Archive for January, 2014

Should Gwinnett County offer excused absences if parents feel roads are unsafe?

As of Thursday night Gwinnett County schools were set to be in session on Friday, and Gwinnett moms were typing up their own storm on Facebook discussing whether their kids/teens should be on the roads and if they chose to keep their kids/teens home should it be an excused absence.

Parents who had teenagers driving themselves to school were especially concerned. Many of the high school students leave for school while it’s still dark out making streets with icy patches even more difficult to navigate. One mom wrote that she had gone on a test drive with her son and found it be very icy.They turned around to head home. She was very concerned about him driving himself to school. Another mom seemed resolved to have her daughter check in late after the sun had melted some of the ice.

Apparently in high school, the unexcused absences have more serious consequences. The moms were writing on Facebook that if you had more than three unexcused absences I believe, then …

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Snow Jam: How will you spend the snow day(s) now that you’re home?

For many of you it took hours just to get home on Tuesday and you probably won’t even try to venture out today. So how will you spend your snow day (or days) marooned at your house?

I think most families won’t mind being without a car for a day or two as long as their electricity is working.

I always loved snow days growing up in Georgia. We would always go sledding on the big hill down the street. The whole neighborhood would show up to play. It was a fantastically long hill. Then we would come back home and my mom would dry us off. We would play board games and she would make us hot spice tea.

One friend shared this recipe for making snow cream or ice cream from the snow. The only trick is to make sure the snow is “fresh” and hasn’t been peed on by any animals. Here are 20 ideas for playing in the snow with your kids. They have a really cute snow globe idea.

Jumping on  snow-covered trampolines seemed to be a theme yesterday. I also heard about a lot of kind acts — such as …

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Snow: Are your kids still stuck at school? Family stuck on the road?

I am hearing from a lot of friends that their kids although “released early” are actually still stuck at school. Also hearing about family members stuck in traffic jams with cars running on fumes. Let us know what is going on with your family and at your school. Are your kids stuck? Did the buses show up? What is your school’s plan? Will your spouse stay at work or risk the drive home? What’s the back up plan for the kids?

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Child seat anchors (LATCH) may get weight limits soon

As kids stay in car seats and booster seats longer, federal officials are worried they are becoming too heavy for the LATCH systems to secure them.  A new federal rule that is expected to be introduced in February would institute weight limits on the LATCH system. Parents would be asked to add up the weight of their child and the seat to decide if they need a seat belt to secure the child or if the LATCH hooks are strong enough.

From USA Today:

“The new rule will require child seat makers to include information on the limits for using LATCH by combining the weight of the seat and the weight of the child. Seat manufacturers will need to post the weight of the seat in a number of places so parents can do the math themselves. LATCH stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children, and nearly every car seat and most vehicles are required to have the system. …”

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children stay in booster seats until adult seat belts fit …

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How parents can hurt and help their kids grow into leaders

Forbes magazine interviewed leadership expert Dr. Tim Elmore about how to help your children grow into leaders. Elmore is the Founder and President of Growing Leaders, an organization dedicated to mentoring young people to become leaders.

He highlighted seven parental behaviors that can hinder their growth and then gave tips to help them develop as leaders. I am giving you the quick-hit version.  Click the link to read about both aspects in greater detail.

From Forbes:

Seven parenting behaviors that hurt kids’ chances to develop into leaders:

  1. We don’t let our kids experience risk.
  2. We rescue them too quickly.
  3. We rave too easily.
  4. We let guilt get in the way of leading well.  (This one needed more explanation)
  5. We don’t share our past mistakes.
  6. We mistake intelligence, giftedness for maturity
  7. We don’t practice what we preach.

Elmore went on to suggest tips to help kids develop leadership skills:

“1.Talk over the issues you wish you would’ve known about …

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Has the anti-vaccine movement affected public health?

The Council of Foreign Relations created an interactive map showing outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illness, such as measles or whooping cough.

The Council on Foreign Relations created an interactive map showing outbreaks of vaccine-preventable illness, such as measles (the red dots) or whooping cough (the green dots).

The Council on Foreign Relations has put together an interactive map showing vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks around the world. Measles, Mumps, Rubella (better known to parents as the MMR) look to have a high outbreak level in Europe with whooping cough also high in America. The red represents outbreaks of measles and the green represents outbreaks of whooping cough. (You can click the screen shot above to go to the original map.)

From The Los Angeles Times:

“Aaron Carroll today offers a graphic depiction of the toll of the anti-vaccination movement. (H/t: Kevin Drum.) It comes from a Council on Foreign Relations interactive map of “vaccine-preventable outbreaks” worldwide 2008-2014.”

“A couple of manifestations stand out. One is the prevalence of measles in Europe — especially Britain — and …

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‘Find a happy place, find a happy place’: What’s your happy place?

I have been under some stress taking care of the kids alone (Michael is working from all over the globe and is in and out), trying to get the house ready to sell and trying to find right schools in New Jersey for my kids. (I need algebra in the sixth grade for Walsh and geometry in the eighth-grade for Rose.) So I’ve been working on stress-relief tools such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation and meditation.

You’re supposed to find a “happy place” to think about to help you relax. It makes me think of Peach in “Finding Nemo” when she’s yelling “find a happy place, find a happy place.” (See the clip above.) Here are the basic steps to this relaxation technique.

I’ve had a terrible time coming up with a “happy place” that I find truly relaxing.

I was trying to figure one out with a friend and she kept saying maybe the beach or a special place with one of your kids. As written about previously, the beach is just moving your work to a new location. I was …

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Would you be more upset if teens were smoking pot or drinking?

President Obama said in an interview with The New Yorker magazine that he doesn’t think pot is any more dangerous than alcohol. He does think it’s a bad habit and a vice.

With pot already legal in two states (Colorado and Washington), I wonder: Would you be more upset if you caught your teen smoking pot or drinking?

Here’s what some experts said in a USA Today story about which substance is worse: pot or alcohol.

From USA Today:

“A frequent argument is that marijuana is safer because users “don’t drop dead immediately, while you can overdose and die from ingesting alcohol,” said Gitlow. But “nobody dies immediately from smoking cigarettes, either,” he said. That doesn’t make them any less dangerous….Gitlow cites studies showing marijuana use can cause loss of productivity and, in heavy users, lowered IQs. In about 1% of heavy users it can induce psychosis, he said….”

“Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington D.C., …

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Dove’s ‘Selfie’ film asks how does social media affect our view of beauty?

Dove debuted at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival a short film about how social media affects our view of beauty. The film is posted above.  Here’s more about what the filmmakers hope to accomplish.

From Mashable:

“The 7-minute short film called ‘Selfie’ follows a series of teenagers and their mothers who are asked to take self-images that highlight their insecurities about the way they look. In an experiment reminiscent of Dove’s viral “beauty sketches” ad, the participants learn some of their disliked attributes are what others consider to be the most beautiful.”

“At the backbone of ‘Selfie’ is research conducted by Dove which revealed 63% of women believe social media is influencing today’s definition of beauty more than print media, film and music. The film, directed by documentary filmmaker Cynthia Wade and produced by Sharon Liese, aims to empower women to redefine the traditional perception of beauty found in glossy magazines and movies.”

“The way women are defining …

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How do you tell your kids you have breast cancer?

One of our longtime regulars sent me a note with some sad news: She has just been told she has breast cancer. She is still waiting to learn what stage it is in so she doesn’t have all the information yet. She wants your thoughts and experiences about how to tell her children (she has a teen and preteen) that she has cancer.

She also wants advice about how to deal with the cancer within the family.

I personally think she needs to wait to tell the kids until she has all the details. I think she needs to know what stage it is in and what the treatment will be so she can comfort the kids by having a plan. (I think this is true for moving, divorce, any big changes. I think they need to know there is a plan.)

I tend to want to tell my kids everything and be very scientific about it. For example, when my brother needed his heart transplant, I told my kids all the details about what was happening to his body and what would happen when he got the new heart. I think my sister-in-law …

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