Ask Kids Good Questions, Then Let Them Answer

Published by — In conference, we understand why many parents want to speak for their kids.  But it’s very enabling. Today we’re in a conference with school staff, Mom, and her middle-school son who we’ll call Ryan.  Kids and their families come to conference when the youth’s behavior negatively affects the school community.  Conferences are structured meetings designedContinue reading “Ask Kids Good Questions, Then Let Them Answer”

Bad Parenting Diseases Spread to Social Services

Published by — Healthy autonomy is not learned in a day.  Parents need to start early. For years I cringed, watching my brother-in-law drive my super-athletic niece to her elementary school.  It was three blocks away, in safe, famously affluent Montgomery County, Maryland, just outside of D.C..  Not so long ago, kids walked to school. Continue reading “Bad Parenting Diseases Spread to Social Services”

Family Dinner is All About Learning to Get Along

Published by — Regular sit-down meals form the foundation of a good education. When my youngest child was a college freshman, he announced that coming home for Thanksgiving was way more trouble than it was worth.  He’d spare us the bother of him and stay at school.  He’s the world’s expert in yanking my chain. Continue reading “Family Dinner is All About Learning to Get Along”

We’re Crippling Our Kids with Fear

Published by — What I hear us saying to the kids is:  “The world is terrifying and you can’t handle it, so we’ll protect you.” While hiking in the Finger Lakes region, I watched as a three-year-old did a major face plant on a stone path.  Fellow hikers gasped with horrified “Oh, no!”s and wereContinue reading “We’re Crippling Our Kids with Fear”

Survival on Urban Mean Streets at Odds with School Success

Published by — Since 6th grade, she’s been a hair-trigger fighter, as Dad taught her.  But one day early this spring she realized she’d better get with the program. Kaitlyn finds herself in a weird fight with her dad — her beloved dad, I might add.  “I respect him so much.”  But she’s torn between twoContinue reading “Survival on Urban Mean Streets at Odds with School Success”

Unplugged Elementary Kids and Online Tests Don’t Mix

Published by — Children need a childhood first, technology much later. Recently I was at a luncheon where a Mom and Grandma minded their two-year-old by plugging him into a propped-up iPad and putting food at his right hand.  He remained inert unless the iPad fell flat or snacks ran out.  But twice in theContinue reading “Unplugged Elementary Kids and Online Tests Don’t Mix”

It Takes Guts To Depict A Healthy, Happy Childhood

Published by — This film’s 1950s vision of heaven for children’s play is as relevant today as it was when it was made. Medieval storytellers and play-masters always faced the huge problem that Evil was so much more fun to portray than Good.  Devils often made their entrance from the back of the audience,Continue reading “It Takes Guts To Depict A Healthy, Happy Childhood”

Stranded in the Land of Over-Stimulated Kids

Published by —  Sometimes the grand adventure of making fun family memories turns to trauma. My husband and I were supposed to transfer planes on January 5th, just after a storm and before the super-freeze — a fatefully bad day for travel.  The Orlando airport teemed with children, which is not surprising since it’s theContinue reading “Stranded in the Land of Over-Stimulated Kids”

Giving Thanks for What’s Left of Childhood Magic

Published by — You rarely see a place that actually belongs to children. Completely by accident, on a get-away to Maine, my husband and I ran across a fairy village created by children.  It was so large and thrilling, it took us a minute to take in its riches. I’d been focused on the viewsContinue reading “Giving Thanks for What’s Left of Childhood Magic”

We Are Raising A Generation Of Slackers

Published by — Paying jobs are scarce.  But work?  Never. Look around you:  there’s no shortage of work to be done.  If anything, public-service budget cuts are making most communities shabbier.  Paying jobs are scarce.  But work?  Never. However, in my lifetime, work and money have become confused with one another.  As any good momContinue reading “We Are Raising A Generation Of Slackers”