Living in South Florida has taught our family about the need to avoid “hurricane madness”- the collective anxiety that takes over our local community when a storm enters the ‘forecast cone.’ The cone helps predict a storm’s path and local newscasts decipher it for days ahead of an impending storm. The closer we get to the storm, the more stressed the environment. Having lived through many of these storms, my husband and I try to be ready. With children around, the message of early preparedness becomes more important. We strive to avoid putting our tweens into the thick of the local anxiety. We buy our groceries and gas at off-peak hours, stock up on batteries and generally try to avoid traffic as much as possible (it’s NOT EASY!). We plan for book reading, music and games in case we lose power for days. We talk about what’s coming and we manage how much news the kids watch, as it will cause anyone to stress more than ever!
Since tweens become very aware of their surroundings, with Tropical Storm Isaac it was more important than ever to teach them about preparedness. By being prepared, and giving yourself time for planning, you can manage the issues a little bit more easily. We answered their questions honestly, but calmly. We wanted them to understand that the ‘last minute’ can cause you so much more stress than is needed. This isn’t easy. Again, we’ve been at this a few years now and we’re applying what we learn each time. But we noticed that our girls took notice. They participated in the food and water planning. They helped their Abuela with her purchases, carrying groceries, packing things in cars and even helping with the hurricane shutters.
So when it came for our turn to help them ‘destress’ in the thick of the storm- we played the game they were asking for- ‘pretend laser tag’—it was hilarious! Never appreciated a Nerf gun quite like this before! The house already was fairly dark due to the shutters being in place. So we pretended to throw bombs, move around remote controlled cars and of course, shoot darts. All in the name of fun and easing an otherwise boring time. We also were masking the eerie sound of wind and rain pounding the roof and windows.
Every time you manage a family – pets, parents, kids, friends, etc.- through a difficult situation there always is something to learn. We listened to South Florida news sources that continued broadcasting the same message – in English and Spanish- ‘preparense ahora’ – be ready NOW! That message has become more important than ever as a Tweens mom because it gives me a clear goal to teach them.
Abrazos, Cristy & La Familia Kish
Cristy is a serial entrepreneur and award-winning marketing, media and communications practitioner and social media influencer with more than 20 years experience and specialization in Hispanic and multicultural community initiatives and digital content marketing.
As a mother of twin tweens in 2011 and an active Girl Scout Troop leader, she realized there was a need to develop bilingual digital content and foster a community facing the challenges of raising kids after first grade. That year she founded and remains co-Publisher of Los Tweens & Teens, to support multicultural parents and mentors with content related to raising Gen Z- tweens & teens ages 7-18. Through the Los Tweens & Teens LIVE events such as Teens & Me – the growing team aims to provide our community with essential resources from chats with therapists to battle anxiety and bullying, to understanding social media and technology.
A New Jersey native of Cuban decent, Cristy is a board member of Amigos For Kids – a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse in the South Florida community. She is a teenage cancer survivor and speaks nationally at conferences and volunteers with cancer-awareness organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of South Florida.