10 Stories Parents Shouldn’t Miss!

I found so many great stories I wanted to share with you last night that I decided to do a round-up today. (I know it’s supposed to be Fun Friday, but there are too many important things to talk about!)

From Swine Flu advice to parents to advice for parents who have lost their jobs to advice for parents sending their teens away to college, these are 10 great stories you shouldn’t miss.

So let’s start with the Swine Flu of course! The ladies couldn’t stop talking about it yesterday at the elementary school and the preschool. Although our school nurse is pretty calm about it.

1. CDC leery of estimate of Swine Flu’s toll

This story from veteran Associated Press health writer Lauran Neergaard made me feel so much better! I saw this number —  90,000 people dying from Swine Flu this fall — on CNN a few nights ago and was ready to start homeschooling!  But Mrs. Neergaard got to the bottom of that scary number. Here’s what she writes:

“Government health officials are urging people not to panic over estimates of 90,000 people dying from swine flu this fall. ‘Everything we’ve seen in the U.S. and everything we’ve seen around the world suggests we won’t see that kind of number if the virus doesn’t change,’ said Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

“While the swine flu seems quite easy to catch, it so far hasn’t been more deadly than the flu strains seen every fall and winter – many people have only mild illness. And close genetic tracking of the new virus as it circled the globe over the last five months so far has shown no sign that it’s mutating to become more virulent.”

“On Monday the White House released a report from a group of presidential advisers that included a scenario where anywhere from 30 percent to half of the population could catch what doctors call the “2009 H1N1″ flu, and death possibilities ranged from 30,000 to 90,000. In a regular flu season, up to 20 percent of the population is infected and 36,000 die.”

” ‘We don’t think that’s the most likely scenario,’ CDC flu specialist Dr. Anne Schuchat said of the presidential advisers’ high-end tally.”

More Swine Flu news:

2. Pregnant women, new parents urged to get Swine Flu Vaccine

The Associated Press reports: “In the words of Tina Johnson of the American College of Nurse-Midwives: ‘By not getting the flu yourself, you are going to protect your children better.’ ”

“Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at a briefing Thursday that women of any trimester should get the vaccine.”

I’m shocked they are saying to get the shot even in the first trimester. You never hear that.

3. CDC Advice to Parents: Swine Flu Shots for Everyone!

From The Washington Post: “The first swine flu precaution that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests for parents: As soon as a vaccine is available, try to get it for everyone in your family.”

In other news:

4. Study: Teens learn drinking, drug habits from parents

From WebMD: “Teens who witness their parents tie one on are more likely to get drunk than teens who never see their parents imbibe, according to survey results released Wednesday at a news conference in Washington, D.C.”

“Researchers from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) of Columbia University in New York City polled 1,000 teens aged 12 to 17 and 452 of their parents about their attitudes on alcohol and drug use.”

“Of children who have one or more drink a month, 2/3 will get drunk at least once a month. ‘For most kids, just drinking also means getting drunk regularly; and we care about that for a lot of reasons, including driving accidents, risky sexual behavior, and assaults,’ says Elizabeth Planet, vice president and director of special projects at CASA.”

In financial news:

5. More Parents Seek Child Support Reduction

6. Tips for Non-Custodial Parents if you lose your job

7. Checklist for parents of college students

This story was very good giving parents  a list of things they need to be clear on with their teen before, or shortly after, they leave for college.

Random, yet interesting, story news:

8. More Parent-Child Quality time, but Why?

9. 10 Ways to help your child deal with stress

10. Texting for a 3-year-old? A look at the best texting tools for kids

28 comments Add your comment


August 27th, 2009
10:01 pm

A friend’s 4 year old child here in the neighborhood was just diagnosed with Swine Flu. Curious to see how many others end up with it!

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 27th, 2009
10:13 pm

what county and state???? what area???

Zachs Mom

August 27th, 2009
10:46 pm

Stephens County (next county over from me) has sever cases and is sending kids home from school if they sneeze. I am sure that we have some in Habersham also.

I work in the prison here and we are just waiting for everyone to get it and it’s not like we can send them home!!!

We can all only do the best that we can and take care of ourselves once we get sick.


August 27th, 2009
11:00 pm

@Zachs Mom – My nieces go to Stephens County schools but I haven’t heard of any cases of swine flu there. Do you know of a website or newspaper article or something referencing that?

My kids go to Berkeley Lake in Duluth and they have a “suspected” case there. Please do not think that I am saying there is definitely a child there that has it or there has been a confirmed case, that’s not what I’m saying. But the main point that the administration has been making is “wash your hands.” “Wash your kids’ hands.” Yes, it’s a different kind of flu, but it isn’t undefeatable. I’ve never had my kids get a flu shot & don’t plan on it. I do feel it’s too much of a crap shoot.

And as far as homeschooling goes, I don’t recall a discussion on that topic. I’ve been off for quite a while so maybe I’ve missed something about it, but I’m going to start my son – & only him currently – homeschooling next week. Is there anyone else that has tried it? If so, how did it work out? (Off topic, I know, but maybe something worthwhile to talk about?)


August 27th, 2009
11:58 pm

I usually just lurk on this blog but when I saw my area mentioned I wanted to comment….I live in Stephens County and though my son is not school-age yet, I do have a niece at the high school and also have many friends with children there. There has been a great deal of sickness going around here, but to the best of my knowledge none of it has actually been identified as swine flu. Lots of stomach bugs and maybe some “regular” flu, but from what I understand a few people panicked when a bunch of students were out earlier this week (I heard the girls’ softball team had to forfeit a game because most of the team had the flu!) and got on Facebook, etc., and started the swine flu rumors.


August 28th, 2009
12:20 am

We have gotten two emails from GA Southern since classes started on the 17th. They had 30 possible cases, with one confirmed as swine flu. My freshman is sick right now. He says it is a cold, but with a bad cough. My fingers are crossed.


August 28th, 2009
6:51 am

@ CD…I think Theresa meant she is worried about sending her kids to school and ( tongue in cheek) is wondering about homeschooling due to the flu. Am I the only one who read that into the comment?


August 28th, 2009
7:55 am

I think that it is funny that the CDC is reccomending that all of these different groups of people get flu shots this year when there is such an obvious lack of funding and lack of shots themselves. I work as an EMT and we were just told that we would not have shots available to us until late October, and we are considered a high priority group. I just wish the rest of you good luck in getting a shot. Just remember that the best prevention that we have is hand washing and not sharing drinks foods with others.


August 28th, 2009
8:26 am

WOW…I guess I am not the only one who has lost their mind….I have been saying this for years:

Do as I Say and as I Do

“What parents say is important and what they do is important,” she says. “The expectations that you set will also drive your kids’ behavior,” she says. “Set high expectations, be clear about these expectations, communicate these expectations, and model healthy behavior,” she says.

“There is no question that actions speak louder than words,” says Joseph A. Califano Jr., the founder and chairman of CASA and the author of How to Raise a Drug-Free Kid. But it’s not just ‘don’t get drunk in front of your kids,’ you also have to communicate with your children all along, have family dinners frequently, go to their games and events, and attend religious services as a family. Then when you do talk to them, you will really have some power to influence their conduct and get them to choose not to use.”

Also, we went to our last open house for our Senior Daughter. We were only one of 4-8 parents
( out of 25 or so students) per class. As expected, there were more parents attending the open house in the AP classes than the others. We spent time with the advisement teacher ( we were the only parents in there) and she also shared that she teaches a FINANCE class for high schoolers. Apparently only a few states require it ( not GA). She is a CPA and explained that many kids in our area have no clue about money. I wish all kids could take this class. It would save some parents so much grief and enlighten kids before college.

I remarked that kids at our public high school are driving cars that are nicer than so many adults and probably not paying for them. She said that she agreed and the staff talks about the very topic. They wonder if the economy will bring these parents back to reality. Do 16 year olds NEED a new BMW?

Zachs Mom

August 28th, 2009
9:51 am

CD—I work with several moms whose kids go to Liberty Elementary and they said that several kids had it and were actually in the hospital. One’s daughter got sent home because she has seasonal alergies and was sneezing in class. She said she had to get a Dr’s note to send he back to school. IMO we are all going to get sick to some degree. Drink fluids, take you vitamins, cover your mouth and nose and say a small prayer every day.

good grief

August 28th, 2009
10:12 am

I don’t understand why these swine flu cases are not being reported. I know directly of a confirmed case at a middle school in dekalb county, and there are probably a lot of cases in that school.

They told the teachers. The principal called the superintendant. I don’t know why the parents aren’t being informed.

The only reason I know is my wife teaches there.


August 28th, 2009
12:17 pm

Th3 first 3 are all swine flu related and could wait until Monday. Just what a Single Mom needs…Dad reducing his support when ends barely meet.

Forget I this is beyone depressing I will come back next week.

Hugs to you Theresa, it’s your blog write about what you want and if there are some (like me) who aren’t into that is on us.


August 28th, 2009
12:22 pm

well dang I certainly did bad typing job….but anyway, y’all chat about that stuff if you like.

Theresa Walsh Giarrusso

August 28th, 2009
12:34 pm

FCM apparently other people agree – not many comments today — There were other stories to talk about other than swine flu — I gave 10 stories –

MJG — you read my comment exactly right — I’m so freaked I’m not really, but kind of thinking about homeschooling — at least they’re not exposed to everything — We’ve already had cold this week from school and Rose had a little guy next to her with the regular flu already!! I haven’t been able to see my brother all week because they were sick and now I have it..


August 28th, 2009
1:19 pm

The swine flu case I mentioned above is in Coweta County. I’m not overly worried about any type of flu, however. They are and always will be illnesses going around. I do have a child with asthma (considered an at risk group) And as recommended by her doctor, do get a flu shot for her. I haven’t been immunized since the last year I was pregnant (2005). My otherwise healthy child has gotten the shot some years and not others. If I had a child or parent or spouse for that matter who would be severly compromised or perhaps life risking by getting the flu, I guess I would be more concerned.

A 10% increase...

August 28th, 2009
2:08 pm

Enter your comments here


August 28th, 2009
9:03 pm

so the cdc says it wont be that bad…the news reports say it will..the who says it causes a very sever respiratory illness requiring ICU and extended hospital stays…who the heck are we supposed to believe..i will get the regualr flu shot as i always do…hopefully my college age daughter will because she has asthma that really acts up when she gets any uri…my son refuses to get any flu shot of any kind….i did get the swine flu shot in 1976 when the big scare came and i was pregnant…ive been wondering if there is any protection left from that or is it the same or what…i havent read anything about that..has anyone else? wcu (western carolina university-near where i live) has reported several cases of it and are doing what they need to to try to keep it contained…good luck with that at a university!!

my parents never drank and i and all my brothers and sisters do to a certain extent…im nto sure about that one….i know enviornment has somethings to do with what kids do but i dont think its all that influences them. i know people who drink and their kids dont…and vice versa…i pretty much have decided that people are gonna do what they are gonna do and theres not a lot anyone can do about it…


August 29th, 2009
10:04 am

What middle school in DeKalb County???????????????????????????????? I have a daughter in a DeKalb County middle school and this concerns me.


August 29th, 2009
10:24 am

“The Checklist for Parents of College Students” had a few interesting tidbits, but mostly I was appalled at a couple of their ideas, and at the things they left out. The issue of discussing personal safety and how to take care of yourself wasn’t even thought of, much less discussed. My son was pretty confident when we were looking at schools, and I voiced misgivings about one school smack in the middle of a rather rough part of town — all the convenience stores were called “snatch and grabs” because of the prevalence of robberies, etc. He looked at me with a superior look from his 6′3″ height and 210 lbs and said, “Nobody’s going to mess with me, Mom.” I glared at him and said, “Yeah? How good are you at dodging bullets?” — something he doens’t have any experience in :-) THAT made him think. With my daughter, there, there were several discussions on personal safety, especially on a campus as large as the one she is on.

Also, the article said to “rent” textbooks. Sorry, that doesn’t fly. The rental fees they were quoting were somewhat cheaper, but not that much cheaper than buying the book used. And, if it’s a book in your major, you probably want to keep it, anyway.

And that idea of not buying a printer!! Even though many papers are turned in on-line these days, I think it totally disregards the reality that some papers aren’t finished until 2 AM, and assumes the library or the computer center is open 24/7. I’m supposed to send my daughter half-way across campus at 2 AM to print off a paper? Hello? Or she should wait until the VERY last second, before her 8 AM class, go to the library, and cross her fingers and hope that the computers there are up and working? Printers are super cheap, and if you shop carefully, the ink and toner prices can be kept reasonable. And yeah, we talked about budgeting time, but let’s face it — these things WILL happen.

I didn’t see any conversations about personal finance, either, except for “this is how much you have,” without a detailed discussion of needs, wants, and resources. I would have also included life skills such as making sure they could do laundry, balance their checkbook, etc. — all things that parents should be doing in high school, but often don’t get around to.

The swine ‘flu stuff — eh. Either we’ll get it or we won’t, and I’m sure not going to feel like some sort of moral failure if someone in my family gets it. I made sure that both of my kids know where the Student Health Services offices are, admonished them to wash their hands — beyond that, I”m not to spend any time worrying about something that is totally out of my control.

Spank Da Monkey

August 29th, 2009
10:39 am

Way to fear monger lady….Swine Flu is nothing more than regular flu you idiots….people die of regular flu all the time…STOP FEAR MONGERING!!!!

Jesse's Girl

August 30th, 2009
3:55 pm

I am so unconcerned with swine flu…its not even funny. Alll of this fear crap just tickles me! If you’re going to get it…you’re going to get it!


August 30th, 2009
4:33 pm

The main difference in swine flu and regular flu besides it is a new strain that humans have not built up a resistance to, is that swine flu affects the respiratory system more than the regular flu does, it goes deeper into the lung tissue and for those with weak immune systems will take them to pneumonia and respiratory failure fairly quickly. The 1918 flu was attacking those with strong immune systems due to the over active response of the healthier immune systems. It was thought that the swine flu would do the same but so far it is affecting the weaker ones of the population, hence, encouraging vaccinations for those who are around the young and the elderly, the two most vulnerable segments of our population, and then all those with immune issues.

As for the drinking article. While there are some idosynchrasies to which children in which homes will end up drinking, it only makes sense that by and large kids live what they see and hear and are exposed to regularly. Yet I do believe that in this day and age when we live in a world that parents allow and encourage kids/youth to drink coffee, alcohol it will take the village (i.e. concerned community/nation) to play a part through laws, policy etc. to help get kids to adulthood before they take their first drink and then as an adult decide if they want to be drinkers. But that is a dream, I am sure.

Right on to the author of stress in kids lives and ten ways to help them destress. She hits it on the head everytime.

As for the college kids: kids who have been raised to think for themselves will solve most of those issues on their own. And as for communication, such a myriad array of choices: land line, cell phone, email, texting, twittering, facebooking, and old fashioned letters (ha, I doubt it! not with this generation). Checking in once a week at the minimum is what we find comfortable, not something we set up formally, but the kids have always wanted to in one way or another “check in” usually 3-4 times a week.

Great list of topics, Theresa!
(I’ve been out of the loop for a while as I finished up nursing school, passed the licensing test, started my orientation and job and am still going through that for a while)


August 30th, 2009
7:17 pm

If the regular flu infected 50% of the population, 90,000 people would die as well. It already kills over 30,000 a year. The regular flu will kill more this fall than the swine flu… so what is all this talk about?! It is annoying. Be healthy and live your life. Cover a real news story!


August 30th, 2009
9:18 pm

Welcome back, MOT. You’ve been missed. Congratulations on nursing boards and the new job. What dept are you working in?


August 30th, 2009
11:39 pm

cngratualtions MOT!!!


August 31st, 2009
7:59 am

MOT congrats! Yes, you kit the nail on the head with kids who are raised to think for themselves.
When Mom is supervising homework in HS, this could be a problem…hahaha!


August 31st, 2009
9:18 am

Congratulations MOT..

I’m am not the least concerned with swine flu..There are more day to day things to worry about..

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