Book for Concerned Parents: So Sexy So Soon

Posted on August 8, 2008 at 9:16 am

The authors of the book “So Sexy So Soon,” Diane Levin and Jean Kilbourne, say that children are constantly bombarded by the media and advertisers with images and portrayals of hyper-sexuality.

Thong panties, padded bras, and risqué Halloween costumes for young girls. T-shirts that boast “Chick Magnet” for toddler boys. Sexy content on almost every television channel, as well as in books, movies, video games, and even cartoons. Hot young female pop stars wearing provocative clothing and dancing suggestively while singing songs with sexual and sometimes violent lyrics. These products are marketed aggressively to our children; these stars are held up for our young daughters to emulate-and for our sons to see as objects of desire.

In the book, the authors provide practical suggestions about the ways that parents can provide context and expand their children’s understanding and imagination to help them make sense of the avalanche of messages equating sexuality (and only sexuality) with happiness and power — that that buying products is the way to achieve that. This interview describes the way children respond to the media’s messages and some of the content of the book.

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Interview: Christine Frisbee on Healthy Siblings of Disabled Kids

Posted on July 30, 2008 at 8:00 am

The healthy siblings of disabled or sick children are often “the forgotten ones” as understandably pre-occupied parents devote their attention to the child whose needs seem most pressing. Author Christine Frisbee lets these siblings tell their own stories in Day By Day, Children tell their journeys of faith and determination living with a sick sister or brother. The book shows how siblings of seriously ill or challenged children can learn to embrace the challenges of their exceptional situation, ultimately allowing them to transform into strong, spiritual, and caring people and gives parents some resources for making sure that these children do not feel neglected or guilty. I interviewed Ms. Frisbee via email.

What can parents do to make the sibling who is not disabled feel that he or she deserves time and attention?

Although it is easy to think that everyone in the family is adjusted to having a sick child in the family, often the siblings are quietly coping. The reason they are quiet is because they do not want to make the issues worse or make their parents feel more overwhelmed than they sometimes can.

Therefore the best thing to do is to talk about the sibling’s feelings and make sure that they know you, as a parent, have their best interests at stake too. Spend separate time with the children who are not disabled and tell them you appreciate their patience and help every day. Explain that just because you need to give so much attention to the disabled child does not mean that you care about them any less, but that you admire and respect their help and love.

Is “Survivor Guilt” a problem?

It is a fact that survivor guilt is a big problem in families. Children are very happy that they are not the one to have the disability or serious illness, but with that said, they also feel very guilty that they are the one who continues with a more normal life. Neither child understands why illness came to one of them and not the other.

Do the siblings sometimes act out to get more attention? Do they wish they were sick or disabled?

It is extremely common for siblings to act out when they have a sick sister or brother. They sometimes do not realize how much they are misbehaving. Often they know they are acting out and continue because they are angry about the misbalance of attention within the family. When they see their sick sibling getting more attention they wonder if it is worth it to have something happen to them so they get more attention, compassion and gifts from friends and relatives who want the sick child to feel better.

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Books Interview Movie Mom’s Top Picks for Families

Corduroy…and More Stories About Caring

Posted on July 28, 2008 at 5:19 pm

A
Lowest Recommended Age: Preschool
MPAA Rating: NR
Profanity: None
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Mild tension
Diversity Issues: None
Date Released to DVD: July 29, 2008
Amazon.com ASIN: B0018O3P2C
corduroy.jpg

My very favorite DVD series for kids is saluting the 40th anniversary of the classic book Corduroy with a beautiful new DVD version. It is the story of a toy bear who goes off in search of his missing button and finds a caring friend. Has there ever been a better last line in a book?

This DVD also includes some of the series very best, Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel and the one that really made my children laugh, Smile for Auntie. This is a gem.

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Interview with Robert Gotlin about Raising Fit Kids

Posted on July 24, 2008 at 8:00 am

Do kids today get less exercise than their parents did? Why?

If I told you kids are playing more sports than their parents did yet they are in worse shape and exercising less, you may look at me as if I have two heads. The truth is, kids are participating in more sport-hours than their parents did, however, the majority of the time spent, playing “team” sports, and is anything but a true “exercise workout.” Just see for yourself. Go and watch a Little league baseball practice…a lot of “standing around” out there. When our parents had free time, it wasn’t standing around and watching on a Little League practice field, rather, it was a trip to the park for a day of playing ALL sports with their friends, and there was not a coach anywhere to be found. The day was all about constant motion.

What are the biggest impediments kids and parents face that make it harder to adopt a healthy lifestyle?

Kids are faced with too many options. There’s the recreational basketball program, then there’s the CYO league, the travel program, the AAU. There are time management issues where everyday can be filled with another team practice, school work suffers, overuse injuries occur, and let’s not forget pressure from mom and/or dad, reminding everyone in an ear’s distance that “their” little six year old indeed is the next Derek Jeter. The pressures facing these young athletes can be overwhelming.

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And couple this with many families who nowadays, have two working parents…possibly one parent with two or three different jobs. The family “together-time’ suffers. And when family time suffers, so does the healthy lifestyle concept suffer.

Should all kids play some kind of sport? What are the factors to consider in selecting the right sport for a child?

Every child need NOT play a sport. Every child needs to be physically active and every child needs to be placed in a situation where he/she can succeed. “Success breeds confidence and confidence breeds success.” When a child engages in an activity he/she cannot succeed in, the simple solution is to move on and try something else. Many sports or physical activities offer different benefits, whether it is the martial arts for the hyperactive child or football for the overweight child. And for the child who simply is not an athlete, the “back to the future” mentality works best; a family walk, a game of tag, or simply a day in the park will do fine. One of the key points to consider is whether your child fits best into the TEAM or INDIVIDUAL sport model. This decision needs to be an “unbiased” one and not driven by mom or dad’s own preference.

Girls Swimming.jpg

What do parents need to know to make their communications with coaches and PE teachers most effective?

Communication, communication, communication…I can’t emphasize this enough. Parents should be proactive in assuring the environment for their child is safe and secure. Parents, on the other hand, should not attend a child’s basketball practice to offer their on the court expert opinion. That’s why there is a coach.

The more experienced and more qualified coaches will deliver an outline of their coaching philosophies, expectations, and demands early in the process. This affords the opportunity for Q&A and can eliminate conflict down the road. Offering constructive advice almost always assures mom or dad a seat near the bench. This may be accomplished by organizing a team fund raiser, offering to assist with transportation, or merely letting the coach know you are available if he/she should require assistance with any operational issues.


What can we tell children to minimize injuries and speed recovery?

We can tell kids almost anything to help them minimize and recover from injury. Unfortunately, they only hear a fraction of that which we’ve told them. The most important preventative is to eliminate “horse-play.” In most, if not all, published studies on youth sports injuries, horse-play is the #1 culprit. Rules must be set and kids must understand the implications if the rules are broken.

How do particular foods help or impede optimal athletic performance?

The best advice a clinician, author, or educator can give with reference to food choice is to “eat a well-balanced” diet. Children rarely need to “be on a diet.” Children simply need to eat a well-balanced diet. It is fairly common knowledge that consumption of excessive “sugary” foods can lead to hyperactivity and obesity, an epidemic effecting 50% of today’s younger population.

What are the most important ways to encourage kids to participate in sports?
We really cannot “encourage” a child to participate in a any particular sport, unless there is a desire to do so on their part. This is why it is critical for parents and care-givers to select opportunities for the child for which he/she not only likes, but one in which they have a realistic chance to achieve success at. Understanding that sometimes one never knows the ability a child has at a given sport until he/she tries, the experience must always be viewed in a “positive” manner as the ultimate decision for participation will be the child’s.

What are the most common questions parents have about fitness for kids?
Interestingly, for many questions parents ask, they already know the answer. When a parent asks whether their child can return to play even though the ankle sprain is still causing a limp, their lead line is almost always, “it’s only a minor sprain, he should be ready to play today, don’t you think?”

Some of the other facts are:
Yes, children as young as seven or eight can weight-train so long as there is adult supervision.
Your child needs to drink approximately 2/3 glass of fluid for every one hour they engage in strenuous physical activity.
Yes, children DO need to stretch. Their growing bones tend to increase stress on the supportive ligaments so stretching is essential for a child, more so than for an adult.

What can parents do to encourage schools to promote fitness for kids?
Parents MUST get involved. Join the PTA, sit on committees, and volunteer to assist. Many schools are academically loaded and unfortunately, this has limited physical education classes to almost “none” in many regions. This is not acceptable. Study after study support greater academic success achieved in children who are more physically active and who exercise regularly. Parents must pressure the local school boards to maintain the Presidents Council on Physical Fitness and Sports recommendation for physical activity in young children to occur on “most” days of the week for at least 30-45 minutes/day.


How can kids with learning or physical disabilities get the most from fitness programs?

Learning disabilities should in no way alter or adversely influence a child’s potential for achieving optimal physical fitness. Programs simply need to be structured so that the “challenged” child is afforded an opportunity to achieve success.

What’s your favorite sports movie for families?

rudy.jpg

Two,
Rudy …everyone deserves a chance
Miracle …never say never

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Books Interview

Summer Reading for Kids and Their Families

Posted on June 21, 2008 at 8:00 am

Happy longest day of the year! And happy summer.

Long summer days are a wonderful time to rediscover the pleasures of reading. Families should make sure that everyone age 7 and older has a library card and make a point of visiting at least 2-3 times a month during the summer. Make friends with the librarians who run the children’s room and see what they recommend. The American Library Association’s website has wonderful resources for finding good books for children and teenagers.

bl mom girl reading.jpg

The Child Literacy Center has some good hints for parents on ways to encourage a love of reading in your children. Keep reading to them even when they are old enough to read for themselves. It is a wonderful way to bring the family together.

In addition to giving children a chance to explore all of the imagination and adventure in books, reading will stretch their attention spans and their vocabularies — essential for getting the most out of school and developing communication skills that are the primary predictor of satisfaction and success in the workplace. Giving your children the love of reading is one of the most important gifts a parent can bestow. That means not just encouraging them to read but demonstrating your own love of reading. Let them see you enjoying a great book. When our extended family goes on vacation, we each bring a book we love and one night we all sit down for a swap. It is one of the highlights of our time together and I have found some great reads that way.

Here are some of our family’s read-aloud favorites:

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