Moms & Dads: Stories, tips, and advice on raising your kids from South Florida parents | Sun Sentinel blogs

Moms & Dads

South Florida parents share their stories and advice

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February 24, 2011

Do you let your sons play with dolls?

I was so happy to walk into day care and see one of my 3-year-old son’s male classmates in an apron during dress-up time. As I surveyed the room, I noticed a bunch of the boys were wearing similar items. My son went straight for the bucket of baby dolls, and he wasn’t alone.

It was refreshing that the teachers let the boys play with what they want, even if the things they choose are typically labeled as girl toys.

Masculinity oftentimes excludes things like playing with babies, cooking and cleaning. But I think it’s time we challenge those notions. Why should a boy be discouraged from playing with dolls? Just from watching the toddler boys gravitate to the “girly” cooking toys and baby dolls makes it clear that they have the same interest in those types of activities as girls do. And if they’re allowed to experiment with them as kids, perhaps they will continue to show an interest in those activities as adults.

I came across an interesting article about a mom who bought her son a play kitchen. She said her husband cooks, and her son wants to be like daddy. She said people teased her about buying such a “girly” toy for her son, but I applaud her for not trying to mold her son into what mainstream culture says he should be. Read the article here.

The same should go for girls. I’m having my baby girl in two months, and I plan to let her play with whichever of my son’s toys she wants. Why not let her explore all that’s out there? She may not even like his trucks, but she’ll have the chance to find out for herself.

Do you let your sons play with girl toys and vice-versa? Do you think it’s healthy or harmful?

POSTED IN: Family Issues (231), Toddler (127), Toys (15)

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February 23, 2011

Does your child have the recipe for success?

Your kid could cook up his or her own college fund with a vegan dish.

Who knew a couple of peas and carrots could add up to $5,000?

Well, it can – if your kid has the right ingredients.

Check out this opportunity: South Florida high school seniors in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties can enter the It’s Vegalicious Vegan Recipe Scholarship contest to win a $5,000 scholarship towards their college education.

Read more about it in John Tanasychuk’s SUP blog.

I wish my son was a senior. I’d have him in the kitchen so fast. Actually, he’s a self-described foodie – and he enjoys the restaurant of contest sponsor, Sublime. Whole Foods is co-sponsor.

Fortunately, my son has a couple of years to practice before he qualifies to enter the contest: He’s already perfected a spaghetti sauce and he makes awesome black beans.

What’s your child’s culinary specialty?

Follow me on Twitter @mindingyourbiz

POSTED IN: Activities (143), Cindy Kent (78), Entertainment (114), Family Issues (231), Food (56), General (185), School Issues (135), Teen (158)

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SI Swimsuit Edition: Should I throw it out?


When Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue arrived in the mail, my first impulse was to take it to the recycling bin.

As usual, the cover showed a buxom, voluptuous, tanned young thing bursting from her bikini on an empty beach. The rest of the issue showed models and athletes wearing almost nothing or actually nothing; one was covered only by a palm frond, another by a kayak paddle.

Every year, I have this debate with myself. Is the swimsuit edition a "work of art" that celebrates the beautiful female form, or is it soft porn designed to keep men buying Sports Illustrated?

I think it's a form of porn, and it's a shame that female athletes who achieved based on their talents feel the need to pose naked. But I won't throw it out because I don't believe in censorship, even if it means my husband may look through the pages and let his imagination run wild.

Photographer: Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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February 22, 2011

A twelve-year old's eye-view of the world

Essentially this is about a kid who gave himself a two-year long "homework assignment"; by writing a book, because he had so many questions about life. And in my book, he earns extra credit.

It all began one day with a cold glass of lemonade….

When Demario Anderson’s grandmother announced to the family she got laid off from her job, about two years ago, he got her a cold glass of lemonade to help her relax. Soon, they settled into a deep discussion about the economy, how everything is connected. They talked about how bad decisions and get rich quick gimmicks make everyone suffer. They talked about how families are the true support system, how that translates into a strong and giving community, and how consumerism isn’t just about spending and buying, but it’s also about informed strategic planning.

That discussion set Demario on a nearly two-year odyssey of his own: to write a book: Young Economist: Simple Ideas to Help a Financially Hurting Country From a 12 Year Old; published 2010; $19.99 Paradise – MC, Memphis, TN. at Rhino's Nation or Amazon.

With the help and mentoring of his father, Dean Anderson, the book’s co-author, Demario, now a 14-year-old marine magnet middle school student in Fort Lauderdale, interviewed family,

friends, scoured news, community sources; and shared his own experiences to provide a kid’s eye-view commentary on the economy and his world.

What I read, was a book about a father and son, written from the heart.

Imagine as you read: it’s in the voice of 12-year old Demario hungering for knowledge, answers, justification. Like the constant tugging on one’s shirttail for attention, the questions are ceaseless. Picture a father and son on a walk and the son looks up to his father –but at the same time they’re side-by-side as they try to unravel why things are the way they are in the world.

“My dad is my friend and role model,” said Demario in a recent interview. “When I’m learning stuff, he’s always there to help me. He’s very patient.”

Together, the father/son duo take "field trips" to the library, grocery store and community centers. To get answers and perspective, they talked with local religious leaders and church members. They listened to the stories of their neighbors and family elders.

Chapter by chapter, Demario’s little-boy-dismay-over-misbehaving-adults is evident as he recounts a 2009 Time magazine article on how Hedge Fund players “took advantage of people’s lack of knowledge,” He’s incredulous over the human capacity for greed and uses Bernie Madoff as a prime example. He’s intolerant over the lack of common sense behaviors: that if people drove safer, acted more responsibly, that could ultimately mean reducing the cost of healthcare, utility bills, education; and in communities.

In the book, Demario’s youthful optimism voices throughout with solutions: save, learn: become informed; help out neighbors and in the community.

Families should eat their meals together to forge stronger bonds, writes Demario. Prevent domestic abuse by keeping the lines of communication open. Build entrepreneurial spirit: as a matter of course, challenge students to work together on outside-the-box creative ideas. Plan ahead: choose when to invest in home repairs over vacations or a night out on the town; Demario and his dad provide economical meal and snack ideas.

In closing, Demario’s poignant message is a call to action for all: walk arm-in-arm-to the finish line: as a family and as a community.

But the story doesn’t end there says Dean Anderson, who feels it was his absolute duty to support his son's journey.

“Each generation comes and goes,” Anderson said. “And if you want the world to change, you better be there for your kids. Sit down and listen, answer questions and talk to your sons and daughters."

UPDATE: Dean and Demario sent a YouTube link promoting the book.

POSTED IN: Activities (143), Cindy Kent (78), Family Issues (231), General (185)

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Does your kid know what to do if an intruder comes in the house?

"There's ... a guy. I'm home alone. He opened the door. Can you send somebody real quick," says the Miami 12-year-old girl to a police dispatcher.

I had goosebumps listening to this call. Cynthia Valdes sees an intruder outside her house door, grabs her cell calls her Dad and then calls the police. She then hides in a closet and for 10 minutes whispers details about her house, her location and the intruder to the dispatcher.

In school, my almost-4-year-old daughter has learned what to do during a lockdown. At home, we've created a basic fire plan: Go out the front door. No toys. No shoes. But I didn't even think to teach her what to do if an intruder comes in the house. Cynthia did a phenomenal job and has great manners to boot. Near the end of the call she whispers to the dispatcher: "I really appreciate your help."

So what have you told your kid about what to do if an intruder comes into the home? Will this call make you come up with a plan?


POSTED IN: Joy Oglesby (134)

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February 18, 2011

This just in: Kids Don't Follow.

My colleague Ben Crandell has a nice post on his Go Guide blog on cool dad/musician Keller Williams singing Kids Don't Follow with his baby son strapped on his back.

Love this!

Read the Go Guide for info on Williams' upcoming performance in Fort Lauderdale.


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February 17, 2011

I’m the proud child of an honor role parent

Recently, Florida State Representative Kelli Stargel proposed a bill which calls for teachers to assess and grade Pre-K through 3rd grade parents. Trust me, most parents know without my telling them what their grades are. The parents that I do speak to are never pleased, and instead of improving, usually blame me or the school for their child’s shortcomings. Schools already are asked to be social service providers. Teachers are asked to be nurses, secretaries, counselors, mentors and role models. While performing these and countless other quasi-parental duties, we are also required to supply a top notch education for each and every child … well, an education which at least teaches students how to do well on standardized tests.

Now someone is asking us to grade parents too? Well why not? But in exchange, let’s give teachers more freedom to teach science, history, music, foreign languages, physical education (this might help the overweight children we are already required to monitor and report), and all the other subjects that have been eliminated or reduced in order to improve those subject area test scores upon which it appears our future pay will be based. Also, let’s make the parental grades meaningful. For grades other than an “A”, let’s have the parents pay a “supplement” to the school. That money can be used to pay the teacher’s back for the last few years of missed “step” increases, reinstate and protect pay for advanced degrees and training, eliminate the need to gouge our pensions, pay for the Constitutionally mandated but consistently threatened reduced class sizes, cover the cost of new tools and equipment that will allow us to keep up with the rest of the world (that is, if we can get back to teaching science), and to bring us up from our dismal near bottom ranking of dollar per student spending. With broken homes, single parent homes, foster homes, parents in prison, rehab and hospital, foster parents, stepparents, and grandparents raising children, exactly how the supplement will be calculated is beyond me. But if they can figure out a fair system of merit pay for teachers, I’m sure our lawmakers will be able to make this program run smoothly. If they don’t, maybe we’ll have them pay a supplement back to the citizens of Florida, which they in turn can use to pay their school supplement, which in turn may help us climb out of the basement of educational funding.

maggiecary2.jpgMaggie Cary, a national board certified teacher has been an educator for more than 17 years. She is certified in secondary education and holds a master’s degree in early childhood education.

Over the years she has mentored countless teachers and advised hundreds of parents. Cary has taught children from preschool through high school. She also offers classroom advice on website Classroom Talk.

POSTED IN: Guest Post (79)

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Yes, Miguel Cabrera, we know who you are

"Do you know who I am?" baseball millionaire Miguel Cabrera reportedly said Wednesday when he was stopped by a St. Lucie County deputy. "You don't know anything about my problems," Cabrera is quoted as saying.

Mr. Cabrera, we know who you are. Or more to the point, we know who you could very easily have become.

You are International Polo Club Palm Beach founder John Goodman right before the accident that killed 23-year-old Scott Patrick Wilson last year. Goodman is facing a charge of DUI manslaughter. The case is still pending.

You are Beruch Zegeye, intoxicated over a combination of beer and Xanax, right before plowing his dad's Porsche into the back of Paul Krommendyk's car in Palm Beach Gardens last year. Krommendyk was killed instantly. Zegeye, 19, pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter.

You are Jorge Pascual of Pembroke Pines in the moments before he drove drunk on University Drive last April and caused a chain reaction crash that killed Patricia Berio, 53, and Wilson Berrio, 14, last April 2, according to the charges pending against Pascual.

You are Jim Leyritz, the former Yankee who was convicted of DUI after a Dec. 28, 2007 crash in downtown Fort Lauderdale that ended the life of a Plantation mother named Fredia Veitch.

Mr. Cabrera, you are a talented athlete who is ridiculously well-paid to play a game, and we bring our children to those games just to watch you and others like you. We don't expect you to be perfect. No one is. But we certainly expect you not to behave like a petulant child when a deputy does you a favor and stops you right before you do something that could tragically alter or end your life. Or someone else's.

Yes, Miguel Cabrera, we know who you are.

Do you?

Keep up with Sun Sentinel writer Rafael Olmeda on Facebook and Twitter.

POSTED IN: Rafael Olmeda 2011 (10)

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Always double check your kids’ prescriptions


The story of a Colorado woman whose pharmacy mistakenly gave her an abortion drug instead of an antibiotic is so scary, especially since this is not a one-time incident. Read the story here.

One time when my son was sick, the pharmacy gave him the wrong dose of an antibiotic. I thank God that it was too low of a dose rather than an overdose — but still. He wasn’t getting better, and as I was looking at the bottle, I noticed the dosage wasn’t the same as previous antibiotics he’s taken. I thought maybe it was because he was a baby and the dosage changes as they age, but just to make sure, I called the doctor to ask, and it turns out the pharmacy just got it wrong. Enraged, I went over to the pharmacy, where all I received was a sorry.

The doctor had to prescribe a stronger, different antibiotic because my son built up a resistance to the first one with the low dosage. I don’t even want to think about what would have happened if they anciently doubled the dose or gave him the wrong drug.
I don’t know about you, but before this happened, I didn’t check dosages; I assumed the pharmacists knew what they were doing. But if I can’t read the doctor’s handwriting, I don’t know what made me think a pharmacist could.

Since then, I make sure I know what the dosage is before I leave the doctor’s office so I can compare it to what I get from the pharmacy. If the name or dosage is complicated, write it down, and make sure your instructions match up to the pharmacy’s.

POSTED IN: Pregnancy (31), Safety (59), medicine (9)

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February 16, 2011

I'll miss you, Art Johnson

I wonder if I am Art Johnson's last fan in Palm Beach County.artjohnson_729200k.jpg

The School Board is expected to vote tonight to accept a resignation settlement from Johnson, who otherwise would have been fired. The chief gripe is his hiring and support of former Chief Academic Officer Jeffrey Hernandez, who forced a lot of changes on schools last year in an effort to bring up the worst performing students.

Many of my friends were infuriated by the changes, which included constant testing and a "one size fits all" approach to education. But I took a more sympathetic view. I used to cover the school district for the Sun-Sentinel and came to feel that Johnson sincerely wanted to educate Palm Beach County's disadvantaged kids.

He tried to get the best teachers to go to their schools and improved career academies so the unmotivated could find a niche. He tried many times to tinker with school boundaries to give poor students more opportunities to attend our best schools.

But this desire on his part, however deeply felt, was overshadowed by his strong, some call it arrogant, personality. I hope his successor is similarly moved to pay attention to our neediest children.

Photo: Richard Graulich/Palm Beach Post

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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February 14, 2011

Who forces a kid to reveal Facebook password to mom, dad?

On the morning news (FOX News) recently, I listened to a father saying that he requires his kid to give him his Facebook password, and warned the kid that the page could be checked at any time.

He is not the first parent I've heard say this.

The idea outrages me. It takes me straight back to my own teen years, when my parents instituted rules that I felt were so ridiculous and unfair that the only appropriate and logical reaction would be for me to run away, (which I did not).

To me, this would be like requiring a child to reveal the password to his or her diary, and warning that at any moment, the parent will read it.

Believe me, I don't come from a lax upbringing where I was allowed to hide lots of things from my parents. We spent my elementary years a few feet from a women's reformatory my father ran, and my mother obviously paid lots of attention to the ways of a warden, in raising the four of us (all girls.)

But I strongly believe these two fundamentals about children who are 13 and older:

1. They have a right to privacy. A parent doesn't require a kid to give up the key to the diary, nor the password to an online account where the kid communicates with friends.

2. Most information a parent would learn from reading a teen's Facebook page would be disturbing, might keep the parent up at night, but isn't really something a parent can take action on. You will feel incredible angst reading comments from the other kids that make you wonder if they're up to no good but never really provide sufficient evidence.

I'd takes this off the table if the kid starts acting incredibly strange and you suspect something is very wrong. But as a general rule of thumb, I say do yourself and your teen a favor and let your kid have those conversations, without a doesn't-understand parent listening in.

If you want to hear more voices on this, they're out there. Be aware, you'll see the tantalizing headline "can parents make their kids pay rent?'' when you do this Google search. I also ran across a Facebook link to join a page called "Kids whose parents watch too much Fox News.''

I have a few bonuses for you today. Below are two helpful links, and on the jump page, a really great "stay-at-home mom'' thing that was forwarded to me today.

Broward library offers some good stuff for students who need extra help.

Tips for keeping insurance costs low when your teen learns to drive.

Here's the cool "mom'' email:

A woman, renewing her driver's license at the County Clerk 's office, Was asked by the woman recorder to state her occupation.

She hesitated, uncertain how to classify herself.

'What I mean is, ' explained the recorder,
'do you have a job or are you just a ...?'

'Of course I have a job,' snapped the woman.

'I'm a Mom.'

'We don't list 'Mom' as an occupation,
'housewife' covers it,'
Said the recorder emphatically.

I forgot all about her story until one day I found myself
In the same situation, this time at our own Town Hall.
The Clerk was obviously a career woman, poised,
Efficient, and possessed of a high sounding title like,
'Official Interrogator' or 'Town Registrar.'

'What is your occupation?' she probed.

What made me say it? I do not know.
The words simply popped out.
'I'm a Research Associate in the field of
Child Development and Human Relations.'

The clerk paused, ball-point pen frozen in midair and
Looked up as though she had not heard right.

I repeated the title slowly emphasizing the most significant words..
Then I stared with wonder as my pronouncement was written,
In bold, black ink on the official questionnaire.

'Might I ask,' said the clerk with new interest,
'just what you do in your field?'

Coolly, without any trace of fluster in my voice,
I heard myself reply,
'I have a continuing program of research,
(what mother doesn't)
In the laboratory and in the field,
(normally I would have said indoors and out).
I'm working for my Masters, (first the Lord and then the whole family)
And already have four credits (all daughters).
Of course, the job is one of the most demanding in the humanities,
(any mother care to disagree?)
And I often work 14 hours a day, (24 is more like it).
But the job is more challenging than most run-of-the-mill careers
And the rewards are more of a satisfaction rather than just money.'

There was an increasing note of respect in the clerk's voice as she
Completed the form, stood up, and personally ushered me to the door.

As I drove into our driveway, buoyed up by my glamorous new career,
I was greeted by my lab assistants -- ages 13, 7, and 3.
Upstairs I could hear our new experimental model,
(a 6 month old baby) in the child development program,
Testing out a new vocal pattern.
I felt I had scored a beat on bureaucracy!
And I had gone on the official records as someone more
Distinguished and indispensable to mankind than 'just another Mom.'

POSTED IN: Brittany Wallman (160)

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Woman gives birth to her grandchild

I'm not sure how to feel about this story.

grandmother.jpgHere's the story in a nutshell: A 35-year-old tries multiple time to have a child and can't, and her mom then volunteers to be a surrogate and at the age of 61 gives birth to her grandchild.

Sara Connell, left, holds her new baby Finnean Lee Connell, on Thursday at Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago. Sara’s mother, Kristine Casey, 61, served as a surrogate for her daughter. (Stacey Wescott, Chicago Tribune / February 12, 2011)

POSTED IN: Joy Oglesby (134)

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February 10, 2011

Belly dance-off!

Attention competitive preggo ladies who need some cash (who doesn’t?!): I just found out about this fun video contest for expectant moms, the Due Date Dance-off Video Contest put on by WOW Baby and Kids. The contest is meant to promote safe, fun exercise during pregnancy. And the winner will get $2,500 plus prizes from WOW.

Make a two- to three-minute video to the song of your choice and upload it to YouTube with the tag “WOW Baby and Kids Due Date Dance-off.” Then send the link to WOW’s Facebook page, and people will vote for their favorite video.

There are rules for safety, and if you break any, you’ll be disqualified. No jumping, jarring motions or quick direction changes. One foot must be on the floor at all times. Submit videos by March 31. Voting will take place from April 1 to May 1, and the winner will be announced May 2.

As long a you have a healthy, risk-free pregnancy, exercise is not only allowed but encouraged. My preggo exercise routine consists of walking for 40 minutes four or five days a week plus kicking my husband’s butt in Dance Central for the Xbox Kinect. I plan to enter the contest, and I’m super excited to get to put those dancing skills to the test!

Check out this promo video. POSTED IN: Family Fitness (21), Health (111), Pregnancy (31)

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February 9, 2011

Teen makeup: How much is too much?

There's something about middle school that makes girls want to put on

Unfortunately, they make it as dark as possible and put it above the lower lashes, almost right in their eyes, creating an unattractive line that makes them look 10 years older.

Of course, that's the intention, and the part most parents want to resist. But we may be fighting an impossible battle. The percentage of pre-teens who wear eyeliner grew from 9 percent in 2007 to 15 percent in 2009. Mascara-wearing girls grew from 10 percent to 18 percent in the same two years, according to the consumer researchers NPD Group.

Our girls' insistence on participating in this trendy phenomenon makes for the usual parent-kid argument, and the debate I always end up having with myself: Is this battle worth it?

I have to admit I was glad when one of my daughters got a minor eye infection recently. I made sure to point out her eyeliner probably made its way into her eye. She has cut back on the inner liner ever since.

Photo by Debs/Flickr

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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February 4, 2011

Cheap activities: What you can get for a dollar

In all honesty one of our favorite family activities is watching TV. It's usually a show that involves men passing, laying up or hitting a ball; or the news; or House Hunters International (Can't get enough of seeing people shop for homes overseas).

But a few months ago, I introduced a new activity and it's now in the top 3 favorites: doing puzzles.

puzzlesblog.jpg I was never a puzzle person. I liked doing the word game Jumble with the hubby, but for a buck I couldn't pass up testing out how our girl would respond to doing a puzzle.

It's been great seeing our nearly 4-year-old figure out the fits and I'm loving the dollar sign on this activity. And it was fantastic to have these on hand during our cold front when none of us wanted to venture past the driveway to collect the trash cans much less play outside.

Have you stumbled across a really fun and super-cheap activity? Tell me about it! (Just don't bombard me with chiding messages about how we should be spending loads of time outside. We do that.)

POSTED IN: Joy Oglesby (134)

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February 3, 2011

Parents should support MTV's Skins

MRobbins%20Headshot.JPGGuest Writer
Micah Robbins
Guest writer Micah Robbins is executive director of Drug Free Youth In Town.

During the last couple of weeks, MTV’s new show “Skins” has earned some very negative attention among media and parental groups in the US. The original UK series has been airing for three years – and is even a BAFTA award winner – but its message hasn’t been well-received this side of the pond. Although they haven’t taken the time to watch even a full episode, the Parents Television Council (PTC) claims it is “the most dangerous show for teens.” Admittedly, there are moments when the show can make parents twinge. However, it is one of the most honest portrayals of the issues that teens are dealing with each and every day.

Let’s consider other shows that critics and parent groups have maligned in the past, including the 1990’s MTV animated TV series “Beavis and Butthead.” It's now considered a classic part of youth culture, but at the time the show was highly controversial.
More%20Skins.jpgDanny Flaherty and Britne Oldford on MTV's "Skins"
It provided social and political commentary – often in a very crude way – and though many didn’t like the delivery, the issues that they represented couldn’t be ignored.

It is the same situation with “Skins”. It may be uncomfortable subject matter for some viewers, but working with the number of students that we do at DFYIT (more than 7,000 across South Florida alone) and the honesty they share with us, these very are real issues these kids deal with on a daily basis. “Skins” is one of the first shows that confronts teen substance abuse, violence and sex in a very open manner, which is the main reason it is so controversial.

I work on the front line of prevention in youth – teaching youth about the dangers of risky behaviors, drugs and alcohol – and one of the first steps in education and empowering students to avoid these dangers is starting a conversation, an impossible first step when we are downplaying or censoring the issues.

At DFYIT, we support open communication and talking about these issues honestly and in a straightforward fashion with youth, schools and families. After 18 years and counting, we’ve seen that it is a highly effective way to make a difference in these youths’ lives.

I appreciate that the PTC is trying to protect young people, and their views certainly have merit. But censorship takes away from the discussion and the discourse about what the real issues among young people really are, and it takes away our ability to confront them head on. So I applaud MTV for bringing these serious issues that youth in our communities face to a wider audience. And despite the controversial message, it’s a message that needs to be discussed openly more frequently. After all, our children’s future depends on it.

About Micah Robbins
Micah has over 16 years of experience working with youth and teaching them the importance of staying drug, alcohol and violence-free. Not only does Micah teach students about these dangers, he empowers youth to make good choices in all aspects of their lives. His organization, DFYIT, also encourages and rewards teen’s positive behaviors and encourages a proactive involvement in their schools and communities.

DFYIT is a nationally recognized, community-based substance abuse prevention organization that focuses on and gives recognition to students who choose to live a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. Through 60 DFYIT clubs in Miami-Dade County middle and senior high schools, DFYIT provides adolescents with social competency training, drug awareness counseling, conflict resolution skills, positive adult relationships, and pro-social involvement in their school and community. For more information on DFYIT, please visit their website at

Previous related posts:
Moms & Dads: What South Florida teens are saying about MTV's "Skins"
Moms & Dads: Are your kids watching MTV's "Skins"?
Tom Jicha's TV Plus: Makins "Skins" forbidden fruit is not the answer
Tom Jicha's TV Plus: MTV and "Skins" begin damage control MTV stands by "Skins" as ratings stabilize

POSTED IN: Entertainment (114), Guest Post (79)

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February 2, 2011

Brett Loewenstern is my American Idol

It was a treat to see our high school, Spanish River in Boca Raton, on display for the whole country to see on "American Idol." But it was an even bigger thrill to watch Brett Loewenstern, a junior and classmate of my daughter, wow the judges with his rendition of the Queen classic, "Bohemian Rhapsody."

On a more somber note, I didn't know who to be upset with as he recounted how he has been bullied since he was a little boy. Is it the fault of the schools? Did his parents communicate with the schools? How many people knew and did nothing?

He seems to have come to terms with it. "I had an epiphany at one point," he said. "I finally became happy in my own shell, and now it's like, [if] someone doesn't like me it's cool. 'Cause as long as I like me that's all that matters."

That is a very mature attitude for a 16-year-old. I am rooting for him to go far in this competition.

POSTED IN: Lois Solomon (211)

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About the authors
Gretchen Day-Bryant has a son in high school and a daughter in middle school. She’s lived to tell about the struggles of juggling little kids and work.
Joy Oglesby has a preschooler...
Cindy Kent Fort Lauderdale mother of three. Her kids span in ages from teenager to 20s.
Rafael Olmeda and his wife welcomed their first son in Feb. 2009, and he's helping raise two teenage stepdaughters.
Lois Solomonlives with her husband and three daughters.
Georgia East is the parent of a five-year-old girl, who came into the world weighing 1 pound, 13 ounces.
Brittany Wallman is the mother of Creed, 15, and Lily, 7, and is married to a journalist, Bob Norman. She covers Broward County government, which is filled with almost as much drama as the Norman household. Almost.
Chris Tiedje is the Social Media Coordinator and the father of a 7-year-old girl, and two boys ages 4 and 3.
Kyara Lomer Camarena has a 2-year-old son, Copelan, and a brand new baby.

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