Category Archives: Parenting

Friends With Aging (Sorry Teens)

CONTRIBUTOR: Raven Akashiya

Recently I moved in with my parents and now more than ever I am realizing my parents were wiser than I could have ever imagined back in my teenage years.

As I teenager I was pretty rebellious,  parents seemed to be absolute morons. Constantly saying “No you can’t go out with him” or “Don’t do drugs”. Now that I’m an adult with a toddler and another on the way; I realize all those years fighting with my parents and being punished for disobeying was their way of trying to protect me.

I spend most of my days talking to my mom and dad. Whether it’s asking for honest advice or just chatting it has quickly become apparent to me that my folks are some of my best friends (somewhere in past the younger, much dumber me just shuttered.) Now I wonder if I had listened to them when going through the rebellious stage if maybe my life would be different today. Granted I wouldn’t change much of my past but I may have gone through less heartbreaks.

It does not matter what you have been through or going through a parent will still love you regardless. Maybe in the end they will become your best friend.

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Things people say that drive pregnant women nuts (me personally)

CONTRIBUTOR: Raven Akashiya

Pregnancy is an amazing time for a woman; there are so many changes that happen. Some are really cool, while others are a pain in the ass (or the back.) But it is all worth it when you hold your baby for the first time. However, sometimes the comments people make can drive you up the wall. Even if intentions are good in a pregnant woman’s mind it could be the worst thing ever said. Here’s my personal list of things said to me that drove me up the wall.

  • “You have gotten so FAT! ” … Wait, what do you mean I have gotten fat? *looks in the mirror* Well, I am fat. But come on I’m carrying a small human being in my belly.
  • “You don’t look pregnant to me” … Wait a second, are you doubting the existence of my baby? Well thank you very much Snobby McSnobbery, next time I’m dealing with morning sickness you can swap bodies.
  • “You shouldn’t eat that you know” … Dude, you are lucky I don’t eat you. When cravings hit I’m going to eat whatever I want. Besides, I’m going to get fat anyway.
  • “Are you sure you want another baby?” … It’s a little too late to think about that now. Either way I’m pregnant.
  • “Stop being so emotional” … If I could I would. CURSE THESE HORMONES!
  • “You look like you just woke up” … Chances are I probably did. When baby starts wiggling and keeping you up at night there’s a good chance that naps will be taken frequently.
  • “You need to get all the sleep you can before baby is born” … What is this sleep you speak of? If I forget my body pillow even one night there is no such thing as sleep.
  • “Do you want a boy or a girl” … Everyone has a preference. To be honest I don’t care as long as baby is healthy.
  • “You are only __ weeks along?!?!?!? Wow, you still have a long ways to go!”  … Thank you Captain Obvious! I know how much longer I have. The reminders aren’t helping.
  • “That dog is going to hurt the baby!” … Wait, what? Do you even know my dog? Biggest baby in the world. I think he’s more excited about the baby than I am (meh, maybe not.) He may need a little more training but I can guarantee he won’t hurt my baby.
  • “Your nursery theme is stupid!” … Who exactly died and left you as nursery monitor? My house, my baby, my rules!
  • “The names you picked out for the baby are dumb! Your child is going to be picked on his/her whole life!” … Hey! My kid! If I want to name my son Rusty Peter or my daughter Ima Virgin that’s my business! (No those are not my children’s names.)

I could go on all day. These are a few that I hear on a regular basis. Please remember that our hormones go nuts and we can get a little crazy.

maintaining-pregnancy

Innocence, Death and Zombies Films

Today, my mother and I took my sons (12 and 5) to the cemetery, to visit the graves of my father and brother. From there, things only a child could say caused hilarity.
First my five year old asked, “Are we going to see Paw Paw (local vernacular for grandfather) and dead Uncle Matthew?” We replied yes. Once at the grave site, he asked if we were going to dig them up. Which of course we responded no! He then asked why they died. We told him that everyone dies. He responds by asking when he was going to die. We told him we don’t know and we hope we never will.
He asked us where they were, my mom replied that they were in Heaven, with Jesus. He asked, rather annoyed, “Why didn’t Jesus just heal them?!” We were at a loss to explain that one. So we showed them my grandfather’s plot. My grandfather (91) paid not only for his plot, but his headstone, years ago. My little one asked, “Is Pop (my grandfather’s title, for us) buried there?” We responded, no, you see him every weekend. He responded with a disappointed, “Oh.”
The child like view of death that he has is amazing. What is truly offensive, from an adult is actual comedy, when a child sees something that can not be explained, easily, to anyone.So place some flowers on a grave of a loved one, just don’t dig them up!

Contributor- Brian Holder

Got a definitive thought? Think again.

Why conflict resolution is a thing of the past

…or why EVERYTHING is a grey area these days.

Have you noticed the disturbing new trend in the world? Nothing is ever succinct. EVER. Problems are on the rise as solutions or on the decline. Here’s what I mean.

Everything… and I mean EVERYTHING you say, think or do, has an asterisk, an addendum or counterpoint. This means nothing is ever a definitive statement or complete thought. And it’s exactly why no one–from Politicians to parents–can ever seem to resolve anything.

To clarify, lets take a little quiz shall we?

Try convincing someone (not arguing, because then you’re just being a bully) any of the following topics:

  • Titanic (1997) is the greatest movie of all time.
  • The President is single-handedly responsible for the state of our economy
  • Elvis is the greatest entertainer that ever lived
  • The Super Bowl is completely unwatchable due to excessive advertising

Think about each of those statements. They’re all opinion. I can tell you where I fall on each topic, sure, but the point is there are facts—verifiable FACTS—that validate either side of each statement. And so, there is no right or wrong, no one definitive answer and thus, no resolution.

Human beings have displayed a remarkable propensity to be bull-headed on just about everything. The more facts we seem to have at our disposal, the more we seem to ignore facts and stubbornly stick to what we chose, regardless of logic or often even common sense.

It goes something like this:

James Cameron’s Titanic is the single highest-grossing film (in non-adjusted dollars, that would then be Gone With The Wind from 1939). From a box office standpoint, the movie is a resounding success. However, it is widely seen by film critics as a shoddy, fragmented and meandering screenplay (fact) that makes sitting and watching a 3-hour preamble to a sinking boat disaster film nearly unwatchable (opinion).

See my point? Nothing is definitive. Both the fact that it is the highest grossing film of all time and the fact that many movie watchers who have been trained in what to look for (like say yours truly) find the film almost impossible to sit through—are both 100% accurate.

Here’s it is; if nothing you say is definitive or has a counterpoint, then we will decide on anything. Ever. This is the root behind why our nation is so divided on just about every topic from race relations, to religion in schools, to the economy, to terrorism to gun control and immigration, and this is why we will never resolve anything. Too much to consider from both sides and too many counter-points, so we all simply shut down. The breakdown of communication and the erosion of any social progress we have made in the last 100,000 years.

Here’s a little impromptu case study to further my point:

I’m hungry.

So get a burger. 

But what about the carcinogens?

I know, but you like meat. 

Yeah, but methane is destroying the ozone layer.

Sure, but the animal is already dead and processed. 

And those processed fillers cause cancer.

Well, there’s always tofu or salad.

I know, but I’m still hungry.

This limbo of point / counterpoint is making us into a society with no ability to make a decision—or immediately regret any decision or opinion instantly. We need to get over this cultural check mate or we will continue to watch the steady erosion of our laws, our progress as a society and even or very way of life.

And that, is a fact.

Arthur “Arth Vader” Milano is a blogger, gamer, advertising and social media copywriter who defies convention. He co-hosts the weekly gaming-for-parent podcast and blog Controller Issues

(TOO) TOUGH LOVE

Parenting and the use of corporal punishment has been in the news the past week and a half because of the charges the soon to be former Minnesota Vikings running back, Adrian Peterson, caught for going overboard in disciplining his four year old son earlier this year. Until I saw the pictures of the bleeding welts Peterson inflicted on the child I will be honest and say that I blew the hubbub off as a manufactured controversy trying to get in on the Ray Rice spousal abuse scandal. I’m no stranger to parental figures coming at kids with switches, extension cords, and whatever was handy growing up. Those whippings, whuppings, beatings, whatever you call them did hurt at the time but I always looked at that stuff as a part of growing up in the world I was born into.
The stuff with Peterson combined with my current visit down here in Dixie to see my family and friends has brought up the memories of past physical punishments me and nearly everyone else I knew growing up received. I always tell my mom and aunts who did most of the disciplining of my cousins and me that if I knew about child protective services as a kid that they’d still be under the jailhouse for the stripes they put on us. I say jokingly because while the threat of punishment was always present if any of us crossed the definite lines that were set for us as kids I can truly say we weren’t scarred for life from it as some claim is possible when an adult lays hands on a child. Nah, the scars came from growing up in poverty with absent fathers for the most part.

I wasn’t an angel growing up but I wasn’t a quote unquote bad kid either. I knew whenever I drove my mother to wrath that she never whapped me or my brother because she was going through the hard times in her life that came from being a young, single, Black woman raising two knuckleheaded boys on her own. As an adult now, I understand somewhat the sacrifices she made to provide the basics for us as well as the extras like the Atari 2600’s and videogames for Christmas or cable so we could watch Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes beat each senseless every week on WTBS.

The meanest woman who ever lived...SIKE!!

Cherry and her two roughnecks

So if she popped us for giving her lip or not doing the chores around the house then while I didn’t necessarily like it, I did understand where it came from as a stern reminder to be thankful for what we did have as a family and to never take even the most mundane things for granted. My father, in the wind as always when I was growing up, never hit me but then again he never did much of anything for me outside of providing half my DNA and the greatest extended family in the world IMO.

Bringing that back around to Peterson and his parenting skills, it all comes down to realizing that perfect parenting doesn’t come with an instructional manual. Peterson, while obviously misguided, seems to take his cues on parenting from what he saw and experienced growing up relatively hand to mouth in Palestine, TX. He’s said in enough public statements before and since these child abuse charges that it was that type of childrearing that gave him the focus to reach the highest level of football. Who’s to say he would not have made it to the National Football League if his folks had not beat him with switches and extension cords when he crossed their lines growing up but he seems to think that was just as intrinsic to his success on the field just as much as his God-given speed and strength. If corporal punishment was such an important factor in his success then it’s not too hard to imagine him surmising the same tough love is what’s needed for his kids to succeed in life also.
If he thought that then he’s wrong though. Peterson has also said that he never beats his children with extension cords because he remembers how much that pain hurt when he was hit with them to know that wasn’t the way to go. He also experienced the loss of a child last year when his two year old son was beat to death by the kid’s mother’s boyfriend.

Know better, do better, AP

Know better, do better, AP

One of the truisms I try to live by in life is that if you know better, then you do better. Peterson knows more than most that an adult can kill a child with corporal punishment. If he doesn’t then he needs to be checked on that to become a better father because there’s little doubt to me he loves his kids. He’s definitely an engaged parent as shown by the fact he provides time as well as money for his kids but as always the best intentions can lead to tragic ends if the means are faulty. Hopefully, he’ll learn that sooner than later. Those of us who criticize him and other parents who use corporal punishment as unreconstructed troglodytes need to learn too we should not to judge too harshly lest we be judged the same if we come up short sometimes. There can be a fine line between tough love and abuse and seeing the bruises on his son and the knot on the head of another son that recently came to light, Adrian Peterson needs to get on the right side of that line.

–Jason O. Logan

Horrible parenting can lead to a better parent

     Granted, we all can find faults in what our parents did.  My experience is not unique, nor is it terrible.  My father was an alcoholic and self centered.  My mother was the ultimate enabler in many ways.  These were people who had three small children, yet opened a biker bar.  My father’s parents also were alcoholics and my grandmother was mentally disturbed and institutionalized.  This is where things get bizarre.

     My father always lamented that he didn’t have the Norman Rockwell family, as a child.  Yet he achieved it as an adult.  He had a beautiful wife, three children and a wonderful house in the suburbs.  The neighborhood we lived in would make Mr. Rogers look like a ghetto.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough.

     He wanted to be a celebrity.  He needed more attention.  He was so self absorbed he should have been embarrassed.  And encouragement?  Forget it.

     My sister has more musical talent in her pinky than most have in their body.  From clarinet to electric guitar, she can play it.  She also has a genius level IQ and wanted to be an engineer.  My father told her once that she shouldn’t waste her time on that “mathematic junk.”  He told her she should have been Britney Spears, so she could support him, as he got older.  I wanted to be an artist or writer or even a chef and he told me I had no talent and should quit.  My sister is one of the people who has probably designed whatever you are reading this on.  Me, I still love to cook and if you’re reading this, I obviously still enjoy writing.

     What I learned the most from my father is simple.  I learned how not to be a parent.  I encourage my two sons to do better and to follow their dreams.  Maybe they will succeed.  Maybe they won’t.  I will not judge them.  I will never discourage them.

     I spend as much time as I can with them.  I want them to know that I not only love them, but I am always here for them.  I let them know that I may not agree with their decisions, but unless it could truly hurt them, I will support them.  Being a parent is not always easy.  Those little diaper messers grow up.  They have their own minds and opinions and goals.  I just hope, that unlike my father, I can rise and meet the challenge.  Not the challenge of controlling them.  The challenge of being the best “Papa” I can be.

Brian Holder

Parenting done right. Maybe.

Contributor: Brian Holder

As the father of two sons, one is eleven and the other five, I sometimes wonder if I’m doing a good job.  No, I don’t mean keeping them fed or wearing clean clothes, etc.  I do that.  I mean as a father am I teaching them the fun things?  I’m a geek and always have been, yet it’s only recently that I’ve introduced them to Sci Fi classics, like Star Wars, Star Trek and Dr. Who.  Granted they grew into Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman as they saw me wear my myriad of DC comic related apparel and watched the insane amount of comic related film and series I own. I was fearful of testing the waters with many of the “classics” I grew up with.  I have begun slowly showing them Ghostbusters, Short Circuit and Back to the Future, hoping that the magic that was there for me as a child might strike a chord in them.  So far, it’s been a success.  With Star Wars, they prefer the original trilogy over the modern.  Star Trek?  The original series has struck a chord.  Even with Dr. Who, they like surprisingly, Patrick Troughton over any of the others.  My biggest concern is pushing them to the point that they don’t want to give “Papa’s” interests a chance.  I know, because my father loved war movies, novels and had a collection of guns.  He pushed them on my sister, brother and myself so much we went in an opposite direction and never could appreciate what he held so dearly. I write this mostly because of the endless internet memes showing parents and their children at comic and sci fi conventions in cosplay with the tag line, “Parenting done right.”   Is it?  I encourage my children to like what they like, but to also look at what that goofy old guy, they call Papa, likes and maybe we can share it, together.