Kids Will See the Darndest Things | Better Late Than Never | Liar, Liar


Kids Will See the Darndest Things

Dear Ask Micah,

Big problems in my family with censoring things we don’t want our kids to see.  My kids watched the MTV awards with the family and when Miley Cyrus was performing I changed the channel.  I often change the channel when material I deem inappropriate comes on the screen.  I am trying to teach my kids certain values.  I guess I’m failing because I found out that they watched the show again over at a friend’s house.   How do parents police what their kids see if other households have it available?  My own household is just as guilty though.  My father-in-law has old Playboys in his storage room and my teenage son took some and was going to take them to school to show his friends until I saw them in his backpack one morning.  Is it unreasonable to ask my kids to respect my authority and say no to seeing things they know I don’t want them to see?  From what I hear from friends this is happening in every house.

Claudia

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Dear Claudia,

Yes, it’s too much to ask.  The more you try to make something forbidden, the more enticing it is going to seem to your kids.  I also found Miley’s performance distasteful and I think she made a big fool of herself.  She wasn’t sexy and she wasn’t alluring—she looked stupid and like she was trying desperately to be something she isn’t.  Pretty much everyone I heard saying anything about it felt similarly—but what actually happened is that so many people were “disgusted” by it and tried to shield their kids from it that her performance became a sensation on YouTube.  Every kid watched it the next day, mostly because their parents were so up in arms over it.

If I had been you, I would have continued watching it with my kids and then just made jokes and commentary about how foolish she looked.  Had you planted the seeds in your kids’ head that she had embarrassed herself, you would have taken the power away from her performance and it wouldn’t have been so forbidden and captivating to them.  Basically every time you censor something, you are infusing it with power.  Now, I’m not saying that it’s all right to let your kids watch porn or anything, but the more you paint something as off-limits, the more they are going to want to view it out of sheer curiosity.

As for the Playboy thing, teenage boys want to look at naked people–that’s just normal.  However, your son needs to be taught that he could have had a whale of trouble fall onto him if he’d transported pornographic materials to school and shown other minors.  It’s one thing to expose himself to adult materials, but he doesn’t have the right to expose others to them or expose himself to the legal and life-long ramifications if someone reported him.

Back to the Miley thing for a minute though–keep this in mind, too—what she did was just a copy of a copy of a copy of something that Madonna was doing back in 1984.  Her performance wasn’t even as sensual or provocative as her predecessors’.  So the next time something like that happens, instead of gasping and clutching your pearls, make fun of it, laugh about it, and then talk about what an idiot she’s made of herself.  Your kids are actually listening to you and value your opinions, even if you don’t think they do.  They may roll their eyes at you while you’re saying it, but they’ll repeat your words verbatim to their friends in order to look cool and show how unimpressed they were by this thing that holds so much power over them.

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Better Late Than Never

Dear Micah,

I run late all the time.  All the time.  I don’t mean to.  I get up early but inevitably my kids are late to school and I am late for work.  I am late to parties.  I am late to people’s houses for dinner.  I don’t know what runs me so late.  Today I got hit with a double whammy when both my son’s teacher and my boss gave me crap about it.  Got any helpful ideas about how to run on time?  Or can you shame me into never running late again?

Tardy For the Party

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Dear Tardy For the Party,

Please don’t ever sing that song, by the way!  And as for your problem,  I don’t have to shame you.  You will have enough shame when you are fired from your job because you can’t show up to it on time and you get arrested by the police for not getting your kids to school on time—yes, that can happen if it goes too far.

Experience has taught me that a habitually late person is not late because of circumstances out of their control or because they “just ran behind”—they are always going to be late because they have trained themselves to excuse it.  It’s always that traffic was bad, or the kids wouldn’t get going this morning, or time just got away.  Time doesn’t just get away.  Time is either managed responsibly or frittered away.  What you have to do is discover how you are frittering away your time.

What time do you get up each morning?  You should be able to answer this question without a moment’s thought.  If you have to stop and think about it, then there is your first contributing factor—you have no reliable set schedule.  My alarm is set for 6am every weekday.  Most of the time, I never hear it ring because I wake up on my own at 5:30am.  But, if by chance, I happen to be really tired and sleep until 6, my alarm will wake me.

I NEVER snooze.  Let me repeat.  I NEVER snooze.  If I snooze once I will snooze for an hour.  When that alarm goes off, I put my feet on the floor, no matter how tired I may be.  It’s the only way I can be sure I am up.  I do not lay there and think.  I do not lay there and prepare mentally to get up.  I just get up.  In my single days, I would immediately flip on the light and make the bed.  You can’t really do that when someone else is still asleep in it, but if you happen to be single, try it.  By the time I would finish making the bed, I was pretty well awake.  Plus I just can’t stand an unmade bed.  My grandmother taught me that.  The bed was the very first duty of the day.  You never left your bedroom with an unmade bed.  I think if someone had ever broken into her house in the middle of the night, she would have made the bed before running out the back door.

Making your bed will also give you a boost of accomplishment because you have already completed a task before your day has even started.  A little triumph like that can set your whole day on the right path.  Now what else do you do in the mornings?  Are you watching television while you get ready?  If so, stop.  Or at least give yourself a limit, like I do.  I watch morning television while I drink my wake-up drink (for you that might be coffee, for me it’s Mello Yello).

At 6:30 every morning, I get my son up and give him some milk and something for breakfast.  It usually takes him about 20 minutes to get awake so he sits with me while I watch the news (which is my code word for the prior day’s General Hospital).

At 7am every morning, I turn off the TV or turn it to a kiddie program for him while I start getting ready and he’s eating.  By or before 7:30, I am ready and I turn my attention to getting him ready.  Bathroom, teeth brushed, dressed and at the door ready to leave by 8.  He doesn’t have to be at preschool until between 8:00 and 8:30 so we’re always good on time, but once he reaches elementary school I will have to adjust all of my times back half an hour so that I can be certain to have him at school when he’s supposed to be there.

If you will set a rigid schedule for yourself at home, that will help a lot to get your kids to school on time.  Do not pause to do laundry or to make any calls. Do not rush around getting things together to take with you.  Have everything you need ready to go by the door the night before, and have your clothes picked out and ready as well.  Do not allow your kids to run you behind if they are taking too long to get ready.  Give them a time frame to be dressed and if they aren’t dressed in that time, then you go in there and pick out their clothes and make them dress.  After a few days of wearing what you picked, I bet they’ll begin to manage their time better too.

You have to get these kids to school on time, for their sake as well as yours.  And you cannot afford to anger your boss by constantly being late to work.  As an employer, I know what kind of impression that sets.  Even if your job isn’t all that dependent upon time frames and it’s not a big deal when you arrive, being late still tells an employer that life overwhelms you.  If you can’t even control your own schedule, then how can they trust that you are smart enough to handle what they give you to handle?

It’s all a matter of time management.  In everything that you do, whether at work or at home, organize it, plan it out, and multitask.  Multitasking is the only way a busy person can survive in this world.   Make all your phone calls in the car, or while working at your desk, or as you are doing laundry at home at night.  Organize your grocery list by writing down the things you need in the order you will encounter the aisles in the store.  You know your grocery store’s layout, so write your list accordingly so that you aren’t running back and forth all over the store.  That will cut out ten minutes right there.  When in department stores, only go get what you came for—do not browse.  If I am low on shirts and need shirts, I can buy shirts and be out of any store in ten minutes.  I go to the racks, find what I like in my size, and go to the counter.  I don’t stop and ponder.  I don’t look around to see what else they might have.  I get what I came for and I leave.

Another way to organize your time is to make appointments for yourself and log into your phone.  Let your calendar remind you.  5pm- start dinner.  6pm- lay out tomorrow’s clothes.  7pm- make sure kids have finished homework.  Time cannot get away from you if you are always being reminded of what time it is and what has to be accomplished.  Also, be realistic about how long it takes you to get somewhere.  I have family that live an hour away by interstate.  When they come for dinner, I know they will always be half an hour late because (though they only live an hour away by interstate) they never remember that it takes them 20 minutes to even get to the interstate from their neighborhood.  These little tricks are simple things, and maybe you’ve tried them already.  If you have and you still cannot run on time, then I don’t suppose there is any hope for you.  You are just a late person, and you’re going to have some repercussions for that if it keeps up.  Take control of your life and run it, do not let it run you.

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Liar, Liar

Dear Micah,

If my boyfriend has lied to me does that mean I cannot trust him anymore?  I caught him in a lie twice and now I don’t know if I believe what he tells me anymore.

Cassie

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Dear Cassie,

That’s pretty vague.  What was the lie?  Did he cheat on you?  Was he supposed to be somewhere and then you found out he wasn’t?  Or did he tell you he wasn’t the one who left the water-ring on the coffee table?  How important was the lie?

People will lie sometimes. “No, that only cost $15,” or “You had the remote last,” are harmless lies that shouldn’t be the harbinger of suspicion and distrust.  It’s the “I don’t know how she got pictures of me naked,”  or the “I didn’t know that was your bank account I drained” that are the deal-breaking lies.  If he’s lied to you about something that defines his character as a trustworthy mate, then toss his sorry ass!

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