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Tune in: @Curious Conversation on How to Raise an Adult #Parenting

Curious Conversation on How to Raise an Adult,

 

Now that my boys are teens, I realize one of the biggest challenges of parenting is not raising an child, instead it is raising an adult. Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult, has a common sense approach to this challenge. This Thursday,July 23 at 6:30 PM PT Julie will share insights about how to prepare kids to be their best selves and raise them to be happy, healthy and successful adults. Best yet, anyone can tune in for free at Curious.com, RSVP to the VIRTUAL CONVERSATION. HERE :“Curious Conversation” with Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult, taking place this Thursday, July 23 at 6:30 PM PT

 

Julie Lythcott-Haims has a relevant background to speak in this area:

  • Mother of two children
  • Worked as a lawyer for 4 years prior to becoming dean
  • 14 years total working as administrator at Stanford (Dean at Stanford Law School, Assist. to the President, Dean of Freshmen and Undergraduate Advising)

 

Here is the publisher summary of her book,”How To Raise An Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success”: In How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims draws on research, on conversations with admissions officers, educators, and employers, and on her own insights as a mother and as a student dean to highlight the ways in which overparenting harms children, their stressed-out parents, and society at large. While empathizing with the parental hopes and, especially, fears that lead to overhelping, Lythcott-Haims offers practical alternative strategies that underline the importance of allowing children to make their own mistakes and develop the resilience, resourcefulness, and inner determination necessary for success. Relevant to parents of toddlers as well as of twentysomethings-and of special value to parents of teens-this book is a rallying cry for those who wish to ensure that the next generation can take charge of their own lives with competence and confidence. Book published by Henry Holt and Company, LLC. Copyright © 2015.
 

Being a parent in Silicon Valley, it’s especially difficult to not fall into the helicopter parenting trap. There is so much pressure on kids to reach unattainable goals in school academics and after-school sports. Some kids even kick-off their own tech start-up while still in high school (seriously!). Unfortunately, this leads to kids being over-scheduled and over-stressed, bringing tension to the whole family limiting the free time needed for them to develop  strong resilience and independence prior to leaving for college. When I read perspectives by Julie Lythcott-Haims on these challenges it is like a breath of fresh air, helping parents focus on what is really important. I look forward to tuning in for the Curious Conversation this Thursday July 23!

 

What are your biggest parenting challenges when it comes to raising your “adult”?

 

 

 

What Boys Wear- Sports and Smiles

Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board

 

What Boys WearWhen it comes to fashion for tween and teen boys, it seems to be a carefully crafted mix of the styles trends based on what heir friends and online role models are wearing. Here are the top trends, in my experience, that have influenced my boys when it comes to what they wear. Because I have three boys, I can only comment on what they wear. What trends do you see with your kids? I would especially enjoy hearing from parents of girls on trends that influence their fashion choices.

 

 

Trend 1: Sports

Sports are one of the top trends I see when it comes to tween and teen fashion. Because many boys (and girls!)  go right to sports activities after school, some wear clothes to school that can be used for both.  For example, I see many middle school boys wear sports shirts and shorts. At least the trend of slipping on sport shirts and shorts makes it easy for my boys to get dressed in the morning. I live in California so the weather is somewhat mild during the year, meaning that some boys I know wear shorts all year long! The only pants my boys will swap out their shorts for in Winter is jeans. Even my son’s friends who wear uniforms to private school during the day slip into sports active wear after school and on weekends.

 

Trend 2: What Other Kids Wear

After the first few weeks of Middle School my twin boys started asking for bright colored socks. I did not know what they were talking about until I noticed that the other boys at school were wearing brightly colored sport socks in all different types of colors. While some school fashion trends are not “appropriate” for school, brightly colored sports socks seem to be upbeat. When I asked some of my fashion forward adult male friends about sock “trends”, they said that brightly colors are always a hot trend.

 

Trend 3: The Online World

While I follow online fashion websites, I have noticed that my teen is influenced by some of the fashions he sees on his favorite YouTube shows. Luckily, they all dress low key with jeans and sometimes they even wear shirts with collars!

 

baseball  smileAs a parent I want my boys to feel good about themselves not matter what they wear, but I have explained that beyond clothes one of the most important things to wear is a “big smile” on their face. Smiling is a great way to not only connect with current friends but also meet new ones. I tell my younger twin boys that smiles are not only for posing for your sports photo’s, they are to be shared with your friends and family in real life as well!

 

 

 

Luckily my oldest teen son is working on his smile with proper dental health and Invisalign.  Fellow blogger Beccarama just posted her thoughts on “Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile” and information about the Invisalign Countdown to Confidence Sweepstakes ending November 13.

 

 

 

Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. My son has received complimentary treatment from Align, but all opinions expressed are my own. Here is information on the Invisalign smile assessment, treatment process and how to find a Doctor.

 

 

 

 

Teen Health and Myths

Disclosure: Sponsored Post

 

 

peer pressure kidsBeing a teen is difficult enough, managing self-esteem and self-confidence at time when peers can be judgmental and mean.  With one teen child and two tweens following closely behind, our family is in the thick of that challenge. I decided to help my kids focus on health and wellness to strengthen their confidence and part of our journey involved creating a dental health strategy. As a member of the Invisalign Teen – Mom Advisory Board I had the opportunity to learn about Invisalign as an alternative to braces. Below are our top priorities for our teen’s health and wellness, including a dental health strategy, along with some myths and facts about Invisalign from a company press release.

 

1. Focus on Exercise:  We were shocked to learn that while some sports are great for a team experience (baseball), they may not satisfy a teen’s daily exercise needs. So we looked into setting up regular activities to help with daily fitness training including running, a rigorous work out at a health club, and aerobic sports including swimming and basketball.

 

2. Focus on Healthy Eating: Each of our boys has specific healthy food preferences but all three of them favor junk food when socializing with friends. In response, we talk about finding ways to fit healthy foods into their daily routine.

 

3. Focus on Mindfulness: We researched mindfulness to help our kids learn techniques to deal with stressful situations. One of them is a simple 5 minute meditation at night where they focus on their favorite place (i.e. the beach) and listen to the sounds of that place (waves).

 

4. Focus on Emotional Intelligence: We have regular talks with our kids about recognizing their own emotions as well as the emotions of others to help develop emotional intelligence. We then stress the importance of engaging with “positive” friends while disengaging with negative people (such as school bullies).

 

5. Focus on being Healthy instead of what peers think:  Being a teen brings with it certain social pressures to look a particular way. We try to help our kids understand that real beauty lies in being healthy, not “peer” determined standards. This includes getting sleep as well as exercising and eating well. My teen has been successfully managing Eczema (moisturize more) and addressed dental health by properly brushing and flossing his teeth as well as using Invisalign to fixing the crowding on this teeth. In a prior post I talked about the thousands of dollars I have spent on dental problems caused by my overcrowded teeth (that could of been fixed if I had braces). Fixing my son’s overcrowding during his teen years gives him a better chance at a healthy dental future. It also really helps that the Invisalign are clear so his friends don’t even know he is wearing them!

 

When I first research using Invisalign for my son’s second round of braces as a teen, I had many questions. The wires on the metal braces he used the first time around routinely broke, causing significant discomfort and maintenance challenges. As part of the Invisalign Teen – Mom Advisory Board I had a chance to get some answers – setting it straight on the myths of Invisalign.

 

Here are some of the information I received from Invisalign to help me understand answers to my questions:

 

 

Invisalign Myths/Setting It Straight

Myth: Invisalign can only treat minor or cosmetic issues.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign effectively treats a wide variety of orthodontic issues including severe bite issues. From underbite to crossbite, deepbite to overbite and overly crowded to widely spaced, advancements to Invisalign’s patented technology continues to increase the complexity of issues that can be treated.

 

Myth: Invisalign is more expensive than metal braces.

Setting it Straight: The cost of Invisalign is usually comparable to the cost of traditional braces and many dental insurance plans cover Invisalign just as they would braces.

 

Myth: I won’t be able to tell if my child is wearing Invisalign often enough for it to be effective.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign Teen aligners are made with small blue dots, officially called compliance indicators, that gradually fade as aligners are worn. It’s a quick visual check for parents and teens to confirm they wearing aligners long enough to get results. In fact, clinical data from orthodontists confirms that teens wear their aligners an average of 21 hours per day, just as recommended.

 

Myth: If my child loses their aligners, it’s going to cost me an arm and a leg to replace.

Setting it Straight: We know kids lose things, even their aligners! That’s why you get up to six FREE replacement aligners with Invisalign Teen.

 

Myth: After Invisalign Teen, my child’s teeth may revert back to their original position.

Setting it Straight: Studies show that without retainers straight teeth can gradually shift back towards their initial position. This is a common occurrence with all orthodontic treatment including braces, but is one that can easily be overcome. Ask your doctor about Vivera retainers from the makers of Invisalign.

 

Myth: I don’t need to take my child to see an orthodontist until they are a teenager.

Setting it Straight: The American Association of Orthodontics recommends taking children for their first orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. The American Dental Association says this is because, “Your child’s dentist can spot problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth early on, while the primary teeth are present.”

 

Myth: Invisalign takes longer to complete than braces.

Setting it Straight: The length of Invisalign treatment is comparable to braces. The average Invisalign journey averages about 12 months for adults. The length of treatment time for teens may vary depending on the severity of the case and can only be determined by a doctor.

 

Myth: If my child’s dentist or orthodontist recommends braces over Invisalign, I should trust their opinion.

Setting it Straight: Not all orthodontists specialize in Invisalign Teen. Visit www.invisalign.com and select “find a doctor” to locate experienced Invisalign and Invisalign Teen doctors in your area. If you are told your teen is not an Invisalign candidate, it may be worth getting a second opinion from more than one orthodontist. Doing so may help ensure that you have all the information you need to make an educated decision.

 

Myth: Braces work better than Invisalign.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign Teen was developed with leading orthodontists to correct the most common teeth straightening issues – from severe cases to more minor, cosmetic adjustments. Invisalign Teen’s clear aligners are removable and can straighten teeth without a mouth full of metal and all the disruption and sacrifice that comes with it. With Invisalign, teens look better and feel more confident than they ever could in traditional braces.

 

Myth: We can’t afford Invisalign.

Setting it Straight: Invisalign Teen is covered by many dental insurance policies just like traditional braces — up to 50% of the cost may be covered by insurance. Even if dental insurance doesn’t apply, many doctors will help parents find options to make straightening their child’s teeth more affordable. Many offer flexible and affordable monthly finance plans that can be as low as $99 per month.

 

Myth: Braces are a rite of passage.

Setting it Straight: Virtually invisible aligners, mean there is less social awkwardness to impact teen’s confidence and self-esteem during an already vulnerable time. There’s no need for teens to hold back or feel they’re missing out on anything when straightening their teeth with Invisalign.

 

Myth: Invisalign treatment will disrupt our lives.

Setting it Straight: With Invisalign, Teens can play sports without fear of injury and continue cheerleading, musical instruments, acting and singing with little to no interference. And because its removable, brushing and flossing is easy and no food restrictions to worry about either. Invisalign is much less disruptive for busy moms and dads too. Invisalign Teen eliminates emergency ortho visits for broken wires and brackets and requires fewer appointments since several aligner sets are provided in advance.

 

 

Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. My son has received complimentary treatment from Align, but all opinions expressed are my own. Here is the link to the Invisalign Smile Assessment.

 

 

 

 

Taking on Family 2014 New Year’s Resolutions. Is it Possible?

*sponsored series

 

2014 Family New Year ResolutionsWhen it comes to annual New Years Resolutions, taking better care of myself and my family’s health  always tops the list. This year we are focusing on finding ways to fit regular exercise into our busy schedule, cooking more plant-based foods, practicing stress-management, spending more quality time together (unplugged!) and advancing my kids’ oral health. Assembling the list was the easy part. Actually doing the list, well, that’s the real challenge. So, following the rules in my book, The Parent Plan, we started putting together the family plan.

 

Exercise: Our family looked at our busy schedule and activities and determined that the best way to fit in regular exercise was to identify flexible exercise options. Was there a year round exercise class for my 11 year olds that focused on overall athletic conditioning? My boys enjoyed baseball, but it did not give them the overall conditioning they needed.  Their favorite gym had a great class and fortunately also offered a workout program for my 15 year old (one drop off).

 

Plant Based Foods: After examining the various medical challenges of our extended family and looking at our own diets needs, we decided to start making plant based foods the staple of our diet. But being a family of 5 healthy eaters, everyone had different tastes.  I found several great plant-based recipe websites, blogs, books and a holistic nutritionist and set out to identify different options that fit our family’s eating preferences. This goal especially overwhelmed me because I quickly discovered just how challenging it was to find recipes everyone liked. I also needed more tools to make cooking fresh plant based foods fit into our busy schedule, including a crock pot and blender. We decided to take one week at time, including new plant-based foods in our weekly meals but still cooking family favorites as well.  We also realized we needed to give our kids a chance to get use to the tastes of some new foods (to go from “yuck” to “yum”). One of those was almond milk and I am thrilled to say they are happy to drink it now, after only a few weeks of adjustment!

 

Stress: Let’s face it, the modern family schedule is so overscheduled that it is hard to dodge stress. With adults managing home and work, and kids balancing school, homework, sports, music lessons and more – even a scaled down schedule is like running a weekly marathon.  What happened to the innocent childhood of yesteryear when kids just played with their friends after school? We decided to prioritize school-week activities to only include high-priority items close to home. For example, instead of driving 30 minutes for music lessons we found a local teacher who was giving lessons to a neighbor and asked if he could stop by our house as well.

 

Family Time Unplugged: Now that our oldest is in high school, we realized that our time together as a family is limited and more family time activities were in order rather than just running past each other each day. Our first step was trying to have family game nights, with electronics turned off. OK, in reality we did accept that types of technology used for games would be acceptable, but checking email or anything else was off limits! Humorous games such as Apples to Apples (we play the “silly” version) and Catchphrase worked the best to enable great bouts of belly laughs, and belly laughs are not only great for bringing our family together – but also for relieving stress. When we feel “serious”, Battleship, Risk and chess fit the bill. But we are always on the lookout for new game.

 

Oral Health: My family moved around when I was of “braces age” so I somehow missed the chance. Because of that, my teeth have some crowding and I have experienced some dental problems. So proper oral health for my boys is a high personal priority. One of my twin sons used a pacifier as an infant while the other did not. He sucked his thumb. Years later it seems using fingers is better than a pacifier because that son does not need braces while the other one does.  My 15 year old has Invisalign, (Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board), as the final touch to wearing metal braces when he was 11. He is in the middle of his treatment and it has been so seamless. He just wears the Invisalign aligners, washes them, takes them out when eating and then gets new aligners to swap out on a regular basis. I was worried about how he would feel wearing Invisalign while also starting High School and we are thrilled it has not been an issue (they are pretty much “invisible”).  My 11 year old has asked repeatedly if he can just use Invisalign.  Although he will likely start with metal braces, we know that the is there will be Invisalign for him as well in the future.  Now if I can just get my kids to floss with their regular brushing without nagging from parents.

 

We want to keep doing family activities that give back (like our regular cooking for a homeless shelter during the holidays), spending time with extended family/friends and setting goals to achieve our own personal best. Maybe I will be brave enough to attempt our household to-do list which includes finding new ways to organize the large quantities of stuff from our three boys. No matter how hard I try I will never be one of those perky naturally organized people that create those beautiful images on Pinterest (even though I find them totally inspirational). Or maybe it is time to realize that achieving perfect household organization may be something not to include so we can at least achieve the family resolution of reducing stress?

 

Organized kitchen

 

What are your 2014 family resolutions? Please share yours and any tips on achieving them while juggling a busy family life!

 

 

 

Disclosure: I am a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. My son has received complimentary treatment from Align. The opinions expressed are my own. Here is the link to the Invisalign Smile Assessment.

 

 

 

10 Tips To Get Your Household Ready For the School Year

*Sponsored series. See Disclosures Below.

 

With three kids and two busy working parents in our house, the beginning of each school year requires a family management system to simplify school year logistics. Here are some tips we use to get our household ready:

 

1. Create an online calendar: The first thing I do each year is gather all of the school and activity calendars together and create a color-coded online family calendar. Because our teen and twin sons are so busy this year, I made separate calendars for each child and assigned them unique colors (I grouped my twin sons together because they go to many of the same activities). There are many calendar options including Microsoft Outlook, Google Calendar and Cozi.com.

 

2. Identify location friendly activities: With my busy work schedule, the only way to survive the school year is to find location-friendly afterschool activities. With some luck and lots of investigation, I discovered great programs close to home. For example, my kids are enjoying Karate lessons at the local dojo rather than the location two cities away attended by many of their friends.

 

3. Set up carpools: At the start of the school year it’s good to talk to other school parents as well as review class and afterschool activity directories to find other families close to your house for potential carpooling. This reduces my time spent on the road or my kids’ time spent on bikes traveling across town. For families requiring flexibility, it’s best to find carpool families who are similarly flexible.

 

4. Create weekly menus: For many families, of the most stressful things about the school year is meal planning.  Creating weekly menus can help streamline busy school weeks by using some weekend prep time to prepare ready to eat meals in the fridge. For nights when cooking or “re-heating” is out of the question, having a list of local restaurants that either have delivery or will carry out to curbside (such as California Pizza Kitchen) comes in handy .

 

Low on meal ideas? Luckily there are so many online recipe and food blogs that include recipes for every taste and level of cooking experience. I find it helpful to find a meal strategy that fits with our family schedule. For example, we like using a crockpot to cook food during the day that will be ready for mealtime.  Another option is finding budget friendly staples that we can bake in advance like beans & grains and then throw in difference ingredients to spice things up.

 

5. Develop digital shopping lists:  Once you have a weekly dinner and other meal requirement list (including kids’ lunch meals), the required food shopping can be greatly simplified by using a digital shopping list.  Tools such as One Note, EverNote and more can help you have your shopping list available on all the family devices.

 

6. Identify family chore lists: The start of the school year is a great time to review household chores and then identify those that are a good fit with your kid’s schedule.  For example, one of my 10 year old sons is a natural at moving laundry through the washer and dryer. Next step is to teach him to sort and fold clothing.

 

7. Establish well-stocked school work areas: The beginning of the school year is a great time to empty out the old, broken and worn down school supplies from last year and start fresh with new pencils, pens, paper and rulers  located near homework spaces. This will help to silence the “I can’t find a pencil” complaint!

 

8. Set up school year screen time limits: During the school year we have screen time limits to allow our kids to relax while prioritizing the completion of homework. Some families have no screen time during the week. We settled on somewhere in the middle, which means our kids get limited screen time only after they get their homework done.

 

9. Evaluate Assistive Tech: At the beginning of each year I talk with each of my kids to see if there is any ways we can help support their learning with technology. In the past this has included finding a dictation app to help with writing exercises or using other Assistive Learning Tools.

 

10. Update Household Technology:  Each year it seems we need to add some new technology or update our current computers to match our kid’s school needs. This year we needed to buy an extra printer to allow my teen access to print from his desk. We also realized that we needed the ability to do homework on the go, so having mobile WiFi has enabled us to complete assignments between activities on the road or work at the park on nice days and enjoy some fresh air.

 

What’s in your back to school preparation list?

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored series. I received an AT&T Unite mobile hotspot as part of my sponsorship. My words are my own. I am happy to say that my AT&T Unite has enabled our family to have WiFi wherever we need to get work done. For more information, visit att.com/Unite or connect with WiFi Family powered by Netgear.