Parent’s Corner- Sweet Girl

1-16-17

 

Dear Sue Ellen

 

I have spent the last 17 years raising my daughter and she is acting like she can’t get away from me fast enough.  I have given her everything she ever wanted and she never shows gratitude. She ignores me except when she wants something from me.  It’s all about her and what she wants.  I have dedicated my whole life to raising her and she has turned out to be a very selfish girl.  Is this a phase she will grow out of?  She was so sweet when she was a little girl.  I want my sweet girl back.

A.J.

 

Dear A.J.

 

You know what birds teach us about raising kids, right?  When it is time for the baby bird to fly, the mama nudges them out of the nest.  When it is time for our babies to fly away it is usually a little more complicated.  Some parents look forward to the day their kids leave home while others struggle with it.  Either way, it is a big life change.  It is our job as parents to prepare our children for the day they will become independent.  Our children go from being totally dependent to independent in 18 short years.  That is a drastic change in a relatively short amount of time.

 

Have you ever seen those old people that shake their heads at the next generation coming up and repeat themselves about how things were better when they were young?

I am trying not to be one of those old people, but really….kids today don’t seem to have a clue.  Your daughter isn’t the only young person of her generation that thinks the world revolves around her.  There is a sense of entitlement among our young people today like I’ve never seen before.

 

I think parents are trying to protect their children from a rapidly changing world that isn’t always safe.  They have been so focused on trying to give their children everything they wanted, they forget to give them what they need.  Kids need to be toughened up so they can face life.  It is hard on a lot of parents to NOT give their kids everything they want.  The world doesn’t get handed to most of us on a silver platter.  Your daughter will learn that soon enough.  Be patient with her.  She is getting ready to fly away.  She will still be your daughter and hopefully time and life will soften her back up and you will see the sweet girl she was again.

 

Here is the big question for you.  What are you going to do with yourself when your daughter leaves home?  It is time for you to start planning your next life adventure.

 

Please email your parenting questions to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Parent’s Corner – Friend Me

Dear Sue Ellen

 

I am a mom and I’ve heard that child molesters, hackers, and kidnappers monitor kids online.  Is this something I should talk to my kids about?

Molly

 

Dear Molly:

 

Here’s the short answer:  YES!

 

Socialization among youths has drastically changed over the past few years, and it is good for children to have confident social skills, but there are a host of dangers for kids online.

 

Since social media has become the common way for kids to communicate, there has been a drastic increase in sex trafficking.  Sex traffickers are masters at disguising themselves as teens looking for friends online.  They send out masses of “friend me” requests.  If a child accepts their offer, the plan to win over their trust and eventually schedule a place/time to meet them in person begins.  Here is an example of how kids are kidnapped through an online connection:  a teenage boy invites a girl to “friend him”.  The girl doesn’t know him but he is good looking and seems like a nice guy according to his profile.  In reality, he is a 31-year-old felon involved in sex-trafficking.  If this girl ever agrees to meet him in person she will disappear and her parent’s may never see her again.

 

Sexual predators also lull kids online.  Have you seen the shows on TV about this very thing?  Bad people are constantly trolling the internet looking for ways to do evil things.

 

Your children need to be taught ways to protect themselves from online predators.  They should only “friend” people they know and can verify it’s them.  If they get a strange request, or if something else weird or unusual appears on any of their social media accounts, they need to come to you.  Since kids can access social media on their phones, they need to tell you if they receive a call from someone they don’t know, or better yet, they need to routinely block callers they don’t recognize.  Be involved with your kids and their involvement in social media.  Empower them to be self-protective.  Don’t underestimate the compelling seduction of evil.

 

 

 

Please email your parenting questions to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Parent’s Corner – Bad Party

 

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1-2-17

Dear Sue Ellen,

Me and my boyfriend were at a party, and it got real weird.  He’d had a few beers is all. Suddenly, he got mad and started screaming and then he tried to hit me and I don’t know why.  We’ve lived together for five years and have a couple of kids together.  A friend took me home that night but my boyfriend hasn’t been home since.  He did this one time before, but he promised me he would never do it again.  I don’t know what to do.

  1. L.

 

Dear T. L.

You are giving me a headache.  Where do I begin?   This whole scenario sounds like some reality TV drama.  I would like to climb on a big rock and shout to the whole United States of America.   This is what I would say.  “People!  How you live as adults effects the people around you, especially your kids!”   Your life is a train wreck and you are standing on the tracks, looking at the engine headed toward you; wondering what to do.

 

Are you even slightly aware of the peril you and your children could be in?  Do you have a mother?  Did she ever talk to you about bad relationships?

 

Let’s review.  You went to a party with your boyfriend.   Where were your kids?  Do you have a sitter you can trust, or did you leave them with someone who may, or may not, take good care of them?  Let’s hope for the best, and assume that someone babysat your children and didn’t molest or abuse them.   When you and your boyfriend went out to party that night, did it ever occur to you that he might get drunk, or high or stupid in some other way?  If the answer is yes, then how could that possibly be fun for you… unless you were going to do something equally as irresponsible at the party and didn’t care what your boyfriend did?  My head is spinning, and we haven’t even gotten to the part where he starts to get violent.

 

Angry, irrational people are toxic.  I’m not hating on them or judging them, it’s just a fact.  Those are the kind of people you need to love from a distance.  He is the train on your track.  What do you do?  Get off the track!

 

I feel for your children.   You are subjecting them to an unhealthy lifestyle where there is the threat of domestic violence and abuse.  You are a victim too, but you are the adult in the situation and your children are defenseless.  You have got to make some serious changes in your life.  My best advice to you is stay away from bad boys and bad parties.  Focus on raising those two precious children and giving them a loving stable home.

 

Please email your parenting questions to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Parent’s Corner – Me & My Stepson

 

12-26-16

 

Dear Sue Ellen,

 

I got remarried last year and my 12-year-old stepson moved in with us a month ago.  He is a total brat when he’s with me and acts angelic when he is with his dad.  I tried to talk to my husband about it but he doesn’t believe me when I explain how his son behaves when nobody else is around. What should I do?

 

Pat

 

Dear Pat,

 

You are in a very difficult situation.  Did you know what you were getting into when you married your new husband?  Never mind; it’s too late to undo things.  The easy answer is to get family counseling, but I know it’s not likely for you because your husband is in denial.

 

The best of blended families deal with daily stress in their lives.  Research shows that children growing up in blended families are at a much greater risk for abuse than children that grow up with their birth parents.  But in your case, it sounds like you could be the one at risk for abuse.  To resolve this will take time and cooperation between the three of you.  This kind of situation can destroy families.   Are you willing to commit to building a relationship with your stepson?

 

This 12-year-old in your home is still just a little boy and you are a new parental unit in his life.  Do you love him?  If the answer is yes, then there is hope.  Even if you don’t especially like or love him right now, there is still hope if you are willing to open your heart to a confused child, even when he is being a brat.

 

Would it be possible to sit down with your husband and stepson together and express your concerns?  You could come from the point of view that you want your new family to get along.  Ask them if they have any suggestions for ways to make it better between you.  I hope things work out for you.

 

 

Please email your parenting questions to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Parent’s Corner- Christmas Magic Lost and Found

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Dear Sue Ellen,

 

Last week our 10-year-old son told my 5-year-old daughter that Santa isn’t real. I think it has ruined Christmas for her this year. It has taken the fun out of it for all of us. I would like to find a way to bring back the Christmas spirit.

Cheryl

 

 

Dear Cheryl,

 

You can bring back the Christmas spirit to your family this year.  Here are some things to think about.  It’s the celebration of a miracle birth that is the most precious gift we will ever receive.  During the Christmas season, we hear beautiful holiday music, we see dazzling lights nearly everywhere we look, and people reach out to each other with assorted gifts and talk of peace and goodwill toward men.  Who doesn’t love the smell and taste of Christmas cookies and holiday cuisine?

 

We all experience holiday stressors: squabbling kids during the school break, the holiday shopping frenzy, weight gain, and concerns about spending too much money.  In spite of all the demands on you, do something special for yourself.  After a long day of holiday busyness, take a moment to walk outside.  Look up and see the wonderment of the night sky.  If you just relax and stand quietly, you will feel something in the air.  The hustle and bustle of the day has surrendered to an air of calmness and peace.  That is pure magic.

 

Don’t limit your family to Santa as the reason for the season.  Search for the magic.

This is your opportunity to teach your kids to love Christmas beyond Santa.  The holiday memories you make with your children will last them a lifetime.  When they are grown up, with families of their own, your children will (hopefully) laugh about the year your daughter was told Santa wasn’t real.

 

Dear readers, if you’ve experienced a Christmas miracle, would you be willing to share it with us?  Please email your Christmas miracle to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.  I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Merry Christmas!

Family Violence Unit Experience Significant Hike in Calls

BELL COUNTY – Aware Central Texas works with victims of abuse and violence in central Texas. Their Family Violence Unit, which started in 2012, works directly with abuse victims to help them out of their situation.

The Family Violence Hotline number is 254 813 0968.

While the Family Violence Unit is always busy, they see a significant spike in the summer, and during the holiday season.

“We see about a fifty percent spike,” FVU Director Ednalyn De Dios said. “It has been going on for at least three years now. We know there is definitely a pattern and we prepare for it.”

De Dios said the pressure of family expectations in the holiday season, pressure to provide presents or spend money even when things are tight, can make already struggling relationships turn abusive or violent.

De Dios also said there are different types of abuse and it does not have to be physical. Some abuse can be via manipulation. It can also be verbal.

Those stuck in an abusive situation have several options to get out, however.

According to AWARE, there are more than seven shelters in the area where those fleeing violence can go.  De Dios said there are programs such as Crime Victims Compensation which pay for three months rent for the victim to relocate.

The victim may also protect themselves through a protective order, which will require the abusive individual to stay away from them. To do this, the victim has to file an application with the local district clerks office. The Family Violence Unit can help with that process.

Abuse does not always have to end in separation however. The Family Violence Unit can also refer families to domestic violence classes where they can work to form healthier relationships.

If you or someone you know needs help from the Family Violence Unit, contact them at the number at the top of the article.

 

Parent’s Corner – Christmas Makes me Sad

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Christmas Makes me Sad

12-11-16

 

Dear Sue Ellen,

I wish I was different, but Christmas makes me sad.  My family doesn’t get along and I don’t have the money to buy my kids the things they want.  What is the point of it all?

R.K.

 

Dear R.K.

 

To hear that you (and others) are sad during the holidays makes me sad too.  I wish there was something I could say or do to eradicate that emotion from everyone battling it during this season of expectations and celebrations.

 

Since I can’t accomplish what I wish to do, can we reflect on the point of it all instead?

Retailers all over the world would say the point is spend, spend, spend.  Teachers and students would agree it’s about the winter break. People of faith would say it’s a religious celebration.  Neighborhoods would claim the most important thing is determining who has the best holiday lights. Musicians would maintain it’s about the music, and artists would say it’s about the art.  Friends would uphold the expectations of holiday parties.  It seems to me everyone has expectations of what the holidays should be.

 

What are your expectations for the holidays?  To be sad?  Have you considered changing your expectations?  Your children may not remember the presents they did (or didn’t) get for Christmas, but they will remember if you are sad or not.  If your sadness during the holidays prevents you from baking cookies with your kids, or putting up a Christmas tree, or singing carols with them in the car; you might be more than just sad about unmet expectations.  If you struggle with navigating through the season in a positive and productive manner, you might be depressed. Perhaps you should seek mental health counseling; there’s no shame in it.  A good therapist will give you a new set of coping skills for times when you feel an overwhelming sadness.  Depression is a common problem for lots of folks during the holidays.  Is that you?

 

Give yourself and your family the gift that keeps on giving all year long.  Get help.

 

 

 

 

Please email your parenting questions to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Parent’s Corner – How Far Should We Go?

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Parent’s Corner

 

 

 

Dear Sue Ellen,

My kids are teenagers now and they have everything they need, but they act like my husband and I don’t do enough for them.  We love our kids, but I think we may have gone too far with giving them everything they want.  I am thinking about skipping Christmas this year.  Do you think they would get the point?

Curious Mom

 

Dear Curious Mom,

 

I’m not sure I get the point.  We all have different expectations of Christmas; usually based on family traditions, or time with friends and loved ones.  I don’t think kids having stuff (or not having stuff) is bad, but what we teach our kids about the holidays is important.  We teach them by our actions, rather than what we say.  If you give your kids everything they want and you feel guilty about it, what are you teaching them about giving gifts?

 

Some people think shopping and gift giving is a lot of fun.   Others would prefer to avoid it altogether.  Here’s a suggestion. Shift your focus to doing something special together instead of giving (or not giving), gifts.  Your kids may love the idea of taking a cool family trip as an alternate way to celebrate the season.  Okay, I get it.   They could hate the idea, so here’s another thought.  Do it anyway.  Let them pout, bow up, roll their eyes or sulk.

 

I have met families that dote on their kids and give them everything they want.  Are you and your husband like that?  (Be honest with yourself.)  The kids of those parents end up being self-centered brats that everyone dreads seeing.  Of course, we are all too nice to tell those parents to their faces what we think about their over-indulgent parenting, so we shake our heads and let out a heavy sigh of relief when they leave.

 

You want your children to be more grateful for the things you and your husband give them.  How far are you willing to go to make that happen?  Take all their stuff away, sell your house and move off the grid?  Just think…you and your kids could build your own outhouse and have family bonding time during the construction.  The holidays are what we make of them.  Whatever you decide to do, please make happy memories doing it.  That is what your kids will remember about the holidays; not the stuff piled high in their rooms.

 

Please email your parenting questions to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Sponsorships for 2016 Christmas on the Farm!

Without these guys, we couldn’t offer COF as a low cost event to the public. Thank you and please utilize their services or buy their products. We are so thankful for our sponsors!!

Seton Medical Center Harker Heights  

Brett Pritchard PC 

Carlson Law Firm 

Baylor Scott & White 

Belltec  Industries

Metroplex Foundation 

____________________

Texell Credit Union –

Texas A & M Central Texas – .

Connell & Associates –

Don Ringler Chevrolet – Texas Best Chevy Dealer –

Bradfield Properties – .

HEB

______________________________________

Hugh & Debbie Shine –

Wire Rope Industries

MTC –

Beechem Equipment –

Strasburger Enterprises –

Bill & Michelle DiGaetano-

R.T. Schneider Construction –

Progressive Protective –

Belton Feed & Supply –

Salado Methodist Church –

Armed Services YMCA –

Wings, Pizza & Things –

DWM First Christian Church –

Extraco Insurance

Temple Founder Lions Club

Special thanks to Jersey Mikes, Coufal Prater & Bragg Trailers & Walmart Distribution!

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Parent’s Corner- Trouble for my Son

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11-28-16

 

 

Dear Sue Ellen,

My son is a senior in high school.   He was going to college when he graduates, but now his girlfriend says she is pregnant.  I am sick about this and don’t know what to do.

Troubled Parent

 

Dear Trouble Parent,

 

Most likely, the first thing I would do is throw a hissy fit.  Maybe not around my son and his girlfriend because they would need for me to stay calm, but inside….I would be devastated.  I could remind you that we all make mistakes along the way; some bigger than others; but I would probably roll my eyes if I were in your shoes, and somebody said that to me.

 

You are about to have a grandchild.  This baby didn’t ask to be born under these circumstances.  Don’t let this new life become a “throw-away” child.   Find a way to support your son and his girlfriend through this.  Put your personal hurt and pain aside….now is not the time.  Step in and help these young parents, when they allow it; and bow out when you need to.  Empower them to surround their baby with love, nurturing and protection…no matter what that looks like.   Research shows that a child growing up in a dysfunctional home setting has a significantly better likelihood of growing up a healthy, responsible person in spite of their circumstances if there is at least one  person in their life that loves them and mentors them.  Find a way to celebrate this addition to your family.  Don’t judge.

 

My Daddy once told me a story about the mighty Oak Tree and the Palm Tree.  A big storm came, with very strong winds.  The Oak Tree stood his ground, determined not to bend under the force of the winds and sneered at the Palm Tree as he danced and swayed in the wind.  The winds grew even stronger and finally broke the magnificent Oak Tree.  It fell down, defeated and broken while the Palm Tree stood.

 

If I were in your shoes, I would be the Palm Tree.   I hope you like to dance and sway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please email your parenting questions to sejackson@awarecentraltexas.org and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.