Based on statistics 1 of my children

I am a mom of 6 VERY different kiddos and a unique son in law was added in the mix last year. My growing family fricking rocks, perfect hell NO, but awesome? hell YES! I LOVE IT and look forward to what the future holds for each 1. Seeing them all grow and change as they walk, and sometimes run thru these years is priceless. Ups and downs? Yes, of course! Adventure? Absolutely!

Now the not so pretty truth… Based on statistics chances are at least 1 of my kids will never have kids, 1 may have lots of kids, 1 may marry someone of a different race, 1 may be gay, 1 may end up a teen parent, 1 may become a drug addict, 1 may become a felon, 1 may drop out of school (high or college), 1 may get on food stamps, 1 may be fat, 1 may change their religion 5 times or choose to not believe in a higher power at all, and the list goes on, these are just a few things that some people in today’s world look down upon and choose to judge others over. I am not saying that I have never judged someone, we all have, everyone judges, period. But I have chosen to be more aware of how my comments, reactions, and the look I give people can affect how they feel about themselves. I have chosen to accept. Accept that even if I do not agree or like what someone else is doing that it is not my place to “make them feel bad about it”, especially not as a parent.

“It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.” ― Billy Graham

When it comes to my own kids, and I speak for MYSELF here, it is my job to raise them with love, security, nurture, faith, comfort, rules, guidance, respect, focus, limits, structure, consequences, routines, traditions, expectations, and so so so much more. As a mom of many I choose to be very open minded, maybe it is easier for me than others to make that choice, I don’t know. But what I do know is that our youth are suffering and it is heart breaking! Over just the last 2 weeks I have spoke with 3 teens (and many more over months & years) that are going thru stuff  that they can’t share at home or with their families or that have tried and have been judged and called a sinner etc. How do you think they feel right now? What kinds of things are they thinking? Life is hard on adults, imagine how hard it is on our youth… I am not saying that I am a better parent then anyone else but 1 thing I am without a doubt is understanding. I understand my kids will make mistakes, and will make choices I will not approve of (but WILL love them thru it), will fall on their faces, will sneak behind my back and break rules, will be people others will judge, will judge people themselves, and will do their best to find their way in this harsh crazy world we all live in, I did these things, we all did at some point.

Lord please help me to be the mom my kids and other kids can come to and openly talk to and trust, help me be a person who can show them they are loved and important and that THEIR feelings matter if they don’t have that at home or in their circle of people, help me to try not to “understand” what they are going thru but to be the listening ear and the loving hug that they need when they have made a choice that is out of the “normal” for the world, help me help others to open their hearts to our youth and to love them unconditionally.  My heart is breaking for so many young people that don’t have love and acceptance, especially by the people they love and cherish. I know there are things that my kids have not told me and may have been more comfortable telling other people or each other (their “sister code”) but as long as they are able to talk to a person they trust about whatever it is then it puts my heart at peace, yes I want them to be able to tell me anything, of course, but I also know my teens and how it is hard for teens including mine to tell their parent(s) things when they think they may have “let them down”.

I, over time, have asked my teens, sometimes in a round about way, how they would expect me to react and/or want me to react to different situations in life as they come or how they would react if someone they love were faced with trails. Love and acceptance goes a along way… Yes folks, their opinion matters! Doesn’t mean I will do it their way but their opinion how they would come out of a situation in the most positive way matters. I have not personally dealt with all of these situations listed but know people who have and asked for their feedback as to how they did or wish they had handled it. To name a few…

If your child comes home this evening and tells you that he/she is gay, LOVE THEM, ACCEPT THEM, and be their trusted guide thru this new journey in their life! Do you have to like it!? No but they are your child and after all, God made them just the way they are 🙂 They will be bullied and judged enough during this journey, be the support they are longing for. Will it be hard for you to hear? Possibly, but imagine how hard it was for them to tell you and how scared they were but trusted their guide to talk to you shaking inside hoping that you will just pull them in and hug them tight and tell them you love them just they way they are.

If your child comes home this evening and tells you that he/she is using drugs and needs help, HELP THEM, ACCEPT THEM, LOVE THEM,  and be the trusted guide to get them thru this oh so heavy battle. God has given each of you the strength to walk this walk and get thru this and onto a path of sobriety. Easy? No Worth the struggle? YES!

If your child comes home tonight and tells you that they have been sexually abused, BELIEVE THEM, LOVE THEM, ACCEPT THEM, CHOOSE THEM, NOT the abuser (NO matter how much you “love and trust” him or her!) and be their trusted guide to healing and trusting that God has not punished by “allowing” this to happen to them but has equipped them to help others and to grow from their experience. Help them see this and truly believe it. Some of us have been there and know how easy it is to blame things that happen on our lives on our past, help them to grow away from doing that. Help them to build their happiness, security and safety higher than ever so they can reach others with their strength. Sadly a lot of times the abuser is believed and chosen over the children, the victims, this my friends will forever damage the child, their world, their hearts & souls, their trust, their bond with you as their parent and who knows what else. God trusted you to raise and love your child, choose them.

If you find drugs or cigarettes or porn in your childs room, LOVE THEM, TALK TO THEM (maybe yell a little hehe), ACCEPT THEM, try to understand that this could be an addiction and they may be silently screaming for help. God has equipped you both with a way to break this cycle and to heal from addiction and to get to a brighter path. You can do this together, but addiction alone is a harsh and scary thing. Don’t turn your back on them. Right now is when they need you the most.

If your teen comes home today and tells you she is pregnant or he got someone pregnant, LOVE THEM, TALK TO THEM, ACCEPT THEM and face what has happened together. You, at this point, can’t change what has been done. All you can do is join together and discuss what the next steps are. They will be scared and nervous and so unsure of what will happen to their future. Assure them they are not alone. Is it okay this happened? Of course not, but it did and now the should’ve would’ve could’ve crap has no meaning. God equipped you all with the patience, strength and faith to walk this path so get to stepping and have faith it is all a part of the “bigger plan”.

If your child is caught stealing and you get that dreaded call from the police or family member they stole from, LOVE THEM, ACCEPT THEM, HELP THEM, be the person that can and will teach them it is wrong and that they will have to face the consequences that come with breaking the law. God has given you the patience and strength to love them thru bad situations and when they make mistakes.

Our kids are going to f**k up folks! We all have, we all still will! We are all only human and often times we forget that our youth deserves the same 2nd, 3rd, 18th, 21973268th chance with us as parents as our maker gives us! I will say it again, NO I am not a perfect parent and NO I am not telling anyone how to parent I am simply stating how we as parents can change our future our youth with loving them thru the crap in this world. They are NOT “just kids or just teens or just children” they are people, people with REAL feelings, heart, emotions and souls who are fueled by and need love, care and support from us adults.

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Mama Bear Plus 6

When tragedy strikes

What do you tell your children when a tragedy strikes in our world?

How do you respond when tragedy hits?

Do you let them watch the news coverage?

Have you ever considered going to help where the help is needed?

We live in a world where bad things happen. Period. We can try our best to keep our kids from hearing about it, if that is your choice but if they are in public school it is impossible to do so. And my thoughts are that I would rather my younger children hear about this stuff from me and/or at home where I can explain and well… kinda sugar coat it and make them feel safe. It is hard to explain to a young child that some people are sick and need help and if they don’t get it then they do bad things or that there may be times when someone is so hurt and sad and that they don’t have anyone to help them feel or get better and they make choices that are unsafe and hurts others or how Mother Nature is not able to be controlled and sometimes she brings big bad storms to different areas. I explain that we will do all we can to stay safe at home and at stores etc and that teachers and school staff are trained to keep them safe from bad people while they are at school. I explain that yes it bad when bad storms it places and take people’s homes and businesses but that we have to see beyond that and see how wonderful it is that people all work together and build relationships and new towns and homes and it is all fresh and new and with it comes many new friendships. Not sure my answers are the best and not sure how other parents answer these questions or concerns but it keeps my kiddos concern for themselves and others at a minimum and we all know that they should not have to worry about the big bad world as children, they will have enough of that when they grow up.

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Honestly it tears my heart up when I hear bad news, duh, doesn’t it hurt everyone!? I am pretty good at not freaking out too bad when I hear of crap on the news or radio in front of the kids but do express my sadness & concern, after all they need to see how we adults handle tragedy so they know they can go thru the emotions as well and will get thru it. Eyes are always on us parents. Yes even in our weakest moments…

We are not big TV watchers in our house and surely do not watch the news very often at all. When needed, I do allow them to watch the news. And I am right there while they watch it and explain what is going on and the updates etc. When something bad has happened I do not allow them to watch the coverage over and over and not after the 1st day. I feel as a small child sees the news coverage it will scare them and make them nervous as it is no matter how much I tell them they are safe and if they keep watching it their little minds may think that it is happening over and over as they may not understand that it is recorded and is just being replayed and oh how SO scary that would be for a little 1.

1 day as we are watching some severe storm coverage and how the towns had been leveled my 7 year old daughter is watching the coverage with me and say “Mommy who is helping them? Who can help them if their cars and tools are all gone in the storm?” I explained that people from all over go and help. I tell her America pulls together and people fly and drive there from all over the US and help them pick up the pieces, hug them when needed, get them to shelter, help them rebuild etc. And she says “Well we have a big family and we could help a lot if we all go there.” She had a great point and what a HUGE blessing that would be to be able to go and help others when help is needed. What an impact that would have on our whole family to truly be able to help out where help is needed and to be able to touch someone else’s life. So on the list of things we NEED to & will do it goes.

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P. S. These are just my thoughts and the way I handle these things and life with my kids. It may not be “right” or “wrong” but it is what works for us. I would LOVE to hear how others handle these types of things! Please share your thoughts!

 Mama Bear Plus 6

Our kids with social media, apps and sexting, oh my!

Every parent says it won’t happen to them or their child. I am here to tell you that you & your child are not excluded from the negative  social media/apps and sexting world. If you have kids of any age, please take a moment to read this and to open your mind up about what is out there at our children’s fingertips, and this is only a small portion of it!

I am a mama of 6. I have said “I have been there done that, it will not happen to my kids I keep an eye on all their activity, I know who they are friends with. I check their phones and FB accounts” and the list goes on. I can tell you that I was not prepared for what I did find out when I dug a little deeper about what my kids were really up too! Always trust that mama instinct! From that point on I want to inform all parents! I want to shout it across the mountain tops! Let’s keep our children’s innocence as long as we can folks!

Remember MySpace!? Was it just me or did it seem like technology was amazing but semi innocent back then compared to now!? I had 1, my older 3 daughters had 1 and it never seemed like it was problematic with negative stuff. But now a whole new world is upon us and we as parents are just trying to stay caught up with it all…

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So I will break down what I know about social media/apps and sexting. I will also include what teenagers from several age groups have to say about each app. Some opinions are from my children and some from some other teens I have talked to. Reminder: These are all just our views on these types of things. They will NOT be the same for every person or family. Take what you want and leave the rest.

Let’s start with FB… Wow what a great thing this is for some people! I have found friends from high school, long lost family members and have connected with some pretty amazing people, like all of you, after all you most likely clicked on my blog link that is somehow connected to FB. It has been a great tool in so many cases. Sadly FB is not such a positive place for everyone, especially the little people. The amount of lies, harassment, bullying, negative drama and straight up ugliness that FB is used for in the teen world is shocking! No not all of it is horrible but it is a great place to get caught up in it all. This is where us parents need to step in. Always have your child’s password, always. Check their messages often, do keep in mind that they will delete the 1s they do not want you to see. If you feel like there is missing info in a message conversation it is probably due to some of the message being deleted. Ask questions, check out their FB friends list. I often look at ages and what some of the people are up to and if I don’t like what I see I delete them for them while I am on their FB. There are rules, new rules due to me finding stuff I did NOT like a few months back when I happened to dig up some disturbing info, like lies and fake pics, and not so positive stuff. FB deleted for 4 months and new 1 was allowed to be created recently with new rules. Break them, FB gone till you move out! These are our children, we are the parents they need to protect them from all we can as long as we can. Rules, only add people you know, no guys over 18, do NOT erase messages, know I will be on it daily and sometimes several times a day, and anything else I can think of as I go along in this world of parenting.

Teens say: “FB is really cool, it helps us stay in touch with people from other states as friends have moved, it is also a great place to share pics of our lives. We like it to be able to “spy” on each other and see what our enemies are doing as well. We are friends with people on there that we are not true friends with just to be nosy about what goes on in their life. (hey at least they were being honest!) FB can be really bad. I have had friends that were bullied so bad on there. I have had friends want to kill themselves over things someone else posted about them.”

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Now onto Twitter. I use my Twitter account for my fan/blog page and that’s it. Some people I know live by Tweeting, to each is own! My kids have 1 and I check it often but there is not too much that goes on in that part of the world in this family. Although I do keep in mind that that can change at any moment so my guard stays up.

Teen says: “I don’t use Twitter. I have made several accounts and say I will start to tweet but don’t. I like it to update my every single thing I do everyday, hey some people want to know this stuff. I use it to retweet things I like.”

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Any of you heard of Tumblr? I will explain it as a teens type of blog kinda thing. People follow each other and they post and re-post pics, videos and stuff from each other or the internet. As with anything else, there is good and bad stuff about it. The good, there is some pretty neat stuff that people from all over the world share, some positive upbeat stuff that I would even “re-blog” if I was into that sort of thing. And then the bad… You cannot control what the people you or your child follow posts. There is a lot of sex on there, I mean a lot. And there is no way, at least that I have found, to edit it out or block every sex posts, pic or video unless you just delete the Tumblr. Soo my talk with my kids, if you see something that is inappropriate, unfollow that person, if I am on your account and I see something I don’t like I will unfollow them for you, you are welcome! If it keeps up, Tumblr goes bye bye.

Teens say: “Tumblr is great. I don’t talk to anyone on there but I love all the stuff I can repost that means a lot to me. I love all the gay rights support they post on there that teaches people to love everyone. I love all the great pics from all over the world, it lets me see places I may never see in person.”

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Oh lil ol Instagram. I love the app, I use it often, I follow a few people and so on. For teens it isn’t too bad. There are no rules and people can post what they want. If your child follow those type of people that posts pics of drugs, boobs, sex etc then they will see it in their feed. Again, UNFOLOW those types of people! The good, there is not much bullying or harassing on there, at least not for my kids, yet.

Teens say: “I love Instagram. I love the filters I can use. I am not sure why they started allowing videos but it is cool I guess. I like being able to use hashtags since I don’t use them on Twitter. My cat has his own Instagram”

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And then there is Snapchat… Aww that cute lil ghost figure. That must be a cute lil app. NOT! Being able to send pictures to people of any and everything you want and they can only view it for 3-10 seconds for it never to be seen again, or so you think. Now people are screen shotting your Snapchats and lots of boob and other area pics are floating around the internet, oopsie! No parents, just no.

Teens say: “Oh Snapchat, you mean Sexchat. Funner than texting but gets out of hand very quickly. Fun when you make funny faces with friends. I don’t use it, my parents said no way when they took my phone and opened a not so great Snapchat from a friend.”

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Vine. I use Vine, it is a cute and easy way to upload my kids silliness without losing all my FB friends and family from bombarding my wall with them hehe. Again with this app, it is all about who you follow. And for kids without a smart phone and access to this app, Vine is everywhere! And there are some “not so good for our kids viewing” Vines. All you can do is beware of what your child is viewing as best you can.

Teens say: “Vine is so awesome. I have seen so many great Vines. I am addicted to watching Vines and yes I have seen some Xrated stuff but I just move on. I follow lots of people on Vine and sometimes even the best people post sex Vines. I don’t know what the hype is, I think Vine is so dumb.”

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Now these are the only apps that I am familiar with and that majority of teens including mine use. There are SO many more! I beg of you to please please share with all of us your experience with these or any other apps that you know about and what you have seen with each 1.

Last but not least…Sexting. UGH UGH UGH! This is sooooo awful in this day and age. It can be as simple as :You have a nice butt” to very aggressive sexting and can and most likely will get out of hand very quickly. If your child has a regular phone you can check their messages often, check who they are calling and texting (may or may not do you any good to “prevent” this) and make sure you talk openly with them about what is acceptable behavior and what isn’t. Now if you child has a smart phone, this can be good and bad. They are open to a whole world of apps and “stuff”, Ipods allow this too with NO way form you to monitor it, just an FYI on that 1! Verizon has the neatest “Family Base” addition that you can add to your lines and have access to it all! I love that idea, until they turn 18 of course! If you have Verizon look it up and if not then check with your provider to see what child safety options they offer and get them! The texting allows kids to be people that they are not and sadly these days kids want to be someone else and better than this person or that so the lies that accumulate is unreal. Keep a close eye parents, our kids are worth it 🙂

Teens say: “Oh sexting, yes I guess you can call it that. Sexting, hmm is that what they call it these days? Yes my boyfriend and I do it, we are not allowed to spend lots of time together so we have intimate conversations via phone or text. Hey at least it is safer than having sex. It has gotten out of hand for me before and it scared me.”

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P.S. Please share any comments, info, advice, etc that you have on this topic or 1 related to it! We can all use resources and info to help keep all our children safe! Also too, Pin, share and tell your friends about this and other blogs and info! Sharing is caring 🙂

Mama Bear Plus 6