Monday, June 8, 2009

School Fights and You Tube

Remember the days you would hear about a fight afterschool and a crowd would gather to watch the fallout? We were only watching, no problem. That is no longer the case. in fact the school takes these voyeur's activities very seriously and investigates to determine whether or not they were instigators. The big concern is that boys and girls are being manipulated and pushed into fighting so that others can capture the fight on video and post it on You Tube. Can you believe it? To proactively try and get others to fight for your own benefit is beyond my comprehension. In many cases the two boys fighting don't really know each other and may have had one little disagreement. Often times the instigator will go to one of the boys and say "so and so wants to fight you now" and it goes back and forth until they are pressured into agreeing to fight. Start early and talk to your children while in grade school so they can anticipate these situations and find a way out. It will also help ensure that they don't get dragged into being instigators.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Teen Pregnancy

I was speaking with a local doctor who mentioned that the rates of teen pregnancy are very high in my town. So I asked Jimmy and Matts about it? Do they know anyone at highschool who is pregnant? "yeah, last year both Carrie and Courtney had babies last year. St. J's finest....." I asked who the fathers were. "I dunno know" How can you not know, this would have been major gossip when I was in school. "No one cares, Mom". Wow. No significant stigma attached to teen pregnancy. Maybe the fathers don't even know. Maybe it is easier for the girl's families to just deal with it on their own. Anyway it gave me the opportunity to talk about never leaving the responsibility of birth control in the girl's hands and consequences for those poor girls and the fathers and respective families.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

World of Warcraft and other such nonsense

TV used to be the nemesis of parents. No more- now we have computer games. I have tried to be understanding. I have done research. There is alot of research saying that in fact playing computer games is not an anti-social activity but in fact it brings kids together. They have a common talking point at school. Ok, that makes sense but I swear it is addictive!! Is there some background flashing light hypnotizing them to play more. It sure seems like it. I have made rules, homework first. That changed to homework first, play outside then computer games. That had to be changed to no computer games during the week- period. The problem is I am not always home right after school and occassionally I will go out on a weeknight. I would come home and they would be on the computer "doing schoolwork" Funny how they clicked out of a screen as I came in. I have now done what I never wanted to do. I have physicially restricted access. I have always believed that you could work with children to help lead them to make the right choices. Not in this case, I have caved and got my husband to block the IP site on weekdays. There done....

Monday, June 1, 2009

Getting a job

One of the things parents forget is how difficult it is for a child to do something new. You may be lucky and have a child that is a true go getter, lots of self confidence and initiative. But for the most part teens need alot of support. They need to be walked through the process of finding a job. Some tasks they may be able to complete with no help from you and others will require that you put your heads together. Job hunting is one of those tasks. How do they write a resume when they have never held a job before? With my youngest son, we included odd jobs he had done for neighbours, his acheivement and commitment to sport, any volunteer work. The key was writing a covering letter and describing why he would make a great employee even though he has no experience. So we did this and then I drove him door to door- bulk barn, grocery stores, retail stores, McDonalds etc. It was discouraging many places told him to come back when he was 16, but it was a great experience. That is how it is in life, don't take it personally and keep at it. His break came at McDonalds. The son of the manager knew Bobby even though the son was several years younger. This got Bobby through the door and he is now employed with McDonalds. I didn't know much about McDonalds as an employer but I can tell you I am extremely impressed. They don't expect the teens to work long shifts or even many shifts- school comes first. Very smart business model, the kids also won't get burned out and they will have experience and some pocket money. I have much more respect for McDonalds as an organization now

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Internet Bullying-Crimestoppers???

Has anyone noticed the new ads on TV re internet bullying? They are asking children to report any incidences of internet bullying to crimestoppers? I know internet bullying is a serious issue and one that as parents we need to stop- but crime stoppers? I was shocked. I think as parents we need to teach our children as soon as they start using the computer or cell phone that all of their actions can be tracked, that writing mean things to people over the internet or texting is a crime that can be punished by the police. Tell the real stories that you have heard about. I know that when my oldest son was in grade 8 a few years ago, a girl in his class was charged with internet bullying. She was a nice girl, who tended to be a leader. She did have a few incidents with manipulating and making others follow her lead- but basically she was a good kid from a nice family. Anyway the case went to court and she ended with community service. I was naive to this prior to that. I figured it was an issue that would be dealt with between parents. Now they are advertising to go straight to crimestoppers. Computer proof your preteens and teens!

Condoms in the Yard

My aunt who is a pediatrician warned me that kids are having sex at a very young age now. 11-12 yrs old. I was told not to be naive with respect to my childrens activity.
I really believe that my boys are not having sex. There are no signs, not enough contact from girls, at home alot etc. Still.... time to have the talk again and condoms would be a good idea. So I went out to Costco and bought a mega size box of condoms. My husband disappeared to his office again with the comment "are you crazy?" I sat Jimmy down (this was when he was 13) and had the talk again. I re-emphasized that he cannot trust that a girl is taking precautions ie she could forget to take a pill etc. Then there is the issue of STD's. Yada, yada.. Then I produced the mega box of condoms. "Mom are you kidding me?" No, this is serious. I don't approve of sex so early in your life. I think that you need to really consider the emotional impact it has on a teenage girl and even if they say they are ready are they really?? Or are they going to be devastated when you break up if you have had sex. Anyway, the reality is that I want to be sure that you are protected. So here are condoms so you have access and by the way the expiry date is on the box 2017- So you don't have to start using these for a longtime!! Much to my suprise he beetled off with the box, I thought he would be embarrassed and refuse. Two days later I come home from work and my yard is filled with broken condoms. Apparently they were blowing them up and trying to make water balloons. Sigh of relief he was too young....

Family Bike Ride

Great idea- lets go for a bike ride as a family. No one had plans so this should be a good idea. Apparently not, but I forced it on them. I dangled a bike ride to dairy queen, dinner etc. The 16 yr old was sulky to say the least, he dragged behind us. When I asked him to keep up, he got snarky- look at my bike, the springs and the wheels this is a mountain bike how can I keep up??? Hmm, your brother has the same bike and he is ahead of us.... Anyway we made it to a nice resort outside of town and had dinner on a deck overlooking the pond. Halfway through dinner Jimmy started warming up. The ride home was a different story, all of a sudden Jimmy's bike was performing- go figure. The testosterone kicked in and he was bumping his brother's tire, which caused some high pitched outcrys. A nice steep downhill set the mood. He got bored with stalking his brother and decided to have me face some of my fears on the bike path, a few close calls with coming to close to me, a couple of cut offs and he was back to his regular teenage self. Nothing like a nice family bike ride........