Briefs: Pocket Pillow provides place to hide stuff

| Monday, March 5, 2012

The Secret Pocket Pillow — a squishy fleece pillow with two pockets — aims to give kids a safe place to hide their possessions, like stuffed animals or journals.

EKS Kids, the manufacturer, says that the Secret Pocket Pillow provides a hidey-hole, a snuggle buddy and an organizational opportunity, because kids can pick up their things and put them in the pillow. The pillow sells for $8.95 and comes in four designs.

Details: .

Animal friends to offer Baby-Ready Pets class

Animal Friends is offering Baby-Ready Pets, a free pet-safety class from 7 to 8:30 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month to assist new parents when introducing their new baby to their pet.

By planning, preparing and training, the introduction can be a safe, successful and rewarding experience.

Seating is limited, and registration is required via the Animal Friends University page at .

Classes are being offered March 21, April 18 and May 16 at Animal Friends, 562 Camp Horne Road, North Hills.

To learn more, call Animal Friends at 412-847-7000, or visit .

Reese Witherspoon warns kids of domestic violence

Actress Reese Witherspoon has had the talk with her two young children. Not the sex talk. The domestic-violence talk.

As a Global Ambassador for Avon's efforts to help victims of domestic violence, Witherspoon traveled to the Washington area to speak to the Second World Conference of Women's Shelters, prompting a talk with Ava, 12, and Deacon, 8. Although her kids were shocked to hear how one in three women is abused in this country, Witherspoon said it was important for them to be aware of the problem, especially her daughter who's almost old enough date.

At a time when bullies are responding with violence, Witherspoon says parents must educate themselves and their children about social media and "what constitutes harassment, what is acceptable and what is not."

Domestic violence is a topic in many songs, including Miranda Lambert's "Gunpowder and Lead," where she sings about shooting an abusive husband. Witherspoon says such songs "create retaliation fantasies," which are "a very important part of our psychology," but she doesn't think they replace the effectiveness of going public about domestic violence.

Witherspoon says talking publicly "creates empowerment" among women and helps them feel they're not alone. She said it often gives them the courage to go to a shelter or take legal action that could save their lives.

Parents can talk about Ohio shootings

After last week's school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, parents might be wondering how to talk to their children about teen violence in America. Dr. Wes Crenshaw, a Kansas child psychologist, offers the following tips:

Restore faith in order. Reassure them that normalcy and order will be restored.

Control generalization. Very few people are capable of doing school shootings.

Discourage obsessing about "why." We can't make sense out of senseless things.

Focus on love and healing , and how that forms character.

Practice everyday kindness , and encourage your kids to treat classmates and others with dignity and respect.

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