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Wondering whether your kids are addicted to video games? It’s a common concern in the era of Fortnite and addicting phone apps.

But now there’s a test to find out how close you or your kids fall to the “addicted” category when it comes to video games.

Yes, ‘gaming disorder’ is real

Researchers from universities in the U.K., Germany, China and Australia recently released a new psychological test that lets gamers check whether they may have “gaming disorder,” which is a term now recognized as a mental illness by the World Health Organization.

Gaming disorder is defined by the WHO as “a pattern of gaming behavior (‘digital-gaming’ or ‘video-gaming’) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

The nitty-gritty of the test

You can take the Gaming Disorder Test online here. Its main purpose is “not to diagnose (gaming disorder), but to assess its severity and accompanying detrimental effects to the gamer’s life,” researchers noted, according to a Forbes article on the test.

Before you rush to have your kids take the assessment, here’s what you should know about it. The test takes 10 to 20 minutes to complete and kids must have parental permission, or be at least 16 years old, to take part. While the quiz can’t diagnose gaming disorder, test-takers can compare their results against other gamers and see how “normal” their playing habits might be.

In addition to asking questions about how many hours per week you spend gaming and which devices you use, gamers are also asked questions such as the following: “Have you experienced a significant problem in your life due to your gaming activity in the last 12 months?”

Other questions gauge gaming activity within the past year on a scale of 1 (never) to 5 (very often), with test-takers responding to statements like “I have had difficulties controlling my gaming activity” and “I have experienced significant problems in life (e.g., personal, family, social, education, occupational) due to the severity of my gaming behavior.”

Questions are also asked about the motivations behind a gamer’s online game play, asking whether gaming helps channel aggression, helps them escape reality or simply offers entertainment.

A useful tool for parents

Although the test may be tedious to get through for younger gamers, parents could find it to be a useful tool to assess potential red flags about their child’s gaming behavior. While gaming can have benefits for kids, experts say it can also be harmful if not done in moderation.

Bruno Schivinski, a University of London lecturer involved in the test, said the researchers hope to have thousands of participants in the study, according to the Forbes article.

“We want to understand the point at which gaming becomes a health problem, and which factors contribute to the development of gaming disorders, exploring sociodemographic variables, personality and motivations.”

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Mom shaming is real – from critical in-laws to judgmental strangers on the street and especially on the internet. Almost anything mothers do is open to criticism.

But as it turns out, moms aren’t alone in facing judgment. A new study from the University of Michigan finds that “daddy shaming” is a real problem, too.

Sources of scrutiny

Around 50 percent of fathers in the new national poll said they have faced criticism and second-guessing about their parenting choices, the University of Michigan Health System reports. Those choices range from nutritional choices and discipline to the way dads interact with their kids.

In the survey, which was based on responses from a sample of 713 fathers of kids up to age 13, four key areas arose where dads feel the pinch:

  1. Leading the list was the 67 percent of dads who say they’ve been shamed about their discipline style.
  2. Another 43 percent of dads say they’ve been shamed about diet and nutrition choices – consider the stereotype of dad ordering pizza when he’s making dinner or “spoiling” kids with an unhealthy treat.
  3. Being engaged is another common area where dads have been shamed. Here, 32 percent saying they’ve been shamed for not paying enough attention to their kids.
  4. And 32 percent of fathers said they’ve been shamed for “being too rough” with their children.
The effect on dads

“While some fathers say criticism prompts them to seek more information about good parenting practices, too much disparagement may cause dads to feel demoralized about their parental role,” Mott poll co-director Sarah Clark, MPH, says in a news release about the poll findings.

“Family members – especially the other parent – should be willing to acknowledge that different parenting styles are not necessarily incorrect or harmful.”

The shaming often comes from the mother, co-parent or other adults, in addition to grandparents, friends and even teachers, the report notes.

And just as mommy shaming can have harmful effects, daddy shaming can have unintended consequences, too.

“Even subtle forms of disparagement can undercut fathers’ confidence or send the message that they are less important to their child’s well-being,” Clark says in the news release. “Family members should also be mindful of comments or critiques that may make dads feel like they don’t know how to parent the ‘right’ way.'”

Where’s the line?

But who draws the line between “shaming” and a helpful word of caution?

Mothers concerned about a child’s safety when a father is playing “too rough,” for example, might feel conflicted about when to step in. Then again, at least one study has found that “roughhousing” with dad is crucial for a child’s development, ABC News reports.

Where do you draw the line on “dad shaming” or pointing out concerns about your partner’s parenting? Tell us in the comments!

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Although it’s not a public holiday, National Flag Day, which is held each year on June 14, is a time to celebrate our country’s red, white and blue symbol of freedom.

You’re likely to see neighbors displaying American flags outside their houses and flags raised high at government offices. You can bring flags right to your table by trying out these American flag food recipes.

Start with breakfast by making patriotic Belgian waffles or patriotic toast.

For lunch or dinner (or both!) put together a patriotic pizza flag and then try patriotic cake pops, wave your “flag” cake, or the red, white and blue layered cake.

Who knew flags could make such a sweet treat?

Do you know of other American Flag food recipes? Share your idea in the comments. 

Patriotic Belgian Waffles

You can use this recipe or your own to whip up these patriotic Belgian waffles from the now defunct blog, The Scent of Oranges. The key is to use chopped strawberries and blueberries to make this breakfast dish look like a flag. Drizzle cream across the strawberries for the stripes.




Patriotic Toast

Here’s an even easier breakfast idea – patriotic toast from Kara’s Party Ideas. Have your kids spread cream cheese on the toast. Use sliced strawberries to make the stripes. And the blueberries complete the look.




Patriotic Pizza Flag

For dinner tonight, why not try this patriotic pizza flag from Jeanne Benedict? Use your favorite pizza dough recipe (or better yet prepared dough from the grocery store) and roll out into a rectangle shape. Spread with pasta sauce and add strips of mozzarella cheese for the stripes.




Patriotic Cake Pops

Prepare a boxed cake mix and then stir in one container of prepared vanilla frosting. Now for the fun part – have your kids make 50 1-inch balls. Add a stick to each ball and then dip some into melted blue candy melts and the rest in red candy melts. Freeze until firm. Place the balls in the design of the flag. That’s it to make these patriotic cake pops from Party City.




Wave Your Flag “Cake”

Use the freshest berries of the season to dress up this wave your flag “cake” from Kraft. Start with prepared pound cake—slicing it into pieces and then spreading it out onto a 13×9-inch dish. Add red Jell-O gelatin mixed with cut up berries. Pour the mixture over the pound cake and allow to cool and set. Top with whipped cream and then create the flag design with sliced strawberries and blueberries.




Red, White and Blue Layered Flag Cake

This red, white and blue layered flag cake from Betty Crocker takes time to make – but the results are worth it! Use red and blue food coloring paste to create the flag look inside of the cake. While this cake doesn’t look like much on the outside, once you cut into it prepare for ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs.’





This post was originally published in 2015 and is updated regularly.

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School is out for summer, but that doesn’t mean kids can’t stay engaged academically. One way to avoid that summer brain drain is for kids to join a summer reading program, which are offered through local libraries. In Macomb County, there are plenty of summer reading programs for kids to participate in.

Read on for a list of Macomb County summer reading programs. Note: Each library hosts a variety of story times for different ages, in addition to special programming throughout the year.

Armada Free Public Library
  • Address: 73930 Church St., Armada
  • Phone: 586-784-5921

Kids ages 3 and under can participate in their own reading program, which takes place from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays between June 19 and July 31. For children age 4 to pre-kindergarten, the summer reading program takes place on Wednesdays from 2 to 2:45 p.m.

Arthur J. Miller Public Library
  • Address: 5460 Arden Ave., Warren
  • Phone: 586-751-5377

“A Universe of Stories” is the theme of this year’s summer reading program, which kicks off on June 15 and continues until Aug. 3.

Center Line Public Library
  • Address: 7345 Weingartz St., Center Line
  • Phone: 586-758-8274

The summer reading program kicked off on June 1 and continues until September. All ages are welcome to participate and prizes are given out to select participants throughout the summer.

Clinton-Macomb Public Library
  • Address: 40900 Romeo Plank Road, Clinton Township
  • Phone: 586-226-5020

From June 15 to Aug. 17, kids can participate in the library’s summer reading program. Families who register by June 30 will be entered to win a family four-pack of tickets to Jimmy John’s Field in Utica.

Dorothy M. Busch Branch Library
  • Address: 23333 Ryan Road, Warren
  • Phone: 586-353-0580

“A Universe of Stories” is the theme of this year’s summer reading program, which runs June 15-Aug. 3, 2019.

Fraser Public Library
  • Address: 16330 E. 14 Mile Road, Fraser
  • Phone: 586-293-2055

The summer reading club kicks off on June 22 with a visit from the Exotic Zoo. There are four levels for summer reading program participants: early literacy for kids 0-5, children’s for ages 6-12, teen for ages 13-18 and adults for ages 18-plus.

Kezar Library
  • Address: 107 Church St., Romeo
  • Phone: 586-752-2583

Registration for this summer reading program kicks off on June 12. There are three levels – kids, teens and adults – to choose from.

Lenox Township Library
  • Address: 58976 Main St., New Haven
  • Phone: 586-749-3430

From June 17 until Aug. 16, families can participate in this library’s summer reading program. Be sure to follow #LenoxSRP2019 on social media for updates all summer long.

Lois Wagner Memorial Library
  • Address: 35200 Division Road, Richmond
  • Phone: 586-727-2665

The summer reading program kicks off on June 17 with a Science Tellers event. It runs through July 27 and has a “Universe of Stories” theme.  Registration is required. Visit the website for additional event details.

MacDonald Public Library
  • Address: 36480 Main St., New Baltimore
  • Phone: 586-725-0273

Kids and teens can pre-register to participate in the summer reading program, which kicks off on June 11.

Maybelle Burnette Branch Library
  • Address: 22005 Van Dyke Ave., Warren
  • Phone: 586-758-2115

“A Universe of Stories” is the theme of this year’s summer reading program, which kicks off on June 15 and runs through Aug. 3.

Mount Clemens Public Library
  • Address: 150 Cass Ave., Mount Clemens
  • Phone: 586-469-6200

Kids from kindergarten to second grade will receive prizes for every 120 pages they read. For the older kids, prizes are given for every 250 pages they complete. There are a number of programs – including a June 18 visit from the Flying Aces professional Frisbee team – and a hip-hop dancing culture series by Motor City Street Dance Academy.  

Ray Township Public Library
  • Address: 64255 Wolcott Road, Ray
  • Phone: 586-749-7130

The summer reading program kicks off on Monday, June 25, and continues with weekly events until, Aug. 2. Kids can choose a free weekly prize, and teens and adults will be entered into a drawing for a Barnes & Noble gift card.

Romeo District Library
  • Address: 65821 Van Dyke Ave., Washington
  • Phone: 586-752-0603

Registration for this summer reading program kicks off on June 12. Pick from three reading levels – kids, teens and adults.

Roseville Public Library
  • Address: 29777 Gratiot Ave., Roseville
  • Phone: 586-445-5407

This year’s summer reading program kicks off on June 14 with a visit from the “Cat in the Hat” – plus crafts and other activities. There are three levels – youth, teen and adult – and the program continues until July 26.

Saint Clair Shores Public Library
  • Address: 22500 E. 11 Mile Road, St. Clair Shores
  • Phone: 586-771-9020

“A Universe of Stories” is the theme of this summer reading program, which is held in June and July. It’s fun for all ages and there are chances to win some cool prizes, too.

Shelby Township Library
  • Address: 51680 Van Dyke Ave., Shelby Township
  • Phone: 586-739-7414

The summer reading program kicks off on June 15 with STEAM projects and fun. The summer reading program is open to all ages.

Sterling Heights Public Library
  • Address: 40255 Dodge Park Road, Sterling Heights
  • Phone: 586-446-2665

From June 17 until July 27, all ages can participate in the summer reading program for the chance to win some cool prizes. There are four sessions: baby, youth, teen and adult.

Utica Public Library
  • Address: 7530 Auburn Road, Utica
  • Phone: 586-731-41141

Register for this summer reading program, which kicks off on June 17 and continues until July 27. Participants should read at least 100 minutes per week and log their progress. There are free events to attend during the summer, too.

Warren Civic Center Library
  • Address: One City Square, Suite 100, Warren
  • Phone: 586-751-0770

“A Universe of Stories” is the theme of this year’s summer reading program, which is held June 15 until Aug. 3.

For more information on things to do in Macomb County this summer, visit the Make Macomb Your Home website.

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Summertime is synonymous with swimming, playground fun and backyard bonanzas. But it’s also a time when kids are more likely to run, jump and bounce their way to an injury such as a broken arm – and that broken bone can easily put a damper on his or her summer fun.

Thanks to Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit, a broken bone doesn’t have to spoil your child’s summer season.

This year, metro Detroit kids who are in need of a cast – for an average of four to six weeks – can opt for a waterproof cast, which is offered at no additional charge to families.

Dr. Christopher Minnock, an orthopedic surgeon at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, was integral in bringing this cast alternative to metro Detroit families. Prior to relocating to Detroit two years ago, Dr. Minnock was training in Arizona where it’s common for physicians to use waterproof casts on their patients.

“When I came here, my first question was, ‘do we have it?’” he says.

Two years ago, the answer was “no,” but in late April 2019, the hospital began offering the option to its 3,000 to 4,000 patients who receive casts annually.

“They essentially look the same. The cast is really a fiberglass shell that immobilizes and protects the limb,” he explains. “Underneath the fiberglass, there’s cast padding.”

And that padding, or liner, is the biggest difference between the two cast types. “The waterproof casts use a synthetic cotton blend that allows water to pass through it and dries out much more quickly,” Dr. Minnock says of the waterproof liner.

The waterproof cast is offered May through September this year when it’s warm enough that frostbite in a wet cast is not a concern.

Benefits of waterproof casts

In a state surrounded by water, it’s common for families to spend much of their summer at the lake, on a river or in a pool. But when a child has a broken bone and is wearing a traditional cast, which has a plain cotton liner, he or she should avoid getting that cast wet. If you get a traditional cast wet, bacteria will undoubtedly grow.

“That traditional cotton liner gets wet and stays wet for hours or even days,” he says. “We naturally have bacteria and fungus on our skin – and that stuff just starts to grow when the padding stays wet. This causes the cast to smell and irritates the skin.”

And if that liner doesn’t dry out, the cast may need to be changed.

“When a traditional cast becomes wet, we typically have to change the cast in clinic to avoid this skin irritation and wounds that can develop.”

Waterproof casts on the other hand, dry out completely in about 30 minutes, which means that kids and parents don’t have to stress about a little moisture during summertime activities.

“Parents don’t have to worry as much around bath time or running through sprinklers,” Dr. Minnock says.

Waterproof casts are not appropriate for all patients though. Patients who have had surgery or a fracture reduction in the Emergency Department still have traditional cast padding and cannot get the casts wet, Dr. Minnock notes. That area must remain dry at all times.

Content brought to you by Children’s Hospital of Michigan. For more information, visit childrensdmc.org/orthopedics.

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It’s a dreaded moment when your child no longer welcomes hugs, kisses or “I love you” from mom or dad. It might happen at 10 years old or he might be 16, but the result is just as hurtful.

The good news? It’s usually nothing to worry about.

“It’s a normal developmental stage,” says Dr. Kathryn Bondy Fessler, former medical director at The Corner Health Center in Ypsilanti, which offers services to young people ages 12-25.

What gives?

Previously, rejecting parental affection was thought to be associated with the onset of puberty – but not anymore, Fessler says.

“I think it has a lot more to do with at what age the youth decides to more closely identify with their peer group,” she says. That’s not necessarily a conscious decision, though, and it’s all part of developing independence.

“The job of teenagers and young adults is to separate from their family of origin and identify with their peer group. It’s what they’re supposed to do.”

How this looks will be different for everyone – some teens don’t want to be seen in public with their parents while others will connect less at home, too.

“That disruption of the parent-child relationship is often very unsettling for the adults,” she says. “I would argue it’s unsettling for the child as well, even though the child seems to be – and probably is – initiating it.”

Adjusting

Fessler offers these tips:

  1. Give your kids room to speak. “One of the things that’s really important when your child makes that transition into adolescence is to stop telling them so much and start listening to them more,” she says.
  2. Keep parenting. Provide boundaries, communicate and keep showing your love. “Go to the band concerts, go to the track meets,” she says. Try not to make a big fuss, but “take your lead from him or her.”
  3. Leave an encouraging note for your child to find in the morning or when she gets home from school. “Those kinds of things go a long way ,and there’s no response necessary.”
  4. Talk in the car. “You’re both looking straight forward. It’s a good place to initiate conversations,” she says.
  5. Plan time together on their terms. “I sat through an awful lot of concerts,” Fessler recalls. Baseball games and even family meals together are other ideas.
  6. Texting can be a great way to communicate if your teen is up for it.
Bottom line

“Try not to take it personally,” Fessler says. “It can feel really hurtful, but 99.9 percent of the time, it’s really not about you.”

But if you’re worried your child’s behaviors aren’t normal, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

This post is updated regularly. 

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Take Lucy to soccer practice, drop Henry off at preschool, scoop the litter, fold the laundry, shop for groceries, cook, vacuum, dust – the list goes on.

Daily responsibilities add up and can cause tension in relationships. And for couples that can’t get on the same page, it also can lead to divorce.

In fact, a working paper from the Harvard Business School and the University of British Columbia notes that 25 percent of divorces are due to “disagreements about housework.”

It’s no surprise, says Dr. Terri Orbuch, a local relationship expert and professor at Oakland University in Rochester.

“I’ve been following 373 couples for almost 30 years, and conflicts about who does what around the house was one of the topics that created a lot of tension for couples,” Orbuch, also author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great, says.

But for couples struggling to see eye-to-eye on household chores, outsourcing tasks you don’t like could improve personal happiness and help promote a healthy relationship, the paper notes.

By spending cash on chores, couples were able to enjoy more quality time together – which is key, says Dr. Tracey Stulberg, a licensed marriage and family therapist and the director of the Birmingham Family Therapy Clinic, Inc.

“You could spend time buying services, but if you don’t spend that time with your partner doing something, it doesn’t actually help with marital status,” she says.

Second shift

If you had $40 to spend on a service or on a material item, which would you choose? If you answered “service,” you’re onto something.

“In an experiment conducted on this topic, individuals reported greater positive mood and lower negative mood after spending $40 on a time-saving purchase (e.g., housecleaning or grocery delivery) than after spending $40 on a material purchase for themselves,” the Harvard findings note – in part because those purchases “protected consumers from the negative impact of time stress.”

Still, couples can disagree about how the money is spent, so you have to make sure you’re financially compatible and on the same page about these purchases, Stulburg says. If you’re going to argue about that cash instead of enjoying the time it bought, it’s likely not worth it.

A team effort

It’s easy to assume you know what your partner does around the house each day, but couples often aren’t fully aware. What you shouldn’t do, Stulberg says, is lob loaded remarks like, “What have you been doing all day? How can you let this happen?”

In order to understand each other’s schedules, both Orbuch and Stulberg suggest you each sit down and write what you think you’re doing around the house. Do this separately and compare notes.

Next, identify what you want or expect your partner to do. “Be specific about your own needs,” Orbuch says.

For example, if you want to go to yoga on Tuesday and Thursday nights, ask your partner to tuck in the kids so you can make your class. Then, offer to handle bedtime on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Split or share the weekends.

When communicating all this, Orbuch adds, delivery matters.

“First, give a very positive statement about that person, like, ‘Thanks so much for taking the kids the other day or picking up Susie from piano lessons,'” she says.

Now, he or she is primed to hear exactly what you say. Be sure to use “I” statements instead of “You” statements, she adds, which tend to put the listening party on the defensive.

Try apps, too, such as AnyList, Stulberg says – it syncs up your smartphones’ calendars, so if one person adds an event or item, the other also sees it. This helps avoid scheduling headaches – another common cause of angst, she adds.

If you’re looking to outsource chores, go to TaskRabbit, an online marketplace that matches consumers with services like household cleaning. Or try ClickList for Kroger, Shipt for Meijer or other grocery ordering/delivery services to cut back on shopping time. Just be sure you’re on the same page about what you’re willing to outsource.

Having a team approach is huge. “There are ways every family can make changes in the way they support each other, regardless of whether it’s (making) time-saving purchases,” Stulberg says.

Orbuch adds, “The big theme is that it’s actually not the dishes or the laundry or the actual cleaning and the dust. It’s really about fairness, equity, respect and appreciation.”

This post was originally published in 2018 and is updated regularly

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Don’t feel ashamed; we’ve all been there. Whether it’s a candy bar at your kid’s eye-level in the checkout line, a pit stop for a slushie or a slumber party you just don’t want to host, there are times as parents when we can’t help but just give in and agree to our kids’ requests despite initially telling them “no.”

For some moms and dads, a few minutes of pouting could be all it takes. Others stand strong until an epic meltdown hits or the simple need for a break from the begging finally become too much to bear.

Despite our best intentions, it’s a known fact that the parental “no” doesn’t always mean “no.”

Unfortunately, giving in after bad behavior only reinforces the behaviors, explains Jason Rockwell, a board certified behavior analyst and regional manager with Total Spectrum Care, which provides ABA therapy services to children with autism in Michigan.

The same behavior principles apply to typically developing children, he says.

“The fancy term for it is we’re making the kids more resistant to extinction,” says Rockwell, who sometimes uses the example of a clip from the show Family Guy where baby Stewie says “mommy” repeatedly for several minutes straight before his mom finally responds “what?”

“The takeaway is I need to be persistent in the future in order to get what I want. It didn’t work when I just asked once for mom’s attention – I had to ask 30 times,” he explains. “Whatever resulted in what they wanted – specifically the last few behaviors they engaged in – that’s going to be the thing that’s strengthened.”

So how can you step up your game for the sake of your kids and your sanity? Consider these six tips.

1. Don’t say “no” unless you mean it

Pause for a moment before you offer a snap “no” decision you might regret. If there’s any chance you’ll eventually agree, it’s better to avoid turning back on your “no” and reinforcing the complaining or whining that might have led you to agree.

“If you’re going to give in, which isn’t a default strategy but if you have to, it’s better to give in earlier rather than reinforce this whole long string of behaviors or tantrum or whatever it might be,” Rockwell points out.

2. Set expectations ahead of time

Set yourself up for success by setting some basic ground rules and sticking with them. “We don’t buy candy in the checkout line,” for example. And before you leave for an outing with your child, let him know the expectations.

“If you’re going to go to the park, tell them on the onset, ‘We’re going to be here for 15 minutes and no longer,'” for example, Rockwell says. Or at the store, “‘You can get one toy or one item up to $15.'”

3. Be consistent

Keep expectations the same as much as possible across different visits to the store, park or elsewhere. So when your kids think about begging for something and you tell them “no,” then “they’ll know in the past it hasn’t been reinforced.”

But don’t be too hard on yourself if you give in sometimes, though.

“You’ve gotta look at shaping the kid’s behavior over time. Sometimes the situation is so extreme that you have to give in, but don’t throw in the towel,” Rockwell says. “Go back and the next time try and be more consistent.”

4. Ignore, ignore, ignore

Behavior analysts often encourage parents to ignore negative behaviors until they eventually disappear. So if your kid is whining for a toy endlessly even after you said “no?” Keep on shopping without bringing attention to the behavior.

It’s called differential reinforcement, Rockwell notes. “Ignoring the inappropriate behaviors and reinforcing the positive behaviors,” he says.

If needed, a time out could be used – for example, leaving the store or park momentarily until the child calms down and can demonstrate appropriate behaviors. When that happens, be sure to reinforce and praise the positive behavior.

5. Find a “yes” instead

Redirection is your friend, especially with younger kids. You may not be able to agree to a trip to the park, but maybe you can say “yes” to 15 minutes playing in the backyard instead.

“If they want a candy bar and the parents decided they’re not going to give them the candy bar, is there something else (they can offer)?” he says. “They might not be able to get access to what they actually want but offering an alternative is a good solution.”

6. Forget what everyone thinks

These willpower-testing moments always seem to happen in public, don’t they? But don’t change your parenting approach because you feel you’re being watched or judged.

“We all get judged over the course of the day. It doesn’t mean I’m a horrible parent, it just means I have a kid who’s having a tough time right now,” Rockwell says. “If you’re in a store, probably a good percentage of the people in there are going to be parents as well and possibly can empathize with you.”

This post was originally published in 2018 and is updated regularly. 

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If there’s anything that I’ve learned through my almost 29 years on this planet is that moms and daughters go through phases.

As an infant, I adored my mom. In fact, my dad likes to tell me the time I screamed for two hours while she was out running errands. As soon as she came home and he handed me to her, I stopped.

As a young child, my dad and I had similar interests so I grew a bit closer to him and distanced myself a bit from her – though she did lead my Girl Scouts troop before I lost interest. As a teen, I didn’t want anything to do with either one of them and now that I’m in my late 20s I have a fairly solid relationship with her.

We actually have a friendship now.

We go out to dinner on occasion and I talk to her at least once a week. She watches me play roller derby once a month and I have zero hesitation reaching out to her (or my dad) when I need advice.

We’re close, but it’s healthy. I’m not sure the same can be said for the mother-daughter duos on TLC’s new show, sMothered.

The show, which premiered on June 9, 2019, explores the lives of moms and daughters who have close relationships – uncomfortably close relationships.

In the first episode, viewers meet three mother-daughter pairs. The first is Cher, 28, and her mom Dawn, 59, who live in separate states but talk to one another every few hours.

It is revealed the Cher is pregnant with her first child and eagerly wants to tell her mom. Her husband asks her not to but she turns around and gives her a positive home pregnancy test behind his back.

It gets even more weird from there with Las Vegas mom Sunhe, 51, and her daughter Angelica, 31, who share the same bath water – and California duo Mariah, 21, and Sandra, 45, who got breast enhancement together (which they show off to their dad/ex-husband in the episode) and actually visit the OB-GYN together.

These moms and daughters dress and act alike and their relationships with one another put strain on their relationships with their siblings and significant others.

All in all, it’s very similar to other TLC documentaries but we need to talk about these relationships for a second because there is no way in hell that I’d go to the vagina doctor and get a pelvic exam alongside my mom – or preemptively announce a pregnancy to her without my husband or partner’s blessing.

And I hope I’m not alone in that.

Having a solid relationship with your mom is great but there are going to be times in your life that you need to share with other people – or that you need to do alone.

I understand wanting to spend time with your mom and wanting that bond. After all, you only get one and when she’s gone, she’s gone, but maybe an occasional dinner or shopping day with her would be more appropriate than hopping into her funky bathwater… I’m just saying.

Do you have any intention of watching this new TLC show and have you witnessed excessively close parent-child relationships? Tell us about them in the comments.

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Do you want your kids to be excited about local history? Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor are full of historical attractions that can spark an interest in history. One such spot is Meadow Brook Hall.

This historic estate, which is located on the grounds of Oakland University, was built by the university’s founder, the late Matilda Dodge Wilson and her second husband, Alfred, between 1926 and 1929.

Today, this 1,500-acre estate filled with historic farm buildings and beautiful gardens plays host to some of the coolest educational family events around, including the new family program, Discovery Days.

During this family fun summertime event, families will have the opportunity to explore the grounds, gardens and both Dan’s Cabin and Knole Cottage.

“Knole Cottage and Dan’s Cabin are the recently-restored 1920s children’s playhouses on the estate,” says Shannon O’Berski, the estate’s director of external relations.

“The miniature six-room Knole Cottage, which even includes a nursery and kitchen, is furnished exactly as it was when it was given to Frances Dodge as a 12th birthday present. Her brother Dan’s log cabin playhouse with the garage workshop addition shows his interests in camping, hunting, planes and automobiles.”

In addition, families that visit during Discovery Days get a sneak peak at the soon-to-be restored Wilson Playhouse – a one-room play area built for the original owners’ two adopted children, Richard and Barbara.

But that’s not all.

Kids will also get the opportunity to play classic lawn games, like croquet and bocce, and make crafts that go along with each day’s individual themes, which include “things that grow,” “things that crawl” and “things that go.”

Discovery Days at Meadow Brook Hall happens June 20, July 18 and Aug. 15, 2019, from 1 to 3 p.m. each day. Admission to this event is $15 per child and can be purchased at the door or by calling 248-364-6254. Parents and children age 2 and under are admitted free.

House tours are not included with admission to Discovery Days but are available 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on the hour. Reservations are not required.

For more information about Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester, or the family fun events offered there, visit them online at meadowbrookhall.org.

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