Friday, June 22nd, 2012
Yesterday, I found myself a little awestruck when I met Debbie Phelps (mom of Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps), who is a warm, effusive, and gregarious woman — someone I could see myself talking to and with for hours, over endless cups of coffee and warm pastries.
Debbie was in New York City with her daughter, Hilary, on behalf of The Century Council, a non-profit with the mission to fight underage drinking and drunk driving through their Ask. Listen. Learn. program. Debbie had appeared on the Today Show before sitting down for an intimate lunch with some mom bloggers and online media folk to talk about her involvement in the program and to share some parenting stories from her 2009 memoir, “A Mother for All Seasons.”
She discussed her son’s own arrest for a DUI at age 19. Even though he had been taught that it was wrong and dangerous to drink and drive, he still made the mistake. “We all fall on our faces,” she said, but the key was to continue teaching values. “We need to instill what’s already known to [our kids] and to enforce and enhance it.” According to The Century Council, parents are the leading provider of alcohol to underage kids and the average drinking age is 11. As a result, it’s important for “parents to model good and bad behavior through what they do and don’t do.”
Even after Debbie and her husband divorced, she didn’t stop or slow down her busy schedule. Before relocating to Baltimore to be closer to a better swim facility, she drove her three kids (Hilary, the second daughter Whitney, and Michael) two hours each way, at different hours and on different days, to various swim practices and competitions. Both her daughters trained at Olympic levels before Michael became the youngest swimmer (at 15) to make the 2000 Sydney Olympics. In the midst of kinetic and emotional moments, known as “DP moments,” Debbie and her family relied on having “calmness and composure,” always taking time to release tension and address big issues with quiet steadiness. To remind herself and her children to always maintain an even-keeled manner, she cups her hand into a “C” and holds it up as a sign.
As Michael heads to the London Olympics (which is being touted as his last Olympics), Debbie is looking forward to taking a real vacation with her family (after having put off a trip to Disney for years). Even though she is a principal at a middle school in Baltimore, she is thinking about heading back to school herself and getting a post doctorate degree. She aims to live life to the fullest.
When asked about the best parenting advice she received, Debbie shared two. For swimming it was, “Never pack or carry [your child's] swim bags” (translation: let your child be independent and self-sufficient!). For raising kids it was, “Let them think for themselves” (translation: let them be individuals!).
Follow Debbie Phelps on Twitter at @mamaphelpsH20 | Read blog posts by Hilary Phelps at hilary-phelps.com
More Parents.com features on the Olympics:
Categories: GoodyBlog | Tags: 2012 Olympics Games, debbie phelps, drinking, drunk driving, hilary phelps, London Olympics, michael phelps, Olympics, Olympics 2012, summer olypmics, the century council, underage drinking
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
Shipments From Abroad to Help Ease Shortage of Two Cancer Drugs
Dire shortages of two critical cancer drugs — shortfalls that have threatened the lives and care of thousands of patients — should be resolved within weeks, federal drug officials said.
Moms with Migraines Twice as Likely to Have Baby with Colic
When babies with colic cry – sometimes for weeks at a time – Mom and Dad might get headaches. But according to a new study, a mother’s headache may be causing her baby’s colic in the first place.
Exercise in Pregnancy Safe for Baby, Study Finds
Exercising at moderate or — for very active women — even high intensity during pregnancy won’t hurt your baby’s health, a new study finds.
Movies Influence Teen Alcohol Consumption More than Parents, Study Finds
Major exposure to scenes of alcohol consumption in movies is a bigger risk for teen drinking than having parents who drink or if booze is easily available at home, says a new study.
Authorities Say Children Tied to Bed in Texas Home
The eight children confined in a small, dark bedroom with a piece of plywood over the window included two 2-year-olds tied to a bed and a 5-year-old girl “in a restraint on a filthy mattress,” the child welfare worker who discovered them said in a court document.
Parents Sentenced Over Kids’ Drowning During Camping Trip
The parents of two Ohio youngsters who drowned during a family camping trip have been sentenced to 12 years in prison for not better protecting their children from harm, The Columbus Dispatch reports.
Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
Here, Tweeting Is a Class Requirement
Big consumer-products companies are going back to school. (Wall Street Journal)
Dad, I Prefer the Shiraz
Parents teach their children how to swim, how to ride a bicycle and how to drive. Should they also teach their teenagers how to drink responsibly? (Wall Street Journal)
Making Kids Work on Goals (And Not Just In Soccer)
Thirteen-year-old Jackson Sikes has been struggling for years to raise his test scores in math. When he got a 33% last year on fractions, Jackson says, “I didn’t know how I was ever going to learn them.” Battling his homework just made him frustrated, says his mother Linda, of Gilmer, Texas. (Wall Street Journal)
Cancer During Pregnancy on the Rise
Lisa Peterson Bender is coping with two conflicting but very real truths: She’s eight months pregnant. And she has breast cancer. (Aol Health)
21 Priests Suspended in Philadelphia
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Tuesday that it had suspended 21 priests from active ministry in connection with accusations that involved sexual abuse or otherwise inappropriate behavior with minors. (New York Times)
Snoring: Nuisance Or Serious Health Problem?
Whether it’s a loud sawing or one of those grating, breathy affairs, snoring can be irritating for both snorer and significant other alike. So irritating, in fact, that recent Department of Health advertisements promoting marital health highlighted snoring as a potential source of tension. (Huffington Post)