How to Prepare Your Teen for 21st-Century Challenges: 6 Character-Building Techniques

Parents today contend not only with yesterday’s worries — drug abuse, bullying, teenage sex and delinquency – but new challenges. The digital age has introduced adult predators and other online hazards, and body-altering decorating such as tattoos and piercing’s are … Continue reading

Where Are The Parents? {A Lesson On Not Judging Other Moms & Dads}

{This is a beautifully written post by a mom that was raising a child who was disabled. It had me in tears so I wanted to share it with you all. Reminds us to never judge other parents because we don’t know their situation and what they go through on a daily basis.}

Where Are The Parents? By Sue Stuyvesant, Parent

Hey everyone. For those of you who don’t know me (I’m only an occasional poster) I am mom to Michelle, 9 years old, microcephalic, athetoid/spastic CP, cortical visual impairment, seizure disorder — and CUTE! OK, now for the reason I’m posting.

To make a long story short, earlier this week a question was asked by some nitwit official as to why there weren’t more parents (of special needs kids) involved in the local PTA and other issues that have come up that directly involve our kids. His question, which was passed on to me was, “Where are the parents?” I went home that night, started thinking – and boy was I pi**ed – and banged this “little” essay out the next day on my lunch break. By the way, I took copies of this to the school board meeting that night, gave it to a couple of influential people and it WILL get around………….

Where are the parents?

They are on the phone to doctors and hospitals and fighting with insurance companies, wading through the red tape in order that their child’s medical needs can be properly addressed. They are buried under a mountain of paperwork and medical bills, trying to make sense of a system that seems designed to confuse and intimidate all but the very savvy.

Where are the parents?

They are at home, diapering their 15 year old son, or trying to lift their 100 lb. daughter onto the toilet. They are spending an hour at each meal to feed a child who cannot chew, or laboriously and carefully feeding their child through a g-tube. They are administering medications, changing catheters and switching oxygen tanks.

Where are the parents?

They are sitting, bleary eyed and exhausted, in hospital emergency rooms, waiting for tests results to come back and wondering, “Is this the time when my child doesn’t pull through?” They are sitting patiently in hospital rooms as their child recovers from yet another surgery to lengthen hamstrings or straighten backs or repair a faulty internal organ. They are waiting in long lines in county clinics because no insurance company will touch their child.

Where are the parents?

They are sleeping in shifts because their child won’t sleep more than 2 or 3 hours a night, and must constantly be watched, lest he do himself, or another member of the family, harm. They are sitting at home with their child because family and friends are either too intimidated or too unwilling to help with child care and the state agencies that are designed to help are suffering cut backs of their own.

Where are the parents?

They are trying to spend time with their non-disabled children, as they try to make up for the extra time and effort that is critical to keeping their disabled child alive. They are struggling to keep a marriage together, because adversity does not always bring you closer. They are working 2 and sometime 3 jobs in order to keep up with the extra expenses. And sometimes they are a single parent struggling to do it all by themselves.

Where are the parents?

They are trying to survive in a society that pays lip service to helping those in need, as long as it doesn’t cost them anything. They are trying to patch their broken dreams together so that they might have some sort of normal life for their children and their families.

They are busy, trying to survive.

***

Sue Stuyvesant 10/15/96: Permission to duplicate or distribute this document is granted with the provision that the document remains intact. [Sue passed away in October 2003. Michelle passed away a week before she was to turn 18 in September 2005].

Guest Post: Easing Separation

The following is a guest post by Jessica of I’m Not Your Everyday Average Mom!

I have recently started working out again. I figured after 18 months I can no longer say that I “just had” a baby and am carrying around baby weight. My husband wanted to get back into shape too from his “baby weight” and we decided that the best choice for our family was to join the local YMCA. They have a great work out facility, exercise classes for me, and a large adult pool plus a kiddy pool that is 10 degrees warmer than the adult pool. The kid’s pool stars off at 0 feet and slowly goes deeper so both of my kids can enjoy it without us holding them the whole time! Our kids’ favorite part of the YMCA is the gigantic water slide that we are allowed to take them down on. MY favorite part of the YMCA is the FREE childcare that is offered! They have an outdoor play area, an inside classroom area, and then a climber inside for kids to play on.

My son gets excited to go and play, but my daughter on the other hand develops superman like strength and clings onto me with a death grip. She then shakes her head back and forth and says “no, no, no, no!” I hate having to pry her off of me and hand her to the gal that works there, but I know in 5 minutes she will be laughing and running around with her brother and all of the other kids! It is just so heart wrenching to see her cry and get upset because I am leaving her there. It has gotten much better over the past 3 weeks and I feel like she is doing well because of a few things that I am doing.

I have had to remember what I learned in school about child development (I am a certified teacher birth-8th grade), and how to make transitions smoother for children.

Here are a few tips and things that I have been trying, and I find that they are working well!

  • Don’t sneak out…I know that it is hard not to, because you won’t have to see the melt down, but tell your child goodbye and that you will be back to pick them up soon! That way you are not disappearing, but telling your child what is going on.
  • Know the person’s name that is going to be looking after you child. I have been saying to my daughter “Look, it’s Amy! Remember her? She is going to play with you while mommy is in the gym!”
  • Let your child bring their blanket, stuffed animal, or other comfort item with them. I have been letting my daughter bring in her blanket. She usually ditches it within the first 10 min, but it helps her to have something of comfort when I leave.
  • Give them some extra cuddle and love time when you get back!

I know that things will get easier and she will soon LOVE to go and play! It is just going to take time!

What tips and tricks do you use when dropping off your child at a day care, or when leaving them with a sitter to make things easier?

To read more from Jessica visit her blog!
Create your own banner at mybannermaker.com!

Saturday Stumbles

Here are some wonderful posts I stumbled upon this past week:

Crafty:

Homemade Gummi Candy at Skip To My Lou

Recipe:

Crustless Quiche In A Cup at Cooking With My Kid

Good read:

All I Really Needed To Know on Babble

For Moms:

Only Mommy Will Do by Life Nurturing Education

For Dads:

7 Traits of Real Men by Mocha Dad

For Parents:

The 5-Minute Solution by Scott Noelle

For Homeschoolers:

School Room Week at Heart of the Matter

And the product that makes me go “huh?”:

Baby Bucket

Family Impact Review

I recently reviewed Are Your Kids Driving You Nuts?, a parenting book written by Dr. James Jones. He started a foundation called “Familyhood” that “is dedicated to strengthening individuals, marriages and family relationships”. In the book he has written, Jones focuses on principles of correct parenting.

A large portion of the book is about “parent traps”, which are “dysfunctional patterns of behavior parent often fall into when trying to get a child to.. 1. Stop an undesirable behavior or 2. start a desirable behavior.” Dr. Jones claims that parent-trap behaviors “seem to work at first, but they never build healthy relationships. Eventually they just make things worse.”

Since I have toddlers many of these “parent traps” did not relate to me because my children can’t say much yet. One I did read about that I felt was relevant to my life was the chapter on anger. I find myself getting angry sometimes with my children when they aren’t listening and I sometimes raise my voice. I always feel awful afterwards but I justify it with “he knows I love him still because I stress it’s his behavior I don’t like, not him”. As a parent I was devastated to read the words in this book that said, “Psychologists tell us that little children split. They cannot understand that Daddy can be angry and love them too. A young child cannot mentally hold and evaluated two concepts at the same time. So if Dad usually comes across as angry, they assume he is only angry and that he does not love them.” Then the book said, “They further conclude that something is wrong with them since Dad is angry at them. This has a negative impact on the child’s self-esteem, usually for life.

I had never thought of it this way before. While I’m not 100% convinced that my anger now will impact their self-esteem for life, reading this chapter made me think about how I speak to my children and how I communicate my feelings. As I skimmed through the rest of this book I found other chapters that I would want to look at in the future including “parent-traps” such as nagging (chapter 14) and unrealistic expectations (chapter 23). With over 20 parent traps I think that most parents could find one or more chapters that they could relate to and find ways to improve their parenting skills.

(Disclosure: This post was written for Family Review Network & Family Impact who provided the complimentary product for review in exchange for my honest opinion.)

Top 10 Parenting Books On My Reading List

These are the parenting books on my bookshelf that I can’t wait to read:

1) “The Power of A Praying Parent” by Stormie Omartian

2) “Raising a Reader” by Jennie Nash

3) “What Every Mom Needs” by Elisa Morgan and Carol Kuykendall

4) “Relationship-Empowerment Parenting” by Judy & Jack Balswick and Boni & Don Piper

5) “What Kids Need Most In A Mom” by Patricia H. Rushford

6) “The Modern Girl’s Guide to Motherhood” by Jane Buckingham

7) “Parenting in the Pew” by Robbie Castleman

8) “How To Talk So Kids Can Learn” by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

9) “Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours” by Dr. Kevin Leman

10) “Raising Sons and Loving It!” by Gary and Carrie Oliver

Have you read any of these books? What did you think?

Are there any you would recommend that I add to my reading list?