by Stephanie Partridge

Technology is the proverbial dual edged sword.  On the one hand, it makes our lives so much easier by connecting us with information from a variety of places without requiring us to leave our homes.  It connects us with people who are across the world and makes communication almost instantaneous.  On the other hand, it separates us from other humans and we can easily find ourselves isolated from real life human contact.  It can promote a sedentary lifestyle and even take the place of books.  But there are hidden dangers to extended computer use that most parents aren't even aware of and it is impacting their own children and teenagers.

Recent statistics, coming from several different studies, show teens are spending anywhere from 11 hours a month online to 33 hours a month.  Social networks have overtaken email by just a hair, while texting is a preferred mode of communication.  Bottom line, teens are spending a lot of time on the computer and this concerns Dr. Jennifer Austin Leigh, or "Dr. Jenn."

Dr. Jenn is the founder and CEO of Honor the Gril LLC, an organization that is designed to teach compassionate parenting skills to mothers, enabling them to be more effective in raising their daughters.  With a doctorate in psychology and mother of four, Dr. Jenn has a private practice in New York and has authored several books aimed at helping teen girls navigate the often confusing, scary waters of boys, relationships and growing up.  Her website, http://www.parentingteengirls.com, offers practical, sound advice to both parents and teens.  One of her greatest concerns is the amount of time teens are spending on the computer – and the impact that it is having on them.

"There are both good and bad found in the use of social networking sites, "says Dr. Jenn.  "The harm I am most concerned about is the 'dehumanizing' of people and the negative effects that it seems to be having on face to face relationships."READ More on The Computer and the Teen Brain: Just What is the Impact?

Filed under Parenting, Teenagers by  #

Parenting Expert Dr. Michele Borba

Parenting Expert Dr. Michele Borba

by Jennifer Shakeel

I have said before that one of the perks of my job is that I get to talk to some interesting and incredible people. Dr. Michele Borba is no exception to this rule. I was fortunate enough to be able to get some quality time with her while she was in Denver, Co for the day, in the midst of multiple television and radio interviews and her regular spot on the Today Show. Our time together was brief so I wanted to get straight to the point.

We were discussing her newest book, "The Big Book of Parenting Solutions." The first thing that caught my eye was that she claims this is the only book you will need to deal with any issue your child between the ages of 3 and 14 will have. My first question is always why this?

Q: What made you decide to become a child rearing expert, because that is what you are really?

A: I wouldn't say that I set out to be a child rearing expert. I have a very sincere love for children and I would say that I have been fortunate enough to have many experiences that naturally lead me to where I am today. I have worked with a lot of children and parents to help them overcome the issues that they were having combined with my own parenting issues and talents. I started writing books while I was in private practice. Those books where inspired by questions that parents I was working with had asked me how they could help their children.

Q: Why is the book dedicated to the age group 3-13?

A: I dedicated this book to that age group because that seems to be the forgotten time. There are thousands of books out about babies and there are equally as many dedicated to dealing with teenagers. There are very few that focus on the in-between years, and these are the formative years. Between the ages of 3 and 13 this is the time when children form their behaviors for life, what they consider to be right and wrong, ethics and all of their values. It is at the age of 3 that the conscience sets in, yet this is we as parents start to step back because of all the effort put into the baby time, we are parents tend to start thinking about the teenage years. This age, from 3 to 13 this when our kids are listening to us. After 13, it isn't that they don't listen… but we have to try harder the older they get.

Q: My husband says the same thing all the time. For parents that have children older than 3 but younger than 13 is it too late for them to get your book and use it now?

A: Absolutely not! While it is always better to start when they are young, it is never too late to start. You can get the book today and start using it today. I have broken the book up into sections to pinpoint what issue you need help with. You don't have to read the book cover to cover before it will help.READ More on Parenting Expert Dr. Michele Borba – A Moment in Time

Filed under Parenting by  #

Brother helping his Little Sister Opening Her Xmas Presents

Brother helping his Little Sister Opening Her Xmas Presents

With Christmas 2009 gone and past many people were doing some last minute shopping scrambling around frantically trying to purchase gifts for the kids. Of course, you want to buy them something they'll enjoy. After all, there's nothing quite like that gleam in their eyes on Christmas morning when they receive something really special from you. Whether you have a baby, toddlers, kindergarteners or even pre-teens, there are plenty of hot toys out there for you to choose from this year. Here's a look at what many people bought and at some of the best selling toys for 2009.

Top Toys for Babies

Sometimes shopping for a baby is a bit difficult. Usually it's best to look for toys that they'll enjoy and toys that will help them learn and develop. Here are a couple of the hottest baby toys and gifts in 2009.READ More on Hot Christmas Toys for 2009

Filed under Christmas, Holidays, Toys by  #

by Jennifer Shakeel

twinsTeaching your children good values and integrity is one of the gifts that you can give them that they will keep for the rest of their lives. Integrity is something that never goes out of style, although it can sometimes seem like the world can be lacking in it. By teaching your children integrity, you will not only be making their lives better, but you will be improving the life of everybody who comes in contact with your child, both now and in the future. There are some tips you can follow to help teach a child how to live their life with integrity.

Encourage Truthfulness

Being truthful and honest at all times is an important part of integrity. You can help your child learn to tell the truth by making sure that you always make them feel comfortable sharing the truth with you. When you are instantly ready to criticize or punish when a child shares something with you that they did wrong, you are just encouraging them to either lie about things in the future, or stop telling you things altogether. Instead, you should always be sure that your children feel comfortable telling your things, even things that they know you will not want to hear.

Set a Good Example

One of the best ways of teaching your child about integrity is to model it yourself. If you tell your child you are going to do something, always strive to keep your word. Don't let your child catch you being rude to other people, or engaging in dishonest behavior. Keep your temper under control, and never use insults or degrading comments when talking to your spouse, your children or anybody else for that matter. Children often learn more from what their parents do than what they say, so make sure that when your child watches you, they are observing the same type of integrity that you would like them to learn.READ More on Parenting Tips for Teaching Children Integrity

Filed under Parenting Tips by  #

Santa Baby 2: Santa Claus is Paul Sorvino, Mary Class is played by Jenny McCarthy and Luke Jessup is played by Dean McDermott

Santa Baby 2: Santa Claus is Paul Sorvino, Mary Class is played by Jenny McCarthy and Luke Jessup is played by Dean McDermott

Christmas is just around the corner and it's a special time of year to enjoy some time with the kids. If you're looking for great family Christmas movies that you can enjoy with the whole family, you won't want to miss out on the premiere of Santa Baby 2, on December 13th, 2009. It will be showing on ABC Family as a part of their 25 Days of Christmas special television event this year.

Santa Baby 2 happens to be the sequel to the original Santa Baby that was shown by ABC in 2006. Back reprising the roles they played in the past are Lynne Griffin, Gabe Khouth, Jenny McCarthy, and Richard Side. Here's a closer look at this movie and what you can expect.

Santa Baby 2 – The Story Line

The story is about the daughter of Santa, Mary Class, who is all about business. In Santa Baby 2, she's trying to help save this Christmas. Her father, Santa, is going through a late in life crisis. He's sick of all the responsibilities that come along with the job and he wants to pass on the job to Mary, who is torn against running her own firm in New York and the family Christmas business. She's also trying to balance the man she loves, Luke. The whole situation gets even worse when a new arrival, Teri, shows up at the North Pole and tries to take over Christmas, sowing dissention all the way.

Who's Who in the MovieREAD More on Santa Baby 2 – Enjoy a Night of Family Fun

Filed under Family, News by  #

by Stephanie Partridge

Letting go can be very hard to do but, very important in developing your teens independence

Letting go can be very hard to do, but very important in developing your teens independence

What should your teen know about being independent? How do we, as parents, know when it is time for our offspring to leave the nest?  And at what point should we push them out of the nest?  This dilemma has been plaguing parents for ages.   But the bigger question is how do we prepare our children for independence?  If you have seen the comedy, "Failure to Launch," about an adult man who still lives with him parents, you may have chuckled a few times, but in the back of your mind you were probably thinking, "That could be me!"

The confusing thing about this is that if you ask ten different parents you will get ten different answers.  When it comes to raising kids, parents tend to have strong opinions.

The adult child in the movie was equipped for the "real world," but had little motivation to "launch."  His parents made his world cushy and he had no motivation to leave the nest.  As parents, it is instinctual to try to do things to make our children's lives easier.  We want them to be happy and we don't want them to experience discomfort or pain.

Unfortunately, life isn't so kind – and we won't always be around to shield them from the harshness of reality.READ More on Parenting: Preparing Our Children For Independence

Filed under Parenting by  #

by Jennifer Shakeel

Runaway Teen - Homeless and Scared

Runaway Teen - Homeless and Scared

Right now there are anywhere from 1.3 to 2.8 million runaway and homeless children on the streets in this country. The next time you are in a room with your children and their friends I want you to consider this somber statistics… 1 out of every 7 children will run away from home before they turn 18. Will your child be one of them? Will it be your child's best friend? More importantly, do you know why children run away from home?

First I am going to tell you my own story. When I was 17 years old, I ran away from home… determined never to go back. I wasn't a bad kid… actually if you ask my parents I was the perfect kid. I didn't get into trouble, I followed the rules, I got good grades, didn't party… to other kids my age, I was boring. To all onlookers from the outside, we were the perfect happy family. So why did I run?

Now I could go into the entire story here as to what lead up to me leaving… but this isn't the place for that. The night that I left was close to the end of the school year. My father was home, he had been drinking… and he and I got into an argument. You need to know that he had recently moved back in after leaving my mother for another woman in another state because he "just had to know" if he was meant to be with this other woman. My parents had been married at that point for 18 years. Today I don't even remember what the fight was about, all I remember is him jumping over the kitchen counter coming after me, he grabbed me by the throat and swung me over a dining room chair… when my mother got him to let go of me… I got up and ran out the door.READ More on Runaways – Why Do Kids Run?

Filed under Parenting by  #