Saturday, March 28, 2009

Plan B Pill Coming To Your Teen Soon

A federal judge in New York State has ordered the FDA to make the "Plan B Pill", aka "The Morning After Pill", available to 17 year olds. Previously, it was only available to 18 year olds.

According to the judge, the FDA's decision to deny the pill to 17 year olds was purely politically motivated. Social conservatives are outraged, saying that the "Plan B Pill" is the equivalent to abortion. Supporters, on the other hand, call it a huge victory.

I am not sure if a 17 year old can just walk into a pharmacy and purchase the "Plan B Pill". It must be available by prescription only. I guess the big question is, are the parents notified? No matter what side of the issue anyone is on, the physical and emotional health of the teenage child comes first.

Teen Celebs, The Anti-Role Model

Teen celebs are becoming anti-role models for me and my family. I have yet to see one teen celeb that didn't get a big head and become a super diva or violent bad guy druggie or alci.

I have lost all hope to Miley Cyrus. The news reports about her have turned me off to allowing any more of her music and influence to come into my home. I really thought she was going to pull it off, but it looks like I was foolishly naive yet again. I mean, really! Lindsey, Miley, Rihanna, Britney, Jamie, Chris, Christian, Michael,... You hear more about the girls going wrong than you do about the guys going wrong. I wonder why that is?

The Jonas Brothers appear to be great, but I have been deceived by appearances before. Their parents seem to be doing a really good job of keeping them grounded. Time will tell.

Sexting Making Headlines Again

"Sexting" is ripping across this nation and lawmakers had better get moving on it. The latest headline is our of Pennsylvania. Apparently, a couple of teenage girls were at a sleep over, stripped down and took pictures of themselves, then broadcast them over the Internet. The DA is prosecuting them for disseminating pornographic images of themselves over the Internet to minors.

The teenage girls have petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the DA from prosecuting their crime. Say What?????!!!!!!! It is a crazy case. Stay tuned for more craziness.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bully Politicians

I am shocked at the outrageous behavior of our politicians.  Their blatant corruption and complete disregard for the CRISIS that Americans find themselves in is bad enough, but to do everything in their power to undermine AMERICA'S PRESIDENT as he tries with all of his might to fix all that is wrong with our economy, is downright UNPATRIOTIC!!  

Somebody has to get us out of the mess we are in!  I know I would not want to be the President of the United States in its current turmoil.  I am grateful that Mr. Obama had the fortitude to take over the reins of our economy as it went over the cliff!!!

I say to all our politicians, stop acting like 2 year olds harassing and bullying the current administration, and start working together (COOPERATING) to find real solutions that are in the best interests of ALL AMERICANS, NOT JUST THE RICH ONES!  

Oh, and by the way, you'll be providing the next generation of Americans with a much better role model instead of the "BULLY" model you have been teaching them.  

Stop the Bullying!!!!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

1 in 3 First Time Users Of Inhalants Dies

I teach a class with a group of volunteer moms in my children's middle school called SMART START. It has been a big eye opener for me. As a 40 something mom of two, I really thought I knew my stuff when it came to drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Boy, was I wrong.

Before I went through the 21 hour training course put on by the Child and Human Development Center in Pleasant Hill, California, I had no idea that 1 in 3 first time users of inhalants dies instantly. That is shocking to me! I had no idea.

I also had no idea that children have discovered that the propellant in an empty can of whipped cream will make them high. Nor did I realize that helium is an inhalant. A number of 6th graders raised their hands to show that they had inhaled helium to make funny voices. I recommended that they never inhale it again and to let their parents know how dangerous it is.

The bottom line is, inhalants can be fatal. It is called Sudden Sniffing Death or SSD. Another term I had never heard of. I sure hope my young students were impressed by the message of the lesson.

President Obama Holds Parents Responsible

At a town hall meeting this past week in Los Angeles, President Obama made a very good point with regard to how we as a nation can change our greedy ways.  He said that parents must teach their children responsibility.  It is not about going out and taking all the money you can get.  It is about giving back to the earth and to society.  I would add that it is called "Stewardship". Unfortunately, most Americans are probably unfamiliar with this term and concept.  We must all learn it, teach it, and be good stewards.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Disturbing Footnote About Rihanna & Chris' Abusive Relationship

One of the things that appalled me at the end of Oprah's show on dating violence with the main focus on Rhihanna and Chris Brown was that these two are going to release a new song about the "trials and tribulations of love".   What????!!!!!!!!   Now, even they have decided to make big money off of this tragedy!  

What's more, if I heard correctly, Chris Brown is going to write a book and go on a book tour!  I am disgusted by this.  What about you?

Manners Are Back At The Top Of Mommy List

Finally!  I was so encourage to hear this report yesterday. polled 1000 moms on what was important to them.  81% said that good manners is now at the top of their list.  Respect for adults and respect for other children were also of main concern to them.

These moms say they have been very impressed with Michelle Obama's parenting and by her wonderfully behaved children.  Whatever it takes to get parents back in the game of raising proper, polite, respectful children, we'll take it!!!  Bravo!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Dating Violence On Oprah

I finally got around to watching the show that Oprah did with Tyra Banks on dating violence Thursday.  Oprah opened the show by saying, "1 in 3 high school students has been, or is in, an abusive relationship.  Isn't that shocking?"  I know it shocks me, even though I know that these numbers are most likely directly linked the the bullying statistics: 1 in 4 children are bullied every day on our elementary, middle school, and high school campuses.

There was a lot of fascinating information presented and I have to say that I was very pleased that Oprah did put the focus on teens and dating violence.  I was worried that the ages of Rihanna (21) and Chris Brown (19 or 20?) would shift the focus to older children and not address the serious violence faced by our teens.

I felt some relief in hearing that most of the teens asked said that they were disappointed that Rihanna went back to the abusive relationship.  Most of them felt that is was a bad decision. Many said that they lost respect for both artists.  One young woman, however, said that Rihanna probably deserved it.  This caught my attention.  Oprah was so surprised by the teenager's comment, that she brought her into the studio to speak with her personally.

When asked why she felt this way, the young girl said that she heard that Rihanna hit Chris first and that he was probably just reacting to that.  Tyra, who was candid about her abusive relationship, spoke up and pointed out to the young teen that based on the pictures, clearly excessive force was used and that he had no right to use excessive force.  If he was reacting in self-defense, at some point he went on the attack.  After a while the girl had to agree.

I was disappointed that both Tyra and Oprah, most likely due to their personal relationships with Chris Brown or having know him personally, expressed numerous times how they felt badly for Chris.  This show of sympathy to an attacker is ill-placed in my opinion and sends the wrong message to children involved in abusive relationships.  I wonder if  Chris Brown had been a regular Joe, would they still feel such sympathy toward him.  I think they, like many, are caught up in the celebrity bad boy mentality that allows such crimes to go unpunished or minimized and therefore accepted by mainstream society.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Public Displays of Affection at Middle School

This morning I was at my children's middle school to teach a SMART/START lesson regarding conflict resolution and bullying to a 6th grade class that I volunteer to teach with a large group of dedicated parent volunteers.   After the leadership students took turns delivering the day's school news, the principal came on over the PA system.  Her normally cheery voice had been replaced by an angry, very serious one.  She meant business. 

Her first announcement was to let the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders know that pushing, shoving, and  horseplay would not be tolerated.  I was actually in the office when the 2 pusher, shovers were brought in.  A very short 4'10" tall teacher had brought two students in whom had slammed through the double doors knocking her pretty hard.  She was understandably angry.  I turned around expecting to see two boys standing behind me and was shocked to see two girls.  

The Principal's second announcement was about the fact that there was a lot of kissing, hugging, and hand holding going on at school and that it would stop immediately.  She stated that she had two students in her office the day before who expressed great shock that they were not allowed to kiss, hug, and hold hands at school.  The principal raised her voice another occtive and said, "Well, the fact that you have to ask why it is inappropriate, means I need to call your parents to come in and meet with you and me so that we may discuss why it is inappropriate."  

Our children are overexposed and desensitized by the constant flood of sexual images forced upon them by advertisers via television, sporting events, music videos, reality TV, and online social networks.  So, we are left with children who are imitating what they are constantly seeing.  They don't understand that it is inappropriate.  (Or worse, they don't care.)  They see it everyday.  Parents today have to educate children about what is appropriate and what is INappropriate behavior.  

I am lucky that my children's principal cares enough to take a stand and educate her students. I'm not sure how many in her place would bother.  However, SHE should not be the one educating our youth about public displays of affection.  That's OUR job and we need to get on it!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Oprah Weighs In On Dating Violence

Oprah will be tackling the topic of dating violence on her show today at 4 p.m.  I am a bit worried, though, that she will focus on adult dating and leave out the fact that many teens are in abusive relationships as well.  My worry is based on the show's focus on Chris Brown and Rihanna, both of whom I believe are no longer teens.   Although, they are still children in my opinion.  

Hopefully, Oprah will not focus solely on their age group, but widen the discussion to include teens involved in violent relationships.   We'll see.

Michael Phelps Downfall

We've all heard the terrible news and seen the nefarious picture of Michael Phelps.  He of all people, I really thought with all my heart, would be able to keep it together and be a true American roll model.  I am so disappointed, as is the rest of the nation.

Is there no hope for our celebrities???  Must they all succumb to the pressure and greed of their new found fame???  Does fame corrupt always???  I just don't get it.  What the hell was he thinking????!!!!!

One good thing came out of his downfall, though.  Kellogs, having dropped Michael Phelps as a spokesperson, donated the thousands of boxes of cereal with Phelp's picture on the front to local food banks.  Thank you Kellogs for doing the right thing by sending a badly needed, strong, and "financial" message to our sports figures and celebrities!

Chris Brown Drops Out of Kids' Choice Awards

Good news!  Chris Brown has finally dropped out of the Kids' Choice Awards!  There was a lot of public outcry regarding his participation.  Many parents worried about the message that the Kids' Choice Awards committee and promoters were sending to our youth by not dropping Chris Brown, after the facts came out about Chris Brown beating up his girlfriend Rihanna and leaving her on the side of the road a little over a month ago.

The committee could not bring itself to do the right thing for our kids.  Why is that?  Are they so greedy for our money and our kids' money that they would publicly condone and reward Mr. Brown's CRIMINAL behavior???  This mom appreciates Mr. Brown removing himself from participation.  


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Great New Show For Parents Of Teens!

The name is pretty lousy, but it has great content.  The new show is called "Sex with Mom and Dad".  My husband was so bother by the title that he tried to hide it from our children's view on the TIVO line-up.  After 15 minutes of trying in vain to hide the nefarious title, he gave up.

Every parent should be watching this show.  It never fails that the most together parents who think they know their kids so well learn just how clueless they actually are when it comes to their children.  Sometimes, that realization comes too late.  I am trying really hard to avoid being that parent caught in the headlights.  I hope I succeed.

This show rocks!  Watch it.

Teen Goes On Shooting Rampage At His Former High School

My heart stops every time I hear such a headline in the news.  On March 11th, a 17 year old former, male, student of Albertville High School in Winnendon, Germany stormed the school and shot and killed 9 students, 3 teachers, and 3 other people off campus with a Beretta 9 mm pistol that his father kept in his bedroom.  The young man then shot himself following a high speed chase with police.

The motive for the shooting is unknown.  Officials have pointed out that 8 of the 9 students killed were girls.  This is the worst school shooting in Germany's history.   

Mom Of Suicide Teen Holds The School Responsible

The "Sexting" suicide of Jessica Logan, a victim of cyberporn and "real life" bullying at her high school, has understandably outraged Jessica's grieving mother Cynthia.  In an interview on The Early Show Monday, Cynthia lashed out at the inaction of her daughter's high school administrators whom she claims did nothing to stop the bullying of her daughter and holds the school responsible for the allowing the chronic, public humiliation of her daughter that lead to her subsequent suicide.

I've written about the inaction of school administrators in earlier posts.  Unfortunately, given my own experience with 2 different schools, I was not surprised to hear that the school did nothing to help end the suffering of this teen and her family.

What did surprise me, however, was the inaction of law enforcement and the 6 attorneys who not only did nothing, but turned Jessica away in her time of desperate need.  Shame on all of them!

The fact is, there are anti-bullying laws on the books.  And hello!  There are certainly child pornography laws on the books!!!  Those responsible for disseminating Jessica's photo can certainly be charged with child pornography and also disseminating porn to minors. 

Lastly, schools that fail to take action when informed of "real life" bullying  or cyber bullying, are held liable when they do not take action to stop the bullying.  I call it Violence.  Bullying is an outdated term that, in my opinion, and should be called what it is:  Violence.  Plain and simple.

Who Is "Sexting"?

Not my kid, you say?  You may want to think again.  According to Penny Aftab, an Internet safety expert, "the normal/good" kids are the ones who are sending these nude images from their cell phones and computers.

40% of boys say they have seen sexual images of girls at school!

15% of boys admit to disseminating images when they break of with their girlfriends!

20% of teens say they have sent or posted nude photos and/or video of themselves!

33% of young adults have sent or posted nude videos of themselves!

39% of teens say they text/send sexually suggestive messages!

48% of teens say they have received sexually suggestive messages!

65% of adults say they check websites visited by their children.

81% of parents believe their children are not careful when disclosing personal information online.

12 million teens are active online & 57% of them are creating web content.

68% of parents have rules about sites their teens visit.

* Statistics obtained from The Early Show broadcasted Monday, March 9, 2009.

Long-term Consequences of "Sexting" And Other Risky Behaviors Put Up On The Web

In a previous post, I talked about "Sexting" and how a beautiful, young woman took her life after her ex boyfriend disseminated her nude photo at school.  It only takes seconds for a photo like that to reach every teen in a child's high school.  

Jessica's solution was, unfortunately, to end her life.  That is an extreme and irreversible consequence of "Sexting", but there are other long term, devastating consequences.  Our children need to know that whatever they put up on the Internet will not only be seen by friends, it will also be seen by college admissions officers, coaches, talent scouts, future employers, parents, grandparents, and even sexual predators.  

Our teens are not able to understand the long term consequences of their actions, so it is imperative that we parents explain to them that what they put on the Internet today, could jeopardize their dream job, college admission, professional sports team, and much more 10 years down the road.

More About Teen Trend Known As "SEXTING"

I was watching The Early Show Monday morning.  I was shocked to learn of yet another risky, teen behavior called "Sexting".  Intrigued by the strange word, I continued to watch in horror as Ohio mom, Cynthia Logan, described the terrible bullying that her teenage daughter Jessica endured after Jessica had a lapse in judgement and sent her boyfriend a nude picture of herself from her cell phone.

You can probably guess what happens next.  It is sooooo obvious to us adults what the consequences are going to be, but our teens are incapable of thinking ahead.  It all has to do with biology and the fact that their cerebral cortex (responsible for reasoning) is not fully developed until the age of 24.  If you guessed that the boyfriend upon breaking up with Jessica disseminated the picture to the entire school, you'd be dead on.  But you knew that.

What is inconceivable to me is that Jessica became the slut, whore around campus.  She was constantly ridiculed and some kids actually threw things at her.  Her mother contacted the school and the police, but they said they could not help her.  What is even more insulting is that 6 lawyers told Mrs. Logan that they too could not help her.  Bull!!!!!  There are anti-bullying laws and porn laws in most states and they surely could have done something for Jessica!!!!

If you also guessed that Jessica ended it all by taking her own life, tragically you are right again.  I sat there looking a the photos of a beautiful, young woman who seemed to have everything going for her.  How could she even think to end her life???  It is something that most of us cannot even fathom, but that Jessica's mom, Cynthia, has to dread for the rest of her life.  My heart goes out to the Logan family and to Jessica.  May she find happiness and acceptance in heaven.  And may Cynthia's participation in a national campaign make a difference and save another child's life.


Here is a new word for the Webster New World Dictionary.  An astounding 20% of children admit to sending nude pictures of themselves!  And 40% of teens say they have seen nude photos on the internet.  Excuse me, but isn't that "pornography"?????!!!!!!!  And isn't pornography illegal?????

The affects and consequences of "Sexting" are long-term devastating to the lives of the teens that participate in it.  Some are going to jail, and others are committing suicide.  Parents, we need to educate our kids about this latest threat to their well being!

Parent Alert!

I just saw one of those ticker reports that flash across the bottom of the TV screen.  Usually, they are more informative than the reports the correspondents are giving.  Anyway, North Carolina reports that 2,116 sex offenders use Facebook.  It is just a solemn reminder that we really do need to be vigilant!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Obituary: The Death of Common Sense

I love this email I received today.  It has been around before, but was updated to include commentary on the current economic debacle we are all in.  We are all in this mess.  Let there be no doubt. 

Anyway, the email talks about the agonizing death of an old guy named Common Sense which lived by simple sound financial policies (don't spend more than you earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health deteriorated rapidly when well-intentioned but ridiculous regulations were implemented.  Reports of a 6 year old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a girl at school; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only hastened his condition.

Common Sense lost his bearing when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

He declined further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun block or Aspirin to students; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense floundered when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

The fatal blow came when a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot, spilled it in her lap and was promptly awarded millions of dollars.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust, his wife, Discretion, his daughter, Responsibility, and his son, Reason.

Common Sense is survived by his 4 stepbrothers:  I know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I Am A Victim.