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Overparenting.

Discussion in 'Hangout' started by Gypsy, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. Gypsy
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    by Gypsy » Jul 15, 2014
    So, I read this article. http://people.howstuffworks.com/5-signs-of-overparenting.htm#page=6 among others. And parts of it really resonated with what I see around me. Specifically:

    As... "helicopter-parented kids came of age, teachers and child development researchers noticed that all of that parental bubble wrapping had adverse effects. Ironically, with moms and dads excessively safeguarding boys and girls for success, kids weren't developing the psychological resilience and creativity to weather the inevitable pitfalls and logjams on the road to adulthood.

    Kids on losing sports teams receive 'participation trophies,' and young students who bring home lackluster grades are simply told they'll do better next time. But that sort of empty praise has been shown to breed poor performance and unhealthy personality traits in children as they age. For example, a landmark 2007 study from Columbia University found that kids continually told they're smart tend to avoid activities where they don't excel, essentially selling themselves short for fear of failure [source: Bronson]. Such self-esteem coddling also may explain record high rates of narcissism among today's young adults [source: Gottleib]. What has been shown to breed successful, satisfied kids in the long term? Learning how to fail and bravely move forward."


    But I don't have kids. So it's easy for me to judge the parents I see and hear around me. And honestly, it's hard not to. But I haven't walked a mile in your shoes.

    Are you an overparenter? A helicopter parent? Are the opposite? How do you know if you've struck the right balance?

    I'm specifically asking those with kids under 21. What do you think it means to overparent? And what can you/should you do if you see signs of it in your friends or family? Or do you just leave it alone?

    Examples of what I think overparenting looks like:

    * Co-worker of mine literally did all of his kids college applications, wrote their personal statements, and his daughter-- a sophmore in college in another STATE - couldn't book a dentist's appointment without him. I know this because he did all during work hours and I had the cube next to him.

    * Parents that think they have to watch their developmentally average kids above 8 years of age every second of the day. They don't let their kids pick books to read without them, let them eat alone lest they choke, turn in a homework assignment without reviewing/correcting it first. For example: I saw a perfectly healthy (no medical issues) 9 year old try to take a grape off a fruit bowl at a barbeque a couple weeks ago and his mom snatched it from him like it was poison and said "You know that you can choke if you eat a whole grape" and then she sat there and cut up grapes for him.

    IMO, These parents don't realize how much harm they are doing to these kids out of love. The first example...college (starting at the application process) is exactly WHEN you are supposed to develop life skills, IMO. Like being able to book a dentist appointment by yourself, or writing a personal statement, which is like a job interview. My co-workers kids are 5 years MAX away from having to hold a job. They won't be able to survive a harsh interview, let alone a day to day job.

    And the second example with the kid and the grapes. A 9 year old can and should, IMO, be mature enough to be left alone to eat without supervision. And grapes don't need to be cut up. The kid should be competent enough to bite the thing in half by 9 years old, if it is too big to swallow whole. The mom, right before my eyes, was crippling her kid by undermining the kids independence, judgement and self confidence. If a nine year old doesn't have the confidence to eat (a basic bodily function) by himself... how can he have the confidence to do anything else? And honestly? What does the mom think happens at school? Last time I was in school, no one supervised everything I ate.

    But, like I said. It's easy for me to judge. I don't have kids. So I'd like to get your thoughts.

    BUT... keeping this in mind: " Overparenting often comes from a sincere desire to provide the best for children. Yet that urge can fester into intra-parental competition, as well anger and hostility at the merest hint of a child being harmed in any way. "

    Please do not turn HOSTILE and defensive. Try to keep it civil folks, no more than that, but civil is the bar here. This is an honest inquiry.
     
    


    


  2. kenny
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    by kenny » Jul 15, 2014
    I too have no kids and am very curious about this topic.

    I recently started giving guitar lessons to a 12 yr old neighbor boy, in their house.
    His stay at home mom is in the house and often in the room sitting near or even with us.

    Sam is not handicapped; he's very bright.
    Sometimes his mom will rephrase things I tell "Sam".
    I thought that was odd, but don't put much weight in my judgement since I have nearly zero experience with kids.
    Is her doing that 'helicoptery'?

    When Sam is out of earshot she reports to me how much he practices.
    Would you say this is helicoptery?
     
  3. Gypsy
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    by Gypsy » Jul 15, 2014
    I'm not sure what you mean? Can you give a more expanded and detailed example.

    And I can only tell you my opinion, and as I said before... I'm not sure mine is well informed as I don't have kids myself.

    If she is always present though and filtering your interactions at 12, I'm inclined to say yes. I was in voice lessons at 12, and I can tell you, the most anyone did is drop me off and pick me up. And *I* was overparented in many ways-- just not that one. The article I linked to actually talks about that. Did you read it?
     
  4. gregchang35
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    by gregchang35 » Jul 15, 2014
    We have a 3.5yr old and soon to be 1yo.

    We try to get the 3.5yo to be adventurous and cautious at the same time. We are only in the early stages of parenting though. But i am hoping that our parenting styles work. I am more of let them experience kinda dad, whereas SO is more of a protective parent. SO is learning to be not so protective in certain situations. We hope that we have the right balance. we communicate a lot of what we individually do when one of us in charge of the kids.

    Over parenting- yes i know of one parent who has only one son. The story i hear is that when someone asked him (14yo) what he would like to drink, he couldn't answer the question without referring to his mum asking along the lines 'what can i drink'. his mum answered for him. He is a gifted child in a gifted school. So he will be smart academically, but socially unaware. So there are differences in parenting styles. in this case, i would hope that both of my DH would be able too make that decision.

    I was brought up to be independent, and that is what i hope to teach my 2 daughters. I must admit, i am more interactive with my kids than my dad was. However, there are times when i do use my smart phone more than i should. my dad was bringing us up in an era that dad worked all day and came home to relax and mum was at home. i know that dad does more than that as he is a strategic planner.
     
    


    


  5. Mayk
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    by Mayk » Jul 15, 2014
    I did not read the article but as a parent of a teenage girl I'm likely guilty of "overparenting" but I've also seen some pretty awful cases of "underparenting". Eating grapes at 9 unsupervised seems a bit extreme.

    I will just say that the world is not what is was when we were growing up (at least for the Baby Boomers). Facebook, MySpace, Snap Chat, Instagram, and the list goes on and on. There are endless ways for kids to be distracted from everyday life which includes family time, school work and just getting outside and being active. So yes, I overparent. I try and limit technology and tv shows (which that another topic that's out of control).

    At 15 I wouldn't dream of dropping my daughter off to walk into "some buildings" alone without me watching her get safely inside. Nor would I want her waiting outside for me to pick her up. When I was a kid I went outside the skating rink at midnight with the other kids to wait for parents to pick us up. Today, I would never be comfortable with DD in the situation.

    All I'm trying to say is some overparenting is simply a sign of the times we live in today.

    Last week a kid at a community center who had been swimming in the pool went outside to sit at the picnic tables to eat lunch. He was shot in the head. The argument started on Facebook.... yep.. I'm overparenting.
     
  6. monarch64
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    by monarch64 » Jul 15, 2014
    The grapes thing...Idk. I dated a guy in college whose little brother choked to death on a hot dog. That's like an actual safety issue. By 9 you should know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver on yourself and others, though...that's a tough call for me.

    I'm a laid back parent who grew up with a helicopter mom and a mostly absent dad. He worked, she stayed at home--work was his life and she handled everything else. Maybe she overcompensated because a. her parents were super relaxed and she basically raised 2 younger siblings plus babysat her entire neighborhood, and b. she was the only one doing any actual parenting (the hard stuff, not the let's go fishing on my day off stuff).

    My husband and I balance each other. Where I am too hands-off, he is way more hands-on. Where he is too hands-on, I am quick to say let her do it herself regardless of whether she is learning fast enough for our liking. Isn't the point to raise them to be independent? Social skills, yes, but this brings me to my next point:

    I have a real issue with having gone to school with and now working with people who need their hands held every step of the way. I have often felt that no one is proactive. Everyone is reactive instead of just being able to think ahead. Here I thought I was coddled a bit as a child--maybe they let me fail more than I thought! :lol:
     
  7. chrono
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    by chrono » Jul 15, 2014
    All I can say is that today isn't what it was years ago; more exposure to violence, bad language and higher risk of sexual assault (or at least it seems that way because such cases are getting more news exposure). Some might consider my style over-parenting but if I don't push hard, they will not have the necessary skills to succeed. This does not mean that I do their homework or only let them play sports that they will excel in. I expect good manners, personal responsibility and accountability, good grades (mostly As preferred), and absolute commitment to sport activities. Some parents might consider my style overly harsh.

    ETA
    I think it's my laptop but I cannot get the page to turn, so I am stuck on page 1.
     
  8. OreoRosies86
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    by OreoRosies86 » Jul 15, 2014
    The thought of raising kids in today's world terrifies me, so I find myself appreciating hands on parents more than the ones who say "Here's an iphone and a credit card, seeya later."
     
  9. movie zombie
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    by movie zombie » Jul 15, 2014
    when a parent shows up with their grown child for an interview.
    when a parent calls a grown child's supervisor because the parent doesn't like the review the kid received.
    that is helicopter parenting....and whatever the relationship is called it is unhealthy for both parent and child not to mention society.
    when a parent does this you know that a lot of helicoptering went on for a lot of years.

    the goal of parenting used to be to raise a child to go out into the world on her/his own.
    doesn't seem to be the goal anymore.
     
  10. LaraOnline
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    by LaraOnline » Jul 15, 2014
    I'm an exhausted parent.

    I've never, ever seen anything like the scene you've described with the mother and the grape.
    TBH I couldn't imagine it ever occurring in my social scene.
    It would be something I would see in a glossy comedy film poking fun at suburbia.

    What can I say? Perhaps some women (perhaps those who never felt accomplished in other fields? Perhaps high-achievers that want to excell in all facets of life?) turn mothering into a career.
    But the pay is not good enough for me to bother. I would never cut up a grape.
     
    


    


  11. momhappy
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    by momhappy » Jul 15, 2014
    I will admit to a certain level of "overparenting", but after witnessing an utter lack of "underparenting" (letting children run amuck in public spaces, no manners, a lack of respect, no discipline, etc.), I'd rather over parent than under parent... I wouldn't necessarily say that I am a "helicopter" parent, but I keep pretty close tabs on my children (especially when it comes to safety issues). The comments about the grapes is a safety issue and while I would never cut grapes for my 9 yr-old and hover over him while he ate them, I do not allow my kids to eat alone if I was to go walk the dog down the street. Choking is a very real safety concern. I actually saved my half-sister when she was a toddler (she choked on a plum pit while my mom was outside gardening and had I not been in the house to help her, she might not have made it).
    As far as judging other parents, I don't necessarily think that it's a bad thing. Sometimes, knowing that you are being judged, makes us be better at whatever it is we're doing. All of us our judged every day in different ways whether it be at our jobs, in our relationships, at school, etc. It's part of life. To a certain degree, I don't mind being judged as a parent - the way my kids act, is a reflection of my parenting style and I think that my kids (thus far) are pretty decent human beings.
     
  12. Bonfire
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    by Bonfire » Jul 15, 2014
    Excellent topic Gypsy! My "kids" are grown 28 & 25, but boy I saw all of this over-parenting, it's not a new phenomenon.
    My husband and I used to have these discussions a lot over the years, as we saw it play out with our kids friends. I thinks you'll see that "helicopter parenting" is relative. Parents will defend and deny their actions, or not recognize them at all.
    I'm not trying to pat myself on the back, however, we raised two very successful and independent adults, who in turn will do the same ;))
     
  13. makemepretty
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    by makemepretty » Jul 15, 2014
    The article began "Although I'm not a parent myself".....ding ding ding. It's like having a guy explain how easy labor is. You can't even imagine, so just don't. Find something else to occupy your time than something that you won't experience, have no experience in and probably really don't care about in the long run. That's my take on the article and in general.

    Yes, there are over protective parents but parenting is the hardest job in the whole world. I never defend my parenting and I don't expect other parents to do so either. You do the best you can. Big Ol' Period. There's no instruction manual and you can read all the baby books and parenting books but the darn babies and kids don't read them! LOL

    It's like any relationship, no two are alike. Only in this relationship you are responsible for the other person for their life! Talk about stressful.

    My kids are now 17 and 18 and I can safely say there will never be a time I won't worry about them. Every time they got to a difficult age I struggled through it and chanted to myself "get them to adult hood and you'll be home free". Hoping they don't choke, paralyze themselves on a trampoline, dying in a car crash from teen drinking, suffer from bullying... Nope, there is no home free. They will always be your child.
     
  14. Aoife
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    by Aoife » Jul 15, 2014
    A big fat "yes!" to everything makemepretty said, especially the bolded.

    Our daughters are 30 and 28 respectively, and managed to navigate their way to adulthood safely, although there were a few very scary blips along the way. It's the easiest thing in the world to be critical of other parents' choices when it comes to child-rearing, especially if you don't actually have children of your own, or if you do have children, but they are "easy"--your personality and theirs match, they are generally placid and compliant, etc. The examples of over parenting given by Gypsy certainly seem extreme, but in general, I think most parents are sincerely trying to do the best they can for their kids, and in most cases, eventually it all evens out. There was a broad range of parenting styles in our friend groups, some of which at the time I thought were questionable in some way, and the good news is that for the most part, 20-30 years later, the kids grew up just fine.
     
  15. Bonfire
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    by Bonfire » Jul 15, 2014
    Everyone has very valid points here.
    There also can be a fine line between supportive parenting and hovering. Not all families fit into one mold. I don't think it's productive to make parenting style a guilt trip, it's difficult enough.
     
    


    


  16. msop04
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    by msop04 » Jul 15, 2014
    I'm not a parent... yet. But I have witnessed acts similar to the college application, dentist appointment, and grape incident. I had a mom call in a refill for her 24 year old (which isn't a big deal, BTW), and when they came together to pick up, I asked the daughter to sign for her script. The mom immediately reached over for the pen, essentially grabbing it from the daughter's hand! When I mentioned that I needed the [adult] patient to sign for it (controlled substance), she quickly said something like, "I'm her mother, I will sign... I always sign for her." Ummmm... I can see that. *10-4* :eh: :rolleyes: Meanwhile the daughter just stepped back and stood there. She took the initiative and her mother stopped her -- I'm sure it's a pattern. This type thing happens waaaay more than it should. ::)

    I have also witnessed MANY patients (18+) come into the clinic to see a physician and have no clue what his/her SSN is, much less know whether or not they have an insurance card. Some have even had to text a parent to find out their address -- I'm not kidding. They just stand there and gaze at the office staff with this pathetic deer-in-the-headlights look... pretty sad. :nono:
     
  17. momhappy
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    by momhappy » Jul 15, 2014
    I find it hard to believe that young adults won't and/or can't function as productive adults simply because they had parents that engaged in over parenting. I know tons of people who don't have their SSN's memorized, so I don't think it's fair to lump that into this particular discussion. There are some people that simply lack common sense and/or practical sense and will always struggle with common sense-type life skills.
    As a mother, there are certain things that I like to do for my children. After all, I had kids of a reason and that reason was to become a mother/to care for and raise someone. I am aware that my 9 year-old son is fully capable of putting an Eggo waffle in the toaster, but I still like to help with breakfast each morning before school. My husband always tells me how I shouldn't be doing things like this for the kids because they can do it for themselves. Sure they can do it themselves, but then again, I'm pretty sure that my son is still going to know how to make his own waffles in college despite the fact that his mommy made them for him when he was younger….
     
  18. rosetta
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    by rosetta » Jul 15, 2014
    Frankly, I think as a parent you can do 99 things right, and it's the 1 thing you do wrong that people will remember and criticise you for.

    As a non-parent, I am bemused as to how so many actually people pluck up the courage to have kids. To me, it seems an absolute minefield and there are so many ways to fail as a parent. I take my hat off to you all: I'm not sure I could ever do it. It looks like really really hard work, riddled with pitfalls and booby traps everywhere :errrr:
     
  19. packrat
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    by packrat » Jul 15, 2014
    Ha, I remember patients like that too when I worked for my Dr. Mom had to come w/them when they were 27, to be seen for a cold/flu/whatever. Mom, am I allergic to anything? Mom, did I get X shot? Mom, when works for you to come back with me? Mom, do you have my insurance card in your purse? :saint:
     
  20. monarch64
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    by monarch64 » Jul 15, 2014

    Rosetta, your post made me laugh! It probably does look like a really hard job. It hasn't been my experience that it's the hardest job in the world as many describe it (MMP not trying to single you out, it's a common phrase). My mother always told us how much she and my dad loved us and the struggles they went through with infertility, so I didn't grow up thinking omg, parenting! is! going! to! be! so! hard! You definitely have to have a sense of humor. If you have a more rigid personality maybe it is more difficult.
     
  21. Tacori E-ring
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    by Tacori E-ring » Jul 15, 2014
    I am not an overparenter...at all. I would like to think I also don't under parents but a balance can be difficult for many reasons.

    I allow my child to feel uncomfortable feelings. I resist the urge to rescue her as I think learning coping skills is important. I allow my child to work out social issues and try to empower her to set boundaries with her peers. I allow my child to have independence (with in reason obviously!) I allow her to have autonomy. I allow her to decide who she wants to be friends with and what activities/sports she wants to do. Though once we sign up, I do not let her quit half-way through the session if she decides she does not like it. I allow her to ask questions, even if they make me uncomfortable. I allow her to express her opinions/wants/needs even if they are different than my own.

    I don't allow her to stay up as late as she wants. I don't allow her to not attend to her personal hygiene. I don't allow her to blame others for her feelings or behavior. I don't allow her to have candy for dinner...or breakfast. I don't allow her to not have responsibilities.

    I am far from perfect. I get tired and sometimes I take the easy way out. She has been through a lot and she is very good at the art of manipulation. That usually feeds my guilt and sometimes she does get away with things she shouldn't. I find parenting is about adjusting and being flexible to new needs. As she get older the issues change and in many ways are more difficult to deal with, especially as a single parent.
     
  22. jaysonsmom
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    by jaysonsmom » Jul 15, 2014
    +1. I agree 100% and have a similar parenting style. My kids are 12 and 10 and due to my job outside of the home, I have to allow them certain independence and autonomy. I feel lucky so far (knock on wood), that they have shown that they are both mature, and responsible for their ages, so I don't have a need to hover. My son is a straight A 6th grader, and I have never had to tell him to study or check his homework. My kids both know what they are supposed to do before I get home....Homework, piano/drum practice, and they know bath time is at 9pm, bedtime at 9:30. I provide structure, and discipline through example, such as never missing work, or calling in sick for no reason.
     
  23. msop04
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    by msop04 » Jul 15, 2014
    I disagree to a point, momhappy... If you actually know "tons of people" who don't know their SSNs, well... unless they are in elementary school, then that's pretty sad. It's relevant to this discussion because parents should make sure their children know important bits of information (like telephone number(s), address, "don't eat the yellow snow", whatever...) by about 8 years old (or younger if they can retain it) -- if anything for safety.

    If children can learn to memorize the spelling of vocabulary words, they can memorize their own personal info. I can remember taking elementary school state tests in the 2nd grade and being able to write down my address. I mean, how many times have you had to fill in personal information for school, applications, etc?? If you can only remember a handful of "important" numbers, I think that should be in the mix. That said, a lot of parents don't want/won't allow their children to do anything for themselves it seems... clearly. ::)
     
  24. msop04
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    by msop04 » Jul 15, 2014
    This sounds like a great balance -- I hope I can have the same approach as you guys!! :clap: :))
     
  25. momhappy
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    by momhappy » Jul 15, 2014
    I agree with you - parents should ensure that their children know their basic info (phone number, address, etc) - my kids are in still in elementary school and they know their basic info. My point about SSNs was that memorizing it or not has little to do with parenting IMO. Like I said before, some people just seem to lack a certain level of common sense when it comes to basic life skills and those are the folks who seem to have trouble with things like memorizing SSNs. If a grown adult doesn't know his own address or phone number, then I'm guessing that they have bigger problems than whether or not their parents engaged in over parenting…..
     
  26. packrat
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    by packrat » Jul 15, 2014
    Unless it's your dad. They always ask how old you are and they never guess right.
     
  27. msop04
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    by msop04 » Jul 15, 2014
    You thought it important for your children to learn their basic info, that was responsibility in parenting. You wanted to make sure they knew this info, for whatever reason... These children (now grown -a$$ adults) don't even know basic info... I totally agree that it's common sense, so I don't understand for the life of me why some of our adult patients were "allowed" by their parents to continue to be ignorant in that regard.

    I totally agree... but these kids aren't slow or "dumb" -- quite the contrary. Most of this happened when I was working in a pharmacy near a major University, so the majority of them were in college -- hence having insurance still in their parents' names, linking with SSN, etc. I specifically remember one guy being in engineering... {sigh}

    Anyhow, incidents such as these just make me wanna scream. :doh: :nono: That is all.
     
  28. canuk-gal
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    by canuk-gal » Jul 15, 2014
    HI:

    I don't "get it", but then again, I don't get much these days.

    While there might be an accepted definition of parenting, who or how can one define over-parenting? Can Oxford help? Doubtful. That said, without formal reference, I suspect over-parenting is the popular vernacular of the term erstwhile known as "spoiled". And I never understood that term either.

    In my own very limited perspective--I embrace my responsibility as a parent, because it requires a lifelong thoughtful process. While it is challenging, I am OK to admit that the vast majority of my 21 years (to date) has been a pleasure; and if my significant time invested makes me OVER anything--I am again OK with otherpeoplesopinionsorobservationsotherwiseknownasridicule. Goodness knows we have enough research, literature, on the results of the reverse.

    Now how `bout an over-marriage thread!! :devil: ;))

    cheers--Sharon
     
  29. momhappy
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    by momhappy » Jul 15, 2014
    ^Great post, Sharon =)
     
  30. msop04
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    by msop04 » Jul 15, 2014

    HA!! Seriously!! :appl: :bigsmile:
     

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