Category Archives: Kid’s Health

He Was Mean Because He Liked Me

 

A Mighty Girl's photo.
This post showed up in my newsfeed today on Facebook. I agreed with it & it struck a chord, so I reposted it. A few friends chimed in with comments lamenting the fact that it does still happen today, in 2016. They see it all the time at playgrounds, in schools, and don’t know how to react. So they don’t.
It’s great that we all agree that this is wrong, but the fact that ADULTS see it happen and don’t do anything about it is just as bad as the ill-deed itself. Ignoring it is enabling the bully (and they adult saying it), causing the problem to thrive.
So what’s the big deal about a little teasing? What if it’s because the boy really does like the girl? Really, there isn’t any harm right…it’s just a phase, right?
I grew up in a small town where this was all perfectly acceptable. At daycare, when I was about 7, a boy trapped me under a plastic kiddie slide and shook me so hard my teeth rattled. It hurt and it was scary. I was told he liked me & sent back out to play. In fourth grade my best friend was repeatedly slammed into a fence. The boy’s hands were around her neck as her head wobbled back & forth. “Boys can play rough,” she was told. “Go play by the swings instead,” she was told. I witnessed another friend in middle school being slammed into a locker, presumably because the boy might have had a crush on her. I was tripped, shaken, pulled, and tossed and simply told to ignore it or assume that some kid liked me. In gym class while running the mile for our yearly physical fitness test one boy jogged up alongside me. “You know I’m going to break your legs,” he said with a huge grin. Even though I was the best, I still came in second that day.
I was becoming afraid of boys, of attention, and saw no point in bringing it up to any adult. After all, I was just popular, right? The message that I was getting was that boys liked me & they showed it by hurting, and I was supposed to be flattered, and possibly like them back. If for some silly reason I didn’t like them back then I was the one who had to remove herself from the area, who had to pretend it wasn’t happening, who had to give up a little. Instead of wearing any armor, I had to curl up into a ball and wait for the danger to be over.
When I was a teenager I was dragged into the woods where my boyfriend wanted to have sex with me. I was supposed to be happy that someone liked me, that I was good enough for sex. I couldn’t complain in college because he didn’t mean to hurt me. I was told by police that my harasser & stalker “just liked me & wanted attention” and “thing like this tend to happen to pretty girls.”
I wonder if my relationships with boys & men would have escalated to rape, stalking, fear, bruises if an adult had stepped in and said something when I was 7. If someone told that little girl that it was not acceptable behavior would she have been stronger? Would she have had armor instead?
Please don’t use this line and please don’t let others use it. It sets both children up for a very screwed up, confusing history of what healthy relationships are. The concepts of like/love and relationships become very warped when adults permit violence (and it IS violence) among children in the name of “love”. It teaches the bully that he or she can take what they like by force. It teaches the victim that there isn’t really anything wrong…maybe they are wrong. It’s hurtful to both parties and probably not true.
A Mighty Girl

When girls get teased or bullied by boys, there’s often someone who pulls out this tired phrase: “I bet he likes you!” Joanna Schroeder vividly remembers finally going to a teacher about a boy’s constant harassment at age 11, and how that phrase made her feel: it “filled me with a shame so profound, I never again told an adult about something a boy did to me.” In her recent article, “You Should Never Tell Your Kids He’s Mean Because He Likes You,” Schroder writes, “You’d think blaming bad behavior on a crush would be dead and gone by now, but it’s not.” To encourage parents and other adults to think about what “he must like you” really teaches, she breaks down the four reasons we need to stop associating mistreatment with romantic affection.

Schroeder argues that “I bet he likes you” is a covert way of victim-blaming. “Your child did not ask for this negative attention, regardless of the aggressive kid’s intention. Even if your child was acting flirty or teasing, nobody asks to be hurt.” That victim-blaming “tells [your child] that you are not a source of support for them when they need you most.” Dismissing bad behavior, she says, is also bad for the bully: “Bad behavior is bad behavior, regardless of the reason why. A child — whether it’s a boy or a girl — who is harming another needs intervention so they don’t continue the behavior…. Instead of asking the child who is doing the hurting if they like the other, grownups should ask the child to imagine how their friend felt when he or she was hurt.”

Equally importantly, Schroeder says that “kids’ friendships shouldn’t be romanticized. Kids need the opportunity in childhood to have friendships with boys or girls, regardless of their gender, without grownups introducing the adult notions of romance or attraction. Strong friendships with kids of all genders are important for kids, and parents shouldn’t make their kids feel funny about them.” If bad behavior from a male friend is immediately associated with romantic feelings, kids will begin to believe that friendships between boys and girls are inherently different than same-sex friendships. And even if a crush does develop, she points out, “one child’s crush should never become a burden to another.”

But perhaps most significantly, Schroeder writes, “You shouldn’t teach your kids that love equals abuse. Love equals kindness and respect, and it never, ever means touching someone in a way that will hurt them. When you tell your child that they were harmed because another person likes them, you’re connecting pain with love. That not only normalizes being abused, but also abusing others.” And this, more than anything, is why it’s time to put an end to saying “I bet he likes you,” Schroeder asserts. “As parents, we have the ability to change the world by putting an end to harmful old traditions… I’m not sure how the ‘dipping her pigtails in the inkwell’ trope started, but it’s time it ended.”

To read all of Joanna Schroder’s advice on The Good Men Project, visit bit.ly/1OMJheL

To start teaching children — girls and boys alike — from a young age about the need to respect others and their personal boundaries, we recommend “No Means No!: Teaching Children about Personal Boundaries, Respect and Consent” for ages 3 to 6 (http://www.amightygirl.com/no-means-no) and “Your Body Belongs To You” for ages 3 to 7 (http://www.amightygirl.com/your-body-belongs-to-you).

For books about healthy relationships for tweens and teens — as well as titles on recognizing and ending unhealthy ones — check out our new blog post, “20 Mighty Girl Books for Tweens & Teens About Healthy Relationships,” at http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=11338

You can also find many bullying prevention books and resources for children and teens in our two blog posts: “‘The End of Bullying Begins With Me’: Bullying Prevention Books for Young Mighty Girls” (http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=10255) and “Taking a Stand Against Bullying: Bullying Prevention Books for Tweens and Teens” (http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=10257).

And, for books to help children learn how to be supportive and caring friends, visit our blog post “Making and Keeping Friends: Mighty Girl Books About Friendship” at http://www.amightygirl.com/blog?p=10315

Advertisements

We got the fever!

The Plague has hit my house. You know those colds and stomach bugs that always float around right at the end of summer and then WHAM! your otherwise perfectly healthy offspring drag it home from school with them. It started with AM over the long weekend, which was super unfortunate because we had a LOT of stuff to do. He was a trooper though and with the relief of children’s Advil, he survived. It started with the wicked headache and a mild temp that gradually climbed to an all out fever. He was unwell off and on Friday night (woke up at 5am, so he was given some Advil) and Saturday (Advil administered at some point in the mid-afternoon after soccer practice). He napped for a bit and then swore he was fine. And he seemed fine. And so we went to a Labor Day party at the lake. But then he was totally not fine once we got home. I held off an any medications until his fever spiked to 104.5 F.  Then he really WAS fine. Hubs was all worried and kept wanting to give him more Advil but I had to stand my ground. The fever was necessary to kill the infection. Hubs wanted to take him into the ER, but I figured they wouldn’t be able to do anything, except just off more fever reducers. Hubs wanted the kid to sleep in the bed with us.  It was a long night.

Sure enough, Tuesday morning (yesterday) my little IM wakes up bleary eyes and clammy. He too is complaining that his stomach, head, and throat hurt. His temp is only 100.8 F, but I know what’s brewing so I called him out of school. He was totally okay with this. He had to come with me to a doctor’s appointment 45 minutes away. He was totally NOT okay with that. As the day wore on he wore out and his fever got worse and all he wanted was sleep. Once his fever hit 104.3 F I went ahead and gave him a dose of Advil. He was fine within an hour.

But, of course, today, Wednesday was wee RM’s turn. She has spent the morning with an immense headache and moaning that she’s fine and is ready to go to school. Except, there is vomit everywhere; on her, in her cereal, on the floor, on the cat… you really can’t come into my house without a hazmat suit right now. There were lots of tears when I informed her that pre-school was out of the question for today. And, her temp shot up to the 104 F mark as well. She too got a dose of Advil and within an hour dropped back down to 101.7 F.

It sucks seeing my kids sick. I just hate it! But more than anything I hate not being able to do anything about it. It’s a virus, I know that, but I also know there isn’t anything to be done except to make them comfortable and wait for their bodies to kick it’s butt. I always get anxious when they get fevers, after all, we are taught to fear fevers! We all “know” that if it gets too high it could cause brain damage…but how high does it have to be?…but they are kids! just bring the temperature down!

I don’t like this route. I truly believe in the human body and just how well it can function. The thing is, it is highly unlikely that a normal, otherwise healthy body is going to produce a fever high enough or long enough to cause brain damage (which is 106.7 by the way). In most circumstances the body will get as hot as it needs to kill the virus and then return to normal (of course monitoring is a super good idea!) My six year old kept being fed fever reducers and he was sick for three days! The other two however, showed improvement when I just let it run it’s course and brought the fever down after it got high enough to kill off the little germies that were making them sick to begin with. Their illnesses kept them out of the game a mere six hours compared to my eldest’s 72. The take away: Put the “medicine” away and let the body do it’s thing for a bit.

Which leads me to the next phase of The Plauge: When the Parents Get Sick. Dunn, dunn, DUNN!

There’s a 50/50 chance of me getting sick. I’m usually pretty good at avoiding stuff, but I am pregnant (again) and I catch things more often if I am pregnant. Hubs on the other hand? He WILL get sick. Probably Friday. And because he will insist on downing a bottle and a half of “medicine” he’ll be sick until Sunday. This, I am not looking forward to!

Honest Valentines Won’t Make You Popular

Mean_Valentine
Raise your hand if you enjoy a good popularity contest.

Really?  That’s what I thought.

No one likes to admit that they actually like popularity contests, yet we participate in them all the time!  Who gets the most thumbs-up, Yearbook superlatives, Prom King & Queen, Bachelor shows, etc, etc, etc.  There are contests like this all the time and in all sorts of forms.  Most of the time we shrug them off as entertainment or harmless.  And maybe they are.  I think it truly is part of human nature to strive to BE popular and to LIKE the popular person.  I am okay with popularity competitions, as long as the winner is the one competing.  What I hate, loathe, and despise are parent centered popularity contests.

I have a cousin who’s daughter often participates in beauty pageants.  Once she pleaded with everyone for DAYS on Facebook to go and “like” her daughter’s picture.  The child with the most “likes” would win the “Most Photogenic” category.  My cousin was hell-bent on her daughter winning.  And she did.  However, my cousin had to badger her large collection of Facebook “friends” several times a day to do it.  Persistence won that category.  But really, was her daughter the most photogenic, or was it really just a popularity contest?  It had everything to do with the popularity of the parent and how many friends they had that could be swayed to go and click on something–not how photogenic her kid was, nor even how popular the kid was!

I’ve noticed this trend at my kids’ school as well.  The kids who’s parents bring in the best cupcakes for birthday parties are the well liked kids.  The kids with the parents throwing the more lavish parties, supplying more activities in the classroom, and sending in the fanciest Valentines are the more popular kids.  Popularity via Mom & Dad’s time and money.  Shameful.  Mostly because these kids are in Kindergarten!

Now, I have to admit that I do spend a great deal of time worrying about my own kids’ popularity.  I feel silly when I do, but I don’t want them to be lonely.  As they get older, I am aware of all the crazy stuff they are going to have to go through and experience, and they are going to need shoulders other than mine to rejoice with and cry on.  And I certainly don’t want them to be bullied.  However, they are going to have to seek out their popularity on their own merit and not through fancy Mommy-made cupcakes.  Or Valentines.  I don’t believe in giving candy to five-year olds and I am not about to buy a box of bland puns on expensive cardboard so my son can attempt to win a class worth of affection.  My kids are going to make their own heart-felt sentiments.  My kids will prove their worth and gain their popularity through creativity, hard work, and honesty.

Honesty.  It turns out that that means a lot to a five-year old.  And it was honesty and creativity that kind of backfired on me.  My son made some very cute cards for all of his classmates and wrote something unique for each individual, then stuffed them in his backpack.  Thankfully I had the wherewithal to take a peek before I sent him off to school.  Sometimes honesty can be so mean!

We ended up (trying) to have a long discussion about hurting people’s feelings with words; if you don’t have something nice to say-don’t say anything at all; white lies; being a good friend and including everyone.  My son only got out of the conversation that he did something wrong and would have to re-do half of his Valentine work.  He was not pleased.  But he also didn’t understand why he had to make Valentines for students he was not friends with, for kids he flat out didn’t like.  He didn’t understand why he couldn’t just tell them the God’s honest truth.  A good person wouldn’t lie.  A real friend wouldn’t lie.  He couldn’t equate honesty with malice or hurt feelings.  In the end, he chose to color in a few hearts, paste a few stickers, and write nothing.

And you know what?  It kills me a little inside.  I think my five-year old was on the right track with his honest, albeit hurtful, Valentines.  At least I think so in theory.  He shouldn’t have to lie to anyone to be liked.  He shouldn’t have to include the kids he doesn’t get along with.  And he shouldn’t have to strive for popularity.  The time and money put into anything shouldn’t equate to friendships down the road and “likes” on Facebook should be worthless.  It’s about the few kids that he does like that should matter.  It’s about the nice things that automatically come to his mind when thinking about friends, not being stumped on coming up with something “good” to say about someone else.  My kid is right; Popularity is stupid.  I can relax.  He won’t be lonely since he already knows it’s about the quality of his friendships, not the quantity, and I’m sure it will be those quality friendships that will get him through anything.
Lollipops

So, on that note, I want to wish everyone an honestly happy Valentine’s Day.  Don’t feel compelled to pass out admiration or friendship to people who aren’t enhancing your life.  Be truly thankful to those friends that really matter to you, because that’s what Valentine’s Day is all about.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

 

The Veggie Waffle Recipe

As a mother to two toddler boys, I spend a lot of time thinking of ways to get more vegetables in their diets.  Thankfully I am one of those few lucky moms who doesn’t have picky eaters, so getting them to eat at least *some* of their greens isn’t so bad.  Still, toddlers are toddlers & are notorious for not consuming enough of the good stuff.

I seem to always have a baby around, so I am always making & freezing baby food.  I use the silicone portion tray that came with my Baby Bullet to  freeze large batches of veggies, then store what I call “pods” in freezer bags.  These frozen portions of veggie mush are the main ingredient in a lot of things.  I toss a few into bread dough, soups, sauces, oatmeal, cookie dough….basically everything I make gets an extra dose of pureed vegetable goodness.  It is suprisingly easy to hide all sorts of vegetables in all kinds of dishes.

I make a lot of things in bulk & store in the freezer.  It’s just easier to have several loaves of bread, many servings of pre-made chicken nuggets, and tons of frozen waffles on hand for those last minute dietary changes that toddlers so often make.  One of my favorite things to make in bulk is waffles & I have finally come up with the perfect, healthy recipe!  We top ours with things like local honey, peanut butter or hazelnut spread, or even fruit preserves.  I am proud to serve these for breakfast!

Spinach & Sweet Potato Oat-Waffles *note: this recipe is doubled
3 cups flour                      2 cups quick oats
6 tspn baking powder       2 tspn cinnamon
1/2 tspn salt                     4 eggs
2 cups milk                       3/4 cup melted butter
4 tbspn brown sugar         1/2 cup pureed spinach, not drained
1/2 cup mashed sweet potatoes

1. In a large bowl or mixer, combine flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon & salt.  In another bowl wisk together eggs, milk, butter, brown sugar, & spinach.

2. Add wet mix to dry mix, then fold in mashed sweet potatoes.  Batter will be very lumpy & think.  It’s okay.

image

image

3. Pour batter into a lightly greased waffle iron. Serve warm. No syrup needed!

image
I use the waffle iron from Baby Cakes that shapes them into sticks. This is just PERFECT for toddlers because the portions are small & you don’t have to deal with fights about cutting them. They are also super convenient for Hubs to eat in the car on his way to work if he sleeps in a bit.
image
I make sure that I let my waffles cool & freeze in single layers before I transfer them to freezer bags. I can put this whole recipe into a gallon size bag when they are in “stick shape”. We reheat them by throwing them in the toaster oven for a cycle on the “toast” function.

*Variations:
I have made several variations to this recipe, though this seems to be my family’s favorite version.
Sweetener:I have used all honey, all molasses, all maple syrup as well as various combos of the sweeteners. They all work just as well…it’s a personal preference to use brown sugar.
Butter: I have used oil in place of butter. Works fine, but isn’t as delicious.
Veggies: I’ve used all sorts of different veggies including carrots, beets, peas, broccoli, and cauliflower. It doesn’t really seem to matter what is used just as long as your proportions are right for the mix. If you use a different veggie that doesn’t have as much liquid as the spinach, you might have to add a little bit of water. We’ve loved them all!

Comet, It Makes You Vomit

Comet, it makes your teeth turn green,
Comet, it tastes like gasoline.
Comet, it makes you vomit,
So get some Comet and vomit today!

A can of Comet.

We were having some impromptu friends visiting yesterday afternoon, so my husband & I were scurrying about the house trying to clean it up a bit.  As I was vacuuming the floors, Hubs was cleaning the bathroom.  We ended up meeting in the kitchen, I think he was putting dishes away, and I was putting the vacuum in the recharger, ignoring the crying baby, who was probably mad that I was ignoring him.  But when the vacuum turned off, I noticed that his temper tantrum was different.  He was standing in doorway with a red face and sea-green foam spewing from his mouth.

Not cool.

“What the hell did he get into?!”  I screamed as I scooped him up & fled to the sparkling clean bathroom.  I passed him off to my husband as I came upon the overturned canister of Comet cleanser.  Hubs cleaned the baby’s mouth out with water at the sink while I held my toddler in the hall.

“What’s Daddy doing to my baby?” cried the terrified toddler.  I assured him it was okay…baby just ate some soap.  “Why?!  It’s yucky!”

After the mouth was washed out, the baby vomited all over floor.  So Comet does make you vomit!  I demanded Hubs to call Poison Control instead of giving him peroxide to induce more vomiting.  I didn’t know…I did know that sometimes vomiting is a good thing to do, sometimes it’s a very bad thing to do…I wanted to be sure with my little 13 month old.

The outcome:  Basically we were told that he may have an upset stomach & some irritation.  The woman on the phone suggested we give him an ounce or so of juice, and as long as he didn’t continue to vomit, he’d be fine.  *Sigh*  We washed his hands again, just to make sure, then brushed his teeth to get the taste out.  And yes, he was fine.

The baby got over it in 10 minutes.  I’m still stunned that this happened, and a bit peeved that Hubs left cleaner out.  That, and I can’t get the image of my wee son foaming at the mouth out of my head.  *Deep Sighs*

Toilet Training Isn’t Hands Off

Everywhere I go I am finding more & more parents with an odd sense of the “hands off” approach to parenting.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I am quite liberal when it comes to child-rearing, however, there are a few things that I will certainly be “hands on” for.  (Please note that this article is not about Free-Range vs. Helicopter parents. That is a whole other topic, soon to be addressed.)  This approach that I am referring to is the “let kids be kids” & “wait until the child is ready”.

I’ve met many mothers who subscribe to this child-lead approach when it comes to toilet training. I am meeting children who are four years old & beyond who are still donning the diaper.  “I am waiting for her to let me know when she’s ready” and “I know I shouldn’t be concerned about him yet since no one goes to kindergarten in diapers” is always the excuse I hear.  Then I get the raised eyebrows when these women discover that my 26 month old son is in Hanes not Huggies.  Now, perhaps I am biased because my son learned very early, perhaps I am judgmental because I am not that hands-off, perhaps there is a real problem here. Either way, four years old in a diaper is too old.

I truly am amazed at the number of parents who wait to do anything until the child is “ready”, like this woman who wrote an article for the NY Times. There are just some things that there shouldn’t be a choice over & when it comes to toilet training, why would a child ever be ready? A diaper is all their short lives have ever known, so why would they suddenly tell you they want to relieve themselves elsewhere?  Also, a diaper is more convenient & requires far less work on the toddler’s part than a toilet, so why would they suddenly want their play time interrupted or give up mom wiping their butt to use the potty.  Just because the parent or an older sibling uses a toilet does not mean that a toddler is at all interested to use one him or herself.  I’m even reading posts like this one where teachers are requesting the kids to wear diapers to school!  Then I’ve read statements about parents who send their kids to school or daycare where other children are in underwear & within a week their child changes their mind & wants to be trained. I can only imagine the teasing & bullying that took place for these little kids before they too ditched the diapers.  Why set your kid up for this kind of torment?

Besides the possible ridicule, there are other reasons why kids should sit on the pot earlier.  For instance, UTIs are much more common in those who wear diapers longer, diaper rashes are more prominent & should we even talk about the chemicals involved in diapers these days!  Plus, using the toilet earlier gives both the child & the parent the great feeling of independence & pride, and that is just priceless.

I do feel that a lot of these parents that wait and wait and wait for these kids to announce that they now want to be toilet trained are not only letting the kids lead the way, but are letting the kids lead themselves to other issues later in life.  (I’d love to see statistics on these kids later…) No, it shouldn’t be a “I’m in charge” or “it’s my way” situation, but the child should know that the parent is there to guide them & teach them through everything in life. And the parent should know that it is their job to do just that.  Many cultures train their children at early ages, and those children grow up to be just fine. A child who is toilet trained at 18 months or younger is not going to be traumatized by the ordeal & can lead fulfilling lives, just like those trained at 4 years.  There is no choice about it; using the toilet is just something that civilized human beings do.  Get rid of diapers & pull-ups and get that little patootie on the potty!

The Two-Year Old Takes Up ‘Toking

Today my 26 month old son was doing something rather odd with his crayons. He was putting them, one by one, into his mouth & sucking on the very end. After sucking for two or three times, he would pull it out, puff out his cheeks & blow. He would repeat a few more times before moving on to another crayon.  I asked him what he was doing.

“‘Toking,” he replied with a grin. Now, in toddlerese, not all consonants are formed, so ‘toking means smoking.

I snatched the crayons from his mouth & said in a shocked, but what was an attempt for stern tone, “No! Smoking is very bad & very yucky!”  He laughed at this, while pulling another crayon from it’s box, and informed me that Daddy was in trouble & in time out.  I agreed. Yes, Daddy would be in trouble, because yes, Daddy is a smoker. Then he started to gleefully list off all the people that he knew who smoked.  It turns out that there’s a lot of them!

How is a mother to raise a child to make healthy life choices, when that child witnesses those he loves making poor ones? How could I tell him not to be a smoker when his father, neighbors & role models do?  I know I can’t shield him from most of these things; sex, drugs and rock & roll will enter his life at some point.  But how can something be perceived as “wrong” or “bad” or “unhealthy” if so many people around him are doing it?  I do try to keep my boys away from my husband when he smokes, but it isn’t always possible & doesn’t always happen. All in all, the kids are aware of what Daddy does.

I know I will have a tough battle ahead of me when comes to smoking. The general public doesn’t make as big a stink over it as they should. This YouTube video shows a two year old in Indonesia who smokes four packs a day! While I realize that this is the extreme & in no way the norm, the number of people who have viewed this video, “liked” this video, & who have commented with things like “this baby is awesome” & “so hilarious” really scare me. If the general public is going to have a laid back attitude towards smoking, how can I convince my kids that the dangers are real?

There are plenty of studies that have linked second and even third hand smoke to various health issues in children, teens & young adults. They have also concluded that a child is more than twice as likely to smoke by the time they are 21 if a parent smokes.  And I can agree with that statement. My mother never smoked after I was born & my father smoked an occasional pipe or cigar.  I have smoked maybe 6 or 7 cigarettes in my whole life & can’t stand them!  My husband’s mother always smoked & he was always around it. When he became a teenager (17 or so) he started smoking on a daily basis. Because he’s now been smoking for over 10 years, it’s nearly impossible for him to quit. Are my children destined to be teen smokers?!  The only way I can see nipping this in the bud is to get the adults to give it up.