Tag Archives: parenting

Parents: what do your teen’s interests say about them?

Often, I hear adults talk about how they just can’t figure out the new gadgets these days, or keep up with all the social networks coming out. I’m telling you now, if your child has it figured out, then you had better learn quick. New phone? Learn all its tricks. New website? You better sign up.

Parents, pay close heed to what your children are doing. Become familiar with their interests, their passions. It is not only about getting to know them, but getting to know what draws them- for in doing so, you know them better than you would otherwise.

Don’t just censor their music, their reading. If they gravitate to a certain genre, or a certain style, look at it closely. Become familiar with the product, for in that you will find the message that your child cannot tell you himself.

The quickest way to lose your child is through what you do not know, do not understand. Many parents have heard the mantra of an angry teenager, “You just don’t understand!” Consider whether it may be true. Perhaps you remember what it’s like to be a teenager- but what is it like to be your teenager? To be the child that you have raised, suddenly finding themselves on the cusp of this brave new world, no longer a child, just becoming an adult in a new and sometimes frightening society?

If you do not understand the world that your child is drawn to, you will be sure to lose him. The more they discover, the further you are left behind, until one day, you find that they are gone from you- willingly or unwillingly.

The prime spot for predators is through social networking. He will befriend your daughter, provide a listening ear for your frustrated son. The social network that you do not understand becomes the channel by which your child is lost to you. The new gadget that your child knows in and out, but which you can only just turn on, is now an open door into a very dangerous realm.

As your child emerges into the independent teenage years, it is no longer enough to simply ban certain things from the house. If you have done well in the relationship you have built with your child, if nothing has happened to come between you, they will remain within the parameters willingly. But if they are not willing, then no amount of rules you have set will serve to chain them. A teenager will always find a way around the rules, that is a promise.

What are you doing to stop them? Punishment has become a vicious cycle of disobedience and arguments, and in the end nothing is achieved. Now, it will not be the rules that will keep your child to you- but your relationship to them, and in this is grounded your understanding of what draws them.

What is the music that they want to listen to? Forbid if you must, but listen to the songs on your own time, when they are not around. Look up the lyrics, find what the music speaks of. In music more than any other subject, you will find the answer for your child’s disturbances.

Many parents look at it with the mindset that the music influences the child, and while this may be truth in part, it also serves to obscure another even more important truth. The music may influence the person, but first the person must be drawn to that music- and to that, there is often something deeper at play, something in their psyche that calls to them. In the beat and the lyrics you may yet find the explanation for your child’s emotional turmoil, something which they themselves are not able to put into words.

Set restrictions – it’s what parents are there for. Boundaries serve as a means of protection. But at the same time, be aware of what draws your children. It just may be your means of saving them.

Vaccines: The Other Side of the Coin

This quote showed up in my newsfeed on Facebook. This topic is one I’ve been wanting to comment on for a while, as I’ve been given a different perspective on things after my daughter’s cancer ordeal. The quote –
“Whether you’re pro-vaccine, anti-vaccine, or fall somewhere in the middle, the questions you need to ask yourselves are as follows:
Do you want to live in a world, where you cannot freely refuse a medical procedure that carries risk of injury or death? I’m not questioning your comfort level with today’s vaccine schedule, because today’s vaccine schedule will change. New vaccines and additional doses are added all the time. children today receive as many as 49 doses of 14 vaccines before they reach age six, which is roughly 12 times higher than the number of vaccines administered to children back in 1940. With more than 220 new vaccines in the developmental pipeline for children and adults…and no end in sight..the question you must ask yourself is ARE YOU CERTAIN you will be 100% comfortable with vaccines that are added to the mandated list in the future? If you say that yes, you’re comfortable, then you’re either a) not expecting to be a parent or grandparent, b) don’t have to worry about it because your kids are grown and out of the house, or c) lying to prove a point. No critical thinker, no honest person, would ever sign off on the sight-unseen vaccine schedule of the future. And yet that’s what you’re doing when you condemn the people who are fighting for your right to refuse. YOU have the right to refuse, should you ever choose to use it, because the very “anti-vaccine” people you demonize have been fighting for us all. 
Right now, the burden of “herd immunity” falls on small children, but that is changing. Vaccine manufacturers see an untapped market in adult vaccines and are coming for you next. What will you do if your state, your employer, or your insurance company forces you to get a vaccine that you simply don’t want? It hasn’t happened to you yet, but if the right to refuse is eroded, it will happen to you sooner than you might think. Who then will you turn to? Your legislators who get campaign donations from pharmaceutical companies? The CDC that has former pharma executives sitting on the board? Who will you turn to if you ever want to say no? There will be no one. 
Once we enter the slippery slope of removing and individual’s right to refuse medical procedures that carry a risk of injury or death, once we remove an individual’s right to speak for him/herself and his/her children, we open ourselves up to an insidious new era, where other drugs and other procedures can be mandated. I heard (on NPR, interestingly enough) that there are people who want to test for a gene marker that’s been found in mass shooters in the hopes that they can put the carriers of that gene on medications in early childhood. Sounds great, right? But many of us carry genes that will never be expressed. You could be a carrier of that gene. Or your child could be a carrier. So if we follow the “for the greater good” mentality behind vaccines (or the Nazi’s “for the greater good” mentality behind eugenics (breeding out illness), we are looking at forcing people who may never express a sociopathic gene to take antipsychotics, just in case. Because that’s what forced vaccination does. It asks children who may never come into contact with a particular virus to accept a vaccine just in case. And that’s what eugenics was all about. It sterilizes people who can pass on a genetic disease just in case. Forced vaccination is a human rights violation, and to support it when you know that the government’s own Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System exists and lists people who have died as a result of vaccines is unethical at best, sociopathic at worst.
The ethical thing to do is to allow people their right to refuse and leave it up to doctors and big pharma (who have marketing budgets larger than the GDP of some countries) to do a better job of convincing parents that vaccines are safe. We can start by reversing the law that grants vaccine manufacturers total immunity from vaccine injury lawsuits. Because as it stands, you can’t sue a vaccine manufacturer if your child is injured or killed by a vaccine, even in cases where they could’ve made a safer vaccine and chose not to or when they failed to recall a contaminated lot# in a timely manner. Think about that. You can’t sue the manufacturer. That immunity from liability does more to shake parents’ confidence in vaccines than anything else out there.
— Magnolia Crawford”
I disagree. A year ago, and I might have agreed. But – I spent a year dealing with Lanae’s cancer and the after effects. A year getting to know other families who are going through similar trials. And they often post their perspective as well, which have given me room for thought – not to change my mind, but simply to adjust my stance.
The kids I’ve gotten to know – they have no immune system. And their parents have stayed with them, through one treatment after another, in a world that has gone chaotically upside down. They find themselves trying to keep up with changing medications and a non-functional immune system. I’ve seen it. Lanae’s gotten sick at least once a month, sometimes more, since we finished treatment. And that’s just a cold – so seeing how easily their kids fall to a basic virus, imagine the parents terror at imagining something more severe, like whooping cough. Anyone who says “it’s not all that bad” (sadly, a common argument with anti-vaxxers) don’t have a child who struggles against a cold. I’ve seen kids end up in the ICU from just the common cold, never mind more serious diseases.
These parents would whole-heartedly agree to an unseen schedule. Without a doubt. And they do. And they are still critical thinkers, and honest, contrary to this person’s statement. But they also see their children in front of them, limping along without an immune system, and it’s heartrending. No critical thinker, no honest person, wants to see that child end up in ICU – to turn around this lady’s quote. But yet, that’s what happens.
And so they agree to vaccines, now and forever. And yes, they get it for themselves. Or if they can’t, they do literally huddle inside their homes, afraid of the germy world outside. And it’s because of a few simple reasons – fear, not the average, every day fear of what could happen, but what (for many) is almost inevitable to happen. They fear for their own children, who can’t get the shots and are susceptible to these viruses that go around. So they trust the word of the doctors that recommend it. And it’s more than a trust that most parents have, of taking their child to an annual checkup or when there’s a basic childhood illness. It’s a day-to-day trust, one they have to rely on, because there’s nothing else. Every day, they get up and put their trust in the hands of the doctors who’ve read the medical textbooks, because this parent doesn’t have the time to sit down and read through all the medical jargon. Their child’s life depends on those doctors, through surgeries, medications, lab draws and blood counts. They have no choice but to trust that the doctors really do know best. And because of this trust, they have to trust that the doctors know what they are doing when they recommend vaccines, no matter how many is added.
Trusting vaccines is not about just “knowing the facts.” It’s knowing them, and then weighing them, evaluating the risks. And when a parent is already expending so much energy just to keep their child alive, they are not going to chance it on something that could so easily come in and take that life.
It’s not just rights to refuse medical procedures. As much as you have the right to refuse a medical procedure for the sake of your child, so these parents also have the right to determine what is best for their own child. Sometimes, that means looking and seeing what can be done as a society. Because in reality, what one side does will inevitably affect the other, either in perception or actuality. And that’s a big responsibility to take on, whichever side you’re on.

WAHM, Facebook, and being my own boss

Social media – both a curse and a blessing. It’s great to have that connectivity, but it’s also a vortex that is easy to get sucked into.

I use social media for my work. My primary platform is Facebook, though I am working on venturing out into the Twitterverse, as it’s called. If it seems like I’m on Facebook a lot, it’s because I am. I do a lot of work on there. Usually, it’s in between my other work – research, writing, and editing. I’ll usually have several things going at once, something my husband always shakes his head at me for. My work is spread across multiple tabs and multiple programs. Currently, I have 13 tabs open in my browser. Two are social media. The rest is research; my current active research, comprising of about two or three tabs, is looking up saccrococcygeal teratoma and cisplatin, information I need to know for a client’s project.

I’m constantly checking my Facebook. I interact with people, create posts, and respond to messages and comments. My Facebook is busier than most; I have a hard time finding messages sent to me yesterday. I get a lot of notifications – real ones, not the game requests people tend to complain about.

And it’s had its effect. That high level of interaction has paid off. Some of my biggest clients have come through that interaction alone, because they are able to see how I act with other people. And by making myself available to these clients, they know they can trust my work.

There’s also my reach, which I measure using my Klout score. Klout is an application for marketers – that is, if your business is on social media, it’s good to have. If you’re an average Joe with a Facebook page about how your day went, it probably won’t mean much to me. But for me, it’s invaluable. It tells me a lot about the kind of people I can reach on a daily basis – and that reach is essential for my work. If I am to be truly effective, I need to have maximum reach. This necessarily involves a lot of interaction.

That’s not to say I’m not doing anything else. I work hard, but it’s broken up throughout the day. Social media is only effective when it’s done throughout the day, instead of a single block just in the morning. I get on, respond to a few posts, and then I move on to the next bit – usually research or writing/editing.

And in between it all, in a category all her own, is my daughter. Conversations with my clients are often interrupted as I leave to take care of something with her, or even just disappear for some play time. Unlike having a job outside the home, I don’t have an employer to decide my hours, to tell me when I can be done working, when it’s time to go home.

My usual schedule is to work heavily in the mornings, but spend most of the afternoon with little girl. I may or may not get back on for extra work in the evenings. And before bedtime, our usual routine is to do something on our own – coloring, or sticker fun, or something similar.

It’s not easy being a work-at-home-mom. It has its own share of struggles. Some days I get more time with my daughter than others. It’s hard work, but rewarding. It pays the bills, and even if I’m working, I still get to be home with my daughter.

Social media powers my business. And it’s a lot of work being my own boss. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.