Being a Better Parent, Giving Kids Some Freedoms, Overscheduled Kids

Kids and Summer Boredom: Should Parents Come to the Rescue?

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I got screamed at yesterday. Surprisingly, not by my teenager, but my soon-to-be teenager. And just what were those oft-repeated,
often-heard-in-summer-words, this time uttered at the top of her lungs?  “I’M BORED!!!!!!!”  Followed by: “WHAT CAN I DO?!! FIGURE OUT SOMETHING FOR ME TO DO!!!!!!!  Followed by
bedroom door slamming, and after that, crying. Geesh. I thought I was over those years of “Mommy, please fill my every waking void…”

So that I could get even a shred of work done during the summer, I used to do just that, at least two to three days a week: schedule day camps, mothers-day-outs, etc., planning far in advance to
fill the summer calendar, beginning as early as late February. But as kids get older, I think they need to be more responsible for filling in their time, to foster creativity, independence, etc., and
so each summer for at least the …

Being a Better Parent, Giving Kids Some Freedoms, Sharing and Venting

“Good for the child” is not always good for the group

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Emmie spent every afternoon last week at a girls’ science and engineering camp at Southern Methodist University
(probably the best bargain on that campus—only $50 for the whole week, and two days included lunch!). She really enjoyed rubbing elbows with professional female engineers, learning more about the
different types of engineering, working on projects, and making friends with girls from all over the Dallas area and even from as far away as Houston, ranging in age from 12-18. The only thing she
didn’t like about it, which she complained to me about every day, were the girls who talked all the time to each other and didn’t pay attention, making it hard for the few that wanted to pay
attention. And unfortunately, there were only a few who really wanted to pay attention. Emmie says that on the first day, when the facilitator asked each girl to tell the group why …

Giving Kids Some Freedoms, Great Parenting Tools

A Good Alternative to Preteen Cell Phones

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Just wanted to put in a plug for something we’ve used when our kids get to that age when you really don’t want them to have a cell phone, yet
they need to be in communication with you: good ‘ol walkie talkies.   Not the nerdy, bulky walkie talkies of yesterday– today’s two-way radio can fit in the palm of your
hand, and your child’s (and some can clip on bike handlebars, belt loops, etc.).

For as little as $20 a pair, you can give your child some of the freedom that comes with a cell phone, but you don’t have all the “baggage” that comes
with one (the cost of the phone, “the plan”, possible higher phone bills, texting, games, etc.)  It’s a great after-school communications tool–  when we plan
ahead, my 12-year-old and I both turn on our …

Domestic Engineering, Giving Kids Some Freedoms

Just A Spoonful of Sugar…

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Heard while walking out of the grocery store yesterday, spoken to me by my 10-year-old, Emmie: “You are so lucky, you get to do this all the time!”
She was talking about grocery shopping. 

It wasn’t that she’d never been to a supermarket before.  I have my share of kids-whining-at-grocery-store stories, or kids-reading-embarassing-magazine-covers-in-the-checkout-line stories, or kids-shopping-together-and-running-their-cart-into-people stories.  Yesterday was different, because for the first time, I let her take a copy of my shopping list and one of those small plastic “carry baskets” and head out into the grocery store, alone, while I pushed my cart around and got the …

Giving Kids Some Freedoms

Postcards from Camp

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Well, we’ve heard from Emmie at camp– and the verdict is…..well so far…(drumroll please)…thumbs up!!! Whew. I was just a teensy bit worried.  One reason is because she insisted on signing up for the “tent unit” at the camp (i.e. no electricity– no AC and no fans) and the forecast called for 100-degree-plus days every day this week.  The weather predictors were correct– it’s been fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk hot! The other reason is that our car (that would be, my glorious minivan) overheated on the way to camp and we were delayed while my husband fixed the problem (Thank you, God, …

Being a Better Parent, Giving Kids Some Freedoms

In Defense of Summer Camp

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Growing up, I was a huge fan of summer “sleep away” camp.  I went, year after year, to a small one that sat on the bluffs above a wide bend in the Mississippi River near Montrose, Iowa, and I liked it for all the reasons you’d think someone would like camp: New friends (that became lifelong friends), fun stuff to do, nice counselors, new skills (I learned synchronized swimming, macrame’ and tetherball, to name a few), campfires, crazy songs, and being surrounded by nature, for a whole week.  But when my teenager first went to the same camp when she was nine, she loved …