Study Suggests Political Indoctrination May Backfire


I recently came upon this in the Atlantic: [M]any parents try to instruct their children and impart their views, perhaps hoping their kids become carbon copies of themselves, or become the people they wish they were themselves.For some parents, this quest takes on a missionary zeal: They work to indoctrinate their children with a designated political viewpoint from an early age, raising them to be young ideologues. But new research suggests trying to plant those seeds during potty training … [Read more...]

In Which I Explain Easter to Sally


We saw my family over the Easter holiday, and in preparation I wanted to make sure Sally knew the Easter story. She already knew pieces, and as I helped pull it together I was trying to figure out how to bridge fact and fiction, or at least what scholars think happen historically and what exists in the grey area beyond that."These stories were all written down a very long time ago," I told her. "Sometimes with things written a long time ago it can be had to tell what part happened and what … [Read more...]

The Valentine’s Day Disaster


I started this post several months ago, but never finished it. Given the conversation here on the blog lately about setting limits for children and saying "no," I thought I'd finish it and post it, because it seems relevant. The events in this post happened last February, right before Valentine's Day. I'm not going to finish with a lesson or moral, I'm just going to tell the story of one evening.It all started when I took four-year-old Sally and one-year-old Bobby to the dollar store after I … [Read more...]

Self-Motivation and External Consequences


Unlike most of my parenting posts, this one is going to be high on theory and low on anecdotes. This discussion---which focuses on what it means that an adult or child "has to" do this or that---was prompted by reader Rebecca Horne in the comments section of my post on how I teach my daughter that "sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do." I want to start by saying that I don't have all of the answers, and that this is more of a thinking post than something that is fully settled in … [Read more...]

“Sometimes You Have To Do What You Don’t Want To Do”

Little Brother, Big Sisiter

We needed to get out the door, but Bobby was adamant---he didn't want to go. He wanted to stay home and watch his favorite kids' TV show. He worked hard to communicate and I understood what he wanted, but we really did have to get out the door. Bobby worked himself up into a frenzy and then began to cry. I picked him up and carried him to the car. By the time I buckled him into his carseat, he had accepted the inevitable. He was still upset, but he was much calmer.As I pulled out onto the … [Read more...]

On Communicating with Toddlers

toddler tears

Bobby recently took a three hour nap, and when he woke up, he was inconsolable. He came down the stairs crying, upset, and I had no idea what he wanted. Bobby will be two this summer, so communication is still a challenge. I tried picking him up and asking him what he wanted, but he cried and thrashed, so I put him down. I tried offering him all the things he usually wants---his pacifier, his sippie cup, a snack---but he rejected all of it.Having failed to console him, I decided to let him … [Read more...]

A Picture of Pain


Sean and I and the kids occasionally go for visits to my parents' house. Sally and Bobby love their grandparents, and I enjoy the time with my siblings. My parents live in the country, so weekends at their house can be fun getaways. The last time we were there, though, I was stopped in my tracks.It was a picture displayed prominently on the fridge. It was my mother, standing proudly in a jean jumper, pregnant with one of my many siblings. The picture was taken years ago, and it was the … [Read more...]