Sunday, October 25, 2009

In his own words, Tyler Perry describes the abuse he endured as a child. I'm soooo proud of him for his courage to speak about what happened to him. But it is clear that it is still very difficult...

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Pedophiles...Oh My!

Trick-or-Treat has a new meaning in Huntsville, Alabama this year! Next Saturday while little goblins, pirates, Cinderellas, and otherwise disguised children will go door to door on the hunt for the best candies, the real-life monsters will be attending a mandatory meeting hosted by state and federal probation officers. Yup, registered sex offenders in the northern Alabama city will have to report for an educational program that will review both state and federal sex offender’s laws next Saturday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Reportedly, it's meant to encourage accountability and behavior changes in the offenders. Seems like a handy way to clear the street of pedophiles if you ask me. Too bad this isn’t something that every state and district does!

The state of Georgia made the news just a few weeks ago because it surfaced that homeless sex offenders were instructed to live in tents just behind an office park as a "last resort." This option was given to those of them who could not find places that complied with Georgia's strict restrictions. But they were ordered to move when the public became aware. Upon learning of this, one of the pedophiles was quoted as saying, "You know, I just want to go back to a sense of normalcy, to having a place to live and having a place to work. You know, that's all I want — I just want the basics." Now, I’m not an unsympathetic, cold-hearted demon. But…. I just don’t feel sorry for him. Is that bad? Do pedophiles deserve sympathy on any level?

As parents and concerned citizens, we cannot sit back and expect that the authorities will closely monitor the activities of these criminals. But there is something that we can do. Visit websites like to see how many pedophiles live in your community. You’d be surprised! I plugged my address in this morning and found that a couple new individuals had moved into my small town. ARRRRRRRGGRRRHHHHH! Sad thing is that this map only shows the identified offenders. Think how illuminated the map would be if every pedophile was put on blast!

Happy Parenting,

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Stars Behaving Badly Pt. 2

According to Michael Lohan, his daughter, Lindsay, is in imminent danger. He recently appeared on the Maury Povich Show in a supposed “desperate attempt” to reach out to his famous daughter, who he has described as being addicted to prescription drugs. A tearful Lohan said "Lindsay, I love you with all my heart and ... I am not going to bury you." "You're going to bury me before this is over. I will do anything and everything I have to save your life...You're not in the right state of mind!"

Here’s my question. Why does one need Maury Povich in order to speak to their daughter? Wouldn’t you just speak directly to your child and consult with trained professionals in order to host an intervention. I’m just saying… It seems self-serving to court the media outlets when in such a crisis situation. It reminds me of another Hollywood dad….What’s his name? Oh, yeah…
Jon Gosselin. No surprise that the two Dad’s of the Year award winners have been socializing in recent months. (Maybe they have the same agent;)

Whatever her dad’s motivation, I do agree with the fact that there appears to be cause for concern, as Lindsay’s emaciated frame is alarming. There are frequent reports of her drinking and acting erratically, even after spending time in rehab. Hopefully, there are people around her who will do what’s right and get her the help that she may need…outside of the bright glare of the media spotlight.

Now onto “Bubble Boy!” Hmmm…boy what an oddly interesting family.
Like everyone else, I was glued to the news to see if Falcon, the missing 6-year-old, was inside the floating silver balloon. Then came the news that the balloon had landed but that no one was inside. Horrifying! However, we were relieved to learn that it was all a false alarm because Falcon had been hiding in the family’s attic the whole time. Seems straight-forward enough…until you learn that the family has been heavily pitching a tv show around Hollywood, and have appeared on two segments of Wife Swap. Thus, this whole thing may have been a publicity stunt. Sigh…it seems like in addition to the Swine Flu outbreak, there is also another epidemic sweeping across the country. Its called the PWNS Syndrome (Parents-With-No-Sense). Hopefully you have built up your immunity:)

Happy Parenting,

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Even Barbie Is Imperfect

With a body measurement like 39-18-33, it’s hard to believe that ANY woman would be considered to be fat. However, according to popular shoe designer, Christian Louboutin, Barbie’s ankles are "too fat" to wear his shoes. “Huh?” you might be asking. Because if skinny-minnie Barbie has cankles, then I must be obese!

We have all heard and debated about the impact that that the media plays in young girl’s and women’s self-perception. Many blame magazines for the fact that women NEVER seem to be accepting of their appearance. Well, one magazine has stepped up to help change that. Brigitte, Germany's most popular women's magazine, is banning professional models from its pages and replacing them with images of "real life.” Representatives said last week that they would now only publish photographs of "real women" after readers complained they could not identify with the models depicted. Hence, size zero models will no longer grace their pages, as only “normal figures” will be photographed.

Excellent!……right? Most women in the US are not a size 0, 2, 4, 6, …or 8. So, of course seeing a similar silhouette in the media is cause for celebration. However, a notable industry person has something to say about that! German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, has been outspoken in his disdain for showing “real sized women” in the media. In fact, he responded to the news that Brigitte magazine was banning thin models from its pages in favor of "real women" by saying that women who thought of models as bony or anorexic were fat and "chip-eating.” "No one wants to see curvy women," he was quoted as saying on the website of news magazine Focus. No one, that is, except for me and millions of other women. But according to Mr. Lagerfeld, the world of fashion is about "dreams and illusions.” Illusions of unattainable "perfection."

He’s not alone in his thinking, however, because Ralph Lauren has also come under fire for a recent controversy involving a young model. Filippa Hamilton, who has been a model for the designer for several years, was soooooooo Photo-shopped in a recent ad that she looked like a bobble head. According to reports, Lauren apologized for this ridiculously distorted image. Yet, Filippa was ultimately fired and released from her contract despite being 5 feet, 10 inches, 120 pounds….and a size 4. Yet the company claims she’s too fat to fit into their sample clothes. Ralph Lauren does admit that Hamilton was fired, explaining the termination came “as a result of her inability to meet the obligations under her contract with us.” Filippa’s response to this is…“I think they owe American women an apology, a big apology; I’m very proud of what I look like, and I think a role model should look healthy.”

Hmmm….. I wish Filippa could speak directly into the heart and soul of all young people. Because according to US estimates from The National Institute of Mental Health, between 5% and 10% of girls and women (i.e. 5-10 million people), and 1 million boys and men suffer from eating disorders. Estimates suggest that as many as 15% of young women adopt unhealthy attitudes and behaviors about food.

Bingeing and purging, or complete refusal of food is common place for way to many. But what causes this? Is it the media? Is it social pressures? Well, although many are quick to point the finger at the media outlets, there’s reportedly more to it than that. In fact, there appears to be a definite correlation between physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse and the sufferers of eating disorders. According to studies, a relatively high percent report that they have suffered from some sort of abuse in their lives. With the stats indicating that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are molested before the age of eighteen………well you can just imagine how many may develop an eating disorder! (Please note that not everyone with an eating disorder has been abused).

This may help you if you fear that your child has an eating disorder. How many of these symptoms do you see in them?:

Eating tiny portions or refusing to eat
Intense fear of being fat
Distorted body image
Strenuous exercising (for more than an hour)
Hoarding and hiding food
Eating in secret
Disappearing after eating—often to the bathroom
Large changes in weight, both up and down
Social withdrawal
Hiding weight loss by wearing bulky clothes
Little concern over extreme weight loss
Menstrual irregularities—missing periods
Feeling cold all the time
Cuts and calluses across the top of finger Puffy face
Fine hair on body
Thinning of hair on head, dry and brittle hair

Please address any concerns if you see any of these symptoms in your child. Though they may not indicate an eating disorder, they should raise a red flag. Try not to make them feel bad by embarrassing them. Instead, let them know that you are concerned and want to help. Therapy is key! Eating disorders do not go away on their own. It requires emotional and behavioral interventions. With these treatments, healing will occur!

Happy Parenting,

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Stars Behaving Badly

Boy oh boy, what a week! The entertainment news wires were a buzz due to the parent wars going on between some notable stars. Where should I begin? …

As much as it pains me to bring up Jon and Kate….I just can’t help it! What a bunch of knuckleheads! ENOUGH ALREADY with the whole media hungry stuff! It irks me to no end to watch Jon run to Entertainment Tonight every other day to divulge personal info “exclusively.” But I did chuckle during one of his latest “appearances” on another show when Nancy Grace hard lined Jon. He was on to talk about the allegations that he stole $230,000 from a joint account shares with Kate. He denied any wrongdoing, and even challenged his soon-to-be- ex to account for millions of dollars. Who knows what really happened. Regardless of all the he said-she said, there are eight adorable, doe-eyed cuties that simply want their parents to act like they were given some sense. Hopefully we will all get to witness this as well. Oh, and by the way….Kate irks me to!

Now on to my (home town) favorite, RnB singer Usher. Alright, so by now it’s not groundbreaking news that Usher filed for divorce from his wife, Tameka. The two have two young sons, and have been married for a couple or so years. Well according to TMZ, Usher told cops his soon-to-be ex wife vandalized his truck after a "custody dispute" they had. Usher reportedly called police after he noticed several scratches on his truck, and stated that he believed Tameka vandalized the car in retaliation for their fight just hours before. Isn’t it interesting to see that just because you have millions, you can still act a fool! Where were the kids when all this was happening? Let’s all just hope that they work out the details of their divorce amicably for the children’s sake

Next…David Letterman, sigh….yawn! This week, the public learned that David Letterman was the victim of an attempted extortion. Why? Well apparently, Dave had been having flings with his female staffers. Joe Halderman (a boyfriend of one of Dave’s staffers) reportedly caught the talk-show host and his then-girlfriend, passionately kissing in a car in the driveway of the Norwalk, Conn., home Halderman shared with her. So what’s the big problem? Well, for starters…David Letterman is married with child. Secondly….he allegedly had affairs with people that worked for him. Sex in the workplace seems to always backfire, and then when you add the boss/employee element it is destined to fail. Now add the cheating boss/employee/jealous boyfriend element, and the situation implodes.

I hope that I have less to reflect on next Friday because this week was something else! But it made me think about how as adults we tend to easily forget what children think of us. Even though they accept us as we are (faults and all), our behavior does affect them. Divorce is a difficult thing to go through even as adults. Just imagine what it must feel like to children. So if you feel like keying up your ex’s car...STOP and take a second to look into your child’s eyes. If you’re that out of control, you’ll be able to see the anxiety in their eyes. Perhaps that will help to put things into perspective for you.

Happy Parenting,

Take a minute and watch this video of the students at PS 22. I’m a big fan of these youngsters, and watch their performances whenever I need a pick-me-up and a reminder of how sweet and precious children are. Enjoy…