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New Mom Monday

How to keep your children safe online from toddler to teen, online safety

Children and teens love being online. The older they get, the more they love it. Whether it’s watching videos on YouTube, playing Fortnite or interacting with friends from school on SnapChat and Instagram, our kids spend a lot of time online. The thing is, do we really know who they’re hanging out within the online world? We can’t even be sure that we know who we’re dealing with in this world of online personas and filters. Is anyone who they seem to be? I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to keep my children safe online from the toddler age through to their teens.

Maybe it would be easier if our kids were just playing outside. But that’s not the real world. It’s only part of it and our kids need to learn how to navigate safely through the digital world. It’s not like when we were kids. There’s a whole online world connecting our children to people all over the world. All the hoping and wishing is not going to unring that bell.

READ ALSO: Online Persona who’s real and who isn’t? How to know the difference.

There may be those that argue that digital technology makes children unhealthy from the lack of fresh air and physical activity. People will tell you that this generation of kids will be awkward and develop poor social skills but I think that’s an alarmist attitude. Our children need to have their bearings in both worlds because currently, the future is living in one and experiencing life in the other.

There are solid arguments in defense of having exposure to technology from a young age. Many games involve complex problems that need solving. Schools use online classrooms and apps to teach our kids. These same games can improve hand-eye coordination and children learn very quickly how to use technology in great depth, in a very natural and intuitive way.

A bigger concern though is how safe our children are online. With access to so much, often unrestricted content, how do we know that our children are not going to come into contact with things that they’re not old enough to deal with? We have parental controls on our daughters’ computers and phones. They are only allowed the apps we give them permission to use and we check often. But even the most vigilant parent can’t be everywhere all the time. We need to teach our children, from an early age, how to be safe and smart online.

READ ALSO: How to keep your family safe online

The other aspect of this is also a concern over who they might come into contact with. There is always a worry with social media or games that have chat functions, that children may come into contact with strangers who prey on the young. My biggest fear is a pedophile posing as another child, gaining my daughters’ trust and violating them in some way.

So how do we deal with this challenge? Nobody wants to cut their children off entirely from enjoying something they love, and with technology being a bigger and bigger part of our lives, the children of today will have even more of a relationship with technology.  As parents, we have to keep them informed, tech-savvy and safe by doing a few simple things.

Take An Interest In What Your Child Is Doing Online

Make online activities a family experience where you can. Get involved with their gaming, and spend time understanding what they’re doing when they are online. My girls only game online when their dad is playing with them. Keeping a healthy, positive interest will mean that your children will be less likely to hide activity from you. If you know the games, they’re playing, and the sites that they’re visiting, you’ll have a better idea of what any specific risks are. This will help you put things in place to minimize these risks.

Teach your children about passwords by sitting with them when they sign up to their first sites. Make sure they learn early on how important passwords are, and that they should use different passwords on different websites and use a healthy mix of letters (upper and lowercase), numbers and special characters.

Having Straight, Honest Conversations

Be honest with your children about the dangers of strangers online, and the kind of content on there, but try not to scare them too much. They do have to live and work online. Encourage them to be cautious. Encourage your children to talk to you about anything that they see so that if something ever happens, they go to you immediately.

Parental Controls

Make sure you know how to access any master parental controls from your home router, as well on every device your children might have access to. This is so important. Find out about the best apps and devices for monitoring your kids safe online activity. Make sure that these are installed and working.

“Friend” Your Children

If your children are using social media, befriend or follow them online. Your children need to learn that anything they post online has the potential to be viewed by anyone and that once it’s posted, even if it gets deleted, it could come back and cause them damage. I taught my girls from the beginning to not post anything that they wouldn’t want their grandpa seeing. I’ve also shown them how screenshot works and the reality that nothing is temporary on the internet. The Internet is forever.

How to keep your children safe online from toddler to teen, online safetyThese are just a few tips for keeping your children safe online. What’s your best tip?

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Things to do in Banff with Teenagers, traveling with teens, travel Tuesday, Banff, Alberta, visit Canada, Visit Alberta, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers and tweens, family travel

Earth Day is one of my favorite days of the year because it’s a great reminder to take a moment and be thankful for the planet we live on. I know, it sounds super crunchy but it’s like realizing that you should be thankful for your body for all that it does for you, instead of complaining that it doesn’t look like everyone else’s. I’m always looking for awesome Earth Day tips for raising environmentally aware kids.

Aside from raising your children to be good human beings (which should be first and foremost every parent’s goal) and showing them how to commit random acts of kindness in the world, we have to teach them the importance of taking care of our planet. We have to make it clear that the earth provides for us; food, water, air and everything else we need to survive and thrive in the universe. We need to take care of it in return. Like any good functional relationship, it takes two and lots of respect and reciprocity.

READ ALSO: 10 Steps for being Environmentally Aware

Kids understand so much more, at much younger ages than we often give them credit for. They can understand concepts like climate change, endangered species and overflowing landfills better than some of their adult counterparts. Showing them the way could motivate them to adopt Earth-friendly behavior. Encourage them with your own actions.

You should be having Earth Day conversations with children as young as preschool-aged about why taking care of the planet is such a good idea. The more you talk with your kids, the more they’ll understand but don’t dumb it down too much. Talk in age-appropriate explanations.

READ ALSO: Beach Bag Must-Haves

  • Use Analogies: Wasting the Earth’s resources too quickly is like spending all your piggy bank money before allowance day.
  • Outline Causal Relationships: If you throw trash down a storm drain, it can make ocean animals sick.
  • Define New Vocabulary Terms: Like “biodegradable,” or “renewable energy.”
  • Make Connections to Prior Knowledge: Just like plants use sunlight to make food, solar panels use it to make electricity.

Show your child how important the environment is to everyone around you. But you have to do more than just show them on Earth Day. For eco-friendly behavior to truly become second nature to our kids, it helps if it is done daily, rewarding and fun.

Here are Earth Day Tips for Raising Environmentally Aware Kids

  1. Recycling: Cut bottle, can and paper slot shapes into your bin lids to make sorting recyclables a fun family game. You can even sing a song while you sort.  And if you take your collected items to a recycling center, consider sharing the redemption money with your kids for an added incentive.
  2. Transportation: Look for chances to reduce emissions (and your stress levels) by taking car-free trips whenever you can. Biking, walking and riding public transportation can give your family some exercise and make traveling a lot more fun, too. City dwellers should find this easy, but even if you live out in the suburbs, we bet you have a park, restaurant or friend’s house within pedaling distance.
  3. Reducing Waste: Help your kids look forward to saving electricity by having one fun candlelight dinner every week. Or encourage them to use less water by timing who can take the fastest shower (while still coming out smelling clean, of course)!
  4. Water: Use only the water you need, and reuse when possible.
    Rain barrels can be used to collect rain and then you can use it to water a family garden.
    Bathe together. Put the kids in the tub together. Shower with your kids or your husband. It saves water, creates memories and nurtures the bond between siblings Dispose of solid and liquid wastes and medications safely.
    Take advantage of medication take-back programs or household hazardous waste collection programs that accept medications, pharmaceuticals, oil, paint and other liquid wastes.
  5. Pass on gas! For example, take public transportation, carpool, plan your day to reduce trips and vehicle emissions.
  6. Make sure your home’s air is healthy, learn about indoor air pollutants from indoor energy use and toxins.
  7. Plant a tree. Or plant many trees! Plant a garden. Plant a vegetable garden.
  8. Prevent additional air pollution by finding alternatives to burning your waste.
  9. Use pesticides safely! Reduce or eliminate where possible.
  10. Learn about composting, try it out!
  11. Reducing yard waste by recycling yard trimmings into free fertilizer.
  12. Learn about the native species and the negative effects of non-native plants and animals in the environment. Plant native species in your gardens, encourage important pollinators such as bees and birds by planting gardens full of their favorite plants. Join a team in your community that removes non-native species.
  13. Save energy at home Choose energy-saving appliances if they’re available. Look for Energy Star!
  14. Hang dry your clothes. This is one of my favorite things to do.
  15. Go renewable! Create your own power from the wind, the sun, water, or biofuels.
  16. Find alternate ways to reduce the use of diesel and other fuels for transportation, production and energy.
  17. Upcycle! Take something that is disposable and transforms it into something of greater use and value.
  18. Recycle metals, plastics and paper
  19. E-cycle Recycle and/or properly dispose of electronic waste such as computers and other gadgets
  20. Don’t litter! Properly dispose of trash and waste

 

Earth Day, Earth Day 2019, Earth Day tips for how to raise envirnmentally aware, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers, traveling with teens, travel Tuesday, Banff, Alberta, visit Canada, Visit Alberta, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers and tweens, family travel

The best thing you can do is simply the act of getting your kids outdoors; no matter the ages. In our high tech world, kids spend a lot more time indoors looking at screens. I’m not judging. I’m stating a fact. We all do it but we need to actively get our kids moving outside, for their health and the health of the planet.

One amazing experience in the great outdoors is worth a thousand nature lectures. Children who have an immersive experience in nature between the ages of 5 and 10, tend to care more about the environment. There is also a greater likelihood that they will actively work to preserve the important life-giving aspects of the environment as adults.

READ ALSO: Tips to Keep Your Kids Healthy

Rather than teaching our Earth Day tips about sustainability, give your kids a nature experience that will instill them with an environmental ethic that will inspire them to develop their own dedication to sustainability.

We’ll be spending this beautiful Earth Day outside, as we always do, watching our girl play soccer, going for a nature walk and playing in the backyard. There is something about getting outside, breathing in the fresh air and playing that truly inspires my family. Nature is like my church.  I feel most at peace just being still and taking in the wonder and beauty that is outside.

What are your best Earth Day tips for raising environmentally aware kids?

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Gucci sunglasses, gucci women sunglasses,gucci for women , gucci for men, fashion for moms, designer wardrobe on a budget, prada, dior, louboutin, chanel

Do you love brand name and designer clothing, accessories and shoes? Be honest, do you want them because you genuinely love them or is it more of a status symbol, like in middle school? Hey, I’m not belittling your “why”, I’m just asking. If we’re telling truths, and I usually am, brands matter to me. I don’t choose a product because you’ve slapped a fancy name like Versace, Prada, Dior or Gucci on it. But I do love these brands.

I don’t like it because my favorite celebrities rock it or some rapper is singing about it. BTW, no child should be rocking Gucci on the regular, though I was completely fine with mine rocking Burberry. Hey, a woman’s got to have her limits. The point is I like the quality behind the label. If you know me, you’ve probably heard me say, “I’d rather pay $200 or even $500 for a pair of jeans that I’ll wear every day than $50 for a pair that I’ll never wear because then I threw $50 in the trash.”

This is how I came to know the answer to the question, ” Are Gucci sunglasses worth the price tag?”

For me, the answer didn’t come right away. I love big, beautiful sunglasses. I collect them. They protect my eyes from the sun and they protect my face from wrinkles. I’ve been rocking giant sunnies since before it was cool to do so. But other than a pair of Oakly sunglasses the Big Guy bought me back when we first started dating, I’ve never owned or paid more than $75 for sunglasses.

READ ALSO: How to Have a Designer Wardrobe on a Mom Budget

Once I became a mom, forget about it. For one, babies like to pull sunglasses off your face to see their mommy and throw those suckers to the ground. I can’t tell you how many pairs of beloved sunglasses were throw to the pavement and scratched beyond repair. Sure, I tried to wear them but they were essentially making my blind. I resigned myself to the fact that I couldn’t have nice things (unless it was jewelry, bags or shoes) and there started my tenure as queen of the under $25 sunglasses. I just couldn’t risk it.

 

Gucci sunglasses, gucci women sunglasses,gucci for women , gucci for men, fashion for moms, designer wardrobe on a budget, prada, dior, louboutin, chanel

But are Gucci sunglasses for women worth the price tag?

Once again, the Big Guy gifted me my first pair of Gucci sunglasses for our anniversary last year. He knew I needed new sunglasses and he knew I liked them big and beautiful and he is sort of a sunglasses for men connoisseur himself so he got them for me. It surprised me because I totally wasn’t expecting them but really wanted them. I just can’t make myself spend $300 + dollars on Gucci sunglasses ( or any other women sunglasses for that matter). Buying for others is not an issue but for myself, I need a steep markdown (because there is always something else that I can be spend the money on). It’e the mom guilt. We don’t allow ourselves these little pleasures.

READ ALSO: How to Teach Teenage Girls to Put on Makeup

I love third markdown designer everything. There is some sort of satisfaction that comes from knowing you got a quality ( not irregular or last season) piece of clothing, shoes, accessories or handbags for a reduced price. Fortunately, the Big Guy is not as frugal as I am. That’s how I got these amazing sunglasses.

Gucci sunglasses, gucci women sunglasses,gucci for women , gucci for men, fashion for moms, designer wardrobe on a budget, prada, dior, louboutin, chanel

Yes, Gucci Sunglasses are worth the price tag!

But why, Debi? Why are Gucci women sunglasses worth the price tag? Why would anyone pay $300 + dollars for women sunglasses, men sunglasses or Gucci sunglasses when that could pay for 2 weeks of groceries? Because, you can’t get the groceries if you can’t see to drive to the grocery store. You can wreck when you are being blinded by the sun. You will get wrinkles if you try to squint through life while looking into the sun. Guess what costs more than $300? BOTOX!

You’re shaking your head and thinking to yourself, how wasteful to spend that kind of money for sunglasses. I would have agreed with you 2 weeks ago but then one morning I drove home from dropping the kids off at school and I looked directly into the sun…like Wonder Woman and I was unaffected. Nobody was blinded. I did not squint or swerve. I looked directly in the direction I needed to without any squinting or wincing. Looking life right in the eyes is empowering and that is priceless.

READ ALSO: Why Mom Guilt is Useless

While I never would have bought them for myself and I hardly even wore them for months because it felt embarrassing to be so opulent in my every day life. Just like I feel like a jerk every time I carry the Louis Vuitton the Big Guy me a few years ago for an anniversary. Then it hit me. I deserve nice things. And it’s only wasteful if I don’t use these things. If I wear my Gucci sunglasses every day, for drop offs and picks ups to school and ballet; in yoga pants and cocktail dresses, then I’ve used them $300 worth and so I am.

So, yes Gucci sunglasses are worth the price tag because I’m worthy of nice things and so are you. Buy the Gucci, buy the Louis, buy the Louboutins and the Chanel….just make sure that you have the money to buy the groceries too.

What is your favorite designer brand piece of fashion that you own or have dreamed of owning? Why and what makes it special to you? Now, go treat yo self!

 

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signs of miscarriage, miscarriage symptoms, causes of miscarriage, grief, sadness, loss, miscarriage, lost baby, how to carry on after a miscarriage

I’ve realized that loss never really leaves you, not truly; not the big ones. They remain right beneath the surface, just deep enough for you to get by, to go on living in that forever changed, never the same way only the loss of someone you love more than yourself affects you. A miscarriage or losing a baby/child is different than losing anyone else.

Last night, I watched the movie Return to Zero on Netflix. I stumbled into it like a drunk falling into a wall and then I stayed there for the duration because even though it hurt when the wounds were reopened, it was familiar. The knowing washed over me like a warm surf pulling me into the undertow. Gasping for breath, the pain of drowning reminded me that I was alive.

READ ALSO: All I Can Do is Cry

I think I’ve been living in a protective state of comfortable numbness for the past 7 years. Maybe it’s where I need to stay for the rest of my life because I can’t let myself feel everything, all the time. I can’t live like the exposed nerve that my soul sometimes is. I mask it with levity. I tell myself that I’m letting go but then I see something, hear something or remember something and my dam of grief breaks wide open and it all comes flooding back. Vulnerability replaces the protective cover around my heart.

Return to Zero is a movie about a couple who loses their child in utero at 9 months from a health complication. The baby’s kidney develops a cyst and the organ bursts. The baby, thought to be completely healthy and normal, dies. No rhyme, no reason and no explanation that can ever console a grieving parent’s heart. Just immeasurable and unfathomable loss. The kind of loss that swallows you up whole. The kind of loss that makes it painful to breathe. The kind of loss that is almost not survivable.

A couple of things have happened in the past month that has really brought it all up for me again and least of all, not being that I am less than a month away from the anniversary of my own loss. I know it sounds weird to remember and mark a day of loss but when you are left with a loss this big, that no one else seems to feel as strongly as you, you feel like you have to hold on to that memory with everything that you are or your baby will disappear forever. You have to fight for it. If not, it will be as if he/she never existed and that is too much to bear so you hold on because, as a parent, you feel like it is your responsibility to that child to make sure the world knows they were here. You are the keeper of their legacy; however short lived it was.

READ ALSO: The TRUTH about Life After Miscarriage

Last month, my friend lost her full-term baby to Trisomy 13. She went through 9 months of unimaginable hurt and loneliness, culminated in the worst kind of pain. That is what losing a baby is like, you feel so alone with your anguish and emptiness. A different friend lost her baby soon after announcing. Other friends are still learning to live in the losses of their children who are gone. Yet, another friend is struggling with fertility and I keep finding myself getting angry because I am afraid that she is going to get pregnant and experience loss. I was so afraid after my loss that I never tried again but I don’t want my fear to color her experience. There’s just been a lot of things going on that have been reminding me of my own empty arms and since I had to have a hysterectomy last fall, the finality of it all has been hitting me harder than I ever could have anticipated. It’s been 7 years since my miscarriage with our third child but the weight of that loss is as heavy as it ever was.

I don’t cry every day anymore. I don’t wear my grief like an armor these days. It’s much more subdued and quiet but it is there and can be felt as strongly as it was on May 1, 2012 in my heart. There are certain things I will never forget; the minute they didn’t see the heartbeat, sitting in a waiting room full of beautiful bellies full of living babies as I sat there with my silent womb. I remember calling my husband to tell him and no words coming out of my mouth, the primal screaming and sobbing that I did alone in my car in the parking lot as my heart broke in between the doctor’s appointment and preschool pick up, the emptiness that I felt in my soul that afternoon, my 4-year-old hugging and kissing my belly telling the baby she loved him at 4  in the morning before I left to the hospital for my D&E, A Thousand Years playing on the seemingly eternal drive to the hospital, the sick child I saw at the hospital that morning and feeling sorry for her mother.

Surviving the Grief, Loss and Aftermath of Miscarriage

I’ll never forget the way I refused to go ahead with surgery until they performed one last ultrasound, the photo I made my husband snap of the ultrasound machine of our baby, the helplessness in his eyes, the loneliness that I felt as they wheeled me back to surgery as the nurses lovingly told me of their own losses, the sadness I felt when I saw their eyes fill with tears and the helplessness that I saw on my brothers’ faces when I found them waiting with my husband in the waiting room while I was in surgery. The love that I felt for each person who tried to hold my heart and protect me from the inevitable pain that was to come next.

The emptiness that emanated from my womb throughout my entire body. The endless crying and guilt. The disappointment at my body’s failure. The blame that I wholly accepted. The solitude and hatred that permeated every single thought for those coming weeks. Laying silently in stillness feeling unworthy of breath. Looking into my daughters’ eyes and seeing the confusion. Fake smiling to survive. People telling me that God has a reason. Someone asking me if I was relieved. People telling me that my baby was in a “better” place as if my arms were not good enough. Having misplaced love and anger and not knowing what to do with either. Trying to be normal for everyone else.

READ ALSO: When a Tattoo Heals Your Heart 

Celebrating my husband’s 37nd birthday, 2 days after my D&E, because I refused to let my pain make things weird. Celebrating my Godson’s communion that same weekend after sending a text to everyone not to bring up the miscarriage to me. The next weekend, going out for our 13th wedding anniversary and celebrating Mother’s Day. The next weekend, attending my 4-year-olds preschool graduation, my 6-year-old’s violin concert and a few days later throwing a party for my 5-year-old with all of our friends and family; the same party where we were going to announce our pregnancy. That Thanksgiving, the due date of what might have been, and someone asking me, “don’t you miss the pitter patter of little feet running around the house?” as my nephew played and I had to run to my room to not break down in front of a house full of people. Between all of these brave faces I was putting on for everyone else, I was crumpled up in a ball sobbing in my bed. I stayed in my room alone as much as I could. I felt like I was dying. Secretly, maybe I hoped that I was.

I’d pushed all of these feeling down. I’m scrappy and I’m good at being stoic even when I just want to give myself over to my grief. Some parts of Return to Zero felt like watching it all happen to someone else but all the same things were being said and I could relate to the hurt, the pain and the fear. My heart cracked wide open for the first time in years and all that pain resurfaced. It flooded my heart and every thought. That’s why I’m writing this post. I know that there are so many women who have lost a pregnancy, a baby or a child and it all really is the same to a mother; we’ve lost the possibility of what could have been and that changes you in ways you never expected. We are irrevocably and molecularly changed from the person we were up until the moment we experienced that loss.

READ ALSO: Some Things Change You Forever

I’m damaged. I’ll never be who I was before the words, “I can’t find a heartbeat” were whispered to me in a poorly lit, sterile room on the second floor of the women’s health center by a kind woman who didn’t know what else to say as I stared back at her begging her to change her mind and take it all back. You are not alone. We might all process it differently and it might look different from the outside but on the inside, we are gutted and speechless and feeling more helpless than we’ve ever felt before.

As much as Return to Zero broke my heart, I found comfort in the fact that someone wrote an honest screenplay that so accurately portrays the realness of loss; the humanity of it all. The primal part of loss that no “I’m sorry for your loss” can ever salve. Losing a child is losing yourself in the world, becoming completely unrecognizable, and being sentenced to a lifetime of living. It’s cruel. You will survive and you will never forget. Tiny time bombs of grief will unexpectantly go off for the rest of your life and you will find yourself a broken mess at the most inopportune times but this is your heart reminding your mind not to forget. This is you living. This is you loving your baby forever and there is something beautiful in that pain; something comforting.

How do you process loss?

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Our oldest daughter, Bella, just turned 14-years-old which means next year is her quinceañera. That means this 1/2 first-generation Latina is planning my first ever quinceañera for my 1/4 Latina. I never got to celebrate my quinces and I regret that. The planning process is exciting and overwhelming but I love that my daughter and I get to do this together with a little help from our village. It’s bringing us closer in ways I hadn’t considered.

What is a quinceañera, you ask?

It is not the same as a sweet sixteen in American culture. Is it the same as a Bat Mitzvah? Closer, there is definitely a religious aspect to it. Because I didn’t get to celebrate the quinceañera tradition myself, I’ve always secretly hoped my girls would want one.

Most cultures celebrate a young girl coming of age, in the United States that’s usually done by throwing a big sweet sixteen party. For Latinas, ideally, we celebrate our becoming a woman when a girl turns 15-years-old, the age of maturity in the Catholic church. (Similar to a Jewish girl who celebrates her Bat Mitzvah at 12-years and one-day-old; the age of religious maturity in the Jewish religion). As Latinas, we celebrate this birthday with a mass followed by a huge celebration with family and friends. It’s a time-honored tradition and a big part of our culture.

READ ALSO: The Day My Teenager told me How She Really Felt

I didn’t have a quince because, quite frankly, my parents couldn’t afford it. It’s expensive for a birthday party. I always wanted one and I promised myself that if my girl wanted one, I’d find a way to make it happen. That’s what I’m doing. It’s a bit overwhelming since I’ve never planned one before. My mom is not Latina and I don’t live near any of my Latina friends or family so everything is a work in progress but 100% worth it to see the excitement in my daughter’s eyes.

It’s hard to explain the entire idea of a quinceañera to people who didn’t grow up around the culture. Basically, it’s celebrated like a wedding, often referred to as a mini boda, minus the groom and the honeymoon. If you’re not raised in the culture, from the outside looking it, it looks a lot like an extravagant party for a fifteenth birthday but it symbolizes so much more than that. It’s the celebration of a girl becoming a woman and I think that should be celebrated like this for every little girl.

What is a Quinceañera?

For Latina girls, the 15th birthday marks the most lavish celebration of their lives. Symbolizing a girl’s transition from childhood to womanhood, the quinceañera is a two-part celebration consisting of a religious celebration and a reception that traces back to both indigenous and European cultural traditions. Parents often spend more on their daughter’s quinceañera than their actual wedding. In fact, quinceañeras are often referred to as mini bodas, or miniature weddings. A low-key quinceañera in the United States can easily cost upwards of $3,000. The key is to set a budget and stick to it.

When you see the quince girl (nickname for the quinceañera honoree) on her special day, the high price tag makes sense. A prom-like gown (quinceañera dress) like the ones found at PromGirl.com is the central quinceañera tradition. They’re often made of satin with lace overlays and rhinestone accents, not unlike a wedding dress. Think Cinderella dressed for the fairytale ball. Traditionally white or pale pink floor-length gowns were worn, but in modern times dresses in all colors of the rainbow are acceptable. The quince girl wears a delicate tiara or crown (corona) and during the mass, she carries a Bible or book of prayer.

READ ALSO: Things to do in Chicago with Teens

The Quinceañera celebration traditionally begins with the religious ceremony. We’ve already booked our mass and priest for next year. Before anything else happens, the quince girl attends a special Mass in which she reaffirms her dedication to God and receives a blessing from the priest. The Quinceañera will also leave a bouquet of flowers at the altar of the Virgin Mary to symbolize her purity. As a symbol of her transition from childhood to becoming a woman, a quince girl gives away a porcelain doll (ultima muñeca) to a younger sister.

How to begin planning your quinceanera

A reception is held following the mass at home or a banquet hall. We reserved our hall in December, well over a year in advance. The celebration includes food, music, the quinceañera dress and most often, a choreographed waltz and baile sorpresa (surprise dance) performed by the Quinceañera and her Court de honor (honor court).

What is a quinceañera honor court?

Quinceañera custom calls for 14 damas, or maiden attendants, to accompany the quince girl and symbolize the past 14 years of her life. And a group of young ladies needs a corresponding group of escorts, which means the quince girl must also select 15 chambelans, or male attendants. Less formal quinceañera celebrations typically use 7 or 4 damas and chambelans.

At the reception is where the quince girl is officially presented to guests. She can pick a quinceañera theme of her choice. I’ve seen everything from Disney princesses to Great Gatsby. Similar to cotillion and debutante traditions, quinceañeras serve as a young Latina’s official entrance into society and womanhood and incorporate a host of unique elements and rituals that celebrate a young woman’s coming of age as well as her Latino heritage.

One of the final rituals of a quinceañera, and most sentimental, is the changing of the quince girl’s shoes. After the party is in full swing, the quince girl’s father will remove the flat-soled slippers his daughter wore to the party and replace them with a pair of heels. This symbolizes that the 15-year-old girl who arrived at the quinceañera will leave a young woman. This pays cultural homage to coming out ceremonies orchestrated by Aztec high priests in the early 1500s.

READ ALSO:  What Does Be “More Latina” mean?

Aztec Indians considered young girls marriage-ready at the age of 15. As a result, ceremonial rites of passage including parental speeches begging their daughters to become wise, upstanding women. When the Spanish invaded modern-day Mexico and overthrew the Aztecs in the 1520s, they brought their European influence to the indigenous people. The upper-class debutante aspects of quinceañera emerged as a result.

Today, there were certain privileges associated with the quinceañera. Being that it is a celebration of her transition into womanhood, the quinceañera might be allowed to attend adult parties, pluck her eyebrows and shave her legs, wear makeup, jewelry and high heels and maybe even start dating. Whoah! We will have to wait and see about this “dating” business. I mean, she’s still my baby.

Quinceañera Traditions

From surrendering the last doll (ultima muñeca) during the Catholic mass to the shoe ceremony before the final father-daughter dance afterward, the quinceañera is full of symbolic gestures and gifts. Unlike the ordinary birthday parties that the quince girl might’ve enjoyed for the first 14 years of her life, her quinceañera party officially marks her coming of age and therefore, requires appropriate gifts and apparel to carry her through that transition.

The quinceañera itself is the present for the birthday girl from her parents. Sometimes, parents may give their daughter a regálo sorpresa, or surprise gift. However, the emphasis of traditional quinceañera presents, including the prayer book, rosary and Bible needed for Mass, is on what the quince girl will wear and carry to her ceremony. These gifts may be given by a combination of grandparents (known as padrinos), other relatives and friends, and each of them carries a special meaning:

Traditional  Quinceañera Gifts

  • Quinceañera dresses represent femininity.

  • Quinceañera rings represent a girl’s bond to God, family and her community.

  • Quinceañera crowns and tiaras represent her superior morality.

  • Quinceañera cross necklaces emphasize a girl’s devotion to the Catholic Church.

Considering everything that goes into planning for your quinceañera, it’s understandable that they only happen once in a Latina girl’s lifetime. Though the rite of passage may vary slightly from country to country, the heart of the quinceañera remains constant. Whether it’s lavish or low-key, these extraordinary parties allow young girls to become fairytale princesses for one day on their way to becoming grown women and embracing all the responsibilities and duties that come with it.

We’ve just begun planning my daughter’s quinceañera but we’ll be sharing it all here and hope that you’ll join us on this exciting journey and celebration from little girl to young lady. We’ll be sharing everything we learn along the way and all things quinceañera.

 

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playdate etiquette, play date, playdate, toddlers, moms, how long should playdates be

Are you a playdate pro or are you a new mom just dipping her toe in the playdate pond? Either way, learning all the rules and regulations for playdates as a new mom is about as easy as patting your head and rubbing your belly while reciting the lyrics to Baby Shark backwards. And almost as annoying. Makes me wonder what is proper playdate etiquette protocol for toddlers and their moms? These are the things I used to stay up at nights worrying about when the girls were small but I’ve learned some things along the way and I think they could be helpful to you.

I remember once having a wonderful playdate ( well, Bella and Gabs were having the playdate while I enjoyed my time hanging out with the kid’s mom, my “mom friend”)let’s just call it a family play date. If we’re being 100% honest, those playdates were as much for me as they were for the girls I loved having those women to talk to, share with and bond with over our mommy war stories. The struggle is real in the mommyhood.

But in those moments, I was still left wondering, what is the appropriate duration of a playdate for children ages 2 to 5-years-old? What the hell is proper playdate protocol? How do you let them know when it’s time to go home without offending anyone?

READ ALSO: Play Date Break Up

Seriously, I’ve been hosting playdates since 2006. In the beginning, they lasted anywhere from a half hour, that seemed like an eternity, to a cool 5 hours that never seemed like quite enough time together. I’ve attended playdates where I couldn’t stop checking my phone and biding my time until I  could leave. Other times, I could have stayed longer because the kids were having fun and the conversation and coffee were flowing. Do you know what I am talking about?  We’ve all been there.

Other times you find yourself, sitting there, watching the clock, thinking to yourself, can I leave now without looking like a giant a**hole (quietly wishing your head would explode like in Scanners)? It all really depends on the company and the activity. But really, there has to be some kind of etiquette to this; some sort of method to all the madness. If not, chaos would break out. Moms would be walking out mid-sentence once they start hearing something they didn’t like; others would become squatters and it shouldn’t be that hard. It’s like real dating.

We need rules; proper Playdate Etiquette Protocol for Toddlers and their Moms

I’m lucky, I’ve been doing this Mommy gig long enough to have a really great group of Mommies kids that we have playdates with. Most of our playdates were, seriously, 2-5 hours in duration (so awesome how well my girls slept on those nights). But other days, no matter how many crafts or jungle gyms you had, the date was just a dud.

Sometimes we’d hit the zoo, sometimes we’d watch a kids movie, sometimes we’d have coffee and the kids played dress up and put on shows, sometimes it was a combo and lunch. The adorable videos that I could post on InstaStories could give the cat videos a run for their money.

READ ALSO: Play Dates What Every New Mom Needs to Know

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt the need to flee the scene of a playdate going to hell in a handbasket but I know they’re out there. My girls are now old enough, to host playdates without parental supervision but I won’t lie, sometimes I miss it. I don’t get to see my mom friends like I used to because now, everyone has extracurricular activities and more than one kid and no one has time for coffee and lingering conversation or wine and kids dressing up. Now, we have to find time to get together ourselves and it’s much harder than it sounds so cherish these toddler playdates. Here’s a little help.

Proper Playdate Etiquette Protocol for Toddlers and their Moms

  1. Parents should always stay with their child if they are preschooler age and under.
  2. For the first playdate with someone you haven’t had playdates with before, I recommend setting a time limit of 1 hour.
  3. After the initial playdate, if you like the mom and kid and everyone gets along, set a strict time i.e. 10 am-noon. The best guideline is 1.5-2 hours that doesn’t interfere with naptime.
  4. Parents should always pack snacks for their own children. As a playdate hostess, I’ve always provided appropriate snacks and drinks.
  5. Elementary school-aged children are a little different, ask the hosting parent if they want you to stay or go. Around fifth grade, you can safely assume that you will not be part of your child’s playdate.
  6. When kids are elementary school aged, you need to relinquish control a little bit. This starts with snacks. Let the parents know if your child has any food allergies and if they have any pet allergies since you won’t be there.
  7. Once they are in high school, you just need to provide your children with the upbringing and the trust to make good choices and a cellphone so that you can keep in touch. Duration of “playdates” can last from a few hours to a few days. When I was a teenager, my best friend spent the night at my house almost every day of the week.

These are just a few pointers for proper playdate etiquette for toddlers and their moms. What is your favorite pointer for hosting playdates?

 

3/04/10

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blondienites, 14th birthday party, love letter, 14th birthday, birthday girl, happy birthday

I know not everyone agrees with this or has this same experience because parenting a teen is a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get from one day to the next, even from one hour to the next. One minute they love you and the next, maybe you’re the dumbest person to ever walk the face of the earth with the dinosaurs. But sometimes you get lucky, even if it’s just for a little while, and they love the shit out of you. Maybe we’re in the honeymoon phase of teen parenting but for today, happy birthday to my teenager, my best friend. There I said it. I love and her sister more than anyone in the world and quite honestly, I like her more than most people too.

blondienites, 14th birthday party, love letter, 14th birthday, birthday girl, happy birthday

The past few months have had me feeling a certain kind of way. It’s a new avenue in parenting that I’m just beginning, the teen years. Bella turned 13 last year and I felt the tug of her growing up. However, my little girl leaned in and we’ve gotten closer. We talk about everything that she wants to share, I don’t push but I encourage her to know that I’m always here. It’ worked for us, so far. I know it’s not the popular parenting school of thought but she is becoming my best friend and I love how close we are. I have no idea what the next few years will bring so I am cherishing every moment she chooses me to confide in. I’m here for all it.

READ ALSO: Love Letter to my Daughter on her 7th Birthday

In the past year, there’s been first crushes, a new understanding of friendship and knowing when to hang on and when to let go, there’s been putting family first, learning that kindness is something we can give that always replenishes, finally comprehending that we cannot control how other’s respond to what we put out there. She’s become kind, generous and compassionate all on her own in ways I wouldn’t even have thought of because she believes it’s the right thing to do.

blondienites, 14th birthday party, love letter, 14th birthday, birthday girl, happy birthday

She’s become unapologetically herself not giving too much of a damn of what other’s think of her. My favorite shift I’ve seen this year, while she may still fight and bicker with her little sister, she will always go to bat if anyone even thinks about hurting her sister. Lastly, she is embracing her Latino culture in a way she has not fully appreciated in the past and that makes my heart happy. She also seems to be starting to be grateful and appreciate the parents that she has.

READ ALSO: Birthday with a Surprise Ending

Yesterday, she turned 14-years-old. We’ve already started planning next year’s quinceanera (in case you are not familiar with what a quinceanera is I will write a post soon explaining it all) and I think that’s got me all in my feelings. While she is holding my hand tightly, she is running head first, full-force towards 15; towards being a young woman. This makes me feel so proud of her, humbled being along for the ride and a little scared of what the future might bring but I am so excited for her. I can still remember all of the firsts and newness of this time in my own life and I only hope the experience is as exciting and enjoyable for her. Either way, we’ll always be here to help make the transition smooth.

blondienites, 14th birthday party, love letter, 14th birthday, birthday girl, happy birthday

As I sit here listening to Tu Sangre en Mi Cuerpo and looking up pins for the big 15th birthday party (quinceanera) for next year, I’m nostalgic for that sweet baby who smelled like green apples and came into my life and gave it meaning. Let me be embarrassingly honest for a moment, the moment that I held her in my arms, I fell deeper in love than I ever knew possible. I had never felt that kind of love in my life and the closest that came to it was the Big Guy. She and her sister are the culmination of the best thing that ever happened to me.

READ ALSO: Love Letter to my Tween

For Bella’s birthday, we let her choose to spend the day however she wanted to (that’s what we do in our house). We celebrate her party next weekend with family and friends. But yesterday, she wanted brunch, shopping for bikinis, a Disney movie marathon and homemade buffalo wing pizza for dinner. She had exactly what she wanted; a little bit big girl and still a bit of my baby. Culminated, like every year since birth, with her 4:51 pm birth minute kiss.

 

blondienites, 14th birthday party, love letter, 14th birthday, birthday girl, happy birthday

Bella,

One day you will read this, my sweet girl, and I want you to know, I love you more than everything. You are amazing in ways that you don’t even understand but I see the good, kind and caring kind of child you ‘ve always been and the young woman you are growing up to be. Keep being you and living the life you want. We’re always here to get your back and love you, no matter what comes in life. You can do anything you set your heart to. Dream big, baby girl. To the moon and back and forever and ever.

Xoxo

Mama

blondienites, 14th birthday party, love letter, 14th birthday, birthday girl, happy birthday

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The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Anxiety, Chronic illness, teenage girls, Anxiety attack, anxiety symptoms, teenage girls

Raising a teen is hard. Being a teen is hard. I know a lot of us parents complain about our teens and how inconvenient their ever-changing moods are. We wonder where our sweet little children have gone and why in his/her place a grouchy, nonverbal awkward almost adult has arrived. Maybe we need to look a little deeper and exercise a little more patience.

Sometimes, I can be overbearing and dismissive. I’m tired and my life is pretty monotonous. I know after 14 years, sometimes I run on autopilot. We get so caught up in our own inner dialogue that we forget that everything our children do is not always just to make our lives harder, even though it may feel like it at times. For example, my girls bicker almost constantly and it’s become something that I’ve begun to take personally because I feel like they do it in spite of my requests for them to stop. It almost feels like a collateral act of defiance. I’m trying to step back and see the whole picture, take into consideration that maybe they’re going through something that I’m missing.

Which brings me to the entire point of this post. Children of all ages who are experiencing anxiety and how they express those feelings. My daughter has been suffering from chronic sinus issues for the last couple of years. This year, it has been particularly bad. She’s already had 5 sinus infections since the beginning of the school year. Per our pediatrician, she is on meds to control her allergies and prevent the subsequent sinus infections that follow any sort of congestion, but that no longer seems to be helping.

READ ALSO: Parents Guide to Teen Slang Words

It’s gotten so bad that she is getting migraines which, if you’ve ever had chronic sinus issues, you know, is debilitating. She’s starting to feel like she’s sick and she’s not getting better. She doesn’t understand and neither do I. We do what we’re supposed to. We go to the doctor. We follow her instructions and still my child is sick. Today, we are seeing a specialist, an allergist, because we have to get to the bottom of this.

We love our pediatrician and I trust doctors. I have close friends and family members who are doctors, so I have no problem with doctors. But when your child isn’t getting better, you have to advocate no matter who it is or whose feelings it might hurt. This is where I am today.

The thing is we’re at a point now where my daughters is in such pain that the thought of being at school with no one to help her sends her into a panic. Her anxiety kicks in and she is practically immobilized. I’m talking, gets to the office at school and goes into flight mode. The other day her sinus infection was so bad and she couldn’t be medicated because of tests, she cried for 3 hours in the nurse’s office before they called me to bring her home.

How can I send her to school when she is so obviously in pain and, on top of that, terrified of not knowing why it won’t go away. Which, I won’t lie, I am getting concerned myself. I’m thinking if this appointment with the specialist doesn’t give us answers, maybe we need an MRI. I won’t say that to my daughter and I can’t lead on that I’m more worried than she thinks I am. As her mom, it’s my job to keep my shit together while handling business on the backend.

READ ALSO: When You Just Need a Moment for Yourself

I’m trying to stay cool but I get why she is having this anxiety of the unknown. I try to keep her comfortable. I have chronic sinus and allergy issues too. I get migraines. I know how painful all of this is but when I’m sick, I have the luxury of burying myself in bed. When she’s sick, she still has to show up but lately, even when she’s showing up, she’s not really because she’s so preoccupied by the pain.

I guess what I’m saying is that sometimes kids and teens are not jerks just for the sake of being a pain in the butt. Most times, there is something behind it. Whether it be anger, worry, fear or embarrassment. Sometimes even teenagers can’t use their words to tell us how they’re feeling. They are like toddlers in that way.

They say things like, “I’m tired”, “My head hurts”, “My stomach hurts” all very non-specifically and for a parent that can be frustrating because you feel like maybe they are trying to get something over on you. A long time ago, I started going deeper on my questioning (once we rule out that it’s not an actual physical ailment) I ask, “has anything happened at school?”, “Did a friend say something that hurt your feelings?”, “Did a boy say something that made you feel weird?”, “Did a teacher get too close?” “Did anyone make you feel uncomfortable or compromised in any way?” Sometimes, the answers will come out without them having to find the words.

READ ALSO: Parents who Send Sick Kids to School are the Worst

But in this situation, my daughter is actually sick. I’ve been to the pediatrician so many times this year that I feel like I should get frequent flyer miles. I’m also not too sure they don’t have me on some weird mom Munchausen by proxy watch list. It’s embarrassing but every time I take her in, there is actually something wrong with her. So it’s not in either one of our heads. I know how to advocate for my children and I’ll do whatever I need to get them healthy but how do I help them deal with their anxiety?

As a mom, how do you differentiate between your child being legit run of the mill fear of something and having brain chemistry induced anxiety attack about it? One might only need a hug but the other might need a professional. What would you do if your teenage girl was experiencing anxiety while suffering a physical illness?

Update: Allergy tests showed that she is allergic to every Midwestern allergen except cats. We have a dog. The allergens are triggering sinus infections. If your kid keeps getting sinus infections, it might be worth a trip to the allergist. Also, I will write some posts next week to help your kids deal with sinus issues, give you the low down on allergy tests on kids and teens and the symptoms of anxiety in teenagers. Basically, I’ll help you understand the secret life of the American teenager. We’ll all get through this together.

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slut shaming, sexting, misogyny, shaved, Mean girls, raising girls, hair, shaving, waxing, self-esteem

The things we have to talk to our children and teens about these days is intense. I never remember my mom talking to me directly about misogyny, slut shaming, rape or even consent. She definitely didn’t talk to me about sexting because it didn’t exist. I remember my dad adamantly telling me to respect myself and my body and to stand up for myself. Maybe that was the 80’s version of the same thing I’m talking to my girls about. My dad has a black belt in karate and he taught us all how to throw a punch so maybe he was prepping me for the real world, in his own indirect way.

I grew up and knew that I wanted to have a very open dialogue with my children, especially when they hit those difficult, awkward teen years. By the way, all kids are awkward at this age so it’s not just your kid. They all need a little TLC during the teen years when they can sometimes be at their most unlovable. Just remember all of that angst is probably masking insecurity.

READ ALSO: Parent Guide to Teen Slang Words

Lately, I’ve had to have some very direct conversations that I never thought I’d have to have. The two I most thought I’d never have to have a direct conversation about are misogyny (it’s not you, it is definitely them) and slut-shaming (it’s never ok to be a part of that problem). Thanks to modern politics and the trickle-down effect, it has had on our community, it’s been necessary to explain to my daughters that it’s never ok for any man to treat you like you are a less valuable human being because of what’s between your legs.

Women are 100% equal to men, as we are all human beings. The only thing that elevates a person’s worth in the world is the way in which they conduct themselves and interact with others. We should be measured by our contributions, not our sex.

Thanks to a prevalent case of moral superiority that seems to permeate the circle they have found themselves surrounded by, I’ve had to jump to the rescue of strangers for making questionable moral choices. At this age, everyone is a critic and the higher the number of kids judging, the worse the criticism. I’ve always told my girls that they should live their own best lives and do good in the world but we don’t judge others because their life choices are between them, their conscience and their God.

READ ALSO: When Misogyny Speaks the World Listens

Do I want my daughters to grow up and make questionable moral choices? Of course not, but do I want them to live a full life? Yes. So maybe that means they make some choices that I wouldn’t make or they take chances that I would have discouraged them from making. Will we always see eye to eye? Definitely not. My girls have free will and I wouldn’t change that.

I’m not particularly excited about watching them fail or get hurt and I will always be there to pick up the pieces and kiss the booboos, no matter how old they get, but I can’t live their life for them. This is why we have to have the hard talks. This is why I’ve been talking to my girls about sex, misogyny, and respecting themselves and their bodies since they were toddlers. You have to start these conversations when they are young.

We’re at a particularly uneasy part of childhood; the part where they are not quite children and not quite adults. They are naïve, hearts wide open, full of hormone fluctuations and walking around looking like adults.

Ever wonder why our teens make the choices they do? Something, not so much shocking as unexpected, happened at my daughters’ school recently and I found myself shocked that in this day and age a kid would make this poor choice because I thought all of us were having the same conversations with our kids. I sometimes forget how new the Internet really is. Sexting happened.

READ ALSO: Who is Protecting Our Daughters

Maybe it’s because I work in social media but my kids have known since before they were in school that the Internet is forever. Anything can be screenshot. Not everyone is who they appear to be online. Don’t measure your worth by how many likes, follows and “friends” you have. It’s all a smoke show. It’s fake and not seated in reality. But above all, it is forever and like the angry ghost of a crazy ex, it can haunt you forever so make good choices kids. Not all parents have this conversation even once with their children.

My girls have both had smartphones with parental controls since they were 9-years-old. We openly monitor their activity. We check their phones. They are only allowed an Instagram and Pinterest account, which they share. The accounts are monitored. Everything they post is monitored. There is no Finsta. I check their DMs. I block people. We’ve not made it taboo but the girls know that any time we could be watching so all I ask is that they respect themselves and not say anything on the Internet that they’d be embarrassed for their grandfathers to see.

Back to this sexting situation. A girl in 8th grade sent explicit unsolicited photos of herself to a boy she liked. He told his mom but not before consulting his friend. He sent the picture to his friend and the friend sent it to a group chat. The mom went to the school to tell on the girl. The police are now involved because this is the distribution of pornography involving a minor. As if this is not horrible enough of a situation, the 8th-grade girls are shunning her and one girl pointed at her in the presence of my daughter and called her a “slut.”

READ ALSO: Good Girls and Double Standards

My daughter shut it down because I’ve taught my girls that we never slut shame. It’s not our business to judge anyone, especially another woman, because of a momentary lapse in judgment or even if someone outright chooses to be promiscuous. I feel bad for this girl. She has to live with this choice and I’m sure that’s not easy. I’m not sure how you recover from something like this in a Catholic school where everything they do is seeping with moral superiority and virtue.

For me, I don’t understand why she chose to do this but maybe her parents never explained that anything you put out into the world digitally lives on forever. Maybe she was just so desperate for the attention that her judgment was clouded. Or maybe she just didn’t fully realize the weight of her actions until after she hit send. Either way, she made a choice and now, unfortunately, it will follow her.

I’d also like to point out that we live in a world where girls feel like they need to share these kinds of photos to capture a guy’s attention. Girls are objectified from very young ages. She’s not the only one who participated in this situation, she may have sent the photos but the boy could have deleted them. He didn’t need to share them with anyone and the kid who shared those private photos with the entire group chat, in my opinion, is the most culpable.

READ ALSO:  Love Letter to My Daughter

My girls were shocked by the behavior of the girl who sent the texts, the boys who shared them and the girls who are now doing the shunning. My oldest is feeling disillusioned by her friends. But I explained to her that these are just growing pains and it’s also a good dose of reality and a lesson in consequences.

Like my dad, I am saying to my girls respect yourselves, do good, make good choices and stand up for what you believe. Misogyny and slut shaming may be something our society tolerates but it doesn’t have to be. It starts with individuals choosing to do better, choosing kindness and compassion over judgment and cruelty. As parents, we need to remember that even when our teens don’t want us, they still need us and we need to see past their eye-rolling and exasperation and step in if necessary. They’ll get over it.

How do you teach your girls to survive sexting, slut-shaming and misogyny?

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eye rolling, how to get your teen to respect you , how to get a toddler to respect you

Ever wonder how to get respect from your teen? I remember wondering how to get respect from a toddler. It’s simple really if you want respect from your toddler thru to your teens,  you have to respect them too. I know, crazy, right? I’ve been all for treating my kids as little people from the day they were born. I just adjusted as needed, Age appropriate and full honesty has always been my long term parenting style.

Do your children roll their eyes at you? Mine has on occasion. They’ve been doing it since they gained control of their eyeballs and realized that sometimes, as a mom, I’m winging it. Some days, I don’t even have a clue and feel like the poster child for “ParentingFails.”

I definitely don’t feel like I know how to get respect from a toddler.

I don’t get made though. They come by their champion eye-rolling skills naturally. I’ve been known to roll my own eyes quite frequently — an unfortunate habit leftover from my own teen years. But, being the recipient of a serious eye rolling while I’m talking to my children annoys the p*ss out of me. In my book, it’s as disrespectful as walking away when I’m talking to you. It’s the nonverbal expression of: “You’re so annoying. I’m not listening to you!”

READ ALSO: Toddler Selective Hearing Syndrome

I get that it’s the sort of rebellious behavior one might expect from their tween or teen but now, even preschoolers are doing it. I know this is just one of those awesome hormonally fueled ways that my daughters are trying to exert their independence and test my boundaries but I hate it. As a parent, I need to figure out a way to get respect without hurling insults or being intentionally hurtful. We need to be the change we want to see in the world — so, if I don’t want to get eyes rolled at me, I need to first and foremost stop rolling my eyes. To get respect, you have to give respect. Yes, even to toddler and teens and all ages in between.

Maybe your toddler or teen is just unhappy or frustrated and eye rolling is his or her way of expressing that. Maybe it’s not personal at all. Either way, if it’s bothering you, it’s worth being discussed. Don’t get sidetracked by the rudeness and don’t engage in the same behavior. I know it’s difficult to ignore being ignored.

Try these tips to help guide you in how to get respect from a toddler and how to get your teen to stop rolling their eyes at you.

Expect respect

If you accept rudeness, you’ll get it. Parents who refuse to tolerate rude behavior tend to have kids who aren’t rude. Decide what’s most important to you. Let the house rules be known, and then hold your child accountable.

Choose your battles

You can’t punish your tween every time your child misbehaves. If you try, you will spend all of your time frustrated and yelling. Soon, you will drive yourself crazy — and your child will just start tuning you out. Instead, decide what you’re willing to tolerate and what you’re willing to overlook.

Out of bounds

Warn your kids when they are nearing intolerable behavior. For example, I count to three in Spanish, and my daughters know when I get to one, they have crossed a line. This will let you warn them without embarrassing them. It’s a private mom-and-child code that leaves them with some dignity.

Don’t get down on their level

When my girls roll their eyes at me, my instant reaction is to roll mine back — but how is that helpful? It solves nothing, demonstrates just how immature I am and sets a bad example. So, no matter how hard it is, try to take the high road when disciplining your child. Remember, you are an adult — behave like one.

READ ALSO: When Mom’s Stop Being Nice and Start Being Honest

How do you get your child to stop talking back or rolling their eyes? What is your way to get respect from your teen?

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