Tag: Parenting

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Mother Nurse

 

Over the last decade, I’ve had the privilege to play nurse to three beautiful kids. It is a mother’s prerogative to believe that her offspring are the most beautiful in the world, but I’m confident it’s true in my case.

This time has had its share of illnesses and chronic issues that challenge my skills at figuring out what is an immediate concern versus something that can wait for medical attention. It began during my oldest’s first Christmas, a decade ago. He developed a fever while visiting family and being my first, I didn’t wait a second. I found the local urgent care and took him in. I learned about Bronchiolitis and was eventually prescribed a “nebulizer” that aerosolizes medicine to be breathed into the lungs. Interesting device. The attachments are even more interesting when it comes to pediatric patients.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

I knew the moment I opened my eyes this morning that a change of scenery and routine was today’s priority. Too many days/weeks/months of the same old, same old was starting to take a toll on my outlook, energy, and mood, and it was time for a reset of sorts. A quick shower, a mug […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Best Stage of Parenting

 

There’s a scene in Father of the Bride that I relate to these days, as a parent of two young adult daughters. In the scene, Steve Martin’s character gapes as his grown daughter morphs into a tiny girl in braids who pipes up at the dinner table to announce her upcoming nuptials. My girls aren’t getting married yet, I’m happy to say. But I get the spirit of the movie scene when I watch all the little ways my daughters behave like grownups when I clearly remember bringing them home as helpless infants and then muddling through years of thwarted attempts to train them in basic responsibility and focus. It has dawned on me that somewhere in the last few years, something took, and now I can only drink in each delicious moment as these kids confidently lead their lives and reveal their depth.

Several little ways they have of showing ownership and wisdom have me not gaping, but wondering warmly at where my reluctant, fairy-obsessed, teacher-vexing progeny of lax parentage went, and who replaced them with these delightful grownups. Moms and dads struggling through the frustration and fog of various childhood stages, take hope:

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Not All Is Manageable, But All Must Be Managed: A Lenten Rant

 

Rod Dreher said a friend texted him the following about Covid-19:

When you have lived for several generations in a powerful and wealthy country untouched by deep tragedy and awash in the deep-seated belief that you are both the Chosen Land and Master of Nature, the belief that everything is manageable becomes the biggest article of faith. And the biggest blind spot.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Good Advice(s)

 

If wisdom lies in learning from the experiences of others, then I am not particularly wise. My M.O. is more of a barely-learns-from-his-own-repeated-mistakes sort of thing.

But let’s start with the piece of advice I did take when my wife and I were expecting our first children: twins. We were talking to an older co-worker of mine whose twin boys were already on the other side of college. “Let me give you the most important advice about raising twins we learned early on.”

Karol Markowicz joins Kay Hymowitz to discuss raising young children in New York City.

“Raising a family in the city is just too hard,” concluded The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson last summer. But in Park Slope, one of New York’s most desirable neighborhoods, thousands of families thrive. Still, parents must navigate a host of challenges unique to urban life, including pricey housing, complex schooling options, and sometimes-unfriendly public spaces.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. A Thought About Single Parenting

 

I brought Darling Daughter back to college this week; the nest is, once again, empty. I don’t expect her to spend next summer at home as she did this year: she’s a sophomore now, and it’s reasonable to assume that my days of having a child in the house, other than for a brief visit, are over. And I’m okay with that.

I’ve been a single parent these past eight years, and I have some thoughts about the challenges of being a single parent. In particular, I’ve been thinking about the special challenge of being an only parent, someone raising children without the benefit of a partner, even a separated partner, who remains a continuing presence in their children’s lives. I know this is far less common than divorced or separated parents, but I know of several cases, and I’ve been thinking about them.

Emily Zanotti is back 6 weeks after having twins—and she’s got a little feedback on all the advice she was given before giving birth. Kelly Maher and Bethany Mandel join to share the hacks they couldn’t Mom without… and the advice they never actually took.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. We’re Losing Our Boys

 

The latest tragedies, raw and painful, seem to be reflecting a similar thread: young men. Look at the age of the recent shooter at a Walmart in Texas (21 years old,) the killer in Dayton (24), the age of the boy being accused of the murder of the young co-ed at Ole Miss. Look at the ages of the boys on a murderous rampage across Canada, the Florida school shooting, the recent California shooting at the Garlic Festival, the Synagogue in Pittsburgh. They are all young men consumed with hate and vengeance, and armed to do as much damage as possible. They leave “manifestos,” they shout, “I’m angry!”, they cease to think and feel, or see their fellow human beings as part of their world.

The struggle to find blame is next. Social media, politics, violent video games, rampant porn and the new virile push of social engineering are playing a role. Young men begin as young boys, innocent, but are being influenced by all of these things, and their core personalities, their sense of self, is being corrupted, at younger and younger ages. I am not sympathizing with the killers, these acts are beyond despicable, but the patterns are showing these similarities.

The radical group Antifa, whose network now stretches across the continent to Europe, is composed of young men mostly, very angry, courting physical confrontation, and at the very least, intimidation and control. Young women have become more fearful and maybe rightly so. I have to think that the removal of boundaries, lack of consequences for actions, monitoring what is being taught in schools, what is accessible on the Internet, the decline of the family and faith, are now all bearing rotten fruit. The family and the Church have always been the armor before sending young people into the world to live their dream and find their purpose, and to sustain them going forward.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Super Secret Hideout Fort

 

If you were anything like me growing up, one of your main modes of play with friends was identifying your super secret hideout, or at least get busy building one. Some of them were out in plain sight; no one was duped as to where you were playing. But other times, you might have managed to find a nifty clearing under low-hanging branches of a tree, or a little wooded area, or an old structure. These hideouts were often unsafe, of course. And although you talked it up often with friends who weren’t in on the secret location, most people over the age of twelve didn’t care a fig where you were playing, as long as you were quiet and stayed out of their way. Hideouts were good for that.

When I was seven, we commonly referred to a special location, which we believed was known to only an initiated few, as a “secret hiding place.” We built ours along one side of our house, next to the swing set on top of a large cement platform that covered the septic tank. I know what you’re asking: where was the supervision? They were glad to stay cool indoors, absorbed in their own tasks. The children could climb trees, launch off swings, and build secret hiding places on the septic tank with panels of sharp tin roofing as long as they played outdoors. There might be a ruptured kidney here and there, but that came with the territory.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Parenting Thoughts: The Virtue of “No”

 

I think I did alright in the child-raising department. There are a lot of things I don’t do well, and a few I do very badly, but I think I’ve been a good parent, particularly in the last decade or so. There’s quite a bit of on-the-job training involved in parenting — hardly any other kind, in fact — and I think I was better at it when I finished than when I started. I’m sure my older children would second that, perhaps with more vigor than I’d like.

If I could pass on a bit of advice, it would be on the important topic of saying “no” to your children.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. I Vaccinate My Kids and I Swear I’m Not Selling Anything. Can We Be Friends?

 

I’m starting this one off with a “Birdbox” reference, because that sure is still relevant! Everyone on the planet watched it at precisely the same time on December 21, 2018, so I’m not worried about spoiling anything for the good people of Ricochet.

Just in case you happened to be wrapping Christmas presents or watching Fox News instead of checking out the new Sandra Bullock movie on Netflix, if you’ve seen M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Happening” or John Krasinski’s “The Quiet Place,” you’ve basically seen “Birdbox.” On the surface, it’s a post-apocalyptic horror movie about a woman who is blindly searching for a safe haven in a world where most of humanity has been compelled to commit mass suicide by a “creature” that’s a death sentence to lay eyes on. But Sandra Bullock has spoken about what the film means to her in interviews, explaining that it’s very much about parenthood. The themes are solid enough; the furious and swift rapids she frantically navigates, the shreds of safety and reliable rules she grasps at, the moments where blind faith is the only terrifying option and she is forced to trust an indifferent force of nature to deliver her family. Almost everything in “Birdbox” can be blatantly or metaphorically guided back to the central theme of parenthood.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

“Okay people, listen up. The people upstairs have handed us this, and we’ve got to come through. We need to find a way to make this” — he holds up a square plastic box — “fit into the hole for this” — he holds up a plastic cylinder — “using only that.” He points to […]

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James Breakwell, Twitter celebrity, Indiana father of four daughters, and author of Bare Minimum Parenting – The Ultimate Guide to Not Quite Ruining Your Child, discusses raising children in today’s world. He and Bridget cover “drone parenting”, screen time and social media, keeping your perspective on parenting and ignoring the shamers, and why wanting your kid to go to Harvard is basically a euphemism for wanting them to make the most money. They also discuss treating Twitter like a job, how “overnight success” is really the result of at least ten years of slogging, and why saying “let’s cut parents some slack,” is a radical message in this day and age, but it shouldn’t be. You can find James on Twitter @XplodingUnicorn.

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Dear Daughter, This is Why I Won’t Tell You Who I’m Voting for…

 

Dear Daughter,

Yesterday was your 11th birthday. You came out of your room took one look at me in my striped grey sweater, turned on your heels and returned wearing your own sweater that was almost identical. You said, “Mom, now we match!” Even though we were spending the day with your middle school friends, you weren’t embarrassed. You hugged me, and I knew this could be a last.

Member Post

 

I’ve been a parent now for half of a year. Six of the fastest (so much growing and changing!) and slowest (let’s all be up for two hours at 4:00 am!) months of my life. I’d heard tell of the mommy wars and whatnot in the past, but nothing could prepare me for how incredibly […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Explosive Misery

 

It is only by the grace of God that we don’t have more kids in the news tripping offline and killing people. The insanity starts in middle school. Their physiology and psychology start changing, and the entire world turns upside down. Transitioning from childhood to adulthood isn’t for the faint of heart; but it is required of everyone, whatever their mettle or character. Last week we saw just how badly someone can fail at it and we witnessed the mayhem caused when such a time bomb is not diffused properly.

An article in Psychology Today titled The Negative Voices In Your Teenager’s Head states plainly some very important facts about this maturation process. It describes (softly, though accurately) the chaotic mess that is the adolescent mind. It’s been decades since I endured the trauma of being a teenager, but memories of the irrational rage, universally unchecked emotions, and feelings of abject powerlessness coupled with excruciating misery remain fresh even now. As my daughters have traversed this minefield there have been some near misses, but we’ve come out relatively whole. Many families aren’t so lucky, as we just saw in Florida.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Happy Valentine’s Day! Make Some Babies!

 

Yesterday, there was a surprising story in the New York Times about the falling fertility rate. That wasn’t the surprising part; it’s that this was framed as a negative for our society. In the Upshot blog, Lyman Stone writes,

As a result, the gap between the number of children that women say they want to have (2.7) and the number of children they will probably actually have (1.8) has risen to the highest level in 40 years. (From 1972 to 2016, men have expressed almost exactly the same ideal fertility rates as women: In a given year, they average just 0.04 children below what women say is ideal.)

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. To Rid the World of Snowflakes We Must Stop Coddling Our Kids

 

Note: I’ve had this in the hopper for a few weeks, but after Bethany Mandel published My Top Parenting Pet Peeve, I figured why not hit publish?

Despite the social discord wrought by the Vietnam War, civil rights movement (an obvious good), and the loud-mouthed hippies who traveled the world seeking the ruin of standards of decency; the 1960s were a pretty good time to be a kid. In those days; which weren’t idyllic, but were halcyon compared to the present age of discontent, children had many venues in which to learn. There was a fair amount of competition among the schools; particularly parochial versus public, which motivated all teachers to perform well. The nuns of Holy Rosary School, where I came of age, taught both the three Rs, and truths of eternal importance: Our lives are not our own but belong to God. We were to know, love and serve Him this life by doing good and avoiding evil, and thereby live with Him forever in heaven. It’s been fifty years since my last catechism class, but that lesson is permanently fixed in my mind.