Tag Archives: technology

Social Media Masquerade
Girl in festive dress and carnival mask posing

We get freaked out about how our kids present themselves on social media and what and how they communicate. Much of that freak-out is justified. But remember, for centuries we have been altering our public self-image. Directing portrait artists and photographers to present the best you; attention on clothes and makeup to enhance appearance, wigs to cover unwashed hair. Letter writing has always allowed carefully thought-out words as opposed to spontaneous and possibly awkward conversation. We have always cared about our public image. Nothing new here—except social media presents a constant reminder that one’s “real” self is deficient.

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April ’18 Q&A – “Bad” Preschool Behavior, Racism and Screentime

“Bad” Preschool Behavior

Q. Our 31/2 year old grandson just started preschool, and has already gotten an email (in 6 days) about how bad his behavior is.  Not listening, not being nice with other kids, etc.  I don’t think he is old enough to verbalize what is bothering him, so how do we figure out how to help him? I remember your story about your child when she was young and even now you said it almost breaks your heart because she couldn’t say what was bothering her.

A. If your grandson’s preschool is complaining about his behavior,

  1. They don’t know how to handle impulsive children
  2. He is not ready for school
  3. This school is not the right place for him

Or all 3 of these may be true. In any case, I would remove him from this school immediately. If they see him as having “bad” behavior (not true), they do not understand behavior and it likely means they have already decided too much about him that will color all their interactions with him going forward. He needs a preschool that will understand normal, impulsive, boy behavior and how to respond to that behavior effectively. However, if his parents do not NEED him to be in school, then I might keep him home for another 6 months. Or if they can, hire someone to be with him at home. In terms of him verbalizing what the problem is, it is hard. His understanding is from a 3 y.o. perspective, which is not objective at all.

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The Many Faces of Peer Pressure

Peer pressure. It’s a term that provokes fear in every parent—fear that children will succumb to the negative influence of classmates and friends to behave in dangerous ways. Parents worry that being liked and a part of the popular group will be more important to their children than working hard, getting good grades, and getting their values at home. Turning into who they think their friends want or expect them to be is the stuff of a parent’s nightmare.

There are two additional and often forgotten aspects to consider about peer pressure: The positive side of peer influence and the affects of adult peer pressure on parents and thus on their children.

  1. Parents tend to focus only on the negative aspects of peer pressure and forget to acknowledge that children must learn the norms, styles and social skills of living in today’s world from their peers. Good friends influence each other tremendously as they talk about and decide so many behaviors they both approve and disapprove of in others. Bullies and snobs influence children in positive ways, too. That’s what I don’t want to be like.

A parent’s job is to accept and support the child to foster self-confidence so that they can navigate the ins and outs of their peers and gain the knowledge and influence that works for their success and further confidence. When parents spend too much time fearing which friends their children will choose, they lose valuable time in learning and accepting who their child really is.

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Entitlement: The By-Product of Indulgent Parenting

“These kids today” are the words out of every older generation referring to the generation about to replace them. It’s hard to accept change. Every generation thinks they are better than the next and the youth are messing everything up and doing it all wrong.

What do the following have in common?

  • Kids with no manners or courtesy
  • Lack of awareness of the consequences of behavior
  • Resistance to rules and dismissal of the law
  • Addictive video gaming

Call me a member of the older generation, but here’s how I see it: Baby boomers were born and raised in post WWII during an economic recovery and unprecedented prosperity. They (we) got to do more of what we wanted than our parents did. We also learned to distrust government during the Nixon-Vietnam War years. We actively demonstrated, thumbed our noses at the establishment and were the first to step out of the footprints of our parents to set our own way. The establishment included our parents. Most of us didn’t like the way we were brought up to be obedient and were determined to do it differently.

So here we were, in limbo, raising the next generation. We wanted to do it differently but didn’t know what that meant other than the opposite of strict obedience, remaining silent, doing for others and never for ourselves. After all, obedience backfired on our parents. They raised a whole generation who turned disobedient.

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Tweens Online

A guest post from Dr. Birute Regine, author of “Iron Butterflies: Women Transforming Themselves and the World”

For weeks, Rene had been badgering her parents to let her have a gmail account. All her friends in middle school had email accounts, so why couldn’t she? Every time she asked she got the same answer. “Maybe later, maybe later.”

“We weren’t sure if she was responsible enough to venture out in the social media world,” Rene’s mom Linda told me. “I feel like I have to be the gatekeeper. I need to protect her from the horrible things in our society that basically want to flood into her life.”

During school lunch Rene would complain to her friends about how annoying her parents were. “They keep stalling with me! I’ll never get on gmail.” Her friend Cheryl said, “I can help you set up an account. It’s easy. We’ll just give you a fake name.” “Really?” Rene replied. “That would be awesome!”

Rene felt a twinge of doubt, but set it aside, assuring herself that her parents wouldn’t be too mad if they found out. That afternoon, Cheryl set up an account for Rene.

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Give Up Screentime Fights

So much worry, arguing, screaming, and power struggles are spent between parents and kids over screen time. The jury is still out on the effects but enough has been written about brain damage, nature deprivation, inactivity, eye damage, etc., etc. to keep parents tethered to a rope yanking their children away from the very thing that fascinates them most.

Video game addictions, internet obsession, contact with cyberspace predators all have us living in fear for our children’s minds and safety. Many parents report angry, hostile moods in their children once they are removed from their device. All very real concerns, which make it very difficult to trust what I am about to suggest.

I have been trying an experiment with some of the parents I work with and finding an amazing success rate. My suggestion is to lay off your children’s screen time.

“Yikes! How can I do that and be a responsible parent? My child will stay glued to one device or another forever.” “I can’t just let him rot in front of the computer screen.” “She spends her entire life texting without looking up from her phone.”

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For Mother’s Day: Is Mothering the Hardest Job?

Thanks to Hilary Rosen’s comment about Ann Romney never working a day in her life, the subject of mothering has come to the fore once again – just in time for Mother’s Day.

While I believe that parenting, whether done primarily by a mother or a father, is indeed the hardest and most important job anyone will ever undertake, I do not think that society as a whole gives mothering any more than lip service. On Mother’s Day we can give mothers that pat on the back fulfilling our obligation and then be done with it. If indeed it is the hardest job, why do we not feel the need to give parents every opportunity to do the job well?

We certainly consider doctoring a critically important job, hence the years of training necessary to do it. The same can be said of any job. We need education to drive a car, fly a plane, work in a bank, be a neighborhood watchman. But giving birth requires no education at all. We place so little value on the job of mothering that it’s easy for a highly educated woman to make the comment that Mrs. Romney has never worked a day in her life.

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