21 posts categorized "Teenagehood"

A day without women: teens included?

March 07, 2017

My girl, a junior in high school, has been talking to us about how she can participate in tomorrow's events for International Women's Day.  Should I stay home from school?  Can I write senators?  Should I volunteer at the local Planned Parenthood?  Could I take a hike?

...... * screeeech!* .....

"Take a hike"?  Yes, this was one of the proposed activities she offered up as an act of resistance for tomorrow.  I'm not sure what the impetus is around this hike, for she surely refuses my many invitations to take a hike on any other day.  

I support our girl taking a stand, using her voice, engaging in acts of resistance.  To be sure, I was brought to tears when texted me, two days post-election 2016, when she and her peers walked out of their school, joining many other high schoolers around protesting.  Our words to her on that day: use your voice, follow the instructions, please don't destroy property.  Also: "we are proud of you."

Sometimes I wonder: are these teenagers rising up to make a statment or are they joining forces to hang out for the day?  Does that matter?  Should it matter?  Should we audit the activities of the day, if they are staying home from school tomorrow, and expect only to see acts of resistance?  Should we stand by and also watch them hang out, goof off on snapchat, or take a hike?

So: are your teens thinking of participating tomorrow?  In what way? 

Does your family dine together? How often?

September 16, 2013

It's dinnertime!  We are a few weeks into the new school year, and the schedules are getting a bit hectic.  What I realize: we only have one evening during the Monday-to-Friday stretch when we can all sit down and have dinner as a family, a calm time when we can catch up over our days, check in on school, friends, new developments.  Only one evening?  I feel it is not enough.

It's said that sitting down to a family dinner eases family stress, makes for happier children, even results in teens who are less likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs.

I believe it.  I want to have it.  How many evenings during the week do you manage to sit down to a dinner with the kids?

Mama & Me: staying relevant in my Tween's life

September 25, 2012

My daughter & her girlfriends were hanging out (at this age, they don't "play".  they "hang out".) upstairs when they rowdily came downstairs to the kitchen, where I was in the midst of a little craftiness (which came in a surprising spurt last weekend).  I was making shortbread cookies, frosting them with orange and decorating into basketballs, for my son's birthday celebration.

The girlfriends squealed: "See?  Your mom *is* cool!"  

I felt smug.  I felt affirmed.  I felt welcomed.

It was almost like I myself was back in middle school, wanting somehow to fit in, wanting to be wanted.  Wanting to fit in with my daughter and her friends, wanting to be wanted by my daughter and her friends.

I feel like my tweenagehood and teenagehood was so recent.  I remember it vividly.  I remember feeling increasingly estranged from my mom, from my parents.  I remember feeling the angst and wallowing in it, feeling lonely with only one or two people I would really regard as confidantes.  

This is new territory for me, parenting a tween daughter.  Have you been through it?  Do you remember feeling like you wanted to be wanted, feeling encouraged when labeled "cool" by her friends?

Helmet Usage & Kids: would you play cop to a stranger's child?

September 11, 2012

Riding in town yesterday, I noticed a pair of youth riding up ahead in the bike lane.  There was a boy, younger, maybe under age 10, based on his size and the size of his bike.  He wore his helmet and pedaled pretty hard to keep up with his companion.

The other child was probably in middle school, based on the size of her bike.  Maybe they were siblings?  Maybe she was tasked with picking him up after school and riding home with him?  I don't know.  I was heading someplace and didn't stop to converse.

As I approached, I noticed that the elder child, certainly not older than 16 years old, had a shiny Nutcase in her front basket as she pedaled along in the bike lane.  I was surprised, and I was sad.

While there is no federal law that requires children to wear helmets on bikes (or scooters, skateboards or inline skates), 22 states and hundreds of localities have laws and ordinances mostly requiring all children under the age of 16 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle or even as a passenger on a bicycle.

This info from the University of Michigan says that:

  • wearing a helmet while riding a bike reduces risk of death by over 50 percent
  • every 3 days, a child is killed in the US while riding a bike
  • about half of children riding a bike where no helmet laws exist never wear a helmet
  • helmet usage would prevent 40,000 head injuries and 50,000 scalp injuries in children, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Much of children's helmet usage might have to do with observing their own parents.  Some of these parents cannot afford a helmet (one of every two children of polled families earning less than $30,000 never wear a helmet).  Even though 78% of polled parents ride a bike, 27% of them never wear helmets.

Beyond parents, there is also the fashion statement.  My own daughter said that three of her friends, all of whom ride their bikes to school every day, asked their parents to drive them to school on picture day, to avoid "helmet hair".  As children get older, like this middle school-aged girl I saw pedaling ahead of me, they might become more and more conscious about wearing a helmet.  They aren't cool and they don't make for the best 'dos.

As I came closer, I said, "What about your helmet?"  I slowed a little bit to see what reaction I would get.  She looked sheepish as she pulled over and stopped.  I think she might have put her helmet on, but I couldn't stop to see.  

Maybe I shouldn't have said anything.  Or, maybe, since I did decide to do something, I should have pulled over and given the whole story on why helmet usage is important.  Like wearing our seatbelts, it's a no-brainer: it saves lives.  I don't know.  What would you have done?  Pedaled on? Stopped to chat?  Do you see youth, especially teens and pre-teens, not wearing helmets while they bike?

Seeking 'tween/teen female cyclist to share her story

April 24, 2012

PhillyIt's no secret that the mamas behind this site love biking. We bike for utility and health, and most recently, we (maybe one of us) bike for competition (Shetha is our resident cyclocross enthusiast). So it was a no brainer for us to pair up with a number of local groups who support women riders - Women on Bikes, Women on Wheels, Portland Society, Sorella Forte, and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance - to help bring the first CycloFemme Ride to Portland on May 13th (Mother's Day!) in conjunction with Sunday Parkways. Meet at 11 am at Woodlawn Park and join on us for a short bike parade. At the end, listen to a handful of women from different generations and backgrounds talk about their biking experience. While you've heard enough from us rant and rave about our biking experiences, we want to hear from a 'tween/teen-aged girl cyclist share her story at the ride. Do you have a daughter, or know of someone with a compelling story to share? Email us at urbanmamas@gmail.com.

This ride is intended to "HONOR THE PAST and the emancipation of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, for the freedom to choose and the chance to wear pants. CELEBRATE THE PRESENT and the riders who keep it rolling, bringing women's racing to the forefront, pushing the limits, breaking down barriers and sharing the love of the bike with everyone along the way. EMPOWER THE FUTURE of women in cycling and the opportunity for positive social change. Teach women to ride and they will change the world!" We hope to see you there.

What do they want? A mantra for parenting and my own fool self

March 26, 2012

I spent yesterday immersed in all the loneliness and fervent belief and highly embarrassing prayers of my high school years. I had a screening for Mortified PDX -- Mortified, in case you've never heard of it, is a series of live readings of poetry, journals and other horrifying writing from one's own teen years -- and I'd spent a half-hour with the producers talking about what, exactly, I wanted as a teen? All afternoon, I sat in the basement and, later, at my dining room table, poring over journals and papers (with perforated edges thanks to our old dot-matrix printer!) and binders full of my deep thoughts and doodlings.

What did I want? I actually had an answer when they asked me at the beginning: I wanted to be popular. See, I knew I seemed popular from the outside -- I was a cheerleader, I ended up as student body president, I was involved in nearly every school organization to some capacity, I was even voted 'Most Likely to Succeed' -- but I didn't get invited to parties and I rarely had much in the way of boyfriends. I had lots of crushes and crushees and dates to the prom two years running -- but it wasn't ever because of my yearbook-worthy couplehood.

Now, I have what I want, even speaking strictly within my high school peer group (and I'm married to one of the guys I crushed on in high school); after our 20th reunion I had lots of old friends come up to me and say how much my soul-baring on my blog, on Facebook, and/or here had resonated with them; I'd become popular by, paradoxically, telling all the embarrassing, true-self-opening stuff I kept to myself in high school. Weird, but true. I'll just go ahead and quote myself from October 23, 1987, 7:51 p.m.: "There is an abundance of things that boggle my mind, including mostly eternity and the universe."

Which brings me to parenting.

Continue reading "What do they want? A mantra for parenting and my own fool self" »

More about relationships with teens: Sleepovers?

January 29, 2012

I clicked on the link to a post about whether or not you should let your teen child's boyfriend or girlfriend sleep over expecting a point of view that was very much permissive agnostic (think: the parents caricatured by the media when most of us were teens) vs. strict values-based (think: Rick Santorum). But what I got was a very reasonable post I couldn't agree with more -- basically, that sexual activity is not caused or curtailed by letting two young people of the opposite sex in a room together. And we should spend a heck of a lot more time on our relationship with our child than on putting our foot down over proprieties handed down from our parents and their parents before them. (Peggy Sue Got Married was very much top-of-mind as I read.)

I think a point of view that wasn't very much present in conversations of 20 years ago was this one: well, what about the same-gender teens? Why can they sleep over? They could be having sex, too! And while it certainly doesn't have me rubbing my hands together planning how I'll cook breakfast together with my boys' girlfriends in seven or eight or 10 years, it does have me rethinking previously-held views about such things.

For now, I'd love to hear your thoughts on something that came up in the comments on that post: the time-honored "no closing your door," or, depending on the house design, "no going into the bedroom together" with a member of the opposite sex. In general, commenters agreed that it made for bad situations; those who were having sex were doing so in cars or other semi-public places, those who weren't still didn't feel welcome to hang out in a house with "surveillance." Is this a rule you've considered imposing on your children once they hit a certain age? Or is it already in place? I've made a sort of rule like this about a neighbor kid who comes over sometimes -- I need him where I can see him. It all comes down to trust, and I trust my oldest to tell me the truth about what's going on; I don't trust the neighbor kid (a certain experience with certain Google searches performed on my computer when I was washing the dishes...).

As Rebecca said when she posted the link, the part of the relationship you develop long before sex is an issue is what will, hopefully, be a much better deterrent from bad choices made behind closed doors or up on Mt. Tabor after the sun goes down on a hot August night (not that I'd know where a good spot might be) (no way not me). And that's more of this kind of thing. I hope, anyway!

About arguments (this time, we're doing good!)

January 17, 2012

I know my oldest has years to go before he hits the teen years, but I've felt for a while now that his behavioral struggles give me a window into who he will be as a teen -- he's got all the talking-back chops and punky authority questioning that any self-respecting teen boy would. Lucky me: I get to practice conversing with a teenager years before my time!

Sometimes I agonize over this (mostly when someone else is overhearing me and Everett in a tense debate over privileges and responsibilities, speckled tightly with the occasional bit of bad language). But thanks to some new research from the University of Virginia, I could just go ahead and embrace it. These debates with me now and in his teens will help him resist peer pressure among his friends and stand up to problems on the job. In other words, our arguments are lessons. According to NPR:

"[In the] study, 157 13-year-olds were videotaped describing their biggest disagreement with their parents. The most common arguments were over grades, chores, money and friends. The tape was then played for both parent and teen...

"[The researcher, Joseph P.] Allen interviewed the teens again at ages 15 and 16. "The teens who learned to be calm and confident and persuasive with their parents acted the same way when they were with their peers," he says. They were able to confidently disagree, saying 'no' when offered alcohol or drugs. In fact, they were 40 percent more likely to say 'no' than kids who didn't argue with their parents.

"For other kids, it was an entirely different story. "They would back down right away," says Allen, saying they felt it pointless to argue with their parents. This kind of passivity was taken directly into peer groups, where these teens were more likely to acquiesce when offered drugs or alcohol."

How you argue is important. If you "reward" children who develop a persuasive argument, bargaining thoughtfully instead of using begging, whining, threats or insults, you will teach them how to not just get along with other teens (and to stay clear of dangerous problems like drugs and binge drinking), but how to successfully manage relationships as an adult -- even and eventually, marriage.

I was, for once, proud of my parenting skills -- something I tell the boys every (sometimes many times a) day is to use their problem solving abilities to come up with a solution that doesn't involve physical aggression or anger. Now, this doesn't work very well between the boys many days, but I often see the persuasive kid show up for a really great and -- often -- even courteous! -- debate with me or another adult. And that's something to be proud of.

Teens smoking pot in the park

January 11, 2012

On an afternoon run through a park, I passed a cluster of teens, all of them happened to be female.  They were standing in a circle, maybe 5 or 6 of them.  Maybe more?  There were puffs of smoke rising from the center of the circle.  From a distance, it seemed that they were hanging out smoking cigarettes.  And, recalling my own teen years, I thought: "who doesn't hang out with a gaggle of friends and smoke at that age?"

As I came closer, I realized that they were actually passing a small pipe.  And, I realized that they weren't smoking cigarettes, they were smoking marjuiana.  I ran past them, not stopping.  I thought to myself, though: "should I stop?"  If I did, what would I do?  What would I say?  What would you do?

Teen Access to Birth Control: Have Attitudes Changed?

October 26, 2011

I remember the debate, when I was a teenager, over birth control access in Portland schools. On one hand, it's positive to prevent teen pregnancy and (in the case of barrier methods) sexually transmitted diseases. On the other hand, providing birth control in schools is a tacit encouragement of sexual activity! (A worry that research suggests is unwarranted -- studies show no increase in promiscuity among teens who have condom access and education in school.) And schools aren't in the business of parenting!

When I was a teen, as the product of a very religious family, I felt only slightly different about this than I do now. I had no need of such things -- I wasn't sexually active myself. But I recognized that my classmates were, and didn't really think that it had anything to do with whether or not they could get condoms from the health center. I was in favor of birth control, though concerned about the parenting thing. Should schools be in the role of offering such advice? My opinion was, no.

Monday's Think Out Loud discussion about birth control access in Canby shows me that, despite two decades of research and supposedly loosening social norms, the debate hasn't changed a bit. Same story, different millennium. I'm a parent now, though, and I have to say that my beliefs have changed just slightly; now I believe that putting birth control in schools has nothing to do with parenting; parenting happens at home. Parenting is the stuff that should already have affected students attitudes toward sexual behavior before they get to the point of asking for birth control. I got parented in a way that kept me chaste through high school, but at no time in the process would I have gone to my parents to request access to birth control. I did not want to talk to them about sex (still don't, honestly). The more available birth control is? The more likely teens are to use it. I don't believe it has anything to do with encouraging the activity, tacitly or overtly.

Now that you're a parent, what do you think? Have your attitudes changed?

Phone & Skype: Manners & Etiquette

September 22, 2011

Having family scattered throughout the country and even abroad, we - as a family - have started to video-chat pretty regularly.  Having moved far from her, my eldest has also started chatting on the phone with her bestest friends, also pretty regularly.

Frequently, I will overhear the kid(s) in the other room, chatting with a friend or with family via Skype in the other room, then I will hear my daughter say, "oh wait a minute, my brother needs something," and she will then proceed to go, pick up her toddler brother, tend to his needs.  Under non-Skype circumstances, she would have had no problem letting her brother fuss or go on unattended, unnoticed for any number of minutes.  On Skype, though, the dynamic is different.

Same goes for the phone.  I will hear her sharing news about her first week of school, then: "Stop it!" and "Wait, I need to get something from my sister."

The examples are really endless.  If I were on the other end of the phone/screen, I might be mighty irritated at the lack of focus, all the distraction.  Can't we just have a conversation?  To be sure, there are a confluence of factors here.  First, the other family members not actively participating on the call are likely to be a bit more intrusive during this time, when the other is obviously occupied.  I'm not sure why that is, it just is.  Second, the one participating on the call might want to share every, single bit of detail of our lives in this household.  Perhaps that is the intent in engaging in other activities whilst on a call.

Talking on the phone (and, now on Skype) is another vehicle for our communication, for social interaction.  There must be some "etiquette", some expectations, some code of conduct that tells the person on the other side: "yes, you are important; yes, I do want to talk to you; and yes, I do want to give you undivided attention."

Perhaps, too, it speaks to our society at large and our shorter and shorter attention spans.  That macroscopic question aside, what I'd really love to hear is how your kids are on the phone or video calls.  Are they engaged, receptive, attentive?  Or, are they distracted and easily distractable, even annoyingly so?

Our Food, Our Bodies: Supporting our Teen Girls

September 07, 2011

When my first two children were born girls, I often wondered how they would feel about their bodies and their food when they were older, in the teen and pre-teen years, when we can be so susceptible and vulnerable to all sorts of pressures.  I kept those thoughts in the back of my head; I had a long time before we would think about those issues.

Well, the time is now.  My eldest turns 11 in a few weeks.  I have recently noticed a huge surge in her eating, and her sweet tooth has gotten sweeter.  Her junk food magnet has gotten stronger. And, her appetite has gotten bigger, much bigger.

When Sarah posted recently about school lunches, Sheryl mentioned some thoughts about her 14-year old high-schooler:

Something I worry about is the whole peer pressure/body image/I don't know what to call it that goes on with girls in her age group. My lean, athlete of a girl has always eaten big, hearty, (mostly) healthy meals, with meats and veg and fruit and grains and dairy. Just recently I noticed she checks herself and eats much less when she's with her peers, and tends to shy away from higher calorie and/or fat foods. 

Indeed, I have started to notice that my big girl packs piddly lunches and comes home with a lot of it uneaten.  She goes on to state how "HONGRY" she is once home and will eat lots.  LOTS!  Often, she's so "hongry" that she'll devour food in mass quantity, almost eating like an animal.  If she's so hungry, what is it that keeps her from eating more at school?  Does she have too little time now in middle school to eat?  Is her food too complicated to eat (too much utensil food)?  Or, is it embarrassing to eat?  Is it better to just hang out?

I rode my own roller coaster with food.  Always an athlete, my appetite was always huge.  I recall being able to eat a whole pizza by myself when I was ramping up on calories in my early growth spurt.  But, I hit a point where body image started to play a part, wanting to always stay svelte.  I recall being able to eat a whole cake.  I also recall being able to then regurgitate it all out into the toilet.  That was a dark, confusing time.

Never wanting to support an unhealthy approach to food, we have spent the past decade encouraging our girl to eat a variety of healthy foods.  We have offered treats on a regular, but not daily, basis.  We have learned about ingredients in our foods.  We have sat down for mealtimes, where we all eat a balanced plate.  We try not to pressure.

What is your approach to food with your girls?  How do you discuss it at home?  Books to suggest for girls in the 10-20 year old range that might offer them support and guidance when it comes to food and body?

Kids & Counseling: when does it make sense?

October 07, 2010

I was chit-chatting with a friend earlier, and she talked about her 13-yo son and his biweekly counseling sessions.  He has ADD, which accompanies a host of other emotional issues for him including anxiety and depression.  The counseling sessions really work for him.  

We got to talking about my biggest girl and her emotional swings of late, surely a thing of growing up.  Then my friend suggested: "Why not have her see somebody"  I said, "Like a therapist?"  My friend thinks that having someone, a third-party, to have as a sounding board, is a good thing for a youth in their pre-tween to teenage years.  But, I thought, aren't her friends supposed to be that "someone to talk to"?  What about other close friends who are adults?  And, even, how about me, her mother?

There are situations when a therapist makes sense for our children, but - after my friend's suggestion - I am wondering, when *does* it make sense?  Has your child gone to counseling or to a therapist?  For what goals?  And, do you have some suggestions in the Portland-area?

'Get calm, first': How to deal with teens, and the rest of 'em, too

August 16, 2010

The story on NPR this morning about the biology of teenage misbehavior led with something like an excuse for the kids -- it's the hormone's fault, and not just that even -- but the scenario laid out as an introduction felt very familiar. Sure, it was about hair spray and a new couch, nothing I'll probably have to deal with exactly (no girls here, for one). How should the mom deal with what was, it seemed, an escalation of conclusions jumped-to? "Get calm, first," said psychologist Laura Kastner. I'd missed it while listening to her piece, but that's the title of her book: Getting to Calm: Cool-headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens and Teens.

Is an eight-year-old a tween? How about a three-year-old? Because these are the strategies I use (and often kick myself for having forgotten to use) with my kids. Kastner says the arguments between parents and older children often resolve to "emotional flooding"; in other words, rational thought is frozen while we go black-and-white. I'm good. You're bad. In the example argument, both mother and daughter are explaining why they hold the position they do; daughter describing her rationale for hairspray on the couch, mom wondering why she didn't remember the "simple" instructions; both seeing their own position as inherently well-intentioned and, well, correct. When we attribute the best of intentions to our own actions, we're often, subconsciously, attributing the worst to those who act in conflict. Emotional flood ensues.

What to do? Remember: when we ask "what were they thinking?", answer with "nothing."

Continue reading "'Get calm, first': How to deal with teens, and the rest of 'em, too" »

Getting a teenager to recycle

February 24, 2008

Undoubtedly, it is difficult to get a teenager to do anything, recycling included.  Hear Shannon's plight:

I have a question regarding teens and recycling. My 17yo stepdaughter throws everything away.  when I catch her, I make her separate her garbage from recyclables.  Sometimes I try to go through it, but she's thrown something gross in there and it's "contaminated."  When I try talking to her about it, she blows me off and says not everyone recycles, what does it matter?  I show her how I take up to two paper sacks a week of recyclable plastic to the recycling center that won't go in our bin (hard plastic packaging for toys and electronics, the plastic measuring scoops in formula, film canisters, etc).  I'm lucky in that the recycling center is a mile from my house and on the way to practically everywhere. 

She hasn't always lived with us, so she wasn't "brought up" that way.  She takes everything for granted. Throwing away a notebook that still has good, usable paper in it because she's finished with it, eating half her dinner and throwing it away because she doesn't like leftovers (not even giving it to the dog), letting her grandmother buy her something and throws it away when she determines she really doesn't like it.

Here in Portland, many households are trying to do their part - recycle whatever we can.  How do you get your kids involved in recycling?  Are they aware of the effort?  Are they a part of the process?  How do you get children (teenagers, in this case) to understand the concept of wastefulness, to curb needless dumping, to encourage reducing, reusing, and recycling?

Let's talk about sex... with the kids???

January 11, 2008

Do you remember the very first time you learned about sex?  Do you remember learning about the body and its sexual parts?  How old were you?  How do you think you'll approach it with your kids?  Will you approach it differently depending on their age?  Holly emailed the other day:

I recently read your post “Let’s talk about sex” and loved all the information and honesty.  I then realized I had a great opportunity to ask other parents about how and at what age they spoke to their children about sex.  We have a 5.5 year old daughter and a 2.5 year old son.  I have been given mixed information about when and what to tell them.  Does anyone have any advice?

Support Group for Tween/Teen Parents

December 18, 2007

Several times, I have thought to myself, "My daughter is seven going on thirteen."  Her responses to me, her verbal chills, her extra-occular movement, her recounting how in Ramona's World the big sister babysat to earn money to have her ears pierced without telling her parents... it's all too much.  It feels like it's happened too fast, too soon.  Alas, this is life, and I can still distinctly recall going through very similar scenarios with my own mother.  It was just yesterday.  While I am sure we can still employ beloved techniques of Love and Logic to get through those tough moments, I know we will need all the support we can get.

How timely was Rebecca's email as I had all these thoughts on the brain:

I wanted to let you know I have just started a new meetup group for moms with big kids (about ages 10 and up) with a focus on NVC/compassionate communication, positive parenting discipline, attachment parenting etc.  I am just learning about these parenting styles/philosophies, and would love to recruit some new members -- especially those who are more skilled or experienced and interested in imparting some of their knowledge to others. The group website is located here http://momsofteens.meetup.com/22 and I would really appreciate your help getting the word out.

Have other mamas & papas gone worked through these issues yet?  Can you offer your best technique on dealing with the challenges of our maturing youth?

Your child and mature media

November 05, 2007

As our children get older and older, we start to wonder whether certain topics or scenes are appropriate for their ability to understand.  Do you censor the media that your child is exposed to?  Are you inclined to let your child self-censor?  Emily recently emailed her question, wondering if she and her spouse were the "squarest parents ever":

Our almost eight year old son thinks we are the squarest parents ever. Maybe we are, but we feel pretty strongly about limiting television, not owning any sort of video game system, and carefully screening movies for appropriateness, etc. I do feel somewhat hypocritical, however, as both my husband and myself were not raised by such picky parents. My husband has his old comic book collection in the basement, and is knows minute details of most science fiction and martial arts movies. WE both saw Star Wars when it came out in 1977, and WE were only 8 and 9 years old. We have planned on letting our son watch SW when he turns 8 in a couple of months, but he seems to be the last kid on the planet that hasn't seen it. Many kids in his class have seen ALL the Star Wars movies. And all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Transformers, all the Spiderman movies, Fantastic Four, and other mostly PG 13 movies. I don't get it, these are seven year old children. And younger. Many of these kids (including younger cousins) even have several different game systems and play fighting games that are rated for teens. II often refer to http://www.kids-in-mind.com/ to check out the scenes that might be violent or too mature and am curious about whether other parents do the same. We have bent on a few things: we'll allow supervised computer games on my laptop-even on controversial websites (to us, anyway) like bionicles.com lego.com, or even some cartoonnetwork.com games. We let him watch Saturday cartoons till nine-thirty or so. He's allowed to read some comic books.

My son really thinks he's ready to see more mature films, but I know he is not. We recently watched Black Beauty together and he covered his eyes and cried when one of the human characters got stabbed. He would probably react the same to the violent imagery in PG-13 movies, and once those images are in his head they are not going anywhere. But he's feeling left out and too sheltered, and maybe he his.  Are we surrounded by inattentive parents, or are we too paranoid?  Anyone else in a similar situation?

What Website to use for Pictures??

July 03, 2007

All of must have byte upon byte of photos of our darlingest little bon-bons.  We have memorialized everything from the first bath to the day she lost her first tooth.  What to do with all of these pictures?  How to best share them with family and friends across lands and oceans?  Something like an urbanMamas flickr pool?  Sarah emails:

I have just under 15 bazillion pictures of my 1 1/2-year-old daughter trapped on my computer and on memory cards. I would like her to actually SEE some of these pictures one day but just can't seem to get myself down to the drug store, with toddler in tow, to scroll through all of them on a touch screen and print them out while someone taps their foot impatiently behind me. Plus, I've been disappointed with the quality at those do-it-yourself photo kiosks.

I am ready to enter the world of online photo uploading and processing but don't know where to start.  SnapfishShutterfly? I have no idea.  Are they all about the same? Are there some Web sites that have definite advantages or disadvantages?  Where have other mamas been particularly happy with photo quality, security concerns, and price? Or is there a local digital photo processing place that is even better? More organized mamas, please show me the way...

Internet Safety

January 25, 2007

It feels like one of the hottest news topics are uncovering online predators who victimize youth who are naive in their use of the internet. Web-use is a reality, for all of us, and it will also probably be a reality for our children. Does anyone have any experience with parental controls on the internet? Any guidelines for internet use for the younger ones? Murphy writes:

Hello! I have my little sister living with me, she's 9 yrs old (soon to be 10). Of course she is very interested in using the internet to chat with her friends. I'm ok with emailing, not a big fan of the chats. We wanted to know if anyone loves or hates the different parental software out there. The computer is in the family room and we have the computer password protected so you can't even log in. We know that won't work forever. I would love any help in the world of internet safety software.

Just In: Mama Books

October 18, 2006

We got a couple of books in that we'd love to share with other urbanMamas. We only have one copy of each, so we'll try to keep 'em circulating. Has anyone read either of these two titles?

The Complete Organic Pregnancy: What you need to know -- from the nail polish you wear to the bed you sleep in to the water you drink. I flipped through the book and I'm pretty impressed. There are helpful tips, some real facts, and some stories straight from mama's who have been-there-done-that. Tips on food, wellness, home/work environment, and even beauty, fitness and play. I think I could use this read even though my two pregnancies are far behind me.

Cycle Savvy, the smart teen's guide to mysteries of her body. Graphics, charts, quizzes, and diagrams? For SURE I could have used this before being surprised with my monthly friend for the first time. Do you have a daughter approaching this phase of womanhood? Sarah?

Either one sound interesting? Drop us an email at urbanmamas@gmail.com to borrow a copy. Be sure to let us know what you think!