Thursday, October 27, 2011

How to Talk to Your Kids About Being Bullied--copied from my post in What's in the Bible

My latest post in

Some people may think that bullying is just a part of growing up.  There’s always going to be that mean kid who torments those of us who are different in some way.  But the truth is that no one should have to suffer through bullying.  Our kids need to know that they can come to us if they are feeling threatened and that we will do something about it.
I write this blog as a mom, not a medical expert, but I believe that talking with our kids is a vital first step in considering how we are going to handle their very personal questions and emotions.  Even if our own kids aren’t the bully’s target, they may have heard or witnessed things that make them fearful. Begin by listening to your child.  Let him/ her tell their story. Remember that there will probably be emotional pain about the way they or a friend is being treated. Their feelings, fears and emotions need to be validated.
To be effective advocates, parents need to react to the knowledge that their child is a bully’s target in a way that encourages the child to trust them.  Projecting displaced anger or throwing out negative judgmental comments will only make them feel more isolated. Asking them why they didn’t stand up to the bully might stop any communication in its tracks!  Believe them and support them.  Tell them that it is not their fault and that they do not deserve to be bullied.  Empower the child by reminding them how special he/ she is, Psalm 139:14 “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Be patient, because children may not be ready to open up to you right away.  Talking about the bullying may be very difficult.  There could be fear about retaliation from the bully.  The child might be feeling insecure, withdrawn, frightened or ashamed.  Give them the time they need to share what’s going on.
Parents can educate their child about bullying by providing information at a level that the child can understand.  A good site that may be a useful resource is   This site has some good information that can be shared with kids! Parents can also talk to their kids about workable options in dealing with bullying behavior.
For parents who have younger kids or kids with special needs and who suspect that there might be a bullying issue going on, here are some questions that might get conversation started:
·         How was the bus ride today?
·         Who did you sit next to today at lunch?
·         I notice that you seem to be feeling sick a lot and wanting to stay home. Please tell me about that.
·         Are kids making fun of you?
·         Has anyone touched you in a way that did not feel right?
·         Did the child hurt you on purpose?
·         Was it done more than once?
·         Did they make you feel bad or angry?
·         Is the other child (more powerful, bigger, scarier…) than you in some way?
(Adapted from “Your Child: Bully or Victim”, Peter Sheras, Ph.D., 2002)
For older kids, talking about recent events in the news or bullying incidents on TV or in a movie might help lead them into discussion about how they are feeling.
The first step in understanding the emotional, physical or psychological effects bullying is having on our kids is starting a conversation with them and listening to them. All the while reassuring them how much we love and value them as individuals. Praying with them daily will also help empower them with the knowledge that God loves them completely and perfectly as they are– and how very important they are to Him. Everyday, when I drop my kids off at school, I pray for angelic protection to be like a hedge around them.  Prayer is an essential part of our role as parents, and knowing that God’s abundant grace is ever-present fills me and my children with the biggest sense of peace.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's Just a Token Name...or Is It?

I was that kid who was lucky enough to have such great friends growing up, I called their parent's "mom" and "dad".  I thought of it as a title of endearment, and I threw it around sort of casually.  It felt a little less uppity than referring to my friends' parents as "Mr." or "Mrs."  But should the titles "mother" or "father" be used so casually?

After losing my dad back in 2009, my whole world turned upside down.  How could I ever call another person "dad" when they would all pale in comparison to the man who was my life-long hero?  No matter how old I got, I was his "little princess".  I was "mijita linda".  He was my daddy...  and I only had ONE daddy.

So now that I've experienced this great loss, I've come to realize that I can't ever again call another man, "dad".  I can never again call another woman, "mom".  I have been blessed with two fabulous parents, who have loved me unconditionally.  No one else who would be given token titles of "mom" or "dad" could ever fill their shoes...ever.

This is just my personal realization, and I by no means think everyone else should follow what I've chosen to do.  But for me, I choose to only refer to "mom" and "dad" when speaking about the two people who God chose to be my parents!

Friday, October 21, 2011

VeggieTales Double GIVEAWAY and A Review of The Little Drummer Boy

One of my favorite children's series of all time is VeggieTales.  I've trusted the makers of these sweet shows for the last 13 years, and I've never been disappointed in their approach to teaching Christian values through entertainment! It's my pleasure to tell you a little about their newest release.

This Christmas season you'll want to be sure to pick up your copy of VeggieTales: The Little Drummer Boy! This is a heartwarming story, that retells the classic made-for-TV version, from 1968.  Inspired by the Biblical story of Jesus' birth and Based on Ephesians 4:32, which says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you,” this DVD offers a timeless message of hope, generosity and love during the holiday season.  Reminding us all to ask ourselves, "What gifts can I bring to the newborn King??" You'll also love hearing multi-Grammy and Dove Award-winning artists BeBe and CeCe Winans singing their version of the iconic “The Little Drummer Boy” song. Some new songs written for this production are, “Can’t Smile Without Ewe,” and the newly animated, classic Veggie Christmas song, “The 8 Polish Foods of Christmas."

In this Veggie-version of a holiday classic, Junior Asparagus stars as The Little Drummer Boy, a lonely child who finds the true meaning of Christmas when he stumbles upon the birth of the baby Jesus. It's great to see so many of our favorite Veggie characters back on the screen! Bob the Tomato, Pa Grape, Mr. Nezzar, Archibald and Mr. Lunt join Larry, Junior and many more of your favorite Veggies in this wonderful family story. This DVD can be purchased online at (with free delivery for orders over $30) or at your local Walmart or Christian bookstore! 

The Little Drummer Boy DVD Bonus Features:
  • Trailer for VeggieTales' spring 2012 new release, Robin Good and His Not-So-Merry Men
  • Little Drummer Boy music video
  • Visit a drum factory with Junior
  • Behind the music of The Little Drummer Bot
  • Family Activity - Make your own drum
  • Singalong songs

Looking for some great new Christmas music to add to your holiday collection?  O Holy Night: Journey of a Little Drummer Boy CD

Features never-before released on CD songs from Amy Grant & Matthew West, Steven Curtis Chapman, and BeBe & CeCe Winans! 
Order your CD at:
Here are the tracks you'll get on this fab CD:
  • Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  • Do You Hear What I Hear
  • It's About Love - featuring Wynonna Judd 
  • Can't Smile Without Ewe
  • Meant to Be - featuring Steven Curtis Chapman
  • Silent Night
  • What Child is This / The First Noel
  • Give This Christmas Away - featuring Amy Grant & Matthew West 
  • Oh Holy Night 
  • Away In A Manger
  • The Little Drummer Boy - featuring BeBe and CeCe Winans
  • Please let me know if you would like to receive this  
If you're looking for a great way to show your kids how they can truly make a difference in the lives of others throughout the world this Christmas, VeggieTales' and World Vision are once again teaming up this year! World Vision’s Gift Catalog offers goats, chickens, clean water and more than 100 other unique and meaningful gifts that provide love, hope and joy to children and families in need. Selecting and giving gifts is a way to for families to make the message of VeggieTales: The Little Drummer Boy come alive in their homes this giving season, while providing others with the tools they need to break free from poverty. To learn more about the partnership and the Gift Catalog, visit 

I'm giving away a copy of The Little Drummer Boy DVD AND a copy of O Holy Night: Journey of a Little Drummer Boy CD to two separate winners!  

To enter to win simply tell me who your favorite VeggieTales character is, and why. Two winners will be randomly selected on October 26. No "anonymous" entries, please.

Disclosure: I received copies of VeggieTales:The Little Drummer Boy DVD and O Holy Night:Journey of a Little Drummer Boy CD for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Opinions on this blog, as always, are my own. LS


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dancing With the Stars...or those who for some unknown reason hold the title of "Star"

I used to really like the ABC show, Dancing With the Stars, that is until they ran out of actual "stars".  This season, for example, we are watching the brother of three semi-famous women--who are famous for no apparent reason; the child of an actual HUGE star who has no real claim to fame himself other than a sex change operation; a handful of B actors, a news correspondent and a war hero.  All arguably great people, mind you... but 'stars'? No. 

So what are we really watching?  It would be nice to have this contest based solely on a...dancing competition.  That would be the entertaining caveat that would also make sense.  Instead we are watching a popularity contest unfold each week.  And what's worse, we are watching a public service announcement, based on such things as sexual preference, marriage rights, and politics.  It cheapens the whole experience.  Kinda sad.

Dancers are people I admire greatly! I'm not a dancer, and I'd love to watch non-dancers work their butts off (literally) and improve a skill which they never knew they even possessed.  But, that alone doesn't make for good TV, and it certainly isn't going to increase their social media presence!

I guess what we learned so painfully in high school might really be true; It's all about popularity--not the amount of effort or perseverance we put into action.  Because in this age of social media, he who has the most tweeples has the biggest voice, the most votes and therefore is the most influential---I mean the BEST dancer. Makes sense. Talent is so passe.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

REVIEW: What's in the Bible-- Buck Denver Asks Why Do We Call it Christmas

Ok folks! It’s time to take out the Snuggies, light a fire, pop some corn and make a batch of hot cocoa…it’s Christmastime in October!! Buck Denver and his pals are starring in a brand new Christmas DVD!–Buck Denver Asks Why Do We Call It Christmas? — and you’re going to love it!
While most Christmas shows are entertaining, only Phil and his friends can pull off being  “edutaining”.  Ok, I know that’s not a real word– so don’t try it on Words With Friends– but I can’t think of a better word to describe this incredibly entertaining and super educational Christmas show.  Phil Vischer explains it beautifully during his intro to the show when he says, “We all know the Christmas Story, but do we really know the story of Christmas?”     
As the show begins, we find Buck Denver feeling a little confused about why there are so many holiday traditions tied into celebrating Jesus’ birthday. Why do we drag trees into our homes and decorate them? Where did the tradition of hanging stockings by the fire come from? Why is Santa Claus even a part of Jesus’ birthday, anyway?  With the help of Sunday School Lady and Marcie, Buck sends out invites to all of his friends, hoping they can make it to his cabin in Indiana for a Christmas party.  Along the way, we see that it’s not only Buck who’s a little confused about where all the different Christmas traditions have come from.

You and your kids will truly appreciate how lovingly accurate each of these sometimes tricky questions are handled.  As you’ve come to expect from What’s in the Bible?, this show is witty, heart-warming and just plain fun to watch! And of course, the kids will get a beautiful lesson about the birth of Jesus–the REAL reason we celebrate Christmas! Look for some great new songs mingled together with some of your traditional holiday favorites.
I personally appreciated that kids with sensory integration issues won’t find this DVD overly stimulating, like some popular shows on TV. The songs aren’t obnoxiously loud with a lot of percussion and the movement of the characters is well regulated and not jerky or rapid.  The colors are bright and the story will hold their attention.  For the kiddos who love facts, this DVD is a goldmine!
If your family’s like mine, you probably already have a nice-sized Christmas movie library.  You’ll definitely want to add this DVD to your collection! It’s one that can be enjoyed by the whole family throughout the season!
Why Do We Call It Christmas? will be available in the online store at or in your local Christian bookstore on October 18.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How Today’s Culture Affects Our Teenage Kids

My latest blog post for

As the mother of two boys I’ve not been highly interested in anything about bringing up girls.  Those tidbits of knowledge weren’t anything I needed to know, or so I thought.  I now have a teenage son who is all-of-a-sudden interested in the opposite sex.  You remember the age where personal hygiene, hair style and clothes became important to you?  Well, he’s that age. Girls are still a strange breed to this boy who thinks nothing of burping the alphabet after one good swig of Coke. But he’s now interested in them.  As his mother I take this new interest seriously.  I’ve begun reading books about raising daughters and the affects our culture is having on our girls.  It’s frightening.
It’s no surprise that boys are just as influenced and just as affected by our culture as girls, but it seems that our poor girls have a barrage of mixed messages that are aimed at their very deepest layers of self esteem and self worth. Confusing expectations that our society hands them; expectations that, for a young girl, may be in direct opposition of how she is being raised at home.  Our current culture greatly mirrors that of the sixties and seventies; a sexual AND social revolution idealism that permeates virtually everything they see and hear. It’s the ideology that says “If it feels good, go ahead and do it, because there aren’t any real consequences”, is back! And guess what? It’s no longer an philosophy that only those who live on the fringe of our culture hold as truths.  No, these are the so-called “new truths” that are being presented to our young people.  There is no longer an understood standard of right and wrong, because we have nothing to base that standard upon. When we no longer utilize a Biblical world view to measure our actions, we are left with our “inner feelings” to use as our litmus test against what is right and wrong.  We’re told to leave God out of it.  
Dr. Dobson has written a newsletter recently which tackles what he calls “The River of Culture”.  He specifically speaks about our daughters and the ideas that today’s society is carrying down this river.  These shocking bullet points are straight from his newsletter:
  • Early sexual experience is healthy, and for girls it leads to empowerment!
  • Virginity results from oppression and should be gotten rid of as soon as possible.
  • There are no innate differences between men and women, except for the ability to bear children.  To be truly equal, mean and women should act and think alike.
  • Modesty is old-fashioned and  reflects the oppression of the past.
  • The source of true power for young girls depends on maximizing their sex appeal, and then marketing it in the competition for boys.
Are you as mortified as I was after reading these for the first time? What does this mean for the spiritual and physical health of our young adults?  As a parent, I need to take this all in and seriously ask God for wisdom. I know I can’t keep my son at home sheltered and away from the world.  That was never my intention, anyway.  But what I can do is give him the Truth that comes from God’s Word.  I can go counter-cultural and teach him that sex is a beautiful gift that God (still) intends for a husband and wife, and then assure him that he will never regret preserving that gift for the woman who will one day share his life.  I can teach him to respect all girls and how to treat them as ladies.  Chivalry is not dead in our house! Opening doors, and pulling out chairs for a date may be “old fashioned”, but that’s what he’ll be taught. I can also teach him that the beauty of any woman is something that comes from the inside, not just the outside.  I can remind him to seek out the depth of a person’s heart before sharing his.
Above all else, I will diligently pray daily for him; pray for his discernment in the choices that he must make, and the many obstacles that he must face in the world he lives. We have time before the dating years start, but these are days where talking about the important aspects of building a healthy relationship are vitally important.
If you are a parent that is looking for some good reading material on this or a related subject, there are a couple books that Dr. Dobson has recommended:  A Return to Modesty and Girls Gone Mild, by Wendy Shalit; and Prude, by Carol Platt Liebau. Of course there is also Dr. James Dobson’s books, Bringing Up Girls and Bringing Up Boys.