Sunday, October 31, 2010

How old is too old to Trick-or-treat

Once again I had two good examples of why Haloween is not my favorite.  I have to say I love the cute kids in their costumes.  However the couple in their late teens with a three week old, that held up a bag and said the candy was for the baby, and the family (father and mother who looked to be in their 30's with a girl about 11) that each came up with their bags probably was over the edge.  Why is a 30 year old trick or treating? 

Have a safe and happy holiday.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The end of adolescence

Most professional literature not marks the end of adolescence at about 24 years of age.  This is just one of many statistics that we can look at to try to understand our kids and the world in which they live.  The average age of first marriage is not 27.8 for men and 26.8 for women.  The average length of time to get a 4-year degree is now 5 years.  Most students change their major more than twice while is college.  To those hard working parents of another generation this seems confusing because we see ourselves as being very career oriented and able to see the big picture.  We had many of the same choices to make that our children are being faced with but we seem to have weathered it easier. 

When our teens are having problems it is important to help them plan for themselves but then allow them to make the choices as they are the ones who will have to live with the consequences.  This then brings us to the largest problem.  We have been more invested in our children's lives than any prior generation and it is not easy to break away and become independent.  We want to help them solve their problems when what they need is space and time and to use us as a sounding board when they are ready.  We try to speed the process or help them see what to us is obvious.  All this does is add pressure.  Sometimes it then caused them to push us away or to make choices that make no sense as then are wanting to say, "give me space."

What parents can do:
Meet regularly with your teen to get updates.
Ask a few questions but mainly listen and wait for them to ask you.
Don't try to make everything you say be a lesson to be learned, this sounds like preaching.
Have your teen help you with tasks, don't send them to do tasks or load on responsibility.
Let them know you care and that you trust them to make the right decision.
Encourage them to talk with their bishop or other trusted adult for some issues that they just need another adult view about.
Don't take it personal.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I have to start by saying that Halloween is probably my least favorite holiday.  I have nothing against the candy, the dressing up or the visiting neighbors.  Possibly it could be the begging door to door, or that we see high school students doing it.  It also could be that being scared or scaring someone is not my version of fun.  I can think of better things to do. 

When I took over the preschool program where I am at years ago they had a long tradition of dressing the kids in their costumes and going throughout the campus to all of the offices.  The kids could show off their costumes and get candy.  Even 13 years after ending that practice I still have long term employees of the university who say they miss it. 

It is appropriate to ask, "What is the educational value of doing this?"  Back in the day when children and their parents created costumes out of whatever was available in the house it was not such a big deal, but today where most costumes are bought with little to no planning or preparation all of the value of the holiday is lost.  On top of that, should the costume get damaged in any way while at school you then have both an upset child and an upset parent.  Some parents have said that "I just don't understand how much their three year old looks forward to Halloween." 

Really!  Let's see, she was two years old last time Halloween came around and was that memory something she had or reflective of you and the media hype of the holiday. 

I love holidays but they need to be a chance to celebrate and not a chance to buy happiness.  So on Halloween I have be home with my 400 pieces of candy by the door, hoping that only 100 children come by and looking forward to the end of the evening, hoping everyone made it home safely.  Have a great day.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

When bad things happen.

It is easy to see why someone would be mad, confused, angry, upset, etc. when bad things happen that are out of our control.  What helps, but is hard to do is to have a forgiving heart and put your trust and faith in God and the future.  Until you can forgive those who have done things that have affected you and others badly you remain trapped in the current of an inescapable whirlpool. 

Model for children what you are having the hardest time managing for yourself.  You are their example.  While it might be hard, it is easier if your focus is on them rather than on yourself or on the person who has caused the problem and the feelings.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Teens being forced to deal with very adult issues

In today's world where families are undergoing such a wide variety of stresses there are more teens that are dealing with some pretty tough issues.  The first thing as a parent to think about is that as bad as it might be there is probably not anything new that others have not had to deal with.  We have always had death, divorce, economic crisis, parental unemployment, etc.  It goes back to that old saying, "The death of 100 men is a statistic. The death of one man is a tragedy."  What is the real issue is that this is new to that individual.  It really does not change the hurt, confusion, depression, etc. that the iindividual has to deal with.  Each individual and each problem is different.  It would be wonderful if there was a prescription for parents on how to respond to these issues in a standard manner. 

What we do know is that there are some basic guidelines for parents:
1.  Every teen needs someone they can talk with and have open honest communication with.
2.  Teens need parents and not parents as best friends.
3.  Teens need rules and role models.
4.  Parents need to work toward simplification when life throws them and their children a curve.
5.  Families in crisis usually pull together to get through difficult times.  This is generally a good thing.
6.  Parents and their teens need to plan together for a positive future.

The biggest tragedy is the loss of hope for the future.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


What are the things that make a couple grow together?
1.  Similar goals
2.  Similar interests
3.  Listening
4.  Being willing to acccept that you might be wrong
5.  Being married is more important than being right.
6.  Serving one another
7.  Say nice things about each other to other people
8.  Date
9.  Plan for the marriage and not just for the wedding
10.  Laugh together.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Guiding Media Choices

Many parents today are concerned about the choices of media that are available to their children.  One father lamented about his 12 year old son, "he has been exposed to so much already and from now on he really won't be listening to what I have to say, so I guess this is what we have from now on."  Meaning he thought that his role as a parent ended when his son hit his teen age years. 

It is true that some things change as children age and the relationship does change.  What does not change is the child's need for a role model that will likely be needed for both this son and also for his peers.  It is likely that other adults in the community are abdicating their responsibility and have similarly given up.  Teen age boys and girls need someone to look to that likes them and is dedicated to helping them reach adulthood.

Worthwhile activities also provide support as long as the leaders are there to help youth take on leadership and growth promoting roles.  These might include scouts, 4-H, church groups, sports, and clubs of interest in the community and through schools.  This age is also a place where service to others is perfectly placed.  They can learn how to work.  It is always easier to work with someone else to provide service that to do that exact same task within your own home.  Doing the service side by side with a parent or other mentor sends a powerful message and shows respect for the youth and for the individual receiving the service.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Who gets a shower?

Today in class we had a brief discussion of who gets a wedding shower / baby shower.  As I figured it would be, the purpose of a shower has been lost through he years. 

When asked what is the purpose of a shower the answer was.  -   To get or give gifts. 

Why give gifts? -   Because they are getting married. 

If someone has lived with their fiancee for 3 - 5 years and they are now going to get married, do they get a shower?  -   Of course they do, they are getting married. 

Wedding showers are no longer associated with the starting of a household together. 

Baby showers are now something that the mother deserves for each child, because they are having a baby.  It is an opportunity to rake in more presents.

This generation has never known of a world without bridal and baby registries.  Having a shower or multiple showers is now a right. 

The only place that they drew a line was if people ask for entertainment (big screen TV's, X-Box or Wii) as wedding presents.  The rationale is "why should we pay for their entertainment."  Why not, we are paying for everything else.