September 2022

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VOLUME 39, #7 SEPTEMBER 2022

FREE!

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INSIDE: The Fit Family • Choosing Childcare • Wellness Choices


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September 2022 • Volume 39 • Issue 7

EDITOR & PUBLISHER Michele Miller GENERAL MANAGER Paul Kline SALES REPRESENTATIVE Paul Kline GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Karen Wawszczyk Melanie Schroeder CONTRIBUTORS Barbara Blackburn • Donna Phillips Richard De Fino • Deborah Williams Kathy Lundquist • Myrna Beth Haskell Mike Daugherty

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Where It’s At! Back to School

To Reach Us: Advertising Department advertising@wnyfamilymagazine.com Calendar Submissions calendar@wnyfamilymagazine.com Subscriptions subscriptions@wnyfamilymagazine.com Editorial Submissions michele@wnyfamilymagazine.com MAILING ADDRESS: 3147 Delaware Ave., Suite B Buffalo, NY 14217 Phone: (716) 836-3486 • Fax: (716) 836-3680 PRINTED BY: Commercial Printing Division The Post-Journal, Jamestown WE ARE AN AUDITED PUBLICATION CIRCULATION (copies printed): 20,000 © 2022 Western New York Family, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form without permission is strictly prohibited. Inclusion of an advertisement does not constitute an endorsement by the publisher. PRINT SUBSCRIPTIONS: MAILED FIRST CLASS, IN AN ENVELOPE SAME DAY ISSUE IS DELIVERED FROM THE PRINTER: $28 one year, $52 two years, $75 three years. Phone & online orders accepted with credit cards. Gift subscriptions available. Single copies & back issues by mail, $2.50. IF YOU MOVE: Missed issues will not be replaced if we do not receive an address change before issue mailing date.

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Features: 6n

Building Bridges: Communicate and Connect with Your Child’s Teacher by Janeen Lewis

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Extracurricular Activities are More Important Now Than Ever by Rebecca Hastings

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18 Simple Ways to Infuse Each Day With Learning by Rebecca Hastings

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How to Survive the Elementary School Years: 8 Parenting Tips for Ages 6 to 10 by Kimberly Blaker

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7 Productive Questions to Ask Teachers at Conferences by Rebecca Hastings

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Want Your Kids to Learn? Teach Them It’s Okay to Make Mistakes by Jan Pierce

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One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Understanding Your Child’s Temperament by Sarah Lyons

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One Parent’s Experience: Taming Mount Laundry by Sarah Lyons

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Shape the Future: The College Search & Application Process by Bridget M. Larrabee

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10 Conversations to Build Strong Mental Health in Your Children

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Visit Our Web Site www.wnyfamilymagazine.com

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Directories: 19 n 23 n 41 n 42 n

Choosing Childcare The Fit Family Let’s Party Wellness Choices

Regulars:

5 n Web Finds / What’s New In The Kid Biz 17 n Dear Teacher by Peggy Gisler & Marge Eberts 18 n Pick of the Literature by Dr. Donna Phillips 26 n Family Travel Auburn Celebrates Harriet Tubman by Deborah Williams 30 n Raising Digital Kids Detective Mom by Mike Daugherty 32 n Journey Into Fatherhood A Weekend Getaway for Dad by Richard De Fino 33 n Parent Previews by Kirsten Hawkes 36 n Special Needs Success Story: Experiencing College Life in a Fully Inclusive Setting 38 n Tweens and Teens Helping Teens Develop Close Friendships by Tanni Haas, Ph.D. 39 n Tweens and Teens BFFs No More: Helping Teens Through Friendship Breakups by Tanni Haas, Ph.D. 40 n Single Parenting Dating DOs and DON’Ts by Diane Dierks, LMFT, CFLE 46 n The Kid Friendly Kitchen Apple Ladybugs, Chicken or Tuna Rounds, & Flourless Cookies by Kathy Lundquist 47 n The Kiddie Gourmet Andy’s Sunrise Diner by Barbara Blackburn

You’ll find FREE courtesy copies of WNY Family at all Buffalo area Wegmans and 300 locations including Public Libraries, Doctors’ Offices, Child Care Centers and many of our advertisers. (Look for us INSIDE Wegmans on the racks where newspapers are sold, even though we are still FREE, or in some stores, on the FREE rack in the store foyer.)

Find this entire issue online at www.wnyfamilymagazine.com September 2022 WNY Family 3


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web.finds Every one of us can probably remember the feel and smell of brand new school supplies at the beginning of a school year. Amazingly, there are always new products to make school days and learning easier. Here are a few!

WORD COMBINATION LOCK

What’s New... IN THE KIDBIZ NATIONAL PARENTING CENTER FALL PRODUCT AWARDS

By well-known brand Masterlock, this lock (Model 1535DWD) uses a four character word, instead of numbers, to protect possessions in a school locker or at the gym. A word might be easier for your child (or you!) to remember than a series of numbers. Easy to reset combo with a coin on bottom of lock. Available in a variety of colors. (Amazon, $10.88).

MULTICULTURAL CRAYONS

Your child can add inclusivity and diversity to their artwork this year with a pack of multicultural crayons that come in eight different shades apricot, black, burnt sienna, mahogany, peach, sepia, tan, and white - to more accurately represent the skin tones of people of the world (By Crayola, Amazon, $6.59 for a pack of 8 crayons)

RULED INDEX CARDS ON A RING

Why didn’t somebody think of this years ago? Even with today’s technology, studying with flash cards or note cards is still very effective. This threesome, of 65 index cards each on a ring, is an easy way to make your own study cards and keep them organized each time you run through them. Just creating the cards will help your child absorb the material! (by MyOfficeInnovations, Amazon, $12.60 for a set of three)

LARGE CAPACITY PENCIL CASE

This 8.5-inch long by almost 5-inch wide pencil case is really a roomy pouch that can carry plenty of supplies and comes in 8 different patterns. Their video shows how it fits pens, pencils, markers, scissors, and much more in 2 zippered compartments. It has over 24,000 ratings averaging 4 ½ stars. It would definitely “carry the load” from grade school to college to office! (By Easthill, Amazon, $7.99 on sale, regularly $15.99)

The National Parenting Center (TNPC) has released its 32nd Fall Seal of Approval report. With this release, 27 new winners join the ranks of top products over the years to attain the prestigious award. Since 1990 parents, industry watchers, and retail buyers regularly look to the Seal report to help identify products that have met and survived rigorous multi-point consumer testing that has stood the test of time. Taken into consideration are a variety of factors including, but not limited to, price, packaging, design, stimulation, desirability, age appropriateness, instructions and more. TNPC’s Seal of Approval is ultimately a peer-to-peer review program to recognize and highlight products and services that have been met with a “thumbs up” by parents. Categories include Games; Toys, Puzzles, Dolls and More; Toys That Teach; Toys/App Hybrids; Building & Construction Toys; New Technologies; Products for Babies; Educational Products; Audio For Children; and Products for Parents. The Fall 2022 winners can be found at https:// nationalparentingcenter.com/seal-ofapproval-rep/fall-2022/ The National Parenting Center has established itself as North America’s leading parent advocacy organization. TNPC offers advice and information to parents on issues that range from pregnancy through adolescence. Their website offers visitors free access to hundreds of articles on parenting issues as well as Seal of Approval reviews. It can be found at https://nationalparentingcenter.com. September 2022 WNY Family 5


Building

Bridges — by Janeen Lewis

Communicate and Connect with Your Child’s Teacher

D

o you feel intimidated when you think of talking with your child’s teacher? What if your child complains about problems with his or her teacher? What do you do then? And what if your child is a virtual learner this year? Communication between home and school could be even more complicated than in years past. I’m a parent and a teacher, so I’ve been on both sides of the teacher’s desk. I’ve also felt the challenges teachers and parents feel while navigating remote learning. Here are some tips to help you communicate and connect with your child’s teacher even during unique times.

Get to know the teacher Try to introduce yourself and talk to the teacher face-to-face or on a virtual call. If this is not possible, it’s never too late to send an introductory email and offer your support to the teacher. That way, if a challenge does present itself during the year, a teacher’s first encounter with you isn’t a call about behavior challenges or academic struggles.

Be involved One of the best ways to get to know your child’s teacher is to be involved in what is going on in the classroom and school. This can be difficult if your child 6 WNY Family September 2022

is a remote learner. Even so, find creative ways to volunteer. Ask if you can read to your child’s class via Zoom. Volunteer to be a room parent. If volunteers are limited at your child’s school, you can still organize signups for supplies and send in prepackaged craft items and snacks for class parties or events. If your career is related to something your child’s class is studying, of-

fer to answer questions face-to-face or virtually. Many employers build in time for employees to volunteer in schools so they don’t have to take time off from work. Ask if you can cut out items the teacher has laminated or track down supplies for a lesson. Come to after-school events, school productions and parentteacher conferences, either face-to-face or virtually, so that you are visible and can touch base with your child’s teacher. Even if your school is learning remotely during the year, stay tuned in to what is going on so that you will be in the know.

Keep communications open and positive Teachers welcome questions and concerns and are proactive. As a teacher, I would much rather know about a problem early so that I can deal with it in the best way for all concerned. Your child’s teacher should be open to your questions and suggestions so don’t be too intimidated to ask. Keep up with written teacher notes, permission slips, report cards, and any other written communications the teacher sends home. Sending a quick response to the teacher’s requests makes the teacher’s job easier.

Be an A+ Chaperone One way to connect with your child’s teacher is to help chaperone a field trip. Teachers really appreciate the help of parents when they venture outside school grounds with a group of students, and spending a day with your child’s class not only gives you time to get to know the teacher better, it will probably give you a better appreciation of what he or she does. If you do volunteer to chaperone, show up on time so you can get information from the teacher and meet your group. If possible, take a picture of your group so that if someone becomes separated, you know what they are wearing and can show the picture to other helping adults. Learn the names of all the students in your group, and encourage them to pay attention, be on task, and stay together. If a child is consistently ignoring the rules, alert the teacher. Take head counts often, especially after bathroom breaks and lunch. Keep your cell phone with you at all times. Get the teacher’s number and numbers of other parent chaperones so that you can stay in contact if you split up. And remember, you are there to help the teacher and students foremost. While you should model participation and have a positive attitude about the trip, don’t slip away to that new exhibit you’ve been dying to see and leave your group.


Remember to keep communications positive. If you have concerns or think the teacher has dealt unfairly with your child, don’t dash off a negative note or email and send it first thing in the morning. For sensitive conversations, call and set up a time to meet after school. Of course, encouraging notes brighten a teacher’s day!

Try to understand both sides Teachers have a lot to manage in their classrooms, and with twenty-five or more students to supervise sometimes they make mistakes or don’t see every problem. Your child may think something happened in class that wasn’t fair, and it’s easy as parents to react emotionally and blame the teacher. But support the teacher as much as possible while you gather information about what happened. Try to help your child see the teacher’s point of view, and talk about how people can have differences and still work together to succeed.

There’s a place for you at Mercy!

Advocate for your child Don’t be afraid to speak up if a problem in your child’s class becomes pervasive. If your child’s grades start to slip, he or she is continually unhappy, or if you suspect your child is being bullied by a classmate, work with the teacher to devise a plan to help.

Make a change as a last resort Sometimes children have personality conflicts with their teachers. This actually offers an opportunity for growth if teachers and students can work together in a respectful and productive manner. After all, this is what children will need to do when they grow up. But if problems persist, it may be time to request a change to another class. Discussing your options with a school counselor or administrator may help you navigate a tough year.

Understand that teachers are human Most of the teachers I know are caring individuals who want to make a difference in the lives of the children they teach. Often, they are parents, too, and although it is hard to imagine, at one time they were students who lived through awkward growth spurts, problems with peers, lost homework, and braces. They understand what parents and kids are going through, and they strive to build a positive connection between school and home. Janeen Lewis is mom to Andrew and Gracie, as well as an elementary teacher with degrees in journalism and education. She has been published in several parenting publications across the country, and in Chicken Soup for the Soul:Teacher Tales.

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problems, sometimes we need a break from our daily struggles. Even as adults we know the value of a good walk or a cup of coffee with a friend. Extracurricular activities give kids a break from thinking about how different school is or how something has changed at home since the pandemic started. A healthy outlet can be a mental escape from the things that feel hard in daily life.

5) Extracurricular activities offer fun. We can all agree the last few

— by Rebecca Hastings

Extracurricular Activities are More Important Now Than Ever

W

e all know life changed drastically when the recent pandemic entered the picture. From online schooling to making decisions about how we spend our time, life as we knew it was turned upside down. Now that we are finding our way through these changes, understanding what kids need is essential. Why? The American Psychological Association reports a 24-31% increase in mental health-related emergency room visits in kids and teens in 2020. Kids are struggling and a great way to help is with extracurricular activities. While we do need to proceed carefully, choosing what is right for each child and family, and resisting the urge to overschedule, extracurricular activities are more important now than ever.

6 Ways Extracurricular Activities Help Kids Today 1) Extracurricular activities are an outlet. Whether playing a team

sport or learning a new form of art, these activities allow for a chance to have less structured experiences from typical school/home life. The ability to create or interact helps kids get their feelings, frustrations, and fears out in a productive, safe way. 8 WNY Family September 2022

2) Extracurricular activities promote interaction. Taking a cre-

ative class or joining a team helps kids interact with peers in a fun way, promoting positive relationships. In a world where time with other people all but came to a halt, kids need to learn how to connect with others again. Common interests and goals provide a safe, lightly structured format for these interactions.

3) Extracurricular activities provide direction. It has been two

years of unknowns for all of us, including kids. While they have been incredibly resilient and proven they can roll with so many changes, re-entry isn’t easy for every child. An enrichment club or a recreational sport can give them some direction and stability in a world that has lacked both. Even a simple once-a-week activity on the calendar is something kids can look forward to as proof that their world isn’t turned upside down.

4) Extracurricular activities give an escape. While it is im-

portant to talk about our

years could be characterized by many things, but fun hasn’t been at the top of the list. A weekly chess club or a run around the bases with the baseball team goes a long way to reinstating fun in our everyday lives. Kids need to remember that it’s not only okay to smile, laugh, and have fun with friends, it’s essential.

6) Extracurricular activities help them mature. Part of life

is learning about who we are, the things we like, and the activities that make us come alive. Exploring extracurricular activities give kids a broader framework for discovery about themselves. When we encourage this in our kids, we have a front-row seat to them becoming more fully who they are. Rebecca Hastings traded the classroom for writing when she stayed home with her three children. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, three teens, and two dogs. You can find her at RebeccaHastings.net and on Amazon. In real life, she can often be found typing words, driving her kids places, or wherever there is chocolate.


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September 2022 WNY Family 9


— by Rebecca Hastings

T

eaching your child how to do double-digit addition or about World War II is important. But those are limited skills and facts. Teaching your child to love learning offers them a lifetime of discovery, far outside the classroom. Here are 18 easy ways to foster a love of learning in the middle of everyday life.

1) Read to them. Reading not only has physical and emotional benefits but there is also concrete evidence that it helps brain development and academic growth. With so much possibility, reading is the perfect way to help kids fall in love with learning. 2) Let them see you read. While reading to your children has many benefits, letting them see you read shows kids that reading is forever. It’s not just for babies. It’s not just for school. Read in front of them (and Facebook doesn’t count).

18 Simple Ways to Infuse Each Day with

LEARNING

10 WNY Family September 2022

3) Be outdoors. Time outside provides opportunities for fine and gross motor development, risk-taking, and exploring, all of which prove beneficial to learning. There is also a direct correlation between time outside and reduction of stress, confidence building, and exposure to different stimulation.

4) Sing, play, and listen to music.

The brain benefits of music are numerous. Plus, music can bring joy, relaxation, and express ideas.

5) Relax. True learning goes far beyond grades in a classroom. Show them you believe that.

6) Embrace what they love. Give kids the opportunity to explore the things they love. If your child is into


trains right now find books about trains, build a train, draw a train, watch trains at the train station. Allow your child to guide their learning through their passions.

7) Talk about learning. Let them know when you discover something new. “Wow, I never knew that popcorn could burn so quickly. I wonder why.” Kids need to see that we are always learning, even in the ordinary.

8) Ask questions. I know, as a parent, it feels like all we do is answer questions. So start asking. “How did that bird know I just put birdseed out?” or “Why are there police officers guarding the construction workers?” Questions are the foundation of learning. 9) Give them money. I know it can be painfully slow, but letting them pay at the store and count change is real-life learning. And if you use plastic for all your payments, talk about how that works, too.

10) Wonder. Encourage them to think freely about things, without boundaries. Some of the best ideas started with wild wondering!

11) Play. School keeps kids busy learning good things. But there is less room for play on a regular day. Giving kids the opportunity to play with no agenda allows them to be better thinkers. 12) Ask random math questions.

Math facts are foundational for good mental math, but kids don’t always want more schoolwork. Make math facts fun by asking them when you’re doing something else like driving, hiking, making dinner. Make it easy, fun, and short!

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13) Keep reading picture books.

Even as kids get older, picture books can provide unique learning opportunities. Increased connection with the text, vocabulary, and a more sensory approach to reading helps the experience be enjoyable and beneficial.

14) Go places. Visit the sea or a mountain. Spend time at the free art museum or check out the historical house in town. Experiences make learning part of life and create a schema, a personal framework for learning.

15) Create. Giving kids the chance to create through art, music, science, or any imaginative play helps them develop better thinking skills that translate far outside the classroom. 16) Enlist help. Helping with adult tasks gives kids new skills and shows them the need to learn throughout life. Cooking, taking pictures, changing the oil, doing laundry — all show kids that there is always something new they can do. 17) Fail. Often. Let them see that failure is part of learning. Recognizing failure as part of the learning process rather than an end to learning shows kids to keep going. Demonstrate that it’s okay, even good, to fail because it’s all part of the learning. 18) Did I mention read? It’s one of the simplest things you can do with endless possibilities. Read to learn, for fun, and life. Rebecca Hastings traded the classroom for writing when she stayed home with her three children.

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How to Survive the

E L E M E N TA R Y School Years:

ommends kids be limited to no more than two hours of entertainment-based screen time per day. To gain cooperation, invite your child to help you establish media use rules. List the various forms of media used by your child, including TV, video games, computer, tablet, and cell phone. Establish a total number of hours per day your kid can use media. Then ask your child to help you break down how much of that time can be spent on specific forms. Also, discuss the measures you’ll take if rules are violated.

Chore Wars

— by Kimberly Blaker

8 Parenting Tips for Ages 6 to 10

Y

ou survived potty training and the terrible twos; you’ve reclaimed your bed, and your child is now somewhat selfsufficient. Life ought to be smooth sailing from here on, right? Perhaps. That is if you don’t take into account the elementary school-age battles that lie just ahead. But don’t sweat it. The following tips will help you ride out this adventuresome yet trying stage.

Tattletales Does your child tattle every time a sibling or playmate breaks a rule? Kids tattle for many reasons. Sometimes they don’t understand the difference between tattling and telling about something important. Other times, kids are looking to get another into trouble. So explain the difference between tattling and telling. Tattling is when someone breaks a rule (or when there is no rule), and breaking the rule is relatively harmless. Telling, on the other hand, is when another child does something that could cause harm to oneself or others. Make a rule that you don’t want 12 WNY Family September 2022

to hear any tattling, but that telling is okay and even necessary.

Lying Every child tells a lie at some point or another. Even most adults are guilty of occasional white lies. Still, teaching kids to be honest is vital to developing into trustworthy adults and their ability to form intimate relationships. Talk to your child about how lying diminishes yours and others’ ability to trust your child. Explain how it can impact your child’s relationships. Then, if you catch your kid in a lie, explain how his or her future freedom and privileges are dependent on how well you can trust your child. Also, to build your kid’s trust in you, practice being open and nonjudgmental. This will go a long way toward your child’s openness with you.

As your child grows, so should his or her responsibilities. In the elementary years, kids can pick up their rooms, set and clear off the table, sort their laundry, fold laundry, put away their clean clothes, bring in the mail, rake leaves, and dust, among other simple tasks. So have your child choose a small number of simple chores. As your kid grows, increase the amount or level of difficulty. To gain cooperation, set a regular schedule for each task, and offer daily or weekly rewards or an allowance.

Homework Hassles This is a routine challenge for many parents. So hold a meeting with your child to discuss homework. Explain you’re going to set some rules. Then give your kid a couple of choices to increase cooperation. One option might be 30 minutes of free time or media time after school before having to begin homework. Another option could be to do chores and free time right after school. Then homework will start immediately following dinner. But avoid saving homework until late in the evening. Also, find a distraction-free location in your home that is always for homework. Then require your kids to put their phones on the charger, away from the area when doing homework.

Media Overload

Name-Calling & Teasing

With the overwhelming variety of media available to kids, it’s hard to know where to draw the line. But the American Academy of Pediatrics rec-

Sometimes when kids call each other names, they’re just playing. If they’re going back and forth at each other, both laughing and having a good time, it


probably isn’t a big deal. As long as it’s play, balanced, and no one’s feelings are getting hurt, you can let it go. But if it’s one-sided, mean-spirited, or the child on the receiving end seems angry, upset, scared, or hurt by it, it’s usually best to intervene. First, try to empower the teased child, and encourage him or her to tell the other to stop. If necessary, take a more direct approach, and make clear to the child doing the teasing how hurtful the behavior is and that it isn’t acceptable.

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The question of where babies come from, and discussions of puberty, can leave even the most open-minded parents fumbling. So, prepare in advance for the inevitable discussions so you can answer questions in the best way possible and without showing discomfort. Your comfort is essential to making your kid feel comfortable and will lead to more openness from your child as he or she matures.

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In the later elementary years, discuss puberty and sex more completely. Many kids reach puberty by the age of 10. So make sure your pre-teen is fully prepared for the changes that’ll take place. By late elementary, some kids are already talking about it among each other and are full of misinformation. So having this discussion is crucial to ensure your child is accurately informed about sex.

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— by Rebecca Hastings

3) Is my child following the school guidelines that may still be in force regarding the pandemic? While every school may have different policies in place, we are all dealing with the pandemic in a learning environment. Understanding how your child is following the guidelines is important to maximize his or her learning time.

7 Productive Questions to Ask Teachers at Conferences

Fall conferences are around the corner, and with the ups and downs of school during the pandemic, it is especially important to make the most of this time to connect with the teacher.

A

s a parent, I get excited about that fifteen-minute slot allotted to have a oneon-one with my child’s teacher. I look forward to hearing about progress, struggles, and strengths through more than what I see in homework worksheets. Sometimes a conference goes great, but sometimes we walk away thinking we just heard a script that is being repeated for every student. Starting the conference with specific questions allows you to focus on what is important regarding your child. Areas of study covered or assessment scores can be done quickly, and even in other communications. Addressing the following questions will give both you and the teacher a better understanding of the child throughout the year. Here are seven questions you can ask to help you get the most from those minutes with the teacher.

1) What do you see as an area of strength for my child? This question focuses the discussion on your child specifically while still allowing the teacher to evaluate all subjects. Sometimes parents find this answer surprising, as kids can show different abilities in the classroom than at 14 WNY Family September 2022

home. Fostering a love of learning can help bring these hidden strengths out in the home as well as at school.

2) If you could pick one area to focus on improving for my child, what would it be? Sometimes it is difficult to think about all areas of learning at once. Focusing on one area at a time for improvement helps define the priorities within the classroom. It also gives something concrete to work on at home. It is great to update this question with the teacher throughout the year. Sending an email or utilizing school communication apps is a great way to check in regarding progress, as well as allowing the teacher to shift the focus to something new as your child improves.

This also gives you a chance to ensure you fully understand and are comfortable with the guidelines. It is important to note that a conference is not an invitation to argue about the guidelines. Likely, the teacher has little say in what the guidelines are; those discussions are between you and the administration. It is helpful, however, to make sure you and your child understand and follow the daily guidelines in the classroom so his or her learning is uninterrupted and as successful as possible.

4) How does my child contribute to the class atmosphere? This may seem like an unusual question, but it can provide a lot of information. Different personalities shine in different ways independently, but as you blend twenty of those unique personalities new things can be revealed. This will give you an idea of how much your child may contribute to class discussions or how they may be a great helper for another student. Maybe you’ll discover that your child is great at following directions and modeling good behavior for other students, or even that they provide a funny idea to give everyone a laugh. Asking this question gives insight into how your child’s personality comes through in an academic environment. This is especially useful to understand as kids approach middle school and issues like popularity can impact their learning experience.

5) Who does my child work well with? Allowing the teacher to look at the social element of learning is just as im-


portant as academics. This can be a good barometer of how a child is doing socially as well as give parents insight. Understanding whom your child can work well with at school, compared to the “fun friend” who may be a distraction when it comes to school work, will help everyone create a more successful learning environment. Vanderbilt University has shown that increasing social skills result in students who are more responsive to academic learning.

6) How is my child handling the emotional elements of the pandemic? Beyond following any existing current pandemic guidelines, asking specifically about the mental health components of your child is essential. Frequent, open discussions about his or her mental health during the pandemic and overall has never been more important. Talk about any emotional struggles you see and ask the teacher what they see in the classroom. This is a great opportunity to discuss resources like school counseling or lunch groups that may help your child process complex feelings.

7) Do you have any concerns about my child? This question can never be asked too much. Sometimes we are so busy getting through the list of assessments, reading levels, and academic achievements that we can miss the bigger picture. Giving teachers and parents both the pause to consider any areas of concern emotionally, socially, or developmentally addresses the whole child in his or her learning environment. Rebecca Hastings traded the grades 1-6 classroom for writing when she stayed home with her three children. Passionate about authenticity, faith, and family, you can find her at RebeccaHastings.net and on Amazon. In real life, she can often be found typing words, driving her kids places, or wherever there is chocolate. September 2022 WNY Family 15


Some Benefits of Making Mistakes The best way to benefit from mistakes is to analyze what was done right and what wasn’t. Asking questions is a good way to get that information. “Why do you think so?” or “You’re right about that part, but let’s look at…” This sort of exchange brings the learner into a dialogue in which all participants are on a journey to understanding.

— by Jan Pierce

Be sure to share your own mistakes: how they happened, what you learned and your attitude toward them. 

Want Your Kids to Learn?

Teach Them It’s Okay to Make Mistakes

I

t’s normal for parents to want to protect their children from failure. It’s also normal to want them to achieve and win and do their best. But here’s the awful truth. We don’t learn anything new without making mistakes. I’ll say it again. Making mistakes is a crucial step in learning. If we’re fearful of making mistakes, learning comes to a screeching halt. Remember when your child was learning to walk? There were certainly a few bumps and boo boos involved with that learning process. But babies have a fierce willingness to risk a fall or two for the great reward of mastering balance and motion. Unfortunately as we grow older, we begin to measure our successes and failures in different ways. We receive feedback from others or compare ourselves to them. It’s a bit harder to risk looking foolish and a paper marked in a lot of red can tempt us to quit trying. But mistakes offer an opportunity to learn. What did we understand? What do we still need to learn? For some children this willingness to be wrong is more difficult than for others. Parents can encourage strong learning skills with ongoing reminders that it’s part of learning to make mistakes. Once a mistake is made, however, the analysis of what went wrong is a crucial part of learning how to do it right. 16 WNY Family September 2022

Some Famous Mistakes

Making mistakes gives us concrete evidence about what we know and don’t know. It’s beneficial to see where our understanding broke down. We may have gotten part of a problem right, but failed to understand one bit of information to achieve total success. We see what we need to learn.

 We know we aren’t perfect. And, Did you know some of our most if we look around, we see that important and interesting inventions other learners aren’t perfect, either. were made by mistake? It’s true. In Learning is a cycle of trying and 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered failing until we succeed. penicillin when he left some unwashed  We learn to persevere. Most skills petri dishes in his laboratory while goworth learning take time, effort and ing on vacation. When he perseverance. Seeing misreturned, he noticed portakes as part of the journey “Anyone who tions of the staph bacteria is invaluable in developon the cultures had died has never ing a strong work ethic. and discovered the fungus  We learn to let the made a growing there to be of the stress go. Once we accept genus penicillium. He remistake has that mistakes are not horported, “One sometimes rible blots on our record, never tried finds what one is not lookwe relax and are free to ing for.” make the decision to keep anything working until we achieve. Swiss engineer new.” Parents, you can help Georges de Mestral creyour kids accept the truth ated Velcro® after study— Albert Einstein that mistakes are a natural ing the tiny hooks at the part of the learning proend of burrs stuck to his cess in every facet of life. Your children dog’s fur. Silly Putty was created during will be happier and more resilient as WWII when engineer James Wright was they understand the role mistakes make trying to invent an inexpensive alternain pointing them in the right direction as tive to synthetic rubber. And, best of all, they learn. chocolate chip cookies were made by mistake when the chef at the Toll House Jan Pierce, M.Ed., is a retired teacher Inn ran out of baking chocolate and and a writer. She is the author of “Homeused chopped up semi-sweet chocolate, grown Readers and Homegrown Family thinking it would permeate the dough. Fun.” Find Jan at www.janpierce.net. What a delicious mistake!


DEAR TEACHER – by Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts

Helping all parents make their children’s educational experience as successful as possible

What Makes for a Good Routine for School Children

Q

uestion: I am looking forward to things getting back to normal this school year with hopefully face-toface instruction all year long. I am wondering how much routine we should have in our family on school days? I don’t want the children organized down to the last minute. — For Some Routine Answer: There are definitely no hard and fast rules about how much routine children should have during the school year. Routines need to reflect each child’s personality and needs. For example, a child with ADHD will definitely profit from quite a bit of structure, while one who seems to have a built-in organizer can function with far fewer routines. There is a need to have some routines in every home just to make things function smoothly. This should include a morning routine that will have a time for getting up and dressed, eating, and a routine for leaving the home with everything needed for school. Most homes also have homework and bedtime routines to give a sameness to every day. No routine should cover every minute of the day. Free time needs to be part of every routine. Basic routines need to be written out and displayed. Pictures can be used for young children. Another thing about following routines is that they need to

be flexible. They will change as activities are added or eliminated, and when routines are disrupted by outside events, dinner and homework times can be changed. To help some children follow routines, especially early morning ones, a kitchen timer can be used to show when a particular activity should begin or end. Rewards can also be used if they are an effective tool in encouraging children to follow routines. Finally, if a routine doesn’t seem to be working, change it. And the older your children get, the more input you should get from them.

The Benefits of Recess Question: I know recess is important for all kids, especially ADHD kids. Is it better for it to be free play or teacher-directed? How long is recess at most elementary schools, and is it the same as physical education time? — For Exercise Answer: There is an abundance of literature on the need and benefits of children getting sufficient physical activity every day. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity every day. And school time devoted to recess can obviously balance the sedentary lives so many children live. Unfortunately, as academics and testing have become more important, recess time has been reduced and reduced

until it is almost non-existent in some schools. Right now, the average amount of time devoted to recess is about 26 minutes per day for elementary school children. While recess time decreases as children age, it has been shown that time allotted to a break from academic subjects is also beneficial for adolescents. Incidentally, when recess is associated with lunch time, it has been found that it is better to have it precede lunch, as more time is then devoted to lunch and less food is wasted as students are not rushing through lunch to enjoy recess. Studies do show that children as well as adolescents are more attentive and productive in classrooms after recess or break time. Furthermore, it is extremely counter-productive for teachers to take away recess time for punitive or academic reasons. Recess is a welcome respite to vigorous academic tasks. Some teachers hold brief in-class exercise sessions of about five minutes after children have been working steadily for 45 minutes and find it keeps the children more focused on the next tasks. Studies are definitely divided on whether recess time should be free play or teacher directed. Each have advantages. Free play is a great opportunity for children to develop their social skills such as playing fair and sharing. On the other hand, teacher direction can teach children new games and athletic skills. Plus, there is more active participation by all students regardless of their skill level. Nevertheless, there is complete agreement from both sides of this question that there definitely should be teacher supervision on the playground to ensure the safety of all the children. As far as physical education goes, three-fourths of our states require physical education in elementary through high school. But you need to realize that more than half of the states allow recess, dance classes, and other activities to be substituted for this requirement. And most states do not mandate the amount of time that should be devoted to physical education. Parents should send questions and comments to dearteacher@dearteacher.com, and visit the dearteacher.com website to learn more about helping their children succeed in school. September 2022 WNY Family 17


PICK OF THE LITERATURE — by Dr. Donna Phillips

H

ere is comes, ready or not!!! The school bus is out front and the classrooms are ready! Now it is time for students and parents to get ready for the start of the new school year. It seems everyone starts off with the best of intentions. We will be up and ready on time. We will pay close attention and get our homework done on time. We will get along with everyone in school and at home. And then reality sets in and it all begins to fall apart. But there is nothing wrong with that. It just might be that we need to revisit those first days and those good intentions. Of course, books are a great way to do this. Choo-Choo School (Candlewick Press, Somerville, 2022, $8.99), written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Mike Yamada, is a little board book for young children that is full of clever puns for older readers about being in a school for trains. What can you expect on your first day of train school? The teacher “helps us stay on track,” and asks if we are “ready to train our minds.” While doing math our “wheels are turning,” students move from station to station, and they play to “blow off steam.” The “Conductor leads” the music class. Such a busy day and so much fun! Before you know it, you will be “off and rolling…” Next stop is Choo-Choo School!

18 WNY Family September 2022

Imagine the first day in a new school and winding up on the wrong bus! That is what happens in Puppy Bus (Abrams Books for Young Readers, New York 2022, $17.99), written and illustrated by Drew Brockington. In this story it is not only the wrong bus, but it is the wrong school! While the boy worries about his first day, he doesn’t notice that the bus he gets on is going to the wrong school. That is, until he gets a bit wet kiss from a dog sitting next to him. Once he gets to school, he realizes they only speak dog there, the les-


sons are strange, and even his teachers are dogs. The lunch tastes like dog food, and the bathroom outdoors is another story. Just when he can’t take much more, it is play time and everything changes. The next morning he happily gets on the bus only to find it is the bus to Kitty School… What is a school and what happens there? It is a place for children, and teachers, and learning. It has hallways, and classes and helpers, but it is even more than that. In This is a School (Candlewick Press, Somerville, 2022, $17.99), written by John Schu and illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison, we learn that it is a community. It is a place for trying, growing, questioning, connecting, expanding, transforming, working, understanding, and celebrating. It is a place for everyone to come together to explore who we are, who we want to become, and the ways that this community of learners can help us get there. Who hasn’t started a new school year thinking about what they want to be when they grow up? Part of schooling is to help us explore who we are, what we are interested in, and what we want to do with our talents. Not sure what your options are yet? You Can Be ABC’s (Philomel, New York, 2022, $17.99), written by rapper Robert Samuel White II and his son, Robert Samuel White III and illustrated by Robert Paul Jr., has some wonderful ideas and options! These aren’t your everyday options either. Consider being a A-Architect, B-Biochemist, C-Computer Software Developer, G-Gastroenterologist, I-Intelligence Officer, M-Mobile App Developer, QQuantum Physicist, or even a U-University President! Written with the rapper cadence in mind, it is fun to read and get children involved, too. If you want to get an idea of what it can sound like, visit https://www.penguinrandomhouseaudio.com/book/678234/you-can-be-abcs/ So, this new school year doesn’t have to be like others. Get ready. Make a plan. Revisit it weekly. Revise your plan. Repeat! With books like these at your local library, bookstore, or online, you can dream big and plan well. Keep focused on the big picture but remember to watch the details… you don’t want to wind up on the wrong bus! Dr. Donna Phillips is an associate professor in the College of Education at Niagara University where her specialty is literacy and children’s literature. She lives on Grand Island, NY and is the mother of two adult children and the grandmother of one.

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One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Understanding Your Child’s Temperament

— by Sarah Lyons

O

ne size does not fit all when it comes to raising kids. Any mom of more than one child knows that every child is different and will react differently when faced with the same situation. They are also likely to react differently to the same parenting techniques. While it is important to be fair to all children, adjusting parenting style to fit the needs of each child can help with their development and long term behavior. As a mom of six, I have to constantly check myself, and my interactions with each child, to make sure I am using the best techniques to fit the individual child.

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I have one child that will almost always do what I ask, the first time I ask. I have another that needs repeated reminders to complete the same task, and another that forgets to do the task, but is hurt by reminders because it makes him feel incompetent. For this child I have to wait for him to remember on his own or ask questions that prompt him to remember, such as “Do you have practice after school?” — which causes him to remember that he needs to bring the clothes he would have otherwise forgotten. How does one go about adjusting your parenting style to fit your child?

Do Your Research

As a parent, you are the expert on your child. Take note of how they respond to different kinds of discipline, rewards, and encouragement. What types of situations are the most troubling for them and where do they excel the most? Read articles and books on parenting and discipline styles, talk to their teachers and other caregivers, and ask your child about their feelings. This will help you understand their temperament and give you an idea of what might work best when it comes to discipline and helping them face challenging situations. How kids handle stress can be a great indicator of the best way to judge what type of response they need most from you. I have one child that needs a hug when he is upset, another finds physical activity is the best way to release stress, and another wants someone to listen while she talks about her feelings. None of these responses to stress are wrong, they are just different. As a parent we have the opportunity to help our kids work through things in the way they feel most comfortable.

Do A Self-Check

After you have an idea of your child’s temperament, it is time to do a self-check. What is your temperament and what is your go-to response when you are mad, sad, and frustrated? How does it


line up with the best way to handle those same feelings when they arise in each of your children? What are some common conflicts or situations that your child faces and how can you change your response to make the discussion more productive? This process will take some time to figure out and will involve some trial and error. The effort will be worth it when communication is improved between you and your child.

Teamwork

Once you have some techniques that work in place, you must make sure others are on the same page. Talk to your child’s other parents, teachers, and caregivers and find out what is working (or not working) for them when it comes to handling challenging situations with your child. Share what has been successful for you and try to create consistency whenever possible.

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If your child is mature enough, discuss with them what they respond well to and what may be making situations worse. Try to be honest and flexible when coming up with techniques that work best for your family. Adjusting your parenting style to the child does take some additional work, especially in the beginning, but it can help build a supportive and healthy relationship between you and your child. It will also benefit you as they develop skills they need to better handle situations they may face. Sarah Lyons’ work has been published in Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine KC Parent, Austin Family, Creative Child and over 160 other parenting publications.

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One Parent’s Experience:

Taming Mount

O

— by Sarah Lyons

Laundry

ne day after school, I handed my son a heaping basket of clothes to put away and he said, “I just put laundry away yesterday! Why is there always more?” I chuckled to myself as he reluctantly carried the basket to his room. How many times have I asked the same silly question as I faced the pile of dirty clothes? I can’t make it disappear, but here are some tips to tame “Mount Laundry.”

Make It A Family Affair

The laundry load can be lightened if everyone pitches in. “My husband and I have a deal worked out. I do all the washing, drying, and folding. He then puts everything away,” says Katlyn Purkapile. Kids can also get involved. “My best tip is to teach your children how to do laundry as early as possible”, says mom Jessi Cole. “They put most of their clothes away by themselves and they fold and switch loads.” When family members share the laundry responsibilities, it goes quickly and doesn’t fall on one person’s shoulders.

To Sort

Sorting the laundry can be half the battle. Place baskets for whites, darks, and colors in a central location and have family members sort their clothes as they take them off each day. When one of the baskets is full, simply dump it into the washer without having to take the time to sort through dirty clothes.

Or Not to Sort

Some families have eliminated the sorting step altogether. Sara Sinani, mother of three, skips sorting her children’s clothes. “I wash all my kids’ clothes without sorting. Each kid has his own basket so that way I can keep their socks separated.” Mom of three, Angela Leever, uses the same method. “Every 22 WNY Family September 2022

kid has a hamper in their own room and I wash everyone’s things separately. It goes from their own basket to the washer, dryer, and I put it right back in their room.” Sorting the laundry into piles based on color, then back into stacks for each family member takes a lot of time. By implementing this method, families can eliminate the frustration of making sure things are returned to the proper owner and shorten the time they spend handling the laundry.

Assign Laundry Days

Some families prefer to set aside one to two laundry days a week like Julie Keller, mom of three. Keller says “I do three big loads and fold them as soon as they are dry. I try to get it done on Friday so my weekend isn’t spent in the laundry room.” Larger families may benefit from doing a load or two every day, like mother of seven, Krystal Laws. “Two loads of laundry each day is much easier than 10 in one day.” The key is to choose which method works for your family and stick to it. Having a set laundry day (or days) frees up time for other chores or more enjoyable pastimes.

Sock Solution

Where do all the socks go? Sherrie Hoffman, mother of two, may have found a solution “I put a name on a zippered lingerie bag and each person puts his or her socks in that until I do a load. I only have to match the pairs that are in

the sack when the laundry is done.”

Wear It Again

While it may sound simple, only wash clothing when it is dirty. Reuse towels and wear pajamas more than once. Jeans and sweaters can often be worn several times before washing. These small changes can make a significant difference in the size of the laundry pile.

Get A Head Start

Put a load in the washer before bed and when you wake in the morning, move the clothes to the dryer and start another load. When the dryer is done, fold and put away laundry and move clothes from washer to dryer. The faster it moves, the sooner it will be done.

Go Commercial

Michelle Hupp has a tip for when laundry gets really behind. “If I’m really overwhelmed, I go to the laundromat and do it all at once.” Take advantage of the commercial-sized washers and dryers and use several machines at the same time. You will be able to do multiple loads in the time it would take to do one at home. The challenge of taming “Mount Laundry” is a problem that will never go away, but with these tips you should be able to stay on top of it rather than buried under it. Sarah Lyons is a mother of six who knows a lot about taming “Mount Laundry.”


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years. “During the Civil War she became the first woman to lead an armed military raid in June 1863. She was also a Union scout, spy, nurse, and sold pie and root beer to Union soldiers.”

FAMILY TRAVEL — by Deborah Williams

However, his story about five-yearold Tubman getting a whipping after grabbing a cube of sugar in her owner’s house will always stay with me. She carried the scars of those days for life, as well as seizures, pain, and other health complications from a traumatic childhood head injury. She escaped slavery alone, in the fall of 1849, when she was 27 years old. A runaway advertisement at the time, offering $100 for her capture, described her as “of chestnut color, fine looking and about five feet high.”

Auburn Celebrates

Harriet Tubman’s

A

Bicentennial

billboard welcomes visitors to Harriet Tubman’s home in Auburn. The banners along South Street where she lived for more than 50 years herald the bicentennial of Tubman’s birth in 1822.

This Central New York city in the Finger Lakes region likes to call itself Tubman’s “chosen home.” International Underground Railroad Month is being celebrated worldwide in September and Tubman’s home is shining a light on the famed abolitionist, Civil War spy, suffragist, and humanitarian’s inspirational life and legacy. Auburn has had a significant role in American and New York history, boasts three neighboring Finger Lakes, and the nearby Erie Canal Heritage Park. It is also home to the state’s only Bass Pro Store (dogs welcome). 26 WNY Family September 2022

Born Araminta Ross on Maryland’s Eastern shore, Tubman was the middle child of nine enslaved siblings. She went on to become one of the most lauded and revered figures in American history. She is also the only woman to have two national parks dedicated in her honor — in Maryland and Auburn. In the National Park Service Visitors Center on the Auburn property where Tubman lived for more than 50 years until her death in 1913, Rev. Paul Gordan Carter, an animated speaker, regaled visitors with the story of her remarkable life. On the wall behind Carter was a long timeline of her life and events that led to the abolition of slavery. “Here we try to enlighten people about her free life,” explained Carter who has been telling Tubman’s story here for 32

Once free, she became an operator of the Underground Railroad — a secret network of people, places and routes that provided shelter and assistance to escaping slaves. She courageously returned to Maryland at least 13 times over the course of a decade to rescue her parents, brothers, family members, and friends, guiding them safely to freedom. By 1860, Tubman had earned the nickname “Moses” for liberating so many enslaved people at great risk to her own life. With the help of William Seward, U.S. Senator, Governor, and finally Secretary of State, Tubman acquired the South Street property down the street from Seward’s impressive mansion. His home also became a stop on the Underground Railroad. Today her home and the white frame house that she operated as the Home for Aged and Indigent Negroes are part of the national park. Her home is slated for renovation, but visitors are allowed to briefly step inside the nursing home building. First stop on your Auburn visit should be the impressive Equal Rights Heritage Center, next door to the Seward Home. This is a Visitors Center extraordinaire. Part welcome center and part exhibit hall, there are maps, interactive displays and a state-of-the-art exhibition titled “Seeing Equal Rights in NYS.” There is also a Taste NY Market with local foods for sale. Check out the Tubman


statue in the courtyard. Children can pick up a Kids Cayuga Lake Puzzle Book and a Junior Ranger Activity Book. After learning about the Underground Railroad, children are invited to pledge to do their part to help preserve the history of the Underground Railroad and become a Junior Ranger. Seward traveled throughout the world on extended trips, but it was to his Auburn home that the city’s most famous citizen was drawn “by an irresistible spell.” His home in the city’s historic district is one of the most remarkable in the state. Seward, who lost the presidential nomination to Abraham Lincoln but went on to be secretary of state for eight years under Lincoln and President Andrew Johnson, lived in the house for nearly half a century.

Everything is original to the property — a rarity in historic houses. Much of the furniture in the front parlor was originally in Seward’s formal parlor in his Washington D.C. home in the 1860s. Lincoln, a close friend, sat on the gold leaf chairs during his frequent visits to Seward’s home to escape the chaos of the White House during the Civil War. Seward was famous for his elaborate dinner parties and the dining room is ready for another dinner, complete with a sampling of the family’s silver and china. continued on page 28

What makes the Seward House so special is that it was enjoyed by four generations of the family until 1951. It was then given to a foundation that operates the house today. The Sewards kept everything and the house is large enough to display many of the family’s possessions.

September 2022 WNY Family 27


FAMILY TRAVEL continued... The house has an impressive collection of souvenirs from Seward’s extensive career and world travels. Pieces of bloodstained sheets from Seward’s bed are framed and on display. On the night that Lincoln was assassinated, Seward himself was attacked in his bed and almost killed. Seward amassed one of the most extensive Civil War libraries in the nation and many of the books are autographed by their authors. Up on the second floor we were surrounded by 130 photos in the Diplomate Gallery — heads of state from around the world — most of whom Seward had personally met in his travels. Seward is most famous for negotiating the purchase of Alaska from Russia at a price of $7.2 million or two cents an acre. At the time skeptics called it Seward’s Folly or Seward’s Icebox. Of course, it quickly proved to be one of the best deals in American history. Seward and Tubman are both buried in Fort Hill Cemetery, just a few blocks from their homes. Tubman’s headstone is engraved “Servant of God, Well Done.” Skaneateles Lake and village is just seven miles east of Auburn and boasts a William Seward connection. He called the 16-mile-long lake “the most beautiful body of water in the world” after returning from a trip around the world. The lake is considered the bluest of the Finger Lakes and according to Indian legend the sky spirits used to lean out of their home to admire themselves in the lake’s reflection when the heavens were nearer to the earth than they are now. The lake spirits fell in love with the sky spirits and absorbed the color of the sky spirit’s robes into the water, thus giving the lake its beautiful deep blue color. A popular activity during the summer and early fall season is a cruise on one of the boats operated by Mid-Lakes Navigation Co. There are sightseeing, lunch, dinner, brunch, and various special event cruises. Driving east on the New York Thruway to Auburn, there is a must see stop between exits 41 and 40 — the Port Bryon Old Erie Canal Heritage Park. It is a unique joint venture between the Canal Society of New York, which owns the preserved historic properties, and the New York State Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation, which owns the Erie Canal lock. It is free, offers rest rooms, gift shop, peppermint candies for children, and dog biscuits for your dog. The park is the only historic site in the nation with direct access from an interstate highway. It is also accessible from Rt. 31 in nearby Port Bryon. It is very dog friendly. From the early days of the canalside saloon and boarding house, Maud, a large friendly looking dog, presided over the property. She was even credited with saving her owner’s life. In the Visitor’s Center, follow the paw prints to the lock, historic buildings, and exhibits. Sam, my well-traveled 28 WNY Family September 2022


yellow Lab, gives the park five paws because of plentiful treats and pets. The old Enlarged Erie Canal Lock 52 completed in 1853 adjacent to the eastbound lane of the Thruway — one of the most intact and well-preserved 19th-century canal locks in the state — is a focal attraction of the park. It was constructed with twin chambers for two-way traffic. Here visitors can walk through the lock. Follow the path from the lock to the Erie House complex of three restored buildings including the Erie House, an 1895 saloon and boarding house built by Italian immigrant brothers Pietro and Salvatore Van Detto; the 1896 Mule Barn; and the 1896 Blacksmith Shop. Step into the Erie House where a friendly volunteer was eager to answer questions and tell the story of the early days. Check out the rates: 5 cents to sleep sitting up; 10 cents to sleep on the floor; 20 cents to sleep in bed (likely three to a bed); 2530 cents to sleep in a single bed by yourself. The original bar has been restored but alas no drinks are available. The Auburn area boasts a wealth of firsts and fun facts. Auburn Correctional Facility was built in 1816 and is the oldest continuously operating maximum security prison in North America. Stickley furniture has long been highly prized and is still made in nearby Manlius. Gustav Stickley, company founder, ran the prison woodworking shop. Not fun, but the first electric chair and first electrocution was completed at Auburn. The first commercially successful system of sound film was invented in 1923 in the Case Research Lab here. The rights were later sold to Fox Studios. Abner Doubleday, baseball’s legendary founder, spent much of his life in Auburn. Auburn’s minor league baseball team, the Auburn Doubledays, is named in his honor. Travel Tip of the Month: For more information on Auburn and Cayuga County visit tourcayuga.com or call 800-4999615 or 315-255-1658. For Skaneateles visit Skaneateles.com or call 315-685-0552. For Port Bryon Old Erie Canal Heritage Park call 315-776-4601 or visit newyorkcanals.org. Deborah Williams lives in Holland, NY and is a veteran travel writer whose work has appeared in national and international publications. She is the recipient of the Society of American Travel Writers’ Lowell Thomas Gold Travel Writing Award.

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September 24th & 25th, 2022 ~ 10am-5pm

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WEEKEND HAY RIDES, DOG DEMOS, KIDS’ PROGRAMS Hay Rides are haunted Oct. 1 – 31

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September 2022 WNY Family 29


RAISING DIGITAL KIDS

and when detective. If the search occurred on a shared device like an iPad, outside individuals could be involved. I’ve spoken with several parents who discovered it was a friend over for a play date or an older relative who made a poor choice. In some cases, this will be a slam dunk, and you will have no doubt about who you need to speak with. In others, though, the waters can be a bit muddy. The best advice I can give is to be thoughtful during this process. Don’t jump to conclusions.

— by Mike Daugherty

Detective Mom

Y

ou discover someone has searched something inappropriate on one of the devices in your house. This is an all too common scenario that plays out in households across the country. On the surface, this seems like Parenting 101, right? Find the culprit and implement an appropriate level of discipline. Unfortunately, it is seldom that simple. The “who did it” and “what did they search” makes this a much more complex issue to address. Put on your detective hat! We’re going to take the classic board game “Clue” approach to help you determine precisely what happened and how you can address it. You need to figure out three main items with Clue: Who, Where, and What. Let’s start with the What.

The What

Take a breath. You may be overreacting. What you saw in the search history may be a perfectly innocent query, depending on what exactly was searched. The “What” is the easiest of the three main pieces you need to determine. The first thing you should do is take a picture or screenshot of what term or terms were searched and when this occurred. Screen captures of the original issue will ensure you don’t accidentally erase the evidence as you investigate the issue. Be sure to scroll through the history a bit to see if this was a one time search or something more pervasive. Once that is complete, use Google to search the exact same phrase for yourself. Review the links that appear in the search results. Make sure to click “Images” at the top under the search bar to see the term’s pictures. It is essential to know what links and images your child may have been exposed to. Knowing what they may have viewed will be important when you discuss what happened with them. You will get the most accurate results by doing this from the same device that you initially 30 WNY Family September 2022

Honest Conversations

discovered the questionable search. You can use your smartphone if that is not an easily accessible option. The collection of search results is your “What.”

The Where (and When)

The date and time from the screenshot in Step 1 should help you narrow down when this has been happening. The stay at home orders should help as well. The information in the screenshot indicates precisely when the search or searches occurred. You will need to think about what was going on in your home when this was taking place. Was this a typical Tuesday evening with just your immediate family, or was this a Saturday afternoon when you had a houseful of people? The where and when are critical to figuring out the last piece of the puzzle: The Who.

The Who

You have determined what was searched, how often it was searched, and when these searches occurred. Learning who did the searching can be the trickiest part. You assume that a family member is at fault. You probably already have a certain someone in mind. Don’t jump the gun, though. Remember your where

Congratulations detective! It was Col. Mustard in the kitchen with the lead pipe. Well, sort of. It was your middle child searching “naked girls” on a Kindle during a sleepover with his friends. The best thing to do is to choose a time to have a conversation with your child about what you found. Find the time when you can sit with them in a quiet place without anyone

else around. I believe it is less embarrassing for everyone if one parent handles the conversation, but that decision is entirely up to you. The discussion should be an honest one. It can go a million different directions based on their age and maturity. Explain what you found and that you want to be sure they understand what they saw. Ask them why they were searching for those terms. There may be a logical, acceptable reason that you are not aware of. Remember, children are curious. It is in their nature and there is nothing wrong with that. How many of you remember looking up explicit words in the dictionary long before the invention of the internet? Kids are often searching for things they heard in a song, reading in the chat of a video game, or seeing in a meme on social media. Your goal of the discussion should be to answer any questions they may have and encourage them to come to you first. It will probably be uncomfortable for both of you. There is a ton of information on-


line about how to have the “talk” or similar talks online. You may want to consult a few of those before the conversation as well. We focused on a child who searched for sexually explicit content in this example. Obviously, there are other search terms that can be concerning. Parents should approach the situation the same way, regardless of what was searched. Have an honest conversation with your child. Let the conversation guide your next steps. If you are not sure how to approach a particular subject (suicidal ideation for example), do some internet research prior to discussing it with your child.

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Stay Vigilant

Like all great detectives, your work is never done. It is crucial to monitor their digital footprints on a regular basis. Check their history more often. You can do this by pressing control+H in most browsers. If you are not sure, you can Google search “browser history” with the device’s name like “browser history iPhone.” Children who have been caught looking up inappropriate content tend to learn from their mistakes. Some kids will seek parental advice while others will learn the art of clearing web browsing history to cover their tracks. There are solutions you can investigate that can monitor internet traffic in your home for unwanted content. Qustodio, Circle by Disney, OpenDNS, and Eero all offer various options that parents can use to limit the Internet content available to children’s devices. Be cautious when filtering the internet, though. I do not always think this is the best approach. I believe it is better to teach kids how to behave than to attempt to block out all the bad stuff. Regardless of how you approach this, we’re all in the same boat as parents. We are trying to do the best things for our kids. Mike Daugherty is a husband, father of three young children, author, speaker, Google Innovator, and possible Starbucks addict. He is a certified educational technology leader who has served in a variety of roles through his twenty-year career in public education. Currently, Mike is the Director of Technology for the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School district in Northeast Ohio. As an IT director he has developed creative, well thought out solutions that positively impact teaching and learning. September 2022 WNY Family 31


to get in my head too much about saying goodbye to Violet. I wanted to leave early in the morning, this way I could spend a few hours with her and not have to interrupt her afternoon nap. Andrea’s advice to me for not getting too upset about leaving was to not make a big production of it. Just pull the band-aid off, say goodbye, and go. It seemed simple, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to leave without getting a little choked up.

A Weekend Getaway for Dad

L

ast month I wrote about Andrea traveling to Florida and how it was her first time being away from Violet. I didn’t mention though, that before she left, Andrea suggested that when she returned home, that I should also take some time away, and how it would be a good idea for me to unwind. And that’s exactly what I did. The weekend following her return home, I took a solo trip down to New Jersey to visit my family, which would also mark my first time away from Violet.

I really don’t like saying those words out loud, “being away from Violet,” or even typing them. It makes it seem like she is a nuisance, and I can’t stand the idea of parenting her, which of course is not true. But a little bit of alone time for all parents, whether it’s an hour or a weekend, is necessary in my opinion. It’s good to recharge. So, despite how this column reads this month, I really do enjoy my time with my daughter. Maybe I could do without all the ear-piercing screaming, shaking the end table lamp, and pulling the cat’s tail, though. I’ve discovered quickly that being a 37-year-old father to a toddler while working a full-time job and a part-time freelancing job is exhausting. I’m still happy that we waited till we were older to have children, but lately these days, I’ve been feeling worn out and overwhelmed. Of course, I have my wife to balance me out and I do the same for her, but some days, this parenting thing seems impossible. From the moment we wake up until we call it a night, it’s full speed ahead, non-stop. As soon I finish putting away the groceries that Andrea just dragged 32 WNY Family September 2022

across the driveway and into the kitchen, I’m taking them right back out of the fridge to start cooking dinner. And when I finish cooking, Andrea is already clearing the table, but not before I start cleaning Violet up. Then the kitchen cleaning begins, followed by the living room, bathtub, and then it’s time to wake up and start it all over again. Life does seem redundant these days, so I make sure to cherish those brief moments in between the chaos. Those two to three minutes of downtime from when cooking ends and cleanup begins are magical. And when Violet reads a book to herself for ten minutes before we brush her teeth — that feels like a vacation. I decided to drive to Jersey, not being the biggest fan of flying. Andrea argued that the six-hour drive could be easily avoided by flying the sixty minutes instead. Of course, she was right, but I enjoy driving long distances, especially when I’m alone. It gives me time to de-stress and think about whatever may have been recently plaguing my mind. Also, I can play all the music I like, and as loud as I want. I left on a Thursday and returned the following Sunday. Leading up to my departure, I tried not

When it came time to leave, I tried to make a clean break out the door but failed. Before I could even pick Violet up to give her a hug, I tears started to swell in my eyes. It wasn’t that I feared for her safety or anything, it’s just that my daily routine revolved around her so much, that I felt vulnerable knowing for the next few days she wouldn’t be my main priority. Once I finally said goodbye and was on the road, I felt relieved. When I made it to Jersey I was greeted by my brother and mom, who were holding my beautiful niece, Skylar. I noticed that while I was away, I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I was going to be. A part of me did feel naked away from Violet, but knowing that she was happy and safe, at home with Mom, made me feel okay. Richard De Fino, a freelance writer by night, first became a father at age 34. After losing his first-born son Louis, at birth, he was determined to keep his memory alive the best way he knew how; through words. Now, with the birth of his daughter Violet, he plans on continuing to share his fatherhood journey each month with WNY Family readers.


Family Movie Options: In Theaters and Streaming Online Luck

Apple TV+

Rating G

Overall A

Violence B+

Sex A

Profanity A

Alcohol/Drugs A

Having lost a lucky penny, Sam follows Bob the cat into the Land of Luck to find another magical coin for a young orphan. While there, Sam learns lessons about luck and life. The animation in this film is average and many characters are flat but the script is imaginative and carries great messages for audiences of all ages about looking for the benefits that can be gained from adversity – flexibility, empathy, and resilience, for instance. Photo ©Apple TV+

DC League of Super Pets

Theaters

Rating PG

Overall B+

Violence B

Sex A-

Profanity A-

Alcohol/Drugs A

Superman has been kidnapped! Now it’s up to his faithful hound, Krypto, to rescue him from the evil guinea pig Lulu. With the aid of some newly superpowered pets, Krypto is off to save the day. Blessed with a stellar voice cast, this film is also well animated and quite funny, The plot is simplistic and the themes obvious, but kids will enjoy the action and even adults will have some fun. Photo ©Warner Bros Pictures

13: The Musical

Netflix

Rating PG

Overall B

Violence A

Sex A

Profanity B

Alcohol/Drugs A

After his parents’ divorce, Evan finds himself relocated from NYC to rural Indiana. Now he must navigate a new social environment, make friends, and plan an amazing bar mitzvah. This musical features catchy, well-written songs and energetic dance numbers that make for a fun viewing experience. The script’s emphasis on acknowledging and fixing mistakes is also good. However, the story feels rushed and characters lack substance. Photo ©Netflix

Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Movie

Netflix

Rating

Overall

Violence

Sex

Profanity

Alcohol/Drugs

TV-G

B

B-

A

A-

A

Earth is under attack by the alien Krangs, so the Ninja Turtles use their powers to send Casey Jones back in time to prevent the attack in the first place. Trouble only deepens when the Krang kidnap Raphael: now his buddies have to get him back. This movie will please fans of the franchise, particularly the show now running on Netflix. The animation is adequate, the characters goofy, and the violence darker than expected. Photo © Netflix

Thirteen Lives

Amazon

Rating

Overall

Violence

Sex

Profanity

Alcohol/Drugs

PG-13

A-

B

A

C-

B

When a boys’ soccer team and their coach decide to celebrate winning a match by exploring a local cave, they have no idea they are going to be trapped by floods and draw the world’s notice. This film dramatizes the complex and courageous rescue attempt. This film is long and too tense for youngsters but older kids can benefit from its messages about persistence, ingenuity, and bravery. Photo ©Amazon Studios Detailed reviews available at www.parentpreviews.com September 2022 WNY Family 33


F

or many, the return to school also means embarking on (if you’re a junior), or continuing with (if you’re a senior) the often daunting, and seemingly mystifying college search and application process. After working for many years as an admission officer at a private research university where I reviewed and evaluated thousands of applications, and as a college counselor at a small independent secondary school where I advised hundreds of students, I know well the anxiety both parents and students often associate with the entire process. Regardless of where you are in the college search and application process, if you understand the admission process is mostly art and only a bit of science — more qualitative than quantitative — then you will already have a greater comprehension of the process and how it works. If too much information leaves you dizzy, believing the world of admission is little more than an unyielding maze, do not lose hope. The good news is that you, the applicant, have a great deal of freedom to plan your own course of action. By understanding the general process of admissions, remaining positive, and taking one step at a time, you will feel a greater sense of confidence, and ultimately, control.

SHAPE THE FUTURE

different value on the remaining components. Some will place great credence on letters of recommendation while others may be more or less interested in your standardized test scores. As for the essay or personal statement, most college admissions professionals concur, a great essay rarely makes up for a weak academic record, and a mediocre essay won’t necessarily consign your application to the deny list. But, a great essay forces the admission officer to focus on you for a critical period of time, and often, it generates increased curiosity about your candidacy. It is that quantity of time and quality of curiosity that can make the difference.

The College Search and Application Process: Some Words of Wisdom for High School Juniors, Seniors & Their Parents

Generally speaking, most colleges and universities are interested in five key aspects of the application including:  Your high school record/transcript  Standardized test scores  Essay and/or personal statement  Letters of recommendation from teachers  Extracurricular activities: anything you devote your time to outside the classroom Although variation exists from 34 WNY Family September 2022

— by Bridget M. Larrabee school to school, most admissions officers agree the high school record is the single most important factor in the entire process. Schools are interested in the grades achieved in the classes you have taken, and in any trends such as an improvement in grades from freshman through senior year, or a change in the level of courses (for example, taking standard classes in the first half of high school, then switching to intermediate or honors classes). It is better to push yourself in more difficult courses, perhaps risking a lower grade, than it is to take easy classes and earn all A’s. Students and parents often find this truth difficult to believe, but I promise you, this one stands true — take the tougher class! After reviewing the high school transcript, different schools will place

you.

Some general words of wisdom for juniors who may be beginning the process: 1) Start early! Take SATs, SAT IIs, and ACTs by the end of junior year.

2) Self-reflect: Think about who you are and what is important to you. Ask yourself how, where, or if any of this will fit into finding a school that is the right match for

3) Do your research: Read the college mail that will soon inundate you, visit schools’ websites, establish a relationship with your college counselor (or whichever school official can help you with this process). 4) Create a preliminary list of schools in which you may be interested. 5) Schedule campus visits: Attend information sessions, take campus tours, and meet with admissions representatives. 6) Become discerning: Begin to eliminate schools in which you may no longer have interest. 7) Continue to focus on your academics. Although the college search and application process quickly takes on a life of its own, do not let your grades slip


or opt out of challenging classes. Junior year grades and course selection are of great importance. Though junior year can be critical, don’t be overly concerned if you are a senior just beginning to think about this process. Many students complete most, if not all, of the admissions steps during the fall of their senior year. No matter where you are in the overall process, you can and will be successful. I encourage each of you to be honest, sincere and thoughtful throughout the entire college search and application process. If you stick to these core principles, you will remain true to yourself while also presenting your best self to those who will be reading and evaluating your applications. Best wishes! Bridget Larrabee is a certified secondary school AP English and writing teacher, former admissions officer and college counselor. She currently works from home, assisting students on ways to improve their writing.

September 2022 WNY Family 35


SUCCESS STORY

Experiencing College Life in a Fully Inclusive Setting

D

own Syndrome Parent Group member Jacob Stives is a young man with Down syndrome who just completed his second year at InclusiveU at Syracuse University. InclusiveU brings students of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities who want to experience college life in a fully inclusive setting to Syracuse University. Jacob’s mom, Connie, saw a Facebook post about a conference at Syracuse University for College Programs for students with special needs. She and Jacob attended, and while there found out about InclusiveU. Jacob

toured the campus and was hooked on the idea of going to college, just like his brothers and typical peers. “What was especially appealing to him was that he would live in the dorms with typical peers and what was especially appealing to me was that he can take up to 12 credit hours of regular college classes per semester. While he won’t get college credits for the classes he takes because the projects and exams are modified, he is still learning so much by listening, observing, and being completely involved with the typical students. InclusiveU also has seminars the students sign

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Empower

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Special Needs Potential Thri

Growth Strategies

up for which include topics such as Nutrition, Positive Choices, Exploring Campus, Life Hacks, Current Events, Sports, and so much more. He signs up for any of the InclusiveU seminars that fit in his schedule around his college classes.” To find out more about the InclusiveU program at Syracuse University contact: Brianna Shults, bmshults@syr.edu or 315443-4058. The next InclusiveU information session will take place on October 6, 2022. For more details, you can also visit their website at https://taishoffcenter.syr. edu/inclusiveu/. Jacob is an inspiration to all individuals with Down syndrome and other disabilities to strive for independence and to never stop reaching for your goals. Jacob’s family has been a part of the Down Syndrome Parents Group (DSPG) for over 20 years. Connie Stives described their time with the DSPG. “The support and ‘community,’ that DSPG has created for Jacob and for us as he was growing up and through now has been immeasurable. We have met so many of his friends (and my friends) through DSPG and get support and advice from others, while also hopefully doing the same. In addition, we have gained so much from all of the seminars, monthly meetings, activities, dances, Bisons’ games, picnics, Step Up Walk, positive awareness, etc., that DSPG provides throughout the year. We are so lucky to have such a large community of support through DSPG. It would have been a very difficult (and lonely) 20+ years so far if it were not for DSPG.” The DSPG works to raise awareness of Down syndrome while enhancing the lives of people with Down syndrome and their families. The organization’s informational and social events provide a broad range of opportunities for families in order to support and encourage each other. For more information visit dspgwny.org or call 716-832-9334.


September 2022 WNY Family 37


TWEENS & TEENS — by Tanni Haas, Ph.D.

ents help their teens distinguish between different types of friends, like “the difference between a friend you sit next to in class and chit-chat with, and a friend who really understands and values you.” Deb Dunham of Grown & Flown, a well-known parenting blog, agrees. She says that parents should teach their teens to be realistic and not expect any one friend to satisfy all their needs: “There are many flavors of friends. Friends for fun times, for confiding in, for challenging you and supporting you. Know which is which.” Adults know this is true; teens need to learn this, too, so that they don’t have unrealistic expectations and get disappointed when they meet someone new.

Tips For Parents

Helping Teens Develop Close Friendships

F

ew things are as important to teens’ emotional development and maturity as having friends that they can rely on and confide in. But teens aren’t all equally good at developing close friendships. What can parents do to help them along? Here’s what the experts say:

Teach Them About Friendship

The first and most important thing parents can do is to teach their teens about friendship. “Parents can and should talk to their teens about what friendships should feel like,” says social worker Heather Monroe, “and help them understand how to be a good friend.” She suggests that parents ask their teens to reflect on the qualities that are important to them in a friendship, since friendships are more likely to last when teens share similar values. Family therapist Cheryl Somers adds that parents should encourage their teens to reflect on questions like: “How do you let people see what you value, what’s important to you, and who you really are?” 38 WNY Family September 2022

Involve Them In Extracurricular Activities

One of the best ways for teens to find friends who share the same values and interests as them is to participate in extracurricular activities like school clubs, sports, and volunteer work. “This way they can meet people with common interests and provide a springboard for conversation,” says Jan Hamilton, the founder and CEO of Doorways, a youth counseling service. Simply put, extracurricular activities give teens something to bond around and talk about.

Have Realistic Expectations

Explain to your teens that even if they have common interests with other people, it can take a long time to develop a really close relationship. They learn that every person they meet and like isn’t necessarily going to be their next BFF. Ms. Somers suggests that par-

The Importance of Adult Relationships

Encourage your teens to develop close relationships with adults other than you, like coaches, teachers, and their bosses if they have a part-time job. “Teens who have a positive relationship with the adults in their lives,” says professor of education Michael Chambers, “are more likely to have good relationships with their peers.” When teens feel love and support from trusted adults, they develop the confidence to meet new people and develop close relationships with them.

Be A Role Model

Finally, remember that, ultimately, your teens learn more from seeing what you do than from anything you tell them to do. So, be a role model and show them what a good friend is like. As clinical psychologist Dr. Justin Coulson puts it, “Show your children how friendships should function by having good friends around you who’re trustworthy, loyal, fun, and who share your values and goals.” Tanni Haas, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Communication Arts, Sciences, and Disorders at the City University of New York – Brooklyn College.


TWEENS & TEENS — by Tanni Haas, Ph.D.

mer friend have simply grown apart, or that their former friend has developed new interests and is involved in activities that make them gravitate towards other people.

Encourage Them To Look For New Friends Encourage your teens to look for new friends and do it by casting as wide a net as possible, including by being open to meeting new people in the neighborhood, at school, and during extracurricular activities like clubs, sports teams, and youth groups.

BFFs No More:

Helping Teens Through Friendship Breakups

F

riendships between teens can be fickle: one day they’re the best of friends; the next day one of them gives the other the cold shoulder. It’s hard when a former friend disappears from your life. How can parents help their teens through friendship breakups? Here’s what the experts suggest:

Let Them Express How They Feel The first thing parents should do is to let their teens express how they feel. Parenting coach and author Mercedes Samudio says that parents should create a safe space for their teens to experience the emotions that come with a breakup. “They’ll feel angry and hurt,” she says, “but if they know they’ve a safe space to explore all their feelings they’re more likely to share them with you.” If your teens feel comfortable sharing how they feel with you, they’re more likely to listen to your suggestions when they’re ready to move on and make new friends.

Be Mindful About How You Respond Listen to your teens, but also be mindful of how you respond to what they’re telling you. “If you appear to be

overly emotional about the situation,” says youth social worker Jessica Wein, “your child in the future may choose to withhold certain information as means to protect mom/dad from becoming upset.” Keep your emotions under control and listen in as non-judgmental a way as you can, showing that you understand what they’re going through. The mere fact of knowing that you understand, says child psychologist Dr. KennedyMoore, “lightens the burden of big feelings for your child.”

Explain That Friendship Breakups Are Normal Explain to your teens that friendship breakups are part of life, and also the emotional process they’re going through. “Remind your child that a friendship breakup isn’t a failure,” says social worker Signe Whitson, author of several parenting books, “but rather a predictable (albeit painful) part of growing up.” Clinical psychologist Dr. Margaret DeLong adds that parents should emphasize that the end of a friendship doesn’t imply “that there’s something ‘wrong’ with your child or the other child, or that it’s anyone’s fault.” Teens may not realize that they and their for-

“Parents play an important role in making sure that their kids don’t put all of their nest eggs into a single peer group basket,” says Ms. Whitson, “but rather develop genuine relationships with multiple peers and all kinds of friendship groups.” Dr. DeLong agrees: “Help your child to develop relationships in a variety of settings. This way, when your child experiences the loss of a friendship, he or she will have other people to spend time with.”

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September 2022 WNY Family 39


dating partner is a complete stranger, and your children may not have chemistry with that person like you do. This needs to be okay. The only requirement you should have of your children is that they show respect toward any adult you choose to befriend or love. Beyond that, let relationships between your children and a dating partner happen naturally and in their own time.

SINGLE PARENTING — by Diane C. Dierks, LMFT, CFLE

Understand Kids’ Fears or Wishes Some kids are happy that their divorced or single parents are dating, and others are fearful of it. It depends on how long you have been single, how old the children are, and how emotionally threatened they feel.

Dating DO’s and DON’Ts for Single Parents

A

lthough many single parents are happy to be without the aggravation of a bad relationship, many are equally frustrated by their dating dilemma — how to approach relationships when you have children to raise. On one hand, the prospect of connecting with someone else who also may have children and an “ex” seems more complicated than it’s worth. On the other hand, single parents are adults who value companionship and human touch just like anyone else. So, how can you balance the two in a way that is good for the single parent family? Here are some ideas that might help:

Make Dating a Personal Growth Activity, Not an End Goal

Most single parents share their children with the other parent, so use the time when the kids are with that parent to do things that matter to you. That includes going out with friends and having a social life, or doing projects around the house, volunteering, or pursuing an education or a hobby. Dating should simply be part of this “me” time, not the sole focus of your free time. If approached in this way, you are likely to be more levelheaded about the experience and less likely to be disappointed or feel lonely 40 WNY Family September 2022

when you don’t have a date on your off weekend.

Keep Dating Separate from Time with Your Kids

Date when the kids are not around. Even if you are not sharing time with the other parent, keep your dating life separate from the kids for a while by employing alternative childcare. Until you are sure that your new dating partner is a “keeper” (meaning you anticipate it will be a long and loving relationship), do not introduce the kids to him or her. Children bond easily with other adults and if they bond with everyone you date, they will lose every time your date doesn’t work out to be a long-term relationship. That means they must grieve the loss of important adults in their lives over and over, which can have long-term effects in how they view relationships. They may erect emotional walls in their own dating relationships for fear that they will only lose those whom they get close to. So, it’s not a good idea to expose them to repeated loss in this way.

Don’t Expect Your Children to Bond

Even after you have introduced your children to a new partner, they may or may not bond with that person. As far as your children are concerned, your

If your children constantly encourage you to date, thank them for the encouragement, but remind them that you are happy whether you are single or married and that you will date when it feels right for you. If your kids show anger, sadness or disrespect about the fact they know you are dating, they may feel threatened and worried that a new person might take your attention or love away from them. If this is the case, let them know that they are a priority, and no one could ever take their place in your life. Tell them the love a parent has for a child never goes away and there is nothing that they or anyone else in your life could say or do to change that. Remind them that romantic love between men and women is not unconditional like it is from a parent to child. Then be sure to always be present emotionally when you are with your kids, and keep dating activities (including phone calls, texting, tweeting, or whatever you do to communicate) for when you are not involved with the children. This way, they will learn over time that they are, in fact, a priority in your life. Diane C. Dierks is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Atlanta, Georgia. She is co-host of the new podcast, CoParent Dilemmas (www.CPDilemmas. com, or wherever you get your podcasts). She is also author of The Co-Parent Toolbox (2014 Aha! Publishing) and Solo Parenting: Raising Strong & Happy Families (1997 Fairview Press).


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Awesome Birthday Party Theme Ideas A Day at the Carnival Turn your backyard into a carnival! Set up classic carnival games. Hire a face painter. Serve typical carnival foods like corn dogs. An added bonus? A bag of cotton candy can double as a party favor!

Island Luau

Turn your party into a tropical paradise. Have your guests wear Hawaiian shirts. Play music, games and serve foods like kebabs and tropical fruits. Send guests home with a plastic pail and shovel for their next beach trip.

Dress-Up Tea Party

Little kids love to dress up! Clean out your closet and let your guests go to town. Set your table with a tea set, and serve finger sandwiches and cookies. Each child can paint their own teacup — and that can double as the favor!

Sports Mania

Sports-lovers will love a party centered around their favorite team! Have a friendly game in the backyard, serve hot dogs and cracker jacks. Send each sports fans home with a water bottle to keep them hydrated.

Cookie-Making Party

What’s sweeter than a party revolving around cookies? Have the kids decorate their own apron. Spend a few hours whipping up cookies, and send everyone home with a few, along with their apron as a party favor.

Children’s Book Theme

A party centered around a popular children’s book character is sure to be a hit! A fun activity can include having the kids color and decorate their own bookmark to bring home as a favor.

Backyard Camping

Set tents up in the backyard. Tell spooky ghost stories, go on a scavenger hunt, and roast s’mores. Send guests home with an outdoorsthemed favor, like a compass or mini flashlight.

Dance Party

Set up some strobe lights, black lights, and a stereo system. Play some music-themed games and have a dance off complete with judges and prizes for the winner.

September 2022 WNY Family 41


s s e n l l e W Choices

Forever

16

America’s Teens Succumbing to Deadly Fentanyl

M

anxiety.

akayla Cox, a high school student in the US state of Virginia, thought she was taking medication that her friend had procured to treat pain and

Instead, the pill she took two weeks after her sixteenth birthday was fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times more potent than heroin. It killed her almost instantly. After watching a movie — a prequel to “Harry Potter” — with her mother Shannon one evening in January, Makayla appeared fine as she headed to her bedroom with her husky dog that often slept on her bed. But when Shannon entered Makayla’s room the next morning, she found her partially sitting up, perched against the headboard, orange fluid coming out of her nose and mouth.

“She was stiff. I shook her, I screamed her name, I called 911,” recounts Shannon. “My neighbors came over and did CPR, but it was too late. After that, I just don’t remember much.” America’s opioid crisis has reached catastrophic proportions, with over 80,000 people dying of opioid overdoses last year, most of them due to illicit synthetics such as fentanyl — more than seven times the number a decade ago.

“This is the most dangerous epidemic that we’ve seen,” said Ray Donovan, chief of operations at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). “Fentanyl is not like any other illicit narcotic, it’s that deadly instantaneously.”

And deaths are rising especially quickly among young people, who obtain counterfeit prescription drugs through social media. Unknown to them, the pills come either laced with or made of fentanyl. In 2019, 493 American adolescents died of drug overdose, in 2021 that figure was 1,146.

Dealers Seek Teens Via Apps

Drug dealers reach adolescents on apps such as Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram and others, often using emojis as code. Oxycodone, an opioid, may be advertised as a half-peeled banana, Xanax, a benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety, as a chocolate bar, and Adderall, an amphetamine that acts as a stimulant, as a train. (See this issue’s back cover for examples of the emojis.)

Wilson Compton, deputy director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said the number of Americans doing drugs has largely stayed the same in recent years, but what changed is how deadly they’ve become. One cup of heroin is equivalent to one teaspoon of fentanyl, and less than one gram can mean the difference between life 42 WNY Family September 2022


and death. “It takes very small quantities to be a poison that can stop somebody breathing,” Compton told AFP in an interview. Most of the illicit fentanyl in the United States is manufactured by Mexican drug cartels in clandestine labs from chemicals shipped over from China.

Because fentanyl is much more potent, it takes much less of it to fill a pill, resulting in more supply and more profit to the cartels.

One kilogram of pure fentanyl can be purchased for up to $12,000, pressed into half a million of pills that will sell for up to $30 each, raking in millions of dollars, Donovan said. And it’s also much easier to smuggle in pill form. Last year, the DEA seized 15,000 pounds (nearly seven tons) of fentanyl — enough to kill every American. Four out of 10 seized pills contain lethal quantities of fentanyl.

“One Pill Can Kill”

At the agency’s headquarters, a collection of photographs titled “Faces of Fentanyl” hangs in the hallway. It features dozens of portraits of people who recently lost their lives to fentanyl. One of them reads “Makayla. Forever 16.”

An honor-roll student and a cheerleader, Makayla liked to paint, cuddle with her two huskies, Maize and Malenkai, and planned to go to university to study law, said her mother Shannon Doyle, 41, who works as a paralegal in a loan service firm. Makayla had battled anxiety after her parents’ divorce, but things got worse during the pandemic. Last summer she started a job at a water park, where she met a friend who introduced her to counterfeit prescription drugs.

Last year the DEA launched a campaign called “One pill can kill” to raise awareness of the dangers of fentanyl, and there are efforts across America to make naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose, more easily available, including in schools. Makayla’s ashes are in her bedroom and Shannon still peeks into the room every morning and evening, like she did when her daughter was alive. She started a foundation in Makayla’s name to help prevent similar tragedies

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Makayla’s best friend Kaydence Blanchard, 16, is spending the summer without her, trying to make good on the dreams the girls had: to get a driver’s license and drive to the beach.

But for Makayla “the future will never happen,” Blanchard said. “She will never complete any of the plans that we had together.”

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The blue pills found in Makayla’s bed turned out to be 100 percent fentanyl. Police are investigating, but so far no arrests have been made.

“It used to be that when you were addicted to drugs you had five, 10, 15 years to try and get over your addiction and get the help and change your life,” Shannon said at her house in Virginia Beach, a town on the Atlantic coast some 240 miles south of the U.S. capital. “You don’t have that chance anymore.” September 2022 WNY Family 43


G

rowing up is hard at the best of times, and the last few years have made it even more challenging for young people. Mental health is just as important as physical health and one of a parent’s key roles is to support their child’s mental wellbeing. Here psychotherapist Noel McDermott offers the following top 10 tips on helping kids open up and improve communication.

10 Conversations To

Build Strong Mental Health In Your Children

children questions, you will teach them that their thoughts and voices are valued and that their opinion matters, meaning they are more likely to come to you if something is bothering them.

have a heap of emotions floating around their heads which are often hard to process, and this can make them emotional without knowing why, such as hunger, anger, sadness, jealousy, and tiredness. As a parent you can make this easier by helping them identify how they are feeling and why this might be; this in turn will help them organize their thoughts and normalize them.

3) Validate feelings: Normalize

your child’s emotions, all emotions are okay to have and the more we talk about them the more it validates this. It’s okay to feel sad and down, explain to your child that we all have moments when we feel we want to cry and that grown-ups cry too!

4) Empathy in Parenting: Showing empathy involves understanding what your child is going through and quite simply, life is easier for children if they are shown the kindness and compassion they deserve. Children who grow up with kind and loving parents will truly develop empathy themselves. So, make the time to check in with your child, open up the conversation and give them 44 WNY Family September 2022

Plan activities with your kids, of course, but also use it as an opportunity to show them how being psychologically healthy is the same as having fun! Wellbeing psychologically is no more complex than doing stuff we enjoy, such as having a run around the park; helping your kids understand this simple fact is a great gift.

8) D-O-S-E up your life: Close on the heels of

1) Listen to their opinions: By asking your

2) Identify emotions: Children

7) Healthy is happy and happy is healthy:

the chance to connect with you, this way if something is troubling them, they are more likely to talk to you.

5) Family circle time: Form hab-

its around setting aside time each week for the family to share feelings in a non-judgmental space. It’s often called “circle time” and it doesn’t have to be a big stress. For example, once a week after a family meal spend 5 minutes going around the table giving each person some uninterrupted time to check in with their feelings and share them with each other.

6) Open up real life serious conversations: Look for opportunities to

stimulate conversation based upon what is happening in the world around you as the U.S. and the world is going though significant challenges which could be weighing on your child’s mind such as the cost-of-living crisis, the Ukraine war, energy problems, travel woes, political turmoil. All these real-world issues provide great opportunities to put into practice psychological skills; they provoke stress responses and the better we are at recognizing and managing stress the better our lives will be globally.

having healthy fun, is the understanding of how we can give ourselves positive hormonal boosts. Dopamine rewards pro-social activities and improves motivation. Oxytocin makes you feel loved up after a cuddle. Serotonin improves mood after getting some sun or having a walk in the park, and Endorphins make you feel great after strenuous activities such as a game of football. Kids love getting this sort of knowledge and maybe if they are younger, you can do a hormone treasure map, for example, showing how and where at home and in the local area they can get their fix of each hormone.

9) PHSE learning at home: What is PSHE (personal, social, and health education) covering at school, and can you take up some of the themes at home? The school your child attends has duties to their emotional health and wellbeing and the best way for any of us to learn is by repetition. So, look at what is being covered there regarding psychological health and wellbeing and continue the conversation at home to enrich the message.

10) Learn mindfulness: Mindfulness teaches kids emotional resilience and helps them find the strength to deal with their emotions and manage them. Being mindful means greater wellbeing, more positive emotion, and less anxiety and negative emotion. Teach


your children simple breathing techniques, work with them to understand the simple power of taking long, slow, and deep breaths, a valuable self-management tool for life. McDermott comments: “It’s important we don’t try and do the emotional and psychological work for our kids but encourage them to develop the internal resources they need for life to manage psychological distress effectively and healthily. Teaching a core set of psychological skills will equip your kids better than if you solve their problems for them: active listening, emotional intelligence, validation and strong self-esteem, empathy with others, seeing the bigger picture by being mindful in life are a great set of skills to develop.” The key to all health and wellbeing is learning about it then doing it in real life, like if you go to the gym, learn how to use the equipment then use it regularly! It’s the same with psychological fitness “equipment,” learn how to use the skills then drop them into family life and use them every day. Noel McDermott is a psychotherapist with over 25 years’ experience in health, social care, and education. He has created unique, mental health services in the independent sector. Noel’s company offers at-home mental health care and will source, identify and co-ordinate personalized care teams for the individual. Visit www.noelmcdermott.net.

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O

ur kids are blessed with two loving, doting grandmothers. One doesn’t cook, the other is tired of cooking. One opens a box and calls it dinner, the other works sometimes all day on meals that are consumed in under 30 minutes. The grandkids think both grandmas are wonderful. Recently, while my son was visiting my mom (the non-cook), she had him call me. He declared loudly on the phone that grandma is the “best cook ever,” for her gourmet meal of boiled hot dogs and macaroni with margarine. She was laughing in the background; I just rolled my eyes at what some kids like. Not a big beef roast or fancy sauce, no — he liked boiled hot dogs. If you have the time — and the patience — teach the next generation how to make cutout cookies, spaghetti sauce, gnocchi, pierogis, or artisan breads. But you don’t have to knock yourself out in the kitchen to make a warm and lasting impression. Try a few simple recipes that they can help with. The older the child, the more sophisticated you can get. As they enter middle school and their teen years, pass on family recipes that you treasure. A few things to keep in mind when the kids are in the kitchen: •

Everybody wash your hands. Wash again each time raw meats or eggs are handled.

Read all ingredient labels to avoid any allergens. For example, some English muffins contain milk, some are milk free. Never assume. • Adult supervision at all times. • Gather all the ingredients first, to be sure everything is ready and there is enough for the recipe. Do the same with any tools you’ll need, like cookie cutters, rolling pins, etc. Chefs refer to this as “mise en place.” • Keep a variety of fun, fast, and healthy food around. Bite size crunchy vegetables, fruits (keep some in the freezer too), juice, pretzels, frozen fruit bars, whole grain cereal — all make a quick nutritious snack, that can be fun with a little creativity. • The level of involvement varies with age. • 3-5 year olds love to scoop, mash, stir and pour • 6-8 year olds can measure with a little help, cut soft foods (i.e., with a plastic or butter knife), wash the vegetables • 9-12 year olds can use a can opener, toaster, microwave, shred and peel fruits and vegetables • teens can use the oven, stove top, follow recipes with more ingredients, work a bit more independently Below we have listed some easy recipes for all ages to keep your budding chefs happy.

Apple Ladybugs

Ready in 10 minutes • Yield: 4 Ladybugs 2 good red apples 2 Tablespoons sun butter (or peanut butter, soy butter, pea butter or melted marshmallows) 1/4 cup raisins 8 thin pretzel sticks (optional) – omit if gluten intolerant (or replace with gluten free pretzels) Slice apples in half, scoop out cores. Place apples flat side down on a plate. Spread 1/2 tablespoon of sun butter on the “back” of each apple. Use the raisins to create the dots on the back of each ladybug, using the peanut butter as ‘glue’ to hold the raisins in place. Optionally, use pretzel sticks as antennae – press two into each apple.

Flourless Cookies

(Yes, this really works!) No floury mess, also a great recipe for those with gluten intolerance. Ready in 20 minutes • Yield: 24 cookies 1 cup chunky or plain pea butter, sunflower butter or soy butter (or peanut butter if not allergic) 1 cup white or brown sugar (use less if you prefer it not to be as sweet) 1 egg (or 1 ½ T water + 1 ½ T oil + 1 teaspoon baking powder) 1 teaspoon vanilla 46 WNY Family September 2022

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, stir together all ingredients (you can use a beater if you prefer). Drop by teaspoonful on ungreased cookie sheets. Flatten in a crisscross pattern with fork (dip in water to keep it from sticking to the cookies.) Bake at 350° for 8-11 minutes, until cookies look set. Remove from oven; leave on the cookie sheets for 5 minutes, transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container (or freeze leftovers if desired.)


THE KIDDIE GOURMET

A

Chicken or Tuna Rounds Ready in 15-20 minutes Yield: 4 Rounds

Tips: • With older kids, add one stalk chopped celery, 1/4 cup chopped scallions, onions, or bell peppers. • Top each muffin with a slice of tomato before adding the cheese. • For those who don’t like or cannot eat mayonnaise, replace it with mustard, relish, or favorite dressing. 1 small can (6oz) of chicken or tuna 2 Tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (or regular if not allergic) 2 English muffins, split 4 slices vegan cheese (or regular if not allergic) Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 400°. In a small bowl, mix chicken and mayonnaise. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place the 4 muffin halves, face up, on a cookie sheet (optionally lined with foil). Portion out chicken salad onto each muffin top. Top each with cheese. Bake at 400° for about 10 minutes, until the cheese has melted. If you have any questions about our column, e-mail Kathy at allergy@ roadrunner.com. For further information about food allergies, contact FARE www.foodallergy.org, or call 1-800-929-4040. Kathy Lundquist is a Western New York parent whose son, now an adult, was born with severe food allergies. Over the last two decades, she has worked tirelessly, in a variety of capacities, to increase community awareness about food allergies.

— by Barbara Blackburn

ndy’s welcomes kids and adults with some interesting food selections, including the usual kids’ choices. The menu humorously says “cold coffee and lousy food.” However, as in diners, the coffee is hot and never ending, and the food is good. This is a breakfast, lunch, or midday dinner spot, from 7 am to 3 pm with a 7 pm closing on Friday. Choices for the kids, 10 and under, are as follows: Chicken Fingers ($8.00 or $11.00 with fries), Grilled Cheese with Fries ($9.00), and Peanut Butter and Jelly ($6.00). The small Chocolate Milk is $3.50.

Andy’s Sunrise Diner

8550 Sheridan Drive (in Bender’s Plaza) Williamsville NY 14221

716-458-3435

andyssunrisediner.wixsite.com/ andys

~ SPOONS ~ FOOD 4/5 SERVICE 5/5 FAMILY FRIENDLY 3.5/5

When we were there we enjoyed the Fresh Haddock Sandwich ($14.95) with lettuce, American cheese and Tartar sauce, with fries. The Fish Fry ($14.95) is served daily, with fries, potato salad, coleslaw, mac salad, Tartar sauce and lemon, also baked in four other styles: lemon pepper, Cajun, Italian, or Greek at varying prices. The Thanksgiving “Scrap” Sandwich is a fun and flavorful choice — fresh turkey, stuffing, turkey gravy and cranberry sauce served on white bread, with fries ($15.95). Another cleverly worded and constructed item is called the Allergy Alert, with fresh turkey, lettuce, with cranberry mayo, served on homemade cranberry walnut bread, with fries ($15.95). The cranberry walnut bread was my favorite item, and it can be ordered as a side item ($3.75). A side order of Sweet Potato Fries with honey was an-

other tasty side order ($6.95). Classic Buffalo comfort food lives here on the menu, such as the Philly Cheese Steak, with carmelized onions, sweet pepper, mushroom, provolone cheese and mayo, with fries ($15.95). You can make a meal at any time from the breakfast and lunch varieties. Comfort food can be healthy, too. Take the Healthy Omelet, with broccoli, mushroom, tomato, spinach, red onion, sweet pepper, banana pepper and a choice of cheese ($13.00). Add to this an order of one of the soups — Chicken Noodle, New E n g l a n d Clam Chowder, or Chili ($4.50/$6.50) — and you have a good meal.

For a sweet ending we shared homemade Rice Pudding, oozing with cinnamon. If you like sugar with your coffee or tea, it is dispensed from an oldfashioned sugar dispenser, just another memory of the past, without all of that paper and plastic. Another pleasant touch is the container of flowers on the tables, artificial but colorful and cheerful. The staff here is also quite cheerful, dispensing good food and friendship. I can’t complain about anything except the lemonade, which was probably not made with real lemons and not in sync with the homemade diner food. All of our fellow diners looked as if they were enjoying their meals as much as we were. Check out Barbara Blackburn’s blogs at frontierfare.wordpress.com and culinarrations.wordpress.com. September 2022 WNY Family 47


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XANAX XANAX

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MARIJUANA

METH

MDMA & MOLLIES

HEROIN

LARGE BATCH

COCAINE

MUSHROOMS

COUGH SYRUP

MARIJUANA

This reference guide is intended to give parents, caregivers, educators, and other influencers a better sense ofguide how emojis are being used in conjunction with illegal drugs. Fakeinfluencers prescription This reference is intended to give parents, caregivers, educators, and other a pills, commonly laced with deadly fentanyl and methamphetamine, are often sold on social better sense of how emojis are being used in conjunction with illegal drugs. Fake prescription media and e-commerce platforms – making them available to anyone with a smartphone. Thiscommonly reference guidewith is intended to give parents, caregivers, educators, and pills, laced deadly fentanyl and methamphetamine, are often sold on other social influencers media e-commerce platforms making them to anyone a smartphone. betterand sense of how emojis are–being used inavailable conjunction withwith illegal drugs. Fake prescriptio

pills, commonly laced with deadly fentanyl and methamphetamine, are often sold on social Disclaimer: These emojis reflect common examples found in DEA investigations. #ONEPILLCANKILL media and e-commerce platforms – making available to anyone with a smartphone. This list is not all-inclusive, and thethem images above are a representative sample. dea.gov/onepill

#ONEPILLCANKILL

48 WNY Family September 2022 dea.gov/onepill

Disclaimer: These emojis reflect common examples found in DEA investigations. This list is not all-inclusive, and the images above are a representative sample.