A good post about talking to kids about the Sandusky case

Since the Sandusky verdict came down Friday night I've seen a lot of us talking and thinking about how widespread his actions were and how sad we all are. I'm in the middle of Dr. Janet Rosenzweig's very practical book Sex-Wise Parent: The Parent's Guide to Protecting Your Child, Strengthening Your Family, and Talking to Kids About Sex, Abuse, and Bullying right now, and found that Dr. Rosenzweig just put up a great post on her blog about talking to kids about exactly what the Sandusky case was about.

The post is called "It's time to ask your children if they understand what the Sandusky case was about," and it really asks you to be proactive with talking about it with your kids. I know that can be hard for us, but as Dr. Rosenzweig says, "now is the time to show your kids that their sexual health and safety is important enough that you’re willing to go way out on a limb." Read the post and take heart. The truth can protect our kids–their bodies and feelings.

I've talked to my kids about the Sandusky case and have been since the news first broke (and I know their dad has, too). Have any of you already talked about it? Have any of you been avoiding talking about it?


Back on the grid (with links)

I'm back, and had a great trip.

My older son had such a great time at camp. He came back speaking far more Norwegian than I thought he would in only five days. I highly, highly recommend the Concordia Language Villages for anyone who wants to give their kids a total immersion language experience in a safe and fun camp experience. I went to the same camp as a kid, and was surprised at how much Norwegian came back to me just during the process of checking him in to the camp!

While my older son was at camp, my younger son and I had the whole week alone, driving across Minnesota seeing relatives. My son got to play on a farm with his third cousins, and we saw every one of my aunts and uncles that are currently in the United States. My son charmed my aunt's dog who was afraid of children (not anymore), played at the best playground in the country (Hyland Park Play Area in Bloomington, MN), and caught caterpillars with my friend Amy's son.

Speaking of my friend Amy, you should all follow her blog. She's a friend of mine from culinary school, and she worked in some of the best kitchens in NYC, and then moved back to Minnesota. When I got to her house she'd just turned in the manuscript for what looks like the msot fantastic book on Midwestern cuisine (yes, cuisine) I've seen. She writes about enjoying food and the process of creating delicious things, and I cannot wait until her book is out.

We went to Winona to visit my 96-year-old grandmother, and had fun just doing nothing. I ran around the lake every day, and my son chilled out and did puzzles. I also went to a lovely yarn store in downtown Winona called Yarnology that had a "give and take" basket that I think is brilliant. You can bring skeins from your stash that you don't want and leave them, and take whatever you want. Genius. (I bought some yarn for a project for someone who sometimes reads this, so I don't want to talk about it, but this is the pattern. And the owner of the store may have convinced me to actually log in to my Ravelry account. Maybe.)

In eight days I drove 2700 miles, and am ready to stay home for a bit, but am definitely in for the camp thing next year. Who else wants to send their kids?

Now back to normal, whatever normal is. What happened to you last week?

What’s on your mind?

Valuation. That's what I'm worried about right now. Specifically Dividend Policy.

After I make it through the next two days of class, I'm packing up the kids to drive 15 hours (over two days) to take my older son to summer camp. (Watch my Moxieville column for a post about summer camp next Monday.)

Going to Minnesota for camp, and will be spending a few days with my 97-year-old grandmother, who I haven't seen in three years. I feel so lucky to still have her, and to have her still with us mentally.

I'm also excited to spend the whole week my older son is at camp with my younger son. He rarely gets to be the only one, so it will be nice to have time with him alone for a whole week.

New tires. I had to get them for this upcoming trip, because my old ones were way bald. I'm not sure why getting new tires seemed like such an adult thing to do, but it felt like a big deal. And my car rides totlaly differently now.

And that's about all I've got. What's up with you this fine Friday?

Crowdsource: How should she make the decision about moving to be closer to her kids’ dad?

Anon is looking for a little group wisdom. Her ex-husband lives four hours away from her and their children. She's considering moving to the city he lives in, but would like some input on things to consider while she makes this decision so she's not missing anything. She's looking for decisions-making process help, not straight up "move" or "don't move" advice.

Things to consider:

She lives in a mid-sized city and he lives in a big city.

She's underemployed in her current city and would likely be in the big city, too.

He's fully employed in the big city.

Her mother lives with her now and helps her with the children, but wouldn't move to the big city with them.

He will be involved with the kids if they are in the same city (and is as involved as possible currently from four hours away).


Thoughts? I feel like my own personal situation is coloring my answer, but the things I'd think about:

1. The kids. Obviously it is better for them to have more and more easy access to their dad. But if being closer to their dad puts their mother in a situation in which she can't survive/thrive financial and emotionally, that isn't a positive for the kids.

2. Support (physical and emotional). Right now she has her mother, who is doing both kinds of support. Will the kids' dad be able to step in for the physical support, and will she be able to find emotional support in the new city?

3. Stability. Being underemployed puts a twist in it. She could have better prospects in the big city, but the cost of living is likely to be higher there, too. It could come out a wash, or she could end up trading down by moving.


Can anyone think of things I'm missing that Anon should consider?

Is it ok to post pictures of other people’s kids on the internet?

Yesterday I ended up in a conversation with a stranger on Facebook in which she said that she took pictures of her kids and their friends at events like her kids' birthday parties and posted them on Facebook for her friends to see.

I was gobsmacked that she'd assume that it was ok to post pictures of other peoples' kids without their permission. She replied that she posted them to "Friends only" so it was fine because she knew everyone who was seeing those photos.

But what about the fact that the kids whose faces are in those photos (and the parents of those kids) don't know all the people who can see them?

She said that if I objected to having photos of my kids up on Facebook I could let the parents know and the parents would have the choice of whether or not to invite my kids to their birthday parties.

I'm stunned by all of this. It would never in a million years occur to me that someone else would put a photo of my kids on their Facebook page without my permission, or would act as if I was infringing on their rights by asking not to have pictures of my kids on Facebook.

I don't even know how to assess this situation. Am I extraordinarily conservative? Or is she taking extreme liberties?


What do WAH parents do over summer break?

Emma writes:

"So I was thinking: Have you covered the topic of how best to deal with a grade-schooler during summer when you work from home? I'm facing this in 7 days and it occurs to me that people might already have great ideas."

That's a great question, Emma.

Last summer when I moved and was working from home, we were staying with my parents. So my mom basically had Camp Grandma for my kids all day while I worked. (Then she'd cook dinner. It was unbelievable, and made me really want a fulltime housekeeper.)

This summer, it's going to be some concoction of day camps and splitting time with the kids' dad and my mom. Which is workable, if confusing.

But what about those of you who don't have any other adults with somewhat flexible time over the summer? Can you enroll in day camps, or are those prohibitive? Do you have a temporary babysitter or parents' helper (like a high school student)? Something else?

Who has ideas for Emma?

Comforting a tension increaser

My friend Caroline read my piece about tension increasers and recognized her oldest daughter (who is now a tween) in the profile. I told her that I myself am a tension increaser and what doesn't make me feel better, and she said that sounded familiar. Then she asked:

"So my question is how do you comfort yourself as a grown up tension increaser? I think my one challenge is to help my kid feel better by being there for her in the way she needs. Then again, I also need to help her find a healthy way to comfort herself because I won't always be there even if I wanted to…"

As a side note, one of the best things about being a parent is becoming friends with other thoughtful, great parents, don't you think?

Anyway, I thought this would be a good question for all of us to answer. I know what's helpful for me and for my older son, but we're only two data points. But I'm going to talk through what I've figured out about myself just in case it's helpful for anyone else.

I tend to be very internal, which is weird, because I'm so extroverted, and I put a lot of myself out there both IRL and online. But my feelings are very deep and when I'm truly upset about something I rarely share it. I never thought about that before I started thinking about being a tension increaser, but now I think it's because letting my feelings out to the surface can get very out of control and very painful very easily.

I look at my younger son, who is a tension releaser, and see that if he's upset he flares up hot and wild and freaks out and screams about things and then he's done and it's gone and he's happy again. That level of external processing would take me over and I wouldn't be able to get out of the loop. (You can ask my mother about some of the crying jags I got into as a young teen–they were frightening and intense and painful physically and emotionally.) I see the same thing in my older son–once he lets his feelings get out of their tight corral it starts to hurt way too much, so he keeps them stuffed in.

The really super-obvious answer is to help talk through and analyze the situation and the feelings, and dig deep with "What happens then?" questions to get to the root of the fear or worst-case scenario in a way that keeps everything neutral and not emotional enough to hurt. That's been my own comfort and how I help my son. But I'm beginning to think there's way more we can do.

Those of you who read my Moxieville blog on Babble know that I started running last summer and have kept it up, and now can't stop, even though I'm not fast and can't go very far. It has helped me release my emotions and keep myself on an even keel even though I do not work through situations when I run except incidentally. (My thought process while running mostly centers on my physical condition, random stuff I see while I'm running, etc.) The other day as I was struggling in the middle of a run, I realized that the physical discomfort I feel when I run is the rawest I ever allow my emotions to be in a negative way. That that physical struggle and true discomfort is touching me for real and allowing me to connect and process physically whatever bad is happening, even when I don't connect them consciously.

This makes me think about the times I've been comforted by someone hugging me even when I didn't want to need to be hugged. And it makes me think about the times that my older son would be restless while I was holding him still, but when I started boucing he could be still, as if the motion needed to come from somewhere but if I was generating it then he could relax.

It's as if physical sensation generating from the emotion itself hurts, but physical sensation coming from something else lets the emotion loose in a non-painful way.

So I'm going to propose the wacky theory that if a tension increaser can learn to create physical stress (by seeking out a hug or other physical touch, or by doing some physical activity that stresses the body), that can tap off the emotion in a way that doesn't overwhelm us.

Um, thoughts? From parents of tension increasers or adult tension increasers?

Q&A: Stay in the new school or go back?

Go check the Facebook page for a little bit of news: http://www.Facebook.com/AskMoxie

Anonymous writes:

"Last year, we moved our kids, now 7 and 9, out of a private parochial school into our public school district's gifted and talented program. While it's true that the education is much better, our kids don't seem as happy. There have been some social challenges for my 3rd grader and my first grader, who has a high IQ but slow processing time constantly feels rushed. I am less happy as a parent as well. I don't feel nearly a part of things like I did, and I miss the family feel of our old school. My kids also frequently talk about their old school.

Our old school has a slower pace and much smaller class sizes (grades 2 and 3 will be combined next year), but does not have the resources to provide an advanced curriculum or anything beyond the basics. The new school provides a stellar education, but leads to a higher level of day to day stress.

So I find myself torn on what to do next. Stick it out another year or go back? Thoughts welcome."

As daycare issues are to parents of little kids, school issues are to parents of bigger kids. If things are great, you don't even have to think about it. But when things are wrong, it eats you up and you feel guilty and scared constantly.

I don't know what the hierarchy of decisionmaking should be here, frankly. There are benefits to both sides. But I can tell you what it was like being in this situation as a kid. In fifth grade my parents moved me from my teeny little Lutheran school (shoutout to my fourth-grade teacher who found me on FB so I'm now allowed to call him Steve) to another school that was supposed to be great for "gifted" kids. And I hated it. The new school was mean and rigid and had a lot of philosophies, whereas the old school was warm and welcoming and liked me as a person and let me go at my own pace anyway.

I cried, a lot. And I'm a tension increaser, so the crying didn't help anyone.

And after four months my parents moved me back. To this day I still think of that first when I think about how my parents trusted me and stood up for me. Moving back was great, and it felt like going home, and I could really be myself again.

So it's obvious what my advice is, but I realize that it's totally colored by my own situation. Does anyone else have experience with this, as either the kid or the parent? What did you do? What would you do?

How’s more sleep treating you?

Who remembers the challenge I issued right before MOthers' Day to get more sleep each night?

And who actually did it?

I did, for a number of strange reasons, and it's been kind of amazing. I've broken through a weight loss plateau, gotten my sense of humor back, and am taking less time to read cases for class.

I'm wondeirng if anyone else tried it, and if you did, how did it go? Could you keep it up for more than a few days? Did you notice any benefits? Were there any negative repercussions of getting more sleep?