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Archive: Tweens

Study: Nearly half of all parents wait too long to talk about sex

A year-and-a-half ago, on this blog, we talked about the right age to start talking about sex. The general consensus was the earlier the better, with the general concepts being OK to introduce in elementary school and more specifics about the consequences of sex in the tween years. Now comes...

By Brian Reid | December 8, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (84)

Let's make a deal: When is it OK for kids to swap stuff?

I stumbled across an unfamiliar stuffed animal in my eldest's room a few weeks ago, and I asked her where it came from. "Eve gave it to me," she said. "She just gave it to you?" I asked. "Yeah," she shrugged. That was about the moment that I started feeling...

By Brian Reid | December 2, 2009; 12:01 PM ET | Comments (13)

Cell phones: How early is too early?

It's only been in the last year that my 15-year-old babysitter got her own cell phone, and while I was happy to have a direct route of connection with the person who makes my date nights possible, my mind reeled at the idea that a kid who is still a...

By Brian Reid | November 10, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (45)

Why I fear the first bra

My oldest has begun to excitedly ask me when I think that she'll get to 5 feet tall (she has a few inches to go yet). She seems to think that breaking the 5-foot barrier marks some sort of milestone on the progression to young adulthood. I have to be...

By Brian Reid | November 5, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (16)

Getting the 'brace face' at a younger age

Halloween came early for me this year. About a month ago, I took my elementary-schooler to the orthodontist, and -- and hour later -- she emerged looking like a tween, her new brackets decked out with green rubber bands. All she needed was a copy of "Twilight" and she would...

By Brian Reid | October 28, 2009; 07:01 AM ET | Comments (30)

The Risks of Unpopularity

Every 5 years, without fail, I traipse halfway across the country to my high school reunion. I go partly to connect with old friends and partly out of the voyeuristic impulse to see how we've all grown up. But the last couple of gatherings have driven home a point that...

By Brian Reid | September 30, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (45)

To Snoop or Not to Snoop

By Rebeldad Brian Reid The hip thing among my daughter's friends is "password journals," the high-tech version of the lock-and-key diaries of yesteryear. Hers is locked down with some sort of voice-recognition software to keep out prying eyes. Right now, it's all good. She's too young to have any real...

By Brian Reid | May 14, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (59)

The Two Words That Can Drive A Parent Crazy: 'What If'

By Lenore Skenazy About a year ago my son Izzy and I enjoyed our quarter hour of fame when I let him ride the subway by himself. He was nine at the time, I wrote a little column about it, and since it is so unusual for kids to do...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 27, 2009; 04:00 AM ET | Comments (97)

Travel Soccer ... or Baseball ... or Any Sport

At the risk of alienating the parents of tens of thousands of youth in the D.C. region and probably hundreds of thousands of parents elsewhere, I just don't "get" travel sports. The big story this week is about a bunch of parents banished from the sidelines of two of their...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 22, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (67)

Sonic Youth, Miley Cyrus, Charles Barkley and Role Models

By Rebeldad Brian Reid On the way to school last week, I flicked on the radio to tune in the local college radio station, which sometimes brings howls of protest from the little voices in the back seat. But this time, the reaction was different: "Dad ... what is this?"...

By Brian Reid | April 2, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (25)

Netiquette: Lessons from South Korean Schoolchildren

Word: Netiquette Definition: The rules for behaving online The rules are fairly simple. According to Albion.com, they involve such behaviors as "remember the human, adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life and be forgiving of other people's mistakes." They are rules that many...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 25, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (10)

Why My Tween Does Not Have a Cellphone

By Jamie Mazza If you asked my 12-year-old son why he does not have his own cellphone, he would tell you, “Because my parents are LAME!” He may be right. As I started to write this blog, I felt as if I were doing a written assignment, punishment for being...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 17, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (51)

Dora the Explorer No More?

The original Dora the Explorer was an adventuresome girl who appealed to kids regardless of gender. She first aired on television in 1999 and is known for loving baseball and her untraditional pet monkey Boots. She's an outdoorsy girl who wears shorts and is always exploring. The new Dora. (Mattel/Nickelodeon...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 6, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (52)

Traveling By Train Alone

Lenore Skenazy is no stranger to criticism over allowing her son independence. Earlier this year, Skenazy started an entire Web site and movement for free-range kids after critics pounded her for allowing her then 9-year-old son, Izzy, to ride the subway alone. Skenazy's movement is back in the forefront this...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 2, 2009; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (12)

Making the Most of Winter Break

The kids are excited; either their winter break has already begun or is about to. And that means a lot of time off school. Uh oh. For many of us that also means a whole lotta kids without many plans beyond holiday celebrations. That may be a welcome change for...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 24, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Sony Violates Children's Privacy Act

Sony BMG Music Entertainment has a privacy notice on its Web sites that users under the age of 13 can't participate in Web page activities. But, in reality, the site accepted registrations from children who entered a date of birth indicating that they were under 13, the Federal Trade Commission...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 12, 2008; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (4)

Buh-Bye, Club Libby Lu

There's plenty about the state of our economy to lament and plenty of stores that are going out of business that we may feel sorry for -- even miss. But there's one that's closing that's simply a good riddance: that's Club Libby Lu. More than a year and a half...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 5, 2008; 06:30 AM ET | Comments (26)

The Homework Disconnect

By a stroke of luck, our elementary school thus far has had a somewhat progressive approach to homework. It doesn't go so far as to not give it, like one private school in Coconut Grove, Fla. In kindergarten, we had a monthly calendar of assignments, all of which were optional,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 19, 2008; 09:50 AM ET | Comments (57)

Finding Toys, Both Safe and Inexpensive

All I want for two upcoming birthdays and holidays are a few safe, well-liked, inexpensive toys for the kids. And I'm well on my way to finding them, no thanks to toy companies who seem to think putting oversized, overpriced toys front and center makes sense these days. Alright, maybe...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 17, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

Too Sexy for Little Girls

Sexy Halloween costumes are nothing new. Every year about this time, parents and reporters all around the country lament the low necklines, cinched waists, shrinking skirts and fishnet stockings that have sprung up at every Halloween costume venue in the country. The subject was a big talker last year on...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 29, 2008; 12:30 PM ET | Comments (7)

Food Allergies' Emotional Toll

As we discussed last week, food allergies can have a huge impact on the practical side of raising our children -- all of them -- in a safe environment. But allergies also exact an emotional toll on the kids and their parents. Mom Tracy Rosenfeld has had to face those...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 29, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (6)

The Case of the Missing Jacket

I think 6-year-old may have set a new household record for lost clothing. Like most, we've had the occasional winter hat walk off somewhere at school. And we've got our fair share of one glove in search for a partner. When socks get a hole, we save the good one...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 15, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (22)

Chicago Thinks Gay-Friendly High School May Be Answer

In Chicago, the school system is trying to tackle a problem of harassment and violence toward gay students. The public schools CEO's solution seems simple: Open a "gay-friendly" high school. The school's curriculum would not differ from other schools. However, it would offer counseling for students and the curriculum would...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 14, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (57)

Sports Make for Happy Families

Let's face it. Not all families are happy with each other all -- or even most -- of the time. But if your kids and you seem to be at odds more than not, you might want to look toward sports and exercise as a solution. That's just one of...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 13, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (13)

Should Schools Be in the Fundraising Business?

Almost exactly a year ago, we had our first fundraising discussion. The Sally Foster packets had arrived -- as they did again a couple weeks ago in my house. This year, though, it's not the PTA fundraisers that have me up in arms -- it's the one sponsored directly by...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 3, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (49)

Talking Through a Financial Disaster

By Rebeldad Brian Reid I had a heck of a time getting any work done on Monday -- frozen wide-eyed as the S&P Index dropped like a rock as the market imagined a world missing huge swaths of the financial services industry. Everyone I talked to was worried. Even if...

By Brian Reid | October 1, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (17)

A Good Busy or Overscheduled?

What a surprise: Some new studies about scheduling kids for lots of extracurriculars conflicts with conventional wisdom. CW -- which includes the American Academy of Pediatrics and social sciences professor William Doherty, of the University of Minnesota -- says that overscheduling can lead to anxiety, depression and lack of sleep...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 29, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (24)

6 Food Myths for Parents to Debunk

In the ongoing battle to try to ram nutritious food into our kids, the New York Times has identified “6 Food Mistakes that Parents Make.” The mythbusting effort is laudable – and the research marshaled is impressive – but there are good reasons most of these myths have stuck around....

By Brian Reid | September 25, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (75)

Got Lice? Get the Facts

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26627227/ CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/lice/head/

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 23, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (39)

Sex Ed: How Early? How Detailed?

By Rebeldad Brian Reid It's a weird world we live in where -- in a time of economic turmoil, foreign wars and a health care system that teeters on the brink -- one of the surprise issues of the presidential election season is sexual education. First, there was the brouhaha...

By Brian Reid | September 18, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (101)

A Lesson in Behavior

chicago sun times: http://www.suntimes.com/news/commentary/1144389,CST-EDT-skuledit04.article cdc: youth violence prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/dvp/YVP/school_violence.htm

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 10, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (95)

Lunchbox Winners

180 school days. That's the number of lunches times two that I'm packing between last week and June. And if my kids had their way, the types of foods in their bags might total about a handful. While some of us are old hands at packing lunch every day, higher...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 8, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (105)

Math: A Lot of Questions With Few Answers

T.C. Williams High School English teacher Patrick Welsh calls it the math meltdown. Montgomery Blair High School math teacher Eric Walstein calls the county's math program "narrow and shallow." And Fairfax County's Frank Atchison, who coordinates that county's math program, says that "in [the] end, it does look like a...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 11, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (95)

Teaching Charity

The kids have a complicated allowance structure. It started when the oldest started clamoring for every Lego on the face of the planet. Meanwhile, his parents are more the save-and-save-and -save-again types. Half for spending and half for saving, we figured as we started our little lesson on fiscal responsibility....

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 1, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (142)

Has Advertising to Kids Changed?

Companies are making headway in trimming their advertising of unhealthy foods to kids. That's the latest from the Council of Better Business Bureau (CBBB), which began implementing The Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative in January 2007. Thirteen food and beverage companies are participating in the program, which aims to...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 30, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (91)

Game Day

"Do you DS?" Several times in the past few months, boys have thrown the question out to 6-year-old. And not only don't we own any video game systems, I'm not sure he even knows what the other kids mean. Clearly, the boys are using it as a conversation starter. It's...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 18, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (115)

Overscheduled and Overstressed?

Down Time. When's the last time your child had some? In today's health section, reporter Sandra G. Boodman explores a problem that isn't going to end anytime soon -- overscheduled kids. "I'm always in a state of anxiety, but it only piles up every few months," Walt Whitman High School...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 15, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Are You a Kidsick Parent?

You and your child finally decided he/she was old enough for sleepaway camp. You packed the bags, maybe even had your child pack with you so he'd know exactly what he was bringing, including home addressed, stamped envelopes, paper and a pen. You dropped the kid off with a kiss...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 14, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (78)

Skin Protection 101

Ah, July. The weather in D.C. alternates between hot and sweltering. And about the only relief is to: a) stay indoors or b) swim All that time at pools and playing in water fountains means the kids get lathered with sunscreens, some of which contain ingredients I can't possibly pronounce....

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 9, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (62)

Raising Lefties

Before becoming mom, I made certain, shall we say, presumptions about my future children. They'd need glasses early, just like their dad and mom. They'd be adventurous eaters, not unlike mom and dad. And they'd be right-handed, again like mom and dad. Turns out I couldn't have been more wrong...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 7, 2008; 07:20 AM ET | Comments (95)

Making the Drive Time Fly

Fof3 posed the question last week while I was traveling (good timing, by the way!), so here goes: What are the best car games for travel sanity? And yes, we know that many folks rely heavily on in-car DVD players, handheld video games and iPods. But when all that's just...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 1, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Who's Harder to Raise?

As we've discussed before, boys and girls are inherently different. It's one of those facts that parents say but non-parents really don't believe until they have their own kids. But true it feels. Now comes the question from Parenting.com's Paula Spencer: Is one gender easier to raise than the other?...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 19, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bunk Bed Boo-Boos

With two boys ages 6 and 4, the idea of buying bunk beds has crossed our minds more than a few times. Friends have them and love the camaraderie the children feel sleeping top to bottom in the same room. At one house, the bunk bed has been more like...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 3, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Mother-Daughter Spa Time

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/BeautySecrets/Story?id=4881675&page=1

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 28, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (48)

Batter Up!

Microscopic magnets in toys -- definitely dangerous. Lead. Yep, that, too. But aluminum baseball bats? A threat to little boys and girls? That's just what the family of Steven Domalewski says. Steven was 12 when a line drive hit him just above the heart, says the Associated Press. His heart...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 20, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (20)

What Did Your Family Eat This Weekend?

Oh, the horror. Soccer ends for both boys, resulting in two parties/award ceremonies. Add to that two birthday parties, and needless to say, the weekend -- and the boys' bellies -- were filled with their share, and more, of junk food. Chips? Check. Pizza? Check. Donuts. Check. Cake. Check. Juice....

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 19, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Will Travel ... With Kids

Are you planning a trip this summer? If so, you might want to take a few trip tips from Christian Science Monitor contributor P.A. Moed, who's been there, done that with a now teen-aged son since he was small. * Give your kids a taste of the culture you'll be...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 6, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (51)

Kids Influencing Kids

Once a month, we attend a family Shabbat service at our temple. The number of families attending is fairly small in comparison to the full temple membership, which makes the low-key service fun for all of us. But the real highlight comes afterwards, at the potluck dinner. All the kids...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 24, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (14)

Recyclable Art

In honor of Earth Day, let's talk art. Granted, I've spent way too much time strolling the aisles of Michael's for craft supplies. Paint in the big jars. Brushes. Glitter glue. Felt. Pipe cleaners. Beads. Play-Doh. Wooden cutouts with magnetic strips. Here are some of my favorite "recycled" projects over...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 22, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (17)

The Dangers of Sport

Four-year-old is the kind of child who jumps, tumbles and slides whenever -- and wherever -- possible. He's gone through phases of only brushing his teeth while doing a headstand on a couch and performing jumping somersaults off the couch onto the hard-wood floor. That's when I first coughed up...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 9, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Judging Books

My greatest love when I was little was reading. I'd often have multiple books going at one time. Long after my parents had said goodnight, I could be found under the covers with a flashlight, unwilling to put a book down. At bookstores, I'd sit myself down between the aisles,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 27, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (57)

Home Is Where the Learning Is

On Feb. 28, the Second District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles ruled that school-aged children in the state of California are required to be taught by credentialed teachers. What has ensued over the past month has been a furor in the home-schooling community, with articles and editorials in the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 26, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (59)

Kids' Worlds Online

Kid safety online seems to be the big buzz-term lately. Maybe it's because of the news around children are being bullied by "anonymous" friends. Maybe it's because of the potential of sexual predators instant messaging kids. Or maybe, as consumers of the Internet, we parents are more in tune with...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 21, 2008; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (12)

Family Movie Night

Sometimes, I wonder where the time goes. Busy week runs into busy week. Ice skating turns to soccer turns to swimming. By Saturday night, after long days of school and work, both parents and kids are just plain tired. A couple of months ago, my husband and I stumbled across...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 17, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (46)

The Tests Are Coming!

Two weeks in a row, my son's kindergarten class has been bumped from PE. When I asked why that was this past week, he said the older kids were practice testing in the gym. And so, the No Child Left Behind testing stressors have begun. First, we received an analysis...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 14, 2008; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Here we go again. Another kid suspended from school because of his hair. This time the offending child is 6-year-old Bryan Ruda of Parma, Ohio. Parma Community School apparently warned Bryan's mother twice before that his Mohawk violated the charter school's dress code, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reports. The elementary school...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 3, 2008; 07:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Languages We Speak

Forget music and gymnastics. The big "is-my-kid-keeping-up" trend these days is all about language; that is, how many languages your child is learning. The New York Times jumped on the trend in an article earlier this week: "If It's Tuesday, It Must Be Spanish." While no one knows how much...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 7, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (40)

Bringing Up Voters

The election process. Presidential candidates are all over the news. Canvassers are arriving at our doorstep. One even blocked me from getting 4-year-old's bike out of the house over the weekend. Annoying "researchers" are calling daily during dinner. And still, I felt a small moment of pride the other night...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 6, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Hurts That Stick

Not so long ago, I had one of those weeks we'd all rather forget. You know the kind: Ankle sprain, second-degree burns and a hit-and-run car accident. While recovery from the ills took much longer than the week it took to incur everything, there were some terrific side benefits. Let's...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 1, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

It Was Nice Knowing You, PTA

When school began in August, I had every intention of involving myself in my kindergartner's school. And what better way than getting involved in the PTA? So, I attended the first meeting. A decent sized crowd (about 50 people) showed up. Budgets were passed out. The officers went over money...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 10, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (32)

Pulling Out All the Stops for Hannah Montana

"My daddy died this year in Iraq." So started an essay by Priscilla Ceballos's six-year-old, Alexis. The essay won the girl four coveted tickets -- along with airfare and hotel -- to a Hannah Montana concert, and a Hannah Montana makeover. The problem is, the essay designed to win the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 7, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Sibling Love and War

Before son No. 2 was born, husband and I spent a great deal of time planning to help his older brother welcome the new addition to the family. We talked with him about babies. We combed the library for sibling arrival books, eventually settling on and loving "Talk, Baby" by...

By Stacey Garfinkle | January 4, 2008; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (21)

Recording Memories

Ever since we became parents, people have asked whether we've shot video of fun childhood moments. Not just first roll, first steps, first words. But the kind of moments our kids might never believe. Like 6-year-old talking about his career plans to run Legoland and charge everyone $1 -- or...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 14, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (8)

Get Your Game On

G. PG. PG-13. R. Do you know what I'm referring to? My guess is that most of us recognize these movie ratings and know what they mean. How about these? EC. E. E10+. T. M. AO. Chances are far fewer of us know what these are, according to the 12th...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 6, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (14)

The Holiday-Birthday Mashup

With Hanukkah now in full swing and Christmas coming soon, it's easy to get caught up in that holiday spirit. But in our house, other big days are coming. Child No. 1 turns 6 this week, right in the middle of Hanukkah. Luckily, he's excited that he gets more than...

By Stacey Garfinkle | December 5, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (107)

Kids Don't Come Cheap

A couple of days ago, many of you discussed issues that keep you up at night. Sarah started it off: I'm kept up at night wishing I could afford to stay at home with my kids instead of working, and still afford a roof over the head, to repay the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 16, 2007; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (74)

Parent-Teacher Conferences

The first marking period of the school year ended last week, which means parent-teacher conferences. And I've got to admit, the buildup to the conference has me a bit nervous. First off, the school has spent the past two months or so evaluating my son. The teacher has said that...

By Stacey Garfinkle | November 8, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Debate: Public vs. Private vs. Home School

Back in the early '70s, my mother had given up on public schooling, but my dad saw no reason his kids couldn't go to public school like he did. That lasted until my mother learned that my sister was sleeping through classes and getting straight A's and my brother was...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 19, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (59)

12 Going On... 16

Meet Naomi. She's 12 going on 13. And if our children turn out anything like her, we could all do a lot worse. Naomi is the latest interviewee in onBeing by Post videographer Jenn Crandall. To Naomi, becoming a teenager means more expectations of maturity, more responsibility, more complex social...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 12, 2007; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (11)

Home Alone on a School Day

During Friday's discussion of forgetting kids, David S. suggested a great topic, latchkey kids According to a 2005-issued Census report, 7 million children ages 5 to 14 spend some amount of time in "self-care." Kids ages 5 to 11 spend an average of 5 hours per week home alone; kids...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 9, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

I Know I'm Forgetting Something ...

Rushing here. Rushing there. Work. Grocery store. Make dinner. Soccer. Swimming. E-mail's to answer. Relative's 70th birthday to plan. Our day for school snacks. Our calendar's one big, black ink spot, and that's with only two kids. But managing to know who's in school and who's out on any particular...

By Stacey Garfinkle | October 5, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

THE LOOK. I remember it well (and somewhat fondly now that I use it on my own kids). In fact, it's family lore. My mother could give us THE LOOK -- really more like a glare -- and we'd obey. THE LOOK was quite convenient in public where all the...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 11, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (123)

Child Diagnosis 101

The number of kids treated for bipolar disease grew 40-fold between 1994 and 2003. But whether that many kids actually have the mental illness also called manic depression is another story. While the concern over the rise in diagnoses isn't new (The Post's Sandra G. Boodman wrote about it in...

By Stacey Garfinkle | September 5, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

A Brave New World?

It was probably inevitable that the craze known as Reality TV would extend to kids. Folks who'd never consider signing a 22-page waiver form to hand their kids over to a television network shooting a "Lord of the Flies"-like show call it child exploitation. Every day, the din grows louder...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 29, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (50)

Family, Family, Where Art Thou?

Kids just want to spend time with Mom and Dad. That's the word from a recent poll on the subject, this one by The Associated Press and MTV. And that's just what this last week before school has been about for us. We bustled everyone into the car for a...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 24, 2007; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Put a Lock on That Door

Ah, the joys of toddlers in cribs. They can't come into your bedroom at -- ahem -- untimely moments. There are no fine-tuned preschool/elementary school ears listening to the rumblings in the other room with questions you'd rather not answer just yet. Once they grow, you can imagine the conversation...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 16, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (43)

Can Your Kids Unplug?

An intrepid journalism teacher at American University made the following assignment to her students: Turn off all media for 24 hours and write about it. Her students were stunned. No phone -- cell or otherwise? No computer? No iPod? No radio? To our kids, life without machine is a lot...

By Stacey Garfinkle | August 6, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (42)

What a Chore!

Is getting your kids to do their chores a challenge? If so, check out Chore Wars, a free online game that launched this month. The game takes some setup time. The group administrator assigns points (i.e. minutes a chore takes) to different tasks. And then the war is on ......

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 30, 2007; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Subjects That Are Left Behind

Bye, bye social studies. Adios, science. School these days is all about reading and math. Okay, maybe not all, but it sure seems that way. According to a Center on Education Policy report released this week examining school subjects since the beginning of the 'No Child Left Behind Act,' 36...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 27, 2007; 06:22 AM ET | Comments (133)

Look Inside, Girls

Yet another reason to worry about obese girls. A new study by University of Texas at Austin sociologist Robert Crosnoe says that fat kids have more academic problems at school and are less likely to attend college. The issue is particularly pronounced in girls, Crosnoe says, particularly those who attend...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 26, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (77)

We're Off to the Movies

Now playing this summer: "Ratatouille," "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," "Transformers," and "Shrek the Third." Several months ago, we took the kids to see "Charlotte's Web." The thought: They hadn't been to the movies in awhile and it's a classic. Plus, the book wasn't capturing elder son's...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 24, 2007; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (35)

Potter Mania

You might say that my sons were born to read Harry Potter. After all, their dad read them (and me) the Harry Potter books while I was pregnant. And now, as the last, long chapter of the series is about to hit our doorstep, I'm wondering when to start reading...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 20, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Will Barbie Recover?

Barbie is selling less in the United States these days. At least that's what the dolls' mom and pop company, Mattel, reported this week. But Mattel is hopeful the doll will recover now that she has an "online community." Ah, the new buzzwords: online community. Webkinz.com, the site tied to...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 18, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Manners -- Are They Really Forgotten?

According to Sierra on Friday in the comments, "Manners have been out of fashion for the past 30 years but I hear they are making a comeback. I only hope and pray it is soon." Sierra's not the only one to mention a lack of manners in kids these days....

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 16, 2007; 07:20 AM ET | Comments (183)

Food Fear

Apparently, it's not just me who's noticed: More kids these days are being diagnosed with food allergies. According to Sally Squires's Lean Plate Club column today, 8 percent of kids aged 2 and younger have a food allergy. Some will outgrow them, some won't. In 2003, a leading allergy specialist,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 10, 2007; 08:00 AM ET | Comments (108)

Life's Small -- and Big -- Lessons

Maybe it's because I grew up near and around water, but swimming is something I consider a "life skill." There's no question that the boys will take lessons until I know that they are strong swimmers. It's unthinkable to me that they not learn to be safe and strong in...

By Stacey Garfinkle | July 9, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (73)

Where Charity Begins

This week, The Washington Post launched a package called Worlds United about 11 teenage girls who are spending part of their summer in South Africa teaching girls in a poor town how to play soccer. The girls also will take HIV/AIDs classes with the girls in the town, Port Elizabeth....

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 28, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Let Kids Be Kids

There's been a movement underfoot recently telling parents to let kids be kids. "Parents need to let kids out from 'house arrest'," wrote the San Francisco Chronicle in a story this past weekend. That followed articles in The Post ("Getting Lost in the Great Indoors") and Slate ("The Paradox of...

By Stacey Garfinkle | June 25, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (36)

Say 'Cheese,' But Don't Buy It

Drug dealers have devised some new tactics to entice kids to buy drugs -- they mix them into over-the-counter medicines or even candy and call them non-drug names. For instance, "Cheese" is a blend of black tar heroin and Tylenol PM, reports the Associated Press. And meth mixed into strawberry-flavored...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 10, 2007; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (27)

Bullying Takes on More Forms

No matter how you slice the numbers, it's likely that you'll have a child who is subjected to bullying at some point. And that bullying can cause stress, a loss of self esteem and dropping grades. A recent Stanford University survey says 9 out of 10 elementary school students reported...

By Stacey Garfinkle | May 2, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (113)

iPods With the Answers

When it comes to school, kids cheat. They naturally look to others who know an answer when they do not. They did when my grandparents were in school. They did when my parents were in school. Our generation did it. Though it's not the right thing to do, today's students...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 30, 2007; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

There's No Miracle Cure for Obesity

"Breastfed infants grow exactly the way they should. They tend to gain less unnecessary weight and to be leaner. This may result in being less overweight later in life." So says the Department of Health and Human Services on its women's health Web site. A new Harvard study says nope...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 26, 2007; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

Abstinence: All Talk No Action

Abstinence-only education programs don't work. So says a government study on the topic released late last week. Researchers set up intricate program groups that controlled for factors such as race, single-parent households and household income. They then separated like youth into two groups: a program group of kids who attended...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 19, 2007; 07:10 AM ET | Comments (110)

Talk to Your Kids About Shootings

Words can't describe the loss suffered by the parents and families of the Virginia Tech students who were killed two days ago. Yet as parents, we need to find the words to talk to their kids -- particularly those who are school-aged -- about this tragedy. The Mental Health Association...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 18, 2007; 12:01 AM ET | Comments (34)

Drive the Money Point Home

It looks like the topic of money and kids is one that's going to take on more importance over time, particularly as financial institutions get in on the get-out-of-debt act. In The Post's Sunday Business section this week, Margaret Webb Pressler writes about a pilot program called Finance Park that...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 16, 2007; 07:10 AM ET | Comments (28)

Mothers and Daughters

Apparently, all those times my mother called my hair "a mop," it was out of love. And all the times she told me I was fat -- even though I was a competitive swimmer going to practice for four to seven hours per day -- that, too, was love. That's...

By Stacey Garfinkle | April 10, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

The Games We Play; Plus, Harry Potter

Do you know what games your kids are playing when you're not watching? Levi Draher's mom certainly didn't. In eighth grade, Levi learned the choking game. In ninth grade, to the dismay of a friend, he played the game a few times alone, according to the Cullman (Ala.) Times. Then,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 29, 2007; 07:07 AM ET | Comments (60)

Club Libby Lu

We went to Tysons Corner Center this weekend to let my eldest son spend his allowance money on Legos. And boy, did we get an eyeful. Walking through the food court were about a dozen girls with their hair teased sky-high and their faces covered in more makeup than I've...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 26, 2007; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (116)

The Debate: Do You Talk Religion?

My house is filled with singing these days -- mostly of Hebrew and English Passover songs that my son has been learning at school. This is a school that I adore in every way: great teachers, good projects, fabulous playground, really nice kids. But my children's classes are much more...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 23, 2007; 08:30 AM ET | Comments (196)

Peer Pressure

Peer influences can be hard to deal with, particularly as kids age and want to be seen as adults. Hence comes this question from reader George into the parenting mailbag (E-mail your own question to parenting@washpost.com.) "How do you keep a 12- and 13-year-old girl away from junk food, cosmetics,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 19, 2007; 07:23 AM ET | Comments (0)

Give Me Money!

My 5-year-old wants money. Well, actually, he wants to go to the store by himself to buy Legos. And he's planned an entire Lego party with his friends in which they all walk to the Lego store together when they are nine -- in his words "old enough to go...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 8, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (102)

Summertime, Summertime

It's March. Do you know what your kids' summer plans are? The camp industry would have you believe that January's the time to get your camp sign-ups done. In truth, NOW's the time to sort through the details before all the camp slots fill up and you've got bored kids...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 7, 2007; 06:45 AM ET | Comments (40)

HPV Vaccine: What Choice Will You Make?

Didn't vaccinating kids against diseases used to be a no-brainer? After all, who would want to inflict their child with the measles or the mumps when the diseases could so easily be prevented? I never recall my own mother questioning the pediatrician about vaccinations. We simply got the shots. But...

By Stacey Garfinkle | March 5, 2007; 09:00 AM ET | Comments (119)

Boys vs. Girls

As I sit down to write, my three-year-old is playing in the next room first shouting "Chugga chugga choo choo!" with a train, then "zoom, zoom" with two racing cars. What gender is the child? I'm guessing most of you chose boy, and you'd be right. Before I gave birth,...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 28, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (109)

Little Girls, Big Influences

Short of living in a bubble with no television, magazines, music or toy dolls and having all your girls' friends live in that same bubble, the sexualization of girls has been continually moving earlier and earlier. What once were considered bad influences on teenagers now translate into girls as young...

By Stacey Garfinkle | February 20, 2007; 07:00 AM ET | Comments (0)

 

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