The Humor of Overactive Parents in Books for Kids

The Humor of Overactive Parents in Books for Kids

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear the term “helicopter parenting” I want to duck for cover. It’s not that I’m so opposed to the concept as much as I’m afraid something is about to swoop down and take off my head. Usually, I’m not so far off—“Ten Warning Signs You Are a Helicopter Parent (and How to Stop)”; “You Might Be a Helicopter Parent If…”; “How Helicopter Parenting is Ruining America’s Children”. Hang on now, while I grab that head of mine rolling down the helipad and try to slap it back onto my shoulders long enough to endure all this blame. Were the latch-key 80s kids really so much better off than our helicopter ones? It’s all longitude and latitude. Last year, Marine One carried Obama. This year, it carries Trump. These little soldiers of ours evidently too afraid to parachute from our laps this decade will be raising their own kids the next, hitching...
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The Happiest Mother on the Block

The Happiest Mother on the Block

Last week, my foot got one of those awful cramps they say can come from not enough water (guilty) or potassium so I figured I'd give it a stretch, and I went two doors down to return some notecards I'd borrowed to my neighbor Jenn and to see if she wanted some leftover milk I had. We chatted a bit and as I headed out the door she said, "Oh, wait. I need to return this to you." She handed me a book I must've lent her in 2008, Harvey Karp's The Happiest Toddler on the Block. I laughed. Hard. Seriously?! That's definitely the longest anyone has taken to return a borrowed book. But beyond that, my son, with his arms hanging almost to his knees  and half an inch taller than I am at five foot five, well,  it just struck me as comical to get it back now. On the long walk back home, two houses down, I began to...
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Battlefield 4, Rated M

Battlefield 4, Rated M

I come from the school of Constructivist not Behaviorist parenting. No sticker charts. No gold stars. No allowance. You do what you're supposed to do for the intrinsic rewards. Clear boundaries. Clear rules. Logical consequences. In second grade, my son angsted (that's a fine word for his big, fat, intractable, boulder-sized opposition) one day when I couldn't drive him to school, and I needed a fellow student's mom to do it. He cried. He moaned. He wailed. He refused. And then, I offered him a donut. What if Charlie's Mom got you a donut on the way?  I was amazed at the power of the behavioral approach. He was like one of those cartoon kids who went from sobbing to a light-switch-change of buoyancy, laughter and light, more than happy to go along with it. Donut parenting 101 forever impacted me. So when my son at age eleven found himself petrified to get a blood test -- he actually, literally, passed out...
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The Giver

The Giver

Eleven years old is the new thirteen. They are all pubescent and adolescent and so so over you. Mothering the eleven-year-old is all about being there but acting like you're not. You gotta be there to say it's enough computer time. You gotta remind them to eat a snack. You gotta tell them to put deodorant on. You have to force them to bathe. And then you slink off into your own world where you won't embarrass them too much until you plan family time and feel ready to ride their eleven-year-old emotional roller coaster. It's always worth it to me. Stacking the deck by feeding, watering and being sure he's not exhausted works better. But still, it's a crap shoot. Eleven years old also seems to be about me no longer getting to read my own books. I love, eat up, cherish the time we still share where I read books to him at night. I'm talking about my own reading...
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