Very proud mom with her sonParenting is all about communication. We are generally aware of what we say to our teens. We try to be positive, not use negative language, try to speak clearly so that there is no question about what you are trying to communicate to them. But did you ever think about what you don't say to your teen? Are there things that you aren't saying to your teen that they want or need to hear? "What do you wish your parents would say to you?"  This was the provocative question posed on a recent website I visited: Words are Powerful: The Love Project.

The answers ranged from simple to complex, from funny to heartbreaking, but through it all, a pattern emerged. There are some consistent things that children not only want, but need to hear from their parents. Words are powerful, but the words we don't say can be just as powerful. Just because you think it does not mean that your child automatically knows it or doesn't need to hear it.

Have you said these ten things to your child recently?

1) I love you!

Of course you love your child, no doubt about it, but when was the last time you actually said it? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we are doing in our jobs, in our personal lives, in our relationships that we forget to say the obvious but important things. Don't take it for granted that your child knows that you love him or her. Say it. Sometimes they just need to hear the words.

2) I am proud of you.

There are things about your child that make you proud. Maybe they have a gentle, giving heart or maybe they have an exceptional artistic ability. Find at least one thing in your child that you are proud of and let them know about it. When you talk about your child to others, what do you say? What elements about him or her do you mention, even brag about to others? If you find that you are only seeing the negative, then it is a good time to find something positive, something good. Then let them know about it. You might be surprised in the attitude change that a simple "I am proud of you" can bring.

3) I support you in the things you want to do in your life.

Your teen is not you. They have different likes and dislikes, they have different interests. To many teens, the feeling that they are not recognized as individuals is very real – and very frustrating. Maybe they grew up in a family of lawyers, but they want to be a writer. Maybe they feel drawn to a different religion or lifestyle. Maybe they grew up in a large family with lots of kids, but have chosen to only have one or two children when they "grow up" and start a family. Whatever the differences are, there is usually at least some anxiety involved when they tell you about it. As a loving, supportive parent, just saying "I support you in the things you want to do in your life" can make all the difference.READ More on Ten Things your Teen would like to Hear you say to Them

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childrens charities - helping kids - Love without Boundaries Interview by Jennifer Shakeel

One of the most heartbreaking things for me is seeing a child that is hurting, lonely and sick. If I could I would adopt every child that did not have a parent, because I believe that every child deserves to have a mom and a dad, a family to call their own. I realize that I am not alone in this feeling, there are many people out there that when they see a helpless child want to reach out and do something, they  just don't know how to go about it.

Recently I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Karen Maunu. Karen is the Associate Executive Director of Love Without Boundaries and before I go into what we talked about, I really want you to understand why this organization and this woman are incredible.

Love Without Boundaries is a organization that is comprised of people from all over the world working towards one common goal, to improve the lives of orphaned and impoverished children in China. You may wonder why China, consider this fact. Each and every year there are 17 million registered births in China and each and every year there are innumerable babies that are left unregistered and abandoned by their parents… because they are either disabled and/or female.

In the year of 1979 the Chinese government instituted a new policy in attempts to manage population. That policy stated that married couples were only allowed to have one child. This coupled with the fact that generally speaking Chinese culture sees females and disabled people as inferior compared to healthy males. In the US, the birth defect rate is 1 in 47, in China it is 1 in 8…this is from our demand for consumer goods…the amount of pollution spewing toxins into their environment is causing this. Reference:

Love Without Boundaries is dedicated to making sure that as many children as they can help receive humanitarian aid in Foster Care, Healing Homes, Education, Medical and Orphanage Assistance. The overall goal is to help these children finally have a family to call their own. Believe it or not Love Without Boundaries (LWB) was started in 2003. It was a group of adoptive parents that started LWB in an effort to save a little boy in China. He needed to have heart surgery, without it he would perish. They helped save his life, and it was then that they realized that a true and "pure love for helping children can truly make a difference."

For me, when it comes to charitable organizations, I always wonder why a person chooses one charity over another. It is this question that started my conversation with Karen. Rather than trying to summarize what she said, I think it is important that you read exactly what inspired her. Now, here is the Interview:

READ More on Hope for a Child: Love without Boundaries

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by Maureen LoBue – President of the Mean Moms Club

June Cleaver - the perfect mom?When your first baby was born, did you look at that perfect little face and say, "I'm going to be the perfect mom for you"? Most of us did. But you know what? There is no such thing. Most of us realize that when we have the second baby. By the third baby, experienced moms look at that perfect little face and say, "I hope I can survive this".

Most of us truly believe we can be perfect moms and want to be with our whole hearts. Unfortunately, it is impossible. There is no such thing, unless you watched Leave it to Beaver. And we know June was really an android that Ward built in his garage.

Three points need to be made about this idea of being the perfect mom.

  • First, realize it's impossible and be ok with the fact that you are not, and never will be, the perfect mom. Take a deep breath & say it, " It's ok!"
  • Second, once you accept that, life and parenting will get much easier because you get to buy out of the guilt that we are typically so good at. That guilt just wears us down and we don't need anything else to wear us down!
  • Third, recognize the fact that this is beyond tough, beyond exhausting, beyond anything else you'll ever do. You must have a support network, whether that is family or friends or playgroups. If you are exhausted or overwhelmed you cannot be there at all for your kids, let alone part of the time.READ More on I'm going to be the perfect mom…yeah, right!

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We need to protect Gods ceationsAnd God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.
Genesis 1:31
When God looks over the earth now, is it still very good, or even good? Our world is troubled by air and water pollution. Many animals are facing loss of habitat and are endangered or extinct. Natural resources such as oil and water are becoming scarcer. People in many parts of the world are facing hunger due to lack of food, while people in other parts of the world are obese due to poor diets lacking natural nutrition.
And God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
Genesis 1:28
When God created the world, humans were given a job: to subdue the earth and have dominion over other living things. What exactly do “subdue” and “dominion” mean? Well, going back to the original Hebrew, subdue comes from the word kavash, which means to force someone into a subordinate position, as through a military conquest. Similarly, dominion comes from the Hebrew word radah, whichsignifies the power, control, and authority of one individual or group over another.READ More on Living Green – Dominion and Stewardship of God's Creation

children looking at their clothes after a day of shopping

by Jennifer Shakeel

It is that time of the year again. Everyone is getting ready for school. The schedules are being sent out, the school supply lists and yes, the school clothes. If your child/children are anything like mine then every season means a new persona. Goodbye to the country western cowgirl look, and the nicely dressed young man… we now have the rocker children.

This of course has brought up a few issues over wardrobe items. So in an effort to not stifle their need to be individuals, I came up with a few compromises. I am not going to tell you that they will all work with you and your children, but this is what is working in our house… and so far everyone seems to be happier than they were a week ago.

Tip One: Breathe
There are multiple times in our children's lives that they make a move towards independence. The first time they want to tie their own shoes, pick out their own clothes… cut their food themselves. We all crumble inside the very first time we hear, "I can do it myself." Breathe. Changing their persona on the outside is another one of those times when they want to prove they can do it themselves. Just breathe, we all go through phases.

Tip Two: Understand Who Your Child Is and Talk to Them
Our oldest is heavy into the rocker phase. She got to go spend part of the summer with some friends in a big city. Naturally she picked up a few things from those friends… such as attitude and dressing habits. The attitude we quickly put in check, but the style of clothes… well, is just not acceptable in our house. With my husband at his wits end over the clothing and me cringing every time our daughter came out of her room, we had to draw a line, and have a little talk.READ More on Parenting Tips: School Clothes Shopping So That Everyone is Happy

Alone and Hungry

Alone and Hungry

This is a very straight forward, no hold barred article. I have not sugar coated anything. The words are plain and simple and often blunt. The reason, this is a very important issue. One that we as a society tend to overlook when it comes to the children of our country. America is a wonderful place and we are the first to be there to save the day if people or children are in strife anywhere in the world. However, we sometimes forget to look in our backyard. I hope that this piece motivates you and your family to take action, and help save the life of a child that your child probably knows.

This is a very straight forward, no hold barred article. I have not sugar coated anything. The words are plain and simple and often blunt. The reason, this is a very important issue. One that we as a society tend to overlook when it comes to the children of our country. America is a wonderful place and we are the first to be there to save the day if people or children are in strife anywhere in the world. However, we sometimes forget to look in our backyard. I hope that this piece motivates you and your family to take action, and help save the life of a child that your child probably knows.

In our world today it is not uncommon to see chubby and overweight children everywhere you go. Childhood obesity has become a problem, especially in the United States, but its often unthought-of of opposite, childhood starvation, is still a grievous and devastating problem for millions of children all over the world. For every over weight child we see, we must remember that there are probably hundreds of children going to bed without dinner because there was simply not enough money for food that night.

Where are children starving?

Starvation is not prejudice and affects children everywhere. Although, children living in more poverty stricken areas or countries will more frequently feel the effects of hunger. In our world today, nearly 16,000 children die every day because of starvation, which is essentially one child every five seconds. So count to five and somewhere a child is now dead, by the time you reach 60 a dozen children will have died from hunger. These children are dying because some of their most basic needs are not being met. Either the family is too poor or they are suffering as a result of maltreatment. 2006 saw the deaths of 9.7 million children before their fifth birthday. Nearly all the deaths occurred in developing countries, especially sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia. According to a report done in 2007 by The U.S. Department of Agriculture 36.2 million people were part of households that did not have enough food; 12.4 million of those people were children. In 2007, in the United States, the ten states that rank the highest in malnutrition were Mississippi, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Maine, South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. So, no matter where you live, chances are there is a hungry child nearby. It is true that hunger and starvation are often seen among children and families with little or no income, whether they live in the Americas, Europe, Asia or Africa. It can be easy to shut your eyes to this problem, especially when you have happy healthy children of your own, but for just a moment think of how the other parent may feel. They too love and care for their child but for some reason they are not able to give them enough food. They may feel ashamed and embarrassed as yet another day passes with little food. The pain and sadness they feel is probably equally to the hunger pains their child feels every time a meal is skipped.READ More on No one Deserves to Go Hungry, Especially Children

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Kids Eat Free - Family Pizza Night

Kids Eat Free – Family Pizza Night

Eating out with your child can be a delight and a challenge all at the same time. You may feel delighted because you don't have to cook dinner that night, but on the other hand a children's meal can be almost as expensive as an adult meal or the portions may be too much for your child. Eating out is a luxury that you may have cut back on recently because of a tighter budget, but your children do not have to be another hindrance to you enjoying an occasional meal out. There are many places that offer children's meals at a reduced cost if not free; all you have to do is know when and where. So for all you parents who are looking to eat out with your children without breaking the bank, here are 25 restaurant ideas that will provide a free meal to your child, and provide a great evening of family time too! Please check with your local restaurant as times, offers and locations may vary.

1. Chevys

If you and your family have a birthday or promotion to celebrate why not have a fiesta. At Chevy's restaurant you will enjoy a wide variety of Mexican classics. For the kids, the menu is more limited, but the choices are still mostly Mexican food, save for the cheese burger. Also the meals are complete including sides, a drink and dessert. Depending on your location, kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal at least one day during the week (free days vary depending on your location; call your local Chevys or check online for free days in your area).

2. Marie Callender's

For food that everyone in the family is sure to enjoy, even the picky ones, Marie Callender's is a great place for the family. With big booths and tables, there is room for everyone to sit comfortably and enjoy dinner. The food available at Marie Callender's is mostly traditional American cuisine and of course pies, lots of different pies. Children 12 years old and younger will eat free with the purchase of an adult meal on Tuesdays and Saturdays (day vary upon location).

3. Shari's

For a quick and inexpensive meal Shari's is a good choice for the whole family. They too serve mostly traditional American Fair and have large booths, tables, and booster seats available for the smaller ones in your family. Children can eat free on the weekends with the purchase of an adult meal. They are normally open late and early so if you have an early outing on the weekend, you can stop by for a fun breakfast of smiley face pancakes. The children's menu has lots of options for breakfast, lunch and dinner so you will be sure to find something your child will enjoy.

4. Taco Del Mar

For a quick meal fix, Taco Del Mar is a good choice. While they may qualify as fast food, they don't serve too much that is deep fried, but instead offer more freshly made food. On Sundays, children eat for free with the purchase of an adult meal. The kids menu is limited to tacos, burritos, rice, beans and quesadillas, which may not seem like much, but when it's free it may just be enough to satisfy your tot. More on 25 Places that Kids Eat Free

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