Posts Tagged ‘ television ’

Responding to Stephanie Metz’s Viral Rant About Helicopter Parents

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

I like to think I’m not a helicopter parent. I certainly worry but I try not to hover. And as much as I want Fia and Emmett to stay with me forever and never leave (kidding, but I do have my moments of wanting to bottle this time in my life with them) I consider it my duty to teach them independence from me.

I see friends who coddle their kids incessantly. I had a playdate once where Fia took a toy from a kid. She was 2. The mom kind of freaked. “Fia, give the toy back. You can’t take it from her,” she yelled. But the little girl wasn’t even playing with the toy. Nor did she care. Still, I instantly made sure Fia promptly returned the toy.  I want to teach my kids to share, and no, I don’t believe in the RIE movement of letting your kids work everything out on their own.  But sometimes we hover too much. Or not enough. Hard to say.

Sidenote: here is my favorite RIE moment: a mom brings her kid over and he finds a 4 foot long tree branch and starts waving it around, nearly pummeling Fia. Instead of taking the stick away she says, “I try not to get too involved because I want him to learn the space around him.” Um, okay, what about my child’s brain that almost got fractured? RIE parenting at its finest. Needless to say she never came over again.

So now I ask: who is aware of Stephanie Metz and the blog post she wrote, about helicopter parenting and bullying, that went viral? Who agrees and disagrees with what she is saying? On many points, I agree with her. But on others, I think she needs to realize that with bullying, we do live in a different world than the one she and I grew up in. There were not the Columbines and the Newtowns of the world. I’m guessing since she lives in North Dakota, she is pro-gun. Most people in that part of the country are. So her “world” is probably different from someone who is raising a kid in LA, Chicago or NYC.

Nevertheless, here are some of her points (and click here to read the entire blog):

Many years ago, there was a time where young boys could run around with their toy guns, killing the bad guys.  You could take the toy guns away from the little boys, and they’d find something else around them – a stick, their fingers, etc –  and pretend it was a gun.  Today, those little boys – if caught doing that – are labeled as threats, and immediate action is taken to remove that threat from the group.

I don’t totally buy that. I know plenty of little boys who run around playing pretend gun who don’t get removed from their group or school. But with gun violence at record numbers, shouldn’t gun-playing other than the Lone Ranger and Tonto, be, if not discouraged, at least not encouraged? And I do know that boys typically do display that behavior even if they grow up in an anti-gun house. They just pick it up somewhere, like preschool. I will say that I am not going to encourage Emmet to run around “playing gunfight” and I’m not going to buy him a toy gun. At least not now. Maybe when he’s 7 my perspective will change.

Your child, who you cater to every need, who you shelter from all things “evil.”  How will this child react when he or she grows into adulthood?  ”Debbie” graduates from high school and goes to college.  She writes her first paper and meets with her professor about that paper and the professor tells her that it’s junk and it will get a failing grade.  How will Debbie cope with that if she’s always been made to feel that no one should ever make her feel sad, or criticize anything she does?

I totally agree with her. That’s why I’m against giving rewards for every little accomplishment. Or when they play team sports and “everybody wins.” Kids need to learn how to lose. Just like they need to learn how to be bored (in regards to my technology post this week that frankly scared the crap out of me with the new research related to kids and boredom). And I do think technology has a lot to do with this as well.

Stephanie writes about how kids grow up and find rejection in the workplace and the real world. She writes about how they can’t handle it. I agree. Kids can’t learn coping skills on any level when they  grow up buried in their gadgets. They can’t learn proper socialization either. So for me, this is a combo of helicopter parenting and parenting with your iPad.  She seems on the mark with that too.

My children are all but ignored when they ask for something without using manners.  They understand that when someone addresses or speaks to them, they are to speak back.  When we go out to eat, we don’t take 5 electronic devices to keep them “entertained” for the 15 minutes we have to wait for our food.  If Hendrix is “bored” (and I use that term loosely), then he can put on his jacket and go play outside.

But where I don’t agree with her is in her stance on bullying.

There was a time – not too long ago – when bullying was defined as slamming someone up against a locker and stealing their lunch money.  There was a time when kids got called names and got picked on, and they brushed it off and worked through it (ask me how I know this).  Now, if Sally calls Susie a bitch (please excuse my language if that offends you), Susie’s whole world crumbles around her, she contemplates suicide, and this society encourages her to feel like her world truly has ended, and she should feel entitled to a world-wide pity party.  And Sally – phew!  She should be jailed!  She should be thrown in juvenile detention for acting like – gasp – a teenage girl acts.

Again, factor in the technology. Factor in that peers can totally f–k with you on Facebook, Twitter, etc. This is the first generation where this is happening. And it’s not good. Add that to the peer pressure of a teenage boy and girl and we’ve seen tragic results. I don’t think kids who are bullied become suicidal solely because they had helicopter parents. But once again, when kids aren’t taught to lose, cope or be bored, it’s a lethal combination on many levels.

So go read her post, weigh in and let me know your thoughts. Her post went from 8 readers to over a million, so it’s worth taking a look at.

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pic of helicopter and stroller via Shutterstock

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Why I Hate My Toddler’s Favorite TV Show

Monday, October 29th, 2012

You know what pisses me off? Television for my kids. Okay, I’ll admit it. Fia hasn’t learned to spell or read only from us. We read books every night, but what has really taught her is Sesame Street and Super Why. Both PBS shows (please don’t take away Big Bird if–god forbid–you get elected Romney).

But what these shows, particularly Super Why, has also taught her is to fear–of the dark, of shadows, of monsters. These are things she never even contemplated before. She has always slept in a pitch-black room, with one small nightlight. But ever since an episode of Super Why where the little girl was scared in the night, Fia has insisted we keep her closet light on and her door slightly open. The latter has meant she can hear Emmett cry and subsequently she wakes up. But that’s not nearly as frustrating as watching her become afraid.

Her recent fascination with shadows is at times fun and playful (and annoying when you decide on a stupid whim to have her sleep in bed with you), but other times it’s steeped in fear. “Mama, look at that shadow!” she’ll whine. “It’s S-C-A-R-Y!”

Spiders are another one. In the past she loved to look at them. Now she screams, “Mama, a spider!” and runs the other way. Even spider webs, which used to fascinate, have her freaked.

I don’t want to totally bash TV because I am fully aware of the tradeoff. She has learned a ton from it. But producers, do you have to frighten in your themes? Learning is fun for them. Being scared isn’t.

If we never taught our children to fear the dark or spiders, would they grow up not afraid? Or is this something that eventually happens by being a member of society anyway? In other words, am I kidding myself to think I could have avoided her arachnophobia if she hadn’t seen those episodes? I’m not sure. I know she never learned the word “mine” and toy-grabbing until she hung out with kids who did that. But how did those kids learn? Was it just inherent in their personalities and thus this is just part of life? Or did they learn it from someone who learned it from something, and so on?

Of course when it’s appropriate, she’ll learn stranger danger (we should probably start on that soon), the basics of safety and eventually the staggering problems of the world. But during the tender age of toddlerhood I could stand her being left in the dark a bit longer. Without a light on.

 

Afraid of Dark Picture via Shutterstock

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Milestone Monday: Food Dilemma: I’m Doing it All Wrong–Except I’m Not

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Author’s Note: Join me every Monday as I share Fia’s ongoing milestone (mis)adventures–from potty training to talking to everything in between.  Mayhem and mischief guaranteed on Milestone Monday!

Eating her Arm, While Distracted by Computer. Whatever Works!

I think we’ve turned a food corner. I’ve written a few posts about how frustrating it is to feed Fi.  And how I’ve just given in to Sesame Street. She watches while I shove food in her mouth. But lately–dare I say–it’s been getting better? In fact, the TV is rarely on when she eats.

Let me first back up: A few days before our move to LA in October, I took Fia to the pediatrician. I thought Wayne had accidentally scratched her eye, though nothing too severe (apparently a corneal scratch will take a 500-pound man to his knees, fyi. She was just a little whiny and occasionally would point to her eye and say “hurts”). Turns out, her eye was fine. But while I was there, the pediatrician asked about some other things, including Fia’s eating habits. I love Dr. Gold because she is a straight shooter. And her advice seems pragmatic.

I proudly told her our television was in transit and how I’ve turned to circus performing during meal times. I dance, I sing. I do anything to distract and shove food in. But I don’t turn on the television. This seemed a huge milestone to me.  She shook her head. Uh-oh, I thought.

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Germs Germs Go Away

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

 

Shooting Germ Segment

I’m a germ phobe (read my blog on grout issues). I’ve gotten better but I do dig hand sanitizer. Right before I moved to LA, I was on a shoot with one of my best friends and her two daughters. They were superstars and I was so happy they agreed to be our guinea pigs. Here’s the video.

Staying Healthy At Home

As you can see, the shoot was about germs and keeping ourselves and our kids clean. A few highlights:

(note: the shoot was in conjunction with Better TV and sponsored in part by Sani-Hands, so what I learned was from the reps of the company).

Some of the top germ spots in your house are: your computer, your mouse and your cell phone (think about the iphone. Your fingers touch the same surface you talk into. It’s one of the reasons I stick with my blackberry. At least part of the front isn’t touched by my fingers).

And get this: your computer keyboard has 200 times more bacteria than a toilet sick. Gross. I could get sick right now thinking about it all.

Then there’s the usual: Doorknobs, light switches, countertops, refrigerator door handle, etc.

And even though you may not know it, you touch your face a lot during the day.

Here’s what else I learned on the shoot:

Hand sanitizer gel isn’t as effective as you may think (granted, this is the competing sani-wipes company speaking, but it kind of makes sense). You’d have to put a lot of gel in your hands to really kill all the germs. The pea or nickel size we typically use, while killing some germs, just more or less moves them around. I’m told the sani-hands wipes are more effective because they have the right dosage of germ killing power, plus the friction from wiping doesn’t spread the germs, but gets rid of them. Within 15 seconds.

I must admit, I carry little packets of alcohol wipes when I travel. Think about all the places germs linger: on airplane armrests, on remote controls, phones and light fixtures in hotels, steering wheels and stick shifts of cars. I know that many germs are important, and building up a good immune system is imperative to long term health and hygiene. But I do often wipe down some of the things I mentioned above.  The company we shot with gave me a bunch in travel size packets.

They came in handy during my barfing incident with Fia. However, I would have needed a gallon to do the job on that one.

Just figured I’d share. Flu season is nearly here. Fingers crossed none of us get it!

 

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Moving With a Barfing Baby

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

We Broke All The Rules. TV. Pacifier.

When we got to JFK I saw 2 signs: one for the chapel and the other for the restroom. I wasn’t sure which one I needed more. Divine intervention or soap.

We had just left Brooklyn at 7 a.m. to begin our new life in LA. We looked like the Brooklyn-to-Beverly Hillbillies. We had Wayne Sanchez as one carry on, 4 other carry-ons, 4 pieces of luggage, her stroller, and of course we three humans.

The driver, like most of them in New York, kept hitting the gas and brake. Stop and go. Stop and go. I was getting worried, but just hoped we’d make it. No such luck. 10 minutes from the airport, Fia whispered, “uh oh” and out came the barf. It went everywhere. Luckily for us, I had asked to use the driver’s car seat, because I didn’t feel like dealing with installing ours at that hour.

I won’t go into the stench. All parents know how horrendous it is. Make that double horrid when you’re 7 months pregnant and your sense of smell is heightened.

Poor Fia was crying. The driver didn’t say a word. I’m sure he was furious. I told him we’d give him extra for the cleaning. Phil and I were dealing with the aftermath, trying to clean up Fia with wipes, but really there was no point. She just had to sit in her vomit. And we all had to sit in the smelly van with her vomit. The only person who wasn’t rattled was Wayne.

I rushed Fia to the bathroom and the kind TSA women who saw us rushed over some plastic bags for her clothes. Thank god for national security.

I gave her a bath in the sink and managed to get off the smell. Slightly redeemed, we rushed to our gate, the last to board, looking like the 3-ring circus we were.

The plane was packed. All our carry-ons had to go under the seat. Wayne took up so much space we were literally scrunched with our knees to our chest. Fia fell sleep on takeoff and landing. The remaining, oh, 5 hours or so, was sheer entertainment and avoiding the ambush.  Wayne didn’t make a peep.

This may have been the worse travel day of my life. Oh, but it gets better.

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