Tagged as: parenting

The Value of Boredom

boredom

When I was a child, my parents often ignored me. It’s not that they were unkind to me. It’s that they had full lives of their own and didn’t like playing Candy Land. They believed that you should open the door and say to children, Go out and play. They understood the value of boredom. My two younger brothers and I sincerely enjoyed each other’s company, and that’s a good thing, because we had a lot of it. Read more…

How Highly Gendered Toys Present an Exclusively Heterosexual Worldview to Children

toys

When girls and boys walk into a toy store in 2015, they see a significantly more gendered, heteronormative arrangement and selection of toys than I did as a girl forty years ago! Toys, grouped by gender, are prescriptive of gender roles. It is not only a problem of limiting the ways to be a girl or a boy, as I have written about extensively. It is also a problem of promoting an exclusively heterosexual worldview. Read more…

If Our Sons Were Treated Like Our Daughters

sons

Come with me. Let’s open the door to a parallel universe. You unlock this door with a key of imagination, just like on The Twilight Zone. Here in this parallel world, the rules are different because gender roles are flipped. Loving parents and teachers accept this strange culture as if it’s not so bad, or perhaps even good. As if the reverse of this culture could exist only in the minds of fiction writers or lunatics. Read more…

Redshirting in the Age of Academic Kindergarten

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Every September, the incoming group of kindergarteners becomes ever so slightly older.  When I had my daughter almost twenty years ago, I remember a friend of mine exclaiming, “Oh, you’re so lucky, she’s birthday-blessed!” The term referred to her fall birth date, and the fact that she would automatically be one of the oldest students in her class. But in this high-octane world of parenting, we are seeing an increasing wave of academic “redshirt” decisions, especially for “Summer Birthday Boys,” in an effort to give them an academic, social, and athletic advantage by orchestrating their position among oldest and biggest in their grade. Read more… 

Listen to my radio interview on this topic here.

When Children Die and It’s Incomprehensible, How We Move Forward as a Society

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Almost twenty years ago, in February of 1993, my daughter was a toddler and sometimes hard to keep track of in stores if I took my eyes off her for a second, as all parents occasionally do. Around that time I lost her in Gymboree at the mall for perhaps 10 minutes because she was playing hide-and-seek in the circular turnstiles of clothing and not responding to my increasingly frantic calls. But she eventually came out laughing and I had the moment many parents have when they are angry and deeply relieved, and I hugged her and admonished her at the same time. Read more…