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noticed a trend lately in television? All of the shows you and I grew up with
as kids are making a comeback. Some are sequels: "Boy Meets World" is now "Girls
Meets World," showing the life of Cory and Topanga's daughter and her friends.
Even good old Shaun is back. Our favorite, the Tanner clan, is back in "Fuller House"
(a Netflix sequel to the reigning champ of TGIF "Full House").
There are also
rumors that old shows from the '80s and '90s are getting a reboot, including
"Coach," "Twin Peaks," "MacGyver," "The Powerpuff Girls," "Married … With
Children" and my favorite reboot which has already been confirmed, Gilmore
Question, though: Are the shows we grew up watching now safe for our own kids to watch? Maybe
not. The issues of today are being worked into the storylines, which does show that times are changing. But these issues may also be be things you don't want your 8-year-old to hear about just yet.
Netflix's "Fuller House" is a prime example. I, like many women I know, secretly binge-watched the entire first season. We just couldn't help it. We had to find out
what happened to DJ, Stephanie, Michelle and Kimmy. Although the Olson twins
(who played Michelle) are not in the show, their character is referenced
several times throughout the season. Even though we all knew Uncle Jesse was a
wild child back in the '80s on "Full House," it went over many kids' heads that he
got around (if you know what I mean). Now that little Stephanie, the middle
child in the Tanner clan of girls, is the voluptuous Aunt Stephanie who has
taken on that roll in the house, it's a little more blatant. We know she gets
around with the guys she meets. Her sister DJ and housemate Kimmy regularly
mention her revealing outfits. And we all have to wonder if romance will bloom
with Kimmy's daughter and DJ's son.
Channel's "Girl Meets World" is another example of how today's issues are working
their way into our children's shows. Bullying, abandonment, identity,
relationships and religion are all being discussed. These are important topics
that kids should be learning more about, but parents need to know that they are
being discussed, and someone else's view is being presented to their kids. Not
every show is filled with fluff that we can just let our kids watch without us.
When hard issues come up, and we as parents aren't there to discuss them and
help our kids process those feelings and thoughts, we just let the TV tell our
kids what to think. Not an ideal situation.
The University of
Michigan put out some excellent tips for monitoring what your
kids watch, but it will take you and your time to do this:
Watch shows with your children and talk about
Discuss the consequences of violence (if you
allow older children to watch violent programs) and other ways the conflict
could have been resolved.
Talk about stereotyping and prejudice in TV
Discuss commercials with children. You can
help your child recognize sales pitches given by commercials and evaluate
whether the messages in ads are realistic.
Discuss the differences between reality and
make-believe. Children interpret what they see differently than
adults. They may not be able to distinguish fact from fiction. Explain differences between news and entertainment, and reality and
the TV is not a babysitter no matter how old your kids are or how mature. Keep
an eye on what your child watches. Limit how much they watch, and let them know
what they can and can't watch without you present.
Today's reboot TV shows can
be a lot of fun for parents and kids to watch together as your kids see the
characters you loved as a kid, but who are relevant to their own lives today.
You get to see what happened to those characters you obsessed over as a kid, too. (Does Rory ever get back together with Logan? Or Jess?)
Just keep in mind that the topics have changed, and our kids are facing issues
we didn't have to face until we were much older.