Category Archives: Parenting

Parents need to be responsible for their child’s gaming habits not the government

Yesterday California rejected a proposed ban on the sale of violent video games to kids.  I can’t believe that this was even up for a vote. 

Here’s the reality – it’s a parent’s job to be sure that what their children are viewing and/or doing is appropriate.  Do we really need the government to monitor our parental abilities?  Well, in certain cases that seems to be the case – which gets me back to my argument that adults should be required to test and apply for a license before they are allowed to become parents.

Some parents might argue that they are clueless as to which games are overly violent.  That’s why there’s a great site, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) –  Parents can type in the name of a game and find out its rating and the content.  There is no excuse for parents not to be monitoring their child’s games!  But, that requires parents to be involved and not pass their responsibility onto a third person or the government.


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We’ve seen the “bad” of social media this week – here’s the good!

We’ve all read the disgusting story about Anthony Weiner and how social media can be used in a bad way but I was fortunate to receive a Tweet this morning from one of my followers that shows how social media can pass along uplifting and heroic messages.

The  Tweet read “Alice is 15 & has terminal cancer. One of her wishes is to trend on Twitter. #AliceBucketList  Please RT .”

Needless to say it caught my attention.  I’ll admit that sometimes I’m skeptical about these things and wonder if they’re legitimate but after reading this little girl’s blog there’s no way I can’t write about it.

Alice is indeed dying of cancer.  She’s writing a blog to document the time she has left with her friends and family.  She has also created a “bucket list” and that’s where it hit home for me personally.  One of Alice’s wishes is to swim with sharks.  Why did this one particular entry get to me?  Because my beautiful, healthy, wonderful eight year-old daughter is obsessed with sharks and would also love to do this.  And, hopefully, my daughter will have that chance someday whereas, most likely, Alice won’t.

My life has been stressful, chaotic and, at times, quite traumatic.   I’ve lost one child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome which has profoundly affected my life.  But to contemplate my daughter dying of cancer is unthinkable and makes me grateful for the amazing gifts – my children and stepchildren – that I have.

Alice does indeed want to “trend” on Twitter.  You can follow her @Alice_Pyne .  You can also follow her blog at .  She also talks about the importance of bone marrow donation, something everyone should be aware of.

The petty annoyances I woke up with this morning really seem so trivial now.  Thank you Alice!

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A Mother’s Day Tribute to All My Fellow Imperfect Mothers

I remember growing up celebrating Mother’s Day and honoring this incredible woman that is my mom. In my eyes as a young girl she could do no wrong. She had her act together – she worked but she was home by the time I got home from school and was always available to play with me, make me dinner and cuddle with me. She’s the most positive person I know and everyone always turns to her for advice.

Then there’s me.

I never knew how inept I could feel until I had kids. What makes any of us think that after our baby is born we’ll magically know how to change diapers, get her to sleep, burp her or figure out why she’s crying for three hours straight? Motherhood is seriously an example of “winging it.” Don’t get me wrong – I try to be Super Mom. I make cookies on snow days, braid my daughter’s hair while folding a load of laundry and check homework while I cook dinner. But somehow I always feel like I come up short. I’ve always said that if I could be half the mother my mom is I’d be happy. But every day I question myself – am I instilling self-confidence in my daughter, am I doing everything I can to get my special needs’ son the services he needs?

As The Safety Mom, a lot of my girlfriends call me with child safety questions and even child rearing questions. We all think someone else is doing it better than us or has the answers. I try to help but there’s that little nagging voice in the back of my head, am I really a good mom?
Maybe it’s all in the eyes of the beholder. My kids tell me on a daily basis that I’m the best mom in the universe (and that’s not even followed up by a request for ice cream or to stay up an extra hour!)

I don’t want the Mother’s Day card extolling my virtues as this perfect mother, it’s too much pressure trying to live up to that illusion. In fact, I’m learning to embrace my imperfections. And you know what? When I stop trying to be perfect I have more fun! And then my kids have more fun. And, in the long run, isn’t that what it’s really about, our kids being happy not because of all the things we give them but the feelings we give them?

So, here’s my commitment this Mother’s Day:

  • I’ll give up trying to bake cupcakes. I’m not good at it and the store bought are just as good
  • I’ll be selfish every now and then and do something just for me. A happy mommy is a happy family
  • I won’t compare myself to the mom down the street who seems to have it all together. I’m sure there are some imperfections she struggles with as well
  • I’ll ease up on the petty things. If my son wants to wear the same shirt to school two days in a row does it really matter?
  • I won’t judge another mom on her choices. They’re her choices and she’s doing the best she can as well.

To all the other imperfect mom’s out there – Happy Mother’s Day!


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The Safety Mom’s view on crib bumpers – What Are They Good For? Absolutely Nothing!

OK, I’m showing my age, using a lyric from the song ’70’s song What Is It Good For, but it’s completely appropriate for the issue of crib bumpers that has come up again.

A story in USA Today features a family who lost their 7 week-old baby last year. The baby suffocated and was found in his crib wedged between the crib bumper and a mattress. The use of crib bumpers has been hotly contested for some time and is not considered a safe sleep practice A new study commissioned by the children’s product industry refutes research linking dozens of infants’ deaths to the use of crib bumpers and says there is “no evidence” to suggest these cushions attached to crib slats are unsafe. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) seems to concur since they refuse to issue a warning against the use of bumpers. Many safety organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and First Candle have long warned about the dangers of crib bumpers. Canadian health officials have also warned against the use of bumpers and the dangers associated with using them. As a national safety expert and mom of a child who died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s the fact – there is absolutely no need for crib bumpers! Why is there even a debate? Oh sure, I have some parents write to me that worry about their child getting their arms or legs caught in between the slats. This isn’t going to happen to an infant, it’s impossible for them to pull themselves up or even roll over until much 5 or six months and by then the bumpers would be out of the crib anyway.

So, I’ll say it one more time. If there’s even a possibility that something is dangerous and it serves no purpose, why use it?!?! GET RID OF CRIB BUMPERS!

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Great site for teaching your kids financial responsibility and protecting their money

This year I’ve started giving my eight year old daughter an allowance. She certainly understands the value of a dollar and she’s looking for all sorts of ways to save for an iTouch that she desperately wants. She was so excited to announce to me on Sunday that she had $29 in her purse which she was taking with us to the store. Of course my first response was to tell her to put it away as I had visions of the purse getting lost like the lost gloves, sweatshirt and other various items that have already been misplaced this year.

So, how do I let her have the responsibility of “managing her money” without her losing it all? I never had considered a pre-paid debit/credit card for her but now I love the idea since I heard about BillMyParents (

If she loses the card it can be easily replaced without worry about her losing the money. I also love that I can load her allowance right onto it since it’s $9.00 per week and I never have the exact amount to give her. For my 20 year-old step daughter we’ve given her one in case of emergencies while she’s at college. Even if all of the money is depleted, if she’s ever in an accident or needs emergency funds I can load them on day or night.

Not only is this a great way for my daughter to keep her money safe but she can go on the site herself and track how she’s spending her money which is really giving her a great idea of how fast it can go!

Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom Enterprises and Safety Mom Solutions, the premier baby proofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area. Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant.

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Can I help my special needs son find his passion and wean him of TV?

I’m frustrated and disappointed in myself. I know the people closest to me will tell me I’m too hard on myself but that’s not the case. This is about Spencer, my special needs’ son who I blog about often (although haven’t recently.) It depresses me beyond belief that he doesn’t seem to have a passion or even a hobby. He’s lost in a world of TV. I feel like he’s the kid from Willy Wonka who only watches TV. Some “experts” think he’s hearing voices because he’s frequently talking to himself. I know this isn’t true. As I constantly tell my readers, a mom knows her kids better than anyone else. He’s not hearing voices, he’s repeating lines he’s heard from his favorite TV shows and movies..Bonanza, Pirates of the Caribean, Star Wars.

I’ve tried to expose him to a variety of activities from karate to soccer to hip hop. He starts out interested but quickly becomes bored. I can’t even get him into video games because he doesn’t feel he’s good enough. All of the things “regular” boys should enjoy. The only thing he seems to enjoy is TV. So the debate constantly plays in my head – does he not have any interests because he watches too much TV or does he revert to TV because he hasn’t found anything else?

It seems the greatest conflicts arise around TV, whether it’s getting into a fight with his sisters over the remote, his defiance of doing his homework because he’s watching his favorite show or his obsession with a particular character. This afternoon capped off a week of me telling him that TV needed to be dialed back. I was trying to have a conference call with a client and I heard Spencer getting into an argument with his babysitter Josh. I tried my best to ignore it and let Josh deal with it but Spencer ended up coming running into my home office and having a massive temper tantrum on the floor. The cause? Josh was following my instructions and prohibiting TV. He had options – Wii, playing outside or reading. Spencer refused all and was extremely disrespectful. So, Josh disconnected the TV and took it down to the basement. I respect Josh for it and support him but now what? Part of me feels like this is the only thing that my son enjoys and I feel bad about depriving him of it. The other part of me says that if he’s ever going to find something else I need to help him.

So… the great experiment begins. Can I explore various activities this weekend until I can find something that sparks my son’s interest? I know he enjoys cooking and he can do several things by himself but when he asks me whether he can help me make dinner I at first say no. It’s already 6P and the girls are getting hungry and, after all, I can do it much faster by myself. But, I stopped. This is an opportunity. So, I take a few deep breaths, pour myself a glass of wine and tell him yes, he can help me. Here he is making chicken cutlets. If this is what gets him excited I can use this for a variety of things – math for measuring, research skills for looking up recipes and science for learning about heat, freezing and evaporation.

So, stay tuned… not sure what this weekend will bring but it’s a TV diet for both of us!

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Explaining the Tuscon Shootings to Our Kids

The shootings in Tuscon this weekend has shaken us all.  It reaffirms that tragedy can strike anywhere, anytime, when we least expect it.  It’s hard enough for adults to wrap their heads around it but how do we explain this to our kids.  In a world of 24/7 news it’s almost impossible for them not to hear about it let alone see I images.  I asked clinical psychologist Dr. Emily Cashman to provide some tips on how to address this senseless tragedy with our kids: 

  • In order to help your children feel safe and to alleviate any fears they may have regarding the recent shootings in Arizona, it is important that you are informed. Contact your child’s school today to find out what, if any information has been discussed in class or with the whole school.
  • Talk with your children about what they do as individuals to keep themselves safe, what you do as a family, and what the community does.
  • Try to keep the television and media to a minimum; especially younger children (under 7) will not understand that this incident has happened once if they see it replayed over and over again on the news.
  • Empower your children to take any actions they can to feel safe (locking the doors with you at night, etc.)
  • Finally, do not “over talk” this, but let your children know that you are available to talk whenever you need them.


Alison Rhodes is the founder of Safety Mom Enterprises and Safety Mom Solutions, the premier baby proofing and child safety company in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut area.  Alison is a family safety expert, TV personality and consultant. 


Filed under Parenting