engaging kids outside the home

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“Summer is greeting us with her cheerful grin, but parents who couldn’t come up for the air needed to plan for her grand entrance are not doing a happy dance. It looms instead like an epic black hole, begging for definition. Camp registration deadlines came and went a long time ago, but maybe, your kids aren’t keen on camp, anyway. You don’t want summer to be a chore for you or your kids. So, what’s a good parent to do?

There are plenty of life-changing ways to occupy your children over the summer besides sending them to camp and, ample evidence that these experiences are deeply formative. In my case, an older friend needed help weeding her flower garden and asked if my 12-yr-old daughter (who wasn’t a camp-loving girl) wanted to earn some cash. In fact, she did, and though it was a hot, humid undertaking, my daughter was glad she said yes. Weeding side-by-side, the two bonded over their love of fiction and started their own book club, reading “The Wheel On the School”, “Ruby Holler” and “Number the Stars”. My daughter grew from that summer, on her knees beside my dear old friend, picking weeds and talking books.” 

Read in full in Houston Family Magazine.

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What Happened When I Quit Helicopter Parenting

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“When I coddle my kids, I hurt them. If I keep myself at the center of their universe, helicopter parenting and serving their every need, the goal of independence is undermined. It’s much harder to stay in the shadows and watch them successfully dodge one bad decision only to perform a dramatic faceplant when the next major obstacle reveals itself. But how else will they learn?”

Thank you, San Diego Family Magazine, for publishing my essay on the perils of helicopter parenting.

Read in full: https://www.sandiegofamily.com/resources/parenting/1981-helicopter-parenting

My Son Listened To A Book, Not Me. And That’s OK.

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“I know I can’t take any credit for this victory and honestly, it doesn’t matter. I long ago accepted that it takes a village to raise a child. Today, I recognize that books are influential members of this community as well.”

Parents, sometimes the best thing to do is to step back and shut-up. Intervention can happen for your tween/teen, too…and often from places you didn’t expect. Parenting is not a solo job–it’s welcoming the ‘village’ around you! Thank you for reading  my essay on Today Parenting Team and sharing with others.

Read in full: http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/my-son-listened-to-a-book-not-me-and-thats-ok_1475022188

 

What Happened When I Learned How Much My Coddling Hurt My Kids

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It took me a long time to realize: When I coddle them, I hurt them.

I’m a safety mom. A safety person, in fact. During a past ski trip, I consistently arrived back at the chairlift last, underscoring my obvious preoccupation with not hurting myself. I checked my speed the entire descent down the mountain. Speed is not my middle name.

My teens were ahead of me. And though cautionary words were on the tip of my tongue, I made no effort to prohibit them from their rapid downhill flight. I didn’t want to harden their resolve.

People who thrive are people who are being who they believe they were meant to be. That is exactly what I want for my kids and probably pretty close to what you want, too. We want our kids to mature into independent young adults who can make wise choices on their own.

Read in full on YourTango.

 

From Sampaguita to Bleeding Heart: A Story of Resurrection

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The earth was cracked and troubled in Washington, D.C. If only you’d been listening, you would have decoded the garbled whisperings of Auntie Kay’s rapid decline, a sampaguita wilting, just like your bleeding hearts in summer, hot as morning mouth. Instead, you obsessed over perennials, especially your bleeding hearts. And, you stupidly pinned your success on them. Now their decline signaled a mocking failure.

Formerly a burned out parking lot, your skinny 15×45 patch of manufactured grass served as an urban backyard. Belying appearances, this defiled earth hid scars of the past that now threatened to slice up your hands. Your gardening gloves mostly shielded you from the harmful objects—glass, rusty metal, bullet casings, and ground-up concrete. Undaunted, you imagined Eden could be realized in one growing season under your coaxing, a remarkable, almost impossible, feat for a veteran gardener. Unluckily, you were an amateur. Unluckily, there was a drought that year. Unluckily, it was Auntie Kay’s final summer.

On the surface it was the bleeding hearts that filled you with a pitiful, throat-catching anxiety. Running parallel, deeper, viciously circling in your gut, was the once unflappable Auntie Kay now wasting away in Chicago. Be honest. Pull back the curtain: that was the throat-catching anxiety.

Read in full at Santa Fe Writers Project: http://sfwp.com/resurrection-by-kathryn-streeter/

From One Mom To Another: The Gift Of Perspective Is Everything, Huffington Post

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“You lift your eyes and there is a bird across the street perched on the topmost point of the firehouse bell-tower. Why does she just sit there? What does she see? You need to follow the way of this mama bird, to get up high above the trees so that you can know where you’ve been and where you’re going.

Truth is, the longer you’ve been a mom, the clearer are your failures. The blessing of perspective allows painful truths to emerge that often you picked at blades of grass instead of getting up high. You’ve regarded yourself as a good mom, yet as you gain distance from the early days of babies and toddlers, preschool and elementary school, from this place above the trees you can finally see.

Like that mama bird sitting up high in the tree, you stand now as a humble mom of 17 years, better able to discern where you’ve been and where you’re going. ”

Read in full on Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/kathryn-streeter/motherhood_b_9686272.html

 

But Is It Safe? Abandoning Helicopter Parenting So Kids Can Grow Up

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 11.28.47 PMWhat good are we doing when we dive in and rescue our kids? There comes a time when we need to let go, the most difficult parenting task of all. Sorry for the bad news. Time to stop crying and let go.

“I’m a safety mom. For starters, speed is not my middle name. During a past ski trip, the fact that I consistently arrived back at the chairlift last underscored this reality. My concern about staying safe informed my behavior. I checked my speed while descending the mountain.

Though cautionary words were on the tip of my tongue, I didn’t prohibit my teens from their downhill flight. I didn’t want to harden their resolve.

A person who thrives is being who they were meant to be. That’s exactly what my goal is for my kids, and probably yours touches on this theme in some way, too. We want our kids to mature into independent young adults who can make wise choices.”

Read in full: http://www.sammichespsychmeds.com/but-is-it-safe-abandoning-helicopter-parenting-so-kids-can-grow-up/