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  • How to Raise Smarter, Happier Children

    Children have never been perfect at listening to their parents, but they have never failed to imitate them.

     

    1.  Walk the talk — always set a great example.

    It’s not what you say, it’s how you live your life every day.  Don’t tell your children how to live; LIVE and let them watch you.  Practice what you preach or don’t preach at all.  Walk the talk.  Your children look up to you and they will emulate your actions and strive to become who you are.

    So BE who you want them to be.

    In other words, be the change you want to see in your child.  Give what you expect, reflect what you desire, become what you respect, and mirror what you admire.  Every single day.

    Your children are the greatest gift life will give you, and their souls the heaviest responsibility it will place in your hands.  Take time with them, and teach them to have faith in themselves by being a person they can have faith in ..... a person they can trust without question.  When you are old, nothing else you’ve done will have mattered as much.

    2.  Reduce YOUR stress level in the household.

    Not easy, I know, but believe it or not what children want from their parents more than anything else is for them to be happier and less stressed.

    3.  Believe in your children.

    The greatest compliment you can give to a child is to believe in them and let them know you care.  When you see something true, good and beautiful in them, don’t hesitate to express your admiration.  When you see something that is not true, good and beautiful in them, don’t neglect to give them your wholehearted assistance and guidance.

    The simple act of believing that your child is capable and worthy makes a big difference.  It gives them confidence and makes them feel qualified to do great things.

    4.  Praise your children for their effort, not their intelligence.

    Based on the point above, this might sound a bit counter intuitive, but when you praise a child’s efforts you are bringing attention to something they can easily control — the amount of effort they put in.  This is immensely important because it teaches them to persist, and that personal growth through hard work is possible.  They come to see themselves as “in control” of their success in life.

    Emphasizing God-given intelligence takes progress out of your child’s control, and it provides no good recipe for responding to a failure.  In turn, your child may begin to think that innate intelligence is always going to be a missing ingredient for them, and disregard the importance of their effort to learn and grow. With that said, a word to the wise: Don’t over-praise your children for no reason.  Make sure your gestures of praise are warranted.  Because if every single move your child makes is based only on rewards like constant praise, when the praise stops, the effort stops too.  And that’s not good because it means they won’t be able to perform well when you’re not around.

    5.  Don’t read TO your children, read WITH them.

    Got a youngster who’s learning to read?  Don’t let them just stare at the pictures in a book while you do all the work by reading every word to them.  Instead, call attention to the words.  Point to them.  Point to the pictures that illustrate them.

    Read WITH them, not to them.

    Research shows this tactic helps build a child’s reading comprehension.  When shared book reading is enriched with explicit attention to the development of a child’s reading skills, it truly becomes an effective vehicle for promoting early literacy.  Perhaps even more importantly than that, it makes learning more fun.  And as you know, fun times are happy times in a child’s mind.

    6.  Eat dinner together as a family.

    Eating dinner together makes a difference. Research suggests that children who enjoy family meals have larger vocabularies, better manners, healthier diets, and higher self-esteem in the long run.  Even if eating dinner together every night isn’t possible, you should make it a point to eat together as a family at least once a week.

    Even if eating dinner together every night isn’t possible, you should make it a point to eat together as a family at least once a week.

    7.  Create logical, reasonable rules and boundaries for your children.

    Children don’t do well in a free-for-all environment.  It’s a myth that being too strict guarantees rebellion and being permissive drives better behavior.  From the research we’ve done, it’s clear that children who go crazy and get in trouble mostly have parents who don’t set reasonable rules and boundaries.  If their parents are loving and accepting no matter what they do — even when they are unruly — children take their parent’s lack of rules as a sign that they don’t really care about them — that they don’t really want the job of being parents in the first place.

    On the flip side, parents who are consistent in enforcing rules and boundaries are often the same parents who become the closest with their children. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should over-do the rules, or make rules just for the sake of making rules.  Parents that are too controlling raise children that are stifled and bored.  And stifled, bored kids are likely to rebel.

     

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  • Seattle police officers shot pregnant woman seven times and one of the bullets struck her unborn baby boy, autopsy reveals

    Seattle police officers shot pregnant woman seven times and one of the bullets struck her unborn baby boy, autopsy reveals

    The father of a pregnant woman who was shot dead by police officers after she called to report a robbery in June has released her autopsy report. 

    Charleena Lyles was nearly four months pregnant on June 18 when she called police to report an Xbox stolen at her Seattle apartment.

    It's still unclear how the confrontation unfolded, but in less than three minutes, the two officers opened fire on the 30-year-old  in front of three of her four children.

     

    The officers, Jason Anderson and Steven McNew, said that they started shooting at Lyles when she lunged at them holding knives.   

    The autopsy report, released Wednesday, shows that Lyles was shot seven times, including twice in the back. 

    One of the bullets perforated her uterus, striking her unborn baby boy. Both mother and son died at the hospital. The unborn baby boy would have been Lyles' fifth child. 

    The report also included toxicology reports, showing that Lyles didn't have alcohol or drugs in her system at the time. 

    Her father, Charles Lyles, told The people: 'Hearing the details of the shooting just makes me feel more empty. I lost my daughter and my next grandson. I just don't have the words.' 

    The fact that she was shot in the back leads family members to question the officers' side of the story. 

    'Did they shoot her as she fell to the ground? Was she running away?' cousin Katrina Johnson asked. 'How did she get shot in the back? I still don't know that and understand that, but any which way, it was excessive force. Seven times for her little pregnant 100-pound self was out of control.'

    Koehler said that they decided to release the autopsy report to dispel the public assumptions about the case.

    'If you have been reading the dialogue you might have assumed she was a poor, single black woman with multiple children who must have been on drugs, and that is a false assumption and a false narrative,' Koehler told the people.

    Jason Anderson (right) and Steven McNew (left) are the two officers who shot Lyles dead. They are on paid administrative leave pending the results of an internal investigation 

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  • Barbie debuts Rosa Parks doll as part of series honoring iconic women

    Barbie debuts Rosa Parks doll as part of series honoring iconic women

    Civil Rights activist and Alabamian Rosa Parks is the latest iconic woman to garner a doll in her likeness as part of Barbie’s Inspiring Women series.

    Mattel announced today Parks would be one of the latest additions to the series, which launched in 2018 and features dolls based on women who have played significant roles in history, including Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart.

    “Rosa Louise Parks led an ordinary life as a seamstress until an extraordinary moment on December 1, 1955,” Barbie’s description of the dolls reads. “When she refused an order to give up her seat to a white passenger and move to the back of the bus, Mrs. Parks’ act of defiance became the catalyst for the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Rosa Parks’ quiet strength played a notable role in the civil rights movement, but it would still take another nine years and more struggles before the 1964 Civil Rights Act overruled existing segregation laws.”

    Mattel said the women chosen for the series are all female role models and heroines of their time who took risks and paved the way for the next generation of girls and women. A doll of astronaut Sally Ride was also announced today.

    The Rosa Parks doll is dressed in fashion from the era and comes with a doll stand, certificate of authenticity and educational information about her role in history.

    The doll, which is priced at $30.00, is available for pre-order online now. It is expected to ship in early September.

    For more information, visit the Barbie website.

     

     

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  • 2 Chicago mothers working to stop gun violence shot dead

    Two women involved with a group called Mothers Against Senseless Killings were shot dead Friday on a South Side Chicago block where moms gather to help curb gun violence. Police say they don't believe the two young mothers were the intended targets.

    The deaths of Chantel Grant, 25, and Andrea Stoudemire, 35, in the Englewood neighborhood served as a grim reminder of the kind of violence that led them to participate in neighborhood activities organized by Mothers Against Senseless Killings. The anti-violence group launched five years ago following the shooting death of another young mother at the same corner. The group began with moms "occupying" the corner, reports the Chicago Sun-Times — hanging out and offering food and counseling for youth in response to violence in the community.

    "That's why we're out here seven days a week ... trying to create a safe place where people can learn to be neighbors and not kill each other," said the group's founder, Tamar Manasseh.

    The gunfire on Friday night was meant for a man who is affiliated with a Chicago street gang and recently got out of prison, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. 

    The 58-year-old man, who was struck in the arm in the shooting and whose name hasn't been released, is not cooperating with police, Guglielmi said.

    "We have no information to suggest they were the intended targets," he said Tuesday, adding that police are still seeking leads in the case. No arrests have been made.

    Manasseh said she's not willing to accept the notion that Grant, a mother of four, and Stoudemire, who had three children, were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

    "They killed mothers on a corner where mothers sit every day," Manasseh said. "You don't have mothers killed in a place that is sacred to mothers and not take that as a message."

    The drive-by shooting followed what has become a familiar pattern in Chicago, where more people are fatally shot than in any other city in the U.S. Though homicides have decreased in recent years and are on a pace to drop again this year, police statistics show there have been 281 in 2019 as of July 28. And during the weekend in which the two women died, 48 people were shot in the city, nine of them fatally, reports CBS Chicago. The dead reportedly included a three-year-old child who was killed in an apparent gun accident.

    A 23-year-old woman was shot in the leg, back and face on June 25 by someone in a black vehicle in the same block where Grant and Stoudemire were gunned down, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.The woman survived, and police said there is no indication that shooting was connected to the one that killed the two mothers.

    Grant and Stoudemire were found lying on the sidewalk after a spray of bullets came from inside a blue SUV, police said.

    Manasseh said the women had been on the corner for hours Friday handing out food to other mothers and keeping watch over a vacant lot the group has turned into a play area for neighborhood children. She said Grant and Stoudemire had finished up for the day and had begun walking to a store to get food for themselves and their children when they were shot.
     
    "They can't even walk to the store without getting killed," said Manasseh. "They were killed for parenting."

    Manasseh called the women's deaths "terrifying" and "heartbreaking."

    "I haven't slept because I am trying to figure out how we can stop this," Manasseh told the Chicago Sun-Times. "Who's next? I just keep thinking, 'Who's next?' 

    The group has started a GoFundMe campaign aiming to raise $5,000 for a reward for information in the case. By Wednesday morning, it had raised more than $16,000.

    "The murder of a woman brought us to our corner on 75th & Stewart so there's no way we're going to let the murder of more moms drive us away," the fundraising page says. "We deserve to live without fear and the young women, Chantel Grant and Andrea Stoudemire who were torn from their children families tonight, deserve justice."   

    This story has been updated to clarify the women's role with Mothers Against Senseless Killings. 

     

     

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  • Woman jailed for murdering daughters who 'got in way' of her sex life

    Louise Porton described as ‘evil’ and ‘calculated’ for killing three-year-old and 17-month-old girls

    A mother who murdered her two young daughters 18 days apart after they “got in the way” of her living the life she wanted has been jailed for at least 32 years.

    Louise Porton, 23, killed Lexi Draper, three, and 17-month old Scarlett Vaughan last year. Both deaths were consistent with deliberate airway obstruction, and doctors could not find “any natural reason why either, let alone both, should have died”, prosecutors said.

    She suffocated Lexi in the early hours of 15 January, and was heard “laughing” at a funeral parlour two days before killing Scarlett on 1 February.

    A jury heard that Porton, who described herself on a dating app as a model, accepted 41 friend requests from men the day after Lexi’s death.

    After Scarlett’s death, she had delayed calling an ambulance, even filling up with petrol as the toddler lay dead or dying in her car, and was described as being “calm and emotionless.”.

    Her children “got in the way of her doing what she wanted, when she wanted and with whom she wanted,” Oliver Saxby QC, prosecuting, said.

    Porton, of Skiddaw, Rugby, Warwickshire, denied killing the girls, but was unanimously convicted following a five-week trial.

    Jailing her for life with a minimum term of 32 years the judge, Mrs Justice Yip, described Porton’s actions as “evil” and “calculated”.

    “One way or another you squeezed the life out of each of your daughters, only calling the emergency services when you knew they were dead. I am sure at the time of the deaths, you intended to kill each of your daughters. Why you did so, only you will know.”

    Evidence pointed to Porton having made two previous unsuccessful attempts on Lexi’s life. She had twice been taken to hospital but was sent home with antibiotics for an apparent chest infection.

    The judge said she was sure Porton had been responsible for events leading to Lexi’s earlier admissions to hospital on 2 January and on 4 January when her life was saved by skilled resuscitation by paramedics.

    Porton had made “sinister” internet searches at the time about death and breathing and drowning. She had researched how long it took for body parts to go cold, Birmingham crown court heard.

    The crown alleged Lexi had been dead for some time before a 999 call was made. Of Lexi’s death, the judge said: “I am left in no doubt that you delayed calling for an ambulance until you were sure she was dead and could not be resuscitated.” Scarlett “had signs of prior airway obstruction”, the judge said.

    When Lexi was ill in hospital, Porton took topless photos in the hospital toilets and was arranging to perform sex acts for money with a man she had met through a website, the jury heard.

    After Lexi’s death, it appeared to the funeral arranger present that Porton was “using FaceTime and that she was speaking to a man.”.

    Porton’s former landlady, when she lived at an address in Willenhall, near Walsall, told police she spent “more and more time” caring for Lexi and Scarlett while their mother was “doing social things” instead of looking after them. Porton would do “whatever she could not to have them with her”, she said.

    Porton had denied wrongdoing throughout, telling police in a prepared statement: “My children were never an inconvenience to me and I accommodated my lifestyle and personal life around them. I still don’t know how my daughters died, or what caused it.”

    The judge said she had carried out the “grossest abuse of trust” against her girls. “Those who loved Lexi and Scarlett have been left bewildered as to how and why you could have done something so evil.”

    The children’s father, Chris Draper, who never met Scarlett, said in an impact statement he felt “broken” with “nothing to live for”.

    “I sit and think, day and night, and I can’t understand why my two little girls were taken away because Louise wanted to sleep around. Maybe if social services had listened to me, my girls would still be alive today.”

    Det Supt Pete Hill, of Warwickshire police, said: “I will never be able to understand why Louise Porton murdered her children; Lexi and Scarlett. Not content with killing one of her children, she did exactly the same to her other daughter.”

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