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Family - Druid City Living, Tuscaloosa's premier community newspaper. - Druid City Living, Tuscaloosa's premier community newspaper. Sun, 27 May 2018 00:11:17 -0500 MYOB en-gb The Land of Oz: You're Probably Taking Your Kids' Sport Too Seriously The Land of Oz: You're Probably Taking Your Kids' Sport Too Seriously

I sometimes wonder if my column comes across as a “know-it-all parent who is just trying to make everybody else look bad.” If it ever has, please accept my apology. Believe me… that is not the intent. Even though I cover a diversified assortment of local and national topics, it is my parenting submissions that I probably question the most. 

The reason is quite simple: I am not a perfect parent. And to be frank, I do not believe in their existence.

Newborn babies don't come in a factory-sealed package, complete with a user guide and an owner’s manual, that explains how to raise them right. Every toddler is different. Every teen is different. And every environment in which they develop, and learn, and grow is different. 

Given the amount of societal issues and distractions and technological advances, I think most of us just try to do the best we can in giving our kids a shot at succeeding in the 21st century. Sometimes, this includes competing in sports. 

A family member recently sent my wife a meme depicting a couple of cute kid baseball players laughing that said, “Look at my dad. He’s throwing a tantrum cuz I missed the ball!” While I found this amusing, I also recognized a hard truth… I’m guilty. 

It is a completely natural response to want your kid(s) to be the best that they can be and to compete at a high level. For parents who took part in competitive sports in their youth, it’s probably worse. At times, it can be a reminder of things we did/didn’t do that we probably could have/should have taken more seriously during our playing days. But here is the deal… kids don't understand this anymore than we did when we were playing little league. 

And here’s some numbers for you too (because data is cool): Out of roughly 489,000 high school baseball players in the U.S., only about 7 percent will go on to play college ball. And of that, only about 2 percent will play Division 1. That number gets worse when you get to women’s softball, which sits at about 5 percent (with 1.6 percent playing Div. 1). And I don't have room to bore you with the fraction of the percentages when it comes to the odds of turning pro.

The point is, we probably should be concentrating more on helping kids enjoy the sport while helping them steadily improve, instead of screaming at them when a grounder goes between their legs. But the most important lesson should be centered on teamwork and sportsmanship, especially considering how self-absorbed we are as a society. Your kid might miss the pop-up, but the team that works together wins the game. 

I tweet insignificant things @ozborn34. 

Derek Osborn is the Executive Director of PRIDE of Tuscaloosa by trade and a writer by hobby. He lives in Tuscaloosa with his wife, Lynn, and their daughters, Savannah and Anica.   

Family Thu, 24 May 2018 00:00:00 -0500
CSP Spotlight: Managing Your Own Emotions: The Key to Positive, Effective Parenting CSP Spotlight: Managing Your Own Emotions: The Key to Positive, Effective Parenting

Being the parent of a young child is an intensely emotional experience. There is the pure pleasure of cuddling, nuzzling, playing, laughing, exploring, and delighting in your baby’s daily growth and discoveries. And then there are the challenges—the moments of stress, anger, frustration, and resentment—at not knowing what a baby’s cry means and how to calm her, at the totally irrational demands of a toddler, or at the aggressive behavior of an older child toward a new baby. These experiences naturally evoke strong feelings that can be hard to handle. 

It is important to tune in to and manage these feelings because it is how you react in these moments that make the difference in your child’s development. Your response impacts his ability to learn good coping skills and guides his future behavior. Managing strong, negative emotions is surely much easier said than done. But it’s worth the effort, because the payoff is huge, for you and your child. Here are some helpful guiding principles and strategies:

  1. Tune in to your feelings. Feelings are not right or wrong. It is what you do with your feelings that can be helpful or hurtful. What’s most important is that you tune in to and own your feelings so that you can make a conscious decision—versus a knee-jerk reaction—about how best to respond.
  2. Look at behavior in the context of your child’s development and temperament. Having appropriate expectations is critical because the meaning you assign to your child’s behavior impacts how you manage your own emotions and reactions to the behavior at hand.
  3. Remember: You can’t make your child do anything— eat, sleep, pee, poop, talk, or stop having a tantrum. What you do have control over is how you respond to your children’s actions, as this is what guides and shapes their behavior. If throwing a tantrum results in extra TV time, a later bedtime, or simply getting more of your attention, your toddler is putting 2 and 2 together, making an important assessment: “Tantrums work! Excellent strategy! Put that one in the win column.”
]]> (Super User) Family Mon, 21 May 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Family Counseling Services: Summertime is the Right Time to Get Moving Family Counseling Services: Summertime is the Right Time to Get Moving

Q: I’m having some issues concentrating at work lately. I’ve just generally felt “blah.” My doctor gave me a clean bill of health – but how can I boost my energy and get over this hump? 


Need a Boost 

Dear Boost, 

That “blah” feeling is no fun! Lack of concentration and energy are also drains on enjoying life and basic level of functioning. It’s good you had a medical evaluation and have gotten a clean bill of health, that’s always the best place to start. So, now what? 

I’m sure that you’ve heard about the benefits of exercise, but there may be some specific ways it can help with your current slump that surprise you. Exercising doesn’t have to be hours spent at the gym that you dread. It can be fun and socially stimulating as well.   

Exercise has some very specific benefits, so much so that medical experts are now prescribing it as part of the treatment for many illnesses, especially for those who can’t or don’t want to take pills or medication. Research shows moderate exercise not only increases endorphins that give that good “runner’s high” feeling, it also increases dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels which directly affect focus, attention, and mood. It also relaxes the muscles and relieves tension, allowing you to relax. It's also been shown to help with stress reduction, sleep, symptoms of ADHD, PTSD, anxiety, depression, and it even helps improve insulin regulation... without the side effects of medication.  

Choosing something you enjoy, or simply recognizing that everyday household chores are exercise, can help take the pressure off. Find an exercise partner, join a walking club, listen to music that gets you moving, set alarms on your phone… make exercise a priority for your mental and physical well-being, instead of a chore. Dancing, my personal favorite, is touted as one of the best exercises to help relieve stress and help the body re-establish healthy rhythm and movement of muscles. Swimming, or other water exercises, are also low-impact ways of taking the monotony out of your exercise routine. Check with your doctor for more ideas of what types of exercise may be best for your specific health needs.  

Again, you don’t have to kill yourself in the gym to get these benefits. Experts say 30 minutes of moderate exercise 3 to 5 days a week will give you the benefits you’re seeking. Moderate exercise simply means raising your heartrate and increasing your breathing. Stay within the limits of being able to speak and feeling your body warm up, without getting overheated or sweaty. You can also break up your exercise into 10 or 15 minutes segments and still get the same benefits. Focusing on how your body feels as you exercise will help you increase concentration and make exercise meaningful, making it easier to continue.  

We at Family Counseling Service can help you make exercise and other ways of coping become a part of improving your quality of life. Come see us. We’re here ready and waiting to help! 

Love and Peace, 


April L. Stevens, LICSW, PIP, is a licensed clinical social worker and counselor with Family Counseling Service in Tuscaloosa.   

Family Tue, 15 May 2018 00:00:00 -0500
CSP Spotlight: Child Abuse Comes in Many Forms – Know What to Look For CSP Spotlight: Child Abuse Comes in Many Forms – Know What to Look For

Child abuse is more than physically hurting a child.  Be aware of the various forms of child abuse to help keep children safe. Here are the following forms of abuse and examples for each.

  1. Verbal and Emotional Abuse is child abuse.
    • Teasing, using put downs, even jokes, harming a child’s self-esteem, manipulation, ridicule, not listening to a child, engaging a child in criminal acts
  2. Sexual Abuse is child abuse.
    • Touching a child’s private parts, exposing a child to pornography or sex organs, forcing a child to touch someone’s private parts, using inappropriate sexual talk when speaking to a child, child prostitution
  3. Neglect is child abuse.
    • Leaving a child without supervision or with an inadequate caregiver, ignoring s child’s emotional, physical, and educational needs, including failing to provided healthy food and drinks and ensure personal hygiene

Take Action to Stop Abuse! If you suspect child abuse, contact your local child protective services or law enforcement agency immediately. You also can call the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453.

]]> (Super User) Family Mon, 14 May 2018 00:00:00 -0500
The Mommy Chronicles: The Great Camp Out, Part One The Mommy Chronicles: The Great Camp Out, Part One

When I began writing this column almost five years ago, I was pretty much under the impression that by the time I was three or four years in, I would basically be a parenting expert.

Ha! While I’ve become even more addicted to my son than I was when he was first born, I must admit that I’m still chronically late for everything. I still take a long time packing his bags (from diaper bags to backpacks) due to fear of forgetting something. And biggest of all: I still smother. Smother Mother in full effect, y’all. Guilty. 

My husband and I started a family tradition around the time of my little person’s second birthday. We began to travel, close enough to home to keep things simple, but far enough to get little man some travel miles under his belt. For his second birthday, we took a day trip to the Birmingham Zoo. For his third birthday, we spent the day at the Georgia Aquarium. And for his fourth birthday, we went to the Tennessee Aquarium and thoroughly enjoyed the River Gorge Explorer boat ride. Do you see a trend here? What are we going to do with this kid when he turns 16? I feel like I need to start saving for that event yesterday. But I digress …

Since we are, of course, another year older, age four has brought us full-time K4 schooling and karate as our extracurricular activity. These new environments have helped my little person grow, giving him a means to embrace new relationships, which has been great. It has also led me to finally conclude that it’s time to nix having a family-only birthday celebration. We are going all out. I’ve hunted down what I need from Pinterest and Etsy, and we’ve even got real deal invitations. 

Initially, Beaux wanted a “tree cutter” birthday. After a quick online search, it occurred to me that while I can do lots of things, this wasn’t my cup of tea. And while my son is very well-informed when it comes to Kubota, construction equipment, and miscellaneous lawn care necessities, I had no idea what to do for a “tree cutter” party. I don’t even know what a tree cutter looks like.  

My ever-so-wise four-year-old little saw the panic-stricken look on my face and decided (for once) to take it easy on me. 

“Mama, we can do a camping party, too.”

So, “Camp Beaux,” it is. And after several hours of watching YouTube videos and taking copious notes, plans for Camp Beaux were in full effect. Beverages will include “bug juice” and “creek water.” There will be tents made from PVC piping and drop cloths. This is a DIY mom’s dream come true. 

Tune in for next month’s Chronicles to see it all come together. 

Family Thu, 10 May 2018 00:00:00 -0500
CSP Spotlight: “I’m Sorry” - Apologizing to Your Child CSP Spotlight: “I’m Sorry” - Apologizing to Your Child

True apologies are important, even with babies and toddlers.  How do we know how to say we’re sorry?  How do we know how to forgive?  We learn by experiencing it. 

A true apology is one that clearly states what the adult did wrong in simple terms that a child can understand, like “I yelled at you and I shouldn’t; I’m sorry for that.” (And no excuses—for example, this is not a true apology: “I’m sorry for yelling, but your tantrum got me really upset.”)  True apologies between adults and children do three important things:

  1. They show children how to recognize the difference between right and wrong (this is called a conscience, and comes in handy.)
  2. True apologies help adults build an authentic relationship with their children—one in which both people will sometimes make mistakes. Repairing mistakes (apologizing) can and often does take a relationship to a new level.
  3. Offering a true apology teaches children—even toddlers—how to take responsibility for their actions and how to forgive. There is power, love, and generosity in forgiveness.  It is a big deal.

Every parent has a Backgammon Breaking Point—when you say something you don’t mean or aren’t proud of.  But here’s the secret: While these moments are important—and they are—the way you repair your misstep is even more important.

]]> (Super User) Family Mon, 07 May 2018 00:00:00 -0500
Lake Living: Notes to My (Soon-to-Be) College Graduate Allison Adams is a mom of four and a Realtor with Lake Homes Realty serving Lake Tuscaloosa. For comments, email  

It’s happening. Another child is about to graduate from UA, and I couldn’t be prouder. Like many parents, I find myself nostalgic, and filled with the overwhelming need to offer unsolicited advice to her for the future. Unfortunately for her and family, I share in print! Here goes …

1. Never stop learning.

I could be mistaken for multiple persons if you follow me on social media: Allison the former Designer (my major at UA), Allison the Artist, Allison the Writer, Allison the Realtor. I wear many hats, and the desire to keep learning and evolving has never left me. I think I learned early to not lead a normal life. Who is normal anyway?

Yes, you are excited to be finished with school, but keep learning. Be curious, my favorite oldest daughter. Seek to know more about everything. 


2. Get ready to start all over.

You’re past the minimum legal drinking age. And you’ve made it past the hurdles of college. Now, you’re embarking on a career. Guess what? You’re a freshman, all over again, on that career path. You’re at the bottom of the ladder once again. So, don’t expect to be lunching with the execs just yet. Work hard and seize any opportunities that come your way.  See step 1. 


3. Respect your mama’s opinions. You don’t have to agree with them, though.

You are 22, and you are engaged. So, read all the blogs, visit all the Pinterest boards, and make all the posts you want – Despite vowing to never become like my mother …I will probably interject my opinion here as I have all your life. You don’t have to agree, or acquiesce, but I’ll always have them ready for you. And when you push back? Well, I’ll just remind you of all the pushing I did to get you out into this world.  


4. Push your boundaries.

This world is huge. HUGE. When you go up in that plane, look down. We’re one of the four or six dots living in one of those tiny squares among the hundreds in the neighborhood, thousands in that town, and millions along those mountains and trenches you’re seeing as lights and earth. 

Don’t spend the majority of your life right here. Explore wherever (and whenever) you have the opportunity – so you can experience that your way may not the only (or right) way of doing things. Think of the world as your classroom, your office, and your home.  


5. Nurture your family.

Remember us, your family, as you leave us behind to make your own – and nurture yours as God intended… with Him as the leader, your husband, and then your kids. 

I know we’re your parents, but when you cleave… you are told to leave! Call it experience, call it a guess, either way, I wish you all the best. I am grateful. I am not losing a daughter – but gaining another son. And sappy as it is that it rhymes, I can’t think of a better one!

What!? Dear daughter, did you not think I’ll be gearing up for a big toast? Cheers to your independence … I’ll be there every step of the way! 


Blessings from your Mom and best friend, 


Family Thu, 03 May 2018 00:00:00 -0500
CSP Spotlight:10 Tips for Teaching Your Child Respect CSP Spotlight:10 Tips for Teaching Your Child Respect

If you're trying to teach your child about respect, here are ten suggestions that may prove helpful.

  1. Be a good role model. Show respect to everyone, obey rules, and take responsibility for your actions.
  2. Treat your child with respect even if he/she is misbehaving. Don’t use harsh words or sarcasm.
  3. Establish rules early on. Be clear about consequences and follow through with them.
  4. Help your child learn to be open-minded and understand that there’s more than one way to do or think about something.
  5. Teach your child about different cultures and let him/her know that everyone is special.
  6. Set conditions for borrowing things. If your child wants to use your phone, say, “You can play on my phone for 10 minutes, but you need to give it back when I ask.”
  7. If your child breaks or harms something, tell him/her how that action hurts others.
  8. Teach food communication skills. Discuss how to be a good listener, make eye contact, and not interrupt.
  9. Have zero tolerance for rudeness, bad manners, and misbehavior.
  10. Stand your ground. Remember that you’re in charge and that you need to be a parent, not a friend.
]]> (Super User) Family Mon, 30 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0500
The Mommy Chronicles: Teaching Your Littles How to Compete Graciously Beaux William at a karate tournament with his friend, Sam Barrett.

Growing up, I despised losing. I was a competitive swimmer for nearly 13 years, and thank goodness I broke records, or I would have had a fit. Or two. Or three. On the occasions I received a medal other than gold, I would practice even harder, extending my five-day-a-week practices by swimming additional laps and sprints while at the local swimming pool with friends. 

Now that I have a four-year-old who has begun competing in his own extracurriculars, I find that hunger coming back. Such a mom thing, I know, wanting my child to always win. But after attending a larger karate tournament recently, I found myself wondering how I will help mold him as he competes, teaching him to win graciously – and to maintain a good spirit during losses. 

It's important for every child to understand that they will lose at something at some point in the future. If this isn’t taught, we can look forward to another super entitled generation. I’m a millennial myself, and while I think it is okay for smaller children to win medals for participation, I also think it is important to teach them that a loss is a loss. But a loss is not always a true loss when experiences and relationships are gained. What if we teach kids that losing is a part of life, and that learning to lose in a gracious manner may give them a foot ahead of the crowd in the future? 

Here are a few tips from a mom who struggled with losing and is working toward teaching her Little to be gracious in all circumstances. 

1) Don’t always allow your child to win when you’re competing against them. I mean, I get it. It’s almost bedtime, and “losing” that last game of cards with your child might make the trek to bed a little easier. Just don’t make a habit of this. That’s right. Kick your Little’s booty in checkers or Monopoly. Your child will be better for it.

2) After winning, and helping your child understand that losses will occur, model what you preach. Don’t trash talk or boo the other team. Yes, you have pride in your team, but let your child know that even though you’re upset because of a loss, a game is just a game – and you’ll have better luck next time. 

3) Teach your children games that require skilled thinking. Chess, for instance, teaches children analytical power, decision-making, and assessment. Not only will they grow intellectually, but if they happen to lose, your Little will understand the complexity of being able to successfully play such a game, win or lose. This is how dedication and commitment start. When your strategy doesn’t work in chess, don’t you want to practice and perfect it for the next game?

4) Acknowledge your child’s compassion. When you see your children congratulate a friend after a game, let them know you’re proud that they congratulated a fellow competitor despite their own upset feelings.   

]]> (Marlena Rice) Family Thu, 26 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0500
CSP Spotlight: Talking to Children about Internet Safety CSP Spotlight: Talking to Children about Internet Safety

While there are a myriad of parental control apps and software that parents can find, the most important thing parents can do to protect their children online is to have conversations with children about internet safety. It’s important to set ground rules that let children know what you expect of them when using social media accounts. Make sure your children know:

  • Never to share their real name or location with a stranger
  • Not to accept friend or follower requests from people they don’t know
  • Never share passwords with anyone, not even their BFF

Parents should also know what social media accounts their children are using and ensure they have ways to check in on those accounts. Most social media sites have information on parental controls and safety, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. These safety sites can give parents some good tips specific to each platform to help keep children safe online.

Parents should have conversations with their children about why internet safety is important and what your expectations as a parent are. Just like the, “How was your day at school” chat all parents are familiar with, parents can ask their children about their favorite websites or social media accounts, who they have fun talking to, and how they have fun online. Questions like these help turn a potential lecture into a conversation and give parents an opportunity to ensure children know what kind of behavior is expected from them online.

]]> (Super User) Family Mon, 23 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0500