Archive for September, 2010

What if you think your daughter's pregnant? by Irene Roth

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

What if you think your daughter’s pregnant? This kind of situation can cause so much heartbreak and dislocation for both the daughter and mother. Most daughters don’t want to talk about it and they tend to keep the whole thing a secret.

Other daughters start looking for advice and support outside of the family. This can cause a lot of hardship and a fundamental lack of communication once the family finds out. The most important thing that you could do for your pregnant daughter is to be available to her and let her know that you ‘ll always be by her side, regardless of what happens.

If you realize that your daughter is pregnant, its best if you open lines of communication with her by being open and empathic with her predicament. Although this may be difficult for some mothers to bring about, it isn’t impossible. Here are some tips that mothers could use to open lines of communication with your daughter:

1. Don’t criticize your daughter for becoming pregnant. Instead, be level-headed about the whole thing. This will draw your daughter closer to you and will open lines of communication.

2. Refrain from being negative or judgmental. Girls who get pregnant don’t need a lecture from their mother. Instead, such girls need unconditional love. They’re probably just as scared and unsure of what is going to happen as anyone else.

3. Never make your daughter feel as if you’ll abandon her. It is important for your daughter to feel that you will be there for her in every way possible.

4. Let your daughter make her own decisions about what she’ll do, with some occasional advice. Try not to be overbearing or condescending.

5. Love your daughter unconditionally. And show that love through your actions and attitudes as often as possible. Be positive instead of negative in your attitudes and mannerisms towards her.

6. Be a friend to your pregnant daughter. Always be there to listen and to offer a helping hand. This will draw you closer in this time of need and for the future as well.

7. Spend a lot of quality time with your daughter. Perhaps you could go to the movies or shopping with your daughter. Or you could go out and have lunch with your daughter.

8. Be empathic with your daughter at all times. Imagine what it would be like to be a young pregnant teen, trying to break the news to your mother. Try and imagine the feelings that you would experience.

9. Reassure your daughter that she is loved constantly. Just keep reiterating that mistakes do happen and this situation will rectify itself in time.

10. Tell your daughter that you will help her every step of the way, regardless of what she decides and what happens. This will help your daughter feel less alone and less desperate.

Following these tips will help you, as a mother, to come to terms with your daughter’s pregnancy. If anything, the experience will bring you two much closer together, something that you’ll need later on.

Irene S. Roth is a freelance writer for kids and teens. She is also in the process of creating a Newsletter for girls ages 12 to 16, along with a journalling prompt for either private reflections or to dialogue with other girls about similar issues. Irene Roth specializes in writing about social and relationship issues for young girls and adolescents.

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It is no easy task to parent pregnant teens-by Anita Agrawal

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

The role of the parent is difficult and fraught with emotions. When a teenage daughter suddenly announcing she is going to have a baby the whole family routine suddenly changes overnight. It definitely is not something parents would like to hear but when it happens one has to face the inevitable. According to facts and figures about one million teenage girls are pregnant each year.

The parent of such a child needs assistance and guidance to support the pregnant teen through the months of travail in front of her. So the first thing is that the parents must stoically accept the situation and come to face it without playing the blame game. The crisis has to be faced.

Initially the first reaction of the parent is a feeling of guilt. Perhaps they should have done something more to protect their child. Many parents feel awkward and shy to talk about the embarrassment with others – family, friends and neighbors. Some are of course happy at the prospect of becoming grandparents especially if the daughter is in her late teens and ready for a mature relationship.

Whatever the emotions are, there is no doubt it is a very critical time for the entire family. The basic point is that the pregnant teen needs the support of the parents more than ever before. Thus pushing back ones own emotions firmly the parents have to extend a supporting shoulder to the daughter.

If the pregnant teenager gets this support and affection from her parents her chances of having a healthy baby are better; her own health too will suffer less. She must be made to realize that she is not without help on this unintended journey.

The parents have to discipline and put on hold their own turbulent emotions not for themselves but for the welfare of their pregnant teen and future grandchild. However it is a difficult task that is easy to advice but difficult to practice.

Anita is your guide to all your preconceiving-to-pregnancy-to- teens related issues. Finds tons of first hand experience from this super cool mom at her website and stop fretting and fuming over the pains of graduating into a “non harassed” parent!

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To be a Leader

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

To be a leader, you have to make people want to follow you, and nobody wants to follow someone who doesn’t know where he’s going.

– Joe Namath


Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

A baby born in 2009 (the most recent data available) will cost almost a quarter-million dollars to raise by age 17, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. The costs include everything from child care to BASIC education and bare bones health care. Who says you can’t put a price on love?

Think twice! If you want to raise a leader, a young person that will contribute to our society and not simply take advantage of our systems…be sure you have the resources the child deserves! It simply isn’t just about what you want anymore.

Teen Pregnancy on the rise again

Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Think Twice

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

Today's Costs of Raising a Child

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Parenting is the most rewarding job in the world. Our major responsibility as parents is to provide love and a safe environment for our children to grow up in. In addition, we have a responsibility to provide stability, education and to give our children what they deserve! In order to do this properly we have to provide the financial support to raise our children. The U.S. government recently released their calculations for the bare bones cost of raising a child from birth to 18 years—$160,140. And that doesn’t include college expenses or private education which could add upwards of  an additional $100,000.

Let’s see how we might break down that $160,140:

• 4,003 pairs of Levi’s jeans
• 54,284 Big Mac’s

• 8,007 evenings at the movies
• 4 Convertible NEW Loaded Ford Mustangs

Does it really cost that much?

Most of our thoughts about having children center around the joy of loving them. But the reality is a child needs so much more than love. They need parents who can provide for them, both physically and emotionally. Just look at all the things $160,140 can buy you.

Money is an important part of raising a child, but it is often the last thing considered when we think about having children. But you need money to buy food, diapers, clothes, and to pay for daycare. When you break down the $160,140 this is what it will cost you to raise one child.

Fulltime daycare alone is $900-$1200 per month! That’s as much as a mortgage! Bottled formula can run $6.00 per day! Diapers are $20.00 per week minimum! That does not even calculate a home, transportation, health insurance, food, toys, books…etc…

• $8,896.66 per year
• $741.38 per month
• $171.08 per week
• $24.44 per day
• At least $1 per hour

Are you able to earn $24 dollars a day or $171 a week to raise a child. And that is just to take care of the baby! That does not include what it costs for the rest of the family to live everyday. The savings might help, but when you look at all the things you still need to provide, it can be overwhelming.

The average cost of living in a simple one-bedroom apartment with utilities in the suburbs is $25,412 per year. Add that to the cost of raising a baby. You will have to earn $34,308 every year.

Now the challenge is that the average salary of a person with a college education is only $34,000 per year. And the average salary of a person without a college degree is only $22,000 per year. So you can see where the problem comes in. Living in today’s world is expensive if you live alone and even more expensive if you’re taking care of a baby. Living in minimal comfort requires a clear plan of action and a steady income.

Planning to have a baby is a big decision for anyone.

Not only do you have to think about whether the time is right for you, but you also have to take into account if you will be able to take care of that baby in the way they need to be cared for.

Some decisions we make in life are very easy while others take a lot more thought and soul searching. Having a baby is definitely a decision that requires us to look closely at all sides of our responsibilities. The cost of raising a child is the most important responsibility that potential parents should consider.

If you or someone you know is pregnant and overwhelmed when considering the possibilities, before you make any firm decision, please consider all your options.

Teaching Through Love Instead of Fear -by Pam Leo

Thursday, September 9th, 2010



“However we treat the child, the child will treat the world.”
– Pam Leo

Can you imagine threatening your partner or good friend by counting “One… two… three…” if he or she did not do what you wanted?

One of the big issues in schools today is “bullying.” Parents and teachers struggle daily with how to stop this behavior. Without realizing it, adults teach bullying behavior to children by modeling it when they use the threat of their physical size or power to make children do things. When I hear a parent counting “One… two” at a young child, I always wonder what the child has been told will happen if the parent gets to three. Is it the threat of a spanking, being yelled at, time out, abandonment (I’m going without you) or the withdrawal of love and approval? Whatever the threat may be, I rarely hear “three.” As intended, the threat of what will happen if the parent gets to three usually compels the child to do whatever it is the parent is telling the child to do. Parents use threats to get children to cooperate because that was what adults so often modeled when we were growing up. Most of us are familiar with the phrase “or else.” We did what we were told out of fear even if we didn’t know what the “or else” would be.

While counting may appear to be a magic form of discipline, there is no magic in threats. Children know that adults are bigger and more powerful than they are. They comply in self-defense. If the only way we can get children to do what we ask is by intimidating them with our greater physical size and power, how will we get them to do as we ask when we are no longer bigger and stronger? ” Ask the parents of any teenager if counting still works. Not only do threats no longer work, they’ve learned to use the same means to make others do what they want.

Many parents see a child’s uncooperative behavior as a challenge to their authority. Once we understand that uncooperative behavior is usually caused by a child’s unmet need or an adult’s unrealistic expectation, we don’t have to take the behavior so personally. Parents and children often have different needs. Sometimes our needs or schedules conflict with our children’s needs. Children who are deeply absorbed in play will not want to interrupt their play to go with us to the bank or the store before it closes. When a parent needs to do one thing and a child needs to do something else there is a conflict of needs. This conflict of needs turns into a power struggle when parents use the power of fear instead of the power of love. The bond or connection parents have with their children is their most powerful parenting “tool.” A strong bond is created over time when parents lovingly and consistently meet a child’s early needs. Threats communicate, “What you think, feel, want or need is not important.” Threats undermine the parent-child bond. When we learn to resolve our “conflicts of needs” in ways that show children that their needs and feelings matter, we strengthen the bond and avoid many power struggles.

The most common reason for conflict of needs between parents and children is lack of resources. If parents had more resources we wouldn’t have to bring the child to the bank or the store because there would be someone else to stay with the child. As long as there is lack of resources there will be conflicts of needs. Until we figure out how to bring more resources into our lives we have to find other ways to resolve our conflicts if we are to stop teaching children to be bullies. If we want to teach children to love instead of hate, we must learn to use conflict resolution skills in our daily interactions with children. Just as children learn bullying from what adults model, they can learn conflict resolution and problem solving skills from what we model. When children learn the skills from how we treat them at home they will bring those skills to their relationships at school.

Very young children can learn conflict resolution if we model it. An older sibling can be taught to find another toy to exchange with their younger sibling instead of just snatching their toy back. When two children want the same toy at the same time we can help them “problem solve” a solution. When there is a conflict of needs because the parent wants to do an errand and the child just wants to stay home and play we can say “let’s problem solve to see if we can find a way for us both to get what we need.” Maybe the child could take the toy in the car or perhaps the errand could wait until tomorrow. When the parent is ready to leave the playground and the child wants to stay longer we can suggest a compromise of five more minutes and doing something fun when we get home. Often it’s not that the child doesn’t want to leave as much as it is that she doesn’t want the fun to end. When we teach children that everyone’s needs are important by honoring their needs they learn to honor the needs of others.

There will be times that we won’t have the time or the resources to meet a child’s need. There will be times that even after honoring the child’s need, the child is still unable to cooperate. At those times it is important to communicate that parents have needs too and even though it makes the child unhappy we do have to go now and then allow the child to have his feeling about having to leave. It is never OK to tell a young child that you will leave without them. Threatening a child with abandonment terrifies a child. When a child has a tantrum about leaving it may not be about leaving the playground at all. Leaving may just be the last straw that unleashes the day’s accumulation of little frustrations. The child may just need to cry to empty out the stresses of the day. A child will be able to move forward much more readily when we can say “I know you’re sad and it’s OK to cry” than if we say “Stop that crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!” When the crying is done the child will usually feel better and be more able to cooperate.

When children’s needs are met and nothing is hurting them they are usually delightful to be with. Whenever a child responds negatively to a reasonable request we need to look for the conflicting need. Once we know how our needs are in conflict we can try to problem solve. I have learned to say, “When you behave that way I know something is wrong, because we love each other and people who love each other don’t treat each other this way. Can you tell me what you need or what’s hurting you?” If I can remember to stop and ask that one simple question it changes the whole context of the conflict. That question communicates, ” I love you and what you feel and need matters to me.”

Sometimes there isn’t a way for both people to get what they need. But not getting what we need is much easier to bear if we are treated in a way that allows us to keep our dignity. Counting at a child communicates, “I am bigger and more powerful than you and you’d better do as I say or I’m going to (in some way) hurt you.” When a big kid says to a smaller one, “Do what I say or I’m going to hurt you,” we call it bullying. When an adult communicates the same thing to a child by counting, we call it discipline. When we treat children in ways that take away their dignity we teach them how to take away other’s dignity. If we want kids to stop bullying, we have to stop bullying kids. The power of fear is easy and quick but short-lived. The power of love requires more work and takes longer but children never outgrow its influence.

Pam Leo
Connection Parenting
Optimal Child Development

Can Mother's and Daughter's be Bestfriends?

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Amy Chozick, How Parents Became Cool, describes the parental paradigm shift (as seen on TV) from loving but firm (think: The Brady Bunch) to best friends (think: Pretty Little Liars). We’ve all heard stories of (and some of us have witnessed up close) moms who are trying so desperately to be cool that they opt for the role of BFFs to their daughters instead of moms. It’s an easy line to cross; after all, every woman wants another friend—and moms, especially, want to connect with their teens and tweens and not be thought of as old hags. But can a mother be a daughter’s best friend?

Apropos of Mother’s Day, I asked my colleagues, Linda Perlman Gordon and Susan Morris Shaffer, authors of Too Close for Comfort: Questioning the Intimacy of Today’s Mother-Daughter Relationship (Berkley, 2009) to address that question in a guest post. Here is what Gordon and Shaffer had to say:
There is an old Chinese proverb that states “One Generation plants the trees; another gets the shade,” and this is how it should be with mothers and daughters. The intimate nature of the relationship between a mother and daughter is sometimes confusing. If close, the relationship can simulate friendship through the familiar characteristics of empathy, listening, loyalty, and caring. However, the mother/daughter relationship has unique characteristics that distinguish it from a best friendship. These characteristics include a mother’s role as primary emotional caretaker, a lack of reciprocity, and a hierarchy of responsibility. This hierarchy, combined with unconditional love, precludes mothers and daughters from being best friends.

Because the essential ingredient for friendship is equality and there is always an imbalance when one person in the twosome is the parent of the other, mothers and daughters naturally can’t be best friends. Marina, 27 years old says, “I love spending time with my mom, but I wouldn’t consider her my best friend. She’s MY MOM. Best friends don’t pay for the dress you covet in a trendy clothing store that you wouldn’t pay for yourself. Best friends don’t pay for your wedding. Best friends don’t remind you how they carried you in their body and gave you life, and sometime gas! Best friends don’t tell you how wise they are and trump your opinion because they have been alive at least 20 years longer than you. I love my mom, and I want her to remain a mom.”

This doesn’t mean that the mother/daughter relationship can’t be very close and satisfying. While some adult relationships are still troubled, many find them to be extremely rewarding. So many moms spoke to us about how happy they are to be finished with the “eye rolling” and look from their adolescent daughters, a look that says, “You must come from a different evolutionary chain than me.” Daughters also adopted the famous Mark Twain quote about aging, with some slight alterations, and their feelings about their mothers. Mark Twain said, “When I was a boy (girl) of 14, my father (mother) was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man (woman) around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man (woman) had learned in seven years.”

This generation of mothers and adult daughters has a lot in common which increases the likelihood of shared companionship. Mothers and daughters have always shared the common experience of being homemakers, responsible for maintaining and passing on family values, traditions, and rituals. Today contemporary mothers and daughters also share the experience of the workforce, technology and lack of a generation gap, which may bring them even closer together.

Best friends may or may not continue to be best friends, but for better or worse, the mother and daughter relationship is permanent, even if for some unfortunate reason they aren’t’ speaking. The mother and child relationship is, therefore, more intimate and more intense than any other. As long as that hierarchy exists, it’s not an equal relationship. Daughters should not feel responsible for their mother’s emotional well-being. Not that they don’t care deeply about their mothers, it’s just that they shouldn’t be burdened with their mother’s well being. As one mother said to her daughter, “I would gladly dive under a bus for you and there is no way that I’m diving under a bus for my friends.” Her daughter responded, “And I’d gladly let you dive under the bus to save me!”

The mother/daughter relationship is so much more comprehensive than a best friendship. It’s a relationship that is not replaceable by any other. This unique bond doesn’t mean that when daughters mature they can’t assume more responsibilities and give back to their mothers, but it’s never equal and it’s not supposed to be. Mothers never stop being mothers, which includes frequently wanting to protect their daughters and often feeling responsible for their happiness. Mother always “trumps” friend.

How you can support your pregnant teen

Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

One of the debates currently taking place in many states is over the right of a minor child to have an abortion without parental consent. One of the arguments that some people make for this proposition is that teens may not feel safe telling their parents that they are pregnant, for fear of being ostracized from the family, told to leave their home or worse. This is a fear that as a society, we should try our best to eliminate, so that parents will always have the opportunity to know what is happening in their child’s life, and to be involved. Although no parent wants their teen child to become pregnant, sometimes in spite of the best discussions about abstinence and prevention, it can happen. How can you make your teen feel safe telling you about the situation that she is in?


Always keep open communication between you and your teenage girl. Let her know that no matter what may happen in her life, that you will always love her. This is not condoning extramarital sexual behavior, as you can certainly express that you would feel very disappointed if she were to end up pregnant at such a young age, and that you would not want either her or a child to experience the consequences of teenage parenthood. How can you handle the situation, however, if an unplanned teenage pregnancy does occur?

Your first thoughts and actions should be centered on the welfare of your child, and for the well-being of her unborn child, rather than worrying about what friends and acquaintances may think. Although many people put on very respectable fronts, it is the rare family who has not experienced a crisis of some sort or another, and people may be more understanding than you expect, especially if you do not act defensively. While you are certainly free to express your disappointment with your daughter’s choices, and probably should, your daughter needs your support at this time more than any other time in her life.

Try to determine what factors led to the situation. Is she involved with a long-term boyfriend and birth control failed? In this case, it would be appropriate to discuss what the role of the father will be in the care and upbringing of the child, as well as his continuing role in your daughter’s life. The father should also be prepared to discuss the situation with his parents. Both families should be able to get together and discuss the future of the unborn child.

What if the father is not someone who she is attached to? She may feel embarrassment at her predicament, and not want to notify the father of the child, or she may have already done so, and been rebuffed, which can be emotionally devastating. In this case, you will want to have a discussion with her about why she chose to engage in promiscuous behavior, and try to get at the root of why she has been acting out sexually, particularly if she is very young. A good therapist’s support can be valuable at this time. Regardless of her attachment to the father, and his interest or lack thereof, you must advocate for her to receive the child support that she and the child are entitled to. This may entail having an awkward conversation with the father’s parents, but remember that you are your child’s best advocate.

Talk to your teen about the options that you feel may be appropriate, such as adoption, abortion or keeping the baby. Many teens will want to keep the baby, and with support from the father, this is a viable option. Of course you will need to serve as a source of support for both your daughter and her baby. Try to resist the urge to insist upon your daughter having an abortion if she is against it. A perceived forced abortion can leave psychological scars and feelings of lasting guilt and helplessness. You may want to meet with different adoption agencies to see if this would be a good option for your family. If your family is against adoption, remember that it can be very damaging for a child to be raised by a mother who does not want that child. Likewise, forcing your child to raise her child if she is not prepared can also be a mistake. While you may naturally feel feelings akin to “you made your bed, now lie in it,” bear in mind that the unborn child will be the one lying in that hypothetical bed as well. Remember, as young as she is, she made the choice to engage in premarital sex, and she should have a voice in what happens after this point.  Don’t forget, you initially chose to have a child yourself. You have created a family. This ne unborn child is your family as well!

It is good to have a discussion about how the pregnancy will affect the family, and sacrifices that will need to be made. Before she makes a choice about the pregnancy, she needs to know the facts about what is involved in raising a child, both emotionally and financially. Does she want to stay in contact with the father? If he is an older man, and your daughter is young, you may want to look into filing statutory rape charges. Each situation is unique, and it will take every ounce of your support to see her through this situation and make sure that she is safe.

It is a good idea to take your daughter to the ob/gyn immediately for a prenatal check-up and general exam. It is important to make sure that she has not contracted any venereal diseases that could harm her fetus. If the pregnancy is a result of acting-out behavior, you may also want to request that a drug screen be done. In most cases, your child’s insurance should cover pregnancy as well, so the out of pocket expenses will be minimal. If you do not have insurance, check with Planned Parenthood, as they will be able to give you the appropriate referrals for adequate prenatal care.

Once you and your daughter have agreed upon a course of action, do not continue to express disappoint and anger towards her. It will make a situation that is already difficult unbearable for her. If you are having difficulty with your feelings of frustration and disappointment, which are perfectly normal, it is a good idea to talk regularly with a friend, or perhaps enlist the aid of a counselor.

You will want to be there for your daughter every step of the way, regardless of which course of action she decides to take with your guidance. You are a family, and strong families get through difficult times together. If your daughter decides to keep her baby, try to see the child as a blessing. This shift in attitude can make a big difference towards improving the emotional atmosphere in your home. Keep the lines of communication open at all times, while making it clear what her responsibilities will be. When parents are supportive during difficult times, as a society, we are able to keep difficult familial decisions out of the hands of the courts, and in the hands of the family, where they almost always belong.

— written by Michelle Gaut