parenting

Parents are putting their kids safety at risk. Are you one of them?

As a parent there is nothing I want to do more than celebrate the achievements and accomplishments of my children. Screen shot 2014-05-03 at 3.53.35 PMWhen they come home from school with a great grade or score a goal in soccer, when a teacher sends a note home and tells us that our son stopped a bullying situation, I beam. They get lots of praise and rewards for their great efforts. I always want to share my parental their victories with everyone!! Call it my own little ‘humble brag’.

Honestly who doesn’t want to do that? I mean, some days they cause us parents so much frustration that when the good things happen we want to shout it from the rooftops!

I’ve lived with law enforcement for a long time. Tim is a police officer (make sure you follow him @T_burrows ) that is very active on social media. He talks to organizations about online safety, cyber awareness and responsible social use and every time I’m about to put our children’s accomplishments on social I hear him in the back of my mind with all his safety messaging.

  • Don’t include names and pictures.
  • Don’t show locations where you are.
  • Don’t show their school.
  • Don’t show any type of identification.

Sometimes, all the rules can really kind of take the fun out of my humble brag moments. Always trying to live up to the complicated “rules” of child safety. (That was a joke…simmer down).

Have we shared things about our kids, our lives, locations, vacations and other information that maybe we shouldn’t have? Sure…who hasn’t? But, as Tim has said, “We will never make it easy. We will never gift wrap our children for the worst degenerates that society has to offer.”

What he means by that is for anyone to try to build a profile of our family it will take them a lot of work to do it. They might have pictures but they don’t have names. They might get names but not know for sure those are our children’s names. They will never get pictures, school names and children’s names all in one place.

Can all that information be aggregated together? Can it still be done? Yes, there are hundreds of ways to get all that information in today’s age, but we won’t make it easy for anyone. We won’t gift wrap the information.

Here’s an example that I came across today. I shouted at Tim across the house;

“Hey, this guy just put up a picture of his child, his child’s school name, his teachers name, his child’s name and his own name all in one share!”

I was so proud that I recognized all the errors in one place.

All identifiers have been edited out. There were 7 in total.

All identifiers have been edited out. There were 7 in total.

OK, that was my second thought…my proud parent instinct came first and I thought, “That’s a great moment, way to share.” Then the safety parent jumped in.

I asked Tim to share 10 tips for keeping it safe, while being a realistic parent on line…something we both try to live by.

1.)  No names with pictures, ever.

2.)  Instead of names, monikers…DS (dear son), DD (darling daughter)

3.)  If you have to tell the world where you are, post it as you are leaving the location

4.)  Never post children’s school name

5.)  Never post you are apart from your children

6.)  Don’t post future plans with dates/times

7.)  Always know what ever you post, no matter how private you think it is, it can be shared outside of your control

8.)  Cyber vet (check out any online) who follows you that you don’t know

9.)  Never post security information (passport, drivers licence, SSC/SSN numbers)

10.) Talk to your children about online safety

All of us parents want to brag about our children. We need to remember thought his isn’t our parents’ generation. We don’t use a telephone or write a letter to humble brag. We post a pic, a video or change our Facebook status to “Feeling Proud.”

Are you a parent…or a push-over?

I will start this post by saying that if you aren’t up for a dose of truth and reality then you should probably close this page now and not read any further.

I was on vacation last week with my family and I have to tell you about our experience at a restaurant one night when we were out for dinner.  Actually there were two incidents that happened that night that left me stunned and enraged.

First, there was a family seated at the table next to us and the kids were wild!  Screaming, running around standing on their chairs, feet on the table…it was madness.  Now, as a parent I do understand that eating out can be a challenge…but that’s where parenting comes in to play.

As a parent it is your job to teach right from wrong…at the very least maybe give a good healthy, “Stop it!”  As these kids were getting more and more out of control the mom, who up to this point was doing her best to completely ignore her children, pulled out a portable dvd player from her purse and plopped it in front of these kids to quiet them.  The food hadn’t even hit the table yet!  From there they went into a trance.  The food came but they didn’t eat or drink and barely blinked.

I am guessing that it is likely a part of their normal routine–plop the kids in front of the magic baby sitter (aka TV) to eat a meal.  Who carries a portable dvd in their purse???  What has this family taught their kids?

Responsible parenting is tough.  It’s pretty much the hardest and most rewarding thing I have ever done.

The second incident that night stared a family that came into the restaurant with their little darlings in tow and in hand, a big bag from a fast food restaurant that starts with Mc.  OMG, really?

You are going to eat at a great restaurant with an incredible variety of healthy options but, you are bringing in junk food for the kids, how absolutely awful.  I listened as the mother explained to the waiter that the kids just wouldn’t eat anything but that faux food. My thought…wow, you have failed as a parent.  (My husband even took the opportunity to Tweet out the #fail).  You have taught them that it is ok not to eat healthy food.  You have laid the foundation for a lifetime of excuses, bad habits, potential health problems…way to go.

Again, parenting is tough and yes there will be times that kids don’t want to eat but if you give them fries, pop (soda for my American friends) and fried food as the alternative you are giving them a death sentence.  How are you going to feel when you child is diagnosed with high blood pressure or diabetes?  How are you going to help you kids cope when they become obese?  What favours are you doing for them by going to the drive thru for those fries??

It’s lazy.  Yup, I said it.  You aren’t up for the potential melt down?  You want to let the little ones control the menu options? Just spineless enough to let them get what they want as opposed to what they need? Toughen up as the parent, its a life or death matter.  Trust me, as a former obese kid/teen it was awful and it still stays with me.

I get emails and comments from people each and everyday from clients and friends telling me, “I don’t like that healthy food”, “salad is boring”, “just a little cheat is OK right?”   I could write a book on lame excuses.

So is it exciting and fulfilling to be overweight or unhappy with how you look/feel?  How fabulous do you feel when you can’t fit into your pants?  When you are huffing and puffing because you had to walk a flight of stairs, is that exciting?  Suffering from lower body joint pain because the stress your knees, hips and ankles are under supporting extra weight….that has to be a good time, right???

You have to eat real food and you have to take that 10 minutes to make it.  Is that so overwhelming???  puh-lease???

Excuses for not eating properly will give you obesity, knee pain, back pain, health issues (diabetes, high cholesterol, and on and on).

So when you eat that sleeve of cookies or have that cake or drive thru for your dinner think about it.  What are you doing? Why would you self inflict this on yourself or your family?

What do you want to teach your children?  That it’s ok to eat like crap?  It’s ok to ignore your kids and let the electronics watch over them?  Don’t make healthy choices…make convenient ones?

Or do you want to teach your children healthy choices for life.  That you care enough for them to make tough choices for their benefit.  That they are the most important people on earth and you want them to be great adults?  Remember, you are not raising children, you are creating responsible adults.

Agree or disagree? Let me know your thoughts.  Even, add some of your strategies for healthier kids, parenting skills, tips and tricks.  Love to know what you think!