Designer Jeans, Coupons and Budgets for Teens

“Why do we always have to use a coupon to buy my clothes?” laments my eleven-year-old daughter. “I want them today.”

“You know we have a clothing budget. We can get more for our money if we wait until the item is on sale and we have a coupon,” I try explaining once again.

“Everyone else’s mom just buys their designer jeans even if they’re not on sale,” she retorts trying for the mother guilt button.

Clothing Budget

But this conversation changed significantly one year later when our seventh grader was given her very own clothing budget. “Mom, do you have any coupons? I need some jeans,” I proudly heard. She was allotted a monthly amount but could use up to three months of budget money at a time if necessary. Since our daughters were in year-round school, budget money for three months seemed reasonable.

Consider Needs

No, we didn’t just give our adolescents money and let them have a free for all. We talked about special events coming up, seasonal items like coats and swimsuits, what still fits from last season, do they need new undergarments, what about shoes, ways they can update their wardrobe inexpensively, and yes, how buying items on sale and using coupons saves money. Because they knew the cost of every item purchased, they took great care of their clothes when they began doing their own laundry at age thirteen (see previous blog, Laundry or Writing?).

Special Events

As they entered high school and needed dresses for special events such as the winter formal and the prom, we paid for half the dress cost up to a certain amount. Young men will need additional budget money for winter formal sports coats and renting tuxedoes for the prom. When they wanted additional clothing or designer clothing items that cost more, they used gift money or worked for extra money. Other families we know paid up to a certain amount for clothing items, such as a pair of jean or athletic shoes, and the young person paid the difference.

Your Family Budget

I’m purposely not sharing how much money we gave them for two reasons. They are young adults and inflation has occurred since they were teenagers. Secondly, each family has an income; some may have a larger budget for clothing, while others families will have smaller budgets. You may think you can’t afford to give your adolescents a clothing budget, but if you honestly track how much you spend on their clothes, shoes, undergarments, etc. it adds up quickly. The point isn’t so much about how much you allot for their budget, but teaching them the principles of money management.

Transition

When you transition the budget responsibility to your young adults, please resist the temptation to rescue them when they spend all their clothing money and need something. They will not learn to plan ahead and use their money wisely if you rescue them. Keep in mind that they will eventually learn to live with the consequences if you allow them opportunities to learn. And in no time, they’ll start asking, “Do you have any coupons?” and you will know you’ve done your job.

Image Source: sale-606687_1280 [Pixabay.com]

 

“Something Unusal Happened” Hope Street: My Journey

[www.stockpholio.com]-4618335923_3 Tate Modern Tribute

Something happened tonight that hasn’t happened in seven years.

“Surprise,” I chime in alongside friends gathered to celebrate our friend’s 65th birthday.

I choose a tan wicker rocking chair on the back patio where I engage in conversations. I catch up with some friends and reconnect with another I haven’t seen in years. The carrot cake is delicious. I savor every bite. I’m comfortable updating friends about my life, my adult daughters, and of course, our three precious grandchildren.

But what I don’t do is the significant part. I don’t sit quiet as a mouse observing so I can conserve my energy. I don’t leave the group because it’s too noisy to find solitude in a peaceful location. I don’t excuse myself to clean up my usual spilt drink because I don’t spill my Diet Coke.

I don’t startle and jump because someone drops a fork on the tile. I don’t roam around searching for the family cat since petting kitty provides a legitimate distraction. I don’t hide behind my camera when I can’t understand the conversation.

I don’t wander off to “help” since I can’t construct a coherent thought or form a complete sentence. I don’t walk to my car to dig up something I “forgot” when I can’t track the cross-talk of multiple conversations. I don’t go through the motions because I’m disconnected, staring off with a blank expression.

Tonight, I do none of these things. The things I’ve managed to do for seven years to compensate for my brain impairment in social settings. Indeed, something happened tonight. I initiated conversations. I added to stories. I asked questions. I laughed. I enjoyed myself fully…I didn’t escape.

 

Image Source: 5Bwww.stockpholio.com-5D-4618335923_3-Tate-Modern-Tribute.jpg

100 Year Anniversary of Mother’s Day and Attachment

Do you know that 2014 is the 100th anniversary of Mother’s Day?

Two weeks ago, Lois M. Collins, from the Deseret News National Edition, interviewed me about attachment and mothers. The part of the article I’m quoted in is below.

Follow the link to read the entire article. Mother’s Day 100-Year History

In the 19th century, Americans began what Matt calls a “sentimentalization of mothers,” who were featured lovingly in songs and stories and heavily celebrated for their virtue. “It began a new focus on mother love, warmth and tender ties.”

Mothers were noted for power to encourage kids to grow into good, pious citizens. Focus tightened on mother-child relationships. And Mother’s Day is a modern tale of love and attachment.

Author, speaker and child development specialist Marian Fritzemeier of Modesto, California, has two adult daughters and three grandchildren who will likely honor her with cards and small gifts, as well as a get-together and dinner. They’ll juggle the timing of the actual celebration so that her kids’ spouses can also celebrate with their moms.

She believes that a child’s very future hinges on developing secure relationships and strong emotional bonds. Mother is often among if not the first place those bonds form.

“Attachment is an emotional bond between an infant and a caring adult. It means somebody is responding consistently to the infant,” Fritzemeier said. Cries attract someone to figure out what’s wrong, whether it’s hunger, a need to be burped or stimulated or changed, or just a familiar and loving voice. Moms are often that early primary caregiver, she noted.

Strong, healthy attachment “provides a foundation for life, not just in infancy, but adolescence and into adulthood,” she said. At home, Fritzemeier is surrounded by trinkets and pictures her children have made her. “You don’t have to spend a lot of money. A lot of families don’t have it. Mother’s Day can be breakfast in bed, a meal together, perhaps a barbecue,” she said. Pick flowers from your yard or ask to pick your neighbor’s.

Image Source: Rose reflections [Flickr.com]

6 Year-Old Stabbed in Neck with Pencil

Was it a stabbing or a poke with a pencil? Was it bullying or an accident? Why didn’t the school call an ambulance or the police? Did the Turlock Unified District follow established protocol?

The questions ruminating around California’s Central Valley abound. But the one question that bothers me the most is, Why didn’t the school intervene when the family previously reported bullying incidents?

Bully Workshop

I’m teaching a workshop at California Association for the Education of Young Children’s annual state conference in Pasadena, California. The workshop, Bullying 101: Helping the Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander; How Educators Can Help Break the Cycle of Violence, is based on a course I created for Merced College. This specific workshop is for adults working in kindergarten to third grade programs or schools.

Stories Abound

Any time I’ve had a conversation about my speaking engagement, someone shares a story. A story not unlike the “stabbing” story. “My (daughter, grandson, neighbor, friend, relative) has a child who was bullied. They reported it to the school over and over and nothing was done. The child changed schools.”

More Columbines?

How many more Columbines will it take for all schools to wake-up? How many more kids will take their own lives because of bullying, also called bullycide, before society demands bullying stops? How many times will I hear stories where no one intervened?

The Movie: Bully…

I’ll write more about bullying in the future and strategies that work. In the meantime, view the 2012 movie, Bully: It’s Time to Take A Stand produced by The Weinstein Company and Where We Live Films, rated PG-13. I’d sure like to hear your thoughts on the film and bullying in schools.

Image Source: No.-2-Pencil [freesvg.org]

“The Forgotten Garden” Hope Street: My Journey

[www.stockpholio.com]-7574858320_4 on its way out aussiegall

The tomato plants hanging over the grow box creep onto the sidewalk fall chaotically onto my pathway look dead. It appears that someone at Stanford Hospital previously cared for these plants.

There’s evidence that tomato cages and stakes supported the plants growing tall and abundant. Now the cages lean haphazardly with the plants’ heaviness. The plants are left to die during the cool fall days.

The dead plants remind me of my life. Dealing with undiagnosed brain impairment for the past five years, darkness clouds my former bubbly personality and positive outlook on life.

After a long search, the doctors from the neurology & epilepsy department diagnosed me just last week. I’m one of the lucky ones. My diagnosis only took five years, while most people aren’t diagnosed for seven years.

My non-epileptic seizures don’t change my disability status. I’m still unable to fulfill my college professor responsibilities. I feel isolated and alone especially since my life no longer centers on hundreds of students and colleagues.

Then I notice that the plants are not quite dead. I discover two tiny, green tomatoes. I touch them and wonder how they are surviving amidst this tangled and forgotten garden. My eyes burn and overflow with tears. How will I survive another dark day?

During my hospitalization, the garden is the only place where I’m allowed some fresh air. Every day I’m compelled to visit the garden to check on my discovery. Breathing in the crisp air while observing God’s beauty, gives my heart a lift. The two small tomatoes are still growing amongst the neglected plants. If these two tiny tomatoes can thrive in this forgotten garden, maybe I can get better too.

Today as I approach the plants, they look worse than when I discovered them ten days ago. I hope my adopted tomatoes are still growing. But they’re not.

“They’re red,” I exclaim to no one but myself. “My two green tomatoes are turning red.”

I’m so excited I search through other vines parting their branches. I discover six tiny tomato buds on the first vine. On another I observe a dozen buds just forming in a row. Hundreds of tomato buds hang on the unkept plants.

What appears dead is still growing but unseen by those who pass by. I can’t always see the buds God is growing in my life. Yet in His time, I see glimpses of “red” just like my two adopted red tomatoes. There’s life amongst this forgotten garden. On this quiet nippy fall morning, I remember, God hasn’t forgotten me either.

 

Image Source: -7574858320_4 on its way out aussiegall [stockpholio.com]

Book Review: The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study

divorce-book-cover

Twenty five years ago, the general population was told that children and teens adjust to divorce within five years after their parent’s divorce. The controversial, New York Times Bestselling book, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study, came along in 2000 and tells a different story. A story that is difficult to process and challenges American society’s beliefs about divorce.

The Study

Wallerstein studied children of divorce since 1971, when she began observing some 131 children of divorced families in affluent Marin County, California. The original “children of divorce” study was funded by the Zellerbach Family Fund. Subsequent studies were done with the same children that ultimately led to The 25 Year Landmark Study.

The Book

The five-part, twenty-two chapter book presents a long-term perspective of children of divorce after they reach adulthood. “…when children of divorce become adults, they are badly frightened that their relationships will fail, just like the most important relationship in their parents’ lives failed,” (p. xiii).

College Students’ Responses

I used an article based on this book in my college Child Growth & Development course for small group discussions. The topic stirs up intense emotions alongside powerful opinions based on students’ personal experiences. The vast majority of students from divorced families agree with the authors’ long-lasting effects of divorce.

Interesting Chapters

Some interesting chapters include: Growing Up Is Harder; The Wages of Violence; Our Failure to Intervene; Undoing the Past; and Growing Up Lonely. Since divorce is so prevalent in our society, this is a well researched and documented book on the effects of divorce that should be read by anyone touched by divorce.

Book Information

The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study by Judith S. Wallerstein, Julia M. Lewis, & Sandra Blakeslee, New York: Hyperion, 2000. Available from Amazon.com hardcover $17.56; paperback $11.62; audio cassette $5.48; and Kindle $9.99.

To exercise or not to exercise?

5Bwww.stockpholio.com-5D-5032496501_4-Pilates-U-S-ArmyHas your doctor’s suggested you exercise for health benefits? Did your friend suggest exercising as a way to lose weight? Do kids ask you if you’re going to have a baby because of your tummy pouch?

Should I exercise today or not?

It’s a question you may ask yourself on a regular basis. Nah, not today, I tell myself. It’s raining. Maybe tomorrow…or if I’m lucky, maybe it will rain again. This week I spoke to a group of Mothers of Preschoolers in Tracy about The Physical Perspective. Most of us know that exercise is helpful to prevent weight gain, promote weight loss, or maintain our weight, but that doesn’t always do the trick.1

Some of us are motivated by money.

The Center for Disease Control says that exercise can significantly lower your annual direct medical costs. Getting people to exercise could cut yearly medical costs in the United States by more than $70 billion dollars.2 What can it save you?

Some of us are motivated by health.

Exercise reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. 1, 2 It also reduces stress, depression and anxiety. 3 Enhancing mental performance and work productivity (whether your “work” is in your home or outside your home) are other benefits. Exercise can even improve your skin.

But some of us are motivated by sex.

The benefit the mothers’ giggled about is that 20 minutes of exercise a day improves your sex life. 3 Who knew that the Harvard School of Public Health studies such things? It’s true. Just 20 minutes/day Improves sexual response in women, leaves you feeling energized, and helps you feel more desirable. Dr. David Katz from Yale adds, “Working out with your partner not only will allow you to spend time together, but it will trigger adrenaline & other feel-good hormones to get you in the mood.” 3

I shared with the ladies, “If your husband finds out about this, chances are he’ll ensure you get exercise time in!” Maybe that will work…rain or not!

Sources:

  1. Physical Activity and Health, www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health/
  2. The Benefits of Physical Activity, Harvard School of Public Health, www.hsph.harvard.edu › The Nutrition Source.
  3. 10 Surprising Benefits of Exercise, Olivia Putnal, www.womansday.com/…fitness/10-surprising-benefits-of-exercise-1139…
  4.  Image: www.stockpholio.com 503249501_4 Pilates, US Army

 

How About Some Positive Peer Pressure?

Although the last five blogs highlighted parenting tips to help their school age children resist negative peer pressure, it is essential to remember that peer pressure isn’t always negative. Positive peer pressure assists school age children with reinforcing skills.

An important example is demonstrating appropriate social behaviors. You may hound your kids about their manner with little results, but when their friends make comments, they often listen.

“That’s gross.”

Take for example, body functions, like inappropriate belching. “That’s gross,” friends may groan. Or maybe your daughter doesn’t like washing her hair. A friend may comment, “You’re not going to the birthday party with your hair like that.” Of course not, and the hair is washed, styled and off they go.

Changing

Peers can also motivate positive personal changes. (1) Maybe your daughter is struggling with math. Her friend offers to lend her a hand. Or possibly your son wants to play a sport but hasn’t joined a team before. A friend may join the team with him. Perhaps your daughter is organizationally challenged. A peer can help arrange her school binder.

Belonging

Peers can rally round your child to maintain self-confidence and a sense of belonging and meaning. (1) Kids usually choose friends who are similar to them. This helps children feel like they belong to something beyond their families. Having good friends with similar values provides fun times together and helps children feel more confident.

Volunteering

Positive peer pressure can also influence peers to volunteer, work towards becoming more “green,” staying away from drugs and alcohol, and thriving in academics and goals. (1) Even amongst school age children, natural leaders will guide peers to make a difference.

Opportunities

Check to see which non-profit organizations allow school age volunteers, such as food banks, homeless shelters, or animal rescue organizations or shelters. Some kids help save our environment. Other children challenge peers to stay away from drugs and alcohol or do well in school. When parents hear about negative peer pressure, keep in mind that peer pressure can also become a very beneficial asset for you and your child.

Source:

1, Peer Pressure: Why it seems worse than ever and how to help kids resist it, Malia Jacobson, August 29, 2013, www.parentingmag.com

2. Image: Image from: Stock.XCHNG www.sxc.hu/ learning-the-rules 909359-s

Suspend Judgment: Reducing Negative Peer Pressure for School Age Children

Suspend Judgment   

Another tip for helping your school age children reduce negative peer pressure is suspending judgment when your child confides in you about his/her peers. 1 Sometimes the “friend” is actually the child him or herself so watch what you say. Your goal is to learn more about the situation by keeping communication open. Become an expert on asking open-ended questions. For example, “Sounds like Matthew’s really struggling. What could you do to help him through this tough time?”

Source:

  1. When Peer Pressure is Good For Your Child, Carolyn Hoyt, Good Housekeeping, Women.com Networks, Inc.

Awareness of “Virtual” Peer Pressure: Reducing Negative Peer Pressure for School Age Children

Another parenting tip for helping reduce negative peer pressure for school age children is to become aware of “virtual” peer pressure and intervene early. A few months ago when I prepared this material for a group of school age parents in Ceres, California, I became distraught about the potential negative consequences of technology.

Everyone Knows

“Children can reject and blackmail others, encourage hate groups and ostracize others instantly. In the past, only your child’s class knew if he was ostracized, today, with Facebook, everyone knows, everyone can see it and everyone reads it right now.” (1)

Collecting “Likes”

Just as financial numbers equal power for some adults, popularity numbers are powerful for various school age children. “Children collect friends and ‘likes’ to demonstrate their popularity and influence–which can be used to pressure peers with a few keystrokes.

A Bully’s Power

Behind a screen, a bully has power.” (1) Bullying has expanded way beyond the school walls. I can’t count the number of television programs and movies I’ve watched about cyber bullying. Children can view so many negative comments and hatred online that it is easy for them to believe that saying things like this is okay. It eventually normalizes “bad” behavior. (1) And this bad behavior gains attention.

Using Technology

So as parents, do we prohibit our children from using the Internet? Some parents do, but the benefits of correctly using technology far outweigh the negatives. Here are five simple ways parents can help protect their children online.

Ways to Protect Online

  •  Connect to your children’s accounts immediately. Control their passwords. Don’t be passive. If you begin monitoring when they’re young, they’ll get used to it.
  • Keep computers in the family living areas where people are around. This helps remind you and your children that you are monitoring their activity. Role model this open accountability standard by using your computer in the same way.
  • Teach your child to use the computer correctly. There are so many fun options for them, keep them busy with learning activities.
  • Periodically check the search bar and view the site history and cache. Teach them what is acceptable and unacceptable for your family. What are warning signs that they are heading towards “dangerous ground”? Here’s one potential warning sign: The cache is empty when you view it!
  • Install a family-friendly software program that helps monitor your Internet. There are many available, even free programs. Consider using a program that reports all activity via email, rather than one that simply blocks certain words.

Feedback

If you’ve used software programs for internet safety, please post your results: good, bad, or otherwise. This can be helpful for other parents.

Sources:

1. Peer Pressure: Why it seems worse than ever and how to help kids resist it, Malia Jacobson, August 29, 2013, www.parentmap.com.

2. Image: technology typewriter image [thebluediamondgallery.com]