Church Scandals – What’s a Parent to Do?

How have you been coping with all the recent news of church scandals and clergy abuse of minors? All this news makes me sick to my stomach. Part of me doesn’t want to think about it, much less talk about it. But that’s part of the problem, isn’t it? The silence, the covering-up, the pretense that sexual abuse by clergy isn’t really real.

But it is.

And while church officials talk about accountability and processes to protect youth and reform the system, we parents need to take the bull by the horns and talk about it with our kids (at least middle schoolers and older). If we don’t, they will catch wind of it somewhere else and feel confused and scandalized (as they should), and their faith may be seriously compromised. Here are three points to think about and possibly talk about with your kids:

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Helping Your Child to Practice Piano Effectively

Here’s a question that came in as a comment: How do you deal with piano practice? I find that if I let my children (8, 5) practise themselves, they’ll skip some scales and end up doing really shoddy work on their pieces. I find myself having to sit down with them every time in order to get good progress, and it’s really frustrating because I can’t do chores or help/play with/read to the younger ones. I’d really appreciate your advice, thanks.

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Protecting our Kids from the Dangers of the Internet, Part I

With two teenagers in the house (how did that happen so fast?), I have become increasingly concerned about the dangers and effects of the internet and social media on our young people. I’m particularly worried about pornography, although internet, video game and social media addictions are also a concern. Have you seen any of the latest statistics on children/teens and the internet?

Here are some stats from Covenanteyes.com

  • 9 out of 10 boys and 6 out of 10 girls are exposed to pornography online before the age of 18.
  • The first exposure to pornography among boys is 12 years old, on average.
  • 83% of boys and 57% of girls are exposed to group sex online.
  • 71% of teens have done something to hide their online activity from their parents.
  • 28% of 16-17-year-olds have unintentionally been exposed to pornography online.

These stats are unsettling, aren’t they? We need  to protect our kids from the dangers of the internet. But with smart phones and iPads being ubiquitous, the task seems almost impossible. Of course, we need to use parental controls and put filters on our routers. (Here is a great list of resources.) However, even if we have the most sophisticated parental controls and filter systems, our kids are still in danger. After all, our children have friends, and their friends (will) have smart phones, apple watches, iPads, and laptops. And who knows how protected their gadgets are?

Parental controls,  filters, and monitoring tools.  They are a no brainer.

But we can’t stop there.

Continue reading “Protecting our Kids from the Dangers of the Internet, Part I”

How My Kids are Keeping Busy this Summer

When I was a child, my mother used to say, “Idleness is the devil’s workshop.” I find myself saying the same thing to my kids whenever boredom leads to trouble. Not that I’m against boredom. A certain amount is healthy — it allows children to use their imaginations and creativity in a free and leisurely manner. Excessive boredom, however,  makes children want to eat when they’re not hungry and waste time on video games (which we don’t do here). It also incites kids to pester their siblings because they have nothing else to do.

The warm, care-free days of summer are a wonderful gift. But children still need structure. They still need to use their time constructively.  Besides play-dates, swimming, biking, and sports, here are some things we are doing to make the most of our summer days.

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The Five Types of Tattle-Tales

Summer is here! And with it, mosquito bites, scraped knees, and an outbreak in tattle-taling. Being home all day with half-a-dozen kids,  I have noticed there are five (yes, five!) different types of tattle-tales. Not all tattles are created equally. Here’s what they are and what we can do about them:

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Help for Mean, Moody Mamas

Do you ever have those days when a dark cloud seems to be hanging over you? Perhaps you didn’t sleep well the night before or health problems are gnawing away at your energy and patience. Maybe your kids are particularly ornery and you can’t get them to stop squabbling, let alone get them to do their school work. Or maybe you had a marital disagreement which has left you feeling deflated and depressed. It sure is hard to be joyful and kind on such days, isn’t it?

Here’s an excerpt from Evangelizing Our Children with Joy that describes the importance of being joyful even in the face of tribulations.

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Discipline, Decision-Making, and the Four Cardinal Virtues

Do you ever feel as if there are days when your are too often taking disciplinary action with your kids? Do you ever feel as if you have morphed into The Punisher, doling out “consequences” to one child after another? Do you ever feel as if you are frequently scolding and reprimanding your children — and getting nowhere?

I’ve been there. With my younger ones sometimes I’m still there. But I have a little secret about discipline that I’d like to share:

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A Little Pro-Life Story

I wanted to go to the March for Life on Friday. I really did. My husband and my older kids went to D.C. ,  and marched amongst probably hundreds of thousands of youth, rallying for the dignity of the unborn child.  I’m missing the exhiliration and excitement of the March, the feeling of being a part of a tremendous movement that will one day put an end to history’s greatest atrocity, the legalization of abortion.

But sweet little Junior has had a rough past few weeks, as babies often do during the winter. Instead of Marching in the nation’s capital, I stayed at home playing peekaboo.

However, I thought I’d share this little pro-life story:

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Christmas Gift Ideas

On Friday, Mary and I were having our weekly chat and both had the same question…What on earth are you getting your kids for Christmas that doesn’t involve LEGOs or plastic toys made in China?  Now I have to preface this with neither of us have anything against LEGOs or plastic toys, but we are both inundated by them.  Admittedly the Grinch sneaks into my heart this time of year as I threaten to either throw out all the toys or tell everyone I know that there is a toy ban on our household.  Truth be told some of each will end up at both of our houses this Christmas no matter how hard we try to avoid them.  That being said, we are both looking for creative gift ideas.   We spent an hour mulling over this topic (at least that is what we told our kids so we could have some uninterrupted mom chat time) and here is what we came up with.  Continue reading “Christmas Gift Ideas”