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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.

Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

Gen Z is navigating a career landscape unlike any other.

True

Every adult generation has its version of a “kids these days” lament, labeling the up-and-coming generation as less resilient or hardworking compared to their own youth. But Gen Z—currently middle school age through young adulthood—is challenging that notion with their career readiness.

Take Abigail Sanders, an 18-year-old college graduate. Thanks to a dual enrollment program with her online school, she actually earned her bachelor’s degree before her high school diploma. Now she’s in medical school at Bastyr University in Washington state, on track to become a doctor by age 22.

a family of 6 at a graduation with two graduatesAll four of the Sanders kids have utilized Connections Academy to prepare for their futures.

Abigail’s twin sister, Chloe, also did dual enrollment in high school to earn her associate’s in business and is on an early college graduation path to become a vet tech.

Maeson Frymire dreams of becoming a paramedic. He got his EMT certification in high school and fought fires in New Mexico after graduation. Now he’s working towards becoming an advanced certified EMT and has carved his career path towards flight paramedicine.

Sidny Szybnski spends her summers helping run her family’s log cabin resort on Priest Lake in Idaho. She's taken business and finance courses in high school and hopes to be the third generation to run the resort after attending college.

log cabin resort on edge of forestAfter college, Sidny Szybnski hopes to run her family's resort in Priest Lake, Idaho.

Each of these learners has attended Connections Academy, tuition-free online public schools available in 29 states across the U.S., to not only get ready for college but to dive straight into college coursework and get a head start on career training as well. These students are prime examples of how Gen Zers are navigating the career prep landscape, finding their passions, figuring out their paths and making sure they’re prepared for an ever-changing job market.

Lorna Bryant, the Head of Career Education for Connections Academy’s online school program, says that Gen Z has access to a vast array of career-prep tools that previous generations didn’t have, largely thanks to the internet.

“Twenty to 30 years ago, young people largely relied on what adults told them about careers and how to get there,” Bryant tells Upworthy. “Today, teens have a lot more agency. With technology and social media, they have access to so much information about jobs, employers and training. With a tap on their phones, they can hear directly from people who are in the jobs they may be interested in. Corporate websites and social media accounts outline an organization’s mission, vision and values—which are especially important for Gen Z.”

Research shows over 75% of high schoolers want to focus on skills that will prepare them for in-demand jobs. However, not all teens know what the options are or where to find them. Having your future wide open can be overwhelming, and young people might be afraid of making a wrong choice that will impact their whole lives.

Bryant emphasizes that optimism and enthusiasm from parents can help a lot, in addition to communicating that nothing's carved in stone—kids can change paths if they find themselves on one that isn’t a good fit.

Dr. Bryant and student video meeting Dr. Bryant meeting with a student

“I think the most important thing to communicate to teens is that they have more options than ever to pursue a career,” she says. “A two- or four-year college continues to be an incredibly valuable and popular route, but the pathways to a rewarding career have changed so much in the past decade. Today, career planning conversations include options like taking college credit while still in high school or earning a career credential or certificate before high school graduation. There are other options like the ‘ships’—internships, mentorships, apprenticeships—that can connect teens to college, careers, and employers who may offer on-the-job training or even pay for employees to go to college.”

Parents can also help kids develop “durable skills”—sometimes called “soft” or “human” skills—such as communication, leadership, collaboration, empathy and grit. Bryant says durable skills are incredibly valuable because they are attractive to employers and colleges and transfer across industries and jobs. A worldwide Pearson survey found that those skills are some of the most sought after by employers.

“The good news is that teens are likely to be already developing these skills,” says Bryant. Volunteering, having a part-time job, joining or captaining a team sport can build durable skills in a way that can also be highlighted on college and job applications.

Young people are navigating a fast-changing world, and the qualities, skills and tools they need to succeed may not always be familiar to their parents and grandparents. But Gen Z is showing that when they have a good grasp of the options and opportunities, they’re ready to embark on their career paths, wherever they may lead.

Learn more about Connections Academy here and Connections’ new college and career prep initiative here.

Joy

Sorry, Labradors. After 31 years, America has a new favorite dog.

The American Kennel Club has crowned a new favorite.

via Pixabay

A sad-looking Labrador Retriever

The sweet-faced, loveable Labrador Retriever is no longer America’s favorite dog breed. The breed best known for having a heart of gold has been replaced by the smaller, more urban-friendly French Bulldog.

According to the American Kennel Club, for the past 31 years, the Labrador Retriever was America’s favorite dog, but it was eclipsed in 2022 by the Frenchie. The rankings are based on nearly 716,500 dogs newly registered in 2022, of which about 1 in 7 were Frenchies. Around 108,000 French Bulldogs were recorded in the U.S. in 2022, surpassing Labrador Retrievers by over 21,000.

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@geaux75/TikTok

Molly was found tied to a tree by the new owners of the house.

Molly, an adorable, affectionate 10-year-old pit bull, found herself tied to a tree after her owners had abandoned her.

According to The Dodo, Molly had “always been a loyal dog, but, unfortunately, her first family couldn’t reciprocate that same love back,” and so when the house was sold, neither Molly nor the family’s cat was chosen to move with them. While the cat was allowed to free roam outside, all Molly could do was sit and wait. Alone.

Luckily, the young couple that bought the house agreed to take the animals in as part of their closing agreement, and as soon as the papers were signed, they rushed over to check in.
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This story first appeared on the author's Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

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