Best Holiday Gift for Teens

Are you looking for the BEST gift to give this holiday? Look no further, I’ve found it and so excited to share all about this amazing computer. Even though it’s for my teenage daughter, I also want one for myself!  Sponsored by Intel Best Holiday Gift for Teens Deciding on gifts for my two teenagers […]

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To My Friends With Kids: Sorry I’ve Been Avoiding You

Hey pal, hope you’re doing well.

Sorry that I’ve been avoiding you since you became a parent. It seemed like a lot to handle and I didn’t want to get in the way.

Also, I had very little interest in your kids. No interest at all, to be honest.

But now I have my own kid, so that’s changed. Self-interest has made me a better man. We should hang out again sometime!

I’m sorry I haven’t been there throughout your kid’s development. Doing anything social before sundown just seemed like a total drag and you were always talking about “bedtime” as if it were a real thing and not some propaganda invented by Big Business to sell more mattresses.

Remember how I used to run away when your kid started crying? I don’t do that anymore. Now I empathize and try to learn from your experience.

Oh no, your daughter thinks her room-temperature macaroni and cheese is still too hot? That’s such a relatable problem that’s totally worth discussing. Let’s crack open a case of Capri Suns and talk coping strategies.

It’s clear now that I was wrong to make that disapproving gesture after you told me the cute nickname that your toddler has for Grandma.

We’re still trying to figure out what my daughter should call my mother-in-law, so I promise this time I’ll listen.

You go with MeeMee for one and Nonna for the other? That’s adorable, please continue. Since we’re on the subject, when did your kid say her first word? Mine just chokes on her fingers – should I be concerned?

Because we’re friends, we probably went through something together that you didn’t take way too seriously.

Cracking jokes with you about the overly ambitious co-worker, the oddly eccentric professor, or the clueless customer probably helped me get through some pretty boring times. It turns out that was all small potatoes compared to how seriously other parents take themselves. They schedule everything including the time to sit down and make schedules.

I can’t do this alone. I need you now more than ever to help me navigate this minefield of all-natural, BPA-free, kid-friendly society.

I need a pair of eyes to roll mine towards the first time an adult asks me to sit “criss-cross applesauce,” and I hope they’re yours.

I’m a stay-at-home dad now, so I literally have nothing else going on. Jenny goes back to work this week, and I’m scared to be alone. The baby keeps looking at me like there’s something more I should be doing.

The worst part is, I think she’s right. But I have no idea what that something is – Legos, maybe? Could be anything.

Wanna grab a bite to eat? We can go wherever you want, as long as the men’s room has a baby changing station. Restaurants are way less crowded on a Tuesday at 10 AM.

What’s going on this summer? We should walk around a pond together or sit in a shaded part of the parking lot until my baby stops crying. That’s what I’ll be doing, with or without you.

Not to brag, but my local library has a Keurig now if you’re looking for coffee on the cheap. Or we could go to a petting zoo and make fun of the stupid sheep. I’m up for pretty much anything.

I know it’s been a while since we talked, but I promise there won’t be any awkward silences. I could easily talk through a full meal by just comparing butt creams.

Who came up with the color choice for Boudreaux’s butt paste anyways? And why is that other brand butt cream so watery? The last thing our kids need down there is something else that’s runny, right? See, we already have an inside joke!

I’ve seen the error of my ways and promise to be a better friend. At least until your kids become teens. Those things are the worst.

The post To My Friends With Kids: Sorry I’ve Been Avoiding You appeared first on Scary Mommy.

How The Phrase ‘I Wonder’ Can Guide — Rather Than Direct — Your Teen

When I was pregnant with my first kid, I used to fantasize about how well my kids would listen to me. I would preempt tantrums by using a calm, patient voice and offering reasonable alternatives. Once my kid became a teenager, he would always care about my opinion because I’d phrase everything in such a perfect way, he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from listening. I would have all the answers and my kids would be eager to hear them.

LOL forever and ever for all eternity.

Not that my two kids and I don’t have a fantastic relationship. We do. It’s just that, after 13 years in this gig, my little fantasy is proving to be just that — a fantasy. It’s pretty, but it bears little resemblance to reality.

My kids, like all kids, are their own autonomous beings with their own ideas, opinions, and whims. And, no matter how smart they think I am, no matter how good my ideas are, they want to exercise that autonomy. In fact, the pushier I am with my ideas about how they should do things, the more resistant they are to comply.

Two simple words can start a dialogue.

That’s why, lately, I’ve been trying to back off of giving my kids explicit advice or direct commands. Instead, whenever possible, I start discussions using the phrase, “I wonder…” I came across the idea in an article on Medium, where LCSW Jason B. Hobbs explains why, in his private practice, he often finds himself encouraging parents to use this simple phrase with their kids.

Hobbs points out that, as with any skill we are trying to improve at, making independent decisions takes practice. If parents dictate every move their kids make, the kids don’t get a chance to flex those decision-making muscles. Beginning a dialogue with the phrase “I wonder” encourages them to do so.

We parents often can’t help ourselves from jumping in to provide direction to our kids, even when it means we’re only getting in our kids’ way. Studies have shown that children, especially younger children, learn better the less adults interfere. In one study, a complicated toy was given to 4-year-olds. In one group, the children were allowed to figure out on their own all the different things the toy could do. The other group was given instructions by an adult on how to use the toy. Guess which group figured out more things to do with the toy? Too much instruction literally hinders a child’s learning.

From dictating our kids’ play to making larger decisions for them without their input, we convey the message that we doubt their ability to learn and make smart choices. Before even giving them a chance, we jump in with our vast life knowledge and tell them what we think they should do. Their brains are primed to experiment and seek independence, and yet we send them the implicit message that we don’t think they can handle it.

Use “I wonder…” to show your kids you care what they think and that you trust them.

Imagine if, as you’re trying to make a decision about whether to purchase an SUV or a van, someone butts in with, “You should take the van! It’s roomier and more practical!” But this person doesn’t know you’ve already reviewed all the specs on both vehicles, and the SUV has better gas mileage and just as much seating as the van, plus will fit in your garage better. The person didn’t even ask what factors were most important to you. They assumed they knew what was best for you and jumped in with their opinion.

That’s how we can make our kids feel when we neglect to include them in the decision-making process. It can make them feel  like we don’t trust them, or like we don’t think they’re smart enough to decide things on their own.

At the moment, I’m using “I wonder…” with my teen son to help him decide which high school to attend next year. It’s a big decision. His zoned school is a very good school, a traditional high school with a football team, a solid music program, and respectable academics, especially their IB program.

Also nearby is a choice school that is the highest ranked school in the state and one of the top 500 in the country. It’s a college-prep school with fewer students and no football program, a rigorous academic program–so rigorous that many students transfer out to their zoned school after a year–and a college-acceptance rate of 100%. I know of parents whom, when their kids were accepted to this school, didn’t give their kid a choice. If they get in, they go. No discussion about it.

But, if my son is accepted, I will let him decide whether to attend. I trust him to make the right choice for him. I trust him because when I say, “I wonder how much difference you’d see between the AP classes from one school to another,” or “I wonder how you’d feel in a big school versus a small school,” or “I wonder if it would help to talk to students from both schools to get an idea of how they feel about their school,” he works through those answers aloud in a way that reassures me he is carefully weighing each option.

He talks about how, since he wants to get into engineering, he knows he needs to seriously consider the college prep school, but that he also doesn’t want to spend his entire high school career doing nothing but homework. He has ADHD and it often makes homework take significantly longer for him than for other kids. He is smart to consider this.

It’s a big decision that I won’t make for him (unless he gets stuck at 50/50 and says, “Mom, decide for me”). I generate discussion using this “I wonder” method, and it builds my confidence in his ability to make a smart choice that he can live with and feel good about. For now, it looks like he’s leaning toward the college prep school (if he gets in) with the option of transferring out if he tries and it just doesn’t work for him.

We need to show our kids they have control over their own destiny.

In his article, Hobbs talks about what he says is the most important point: locus of control. What message are we sending to our kids about the potential outcomes in their own lives? Do events simply happen to them, and they have little control over the outcome? That’s called an “external locus of control.” Or do they have a say in what happens to them? Do their choices matter? Do the decisions they make affect the outcomes in their lives? That’s an “internal locus of control.”

Hobbs says that most kids react with anxiety to a world where they feel they have no control. Sound familiar? It may not be a coincidence that the rise in “helicopter parenting” coincided with a rise in anxiety among kids and teens.

I don’t want this for my son. If I thought he wasn’t thinking things through, if I thought he didn’t care about his future or was simply looking for the easiest path, maybe I would feel inclined to exert more control over this decision. But, because I’ve been using “I wonder,” I know what he’s thinking. I’ve heard his reasoning, and it is sound. I trust him.

He will make mistakes, but that’s okay. Making mistakes, and learning from them, is an essential part of developing good decision-making skills. We all had to go through it, and so do our kids. The hardest part is wondering whether or not they’ll be okay.

The post How The Phrase ‘I Wonder’ Can Guide — Rather Than Direct — Your Teen appeared first on Scary Mommy.

Watching Your Kid Get Their Heart Broken Is Absolutely Brutal

If you ask any parent, they’ll probably tell you it’s hard to see their kids get physically hurt. Nursing a bike-riding injury or a bump on the head post-wrestling match, when combined with tears, is rough on a mom or dad’s heart. You do everything you can to calm them down and let them know the pain is temporary, because you know it is.

So yeah, it sucks to see our kids get hurt—any parent will attest to that. But, for every bump or bruise or even broke bone we have to nurse, it’s 100 times harder when we see our kids battling a broken heart. This one cuts us to our core and is hands-down one of the hardest parts of parenthood. (Like harder than potty-training hard.)

That’s certainly my truth anyway. For example, my child ran head-first into a mirror a few weeks ago and shattered it with his skull (he’s fine, btw), and I barely batted an eye.

But when I find out someone has been mean to my kids? And made them question their own self-worth? That lights a fire inside this mommy like nothing else. It’s like a sleeping dragon just woke up and drank a Redbull, and it takes every bit of my strength to keep from annihilating that kid who hurt mine.

That’s the thing though—as much am I ready to go straight up Daenerys Targaryen and breathe fire upon their world, I can’t. Because as their parent, that’s not my job.

Heartbreaks (although on the smaller side) have already happened to my kids, so I’ve just begun my initiation into this club of parents whose kids have been bullied or treated unkindly. And yeah, when your child comes running off the bus in tears because another girl yelled at her and said they aren’t friends anymore, it does kind feel like you’re being hazed.

Because even though fire is about to come out of your eyeballs as you hold your distraught child, you have to sit on your hands and purse your lips and not actually beat down that girl’s door and demand an explanation for why she made your kid cry.

That’s not how it works.

Instead, you have to quiet the dragon (and the dragon queen) and help your child cope with the heartbreak on their own. Because the harsh reality is that this isn’t the last one they’re going to face. And as much as you long for a protective bubble that can shield them from all the insults and all the “I don’t like you anymore” statements and all the social media teasing and all the teenage dating broken hearts, and all the times they don’t make the team or get a part in the play, you know the truth. No such bubble exists. And if it did, you wouldn’t wrap it around your child anyway because you want them to live a full life.

And a full life means love. And loss. It means joy. And pain. It means success and failure. And it means true, loyal friendships and bratty little Emilys and their “We’re not friends anymore!” attitudes that make your own daughter run in the house sobbing.

Here’s the thing that we don’t want to tell our kids, but we have to: there will always be struggles. And rather than pave a clear path for our kids, it’s our job to instead empower them to face heartache. To make our own kids into dragons who can handle shit, and breathe their own fire. (Or, least build up a tough dragon-scaled skin and a feeling of self-worth that no one can destroy.)

So yes, I will admit that I had to try reeeeeeally hard to not say, “What’s Emily’s last name? Where does she live?” when my sweet little girl came running in the house recently, sobbing. But I didn’t.

I let her cry it out a while and just held her. Once she was calm enough to talk it through, I got the full story, and then did what a real mother of dragons should do. I asked my daughter how she viewed herself. Was she a good, kind friend? She said yes.

And nothing and no one can take that from her.

No one is allowed to make my little girl feel lesser than.

We talked about the person my daughter is. How everyone is always commenting on her kindness. Her generosity. Her fairness. How helpful she is to others. And how she makes the world better by being all of those things.

But I also told her the hard truth. As much as she brings beauty and goodness into the world, there will always be ugly parts. There will also be people who will hurt them, either intentionally or unintentionally. And oftentimes, that hurt is the result of their own hurt and pain.

And we talked about how we respond when people are unkind to us. First of all, if we are the ones who did something wrong, we should apologize. But in a case like this (when one 8-year-old is mad because another 8-year-old sat with different friends on the bus that day), what do we do or say in return?

I teach my kids to stand up for themselves, but to also try to be kind as much as they can. I believe that this little girl was feeling hurt when my child sat with a different friend that day and acted on that hurt. And while my kids don’t deserve to have their peers yell in their faces, they can take some time to reflect on the situation before choosing their response.

In the end, I told my daughter that it was her choice whether to sit with this child again, befriend her again, or tell her she needed some space. Just like I can’t breathe fire when someone hurts my kid, I also can’t make decisions for my children and control their behavior when they aren’t with me. I have to trust them to make those choices on their own.

I knew that the next morning, these two girls would board the bus and neither of their parents were going to be there to mediate.

Well, in typical 8-year-old fashion, they are friends again (which was expected). But I do think my daughter learned from this. I think she’s a little bit tougher and a little bit more prepared for the next heartache. And all I can do is be there to hold her, talk her through it, and remind her of her own self-worth.

I hate to think about it, but someday she’ll likely face true, long-term heartbreak as a teen or as an adult. (Or both.) And I’ll admit that I still dream of that imaginary bubble that could shield her. But the reality is that all these smaller transgressions — 8-year-old bus incidents, being left off birthday party invite lists, hearing someone tease you about your shoes — these add up. And it’s our job as parents to help them add up the right way. Rather than spewing negativity within our kids and hate for the world, we have to change the narrative. We have to talk about why some kids are unkind. Why we sometimes get our hearts broken. Why we sometimes don’t make the team. And how we are strong enough to heal from it and move forward, stronger than ever.

It’s one of the hardest parts of parenting–seeing our children in pain. It’s natural for us to want to take that pain away. And sometimes we can. We can put Neosporin and a bandaid on a cut. We can put ice pack on a sprained ankle.

Nursing a broken heart, unfortunately, is not that easy. And, honestly, it’s sort of an essential part of growing up. Because although it kills us to see our kids hurt and feel that pain of rejection—of a lost friendship or breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or not making the team—we also get to see them heal from it and come out on the other side stronger than ever, knowing they are going to be okay.

And then we know we’ve done our job.

The post Watching Your Kid Get Their Heart Broken Is Absolutely Brutal appeared first on Scary Mommy.

Someone Else’s Experience Isn’t A Judgment Or Commentary On Yours

Has it always been like this? Is this a result of the rise of social media—this petty ugliness between moms? Or were our mothers and grandmothers just as catty and competitive and willing to cut one another down for being different, but it just wasn’t blasted on IG and FB?

Well, regardless of when or how it all started, this is how it is now, isn’t it? Celebrities go through it. And regular moms like us go through it. You can’t celebrate pumping a full bottle of milk without someone accusing you of shaming women who don’t breastfeed. You can’t talk about how hard sleep training is, even though you believe it’s what you and your baby need, without someone blasting for you being cruel and neglectful. You can’t talk about your son breaking something in your house and making a joke about being a “boy mom” (even though maybe you only have boys), without being accused of sexism because “girls break stuff too!”

Listen, we know.

 

We know our fellow moms on this motherhood journey struggle to breastfeed or choose not to breastfeed. We know sleep training isn’t for everyone. And we know that lots of girls wrestle and rough-house and destroy the house.

We. Know.

Sometimes we are just telling our own stories. That doesn’t mean we are negating your experience. In fact, we encourage you to tell your story too — there’s a place for all of us at this motherhood table. Breastfeeding moms, formula-feeding moms, working moms, stay-at-home moms, “girl” moms, “boy” moms, moms of both, moms of children who are transgender or nonbinary. We all deserve a place to tell our stories, whether to vent or just find solidarity in this sisterhood.

We aren’t trying to take away from your story by telling our own.

I’ve been a stay-at-home turned work-from-home mom for over 10 years. I’ve told stories of having a gifted child and a feral child who destroys everything in his path. I’ve talked about fighting stay-at-home mom depression, of struggling to breastfeed and eventually having success in breastfeeding, and the emotional end of that era for me. I’ve talked about being a mom to boys and a mom to a girl and what that has looked like for me. I’ve written about the SAHM life and the WAHM life and marriage and family and baby days and toddler days and everything in between. I’ve admitted that I struggled to potty-train all of my kids for a variety of reasons and that it damn near broke me. And I’ve opened up about what it’s like to have a child with life-threatening allergies and watch him go out in a world that isn’t peanut-free.

Most of the time, I read responses like, “I feel ya!” or “Been there!” or “Thank you for telling this story. It makes me feel less alone.”

Sometimes someone will say that they’ve had a different experience: “I potty-trained using the 3-day method and it worked!” on a post where I lamented that I’ve been wiping butts for a decade and see no end in sight.

And having someone comment that their experience was different is completely fine, and in fact, one of the greatest things about social media —the ability for moms to have a discourse about how our stories are all unique to our own families and circumstances.

But the problem arises when one mom tells a story that differs from another, and someone feels insulted. Like, because you choose to breastfeed at the zoo, you’re somehow spewing negativity and judgment at the formula-feeding mom at home, when really maybe you’re just feeding your baby while your toddler looks at elephants.

Why do we do this to each other?

Which one of us wrote the book on motherhood? I know I sure didn’t. I screw this shit up all the damn time. My kids eat way too much junk food, and I’m too busy and too tired to fight them. Their rooms are a mess, one of them called the other a dumbass the other day, and I’m 99% sure we are waaaaaay overdue on well-visits to the pediatrician. (But hey! They got their flu shots! See? I’m not a total disaster.)

My point is, my story does not negate yours. If I talk about how my 6-year-old breaks shit (including his own face and body) jumping off furniture and throwing balls through windows, I might make a joke about being a “boy mom.” That doesn’t mean girls don’t do the exact same thing. My daughter happens to be more docile. She spends her days happily crafting and couldn’t care less if she ever throws a ball again.

I’m not saying “all boys” or “only boys” at all. I am simply talking about my own kid and what it’s been like for me to raise a feral raccoon.

I also often talk about the struggles of stay-at-home parenting. This one makes my head explode, because, without fail, the comment thread becomes a brawl over who has it harder—stay-at-home or working moms. At no point have I ever (or will I ever) say working moms have it easy. I know they are up before the sun, running every second of the day, and operate on a level of exhaustion and caffeine intake I probably can’t imagine.

My story is simply my story. I know that other moms like me struggle when stuck home all day with babies and toddlers trying to crawl back into their uterus. I know because I lived it for a very long time. So when I talk about the isolation, or how hard it is to go entire 8-10 hour days without talking to or seeing another adult, or the depression that can set it in when you don’t have time to shower, or wonder why you should even bother when a child is just going to spit up in your hair in 10 minutes, I am not trying to discount the life of another mom who leaves the house every day for work.

It’s not a competition.

My story doesn’t undo anyone else’s. And it isn’t a criticism or even a commentary on anyone else’s.

And the thing that sucks the most is when a post meant to provide comfort and solace to another struggling mom ends up causing a comment thread clogged with negativity and cut-throat nastiness among parents who really should just lift each other up or mind their own business.

So how about we don’t do this anymore? How about this instead? If you see a post about homeschooling or dealing with toddler tantrums or where to buy the best organic produce, and you happen to not homeschool, or not have a toddler, or not have any interest in organic produce, maybe just recognize that this particular post isn’t tailored for you? That it likely has value to other moms who are living different lives and making different choices?

And, on the other side, if you’re like me, and you really don’t do the organic thing a whole lot, and your kid is a hot mess at Target chucking a shoe across the aisle, also remember that not every mom is in our boat either. Organic mom isn’t necessarily insulting our choices if she posts about homemade baby food. That’s just her life and her choice. And a mom whose kid is totally well-behaved isn’t always saying we suck. She might just have a different kid, and that’s all.

Social media doesn’t have to be a toxic dumpster fire. But it’s up to us to make that change. If someone blatantly calls you out and says you’re a shitty parent if you don’t use cloth diapers, then yeah, I get it if you go off. But more often than not, parents are just trying to tell their own stories, forge a friendship, or at least feel less alone in this sea of uncertainty we’re all swimming in.

So here’s my truth: I breastfed. If you didn’t, come sit with me. I go to church. If you don’t, come sit with me. I rarely wear makeup and I live in leggings and sweatshirts. If you spend an hour getting ready every day and wear real pants that button, come sit with me. My house is a trash-heap. If yours is clean and your shoes don’t stick to the floor, come sit with me.

Because even though we are different, I think we could be friends. (But seriously, my kid really might break your house, so just come here. It’s safer.)

The post Someone Else’s Experience Isn’t A Judgment Or Commentary On Yours appeared first on Scary Mommy.

How To Raise Bully-Proof Children

Back to school: An exciting time punctuated by new teachers and classes, fresh books and school supplies, resuming friendships and extra-curricular activities. For the child who has experienced bullying, however, it can be the worst time of the year.

It sure was for me.

Every year, I’d hope maybe it would be different. Throughout elementary and high school, bullying was a big part of my experience. By 10th grade, I even had a bully on the public bus I would take to and from school.

He would sit at the back of the bus with his friends and call me names and say, “What’s wrong? Are you scared to sit at the back of the bus? Maybe we’ll just have to follow you home…”

I remember I would get on and off several stops away from my own stop for fear that he would one day discover where I lived.

This went on for two years.

Things got so bad that I became depressed, isolated, and even considered suicide.

As an adult who survived bullying, I became a high school music teacher who focused on building confidence and self-esteem and I, once again, was immersed in an environment where bullying was an everyday reality. I was determined to make a difference for my students.

Here are a few steps you can take to help your child deal with bullying.

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1. Listen to your child.

Your child will tell you or show you that they are being bullied. Listen and notice. If your child tells you what’s going on in school, listen. If your child is less communicative, listen all the more. Ask open-ended questions. Wait for answers, but don’t force them. If you demonstrate that you are always ready to listen without judgement and without jumping in too quick and potentially embarrassing action, eventually s/he/they will open up.

Listen with your eyes. Children who are less communicative will show other signs such as not wanting to go to school, feigning illness, and may even show signs of physical injury.

2. Tell someone.

Teach your child to tell the adults in charge. Bullies and friends alike parade the ridiculous notion that one shouldn’t be a tattletale, which is ideal fodder for people looking to get away with something they shouldn’t be doing.

Tell someone. And, if nothing happens, tell someone else. Even in this day and age of bully-awareness, your child may need to tell a number of people before someone actually takes action. After all, it’s much easier to sweep something under the rug than to address it.

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As a parent, tell someone else who your child trusts; teachers, siblings, friends, an older cousin or camp counselor. I never told my parents or family. They had absolutely no idea what was going on. While your child may not open up to you, by telling others, you increase the chances of getting support.

3. Travel in groups.

Bullies win by isolating their targets. Teach your child to go with a buddy — if at all possible — to places in which s/he/they may encounter bullying. Unfortunately, oftentimes a bully’s ideal target is the awkward child with few to no friends.

4. Watch for cyberbullying.

If your child is being bullied online, there are ways to address it.

Do not respond to cyberbullying. Rather, document it.

Record dates and times, save screenshots, emails, and text messages.

Report cyberbullying to the relevant social media platforms and providers.

There are rules against cyberbullying. And there are laws against it too. If the cyberbullying involves threats of violence or the release of private information, report it to law enforcement.

5. Talk about it.

Don’t wait until it happens to talk about bullying. The truth is your child is experiencing bullying in some way; either as a victim or as a spectator.

Have regular conversations about confidence, self-esteem, behavior, bullies, and bullying.

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Pay attention when your child tells you stories about their friends who might be displaying bully-like behavior. Ask questions. Get your child’s opinions. Have a discussion.

Kids do well if they can. A bully is simply a child who isn’t able to manage something else that is going on in their life. Empower your kids to ask questions when they see someone being a bully – to ask if the bully is OK.

6. Celebrate who your child is, in all their weird, awkward uniqueness.

Bullies are most effective when they target those who already feel uncomfortable in their own skin. Adolescents who feel as if they don’t “fit in” and have low self-esteem are prime targets, which unfortunately is figuratively the very definition of adolescence.

When a child feels worthless and undeserving and feels there is something wrong with him (like I did), he is the least likely to report bullying behavior. Rather, he feels like he deserves it, and all the more so, will do almost anything to hide the source of his shame.

Consider two LGBT youth. One is ashamed of his feelings for the same sex and tries to hide it. Another is very visible and proud, holds hands in public with his boyfriend and advocates on campus for LGBT rights. Whereas the bully may attempt to intimidate each of these students, he will only be successful with the former.

This brings me to the most important point. Parents, you cannot prevent bullying. The best you can do is prevent your child from being vulnerable to bullies. From the day your child is born, your job as a parent is to love your child unconditionally, and to positively and authentically mirror to your child her uniqueness and incomparable worth.

A child who knows she is loved for all her weirdness, awkwardness and authenticity cannot be blackmailed into believing less of herself.

Celebrate your child, and teach him to celebrate himself, each and every day. Teach him to pat himself on the back for challenging himself, for learning, for growing and for just being himself.

A child who celebrates themselves for being just who they are, cannot be bullied into believing something else.

 

Previously published on TODAY Parenting.

The post How To Raise Bully-Proof Children appeared first on Scary Mommy.

Here Are 8 Ways To ‘Hakuna Matata’ Your Parenting

As a parent, there are probably a million thoughts racing through your head that have zero chill. Was that a cough or hiccup? Did she wash her hands before picking up my baby? If I don’t buy this locally-sourced, organic thing shipped from a puffy cloud full of rainbows, is my family doomed? 

See, parenthood can be rough. 

Sometimes, though, we find inspiration where we least expect it. Like from Simba’s friends Timon and Pumba in Disney’s The Lion King — now available on Digital, Movies Anywhere & Blu-ray. There is so much to be anxious about, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to sometimes tell yourself, “Hakuna matata, we have no worries!” 

We asked the Scary Mommy community, “Tell us one thing about motherhood that keeps you up at night?” And Scary Mommies shared a range of things — from the safety of your kids to what the future holds to asking, “When will all this laundry end?” Because seriously. Make it stop. With your worries, we sprinkled some hakuna matata over those fears. Because, after all, you’re doing great, mamas.   

1. Parenting Comes With Lots Of Worries.

It’s normal to feel like everything is a concern when you’re a parent. You’re only one person, though. Try to deal with things one at a time, and only focus on what you can deal with in the moment.

2. Oh, They Know.

The sign of a great parent is that they even care about their kids knowing that they love them. If you’re wondering about this, they already know. They might not show it now, but as they get older, you’ll see how much they appreciate you.

3. Goodness, When Will It End?

As long as you have kids, you’ll have laundry. There’s no use in worrying about it. If the laundry gets folded, great. If not, so what? The family still has clean clothes, and a few wrinkles never hurt anybody.

4. At Some Point the Kids Grow Up.

Even if your kids choose a path that takes them down a rocky road, as long as they have you, they’ll be okay. No one is going to have a problem-free life, but it’s nice to give your kids a safety net in case things don’t go as planned. 

5. The Good Thing Is That Kids Bounce Back Quickly.

What is is about beds that turn a sleeping kid into a gymnast? Children have been rolling off of beds for centuries. Trust us, they were built for this life. 

6. Trust Those Instincts, Mama.

It’s natural to be unsure about whether you’re doing things right when you’re a new parent. You leave the hospital and it’s like you’re being set free in the wild with a newborn. Trust your instincts. They’ll be a great guide for what you need to do to take care of your baby.

7. Safety Is Always A Concern.

As much as parents whine about kids and their screens, thank goodness for technology. There are so many apps and programs that help you to track your kids and know where they are at all times. Check them out and let that a little bit of that worry go!

8. If You’re Showing Up, You’re Doing Fine.

While you’re stressing out about how you’re doing as a parent, your kids are thriving and other folks are watching you rock out this parenting gig in awe. As long as you show up for your kids, they’ll be just fine. Just make sure to hakuna matata!

Disney’s The Lion King is available now on Digital, Movies Anywhere & Blu-ray. 

The post Here Are 8 Ways To ‘Hakuna Matata’ Your Parenting appeared first on Scary Mommy.