Her Times
By Pam Parker Erie Times-News staff blogger
Pam Parker's blog takes on everything from women's fun to momisms to lifestyles around Lake Erie and real estate. She'll take you down Memory Lane, up through sports and fun and off the grid. Get ready for laughs — it's more than just Pam. It's Pamdemonium.   Read more about this blog.
 Phone: 814-870-1821
Posts tagged ‘tweens’
Posted: January 14th, 2013

Ryan and HowieThese are my boys smirking on Christmas morning a few years ago and laughing that they got the same shirt for Christmas. That kind of happens every year — the same shirt thing — because they both look handsome in the same colors and styles, and my daughter and I outfit them accordingly. We know they don’t hang out together. In fact, now they are age 20 and 26 and live in different states. So we often buy them the same things.

If you’re a mom or a stepmom, here’s a quick piece of advice for getting along with your kids. Choose your battles. You can’t be arguing with a toddler, child, tween or teen for weeks on end. For me, safety came first and neatness last — especially when I was a single mom.

And they questioned everything. When I taught my youngest to drive on the interstate, he was exceeding the speed limit. I warned that he would get a ticket, and that would pretty much prevent an early license.  He scoffed that there was no place for troopers to hide. “What — do you think there are tree cops or something,” he said.

Kids must never watch “CSI,” or “NCIS,” or “Person of Interest.”

“Radar,” I said. “Do you think I make this stuff up? Do you think I’ve never gotten a ticket? I’m just telling you they make rules so you follow them. We all have rules.”

And kids don’t always follow them. But the consequences do have influence — especially tickets. Kids learn from their mistakes just like we do. Make sure you have rules and consequences. And remember to reward good behavior — don’t just punish the bad. You need to make kids feel good about themselves every single day. It will make you feel good, too.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyle, Her Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa. She is the mom of three, stepmom to three and step-grandmom to one. 

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 2nd, 2012

The YMCA of Greater Erie is looking for 10 Girls of Merit. You can nominate a girl age 12 to 18 here. But hurry — the deadline is Oct. 4. Winners will be announced at Girls World Expo in Erie Sunday, Nov. 4.

Nominate a tween or teen who has done great things for her family, community and others.

Girls World Expo includes a fashion show, speakers, seminars, music, art show and dance and poetry performances. Girls can also learn about Internet safety, attend a college and career fair and shop at the marketplace for accessories, jewelry and more.

GoErie.com and the Erie Times-News host Girls World Expo from noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 4, at the Bayfront Convention Center.

Last year, 1,000 people attended the event, and the 2011 Girls of Merit included: Chelsea Czerwinski, Amy Teresa Gehrlein, Meaghan Hubert, Ciah Koehler, Nina Palattella, Holly Pierce, Emily Schultz, Emily Smith, Stephanie Snyder and Kelsey Wurst.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: May 13th, 2012

We all have moms, but some of us lost our moms a long time ago. I lost my mother Arlene Menold Strosser 25 years ago. I lost my dad the same year my kids lost their dad when they were age 7 to 12, so I needed a lot of momming myself over the years. I have many people to thank for momming me in ways they may not remember.

Thanks to friends and family. There were times I felt lost, but family members, friends and even friends of my parents often sent notes of praise to me. I saved those notes, and I still read them on a bad day. Thanks for handwritten and heartfelt messages.

My tennis buddies, some older, some younger but always my friends and advisors. One told me there would be times my kids needed me to be a friend — not a mom. Another shared a story she had never shared with anyone when she knew how down in the dumps I was about one of my kids’ blunders. Thanks, ladies.

To all the men and women I’ve ever worked with who know how hard it is to juggle careers and kids. Thanks for saving me.

To my husband, Kim Parker, who made me a better person and a better mom. And to my kids, who without knowing it, often mommed me. Here are some funny words of advice I’ll never forget:

Howie Eckert: “You might want to lose some weight before you wear that.” (It was a peach colored suit, and I rounded it out like a peach. I did lose weight, and I did wear it.)

Kelly Eckert: “Mom, get your own friends.” (I wanted my kids to go to a high school football game with me. They had reached that tween age where hanging out with Mom was not cool. It stung, but I branched out and met a lot of new people.)

Ryan Eckert: “I wouldn’t wear that raincoat. You kinda look like a mushroom.” (He was right — it was long and beige and so was my hair. I returned the coat to the store.)

Today, the three little Eckerts (pictured above with my husband and me) always offer some tender advice, hugs and kisses when I really need them. The memories of their quotes make me laugh. Happy Mother’s Day, everyone. I’m eating Ghirardelli brownies for breakfast.  I won’t be wearing a peach suit or a beige raincoat today.

Pam Parker is the editor of Lake Erie LifeStyleHer Times and House to Home at the Erie Times-News in Erie, Pa.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: October 13th, 2011

With six kids, we know cars. Teen cars. We owned a fleet at one time because every kid had a car.
The 1994 Achieva pictured here is one of those vehicles. We just sold it last year. I’ve read all the Intenet hooey about how to buy a new or used car for your teen. New? Are you kidding me? Let me tell you the truth about teen cars:
1. Why buy a car for your teen? If they have jobs, are involved in sports/school activities, you either need to adjust to never having your car because they truly do need it, or you will remain a driver until you do get them a car. Or, they will ride with another teen. Sometimes that is scarier than buying them a car.
2. Get them something safe. Read this again because what they want is nothing like what they’ll get unless you are wealthy or invested wisely. We are neither. The 1994 Achieva went through 60,000 miles, two kids, trips across the state, five years in Pittsburgh and it is still going. The driver’s side door weighed more than the average 8-year-old. You’d never just push it closed. The passenger side door opened only from the interior of the car. The arm rests were glued on — multiple times. Its imperfections taught them that vehicle ownership beats riding a bike, taking a bus or walking. We told them when they had money to buy their own vehicles, they could get anything they wanted, and they did — and they respect their newer vehicles that have lots of gizmos and loans.
3. Establish a relationship with a car dealer. If you have lots of kids (like us), get to know a dealer. We have purchased at least eight vehicles from John Fries Auto, and they have repaired all of them. We are about to purchase another one.
4. Your teen needs to pay something for the vehicle. Most kids want a snazzy ride, but tell them to get real or pay for it. We have done all versions of financing with the kids. All of them had to pay their own insurance, and that is a must. A sit-down with an insurance agent is a reality check. The car is not a toy. We have made kids help with payments, repairs, tires and more. Teens need to know that vehicle ownership=investment and responsibility.
Finally, enjoy looking at cars with your teen. It is something you will always remember.

Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted: September 27th, 2011

When kids make you laugh so hard, your sides hurt, it might be the middle school years. It’s a time when kids have a somewhat grown-up appearance, but they still have that impishness that makes me grin just thinking about it.
I still laugh when I think of football car pools. No one wanted the return trip home, but I did. The skinny boys of fall were muddy, sweaty and laughing. In our car pool, we had twins who excelled in rapid-fire delivery of Internet jokes that made me laugh so hard, I’d cry.
This hearty half dozen players had also mastered and memorized some “Jeopardy” skits from “Saturday Night Live” starring Will Farrell as the Alex Trebek and Darrell Hammond as Sean Connery.
It was like watching it live.
Now, we also did have practical jokes in school, but these kids did nothing like the tricks I recalled at St. George Elementary School. And many of those kids had grown up to be teachers, principals, lawyers, judges and doctors.
Middle schoolers will make you laugh, make mistakes, make you cry and give you memories. The best advice I ever received about dealing with any of the bad times was from a teacher. “Kids will have rules to follow the rest of their lives. If they break a few now, they’ll learn to stop. We all need to give them a break.
Here’s to middle school mayhem.