Three weeks ago, a man drove into my neighborhood, stormed into a synagogue, murdered eleven people, and shot and wounded several others. Well, that's old news. Why I am I still talking about it now, after there's already been a mass shooting of twelve people elsewhere in America? Because NONE OF THIS IS NORMAL, none … Continue reading The Tree of Life in the City of Steel
One of the hardest, most humbling things about being a parent is those moments when your child communicates with you using strategies that you've used with him or that he's seen you use with someone else--and you shouldn't have. We all have times when we do something to try to get another person to do … Continue reading Cooperation, Communication, and Consequences
In addition to finishing the books I got for Christmas in time for my birthday, I've read a few other new-to-me books recently, including one that actually has the alternate title What I've Learned By Reading Too Much! I learned something from each of these books. The Dance of Anger by Harriet G. Lerner This … Continue reading What I’ve Learned By Reading Too Much (and 4 other books!)
This article from The New York Times was reprinted in my local newspaper. In Afghanistan, a mullah who raped a 10-year-old girl in the mosque was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Most Americans would agree that anybody who rapes a child is a horrific criminal for whom 20 years is a light sentence, would … Continue reading One Brave Girl
My eight-year-old has attended many birthday parties at a bowling alley or similar venue where guests are served pizza (with white-flour crust), chips, soda pop, frosted cake, ice cream, more soda pop, and sometimes candy too. That's a lot of simple carbohydrates! It's the kind of meal that may be enjoyable while you're eating it … Continue reading Prevent the Post-Party Sugar Crash!
This fall, our church has launched a new Bible study session, on Sundays between the two church services, to discuss the portion of the Gospel that will be read in church that day. As Episcopalians, we follow a lectionary that tells us which scriptures to read each day, and this fall the Gospel readings for … Continue reading You do not know what you are asking.
Our son Nicholas is seven years old now and sometimes puts up a fuss about brushing his teeth, but he's nowhere near as resistant as he was when he was a toddler, and the lesson I learned then still seems to apply. Soon after his teeth emerged and we started brushing them, the novelty wore … Continue reading Things Not To Do: Toddler Toothbrushing Edition
Although I am discussing my work here, the point of view is my own, and this is not an official statement of the Pittsburgh Youth Study. As the data manager of a long-term research study, I recently helped to write this academic paper: Bullying Perpetration and Victimization as Predictors of Delinquency and Depression in the … Continue reading Bullying: an article I wrote, and three I don’t have to write
I'm an Episcopalian now, but my parents joined a Unitarian Universalist church when I was seven years old, so I was raised in that denomination. There were many things about it that weren't compatible with my spirituality, but I did learn at least one valuable lesson there: Some secular books contain wisdom and moral dilemmas … Continue reading Religious Education with Ramona Quimby
About 14 years ago, when I was new to the church where I'm now a well-established member and new to living with my boyfriend, I walked into church on the first Sunday of Lent with the dry mouth and raw eyes and heavy heart of a person whose Saturday night had involved too many tears … Continue reading Vain is the Deep of Man
One reason I'm glad I did so much writing about my early motherhood experiences is that, just a few years later, I've forgotten some of the stages my child passed through, the stages that seemed to be lasting forever yet vanished very quickly. Here's something I posted on a discussion board when he had just … Continue reading Mama, you happy?
Disclaimer: We only have one child. He is unusually observant and tends to pick up social rules fairly easily and accurately. What works with him may not work with every child. We are only two parents, and the two of us share extremely similar values. What is comfortable for us may not be comfortable for … Continue reading Parental Profanity Policy
I wanted to be an architect. From the moment I first learned what architects do, when I was about ten years old, I knew that's what I wanted to be: a person who designs buildings that make people comfortable and happy. Right away, I started reading architecture books and magazines. I was fascinated by floorplans … Continue reading The Path at the End of the Road
Last Thursday was a tough day for me. Yes, it was even harder than the previous Thursday. It was the day we were supposed to be on our way to Origins, a huge game convention where we see a bunch of our best friends, but instead I was sick in bed. That "coming down with … Continue reading Treasuring Each Day
Nicholas at four years old likes to negotiate about how he spends his time. It's mostly a good thing: Of course he should have some say in what happens, and compromising and prioritizing are important skills. The trouble is that he has so many things he wants to do and so little time at home--he's in … Continue reading What I did with the Mad my kid felt
Disclaimer: We only have one child. Other children may react differently to this technique. Give it a try and see if it works for you! I started into parenting thinking that it's unfair to impose a consequence on a child without warning him first (except in a dangerous situation, of course) and that once you've … Continue reading Second Chance
Nicholas just turned four years old. Over the past few weeks, we've become more confident that the tantrum stage has finally ended, but he still gets into moods where he acts extremely annoying. Yesterday was a tough one. Nicholas and I woke at the same time, and before we were all the way down the … Continue reading Navigating into the New Year
This is one of the simplest yet most profound parenting tips I've heard: When your child is driving you absolutely insane, and you wish he'd just get with the program and act like a civilized human being, and you're sick and tired of his getting in the way of all the very important things you … Continue reading Really Only Very Small
Nicholas still acts up in church sometimes. A couple of weeks ago, we had an even more difficult time than the one I wrote about last year. It started with Nicholas wanting to go to the bathroom just as I was listening eagerly to the Old Testament reading, which was the story of what happened … Continue reading What right have you to be angry?
We've been struggling with our three-year-old's demanding behavior and angry outbursts and have sought help from several books. The most recent was Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline by Becky Bailey, frequently recommended in online discussions. Overall, it's an okay book. The main idea is that a conflict is an opportunity to teach your child skills he … Continue reading Great system, bad example!