No Greater Joy on “Tantrums”: Deny Your Children’s Lust

I recently came upon an old No Greater Joy post about tantrums. No Greater Joy, as you may remember, is run by Michael and Debi Pearl, authors of the fundamentalist Christian childrearing manual To Train Up A Child. I was raised on the Pearls' childrearing methods, and much of my own parenting journey has been unlearning the toxic parenting structures the Pearls promote. Anyway, this particular post about tantrums was written by Tremaine Ware, one of the Pearls' assistants.The relevant text … [Read more...]


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In Defense of Letting Kids Talk Back

I grew up in a family where "back talk" was not allowed. The result was that I often felt muzzled and suffocated. For example, when I was in trouble any attempt to explain what actually happened or to disagree with a selected punishment and suggest an alternative resulted in more "spanks" being added to my punishment total. I often felt compelled to say something---to speak out in the face of what appeared to me to be clear injustice---but any words I might say were silenced, replaced by incre … [Read more...]


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Why I Broke Up with Lenore Skenazy and Free Range Kids

I came upon the concept of free range parenting several years ago when I came upon Free Range Kids, a website run by author Lenore Skenazy (who authored a book with the same title). I was initially extremely attracted to the idea. The byline for both the website and the book is "How to Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts with Worry)" and Skenazy seemed to focus on promoting children's rights. She argued that children are capable of much more than we give them credit for, and e … [Read more...]


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Anti-Vaxxers Reach New Low in Criticism of Autistic Sesame Street Character

My first grade daughter has a friend---we'll call him Jake---who has Asperger's, an autism spectrum disorder. I've talked with her about the condition in an effort to help her understand her friend, but it's sometimes hard to find the line between providing helpful information and unnecessarily othering or stereotyping a child. In that vein, I was excited when I learned that Sesame Street is introducing an autistic character, Julia. I was glad that other children like my daughter will have ac … [Read more...]


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No, Praising Children Will Not Make Them Selfish

I grew up in a conservative home where I frequently heard about the problems of valuing children's "self esteem." Today, I live in a world where people often put down millennials by talking about how we all got participation ribbons as children, and somehow that means we all think we're extra special, or something like that.And then I come upon blog posts like this one, titled An open letter to my children: you're not that great: In the row ahead of me a family has taken hot pink duct tape a … [Read more...]


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Lying to Children Is Not a “Joke”

I recently saw the above cartoon shared on Facebook. Bizarrely, I saw it shared by progressives, and "liked" by progressives---and not just any progressives, progressive parents who embrace positive parenting.  I was surprised and taken aback. Sharing cartoons that turn child abuse into a joke isn't okay, and this isn't okay either.When did it become okay to joke about lying to children? Make no mistake, that is what this comic is talking about. What does it say about us, as a society, that w … [Read more...]


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What Happened to Teaching Kids to Respect People’s Name Preferences?

When I was in middle school, I briefly tried out the youth group at my family's evangelical megachurch. I was homeschooled, and wasn't used to being around so many public schooled kids, and I had no idea how to fit in or even identify with any of the kids there. But the real problem I ran into had to do with the youth group leader. See, he wanted the kids in youth group to call him Andy*. My parents forbade me from calling him that, and required me to call him Mr. Jones*. And because I refused … [Read more...]


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