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Since her passing yesterday from cardiac arrest, actress Brittany Murphy’s friends are beginning to speak out about her struggle with a poor body image. 

Clueless director Amy Heckerling believes the problem may have originated from the set of their film:

“She seemed to go through a change on Clueless. Maybe she felt like she was not the, like, skinny, pretty girl, you know? And then the next few movies she was, you know, thinner, blonde … going out with Eminem and Ashton Kutcher.”

Another source said:

“A lot of her problems were due to poor self-image. She wore extraordinary amounts of makeup, tons of fake eyelashes, got her teeth capped, dyed her hair blonde, lost weight – she wanted to be a beauty. She didn’t want to be the fat girl from Clueless. She didn’t eat a lot. She would drink copious amounts of coffee.”

32-year-old Murphy was rumored to have troubles with drug abuse and eating disorders.  The authorities found several prescription medications in the actress’ home and she had been suffering from flu-like symptoms in the days leading up to her death. 

Murphy’s body is currently undergoing an autopsy, against the wishes of her husband Simon Monjack.  The autopsy will take four to eight weeks for toxicology results to come back with a final cause of death.

Photo by binababy12

Photo by binababy12

Kids have headed back to school and parents everywhere are about to be confronted with a wild new set of fears and mind-boggling situations that they may not feel properly equipped to handle.
What is the best thing to say to your children about the swine flu?  Unemployed parents? Money problems? Cell phones? What about rampant sexuality on TV and elsewhere?
A new book by seven top family parenting experts, Parenting By Strengths, helps parents cope with the most challenging situations. Here are some of the ideas they offer to guide the conversations with your children on the topics of the day:
Swine Flu:
With the ever present real time media coverage and aggressive prevention at school, children will be coming home worried and confused about the risk of illness. Talk with them and let them open up and express their concerns.  Ask them about what they are worried about specifically. Then teach them about the different types of flu and tell them specifically what precautions the school and your family are taking to be safe. Make a game of washing hands, keeping things cleaner than ever, keeping healthy and working as a team. Make sure they are equipped with a hand sanitizer and that they use it frequently. Tell them not to share foods and drinks, especially with friends who are sick. Without nagging and with a bit of humor, review the importance of staying healthy with good eating, hygiene and sleeping habits!

Job Loss and Money Problems
Tell the truth.  Tell your kids that there won’t be as many presents this holiday season.  Tell them that your family budget is really strained right now. (Delete this next sentence: fewer presents said 3 times in this paragraph.) Yes. It’s reasonable to tell your children that you have less money this year, so there will be fewer presents. The key is to reassure them that you love them, that your family is safe and that their basic needs will be met. There will be fewer presents, however, and everyone can chip in to cut down on costs.
When framed in a positive way this is an opportunity to teach your children how to save money and spend wisely.  Have your child make gifts, teach your children how to shop clearance aisles first, go to second-hand or dollar stores, do product comparisons, shop from a list to avoid impulse buys and use coupon sites.
Limit TV and Cell Phones for School Success
Get with it! Today’s technology is ever-changing and will never be as innate to us parents as it is to our children.  Nonetheless, it is crucial for parents to be aware and stay informed about what your children are watching on TV, the music they listen to, and how they use the Internet and cell phones.  Create a set of rules that identify proper use and the consequences of improper use.  Go over the rules and get the child to sign on the dotted line. 
Take control! Look over your TV channels and your computers and use your power to block unwanted channels and Internet sites from your children’s use.  There are many tools available to help. It’s perfectly reasonable to set limits around cell phone and TV use. Have a basket in the kitchen where the cell phone is “checked in.” During homework time, meal time, family activities and bedtime, the cell phone is checked in to avoid distractions. You should also model this behavior unless your work requires that you are reachable 24/7. If his/her grades are bad enough, you can also keep the cell phone Mon-Fri until the child’s grades improve.
Be savvy!  Don’t assume other parents have the same rules you do—share your limits before your child plays at another child’s home.
Sexy Halloween Costumes 
Children need reliable, accurate information from trusted adults to handle the messages about sexuality they receive on a daily basis from media sources and peers. For parents with young girls, especially, Halloween can mean going through racks of costumes with short skirts, bare midriffs, and laced up heels. Use these teachable moments to discuss your values and limits around costumes. For older children, have a talk about how companies use sex to sell products. It’s important to talk with kids about all aspects of sexuality—the positives, the marketing, and how to avoid abuse. Keep the conversation and lines of communication open. Teach your values, and give your children reliable, accurate information about the many ways sexuality messages enter their lives.

dj am diedAccording to TMZ, DJ AM has passed away.  Apparently he was found in his New York apartment around 5:20 p.m. and drug paraphernalia was found at the scene.

According to sources, DJ AM,  had not been seen or heard from for a few days — one of his friends went to check on him, but got no response after knocking on his apartment door.

After the friend called the police, they broke down the door and then found DJ AM’s body.

Back in September of 2008, DJ AM and Travis Barker survived a plane crash in South Carolina. Four people died in the crash — which was caused when the airplane aborted takeoff and then ran off the runway. DJ AM and Barker were the only survivors.

Story developing…

(Evan Vucci/AP Photo)
(Evan Vucci/AP Photo)

Today the Supreme Court ruled that a school’s strip search of then-13-year-old Arizona teen, Savana Redding, was unconstitutional.  The strip search for painkillers violated the girl’s constitutional rights, despite the school district’s zero-tolerance policy for drugs.

Apparently Redding had been summoned from her middle school classroom and was asked to strip down to her underwear so school officials could search for prescription strength ibuprofen.

The ruling could redefine student privacy rights and set new parameters for school officials seeking out dangerous contraband such as drugs, weapons or alcohol.

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