Parenting 101

Last week on Fox 59 Morning News we answered the most commonly asked questions on the blog.  Do you have any questions?  Please send all questions to @mommy_magic!

  1. How do you monitor your teenagers on social media?  Are you “friends” with their friends? I am “friends” with all my children on social media.  If they are on Facebook I am on Facebook.  When they started Instagram I made an account.  Just as we prepare our kids for life in the real world, we should prepare them for life in the online world.  Make sure your children are age appropriate to join social media.  What is the “rule” in your house?  Check your children’s privacy settings.  Make sure your children’s privacy setting are on the strictest level.  Create house ground rules with your children so they know what you expect.  Use a computer in a central house location (not behind closed doors).  Be a good example of how you use social media.  If you are friends with your children online they see you use it in the proper way, be an example.  Teach kids about an online “reputation.”  Make sure to stress to your kids what a digital footprint is and the impact inappropriate messages or images could have if a future college administrator or employer were to stumble upon them.   As a rule of thumb I am not friends with all of my children’s friends.  Normally I am just friends with a few in the inner circle.  Sometimes parents have to work together with each other.  I tell my kids….”would your grandma like that post or comment”…..if the answer is “no,” then you should NOT post it.
  2. My kids are always fighting!  How do I deal with sibling rivalry?  Set aside time to spend with children individually, be sure each child has personal time and space of their own, head off fights by observing what is causing them, teach them good conflict resolution skills i.e.. watching how you resolve issues with a spouse, seeing people resolve fights and say sorry is a great lesson.
  3. Is it important for children to have a chore list to do each week?  With school and activities sometimes there is not time! Children need chores. Age appropriate chores are important for kids! They make them feel needed and helpful. They teach responsibility. They are important. If your children learn to help now, you will have children that will be able to work later, allowing them the ability to work hard and keep a job.  Make a chore list that each child has to do a week.  It does not have to be extensive but it keeps them involved in the running of a smooth house.  (IE putting dirty clothes in a hamper, clearing dishes from the table, helping water flowers, helping make their bed).
  4. How do you deal with picky eaters? Respect your child’s appetite, if your child isn’t hungry then don’t force a meal or snack.  Likewise, try not to bribe your children to eat certain foods.  Stick to a routine, serve meals and snacks at the same time of day.  Be patient with new foods.  Sometimes it is okay to take a “no thank you bite.”  As long as they try, that is all you can ask.  Don’t be a short order cook.  Make it fun.  Serve broccoli or other veggies with a favorite dip or sauce.  Cut foods into various shapes with cookie cutters.  Offer breakfast food for dinner!!   Ask your children to help!  At the grocery store let them pick out their fruits, veggies and other healthy foods.  Be creative.  You can add broccoli or green peppers to spaghetti sauce!  Grate zucchini and carrots into casseroles!  Minimize distractions at dinner.  Turn off TV and electronics and eat together!!
  5. How much allowance should I give my child?
    • Your child’s age. Obviously, the older your child, the bigger the allowance (up to a certain point, at which your child may become too old for an allowance)
    • Your family income. Only you know how much your family can afford to allocate to allowances
    • Where you live. Maybe keeping up with the Joneses isn’t high on your list of priorities and you frequently tell your child, “I don’t care that Jimmy Jones has this or does that.” But, realistically, the neighborhood you live in can certainly influence how much allowance you give your child. What your child’s best friend receives may not be a deciding factor, but it’s a factor nonetheless
    • What the allowance is supposed to cover. If you expect your teenager to buy all his own clothing from his allowance, then the dollars paid to him each week must be sufficient to allow for this extensive purchase. If you supplement an allowance with spending money, then a less generous allowance may be in order.

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