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Archive for the ‘Kids and Responsibility’ Category

Why Is Monitoring Social Media Important as a Parent?

October 22nd, 2015 - Category: Communication, Kids and Responsibility, Social Media, Teenagers

social monitor

A recent article on eluded to the fact that spying on your child’s online “social” activity breaks down trust and encourages them to hide information from you. As a mom that closely monitors her teen’s activity, I couldn’t agree more. Spying, snooping or otherwise secretly investigating will break down trust. This is why it as never been a secret in our household that social media will be monitored and has always been a prerequisite to having access to social media.

Staying Informed

When I was young and met a new friend, my mom was able to talk to the other soccer moms, PTA parents, or neighborhood friends to ensure my new friend was someone in the right crowd and not the local troublemaker. They met their parents and the kid together the first time they dropped me off to hang out, and said hello when they came back to pick me up. Translation: they met and knew my friends.

But that wasn’t enough. They listened to our conversations as we laughed in the den or family room and picked up on just enough info that they were able to keep the pulse on our lives, relationships and drama. In today’s world, much of the socialization and “hanging out” occurs online. Hanging out at someone’s house has been replaced with group texting and Snapchat – each person in their own homes. The conversations have moved from the living room to the mobile world, and as parents we can’t allow that change to disconnect us from their lives. I believe that monitoring her social media is simply a way to get to know her friends, not unlike what my mother did for me many years ago.

Engaging with Purpose

Let me be clear that none of this is done in secret. When I see something that gives me pause, I ask her about it. More often than not, these conversations move beyond the picture or comment and become a discussion about why the choices this person made in their post weren’t in their best interest, and what the potential negative outcomes might be. I use these incidents as pathways to engage with her. Ironically, now she will often say to me (before I even get a chance to ask) something along the lines of, “Hey mom did you see what he/she posted? – Wow.. that wasn’t a good idea.”

Understanding the Risks

The second reason I monitor her social media is because the stakes are high, much higher than when I was a teen. No longer are your social messes easy to clean up. In a matter of seconds, one bad decision can go viral, be seen and sent to thousands, and utterly devastate a young person’s life. I don’t feel I really have to defend the relevancy of this statement as we see its evidence in our news more often than we would hope. The kid bullied on social media, the college student with a bright future devastated by a drunk post, or the innocent picture of a young woman at the beach lifted from a public site and used for very different purposes. And once it’s out there, no PR professional or social media expert can ever wipe it away.

To me, this issue is no different than so many others impacting parents today. Success or failure often lies in when and how expectations for our children are set. The later you start and the more ambiguous you are, along with the transparency you show, will very likely impact your success. At the end of the day, however, remember that your job is not only to prepare them for the real world but to keep them safe in the interim. It’s one of the most difficult yet rewarding jobs you will ever accept.

Goal Setting 101

August 29th, 2014 - Category: Kids and Responsibility



Whether it’s a scholarship that’s in your future or just a desire to get a better math grade than last year, the beginning of the school year is a great time to set some goals.

If you want to ensure that your goals get accomplished, follow these simple tips to keep you on track.


Start by making sure your goals are realistic.

Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by setting goals that you aren’t going to be able to accomplish.  Failure can deflate your confidence and affect other goals as well.  Don’t be vague in your goal setting and set a time limit.


Break it down.

Write down the steps it will take to finish your goal.  Keep track of how far you’ve come and how far you still need to go.  If necessary reward yourself at certain increments to keep your momentum going.


Make yourself accountable.

Tell a friend about your goals and check in with them periodically to make sure that you stay on track.  For more fun, make goals together and have a race to the finish.


Think positive.

Positive thinking is an essential factor when it comes to success.  Use positive language and thoughts when referring to your goals and you may be surprised how much farther you can get.


Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Remember to clearly define exactly what you want and make a plan to get there, and your odds of success will be within your reach.


So, what will you decide to accomplish today?




Helping Your Tired Kids Wake-Up

February 19th, 2013 - Category: Kids and Responsibility

Does your child seem to be continually tired?  If so there may be a physical or psychological explanation for their tiredness, but maybe it’s just because they don’t have anything to wake-up for.  Maybe they don’t have any dreams or goals to work toward or achieve.  Maybe they are just going through the motions of life, with nothing to enjoy.  They may not like who they are anymore.

When I was younger, I was in a graduate school program that I hated, but I didn’t feel that I had any other direction to go.  After grudgingly working my way through several months, I began to have difficulty getting up in the morning – even when I’d gone to bed early the night before.  Often I’d sleep until one o’clock in the afternoon, roll out of bed, and drag myself to class at the last minute.  I began over eating and my dress became sloppy as well.  I began to experience chronic tiredness

Interestingly enough, when the program was over, a surge of energy began pouring back into my life.  I enjoyed getting up in the morning again and I looked forward to my day.  I was able to fulfill my responsibilities.  I was excited about life again.

Maybe like me, your child is suffering from chronic tiredness because of a lack of dreams.  Not because of anything physical, maybe it’s just because their life is misaligned or mismanaged.  And their lack of dreams is leaving them nothing to get fired up about.

Discuss with your child the real source of their tiredness: Is it because they have no dreams to pursue?  If so, give them something to live for, something to look forward to, something to wake-up about.

  • Consider enrolling them in a sport or a club.
  • Help them find a friend that they can share special moments with.
  • Encourage them to branch out and try new things.
  • Give them some responsibility.

If your child always seems to be tired, consider helping them find a dream to wake-up for!

Battle of the Chores

January 15th, 2013 - Category: Kids and Responsibility

How many times have you looked around your messy house, only to see your kids watching TV, so you thrown up your hands in frustration and decide to have a family meeting?  How many times have you come away from the meeting with a desire to make a change but it only lasts for about 3 days, and then everyone is back into their old routines again?

It is time to succeed!  It is time to win the Battle of the Chores!  Make this the year where everyone’s ideas about chores are changed.

Many times it’s the parents that need to change their thinking about chores too.  Maybe you resent your parents for making you do chores.  Maybe you want your kids to have a better childhood than you did. Maybe you feel guilty for making one child clean up after another child.  Whatever is holding you back, realize that you are hurting your child more than you are helping them by letting them get out of their chores.

Just like we send our children off to school to prepare them for a job when they are adults, having them help out around the house now, prepares them to maintain a home when they are adults.  Chores are just another life skill.  You are showing them more love by helping them be more responsible around the house.

Start Young

It’s always easier and faster to just do the job yourself, but remember the short term goal is to get the house clean, the long term goal is to teach your child how to work and be responsible.  Start young and you will have less arguing from them as they grow older.

Baby Steps

If it’s too late and bad habits are already formed, take baby steps.  Plan on taking the next year to slowly add more chores and responsibility.  Start this month with having them help with the dinner dishes.  Next month add a bigger Saturday chore.  Several months down the road, they can have several daily chores, and by the end of the year, you can even add several BIG chores in.

Alongside You

When you add chores slowly it gives you the opportunity to help them and show them the standard you would like the chore to be done at.  (And you get to spend some extra time with them!) It takes 21 days of doing something for it to become a habit.  By taking a month before you add more responsibility, it helps them and you develop habits of getting those chores done.

Let Them Choose

You may be thinking that this the craziest thing ever when it comes to kids doing their chores but giving them a choice means that the job is more likely to be done.  You may just be surprised at what they pick.

Cleaning Loves Company

Set up a certain time of the day when chores should be done.  If everyone is cleaning at the same time then it doesn’t make anyone feel like they have to do it all alone.

Use a Reward System

We don’t like to work unless we get rewarded for it and neither do our kids.  When offering a reward, make sure it is something they think is a reward, not just something you like. offers kids the opportunity to choose their own reward.  Points add up and they are able to cash them in for items on  What could be easier?

Make a plan for this year to be different.  Start now by showing your kids how much you love them by making them do chores and be more responsible.