About Jen Thorpe

I have a B.S. in Education and am a former teacher and day care worker. I started working as a freelance writer in 2010 and have written for many topics here at Families.com.

Tips for First Time Hosts of Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is celebrated with family. It always includes a big dinner with tons of food. This can be overwhelming for first time hosts of Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t panic! Try these tips to help calm your nerves and make your first hosting a successful one. There are two things that can make a person who is hosting Thanksgiving dinner nervous. One is that the guests are going to expect specific foods that are made exactly the way that mom or grandma used to make. Their big expectations can be hard to live up to. The other difficulty, of course, is that … Continue reading

Things to Consider About Toddlers and Tablets

Do you let your toddler play with your tablet? It is easy to see why toddlers are attracted to them. They make sounds, and have colors, and stuff moves around when you poke at it. Some have started to wonder if the combination of toddlers and tablets is a good idea. How much screen time is too much? There are both positives and negatives to allowing your toddler to play with your iPad (or other tablet). That’s exactly what makes it so difficult for parents. If there were only good results, or only negative results, the choice would be simple! … Continue reading

Your Parenting Style Impacts Your Teen’s Autonomy

One of the many goals of parenting is to raise children who become successful adults. Ideally, teens should develop the skills they need in order to become adults who can function in the “real world”. A study shows that your parenting style impacts your teen’s autonomy and the quality of his or her romantic relationships as an adult. Developmentally speaking, teenagers are at a stage when they are beginning to separate from their family and seek out their own, individual, identity. Little kids typically have a strong desire to seek approval from their parents. Teens, however, are much more interested … Continue reading

Signs that you Might be the “Default” Parent

There is a somewhat controversial article going around the internet about the “default” parent. Some people seem to relate to what it talks about. Others seem to feel that the concept does not (or should not) exist. What’s a “default” parent? Why is this concept generating online drama? Here are some signs that you might be the “default” parent in your household. Writer M. Blazoned wrote a post titled The Default Parent on her blog. It has been cross-posted to Huffington Post. It is well worth taking the time to read. The comments left on her blog are, for the … Continue reading

Your 18-Year-Old “Child” is Technically an Adult

In the United States, a person legally becomes an adult when he or she reaches age 18. This might be a shock to parents whose 18-year-olds are finishing high school and living under their roof. Parents need to be aware of certain things that change the minute their “baby” turns 18. Your child will always be your “baby”, no matter how old they become. However, legally speaking, that “baby” turns into an adult on his or her 18th birthday. Parents need to prepare themselves to accept this fact. An adult is not legally obligated to check in with his or … Continue reading

Kids Today Aren’t Assigned Chores

Do you require your children to do chores? I don’t mean the occasional request to help with a little bit of cleaning. Instead, I mean regularly assigned tasks that you expect your child to complete on a daily or weekly basis. It appears that the majority of parents today are not assigning chores to their children. A survey conducted by Whirlpool found that 82% of Americans did chores when they were children. That same survey found that only 28% of parents today are assigning their children chores. What changed between today and when the current generation of parents were kids? … Continue reading

Dads are Important, Too!

A few months ago, a book was released that emphasized the important role that dads have. It is possible that the book may have influenced some parents to take a moment and think about the importance of dads and whether society might need to update its idea of what dads can do. Let me begin by clearly stating that I think that both dads and moms are very important to their children. Each can have a very strong influence. Whether that influence is positive or negative depends largely on the individual choices each parent makes. A book called Do Fathers … Continue reading

Tiger Mother Parenting Can Lead to Problems

What’s your parenting style? Many parents use the same parenting style that they were raised in. It is comfortable, familiar, and fits their cultural background. Parents also strive to raise their children in a way that will teach them to become successful, self-sufficient, adults. Sometimes, it turns out that a particular parenting style is not as advantageous as people might assume. A study found that the “Tiger Mother” type of parenting is not helpful (and might do more harm than good). What is a “Tiger Mother”? The Macmillian Dictionary defines it as: a very strict mother who makes her children … Continue reading

Kid-Friendly Halloween Movies

October is the month in which many people like to watch a bunch of scary movies. That’s fine for adults and older teens who happen to like horror movies. Unfortunately, those types of movies are not appropriate for little kids. They are just too scary! Are your kids asking to watch Halloween movies that they are way too young for? Here are some alternative, kid-friendly, movies that they can watch instead. “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” This one has been around for a very long time. You may have watched it when you were a child. Now, you can … Continue reading

How Old is Too Old for Trick-or-Treating?

Trick-or-treating is a big part of Halloween. It is pretty obvious that this tradition was designed for children to participate in (often accompanied by their parents). Is there an “age limit” for trick-or-treating? At what age does a child become too old to go trick-or-treating? Ultimately, a parent needs to make that decision for themselves. Here are some things to consider when wondering if your child is too old to trick-or-treat this year. Check the local rules. Many cities or towns will issue specific rules regarding trick-or-treating. These rules usually consist of things like the hour that trick-or-treating can begin … Continue reading