“Teen Texting and Teen Driving”

From the mailbag:

"Dear MamaBear,

My teen will soon be driving.  Can you give me some tips on how to make sure she never makes the mistake of texting and driving?

Thanks a lot,

Jen"

Dear J,

Can I ever.

There are two videos I always recommend to my readers:


Make no mistake about it…

Texting and driving is a deadly, deadly, *deadly* combination.

Watch the above with your teen…and then *talk about it*.

Communication rocks…and it can save lives.

Parent powerfully,

— MamaBear

ps – speaking about teen driving, have you seen:

“How can I get my kids to help around the house?”

From the mailbag:

"Dear MamaBear,

My kids simply refuse to do their chores.

What can I do to get this fixed?

Sincerely,

Darryl"

Dear D,

Argh.

MamaBear hates questions like this.

It's very simple.

See, being a part of your family is a privilege and has its responsibilities.

And part of those responsibilities is helping around the house.

It's a rule.

It's a law.

And if your children refuse to help out, you can return the favor in spades; refuse to take them to their outings.

Plain and simple.

Now, I do *not* advise that you simply make the above statement to your kids; instead, tell your kids you're going to call a family meeting about household responsibilities and they're welcome to bring their ideas/suggestions.

At said meeting, *spell out* your expectations.  Ask for their input.

Listen respectfully.  If you feel they have valid points, acknowledge that, validate them, and then move onto what the law of the house will be.

And then *stick* to what you decree.

Remember, your home is *not* a democracy, it's a benevolent dictatorship and you're the benevolent dictator.

For more suggestions, check out:

The younger you start 'em, the easier it will be.  Lots of success to you!

Thus speaks…MamaBear

ps – speaking about chores, have you seen:

“Sewing isn’t right for boys.”

From the mailbag:

"Dear MamaBear,

My son would like to start learning how to sew.

I think that's inappropriate, but my wife thinks it's okay.

Can you please tell me how I can convince her I'm right?

Thanks a lot,

Darren"

Dear D,

Sorry, no can do.

Can't give you any words to convince your wife that you're correct, as personally, I feel you're about as wrong as a New Age Ninja who decrees that neon rainbow outfits work peachy as camouflage in a gathering of Navy Seals.

Let me ask you a simple question:

Can you name any top fashion designers….who are male?

Hmmmm?

Guaranteed, at some time in their life….they actually (gasp!) touched a sewing machine.

See, activities/sports do *not* inappropriate make; instead, it's the personal judgments of parents which cause the issues.

So I'd say instead, ask yourself…what *really* bothers you?

  • Is it that your son isn't *manly* enough?
  • Is it that you worry he'll be laughed at?
  • Is it that you and your wife are having other more serious issues, and this is simply a convenient way to deflect the *real* problems?

What's *really* the issue at heart?

Tackling that…might deliver far more efficient results.

Thus speaks…MamaBear

ps – speaking about sewing, have you seen:

“Where can I find anti-bullying help?”

From the mailbag:

"Dear Mama Bear,

My 9 year old is getting ready for 4th grade.  She was bullied a bit in 3rd grade and worries that it will carry over to this grade.

How can I help her cope?

Sincerely,

Frances in Delaware"

Dear FiD,

Your daughter is very wise to recognize that bullying might continue…once a victim, *always* a victim *unless* she grows a pair of balls and learns how to *not* be a victim.

The first thing you have to do is ensure she knows, from the bottom of her heart, that you are in her corner 120%.

Forget this moose excrement about "zero tolerance" for fighting or standing up for oneself.  If your kids' school has the blazingly stupid policy of suspending both parties if one is simply defending herself…make certain your child knows that if she stands up for herself and gets suspended, you'll reward her.

Just had to get that off me chest I did.

Anywhos!

  • Roleplay with your child.

Play the part of the bully.

Get her used to standing tall and not backing down.

Find out who her friends are (ideally, she *does* have them unlike me back then), invite them all over your house, and talk about how it's great they're all there for one another – there's strength and confidence in numbers.

Other tips for avoiding being bullied include:

and don't forget about:


Hope the above helps!  Bullying is lousy….but your child does *not* have to be the victim.

Thus speaks…MamaBear

ps – speaking about bullying, have you seen:

“Should my kids be on Facebook?”

From the mailbag:

"Dear MamaBear,

My 15 year old wants a Facebook account.

I don't think she should have one, I've heard about all the negatives.

What do you think?

Anonymous"

Dear A,

It all depends upon you, of course, but my take…

I think your 15 year old should have a FB account with the following 2 stipulations.


1.)  He accepts you as a friend.

The fact is, he's underage.  It's your parental responsibility to see what's going on.


2.)  He writes you an essay that outlines all the dangers for social networking.

This way, you *know* he's at least *aware* of cyber-bullying, ganging and the like.

My kids have FB accounts, and you had better believe it…I'm in their networks.

You can also create a fake FB profile and test your child to see if he will blindly accept friends he doesn't know about…I've done that several times to ensure my kids keep to the rules.

Remember, your kid can create a FB account from the library, from his friends' house, etc….it's futile to actually forbid it.

Make sure it's used wisely instead.

Thus speaks…MamaBear

ps – speaking about Facebook, have you seen:

“Help! How Do I Treat Poison Ivy?”

From the mailbag:

"Dear Mama Bear,

I've just discovered there's a whole batch of poison ivy in the park where I take my kids.

Now, they know not to pet the nice shiny leaves, but if the worst case happens….what's the best way to treat it?

Thanks,

Tad in Rhode Island"

Dear TiRI,

Ick.

Poison Ivy.

My gosh, MamaBear breaks out just thinking about it!!

You're wise to consider how to deal with it *before* your kids encounter that Vine of Death.

I've found

to be remarkably effective; it's expensive, mind you, but if you can slap it on within half an hour of contact, it really does help eradicate the poison ivy effects.

Additionally, here are some other resources:

and don't forget about:


In closing,

First aid for poison ivy…it's a very Good Thing indeed!

So make sure to have all the tools you'll need….before it's required.

Thus speaks…MamaBear

ps – you can get discounted Zanfel like so:

 

“Where can I find reading software?”

From the mailbag:

"Dear Mama Bear,

I really want my 4 year old to start reading.  How can I help with that?  What softwares are available?

Anonymous"

Dear A,

While I applaud you wanting to teaching your child how to read, 4 might be a wee bit too early.

Might not, mind you, but don't expect it to happen quickly.

First, here's some resources:


Regarding reading software, here's what's popular at Amazon.com today:

#1: Reader Rabbit I Can Read With Phonics 1st and 2nd Grade

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:06 AM
Reader Rabbit

Reader Rabbit I Can Read With Phonics 1st and 2nd Grade
by The Learning Company
Platform: Windows XP / Me, Mac OS 9 and below
3.5 out of 5 stars(24)

Buy new: $19.99 $6.65
12 used & new from $2.71

(Visit the Bestsellers in Reading & Language list for authoritative information on this product's current rank.)

 

#2: Reader Rabbit Reading Ages 4-6

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:06 AM

Reader Rabbit

Reader Rabbit Reading Ages 4-6
by Riverdeep
Platform: Windows XP, Mac OS 9 and below
3.4 out of 5 stars(29)

Buy new: $9.99 $6.92
19 used & new from $2.99

(Visit the Bestsellers in Reading & Language list for authoritative information on this product's current rank.)

 

#3: Reader Rabbit Playtime for Baby and Toddler

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:06 AM

Reader Rabbit

Reader Rabbit Playtime for Baby and Toddler
by The Learning Company
Platform: Windows 98 / Me / 2000 / XP, Mac OS 9 and below
4.6 out of 5 stars(47)

Buy new: $19.99 $6.09
17 used & new from $3.99

(Visit the Bestsellers in Reading & Language list for authoritative information on this product's current rank.)

 

#4: Reader Rabbit Learn to Read With Phonics

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:06 AM

Reader Rabbit

Reader Rabbit Learn to Read With Phonics
by The Learning Company
Platform: Windows, Mac
3.8 out of 5 stars(45)

Buy new: $19.99 $7.45
14 used & new from $2.93

(Visit the Bestsellers in Reading & Language list for authoritative information on this product's current rank.)

 

#5: Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade Mis-cheese-ious Dreamship Adventures

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:06 AM

Reader Rabbit

Reader Rabbit 2nd Grade Mis-cheese-ious Dreamship Adventures
by The Learning Company
Platform: Windows, Mac
4.2 out of 5 stars(6)

Buy new: $19.99 $5.95
22 used & new from $1.89

(Visit the Bestsellers in Reading & Language list for authoritative information on this product's current rank.)

 

#6: Reader Rabbit Personalized 1st Grade Deluxe

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:06 AM

Reader Rabbit

Reader Rabbit Personalized 1st Grade Deluxe
by Learning Company
Platform: Windows, Mac
3.0 out of 5 stars(7)

Buy new: $29.95 $8.66
27 used & new from $2.49

(Visit the Bestsellers in Reading & Language list for authoritative information on this product's current rank.)

 

#7: Disney's Adventures in Typing with Timon & Pumbaa

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:06 AM

Disneys Adventures

Disney's Adventures in Typing with Timon & Pumbaa
by Disney Interactive
Platform: Windows 95 / 98
4.0 out of 5 stars(31)

Buy new: $29.99
18 used & new from $1.69

(Visit the Bestsellers in Reading & Language list for authoritative information on this product's current rank.)

 

#8: JumpStart Kindergarten

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:06 AM

JumpStart Kindergarten

JumpStart Kindergarten
by Knowledge Adventure
Platform: Windows 98 / XP / Vista / 2000, Mac, Mac OS X
3.2 out of 5 stars(10)

Buy new: $19.99 $9.99
23 used & new from $1.45

(Visit the Bestsellers in Reading & Language list for authoritative information on this product's current rank.)

 

#9: Grammar Made Easy

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:06 AM

Grammar Made

Grammar Made Easy
by Global Software Publishing
Platform: Windows Vista / 98 / 2000 / Me / XP, Mac OS X Intel, Mac OS X, Mac OS 9 and below
2.7 out of 5 stars(3)

Buy new: $19.99 $6.98
19 used & new from $4.00

(Visit the Bestsellers in Reading & Language list for authoritative information on this product's current rank.)

 

#10: DR SEUSS GREEN EGGS AND HAM

Tuesday, August 16, 2011 7:06 AM

DR SEUSS

DR SEUSS GREEN EGGS AND HAM
by THE LEARNING COMPANY
Platform: Windows, Mac
3.4 out of 5 stars(7)

Buy new: $19.95 $6.78
27 used & new from $0.25

So, as you can see….there's lots of great reading software choices out there for you.

Thus speaks…MamaBear

ps – you can also get great reading goodies from eBay too!

 

 

“Cheap school supplies coupons?”

From the mailbag:

"Dear MamaBear,

School is starting soon!  I have 6 children; do you know where I can get cheap school supplies?

Thanks,

Rob"

Dear Rob,

MamaBear loves cheap!  Anything that saves money and does the trick is a Very Good Thing indeed.

Off the top of me head, I'd recommend:

That should start you off grand!

Thus speaks…MamaBear

ps – speaking about coupons, have you seen:

“Doesn’t like my meals”

From the mailbag:

"Dear MamaBear,

My 10 year old son doesn't like what I make, and refuses to eat.  I have to make special food for him!  How can I stop this practice?

Sincerely,

Beth from Colorado"

Dear BfC,

How's this for an idea?

Let your kid starve.

Actually, I'm serious.  Missing one meal won't make a bit of difference in his overall health, but perhaps he'll learn that Mom is not a special order cook for him!

Certainly, you can ask your kids what they prefer.  But after taking everything into consideration, you make what you see fit…and if your child doesn't like it, well…

These things happen.  Man up, cupcake!  :)

Let said kid know they don't get dessert and they're welcome to fix their own healthy meals.

But you will *not* cater to their whims.

They'll learn.

Thus speaks…MamaBear

“How can birds stand on electric wires?”

From the mailbag:

"Dear Mama Bear,

My 7 year old learned all about safety outside regarding wires and stuff like that.

Being a curious kid, he then asked, if wires carry electricity, why can birds stand on them?

Do you know?

Thanks,

Gerald"

Dear G,

Love the fact your kid asks questions like this!  It's really neat.

The answer is actually pretty simple – to get electrocuted, you need to "complete the circuit"; ie, provide a way for electricity to enter and exit.

Birds are only touching one wire, hence, they're safe.

Here's some more explanations:


Here's what happens when you *do* complete the circuit…

Hope that helps you explain it to your child!

Thus speaks…MamaBear