We've heard it repeated so many times that it's become conventional parenting wisdom. "Kids are allowed to see all the violence and explosions in the world on TV, but show two naked people in bed and it suddenly becomes inappropriate". As a parent, I'm here to say that conventional parenting wisdom is wrong: Depictions of sex in the media are in fact more potentially harmful for your children to view than certain forms of violence. Here's why.
I'm about to say something that many people never get to say in their lifetimes: I love my job. Well, I did love my job. There was a time I couldn't imagine leaving. Then I got pregnant. There's so much talk these days about "having it all" — raising a child while working full-time at a fulfilling job. But maybe the issue is not so black and white. I certainly wasn't sure what "having it all" meant for me.
I’m from a huge extended family, so I spent most of my formative years changing diapers, cleaning up vomit and chasing after younger cousins. By the time blogs and social media rolled around, I’d already heard enough for a lifetime. I couldn't understand all the public over-sharing by new parents. Then I took in a teen from the foster care system, and everything changed.
Kids notice differences in other people. They are not "colorblind" as some adults like to pretend, and thank God, since all of our many differences are such an important part of our individual and cultural identities. And while it's perfectly natural for kids to notices racial differences, they do not naturally judge one set of characteristics as superior or preferred, until some adult teaches them to prefer certain characteristics.
Have you sufficiently bored your child with tales of your summer jobs past — peeling potatoes, recycling pop bottles for coins, lifeguard drama or walking bean rows uphill both ways? Probably, but it's only because you know from experience that the benefits of a summer job far outweigh the paycheck anyone receives.
Mindless consumerism can lead us to believe our value lies in what we wear. I wanted my daughter to have the freedom to divorce her self-worth from her clothing. But how could I teach her that when here I was — 29-years-old, wallowing in a pile of cheap cotton-poly blends and feeling worthless? It was time to go on a clothing fast. I called it "No Pants 2012."
My daughter is in her first year of high school and navigating the world of girl drama, boyfriends and school dances. As painful as it can be to watch her suffer through some of this, I want her to know a few things that I wish I'd known at her age.
When I first learned I was having twins, I did what any self-respecting woman would do: I panicked. I also scoured the Internet for advice, war stories -- anything that would help my husband and I survive becoming first-time parents to, not one, but two newborns.
For my daughter, who's obsessed with hearts and flowers and the idea of love, Valentines Day is a pretty big deal. As she finds her way through puppy love and first crushes, I find I'm learning right along with her.
Sometimes life doesn't turn out as you had expected. But the truth is, when you are dealt a bad hand, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back in the game. Giving up, feeling sorry for yourself, and crying over the unfairness of it all doesn't cut it. Parents of special needs children know this to be true.