10 Life Skills Every Teen Should Master Before Going To College

The youngest of our five is about to be a sophomore in high school this year. And as I was reminiscing about how fast these last 15 years have gone for her, I realized that I only have a few more years left to make sure she is ready to take those important steps into her own adult world....more
I have a son in college and a son in high school. I've taught them to do laundry and how to make ...more

How to Help Your Hurting Child (When Everything Isn't Going To Be Okay)

My 11-year-old daughter looks like she just lost her best friend. Probably because in a way, she has....more
fushmush Thank you so much! I only wish you might not have need of it in the future.more

Black (Children's) Lives Matter: Why Is Our Suicide Rate So High?

The first time I thought about killing myself, I was eleven. I’d had some trauma in my life, unspeakable things that my tween self could not articulate. Pain that ran deep, seated into my soul. I could not get away from it. Image Credit: Sam D via Flickr...more

The unexpected payback from expensive travel sports

Have you heard the Trace Adkin’s song ‘Just Fishin’?  Here’s one verse and the chorus:I say, “Daddy loves you, baby” one more time She says, “I know. I think I got a bite.” And all this laughin’, cryin, smilin’ dyin’ here inside’s What I call, livin’ And she thinks we’re just fishin’ on the riverside Throwin’ back what we could fry Drownin’ worms and killin’ time Nothin’ too ambitious She ain’t even thinkin’ ‘bout What’s really goin’ on right now But I guarantee this memory’s a big’in And she thinks we’re just fishin’I love the story this song tells the listener.  It’s about a dad spending quality time with his daughter.  She’s excited to go fishing but he is older and wiser and knows this experience is so much more than fishing.  The video is really sweet.Both of my teenagers are in travel sports.  My 13 year old son plays travel baseball and my daughter plays for a sand volleyball club.  With my husband and I both working full time and the extra family responsibilities I have with my mom, life is B U S Y.  I have to confess that I miss weekends at home just hanging out.  When Monday quickly surfaces, it’s tough to face a new work week after spending a weekend away.  We sacrifice the productivity of getting stuff done around the house and we feel like we had too little rest and relaxation.  Travel sports are also expensive!  I think we probably bought a small car this year between our two kids and their sporting equipment, club fees, and travel expenses.  But rather than go on and on about the negative stuff, I wanted to share a huge positive revelation I had this past weekend about travel sports.Both of my teenagers are in travel sports.  My 13 year old son plays travel baseball and my daughter plays for a sand volleyball club.  With my husband and I both working full time and the extra family responsibilities I have with my mom, life is B U S Y.  I have to confess that I miss weekends at home just hanging out.  When Monday quickly surfaces, it’s tough to face a new work week after spending a weekend away from getting stuff done around the house and feeling like you had a little rest and relaxation.  Travel sports are also expensive!  I think we probably bought a small car this year between our two kids and their sporting equipment, club fees, and travel expenses.  But rather than go on and on about the negative stuff, I wanted to share a huge positive revelation I had this past weekend about travel sports.This past normal non-3 day weekend my 15 year old daughter and I spent almost 14 hours in the car roundtrip driving from Georgia to North Carolina!  We left on a Friday afternoon, checked into our sleazy Quality Inn motel, dined at a local seafood restaurant and quickly scurried into a Trader Joe’s 10 minutes before closing to do a supermarket sweep of healthy snacks. On Saturday, we rose at the crack of dawn where I took great pleasure in watching Natalie work the best perk of our motel – the do-it-yourself Belgium waffle maker.  Natalie played volleyball in the 90 degree heat while I spectated and reminded her to stay hydrated and reapply sunscreen.  She and her tournament partner played well together and we made plans with her partner and her mom to see the ocean since we were so close to it. We went to the beach for a bit and enjoyed the late afternoon sun.  The girls took a quick nap while partner mom and I strolled and chatted.  After, we snapped lots of pictures of the sunset.  We swapped stories about school and travel over a well-deserved seafood dinner and then crashed back in our motel room.  We rose early Sunday, fueled up our bodies and the car, and drove the seven hours back to Georgia.  It was a whirlwind weekend.I do some of my best thinking and reflecting in the car.  While I was driving back home, I experienced an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this special one-on-one time with my daughter.  During this brief weekend we shared 6 meals together – five of them with just the two of us.  We covered all kinds of topics from her Driver’s Ed class that week, to her friends, to gift ideas for Father’s Day, to volleyball, things we wanted to do and see this summer, and so much more.  In the car, we fought over whose playlist to listen to, caught up with some relatives over the phone, and I got some lecturing on my lack of blinker use and some education on what the signs were officially called.While Natalie and I were traveling over the weekend, my son and husband were having some bonding time at home.  Jacob helped his dad pick out a new lawn mower and learned how to mow the lawn to earn some extra cash.  They also went to dinner and a movie and went tubing with some neighbors and shared several bachelor style meals together.  Jacob didn’t have a tournament this past weekend but there have been many weekends where Jason and Jacob have their concentrated drive and 1-on-1 time together over a busy tournament weekend.I realize these parenting moments are fleeting.  My kids are growing up fast…too fast.  When they were little, I use to tell them that they were ‘frozen’ and couldn’t age any more.  Once I asked my daughter when she was a toddler why she couldn’t wait until she was five years old.  She said she needed to be five so that she could ‘chew gum’.  Each age has offered its own unique set of parenting experiences and memories.  Very soon, my kids will be driving themselves to practices.  Travel sports will end and my kids will enter the next phase of their lives…a more independent phase where I’m wishing they would hang with me all weekend.So for now, Natalie thinks we were just fishin’ traveling for volleyball.  But I know we were making memories…ones I will always cherish....more

I Get Crabby During Summer Vacation

I’m pretty sure my inner crabby person is a male over 80, what with the way he swings in, plops down with an exhausted sigh at the kitchen counter, and acts like I should pour him a cup of coffee becausehe couldn’t possibly pick up the mug in front of him and fill it from the pot percolating next to his elbow. He never learned how.Some say it’s a generational thing.Malarkey. It’s an issue of character, not age: dude is both indolent and demanding....more

When (and why!) your teenager will be less annoying

I ran across this piece (you can read it or watch the video) that includes a great analogy from the mother of teenagers:http://www.click2houston.com/news/teenage-behavior-caused-by-developing-...She compares raising teens to an alien ship coming down and taking away her "normal" child and leaving her with an alien. Then returning when her teens are in their early 20s to give her back her offspring. (Ignore the ridiculous comment from the (man?) who thinks the woman stopped loving her kids during their teen years.)...more

Love Is Love - Whether You Expected It Or Not

[Photo: Getty Images - Mark Wilson...more

What Should Teens Do This Summer? Get a Job??

I was driving my younger son and his friend to soccer practice when they both started lamenting their busy summer schedules. My son’s friend is starting driver’s education as soon as soccer ends because, as he explained with a touch of sarcasm, “I can’t have one day with nothing to do.” My son groaned in sympathy. “I know,” my son added. “I don’t have a single day off this summer.”Insert eye roll here....more

Let's Talk Makeup and Perfect365 App

How do you like your makeup?  I personally like someone else to do my makeup.  Of course I can do my makeup but for photo shoots or an event I will have my freelance makeup artist work her magic.If you aren’t one of those magicians.  Prep your face and hit aSephora and ask for the eye express.  I usually purchase the $10 fake eyelashes and one of their magicians will put them on.  They will also create the eye of your dreams and send you on your way.  Perfect? Sure....more

Is Your Teen At Risk for Homophobia or Sexistism? Try These 7 Conversation Starters

My teen is at risk.  I hate to admit it, but the signs are there.  I hear the whispers when we see flamboyant boys on television or young men at the grocery store with pastel attire.  I am a quiet bystander as my husband preaches the guy code rules to our two boys.  These include:  “No school choir”, “No crying when you are hurt” (even if bleeding is involved, and of course, the most important “You must play contact sports” (even though my oldest boy has two left feet like me).   I hear the sneers (and the eye rolls) when there is a same-sex kiss scene on ...more

How Should Parents Deal With Teenage Heartbreak?

My oldest bio kid is a moody person.  He alternates between sullen, annoyed and morose.  Every now and then, we have a rare glimpse of a smile.  Although I will say his mood has improved as he has gotten a little older.  He just graduated high school, and he seems happier. A little.........more