Raising a Material Girl

ask mr dad - fashion - material girl - unsplash-safouan besrourDear Mr. Dad: My 12-year old daughter has become obsessed with designer labels. Basic Levis and generic shoes aren’t good enough anymore. And if I so much as mention the word “Walmart,” she won’t even speak to me. What is going on with her? I find her materialism revolting. Is there anything I can do to stop it?

It’s pretty obvious that you were never an adolescent girl. Same here, but I’ve been through the whole price-tag-obsession thing with my two oldest daughters. So far, my youngest has largely avoided getting sucked into the materialism wars, but that could change any minute.

Although she’s technically not a teenager, your daughter has clearly been affected by peer pressure. And it’s perfectly normal for kids her age (especially girls) to focus at least as much (maybe more) on price tags as on the items those tags are attached to. I remember an exchange with one of my then-teenage daughters who had run out of shampoo and wanted to borrow mine. When I offered her my Costco brand bottle, she sneered and asked whether I had anything “more expensive.” Not better, just more expensive.
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Training Your Brain + Blueprint for a Better Life


Michael Starbird, coauthor of The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking.
Topic: Not everyone is born a genius, but you can train your brain to think better.
Issues: Learning to understand things more deeply; turning mistakes into insights; how answers can lead to questions; creating new ideas from old ones; how to promote effective thinking.


Jude Bijou, author of Attitude Reconstruction.
Topic: A blueprint for building a better life
Issues: Could all your problems stem from unexpressed sadness, anger, or fear? Is it possible to turn your life around in less than five minutes a day? Communication rules that let you speak up about anything to anyone.

Better Thinking Skills + Change Your Attitude + Positive Discipline + Screamfree Parenting


Michael Starbird, coauthor of The 5 Elements of Effective Thinking.
Topic: Not everyone is born a genius, but you can train your brain to think better.
Issues: Learning to understand things more deeply; turning mistakes into insights; how answers can lead to questions; creating new ideas from old ones; how to promote effective thinking.


Jude Bijou, author of Attitude Reconstruction.
Topic: A blueprint for building a better life
Issues: Could all your problems stem from unexpressed sadness, anger, or fear? Is it possible to turn your life around in less than five minutes a day? Communication rules that let you speak up about anything to anyone.


Ronald Mah, author of Difficult Behavior in Early Childhood.
Topic: Positive discipline for pre-K – third grade and beyond.
Issues: Reconciling different behavioral expectations of families and schools; applying timeout effectively; motivating children immediately and powerfully; identifying early signs of depression, anxiety, and special needs.


Hal Runkel, author of Screamfree Parenting.
Topic: Raising your kids by keeping your cool.
Issues: Why your emotional reactions to a child’s misbehavior backfires; parenting is not about kids—it’s about parents; why the greatest thing we can do for our kids is learn to focus on ourselves; how empty threats are really broken promises.

(Video) Game On!

Is there ever a bad time for video games (except bed time, of course)? Here are four new games that your kids will love, assuming you’ll stop playing them by yourself and give them a chance.

yo-kai watchYo-Kai Watch
The city of Springdale is inhabited by humans and creatures called Yo-Kai, some of whom are mischievous, while others cause real harm. The problem is that Yo-Kai are usually invisible. You play as either Nate or Kate and your task is to keep Springdale safe. Fortunately, you meet a nice Yo-Kai named Whisper who gives you a special watch that allows you to see other Yo-Kai. You and Whisper befriend Yo-Kai and put together a strong team that can do battle with the not-so-nice Yo-Kai. This is not your traditional “capturing creatures” or battle game. Instead of directly controlling the action, you’re more of a manager, telling your Yo-Kai how and where to attack and giving them special items to make them stronger. Yo-Kai Watch is available for the Nintendo 3DS and 2DS and sells for $39.99 at your favorite retailer or the eShop. http://www.nintendo.com/

runbowRunbow
This new game from 13AM Games brings a fun and interesting party platformer for the WiiU. Each player (from 1-9) is a different color and it’s a mad dash for the finish line. But this is no simple foot race. Obstacles like moving platforms and lava come and go. Runbow is perfect for classic game players who’ve got a pretty good handle on how to time their jumps. Younger players may find the game a bit frustrating, at least in the beginning. The more players you have—either locally online—the more fun and frenetic it’ll be. Pick it up for $14.99 in the eShop. http://www.13amgames.com/

yoshi's woolly worldYoshi’s Woolly World
If you’re looking for a calmer, cuddlier platforming game, you’ll love Yoshi’s Woolly World, which stars one of the Mushroom Kingdom’s most beloved characters. Yoshi’s takes Kirby’s Epic Yarn to a new level. Each character and environment has a handmade touch that’s visually pretty cool. As Yoshi, you must reach the end each level, gathering as many collectibles on the way as possible, and turning your enemies into yarn balls by swallowing them. For beginners, just finishing the level will be enough. For more experienced players, collectibles are key. There are also Amiibo extras where you can add a second Yoshi in the form of Samus, Woolly Yoshi, or even Mario, just to name a few. The game itself is available at retailers and the eShop for $49.99, or in a special pack which includes a Wooly Yoshi for $59.99.

disney infinity 3-0Disney Infinity 3.0
This is the third installment of the always-fun Disney Infinity line, and brings in characters from Marvel, Disney, and Star Wars, including Yoda, Darth Vader, and Han Solo. This game is great for beginner gamers because it’s so easy to pick up and play. Each player picks a character from the Disney Infinity figures they own (characters from the two previous games work in this one), and play as him or her throughout the game. Certain game levels work with specific characters. But our favorite part of the game is the Toy Box, which is filled with the very best creations from players all over the world Disney Infinity 3.0 is available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox One, and Xbox 360. There’s a Star Wars-themed starter pack that includes the Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition video game, Disney Infinity 3.0 Edition base, Ahsoka Tano and Anakin Skywalker figures, Twilight of the Republic play set piece, and a Web Code card. Prices vary.

Talking about Islamic Terrorism

ismlamic terroristDear Mr. Dad: What happened in Paris last week has me shocked, upset, and frightened. The death and destruction are hard enough for my wife and me to grasp and to explain to our children, ages 7 and 10. But it’s getting increasingly difficult to answer their questions about Islam and to keep them from demonizing Muslims. We tried avoiding the issue, but that’s not working anymore. How can we talk to our children about terrorism and Muslims without slipping into stereotyping?

A: What a great question—one I’ve struggled with for a long time, and continue to do so—and the answer is anything but simple. As a parent, I think it’s incredibly important to teach our children about tolerance and diversity and to discourage them from making blanket statements about large groups of people who have similar characteristics, whether those characteristics are based on gender, politics, personal beliefs, sexual orientation, geography, religion, or anything else. At the same time, I firmly believe that it’s impossible to deal with a problem unless we honestly acknowledge what it is. And here’s where things get tough.

There are more than 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. Most are undoubtedly peace-loving people who have no desire to kill anyone. But how do we make sense of the fact that so many of the world’s conflicts, involve Islamic armies and terrorist groups? How do we make sense of the nearly daily murderous attacks proudly acknowledged by people who claim that their particular brand of Islam gives them the right to kill Christians, Jews, atheists, other Muslims, or anyone else who doesn’t believe what they do? And how do we keep from stereotyping Muslim countries or groups where people hand out candy and celebrate terrorist acts, openly advocate murdering “infidels,” or name streets and parks after suicide bombers who kill innocent civilians?

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