Posted in Holiday Posts

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

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To all my family, friends and followers, I am thankful for each and every one of you!

Enjoy your holiday and safe travels to all!

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Posted in Family, Parenting, raising kids, Teen

The Time I met A Sociopath

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy week. I’ve changed the beginning of my latest WIP and now I suspect I’m going to have to rewrite the story.  Oy!  But it’ll be worth it in the long run because the story will be better, grittier. That’s my hope anyway.

But enough about that. Today I’d like to talk about a new friend who has entered the group my son hangs out with. He’s a smart little guy who we’ll call Damien (not his real name). Right from the beginning hubby and I thought there was something off about Damien. He’d call and ask my son if he could come over and spend the night. My oldest would ask us and we’d say, “Sure. Why not. Have his parents drop him off after four.”

My oldest would inevitably return and say, “His parents prefer that you pick him up.”

Well. We thought maybe there was something going on in the family where they weren’t able to drop him off, so the first time we obliged and picked him up.  However, this started to become a pattern, and we noticed other things too. Damien could tell real whoppers. I’ve never heard a kid lie with such ease. Hubby and I started discussing how something wasn’t quite right about this kid.

Photo credit: Moheen Reeyad via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC

We were perplexed, but we didn’t want to tell our oldest about our misgivings until we had more evidence than just a weird vibe.  A few weeks later, I happened to chat with one of the parents of another friend. We’ll call him Mitchell. Mitchell’s dad had seven hundred dollars’ worth of X-box games charged to his credit card. It wasn’t done all at once, but at times when Mitchell was with him (Mitchell’s parents are divorced), and he believes Damien must have somehow gotten his credit card number because Mitchel would ask before he’d charge anything to his dad’s card. Mitchell’s dad also went on to say that Mitchell had thirty five dollars in his piggy bank and the money had mysteriously disappeared.  Later that day,  Damien pulls a wad of bills out of his pocket states, “I want to buy Mitch a game.”

Photo credit: Refracted Moments™ via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

Damien flaunted his cash in front of Mitch’s dad. Now, the dad’s totally suspicious but he has no proof so he doesn’t say anything to the kid. After I heard this story, alarm bells went off in my head. I shared this info with my boss who shook his head and said, “That’s sociopathic tendencies right there.”

Click here to see what Sociopathic tendencies are: Sociopathic Tendencies

I totally freaked because my mind immediately goes to serial killer.

 

Photo credit: aftab. via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC

 

When I got home from work that night I shared this info with my hubby and after doing a little research, we sat down with our oldest and explained why we wanted him to distance himself from Damien. I listed the characteristics of the sociopathic personality and my son listened and he agreed with quite a few of them, especially the one about lying.

My son has distanced himself from Damien, he’s still in the group of boys he eats lunch with, but that’s the only interaction they have together. He doesn’t come over to spend the night anymore. Phew! Crisis averted!

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks via Visualhunt / CC BY

I can see this kid when he’s older getting caught doing something illegal. Maybe he goes to a store and steals something. I can see him blaming it on his companion without feeling any guilt.  Sociopaths have no moral compass and that’s bad news for anyone who ends up being friends with them.

It’s fodder for a story, because as you know real life is stranger than fiction, but it’s also another example of why parents need to be involved in their kids’ lives. If we hadn’t been, this situation could’ve escalated into something irreversible.

Photo via Visualhunt.com

Sociopaths are among us. Most of them haven’t suffered child abuse or been neglected so there’s no way to tell who they are until you get to know them. Your child doesn’t have the life experience to understand the consequences of hanging out with someone like this, and the sociopath is manipulative. He can easily gain control in the relationship.

I’m still shocked I’ve seen one in action at such a young age. Sorry. I’m not a psychologist, but I totally feel this kid is one. To what degree, I can’t say, but I know he’s heading down the wrong road. Luckily,  my son won’t be travelling with him.

How about you? How do you handle it when one of your kids brings home someone who’s headed down the wrong road? Does your child listen or does he defend the kid? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

 

Posted in Holiday Posts

Happy Easter!

 

 

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Happy Easter, everyone. I hope you enjoy your day, celebrating with friends and family. I’ll be doing that myself so there won’t be a long post today. I’ll be back next Sunday for our regularly scheduled programming! Enjoy your holiday! 🙂

Posted in Personal

Things that Bring Me Joy

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another top ten list. I’m talking about things that bring me joy. 🙂 I don’t know why I decided to write about this today, maybe I’m feeling particularly joyful. I don’t know, but here they are.

My family

That’s right my family is one of the greatest sources of joy for me. I know every mom says this and it’s a cliché, but it’s also true. I love listening to my kids when they don’t know it and their conversations are so sweet and innocent. It reminds me of what’s important in life.   My hubby is my rock and he makes me laugh. That’s very important, laughter, after all it is the best medicine. 😉

My Writing

I love writing and researching a new story. I absolutely love it when a new idea comes into my head. There’s a calming feeling that comes over me when I finally sit down at my computer and begin typing. I forget about all the little irritates of the day when I’m immersed in a story. It’s a great feeling. The Super Spies and the Cat Lady Killer 500x750TheSuperSpiesandtheHighSchoolBomber 500x750TheSuperSpiesandthePiedPiper 500x750

 

 

 

Working With Kids

 

There’s something about working with kids that does me good. Whether it’s working with young teens during my writing workshops or volunteering at my kids’ school, I find it uplifting. I enjoy their enthusiasm and their desire to learn. They want to know everything! IMG_0424

Hiking

Hiking in the forest is one of my greatest joys. I love getting outside and walking through the woods. There’s so much beauty in nature and sometimes I just need to absorb that. I also love walking on the beach. Being near the water relaxes me andI enjoy the majesty of the waves as they break against the beach. I like to take these walks alone because that’s when I do my deepest thinking. IMG_0315

 

My Friends

I enjoy time alone, but I also enjoy spending time with my friends. Because of our busy schedules we don’t get together as often as we’d like, but it’s always good to reconnect with friends you’ve shared adventures with and travel down memory lane.

Reading

Reading feeds my deep desire to learn. I love learning new things, whether it’s research for a story or research for an issue in my personal life. I love to learn. I choose to be proactive and find solutions to problems, whether it’s in my personal life or a problem with a Work in Process. I also love reading for enjoyment as well. There’s nothing like getting lost in a great story.  Sitting in a lounge chair by the beach, reading is a one of my greatest pleasures.

Traveling

Since I have a deep desire to learn, I love to travel and learn about my destination. I took a trip to Key West, Florida a few years ago and I enjoyed walking through Ernest Hemingway’s home there. I wondered what it was like to live and work there. I also took a trip to Cancun a while back and I went to Chichen Itza. That was an incredible experience. As I climbed the steep staircase, I was in awe of the complexity of the structures there. The detail in their stone carvings astonished me. I could tell they were an advanced civilization and I’ve always wondered what happened to the Mayans. Haven’t you?

Exercising

I can hear you all groaning out there! But it’s true, I love the feeling I have when I’m finished exercising. Notice I say finished. 🙂 When I start to exercise, I’m not feeling particularly joyful, but by the end I’m always glad I started.  I usually run or do Pilates, but since I’ve pulled a muscle in my back, I’ve been walking. Did you know walking one mile burns as many calories as running a mile? 😉 This is good to know, don’t you think?

Bubble Baths

I absolutely love bubble baths. It’s a great way to relax after a run or after a stressful day.  Since I’ve had kids, I can count on one hand how many bubble baths I’ve been able to take, but I do have memories of them! 🙂 I used to light candles and fill the tub with hot fragrant bubbly water. There’s no better way to relax!

Massages

There’s nothing better than a full body massage. I used to get these before I had kids and I loved them. They’re great after a stressful day at work. They’re expensive, hence the reason I got them before kids, but they’re an indulgence that’s good for you! 🙂 So there you have ten things that give me joy. What things give you joy? Leave a comment I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Holiday Posts

It’s almost Christmas!

Our kitty Lily. This was her first Christmas Tree :)
Our kitty Lily. This was her first Christmas Tree 🙂

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! Christmas Day is almost upon us and I’m excited! I can’t wait to see my kids opening up their presents. It’s a time of family and celebration. I hope it’s that way for you as well.

At this time of year, I always look back and wonder where the time has gone. When you have kids, it just seems like everything goes by so fast. My kids are growing at an alarming rate. My oldest will be nine in a week! Nine years old! It seems like just yesterday I was changing his diapers. Sigh.

Luckily, they both still believe in Santa. I think it will be the last year for my oldest, though. One of his friends informed him Santa wasn’t real. I, of course, emphatically denied this. For the most part, he believes me, but he wants to set up a video camera to catch Santa in the act. He wants to use this evidence to convince his friend that Santa is real.

How can I argue with this logic? After all, aren’t I trying to raise critical thinkers? Don’t I want them to question things that don’t make sense? My husband and I have painted ourselves right into a corner in this debate. We’ve agreed to his idea. I’m hoping my son will forget about this request in the excitement of the evening and we’ll “forget” to set up the camera.

Otherwise, we’re going to have to set it up and have it malfunction in some way. 😉 In fact, I have it all planned out. When the video camera doesn’t do its job, I’ll ask him, “Well the milk and cookies are gone, isn’t that enough evidence that Santa was here?”

I don’t know what he’ll say, but I’m hoping it works! I’d love them to believe in Santa at least for one more year. 🙂 I love their innocent excitement even when they pull me out of bed at the crack of dawn. We spend so much time shopping and wrapping that I wish the unwrapping and squeals of excitement would last a little bit longer. I guess it’s like that for everything though. The preparation and anticipation before the event takes more time than the event itself. Have you ever noticed that?

Anyway, I’ll be bleary eyed with a squirrels nest for hair as I try to catch images of my kidlets in all their Christmas glory on camera. These moments are fleeting and I’m trying to capture as many of them as I can.

Not only is Christmas a time of celebration, it’s also a time of appreciation. Well at least for me it is. It’s a time to remember friends and family and give thanks just for having them in our lives. I want to send a special thank you to my family and friends just for being who they are. 🙂 You’re all very special to me and I appreciate each and every one of you.

I’d also like to say thank you to my friends that I’ve met via Social Media. Whether I’ve connected with you on Facebook or Twitter, I’ve met some pretty amazing people.

I want to send a huge thank you to my author friends. I’ve never met a more helpful and positive group of people and it warms my heart when I think of them. They’ve helped me so much and I appreciate it!

If I could, I’d give you all a hug, because a hug can communicate more than words!

Sorry, this post got mushier than I anticipated. 🙂  I tend to gush at this time of year!

Anyway, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! If you’d like to share a special Christmas memory feel free, leave a comment! I’d love to read it! 🙂

Our Kitty Lily. This was her first Christmas Tree. :) She's such a little ham! :)
Our Kitty Lily. This was her first Christmas Tree. 🙂 She’s such a little ham! 🙂
Posted in Uncategorized

Is Your Teen in an Abusive Relationship?

Hello Everyone! I hope all is well with you today! I’ve had a pretty hectic week. My son’s birthday is Saturday and I’ve been shopping for that as well as trying to get the kids ready for school. J

As I focused on the new school year I wondered what kind of social situations my boys will experience this year. Last year in my oldest son’s class they discussed bullying and bullying behaviors. I was excited to see this because it illustrated that our school system was taking a big stand against bullying.

Then I wondered about their teen years. I wondered what kind of relationships would they find themselves in. I hope healthy ones, but how does a parent know? I remember my teen years and I didn’t share a lot of things with my parents, I turned to my friends. Luckily, I had awesome friends. But what happens to the teen that doesn’t? How does a parent know?

So, I started researching and found that there are signs when a teen is in an abusive relationship. For example, if they stop hanging around their friends and stop doing things that they enjoy. The young teen is basically withdrawing and could even be depressed. This is a huge sign.

When I’m talking about abuse, I’m including emotional abuse as well. Emotional abuse is just as debilitating as physical, or sexual abuse. The problem is that it’s hard to see because there is no evidence left on the abused teen. What is emotional abuse and what are the signs? Below is a list of signs to look for in your teen.

Has your teen…

  • Showed a loss of concentration?
  • Shown signs of being afraid to upset their partner?
  • Spent excessive amounts of time in contact with their partner?
  • Lost contact with other friends?
  • Been constantly fighting with their partner?
  • Changed their behavior and/or appearance?
  • Had unexplained injuries?
  • Not been enjoying activities that he/she used to enjoy?
  • Become more aggravated and/or less independent?
  • Seemed persistent to be home at certain times to receive/make phone calls?
  • Seemed withdrawn from what is going on around him or her?
  • Told you about or have you been a witness to their partner calling them names, embarrassing them, or putting them down in front of others?

If  your teen answers yes to two or more of these questions they could be in an abusive relationship.

If you suspect your teen is in this type of relationship ask them these questions. If they answer yes to three or more of the questions they need your help.

Does your partner….

  • Have a short temper?
  • Act very jealous?
  • Exaggerate fights?
  • Tell or suggest what you should wear?
  • Try to limit who you talk to?
  • Make you tell him/her where you are going and who you are with?
  • Tell you when you have to be home?
  • Put you down?
  • Take up most of your time?
  • Hurt you physically or throw things at you?
  • Get angry when you disagree with them?
  • Pressure you to engage in sexual activity that you feel uncomfortable with?
  • Make you feel like you can’t say no to sexual activity?
  • Embarrass you in front of others?

If your teen is in this type of relationship a parent needs to intervene. But how? How do you intervene without alienating your child?

One step is to look into T.E.A.R. acronym for Teens Experiencing Abusive Relationships. You can find them here http://www.teensagainstabuse.org/index.php.

This is a great organization that can help teens and parents.  This is where I got the information for this post. J

Here’s some solid advice from T.E.A.R.

  1. Keep all lines of communication open. Sit down with your child and talk about the differences between a good relationship and a bad one.  Ask questions but don’t grill them. Also don’t yell at them or blame them for the abuse that you suspect they are dealing with.
  2. Always validate their feelings. When a parent validates a child’s feelings they realize that you really do want to help and that you value them.
  3. And the most important thing to do, in my opinion, is strengthen your relationship with your child. Encourage them to develop an aspect of their life without the abuser. Maybe join a church group or a club. Then join with them and spend more time with them. Instead of lecturing and giving advice, give them options. J

I hope this post has been helpful! For more information please check out this website http://www.teensagainstabuse.org/index.php. They also have an abuse hotline. Here’s the number 1-866-331-9474.

*** I would like to thank T.E.A.R. for providing the information for this post. J