Teens

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Parents in schools around the country are outraged that their children are being taught the religion of Islam. These parents are saying public schools are trying to indoctrinate their kids. The amount of ignorance surrounding education and world religions is unbelievable.  Students need to learn about Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism in order to understand other cultures and other people.  If lessons like this are not taught, we will have a generation of uneducated, ignorant, and biased citizens.

 

The biggest complaint is that other religions, mainly Christianity, are not being given equal time.  According to the standards in all states that is not true.  In Georgia, where this has become a major issue in middle schools, the standards say: “Teachers should “compare and contrast the prominent religions in the Middle East: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. The teachers resource guide advises ‘This element is not an evaluation of any religion, nor is it a course in the belief system of any religion.” The teachers are giving the facts and basic ideals of major religions.

A parents said that what was being taught went against her beliefs. That mother needs to use this as a teachable moment. Kids, guess what, you won’t agree with everything you learn about in school. Mom, your kids may have to read a novel you didn’t like or study a period of history that is difficult to deal with (Slavery in the US for instance).  We cannot limit our children’s knowledge to only the easy things or the things we agree with.  Do these parents really belief that students will be converted based on a lesson or two on religion? What does this say about how the parents are teaching their own faith to their children?

According to one teacher these lessons are usually the first, unbiased study many students have of various religions.  They learn about the commonalities between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism and are surprised how alike they are.  It is important that teachers remain neutral and not insert their opinions on the various religions.  Learning about the facts of a religion is far different than sitting in a church service. Education is not indoctrination.

A father wrote on Facebook that he thought the school was teaching half truths. “It seemed like half the truth to me, they didn’t talk about the extreme Islamics.” They aren’t called Islamics, but Muslims.  Extremists are a part of all religions, remember learning about the Crusades? Those were extreme Christians who murdered thousands of women, children, and men who were other religions.  Most teachers cover extremists when they talk about 9/11 and terrorism.

The bottom line is that parents need to stop protesting outside of schools over what is being taught, but talk with their kids about what they are learning. A person with no knowledge of the facts is ignorant.  What happens when a student shows up to college and cannot support and defend their beliefs? As long as teachers give equal and fair time to each religion, there should be no problem with religion being taught in schools.  If you are a family with strong beliefs, talk with your children about what they are learning. Use these lessons as teachable moments.  These parents seem to be spending a lot of time complaining about what their children are learning and very little time leading their children in the direction of their own faith.

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This week is Banned Books Week.  This is the week when people celebrate the freedom to read.  Libraries, bookstores, and even some schools celebrate this week by showing the problem of censorship.

 

This controversial week began in 1982 due to the increase in books being banned.  Over 11,300 books have been challenged or banned in various libraries across the country since 1982. According to BannedBooksWeek.org, “There were 311 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2014, and many more go unreported.”

Many of the most challenged books are required reading for high school and college students.  Check out the lists below and see how many challenged or banned books you’ve read. Remember, just because you may not agree with the book’s content doesn’t mean others shouldn’t be able to read them.  Ray Bradbury wrote, “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”

Here were the top 10 challenged titles of 2014:

1)     The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”

2)      Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi

Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”

3)      And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”

4)      The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”

5)      It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris

Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”

6)      Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group. Additional reasons:

7)      The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence

8)      The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”

9)      A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard

Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group

10)  Drama, by Raina Telgemeier

Reasons: sexually explicit

The top 50 most challenged books since Banned Books Week started:

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
38. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin

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When my babies were little I wore them in a wrap.  I didn’t let anyone touch them and I made sure if anyone held them they weren’t sick and had washed their hands.  I know, it sounds overprotective, but they never got sick and stayed healthy.  When I saw this post on Facebook, I felt good about my choice.  Now, I’m sharing with you so you can be on the safe side and protect those babies.

 

 

 

The herpes simplex virus (HSV) impacts about 70% of US adults.  The most common virus is HSV-1 or cold sores.  Most adults and some children get these on or in their mouths.  They are painful, annoying, and highly contagious.

Mom, Claire Henderson, wants parents to know how horrible Herpes can be for a baby.  She posted frightening pictures of her daughter on Facebook in order to warn parents. Here is what she said:

“Please share this with every new mum and pregnant woman you know… COLD SORES CAN BE FATAL FOR A BABY. Before 3 months old a baby cannot fight the herpes virus. If a baby contracts this it can cause liver and brain damage and lead to death. I know this sounds like I am scaremongering but if my friend had not told me about this my baby girl could have been very seriously ill. I noticed the signs early and got her to A&E, we have now been in hospital on a drip for 3 days and have got another 2 to go. She was VERY lucky, all her tests came back clear. The moral of the story is DO NOT let anyone kiss your newborns mouth, even if they don’t look like they have a cold sore- 85% of the population carry the virus. And if someone had a cold sore ask them to stay away until it has gone. Everyone who I have spoken to had not heard of this before and so I felt it was important to share Brooke’s story and raise awareness to stop anyone else going through what we have this week.”

Parents, DO NOT let anyone, even family members kiss your babies on the face.  This is a life threatening virus for infants. It is probably a good idea not to let anyone with herpes kiss your children either. In fact, no kissing when cold sores are a potential.

 

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Growing up I did the typical sports stuff: soccer, volleyball, softball, etc.  None of them took me past high school, but I had fun.  When I had my children I always assumed they’d want to play sports as well.  It is fun to hang out with friends and run around, right? Wrong. I have two boys who aren’t exactly athletic in the traditional sense. They still needed to get up and moving because they are boys and they are full of energy.  Here is our solution.

 

We started looking for alternative sports.  You know, the ones that aren’t sponsored by a local furniture store or played en masse at the local sport fields.  We tried, karate, gymnastics, and break dancing classes, but we’ve landed on fencing.  Sometimes kids just aren’t a good fit for team sports. My kids tended to get bored easily and didn’t really “get” what was going on.  I realized we needed to try more individual sports and that is when my kids started excelling.

We tried a few different sports until we landed on fencing.  They enjoyed them all, but this was the sport they both liked and actually wanted to do.  I realize kids don’t always show consistency and dedication at a young age, but parents just know some things.  You know when your kid is into something and it is more than just a passing fancy.  For us, this is fencing.

For the most part, kids aren’t going to follow a sport to the professional level.  Most people stop after middle or high school. Very few of us even take our sports to college.  When we play sports we learn about ourselves, teamwork, rules, and so much more. It is about having fun and being kids.

Maybe your kids are not into mainstream sports, but you aren’t sure where to start.  Here are some of our favorite athletic choices that can get your kids up, moving, and maybe even a scholarship to college. I realize that some of these are common choices. I’m listing them as alternatives to baseball, football, soccer, etc.

  1. Fencing
  2. Running
  3. Martial Arts
  4. Swimming
  5. Bicycling
  6. Wrestling
  7. Dancing
  8. Yoga
  9. Hiking
  10. Tennis

 

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Courtesy of Diane Roberts

Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) is rare, but it does sicken and can kill.  The bacterial infection is extremely painful and can shut down a body in days.  One mom wants you to know the symptoms and be aware of the potential dangers.

 

 

 

 

In February, 2014, 13-year-old Jemma-Louise Roberts was vomiting and suffering from diarrhea.  Her parents took her to the hospital.  The hospital told her she had Norovirus, an infection that causes vomiting.  She continued to get worse and was taken back to the hospital.  She was diagnosed with TSS.  A week later she died of TSS and sepsis.

TSS is a bacterial infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. At least half of the reported cases of TSS are associated with women who use tampons. It can be caused by skin wounds and injuries.  It is important to see a doctor if you experience the signs or symptoms of TSS and you have recently used tampons or had a wound or infection.

The bottom line is to be aware of the symptoms and see a doctor as soon as possible.  It is better to be safe, than lose a loved one to this horrific illness.

Possible signs and symptoms of toxic shock syndrome include:

  • A sudden high fever
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • A rash resembling a sunburn, particularly on your palms and soles
  • Confusion
  • Muscle aches
  • Redness of your eyes, mouth and throat
  • Seizures
  • Headaches

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An 8th grader was told her hair was a distraction to learning and she needed to adhere to the dress code, she spoke out. Her mother said the girl’s hair reflects her religious beliefs and that the school is discriminating against her because she is white.

 

 

 

 

Mom, Tonya Judd, says her daughter should be able to wear the dreadlocks since students of other ethnicities are allowed to wear them.  The girl with questionable hair, Caycee Cunningham, says she began growing her dreadlocks after studying abroad.  She says they are part of her “spiritual journey into her Hindu beliefs.”

The Lincoln Academy says that “students’ hair must have a neat, combed appearance, be appropriate for school, and not be distracting in the classroom.” The principal of the school is willing to talk with Judd and Cunningham. “We would be happy to come to a common solution with parents if they have concerns,” he said. “It’s just a matter of having that conversation with us and trying to go through that process.”

Cunningham says if it comes down to it, she will transfer schools.

Check out the video below and let us know what you think? Is the girl’s hair distracting? Is the school making a bigger deal out of this than it really is?

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Students should not feel unsafe at school. Women should not be afraid that they will be raped at a party or walking home at night.  Unfortunately, university campuses are dangerous for students.

 

 

 

 

A recent report found that 1 in 4 college women reported unwanted sexual contact.  Unwanted sexual contact can mean anything from groping to penetration. The Association of American Universities survey was sent to 780,000 students and about 150,000 participated in the online version.  Alcohol and drugs are risk factors when it comes to sexual assault on college campuses.

Many schools have recently dealt with high profile sexual assault issues. Experts say that these assaults come out of a “highly sexual culture.” When schools, fraternities, and sororities accept and encourage alcohol and drug use along with sexually compromising situations, problems happen.

We, as parents, need to take a stand against this at home.  Boys should be taught that inappropriate sexual conduct is NEVER OK.  It is not OK to touch a girl if she says no. It is not OK to take advantage of a girl is she is drunk or passed out. It isn’t just girls, 5 percent of males say they have been the victim of sexual assault on their college campus.

Parents, it starts with us .We need to encourage our children to respect one another. We need to teach our boys to be leaders, not bystanders. Girls need to know it is OK to say no.

You can check out Not Alone for more information on sexual assault.

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There are so many fruits to choose from, but American kids favor one above all: Apples.

According to a study of over 3,100 children and teens, researchers found that kids eat consume their fruits whole about 53 percent of the time, through juice 34 percent of the time, and the rest of the time is through mixed-fruit products and beverages that aren’t 100 percent fruit.

Here’s how fruits placed:

  • Apples 19 percent
  • Citrus juice 14 percent
  • Apple juice 10 percent
  • Other fruit juices 9 percent
  • Bananas and Melons
  • Berries, citrus fruits, grapes, peaches

Study author, Kirsten Herrick, with the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, said that “substituting whole fruits for 100-percent fruit juices is always a good choice.” This is especially important because only about 40 percent of kids in the US are getting their daily intake of fruits.

The research found that among kids males and females, rich and poor, there were no differences in fruit consumption.  However, black kids are more likely to drink fruit juice than kids of other races. Kids from Asian heritage eat the most whole fruits.

The big takeaway from this study is that kids need to eat more whole fruits.  Check out Choose MyPlate for ideas to up your kid’s fruit intake.

We want to know your kids’ favorite fruits. Do you have any special recipes or tips for getting your kids to eat more fruit?

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A small town in Alabama wants to ban saggy pants and short skirts.  A town wants to have a dress code and not surprisingly people are a little outraged. Some have even gone so far to relate this idea to Sharia law.

Council member Frank Goodwin brought up the issue of saggy pants in August.  He said it is about respect. “It is about respect…Who is going to respect you if you don’t respect yourself. The reason I brought this up is I think people deserve respect when they are in public. I think slacking is disrespectful. I think it gives our younger generation the wrong impression of what is cool…I prayed about this. I know that God would not go around with pants down.”

This encouraged Dadeville City Council member Stephanie Kelley to come up with a rule for women.  She told the public at Tuesday’s Council meeting, “I think for the girls, with these shorts up so high looking like under garments and dresses so short, I don’t want us to be showing favoritism.”

It seems unbelievable that five grown adults, who were elected think that it is the government’s place to control what people wear.  Of course their targets are young people and “those kids.” There was no talk of how it would be enforced, who would enforce it, or what the consequences would be. For a country that values freedom, we sure like to make laws limiting it.

Do you think a town should make rules about what people wear? 

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At some point we have to let go of our kids and let them start becoming independent.  Unfortunately, that exact time is not specified in any parenting book, ever.  There are lots of opinions and ideas, but only you can decide when your kid is old enough to venture out on their own.

I posed this question to a group of moms and of course there were so many different answers. (I’ll share my opinion with you at the end.)

“Depends on the kid. My son had to wait till he was 14, but my daughter was 11 or 12. Just depends on their individual maturity level.”

“My parents left me in 7th grade to shop and 8th grade to the movies with a group of friends. Of course the world has changed some since then.”

“Hmm…I think I was 13 or 14. These days things are so different though! I don’t know!”

“Never…I would never drop my kid or let them go anywhere alone! even with friends. We live in a sick, sick world and it scares me to think about it. Just my honest opinion.”

“The mall is a never the one here I don’t feel good about. If they want to go I take them and stay in the mall. The movies they were 15 or with another adult besides us at 12! They have never gone with just a group of friends.”

I cannot tell you how old I was when I went out with friends alone.  I do remember being 15 and riding with an older friend to church or football game.  In the end these are the most common thoughts on allowing kids to go to places without their parents.

  • Kids should always be in groups, never alone, not even in pairs.
  • It depends on their maturity level.  Some 12-year-olds could handle the movie theater better than some 15-year-olds.  You know your kid, go with that gut feeling.
  • Parents or a trusted adult should drop off and pick up. It’s probably not the best idea to call Uber or send them on public transportation until they are at least 15-16-years-old.
  • If you are super worried about it, let them go “alone.” That means you let them think they are alone and then follow them. Then you can see what they are doing and if there is anything that bothers you, you’re there.  Eventually, they need to experience some independence. When they are 12 they are only 6 years from being an adult! Let them go a little at a time and it will be easier for everyone in the long run.

How old do you think kids should be before you let them go to a movie or the mall without adult supervision?