Of Little Boys, Violent Play, and Pretending to Shoot the Bad Guys

Like many boys their ages, my two sons possess an almost preternatural talent for turning anything -- and I do mean anything -- into a gun, or "shooter" as they say. It could be a stick, an assortment of Legos, a slice of cheese, or even a puzzle piece in the shape of Nebraska, but put it in their hands, and next thing you'll know, they'll be shooting freeze rays and fireballs at the bad guys. And it's not just shooters. Thanks, no doubt, to MythBusters, they've become quite skilled at explosive … [Read more...]

The Sandwich Generation

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.My girls are lucky to live only half a mile from my parents; my parents actually moved to be nearer to us after my second daughter was born, and their intention was clear—to downsize from their pre-grandparent life and spend as much time as possible with their granddaughters. The situation works beautifully for everyone involved: high-quality occasional ba … [Read more...]

Bringing My Four-Year-Old to “Wreck-It Ralph” Was a Total Parenting Fail

For a moment on Thanksgiving Day, my wife and I were those parents. You know the kind that I'm talking about. The kind of parents that you hear about on the news, or read about on your friend's blog, and make you shake your head and wonder "What in the world were they thinking?" The kind of parents who... bring their child to a movie that he was too young for.That's right: On Thanksgiving Day, my wife and I took our four-year-old to see Wreck-It Ralph, Disney's acclaimed animated movie about … [Read more...]

Dads: The New Video Game Heroes

Up until now, heroes in video games have largely been gruff, hardened, muscle-bound dudes whose lack of personality is made up for by their ability to carry an unreal amount of weapons. However, a recent Wired piece titled "Dawn of the Dad: Fathers Are the New Videogame Superhero" notes that a number of recent games -- Lost Planet 3, The Walking Dead, The Last of Us -- feature a new kind of hero: fathers (or father-like figures). Author Andrew Groen writes: That these games are arriving p … [Read more...]

Teaching Children a Healthy View of the Human Body

The American Conservative's Rod Dreher is currently traveling through France and blogging about his experiences there. One of his most recent entries chronicles his family's visit to The Louvre, and discusses the challenges that all of the artistic nudity on display present when you've been trying to instill in your children the value of modesty. He writes: [W]e explain to them that the human body is beautiful, and that the art they’re seeing was created to explore the beauty of the human form. … [Read more...]

Teach Your Children Well: Reflecting on Madeline Levine’s Book and Galatians 5

Last week, MSNBC’s "The Cycle" interviewed Dr. Madeline Levine, psychologist and author of Teach Your Children Well, whose best-selling text calls into question the dominant ideologies of today’s parenting ideals. Levine remarks “What’s overparenting? It’s doing what your kid can already do and can technically do” and confusing the parents’ needs with the children’s. The challenge with letting children exercise their abilities and near-abilities is essentially one of parental peer pressure.My … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Project Runway’s “It’s Fashion Baby”

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.I’ve always been a big fan of Project Runway: I’ve seen every season, which is more of a commitment than I’ve ever made to any other reality TV show (and possibly any other show at all). I think my appreciation for the program has something to do with the contestants possessing skills that are actually creative and interesting, as opposed to say, being former D-list s … [Read more...]

Play: Good for Children and Other Living Things

I must admit, I read the article "Is CrossFit Training Good for Kids?" with significant skepticism. It's not that I'm a stranger to difficult workouts; I ran DI cross country and track, I have 18 marathons to my credit, and yes, I can do cleans. To me, these CrossFit workouts sound fun except for the fact that they're taking place indoors.My primary concern is not that the workouts are too hard for kids (though I think that's possible if the staff is not appropriately trained or the workouts … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Another Look at “Disappearing Mothers”

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.Earlier this week, a colleague sent me a link to Katie Roiphe’s essay "Disappearing Mothers". I’ve found myself grappling with it ever since, trying to reconcile my appreciation for Roiphe’s premise with my intense dislike of her tone. She begins with the foundation of “the trend of women using photographs of their children instead of themselves as the main pictur … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Parenting in the Big Picture

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.My elder daughter received The Big Picture Story Bible as a gift from her godparents (fellow CAPC writer Carissa Turner Smith and her husband). The book, written by David Helm and illustrated by Gail Schoonmaker, is beautiful, complete with vibrant images and simple, poetic text. As the title suggests, the book is filled with bright, big pictures, and it also follows … [Read more...]