Posted in Parenting

Parenting, it’s not for Sissies

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. Christmas is almost here. I’m excited for the holidays and I hope you are, too. It seems like each year they go by faster and faster. I want it all to slow down so I can savor it. My boys are growing up too fast, I want to rewind back to when they were smaller and still believed in Santa. Those years were definitely magical years, don’t you think?

I’m so thankful for them. I was so worried about being a good mother before they were born. I read all kinds of books because I wanted to do the best job I could. I stayed home with them instead of working. I made them my top priority and I still feel I could’ve done a better job.

Photo credit: Alexandru Ilie2012 on Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Parenting is hard because you can’t erase your mistake and try again. There are no do-overs in parenting, unfortunately. So, you do your best to get it right the first time and ask for forgiveness from your kids when you mess up. Let’s face it we’re all human and your kids know that, too. They’ll forgive you if you own up to your mistakes.

Photo credit: Nicholas Erwin on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

The best we can do is to make sure they know they’re loved unconditionally. If we succeed at that one thing, we’ll have set a solid foundation for their future. When our kids are dealing with behavioral issues in school, or anxiety, or they’re withdrawing from friends and family that’s a sign they need more attention and love. Something that seems to be in short supply in our frazzled world today.

 

Photo on Foter.com

It seems like we’re so busy trying to give them everything we forget they really need our time and attention the most. Something I have to remind myself of daily especially when I’m worried that I’m not giving them enough things. It’s a fine line between providing for them and being available to them. I’m sure every parent struggles with this. Especially when they’re growing and testing their independence during the teen years.

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The best we can do is keep the lines of communication open and help them navigate the choppy waters of adolescence. It’s so hard during the teen years when they need space to test their wings, but they also need to know you’re there, and you support them.

Parenting. It’s a tough job. It’s not for sissies.

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Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. Do you have any insight on navigating the teen years? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

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Posted in Parenting, raising kids, Teen, Writing

Protecting Our Kids

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back after a busy week of revisions and editing. My revisions for my first MS have been sent off to my beta readers, and I’ve started editing my rough draft of my second one.  I’m crossing my fingers. The characters in these books have made me work hard and I’m proud of the results. Let’s hope the Beta readers like them.

Photo on Visual hunt

But enough about that. Last week I wrote a post about finding your passion because I’d done an author visit at one of the schools in the area. I received some emails from some of the students who enjoyed my presentation and I thought I’d share one of them with you.

 

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for coming to our school and talking to us 6th graders about your awesome books! I got the second book from the Super Spies series, and I am so excited to read it! Thank you for answering all of our questions. We learned a lot about being an author and how to write good stories!

Thanks Again!

 

When I get feedback like this, it makes all the hard work and sacrifices worth it. I love inspiring kids to step out of their comfort zones and pursue their dreams. After my presentation last week, some of the kids gathered around me and told me about the stories they were writing. Their enthusiasm was overwhelming and sparked my resolve to keep going with my writing.  It’s funny all it takes is spending some time with kids, and it urges me to keep pushing forward.

Photo credit: Jiuck on Visual Hunt /CC BY-NC-SA

 

Our kids are our most valuable resource. We need to protect them. It seems like our world is getting more and more dangerous and our kids are the ones suffering because of it. We have human traffickers, mass shootings, and child abuse.

 

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How do we protect our kids?

 

To protect our kids from human traffickers and child abuse we parents must be involved in our children’s lives. Most predators target kids who come from low income homes, whose parents are busy trying to make ends meet. They also target kids with low self-esteem. Kids who don’t have a role model to look up to. So in a nutshell, we have to do a better job at parenting.

Photo credit: akahawkeyefan on Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

 

As for Mass shootings, better parenting is only half of the answer. We also need to have stronger communities. For those families whose circumstances aren’t ideal, the community should pull together and support them. Make sure the children don’t fall through the cracks and become victims of bullying and other stressors that affect teens. Once we’ve got those support systems in place, then we can move forward from there.

My next question for everyone is this. How do we go from an idealistic kid like the one above to a kid who’ll take a gun into a school and shoot up his classmates? If we can answer that question, we’ll be moving in the right direction.

Let me know your thoughts. Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Love

Show me the Love

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. My prayers have been answered and I have a snow day today! So I’m going to be writing, editing, making bean soup and running. Ugh on the running part, but it’s a necessary chore if I want to stay healthy. Right? 🙂

Photo on VisualHunt

 

Anyway, today I’d like to talk about how people show love. This post was inspired by my friend Christine and her blog post, “What love looks like when you are Sick.” Here’s the link: https://imsickandsoareyou.com/2018/02/09/what-love-looks-like-when-youre-sick/

 

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It’s a touching post and it got me thinking about the ways people in our lives show their love, and the fact that there are so many different kinds of love in the world. I don’t know about you, but I think it is truly amazing that the kind of love we need appears just when we need it. Have you ever noticed that?

There’s the love of a mother for her sons. The love of a father for his daughters. The love of a husband for his wife and vice versa. The love of a brother for his sister and of a sister for her brother.  The love of one cancer survivor to another.

That camaraderie you can only have by going through something together or through a similar situation. I love the woman who helped me deal with my chemo. She was there as a calming voice in the swirling vortex of my anxiety when my fingers and toes began to go numb from the medication I was given. She understood my fear. The fear that my fingers would stay numb and I wouldn’t be able to type any more. That’s love folks. Love of a survivor holding the hand of someone who wants to survive.

 

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There’s also the love of my sons for me. They were bright lights in my dark world at that time.  I remember my oldest calming my fears when my anxiety had ramped up and I didn’t want to do chemo any more. I’d lost my hair and twenty pounds. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “Mom. You only have two months left.”

Photo credit: Nick Fuentes on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

He was so calm and reasonable and that’s when I knew I could do it.  I never thought I’d be turning to my son for emotional support like that. It was an incredible moment.

Now that I’m better, we don’t talk about those days. Instead my kids show me love by stealing my blanket and still asking for bedtime stories even though they’re in the tween and teen years. Those moments are precious to me because I know they’ll soon be grown and off to conquer the world. I’ll hold onto those memories and they’ll sustain me when I miss them.

They say that people who live for experiences are happier than people who live for things and I believe that’s true. I wouldn’t trade my memories for all the money in the world.

What are your thoughts? How do the people in your life show you their love? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Posted in Parenting, Personal

Surviving the Teen Years

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’ve been busy this week with kid duties and writing. Although, I had to take a break for a couple of days because I got stuck on how to continue my story. On the second day, I went for a run and wouldn’t you know it, all I needed was some physical activity. The plot bunny worked itself out.

Then I got my first MS back from my friend/mentor, Sam, who’s finding all my little peccadillos for me. She truly is amazing and I love her! So, I’m planning on diving into that tonight and making my story that much more awesome!

Photo on VisualHunt

But enough about that. I struggled to come up with a topic for today’s post, but while in the shower, I thought of one and so without further ado, here it is.

I know it’s hard to believe but my kids love to push my buttons. They love to get under my skin, and they will take every opportunity to do it. For example, I hate it when someone burps or makes the farting noise at the dinner table. So of course, my boys do this every chance they get. I’ll be sitting there eating my dinner and one of them will start with the fart noise. I’ll look up from my plate and they’ll both be giggling. Here’s a typical scenario.

“Okay. Who did that?”

The boys will look at each other and start giggling harder. “We don’t know,” they’ll cry in unison. I’ll look at hubby, but he’s no help whatsoever because he’s laughing, too.

“Knock it off. You know I don’t like that sound at the dinner table.”

They’ll grow quiet until I look down at my plate again and that’s when another healthy fart sound will ripple through the atmosphere. Of course, things only get worse from this point on.  Every time I look down at my plate one of my little cherubs will rip an even louder one than the last time.

Photo credit: juhansonin on VisualHuntCC BY

I didn’t know what to do and many a meal has been ruined for me because of the shenanigans of these two adorable scalawags. Then one day I had an epiphany. I could be just as irritating to them. Instead of me getting all upset and ornery, why don’t I get on their last nerve like they get on mine? The light bulb in my mind turned on. I knew of a way to do it.

So the next day, while at the dinner table the little tricksters started in with their fart noises. I was  twirling spaghetti around my fork when one of them sent the fart sound out into the atmosphere. I immediately dropped my eating utensil and stood up and started singing.

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Yes. Singing. I started belting out the lyrics to the song “You are my sunshine.”

Photo on Visualhunt

After all, we could all use a little more sunshine in our lives, right? 😉

My boys’ reactions were instantaneous. They both covered their ears and started wailing. “Stop! Stop singing!”

And that’s when I was able to negotiate a deal. I told them I wouldn’t sing if they wouldn’t burp or make disgusting fart sounds. They agreed.

I will add a little side note here. My boys loved my singing when they were babies. I used to sing them to sleep. As soon as they entered the murky waters of the tween and teen years, they turned and no longer enjoy my musical talent.

See how quickly a liability can turn into an asset? It’s all in how you use it. Am I right or am I right?

You’re welcome. We parents need to stick together so we can all survive the teen years.

Photo credit: Kevin Rheese on VisualHunt.com / CC BY

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today. Do you have any parenting tips you’d like to share? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Parenting, raising kids, Teen

Teens: Beware the Blue Whale

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you and that you all had a Happy Mother’s Day. I’m back today and I’m talking about something called the Blue Whale Suicide Game. Have you heard of it?

Photo credit: Benjamin Lehman via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-ND

No?

Well let me fill you in. It is a game that encourages teens to commit suicide. It’s name is derived from the fact Blue Whales sometimes beach themselves to die.

According to this article, http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/blue-whale-challenge

at least one hundred and thirty Russian teen suicides have been linked to this game. This is how it works. An administrator assigns tasks to the teens who sign up to play. The tasks range from waking up at an odd time, watching a horror movie, to self-harm. The teen has fifty days to complete the tasks and they have to post proof for the administrator to validate. At the end of the fifty days, they’re encouraged to commit suicide.

The game is now spreading across the UK via social media. http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/science-technology/806384/Blue-Whale-Game-Suicide-Challenge-UK

 

Photo via VisualHunt.com

Now, it hasn’t been proven beyond a reasonable doubt the Blue Whale game is responsible for those one hundred and thirty suicides, but those teens were all part of the same group. Besides, do we need to prove it? Isn’t the fact that the game exists at all a major red flag for anyone?

I hate to say this because I’m not one for a great deal of regulation, but apparently we need some sort of guidelines for the internet. First of all, this game shouldn’t even exist. It needs to be removed from the web. We need some sort of committee to regulate apps so kids can’t access these games.

Of course, creating a regulating body takes time. So what do we do in the meantime? We must warn our kids against this game. Tell them in no uncertain terms not to play. Even if all their friends are doing it. Give them the tools they need to deal with peer pressure because that is how the Blue Whale hooks these kids. Here’s a great article on dealing with peer pressure. http://www.yourlifecounts.org/blog/20-ways-avoid-peer-pressure

 

The man behind this game claims he’s cleansing society. Isn’t this kind of thinking considered a mental illness? If it’s not, it should be. This guy reminds me of Hitler and we all know where his thinking got us, don’t we?

Photo credit: ksablan via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-SA

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! Do you have any ideas on how to stop this insidious game? Please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Parenting, raising kids, Reading, Teen

It Takes a Village…

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about the book and the Netflix series “Thirteen Reasons Why.” This week our school sent us a letter regarding the content of this show. They were concerned about how teens might be reacting to the strong issues the show addresses.

 

Thirteen Reasons Why by [Asher, Jay]

Now, I haven’t read the book or watched the series. I’ve got to find a time when my boys aren’t around to watch it, and right now they’re around a lot. I like that. 🙂 So I’m willing to make the sacrifice.

I agree with the concerns of the school district. The book and the show deal with a lot of teen issues like rape, slut-shaming, and suicide. The letter I received voiced the concern that the issues the show addressed might be possible triggers for some teens who are struggling with these problems themselves.

The school did a great service to bring these concerns to the attention of the parents. I was impressed the district was so in tune with what is happening among the student body. I work in the library and I know that book has been very popular.

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So the question arises, who is responsible for the message our kids receive, is it the author of the book? The producers of the show? The school district? Or the Parents? How about when the kids take this behavior to social media, who’s responsible then? My take on the whole situation is that we all are. Remember that old saying it takes a village to raise a child? This particular example is what the quote is talking about.

Our responsibility as authors is to make sure our stories are authentic and our message is a positive one. I feel, even though I haven’t read the book yet, that when Jay Asher wrote the story, he was attempting to show what could happen to a teen who was experiencing these problems. So teens who were slut-shaming or bullying would know the consequences of their actions before it was too late. It was a cautionary tale. Kudos to the author for sending such a powerful message.

There are differences between the show and the book, mainly for dramatic effect. The show is much longer than the book and the reason is because the producers wanted to make thirteen episodes to make the mini-series a two week event. Because of this, they had to make changes to the story itself. The administrators at the school were concerned the show presented suicide as a viable option to solving the issues in the story, and again, the possibility of this show as a trigger for teens experiencing some of the issues.

Suicide is never an option. We need to communicate with our kids and tell them help is available. There are professionals who can help them deal with their strong emotions and there are authority figures who can step in if they’re being shamed in any way. This is where the school took responsibility and warned the parents. Now the responsibility falls on the parents to get involved and either watch or read the book with their child and have an open dialogue with them. Could the producers of the series have done a better job of showing how Hannah could’ve gotten help? Probably. And I feel they should have. I’ve heard the show presented suicide as a viable option and like I said before, suicide is never an option.

But what happens when the teens take this behavior to social media? Who’s the authority there? Is it the school’s responsibility to make sure students behave? In my opinion, social media is out of the school’s control. The school can’t police all their students’ social media accounts.

Photo credit: Mark Kens via Visual Hunt / CC BY

How about the parents. Yeah. I agree in a perfect world, the parents are responsible for their child’s behavior, but we all know our world is far from perfect, and most kids don’t tell their parents when they’re going through something like slut-shaming. So how do we nip this behavior in the bud before it reaches that critical point?

We need the creators of these social media sites to be vigilant and look for this type of behavior among their users. They’re the only ones who can do this. And they need to take a strong stance against this behavior. Accounts should be suspended or deleted as soon as bullying appears. I know they can’t catch everyone, but they may be able to save a life.

I know some students will be up in arms about privacy issues and freedom of speech. But social media has never been private and freedom of speech doesn’t apply to bullying. We as parents need to teach our kids this behavior is never okay. We have to make sure we don’t inadvertently model this behavior in our own lives as well. So ultimately, every single one of us is responsible and it really does take a village to raise a child.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post. What are your thoughts? I’d love to read them, so leave a comment! I love hearing from you!

 

 

Posted in Health, Parenting, Teen

Heroin: It’s Not Just for the Dark Alley Anymore

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today and I’m talking about something I learned while doing some research for my story. I was shocked and dismayed to hear this and as a parent I’m sure you will be, too.

I learned that Heroin has reached epidemic proportions in our high schools. This stresses me out because I’ve got two young boys who’ll be entering high school in a few years. So naturally, I asked my source, how did this happen? (My source is very reliable and that’s all I can say about that. ;)).

 

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 When he told me prescription drugs like OxyContin and Oxycodone, I couldn’t believe it. The kids are either prescribed these pain killers for injuries or surgery, and then they get hooked, or they’re stealing them from their parents and using them to get high. When their bodies become used to these drugs, it takes a stronger dose to get the same effect. At this point, it’s easier and cheaper for the teen to get Heroin than it is to get “Oxy.”

Photo via geralt via Visual Hunt

My source tells me Heroin is so addictive and some people are so vulnerable that it only takes one use to become hooked.  Check out these real life stories of two teens who’ve become hooked on it. http://www.teenvogue.com/story/teen-heroin

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Heroin has evolved from the use of a syringe in a dark alley to a pill. That’s right, it’s in pill form called a button. This makes it easier to get, easier to use, and it’s much more powerful (purity is about ninety percent) so the high is that much better. I’ve been told it’s the most relaxing feeling in the world, all your troubles just float away. I can understand why someone would get hooked on that feeling. Especially our young people who are experiencing teen angst and all the pressures of being a teen for the first time. Historically, the average age of a heroin death was between forty and forty five.  Now, the average age is between eighteen and twenty five.

What can we do as parents to prevent this type of addiction from happening?

That’s a good question. First of all, get rid of all the leftover prescription medication you have. Don’t let it sit in the medicine cabinet and if you’re taking some medication, monitor it. Only take what you need and throw the rest away and I don’t mean in the garbage can where young hands can find it, return it to the pharmacy where you bought it and they’ll get rid of it in a manner that’s safe for people and the environment.

Photo credit: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration via Visual hunt

 

The next step is we need to impress upon our medical professionals that they need to monitor their prescriptions. They’re so busy that they overprescribe these pain killers because it’s quicker and easier. I’ve seen this in action myself. I was prescribed Lorazepam during my stint with chemo and ended up taking it when I was finished as a sleep aid.

Later, I found out you’re not supposed to take this drug for the long term, but my doctor’s nurse kept refilling the prescription. Finally, after a year, she stopped and had me start taking Melatonin to help me sleep. I stopped the Lorazepam cold turkey. This isn’t recommended either, but it scared me to think I could be addicted to a drug so I wanted to stop right away. Luckily, I just had a couple of nights where I had insomnia and then my body returned to normal. I’m telling you this story to show you how easy it is to become addicted to a medication. Especially one that has been prescribed for you.

We rely on the medical professionals to guide us in the right direction and for the most part they do, but they’re human just like us and things slip through the cracks.  We must be critical thinkers especially when it comes to our health and our children’s health. We must ask questions and get second opinions. When we’re prescribed a medication, let’s make sure we know all the side effects and exactly how long we should be taking it.

Photo via skeeze via Visualhunt.com

Maybe there should be a position in each facility to monitor the prescriptions going out the door. This might not only help the doctors and patients, but it might also create a few jobs. 🙂 How about you? Do you have a solution to this problem? Or maybe you have a story you’d like to share. If so, leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!