We all want confident children, but research indicates that effusive parental praise can backfire. In one study, 80% of kids describe their parents' compliments as "not really true," "overblown" or "completely full of shit." Does this mean we're doomed to raise a generation of children who doubt themselves? Not if we stop praising them unnecessarily. Instead, parents should give their children truly daunting challenges that actually do warrant a flood of praise. For example:
1. Teach your child to do the Heimlich maneuver. Then, pretend that you're choking on a chicken bone. When your child "saves" you, thank him profusely, through tears. Be sure to tell everyone in the [...]
Look at this headline, if your faith is strong enough: "Why I Raise My Children Without God." Whoa, what is going on at CNN.com? Did someone forget that CNN's job is to protect God from weird blog posts by random moms in Texas? What if a child finds out there's no God? Oh don't worry, we're pretty sure Newtown took care of that, for the current generation of five-year-olds. And now our children supposedly shouldn't be narcissists? Is that even American, to not think the entire world and also an All-Powerful Deity exists solely to get you certain presents and make you a rapper on reality television someday?
When you're a kid, there are no limits on the world—everything seems possible. When he was seven, my brother truly believed that one day he'd wake up to see a T-Rex peering at him through his bedroom. (Yes, he had just watched Jurassic Park.) He also talked about inventing a plane that could withstand the strength of a tornado enough to fly within its wind currents, for a real bird's-eye view of the storm. To find out other would-be inventions and asked an assorted group of tech- and science-minded folks, "When you were young, what did you want to invent, discover or [...]
"Children still enjoy playing traditional games like skipping and clapping in the playground despite the lure of mobile phones, computer games, and television, a study published on Tuesday found. Playground games are 'alive and well … they happily co-exist with media-based play, the two informing each other,' it said." —Children like to go outside! Expect New York mag to weigh in shortly.
Researchers have come up with a hilarious new way to keep Junior from getting larger: Just put your child's meals on very little plates, so the child cannot figure out she is getting a few spoonfuls of blanched kale for dinner, again.
The medical journal Pediatrics just released an exciting new study that proves kids can't tell the difference between plate sizes. Give them gigantic plates, like prop plates from movies about giants, and the youngster will eat enough for a week without noticing. Giving children small plates, like those used in popular Brooklyn restaurants, is an easy way to fake out the minds of our littlest ones.
When my friends started having children, as much as I thought about what role I'd play in their kids' lives, it was as the sort of friend of the family who, when you're teetering through teenagerdom and your early 20s, takes you out to lunch or dinner (often arriving, fortuitously, when you're most off course and down-at-heel), gives you Rilke and Asimov and the Brontes at the junctures when they can do their most good, takes your ambitions seriously, lets you be yourself while providing some calibrating sense of what the world at large will eventually expect from your conversation, etc. I had a couple such 'aunts' myself, my mom's [...]
Part of a month-long series on the people and peculiarities of where we're from.
List the twentieth century's most iconic television characters for children. Some obvious candidates off the top of your head: Fred Rogers as Mr. Rogers was a gentle and avuncular mainstay for generations, as was the more colorful and whiskered Captain Kangaroo, portrayed by Bob Keeshan. Both were televised nationally—the Captain on CBS (for the first 29 years) pre-school mornings, and Mr. Rogers syndicated to your local public television station—and as such they were something all children had in common. If you were a little kid in America sometime between the 60s and the 80s, there's [...]
It turned out that the business model for educational content creation (in "language arts," at least) is rather less romantic than I had envisioned. Content assignments are farmed out to an army of small-time contractors with some kind of nominal qualifications — stay-at-home moms, former school librarians, and so on. Overwhelmingly, the assignments are not story ideas or anything the like; the basis is grade level, mean word length, schematic adherence to state educational standards (see above), and volume, volume, volume. I think the pay is per passage, rather than by the word.
The result is a stream of unmitigated crap, crap that is unremitting and remarkably homogeneous. [...]
1) A thick-chested man in tight striped Polo shirt and a woman in tennis whites are walking towards the pool. “They say that money can’t buy happiness,” the man says. “Well, I say, ‘I’m gonna try to find out!’” The woman swats at his arm. The man laughs, “HA HA HA HA HA.”
2) In the parking lot sits a white convertible Mustang painted with pinstripes and a large New York Yankees logo on the side. On the beach, a guest asks a longtime club member, “So who owns the Yankees Mustang? With the pinstripes?” “Oh, I don’t know,” says the longtime member. “But I’ve seen it here it [...]
"My name is Frank and I'm five years old. My dad and I are traveling on a ship to Denmark. If you find this letter, please write back to me, and I will write back to you." —Frank Uesbeck, of Coesfeld, Germany, contributed to the pollution of the Baltic Sea 24 years ago by sealing a note in a brown glass bottle and throwing it off a boat. Now 29, and apparently unrepentant, he is being rewarded with press coverage. Because 13-year-old Daniil Korotkikh found the bottle on a beach on the Russian coast and reporters helped him contact Uesbeck over the Internet. Actually, this story from last [...]
Teenagers aren’t having much sex these days. And why should they? If it’s not the AIDS resurgence or public displays of adolescent pregnancy, it’s HPV, or syphilis (yes, syphilis) or any other number of other pestilences that rot your organs and turn your genitals to corrugated mush.
So does all this adolescent celibacy mean that today’s teens are less horny than their free-love Baby Boomer predecessors, or the angst-ridden millennials, or any other group of teens in history? Not a chance. If there’s one universal of the human condition, it’s hormones: Our biochemistry is primed to make us breed, and that means endless streams of panting, [...]
"An article on Feb. 17 about a decline in field trips for students because of the New York City school bus drivers’ strike referred incorrectly to the 280-pound albino Burmese python at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum. The python, a favorite of schoolchildren, is a 'she' (Fantasia), not a 'he.'" —The NYT is taking this accountability thing very seriously, when it comes to enormous albino zoo animals that are a favorite of children.
"A neighbor told me that she believes the landlord illegally raised the rent and submitted bogus forms to whatever agency is in charge of the whole rent-stabilization process, claiming that work done by the last tenant was done by a contractor. I have no idea what any of this means, and I do not really care…. Also, I am in college and my parents are paying my rent, so do I have to tell them? Obviously, I am looking to do nothing in this matter. Is that cool?" —Jesus Christ, kids. (Also, you know, rent stabilization laws aren't that complicated, and if you're too lazy or stupid to [...]
Here are some libraries on Pinterest: leather couches, wraparound staircases, hidden doors within the shelves. And then here is my personal library: crammed into and around a small bookshelf. My 20-month-old son regularly pulls books off the shelves and buries them beneath the couch, like a particularly nerdish squirrel. I'd like a hidden door also, but this is my library and this is my life.
Saturday morning, after picking up my kid from his art class, I was walking with him on East 11th Street, across from St. Mark's Church, when we came upon a boy, looked to be about ten years old, lying on the sidewalk. His eyes were closed, and though I could see him breathing, for a moment, I wondered whether something bad had happened—whether I would have to call 911, and whether my own kid was about to witness something much heavier than I would ever want for him to witness. Three guys walking in front of us had fanned out to step around around him, slowing to inspect the [...]