Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Trending Now

It seems the holiday season is always a time to take a look at what is cool and trendy in the life of children and parenting these days. Between fashion styles, parenting fads, healthy food, and different toys and games, children’s lives are dominated by these materialistic fads, and it is up to the parents to minimize that kind of damage and find a happy medium between keeping your children trendy and keeping your children grounded. Here are some popular trends this year, and a good way to handle this with your children.

1. Proper nutrition
This is a great one. Finally, it can be said that proper nutrition is a healthy trend. There are more children eating gluten-free diets, or focusing more heavily on fruits and vegetables than ever before. Talk to the parents of your child’s friends, and you will find a conscious effort to eat healthy and get your kids active to be the main trend in parenting this year! I am all for this trend, although I do think it is important for children to have the right kind of moderation and learn how to handle themselves around high-sugar foods in a healthy way, rather than an intemperate way. Make sure to teach your children about healthy choices, rather than making all the choices for them.

2. Star Wars
This seems to be a popular trend this year, mainly because a new movie is coming out next year and the parents of children who were mesmerized by the original films are getting ready to introduce the trilogies to their children. One thing to watch out for with this trend is that some children may not be mature enough to handle the viewing of entire set of Star Wars movies. However cheesy the original films seem these days, it is important to note that strong themes of religion, death, and politics run rampant in the Star Wars philosophy. Unless you are prepared to answer a lot of questions in these areas, be careful at what age you introduce Star Wars films. My Lucas loves the films, and I introduced all of the films at the age of 4. I have now watched “Return of the Jedi” a million times because he loves the Ewoks the most.  Oh and children love “Jar Jar Binks”…so be prepared!

3. Non-corporal punishment
For a while there it seemed like there was a push towards more traditional areas of punishment and discipline for children. Sadly, it did seem that a lot of parents were going back to the old standby of using a smack to the butt or the hands to discipline their children. I think there has been a strong backlash against this type of discipline because of the NFL players that have been accused of abuse against spouses or children this past year. Putting a spotlight on this behavior has had the effect of scaring parents into being better role models and trying to work on less scary methods of controlling and modifying children’s behavior. I hope this trend is true, but most of the media I have read has pointed towards a strong shift away in negative disciplinary methods in parenting these days.

These are just a few of the trends I have noticed…how about everyone else? Have you seen any new trends that make you excited? Nervous?



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Monday, December 15, 2014

It's holiday haircut time!!


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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Again, for the children

Thankfully, I don’t have a child that has to watch the news for school, like staying current with politics and news for social studies classes at the junior high level. My child is only 5, and doesn’t see or hear any kind of news, and yes, this is my choice. I let him know when there are elections, but why would any five-year old care about anything beyond a major national event (like holidays)?

In the end, I am saddened by the thought of having to raise my child in an environment that is going to include news like we’ve had in the last week. I do not care about looking at any arguments through the lens of politics, but I do see the arguments against the basic inhumanity with which we treat each other very clearly. For starters, this situation in Missouri, at least to me, is not about race, but more about police training. I remember, as a kid, having “Officer Friendly” visit my grade school on an annual basis and teach us about being a good citizen and obeying the law. We all had respect for this profession, and the police respected the neighborhood and its people. Where are has that level of respect and professionalism gone?

And again, just a few days after Missouri turns into such a political fiasco for all involved, we have another egregious human rights violation go unpunished. For me, again, the issue had less to do with race and the initial act of trying to establish a sense of order, and more to do with an angry person not trained properly in how to make situations more peaceful.

If I had to raise a pre-teen or teenager right now, and they asked me what is going on in the country, I would give two answers. One, the media exaggerates and most police officers are awesome people there to help us all coexist in law-abiding ways. Two, any life that is lost for no reason whatsoever or because one person has an ego-power-trip going on, this is an immense tragedy. I hope my son can eventually live a life in this way.

It is just and right to live a law-abiding life and do right for your fellow citizens. Keep yourself above the criminals and never resort to selfish, cruel behavior to have any gains in life. At the same time, respect law enforcement officers, because for the most part, most of them are good, honest workers trying to live a good life for themselves and their families.


To those people as depressed as me about the situation in our country, don’t give up hope. The greatness of America can still be taught in our schools as long we remember that it comes from our Constitution and our ongoing dedication to personal freedom. Don’t be sad that our kids are growing up in a less safe country, just remember that you have the chance to make your child emotionally intelligent and empathic…please do it soon!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

X marks the spot!


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Friday, December 5, 2014

Thinking about the holiday season…

So, the holidays are in full swing, and for the 10th year in a row, I am noticing a severe lack of energy in people’s celebrating. Are we running short on holiday spirit? Are there too many different activities at the end of the year, making it difficult to get in the spirit? Is money too tight for everyone, making the holidays more stressful?

I think the answer is that there are a lot of reasons, and some of these are correct. People, for the most part, have less money than in years past, and are being wiser with their expenditures. Another reason I see is that people are really turning a corner on the whole “capitalist Christmas” thing.

What I mean by that is the whole story of Santa, and gift giving, makes less and less logical sense to perpetuate. It seems that the religious aspect of the holiday season remains important to most people, but the whole gift-giving, buying season is getting on people’s nerves. Having worked in retail and experienced over 10 years of angry shoppers, I can honestly say that most people are being far smarter about their purchases and trying hard to teach their children that this is a season of giving, not gifting.

The other thing that is bothering me a little bit is the lack of decorations I am seeing out. More and more people are waiting longer to put out decorations, or are not bothering at all, and that does make me sad. I can remember as a child driving through the suburbs of Chicago looking at everyone’s holiday lighting displays and being in awe and wonder. Now, you drive through the same neighborhoods and see one out of every 10 homes decorated. It’s just not the same.

We have to look at what kind of legacy we are leaving our children if we don’t value this time of year as much as we used to. Most parents move heaven and earth to keep their children believing in goodness, warmth, compassion, and giving during the holiday season, but there has been a noticeable lack of passion and energy behind these projects as the population ages and a new generation grows into the holidays.


Sadly, this new generation seems very Grinch-like and gift hungry…or is it just me?

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