Friday, March 15, 2019

Three Ways to Help Kids Say No to Underage Drinking

This post is sponsored by Responsibility.org as part of their Ask.Listen.Learn. campaign, encouraging families to talk early, talk often, and be healthy. All the opinions are my own because no one is the boss of me. I'm very proud to be part of their team again his year. 

My three kids tend to roll their eyes at me and my desire to talk about everything from too much screen time, the value of a good night’s sleep, managing stress, to saying no to drugs and alcohol. But I do it anyway because that’s what moms must do. 

When it comes to talking about underage drinking, there are three things I try to keep in mind:

1. Establish Expectations
We have lots of little talks about stuff, rather than long sit-downs, which my kids find annoying and don’t really want to engage in. Little talks do something meaningful, though. They establish with total clarity my expectations around their behavior. Kids who clearly understand parental expectations about drug and alcohol use are less likely to engage in underage drinking.

2. Talk About the Why Behind the Rule
When I talk about my expectations, I’m careful to explain the reasoning behind how I got there. They know that my husband and I drink and they very reasonably want to know why its safe and acceptable for us, but not for them. The primary factors that drive my expectations around underage drinking are brain development (alcohol effects kids differently than adults), the law (it is illegal for kids to drink), and the negative consequences correlated with underage drinking (injuries, assaults, problems in school, increased mental health risks, etc.). When they understand why I don’t want them to drink and that my opinions are based on evidence, they’re more likely to understand and respect those expectations.

3. Work on Refusal Skills

Ask. Listen. Learn. has some great resources for talking to your kids about underage drinking, including an infographic below that provides ten ways for kids to say no. It’s beneficial to teach and practice refusal skills. In a moment when kids may feel pressured, it can be a game changer for them to be able to draw from past conversations to find the right way to say no. 



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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Texting fun with Teenagers

This morning in the group chat I have with my three kids:
Me: Kids, I'm in meetings all morning so unless its life or death, I can't respond to your texts. 
Kid: Ok
Other kids: (since does not have to do with food, money or rides, ignores message)
Kid: (during meetings) Mom mom MOM MOM MOMMMMM MOM MOM.
Mom: (thinking surely I can ignore message, as said earlier would be in meetings)
Kid: MOOOMM mom mom MOM
Mom: (growing concern and unease) What?! In a meeting!
Kid: Oh right. Nevermind.

This afternoon:
Kid: Pick me up by the smoothie place?
Mom: When?
Mom: (30 mins later) When?
Mom: (60 mins later) CHILD WHEN DO YOU NEED A RIDE?
Kid: (23 minutes later) Right now. 
Kid: (3 seconds later) How much longer?
Kid: (4 seconds later) When are you coming?

THIS IS MY LIFE TEXTING MAKES EVERYTHING SO MUCH EASIER.

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2019

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Friday, February 15, 2019

Weight is not simple.

I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Novo Nordisk to write about the realities of obesity as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own.

I’ve partnered with Med-IQ several times; they’re an accredited medical education company that works with physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. As I am a professor of public health, this partnership is a great fit. The topic this time is about obesity. Specifically, that a positive and supportive healthcare provider and broader community are important to successful weight management.

Here’s what I mean by that; there are physicians who, when treating patients who are overweight or have obesity, see the weight more than they see the patient. Example:

Me: All my kids have strep and my throat is on fire and I have a fever. 
Doctor: Let’s talk about your weight.

or

Me: I’d like a PAP smear, please.
Doctor: Your weight is going to cause future health problems.

[end scene]

Friday, January 18, 2019

Most recent article for Washington Post


Every time I have a piece accepted by the Washington Post's OnParenting section, it's a thrill. I was especially happy about this one because I've spent the past two years researching the digital lives of our kids. This article gave me the opportunity to integrate that research with some important parenting conversations we should all be having with our tweens and teens.

I also love this piece because it's a great peek into what my upcoming book is going to be like. Have I mentioned that book?

It's called "Raising a Screen Smart Kid: Embrace the Good and Avoid the Bad in the Digital Age" and it will be published by Tarcher Perigee/Penguin Random House in late summer 2019.

Here's a link to the article! https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2018/09/06/how-to-use-eighth-grade-to-jump-start-some-important-conversations-with-your-teen/?utm_term=.0720f3242ce0

(c) Mommyland Blogs 2013-2019

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Snapchat and Cosmo After Dark: Don't Freak Out

By now many of you have heard about Snpachat's new adult channel "Cosmo After Dark." I'm not going to link to any articles about it because everything I've seen shared on this directed at parents is designed to freak them out and get them upset. All the outrage on this is really missing the point and frankly, missing an opportunity. As someone who's spent the past 18 months researching and writing a book on social media and families ("Text Me When You Get There" coming in 2019 from Penguin Random House/Tarcher Perigee), here are my thoughts:

(1) The channel is new - adult content on Snapchat is not. If you scroll through the discover section on the app, you will consistently see things that are not appropriate for kids. Examples? Sex tips, reviews of vibrators and sex toys, discussions about sexting, photos of people (mostly women) without a lot of clothes on, and that's just the content having to do with sex. There's also lots of content about drinking, partying, hangovers, smoking weed, and vaping. It's all there - IT'S BEEN THERE. If you have the app or allowed your kid to have a Snapchat account, then you presumably already know this. 

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