The Listening Parent (and the Thinking Child)

I was going to post something about politics today, but then I realized that there is way too much about politics out there right now, and that politics is a dark and unhappy place. So instead, I'm going to write about parenting.Last night I was watching Supergirl with my four-year-old son, Bobby, when he asked for a cup of milk. We were watching the show in the basement and had only just gotten all settled and started the show. I didn't really want to go upstairs to the kitchen, or to … [Read more...]


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Sally Sets Boundaries

One day not long ago, I was under a very large amount of stress. I had to clean the house and pack the car and get the kids and myself underway by a specific time, all on my own, without my partner there to help. My children weren't being very helpful, either---both were upstairs on the computer---but then I'd been so busy I hadn't really taken the time to get face-t0-face with them and explain what was going on. Not stopping for a few minutes to communicate directly with them was obviously a m … [Read more...]


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Why I Don’t Force Confrontation with My Children

Last week I wrote about the importance of getting down on your child’s level to interact with them face to face. Several commenters noted that as children they had sometimes found it scary or uncomfortable when an adult got down on their level, especially if it involved forced eye contact or interaction they couldn't choose to avoid. This brought up something I didn't discuss in that post---namely, that I try to avoid forcing interaction---and especially confrontation---with my children.I thi … [Read more...]


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Let’s Talk Parenting: Size Matters

I remember when I first realized that, from my children's perspective, I was a giant. It was that moment that I fully understood how important it is to get down on my children's level when speaking with them. Like, really really important. If you talk to your children without getting down on their level, you're usually talking down at them rather than fully talking with them. Understanding why size matters---and how our relative size should effect my interactions---has become central to my par … [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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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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