Education, Parenting

Childhood Enemies

Focusing on an “enemy” keeps kids trapped in conflict. A young girl I worked with was preoccupied with everything that another girl in her class did. She strongly disliked this girl, and the feeling was mutual. Every day the two girls watched each other closely and complained to friends, teachers, and parents about everything the other girl did wrong. They fretted about…

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How to Get Your Children to Do Chores
Education, Parenting

How to Get Your Children to Do Chores

Children should do chores. Period. Besides the practical benefits of helping their parents, the reality is that children have psychological-developmental needs related to doing chores. It’s healthy for kids to contribute at home. Being a part of the ongoing work of running a household helps children develop an awareness of the needs of others, while at the same time contributing…

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Parenting

Bringing the Science of Learning to Your Homeschool

In my pre-kid life, I was a practicing school psychologist, educational researcher, neuroscience lab research assistant, and college lecturer. I should note that I was not all those things at one time! All of these positions aided my understanding of human learning, which has benefited me greatly as I transitioned to the role of mom and homeschooling facilitator. As a school psychologist,…

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Why Children Like Repetition, and How It Helps Them Learn
Parenting

Why Children Like Repetition, and How It Helps Them Learn

Doing things over and over again might help children learn new things. “Again!” My 4-year-old son Edwin likes to yell over and over again when he finds a new activity or joke that he likes. My 16-month-old, Charlie, likes to repeatedly throw objects on the floor from his high chair or even against the wall if it makes an interesting sound.…

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Why Transcendence Cannot Be Quantified
Parenting

Why Transcendence Cannot Be Quantified

Here’s my family scene from a couple of months ago: My wife and I were at the airport waiting for a flight to go to New Mexico for a skiing trip. This would be the first time that our three boys (ages 7, 12, and 15) had ever gone skiing, so they were quite excited. As we waited for our…

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Leaning on Others to Become More Independent
Parenting

Leaning on Others to Become More Independent

Who teens rely on for help may predict when they reach milestones of adulthood. Moving out, getting a job, and meeting the responsibilities of daily life are generally seen as key markers of becoming an independent adult. But in order to reach these milestones of independence, research shows it may actually be important for teens to learn how to first…

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All Mothers Are Refugees
Motherhood

All Mothers Are Refugees

Being a mother is like eating bread with your hands. Pulling off small chunks from the loaf. “Here, love, eat this.” I study the picture on the cover of the newspaper. Metal slates, razor wire, Tijuana. Pink flip-flops and diapers. I look at the grip of the Honduran mother’s hands on the arms of her daughters as they run, a…

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Google Is Not a Pediatrician
Motherhood

Google Is Not a Pediatrician

Photo: @lauraschmalstieg “Can you fall asleep while standing up?” “Reasons why my baby won’t nap.” “How much should a three-month-old be eating?” I was sitting at my desk in our home office, Googling questions while my baby slept in the next room. I stared back at my own reflection in the window. A reading lamp just barely illuminated my hunched…

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I Got Kicked Out of My ‘Mommy and Me’ Class
Education, Motherhood

I Got Kicked Out of My ‘Mommy and Me’ Class

Photo: Jessica Raimondi/EyeEm/Getty Images When I was three months pregnant with my second child, I moved from New York City to Los Angeles. I had a three-year-old daughter and was preparing for “siblings,” and everywhere I went in my new community, I heard moms parroting the wisdom of a mysterious child-wrangling guru named Marla. They would say, “Marla says to…

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