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  • 5 Fun, Non-Traditional Birthday Parties Your Kids & Their Friends Will Love

    When it comes to children and birthdays, celebrations these days seem to amount to more than just balloons and a slice of birthday cake. Whether your child is into arts and crafts, fitness and sports, action and adventure, or nature Read More
  • Ask the Expert: Grymes Memorial School

    If you’re looking for a new school for your child, or are starting the adventure with your rising kindergartener, Grymes Memorial School in beautiful Orange County, Virginia, is worth considering. In this month’s Ask the Expert, the Administrative Team at Read More
  • 13 Play Dates Just for Moms

    Although we’re rarely alone, motherhood can sometimes feel lonely. Spending time with a few understanding friends to vent, laugh and re-energize in a kid-free zone is healthy, and a great way to shake off the blues. “We tend to be Read More
  • 2 Ways to REDIRECT Entitlement in Children

    Teach your kids the value of their dollar (and the benefit of sharing with others) “But mom, everyone else is doing it! But mom, everyone has one!” How many times have you heard these words? In today’s consumer-driven society, kids Read More
  • 30 Days to a Healthier Social Life

    Reviving a withering social network or starting fresh in a new community isn't easy for any busy mom, but the importance of developing social connections can't be underestimated. Women who feel a balanced sense of connection are healthier and more Read More
  • Easy Mix and Match Lunch Bowls!

    Though it feels like I might literally live in the kitchen sometimes, I still dislike the trendy term “meal prepping” regarding cooking. I feel like it might intimidate folks about how much time it takes to whip together some healthy Read More
  • Fahrenheit Robotics, HDT Global and Fredericksburg Parent Magazine STEAM Their Way to Success

    Fredericksburg Parent Magazine had a fun and successful STEAM summer camp fair with the help of many volunteers and sponsors this April. "Our Summer Camp Fair theme this year was robotics and STEAM science,” says publisher Leigh Anne Van Doren, Read More
  • Simple but Significant: Striking the Right Tone for Teen Birthdays

    Most parents would agree that birthdays are an easy win when the kids are young—not without great effort and frenzied busyness, for sure, but more straightforward. Star Wars? Avengers? Minions? Trolls? Piñata? Done! Whatever the theme requested to anchor the Read More
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featured articles

IMAGE Ask the Expert: Grymes Memorial School
If you’re looking for a new school for your child, or are starting the adventure with your rising kindergartener, Grymes Memorial School in... Read More...
Letter to the Readers: A Mile in Her Shoes
Last December, my wife and I discussed her re-entering the workforce after five years of being a stay-at-home mom and doing small, remote admin jobs... Read More...
IMAGE 2 Ways to REDIRECT Entitlement in Children
Teach your kids the value of their dollar (and the benefit of sharing with others) “But mom, everyone else is doing it! But mom, everyone has... Read More...
IMAGE Simple but Significant: Striking the Right Tone for Teen Birthdays
Most parents would agree that birthdays are an easy win when the kids are young—not without great effort and frenzied busyness, for sure, but more... Read More...
IMAGE 5 Fun, Non-Traditional Birthday Parties Your Kids & Their Friends Will Love
When it comes to children and birthdays, celebrations these days seem to amount to more than just balloons and a slice of birthday cake. Whether your... Read More...
IMAGE 30 Days to a Healthier Social Life
Reviving a withering social network or starting fresh in a new community isn't easy for any busy mom, but the importance of developing social... Read More...
IMAGE The 25th Annual Great Train Race
One of Fredericksburg’s favorite traditions is the Great Train Race. This race is a ton of fun for the family, but the run itself is kids only. The... Read More...
IMAGE Fahrenheit Robotics, HDT Global and Fredericksburg Parent Magazine STEAM Their Way to Success
Fredericksburg Parent Magazine had a fun and successful STEAM summer camp fair with the help of many volunteers and sponsors this April. "Our Summer... Read More...
IMAGE 13 Play Dates Just for Moms
Although we’re rarely alone, motherhood can sometimes feel lonely. Spending time with a few understanding friends to vent, laugh and re-energize in... Read More...
IMAGE Postpartum Support Virginia
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 1 in 9 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression. While “baby blues” after... Read More...
IMAGE Easy Mix and Match Lunch Bowls!
Though it feels like I might literally live in the kitchen sometimes, I still dislike the trendy term “meal prepping” regarding cooking. I feel... Read More...
IMAGE Mom’s New Look: A Beauty Product Rundown
Moms. We have the hardest, most rewarding job ever, am I right? So, it’s only fitting we give ourselves a little special attention. After all, we... Read More...

Most parents would agree that birthdays are an easy win when the kids are young—not without great effort and frenzied busyness, for sure, but more straightforward. Star Wars? Avengers? Minions? Trolls? Piñata? Done! Whatever the theme requested to anchor the party, it was probably doable, right? But once the tween/teen years hit, things turn a corner and you may find yourself pining for the good ole days of predictable, even, dare I say, cookie-cutter-type parties which wowed your kids when they were little.

As mine sprouted from kid to teen, I realized the parties were going to change to simple but significant, something requiring grave circumspection. In short, my teens wanted to be recognized as young adults, to shed all childish fanfare. I’d wager that yours will feel somewhat the same. Here are a few things I learned in feting my teenagers over the years, which may help you strike the right tone each and every birthday:

Insist on Your Teen Making a Gift List.

It may sound babyish, but it saves lots of heartache and disappointment. After a recent birthday, my teen lamented that he guessed that lists were still a good idea. His comment reflected what we perceived: we thought we were hitting it out of the park in the gift department, but no, we failed. If your teen refuses to make a list, go easy on yourselves and opt for store credit. Or cash. There, I said it. Cash will always be fine with your teen. And when grandparents are eager to shower their affection, help them by advising against buying clothing for your teen. It rarely works, if ever.

Don’t Tell Everything.

Hold back the details. Build the suspense. Our daughter wanted a “family dinner” for her fifteenth birthday and left all the planning and plotting to us. Without saying it, she was begging to be surprised, which put no small amount of pressure on us. In this case, we lucked out and struck the right tone, starting the evening off with giving her a dress she’d pointed out at her favorite store and then, all dressed to the gills, we headed to a fancy restaurant. She felt like such a young lady in her new dress showing up at a restaurant where reservations were in her name.

Pair Your Teen’s Interest with an Event.

What is the one thing your teen loves to do more than anything else? Maybe it’s an intense interest/hobby they have? Think creatively about how you can celebrate this interest. Does your teen love soccer? Take her to a professional game. Does your teen love to cook? Buy cooking classes. Perhaps your teen is an aspiring writer? Or computer programmer? With a little digging around, you’ll probably find workshops and lectures in your area.

Think the Unthinkable.

Keep in mind that your teen’s greatest wish for their birthday may be to get away—far away from you—to visit their BFF who moved away. Gulp. Don’t take it personally! If it’s at all possible, arrange well in advance for a surprise weekend trip, searching long and hard for plane or train tickets. But when it’s not, bring those missed into the room by pulling up a pre-arranged video chat party meet-up. Trust me, the “Happy Birthday” song will sound much better with a crowd of voices bellowing out of your computer to join whoever is in the room.

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FredParent on Twitter

FredParent Our friends at @ChildrensRVA are hosting an awesome event for families to help design a new children's hospital. Jo… https://t.co/UnMQQXguhY
FredParent Education E-letter: Choosing Books, Teen Emotions, ADHD Parenting Tips, and More! - https://t.co/TcdoHOfrVW
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Pouches' Community Corner

Postpartum Support Virginia

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For new and expectant mothers in the Fredericksburg area, Postpartum Support Virginia stands as the help and support for women and their families who are experiencing postpartum depression. Founded in 2009 by Adrienne Griffen, Postpartum Support Virginia offers one-on-one support, free peer-led groups, a robust site of information including screening and diagnosis overviews, fact sheets, and training sessions.

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