills which are not going to happen by using Snapchat.

5. Our kids don’t know how to wait for anything

Kids-Ordering-Amazon-Boxes-Outside-Door

I blame the brilliance of Amazon and their uber-productive shopping experience. Why wait for anything anymore when you know you can quickly click a few buttons on this website and have your desire in hand tomorrow? What can possibly be wrong with that?

The concept of waiting for something you want or even need is lost on the younger generation, thanks to Amazon.

It’s up to us to teach our children how to wait. To wait for items that they want. To wait in lines. To wait to do things that aren’t appropriate for their age yet.

With our over-productive parenting, we are creating a generation of kids who are afraid to fail, unable to problem solve, unwilling to help around the house, uncomfortable in the presence of other humans and who don’t want to wait for a thing.

Parents, we must purposely be a bit more unproductive this year so that our children can become the productive people that they are meant to be.

936-Pennies-Intentional-Parenting-Book-Review
,

How 936 Pennies Can Help You Parent More Intentionally

Nine hundred and thirty-six weeks from birth until our children turn eighteen.

Before I even heard the 936 Pennies message, I knew that the time I had to raise my children was fleeting.

Every time I walk into my kitchen, these glass jars on the windowsill greet me. I’m grateful for their visual reminder that what I do today matters.

936-Pennies-Intentional-Parenting-Book-Review

God willing we get 936 weeks with our child from the time they are born until they turn 18.

This set of penny jars is a tangible reminder of how fast kids grow up.

We know it’s true, but somehow in the hustle and bustle of daily life, we simply take this precious truth for granted. When we remove one penny from its original jar and drop it into the spent jar each week, we are reminded of how well we are investing in our son or daughter’s childhood.

Eryn Lynum’s new book 936 Pennies- Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting, is based on her viral blog post about the power behind these glass jars of copper coins.

I get asked to review a lot of books, but I actually reached out to Eryn to be a part of her book launch team because I believe in her message so much.

I was afraid that her book wouldn’t necessarily apply to a mom at my stage of parenting kids in the high school home stretch. But, it most certainly does. This book applies to every parent who takes for granted the fact that today does indeed matter.

936-Pennies-Intentional-Parenting-Book-Review

Sprinkled with Bible scriptures throughout, Lynum’s book inspires the reader to slow down and prioritize what really matters. She says, “we can’t control time but we can slow it down by living each day intentionally. We only have so much time to teach our kids, to make memories, and to love them while they are at home.”

No Pain, No Gain

Our pennies are dwindling down toward the end and if I’m honest, it doesn’t feel good. It would be easier to choose to ignore the truth of our kids growing up and protect our hearts from the painful reality that our full-time parenting season is coming to a close soon.

“Removing pennies hurts, and it is supposed to,” writes Lynum. “A constant reminder of the shortness of time is meant to stir up a response within us.”

Our jar on the left screams that my time is almost up. I’m down to 81 weeks until my sons turn 18. Lynum’s book encourages me to continue to deliberately invest in my children and the time we have left together.

That near empty jar coaxes me to relax and take the time to look into my teenager’s eyes, to listen and to speak love into him, to reach out and to step back. It beckons me to laugh more and to find peace in the moments I get with my busy teenagers.

What You Do Today Matters

That jar of remaining pennies begs me to teach my child one more thing about life. Or inspires me to make one more special treat. It tells me to say yes to more time to play and say no to more time distracted by screens.

It can be difficult to look at the jars and question if I’ve invested my time well.

We must let dropping yet another penny into the spent jar change us. Let the transferring of each weekly penny remind us that the way we spend our time does matter.

4 Ways to Create Meaningful Traditions in a Glass Jar

“When we set our souls on slowing that time and expanding it by taking notice and appreciating the moments that make up those weeks, we do it,” writes Lynum. “Suddenly a jar of worn pennies transforms into a treasure chest of countless moments, all building on one another to form a childhood bound together by beauty and significance.”

Lynum’s simple, yet powerful message is a great reminder for all of us that no matter the age of our children we must be intentional with the time we have left.

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

Lynum writes, “Parents face this overwhelming pressure to make every moment matter, to cherish every second of the journey. But, I don’t believe that this idea correctly portrays our calling. I don’t think our job is to make every moment memorable. Rather, I believe that our job is to open our eyes wide and sink our feet deep down into those moments when we spot them.

Instead of fabricating and trying to control the memory making, we simply utilize the beauty all around us to cement lasting memories. When those opportunities avail themselves, we are ready and eager to snatch them up and hold them with awe. We’ll be ready to turn them into dog ears in the story of our sons’ and daughters’ childhoods.”

Comment below if you’d like to win a copy of Lynum’s new book 936 Pennies- Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting!

One winner will be chosen on February 16, 2018. US residents only, please.

Girl-Scout-Cookie-Sales-by-Neighbor-Girls
,

Why You Need to Say Yes to the Thin Mints

It’s that time of year when we’re asked to buy tagalongs, thin mints, and trefoils.

I remember the first time our neighborhood Girl Scouts showed up unannounced on our doorstep sporting their patched vests, adorable smiles and a cart full of cookie boxes. The only noticeable thing missing was a parent by their side.

Where in the world was the girls’ mother?

This week the sisters who live at the end of our cul-de-sac showed up and confidently handed me a card listing all of their offerings. They told me about their new flavors, informed me of their gluten-free option and explained that the thin mints are vegan. They also suggested I not buy the Smores ones because they’re not very tasty.

Girl-Scout-Cookie-Sales-by-Neighbor-Girls

If you tell the girls that you’re watching your waist and not eating cookies right now, they are ready for your excuse. They say you can buy the cookies instead for the troops and they will ship them overseas.

Gracie and Maya bravely stop by annually to sell their Girl Scout cookies without a parent by their side.

Where is their mother and why is she not involved?

Actually, Mom is their troop leader and is exactly where she is supposed to be- encouraging and empowering her daughters from afar. In a culture of helicopter parenting, Girl Scouts allows parents to step back and let their young girls build confidence, character, and courage through their cookie selling program.

Even though my daughter isn’t a Girl Scout and I have no personal experience with the organization, I find the tradition of a sweet young girl boldly asking us to support her cause very refreshing.

Girl-Scout-Cookie-Sales-by-Neighbor-Girls

In an age where children are more often seen strapped into the backseat of the minivan racing off to their organized activity rather than traipsing around the neighborhood, I welcome this change of childhood pace that Girl Scout cookie selling provides.

My neighbor Angela Kisner said she grew up nervously hiding behind her parent’s legs and was anxious about having to talk to anyone in person. When she had her daughters, she wanted to empower them to have a voice and found Girls Scouts as one arena to help her raise confident young women. Angela also encourages her troop parents to allow their girls to do all of the cookie selling by themselves.

“The biggest sellers year after year are the girls who sell themselves rather than the parent being the leading factor,” said Jennifer Roman, Arizona Cactus-Pine Council volunteer troop leader and service unit cookie manager. In my training, I also emphasize the importance of the financial and business skills education for the girls, not the actual quantity of cookies sold.”

Did you know that the Girl Scout Cookie program is the largest girl-led financial literacy program in the country?

Do you realize that by buying that $5 box of cookies you are not only receiving a familiar special treat, but you are helping a young girl gain confidence in her leadership abilities?

Girl-Scout-Cookie-Program-Quote

The Girl Scout Cookie Program: Learning by Earning program teaches five essential skills that prepare a girl for future career success.

  • Goal Setting – Girls set cookie sales goals and, with their team, create a plan to reach them.
  • Decision Making – Girls develop a basic business plan for cookie sales and decide as a team what to do with the money they earn: like Girl Scout activities, camp, traveling or service projects.
  • Money Management – Girls develop a budget, take cookie orders, handle customers’ money, and gain valuable, practical life skills.
  • People Skills – Girls learn how to talk to, listen to, and work with all kinds of people while selling cookies.
  • Business Ethics – Girls are honest and responsible during every step of cookie sales.

Because these five skills are embedded throughout the Girl Scout Cookie program, cookie sellers learn in a hands-on, fun way how to set goals and meet deadlines, work well with others, understand customers, and be trustworthy and reliable.

So when you’re asked to buy tagalongs, thin mints, and trefoils from a smiling Girl Scout this month, remember that what you’re really buying is so much more than a box of cookies.

My One Word for 2018…..

Have you chosen your One Word to guide you intentionally toward where you hope to go this new year?

Choosing one word to represent 2018 is a simple way to motivate yourself into intentional action, not perfection. Let your word simply encourage you, not weigh you down.

I have claimed VALUE as my word for 2018, so what exactly does that mean for my year and overall life?

One-Word-For-2018-Value

What do I truly value?

Am I living what I value?

Is what surrounds me on a regular basis of value?

How can I be of more value to people, the world and to my Lord and Savior this year?

What values are important to me and what am I intentionally teaching my kids to value?

How can I better value my relationships with my husband, children, family, and friends?

Am I getting the best value on the things I’m buying?

Do the things I buy really add value to our lives?

How can I better value our precious resources here on earth?

Do I read and watch things of value?

Do I follow and friend people on social media that add value to my life?

Do I spend my time doing things of value?

What-Do-I-Value-in-Life?

I’m committed to being of value in 2018. This year I will write to compel us to bring value to all that we do and are in this world.

Have you chosen One Word to help you act on your intentions for 2018?

Want to know what my word for 2017 was?

Let me know what word you choose so I can encourage you to live it out in this wonderful year ahead! 

Albert-Einstein-Quote-Try-Not-To-Be-A-Man-Of-Success-But-Rather-Try-To-Become-A-Man-Of-Value.

Check out Get One Word or One Word 365 if you need some inspiration!

I hope 2018 is starting off wonderfully for you! 

 

,

Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning SnapChat – BOOK REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

Over the holiday break, my husband and I continuously threatened to shut off our kids’ cell phone data plans, the wifi, the cable box- anything that might get our relaxing students to do something other than stare at a screen in their downtime.

How badly we want 2018 to be the Year of Successfully Parenting Our Screenagers.

Our family has tech boundaries. We have rules for the devices. We even made a cell phone contract when we allowed our kids to purchase their first phones three years ago. How come it’s so hard for our teenagers to follow the guidelines we’ve set and even more difficult for us as parents to uphold them?

Parenting children on screens can be absolutely maddening. 

Thank goodness for the release of the new book Be The Parent, Please Stop Banning Seesaws and Start Banning SnapChat- Strategies for Solving Real Parenting Problems because I need all of the advice I can get when it comes to this subject!

Be-the-parent-please-book-review-technology

When I was asked if I wanted to receive a copy of Be the Parent, Please to review- they had me at the title alone. Ban Snapchat. Where do I sign up? Be the Parent. Yes, please. I’m all over that. I know it’s my ‘job’ to lead my children well, but somehow I still feel that I’m failing them when it comes to tackling technology.

Author Naomi Schaefer Riley is an acclaimed author and mother of three. She brings her experience, research, and no-nonsense candor to the book to help families retake control over technology’s influence.

I am so grateful for the wisdom I gain from books like Riley’s and other books I’ve read on parenting kids on screens.

ipad-summertime-on-the-couch

Riley challenges us to examine how we really want our children to interact with the world and gives us realistic tips on how to accomplish those goals. Be the Parent, Please motivates us with oh so many reasons to take back control of the screens in 2018.

The book is full of real-life relatable situations and lots of research to get us thinking about being the parent we really want to be. I love that the author talks about the benefits of technology free sleepaway summer camp. Being in nature without devices for several weeks is just one of the many reasons to consider sending your screenagers to camp.

It’s up to us to lead our children well this year and this book is a perfect start to helping us figure out how exactly we want to do that.

Leave a comment below on why you need to read this book!

One lucky winner will be selected at random to receive a hard copy of Be the Parent, Please by mail. US residents only, please!

Winner will be announced on January 23!

 

,

7 Ways to Add Excitement to Your Family New Year’s Eve Party!

Ushering in the New Year as a family can be a blast with just a little effort on your part. Here are seven ways to entertain the kids and make your family New Years Eve party memorable for your family and friends.

1. Make bags for the kids to open each hour up until ‘midnight

I usually start letting the kids open goodie bags beginning at 8:00. These bags give them something to look forward to as they count down each hour until midnight. Each bag contains a variety of poppers, sparklers, noisemakers or candy in them.

2. Freeze Dance Parties

After the kids open their bags, we start our hourly freeze dance party until we’re down to one winner. It keeps everyone laughing and looking forward to the next hourly celebration!

3. Turn your Christmas Tree into a New Years one

We always leave our tree up until after the new year, so turning it into a New Year tree is a lot of fun! I love this idea of adding balloons, filled with money and fortunes, to pop at midnight. You probably need to have a faux tree like ours to do that though.

4. Fun, interactive games are a must

New-Years-Eve-Family-Party-Game-Ideas

Especially if they involve a little money. We always play Left, Center, Right using pennies or quarters to make it a little more fun for everyone. Other games we love to play are Telestrations, Speak Out and Wits and Wagers get the creativity and laughs flowing!

5. Serve Festive Drinks

How about a fun Torani Soda Bar setup? Or sparkling cider in plastic stemware is always a fun option for the kids.

6. Make Vision Hats or choose your One Word for 2018

A friend gave me the idea of turning our New Years Hats into walking vision boards. Such a fun idea! Have everyone cut out pictures and words from magazines representing what they hope for in 2018 and glue them to their party hat! Or start thinking about your One Word for 2018.

7. 20 YEAR END REVIEW QUESTIONS

Cut these up and put them in a New Years Hat. Pass them around and have each person answer the question they draw. Print the entire list and have everyone answer all 20 questions!

1. What new friends did you make this year?

2. What friendships did you let go of?

3. How did you express creativity this year?

4. How did you serve others?

5. How did you live out your faith?

6. What was the most fun thing you did this year?

7. Who did you miss seeing this year?

8. Who did you love visiting with this year?

9. What moment from 2017 brings a smile to your face?

10. What’s something sad that happened in 2017?

11. How were you courageous this year?

12. How did you relax this year?

13. What was the best place you visited this year?

14. What new restaurant did you enjoy this year?

15. What’s something new you tried in 2017?

16. What movie did you love watching this year?

17. What was your favorite book that you read?

18. What was a favorite gift you received this year?

19. Who helped you be a better person this year?

20. What’s something that surprised you in 2017?

Happy New Year Friends!! See you in 2018!

,

5 Gifts To Give Your Child This Christmas

Youthful eyes are on us this holiday season.

They watch how we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

They pay attention to what we spend our money and time on.

They feel our stress or our peace during the month of December.

What our children learn to value at Christmastime, they learn from us as parents.

The holidays are the perfect time to teach our kids life lessons through how we choose to celebrate, give and receive.

Are you gifting your children lifelong lessons this holiday season?

5-Gifts-To-Give-Your-Child-At-Christmas

Here are 5 gifts you need to give your child this Christmas season

1. The Gift of Appreciation

Model for your child how to show appreciation to others throughout the holiday season.

What should you do when invited over to a home for a party or dinner? Let your kids see you contribute to the holiday meal by bringing a dish or a small gift for the host. Teach them not to show up at someone’s home empty-handed.

By all means, teach your child the importance of handwriting thank you notes for gifts they receive or kindness they’ve been shown. Teachers also cherish receiving written words of appreciation from their students.

5 reasons writing thank you notes should not be optional for your kids

Children-Should-Write-Thank-You-Notes

2. The Gift of Giving

Teach your child the importance of giving to others instead of focusing on just receiving.

Let siblings pick out gifts for each other and buy them with their own money. Growing up, my Mom had a ‘Mom store’ where my sister and I could buy things from a closet shelf where she had gathered inexpensive items for us to choose from. I carried on the same tradition until my kids were old enough to go out shopping on their own.

Let children be involved in the gift giving by using their own money and ideas. This way they begin to learn the value of selecting personal gifts that fit each person. Who doesn’t love a thoughtful gift giver?

3. The Gift of Compassion

Talk to your kids about how you are helping people with your time and money this season. Unfortunately, there are many people who are hurting during the holidays. What can your family do to show that you care?

We kept a Christmas Jar out all year long to collect change we found. I have a family in mind to gift it to but want to see if we are all in agreeance or is there someone else we should bless instead?

Carry dollars for kids to drop in Salvation Army buckets. Pull angels off of mall trees and buy gifts for kids in foster care. The ways you can help others through your giving is endless. Let your kids watch you continuously give to those who need your help if and when you’re able.

4. The Gift of Contribution

Christmas cheer shouldn’t just be made possible by mom, it should be a collective family effort contributing to traditions together.

Have your kids help bake the cookies. They can stamp and seal the envelopes of the Christmas cards. Pull out the ornaments and adorn the tree together.  Help pick out gifts for loved ones and wrap them as a family.

Get children of all ages involved in contributing to the magic of Christmas rather than just consuming.

5. The Gift of Humility

Teach your son or daughter that gifts aren’t for posting on social media. Google the Christmas Haul if you don’t know what I’m talking about. Kids sit around on Christmas morning showing off everything they unwrapped on Instagram and YouTube for everyone to see.

We must talk to our kids about the inappropriateness and unnecessary posting of material items received at Christmas. Better yet, how about us not gifting them anything worthy of bragging about in the first place. We don’t want our children finding their worth in owning the top of the line iPhone or expensive athletic shoes.

If we teach our children to appreciate, contribute and give to others this Christmas season then our gifts will live on way beyond December 25th.

Merry Christmas to your family! May you enjoy this precious season with your loved ones celebrating the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ!\

Born-To-Be-Wild-Book-by-Dr.-Jess-Shatkin
,

6 Ways Parents Can Help Keep Teens Safer

It’s a boy. A boy. And yet another boy.

The ultrasound confirmed that I was officially a Mom of triplet sons which meant I was going to have my work cut out for me. It wasn’t the dirt and grime or nonstop action of raising young boys that scared me. The thought of having three sons who would grow into teenagers with a natural ‘need for speed’ is what intimidated me.

Our trio is now sophomores in high school and the new book Born to Be Wild interested me to review because I want to know if we can really help our teenagers navigate risky choices more successfully.

Can parents make a difference when it comes to minimizing risk in their child’s life?

Teenagers-Born-To-Be-Wild-Book-Dr.-Jess-Shatkin

According to Born to Be Wild Author, Dr. Jess. P. Shatkin, we can absolutely make a difference by being proactive in our parenting.

Shatkin is a professor of child and adolescent psychiatry and pediatrics at New York University School of Medicine and also a Dad of two teenagers. His new book tells us why teens take risks, and how we can help keep them safer.

Enter to win your own free copy of Born to Be Wild now by commenting below!

How can we positively influence our teenager to make the best choices?

When our kids are young, we need to make many choices for them. As they age toward the teenage years, we need to curate their choices. Adolescence is an enormous developmental opportunity. During these years, we must allow our kids to practice all of the many things that they will one day need to do independently as adults, but we as parents must also continue providing close supervision.

How do we help our kids make healthy decisions when it comes to risky behaviors?

Dr. Shatkin recommends we take Wayne Gretzky’s advice and skate to where the puck will be. See the reality of the road ahead and be proactive in designing strategies to reduce upcoming risk factors in your child’s life.

We’re only kidding ourselves if we choose to believe that our adolescents won’t face risky situations each day. Instead of waiting for those risks to happen, we can anticipate the dangers and be ready for them.

Texting while driving, binge drinking, bullying, unprotected sex, vaping and many other risk factors are real concerns and keep us worried about our growing adolescents today.

Here are 6 proactive parenting strategies for reducing risk in our teens’ lives.

Read more

,

How Do We Make Kids Feel Safe In An Unsafe World?

Growing up I was fearful of roller coasters, bees, and thunderstorms.

Our children are growing up scared of being shot or blown up while at school, the movies, church or at an entertainment venue.

When I was young we used to practice tornado and fire drills at school.

Today, kids are taught to silently hide from gunmen under their desks during classroom lockdown drills.

It’s an unfair and disturbing world that we are raising our kids in today.

How do we raise kids to not be fearful walking out the door of their home?

How do we acknowledge the truth of painful events without frightening our kids?

Our family had a trip planned to Las Vegas over our school fall break. Little did we know that tragedy would strike the city just before we were to head there. Should we even still go? Staying in the safety of our own home feels like a better choice nowadays, doesn’t it?

But, we must help our kids to feel safe in an unsafe world by continuing to live life to the fullest. 

Our family traveled to Las Vegas as planned because we want our kids to see that there is, and always will be, more beauty, than evil, in the world. We won’t hide or ignore the truth of the tragedy that occurred there, but we will certainly balance it with joy, love and laughter.

Seven-Magic-Mountains-Henderson-LasVegas-Nevada

Have you visited the Seven Magic Mountains two-year art exhibit in the middle of the desert just outside of the Las Vegas strip? Go check it out before it’s gone in May!

How do we talk to our kids about tragic events without making them fearful and scared in their daily lives?

I would much rather pad, protect, shelter and hide the pain and suffering in the world so that my children can live a carefree existence. The problem is that isn’t responsible, nor is it teaching our children truth when we ignore the suffering and heartache that innocent people have endured at the hands of evil.

We shouldn’t shelter our kids from the truth but introduce today’s painful realities age appropriately.

My friend, Ashley Barden, is a mother of three and was amongst the crowd enjoying the Route 91 Harvest Festival until the evening turned fatal on October 2. Luckily, she and her friends were among the fortunate ones to make it out of the venue alive.

Ashley and her friend, Cassey, just minutes before the shooting began.

Separated from her friends, Ashley ran out of the outdoor venue to an executive airport hanger where almost 60 people hid in a storage room until police released them around 2:30 in the morning. Shortly after she was able to fly home to Arizona and back to her children. What did Ashley tell her kids about her scary experience?

Not much. Fortunately, her kids are young (11, 6 and 3) and overall unaware of the magnitude of the tragedy that their mother was involved in…. for today. Ashley wants to raise fearless kids and is adamant that she will encourage herself and her trio to live life doing what they love.

We must not raise fearful kids, but faithful ones instead.

Our kids were uneasy to go stay in a high rise hotel on the Las Vegas strip understandably after what had just occurred. We talked about how God has us and that we can rest in Him. We must acknowledge that evil unfortunately exists but we cannot let fear override our faith. Our family drove by the site of the mass shooting so that we could see with our own eyes the area where the tragedy happened and answer any questions our kids had.

On our RV trip around the USA, we visited the site of the OKC bombing. Our kids have seen where President Kennedy was shot in Dallas, Texas and they have visited the September 11 Memorials and Museums in NYC.

I wish evil and hatred weren’t a part of the world we live in, but unfortunately, they are. We have to wrap our head around the pain, talk about it age appropriately with our kids, honor those who’ve senselessly lost their lives and continue to pray for and help our hurting people together.

We must lead our kids from a fearless place so that they can feel secure to live the carefree childhood that they need and deserve. We must show children how to live faithful lives instead of fearful ones.

What can we do to help ourselves be safe the next time we, or our children, are in a large public venue? Ashley recommends that you know where your exit options are and have an escape plan in mind, God forbid something happens while you’re out living your life.

Learn more about the Route 91 Victims and how you can help and support their individual families here.