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I don’t want to brag or anything, but I was the nicest kid anyone could ever meet… until (DUH DUH DUH) middle school. In middle school, I think the devil possessed my body (not literally, but my parents may disagree). If there was an argument to be had… oh boy did we have it.
When high school rolled around, I stopped fighting with my parents so much and started focusing on sports and my education, but couldn’t wait to get out of the house! Then it was time to go to college. I chose a University that was two hours away and planned on living on campus, but by the second week of classes I was a full blown commuting student. I missed my parents!
I love my life here in the Hudson Valley, but I’m not going to lie, I had a very difficult time when I first moved here. I would cry at least once a day because I felt guilty for leaving my family and because I just needed a “Morgan Hug” from my parents. Honestly, sometimes I just wanted to hear someone else say “y’all.”
I was making all these major life changes at one time (life-changing weight loss, moving away, renting my first apartment, getting my first real world job) it was difficult. Not a day goes by that I don’t speak to them either by text, phone, email or skype. I’m a true only child! My parents really do mean everything to me and although we talk constantly… nothing can compare to seeing them in person.
So, over the holidays I was lucky enough to be able to travel back to my hometown of Monroe, North Carolina to visit my family. I haven’t seen my family in almost a year, so my mini family vacation was just what the doctor ordered! It’s so funny… no matter how old I get, when I’m with my parents I still feel like a kid. It seems I’ll always be my daddy’s “sweet pea” and my mom’s “Velcro baby.”
I invited my parents and aunt to come back to New York to see my new place. They ended up staying for two weeks. We had a blast! We explored the Hudson Valley and even went to NYC on New Years’ eve… We ended up in White Plains to see their ball drop because all the streets in Manhattan were closed by the time we got there, but we still had fun! Being snowed in a couple days and the close quarters didn’t help with a little bout of cabin fever, but in the end we all enjoyed ourselves.
I can’t wait for them to come back so we can go exploring the Hudson Valley again. Homemade breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday courtesy of my mom doesn’t hurt either!
I guess the purpose of this blog is to let all you parents out there know that even if you’re going through tough times with your teens, tween or even toddlers, it will get better. In my case, mother and father know best. It just takes time for us to all figure that out.
Hello readers, as boring as it may be, I’m going to start out by introducing myself to you all…
I’m Brittany and I’m the newest addition to the Hudson Valley Parent family. About 4 months ago, I was hired as the Editorial Assistant. I must say, I really love working here at HVParent. Our entire staff is great and so much fun to be around.
Since I came on board, I’ve worked a lot with our social media sites. If you’re not already our friend on facebook, I hope you’ll take a moment to join us (shameless plug… I know).
Now for some
boring background about me… I’m originally from North Carolina. I moved to New York 6 months ago to be with my boyfriend, Bill. Bill and I met through my baseball-focused, radio show I used to host called “A Show of Their Own.” The show is now archived online, but I’ll spare you the shameless plug.
Prior to HVP, I worked as a high school basketball, softball and volleyball coach… which transitioned me to sports-talk radio and now logically to working for a parenting publication! Working for HV Parent is a combination of everything I love: writing, editing, interviewing, videos, photography, social media, even some graphic design! Not to mention, I get to think up crazy ideas for new things to offer our readers!
Now, I’ll admit, I’ve been putting off blogging for a while. I have several blogs of my own, but couldn’t decided on an angle for this new HVParent blog of mine. BUT I finally figured it out.
Since, I made you read this long blog all about me, I guess it’s time for me to unveil my new blog and what exactly it will be about (drum roll please….)
Gym Class Hero will focus on living a healthy lifestyle. I’ll discuss everything from sports, weight loss, activities for the kids, nutrition… anything. I recently lost 120 pounds… yep 120! I’m still 30 pounds away from my goal weight and cannot wait to share my journey with all of you. I’m a sports nut and have had some great experiences I want to share with
(y’all) you all. My goal for this blog is to have something for everyone… mom, dad, kids, grandparents, etc. I hope you’ll continue reading my musings and comment away!
Thanks for reading,
Usually I write about coupons. Not today. Something happened at my house yesterday and you moms need to know about this stuff. I know a lot of our readers out there have younger kids. For those of you with kids in the middle schools, I have something to tell you. I overheard my son last night (he’s 14), talking to a buddy on the phone. He told his friend he was going to try the Cinnamon Challenge.
My son thinks he wants to take a challenge where he attempts to swallow a heaping tablespoon of cinnamon. My first reaction is to tell him it will chemically burn his mouth. My fiance tells him it will cause convulsions (not so sure on that one) and my older son tells me it will cause vomiting. Joy. I looked up some videos on YouTube just to see. They look harmless to start with. Some folks cough it out right away. Lots of folks don’t. The one I saw showed the last person over a toilet bowl very sick.
Needless to say, both jars of cinnamon are in my purse today. My son tells me he is not stupid, so I ask why does he say he wants to do these things. Just to be cool is my guess. His answer was silence and hostility (typical teen behavior). We will be having more and more discussions on what we watch on YouTube and peer pressure.
Have you heard of this? Know anyone who has done it? I would love to hear from you. Until then, the cinnamon at my house lives in my purse. The things we do to keep our kids safe.
(editor’s note: We at HV Parent magazine hope parents with teens, or who know teens, will have them read this blog. It’s an important message to teens from one of their own.)
Hello, I’m Chris, the summer editorial assistant at HV Parent. I also write for the website and was given an article to write on Texting while Driving. New York State recently passed a law increasing the fine to $150 (this is without the court charge) and three points on your license. Even as a teenager, and an avid text-fiend, I admit this is long overdue.
When I was younger and in the car with an older friend, I would be shaking in my seat when he sent a text, evidently he had decided that a miscellaneous girl was more important than my life, and his. I admit I didn’t stop him from texting though; I was happy just to be in the car with the kid and wasn’t about to scold him. But that makes me just as guilty. That’s something I think is important to tell your kids. If you’re in a car and the driver starts to text, it’s your job to stop it!
It’s not enough to have your kid know not to do it because, like it or not, their lives will be in the hands of others.
I don’t expect a kid to scold an older friend, though; I would expect them to act like me. However, there is a way to prevent it without sounding like a nag. Tell your child just to offer to text for the kid. I do this now and ask my friends to text for me when I drive. This is a much more practical solution because it keeps the driver from texting and most important to your kid, doesn’t put the kid into an uncomfortable position. They won’t encounter any resistance either because texting while driving isn’t done for a cheap thrill, it is done because people feel the need to respond. Therefore, your kid is actually helping the driver instead of bothering them about their awful habit. Telling them to stop might not work because (I’m sure you know this by now) teenagers HATE being told what to do, yet if you ask them and are reasonable they might actually respond, you just have to watch out for that rebellious urge that kicks in when you yell at them or tell them not to do something. A simple “Hey, I’ll just answer that for you,” can help save lives.
Now when you’re driving alone and you get a text it’s quite simple, don’t answer it! I’m sure your kid has seen those commercials about the incomplete text that killed a car full of people, but what they usually watch on TV is probably more violent. We associate TV with violence and exaggerations making those realistic PSAs virtually meaningless. The important thing to do is to talk to your kids about it, sit them down and explain to them what a crash is like. The second you say some vague line used on commercials and preached to us in school, your kids will tune you out, that’s what I would have done. It’s important to make the dangers real to your kids, share a personal story of an accident (caused by texting or not) or maybe a friend’s story, just some way to drive home the reality of car crashes.
The new law doesn’t just apply to texting either, the fine is for “using handheld electronic devices while a vehicle is in motion” so that means no mid-drive iPod selections. That can be just as bad as texting, yet I’ve seen it done much more often, and a playlist of songs you like to hear while driving can fix that problem so easily.
One more thing I feel is important to mention is that in a crash, it’s not just you or the people in your car that get hurt. You might walk out with a few scrapes but the poor mother you hit could be seriously injured, or worse. Also, if something awful happens to you, then you’re hurting your parents, family, and friends as well. If you just get hurt it will take them a long time to recover, and your death, well they will never recover from that. So make your kids realize what driving a car means, what getting into a crash means, and how texting while driving is the dumbest way to ruin or maybe even end your life.
On Saturday, we were lucky enough to have one of the leading scholars on adolescent development speak at the 2nd Annual Conference on Adolescence on the campus of Mount Saint Mary College. Dr. William Damon, who is Stanford University professor and researcher, talked about how young people find purpose in their lives.
Damon said that most parents feel that they should help direct their kids to find themselves, but his study shows that kids naturally find things of interest. Our role as parents is to provide the resources for our kids that support their interest rather than foist our own ideas on them.
But how do you do that? Say Mary comes home interested in a presentation at school on animals that are becoming extinct. Ask her who does she think takes care of these animals? Would she be interested in meeting a zoologist or a local vet? Are there clubs in her school that relate to this area of interest she would like to join? Or go to the library so she can take out some books on the subject.
But we have to be careful not to create stressful situations where our kids are so busy doing so many different things that eventually the tasks have no meaning.
Damon also suggests that we should talk about our own experiences. Show our kids that getting to where we are in life does not necessarily happen in a straight line. Share the failures along with the successes.
The issues that Daman brought up hit close to home for me. I left college after 3 years, got married and had kids. I was in my thirties before I went back to school. My kids saw me go to classes, struggle with homework and finally graduate. The world of work was not any easier for me. After college, I had a job for 2 years but was let go. My kids knew that I was going out on interviews to try and find another position. My boys saw that it was not always easy for me to move forward.
The professor also said that we should be careful about what we talk about and how we talk about it. For example, when we get home from work, do we complain about our boss or talk about the rotten day we had? He suggests that rather than talk about the negatives concerning work, talk about something, even if it is a small something, that made a difference for that day. Kids pick up on these cues.
Part III of this presentation on helping kids find purpose in their lives will discuss getting kids involved in the community.
For more information on help kids find purpose in their lives read Dr. William Damon’s book The Path to Purpose
“Author James DeSalvo has penned an engaging mystery for young adults in his intelligent and humorous new work Connie Cobbler: Toy Detective. The titular sleuth is a private eye and a soft toy doll, who has retreated from the limelight of her successful television acting career after a tragedy on the set. Connie and her amusing cast of characters are reminiscent of Strawberry Shortcake, that 1980s dessert-themed doll and her gaggle of friends. In Connie’s case, she is friends with an assortment of Pastry Pals, including Tiffany Tart, Priscilla Pie, Debbie Danish and Tracy Turnover.”
from the ForeWord Clarion Review
I already love this guy, James DeSalvo. His website is sketchy, his book has little bio information, and he is keeping his private life a mystery. Is this brilliant marketing or just a busy schedule? His blogs run no more than a sentence or two, and chronicles more or less the frustrating steps to self-publish. While we don’t know anything more about this fellow than he lives in Fishkill, I like how he has fashioned this story with character names like Tiffany Tart. Join all of us at the next HV Parent Cover Kids Event and meet this mysterious new book author who writes like this, “Unable to save her friend and spurred on by grief, Connie Cobbler turned away from show business and became a hard boiled, root beer swigging private detective, dedicating her life to protecting the toys of Toy Town.”
I gotta meet this guy. Ttyl, mj
Meet James DeSalvo at our Cover Kid event, Poughkeepsie Mall, Sunday, April 10; and at Middletown’s Galleria on Sunday, May 1 from 11 am – 3 pm.
I just started reading the first Undercover Kids Book, “The Trunk in the Attic.” And immediately, liked the bits of information author, Gloria Smith Zawaski, weaves into her story. It’s about two curious kids staying at their aunt’s farm, and embarking on their first adventure. How did I know these kids were curious if I only just started reading it? By the second paragraph. “Their parents are professors.” I read. “Mom teaches languages and speaks quite a few. Dad is an archaeologist and spends summers in foreign countries…” That alone lets us know right away that this book will be filled with interesting facts and details from other cultures, and these days, that’s a good thing for young readers to understand.
Gloria Smith Zawaski appears at HVP’s Cover Kid event, Sunday, April 10th at Poughkeepsie Mall; and Sunday, May 1st at the Galleria in Middletown, from 11 am – 3 pm. Come on down and say “hello.”
What happens if you have a kid who is just floundering in his life? Or maybe your child does everything you suggest: he plays hockey, joins the newspaper club and does okay in school. Which kid is finding life purposeful? Which kid will eventually find a direction that makes his life meaningful?
On Saturday, we were lucky enough to have one of the leading scholars on adolescent development speak at the 2nd Annual Conference on Adolescence on the campus of Mount Saint Mary College. Dr. William Damon, who is a Stanford University professor and researcher, talked about how young people find purpose in their lives.
According to Damon, purpose is what makes life meaningful. It is necessary in everyone’s life and especially important for youth. Apparently kids with purpose don’t look for trouble. They don’t need classes on drugs. Their sense of belief in themselves provides the basis for good mental health.
Kids fall into four groups
His team’s current research shows that there are four distinctive groups of kids relative to having purpose in their lives
- 25% are disengaged. They have no purpose nor do they dream of developing it.
- 24% are dreamers. They have ideas about purpose in their lives, but they are not sure how to move forward.
- 31% are dabblers. They are doing all that everyone tells them to do, but they find that nothing seems to have purpose for them. There is nothing they want to stick to.
- 20% have purpose. They have goals and are willing to prepare to move forward towards those goals.
To me the one shocking statistic is, that according to Damon’s study, the percentages of kids in each category remains consistent across socio-economic groups. So whether kids are members of an upwardly mobile household or part of a family that is just hanging on, 20% of those kids will have a defined purpose to their life…something they want to strive for and 25% are just floundering.
Part II of Helping our kids find purpose in their lives will discuss how parents can make a difference.
For more information on help kids find purpose in their lives read Dr. William Damon’s book The Path to Purpose.
I never considered myself a geek. I never rush out to buy the newest things as they come out.
But I had an uncle who was a gadget guy. He had this fetish for buying every new coffee pot that came out. He would call my mom to take a drive with him so they could share some time together. She was his baby sister. And then he would manage to stop at the store to buy the new coffee gadget that just hit the shelves. He’d ask my mom not to tell my aunt about his new purchase. It was a brother and sister secret. I am sure when he died my aunt was shocked when she opened his personal storeroom.
But getting back to trying the newest “stuff.” With the advent of the iPod2, I began looking at what everyone was talking about. Since my son works in the PC world, I searched for tablets that use android technology.
When my son and I went shopping on Black Friday I ended up with an android Smart Phone. It helped that it only cost me one cent. Now I am on a roll…because I get to play on this small screen that pretends to be a computer. In many respects it doesn’t work well for me…the screen is too small and my sight is not that good. But I pushed on. Great to get apps that show instant weather updates…with all the snow alerts. I love seeing bits and pieces of the upcoming movies as well as the latest news.
Now I am really on a roll and ready for my next toy. In fact, the tablet market saw me coming.
As I write this I am sitting at the kitchen table with my Motorola Zoom tablet “linked” to a Bluetooth key board, listening to NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” using the Tune-In app that lets me key in to any station in the world.
Not sure if you would call me a geek, but whatever I am, I am having a ball.