I attended the Student Climate Strike on September 20 in Pittsburgh. So did my 14-year-old son, who is actually a student. I went to show my support of the students but also because climate change is affecting me, too, and all of us. A lot of other gray-haired people had the same idea. In fact, … Continue reading Two Things About the Climate Strikes
My family spends a lot less time in the car than the American average, but we get into our car for hours-long errand binges some weekends and several long road trips each year. For the past three school years, my son had to be driven through urban rush-hour traffic to a weekly activity at dinnertime. … Continue reading Cutting Back on Car Snacks
I wrote about what I really learned in college 22 years after graduating--but here, I'm letting my high-school self speak from the perspective of the 11th-to-last day of 11th grade. I'm publishing this on my son's 14-and-a-halfth birthday, as he prepares for high school in the fall. I've just been writing about how I taught … Continue reading What I Really Learned in High School
I recently read two novels translated into English, a book written in English that attempts to translate "boy world" into ideas parents can understand, and an English mystery with some parallels to the Swedish mystery I'd just read. A Wild Sheep Chase by Haruki Murakami, translated from Japanese by Alfred Birnbaum A young man finds … Continue reading Wild Sheep, Wingmen, and Dueling Detectives [book reviews]
Here's a sprightly introduction to my reviews of the books I read in the past month. The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty There are multiple husbands with multiple secrets in this twisty story, which is sort of a mystery but also an excellent "modern realistic fiction" novel with lots of complex characters. Cecilia finds a … Continue reading Princess X and The Husband’s Secret Love Languages [book reviews]
Tonight I attended a meeting at my son's school (grades K-8) about the decision to hire a full-time security guard and get a metal detector. I meant to do some research before the meeting on the extent to which schools with metal detectors have experienced shooting rampages, compared to schools without. I ended up not … Continue reading Do metal detectors prevent school shootings?
Life here on Earth presents an astonishing array of abundance. There's so much stuff that we can gather to fulfill not only our basic needs but also our more frivolous desires and, perhaps, our need to feel prepared for meeting future needs. Many years during Lent, I've given up some category of material things in … Continue reading Would decluttering save you from buying a new appliance?
Good morning! It's time to start another productive work-week! My recent rant about how teenagers aren't so terrifying was inspired partly by being the parent of a teen and partly by reflecting on my own teenaged years while sorting through some of my old stuff. One thing I found was the journal I wrote for … Continue reading Have a Marvelous Monday!
My son Nicholas turned 13. It happened more than a month ago, and I wouldn't have any more to say about it than any other birthday if it weren't for other people's reactions. Nearly every time somebody asks how old he is now and I tell them, they have something to say about it (beyond … Continue reading Oh, no, a teenager!!!
I'm nervous posting this because of the freakout when Lenore Skenazy let her 9-year-old ride public transit alone. I don't want to be the next "America's Worst Mom"! But I think it's important to talk about how to approach children's independence safely and gradually so that they learn the skills they'll need as adults. Nicholas is … Continue reading Why My 12-year-old Is Riding Public Transit Alone
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!)
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
No, no, I don't mean those tawdry movies--I mean the musical theater productions put on by many real-life high schools every spring. My family sees at least one every year, and we always have a great time, for just $3 to $10 per person with all the profits going to a good cause. The amazing … Continue reading It’s high school musical season!
Last week's Parade magazine feature article summarized some of the scientific findings about adolescent brain development. None of it was news to me, but I work in developmental psychology and read lots of research articles; I thought it was a pretty good article for typical mainstream readers. But this part got me steamed: The phone … Continue reading Parents of teenagers are still parents!
I talk to my kid a lot. He's five-and-a-half years old now and has some interesting things to say, but long before he was capable of conversation I talked to him quite a bit. It wasn't really a conscious strategy, just that I like having a companion sharing my experiences. In my own childhood, I … Continue reading Thinking Out Loud
Overall, I was a pretty sensible teenager, and there aren't a lot of things I roll my eyes about when I think back on my adolescence. However, the other day I saw a television commercial to which I would have reacted very differently 20 years ago. The ad: Here's a new soda pop! It is … Continue reading The Difference Between 16 and 36
I was a shy child. I liked to be around people and was very interested in them, but for some reason I found it difficult to talk to unfamiliar people or even to feel that they were looking at me, and I was nervous that I might do something "wrong" that would make people yell at or laugh … Continue reading Breaking the shell of shyness
My brother and cousins and I came up with this game when we had been sent to play in an upstairs room at our grandparents' house and were wishing there was a television to watch... One person is the TV. Everybody else sits down facing TV, each holding an invisible remote control. TV stands there looking blank until … Continue reading The TV Game
This columnist argues that teenagers shouldn't be taught about contraception because studies show that younger, poorer, unmarried people using oral contraceptives or condoms are more likely to get pregnant than older, more affluent, married people using the same devices. It's an interesting attempt at logic, but it leaves out a crucial point: Any contraceptive method that requires action … Continue reading Anything works better when you know how to use it!
In college I met many highly intelligent people who believed some inaccurate things about sex. Here are a few examples.