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Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

        Today it was announced on Joel Madden’s bands website that he and Nicole are adding to their family.  Their daughter Harlow is going to have a younger sibling.  Having children who are close in age is good for the children; but, can be a little rough on the parents.   However, Joel says that finding out that they are expecting another child is better than an Oscar!

         With their daughter Harlow just over 1 year old and a second child on the way; one wonders whether they will get married?  Nicole’s adopted parents divorced when she was young so maybe that plays a part in not having legalized her relationship with Joel…but, there is no greater commitment than having a child together; so hopefully, they will get married soon.   Joel’s father, allegedly left his family and they struggled because of it.  So, maybe fear and trust are big issues for this young couple in love.

           God says that to those whom much is given, much is expected in return.  Both Nicole and Joel have had many blessings in their lives.  I like the fact that they started the Richie Madden Children’s Foundation to help children.  Joel also says that God has blessed his family.  I do wish since so many young people look up to them as role models that they would get married in the eyes of God so that they could realize the fullness of God’s blessings! 

        

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Well, this past week has been a lesson on nurturing my blog.  This past week was a week out of the ordinary and I was not able to nurture my blog in the way that I normally do.  I began to think on that thought.  A blog is a bit like a baby…it needs to be nurtured to grow and prosper.

How do you nurture a blog, you ask?  First things first, if you have a blog already you need to evaluate it’s well-being.  If you do not have a blog…begin one.  You need to think about what your blog is intended to accomplish.  Mine was initially set up to develop some discipline, commitment, and to help improve my writing.  As it evolved, I learned more…and therefore; I have discovered what I want and need.  Some of those things have changed with time; and now, I know that  my blog needs some adjustments.   That is ok, it is called growing pains; things that don’t grow become stagnant…they wither and die.  If your goals change for your blog, then you must make changes.  That knowledge requires some re-evaluation.  (more…)

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      If you are the parent of a special needs child then you know that growing up special in today’s world is not easy.  Finding ways to help your child be successful and to be as independent as they can be is often a challenge.  Too often those children, or young adults, are shuffled off to a seperate area or to a “special” program.  Acceptance is sometimes hard to come by.

        Therefore, it is vitally important to create an environment where your special person is accepted, loved, encouraged and challenged to spread their wings.  Finding appropriate venues to integrate them with “normal” or “average” peers is difficult. 

        When you are able to find a good fit…often you must force yourself to stand back and let them do and be.  That is easier said than done.  As a parent you are always in a protective mode…and you should be…but…you must also let them be as independent as they can be without interference.  🙂 

          Do you have some great experience that you could share with other parents of special needs children or children who have been adopted who struggle with issues?  If so, others could benefit from your successes and possibly even your struggles.  Check out this blog:  http://www.growingupspecial.com/  Introduce yourself and leave a comment.  You never know…you just might find others to share with. 

          

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        Yes, Britney Spears is talented…but, after the roller coaster year she has had and the struggle to pull her life together…i guess I expected a bit more of her.  She is beautiful, she is talented and she has the drive to become anything she wants to be.  That is why i was disappointed by her appearance on Good Morning America this morning for her 27th birthday celebration.  I know that all of this media attention is merely publicity for her upcoming tour and album release; but, I was hoping for something a little more.  After all, she has revamped her body, her legal standing, and she has regained some control of her well-being over the troubling last year.

        She is twenty seven years old…and she “recreated” her past image.  I really thought that she would re-invent her image by pulling it together instead of trying to hyper-sex her image.  Who of us wouldn’t have responded positively to a more grown up version of the Britney Spears entertainer?   Come on…for heaven’s sake…she has the pipes; she doesn’t need to strip down to expose herself by wearing outfits that leave little to the imagination.  (For the record, i have the same problem with other talented people like Beyonce who recently introduced her audience to her alter ego, Sasha Fierce).  There are audiences who will eat this stuff up; but do they care about the entertainer as a person outside of what is given them on the stage?  The performer doesn’t have to live with the audience; they only have to live with themselves when they leave the spotlight.   Is the public adulation enough for you?  Does the fame help you to live a fuller, happier life when not performing?

        It’s bad enough that the music/television business pushes the hyper-sexed robots that sell shows/concerts to the public…but, why in the world do the celebrities exploit their own images?  They already have the industry contacts, they have the skill set, they have supportive fans…why do they feel the need to sell their images this way?

        I really take issue with Britney’s performance on Good Morning America; as her very young sons and mother were in the audience.  Is this necessary to expose your young children to the visual of their mother strutting around on stage in the barest essentials, singing about things like serial womanizing? 

         Where is the inside soul of Britney?  Is she gone?  Sometimes when you look at her eyes in photographs …you see such emptiness, vulnerability and sadness.  Does she think that this version of her talent is ALL that she has to offer us?   I can’t help but think back to the young girl who was beginning her career; the girl who had such a genuine look in her eyes and talked about positive traditional values…she has been missing for a long time.  Britney genuinely seemed more like a happier person at that time, more then she does today.  Today she has children, she has more material things, she has more money and fame than she did back then.  So what’s missing? 

        I figured when Britney exploded back into the public eye, professionally, we would see a more mature version of her; one that combined who Britney was before she turned into such a hot commodity; and, the person who battled her way through the fire this past year.  I know she has it in her to be using her talent in a way that is in alignment with her formerly acknowledged Christian values.  Maybe Britney needs reminded that she is a young woman, a mother, a daughter, a sister and an aunt…someone who has a responsibility to represent herself as a positive influence to those around her.

          Remember Britney when you talked about keeping yourself pure?  Obviously you have had children and adult relationships…but, in that maturing process it appears as if anything goes in public now.  How do you want your children to conduct themselves in the next 7-10 years?   Are we going to see your children performing as Chippendale-like dancers before an audience of screaming female fans; stripping down to G strings, when they are in their teens?  Will you be ok with that?  Because that is the example you are putting before the eyes of our young sisters-brothers, and sons-daughters. 

         And Britney, you are making it appear irresistible…you are rich, you are famous, you are beautiful and, you have the career that many would be thrilled to have.   If only you would channel your career into something that is more acceptable in the way of traditional family values; in a world that is craving positive, musical role models.  I don’t think that you realize the impact that you have on your young fans. 

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Have you ever noticed that people who have an attitude of thankfulness in their heart are much more pleasant people to be around?  That fact was brought home yesterday, when I knew that we would be surrounded with family who has that view on life.  It is not so much that life is perfectly happy and content…it is an attitude of grattitude.  Knowing in your heart that things can get better when they are not the way that you wish them to be.  The future has a way of working itself out when living situations are not as you want them to be.

       The point was driven home that it is a choice to experience life to it’s fullness by a phone call.  It was a person who is going through a very difficult thing in life…divorce.  He had called the night before and was very morose and abrupt.  He SAYS that he called to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving.  But it didn’t feel that way; and my husband was not available to talk to him till the next morning… on Thanksgiving.

       So my husband calls him back to return the “good wishes” only to be greeted and treated to the same monotone voice that i heard.  He was filled with despair.  When wished a Happy Thanksgiving…he actually replied; “What is there to be thankful for?”

       Then he said, that is why i called you yesterday; to AVOID the whole Thanksgiving Day thing! Then why call at all?  Did he really mean it that he wished for us to have a Happy Thanksgiving or did he want to let us know, that while we were having a Happy Thanksgiving, he was miserable? 

       I asked him the night before what he was going to do on Thanksgiving after trying to support him through the short conversation; only to become disconnected on the phone.  Or that is what i thought, until the next day when my husband experienced his phone call with this person.  He too experienced a disconnect with him…co-incidence? 

        I don’t think it was…i think he was hanging up in his misery.  That is sad, it is disturbing, it is heart wrenching.  It was also angering; because, he does have much to be thankful for.  He has a job, he has a place to live, he has  children for which to be thankful for.   The phone calls were a blantant bid for sympathy; and, an opportunity to dump his chosen mood of misery on other human beings.  How we choose to live our lives is just that, a choice.  You can “let life happen to you” or you can choose to wring every last joy or pleasure out of it while you have it.

       It isn’t that we don’t care about the misery that he is going through in his divorce.  But the truth is, that no one else can give you happiness or peace.   You can’t put life on hold or it will pass you by…leaving you with a plate full of regrets!

      Now there is more suffering.  It is unavoidable at this point.  There are two choices…to accept the ending and move forward…or wallow in the misery and resentment.  This person still has children to be a parent to; siblings to have relationships with; and, the person is still young enough to learn from their mistakes and rebuild their life with another person, if he so chooses.  This person is a good person.  I wish for him happiness.  I wish for him healing and joy in life.  If i could box it up and give it to him…i would…but i am afraid…he doesn’t know how to accept it. 

       Life is short.  We must approach it with care.  Is life always going to give us what we want, when we want it, the way we want it on a silver platter?  No.  Can we still choose to live joyously and fully?  Yes, i believe we can.  Let’s help each other along by giving encouragement, when we are ALLOWED to!

      Have you ever noticed that people who have an attitude of thankfulness in their heart are much more pleasant people to be around?  That fact was brought home yesterday, when I knew that we would be surrounded with family who has that view on life.  It is not so much that life is perfectly happy and content…it is an attitude of grattitude.  Knowing in your heart that things can get better when they are not the way that you wish them to be.  The future has a way of working itself out when living situations are not as you want them to be.

       The point was driven home that it is a choice to experience life to it’s fullness by a phone call.  It was a person who is going through a very difficult thing in life…divorce.  He had called the night before and was very morose and abrupt.  He SAYS that he called to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving.  But it didn’t feel that way; and my husband was not available to talk to him till the next morning… on Thanksgiving.

       So my husband calls him back to return the “good wishes” only to be greeted and treated to the same monotone voice that i heard.  He was filled with despair.  When wished a Happy Thanksgiving…he actually replied; “What is there to be thankful for?”

       Then he said, that is why i called you yesterday; to AVOID the whole Thanksgiving Day thing! Then why call at all?  Did he really mean it that he wished for us to have a Happy Thanksgiving or did he want to let us know, that while we were having a Happy Thanksgiving, he was miserable? 

       I asked him the night before what he was going to do on Thanksgiving after trying to support him through the short conversation; only to become disconnected on the phone.  Or that is what i thought, until the next day when my husband experienced his phone call with this person.  He too experienced a disconnect with him…co-incidence? 

        I don’t think it was…i think he was hanging up in his misery.  That is sad, it is disturbing, it is heart wrenching.  It was also angering; because, he does have much to be thankful for.  He has a job, he has a place to live, he has  children for which to be thankful for.   The phone calls were a blantant bid for sympathy; and, an opportunity to dump his chosen mood of misery on other human beings.  How we choose to live our lives is just that, a choice.  You can “let life happen to you” or you can choose to wring every last joy or pleasure out of it while you have it.

       It isn’t that we don’t care about the misery that he is going through in his divorce.  But the truth is, that no one else can give you happiness or peace.   You can’t put life on hold or it will pass you by…leaving you with a plate full of regrets!

      Now there is more suffering.  It is unavoidable at this point.  There are two choices…to accept the ending and move forward…or wallow in the misery and resentment.  This person still has children to be a parent to; siblings to have relationships with; and, the person is still young enough to learn from their mistakes and rebuild their life with another person, if he so chooses.  This person is a good person.  I wish for him happiness.  I wish for him healing and joy in life.  If i could box it up and give it to him…i would…but i am afraid…he doesn’t know how to accept it. 

       Life is short.  We must approach it with care.  Is life always going to give us what we want, when we want it, the way we want it on a silver platter?  No.  Can we still choose to live joyously and fully?  Yes, i believe we can.  Let’s help each other along by giving encouragement, when we are ALLOWED to!

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      It looks as though Madonna and Guy Richie are going to get a preliminary divorce decree on Friday…just over six weeks ago they announced that they were filing for divorce.  That is a quick release divorce no matter what country you live in.

      Resolving matters in a divorce is no easy task if there is money, property and time with children to be addressed.  It appears that they have been able to work out those details.  Madonna has her daughter Lourdes with her ex-boyfriend Carlos Leon.  Then, she and Guy will be sharing time with their two young sons Rocco who is eight years old and the young son that Guy and Madonna adopted from Malawi, David.  Children need quality time with both parents to be well-adjusted and healthy.

       No matter who you are, rich or poor…divorce is painful and disruptive.  Let’s hope that all may live in peace and love while raising their children to adulthood.

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      This is a terrible example of how China is wiping away the future of some of it’s children.  This week, a woman is sitting in a hospital under control of the authorities awaiting a forced abortion.  Her crime; she already has two children.  The authorities in China control the population by limiting the amount of children a family is allowed to have.  Parts of China enforce this control by limiting a family to one or two children.

       The woman’s name is Arizgul Tursun.  Arizgul is six months pregnant.  She ran from her village to avoid the forced abortion; however, her family received threats; and, she was taken and placed under custody in the hospital.  Human rights organizations are protesting this treatment.  China says publically that it doesn’t endorse such extreme means of controlling the population; however, this case will shine a light onto the Chinese government’s sincerity.

        This is cruel and inhuman treatment to both the mother and the infant.  At six months, this child could live outside of the womb; however, the authorities will give her a shot that will cause her to deliver a child that will not be allowed to survive.  We need to pray for this woman, her “caregivers”, her child and the authorities in charge of enforcing this abortion. 

          Decisions about family growth should be left up to the parents in a family…not outsiders.  Every life has value and it is immoral to force an abortion on a woman who does not want it.  God help her and her child. 

          Is it right to allow this kind of treatment to take place; without protests and sanctions against countries that allow it?  If China allows this abortion to take place…what should other governments around the world do to demand more humane treatment of individual rights in China?

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       Every year in the United States approximately 2,500 babies die of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).  Even though those numbers have come down substantially over the years…even one death a year from SIDS is one infant death too many.  So, research on ways of preventing those deaths is very important.

       A new study is suggesting that having a fan, in the room of an infant, can greatly reduce the possibility of death by SIDS by up to 72% according to the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.  Check it out here: http://archpedi.ama-assn.org/   Invited to a baby shower?  Show your love and concern by gifting the new parents with a fan and a printout of the reasons of the importance of the gift regarding the health of their baby!  Educate parents, first time parents or teenaged parents, grandparents of the new research; empower them with the newest safety information. 

        While the understanding of the role of the fan, in the prevention of deaths of infants from SIDS, is not clearly understood…it was found that rooms that were heated to above 69 degrees benefitted by the use of a fan in the prevention of death from SIDS.  It is thought that overly warm temperatures increase the potential of death by SIDS. 

         Another possible benefit of using a fan in the infant’s room is that the fan helps to circulate the air flow around the baby.  Babies who are put to sleep on their backs do better as well, because babies who sleep on their stomachs have less airflow in the early months of life; when their necks are too weak to lift their heads if the airflow is not sufficient for healthy breathing.  There has been a big campaign to educate parents to use the BACK TO SLEEP plan for this reason.  Babies who sleep on their stomachs also have a larger incidence of rebreathing in carbon dioxide that they have exhaled.  A fan can help to circulate the air around babies.  Still, putting an infant to sleep on their back is a better solution to keeping the airflow open around baby.  Important:  Just remember that when using a fan…keep the cords away from small hands that could pull the fan down and cause injury. 

         What else can a parent do to keep their newborn infants safe from SIDS?  First of all, putting a baby to sleep on their backs in a crib with a firm mattress is an important part of the equasion.    The crib must have the side rail bars or slats spaced 2 3/8 inches apart or less; so that a baby does not get trapped between the bars.   Next, comes the idea of dressing the baby with adequate clothing to keep the baby warm; but, not so many articles of clothing as to overheat the baby.  Keep the crib free from toys, from blankets or pillows or even bumper pads that cannot be firmly attached to the side of the crib.  It is important to keep all items away from an infant that doesn’t have the ability to turn it’s head or to push away from anything that can block it’s airflow.

          Never lay an infant to sleep on an adult bed or extremely soft or conforming surface.  Cuddle time is important…but, doing so in an adult bed could allow the adult to fall asleep.  It is not worth the risk of falling asleep with your infant beside you, when you are not awake enough to keep watch over your young infant.  No one wants to live with regrets on a tragedy that could be avoided by remembering that safety comes first regarding your baby.

          If you are leaving your child in the care of a grandparent or a caregiver…it is wise to include this new information on the best way to keep your baby safe.  Take the small fan with you when you are entrusting others to care for your small child.  Make sure that they follow your direction in the way that you wish your child to be cared for.  It may be different than they have previously cared for other young babies…but, it is never too late to learn.  If they wish to care for your child…express the need for them to follow this guideline of using the fan and not bundling your child up with unneccessary blankets and clothing.

           Many years ago, i knew a young family that lost an infant daughter to SIDS.  It was a horrendous event in their family life.   In fact, their marriage didn’t survive more than another couple of years after the death of their child.   I can’t help but wonder, if this information was available then…would their child have lived?  How many babies can be saved with this new information?

          Here is a great site that can offer more tips on infant safety for parents of young infants regarding SIDS prevention:  http://sids.org/nprevent.htm  Did you learn anything new in this blog post that you felt was beneficial to you; or, someone that you know who has a young infant?

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        Another family has made the news by dropping off their children, 9 of them from ages 1 to 17 at a hospital in Nebraska.  It is in my mind, in cases of abandonment, almost as if the children are treated like a litter of unwanted puppies.  In mid July, Nebraska made its own news headlines by instituting a “safe haven law”. 

         Most states in the US have some sort of a safe haven law which is designed to protect children who are either unwanted; or, in unsafe environments regarding living conditions, or in situations of neglect or abuse.  The safe haven laws are meant to allow a safe place for children to be left such as a hospital or a fire station.  What is unique about the new law in Nebraska is that it doesn’t clarify who has the authority to drop off said children…it could be a baby sitter, grandparent, parent, neighbor or what have you.  Another important point, most of the states that implement safe haven laws usually are set up to protect infants.  Nebraska made headlines by not limiting the reach of the safe haven laws to infant only drop offs…it basically says “minors”…leaving the new law open to interpetation.

         The courts will have to clarify the definition of the safe haven law so that the protection of the children and the people who abandon them is more clear.  At the moment, anyone under the age of 19 is allowed to be dropped off in a safe haven.  There will be no legal repercussions as long as abuse or neglect is not involved.  In some ways, this may help those situations where we read about newborn infants born to teen mothers who are dumped in a garbage can or left outside alone.  Maybe in those cases, some children will be saved…but, this new law opens up a whole new set of issues regarding children and their families.

         I know that the law was set up in good faith…to protect the children.  However, you have to wonder about the psychological damage to those same children who are old enough to understand that they have been abandoned by the people most trusted in their lives.  An infant does not comprehend the abandonment until they are older and the information is presented to them…an older child certainly does understand the idea of abandoment and there certainly will ensue emotional and psychological damage.  However, i will say an infant may not understand the full scope of abandonment; but, that doesn’t mean that they aren’t affected by it; when they are affected, it is often called an attachment disorder…where the baby has trouble bonding with their caregivers, either giving or receiving love…sometimes, it is even turned into a failure to thrive.  All human beings deserve to be loved and wanted.

         Studies have been done on babies or infants who have been abandoned in other countries and left in orphanages…if they do not get enough human interaction that shows love or caring…those children can actually die from the lack of human, loving touch.  Don’t think that when an infant is dropped off, even at a safe haven…that they won’t know the difference between being wanted and unwanted.

         People who find themselves in desperate circumstances may be tempted to go the route of the safe haven in a moment of extreme duress.  However, the long term consequences make me wonder whether this is a viable option.  People who abuse or neglect their children willingly or freely are not going to be so very concerned about making sure that the place they abandon their child is considered a safe place.  It would be better to put into place programs that facilitate helping families who are in danger of imploding. 

         Not to mention, those parents or caregivers who are feeling desperate…say…in a financial crisis…they can’t afford to feed or house their children…may think that this safe haven is an option for them.  The consequences of such an action could be considered permanent…even if their circumstances change in time.  Their custody could be forever impacted by that one moment of temptation to abandon the children in a safe place. 

         I wonder if other options are being given as much media & legal attention, such as making a short term placement with social services; for short term foster care in cases where, say a housing or financial need is threatening the ability to keep a family together? 

          Children aren’t like litters of animals…not that animals should be abandoned either!  Being a pet owner or a parent is a huge responsiblity…the demands are serious.  People should not enter into the role of a pet owner or parenting without alot of thought!  Parents need to take their commitment to parenting seriously. 

          If a parent is considering abandoning their children…wouldn’t it be better to work with an agency and make a permanency plan such as adoption?  Definately, if that were the case, doing it in infancy is better than waiting until a child is old enough to be scarred by an emotional and physical abandonment by their parents or caregivers.  At least by making sure that the child/children were placed in a safe and loving home…a child would have a chance to grow up and to be nutured in a loving environment. 

          No one should ever be made to feel unwanted, unloved or unprotected.  Abandonment leaves permanent scares that impact their young lives and often, other generations of lives as well.  What are your feelings on the safe haven laws?

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       Ok, here we go…a few months ago, i heard about a lawsuit on one of the ABC news programs between Mattel, the makers of the Barbie doll empire, and MGA Entertainment, Inc the makers of the Bratz doll line.  The issue seemed to spring from Mattel’s allegation that the designer Carter Bryant was working for them when he came up with the concept for the Bratz doll line; and therefore, they felt that it infringed upon their copyright since he was under contract to them at the time of the design; the jury seemed to agree.

         The jury awarded Mattel $100 million dollars in compensation today.  Wowie…that would pay for a whole lot of Barbie cars, Barbie swimming pools and certainly alot of Barbie mansions.   Now that $100 million, was nowhere near the amount that Mattel was seeking; it was more in the area of $1Billion dollars that they felt MGA should owe them with the success of the Bratz dolls,  toys and other assorted items MGA endorsed with the Bratz line. 

          I don’t know if you have ever seen the Bratz dolls but their heads are large…and they wear exceedingly seductive outfits and they have long hair and heavy makeup on these dolls.  They are very sensualized dolls that have been marketed to young girls and preteen girls as the heighth of fashion dolls.  In comparison, Barbie has been a mainstay in the toy market for years..but, since the sales began on the Bratz line…Barbie sales have fallen.  The competition seemed to pit the “good girl image” with the “bad girl image”…what image do you think young girls in a hurry to grow up wanted mom and dad to buy them?  Their choices are influenced by the things they see in our culture as “grown up”.   With growing concerns about body image and a healthy attitude towards their self concept…we need to understand the connection that takes place in a child’s world view and how that affects their emotional development! 

           Teaching young girls to value their bodies as something more than window dressing to get attention used to be the norm; that is no longer true.  Experts have been dealing with an increased awareness that young women are not happy with their bodies and will go to extremes to try to achieve the “look” that is in vogue.  We have young women (and young men) who are tortured with anorexia, who are struggling with obesity, who pay for plastic surgery to get their bodies to fit a certain mold, putting foreign substances such as botox into their bodies, breast augmentation, etc.   Educating them to the truth that the images they see in magazines and on television are adjusted with the magic of photo retouching and airbrushing techniques…that no-one has a perfect face or figure.  It is time to stop and teach young people the importance of self acceptance.  Stop allowing them to think that they don’t measure up to someone else’s standards of what is the ideal.

           We really need to examine the culture that we expose our children to from magazine articles, to television shows, to media advertising, to fashionable clothing lines that seem to say it is ok to dress our young girls in clothing meant for older teens or young adult women.  Everything is sexualized or sensual in it’s design…this marketing technique needs to be addressed.  We are allowing this, when we purchase these types of products for our children and then wonder why behaviors seem so out of synch with the type of behaviors that should be appropriate to their ages.

           Parents are the ultimate stop gap for their children…it is their money, for the most part, which purchases these items.  If we raise the bar on what we expose our children to…then, the industries that our dollars support will have to adapt to the demand for a more traditional age appropriate level of decency in the children’s clothing, toys, accessories, music, television programing, advertising, etc. 

            In an age where we try to protect our children from predators on the streets, in our schools and in every other area of life; we need to understand that if we send the children mixed messages about what is appropriate role modeling; how can we expect them to know when someone inappropriately crosses the line in their conduct?  Children learn their boundaries from the adults in their lives who set limits…so we need to re-examine how we condition our children by the choices that we make. 

            Children may still want the Bratz dolls over the Barbie dolls…who knows…children don’t always know what is in their best interests; however, the adults who care for them should know…shouldn’t they?

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