Good-Bye Disney Channel

I’ve never been big on cable, or in this case Dish, TV until we moved to the outskirts of town and it was the only option to get any reception. In the beginning, I was excited to see some of the channels which came with the package, like the Disney channel, but after a year of seeing what my 8 year old daughter was watching, I understand now why she is growing up with a bad attitude.

The shows on Disney that I find my daughter watching have no parental figures in them. If there are adults or parents in the shows, they are usually portrayed as stupid, immature, and lacking in any type of real authority. Shows such as Austin and Ally and Shake It Up rarely show parents at all. The kids are running the show and living the good life. The main characters treat everyone─friends and enemies alike─terribly.

Jessie, Shake It Up, A.N.T Farm, Austin and Alley, Good Luck Charlie, Dog with a Blog, Victorious (just to name a few) seem to lack the real-life lessons children actually encounter.. They are a far cry from the shows that used to teach lessons in morality and kindness. Now it is all about rudeness, sarcasm, poor jokes, mean-spiritedness, posturing, and a lack of parental guidance.

I know I am guilty of allowing my daughter to watch these shows and should have stepped in sooner. It is easy to get busy and not give your children the attention and guidance they require but if the TV. is left to raise them, then you’re probably not going to be very happy with the results. I know I’m not. Undoubtedly, there are people out there that will disagree with me about the Disney Channel but for this family it is time to say good-bye to the Disney Channel once and for all.

One Stepping Stone at a Time

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all that demands our attention. Recently, I found myself hyperventilating whenever I thought about my schedule for the an upcoming week. My wife was in 5 showings of South Pacific, my daughter had dance practice, a dance rehearsal and 2 performances – all of which were taking place Wednesday through Saturday. Just the thought of my evenings being this busy was freaking me out.

Every time I thought about the week my anxiety level would go through the roof. I had to manage my busy week at work, prepare all the meals, ensure homework was done, make sure everyone was where they needed to be – on time, make my appearance at a couple shows and helplessly watch the grass grow as it screamed, “mow me” every time I pulled into the driveway.

Tuesday evening, slouched over with my head in hands, heart beginning to pound and dreading what was to come it suddenly occurred to me. If I take this week one day at a time I can get through this even if that meant not getting to the lawn. So that’s exactly what I did, I took the next few days one stepping stone at a time only giving thought to the next day and not beyond.

As I did this I found my stress level went down and it was much easier to manage everything I had to do. When I was able to ‘X’ out each day on the calendar I looked back and thought, “That wasn’t so bad.” Eventually, Sunday came and I was still standing (to my surprise) I even found time to mow the lawn. Watching my wife and daughter during their performances was a blast and I’m glad I was there to support and help throughout the week.

This is simply another case of living in the here and now. When we focus too far down the road it can cause a lot of unneeded stress. If we treat life’s journey as stepping stones we are focusing on our next step, one at a time. Heck, I only have one wife and one child. I can’t imagine how it is for people with more than one, child that is. However, I think taking life one step at a time is the secret to their success. The further we put ourselves in the future only creates more stress. Will I have enough money to retire? What if I get sick? Will my children grow up happy and successful? What if I lose my job? There are countless “what if” statements you can conjure up and most won’t have an answer. To live in the future leads to worry which will rob you of your present joy. Parent by example and show your child what it means to live in the here and now, taking life one stepping stone at a time.

Cost of Being Right

Have you ever tried to reason with a child that thinks they know everything?

I would venture to guess that every parent has experienced such an event. Where do children get this stubbornness from and why must they be so unwilling to change their point of view? I remember when my daughter was 7, she got on the Justin Bieber band wagon however, she constantly referred to him as Justin Beaver. No matter how many times I corrected her she refused to listen. She was right and I was wrong, what does dad know anyhow?

Children can develop a “know it all” mentality at a very young age and they can become upset if challenged. It is difficult for them to see things from another perspective, especially since they are so absorbed in themselves. As parents, we can expect this to some degree. The child is asserting their individuality and independence but the problem occurs when the behavior is carried into adulthood.

I think one of the biggest mistakes a parent can make is to argue with their child about what is right and what is wrong. Often, it only makes matters worse and it teaches them to arguing is okay and usually whoever yells the loudest wins. Some things are worth letting go and sometimes it takes a third party to come in and say, “It is Bieber not Beaver.”

Children are different and we want them to grow up with their own opinions but we don’t want them to be so entrenched in their beliefs that they never look at things from a different point of view. Consider the old saying, “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” Why anyone would want to skin a cat is beyond me but at some point it must have been a popular thing. Regardless, there is usually more than one way to get things done.

As our children mature they should grow out of the need to be right but if they don’t you need to examine why they haven’t let it go. First start by looking at your family dynamics, do you have the need to be right? Are you and your spouse constantly arguing about who is right and wrong? When we get older the need to be right may indicate self-esteem issues or low self-confidence. If you want to change this behavior in yourself or your children it needs to be understood that there is a cost involved with always being right. When we come across as a know-it-all we alienate people and eventually become isolated.

Begin breaking the cycle in your child by looking at how you interact with others. Imagine how it must feel to be in their shoes and see things through their eyes. Is there anything that you could do differently? Look for opportunities to teach your children that being right all the time is impossible and that it is okay to say, “sorry” from time to time.

Being righteous and being self-righteous are at opposite ends of the spectrum. The difference is; being full of one’s self or doing the right thing. Teach your children the difference and that they can choose how they are going to live. There is a cost of always being right and it’s up to each individual to decide whether that cost is worth it.

Teaching Your Children about Failure

As a parent I often avoid using the term failure around my daughter. I don’t want my child to think I am a failure or worse yet that she is one. However, without ever talking about failure or letting her see that I fail from time to time I am not doing a very good job teaching her about failure.

Plain and simple – there is no avoiding failure. We all experience it, struggle with it, our kids struggle with it, no one is immune from failure. Failure is a very important part of life. If everything came easy we wouldn’t have the stress we need to push on as humans. Many of us may think we know it all but in reality most of us know very little and will make mistakes. Each day we are faced with several opportunities to fail and each day we are given the opportunity to learn from our mistakes and succeed.

If we shield our children from failure they won’t understand what it means to learn from our mistakes. They won’t have the challenges that spark new ideas and create new opportunities to help them achieve their goals. Instead they will grow up as victims thinking that life (and everyone else) is out to get them. The last thing this world needs is more ‘victims.’

What Parents Should Teach Their Children about Failure

We should teach our children that failure is a part of life, it is a test. Failure builds character, makes people stronger and if a lesson is taken away it can make us wiser.

Sometimes there are negative consequences that come with failure and we should teach our children that these consequences are different than those for disobedience. We should never punish our child because they failed, instead we should lift them up and help them come up with a better plan of action for the next time.

One of the best ways to teach your child about failure is to allow them to witness your failures and then follow-up by showing them how to take away key points that will possibly lead to success the next time.

Behind every story of success there are dozens of stories about failure. Through failure we learn and achieve greatness – this is what we should be teaching our children.

Overreaction? You Make the Call

Heritage Middle School Lockdown

February 14, 2013

Is there such a thing as overreaction by school officials in our country these days? I would have to vote, MAYBE.

This story hits close to home since I live within spitting distance of Meridian but as the story goes a teen was spotted with a suspicious item by a staff member and another student. So far so good.

They reported it to the resource officer. I see common sense being used.

The resource officer initiated a lockdown of the school which affected the surrounding area. Roads were closed, parents were notified and surrounding schools were put on alert and nobody was permitted to leave. What the heck!

This is seriously how the story read. In my day the resource officer was armed and trained. Hell, none of us wanted a visit from him because that meant he knew we were screwing around and smoking behind the school. This story has made its way into the NOCOMMON SENSE News because for starters nobody approached the teen and said, “hey what’s that in your bag?” It wasn’t reported that he was carelessly swinging this suspicious item around or acting crazy, he was simply walking down the hall. Oh yah and the so-called weapon (as the police put it) was a foldable shovel that he brought to school to use as a prop for one of his classes.

All of this could have been avoided if someone would have exercised a bit of common sense and evaluated the situation without imagining the worst possible scenario. I understand the use of caution but if this kid was going to go crazy he would have done it long before police arrived and detained him. Why didn’t anyone walk up to him and ask him what was up?

5 year-old Terror Threat

Seriously?

Tensions and maybe imaginations are running high since the Sandy Hook incident but I can’t help but wonder if we are letting things get out of control. Zero tolerance should not equal zero common sense.

When a 5 year-old gets suspended and deemed a “terror threat” by school officials for telling a classmate she is going to shoot her with her Hello Kitty bubble gun it makes me think there is no more common sense. She didn’t even have the toy with her and the conversation happened days before school officials heard about the it.

Reports also stated that the girl was questioned for 3 hours, without her parents present, and told she could go to jail. Her parents were told she needed to be evaluated by a psychiatrist (maybe she does, NOW).

Okay, maybe the poor kid made a mistake (or maybe not) but there was obviously no threat and this situation should have never become a “situation”.

I know what it is like to have a child; they will say much worse! No matter what comes out of their mouths they may be little terrors but they are never a “terror threat” – they are children!

Fifth Grader Searched and Ridiculed

I don’t know how many of you have heard about Melody Valentin, a 5th grader from Philadelphia being searched, scolded and bullied at her school for trying to throw away a piece of scrap paper that resembled a gun, REALLY?

It all started when she was throwing this piece of paper away when another child alerted school officials that Melody had brought a paper gun to school. She was searched and reprimanded by school officials, in front of other students, for bringing a paper gun to school. This official not only handled the situation poorly but threatened to have her arrested; she was humiliated in front of other children which led to bullying and her being called a “murderer” by other students.

For starters, to call this “paper gun” a gun is a far stretch for school officials and the media. It could easily (and more likely) be considered a scrap piece of paper or the letter ‘L’, nevertheless, this is another prime example where zero tolerance and zero commonsense collide.

I mean really, this looks more like a piece of paper someone tore the corner off in order to throw their gum away.

Ahh!! Everyone take cover and get under the desk in fear of the realistic paper gun.

Source: http://www.infowars.com/elementary-school-girl-threatened-with-arrest-over-paper-gun/

Kids Make Mistakes

Kids make mistakes! Sometimes very BIG ones but they still require love, patience, understanding and fairness when dealing with the choices they have made.

As parents we are well aware of the fact that kids make mistakes. No matter how much we tell them right from wrong, good from bad they still find ways to give us a scare from time to time. I remember when my daughter was 8-years old, her and a friend decided to skip the bus and walk home from school (over 3 miles). At some point, they deduced that with how long the trip felt and all the stops the bus had to make they could easily get home quicker walking than riding the bus.

You can easily imagine the terror I felt when my child did not get off the bus as expected. The media has conditioned me well to think the worst. Quick note about our media; they typically show the exceptions, the worst that happens in our society. It isn’t the norm because the norm doesn’t get people worked up or increase ratings. Okay, back to the story… luckily while I was walking back from the bus stop my phone rang and it was a good samaritan who found our children a mile from the school. On a positive note; at least the kid knew my cell number.

Obviously, everything worked out and we had a long heart to heart talk about why this was a bad decision. Once I was able to get over the fear and anger I could see the so called logic behind her decision. When I tried to explain the time, speed, and distance relationship my daughter looked at me as if I were crazy. At least she is trying to figure things out on her own. Her heart wasn’t in a bad place, she wasn’t doing a bad thing, what she did was make a bad decision. Did she get punished? You bet! But she also got hugs, kisses and reassurance that she is a great kid.

We can’t live in fear or put our children in plastic bubbles but we can love them unconditionally, teach them and be there to help when they need it. It is impossible to protect them from everything, they will have to learn some lessons on their own. Just because our children make mistakes it doesn’t make us bad parents and it doesn’t mean they aren’t listening – they are. They are also simply trying to figure things out on their own.

Takeaways:

  1. Children make mistakes.
  2. Stay calm until the crisis is over.
  3. Wait until you calm down to deliver punishment.
  4. Listen to what your kids have to say.
  5. We can’t protect them from everything.
  6. Children do listen to what their parents tell them.

5 Great Ways To Teach Your Toddler How To Share

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could remove the word “mine” from your child’s vocabulary. Unfortunately, you can’t, and your child will use the word “mine” often.

It seems as if children instinctively don’t like sharing their toys with friends or family members, even if they’re not playing with that said toy at the moment. But you know that you cannot allow your child to hoard all the toys, and you know that you cannot allow them to scream and cry and throw a fit just because someone else wants to use something of theirs. This is why it’s important to teach your child how to share, and even though it may seem like a challenge, the following five tips are great ways to help your child learn how to share.

1. Start early.

There’s no appropriate age to teach your child how to share, but the earlier you start, the better it will be. Teaching a younger child to share will prove easier because the child doesn’t know any better. They’ll think of sharing as a part of their everyday routine, and this can help it be successful. If you wait until your child is much older to teach them about sharing, you’ll now have to break the habit of not sharing, and this can be harder to do.

2. Show them.

Your child mimics what they see, so if they see that you or your family members are never sharing their possessions, it will make your child less likely to do the same. Instead, make sure that you’re showing your child how to share. Make sure that you share things with your child, whether it’s food or a possession, and make sure that your child sees other members of your family sharing. This will help them realize that sharing is an appropriate way to act, and your child will be more willing to share if they see you doing it.

3. Praise them for sharing.

When your child does share, praise their actions. Give them lots of hugs and kisses, tell them that you’re proud of them, and even do a dance. It doesn’t matter if you look or act silly, your child will enjoy all the attention, and knowing that sharing made you so happy can be all it takes to get them to share on a regular basis.

4. Talk to them.

You may also need to talk to your child about the importance of sharing. Make sure that you tell them that sharing their belongings makes other people feel happy, and let them know that when they don’t share, it makes others feel sad. Your child knows the difference between being happy and sad, and if they know how bad they felt when they were sad, they may not want to make someone else feel that way.

5. Take baby steps.

If your child is having a play date, pick out a few toys for the kids to play with and tell your child that they’ll have to share those toys. If your child has certain toys that they absolutely love, you may want to put them away for the playdate. Eventually, you’ll have to allow your child to share those toys too, but by starting with a smaller group of toys, you can ease your child into sharing by showing them that nothing bad will happen to their toys if someone else plays with them.

Stacey Margaret is a freelance writer and mother who loves to share her experience and tips on toddler training with new parents through her blog.

Keeping Food Safe During a Winter Power Outage

Tips for keeping your food safe if you lose power in the middle of a severe weather event.

Depending on where you live power outages can be a common problem. It’s likely if you live in such an area you know what to do but maybe you don’t experience a power outage very often, especially in the middle of winter, and you aren’t quite sure how to keep your food safe and minimize the risk of spoilage. Below are some tips to help you keep food safe during a winter power outage.

Power outages can occur at any time, none of which are convenient, and can last from several hours to a few days. If food isn’t kept cold it can become unsafe for consumption. According to the USDA, bacteria in food grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 °F, and if these foods are consumed, people can become very sick.

Preparing for a Weather Emergency

  • Keep a thermometer in the freezer and refrigerator. It will help you determine the temperature in case of a power outage. Ideally, your freezer should be at 0 °F or below and the refrigerator should be below 40 °F.
  • Freeze containers of water, ice packs, gel packs, etc that you can later use to help keep foods cold.
  • Food that can be frozen (left overs, etc) should be. It will help keep them at a safe temperature longer.
  • Have a couple coolers handy to help keep food cold if the power is going to be out longer than 4 hours.

Keeping Your Food Safe When Power is Out

  • Keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep the cold air in. An unopened refrigerator will keep food safe for approximately 4 hours. A full freezer will keep food safe for about 48 hours; less if it isn’t full.
  • According to the USDA, you don’t want to place food outside during a power outage in winter. The temperatures can vary, animals can get to it and other unsanitary conditions could contaminate it. Instead, fill buckets and empty containers with water and leave them outside to freeze. You can then use them to cool coolers, refrigerator and freezer.
  • Before consuming any food that may be questionable you should check it with a thermometer to determine if it is under 40 °F.
  • Bunch food together, it will help it stay cold longer. The less area you need to cool the better, use a cooler when necessary.
  • Sometimes you only need to buy a little time before the power comes back on but unfortunately we never know exactly when that will happen. These tips can help keep your food safe longer. Remember, never taste food to determine if it is safe to eat AND if in doubt, throw it out.

    Want to take it to the next level? Learn how to create your own energy without spending $1,000s at Earth4Energy.com.

    5 Ways To Become An Even Better Parent Than You Were Yesterday

    Who is the best parent you know? It could be your mom, your husband, the little lady who lives across the street, or anyone else you know. Chances are you’ve noticed someone’s parenting skills and been rather impressed by them. The reason people are good parents isn’t because they were born that way. I bet that person has worked really hard and been through a lot before you decided they were a great parent. Today is about you improving your parenting skills so you become one step closer to amazing at the end of every day.

    Parenting is one of the easiest and hardest jobs you will ever undertake. There is obviously going to be fun times, but you’ll also come up against things that will push you to the edge. That’s only natural and it happens to be best of us, but it’s the way that you learn from things that make you a good parent. Let’s take a look at some valuable things people have improved on in the past so you can learn from them. Your child is lucky to have someone who is always looking to be better.

    Protect Them from Online Danger

    Something you don’t hear much about is protecting your children when they are on the Internet. Keylogging software is a good way to do this because it gives them the freedom to do what they want, but you still get to read everything they type so if something is going on you will find out. You could also install parental control software and the only websites they will be able to go on will have been chosen by you in advance.

    Be More Organized

    When you’re a parent, wife, worker, home owner, plus thousands of other duties it’s sometimes hard to squeeze everything in. When you’re more organized you almost create time out of thin air and when you have more time it means you get to spend it with your family. Becoming more organized is definitely no walk in the park and it’s going to take a considerable amount of effort on your part, so get ready for hard work.

    Be Calmer Starting from Today

    Look at your kids right now and think about how great you feel. Now think about the way you act when your kids wind you up the wrong way. You probably get so angry with them, but they are only doing what all kids do because they wind everyone up. The only person who suffers when you start going crazy over little things is you, so do yourself a favor and even if you’re being wound up try to think of the children as you do right now.

    Keep Them Fit and Healthy

    This would probably be assigned under the ‘obvious’ category in the past, but obviously it’s harder for parents than we think. Please understand that if your child is overweight you’re the only person who can help them. The reason for this is because you cook all the food at home and you get to decide what goes in their mouth. To make it easy for you it’s maybe a good idea to save some money and learn to cook a few healthy meals by taking a course.

    Have More Fun

    You can never have enough fun. Remember that fun doesn’t need to cost money all the time and you can think of ways to make your children smile without spending anything. The world is a hard place when you get older, so do yourself a favor and do your best to make your children smile as much as possible. When you don’t think it’s possible for them to smile anymore you should make them laugh instead.

    About the Author: Pete Newman says that parents must bond well with children to make sure that they don’t harm themselves. He also says that key stroke logging is one of the best ways to keep a check on your kids online activities.