All Articles Tagged "kids"

5 Things People Never Tell You Before You Have Kids

September 11th, 2015 - By Allyson Leak
Share to Twitter Email This

babymm.jpgWhen someone first finds out they are pregnant they experience a range of emotions from excitement and joy to fear and being anxious. People give you books on pregnancy and the articles you read online are all about the joys of motherhood. But no one tells you the real deal or at least no one told me. If they had, I could of at least mentally prepared myself a little better. Here are five things people never tell you before you have kids.

Sleep Is A Thing Of The Past
Because I have twins I literally haven’t slept in like two years. But even when someone has one child, sleep is non-existent. You go from getting six to eight hours of sleep a night pre-kids to maybe 20 or 30 minutes or if you are very lucky maybe two hours, but it’s still a shock to your system. When they first come home they have to eat every two to three hours, and as they get older the teething starts and that’s a whole other set of non sleeping hours for you because they are in pain, constantly. Then a little cold may come up or some other unpredictable moment. The bottom line is: mentally prepare yourself for no sleep. You have a newborn who sleeps through the night? You’re the exception to the rule.

No Social Life
My social life had slowed down anyways about a year before I had the boys but I didn’t realize I literally wouldn’t talk to the majority of my friends for almost two years. I did have two friends who actually adjusted to the way things were and would occasionally come over, babysit or come with me to the mall to catch up while I pushed the babies in the stroller. I truly appreciated those moments. But other than that, my outings are still only to Target, doctor visits and the park, and it’s ok.

Simple Outings Are Not So Simple
Every time you have to go to the post office or run a few local errands you will feel like you are packing to go on a long trip. Wipes, check! Diapers, check! Pacifier, check! Change of clothes, check! Milk and baby food, check! And the list of things needed to leave the house goes on and on. The good thing is, heading out of the house and all of the gear you’ll need eventually becomes second nature.

You And Your Partner May Not Get Along
Having a baby totally changes the dynamics of a relationship. The baby becomes the focus 24/7 for the first two to three years, at least, and it can put a strain on a marriage. You will both be sleep-deprived which can cause irritability and you may not agree on every decision for the baby. So to avoid some arguments, have some conversations before delivery about how you guys can make an effort to not bite each other’s heads off when the sleep deprivation kicks in. Have a time out where you both pause and take 10 minutes apart before the argument escalates. Taking a deep breath and stepping away may really help and creates a healthy environment for your newborn.

Love Is What Really Gets You Through
Nobody tells you what will help you survive the rocky moments of motherhood. In my opinion, it’s the pure and limitless love you feel for your little one and the love they feel for you that will get you through. There is something so sweet, genuine and comforting about those hugs, kisses, the way they laugh and the eye-gazing between mommy and baby that makes every single experience very worth it.

It Happened To Me: My Daughter’s Teacher Did Her Hair

July 23rd, 2015 - By Rich
Share to Twitter Email This

A few month’s ago, a photo was circulating on the internet of a little girl, who had just gotten her hair done by her teacher. To no one’s surprise this garnered reactions on both ends of the spectrum from the cyber world. As a mother, I was torn in my opinion of the situation, with no reason to think it could ever happen to me. As I read through the responses of Facebook friends, and their friends I thought, If I was a teacher, and a student came into class with her hair matted and linted, yes I would probably take it upon myself to spruce her up. However, in regards to my daughter this was not the case. Last Thursday, after a fresh hair wash, and slightly running behind I decided against my better judgment to let my daughter go to school with a headband and her curls out. BIG MISTAKE.

Thursday afternoon, like every day I went to pick up my daughter from her schools playground. As she ran toward me, all I could do was mouth to myself, “wtf?.” Seeing my reaction her teacher scurred behind her, quickly offering an exonerating explanation as to why my daughter didn’t look the way she did only a few hours earlier. “I did her hair, I hope you don’t mind?! She said she was hot.” I was furious. My blood was boiling, and there were no nice words I could find. I offered a limp smile, and could barely utter, “it’s fine.” I was fuming. My daughter’s hair had been brushed, with whose brush? I couldn’t tell you, parted, and braided in plaits, and embellished with rubber bands and barrettes, out of the teachers own supply.

After about 30 minutes to an hour, I called the school and spoke with the director and asked that Lyric’s hair not be touched by anyone, at all, for any reason. She assured me she would talk to the teachers, but I could tell she really didn’t care. For days I debated with my cousin, a former daycare teacher about the violation, boundary infringement, and the subliminal message being taught to my daughter. My cousin argued the teacher had no ill intentions toward my child, and that she thought she was doing a good thing. She assured me her actions meant that Lyric was a favorite in the school, and now that I have made this an issue they will probably treat her differently now.

While I’m 100 percent sure the teacher had no ill intentions when she decided to do my childs hair, but more so just wanted to get her hands in some Black hair. Against my better judgment, I assumed the unspoken rule about not touching Black hair was well known. Needless to say, no matter what the circumstances may be, no matter how tired I am, that hair gets braided down daily! I refuse to allow my child to be mislead into believing her beauty, and worth are defined by what pleases the pale faces of the world. I am a patron of the facility not for beauty treatments, but to first educate, and second care for my child. Unfortunately, I have stigmatized myself as “that mom”, and prayerfully my daughter doesn’t suffer of any ill treatment because of this.

Would I feel as strongly about this situation had her teacher been Black, and decided to do her hair? Nope, because to me that would of been a sister looking out, a homegirl hook up because of the unspoken understanding all Black people share. Is that biased, ignorant, racist? Call it what you want, but because of the history of the Black body, in relation to White people, (ownership, and exhibition) I will never be ok with White hands in my childs hair.

What would you do if your daughter’s teacher did her hair?

Have you had a tricky situation that needed to be addressed at your child’s school? How did you handle it?

“Nobody Asks A Guy That”: Childless Celebrities Explain Why They’re Not Pressed To Have Kids

July 22nd, 2015 - By Meg Butler
Share to Twitter Email This
childless celebrities

Image Source: WENN

Once you reach a certain age, parents can get a little out of hand with the “Where are my grandbabies?” questions, and friends and family start talking about “expanding your family.” Lucky for you, these childless celebrities have the perfect comeback for such pesky questions.

Kid President: What Kids Really Want Out Of Summer Vacation

July 13th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
Share to Twitter Email This
With 4th of July weekend come and gone- how did you spend it? Was the phone on, still catching up on emails? My hope is that you were able to truly relax and most importantly spend quality time with your family and loved ones, however many parents and children get consumed with media- tuning out with the help of TV, iPads, video games and we lose sense of the one-on-one interaction, the sense of community within a family.
That is what  bestselling author and viral sensation Kid President is encouraging parents to do in his new episode of Kid President- “What kids REALLY want out of a summer vacation,” that debuted on last week.
So often we call it a summer holiday vacation, but what about a WHOLE-iday vacation…. where kids get their parents undivided attention. When kids get older, they aren’t going to remember the room service, or fancy hotels, they are going to remember swimming in the ocean with their parents, building sand castles anything where they are enjoying being together!
“We’ve got to stop having these half vacations or “vague-cations” or even “fake-cations,” says Kid President. “We need to start having whole vacations! You know when you give your kid the best gift of all–your undivided attention…We want a whole house to run around in and dance, we want to make milkshakes and we want to make them with style. It’s time for a milkshake party! We want those moments that are totally about us.”
As you may know, Kid President is a family-affair (Brad the creator/writer/producer is Robby’s brother-in-law)- they both understand the importance of family and want to remind kids to cherish their parents and remind parents to spend time with their kids.
Thanks Kid President!

How are you spending quality time with the kids this summer?

Five Ways to Help Your Child Unwind During Summer Break

July 10th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
Share to Twitter Email This

Ahhh, summer vacation: a relaxing break from all of the hustle and bustle of the school year, right? Not so much, say most families. These days summer vacation seems to consist of less vacation and more activities designed to keep us busy and on-the-go at all times. But what are the effects of the never-ending packed schedule for both parents and children? Stress!

Michele Kambolis, renowned child and family therapist, speaker, and author of Generation Stressed: Play-Based Tools to Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety has seen a significant rise in young patients with severe anxiety and points out that parents are also more stressed than their peers. In the article below, she points to five simple ways parents can help their children actually unwind and recharge this summer, relieving them of anxiety-triggers and positioning them for their best, happiest, most successful school year yet.

Now is the time to tackle anxiety issues, before they develop into something deeper and more difficult to treat – and summer break is the perfect time to start.

With school doors closed for summer, parents are left wondering just how to make the most of this precious time. While some pack in sports camps and even summer tutoring, others question whether there should be any plan at all. You’ll easily find experts on both sides of the debate. There simply are no hard and fast rules when it comes to finding that summer balance, but finding ways to unwind and recharge top everyone’s list.


A life practice of mindful attention and reflection is hands-down the most powerful tool we have to cultivate a family ecosystem of well-being. It also helps kids relax. When we connect through active, open attention on the present and live mindfully, as a non-judgmental observer, we can access the separation, patience and expansive state of being that supports heart-centered parenting. It is the antidote to anxiety. All it requires is sitting and quieting the mind (which is much easier said than done!). Persuading children to sit in contemplation for any period of time can be a challenge. Here is one trick that might help. Invite kids to sit on an imaginary train. Tell them to close their eyes and turn their internal spotlight on the scenery going by. Notice that the scenery is full of images and thoughts about caring for others. Ask them to do a body scan and notice where in their body they sense feelings of love and kindness.


With overscheduling and over-focusing on technology, many children have lost the essential, brain-supporting work of play – and play is indeed their work. They are calling on us to show up from a playful, non-anxious and conscious state of being. There is joy in play; where there is joy, anxiety cannot exist. So get down and speak their native language, where toys are your words and play is your palette. If that’s too hard to authentically pull off, try de-stressing together with animal yoga, building a worry wall with sticky notes, or playing a board game.


Getting busy with our bodies is one of the most powerful buffers from the harmful impact of stress. Summer is a natural time to get a move on. The surge in feel-good neurochemicals not only boosts our immune system, it helps us to feel less stressed overall. Add the great outdoors to the mix and you will have doubled down on the benefits. Studies show we’re happier and more relaxed when we’re in natural environments than when we are indoors.


This is summer happiness homework most children will easily buy into: spend some time with a pet. One study by Dognition, an organization founded by Duke University researcher and cognitive scientist Brian Hare, found pet ownership to be strongly connected to increased well-being. Researchers found that the act of petting a dog decreases blood pressure and increases dopamine, prolactin and oxytocin, all hormones associated with happiness and bonding, as well as beta-endorphins, which are associated with relaxation and pain relief. Snuggling a furry friend causes a pleasure surge on a par with finding money, eating chocolate and looking at pictures of smiling babies.


Unstructured down time is one of the greatest gifts (and challenges) we can offer our kids over the summer. It’s when they discover new passions, talents and learn to structure and regulate themselves. Their imagination flourishes and relaxation comes naturally as they find their authentic voice, un-imposed by adult expectations and agendas. It’s a time when children can be in control, relax and maybe even uncover their dreams.

Summer can and should be a time of meaningful, mindful activity, and of repose and reflection. Finding that balance is the key to a summer that is not only restorative for both kids and parents, but provides long-lasting benefits into the new school year and beyond.


Michele Kambolis (MA) is a registered Child and Family Therapist and Parent Educator and a Registered Clinical Counselor dedicated to raising awareness about mental health issues. Kambolis writes a popular weekly parenting advice column, “Parent Traps” for The Vancouver Sun and Postmedia Network chain of newspapers. She is also the author of Generation Stressed: Play-Based Tools to Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety.

Coming in September: A parent and child webinar covering all kinds of play-based activities designed to increase connection and decrease stress.





Generation Stressed can be purchased from,,, and through all major booksellers.

Would You Ban Kids From Your Wedding?

July 9th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
Share to Twitter Email This

Is it ok to ban kids from your wedding?

Sure, letting kids come means more mouths to feed, which leads to a higher wedding bill. And if you’re planning an extravagant affair, it can be tricky — kids around crystal is never a good idea. Plus, sometimes grown-ups just want to be among themselves. But is it really acceptable for couples to say friends and family can’t bring their kids? One writer doesn’t think so.

Chaunie Brunie’s essay for YourTango, “I Have Kids And I Think It’s Selfish To Have An Adult-Only Wedding” has people talking about the topic, and she points out that for many couples, constant summer weddings mean just one thing: lots and lots of babysitters.

“For us, to attend the ceremony and a reception, I’ll easily shell out over 100 bucks on a babysitter, plus the wedding gift. It’s a horrendously expensive date night and I’m sorry (and no offense to you and the love of your life), but that’s really asking a lot of your guests with young children,” she wrote.

Brunie says she’s not trying to start a wedding war, but she wants couples to be considerate of their guests who are parents.

“I do think it’s important to recognize that it’s not always easy for parents of very young children to enjoy adult-only weddings when they have to find and pay for a sitter,” she said. “It’s a lot of work! I love attending weddings and just wish sometimes it was more affordable for everyone involved, parents too!”

But at the end of the day, it’s the couple’s call.

Read the full article here.

What do you think? Have you had a wedding and told parents to leave the kids at home?

Or have you been to a wedding and scrambled to get a sitter?

5 Ways Kids Who Grow Up With A Single Parent Love Differently

July 9th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
Share to Twitter Email This

Not everyone grows up like a kid on The Cosby Show.

Children of single parents grow up seeing a very different example of romantic love than those who grew up in a “normal” household. Namely, none at all.

Growing up with loving parents can fill you with positive examples of how to handle relationships when you’re older. Even having two parents who hate each others’ guts can demonstrate what NOT to do. Either way, it’s a learning experience.

But children of a single parent are left to gain that experience on their own. It’s a lot like taking on a new job with no training: you learn the most in the field, but it’s nice to have a heads up of what to expect.

That’s not to say that children with a single parent are helpless; we just have to learn some things on our own, and overall, we value different qualities in our partner.

1. We value inner strength and perseverance.

Growing up, my mom alternated between working two and three jobs at a time, getting a degree, and raising 3 boys on her own. It was easy to see it wasn’t easy.

She could’ve easily given up at any point but she stuck through it, and my brothers and I only have her to thank for not crumbling under the massive pressure.
In growing up with a strong mother, I greatly admire that trait in others. It shows character and lets you know the other person isn’t just going to give up when things get tough.

2. We’re more independent, so give us room to breathe.

If you’re the child of a single parent and you aren’t in the upper class, you’re probably a “latchkey kid.” That is, you spend a lot of your after-school time unsupervised while your parent is working.

You learn to cook, take care of your things, and otherwise fend for yourself. Years of that independence causes you to grow used to having alone time.

I’ll often feel guilty when my girlfriend helps me with something, because I’m so used to taking care of so many things myself — even though she loves me and is more than happy to lend a hand.

I can’t help it, and I imagine it stems from how guilty I’d feel if my mom came home from working her second job and I’d only created more work for her in the meantime while she was doing her best to provide for us.

So, don’t take it personally if you’re dating a child of a single parent. This is just standard-issue emotional baggage that comes with the territory.

3. We’re heavily influenced by the parent who raised us.

When you have both parents, I imagine you get a more balanced view on dating and life in general. Growing up with a single mom, I disproportionately received the female perspective on a lot of issues.

I feel like that’s caused me to be more keenly aware of women’s needs and emotions in relationships. Possibly to the detriment of knowing my own needs and emotions … it’s impossible to know.

I’d wager that someone growing up with only their dad might have a few more “manly” traits, while maybe not understanding or relating to women as easily. And perhaps a guy raised by his mom might get you more, but may lack in other character traits a father would pass on.

Obviously, everyone is different, and the longer you live the more you can make up for these deficits. But don’t be surprised if a dude with no dad never learned to be chivalrous, or a guy with no mom doesn’t realize “I’m fine” means the polar opposite.

4. We might be a little afraid of commitment.

When you see the effects a broken relationship can have, and live through them, it might make you a little hesitant to commit for fear of making the same mistakes.

If your significant other is a child of a single parent, it should come as no surprise if they aren’t gung-ho about marriage or kids. They don’t want to cause the same home situation for someone else that they had themselves.

It’s not that they’re anti-commitment, it’s just that it might take them a lot longer to warm up to the idea. Patience is a virtue.

5. We’re strong enough to handle it, so you can lean on us.

Having no parent around a lot of the time when you’re young means having to grow up a little quicker. It’s not easy, but those tribulations give you strength. And what’s the point of strength if you don’t put it to use?

Don’t be afraid to turn to your single parent partner if you need to. They can take it, and you’ll have someone you know you can count on when times are tough.

We’re all a product of how we grew up. Use that knowledge to better understand your partner, and it can only improve your relationship.

Originally appeared at

Mom of 10 Starts GoFundMe Campaign: Does It Take A Village Or Birth Control?

July 7th, 2015 - By Rich
Share to Twitter Email This

Facebook user Nishi Miller recently took to social media and the crowd funding page, GoFundMe in an effort to assist her friend who is a mom of 10.

According to the GoFundMe page ran by Ms. Miller, Sade Whitehead is a mother of nine with another child on the way. Miller expressed she wanted to help Whitehead, and was “taking a leap of faith” by starting the page. The GoFundMe page asks for donations of clothing, school supplies, shoes and toys, and has raised $382.

Without question the page has garnered much attention, and backlash for both obvious, and not so obvious reasons. Most likely the number one thought running through everyone’s mind, why keep having kids? Given the state of today’s economy it is no surprise to hear any single mother is  struggling to provide for her children whether she has one or five. Ten children however, call into question one’s judgement and also begs the question, where is/are their father(s)?

The GoFundMe page offers no insight into to the background of the Whitehead family’s circumstances. It is unclear whether or not the children’s father(s) are involved, if Sade is employed, or has any formal education. It is not far off to say that women such as Sade (based on the perception depicted by the GoFundMe) help perpetuate negative stereotypes about Black motherhood.  The comments alone paint a clear picture as to the assumptions being concluded by page visitors. The comments also call into question the policing of a woman’s reproductive organs.

*insert page shots*

Similar to political issues regarding abortion, and birth control, how can one woman tell another she needs “education and birth control”. Sade has the right to do as she pleases with her body as we do. As society looks down from its high horse, assuming Whitehead has not made socially sound judgments in life, consider many possibilities that may have brought Miller to reach out to community for help. Loss of employment, divorce, or maybe she recently purchased a car and now things are tight.

While logically it does not seem like the best idea to continue to reproduce when one might not be in ideal financial circumstances, but as the saying goes, “it takes a village”. What are ideal financial circumstances for any parent with ten children? Does that mean others should bear the weight of another’s  misjudgment? The children did not ask to be here. Should they not be granted the same necessities and luxuries afforded  to children in smaller households?

Would you donate to this page? Leave a comment below and tell us what you think!

Father Beats Up Girl Gang Attacking His Daughter

July 1st, 2015 - By Rich
Share to Twitter Email This

Here’s the scenario.

Girl gets beat up by a gang of girls.
Father jumps in, shields daughter.
Girls begin to attack dad.
Dad proceeds to fight girls.
Onlookers are outraged.

I am not sure where this video originated or what city it all went down, but this is a nightmare I have in my head. I, the consummate over thinker, has envisioned what I would do in the event that my child was attacked. In some instances, I am pondering it being a group of knife-and-gun teen kids and sometimes, its a pack like in the video. I’ve never quite thought bout fighting girls, but I’ve always been a staunch advocate for defending my daughter. So, take a look at the video, which is quite shocking.

What would you do?

I would probably have to do just as the man did in the video, with a bit less force. Then again…you never know. Sadly, I have seen numerous fights of this sort on social media and girls have come a long way when it comes to gang fighting. It comes as no shocker than this is a regular thing n this WorldStar era of acceptance of just about everything. I have no issue with “a fair one,” but they don’t exist anymore.

My dad, a pretty big man, was always a proponent of “the equalizer.” Never saw him use his “equalizer,” but it was there just in case. As far as I can see, this father was defending himself and his child against a pack of untrained heathens, that happened to be female, that decided they wanted to fight a grown ass man. When you go that route, you get grown ass man results. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is.

So, I don’t consider this a matter of gender.

I believe that any father worth his weight in salt is going to do whatever he needs to do to defend his child, especially if they become the subject of the attack. Frankly, they should be pleasantly pleased this man didn’t lose his cool and attempt to seriously injure somebody. People tend to “black out” when consumed with the rage that only comes from protecting their young. I am pretty sure that in the future these packs of kids are going to be met with more force than mere blows.

In this NSFW video, males attack a student , apparently for getting good grades.

Of course – all fathers become The Punisher when their baby girl is in danger. But, what can you do?

1) Talk to your kid.

These things don’t just happen. There’s almost aways a build up of some sorts. I’ve said this before, but I talk to my daughter a lot. I ask open-ended question so the responses are not just “Yes” or “No” and we have a conversation.

2) Observe

Kids don’t tell their parents everything. This we know. You have to be cognizant and observant, paying particular attention to any changes you may see in your offspring.

3) Stay Cool

When my daughter was younger, a boy was acting a fool with her and we had to handle it. I was furious and was ready to wreck shop. However, the parent – knowing their child well – were very agreeable to how to move forward. All the parents found an amicable way to proceed without damaging the kids.

4) Teach Conflict Resolution

Parents can’t be there all the time. The kid should know how to diffuse situations, especially when presented by pack-loving bullies. Teach them that it is not cowardly, but actually brave, to keep a situation from escalating.

5) Get Them Lessons

I know a lot of kids that are into martial arts and other forms of self-defense. My kid has some boxing skills and she hits hard. It isn’t just meant to help a child engage in warfare, but it allows them the ability to move with confidence among others. Most bullies don’t want do deal with a kid that will present a “problem.” They certainly don’t want to deal with a kid that fights back and also has a father acts as an “equalizer.”

One last thing:

There is nothing wrong with defending and protecting your family.

How To Start Planning Your Kid’s Summer

May 26th, 2015 - By Rich
Share to Twitter Email This

Another summer is upon us and whether your kids have already gotten out of school or if their last day is in the next week or two, you ought to already be planning their summer vacation. No parent wants to know that their child is in the house all day with nothing to do — at any age.

For instance, I work from home and if my four-year-old is there, my level of productivity is nonexistent. The 10-year-old isn’t much better, I’d hate to leave her staring at YouTube all day, choreographing dances and potentially running across the wrong type of video. Kids need stimulation, consistently, and as the warmer months approach, I’ve found myself becoming more and more undone. I want them to try new things but I also want them to work on familiar interests. I want them to play outside but then I also want them to read more. In my own plotting and planning, I’ve discovered some factors that every parent needs to consider when outlining the kids’ summer.

Overnight camps can be a lot — either financially or emotionally from your child’s point of view–but those are worth a look.

Everyone needs a change of scenery every once in awhile but if neither of you are comfortable with cabins and bug spray, then there are sure to be plenty of day camp options in your town. If you’re diligent about plotting out the next two months then more likely than not you’ve already begun the process.

Maybe you’d like to send your kid to college for the summer. As a point of reference, most academic day camps at local universities offer financial assistance if you apply early enough in advance — for some this may be six to eight months before. Remember that next year. If you’ve missed the deadline, no worries, it’s still possible to get your child into one of these camps for upwards of a few hundred dollars per week. It’s worth the money for the experience of your baby learning some valuable lessons while “in college.”

If your child is pretty active throughout the school year you may want to consider putting them in one program for the duration of summer. For instance, if they usually have a full plate with dance, chorus and soccer throughout the school year, they may want to take it easy during the summer and go with one option, whether it’s something they’ve already been working on or a brand new interest that they are thinking of picking up.

Regardless of which direction you guys are thinking of going with be sure to include your child in the conversation, that way as the weeks go on, you won’t find yourself having to switch camps because you tried to force (albeit lovingly) an idea on your little one.

If you would prefer to give your kid a more well-rounded summer consider switching things up regularly once every couple of weeks. Whether it’s tap classes for the first two weeks, followed by art, then science camp for the next two, some children are better with being challenged regularly with different goals to reach. It kills the tedium.

Be sure to do your research before sending your kids to any child care service whether it’s overnight or just during the day. Also make sure that you are aware of the meals they’re being fed while at camp. Most day camps don’t offer lunches so you may have to plan out what you’ll be including in their lunch box. Keep in mind that some facilities prohibit certain food items (i.e. peanuts.).

It’s easy to be overwhelmed when planning your kid’s summer, but if you make it an honest family conversation first, the kids will be happily busy over the next two months and ready for dinner and sleep as soon as they get home. Then you can pop a bottle of wine and relax in good conscience, satisfied that they’ve had a great day learning new things.