Annie Fox's Blog...

Thoughts about teens, tweens, parenting and this adventure of living on Earth in the 21st century.

Annie Fox, M.Ed., is an internationally respected parenting expert, award-winning author, and a trusted online adviser for tweens and teens.

Before the truth gets drowned out and dies

December 19, 2016

I often ask parents, “What kind of people do you want your kids to grow up to be?” “Honest” is always in the top five. We don’t want our kids peddling lies and deception (not in relation to us or their teachers or their friends). Being honest is a good thing. Yeah. Glad we all agree.

But we parents have a problem. The President-elect regularly lies loudly and proudly with impunity. Face it, he won the Presidency of the United States of America, in part, by spouting crappola like “Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton are co-founders of ISIS.” And “Climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese.” And “Hillary Clinton started the Birther Movement and I stopped it.” Since Election Day he’s continued with baseless claims like: “There was ‘serious voter fraud’ in California.” and…. never mind.

If you’re not outraged you haven’t been paying attention. But you have. I know you have. But too many folks gobble up any and all of what He says. No questions asked. Seriously?

We have veered off the trail. Maybe you wanted change. Maybe you’re cool with the fact that the truth as we know it has been left behind. Doesn’t matter if we’re cool with it or not. The truth is, all of us are now being led by a person who either doesn’t know the difference between fact and fiction or cynically lies for self-aggrandizement as well as the perverse rush he gets in sowing seeds of discord to solidify his Rule by Fear.

I miss Obama already. And Michelle. And Joe Biden.

Wonder what Obama thinks of all this. Ira Glass and the team at This American Life wondered, too. They asked singer/songwriter Sara Bareillis to imagine what President Obama might be thinking about the election and Trump but can’t say publicly. Leslie Odom, Jr (Tony Award-winning actor for his role as Aaron Burr in the musical Hamilton). performs the song (with lyrics displayed) It blows me away every time I watch and listen. I try to remain hopeful. It’s hard. But we’ve got to work on it. And stay politically active. Seriously.

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Kid Power: How much is too much?

January 26, 2014

Delicious food or cruelty on a plate?

Delicious food or cruelty on a plate?

The prologue of the January 17th episode of This American Life (Stuck in the Middle) grabbed me in such profound ways that I haven’t stopped thinking about Elias, the 7 year old’s whose love for animals and  compassion for their suffering led him to the logical conclusion that eating meat is wrong. His parents, who reportedly “never ate much meat to begin with” supported their son’s values by becoming a vegetarian household. All good. And healthy too. The challenge for this family and for Mom in particular, was the ongoing battle between her Animal Lover son (who cried with real anguish when he thought about people eating meat, especially lamb) and her younger Meat Lover son (who lived for pizza day at school when he was free to pile on the pepperoni.)  Without getting into  details, Mom walked a fine line in which she tried to a) make peace between her two sons,  b) help her younger son appreciate his older brother’s feelings about the importance of not eating meat and c) help her older son to recognize that it’s not his “job” to dictate to his brother what he can and can not eat.

I’ve been recalling families I’ve know over the years whose kids seemed to usurp control over parents and/or siblings. One boy made such a fuss whenever he lost a board game, card game or video game, his Dad made sure the kid always won. Yes, Dad was educated and at least peripherally aware that he was helping to raise an entitled kid who would unrealistically expect to always win at everything, but hey, the kid was volatile, so Dad did whatever he could to avoid the storms. Same with the Mom of the girl who so loved candy, chips and soda that she’d blow up at the supermarket if Mom refused to buy them. You’d better believe that Mom quickly reconsidered her initial response.

I’m guessing you also know kids and parents who lean in this direction.

I’m not saying the kid from This American Life was consciously being manipulative. I don’t believe he was. If you listen to his voice you won’t doubt that he has a hero’s heart filled with kindness and the desire to protect the most vulnerable creatures. And yet, there is something to be said about empowering your child to believe that they have the power to control other people’s behavior. They believe it most often when we show them they can control us.

How do you personally walk the line between empowering your child and allow that child to impose his or her will on the family?

 

Filed under: Parenting — Tags: , , , , — Annie @ 2:04 pm
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