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Cyber Bullying-Parent’s Guide

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I wanted to touch on this subject for parents because whether we realize it or not, cyber bullying is happening all around us. Research shows that many parents don’t even realize that their child is being bullied or is being a bully until it is too late.

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I had a friend recently share with my about her daughter being cyber bullied for months and she had absolutely no clue about it. She found out because her daughter had left her phone in the car and her mom heard it continuously vibrating. She picked up her daughter’s phone only to see so many texts and Facebook notifications that were saying awful things about her daughter. Some of the Facebook messages were so harsh, that she felt that she needed to call in to work and go get her daughter immediately. After getting the other girl’s parents involved, to my friend’s surprise, they knew nothing about it either. One of the girl’s was even a teacher’s daughter and her mother taught at the high school and she still had no clue her daughter was being a bully right under her nose!

I think that bullying is awful. I was somewhat bullied in school and this was before social media and text messaging! In my post from yesterday, I talked apps that your child may have on their phone and some listed are used for cyber bullying as well.
So, how can parents know if their child is being cyber bullied or being a cyber bully? How can we ensure that our child will not be a bully?
Have a relationship with your child- So many parents these days have no clue what their children are doing because they are letting technology be the babysitter! You may say, “Well, my child doesn’t want to hang out with me!” Or, “I don’t have money to spend on my child to take them to do anything!” Find a way to gain a steady relationship with your children. Make time to have conversations with them DAILY. Know what is going on in their lives. As they get older, yes, they will go through phases, but be there for them!
Monitor your child’s technology devices- Some parents may not agree with this and think that that is “their private stuff.” Children do need privacy, I agree with that. That is why our bathroom and their bedroom’s have doors. When it comes to a world in the palm of their hands, then it becomes my business! I do check my children’s phones. I am not saying that I am a stalker and check it daily, but I do check it. As a matter of fact, I have settings on their phones to let me know what apps they are downloading from the app store. I don’t sit there and read their texts word for word, but I glance through it. Know what your child is doing on these technology devices!!
Have limits for your child- This goes back to letting your child’s babysitter be the technology devices and television. I am not saying all phones and televisions are bad, but they can be. If we just allow our children to come home, get on their phones or in the television and have very little or no communication with the rest of the family, then we are giving our children too much freedom! Set time limits for your children. Consider a “technology free” day and do something outside! I am not saying that you should take away the deviced, but have time limits. It’s not healthy allowing your children to stay on their phones and in the television 90% of the time they are home.
Talk to you children about bullying- It is always a good idea to teach your children young about bullying. I’d say when they start stealing all the toys and not sharing when they are 2 years old is a good time. But, really, it’s never too early to start teaching your children about being a bully. Let them know how it can really hurt someone. If you are talking to your teenager about bullying, let them know that sometimes people even commit suicide because they are bullied so much. We also encourage our children to stick up for those that are being bullied, and if they don’t feel like they can stick up for the child, then they need to tell someone. Encourage your child.
Teach your child to serve- I will be doing a blog post at a later date on teaching children how to serve and be there for others. It is good to teach your child to hold the door for someone with their hands full. It is good to teach your child to be polite and respect others around them. It is important to teach your child about other children with disabilities and how hard it is for them. Teach your child to be polite!
These are just some of the things that I suggest. If you see any changes in your child, investigate it and question them about it. They may or may not be being bullied. But that goes back to you having a good, steady relationship with your child. Don’t be scared to ask them questions. And don’t be scared to upset your child! You are the parent and the authority and they need to know what authority is for when we get to the real world!
Lord, we know it’s difficult being a parent, but it’s not impossible. Help us and show us how to be a better parents as we go! Help those that are being bullied. And whatever is being done behind our backs, may it be brought to light so that we may be aware of it. Help us to teach our children how to be kind, courteous children to others. Help us to teach them what it means to serve others.
Until next time…be encouraged!

Sexting! What Parents Need to Know!

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I don’t fully understand why parents get so weird about talking to their child about sex. It is something of this world and they should know about it! I was a teenage parent, and I let my children and stepchildren know how hard it was and how I got there! I tell them that I hope that they don’t take the same path that I did. But, since I was a teenager, there is a popular thing that has surfaced between tweens (yes 11 and 12 year olds too) and teenagers…..SEXTING!
Most parents can put two and two together and figure out what sexting is. Most of it starts out as harmless texting, then comes pictures and then comes sexting! A lot of kids these days are pressured into this. Nothing has changed since you and I were teenagers. They still pull the, “If you love me you will send me a picture..” “You don’t even have to have your face in the picture…” “I will delete it once you send it..” “Nobody will see it but me..” Can you see where I’m going?
So, why is it important to talk to your tweens/teens about sexting and why it is inappropriate, disrespectful, and unclassy? Teenagers should know limits. I can’t say this enough. Have limits for your children, especially on the phones! If your child has a phone and has any interest in the opposite sex, it’s time to have the up-to-date birds and bees talk.
How to be an active parent:
Talk to your son/daughter- I can not say it enough about how important it is to have a close relationship with your children! Talk to them about respecting the opposite sex! If you have a daughter, teach her to value her body and demand respect when it comes to her body. Teach her the meaning of having value and respect for her body. If you have a son, teach him how to respect himself. Often boys grow up thinking their privates are the greatest thing ever! Make sure your son doesn’t grow up with this mentality! If you don’t have serious conversations about this particular topic, your son might have this mentality!! It’s good to talk to your children about the dangers or sexting and how it can ruin their reputation!
Dads need to be involved- Having a male figure in your child’s life that is actively involved is crucial! Especially during the times that they are teenagers! Girls need a male role model to be in their lives to show tem how men should treat women. Boy should have a male role model so they will know how to treat women. Girl’s should never be downgraded by being asked for a nude or very private picture. Men can be good at teaching both guys and girls this!
Monitor your children- I know some people might disagree with me, but children need limits! Check up on your child! If you ever suspect your child is going through anything different in their lives, or if your child has a boyfriend/girlfriend, it is always good to monitor their social media accounts and text messages!
Lord, we ask you to teach us how to parent during this rough time in our child’s life. It seems like daily they are faced with “the new thing.” Help us and guide us on how to be the best parents that we can be. Lord, we ask you to guide our children and the decisions that they make. Help them and give them strength and wisdom during their times where they feel peer pressure.
Until next time…be encouraged!!!

My marriage was over…but God had different plans!

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My Marriage was over, but God had different plans!

One year ago, I didn’t realize what that day was about to hold. I didn’t know how I would make it this far. One year ago, I thought was one of the worse days of my life. I thought my marriage was over, but God had different plans.

It was a Monday morning, and I woke up and started the coffee just like any other morning. I like to wake up a little bit before my husband and kids so I can have some “me time.” While I waited on the coffee to brew, I read my Bible verse of the day from my app, and then checked to see what was going on on Facebook. I noticed I had 7 messages, which was completely out of the norm. The messages were from a man that I was familiar with. I had called this man a month beforehand to let him know that his wife had been calling my husband quite a bit and I was concerned with her calling and talking to my husband so much. The messages from the man were screenshots of e-mails between my husband and this man’s wife woman. I couldn’t do anything but cry. My world had fallen apart.

I went on with my day, taking the kids to school and picking them up. I was alive on the outside, but completely dead on the inside. I locked myself in my room and stayed asleep. When I was awake, I was crying. I didn’t know what to do, how to tell the kids, why this woman. These questions ran through my head for months. I hated my life and couldn’t find any self worth in myself.

For years, my husband and I had experienced a big drought in our marriage. I was sleeping in my children’s room, we weren’t spending much time with each other. Often times, my husband described our relationship as “We were roommates, just living together.” We had no physical contact. Nothing. What was there to fight for after I found out about my husband’s affair? I thought it was time to get a divorce. I questioned God, “Why would God let this happen to my marriage when I had been praying for something to turn our marriage around.” My husband wasn’t in church and had no desire to go to church with me the past 3 years I had been going with just the kids, with the occasion he would go with me. Granted, my husband felt awful for his decision to have an affair. He called and confessed what he had done to our family, to our Pastor and to our closest friends. He was sick and confessed he just wanted to die for making such a careless decision.

Days passed, then weeks, and I could never make myself go talk to a lawyer. This is a man who had been such a great Father to our children, and who did love me, regardless of the many mistakes. I began really seeking God. After the hurt left, I became angry and wanted to seek revenge on him and her. I couldn’t even watch a show that had her name in it. I would see her name and get sick. I would see her car and get sick. I would run into her and have to repent because the words I had for her were awful. Many Facebook messages to her that I had to erase. I was broken and just wanted this all to be a dream, but it wasn’t. God started showing me about forgiveness. God started showing me the times that I had “mental affairs” with different men. We were both unhappy, and honestly, I thought many times¬† of guys who I came across had it all together…how I just wanted THAT!

Different things began to happen. God started showing me things. I would open the Bible and it would be a scripture on forgiveness. I would hear things on the radio about marriages and how God never wanted to see people hurting and families broken into. We went to a church that had no clue about our situation, and they preached on David having an affair, but still doing great things for God. I saw different posts on Facebook about the people of the Bible who were messed up and God still used them. I began remembering my prayers that I prayed for my husband. I had written the prayer down in a notebook:

January 12, 2014, Lord, please shake our marriage and wake us up! I don’t know how much longer I can take our marriage being this way. I do love him, but I can’t live this way. Please show me, Lord, how to be the wife that you have called me to be, because I’m not doing things right. I don’t have good thoughts towards our marriage and often dream about being in a perfect marriage. I need your help because I can’t do this by myself. Help us, Lord! Make us the people that you have called us to be! Let us be examples for those around us, our children, our family, friends and co-workers. Amen!”

I see it now that God surely woke us up. We had tried Christian counseling, going to different churches, talking to each other…nothing was working. I still have days of sadness that this has happened to our marriage. I still have trust issues. I carried hate for the other woman for awhile, but was able to see her in public and smile at her and truly meant my smile was a friendly one. I smiled because I want her to know that I know she was broken and when I find myself wanting to hate her, I just pray for her and her family. I pray that her husband and her are working on their marriage and it’s going great.

We all get away from God at sometimes. We make mistakes. We sin. My husband had an affair, but God has used that affair to make us realize that we didn’t want to lose each other and he has used this event to get my husband back in church and to start having a personal relationship with God. Even though I went to church every time the doors were open, I still had some learning and growing up to do myself. I wasn’t the perfect wife. I neglected my husband and there were times I could care less. I am learning to love life and enjoy my marriage.

God can restore any marriage. I’ve always said that if you aren’t divorced yet, there is still time for God to work. I’ve even witnessed God restoring marriages after divorces. We get married, and when we say our vows, we are just thinking about the good and don’t ever want to experience the bad. We promise each other through good and bad. This post is to share a little of my testimony. I believe God has allowed me to go through tests this past year, but my husband and I choose to turn those tests into testimonies. If we can share our story and encourage any marriage that is hurting, we’ve met our goal. No, I wish our marriage wouldn’t have to go through the worse, but it did. Like I’ve said before, I believe God uses our struggles to make us stronger and that we may share our struggles with others to encourage them and let them know there is hope for their marriage.

Share this, pin this, e-mail this, please! I know that we aren’t the only couple that has had issues in their marriage. Somebody needs to hope and encouragement today! If you are reading this, please pray for our marriage and all marriages! John 10:10 says that we have an enemy that comes to steal, kill and destroy..but we have a God that promises life and abundance!

Until next time….be encouraged!!!

How social media almost ruined my marriage!

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So, yesterday I was explaining how much I hate how people are so sucked into their phones that they can’t and aren’t enjoying their life! I also mentioned that I too, have fallen into this trap of being on my phone constantly.

When the new iPhone 3g came out, my husband bought us both one. I was so memorized at how much the world was at my fingertips. I slept with my phone by bed and when I’d have trouble sleeping, I’d get on Facebook…and post about it!!!

My husband was still going through college and taking classes, so that left me more time to myself. I guess I wanted interaction, so the more “friends” I had, the better! Before I knew it, my world revolved around what Facebook had to say, watering my virtual farm, and whatever else I could get into! As long as it “gave me something to do” I was good, but had no idea that it would really take hold of my life!

Several years ago, maybe 3 or 4, my husband I separated for several months.¬† The reason being me not showing him enough attention while he was around. I was slacking on my house, mom, wife responsibilities…and I wasn’t caring. It was several months apart..and even when we had made the decision to “stick it out,” I still struggled with always checking my phone! Looking back, I also realized that constantly checking to see what other people were doing was making me depressed. I was seeing couples that were “getting along” and had the “perfect marriage” on the computer screen. I also noticed as Facebook got to be so popular how people started sharing more and more of their business on there and how people started getting more an more into other people’s business.

It wasn’t until after many arguments over how involved I was with my phone and a huge turn-around in our marriage did I start realizing how much my stupid phone had a hold of me. I was looking for an outlet, and I surely found one. Looking back on how I was, I really can’t believe how much I was addicted to being on my phone. I had to check in every where and the Time Hop app constantly reminds me at how much useless, meaningless things I used to share on Facebook….that nobody cared about reading about.

Maybe you aren’t as into your phone as I was, but I’m just wanting to encourage people and let them know that it isn’t all about what is on Facebook. Actually, there are probably things that would do you good not to see on Facebook. There is a whole big world out there the people are missing because they are chasing the virtual one on their phones. I’ve seen and heard of a lot of fights that couples have because they are tying to beat the next level in Candy Crush Saga or trying to see what has recently been posted on Facebook. Don’t be the person that has to be on their phones constantly, especially when your loved ones are wanting time with just you. Put your phones down, I know you are bored and waiting on the waitress to bring your food, but your husband is there…talk to him! I know the dentist is taking forever, but your kids are there in the waiting room..ask them how their day has been. I know it’s a boring night and there is nothing on TV, but when is the last time you played outside with your kids? Pulled out their favorite board game?

I’m not trying to preach, but simply for people to enjoy life.

Until next time…be encouraged!

Enjoy your life…put down your electronics.

Ugh! There is nothing that bothers me most while on date night (other than hearing screaming kids while I’m on a break from my screaming kids) than seeing a couple that isn’t enjoying each other because they are so glued to their phones. And it’s not only husband and wives, but it is everyone. It seems like we can’t enjoy the life around us because we are living in a virtual world. Over the weekend, my husband and I went out to eat, and several tables that we passed, either one person or both of them were on their phones scrolling through their Facebook page not making any interaction with their spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend. It was sad….

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do love Facebook and Pinterest and seeing the latest pictures that so and so put on their Instagram account…BUT…I believe there is a time and place for being on your phones. I’m talking about wives not hearing a thing that their husbands are saying being they just can’t wait to see what “Lisa Jane” posted on her Facebook. We are deaf to what is going on around us because we are too busy pinning million dollar houses that we will never live in, and finding crafts that we want to do with our children..but never will because we can’t get off our phone. Moms are missing their kid’s big plays during the games because they are taking selfies of their “#1 Baseball Mom” t-shirts. There is a time and place, people. I’ve fallen into the social media trap, and even have to catch myself and get off because there is a life outside of Facebook…it will be there when you get some “me” time, but don’t miss your kids growing up, your spouse’s important words they are trying to express to you, or important events with your friends because you are on your phone.

I will talk about it later, but at one time my phone was more important than my family…and my family almost fell apart due to my lack of caring for what was going on on the outside of the useless thing I was holding on to. I’m trying to give you hope today! If your husband constantly is asking what you are doing on Facebook, there is a problem and he obviously wants to be part of your evening. Get off Facebook…. If your kids talk about how much you are always on your phone…look up and pay attention to what they are trying to tell you. You only get so many chances before your spouse gets tired of being ignored and your children are only young for a short amount of time. Also, as your children see you being sucked into the world of technology, they have no choice but to be sucked in as well. Trust me,I don’t think you want Disney, Facebook or Jay-Z raising your kids!

Share this so maybe someone will get off their phones!

Enjoy life…..put down your electronics. Seriously.

Until next time…be encouraged.