It's My Life PBS Kids Go!

Recently in Families Category

Summer survival help from IML
| No TrackBacks

familyvacations1.gifAh, summer! Time to let loose, have fun, take vacations, hang with friends and family, and generally enjoy life, right? Well, that's what TV commercials would have you believe. Don't get us wrong: summer can be amazing. But not always.

Reading through your Advice questions lately, we're reminded of how certain things can make summer a less-than-carefree season for many tweens. As in:

Moving. Your BFF may be relocating with his or her family to a new state. Or maybe it's you who's headed somewhere new. Summer's a big time for this. It's never fun, but there are ways to deal. Check out IML's advice on what to do When Your Family Moves (there are tips in there for when it's a friend who's moving).

Being home alone. You're on vacation from school for a few months, but your parents probably don't get the same break from work. You may find yourself with a lot more solo time in your home than usual. And maybe that's not always a good thing, if you're bored, scared, lonely, or an alternating pattern of all three. Once again, we suggest a visit to our Home Alone section for help, or even just to sound off on the You Said It page.

Family vacations. Ah, the joy of riding in a car or airplane with your loved ones for hours on end. NOT! And then there's what happens once you get there. In between the Kodak moments, a family trip is not complete without arguments, annoyances, mishaps, and possibly some weird relatives too. And yes, we have advice on how to not just survive, but actually have fun amid all the craziness.

Starting middle school or high school. Many IML'ers have already written in to express their worries about moving up to a new school this fall. It's normal to feel some anxiety, especially if you and your best friends are headed to different places, but there are definitely things you can do now to make the jump easier. Check out our advice on Middle School and High School and you're bound to feel a little better...or at least prepared.

Summer camp. If you're an old pro at summer camp, you're probably counting the days until you leave for this year's session. If this is your first year or you're headed for a new home away from home, that can be a little terrifying. Never fear! IML is here with a whole section on Summer Camp.

The purpose of all this? We just want IML'ers to know that it's okay NOT to feel like every minute of summer is pure, unfiltered joy. It's just a time of year, not a break from real life and all its problems. If it seems like everyone else but you is having a blast...chances are, they're really not. But hopefully, with a little information and problem-solving -- whether you find it here at IML or somewhere else -- you can make the best of whatever the summer has in store for you!
 

Theme Park 101
| No TrackBacks

Thumbnail image for themepark.jpgSpring (and soon summer) is upon us! And for many IML'ers, that can only mean one thing...it's theme park time! Yes, even as you read this, vacationers of all ages are descending like crazy on countless water parks, adventure lands, zoos, and entertainment mega-worlds. A day at a theme park can be a great way to spend quality time with parents, sibs, relatives, and friends, but it's not always easy to have fun the sun (or rain, or whatever) without going absolutely bonkers, passing out from exhaustion, or demanding to be traded to a less annoying group of people.

So IML has put together this list of Top Ten theme park survival tips for tweens:

1) Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Yeah, yeah, We know this sounds like "grandma advice." But sometimes grandmas are smart! They've been around long enough to know, for example, that those stylish, bejeweled metallic flip-flops will probably shred your feet after about an hour of walking across hot concrete, and that really cute mini-skirt might make it tough to go on certain rides. It's natural to want to look and feel your best, especially if you're spending the day with friends, but you're going to have more fun in the end if you can focus on what you're doing and seeing, not what you're wearing. (Also, keep in mind that you'll very likely get wet at some point in the day, from a ride or water feature or Shamu, so wear something that dries quickly.)

2) Divide and Conquer. We love family unity and friendly togetherness as much as anyone, but to survive a long day at a mega park, you're probably gonna have to split up and take different routes at some point...especially if you have a big group. It'll save a lot of arguing and whining about "what to do next." Don't rely only on cell phones to hook back up, in case technical difficulties come up. Instead, try the old-fashioned method of "Let's meet in front of Raging Rapids at 11 o'clock."

3) Think twice about getting in that looooooong line. Yeah, we know that you want to see the just-opened panda exhibit at the zoo, or take a spin on the brand new ultra-dragon roller coaster at the theme park. But is five minutes of fun worth two hours of waiting in line? If you spent those two hours in a different way, you could take your sweet time exploring the zoo's awesome reptile house, or maybe take five rides on the park's older (but still awesome) coaster instead.

4) Shun the sugar. Wait, what? But yummies are the best part! Of course, treat yourself to one or two things during the day. Everything in moderation! The surge-and crash that comes from sugar overload, plus the physical and emotional yuckiness that too many sweet treats can give you, could put a drain on the whole experience. Drink water instead of soda (or better yet, bring a water bottle and fill it up at fountains to save money and waste), and snack on a pretzel instead of a doughnut. 

5) Know the loopholes. Help the adults you're with to read up on the theme park's special time-saving tricks and programs so you can do less waiting in line. Some popular rides, shows, and attractions may have "fast pass" machines so you can get a timed ticket to come back and skip the main line later in the day. Check insider websites and message boards to pinpoint the best day and time to visit certain attractions.

6) Throw out the checklist. Try not to have a long list of every single thing you "must" do while you're at the park. Remember, it's not about packing in as much as you can during the day, but about having an overall good time. If that means slowing down and skipping a few things, so be it. You may have a better day in the end if you take an hour in the middle to rest with a long lunch than if you powered through to the point of exhaustion.

7) Think like a kid. No matter what age you are, places like zoos and theme parks are more fun if you don't think like a grown-up. If you're with younger children, seeing it through their eyes can really make things magical. Relax and have fun. Don't try to be cool and cynical. Be goofy, especially when you actually meet Goofy.

8) Be money smart. These places are designed to practically Hoover cash out of your pockets. Maybe you rely on the adults you're with to buy you everything at the park but if not, give yourself a personal budget for the day and stick to it by bringing snacks, saving your money for one or two souvenirs you really want, and forgoing stuff that costs extra. After it's all over, you'll most remember your experiences rather than the things you bought, and you may avoid that icky "I can't believe how much money I spent" feeling.

9) Don't be a herd animal. Try not to fall into the same patterns as everyone else at the park...that just leads to crowds and unhappiness. Think different. If nearly everyone packs the lunch spots at noon, try having a light snack at eleven and then lunch at 2, when the food lines are shorter and you won't have to fight for a table. If everybody and his cousin is swarming to the main drag for the 5pm parade, maybe that's the time for you to head to the opposite side of the park and get in the (now much shorter) line for the Mayhem Mountain ride.

10) Fights and feuds are normal, but don't let them spoil things. If you and your friends and family have regular tiffs at home, being in the strange, often stressful environment of a theme park can turn those tiffs into wars. Yes, you're here to have fun...but sometimes the pressure to have that fun (plus the heat, and crowds, and exhaustion) can make it harder to come by! Try to resolve conflicts on the spot using compromises and communication. If you have to give in more than you normally would, or put up with something you would never stand for at home, then so be it. You'll probably find that all the cool distractions will help you forget your disagreement and move on to creating great memories together.

Now it's your turn: share your own stories and tips on our Theme Park You Said It page. You can also get more advice in our Family Vacations section. 

Good luck, and have fun!

 
Our Theme Park Survival Guide
| No TrackBacks

themepark.jpgSpring (and soon summer) is upon us! And for many IML'ers, that can only mean one thing...it's theme park time! Yes, even as you read this, vacationers of all ages are descending like crazy on countless water parks, adventure lands, zoos, and entertainment mega-worlds. A day at a theme park can be a great way to spend quality time with parents, sibs, relatives, and friends, but it's not always easy to have fun the sun (or rain, or whatever) without going absolutely bonkers, passing out from exhaustion, or demanding to be traded to a less annoying group of people.

Recently, we visited four hot spots in Southern California (Disneyland, Disney's California Adventure, SeaWorld, and the San Diego Zoo) using tickets from CityPASS -- a company that offers discounts to attractions in most major U.S. cities and Toronto -- and came up with our Top Ten theme park survival tips for tweens:

1) Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Yeah, yeah, We know this sounds like "grandma advice." But sometimes grandmas are smart! They've been around long enough to know, for example, that those stylish, bejeweled metallic flip-flops will probably shred your feet after about an hour of walking across hot concrete, and that really cute mini-skirt might make it tough to go on certain rides. It's natural to want to look and feel your best, especially if you're spending the day with friends, but you're going to have more fun in the end if you can focus on what you're doing and seeing, not what you're wearing. (Also, keep in mind that you'll very likely get wet at some point in the day, from a ride or water feature or Shamu, so wear something that dries quickly.)

2) Divide and Conquer. We love family unity and friendly togetherness as much as anyone, but to survive a long day at a mega park, you're probably gonna have to split up and take different routes at some point...especially if you have a big group. It'll save a lot of arguing and whining about "what to do next." Don't rely only on cell phones to hook back up, in case technical difficulties come up. Instead, try the old-fashioned method of "Let's meet in front of Raging Rapids at 11 o'clock."

3) Think twice about getting in that looooooong line. Yeah, we know that you want to see the just-opened panda exhibit at the zoo, or take a spin on the brand new ultra-dragon roller coaster at the theme park. But is five minutes of fun worth two-hours of waiting in line? If you spent those two hours in a different way, you could take your sweet time exploring the zoo's awesome reptile house, or maybe take five rides on the park's older (but still awesome) coaster instead.

4) Shun the sugar. Wait, what? But yummies are the best part! Of course, treat yourself to one or two things during the day. Everything in moderation! The surge-and crash that comes from sugar overload, plus the physical and emotional yuckiness that too many sweet treats can give you, could put a drain on the whole experience. Drink water instead of soda (or better yet, bring a water bottle and fill it up at fountains to save money and waste), and snack on a pretzel instead of a doughnut. 

5) Know the loopholes. Help the adults you're with to read up on the theme park's special time-saving tricks and programs so you can do less waiting in line. Some popular rides, shows, and attractions may have "fast pass" machines so you can get a timed ticket to come back and skip the main line later in the day. Check insider websites and message boards to pinpoint the best day and time to visit certain attractions.

6) Throw out the checklist. Try not to have a long list of every single thing you "must" do while you're at the park. Remember, it's not about packing in as much as you can during the day, but about having an overall good time. If that means slowing down and skipping a few things, so be it. You may have a better day in the end if you take an hour in the middle to rest with a long lunch than if you powered through to the point of exhaustion.

7) Think like a kid. No matter what age you are, places like zoos and theme parks are more fun if you don't think like a grown-up. If you're with younger children, seeing it through their eyes can really make things magical. Relax and have fun. Don't try to be cool and cynical. Be goofy, especially when you actually meet Goofy.

8) Be money smart. These places are designed to practically Hoover cash out of your pockets. Maybe you rely on the adults you're with to buy you everything at the park but if not, give yourself a personal budget for the day and stick to it by bringing snacks, saving your money for one or two souvenirs you really want, and forgoing stuff that costs extra. After it's all over, you'll most remember your experiences rather than the things you bought, and you may avoid that icky "I can't believe how much money I spent" feeling.

9) Don't be a herd animal. Try not to fall into the same patterns as everyone else at the park...that just leads to crowds and unhappiness. Think different. If nearly everyone packs the lunch spots at noon, try having a light snack at eleven and then lunch at 2, when the food lines are shorter and you won't have to fight for a table. If everybody and his cousin is swarming to the main drag for the 5pm parade, maybe that's the time for you to head to the opposite side of the park and get in the (now much shorter) line for the Mayhem Mountain ride.

10) Fights and feuds are normal, but don't let them spoil things. If you and your friends and family have regular tiffs at home, being in the strange, often stressful environment of a theme park can turn those tiffs into wars. Yes, you're here to have fun...but sometimes the pressure to have that fun (plus the heat, and crowds, and exhaustion) can make it harder to come by! Try to resolve conflicts on the spot using compromises and communication. If you have to give in more than you normally would, or put up with something you would never stand for at home, then so be it. You'll probably find that all the cool distractions will help you forget your disagreement and move on to creating great memories together.

Now it's your turn: share your own stories and tips on our Theme Park You Said It page. You can also get more advice in our Family Vacations section. 

Good luck, and have fun!

How not to get broken by the holiday break
| No TrackBacks

Just seven more days until Christmas, which for many of us means a trip -- maybe a short one, maybe a loooong one -- to visit family for the holiday break. The thrill! The excitement! The adventure!

Yeah, not really.

Thumbnail image for familyvacations1.gifIt can be great hanging out with grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, or even parents we don't see as often as we'd like, but it can also bring stress and tension and general awkwardness. You know, the stuff nobody wants to talk about because it's kind of a downer at a time when we're all supposed to be jolly and generous. And traveling itself is often a drag and sometimes, if you're unlucky thanks to weather or other circumstances, downright disastrous.

You can't control what your family members or nature or cars and planes are going to do, but you can take charge of your own destiny here and make this holiday trip as much of a "vacation" as you possibly can. Here's some advice from our Family Vacations section:

  •  Tips for surviving the Getting There part of your holiday.

  • "Togetherness" ain't always a good thing, but here are some ideas for Keeping the Peace among family members.

  • Dealing with Relatives can be challenging and yucky; read our suggestions on how to make the most of that challenge (and yuckiness).

  • As always, check out what other IML'ers have written about memorable family vacations, and how they survived to tell the tale!

If you're one of the fortunate souls who gets to go on a vacation vacation this time of year, you'll find great advice in this section too.

Wherever you spend the next week or two, whether it's on a cruise ship or Aunt Mildred's house or just at home sweet home, we hope you have some quality time with yourself and the people who are most important to you!

Happy Mother's Day!
| No TrackBacks

momcard.jpgMother's Day is kind of an interesting holiday. While most holidays we celebrate in the U.S. are adopted and adapted from other countries, this is one that originated here. In 1912, an American woman named Anna Jarvis was inspired by the memory of her late mother to create the Mother's Day International Association and declare that the second Sunday in May would be recognized as Mother's Day. She was very specific about "mother" being singular, meaning that each family should honor its mothers individually, rather than a much less personal worldwide nod to all moms.

Throughout history, mothers have been celebrated in various places in various ways, but now there was a universal day not tied to religious or cultural traditions. Mother's Day was such a huge "hit" that by the 1920's, Anna Jarvis was horrified by how commercial the holiday had become and spent the rest of her life fighting it! How commercial is Mother's Day? Well, according to the National Restaurant Association, Mother's Day is THE most popular day of the year to eat out. It's estimated that this year, Americans will spend approximately $2.6 billion on flowers, $1.53 billion on pampering stuff like spa gift certificates, and another $68 million on greeting cards. Mama Mia!

Still...it's a lovely and wonderful thing to do, to honor our mothers. Maybe your mom is your best friend, or is totally driving you nuts these days, or you've grown apart but would like to bridge that gap. Maybe there are other women in your life in addition to -- or instead of -- your real mom who are like a mother to you. Whatever your situation, we hope you'll find some way that's special and honest to celebrate the forces of motherhood in your life...a way that you're comfortable with. You're never too old to draw a picture, make your own card, bead some jewelry, pick flowers, or plant something in someone's honor.

Here at IML you can celebrate Mother's Day too, on You Said It pages like The Coolest Thing Mom's Done and More Like Mom or Dad?

Book Review: "Bitter Melon"
| No TrackBacks

On IML we often see comments and questions from tweens about parents who are super-strict, or pushing their kids really hard at school, or generally having sky-high expectations for everything, or even using hurtful words to express anger or disappointment. Sometimes, a person is dealing with all of these things at once, and that's a lot to handle. Really, a ton!

Take a look at a recent advice question from Jessica, age 12. Wow.

Sometimes one of the many factors in this kind of situation is a parent's ethnic background and culture. As we talk about a bit in our Immigration section, being from one country and raising your family in another can cause all sorts of fireworks.

Bitter_Melon.jpgWe enjoyed a recent book called "Bitter Melon," by Cara Chow (Egmont USA). "Bitter Melon" is about Frances, a Chinese-American teenager whose one job in life is to get into Berkeley and become a doctor to fulfill her single mother's ambitions for her. She's going along with this until she accidentally discovers a speech class at school and turns out be a natural. While pursuing her new passion, Frances finds herself hiding things from her mother and questioning the way she's been raised. She knows she must be obedient to her mother but also craves the chance to live her own life. 

We felt that many IML'ers could relate to Frances' story and enjoy the heartfelt, honest writing (we give it a rating of B+!), so we asked the author, who was born in Hong Kong and emigrated with her family to the U.S. as a child, to give us some behind-the-pages insight.

IML: Can you tell us a little bit about the inspiration for "Bitter Melon"? How much of your own experiences as a teenager trickled into the book?
 
Cara: Though my mother and I enjoy a very positive relationship today, we definitely struggled a lot when I was a teen. My mom wanted me to be the best, and her way of motivating me was by being very hard on me. Unfortunately, her parenting strategy did not have the effect on me that she had intended. I wanted to make her proud, but I always felt like a disappointment to her, and this really affected my confidence and self-image as a teen.  Those tumultuous feelings became compost for my imagination as I created the fictional world of Frances Ching over a decade later.
 
Another source of inspiration was my maternal grandmother.  My mother and her siblings shared a deep loyalty to one another and to their mother.  They survived war and poverty and took very good care of their mother until she died.  My grandmother had her own bedroom in both my mother's house and my uncle's house, which were walking distance from one another so that my grandmother could choose which house she wanted to sleep in from night to night.  I knew that this loyalty was the product of culture, the culture of filial piety, which means "respect for parents and ancestors."  On the one hand, I deeply respected and admired this family style.  On the other hand, I pondered its potential pitfalls.  What if the aging parent was difficult, dysfunctional, or even abusive?  Should the grown child fulfill her obligation to the parent, or should she break free of that obligation?  Should she betray her parent or herself?  That question became the seed for "Bitter Melon."
 
IML: We see a lot of comments and advice questions on our site from kids whose parents are recent immigrants to the U.S. What are some of the common problems these tweens face?
 
carachow.jpgCara: Children of recent immigrants often experience greater pressure to conform and to succeed.  This is because immigrant parents have to sacrifice so much to live in the US so that their children can have the opportunities that they couldn't have, and it's human nature to expect a big return on a big investment.  Another reason for this pressure is that most recent immigrants to the U.S. come from non-western cultures, which tend to be more socially conservative and less individualistic.  Had their children grown up where their parents had grown up, most of them would probably not think twice about sacrificing their own needs and desires for the welfare of their families because everyone else around them is doing the same.  Instead, they're watching their American peers having more freedom to express themselves and choose their futures.  They may question and resent their parents yet feel guilty about their doubts and resentment.
 
IML: What's your advice for young people who are struggling, like Frances, to find their own voice, but don't want to be disrespectful to or dishonest with their parents?
 
Cara: There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question because every family is different.  That said, I would suggest that young people in this situation find safe places in which to express their true thoughts and feelings.  That could be a journal (with a lock perhaps!) or a trusted friend or mentor.  The advantage of a private journal is that no one can criticize or embarrass you, but the advantage of talking to friends or mentors is that they can offer support, encouragement, and advice.  Reading helps too.  One of the reasons I wrote "Bitter Melon" was so that readers who identify with Frances can find solace and validation. 
 
IML: What are your thoughts on the recent buzz about Amy Chua's memoir "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother"? Many of the IML'ers on our site are talking about it.
 
Cara: As the writer of a novel that explores the pitfalls of "Tiger mothering," I was pretty shocked and troubled to read an article that seemed to be supporting a style of parenting similar to how Gracie raised Frances.  Then, as I watched Chua defend herself and her book on TV, I got confused as to where she actually stood.  On the one hand, she argued that the choice of excerpt and the title of the article ("Why Chinese Mothers are Superior") misrepresented her book as a whole, which was about how she learned to be less extreme in her parenting.  She also argued that the tone of the book was intended to make fun of herself.  On the other hand, when asked if she would do anything differently if given the choice today, she replied that she would do things much the same way.  I think I'll have to read her book myself to figure out exactly what she is trying to say.
 
As the product of Tiger parenting who is now a mother herself, I am critical of that parenting style.  Though it can push kids to achieve high levels of academic and professional excellence, it can also push kids towards high levels of anxiety and depression.  It can suppress creativity, dampen kids' love for learning, and damage their relationship with their parents.  There must be more constructive ways to bring out the best in young people!
 
IML: Anything else you'd like tween readers to know about your book?
 
Cara: There's a forbidden romance in the story...That's not the focus of the book, but it sure piques readers' interest!

IML: Thanks, Cara! We're sure that lots of young readers will identify with Frances' journey and enjoy going on it with her. Good luck with everything.

Cara:
Thank you!

 
Traditions outside the box
| No TrackBacks

If you look up the word "tradition" in the dictionary, you see words and phrases like "handed down," "long-established," "continuing," and "popular." We know, that's kind of a duh.

But we were noodling on the idea of traditions and how this is the time of year where they're everywhere...so everywhere that we may not even think about them. Santa Claus and the Christmas tree and New Year's party hats and giving gifts. We love these traditions, and can't imagine the holidays without them, but sometimes it's a little too easy to forget what they mean to us personally (if they mean anything at all).

That's why our favorite traditions are the ones that are different and unique and maybe even totally silly or weird. You know, something you do every year as part of a holiday that's special to your family, or to your group of friends, or to your school or place of worship, or just to you. For instance, one family we know has a "Crazy Christmas Sweater Party" where invitees are encouraged to wear the wackiest holiday gear they can find. Another hits the drive-thru for milkshakes on Christmas Eve and then takes a drive through their town to see all the decorated houses. And another makes a betting pool to see who can stick to their New Year's resolution the longest.

Why are these types of traditions extra-meaningful? Well, they help remind us of what's unique and special about our families, our communities, and ourselves. They give us a sense of connection from year to year and season to season, and help us feel like we have a good solid foundation in a constantly changing world. Plus they're fun, and they're something we can pass on. 

Do you have an out-of-the-ordinary tradition you'd like to share? How did it get started and what do you like about it? Tell us on our new You Said It page for Holiday Traditions!

If you don't feel like you have a tradition like this, but would maybe like to start one, here are some ideas:

Family Traditions
Everybody contributes a certain amount of money to buy toys to donate. Go for a walk, run, or hike together. Everybody writes down the one thing they hope to accomplish in the coming year, then take a picture of the family holding their signs. Choose a traditional "dish" to make on Christmas or New Year's...maybe something unconventional like tamales, lasagna, or fruit salad. Have a game night where everyone plays for special prizes.

Friends Traditions
Arrange a toy, book, or clothing swap with your best buds at the end of every year, so you can start the new year off with fresh stuff. Write your friends cards or letters thanking them for their friendship, and reminscing about the fun you've had over the past year. Have a challenge to see who can give the tackiest, goofiest gift.

Personal Traditions
Write a letter to yourself, predicting what will happen in the year to come, then seal it up to be opened the following New Year's. Buy a meal's worth of non-perishable grocery items to donate to a local food pantry. Go through your closet and pull out anything you don't wear anymore or are ready to let go of, then give it away to a sibling, relative, friend, or charity. Put together a photo album or scrapbook that will commemorate your life at this moment.

You may even have a unique tradition already that you don't even think of as a tradition...but still, you do it every year and without it, you'd feel like something was missing! Here at IML we hope all your traditions, big and small, common or uncommon, bring you closer to the things you love most this year.






Advice for Summer Stress
| No TrackBacks

What? "Summer Stress?" How can there BE such a thing?

familyvacations1.gifSummer's supposed to be a time to let loose, have fun, take vacations, hang with friends and family, and generally enjoy life, right? Well, yeah. That's what the TV commercials will have you believe. But it's not always like that, is it?

Reading through your Advice questions lately, we're reminded of how some things can make summer a less than carefree season for many tweens. You know, things like:

Moving. Your BFF may be relocating with his or her family to a new state. Or maybe it's you who's headed somewhere new. Summer's a big time for this. It's never fun, but there are ways to deal. Check out IML's advice on what to do When Your Family Moves (there are tips in there for when it's a friend who's moving).

Being home alone. You're on vacation from school for a few months, but your parents probably don't get the same break from work. You may find yourself with a lot more solo time in your home than usual. And maybe that's not always a good thing, if you're bored, scared, lonely, or an alternating pattern of all three. Once again, we suggest a visit to our Home Alone section for help, or even just to sound off on the You Said It page.

Family vacations. Ah, the joy of riding in a car or airplane with your loved ones for hours on end. NOT! And then there's what happens once you get there. In between the Kodak moments, a family trip is not complete without arguments, annoyances, mishaps, and possibly some weird relatives too. And yes, we have advice on how to not just survive, but actually have fun amid all the craziness.

Starting middle school or high school. Many IML'ers have already written in to express their worries about moving up to a new school this fall. It's normal to feel some anxiety, especially if you and your best friends are headed to different places, but there are definitely things you can do now to make the jump easier. Check out our advice on Middle School and High School and you're bound to feel a little better...or at least prepared.

Summer camp. If you're an old pro at summer camp, you're probably counting the days until you leave for this year's session. If this is your first year or you're headed for a new home away from home, that can be a little terrifying. Never fear! IML is here with a whole section on Summer Camp.

The purpose of all this? We just want IML'ers to know that it's okay NOT to feel like every minute of summer is pure, unfiltered joy. It's just a time of year, not a break from real life and all its problems. If it seems like everyone else but you is having a blast...chances are, they're really not. But hopefully, with a little information and problem-solving -- whether you find it here at IML or somewhere else -- you can make the best of whatever the summer has in store for you!



 
"Adoption" on IML
| No TrackBacks

Chris&Kali.jpgYes, it's been a while since we had a whole new topic on IML. That's why we're extra-excited to announce our section on Adoption!

Even if you don't think Adoption has touched your life in any way, we hope you'll check out the many sides of this subject. You'll probably learn something you didn't know or end up thinking about it in a new way. Thanks again to Chris, Kali, and Emily for sharing their personal stories, and to all the IML'ers who have posted on the Adoption You Said It page. We couldn't have done it without you!

We wanted to share this lovely video from AdoptUsKids, a project from the Children's Bureau, whose goal is to connect foster and adoptive families with waiting children throughout the U.S. Imagine how these tweens must have felt when they finally found the kind of family so many of us take for granted!






DVD Review: "JONAS: Rockin' The House"
| No TrackBacks

So let's talk about the Jonas Brothers. They're talented, funny, and totally cute. And there's three of them! (Not counting Frankie the Bonus Jonas, of course.)

Jonas
We love watching their Disney Channel show "Jonas" because (1) it makes us laugh, (2) the music is awesome, and (3) it's great to watch the dynamic of three real-life brothers in a sitcom setting. Now the first five episodes, plus two exclusive premiere episodes, are available on DVD, along with a fun "You've Just Been JoBro'd" prank on co-star Chelsea Staub. 

"Jonas" follows in the footsteps of the Beatles movie "Help!" (where John Lennon has a bed in the floor just like  Nick does) and of course, the TV series "The Monkees" (check it out and you'll see what must have inspired the JoBros' zany, girl-crazy personas). There's something just really addictive about watching pop stars play a slightly altered version of themselves.

Which makes us wonder: how much of "Jonas" is based on their real lives? Obviously, the guys don't go to a prep school or live in a converted firehouse. And we kind of giggle at the scenes where Nick, Kevin, and Joe can, like, walk down a street and not be chased by screaming girls. But if you watch them play off each other on the show, both in comedy and when they perform music, you get a sense of how strong and honest their sibling relationships are. Which means of course that they do occasionally fight about stuff. They must! That we probably won't see on the show or the next JoBros concert movie, but it's fun to think about. (Does Joe ever get jealous of the other guys' solos? Does Nick get ganged up on by his older bros? Will Kevin grow apart from them when he gets married?)

These are real people who are growing and changing just like the rest of us; we hope they only have great things lying ahead for them.

Check out IML's sections on Sibling Rivalry and Birth Order to get advice on sib situations and share your experiences! And then enjoy this Jonas video clip, which is one of our faves.