Browsing Category

Parenting

Parenting

Sex Trafficking: What it is, How to Help & How to Protect Your Kids

January 12, 2022
sex trafficking prevention

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. Sex trafficking is one of the worst things that happens in our world today. And, I’m going to be honest, it’s very difficult to write about. But it’s so important that we are aware of what’s happening in our world so that we can prevent it and protect each other and our children.

What is sex trafficking?

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act – which was passed in 2000 in the U.S. and officially made trafficking illegal – defines sex trafficking as:

The recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act, in which the commercial sex act is induced by force, fraud, or coercion or in which the person induced to perform such act has not attained 18 years of age.

22 U.S.C. § 7102

So basically what this means is victims of sex trafficking are those who are forced to have sex (or any kind of sexual act) in exchange for money or something of value. The ‘something of value’ can be food, shelter, or other necessities. If the victim is under the age of 18, there does not need to be force, fraud or coercion for it to be considered sex trafficking.

The definition here clarifies something that’s very important: there is no such thing as a ‘child prostitute.’ Children who are used for sexual acts are victims 100% of the time. It doesn’t matter how they ended up there, children should never be used by adults for sex.

How prevalent is human trafficking?

Trafficking can feel like it’s not that common – especially if you don’t know of anyone who has been trafficked or you don’t see evidence of it in your day to day life. But human trafficking is a $150 billion industry, affecting nearly 25 million people across the globe. Approximately 4.8 million of those people are involved in sex trafficking. Of course, there isn’t a reliable way we can know the true number of victims.

It can be easy to assume that sex trafficking happens to other people in other countries. However, it is a huge problem right here in the United States – to U.S. citizens. According to a study of the U.S. Department of Justice human trafficking task force cases, 83 percent of sex trafficking victims in the United States were U.S. citizens.

What’s worse is that more than 1 in 5 trafficking victims are children.

Source: International Labour Office. (2017). Global estimates of modern slavery: Forced labour and forced marriage. Geneva: International Labour Organization. Retrieved from https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_575479.pdf

What are signs of a trafficking victim?

The Pasco County Commission on Human Trafficking created these fantastic graphics to help us raise awareness of common trafficking indicators:

Source: Pasco County Commission on Human Trafficking

What can I do to help fight sex trafficking?

Source: Pasco County Commission on Human Trafficking and Fair Trade International

Stop watching pornography

Pornography and the sex trafficking industry are undeniably linked. For example, if a child (anyone under the age of 18) is being used in pornographic material, this is defined as sex trafficking. And one of the most common searches related to porn include the terms ‘youth’ or ‘teen.’ If you are watching pornography that involves a person under the age of 18, you are watching a victim of sex trafficking and thereby contributing to the demand for sex trafficking.

Even if you’re watching porn with only adults involved, there is no way to know if that person has been coerced (and therefore is a victim of sex trafficking). In one survey of underage sex trafficking victims, 63% said they were advertised or sold online (source).

Additionally, sex traffickers often use pornography to groom and desensitize their victims.

To read more about this, read: Porn and Human Trafficking and Is the Porn Industry Connected to Sex Trafficking?

Learn how porn is rewiring your brain: Covenant Eyes Your Brain on Porn

If you want help with ending an addiction to pornography, or if you want to protect those in your family from accessing pornography, check out Covenant Eyes. Sign up with promo code MAYHEM30 to receive 30 days FREE.

Continue Reading

Parenting

8 Ways to Keep Your Kids Healthy During the Holidays

October 5, 2021
keeping kids healthy during holidays

If you’re concerned about how to keep your kids healthy during this holiday season, read this guest post by Leslie, the mom behind the keyboard at Super Mom Picks! Leslie loves to help moms in this amazing, yet scary journey of raising a successful family.

The holidays are a time of fun, love, and celebration, but they may also bring sniffles, sneezes, and stomachaches. It might be challenging to stay healthy during this season of cold weather, flu viruses, and sweet snacks. Luckily, you can do a few easy things this Holiday period to increase your chances of keeping your children (and yourself!) healthy. Engaging in healthy habits with your child over the holidays can help to ensure that your child’s health is in tip-top shape throughout the year.

Disclaimer: we are not medical professionals. The information in this blog is not a substitute for medical advice from a licensed medical professional. If you or your child have a medical problem, you should consult your physician or your child’s physician.

Free them from Gadgets

We frequently hear requests for gadgets from our children (ranging in age from babies to teenagers), mainly when we’re engaged in other activities. Our instinct is to either say a reluctant ‘YES’ to get them off our backs or a vehement ‘NO’ to show who’s boss. In any case, you, the parents, are the losers! Establish clear rules for the use of electronics with the children. Set a limit of 30 minutes to an hour in front of the television during the holidays. Make sure your kids understand the need for moderation.

For more on this, check out the Mayo Clinic’s recommendations on screen time: Children and Screen Time.

Keep them Moving

The holiday season can be an excellent time to spend with your children and perhaps even let your inner child loose. It’s a good idea to plan ahead of time for the holidays and develop a list of activities to keep the kids occupied. 

Check out my favorite activities to wear out your high energy kid!

activities for high energy kids

Set aside time each day to walk, ride bikes, play backyard tag, jump rope, play soccer, dance, or swim as a family. It all adds up to the 60 minutes of activity that children require every day, regardless of the season.

Get Enough Sleep

We all know how important sleep is, but it’s easy during the holidays to let that slide. According to studies, school-aged children (6 to 12 years old) need 9 to 12 hours per night. However, many children get only 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night, and in some cases, even less.

When we’re not getting enough sleep, we become irritable and, over time, sick. It’s especially crucial for kids because the effects of sleep deprivation can last a lifetime.

For more science behind this, read this and and this.

So minimize those late-night sleepovers and stick to a strict bedtime schedule. To make things easier, consider the following: 

  • Maintain a consistent dinnertime schedule
  • Ensure that your kids get plenty of fresh air and activity throughout the day
  • Before going to bed, turn off all screens 1 hour before bedtime

Eat Healthily

Everyone enjoys the holidays because of the festive lights, time spent with family, and, of course, the delicious holiday feasts. When presented with tempting temptations, holidays such as Halloween and Christmas are an excellent time to teach children to make healthy choices. Given that Halloween is rapidly approaching, we must prepare nutritious Halloween treats for our children. Bring a healthy side dish to the dinner table to ensure that there are healthy foods available. Getting children involved in preparing a recipe is a great approach to encourage them to eat a healthy diet and nutritious foods.

Check out my favorite anti-inflammatory diet holiday side dishes for healthy holiday alternatives!

Prepare Healthy Snacks

Your child’s stomach is relatively small. They most likely consume less food at meals than you do. Smart snacks can help your child consume adequate calories and fluids throughout the day. Adults find it difficult to avoid favorite holiday dishes at classroom parties, visiting relatives, and home customs. It’s even more challenging for children! 

You can prepare some healthier versions like:

  • carrots or peppers with hummus
  • easy-to-peel clementines
  • 100% juice
  • grapes
  • string cheese
  • no sugar added yogurt topped with fresh fruit
  • whole grain crackers with goat cheese
  • peanut butter and apples or bananas
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • homemade smoothies with fresh greens and fruit

When you keep these foods on hand, it’s much easier to give healthier snacks when you’re in a rush rather than reaching for that plate of cookies on the counter.

If you need help getting your picky eater to eat healthy, check out these 10 tips for raising healthy eaters!

picky eaters healthy eating

Start the Day Right

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A well-balanced breakfast of protein and complex carbohydrates is beneficial to brain function and maintains a consistent energy level throughout the day. 

Children who eat breakfast daily are more likely to get essential nutrients and consume less fat and cholesterol. Similarly, iron, B vitamins, and vitamin D levels are 20 percent to 60 percent higher in kids who eat breakfast daily than those who don’t.

Focus on Food

Make the most of your children’s extra free time by involving them in preparing their meals. Plant a garden together or go to a farmers market to choose from all the fresh produce in season. Allow them to select tomatoes, melons, or peppers before preparing dinner together. According to studies, children who learn to grow and prepare their meals to eat more fruits and vegetables.

For more inspiration on healthful foods for the whole family to enjoy, check out Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meals for the Whole Family!

Visit Your Doctor 

Do you know that children should see a doctor at least once a year?

It is critical for children’s providers to keep track of their overall health as they get older. Annual wellness checks are essential for keeping your children healthy since they keep track of their vaccines, ensure healthy teeth, and monitor their physical development. It’s a chance to ask the doctor any issues that have arisen throughout the year and discuss health and school or learning concerns. It’s an opportunity for you as a parent to work with your doctor to reinforce your child’s good lifestyle choices. And if you have been busy the whole year, the holiday season is a good time to do so.

To read more about this, visit here.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot to love about the holidays. Naturally, the same factors that make the holidays so joyful can also hurt your children’s health. But, the holiday season does not have to be a vacation from good health! I hope these tips will inspire and help you to make healthy choices this holiday season.  

Remember: It is critical to establish healthy behaviors at a young age. Most kids look up to their parents, so it’s best to lead by example. Maintaining a good attitude and being supportive can help kids gain confidence and build healthy habits for the rest of their lives.

Leslie, the mom behind the keyboard at Super Mom Picks!
Anti-Inflammatory Diet Recipes Parenting

10 Unique Healthy Eating Tips for Your Picky Eater

March 30, 2021
how to encourage my toddler to eat healthy

In this post, we are discussing how to get your picky eater to eat healthy – whether that’s your toddler, preschooler or your husband! I share my favorite methods for encouraging my picky eaters to eat healthy foods.

Hey there, friend. You’re probably reading this because you want to know how to help your child to eat better, healthier, and more consistently.

First of all let me say that I am NOT a medical professional or dietitian. I’m just a regular ole mom like you who has struggled with the same things. This is what I’ve learned through experience, tons of research and consulting with doctors, nutritionists and registered dietitians. If you or your child has a health issue, please consult with your doctor.

Dr. Justin Coulson at Happy Families – a psychologist and father of 6 (!!) daughters – remarks that some of the most common mealtime mistakes are:

So, what do you do when you fall into some of those pitfalls? I know I have done ALL of those things at one point or another.

Tip #1: Take a deep breath.

Seriously. Take a deep breath. I’ll wait.

Now, hear this: your kid will be okay. They will not starve. They will not grow a third ear because they refuse to eat their broccoli. Let’s have some perspective on this.

One thing my doctor mom would always say: eating is not a learned behavior.

We are not taught to eat, it is something that we are biologically programmed to do. Yes, we learn bad behaviors and unhealthy habits – but starving ourselves is not typically one of those!

Recently, we realized that dinnertime had become a struggle for us with the kids. They just weren’t eating their food! We bribed them, cajoled them, throttled them (just kidding)…after weeks, we decided that they simply were not hungry at that time. So we adjusted their snack schedule and then finally made the decision that they did have to sit with us during family dinner, but they didn’t have to eat at that exact time. However, they couldn’t choose to eat something else: they had to eat a reasonable amount of dinner if/when they wanted a bedtime snack or treat.

I can’t tell you what a stress reliever this has been for our family. We’re able to have fun, light-hearted meals without battling over food. The kids still eat their dinners – albeit, later than we would like – but they eat when they’re hungry and oftentimes they eat ALL of their dinner and more!

This all started with us taking a deep breath and gaining some perspective. What mattered was that our children ate and that they ate reasonably healthy, filling foods. It doesn’t HAVE to be on “our” schedule and it may not look like what we want it to, but we’re accomplishing our goal: happy, healthy children.

Tip #2: Don’t bring food into the house that you don’t want your child to eat.

If your kid only wants to have hot dogs and macaroni for dinner and cocoa puffs for breakfast – just don’t buy it anymore. If they fill up on Doritos and Chewy bars all afternoon long and then aren’t hungry for dinner – there’s a simple fix for that.

Look, I’m not saying this is easy to do…but I am saying it’s simple.

We recently stopped purchasing applesauce pouches – not because they were unhealthy, but because that was the only thing my son wanted to eat! We were spending more money on pouches than on any other category of food each week. So, I stopped buying them.

Now, let me tell you that at first he was devastated. It broke my heart. But, as kids do, he moved on. He doesn’t even ask for them anymore and is perfectly happy with the other snack choices that we offer him.

Continue Reading

Parenting

A Letter from Your Child’s Teacher About the New School Year

August 17, 2020
a letter from your child's teacher about the new school

For today’s blog post, I’ll be sharing a letter from my dear friend, Mrs. Richardson. Mrs. Richardson is a second grade teacher in Cary, North Carolina. She has written an insightful and encouraging letter to parents about how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the 2019-2020 school year, what challenges teachers faced and how schools are fighting to overcome those challenges for the 2020-2021 school year. So, if you are sending your children back to school this year – whether virtually or in-person – I hope you’ll read this letter.

How COVID affected the 2019-2020 school year – and what will be different this year

During March of this year, teachers and students left school for Spring Break, not knowing we wouldn’t return for the rest of the school year. I have the last day in my classroom ingrained in my memory. I tried to make it fun for the kids. We did St. Patrick’s day activities, creative writings about what they would do if they found a pot of gold, Read and Feed, and watched the Bee Movie since we had been learning about flowers, pollination, and the plant life cycle.

These are the last images I have of my classroom. Everything frozen in time. Student work left on the walls, supply baskets strewn about as they had left them, countdowns on my board of things we would never get to. A time capsule of March 13, 2020.

Continue Reading

Devotionals for Moms Parenting

How to Pray the Scriptures for Your Child

June 10, 2020
pray the scriptures for your child

As moms, we want so many things for our children: to love God, to be healthy and happy, to have great friends, excel academically, and so much more. So we take them to doctor’s appointments and tutoring, organize special activities and events, enroll them in sports, arrange play dates, budget for college.

All of these things are fantastic, however, the most important thing we can be doing for our children is praying for them. There is no greater being in all the Universe to impact our child’s future, so we should be petitioning Him at every turn (Luke 18:1-8).

Download 30 Days of Prayer!

Subscribe to download your 30-day prayer calendar. Receive a full month of Bible verses and prayer prompts to pray for your child!

    I hate spam, too. I won’t send you junk. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Powered By ConvertKit

    By praying the Scriptures for our kids, we are allowing God’s Word to shape our requests to the Almighty. 

    This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

    1 John 5:14

    Sure, we can pray all we want for our kids to be billionaire tech geniuses – but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s within God’s will – or that it’s all that good for our kids! But by praying the Scriptures we’re not just petitioning God on behalf of our children, we’re utilizing the power of His Word to mold our appeals. 

    Also, I know we all want to pray for our kids – but sometimes, we don’t know exactly what to say. Praying the Scriptures guides us with what to say and how to pray. 

    So, here’s a few examples of Scriptures to pray for our kids as well as how to pray through them:

    Continue Reading

    Mom Interviews Parenting

    Transitioning to Two Kids

    May 6, 2020
    transitioning to two kids

    Hey mama! I’m excited to share this post with you about the transition from one to two kids. I’m sharing my own story, but I also have lots of helpful advice, tips and encouragement from moms who have gone before us! I hope this is helpful as you navigate the new waters of having two kiddos.

    Continue Reading

    Parenting

    You Know You’re a Boy Mom When…

    March 11, 2020
    being a boy mom means...

    After our mom interviews yesterday with three boy moms, I was inspired to share this with you guys. I LOVE being a boy mom…but it’s not for the faint of heart.

    Being a boy mom means…

    • Having bruises everywhere – and not having a clue where they came from. 
    • You’ve been tackled more today than Saquon Barkley has all season.
    • You know who Saquon Barkley is. 
    • You’ve given in to how much dirt is acceptable to sleep in. 
    • You know exactly which LEGO you just stepped on in the dark based on its imprint in your foot.
    • You know that if it’s taller than he is, he wants to climb it. And jump off. Again and again. And again.
    • When you hear “WATCH THIS!” you have a heart attack.
    • You’ve heard “WATCH THIS!” 1000000x in your son’s short life.
    • Your knowledge of construction vehicles/dinosaurs/race cars can rival any man’s. 
    • You live for the moments when your child stops running around like a crazy person and hugs you.
    • You need this post about how to wear out your high energy child.
    • You sometimes envy girl moms who can actually sit and finish a cup of coffee…in the morning. 
    • You have to clarify that you want your child to wash with soap.
    • You’ve given up all hopes that your child will ever be a polite eater.
    • When you hear your son say, “I love you, mommy,” it makes up for the fact that they’ve created enough laundry for an entire army of washing machines.
    • You’ve thrown out clothes that were beyond washing.
    • You’ve hidden THAT shirt that they want to wear over and over again.
    • If you want your son to do something, you know that all you have to do is turn it into a race or contest of strength.
    • You’ve acknowledged that a head butt from your son is a great sign of affection. The harder the head butt, the more he loves you.
    • You’ve dug through your vacuum dustbin searching for LEGO pieces.
    • It’s a regular occurrence for your child to drop his pants and pee in the grass – no matter who else is present!
    • You don’t even flinch when they burp or fart…in your face.
    • You know that their finest sports jersey is considered Sunday best.. 
    • You’ve looked into a diaper and wondered: “Is that poop…or testicles?”
    • You already know that no girl can ever love them as much as you do (and yet you hope some day someone will!) 
    • Going to Home Depot/Lowe’s with your son is akin to bringing them to Disney world. 
    • Whenever you enter someone’s home, you just pray that you can leave without them breaking something. 
    • You can comfortably breastfeed your son while he turns backflips over you.
    • You speak in noises more than actual words.
    • You will respond to a variety of names other than ‘mama,’ such as Owlette, Skye, Ghost Spider, Pink Power Ranger, Black Widow, or any other token girl superhero name.
    • You’ve said “be gentle” and “be careful” about 500000000x in their short lives. 
    • You think there should be a special kind of health insurance for little boys. 
    • At night, when you put them to bed, you squeeze them tight and watch them sleep, knowing that your time with them will always be too short. 
    • You are proud to be a boy mom.

    If you’re a fellow boy mom, what’s your favorite thing about being a boy mom? Comment below!