Where's the Manual for this Kid?

Posts Tagged ‘Parenting


 Over the years Easter has brought many family memories.

Looking back, here are some of my most memorable ones. What are yours?

  1. Beautiful colors of dye on eggs…and on the table, floor, clothes, faces, and tablecloth I was sure I removed before putting that newspaper down

  2. Making the egg hunt with 2 dozen eggs go on for hours because eggs kept disappearing from baskets (after a certain age, this no longer works)

  3. Dressing up for church; they’re so cute when they’re clean

  4. The smell & taste of delicious ham dinner with all our favorites (topped off with the ears of the chocolate Easter Bunny)

  5. Spending the day in the park with friends & family (best in the years it didn’t rain)

  6. Listening to a choir of candy eggs roll down the wooden floor of church all the way to the pulpit & trying to pretend they didn’t come from my 2 year old

  7. Setting a good example by talking to the minister after service, only to have my 8 year old announce, “That was the boringest sermon I ever heard!”

  8. Finding chocolate eggs in pants pockets, 3 days after Easter

  9. Making egg salad sandwiches for the next week, sneaking eggs that can’t be used because they’re the prettiest

I didn’t say they were all happy memories!


Kids are supplied with school owned laptops to use in assignments. That’s a good thing. They get to take those laptops home. That’s a good thing. The laptops are equipped with surveillance technology to track them in the case of theft or loss. That’s a good thing.


The technology consists of a monitoring camera installed on the laptop that takes shots of kids in their rooms sleeping. What?? Are you kidding me? How is that a good thing?

 Well, parents are now suing the school for invasion of privacy. The school maintains its right to take the pictures as a security measure for its property. This will go to court, as it should.

But here’s what bugs me. I watched a Fox News interview of the child advocate assigned to this case. My expectation (as a mean mom, I always have an expectation) was that this person would back the families and kids 100%. I was shocked to hear her make these two statements:

  1.  The kids knew the cameras were on the computers so therefore they knew what they were getting into and were giving their permission to be monitored (as they sleep).
  2. It would be a serious problem if the sleeping child was not dressed, but since he was in pajamas, it is not a major issue.

 First of all, these kids have no idea that they’re giving permission to be monitored. They’re just excited to be given a laptop! Developmentally, kids do not think beyond that. Oh, turn the camera off? Do they remember to turn anything off?! This is not a reasonable expectation for a child this age.

 Second, how is it ok to take a picture of a kid in his own bedroom sleeping, whether in pajamas or not? The issue is privacy, not child porn. I’d like to know if this child advocate would be ok being filmed in her bedroom sleeping in her flannel nightgown. Would she be ok with everyone knowing she snores, or drools? I guess it’s not an issue as long as she’s dressed.

 What bugs me is that this is the person representing the kids in the lawsuit. I can only hope the parents are on top of the real issue here, because I don’t have a great deal of faith in the advocate.

grassNo more homework no more books, no more teachers, dirty looks. Now it’s all about freedom & fun. Kids don’t want too much structure in the summer. And they should be allowed to have that free time to just “hang out”, to lie in the grass and name cloud shapes.

  But at the same time, we as moms don’t want to lose track of them completely. During the school year, when days are more structured, that connection is automatically there to some extent. Now we have to figure out ways to connect with our kids, but still give them their freedom. We have to find a balance that both can accept.

 How can we create a balance between freedom & connection without being seen as intrusive or a “mean mom”?

 Rules 2 and 3 of Mean Moms Club: The Moms Rule Book can help:

 Rule 2: “You’ll Always be my baby…no matter how old you are.” This rule provides developmental milestones to help set boundaries & communicate at each level. For instance,

  • School age kids are into exploring, pushing themselves, competition. They’re learning about the world outside of home and where they fit in it. They’re learning about new challenges and relish the opportunity to take them on.
  • Teenagers are into their friends, new experience’s, trying on new personalities, being “grown up”. They don’t consider themselves to be kids anymore. They want to prove to others that they’re capable.

Rule 3: “Common sense…makes sense” is where you come in as the mom to balance your kids’ desire for new challenges and adventures with safety and good judgment.

  • All decisions should be based on safety and creating a sense of security. School age kids, remember are into new challenges to see what they can handle. But they may not know, or want to admit, their limitations. So their exploring can become dangerous. This is the age of “I dare you“. No one wants to back down on a dare, certainly not in this age group.
  • Teenagers, while wanting to be grown up, are not grown up enough to exercise good judgment for some new experiences.

 As moms we want to use this info to find ways to stay connected while giving them the freedom to explore & enjoy their summer.

  Here are some suggestions:

  • Keep in touch with IM & txt messaging –this is what THEY use (I read a great article of a mom who reconnected with her teen daughter by learning to text message).
  • Organize a rock climbing excursion with your kids & some friends – this is perfect; organized, protected danger. Go along and watch (or climb if you dare!).
  • Go to lunch where they like to go & let them tell you what they’re doing-ask leading questions to get them started (not yes/no questions).
  • Have a family barbeque including their friends & put the teens in charge of the grilling – it will make them look grown up to their friends & help you too!
  • Take a hike: really. It doesn’t have to be all day or far away – it’s a great opportunity to let them talk to you in a neutral setting and to just enjoy the time together.
  • Watch a sport that they like, even if you don’t. Let them tell you how it’s played and what’s going on.
  • Have a movie night & let them pick the movie (within reason!) & tell you what they like about it. Don’t tell them what you don’t like!
  • Play board games. Food is a must for this, and don’t let them win! School age kids want to win legitimately and to learn strategies for winning.
  • Miniature golf – a personal favorite & tradition of the mean mom pres. Don’t bother to score, just be silly and have fun!

 There are lots of other ideas. Once you see these, you will probably come up with a much longer list of your own. The key is to use developmental stages and safety common sense to help decide which activities to do. And be sure to communicate by listening more than talking, using leading questions or statements, and letting them share their knowledge.

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