Unfortunately this is not the first time I have seen this sort of isolationist attitude. As the new girl in town, I’ve spent a lot of time this year on the outside of the Mom circle…at my kids’ schools, team practices, at the pool. People may give you a nod and a smile, but they don’t always invite you in if they’re in their circle. I’m not sure if it’s because they are clueless, feel awkward, or just don’t want to be bothered, but it does seem to be common. Don’t get me wrong, I have met some fabulous people in my latest hometown, but there are also times when I feel like the last kid picked for dodgeball.
Since my post “My 12 Year Old Was Blackmailed for Nude Photos” came out, I have had a lot of people comment and get in touch with me about issues their children — or children they know — have encountered online. For example, a friend got in touch about her nephew that was playing with another child that had a hand-me-down phone with the Wi-Fi code still on it and used it to access porn. They were six and eight.
And the woman who e-mailed me after reading the article to tell me that her 13-year-old daughter had been communicating with a sex offender for four months and was just about to meet with him when the mom found out. How did this happen when the child didn’t own a phone? Her daughter’s friend was kind enough to let her have access to SnapChat on her iPad, which her parents never monitored.
“Tell your sister you’re sorry!”
I’ve uttered those words what feels like millions of times. Say you are sorry for saying that mean thing, you’re sorry for hitting, you’re sorry for losing her headband, you’re sorry for killing your sister’s herd of sheep when you weren’t supposed to be in her world in Minecraft (tell me I’m not the only one?)
“Say it like you mean it,” I often say in my most stern voice after watching the eye-rolling, head-down, muttered apology my girls offer.
It’s back to school time. Right now the excitement and energy is high, routines are new, and (most) kids and parents are happy. And then Meet the Teacher Night rolls around, and we get our first impressions of the person who will spend their days with our precious babies.
It’s back to school time, and each year I feel the same way: overwhelmed, excited and overwhelmed. There is always a new schedule to learn, additional rules to follow, and more stuff to do.
And the learning curve never seems to get any easier for me. Each year I spend hours trying to get registered on some school’s web site, accumulate supplies and clone myself so I can be on that conference call, at that school meeting and in the car pool — all at the same time.
I love a good road trip. Always have.
In college we used to load up in whoever’s car seemed most reliable to drive 450 miles for a football game. Some friends and I once drove from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans for Mardi Gras hoping we would run into some friends of ours so we could crash in their hotel room (do as I say, kids, not as a did!) And my husband (fiancé at the time) and I once drove from The Keys to New York after our Year 2000 New Year’s celebration.
As a mom, and a communications professional in the technology space, I’ve heard some pretty scary stories about kids’ use of social media. Predators lurking on Facebook, bullying happening via Twitter and even suspicious activity occurring on Minecraft. As parents, we try to stay on top of what our kids are doing, but the technology seems to be outpacing our ability to monitor.
And there seems to be a new breed of apps out there that are wreaking havoc on our children. SnapChat and ask.FM seem to be particularly problematic. Well, at least that was before a friend — someone I have no doubt is an engaged mother — wrote the following words to me:
“I want to share my story to as many moms as possible, so it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
In order for me to process information I need to talk it out, usually at length (or ad nauseam if you asked my husband.) I don’t enjoy being left alone to my own thoughts (unless I’m writing, which is really just like talking to myself), and would rather be socializing than most anything else in the world.
So, imagine what it must be like for my daughter, an introvert.
And it’s not enough that she has Hyper-Mom as a parent. She is also blessed with Chatty Cathy and Talkative Tammy as sisters.
For as long as I have had children, people have commented about the hormones that were one day going to invade my home. I have always laughed it off, because it seemed so very far off in the distance. And although I listened to other parents talk about how at age nine their daughters started to change…a little bit more attitude, a little bit more tears, a little more moody — I didn’t take it very seriously.
we live in a dangerous world, and even the most protected kids should know the basics of safety — and more importantly, what they should do when they encounter a bad situation.
Most safety information available is geared towards kids ages five and up, but experts agree you should start discussing safety issues as early as pre-school. Yes, pre-school. Even if you are the only care taker, even if you are constantly with your child, even if you don’t think it can happen to you. Unless you plan to live in a bubble, you should at least address the basics.