The Surprising Parenting Problems of Unlimited Screen Time

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By Jamie O'DonnellTelevision and video games have been my arch enemies in parenting, and though they're amoral things, it’s really bothered me that they’ve stolen so much of my kids’ attention. Consequently, they’ve become the focus of many battles. The boys especially seem to have zeroed in on them, and the other exciting things in our world have faded into the background. Again, amoral things, neither good nor bad. So why, then, is my gut reaction to “Can I play/watch something?” disappoint … [Read more...]

Why I Won’t Encourage My Kids to Play Football

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On August 29, 2013, the N.F.L. announced that it had agreed to pay $765 million to settle a lawsuit brought by thousands of players and their families. The lawsuit claimed the N.F.L. had actively concealed information about the dangers of repeated hits to the head, which have been discovered to include increased risk for dementia, depression, and degenerative brain disease. More: The money would be used for medical exams, concussion-related compensation and a program of medical research for r … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Andrew Solomon’s ‘Far From the Tree’

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Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.I started reading Andrew Solomon’s Far From the Tree after seeing the author discuss his work on The Colbert Report. Solomon is an eloquent and compelling interviewee, and I found his concept compelling: that sometimes in parenting or in being parented we feel like we are among strangers in a strange land. Solomon points out that while we take pride in di … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Taking A Slower Family Path

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Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.Our parenting culture is fraught with anxiety about our children’s future prospects; we worry about technologies and jobs that have not yet been imagined, and we strive to prepare our children for success in spite of a thousand incompatible contingencies. Again and I again I hear about parents who spend most of their time as chauffeurs and who watch family time dw … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: What’s In A Name, Mrs. Carter?

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Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.A few weeks ago, I introduced myself to another mother at my local library’s story hour. We knew each other’s children’s names, but could only refer to each other as “So-and-so’s mom.” It’s not my favorite thing to be called, yet it seems common at these children’s gatherings for adults to be known only by the possessive relational title of X’s mom/dad/grandma/gr … [Read more...]

Diving Into The Public Schooling Vs. Home Schooling Issue

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There are a handful of topics that are almost guaranteed to stir up controversy and spirited debate in many Christian circles. There are, of course, theological matters (e.g., infant baptism, methods of communion) and political issues. But in my experience, one topic can easily trump them all: the education of children. Or, more specifically, public schooling versus home schooling.In the past, I could watch such debates with detached bemusement, but that's no longer the case. Our oldest … [Read more...]

iToddler: How Soon Is Too Soon To Expose Kids To Technology?

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When I was a child, my family made a strict decision to keep gaming consoles out of the house. Game Boys and PlayStations were all devices meant to be played at our cousin's house, or while waiting around at a friend's house, but not at home. In a way, it opened my mind to other activities.However, buying a Game Boy eventually became a primary goal in my young life. I saved up all my money, asked both the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus for a system, and kept nagging my parents. Dad finally … [Read more...]

Can We Learn From Kids and Their Toys?

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Several weeks ago, my three-year-old began lugging around his most prized possessions -- a pair of sunglasses, a toy airplane, and some bits of jewelry, among other things -- everywhere he went. At first, it was all in a pouch that he filled nearly to the point of bursting, and now his "mess" (as he calls it rather accurately) resides in a plastic bin. The boy loves his stuff, and one of his favorite activities is carefully and methodically going through it all, organizing it into nice, neat … [Read more...]

What’s Wrong With Pursuing Gifted Education for Our Kids?

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While having dinner with a family who lives in Manhattan, the parents told me about their daughter’s saga of testing for kindergarten admission into New York’s notoriously selective Hunter Elementary School. The parents are two of the brightest people I know, and their four-year-old daughter is fluent in at least three languages so far (Mandarin, French, and English). Her test results placed her in the impressive 98th percentile. And yet, she hadn’t made it past the first round; only kids who sco … [Read more...]

What’s Wrong with Pursuing Gifted Education for Our Kids?

classroom

While having dinner with a family who lives in Manhattan, the parents told me about their daughter’s saga of testing for kindergarten admission into New York’s notoriously selective Hunter Elementary School. The parents are two of the brightest people I know, and their 4-year-old daughter is fluent in at least three languages so far (Mandarin, French, and English). Her test results placed her in the impressive 98th percentile. And yet, she hadn’t made it past the first round; only kids who score … [Read more...]


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