Mind-Body Medicine + Sittercity + Tutor.com + The Big Disconnect

[amazon asin=0143115510&template=thumbleft&chan=default]James Gordon, Founder and Director of The Center for Mind-Body Medicine, and author of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey our of Depression.


Lauren Tarasewicz, Military Program Manager for Sittercity



Maureen Haney, Program Manager for Tutor.com for U.S. Military Families



[amazon asin=0062082426&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Catherine Steiner-Adair, author of The Big Disconnect.
Topic:
Protecting childhood and family relationships in the digital age.
Issues: How technology can put children’s development at risk; how tech is keeping children from forming close interactions with the adults in their life; insights and advice that can help parents achieve greater understanding, authority, and confidence when dealing with their kids and technology.

Yikes! Child Care Costs What?!?!

When my oldest—who just graduated from college—was a toddler, we had a friend who was in medical school. Somehow we got to talking about tuition, and I was stunned to hear that we were paying more for my daughter’s preschool than the future doctor was paying. That just didn’t strike me as the way the world should be. Sadly, in the 20 years since then, very little has changed.

The nonprofit Child Care Aware of America just published a report about the cost of child care around the country. They found that full-time care at a child-care center for an infant ranged from a $4,863 per year in Mississippi all the way to $16,430/year in Massachusetts. Care for a 4-year old at a child care center was a comparative bargain, costing $4,321 in Mississippi to $12.355 in Massachusetts.

Why the big difference? A lot of it has to do with labor costs (in states where basic living–rent, utilities, etc—are high, it costs more to hire child care workers). In addition, rents paid for the centers themselves are higher in areas where real estate prices are high. Oh, and let’s not forget about licensing regulations. The Child Care Aware report notes that while regs allow for one caregiver per five infants in Mississippi, regs in Massachusetts only allow a 1:3 ratio.

But regardless of the location of the center, a typical family of four spends more per month on caring for an infant than on food. In nearly half of the states, parents pay more for center-based infant care for one child than they pay in rent (in 20 states, child care costs more than the average mortgage payment). And in all 50 states, parents with two kids in center-based care paid more than rent. Getting back to the preschool vs. medical school tuition issue, in nearly two-thirds of the country, average child care costs were greater than yearly tuition and fees at a four-year public college. That’s just frightening.

report released Monday — Titled “Parents and the High Cost of Child Care,”

See Child Care Aware’s list of the top ten most expensive states for child care below:

http://usa.childcareaware.org/sites/default/files/cost_of_care_2013_103113_0.pdf

Teen Girls and Dating? Uh, Not While I’m Still Breathing

Dear Mr. Dad, My 14-year-old daughter is obsessed with the idea that she needs to start dating. She says “all of her friends” are doing it, and feels left out. Fourteen just seems too young. I don’t think anyone—boy or girl—should start ‘til at least 16. I want to tell her “over my dead body” but I also don’t want to be that dad. What can I do?

A: As the father of three daughters—two of whom made it through their teen years without getting pregnant (the third is only 10 and I’m confident she’ll do the same)—I feel your pain. The very idea of your little girl, alone with a … boy, can bring up all sorts of emotions, headlined by anger (“Boys that age have only one thing on their mind”) and worry (How can I possibly protect her?”).

Let’s start with the “only-one-thing-on-their-mind” idea. Do you really believe that? TV, movies, and the Internet put a lot of pressure on teens to have as much sex as they can as often as they can, with as many different people as possible. But the reality is that the majority of boys your daughter’s age are petrified of girls, and what’s most likely on their mind is, “I’m hungry.”

As far as the “how-can-I-protect-her” idea, you have two things going for you. First, your daughter herself doesn’t sound like she’s all that into it and just wants to date because everyone else is. By telling you that, she’s almost begging you to say No. Second, even if dating were her idea, you’re right: 14 is too young for serious one-on-one dating.
That said, you can’t just play the tough guy and expect her to be happy about it. In fact, the more forcefully you forbid dating, the more you’ll push her towards it. Here’s what to do instead.

  • Really Talk to Her. You have a wonderful opportunity here. Your daughter actually came to you with a problem. That says a huge amount (in a good way) about your relationship. Ask her to tell you more about the dating her friends are doing, the pressure she feels, and what she actually means by “dating” (you might be thinking, “dinner, movie, make out in the back seat of the car”; she might be thinking “hold hands and share an ice cream cone”). Listen carefully and don’t be judgmental. When you sense an opportunity, talk to her about the dangers of dating, including violence (which, by the way is just as likely to be initiated by girls as by boys). Talk about relationships, sex, and the finances involved. You’re not going to wrap this up in one conversation, so take it a step at a time.
  • Establish some dating rules. Number one is that group dates are okay, one-on-one dates are not. End of story. Group dates let her be with the boy who makes her blush, but in a setting where inappropriate behavior is a lot less likely.
  • Tag along. In my view, groups of young teens shouldn’t be out and about without an adult nearby—there’s too much opportunity for things to go wrong. And if you want your daughter to see how serious you are, be the chaperone. Don’t be right in the middle of the group or try to be everyone’s buddy—that would only embarrass your daughter. Instead, walk half a block behind and sit a few rows away in the movie. But be there. Watch carefully, and let her enjoy herself.

Colorado 6-year-old suspended for kissing a girl

Political correctness out of control.

Colorado 6-year-old suspended for kissing a girl.

Sandwich Generation: Raising Teens & Caring for Aging Parents

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Just as our rambunctious toddlers and kids grow into self-sufficient teens, the self sufficiency and health of our parents start to decline. Dads of the sandwich generation are caught between directing a misguided, angsty teenager and helping a parent with diminishing independence. You’ve inescapably fallen into the role of caretaker for your own mom or dad.

 

Defining the Sandwich Generation

One in eight Americans care for aging parents while tending to their own families, according to the Pew Research Center. An estimated 66 million Americans take care of a loved one, while a third are also raising children, reports the National Alliance for Caregiving.

It’s a stressful responsibility that also evokes strong feelings of resentment, guilt and anger. You’re making sacrifices and engaging in 100 percent selflessness that can create serious health problems, self-neglect and exhaustion. The following pointers can help members of the sandwich generation healthily navigate their roles without the detrimental “caregiver syndrome.”

Be Empathetic

Aging seniors with decaying health can fall into depression and moodiness. A sick parent resents their own increased dependency on others. The growing resentment is a two-way street, and your once vibrant parent may resent needing your help just as much as you resent your parent’s reliance on you. During high-stress moments when your emotions are about to implode, try to remember this isn’t ideal for your parent either. Embrace empathy and compassion — inner strength and calmness will follow.

Let Go

Mother and caregiver Mary Novaria wrote on The Huffington Post that she had a romanticized vision of her family’s three generations of women coming together. She fantasized about her and her mother and daughter sipping tea while dishing on “Grey’s Anatomy” and reminiscing in front of the fireplace. Likewise, you may have picture hitting golf balls with your father while teaching your teenager about the rules of the game. Letting go of an idyllic picture of how you imagined your relationship to be with your parent can help alleviate disappointment, resentment and irritation. Your parent is still your parent, and love is unconditional.

Claim Good Days

Parenthood can make a man want to pull a Christopher McCandless and abandon society to live in isolation with nature. Although McCandless met an unfortunate fate in the novel “Into The Wild,” his escape can be a fantasy for a parent. Parenthood is tough, and you have to savor the beautiful moments. A warm hug from a little one before bed can make up for an entire day of temper tantrums, and the same goes for caregiving. Cherish the good days. Avoid feelings of inadequacy with affirmations that you can’t do it all. It’s a balancing act. Use special moments shared with your parent as a reminder that your mom or dad suffering from Parkinson’s, for example, isn’t a burden, but a loved one.

Move Mom or Dad

Moving a parent out of their home can be devastating decision to make. Conversations with a parent about moving into your home or an assisted living community is commonly met with resistance. An aging parent may be even more reluctant to move from their home if they’re moving across country to be near your family for support. So focus on the bright side of things and drive home that a sunny transfer to assisted living community in Mesa, Arizona or elsewhere, could offer a healthy change of scenery..

Have an open conversation as soon as necessary and share honest concerns about your parent’s well-being. Explain that you’re their advocate. Continue to approach the subject in a way that makes your parent feel like they made the choice, rather than being forced into abandoning their home. Ensure your parent that your family is a caregiving team who your mom or dad can count on no matter what.

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