MMAC’s Empower Hour Parenting Series kicked off the 2015-2016 year Tuesday, October 12th with “Welcome to Our Village” a frank discussion about raising children in the Millburn Short Hills Community.

Moms with children ranging in age from toddler to college gathered to discuss the challenges facing both their children and themselves.  Many new residents joined the group asking questions about what to expect in reference to peer pressure, school stress, alcohol and drug use and even the latest with the overexposure of our children on social media.

Nancy Kislin, a local therapist, resident and mother of two daughters who successfully navigated the Millburn School system, leads the Empower Hours. Kislin says, “I bring an eclectic experience to the group as the founder and facilitator of this parenting forum.”

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“Parents are searching for understanding, guidance and support during the child rearing years. My hope is that these informal gatherings create a warm and nurturing community for us to share, learn and grow from one another.”

The first discussion focused on the fierce competition for children’s attention.  Constant access to friends and peers through social media, video games, YouTube videos, TV shows and the latest apps demand that parents be bold and present and committed to the role of being a parent.

Kislin reminds parents that they need to set limits and enforce consequences if and when their child violates the boundaries.” I know this sounds harsh,” she says, “But let’s be honest – we know that most of us have a hard time with setting boundaries.

Children desperately need rules and limits.  It actually makes them feel safer.  So, set the rules.  Give a little room for push back and then set the boundary.”

Kislin expresses concern that one of the current issues trending in our community is the overexposure of our teens on social media.  During discussion of this topic, suggestions included setting up a child’s cell phone so that the parent has all passwords to the phone as well as social media apps. Let them know that you will periodically sit down with them to go over their phones including texts, instagrams, photos, etc.

Kislin reminded parents to “Discuss what the consequence will be if your child takes a nude picture of themselves and sends it to someone as well as if your child has a nude picture of someone else, saying, “No one can imagine anything positive coming from children taking nude pictures.”

Other issues trending in town that were discussed included the prevalent use of alcohol and marijuana starting as early as 8th grade. 

 Ten of Kislin’s tips for raising healthy children:

All phones and Ipads are to be left in a central area of the home, not children’s bedrooms.
Phone alarms should not replace alarm clocks

This can help prevent children and teens from texting each other at all hours
This may help prevent bullying and via social media . 

Turn off the WiFi at night. Facebook messages can be received without your network on
 Spend time getting to know your childrens’ friends and their parents.
Remember your primary role as a parent is not to be your kid’s friend.
It is NOT cool to be the cool parent
Parents who host can lose the most
You are the role model – what have you role modeled for your child today?
Overscheduling stresses out parents and their kids
Remember that laughter is critically important for healthy and successful lives.

Kislin says, “The growing number of children suffering from anxiety and depression is on the rise and is very concerning.  Upcoming Empower Hours will focus on how to decrease the compounding stress that may be part of your child’s anxiety/depression. 

There are two Empower Hours coming up this fall:

The Binging Obsession

Tuesday, November 17, 11 a.m. Millburn Public Library

Is there a connection between binging on Netflix or Video Games and other addictions?
Are there dangers in too much social media?
How do we keep one obsession from leading to another such as alcohol or drugs?
What about eating disorders?
What about the epidemics of drugs like synthetic weed and heroin?

Learn strategies and tips to assist your children

The Mask You Live In-Follow Up

Monday, December 7, 11 a.m. and Tuesday, December 8, 7 p.m., Millburn Public Library

Two powerful sessions will be offered as a follow-up to the screening of “The Mask You Live In” being presented on Thursday, December 3, as part of the Parent Wellness Consortium, Millburn High School, 7:30 p.m.

“If You Really Knew Me….?”

How would your child answer this question? How do you answer this question?
Join us for a discussion about the Mask we each put on …..
Explore the consequences of living behind the Mask

Is it related to the alarming epidemic of children, teens and adults suffering from stress, anxiety and depression

Learn strategies to help yourself and your family
Learn warning signs

You may RSVP HERE to let us know if you plan to attend any of these Empower Hours, or to provide questions or suggestions. 

MMAC is proud to provide such important programs to the community.

For more information please email mmacupdates@gmail.com