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Summer-screen-time-family-strategy-for-technology-and-kids

If witnessing your kids laying around on devices after school and on weekends is making you crazy now, how are you going to feel this summer when the time off beckons constant screen usage?

Become your child’s media mentor and make a plan to intentionally decrease screen use in your family this summer.

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Foster-Adoptive-Families-AdoptUsKids

You are raising your kids and you think your family is complete. But, there are many children living in foster care who need you.

These kids have no stable place to lay their heads at night and are living in the midst of uncertainty.

There are many older children waiting and wondering if they will ever have a loving family to call their own before they age out of the system at 18 years old.

May is National Foster Care Month and over 400,000 kids are in foster care here in the United States at no fault of their own. No child should have to grow up without a family to care for them.

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Parents-Need-To-Purposely-Push-Your-Child

Your son doesn’t want to do it, so he doesn’t have to do it.

Whatever he wants.

Your daughter doesn’t feel like doing something, so she doesn’t have to.

Whatever she wants.

Heaven forbid our children ever feel disappointed, afraid, unhappy or uncomfortable. We wouldn’t want that now, would we? Or are we doing our kids a disservice by allowing only what makes them feel safe, happy and comfortable?

Parents we need to be properly pushing our kids.

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Unplug-Book

Parents are scrambling for advice on how to handle digital devices in their homes.

We are losing our kids to technology, but what can we as Mom and Dad do about it?

We must acquire wisdom from knowledgeable sources and implement boundaries and rules based on what we learn. When we know better, we do better.

The following four books were given to me to review and are each beneficial in the i-parenting journey. With five kids on screens, I’m open to any positive advice I can get right now on how to best handle technology in our family.

Disconnected-Book-How-to-Reconnect-Our-Digitally-Distracted-Kids

1. Disconnected- How to Reconnect Our Digitally Distracted Kids is a call to action because we (adults and children) do not have control over electronic devices and screens; they instead have control over us.

The author Thomas Kersting is a rock star parent because he has no intention of getting his 14 year old son and subsequent daughter cell phones. I’m sure what he witnesses as a public school counselor by day and private practice therapist at night helps him in that decision. Kersting consistently sees firsthand the problems that kids are facing due to technology overuse.

I love that this book is a quick, informative read with less than 100 pages and is broken into three parts- the impact of electronic devices on kids’ brains; technology’s effect on social, emotional and family growth and what parents can do- tips, techniques and solutions.

Kersting lists warning signs and how to tell when your child is spending too much time using any form of electronic media, including television, video games, handheld devices and computers/tablets. He states ways to help your children (and yourself) cut down on electronic media consumption and he also states when is the right age to get your child a smartphone. I wish I would’ve read this one line alone before handing over phones to my kids.

Unplug-Book-Raising-Kids-in-a-Technology-Addicted-World

2. Unplug- Raising Kids in a Technology Addicted World is another self published short read by psychologists Dr. Lisa Strohman and Dr. Melissa Westendorf.

The book dives into the difference between technology addiction  and overuse as well as states guidelines that can be established around using technology. The authors’ candid approach helps parents sort through the pros and cons of technology use and helps parents better understand the effects it can have on children.

Unplug helps you determine how to better manage raising children with technology and to provide insight and practical tools for the challenges and choices our children are facing. I really enjoyed the call to action To Do lists at the end of every chapter and the idea of designing a Technology Use Log.

Parents-guide-to-iphone-and-ipad

3. A Parent’s Guide to iPhone and iPad is a must have read for any parent of kids who own an i-device. My kids have had iPhones for nearly two years and I had no idea many of the tips and tricks that I learned in this book. I wish At&t would’ve given me this book when we purchased the kids phones.

This book reminds me of a smaller, updated version of something from the “for Dummies” series. There are easy to follow instructions and visual photos to help guide you through the process.

The Andrew duo crafted this book for the parent, not the tech wizard. Think of it like a cookbook for your device with detailed step-by-step recipes on everything you can do and control on the iPhone and iPad. The tutorials are detailed and simple to follow. Your child’s future will be increasingly connected online, and you owe it to them to understand the tools they will use and how to protect them.

Growing-Up-Social-Raising-Relational-Kids-in-a-screen-driven-world-book

4. I was part of the launch team back in 2014 for the book Growing Up Social- Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World. My kids didn’t even own cell phones at that time so it was a great book to read to help us proactively create boundaries and limits on screen time before they actually owned the devices. You can read my original review here.

Parents, don’t be afraid to be in the know and set boundaries according to your family values and beliefs. Our kids are depending on us to lead them well.

FYI- I will receive a few pennies if you purchase any of the books with the Amazon links provided in this post. 

5-things-we-must-tell-our-children-life-can-be-tough

We parents today are fantastic at telling our babies how wonderful they are at everything they do.

We slap stickers of their sports team logos and the schools they attend on the backs of the cars that we shuttle them around in.

We happily tout their sports victories and weekend wins on social media for all to see.

We parents are proud of our kids.

Perhaps what our kids need from us more than constant pats on the back is a healthier dose of reality. Along with telling Johnny what a gift to the world he is, we need to also make sure he understands these things…

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Entitled-children-expect-exit-row-seats

What’s the worst word someone could use to describe your child?

There is a slew of cringe-worthy adjectives to choose from, but Entitled would be it for me. Spoiled brat 2019 style. I’m on a mission to parent against this ugly trait running rampant in this me, myself and I generation that we are raising our kids in.

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HOCO-Homecoming-Proposal-Producion-Teenage-Sons

Star light. Star bright. First star I see tonight. I wish you may. I wish you might. Be my date on Homecoming Night.

As if Teenage guys don’t have enough on their plate, they must now come up with a cheesy proposal presentation to ask a girl to Homecoming. He’d better not think of asking her to the dance without at least a decorated poster board in hand.

Why are our sons expected to put on a proposal production to ask someone to Homecoming today?

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5-parenting-books-that-help-me-when-i-want-to-overparent

My post on 8 things you should stop doing for your teen resonated with a lot of people.

The truth is, it is tough parenting resilient kids in today’s culture.

As a stay-at-home, work-from-home Mom, it’s easy to over-parent my kids because I adore them and want them to wholeheartedly know and feel that.

I have to really work at not over-functioning as a Mom.

Raising four not so-youngsters, I’m constantly fighting the urge to over parent. From the time my feet hit the floor each morning to the time I crawl into bed, I am trying to balance being there for my kids and showing up in my own life.

Why is parenting today so much more difficult than when we were growing up?

Or does it just seem that way because we are so heavily involved?

Today our children are so much busier than we ever were as kids. I played high school sports and thank goodness there was no such thing as “club teams” and rarely if ever, did we have hours of homework.

We do a lot of things for our kids that our parents never did for us. We feel bad for our busy kids, so we try and help them out, even when we shouldn’t.

Here are 5 Books that help me when I want to over-parent

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8-things-parents-need-to-stop-doing-for-teens-this-school-year

Don’t judge me if you happen to see my kids eating packaged Ritz crackers for school lunch.

Don’t judge me if they’re on the sidelines of PE because they forgot their uniform.

Don’t judge me if they didn’t turn in their homework because it’s still sitting home on their desk.

What some may view as a lack of parenting, is what I deem parenting on purpose, as we work to build necessary life skills in our kids.

I stopped making daily breakfasts and packing school lunches long ago.

I don’t feel obligated to deliver forgotten items left behind at home.

School projects and homework are not any part of my existence.

How do we raise competent adults if we’re always doing everything for our kids?

Let's parent our kids to be capable adults! I love this Ann Landers quote!

Walk away from doing these 8 things for your teen this school year

1. Waking them up in the morning

If you are still waking little Johnny up in the mornings, it’s time to let an alarm clock do its job. My foursome has been expected to get themselves up on early school mornings since they started middle school. There are days one will come racing out with only a few minutes to spare before they have to be out the door. The snooze button no longer feels luxurious when it’s caused you to miss breakfast.

I heard a Mom actually voice out loud that her teen sons were just so cute still, that she loved going in and waking them up every morning. Please stop. I find my sons just as adorable as you do, but our goal is to raise well-functioning adults here.

2. Making their breakfast and packing their lunch

My morning alarm is the sound of the kids clanging cereal bowls. My job is to make sure there is food in the house so that they can eat breakfast and pack a lunch.

One friend asked, yeah but how do you know what they’re bringing for school lunch? I don’t. I know what food I have in my pantry and it’s on them to pack up what they feel is a good lunch. It will only be a few short years and I will have no idea what they are eating for any of their meals away at college. Free yourself away from the PB and J station now.

3. Filling out their paperwork

Have kids fill out and sign all school paperwork and put on clipboard before you sign

I have a lot of kids, which equates to a lot of beginning of the school year paperwork. I used to dread this stack until the kids became of age to fill all of it out themselves. Our teens are expected to fill out all of their own paperwork, to the best of their ability. They put the papers to be signed on a clipboard and leave it for me on the kitchen island. I sign them and put them back on their desks.

Hold your teens accountable. They will need to fill out job and college applications soon and they need to know how to do that without your intervention.

4. Delivering their forgotten items

Monday morning we pulled out of the driveway and screeched around the corner of the house when daughter dear realized she forgot her phone. “We have to go back, Mom!” Another exclaimed that he forgot his freshly washed PE uniform folded in the laundry room. I braked in hesitation as I contemplated turning around. Nope. Off we go, as the vision surfaced of both of them playing around on their phones before it was time to leave.

Parents don’t miss opportunities to provide natural consequences for your teens. Forget something? Feel the pain of that. Kids also get to see, that you can make it through the day without a mistake consuming you.

We also have a rule that Mom and Dad are not to get pleading texts from school asking for forgotten items. It still happens, but we have the right to just shoot back “that’s a bummer.”

text message

5. Making their failure to plan your emergency

School projects do not get assigned the night before they are due. Therefore, I do not run out and pick up materials at the last minute to get a project finished. I do always keep poster boards and general materials on hand for the procrastinating child. But, other needed items, you may have to wait for. Do not race to Michaels for your kid who hasn’t taken time to plan.

This is a good topic to talk about in weekly family meetings. Does anyone have projects coming up that they’re going to need supplies for so that I can pick them up at my convenience this week?

6. Doing all of their laundry

laundry time

“What? YOU didn’t get my shorts washed? This response always backfires on the kid who may lose their mind thinking that I’m the only one who can do laundry around here. Every once in a while a child needs a healthy reminder that I do not work for them. The minute they assume that this is my main role in life is the minute that I gladly hand over the laundry task to them.

Most days I do the washing and the kids fold and put their clothes away, but they are capable of tackling the entire process when need be.

7. Emailing and calling their teachers and coaches  

If our child has a problem with a teacher or coach, he is going to have to take it to the one in charge. There is no way that we, as parents, are going to question a coach or email a teacher about something that should be between the authority figure and our child.

Don’t be that over-involved parent. Teach your child that if something is important enough to him, then he needs to learn how to handle the issue himself or at least ask you to help them.

8. Meddling in their academics

National Junior Honor Society middle school induction ceremony Cocopah Middle School

Put the pencil down parents. Most of the time, I honestly couldn’t tell you what my kids are doing for school work. We talk about projects and papers over dinner, but we’ve always had the expectation for our kids to own their work and grades. At times, they’ve earned Principals Lists, Honor Rolls and National Junior Honor Society honors on their own accord. At other times, they’ve missed the mark.

These apps and websites, where parents can go in and see every detail of children’s school grades and homework, are not helping our overparenting epidemic.

Every blue moon I will ask the kids to pull up their student account and show me their grades because I want them to know I do care. I did notice our daughter slacking off at the end of last year and my acknowledgment helped her catch up, but I’m not taking it on as one of my regular responsibilities and you shouldn’t be either.

What is your parenting goal?

Is it to raise competent and capable adults?

If so, then lets work on backing off in areas where our teens can stand on their own two feet. I know they’re our babies and it feels good to hover over them once in a while, but in all seriousness, it’s up to us to raise them to be capable people.

I want to feel confident when I launch my kids into the real world that they are going to be just fine because I stepped back and let them navigate failure and real-life stuff on their own.

So please don’t judge me if my kids scramble around, shoving pre-packaged items into that brown paper lunch bag, before racing to catch the bus.

It’s all on purpose, my friends.

5-Ways-To-Set-Up-A-Summer-of-Significance

Summertime is here and the living is easy, right? Or is it actually more difficult?

As a parent summer brings a different rhythm than the one we’re used to living throughout the school year. How do we take advantage of this slower pace and plan for a summer of significance?

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