Teaching your kid to fight…would you do this?

Yesterday, I witnessed a very disturbing scene in an urban playground.

It was a beautiful fall afternoon in Chicago, at a playground nestled among the skyscrapers near Millennium park.

Our extended family was there with the youngest among them, a 2 year old little boy and 4 year old little girl. Both, fortunately, remained oblivious to the inappropriate activity encouraged by the parents and nanny of two seemingly unrelated boys.

The young boys seemed to be around 7 or 8 years old…one was several inches shorter than the other but they were evenly built….they were “duking it out” in the middle of the playground.

At first the other “parents” yelled at them to “cut it out” and “stop”, but the boys seemed intent on throwing punches and kicks to the body and groin paying no attention to the bystanders.

I watched somewhat in horror…especially when I noticed one boy’s parents watching and encouraging their son in this activity. They were not phased by any of the other parents’ comments.

I realized the taller boy was there with a nanny and toddler sister when he ran to his sister’s stroller to grab his sword out of its sheath. The nanny quickly took it away but sent him back into the “ring”. This was probably the only appropriate adult behaviour that I witnessed.

Finally…I could not contain myself as I watched this scene unfold and I approached the dad…

“Do you speak English?”…I asked.

He mumbled…that he did. I then told him, that what he was doing was inappropriate and that other children in the playground should not be made to witness this…his response was …”then don”t watch”…I then said that we could not help but witness the fighting, and this was a “playground” where we teach our children not to fight.

At that point, I walked away and approached the nanny, who was also just watching from another vantage point…I essentially told her the same thing and said that it was shameful of her to encourage this activity.

The nanny gathered the boy fighter and little girl and quickly left the playground…then other couple hung around watching their son play nicely with some other kids on the playground equipment .

I am still processing this scene and wondering if what I did really mattered…no other parents stood up to this man…did this mean that they were not appalled or was it urban apathy and “don’t get involved” that was playing in their heads?

I will never know for sure…but what I do know is that I basically stood alone facing this dad…speaking my mind…and I would probably do it over again.

What would you have done if you witnessed an activity like this at a playground?

I felt like I was watching a “dog fight”…and I had a flashback of an episode of “Law and Order SVU” where a child died of a ruptured spleen under suspicious conditions.

It was later found that the young boy was encouraged to fight by his dad and there were other dads, who brought their boys to a group at night in a park and set them free to fight…it was a disgusting show… but now I realize it seems that it is all too real.


Week in Review….Parenting in the Loop

Summer Sailing

Happy Friday everyone…here in Chicagoland, it is going to be a very pleasant weekend…a great one for the Air and Water Show! It is one of the summer events that always is amazing!

Here are my pick reads for one of the last summer weekends before school reopens and we start to feel the presence of Fall creeping up to greet us.


Getting your mojo back is critical for your quality of life so it’s cause for some radical changes and the outright shattering of your own conventional wisdom. Face it – feeling passionate and motivated every day for your work, family and self is a win for yourself and those that depend on you.

I always want to make more time for important stuff like paying attention to family and having time for what is meaningful…don’t you. It is nice to see that others have the same difficulties getting things done to make room for family fun.

I love this site. It has great little ideas for moms and grandmothers…you can follow on FB, Twitter, Pinterest or receive e-mails. Worth a look!

My long time dream is to shop for food like I did when I was a single city dweller in NY or similar to Europeans in Paris or Rome. Shopping for fresh ingredients each day and making a dinner from my imagination is truly just that …a dream! But this shopping cart bag makes me think of perusing small fruit and vegetable stands, and visiting the butcher, baker and candle stick maker. What about you? What is your dream when it comes to preparing dinner.

“Toast Tuesday”…Parenting in the Loop


This week I am toasting Lisa Sunbury…and her blog “Regarding Baby”

Lisa and Magda

She is gifted in the way she approaches parenting children and her understanding of RIE and the work of Magda Gerber.

See what you think for yourselves and let me know some of your thoughts.

About Regarding Baby:

The word Regard has several meanings; a protective interest, a feeling of respect and affection.One of my most important teachers, Magda Gerber, often talked about helping parents and caregivers to see babies with “New Eyes.” Since my area of expertise is infants and toddlers and I focus on helping parents learn to relax and slow down, do less, and to respect and respond to their baby’s needs through sensitive observation, Regarding Baby seemed to make perfect sense as a name.


RIE Certified child educator Lisa Sunbury & RIE founder Magda Gerber

About Lisa: I have dedicated my life to caring for, supporting, and advocating for infants, toddlers, and their parents. I have over twenty years experience working in the field of Early Childhood Education, in a variety of roles.

via About.

“Detachment Parenting”…really??

Every now and then we need a spoof…Right?

Well, this one is good.

Of course, like Dr. Sears, I can only offer “Tools.  Not rules.” And each family is so different.  But what’s great about DP is you can adjust the levels of benign neglect to suit your own family’s needs.

via The latest child-rearing fad? Detachment parenting – TODAYMoms.

My Take…

If we are all just a bit honest we just might agree that “benign neglect” has its place in the world of parenting.

What does DP or BNP (Benign Neglect Parenting) look like on any given day in your house.?

I have to stretch my brain to remember back when my now adult girls were little ones, and my house was more chaotic than it is now as a caregiving grandparent.

Here goes my valiant effort to remember…

  • My rule of thumb was that if my kids were screaming I did not intervene, unless I heard a blood curdling scream or one of my kids was actually bleeding.  Unfortunately, my husband did not necessarily have the same rule nor could he tolerate the level of screaming that I was accustomed to on a daily basis.
  • I  remember not getting too upset about accidents unless there were serious injuries…my work in pediatric nursing blunted me to small bumps and scratches. I acknowledged to my children that small injuries were uncomfortable and painful but they would get better with little or no attention paid to them…no surprise,  they always did!
  • We did not co-sleep…it was not too popular “back in the day” anyways!
  • We did not baby wear…at all…I had never heard of such a thing…but then again Dr. Sears was nowhere around at the time.
If I had to describe my parenting “back in the day” I would say that it was very much a mixture of all that I knew at the time… I was a little bit DP*, a little BNP*, a little AP*… a Traffic Copter* not a Black Hawk*.
What I most remember, is that being a parent was my most important hat of all the hats that I wore at that time.
DP=Detachment parenting
BNP=Benign neglect parenting
Traffic Copter Parent= hovers, not obnoxiously overbearing
Black Hawk Parent = hovers, obnoxiously overbearing.

Week in Review…Parenting in the Loop

Lessons in parenting something all of us can enjoy and they are useful too!

A daughter is special and so is a son but this is a list a mom wrote for her daughter…sweet.

On Saturday morning as I helped JD get dressed for a birthday party, he, out of nowhere, said, “Mommy, a boy and a boy can’t get married.” I didn’t skip a beat. “Ah, yes, they can!” I said, as I pulled the t-shirt over his head. When his little face was revealed he said, “No, Mom, you’re wrong!”

I hope you have a wonderful summer weekend….I know it is still Spring but school is out, so for me, that is “unofficial” summer!   🙂

A “million” ways to soothe your infant…NOT!

Some days, I feel like there is nothing new under the sun! Do you ever feel that way?

In my 35+ years of practice as a maternal child nurse and reading as much as I do about parenting, this saying keeps resonating in my head…. “what is old is new again”.

We have made so many medical advances and now know how the brain lights up, as seen in a PET scan during moments of happiness, anger, and anxiety. The mind-body-spirit connection has finally been validated.

How does this and how should this affect the parenting of our children, beginning when they are in utero? The soothing of a fetus and newborn is of particular interest to me.

Just when I was convinced that I was in love with Dr. Harvey Karp‘s books “The Happiest Baby on the Block” and “The Happiest Toddler on the Block”  and his way of calming a crying newborn during the “fourth trimester”, a critical piece appeared on my Facebook page.

I  started to question my love of the Dr. Karp’s  5s’s. My feelings are an echo of what many new moms are feeling…who should moms believe? What philosophy of parenting works?

The “CALMS WAY” is just one of those soothing methods that jumped out of my computer a couple of weeks ago when I was reading a critical review of Dr. Karp’s 5s’s. I am still partial to Dr. Karp but I would try adding “self understanding and self calming to the 5s’s .

Parenting with Love is online magazine which supports the CALMS WAY…it is yet another site that can support new moms or add to their dilemma as to what to choose as their “Dr. Spock” or “Dr. T. Berry Brazelton” of 2012.

Moms, what do you think about the information age and all the parenting advice that is available?

How do you choose what to read and what methods to try?

How do you or how did you soothe your infant in the 4th trimester?

Are you overwhelmed with parenting philosophies?

Suggested reading:

Toast Tuesdays!

phd in parenting is one of my favorite blogs.  If only I could blog and write like Annie!

She is very concerned about many parenting issues and when she talks about one these issues she is well informed and not afraid to share her opinion.

She is a champion for the environment, healthy children and moms, breast feeding and being ethical in business.

It is my hope that you will visit her blog …it is more than a worthwhile read.

She also has a sense of humor and on Mother’s Day her post is quite funny as she shares some precious moments with one of her children.

Enjoy…let men know if you love her as much as I do.

There is life for moms after kids…

Noteworthy Wednesday!

Bethenny Frankel, who originally came to public attention as a contestant on the Martha Stewart version of “The Apprentice” and then as a Real Housewife of New York, has used the drama of pregnancy and early motherhood to star in two subsequent reality shows, “Bethenny Getting Married?” and now “Bethenny Ever After.” Even Nicole Polizzi, Snooki of “Jersey Shore” infamy, is getting on the gravy train, promoting a line of toddler shoes along with a new reality gig, “Snooki and Jwoww vs. the World.”

via Farewell, Dr. Spock. Hello, Snooki. – NYTimes.com.

For most celebrities there is life ever after having babies…celebs and their kids appear in every weekly magazine, some willingly with staged photo shoots and some, not so willingly, as they play or shop with their kids and are caught by the paparazzi, who stalk them without relent.

It now seems that many celebs are marketing lines of kids clothing…reality shows and anything that will make money for them…which truly is just about anything.

What about regular moms?

There are many moms out there who have chosen to blog about themselves and their kids. Many of these blogs contain some pretty personal stuff.

Some mom blogs are a reality show of sorts, complete with pictures and stories of their family’s day to day comings and goings.

In many cases, moms and even dads have become “ambassadors” for products. They use their kids and themselves to promote all kinds of things…from food, toys, clothes, brand stores and various other sundry things that they use in their daily lives.

This has become a way to make money and for some, it allows them to be a SAHM (stay at home mom) or SAHD (stay at home dad). Although, it seems that some of the moms, whose blogs I follow, spend a fair amount of time away from their children either out of the house promoting themselves or unavailable at home while working online with social media promotions.

I am not sure what this says about today’s moms…either the celeb moms, who involve their kids in reality shows or the mom bloggers. who involve their kids in reality blogs.

When you think about it these young children have really nothing to say about their involvement in their moms work…they are pictured on the internet and on television without any say…how will they feel as they get older and see themselves in the media?

This is a relatively new territory that is being charted for kids by their parents. In my opinion, there are boundaries here that should be considered.

I guess you could say that the jury is out on this issue…how much should we as parents and grandparents share of our children and grandchildren online and in social media?

Do we all just want at least our own 15 minutes of fame for ourselves and our kids?


Attention: Grandma and Grandpa…


Tummy time” and “Back to Sleep” weren’t part of the playbook when Ginny Fountain gave birth a generation ago. This expectant grandma’s got a lot to learn about newborns, which is how Fountain, 64, wound up in a grandparenting class offered earlier this month at a hospital in Seattle.


But as it turns out, learning about all the new developments is actually the easy part; what’s trickier is figuring out how to play a supporting role and how not to bigfoot the new parents. If you think the birth of a grandchild is an opportunity to show off what you know, think again. The I-raised-you-and-you-turned-out-okay argument doesn’t cut it anymore. “Parents are very smart today,” Peel cautions her class.

via Grandparenting 101: Teaching Grandma and Grandpa About Modern Parenting | Healthland | TIME.com.

Grandparenting styles are something I often think about. I am a maternal child nurse and a social worker specializing in children. That being said…it is difficult for me to keep my mouth shut in my role as grandmother.

So that is one of the reasons I began writing  “parenting in the loop“. It gives me a voice and helps me understand the depth and width of parenting in 2012,  some thirty years after I began my journey as a mother.

Mothering and parenting have always been learning experiences. At times the learning  learning curve is a steep one. We had Dr.T. Berry Brazelton, who was preceded by Dr. Spock. They were the physician experts in the 60’s  70’s and 80’s.

But oh …how times have changed …with the advent of the internet, we are all able to share our experiences and personal preferences when it comes to parenting. The information is more than abundant, so it is no wonder that today’s generation of parents can have problems when their parents say,”we did it this way and you turned out okay”!

Here are my simple recommendations for grandparents:

  • Take a grandparenting class prior to the arrival of your first grandchild (even if your kids turned out okay).
  • If there are no ‘grandparenting classes’…go ahead and sign up for a parenting class like the one at your local hospital.
  • Learn how to listen to your children about their parenting preferences.
  • Incorporate your child’s parenting style into your grandparenting style.
  • Respect your grandchild’s parents…listen…think before you make comments or suggestions…smile often.
  • Visit some of the mommy blogs to become familiar with contemporary parenting styles.
  • Enjoy the heck out of your grandchildren.



Parenting…’Hunger Games’ style…

Although ‘Hunger Games‘ is a movie…in my opinion, it is much more than a big box office hit.

It is a commentary on the fierceness with which we approach certain parts of our lives.

It is very popular with our teenagers…why?

Why is it that they love the type of competition that ‘Hunger Games’ portrays?

At dinner with friends the other night, I tried to initiate a discussion about ‘Hunger Games’…I asked what they thought of the violence in the movie?

Now, I have to admit that none of us have even seen the movie. So I probably had no business even starting a discussion in the the first place.

But my friend popped up and said …”it really isn’t that violent”…which is what she had heard somewhere in a review…she did not get a chance to go on, because the men at the table changed the subject.

So I am turning to you …to see what you think about this Op-ed piece in the New York Times?

What is this movie saying to kids and parents?…

Are some kids being raised with a ‘Hunger Games’ mentality?

To answer all my questions, I may even have to go see ‘Hunger Games’ in the theatre instead of waiting for the DVD  …but then haven’t I just fallen into the media hype pit?

Please click the link and read the cartoon segments that precede this quote in the ‘OP-ED’ New York Times. 

‘Hunger Games’ Parenting – NYTimes.com.

Amy Chua’s best-seller, “The Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” trumpeted the benefits of raising children with draconian strictness in the Chinese fashion (or allegedly so). Pamela Druckerman’s “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting” made the case for a more casual, laissez-faire approach. But each mode has something to offer! Thus, cruelty and indifference combine to perfect effect in the philosophies of the “Hunger Games” Mother. Who better to help parents navigate the brutal, futuristic dystopia that is contemporary childhood? A primer, above.