Living With Children
By John Rosemond
For the umpteenth time, I do not believe children should have cell phones until they are old enough to pay for them, including the monthly bills. The usual argument is that the parent wants the child to have a cell phone in case of emergency, but this isn’t why teens want cell phones, and the evidence is strong to the effect that they cause emergencies (as in car crashes), not prevent them. The fact is, most teens who have cell phones have parents who can’t say no.
As this reader points out, parents give children cell phones, but don’t teach them cell phone manners, which include not using a cell phone during social conversation (to make or receive a call), in someone else’s home, in a restaurant, in a quiet location and when using a cell phone, don’t use your “outside voice.” As for it being difficult to talk to teens these days, my reaction, to borrow from their own vernacular: Duh.
And now, on to a more uplifting topic: Several weeks ago, a mom wrote complaining that her 4-year-old daughter would not wear the clothes picked out the night before, even if she had agreed to the selection when it was made, even if she had picked them out herself! Mom said, “When we’re at home, she can wear what she wants, but if we’re going out, I pick her outfit for her. She never fails to cry and pitch a fit. I make her wear it anyway. Am I taking this too seriously?”
I replied, “No, you're not taking this too seriously. This is the start of even bigger problems if not nipped in the bud. Tell her that her doctor says YOU are to pick out her clothes the night before. Wake her up in the morning, set a timer for 15 minutes, and leave her room. If she's not dressed by the time the timer goes off, then ‘the doctor’ says that means she needs more sleep and has to go to bed right after supper that night. Do this like clockwork for a week and let me know how it's going.”
One week later, mom wrote, “Thank you so much for your advice. I have used your ‘doctor’ technique with my daughter continually for about a week. She has yet to go to bed early. She tells me she just ‘loves’ whatever outfit I pick out. I even tried an outfit I had problems getting her to wear and she complained to me about it for a minute. I simply said ‘Oh, well you can wear it or go to sleep early tonight, you decide.’ It worked like a charm! No more clothing drama! Yey!”
From “Oy vey!” to “Yey!” in a week. Not bad. Another diagnosis averted. I will keep saying it and trying to prove it until I’m no longer able to say anything coherent: Raising children is not rocket science. You simply take one part cool, calm and collected, blend that in with one part confidence in the legitimacy of your authority, sprinkle with a sense of humor and a dash of ingenuity, and you’ve got it!
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Karl Rove, former senior adviser and deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, and Sandra Brown, bestselling author of such thrillers as Smash Cut and Smoke Screen, are among the more than 36 authors who will appear at the 4th Annual Savannah Book Festival Feb. 18-20.
Rove will present the paperback version of his memoir, Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight, at a special festival fundraiser on Sunday, Feb. 20, at 4 p.m. in the Trustees Theatre, 216 E. Broughton St. Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the SCAD box office (scadboxoffice.com) or by calling 912-525-5050.
Rove’s paperback edition features new material about the current political climate. After his talk, he will field questions from the audience. Courage and Consequence: My life as a Conservative in the Fight is a first-person account of recent history’s most critical milestones by the architect of Bush’s ascendency to the Governor’s Mansion in Texas and, ultimately, to the White House. Rove’s account takes readers into the meetings and moments that defined Bush’s presidency, giving an intimate look at the decision-making and makers. Along the way, he tells of his own evolution as one of the leaders of America’s conservative movement.
Brown, whose most recent novel is Tough Customer, was the winner of the 2008 Thriller Master Award. She and her son, Ryan Brown, will discuss their lives in letters and answer audience questions in a special fundraiser for the festival at 7 p.m. Feb. 19. The event will be held at the SCAD River Club, 3 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Among those scheduled to appear at the festival are Vince Dooley, former University of Georgia football coach and author of Vince Dooley’s Garden: The Horticultural Journey of a Football Coach; Lisa Genova, author of Still Alice; Tina McElroy Ansa, author of Taking After Muhdear; and David Bottoms, poet laureate of Georgia.
Admission to most events at this year’s Savannah Book Festival is free. For a complete and up-to-date schedule of events, go to savannahbookfestival.org.
The Savannah Book Festival’s mission is to promote reading, writing and civil conversation. It is fast becoming a significant event in the literary and southeastern United States calendars. The Savannah Book Festival Inc. is an independent non-profit corporation led by a volunteer board of directors. It is committed to remaining free and open to the public and to celebrating the written word and its role in improving the human experience.
Once girls get to know Kanani and her commitment to helping others, they will want to read Lend a Hand: Girl-sized ways of helping others (American Girl Publishing, 2011; $9.95) by Apryl Lundsten. Inside, they’ll find creative ways to volunteer, whether it’s fund-raising or making donations or raising awareness of people and organizations they care about.
Not to be left out, boys can now jump on the vampire bandwagon with a book series called The Young Vampire Adventures, by Star Donovan. The latest addition is Gappy’s Great Escape (Bronwynn Press, LLC, 2010; $8.99). The series features 9-year-old Gappy who learns from his parents that he is turning into a vampire. Soon, he discovers he possesses special powers as a vampire and he slowly warms to the idea. In Gappy’s Great Escape, Gappy travels to the United Kingdom to visit his cousins and ends up using his vampire skills to save them all from an underground prison.
It’s never too early to start your children on a lifelong love affair with reading. These new books may get them started. Happy reading!
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