Trip to Superior Court

Courthouse Clock
Today Arthur attended a field trip with his government class to view actual court cases.   He was required to wear a business suit and tie.   The seniors were dressed nicely and everyone looked professional.   This should be a great experience for those who wish to pursue a career in law enforcement.   It’s been a dream of mine to complete law school, but I’ll think about that once Arthur leaves for college next year.  Read More

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LOP

Today I received an email entitled LOP from Arthur’s high school principal.  Sounds like Arthur has Loss of Privileges (LOP) for something he did or didn’t do.  Right now I’m not sure what the issue is – but will talk to him about it at dinner tonight.  Sounds like he’s been blacklisted for a really bad reason.  Funny, he never mentioned a thing to me about it.

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Text Message

acting

Just received a text from Arthur requesting I check out an acting school in Los Angeles, California.  Says he may opt to take acting lessons instead of attending college.  Oy vey!

Arthur went on in his text…”I can earn more as a Hollywood actor than I ever will with a degree in business from an Ivy League”.  Is this kid nuts???  Last I checked UCLA has a Theater school and Yale has a Drama school.  Why can’t Arthur simply mix education with acting?

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Structured Procrastinator

procrastinators

“. . . anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.” — Robert Benchley, in Chips off the Old Benchley, 1949

OK, yesterday I spoke with Arthur regarding his “late” math homework assignments.  I demanded to know why he waits until the very last-minute to complete his math homework (this according to his math teacher Mr. W).  Waiting until lunch time, while sitting directly across from his math teacher is not a good idea.  It went like this, “Mr. W. sent an email…he was not very happy with you Arthur”.  Arthur calmly looks up and says, “Really?”…then he smiles briefly and said,  “Oh, he finally emailed you.  It takes him weeks to update our homework assignments.  I’m not surprised it took him almost three months to contact you. I think he’s too old to be teaching, he needs to retire. ”

So this kid knew he was literally insulting his math teacher by waltzing into his classroom during lunch to do math homework. Mind you, the syllabus lists all math assignments for the entire semester, which allows these kids ample time to complete them.  Such arrogance!

“You know you gotta pass math so you can graduate and start college next year.  What gives kid?”  He’s smirking now, “Mom, don’t worry about this, I got this.  Everything’s under control.”    What does this kid mean by “…everything’s under control”?  Evidently, nothing’s under control if your math teacher’s miffed.   “Arthur, stop waiting until your lunch crunch to do your darn homework!  I mean it”.

I will continue to stay in contact with Mr. W., so I can ensure this kid does his homework the night before.  What can I say, the kid’s arrogant like his father.  It’s in the genes.  But, I read an article recently about folks who are defined as “structured procrastinators”.

“All procrastinators put off things they have to do. Structured procrastination is the art of making this bad trait work for you. The key idea is that procrastinating does not mean doing absolutely nothing. Procrastinators seldom do absolutely nothing; they do marginally useful things, like gardening or sharpening pencils or making a diagram of how they will reorganize their files when they get around to it.” John Perry

I’m sure there have been times we’ve all put important stuff off, to do the not-so-important stuff.  But, who has the nerve to go to school, sit in front of his teacher and say, “Hey teach, guess what?  I’m just starting my homework.  Ha ha!”  Not good.  It means I really don’t care about you or your stupid math class.  Sends the wrong signal in my opinion.

“Procrastinators often follow exactly the wrong tack. They try to minimize their commitments, assuming that if they have only a few things to do, they will quit procrastinating and get them done. But this goes contrary to the basic nature of the procrastinator and destroys his most important source of motivation. The few tasks on his list will be by definition the most important, and the only way to avoid doing them will be to do nothing.” more by John Perry

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Email From Math Teacher

math picture

 

This morning when I checked my emails I noticed one from my son’s math teacher.  He stated that Arthur was missing three math assignments.  He went on to say, “…Arthur likes to come in everyday during lunch to do his homework assignments”, which really surprised me.  I was under the impression that Arthur was completing all of his homework right here at home.  Now, I am mystified.  How on earth did Arthur earn five A’s out of six possible grades on his most recent progress report card, if he is procrastinating on the homework?

Needless to say, I will have a heart to heart with Arthur when he gets home from school today.  His math teacher seemed a bit disappointed to say the least.

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Beware of Mom

Jennifer admits she’s constantly hovering over her three children, especially her 17-year-old daughter Kim. She admits to calling Kim’s cell phone multiple times a day and following her to her friends’ houses, the mall and even cheer-leading practice.

Could Jennifer’s hovering ruin her relationship with Kim? Jennifer should probably not follow Kim to cheer-leading practice. The mall is OK, because they can go their own separate ways and shop in different stores. Malls are large and nobody has to know Jennifer is in Macy’s shopping, while Kim’s shopping at Forever 21.

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You Are Not The Boss of Me

One day I woke up and realized that my entire life was centered around my son. I found myself focused on him from the time I woke up until the time I went to bed. So, I began to research this phenomenon, that many around the world call helicopter parenting and that is when I discovered I may have a serious problem. The term “helicopter parent” was originally coined by Foster W. Cline, M.D. and Jim Fay. According to Cline and Fay, like helicopters, mothers hover closely to their children, never being too far away or out of reach, whether the child needs them or not).

It’s like having a boss who micro-manages his employees. Nobody likes to be micro-managed and if you work for someone who monitors every aspect of the business process and pays extremely close attention to every single detail – then guess what, you’d probably quit.

The one common thread that helicopter parents and micro-managers have in common is CONTROL. The definition of control is the power to influence or direct people’s behavior or the course of events. Well guess what, this describes me to a “T”. My problem is that I always want be in CONTROL. However, as mothers unfortunately we cannot control our children. We must teach them right from wrong and pray that the values we have instilled in them as parents over the years, becomes apparent in the decisions they make throughout their lifetime.

At what point do I let go and allow my son to become a self-sufficient, contributing member of society? I keep asking myself this question and it continues to be an uphill battle for me, because I keep wanting to protect my son from life. I say this because I want to protect Arthur from any and all disappointment, hurt, suffering – anything that will cause him pain or grief. Why, because I only want the best for my son. I want to see him happy. I don’t think there are very many moms who want to see their kids sad.

The only problem with this way of thinking, is that my son will not always be happy. In order for Arthur to grow, he must unfortunately experience disappointment, pain and suffering. Arthur will not truly experience life and grow as a young man, unless and until he experiences life. Life comes with the good, bad and the ugly. Being a helicopter mom for the past 17-years, it’s been difficult for me to allow my son to make mistakes, learn and grow from those mistakes. I keep wanting to be there to prevent the mistakes from occurring. Sometimes, I wish I had a remote control device that could literally control all of his actions and emotions. This way I could ensure that Arthur made all the right decisions and avoided any and all mistakes.

Biology is the study of life and scientists have had a very difficult time defining life because life is a process. It took me over 18 years to realize that life is a process. And through that process, one must experience growth. The definition of growth is development from a lower or simpler to a higher or more complex form; evolution. Growth involves experiencing all that life has to offer in an uninhibited world.

However, as a helicopter mom, my son has been experiencing life in a very controlled environment. This unfortunately, will do nothing but prevent his personal growth. My behavior has not been beneficial to my son. Yes, I have protected him and shielded him from the world, but I have more than likely stunted his growth. My son has even told me things like, “Mom, please stop treating me like a 5-year old”, or “Mom, I am almost 18, I can walk to the store by myself”.

So, since my son is realizing that I am an “over-bearing, helicopter mom”, why is it so hard for me to stop? That is the question I must find the answer to. Let’s explore this phenomenon and let’s try to find the answers to the questions many moms like myself need answered.

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What’s Your Take on the Peanut Butter and Jelly Debate?

When I was a kid growing up in Los Angeles, other than visiting the beautiful beaches of Santa Monica on the weekend with my parents, the only other thing that put a gigantic smile on my face was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. One-half peanut butter and the other half Welch’s grape jelly – delicious. The peanut butter would stick to the roof of my mouth and the jelly was sweet. I’d have a glass of cold water nearby so that I could chew and sip interchangeably. Oh those were the days. So, why on earth would a school impose a six-year ban on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Well, the answer is not a simple one. It will leave you wondering both why and why not – but you may end your tune with why?

A student in Arkansas was just about to open wide and take a big bite out of his peanut butter and jelly sandwich when his teacher swooped in and grabbed the sandwich right out of his hand. The teacher was honoring the current ban on PB&J sandwiches which the school had in effect for six long, agonizing years. The teacher took immediate possession of the sandwich and assisted the student in getting a new lunch. She then wrote a short note to the kid’s parents explaining why she confiscated the sandwich and replaced the child’s lunch with something that was more acceptable. She sent the infamous note home with the student.

After reading the note, the child’s mother, Denise Clifton-Jones went ballistic. Clifton-Jones took to her Facebook page to discuss the peanut butter ban that was imposed by the school and strictly enforced by the teachers and that’s when things got heated. Everyone all over the world chimed in about why they were for the ban and why they were against it. Seemed each side had very valid arguments. However, I think the side I would concur with would be the side that supported the ban on peanuts. Before, you get all huffy and puffy, let me explain why.

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, about 2 to 2.5 percent of Americans suffer from food allergies, including allergies to peanuts and peanut products, such as peanut butter. Allergies to peanuts and peanut products are extremely common and often manifest during a child’s first years. While some people eventually outgrow food allergies, most never outgrow peanut allergies. This can be a dangerous allergy, in addition to fish and shellfish, peanuts (and tree nuts) are most likely to trigger anaphylaxis, a serious reaction.

Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is a rapid onset and may cause death. As a parent, if I am aware of the fact that other children, who attend the same school as my child (ren), may suffer a life-threatening illness or reaction to peanut butter, then I would certainly agree with enforcing the ban. Remember, we are talking about children and their exposure to a life-threatening allergic reaction that could result in death. Worldwide 0.05–2% of people are estimated to have anaphylaxis at some point in their life and rates appear to be increasing.

Fact, children have actually lost their lives while in school, due to peanut exposure. It’s all about protecting our children and if that means adhering to a ban on peanuts so that ALL children can be protected, then I support it.

On the other hand, why should we impose a ban on ninety eight percent of the population, by making other children suffer (by preventing them from being able to enjoy something few considered harmful many years ago?) It’s two percent of kids, versus ninety eight percent of kids – that’s a no-brainer, majority wins. However, not in the case of this particular school in Arkansas; whom although the minority, were the victor. We should do everything we can to protect ALL children. If one child is at risk, then I absolutely support NUT-FREE ZONES in our schools. No pun intended.

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2nd Week of School

It’s the second week of school for my high school son and already I have to start planning for his Prom.  I completed the registration form and submitted the 180 bucks and now we have to hurry up and wait.  Of course, Prom is not until next year but the school staff has to plan way in advance for the total number of attendees, chaperones, etc.  I am currently debating whether or not I will be a chaperone.  The last thing I wanna do is embarrass my son.  However, I’d like to be there to make sure he’s not drinking or doing drugs and/or getting mixed up with the wrong crowd.

Mind you, he has never done drugs or taken a sip of alcohol, but if you’ve ever been to a high school Prom, you know that strange things can happen.  So as I sit here typing this entry, I have come to the conclusion that I will indeed volunteer to chaperone both the Prom and Grad Night activities.  I will have a close up seat and be right there in the thick of things, making sure my son stays out of trouble and graduates high school problem free.  Fingers crossed.

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Where Helicoptermoms Unite

Helicopter moms care so deeply for their children, that in the midst of their hovering they sometimes cause more pain than happiness in the lives of their children.  I know, because I am a helicopter mom and I have a seventeen year old son, whom I love dearly.  But, sometimes I have a difficult time letting go and allowing him to grow up and become an independent, young man.  As mothers we want our children to become productive contributors of society.  We would like to see them succeed and of course, we don’t want them to endure the growing pains that we ourselves have endured in the process of maturing and becoming adults.  We’ve made mistakes and learned some very harsh lessons from what I call the errs of life.

We want to protect our children, by completely shielding them from the misery and suffering that ultimately fosters growth. I am hoping that as a mother who is currently experiencing this phenomenon known to many as over-parenting, that I can tell my story and help other mothers voice their personal struggles and experiences as self-confessed helicopter moms.  Through this forum, we can come together and help one another.  I have been a helicopter mom since the birth of my son almost 18 years ago.  I started law school and didn’t finish because I feel the need to hover over my son to ensure he does not have so many problems I see teenage boys his age experiencing.  So many parts of my life have been placed “on hold”, because of my need and desire to control all aspects of my son’s life.

However, I want to stop trying to control his life and relinquish the reins to him, because he will be 18 in February of next year and if I don’t stop now, I am afraid I will do more harm than good.  I’ve watched many helicopter moms on talk shows like Dr. Phil, Anderson, Oprah and Good Morning America.  I don’t want to be one of those helicopter moms that ruins the relationship with my son and his future family.  Therefore, I need and want help and I’m hoping that by opening up this platform I can help other mothers who suffer from the “helicopter mom” disease.

We’ve gotta cut the umbilical cord and allow our children to grow up.  Yes, it may be difficult at times but we must learn to trust their decisions and trust they’ve learned the valuable lessons we’ve taught them.  If we don’t get help now, unfortunately our actions will have a profoundly negative impact on the lives of our children.  The children we love so dearly.

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Bank Accounts

The purpose for a good checking and/or savings account for your children is so they can develop self-discipline.  Saving money will be an important part of your teens life, so it’s better to start now rather than later. Choosing the right bank depends on the needs of your teenager…

Things to consider:

1) Are you looking for short-term savings or long-term investments?
2) Does your teen have a part-time job or summer internship?
3) Are you looking for a checking or savings or both?
4) Do you want to save money or manage money as you spend it for personal daily living expenses?  (i.e cell phone bills, food, gas, car payment, auto insurance, health insurance, gifts).
5) Does the bank charge fees?  (Check to see if your local bank offers accounts for teens who are currently in high school and then once the teen is a college student, can the student maintain the account FREE of monthly service charges?  FREE of charges is the best type of account, since most young people don’t earn as much as older folks who have already been in the workforce several years).
6) Do your homework and check local credit unions in your area, they may also offer FREE checking and savings accounts for teens and/or college students.

My Best Picks Are…

Wells Fargo Value Checking – offers totally FREE checking and savings account while in high school.  Then can switch to a College Checking, while your son or daughter remains a college student. There are no hidden fees.  This is my number one pick!   This bank offers excellent customer service, according to my teenage son, he loves Wells Fargo Bank.

Chase Checking – offers a FREE checking account if the student maintains a monthly minimum balance of $1,500 or with monthly direct deposits of $500 or more.  This is a good account if the student’s parent’s can transfer $500 monthly and/or if the student can earn $500 monthly and have his/her paycheck direct deposited.  Otherwise, a $10 monthly service fee applies.

Credit Unions – Again, check your state for credit unions that offer no fee checking and savings accounts.  Teach your kids how to be more responsible while saving money and becoming better money-managers.  This will also trickle over into their credit ratings.  You can start teaching your teen about how credit works, so they don’t end up with horrible credit ratings at a very young age.

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The School Year Has Begun

My son started school yesterday and he is very excited about his senior year.  We all are.  Soon we will be completing college applications and selecting housing options and all that good stuff.  I can’t wait.  He is hoping to attend Stanford or Harvard, but I will be satisfied with UCLA, Cal State San Diego or New York University.  Whatever he decides will be fine with me.  He is planning to study Business with an emphasis in Marketing, which should net him some great job offers upon graduation.

Meanwhile I will be planning to go back to law school and hopefully finish someday soon.  But, right now I am happy just being a hovering and protective mom.  I guess once my son moves out, I will have to remotely monitor his every move. LOL.  May sound impossible, but I think I can pull it off.

Next month is the SAT (again), so he will have to score much higher than he did the last time he took this test.  If only mom’s could take the SAT for their children, he would have a much better shot at Harvard (that’s for sure).  Anyway, I feel in my heart he will improve his SAT scores as he will be enrolling in an SAT Prep Course.

If you are interested in enrolling your son or daughter in one of these SAT or even ACT Prep courses, go to princetonreview dot com and register there.  The fees range anywhere from $169.00 for a local or online prep course to $749.00 for a small group instruction course.  Don’t wait until the last-minute, get your son or daughter registered immediately.  Also, make sure they are registered to take the SAT or ACT tests in October at the collegeboard dot org website.

I suggest as parents, we plan ahead so that our children can select the college that’s best for them and reach all of their goals, both long-term and short.

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Debit Cards For Teens

My son is 17 and I recently took him to the bank to open up a teen checking account. Many of the large banks offer these teen accounts, but the best ones are the ones that have no monthly account fees.  Which mean the account is totally FREE.  So, be careful and read the fine print.  Many banks offer teen checking and savings accounts, that come along with high monthly fees.  Avoid these accounts at all costs.

Also, if you simply want to get a debit card for your teen, then try billmyparents – the fee is three bucks ninety-five cents monthly and your teen can use the card anywhere MasterCard is accepted.  They can withdraw cash at ATMs and only pay a small fee of a buck fifty per withdrawal.  My son uses this card and he loves it.  It safer than cash, because if it gets lost you can report it and have a replacement card within one week.  Parents can also transfer money from their checking or savings account regularly for only seventy-five cents per transfer.

Lets help our kids become more responsible and start to trust them with money.  Show them how to pay their bills, maybe start with having them pay their own cell phone bill.  This will make them aware of budgeting and tracking their spending.  Helps build good spending habits.

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School supplies

My son returns to school in three weeks to complete his senior year of high school.  This is the time of year that I start checking my local newspaper for back-to-school deals on school supplies.  My top places to shop are:

1) Staples – best place to purchase all back-to-school supplies.  They sell the best calculators, computers and printers.  If you son or daughter are planning to start college once they graduate high school, then this is the number one place to shop.  You can apply for a Staples Reward card and believe me when I say, “It’s worth it!”.

2) Wal-mart – my second choice is Wal-mart.  This store is fabulous.  Sells everything you could possibly need.  Not only do they have back-to-school supplies, they sell clothing, shoes and toiletries.  This store will come in handy once your high school senior begins college.  Prices simply can’t be beat. Keep it on the list.

3) If you are fortunate enough to live near a Family Dollar store, then your prayers have been answered.  I simply love this store. This is TRULY a dollar store!  Not like some dollar stores, that get you in the door, only to find out everything is 2-3 bucks or more.  Most products at your local Family Dollar store are actually a dollar or less, but you’ve gotta put your best foot forward and walk down every aisle in the store.  You never know what deals are hiding there.

No matter where you shop, look for deals.  Take your time and start early, allow yourself at least 2-3 weeks lead time to locate the best deals.  Ask your son or daughter for a list of school supplies needed and then you take your time and shop for the best deals.  I would always start at Staples.

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College Life

My son is starting his last year of high school in two weeks.  We will be completing and submitting college admissions applications in a few months and I would rather he reside in a college dormitory rather than have his own apartment.  I think the on-campus environment would do him well.  I just don’t know how to convince him of this, so what should I do?  I was thinking of visiting the prospective college campuses and visiting the dormitories so he can see first-hand which is more convenient (on-campus housing or off-campus housing).

I remember when I started college many years ago (over 20 now), I enjoyed living in the dormitory.  My roommate was from Ohio and she and I got along well.  The only problems I encountered with my college roommate was the fact that she wore my clothing and ate my food, without my permission.  I would come home from visiting my family on the weekends only to find the groceries I’d purchased from Mrs. Gooch’s all gone and my clean clothes would be dumped in the clothing hamper.  I would ask her, “Did you wear my clothes and eat my food?” and she’d calmly reply, “Yes, I did – what’s the big deal?”.  I would sit there in shock.

Just wasn’t used to the idea of having someone slip in and out of my clothes without asking.  And eating up all my food without even calling me to say, “Hey, I ate your food and you should pick up more on the way home.”  A heads-up would have been polite.

So, then I decided to lock up things I did not want her to touch.  I really didn’t care too much about her eating away at my food, just didn’t want her wearing my new clothes and shoes.  Was very offended by that.

Anyways, my son and I will try to view the on-campus and off-campus housing options online, because taking a trip to each college campus would be very expensive, especially since some of his selections are out-of-state.  He’s looking at New York, Pennsylvania, and Boston.  So, we will just have to try our best to mull it over before making the right decision. I wish all of you mothers out there good luck, because we are gonna need it!

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