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.

Kids and Media, Kids and TV, Movies, Sharing Stories

Parents Who Shrouded 9/11: Is It Time to Lift the Veil?

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On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was standing in our hallway bathroom, staring at a wall, when the phone rang.   It
probably took me a few rings to snap out of my trance—after all, bathroom remodeling is serious business.   But after I answered the phone, deciding on paint color and tile
didn’t seem so important anymore.   It was Andy calling from work, telling me to turn on the TV and see the events unfolding over 1,500 miles away.   I put
down my tape measure and watched in horror.   It was so unbelievable, at times I felt as if I was watching a twisted episode of Batman where the villains were winning,
 in an over-the-top, diabolical way, using only a few people and a few box cutters.   The atrocities kept happening, and somewhere, you just knew

Being a Better Parent, Kids and Media, Sharing Stories

When Your Child’s Email Gets Hacked: My Look Into the Evil World of Spamming

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I guess our first clue should have been when our preteen daughter, Emmie, couldn’t get into her email account a few
weeks ago– she said it wouldn’t let her in, and she figured that maybe she’d forgotten her password, even though it was the only one she ever used, and it always popped up automatically from
our home computer, anyway. (Her email service says that’s a sign that the account might have been compromised.)  But unknowing doofus parents that we are, we just went on
about our business as she answered the security questions and reset her password (she chose to “change” it to the same one as before). Then yesterday morning, suspicious emails, with blank
“subject” lines, started arriving from her address, several every few minutes, into my inbox and into everyone else’s in her address book. They contained a link to a “pharmaceutical” website, a
site that contained descriptions of just how their products would help male enhancement and performance. It’s bad enough we all get …

Great Books to Read, Kids and Media, Movies, Travel With Kids

Pottermania: What a Fun Ticket to Ride It’s Been

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We all have “I remember when” things we can say, that vary depending on our age, when it comes to historical
events that we’ve experienced. The day Kennedy was shot, the first moon walk, personal computers become a household item, 9/11…history-making events and milestones are happening all the time.
But not every generation can say they grew up amidst the worldwide excitement and hysteria over something creatively great, as it’s being created. For example, lots of people will
continue to love the music of The Beatles, but only some can say they grew up looking forward to every Beatles record release or being one of the first in line at the record store to buy
those releases, or saw the Beatles in person, “live in concert”.  And many people will continue to love J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books and watch the movies on DVD, but only some will be
able to say …

Humor, Kids and Media, Raising Girls, Raising Teenagers

Bieber Fever Has Hit My House– Should We Be Quarantined?

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Not too long ago, as some of you will recall, I wrote about the phenomenon of teen idols, and how my older daughter,
like me, snubbed teen idols in the preteen and junior high years. I wrote that if she was truly like me, she was due to fall for one “at any minute”, since I had my first teen idol crush in high
school. But I really wasn’t taking my prediction too seriously. If I were a betting mom, I would have bet that Allison would never crush on any of the
faces gracing the current or future covers of “Bop” magazine. I would have bet that this strong-willed child would want to be different, and purposely hold her ground so as not
be a rabid fan of anyone that she’s told by the media that she needs to like. And I would have already lost that bet. Because, …

Being a Better Parent, Humor, Kids and Media

Parents and Movies: Hopelessly Forgetful

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The re-release of the movie, “Grease” in “Sing-A-Long” version this month has reminded me of something a parent
recounted to me not long ago: She’d been all excited about showing her kids the original “Grease” but when she watched it with them, she was embarrassed that she’d forgotten about all the sexual
references. Oops. You can bet with the song lyrics now plastered onto it, it’s going to be even more embarrassing for forgetful parents! J