Technology RULES!

Children using cell phones and tablets are increasing at a pace that parents can hardly keep up with.  As the director of a childcare center that cares for school-age children; I am seeing more and more of them being given technology to use, as they like.  Recently, I looked on one of the children’s ipads to see violent games.   Several of the children have Facebook pages and lied about their birthday so they could set it up.   One parent actually set it up for the child.  When I talked with her she stated that she monitored it.  I asked her how she could monitor what he saw on others pages and the chat.  Also, many of the games are played on line with others.  These games are breeding grounds for predators.

404768_4786660824033_2040929263_nMy grandson is getting ready to start middle school in the fall and I have decided to give him my old iPhone.  He will not have a cellular plan, but can use all of the features with Wi-Fi.  Protecting him from violence, predators, and his innocence is a big deal to me as it should be to any parent.  To this end, I decided I needed to put in the research to set limits and rules.

He will not be able to download applications, because I have password protected it.  Therefore, his parents can monitor the degree of violence.  There will be no Netflix for him to choose inappropriate shows.  His phone will not be able to download Facebook.  If he abuses his camera, I can block it and many other things.  You can also learn how to do all this and more at Apple Support.

IMG_5552I have seen the below rules often on Facebook and shared by many parents.  I wonder how many have actually ever used them.  I decided to review them and tweak them to meet the individual needs of my grandson.  I plan to type them up, laminate them, have a family meeting with him and his parents, and hang them on his refrigerator after he signs them.   This is little time to put in for a big payoff! The rules are as follows:

  1. I will always know the password.   While you live under my roof, there will be no privacy when it comes to the use of this phone.
    NEVER use Facetime without asking me first and NEVER ignore a call from me.
  2. Hand the phone to one of your parents promptly at ______ every school night & every weekend night at ______p.m. It will be shut off for the night and turned on again at 7:30 am.
  3. If you would not make a call or text to someone’s land line, wherein their parents may answer first, then do not call or text.   Listen to those instincts and respect other families like we would like to be respected.
    It does not go to school with you. Have a conversation with the people you text in person. It’s a life skill. *Half days, field trips and after school activities will require special consideration.
  4. If it falls into the toilet, smashes on the ground, or vanishes into thin air, you are responsible for the replacement costs or repairs. Mow a lawn, babysit, and stash some birthday money. It will happen, you should be prepared.
  5. Do not use this technology to lie, fool, or deceive another human being. Do not involve yourself in conversations that are hurtful to others. Be a good friend first or stay the heck out of the crossfire.
  6. Do not text, email, or say anything through this device you would not say in person.
  7. Do not text, email, or say anything to someone that you would not say out loud with their parents in the room. Censor yourself.
  8. No porn. Search the web for information you would openly share with me. If you have a question about anything, ask a person; preferably your parent.
  9. Turn it off, silence it, put it away in public. Especially in a restaurant, at the movies, or while speaking with another human being. You are not a rude person; do not allow the iPhone to change that.
  10. Do not send or receive pictures of your private parts or anyone else’s private parts. Don’t laugh. Someday you will be tempted to do this despite your high intelligence. It is risky and could ruin your teenage/college/adult life. It is always a bad idea. Cyberspace is vast and more powerful than you. And it is hard to make anything of this magnitude disappear — including a bad reputation.
  11. Don’t take a zillion pictures and videos. There is no need to document everything. Live your experiences. They will be stored in your memory for eternity.
  12. Leave your phone home sometimes and feel safe and secure in that decision. It is not alive or an extension of you. Learn to live without it. Be bigger and more powerful than FOMO — fear of missing out.
  13. Download music that is new or classic or different than the millions of your peers that listen to the same exact stuff. Your generation has access to music like never before in history. Take advantage of that gift. Use this gift to find Christian music.  Remember what goes in will come out in your behavior.
  14. Keep your eyes up. See the world happening around you. Stare out a window. Listen to the birds. Take a walk. Talk to a stranger. Wonder without goggling.
  15. You will mess up. Your parents will take away your phone. They will sit down and talk about it. You will start over again. You and us, we are always learning. I am on your team. We are in this together.  Click here for more information.
Norma Honeycutt, Executive Director

Norma Honeycutt, Executive Director

Norma Honeycutt is the Executive Director of Partners In Learning Child Development & Family Resource Center. Norma is one of the states strongest advocates for children with special needs serving on boards and commissions including the North Carolina Child Care Commission, Rowan County NCPreK Advisory Committee, and Rowan County Local Interagency Coordinating Council. Norma is also a CBRS therapist and facilitates support groups, activities, and other programs for families of children with special needs.


It’s OK to be Angry

As I tucked my ten year old into bed I noticed a picture with me in it and my face had been scratched out. This is issue number one. So I asked, “What happened to that picture?” My daughter responded with the typical “I don’t know” answer. Well, I knew what had happened, or at least I was 95% sure of what had happened. As soon as I asked her I realized I set her up to lie, which I should not have done. This is issue number two.

I was fairly certain that at some point I made her mad for something and she defaced my photo in anger. It didn’t upset me at all, I actually had flashbacks of all the things I would say and do when I was her age when my mama had made me mad. I recall thinking things like, “I hate her, she is the meanest mama ever, maybe I will run away, and then she will be sorry.” But then I immediately would change my thoughts to, “Oh no, what if she died.” And then I would start to cry. Oh the lovely thought processes of a young child.

So let’s revisit the issues, issue number one was that my daughter had tried to ruin my face in a picture when she was mad at me. This is absolutely normal and not the least bit surprising. She had made an impulsive decision out of anger and now regretted it and wished she could take it back. What she had initially done was put white out on my face and then when her anger ceased she tried to scratch it off, completely ruining the photo.

I used this as an opportunity to talk to her about how it is ok to be angry and mad but to consider the consequences of her choices or actions. Now she regrets ruining the picture and wishes she could take it back. It is my hope that when she is older and faced with impulse decisions she will stop and remember that her choices will determine her experiences. states that “The most effective anger management comes from recognizing the difference between Reacting and Responding. What’s the difference between reacting to a situation or responding to it? The answer is simple: a lot! A reaction is often a quick, rash action that does little or nothing to remedy the original situation. A response is more calculated; it is thought before action. Reacting and responding are two totally different ways to deal with an anger situation.”

Issue number two was, I set my child up to tell me a lie. It is like asking a child with their face covered in chocolate and crumbs if they ate the cookies out of the jar. Well duh, of course they did so why are you asking, knowing that most children are going to respond by saying NO., shares, between the ages of two to three, children start lying when they break established rules. By age five children get quite adept at being able to successfully lie to others. Not only are children predisposed to using deception, but more often than not, children learn this behavior at home.

Children watch their parents lie and they are explicitly taught to lie by their parents. What parent has not lied to a child in order to prevent him (or her) from knowing an unpleasant truth (“everything will be ok”), or taught their children to lie to someone they love (“tell grandma how much you love the gift”) or instructed a child to lie on their behalf (“tell them I’m too busy right now”)?

A better choice of words could have been for me to say, “I see my picture is messed up, I must have made you really mad sometime for you to have done that,” then proceeded with the conversation about it being ok to be angry. Not all anger is acceptable, below are some warning signs to be aware of:

What are the signs that tell you your child needs professional help?

-Anger in the child becomes severe; he tears up his books and breaks things in the house.

-The child’s behavior poses a danger to himself and others.

-Anger in the child is sustained, lasting for an hour or more.

-Teachers at your child’s school have voiced concern over his anger and behavior.

-The child has performed acts of violence against others (like setting fire in school or torturing animals).

Deborah Howell is the Assistant Director for Partners In Learning.

Deborah Howell is the Assistant Director for Partners In Learning.


Deborah Howell is the Assistant Director of Partners In Learning. Her education includes an associate’s degree from Rowan-Cabarrus Community College in early childhood education and a bachelor’s degree from UNC Greensboro in human development and family studies with a concentration in birth-kindergarten. She also holds a master’s degree at UNCG. She also serves as a CBRS therapist for the center.

Sibling Rivalry Into Bonding


siblings“Hatred stirs up dissension but love conquers all wrong.” (Proverbs 10:12) Sibling rivalries is a very controversial topic in its own way however all children to a certain extent argue and disagree with their siblings; some just more extreme than others. Sibling relationships are extremely important during childhood and throughout life in general. Siblings help structure a person’s very first peer group, which children learn social skills, conflict resolution and how to maintain friendships as they intermingle with their siblings through the years. Sibling relationships are often the longest-lasting relationships that a person can have, so strengthening these relationships will provide security and support to a person’s life.

Often time’s siblings disagree because one feels like they have to compete with one another. For example, one of them is more athletic or makes better grades instead of remembering that we all have gifts and talents. Rather than embracing and trying to figure out their strengths children may dwell on the sibling who in their opinion is doing better or the “perfect child” they crave the love and attention that the one sibling is receiving; when all the time they receive the same love and attention and chose to go a different route. What is a parent to do? How do you foster positive relationships among your children? Tips include but are not limited to:

  • Schedule fun family activities.
  • Teach and practice problem solving skills.
  • Parents need to be good role models.
  • Give your children tasks that they have to compromise to accomplish a goal.
  • Try to meet each child’s unique needs without showing favoritism.
  • Praise kids when they help, support or cooperate with each other.
  • Structure activities that will focus on particular social skills: turn taking, active listening, encouraging others, agreeing to disagree.

As parents we wear different hats; particularly throughout conflict management, it is imperative that you are in the mediator and modeling role of what conflict resolution “looks” and “sounds” like. Helping your children acquire these skills does take time and energy, but they soon become part of family life. Besides, your efforts will have lasting benefits. Your kids are developing positive ways of dealing with others that will be useful outside the family as well. Sibling relationships give rise to some of life’s greatest joys and some of its angriest fights, but no matter how much time passes or how far they travel, brothers and sisters can be forever friends!

Michelle Macon is the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate for Partners In Learning.

Michelle Macon is the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate for Partners In Learning.


Michelle Macon has been with Partners In learning since 2006 and serves as the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate. She holds an associate’s degree in early childhood development and a bachelor’s degree in birth through kindergarten education. She is a mother of two children and has experience working with infants and toddlers.

Christmas Shopping on a Budget

My husband and I just recently finished facilitating a series of classes called Financial Peace by Dave Ramesy. Financial Peace is a where you learn practical strategies on how to become financially sound. Now that we consistently follow through with a budget and save money twice a month, the potency of shopping smart for Christmas is a MUST. Why? Raise your hand if you are guilty of blowing your Christmas budget out of proportion? I have both of my hands raised! This Christmas 2013, will be different! Remaining financially stable is far more important than getting in debt for Christmas. It has been said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

If you have already started shopping it’s not too late to modify your plan. How can you shop smarter? First, decide on your spending limit. Does this limit allow you to pay your monthly bills on time and still have money in savings? If so, this is the right budget for your family. This year we have decided on our spending limit and to shop a little differently for our kids. Each child will get four gifts. You may say four gifts? That’s it? The answer is…YES!

Four Gifts included:
1. Something they want-”worth GOLD” to them
2. Something the need
3. Something they can wear
4. Something they can read

Before I came across this idea, we had already started shopping for the kids. So, to modify, we will get four boxes and code them: want; need; wear; read. Instead of wrapping the clothes we already bought individually, like we would in the past, we will put them in the “wear” box. So they can still get the concept of four gifts. This does not mean that I can go out and buy more clothes for a winter wardrobe for each child all because it fits into the “box” either.

Thankfully we are fortunate that our children are still at a young age (seven and three). Some of you who have children that are pre-teen and older, the shopping for you gets harder and harder because children what more and more and become pickier and pickier when it comes to birthdays and Christmas! One night over dinner our discussion was the reveal of them getting four gifts each. I thought that the kids would have a sad sigh and lips poked out of disappointment that four gifts are not enough. Surprisingly, we were mistaken, our kids immediately started naming things they want, need, wear, and read understanding that of the list they named they will only get one box to unwrap of each category.

Another way a friend of mine plans her Christmas budget is with a holiday cash account that she has set up at the bank. Each pay period an allotted amount goes into this holiday account and a check is mailed to her at the end of the 12 month period and this is her Christmas budget that she sticks with. What is your christmas budget plan? I will leave you with a challenge: Begin next year’s holiday planning no later than June 2014.

Michelle Macon is the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate for Partners In Learning.

Michelle Macon has been with Partners In Learning since 2006 and serves as the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate. She holds an associate’s degree in early childhood development and a bachelor’s degree in birth through kindergarten education. She is a mother of two children and has experience working with infants and toddlers.

Sports or No Sports?

At some point in parenthood you decide whether or not to let your child participate in sports. Sports range anywhere from dancing, to tee ball, baseball, basketball, soccer, football, volleyball, track, horseback riding etc. My husband and I believe that if we don’t give our children an opportunity to try a sport of interest that we may not learn what they are good at.

Team sports have many benefits. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it is recommended that children have 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Participation in team sports reduces your child’s risk of childhood obesity, a growing issue in the United States. According to the CDC, more than one third of children were overweight or obese in 2010. Reducing your child’s risk of obesity also reduces his risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and bone and joint problems.

Socially, children learn how to work together with peers, communication skills, how to problem solve, life skills, such as patience, persistence, and focus on the whole team not just themselves. These skills learned at an early age will help them throughout teenage and adult years. The Women’s Sports Foundation reports that sports participation enhances the physical and mental health of females, resulting in higher than average levels of self-esteem and less depression. The foundation also reports that girls who participate in sports are at a lower risk for eating problems in their teen years.

Our seven-year-old daughter started dance when she was two and did it for two years. At the age of four she was interested in riding horses and has now been riding horses for two years. She looks forward to riding horses with her class each week. This week our three year old son started basketball. This was a new experience for him. He was reluctant at first but he watched his peers. He received encouragement from his peers and the coach and was able to get warmed up and participate. As a family we support both kids in their sports activities. We praise, encourage, and reward our children for doing their best.

Michelle Macon is the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate for Partners In Learning.


Michelle Macon has been with Partners In learning since 2006 and serves as the Program Coordinator and Family Support Advocate. She holds an associate’s degree in early childhood development and a bachelor’s degree in birth through kindergarten education. She is a mother of two children and has experience working with infants and toddlers.