Sunday, November 27, 2011

More College Grads Moving Back Home

The number of college graduates who move home is at an all-time high, according to a poll by the consulting firm, Twentysomething, Inc. The survey found that 85% of college grads will return to Mom and Dad’s nest after graduation in hopes of finding a job and saving money. Moving back home and turning to your parents for financial help has become the norm and it really pays off for some.

Although living with Mom and Dad again may not sound very appealing, boomerang kids have the opportunity to save money, learn good personal finance habits, and become more financially secure before moving out on their own. If you’re one of the thousands of college graduates who is moving back with your parents, take advantage of this grace period and start saving and investing wisely.
  1. Save money

    The No. 1 reason kids move back home after college is to save money. Living with your parents allows you to save the money you would normally spend on rent and put it in the bank. Whether you pay the bills or live rent-free, saving is much easier when you live cheaply. The more money you can save while living at home, the better your finances will be when you move out.
  2. Develop good money habits

    Living at home can expose you to good personal-finance habits. Whether you want to obtain a credit card or start investing in a retirement fund, your parents can help you achieve financial freedom and develop good money habits for life. While at home, observe your parents’ financial habits and ask questions to get a good idea of how they spend their money and invest.
  3. Learn the value of money

    Many college students have misconceptions about money and enter the real world with a lack of personal financial knowledge. All graduates, including those who took out loans to pay for school, could use a refresher in the value of money. Living at home can help you learn the value of money because you’ll have less of it to spend and will appreciate the cash you do have.
  4. Financial security

    College grads who live at home have the financial security of their parents to help them stay afloat until they can move out on their own. Some graduates will get a free ride from Mom and Dad, while others will have to pay their dues for living at home. Either way you look at it, you’re getting a good deal. Having the financial support of your parents makes transitioning from college to the real world much easier.
  5. Invest sooner

    Moving in with Mom and Dad after college can make it easier to invest sooner. College graduates can save tons by living at home and the money they don’t spend on rent can be invested into a savings plan. One of the smartest financial investments graduates can make is to start a retirement plan, such as a Roth IRA. These investments will help you manage your cash flow and prepare for the future.
    1. You can learn from your friends’ mistakes

      Living at home allows you to learn from your friends’ financial mistakes. Many college grads jump the gun on moving out because they want their own space and independence. While some friends may live within their means and have no financial problems, many end up overspending and have to move back home. When you live at home, you can be a spectator and learn from your friends and determine the right time to move out.
    2. Pay off student loans

      Living with your parents after college makes it easy to start paying down your student loans. Living at home allows you to save tons, so you can afford to put more money toward student loans. Chipping away at these pesky loans will help you pay them off in a timely manner and free you from debt.
    3. Incentive to find a job

      Considering the current state of the economy and the rising unemployment rate, finding a job is a difficult and often demoralizing task for college graduates. Moving home may be the only option for graduates, but it may also be the ticket to getting a job. Depending on your situation and your parents’ expectations, you may not have a choice but to find work right away. Pestering from Mom and Dad may be just what you need to get serious about job hunting and finding a job. Once you secure a job and get them off your back, you’ll feel relieved and more financially independent.
    4. Build and/or fix your credit

      Living at home allows graduates to establish or fix their credit. It’s important to build good credit or fix a damaged credit score before you move out because many apartment owners and even employers conduct credit checks. If you’ve never had a credit card or form of credit, now is the time to do so. If your credit score is less than stellar, then you can use this time to improve it.
    5. Budget for the future

      It is far easier to budget for the future when you don’t have rent going out the door each month. Use this time at home to set a budget that will help you achieve your financial goals. Budgeting will also give you a better idea if you can truly make it without your parents and how much it’s going to cost you when you move out.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Sexual Abuse: Know the Signs - Be an Educated Parent

Sexual abuse can be a single incident or many acts over a long period of time. There usually are subtle signs along the way that can be overlooked. Here are a few possible warnings of sexual abuse. Look for a change in your child’s normal behavior that last or become more intense.

Of course, there could be another explanation but any of these signs should be addressed. If you have any suspicions or a feeling something is wrong, seek help of a mental health professional.

Physical Signs: Bloody, torn, or stained underclothes; pain, bleeding, burning, or itching in genital area; difficulty walking or sitting; frequent urinary or yeast infections; STD or pregnancy
Psychosomatic Signs: Stomachaches, headaches or marked mood swings; nightmares or trouble sleeping; sudden changes in appetite
Sexual Behavior Signs: Uses adult-like sexual knowledge, language or behavior; writes, draws or plays out sexual-type images; frequent use of masturbation
Emotional Signs: Resorts to aggressive behaviors: thumb-sucking, bed-wetting; sudden clinginess; depressed
Behavioral Signs: Shrinks away or seems threatened by physical contact; excessive bathing, poor hygiene; or talks about self as dirty or bad; trouble focusing; seems distracted or distant at odd times; overly protective and concerned for siblings, assumes a caretaker role; talks about a new, older friend; jumpy if the phone rings, a text or email comes in; suddenly has unaccountable money, gifts, toys or mail; runs to mailbox

If there was something your child said or did that made you concerned, ask. Do know that a child may not admit or deny the abuse usually due to fear, humiliation, guilt or shame, but studies show that if asked, kids generally will tell a trusted adult of their abuse.

Special contributor: Dr. Michele Borba

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Parent Peer Groups

The Parent Peer Group (PPG) is an educational support system for parents.  PPGs create fun, frequent opportunities for parents to share thoughts, activities and philosophies on "what works".  

PPGs are guided by the Informed Families' Parent Pilot Kit, a science-based, proactive notebook designed to educate and involve parents of pre-teens and teens in creating a safe, healthy, drug-free lifestyle. PPGs can be organized at a school, house of worship, home or restaurant where parents can be comfortable and speak freely.   
The initial four sessions will focus on four key topics called agendas:
  1. Brain Development - How the teen brain develops and the harmful affects of drugs and alcohol.
  2. Harmful Media - Understanding media (TV, Internet, Radio, Print) messages and changing their impact in your home.
  3. Social Norms - Identifying and changing social norms affecting your family.
  4. Building Parent Peer Groups - How to create and expand the positive impact of Parent Peer Groups in your community.
The goal of a Parent Peer Group is to provide parents the skills to set boundaries and monitor their children's behavior by creating an informal support system with their children's friends parents and in their children's schools. By fostering communication between parents, Parent Peer Groups help parents maintain a healthy environment for their children, keeping them safe, healthy, and drug-free.

See what others are saying about the Media Literacy Agenda.  View the new video version of the Parent Pilot Kit Media Literacy Agenda online now!

If you would like to start a PPG in your neighborhood or just find out more information about attending one, call Informed Families at 305-856-4886.

Attend a Parent Peer Group online.  Informed Families is working to expand the Parent Network.  Look for opportunities to participate in online parent forums and more video based versions of our Parent Pilot Kit (PPK) coming in 2011.


Monday, November 7, 2011

Be a part of your PTA

Why should parents join their PTA?  Why don't they?

"I don't have time!"
"There are other parents that want to"
"It's just not for me"

EXCUSES!  When it comes to your child and their education, teachers, schools and communities, parents need to make the time and become interested in an organization that is targeted at making a better academic life for your child.

Concerns about public schools are much in the news, in recent times. Politicians, business leaders, college admissions officials, and academic researchers, have much to say about the quality, or lack thereof, of teaching methods and subject matter. How can a concerned parent make sense of it all and judge whether their child is receiving a proper education?

In the middle of it all, ignored by many and supported by not nearly enough, are local Parent-Teacher Associations. Local PTAs can and should be a valuable resource for any parent with questions, concerns, or ideas about how their children should be taught and cared for by schools.

Got Questions?

If you want to know how your school compares academically with local, state, and national standards, your local PTA can provide that information for you. If you have specific questions about how your child’s classroom operates, and what teaching resources your child’s teachers have available to them, your local PTA can help you obtain the answers you are looking for.

Your local PTA will be happy to provide informational materials, as well as offering you an ear for specific questions about curriculum and available services that you feel are not being addressed adequately by school administrators.

Got Complaints?

All local Parent-Teacher Associations have members that focus on parent concerns about teachers and/or classroom activities. Quite often, these concerns turn out to be based on misconceptions about classroom activities or one-sided reports from students to parents. If, after attempting to raise an issue with a teacher or administrator, a parent still feels the issue is not being properly dealt with, the local PTA can act as arbitrator or information collector in helping to find solutions.

Got Ideas?

If you think that you have ideas that would benefit your school’s ability to educate the kids in your community, the local PTA is a great place to bring your ideas for discussion. As a group, teachers are eager to hear any ideas you may have about helping them work better with your children. A local PTA gives you direct access to teachers ears, whether your ideas are about general teaching or specific issues with teaching your child.

This is, in fact, the major reasons that PTAs were created; to help teachers and parents work together in answering each other’s questions and addressing the education needs of students.

Got Time?

If you have even a few hours per month that you can devote to increasing the quality and responsiveness of your community’s schools, consider volunteering with the local PTA. I’ve heard other parents speak of Parent-Teacher Associations as if they are purely teacher’s advocacy organizations. That’s not the case. Teachers have unions for that sort of thing. PTAs are set up to foster connections between teachers and parents, to address issues of concern and improve the ability of both parents and teachers to help students achieve and grow.

As a parent, you have the opportunity and ability to get in there and be part of the solutions that help both teachers and other parents understand, improve, and grow in their ability to give students the best possible education. Don’t ignore your local PTA. Support it, join it, help it grow and be as effective as possible in this critical and difficult endeavor.

Source:  Babysitters

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

November is Bullying Prevention Month: Be a part of STOMP OUT BULLYING

STOMP Out Bullying™ focuses on reducing and preventing bullying, cyberbullying, sexting and other digital abuse, educating against homophobia, racism and hatred, decreasing school absenteeism, and deterring violence in schools, online and in communities across the country. 

It teaches effective solutions on how to respond to all forms of bullying; as well as educating kids and teens in school and online, providing help for those in need and at risk of suicide, raising awareness, peer mentoring programs in schools, public service announcements and social media campaigns. 


Every one of us are different. Some of us are short, tall, overweight, underweight, gay, straight, transgender, have special needs … we’re all various races, we dress and look differently. Bullying knows no boundaries. Popular kids can be bullied as easily as others. Just look at some of the teens celebrities who’ve been targeted. We can STOMP Out Bullying by being tolerant, kind and respectful and stand up for each other. We all dance to a different drummer – but the reality is we are ALL the same because we are ALL people. No one deserves to bullied for any reason!!