kids

Parenting A Tween

As a parent there is a lot to consider these days: education, diet & exercise, extra circular activities, general household rules… you get the idea. As a parent of a tween (soon to be teen) there seems to be a whole other dimension added to that I now get to experience. Fortunately (or maybe not) I remember my middle school years. I count myself lucky to still be in contact with my best friend from all those years ago too. (She knows where all the skeletons are buried)

I asked the question on facebook and got a variety of responses, and will ask it here too, because I enjoy the conversations it can generate and learning others views helps to expand mine.

Do you google or facebook/twitter search the boyfriends or girlfriends of your kids?

Growing up in the day before all this technology my parents knew the neighbors, they knew the kids I hung out with, they knew the principal at my school (at least through middle school anyway). They knew the pharmacist at the shop down the street, they knew neighbors on other streets that recognized me when I was out running around with my friends. It wasn’t easy to get away with things then. Don’t get me wrong, I did get away with some stuff and I did get caught doing other things I shouldn’t have. I expect this of kids of any generation. But because of the availability of information and the willingness of so many to share information with seemingly complete strangers in some regards, where do you draw the line? How much information is too much? When is it not enough?

Parent or not share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Friday Fun 4/15/2011

So normally this would be “Tax Day” but because of “Emancipation Day” in Washington DC falls on Saturday (and all the federal employees having a day off on Friday) the dreaded day has been extended to the 18th. There’s your random trivia for the day.

Now on to the fun. This one is a question, and yes, I would like you to actually answer in the comments. Kthnx

What is the weirdest text message you ever got? Or sent?

Mine – a text from my daughter while she was playing at a friends house. “Mom, can I shoot a b b gun?” Umm… the number of thoughts that went through my head in 3 seconds ranged from “what?!” “you’ll shoot your eye out” “girls don’t shoot b b guns” “is there parental supervision” “why?” and “please be careful”, just to name a few.  After a couple more messages back and forth it was established that there was indeed supervision, and they were being safe. Turns out the “target” practice only lasted about 5 minutes after the message was sent. And no eyes were shot out.

So you now it’s your turn. Comments are now open.

Bee-lated Valentines

Valentines day is not a big deal around our house. So when I was out of town this year, it wasn’t as though the world would come to an end. But I had to share this, bee-lated as it may be, because of the emotion and heart and soul that was put into it this year.

Amy handmade 2 cards, one for Dean and one for me. Here is what she wrote. And if you are prone to tears at Hallmark commercials, have tissues on hand.

First Dean’s card.

To – Daddy Love/From Amy Didn’t think I’d forget did ya?

Game: Figure out the list!

Awesome. Funny. Smart. Loving. Cool. Caring. Kind. Fun. Nice. Can’t figure it out? Well it’s about all the adjectives that describe you.

There once was a man named Dean. He loved a woman named Michelle and got married and they adopted a so awesomely cool it’s unbelievable daughter. They named her Amy. Amy grew up to think her dad was cool but that grew up to an awesomely nice dude. The End.

Next Michelle’s card.

Happy Beeeelated Valentines Day! (with a bee drawn here too)

To: Michelle Elizabeth Becker (AKA Mom) From: Amy

Didn’t think I’d forget did ya?

Love and hugs to the best mom in the world. I love seeing you everyday! (Except when you’re mad 😦 ) Love you bunches. Amy

Rainbows (drawn) Unicorns (drawn) and Socks (drawn with a hole)

I can’t tell you how much these cards meant to me. Especially after being gone for 10 days away from the two I love most. The work she put into them, the drawings and the sentiment, touched my heart to the very depths. She is one amazing kid.

Teaching our kids

It’s a sad reflection on our society today if a teacher doesn’t have confidence that a parent is going to actively be involved in a child’s education.

I recently had a parent/teacher conference and I must say this is the first time I have been disappointed with one of my child’s teachers. Don’t get me wrong, she seems to be a good teacher and Amy really likes her. But I have some reservations.

I’ve known for some time now that I have a smart kid. I know most parents think their kids are smart, but mine is one of those really smart ones. I’m going to have to go back to school to keep up with her at this rate. She has blown the top off of the CRCT standardized tests that they give here in school. She’s reading at a 5th grade level and that’s when she’s not really trying. Her math skills are incredible too. I don’t know any other third graders working on square roots. I don’t even remember what grade I learned that in. I know it wasn’t elementary school.

So when I went to this conference one of my concerns was that she wasn’t allowed to pick more challenging books from the library. The reason I was given: “well if she reads all the higher level books now she won’t have anything to read when she gets to 5th grade.” Is it just me or is there something really wrong with that statement? She went on to say that in 5th grade we would have to go to the public library to get books for her to read and we wouldn’t know which ones were AR books and it would be a lot more work. Ummm… I’m at a loss for words here. Why wouldn’t I do that? If I want what’s best for my child, then I will do whatever it takes.

Are there really that many parents out there who don’t care about their kids education? That is the only thing I can glean from that comment. Has school just become a place where kids are babysat between the hours of 7:30 am and 3:30 pm? And if that’s the case, what are these kids going to do when they grow up?

I know there are some teachers out there reading this blog. Please comment and tell me what you think. Personally, I will continue to work with my daughter, take her to the library, book store, museums, etc. in an effort to continue to challenge her. But if this is what I have to look forward to for the next 9 years, I may have to re-evaluate what we’re doing about schooling.

Because I Said So!

Did I really say that? I vowed as a kid to never say that to my kids. Famous last words. Now I’ve said it. Just yesterday in fact was the first time. In the 7 1/2 years we’ve had Amy, (she was one year old when we adopted her) I have managed to come up with a different answer, usually an explanation of some sorts. But yesterday, it finally came out.

Ack! I’ve become my parents.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my parents. They are wonderful people, they have taught me a lot over the years, and I know I gave them a lot of grief over the years too. But when you are a kid you always think I’m going to be different than my parents were. I’m not going to have those same battles, I’m not going to say the same things.

But now it’s out there. Will I say it again? Probably.

Pick your battles

When did kids stop being kids? In the past two days I have seen news stories involving kids, and their over achieving parents. In Japan 25 kids had to give the lead part in a school play. There was only one lead part, but these 25 kids had to share the part. Just because all of the parents wanted their child to be the star. Then another story was about kids having business cards. A 2 year old with a stack of business cards in his bag? How ridiculous is that!!! The mothers explanation for it was “it makes him feel important, and helps his build his network of friends.” And to make it even worse, the price for these cards is $50 for 50 cards. I didn’t even spend that much on my own business cards (which are now sitting on a shelf gathering dust).

It seems like kids are being scheduled and forced to do things they don’t want to, have no interest in, or just aren’t ready for. Every night of the week it’s off to practice here, a recital there, grab dinner on the run, squeeze in homework somewhere, and don’t stop to rest.

I also had a more personal experience with parent pressure – it was at a pool. A bunch of kids were taking turns jumping off the diving board into the deep end of the pool. One of the kids didn’t want to do it, maybe they weren’t comfortable with their swimming skills, I don’t know. But they didn’t want to, and that was what mattered. Well the parents decided that it was more important for the child to be jumping off the diving board, so they kept pressuring until finally the deed was done. Afterward the tears started. When asked why they were crying, the answer was they felt pressured by the parents to do it even though they didn’t want to.

Maybe it’s a difference in parenting styles, but to me that was not something that the child needed to be pressured to do. I have an 8 year old and she has decided this year to try that and has found she likes doing that, but she made the decision to try, not me. She’s also become a stronger swimmer because of it.

And I will be the first to admit, I have made my share of mistakes parenting too. I’m not perfect and I don’t know any parents out there that are.

I think back on my childhood and my most fond memories of being a kid were playing with my friends, the spontaneous games played outside, swimming at the community pool, or just hanging out. We didn’t have to be somewhere all the time or constantly entertained and occupied. We used our imaginations to create forts out of refrigerator boxes, picked honeysuckles and tried to harvest the honey to sell to the neighbors, or rode our bikes up and down the street for hours on end.

Hopefully I will be able to convey some of that to my daughter and allow her to be a kid just a little longer. Because they certainly grow up fast enough without us pushing an adult agenda on them.