Posts by jen:

What We Can Learn from the Maddy Middleton Tragedy

 

Last month 8-year-old girl Maddy Middleton was abducted, raped and murdered in her Santa Cruz apartment complex. The perpetrator was not a stranger and this was not a random abduction.  The killer was a 15-year-old boy who lived in her building who lured her to his apartment. Her tragic story shook me to the core. As a parent, I can’t even fathom the pain.

I wanted to share this insightful article posted on the Facebook page of Orange County clinical psychologist, Dr. Jerry Weichman, on how to talk to our kids when stories like this are covered in the media along with other important reminders about how to keep your child safe.  The “Staying Put” lesson is so important. His article was so enlightening to me I asked if I could share in this post. Please comment below with any comments or questions.

Keeping Your Child Safe – Tips & Insight || by Dr. Jerry Weichman

maddy middleton I have fielded some requests this week from parents asking how to discuss with younger kids tragic events that end up getting a lot of media coverage. Specifically last month the tragic abduction and death of 8 year old Maddy Middleton in Santa Cruz was one that struck a chord with many parents.

First, I think we need to be mindful of where the balance is in this discussion with our kids to ensure that they’re safe but also not to create an anxiety-ridden child or teenager with agoraphobia.

I would go so far as to say that I would not recommend bringing the incident up with your children nor sharing the details unless your child actually asks you about it.

If your child does bring up an event that they have heard about, parents need to consider the child’s maturity level, emotional capacity, and need to listen to your child’s specific questions before giving information.

Oftentimes, parents volunteer more details than a child is actually seeking. In the end, kids usually are seeking simple facts and reassurance that they are safe.

However, if these stories serve more as a wake-up call to parents about talking with their kids about safety in general, here are my tips:

Staying Put

Regardless of whether or not your child could potentially be lured by someone they know, such as was the case with Maddy, or by a complete stranger, the first issue at hand is a child leaving the location when they were supposed to be staying put. This is what you need to be focusing on and continually reiterating to your kids. Bottom line, the message needs to be, “You do not ever leave where you are supposed to be without talking with Mom/Dad first and asking for my permission to do so.”

Stranger Danger

Your kids are naturally going to be much more wary of a stranger because most parents talk about stranger danger but it is the people whom they do know who are the “sleepers.” That’s to say, the predators who that pose the biggest problems to our kids are the familiar faces because they seem trustworthy simply because your child knows them. This is why parents need to also discuss behaviors such as people they know (adults and kids) asking your child to keep a secret.

How to Discuss The Rules

The conversation about not departing the area where they should be without first asking parental permission should be short in duration (30 seconds max) but repeated at least every other week with them to help convert it to long-term memory. Now, just because your child has heard this rule over and over know this doesn’t mean that when it actually happens they’ll remember. I recommend once you’ve had multiple conversations with your child about this putting them to the actual test to see if they truly do get it. Call a neighbor or friend and have them come to your child (whether in front of the house, at a park, etc) and ask them if they want to come over right now to do something your kid really likes to do. Don’t admonish or “bust” your child if they make the wrong decision with this test. You don’t want your kid to feel tricked by you. Instead just know you have your answer about how truly safe your kid is with regards to staying put versus going somewhere without permission. Simply make a bigger point of discussing the rules with them.

Trust Your Gut

Lastly always trust your parental intuition, especially you moms out there. I’ve never seen a mother’s intuition be wrong in 17 years of working with teens and parents. Listen to your gut, to that feeling and to that thought in your head. If you experience an odd feeling about any individual, have a side conversation with your child that being alone around that individual or being in their home is off limits. If they ask why, just tell them that there’s adult information that you can’t share with them and your job as a parent is to keep them “out of trouble.” Do not tell your kid that the individual is “bad” or that your job as a parent is to keep them “safe.” These are trigger words and you run the risk of your child (depending on the age of your kid) telling the other person’s child that their home isn’t safe and now you have a different issue to deal with in your community.

10 Favorite Memories of High School Summers

High School Summer Memories

I had a mini reunion with 5 high school girlfriends last week and it brought back so many high school summer memories circa ’88-’92.

It was a life without the internet, laptops or cell phones. Which made me wonder, what did we do!?  Worked on our tans, of course. Oh Lord.

Looking back here are 10 of my favorite memories from my high school summers, I would love to hear some of yours.

Top 10 High School Summer Memories 

1. Driving to Blockbuster on warm nights to rent a movie with friends.

blockbuster-1

2. Daring my friends to ask the cute lifeguard what time it is. Which would never fly now days with cell phones.

3. Beach bonfires.

4. Taking the bus to Huntington Beach and getting strips with cheese at the snack bar (photo below found here).
stripsandcheese

5. Rocking my high waisted neon bikini and these….

80sglasses

6. Sleeping until 11:00am.

7. Laying on the beach with my pastel ghetto blaster waiting for my favorite song to come up and frantically hitting record. I had this exact one!!!! —>

80sboombox

 

8. Driving around in my friend’s convertible listening to “He’s a Cold Hearted Snake”

9 Foster’s Freeze Chocolate Dipped cones

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 2.46.46 PM

10. And of course…Sun-In. The blonder, the tanner, the better.

SunIn

I would love to hear your high school summer memories!! Please do comment below…

Summer Mom Fail

summermomfail

How did it get to be August already?

Going into summer I had all sorts of scholastic plans for my girls to ensure their little brains would not turn to mush over the summer.

They were going to read at least 30 minutes every day.

I was going to print out worksheets from Teachers Pay Teachers for my going-into-1st-grader to do.

I put a summer incentive plan in place to reward good behavior, including reading.

You get the idea.

But this summer so far has gone down more like this.

Both girls have played so much Subway Surfer I am afraid they have killed brain cells.

I have every line of every Sofia the First memorized.

Neither one has been reading enough to make their teachers proud.

Not one worksheet has been completed.

Since we have a month to go, I still have time to make changes. However I have no energy to rectify any of the above.

The other night I told my husband, I am a total Summer Mom Fail.

Please tell me I am not alone.

But then again, on the other hand…

My six-year-old learned how to dive and compete on a swim team.

They both discovered the fun of stand up paddle boarding.

Both perfected the art of being able to applying their own sunscreen, and then how to each do the other’s backs. Really, truly. Life changing.

They learned how to do a successful potato sack race at their grandmother’s Swiss Festival.

Both girls (and I!) learned how to do the “Watch Me Whip, Watch Me Nae Nae” dance. 

They got bank accounts and went shopping for the first time taking their birthday money out with their own ATM card. And did the math on how much change they were supposed to get.

We discovered the joy of watching So You Think You Can Dance together as a family (with me editing of course) and learned about the different styles of dance.

An usual weekend of warm tropical rain taught them that summer rain is especially fun while jumping on the trampoline.

They learned how to fold a dollar bill into a heart for their cousin.

My oldest learned how to French braid my hair.

So on the other hand, maybe summer isn’t a complete mom fail.

I mean, everyone should know how to do the Nae Nae dance, right?!

Not Scary Movies for Kids

Not Scary Movies for Kids 

20 Not Scary Movies for Kids

(Links in post are Amazon Affiliate Links)

Last week I went out to dinner with five of my class of ’92 high school girlfriends I hadn’t seen in years.  Old photos were passed around and we laughed our you know whats off at the styles back then. I think the shoes were the most offensive – does anyone remember Reebok high tops with big scrunch socks?!  How on earth was that ever considered cute? Wow.

We had four hours to catch up and many parenting topics arose, which gives me endless parenting blog fodder. I love it.

This post was inspired when a friend mentioned her kids are so sensitive to “scary” stuff, that she has been forced over the years to find not scary movies for kids her family could watch together.

Of course, what scares a kid can differ from child to child, so these movies listed below are not necessarily scare-proof. However, a great way to check out the details on a movie before you watch it with your kids is www.commonsensemedia.org. The age recommendations for the movies below were taken from that site.

You simply plug in the movie and you can get the full rundown of the story line and ratings on things such as educational value, positive messaging, violence & scariness, and more.

Please add any not scary movies for kids you have discovered in the comments. Would love to keep this list going!

20 Not Scary Movies for Kids 

1. Winnie the Pooh Movies (ages 3+)

2. The Aristocats (ages 4+)

3. Tinker Bell (ages 4+)

4. Sesame Street: Follow That Bird (ages 4+)

5. My Neighbor Totoro (ages 5+)

6. Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (ages 5+)

7. The Sword in the Stone (ages 5+)

8. The Mouse and the Motorcycle (ages 5+)

9. Kiki’s Delivery Service (ages 5+)

10. Homeward Bound (ages 6+)

My friend’s recommendations (geared towards older children):

11. Mary Poppins (ages 6 +)

12. The Sound of Music (ages 6 +)

13. Shirley Temple movies (Curly Top, The Little Princess, Heidi and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm were her favorites – ages 6+)

14. The Parent Trap (original version – ages 6+)

15. Charlotte’s Web (1973 older cartoon version – ages 5 +)

16. Doctor Doolittle (original version – ages 5+)

17. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (ages 6+)

18. Oklahoma (ages 8 +)

19. Singin’ in the Rain (ages 6+)

20. American Girl Movies (average age 6+ but check each movie individually for age rec)

Please add to this list in the comments with your “not scary movies for kids” recommendations…

Golden Tote On Sale Tomorrow!

Links to Golden Tote in this post are referral links, meaning I get a little credit of you click through and order a tote. Thank you in advance for supporting my Golden Tote obsession. My husband thanks you too.

GoldenTote

This might sound crazy, but I really hate to shop. Taking the time to go into the stores, digging through racks while trying to hold complaining kids at bay is honestly not my idea of fun. Which is why I am obsessed with Golden Tote, because they do the shopping FOR you!

I get more compliments on my Golden Tote pieces more than any other item of clothing in my closet. Things I wouldn’t have thought to try on, but end up loving. Cute, hip, stylish pieces that put a little extra pep in my mom step.

It’s very easy. Here’s the run down.

1. The totes go on sale the first Monday of every month at 9am PST at www.goldentote.com. Set a reminder in your calendar to ping you and remind you to go online and order yours, because the very cutest pieces can sell out, quick. Shopping early ensures the best selection.

2. There are two totes to chose from – a $49 one with 2 – 3 pieces or a $149 with 5 – 6 pieces. If you can swing it, go for the $149 one because you will be amazed at the number of cute things you will get.

3. In your tote, you will be prompted to pick 1 or 2 items you want. Then, Golden Tote surprises you with the rest! It’s like Christmas in August when that box arrives.

4. Finally, you will create a style profile with your height, body type, likes, dislikes, styles you love, etc. which helps match your Tote to your style.

I am sure you are wondering what happens if you don’t like something or it doesn’t fit?

It’s an all or nothing deal. You can return the entire tote for a full refund, but you can’t return individual pieces. There is although, a private group on facebook.com/groups/Goldentotetrades where you can buy, sell or trade pieces that you don’t want.

When I get my totes, I usually end up loving say, 5 out of the 6 pieces, and the one I don’t, I will give to a friend. But for the price, it’s totally worth it for the 5 pieces I wear all of the time.

Try it. You will love it!

www. G O L D E N T O T E .com

Show Mobile Version