Being a Better Parent, Dealing With Back Talk, Kids and Media

Potty (Mouth) Training Revisited

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I watched with interest all the hoopla last week about the little girl on the ABC-TV show “Modern Family”, who was depicted as cursing on last week’s episode (or is it “cussing”?). See, “using swear words” had already been a “hot topic” around our house this month. In the wake of the episode, which was entitled “Little Bo Bleep”, I found lots of online psycho-babble by professors and other experts chiming in about how swearing is, among other things, a natural part of early language development, cathartic, and helps people tolerate pain. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think most people already know that. And we also know something else the experts were saying, that, just like in the Modern Family episode, little kids use swear words without really knowing what they mean, and get a kick out of adults’ reactions when they use them, and so they’ll say them again. “Modern Family” was just art imitating real life. (Does that mean the Parents Television Council, the group who first caused a stink about the show, is not made up of real parents? Sometimes I wonder…) But what I really wanted to know amidst last week’s jaw flapping was how real parents deal with swearing by children and teens.

Being a Better Parent, Dealing With Back Talk

Teaching Kids to “Respect Their Elders”– Is It A Lost Cause?

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Sorry for not writing for more than a few days, but I’ve been deep in
thought and research about a topic that I know is near and dear to many parents’ (and grandparents’) hearts, not to mention Aretha Franklin’s: Respect. It has occurred to me this fall that, among
the many values that Andy and I have actively tried to impart to our kids over the years, respect for adults has not been one of those we’ve worked especially hard at. Geesh,  do we have
to teach everything? Can’t some things just occur naturally?
Well, for our oldest, respect for adults pretty much did come naturally, with the exception of the adults known as her parents,
but hers is more of a “defying parents for the sake of defiance” issue rather than respect. As far as I know and have seen over these past (almost) 17 years of her life, she is

Dealing With Back Talk, Humor, Travel With Kids

Uncool and Biblical

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On our recent family trip to Iowa we took a tour of an Amish community– rode in a van with a tour guide through rolling farmland and saw
homestead after homestead of Old Order Amish families, working in gardens, driving wagons down the highway, running through the fields barefoot… there are 2,000 Amish living near Kalona, Iowa
(almost 200,000 in the U.S.) and according to our guide, the community is growing, thanks to their large average family size.   It was fascinating, like something straight out of the
movie, Witness, but Emmie thought it was just plain stupid that anyone would want to live like that. No electricity (the Amish stores we visited used only skylights for lighting),
no in-home phones, schooling only through the 8th grade, long pants and dresses all the time, even in the hot summertime… They subscribe to this type …

Dealing With Back Talk, Raising Teenagers

Yahoos and Boo-hoos

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I cried yesterday on the first day of school.  I didn’t think I would.  I mean, I’ve been looking forward to this day.  As a work-at-home mom with two kids, back-to-school means I can get more work done.  Peacefully.  Back-to-school means I can go back to my exercise class.  I can play my own choice of music at my desk without it clashing with the theme song to The Suite Life With Zack and Cody– and sing along if I choose!  And I can clean …

Dealing With Back Talk

What to Expect the Sassy Years: Dealing With Back Talk

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There are so many books, websites and blogs devoted to
chatting about the sweet early years of childhood but not nearly as many for
after age 7-8 and even fewer once they hit 10. 
I remember how lost I felt when the “What to Expect” books abruptly
ended. What do I do now? I thought.  Yet
parenting gets much tougher at this point, and the Sassy Years last many more
years than the Sweet Years (in my case, considering my oldest child argued
about what clothes she’d wear to school when she was in kindergarten, the Sassy
Years were in full swing at age 5 1/2).