Several years ago, I was teaching a class to junior high students, and the topic was gender roles. I remember thinking, this will be so fun, because things will be so different for them than they were for me.
Unfortunately, gender roles and stereotypes are alive and well in teen culture. Girls are still often harassed by guys about their looks, dress, body parts, and more. Guys feel pressure to be muscular and cool. Girls feel pressure to be thin and sexy. Guys still feel the pressure to initiate a relationship. Girls fear that if they are too forward, guys will not like them.
As parents, we need to make sure we are addressing these issues head on. Talk about them directly with your teen. Talk about the stereotypes, what’s underneath them, and how to counter them.
Give your girls messages that they are strong, and your boys messages that they are sensitive. Help them both learn how to communicate with each other. Engage in stereotype-busting behavior yourself, and encourage them to do the same. Require the boys to do dishes, and the girls to mow the lawn. Have the boys clean the bathroom sometimes, and teach the girls how to change the oil in the car.
In middle and high school, stereotypes are strong, and peer pressure is great. There is often less in college, but it can still be present. Make sure your children have exposure to activities and attitudes that counter destructive stereotypes and help them become well-rounded young people in our world.
What mom isn’t looking for help to get her kids to toe-the-line, find time for herself and make her life go more smoothly? Wouldn’t it be great if moms had a place they could go to get a year’s worth of great advice and support for their endless and often thankless work in just one day?
That place exists and it’s called MamaCon - Inspiration and Tools for Modern Moms[www.mamacon.net]. MamaCon, May 18 and 19, 2012, at the Bellevue Hilton, is the brainchild of Seattle area moms and parent educators Amy Lang and Kim Estes.
Amy and Kim decided the time has come for a conference solely devoted to the “business” of motherhood. Here’s a taste of some excellent tips and advice from several of MamaCon’s amazing speakers and experts.
Dr. Shirin Shirkat, Create Happy Kids, [www.createhappykids.com], tells moms to “say it only once and be heard” by using this magical sentence, “First, _________ then, ____________.” For example, “First eat your dinner, then you can have ice cream.” Keep this short, clear and concrete if you want it to be powerful and effective.
Sara Eizen, Nest Seattle, [www.nestseattle.com], helps moms go from “clutter to calm.” One of her best tips is to take the hanging rod out of the coat closet and install hooks instead. No more hangers and plenty of room to get all those coats and jackets put away.
Margit Crane, Gifted With ADD, [www.giftedwithadd.com] says moms need to understand sometimes your child is going to be like a “hot house flower.” Your child may need extra reminding, love, attention, support, reminding again and excessive cajoling. Do what they need to thrive. She says this is usually a passing phase and kids end up able to function well without mom’s intensive help.
Too tired for sex? Amy Johnson, Diligent Joy, [www.diligentjoy.com]suggests having a regular date with your spouse or partner and having sex before you go out for dinner or to the movies. Also, exploring your own sexuality holistically can help you and your relationship.
Kathy Slattengren, Priceless Parenting, [www.pricelessparenting.com] suggests using “silent self-talk” as the first step to moving from anger to empathy. All those snarky, sarcastic and downright mean things you sometimes say to try to motivate your kids? Feel free to think them all you want. Saying them won’t do anyone any good and certainly won’t get your kid moving. Silent self-talk allows you to vent and then connect with your child.
With over 50 parenting and life speakers and experts, including Rosalind Wiseman, New York Times best selling author of Queen Bees and Wannabes, free mini-spa treatments, wine tasting, a comedy show and Seattle Mom Prom [www.seattlemomprom.com] local moms will get just what they need to be happier, savvier mamas.
If mama ain’t happy, nobody’s happy and MamaCon [www.mamacon.net] is all about creating happy moms!
300 112th Avenue SE
Bellevue, Washington 98004
Marketplace Preview and Kick-Off Cocktail Party!
Friday, May 18, 2012 - 3PM to 9PM
OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!
MamaCon - Inspiration and Tools for Modern Moms
Saturday, May 19, 2012 - 8AM (registration) to 12PM