“Be a Good Obeying Girl”

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When I was a child and my mother would leave me at a friend's house or with a sitter, there was one thing she always said right before she left."Be a good obeying girl." Of every virtue a child could have, the one my mother prized above all else was obedience. My mother was influenced by Michael Pearl's book, To Train Up a Child, which stipulated that obedience should be immediate and without question---and with a smile. Partly I think my mother was attracted to the Pearls' childrearing … [Read more...]

Guest Post: I Am Not Planning on Being a Stay-at-Home Mom (part II)

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Originally posted at I Turn and BurnRead part I here In my last post, I left off talking about the decision I made during high school not to have children, even though I knew my decision would be frowned upon by others in my Christian community. When I was in high school, I believed that public school damaged children in irreversible ways. I imagined students having sex and performing drug deals right there in the classrooms with the teachers there, condoning their behavior. I imagined … [Read more...]

Both Children and Parents Are Demanding

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Sometimes, when we are on a road trip to visit relatives, we stop at a drive through on the way. Last week was one of those times. Then comes the flurry of passing out fries and figuring out whose shake is whose and everything that goes along with that---straws, napkins, ketchup, the works. Sean was driving and I was passing things every which way, the children and Sean simultaneously putting in bids for their food. I was on sensory overload and feeling frazzled and finally, in exasperation, I … [Read more...]

Bullying Prevention

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The Parent Trap is on Netflix, so I watched it with Sally a few days ago. I enjoy showing her movies I remember watching as a kid myself. As we came to the part where Annie and Haley vandalize each other's cabins at camp in an escalating cycle of retribution, Sally rendered her judgement."That's bullying," she said."Where did you learn about bullying?" I asked her."At my school," she said. "Bullying is not nice."I'd been told that schools were being more proactive about dealing … [Read more...]

The Children in the Sandbox

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Over the holidays I read a novel by Jodi Picoult. I enjoyed the book, but there was one passage that bugged me. In it a mother acts as narrator, and explains that we're all supposed to say there is no real difference between boys and girls, but that that is a "polite fiction." She says all you have to do is look into any sandbox at any park, and you'll see the girls preparing food and the boys smashing things with trucks. Except that this is not in fact my experience.Look, my son Bobby loves … [Read more...]

Preschool Dating Drama

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Sally is growing her hair out, but she absolutely hates having it washed.  "Sally, if washing your hair is this hard, we can cut it shorter," I suggested during a recent bath, as Sally was literally in tears over having her hair washed."But I want to marry Aiden," Sally objected vehemently, "And he said at the library, 'you better keep growing your hair out!'"O_oTo be honest, I was completely taken aback by Sally's comment. She's five years old for goodness' sake! I wasn't p … [Read more...]

Child Neglect in a Helicopter World

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I find myself a bit conflicted here. I'm seeing a story about a South Carolina mother charged with neglect pass across facebook. "Mom Jailed Because She Let Her 9-Year-Old Daughter Play in the Park Unsupervised," the title reads. My friends are outraged, and are recounting stories of playing alone at the park themselves at that age. But when I clicked on the link I quickly felt that the title---and my friends' defenses---were a bit misleading. This was not a case of a girl walking to a park … [Read more...]


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