Why I Never Say ‘Don’t Talk to Strangers’

While it made a popular Rick Springfield song in the ’80s, “Don’t talk to strangers” is way too broad of a statement. I’ve actually never said this to my children in so many words. It certainly doesn’t fit my detail-driven personality or my parenting style.

Here’s just a few of the problems I have with this statement. How do we define a stranger? Is a fireman we don’t know on a first-name basis a stranger? Is the lady who delivers our mail each day a stranger? We may not know her by name either, but she’s a welcome sight to us each day. Often times, she will hand the mail directly to my 5-year-old son, as I watch the entire exchange to ensure he doesn’t get too close to the curb or drop a pile of unwanted bills in a puddle. The ritual gives him self-confidence, allowing him to help with a chore while also learning to look an adult in the eye.

Interacting with unfamiliar people is something children need to learn or they may eventually become socially awkward adults. There’s really no way to teach children how to make casual, small talk in a grocery store check-out line. Perhaps when a child answers a store clerk’s question that could be a start.

So what do I tell my children?

Find out more from Julia Sherwin, the host of “Perspectives on Parenting with Julia Sherwin.”

Photo from pixabay.com.

_

Celebrity Dad Hugh Jackman Lets His Family Choose Film Roles

Hugh Jackman horses around with his kids at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia

The 43-year-old Hollywood celebrity icon of the X-Men fame admits that his family usually picks his movie role. Though fame and fortune usually conflicts with parenthood, he and his wife Deb always try never to be apart from their children more than two weeks, regardless if Jackman needs to fly long-haul flights or long drives. He says that he discovered a wonderful ability to carry on for months without sleep while being with his kids on and off the set.

Jackman started his career in an Australian TV called Correlli and from then on went to become the famous Wolverine in the X-Men movie series, Kate and Leopold where he was nominated a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, Van Helsing and the recent box-office hit Real Steel, to name a few.

The Australian-born Jackman met his Australian wife Deborra-Lee Furness in an Australian TV show and has been married to her for 15 years. After two miscarriages, the couple decided to adopt two children, son Oscar (born 2000) and daughter Ava (born 2005). Furness is also an actress but devotes more of her time to causes and organizations like The Rafiki Society in Vancouver which she co-founded, National Adoption Awareness Week in Australia, the Lighthouse Foundation for displaced children in Melbourne Australia, and many others.

Sources: Daily Record | Wikipedia 1, 2

Photo by hollywoodkids at Flickr.com

_

More Marginal Families in Philippines to Receive Better Health Care

Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) Head Office

The Philippine government recently allocated thrice the usual allocation to subsidize the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) premiums for indigent Filipino families under the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction. This totals 13.9 billion Pesos as part of the 1.8 trillion Pesos General Appropriations Act of 2012.

The fresh funds should increase access of more marginalized families to health care services, which includes reduced health care costs for underprivileged families so that they can also meet their other basic necessities in life.

House Assistant Majority Leader Congressman Eduardo Gullas also said another 1.9 billion Pesos will provide vaccination (next year) to 2.6 million children aged 0-15 months as part of the Expanded Immunization Program which is expected to further reduce infant mortality and morbidity due to diseases.

Source: The Mindanao Examiner

Photo from PhilHealth.gov.ph

_

Parents Ask Should They Buy Their Kids Violent Video Games

Kids playing video games

Amy Dickinson is a columnist for The Washington Post and was recently asked by parents of two sons, ages 9 and 12, if they should hold their ground in buying their children video games that are rated T and M, all combat-type, shoot-em-up, kill-em-all, violent versions. It may matter in the house but once the boys visit their friends where parents allows these types of violent video games, they have no control over that.

Should these parents just give in?

Read the entire Q&A at The Washington Post

Photo by halfcaucazn at Flickr.com

_

Children Who Walk to School Everyday Are Much Healthier

A long time ago, our parents used to study in a school that’s nearest to their house. Today, city life forces us to ride cars, school buses and public transportation to reach the school our kids go to. Not that it’s too far but crime has gone up considerably since and the penchant of parents to think of their children’s safety is paramount to providing them food, shelter and education.

CBC News recently wrote that researchers in Canada decided to analyze the characteristics of youngsters making their way to school under their own steam, described as “active transportation” — as opposed to getting a ride or taking a bus — to see what patterns emerged. Their study showed that children from lower socio-economic backgrounds, those with a single parent and those with an older sibling were more likely to fall into this category, they discovered. It also says that active transportation peaks at ages 10 to 11, and then declines after that. However, only 35 percent of that age category use active transportation.

Though schools have physical education classes every week, it isn’t much to garner for the amount of bodily activity they need. The thought that comes into mind is for parents to find creative means of allowing their kids to do active transportation on a routine basis. One could be dropping them off at their classmate’s house which is a few hundred meters away from school; pick them up at the restaurant or mall nearest to their school.

If you don’t live in a gated subdivision, find a way to create a routine where the daily activity of walking becomes a norm. The study also revealed that children who used active transportation over the course of three years had fewer weight issues, and consistently had a lower body mass index growth curve. One idea is to park your car near your kids school and walk with them. This way, you, too, get the much needed exercise.

Source: CBC News

Photo by zinkwazi at Flickr.com

_

Summer of Hope Program Provides Adoption of Filipino Children in United States

Photo by suratlozowick at Flickr.com

John Levy, a 6-year-old boy from the Philippines, ran about giving hugs and meeting new people. When it was time to eat, he settled down on the grass with his host family, including host mom Vanessa Wilson.

The Summer of Hope program places children from around the world with Montana host families for a four-week period. Tuesday evening, at the program’s last summer picnic, some of those children and families came together at Lewis and Clark Park in Belgrade to play, enjoy the summer, and share their stories.

John Levy is one of nine children in Montana, including four from the Philippines and five from Ethiopia. All are with Bozeman-area families, with the exception of two children staying in Billings.

The Summer of Hope program the Druckenmillers and others have spearheaded focuses on providing adoption opportunities for older children because they’re much less likely to be adopted than infants or toddlers. The program is now in its ninth year, and 80 percent of the children involved in it have been adopted.

Read more at Bozeman Daily Chronicle

_

A Layman Parent’s View of Kumon

Click the poster above to enlarge (source from theallaroundmom.info)

My kids enrolled in Kumon only when we moved to Canada, Richmond, BC, to be precise. Both complemented their weaknesses and strengths – my daughter was good in reading but weak in math while my son was the reverse. They each enrolled only with the weak subject matter and in a year’s time, both decided to also enroll with the other. In time, their proficiencies increased dramatically.

What is Kumon? In an ordinary man’s description, I can say its method is to keep repeating items to the student over and over again. I used to look at the math portions of my kids and saw that the daily homework consisted of doing things repeatedly. For example, randomly placed, equations that equaled to, say, eleven, were all over the assignment sheets – 5+6, 7+4, 2+9, 15-4, 19-8, and so on.

What does the child get? I’d say the repetition force their young mind to develop senses of quick answers to problems and the habit of homework. Don’t you see how many kids dread homework? The habit of daily homework enforced by Kumon will eventually run in your kids’ blood that by the time they get too many, it’s not a big effort for them anymore.

I’m sure the Kumon experts can describe the method in a better way. Just the same, you can’t just snub it as a fad or something that might not work for your child. Go and take a look into it, let your children try it out for about four or six months before you tell yourself this isn’t for your kids.

Attend the Kumon seminar on June 18, 2011, at the SM Mall of Asia, Cinema 6. Make sure to reserve your seat lest you won’t be able to come in after a long drive to the venue.