by Stacey Schifferdecker

But I Don’t Know What to Say!
In my childhood years, I don’t young boy crying at his Dads gravesideremember being touched by death. I don’t remember any classmates dieing or any of their parents dieing. Was I oblivious or were we just lucky? I guess I’ll never know the answer to that question. But I can walk through the halls of my children’s schools and see children from five different families whose fathers have died during their school years. When I take my daughter to cheerleading practice, we see a little girl whose mother recently died. And when we go to church, we see two girls whose father died a few years ago, and we see a mom whose ten-year-old son died last November. 
What this means is that my kids have had to learn what to say to people who are grieving. I admit I do not excel in this area. I want to say something comforting, I want to be helpful, but I often find myself tongue-tied and feeling useless. I am trying to be a better role model, though, and teach my children toREAD More on Parenting, Death, and Grieving

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kids enjoying the day at a local petting zooLocal Activities For Kids 

Not every family can travel during spring break. And how many of us have truely explored our own local community. We live in Chattanooga, TN, and were amazed of all the local activities we could get involved in when we moved into the area. In Chattanooga we have great parks, a sea Aquarium, a small zoo, camping, and great views, especially from Lookout Mountain.

Like us, many parents may not be able to get the week off of work, or there just might not be enough money in the budget for a trip. But that doesn't mean that your family can't have some spring break fun. There are plenty of things that you can do locally as a family. These include:

READ More on Getting The Most From Spring Break For Kids

by Stacey Schifferdecker
should your teenager have a job?Should Your Teen Get A Job? I was surprised to recently learn that when my oldest son turns 14 in a few months, he can legally get a job. I always thought you had to be 16 to get a job, but 14- and 15-year-olds can work as long as they work no more than three hours a day and 18 hours a week during the school year. They also can’t work past 7:00 p.m. during the school year.
I don’t think Kegan is going to run out and start looking for a job when he turns 14, but it did start me thinking. In a couple years, he may want to get a job – should I let him? And if he doesn’t want one, should I make him get one anyway (if only to help pay for the increased car insurance costs when he turns 16)?READ More on The Pros and Cons of Teen Jobs

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Toy Safety - we all want our kids to be safeHow many more poisonous toys will parents have to endure before quality is improved and recalls are stopped? At this point, we have no idea. 2007 was a year filled with stress for parents of young children, with the Aquabeads recall, warnings about magnets in toys, and the continual anxiety of not knowing whether that red toy is tainted with lead or not. Parents have a hard enough job without the additional worry of what we once took for granted: the safety of our children when they are playing under our supervision.

What We Saw In 2007's Toys

The big toy news in 2007 was lead paint and lead content. In America and most Western countries, lead paint has been illegal for decades, and though older buildings sometimes still have lead paint on walls, we had grown complacent about the things we buy in stores. We count on manufacturers and retailers to sell us quality items that are safe for all intended purposes – like going into a baby's mouth.

READ More on Toy Recalls 2008 – Another year, more recalls…

happy family of fourWe all want a happy family. The truth of the matter is that none of us are perfect parents. Life happens. We are all only human and therefore we are bound to make mistakes. I don’t believe that any mistake that we make bothers us more, causes us to lose more sleep then a mistake we make with our children. It is important to realize and understand that making a mistake or two doesn’t make you a bad parent. We all parent with our best intentions trying to keep in the forefront of our minds what is in the best interest of our children, sometimes we slip up.

Here is a list of some of the most common parenting pitfalls. This list is to prove to you that you are not the only parent in the world that has done this, to make you aware if you are doing it and to help you stop it. I am guilty myself of all these pitfalls, but knowledge and awareness helps me correct myself and to better communicate with my children.

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teenager shopping online with a credit cardShould teenagers have credit cards? This is a question that every parent is facing these days and there is more pressure on this issue than ever.

As in any debate or issue, there are two very relevant sides to the issue and both sides have some exceedingly valid arguments.

On the one hand, kids having credit cards should teach them how to budget money and make sound financial decisions about money. They learn that if they want something and are responsible enough to work to have it, they can get it now and pay for it later. The down side of this is that peer pressure these days is at an all time high for teens and if they are just hanging out at the mall with all their friends and everyone has one thing and he does not, the credit card allows him to bend to that pressure and go pick up that $300 coat or $150 pair of jeans that everyone else is wearing and he has to have to fit in and be cool. READ More on Teen Credit Cards – A Smart Idea?

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teaching responsibility by example - father and daughter doing chores togetherResponsibility is an important life skill that each child should be properly equipped with. Responsibility adds color to a child’s world. As a parent, it is imperative that you take the endeavor of teaching your how to be responsible very seriously. This is one of the most important tasks that you will ever experience. Here, you will learn some effective tips for teaching small kids responsibility. If you are looking to increase your child’s awareness of themselves and their place in the world, as well as help them set the course for success throughout their lifetime, this guide is for you!READ More on Tips for Teaching Small Kids Responsibility

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