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    Ah, family vacations. The joy and the misery, amiright? Trips can be sooo much fun, but they can also be the source of some serious strife. Things really get interesting when your kids turn into tweens and teens: It seems like you just start getting used to them being able to sit through a meal in a nice-ish restaurant without eating all the crayons or throwing a tantrum, when all of a sudden, they reach the age where eye-rolling and earbuds are on the menu. Permanently.

    To make sure your much-needed (and deserved!) vacay time is smooth sailing, have your tween/teen signs off on these 10 little rules before you hit the road ...

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    Even though cursive writing, or script, seems to have gone the way of the telegraph in recent years, some states -- including, most recently, Tennessee -- are working to try and preserve it. A bill is about to go before their state House that would make it mandatory for children to learn how to write in script at school, most likely in the third grade. One lawmaker, who is also a teacher, was reportedly inspired to write the bill after he discovered only about half of all children in the state could read a teacher's writing if he or she wrote in cursive. The move is a step in the right direction -- now if only every state would jump on the script bandwagon.

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    It seems like decades ago we were using rotary phones. Ah, that's because it was decades ago, wasn't it?! Can anyone else remember sitting on the couch or standing in the kitchen and letting their fingers dwindle on the rotary dial. Never mind whether you had to make an urgent call or not -- just placing that call was going to take minutes longer than it ever would on a cell! Remember what a dial tone sounded like? What about a busy signal? Can you even imagine not being able to get in touch with someone because he or she is already on the phone with someone else? Puh-leeze.

    It's easy for adults to forget the crazy, hazy days of rotary phones. Now imagine placing one in the hands of a 5-, 9-, or 13-year-old and expecting them to know how to even hold the prehistoric device. That's exactly what The Fine Brothers did and the children's reactions -- caught on video -- are priceless.

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    25 Simple Ways to Annoy Your Tween

    posted by Jenny Isenman February 21 at 3:49 PM in Big Kid
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    When your child hits tweenhood, everything becomes bothersome, especially you. All the injustices of the world are highlighted with eye-rolls, grunts, and blank stares. 

    I'm taking advantage of this time by being extra annoying. For instance, when I'm sitting in the garage waiting for J, my 12-year-old son, to exit the house, I watch the door intently. As soon as he cracks it open, I beep. J startles, without fail, and glares at me as if I've done something unforgivable, like smashed his Beats or released all the remaining Axe body spray from the can.

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    Girl Scout cookies are so scrumptious they can sell themselves, but it doesn't hurt when the young teen entrepreneur in charge of turning a profit for her troop knows where to find the best customers. Danielle Lei, who is 13, is a Girl Scout from San Francisco who is going to be the next Marissa Mayer. Instead of going door to door selling Samoas and Peanut Butter Patties, she set up shop right outside of a legal cannabis clinic and let her customers come to her. And, boy, she is killing it. Her parents are totally on board here, but are her actions promoting pot use among young people?

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    The following post is from our sponsor, Proctor & Gamble.

    Tough is a great word, unless of course you’re referring to steaks or bullies. When I hear the word tough, it conjures up images of superhuman strength, unshakable fortitude, and quiet courage. I see mothers who are strong in their convictions, strong in their character, and strong in their actions. And it’s all in the best interest of their children.

    It’s rarely the easy way, but the tough way is so often what makes a difference in the long run ...

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    You know how kids are when they get to a pizzeria, right? Totally unruly, climbing the curtains, spilling soda everywhere, unable to sit still in their seats for 10 minutes in order to devour every child's favorite food. Well, that's how one upscale pizzeria in New York City views tykes, and the establishment has decided to do something about it: by declaring a "partial ban" on admitting children into its restaurant.

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    If you're a woman and you have a social media account, you've likely had someone share with you this controversial Kmart commercial for Joe Boxer men's underwear. The sender either loved it ("Finally, an ad for us women," a Facebook friend posted on her wall) or loathed it and claimed it was going to destroy our children's innocence and demolish every value we work so hard to instill in them.

    The truth is: it's a really silly ad that is neither sexy and stimulating nor all that scandalous. It's sort of clever and will probably help sell a lot of underwear. And it might make your kids yawn. But that's about it, folks.

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    There's no way this helicopter parenting trend can last. As the mom of a toddler with another on the way, it's been only two years and I'm already exhausted trying to plan my child's daily social and academic activities while also working and, you know, attempting to lead my own life once in a while, too. 

    So I propose we all just give up. No, I'm not suggesting we abandon our kids and hop a plane to the Caribbean, though that would be nice. I'm inviting you to join me on a little trek back to the 1970s when parenting was, comparatively, a piece of cake and -- though I have no scientific proof to back this up and just memories of my own mom -- I am pretty sure women were a lot less stressed out. Here are 10 reasons why the emergence of a 1970s parenting trend would be so very refreshing. 

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    As any mom can attest: the most honest and pure people on earth are our littlest ones. Any adult who has asked a 9-year-old what she looks like dressed in a neon romper can vouch for that, as well. But kids are just as capable of handling bigger issues -- ones even adults have trouble tackling and understanding. Take gay marriage. Each state has its own stance on whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry and, even within the same family, differences of opinion on the matter can be enough to create serious wedges between relatives. 

    We may think young children are unaware of this hot topic or too naive to have an opinion on it, but you might be surprised to hear what they really think about gay marriage once they open up about it.

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