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Family

Dad and tween daughter show how their family 'co-sleeps' together

Their viral video has people debating when co-sleeping should end.

co-sleeping, bed sharing, family bed sharing, parenting, family, kids
@deal_family/TikTok

Co-sleeping asa family might not be mainstream anymore, but it was once totally the norm.

Like virtually any aspect of parenting, co-sleeping, aka bed sharing, can be a bit of a controversial topic.

Sleeping together as a singular family unit is a much older practice, dating as far back as the Medieval Era—when sleeping separately was both unsafe and unattainable for most.

Today, it is generally recommended to have children sleeping on their own by the age of five, although plenty of parents will still share a bed with their 12 to 13-year-olds from time to time. In other words, there are no hard and fast rules—though many have strong opinions.

And while it certainly isn’t mainstream anymore, some families opt for the more classic sleeping approach.


Take the Deal family, for example.

In a video posted to TikTok, Brandon Deal and his 12-year-old daughter, McKenzi, show their unconventional sleeping layout.

“When people find out that we're a co-sleeping family, they think we all pile up on one bed. That is not the case,” Brandon says, explaining that he, his wife Megan, and their smaller daughter Sarah Grace share a king size bed, while McKenzi sleeps in her own twin size bed placed at the foot of the king-sized bed.

@deal_family Anyone else co-sleep?? #cosleeping #familygoals #parentsoftiktok ♬ original sound - The Deal Family

Brandon asks his daughter why she sleeps in the twin bed in their bedroom, to which she replies, “I don't know, it's a little safer.” It’s unclear if she means sleeping in her own bed feels safer (lest she be whacked by three other pairs of feet) or that sleeping in the room with her family feels safer.

Brandon then says that when Sarah Grace potentially becomes “too big” to share the bed with her parents, that she’ll also get her own twin sized bed.

It wasn’t long before the clip received thousands of views on TikTok, with viewers sharing their bafflement at the arrangement.

“I can barely handle co-sleeping with my husband,” one person wrote.

Others were totally on board with the idea, even sharing their own co-sleeping stories.

One person commented, "You keep co-sleeping until those kiddos decide to sleep in their own beds ♥️”

Another added “We co-slept with our oldest til 12, our son til 10. We lived remote in the woods, my kids are grown and amazing keep doing you guys❤❤🙏.”

Still, others feared that the enmeshment could cause codependency issues long term, and get in the way of parents maintaining intimacy.

One person wrote, “As a child I know how safe it feels to sleep with your parents, but as a married woman I realize how important it is to not let my kids sleep w us.”

And while there’s perhaps validity coming from both sides of this argument, most behavioral experts would agree that neither choice is necessarily superior to the other. As James McKenna, PhD, an anthropologist specializing both in sleep behavior and infancy development says, "location is not as important as relationships—how parents build attachment and love.”

The Deal’s sleep strategy might not be suitable for others, but they have customized a plan that seems to work for them. May every family have the freedom and information they need to do the same.


This article originally appeared on 11.3.23

Education

Someone criticized a middle school teacher's behavior. Her comeback was an A+.

When a person commented, "your a teacher act like it," Amy Allen hilariously took the advice to heart.

A rude commenter got a lesson from Ms. Allen.

Being a teacher isn't easy. Teaching middle school students is especially not easy. Teaching middle school students who spent several of their formative years going through a global pandemic in the age of smartphones, social media and a youth mental health crisis is downright heroic.

If you haven't spent time in a middle school classroom, you may not fully grasp the intensity of it on every level, from the awkwardness to the body odor to the delightful hilarity that tweens bring to the table. When you connect with your students, it can be incredibly rewarding, and when you don't…well, we all read "Lord of the Flies," right?

Skilled teachers bring out the best in young people, and that can be done in many different ways. For Amy Allen, it's by making her middle school classroom a fun, welcoming place to learn and by bonding with her students.


"I love teaching middle schoolers because they are awkward, and I’m awkward, so we get along," Allen tells Upworthy.

She plays games with students, gets rambunctious with them and creates opportunities for them to expend some of that intense pre-and-early-teen energy in healthy ways. For instance, she shared a video of a game of "grudgeball," an active trivia game that makes reviewing for a quiz or test fun and competitive, and you can see how high-energy her classroom is:

@_queenoftheclassroom

If this looks like fun to you, pick up my grudgeball template (🔗 in bio) #qotc #grudgeball #10outof10recommend @Amy Allen ☀️ @Amy Allen ☀️ @Amy Allen ☀️

"I think for teachers, we always want to create moments for our students that are beyond the standard reading, writing, memorizing, quiz, 'traditional learning,'" Allen says. "Games are a great way to incorporate fun in the classroom."

Allen clearly enjoyed the game as much as her students—"I love the chaos!" she says— and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Fun keeps teachers sane, too. But one person took issue with her classroom behavior and commented, "your a teacher act like it." (Not my typo—that's exactly what the person wrote, only with no period.)

Allen addressed the comment in another video in the most perfect way possible—by acting exactly like a teacher.

Watch:

@_queenoftheclassroom

Replying to @كل الكلبات تريد مني Come see me if you have any further questions. #qotc #iteachmiddleschool #weDEFINITELYdonthavefuninhere @Amy Allen ☀️ @Amy Allen ☀️ @Amy Allen ☀️ #Inverted

There are two solid ways to handle a rude comment without making things worse—you can ignore it or you can craft a response that makes the person look like a fool without being cruel or rude yourself. Allen's grammar lesson response was A+ work, right down to the "Come see me if you have any further questions" caption.

In fact, the person apparently went back and deleted their comment after the comeback video went viral, which makes it all the more hilarious. The video currently has more than 4 million views on TikTok and over 18 million views on YouTube.

"What’s funny is I left my correction on the board accidentally, and the next day, students asked me what that was all about," Allen says. "When I explained it, they thought it was cool because 'why would anyone go after Ms. Allen'? At that point, the video had maybe 10,000 views. I never imagined the video would go viral."

Two days later, as the video was creeping toward a million views, she upped the stakes. "Some of my students are my ultimate hype people, and they were tracking it harder than I was," she says. "I made a 'deal' with my fifth period if it reached 1 million during their class, they could sit wherever they wanted the entire week. During lunch, I checked, and it reached 1 million. So when they came back from recess, I announced it, and it was like I was a rockstar. They screamed and cheered for me. It was an incredible moment for me."

The irony, of course, is that Allen was acting like a teacher in her grudgeball video—an engaged teacher with engaged students who are actively participating in the learning process. Just because it doesn't look like serious study doesn't mean it's not learning, and for some kids, this kind of activity might be far more effective at helping them remember things they've learned (in this case, vocabulary words) than less energetic ways of reviewing.

Allen has her thumb on the pulse of her students and goes out of her way to meet them where they are. Last year, for instance, she created a "mental health day" for her students. "I could tell they were getting burnt out from all the state tests, regular homework, and personal life extracurricular activities that many of my students participate in," she says. "We went to my school library for 'fireside reading,' solved a murder mystery, built blanket forts, watched the World Cup, colored, and completed sudokus. Is it part of the curriculum? No. Is it worth spending one class period doing something mentally rewarding for students? Absolutely."

Teaching middle school requires a lot of different skills, but perhaps the most important one is to connect with students, partly because it's far easier to teach someone actually wants to be in your classroom and partly because effective teaching is about so much more than just academics. A teacher might be the most caring, stable, trustworthy adult in some students' lives. What looks like silly fun and games in a classroom can actually help students feel safe and welcomed and valued, knowing that a teacher cares enough to try to make learning as enjoyable as possible. Plus, shared laughter in a classroom helps build a community of engaged learners, which is exactly what a classroom should be.

Keep up the awesome work, Ms. Allen, both in the classroom and in the comment section.

You can follow Amy Allen on TikTok and YouTube.

Representative Image from Canva

Every parent should know about this game. Many have experienced it as kids.

Nurse and mom Jinny Schmidt wants parents to be aware of a game that’s circulating amongst tweens right now, because it’s not a game at all.

In a PSA posted to her TikTok, Schmidt shared that her daughter informed her that boys in her class were beginning to play what she called “The Firetruck Game.”

As Schmidt begins to describe what the “game” entails, it’s easy to see why she’s concerned. All parents should be.


Here’s how the game works: a boy puts his hand on a girl’s lower thigh. And he tells her “my hand is a firetruck” as he slowly moves it up her leg. When the girl gets uncomfortable, she is supposed to say “red light.” Except for when the girl says “red light,” the boy responds with “sorry, firetrucks don’t stop for red lights.” And so they run their hand all the way up the girl’s leg, Schmidt explains, and sometimes they “touch the girl’s crotch.” Yikes.

Many viewers noted growing up with the Firetruck Game, or a version called “The Nervous Game,” or “Red Light Green Light.” Suddenly The “Squid Game” version of “Red Light Green Light” doesn’t seem so bad.

No matter what it’s called, though, it’s touching without consent, and is inappropriate on so many levels, not least of which being that it’s an excuse for sexual assault. Hence Schmidt’s alarm.

“I know that kids will be kids and kids will do some stupid shit, But we’ve got to do better teaching our boys to keep their hands off of other people and teaching our girls that it’s okay to have boundaries,” she says, before asking parents to “be aware” if they hear their kids talking about it.
@the.funny.nurse Y’all gonna see me on the 6 O’clock news. #jrhigh #kids #tween #preteen #parents #moms #momsoftiktok #dads #dadsoftiktok #teacher #teachersoftiktok #publicschool #school #firetruck #firetruckgame #firetruckgameawareness #girls #boys #game ♬ original sound - Jin-Jin

And she is, of course, absolutely right. Folks who watched her video wholeheartedly agreed that the behavior should not be tolerated, and many shared some pretty intense, although warranted, reactions to it.

“We’d be playing a game called Ambulance next,” one person wrote.

“Press charges,” said another.

“We have a game also. It’s called ‘oops I broke your finger,’” a third added.

But many also chimed in to say that they would be talking to their kids immediately about it, which is probably the best route overall. That way kids can protect themselves, and others around them.

Middle school years in general are pretty rough. They can be just as difficult to navigate for parents as they can be for the kids going through it. It’s painful to watch your still baby-faced child go through many of the same awful pains that you did, many of which are unavoidable. But some things, like terrible and abusive games, can be avoided. So make sure to have those important conversations when you can.

A tourist visiting Italy. (Representative image)

Americans pride themselves on living in the “best country in the world.” However, the American way of life isn’t for everyone and some prefer the more laid-back approach to life that people enjoy in Europe.

Four years ago, a writer named Roze left her tiny apartment in Los Angeles, booked a one-way flight to Turn, Italy and never looked back. Now, she documents her new life in Europe on TikTok to inspire others to pursue their dreams.

Recently, she posted a video in which she counts down 5 things that she’ll never do now that she lives in Italy. These are examples of the relief some Americans feel when they move to Europe and settle into their new, stress-free lifestyle.


1. Rush

"One of the first things that attracted me to Italian culture is the fact that people don't seem to be in a rush. There are no drive-thrus. People don't walk and eat. If you need a coffee, you sit down and drink a cup of coffee. There's always time for that."

2. Own a car

"I don't plan on ever living in a place where you need a car to get around. I don’t like the expense of a car and it’s just bad for the environment.”

3. Live for work

“I’ll never obsess about work as much as I used to do in the U.S. Now, I'm not saying that people don't work here. People work very hard, but there's not as many people who make working hard their whole personality."

@rozeinitaly

A few ways my perspective has changed since moving abroad, maybe some other American immigrants can relate? #fivethingschallenge #5thingsiwouldneverdo #5thingschallenge #americanimmigrant #movingabroadtips #expatsinitaly #italylifestyle #lifeinitaly🇮🇹

4. Trust the internet for business hours

"If you look it up on Google Maps, it says that it's open from 10 am to, I think, 7 or 7:30 pm. Does that mean I can go there at like 2:30 3 o'clock? No. What is not listed on there is that they are closed from 1 to 4 for lunch."

5. Worry about medical bills

“I just don’t plan on living anywhere where there is not some kind of universal healthcare.”

Samalia Swan/Instagram (used with permission)

A street artist captured a woman's delight at having her picture drawn.

On a planet with nearly 8 billion humans living on it, the uniqueness of every single person feels like a bit of a miracle. And yet here we are, each with a distinct personality and life story made up of our own experiences, perspectives, relationships and purpose.

We encounter countless other people during our lifetimes, some of whom we build bonds with and some of whom are just split-second flashes in our line of vision. And then there are occasional precious moments of connection with a perfect stranger, the mysterious magic that happens when two people share a brief interaction that makes a mark in our memories forever.

This is one of those moments.


Artist Samalia Swan was strolling the Saturday night market on Thailand's Koh Phangan island when she saw a sweet, elderly woman selling banana cakes. She sat down across the way and surreptitiously sketched a picture of her.

After approaching the stand and buying one of her banana cakes, Swan gave the woman the picture she drew. Her reaction is sheer surprise and delight—a true testament to the power of being seen.

Watch:

There's something about watching a face that has lived a long life light up, isn't there? The video has been viewed over 18 million times on Instagram, with nearly 2 million likes and over 15,000 comments. People loved seeing the joy in her face and the way she kissed both the money and the drawing with such tenderness.

"How do I buy all the banana cakes?" asked one person.

"Warning should have been 'onions cutting in progress,'" wrote another.

"I don’t think some people understand how powerful it is to make others feel seen," shared another. "You definitely made her day and she’s going to remember that for a long time."

Someone else wrote, "I love kind humans doing kind human things. It makes my eyes tear up and my heart feel like bursting."

"This is so precious," offered another. "Her smile and loving old eyes. She was so surprised. Elders need a purpose and these banana cakes are her purpose.❤️"

People asked if there was a way to raise funds for the woman so she didn't have to work, but others pointed out that she might actually enjoy selling her cakes at the market once a week. Others said it looks like she could have issues with her eyes that could be solved with a simple surgery. Swan shared that she's going to visit again with the woman and find out more about what needs, if any, she has.

"My mission is to spread LOVE & KINDNESS to this beautiful world we live in," Swan wrote on Instagram, and she does that by using her art to show people their own beauty.

"It all began four years ago when I picked up a pen and sketched a stranger in a café," she shared. "The act of giving away that drawing brought me immense joy – a joy of unconditional giving. Since then, drawing strangers has become my cherished hobby, and I do so with the sole intention of giving.✨"

Even if nothing more comes of her interaction with woman selling banana cakes, this beautiful example of human connection is one that Swan, the woman and the millions who witnessed it will remember and cherish.

You can follow Samalia Swan on Instagram.

A mother and daughter read before bed.

In a world where both parents usually have to work to support a child, it’s rare that a parent can spend the entire day with their kids. So, as parents, we have to do our best to be there when they need us the most.

TikTokker Sara Martinez says there are 3 key moments a day when a parent should be with their child: the three minutes after they wake up, the three minutes after they get home from school or daycare, and the three minutes before they go to bed.

Affective neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp is widely credited with the 9-minute theory. “It’s a common thread among parents, from those who stay at home and juggle countless tasks to working parents who face their own unique challenges,” Martinez told Newsweek.


Joanna Seidel, MSW, RSW, the Clinical Director and Founder of Toronto Family Therapy & Mediation Inc., says that the 9-minute practice is probably related to attachment theory. “The times the mother is referencing in the video are all significant—they are times of routine and transition—therefore moments where critical parenting is involved,” Seidel told Parents.

@iamsaramartinez

I always struggle with mom guilt and questioning if i was present enough. If this is true or not, I do find setting aside specific time to be present with my toddler (no phones out, etc) has made a positive impact. #raisingkids #parenting #parentingtips #parentingtip #childpsychology #raisingtoddlers #toddlerparents #toddlermom #presentparenting #toddlermama #raisingchildren

She adds that being present for children during these 3 key moments helps foster “security, consistency, and a meaningful presence—all of which is done to form a secure (emotional and physical) foundation for your child(ren).”

The 9-minute theory resonated with many of the moms who watched the video. “This is such a comforting theory for a working mom,” Marisa wrote. “I’m not perfect but I can try to be in THOSE 9 minutes,” Emmy added.