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To the Angry Woman at the Restaurant Giving My Child the Evil Eye:

  Dear angry woman at the restaurant giving my child the evil eye, We obviously have very different opinions on how to raise children.  I gathered that you probably take your preferences from the outdated & destructive school of thought that children are to be seen & not heard.  I, on the other hand, base my philosophy on attachment theory—a field of study involving psychological & evolutionary theories, which, when applied to parenting, show that happy, strongly attached children grow into happy, healthy adults.  Our world is in desperate need of... read more

Do You Encourage Your Kids To Trust Themselves?

By Sheryl Paul My sons and I often walk along the creek behind our house. It’s a time for us to slow down, recalibrate, and allow the wisdom of nature to infuse us with her knowledge. Our time in nature is an essential component to our sons’ education, not only in terms of learning about the natural world but their spiritual and emotional growth as well. One day at the end of summer my older son found two beautiful rocks. One had a shimmery quartz section in the center and the other was shaped like a heart. He often finds interesting rocks down at the creek, which... read more

Panicking about Preschool

                  My stomach is in knots, and I'm teetering on the edge of tears when I think about it.  Julie starts preschool tomorrow.  I know it's illogical.  I know that this will be really, really good for my girl, and I know that I need to make sure that I don't show any of my reservations to her.  I know all that.   But that's my baby, and I don't want her to go.   She's my last one, but that doesn't really matter.  I was just as misty when my older two started school.  It's more that she's just barely three and a half, and I'm not ready for her to be... read more

Agreeing to Disagree: Gentle Parenting Despite Criticism from Loved Ones

                  I splashed my face with cold water, hoping to wash away the tears intermingled with anger. As I toweled off my cheeks with the fluffy hotel towel, my father’s words rang through my head, stinging me once more. “You might want to gather up all of your swim stuff before you leave. I'm going to get an earlier flight and leave tomorrow. These kids…my nerves just can’t take it. The screaming and crying morning, noon, and night... I mean…this generation is different. If I’d act that way growing up, my dad would have beat my ass. I can’t handle being... read more

Does Praising Children Build Self-Esteem?

Somewhere along the way it became generally assumed that praise builds self-esteem, leading to the daily parental litany of “Nice job!” and “Great throw!” and “Gorgeous painting!” and on and on ad nauseum. Pundits call it “affirmation” and “positive feedback.” B.F. Skinner called it “positive reinforcement.” Does praising children really build their self-esteem, as many people assume it does? Or does it erode their intrinsic motivation, pleasure and self-satisfaction?   The gift-giving holidays are fast approaching and if it doesn’t happen to you this... read more

To Do the Dishes or Play Pink Princess?

By Beth Berry     I wrote this piece a few years ago in the thick of stay-home parenting of four young children. I wanted to share it with you now along with a bit of reflection... While I remember what it was like to feel wholly overwhelmed by the balancing act of maintaining a household and making time for play, that period is quite suddenly behind me. No one is asking me to play ponies. Our days are filled with school and homework, chores and pep talks, argument mediation and hormonal meltdowns. There are other things, too -- lovely things like watching... read more

Should I Train My Child....Like a Dog?!

    Last week I shared a post here on Mothering called, "There is Not Always A "Fix" For the Difficult Child." It was actually a post I wrote some time ago on my own blog about my then two year old.  That two year old is now three (almost four) and things have changed some.  She is still a firecracker.  She still has a strong personality.  She still likes to boss around me and anybody else near her.  And I still love her and am still trying to figure things out.     There was an interesting comment on the post when I shared it on Mothering though.  She... read more

Christmas Through Their Eyes

            It is almost impossible to believe that it has been eleven years since my husband and I spent our first Christmas as a married couple.     I remember that year vividly.  I spent the month before Christmas trying to find decorations that would make our tiny one bedroom apartment feel Christmasy but that also fit into our meager budget.  At the time I didn’t know how to make anything, and I was too busy studying for my Master’s exams to learn.   I remembered holidays from my youth, all of us nestled around the Christmas tree in our Christmas pajamas on... read more

An 8-Year-Old Mourns a Much-Loved Sister

By Suzanne Leigh   Last night we were watching a video of my two daughters rollicking in a hotel swimming pool. It was taken days after a scan had showed evidence of recurrent brain tumor following a hiatus of 31 months of “tumor free-dom" for my 10-year-old elder daughter.   I was struck by two things: the images of Natasha that were wildly out of whack with the results of the scan – she is loud, laughing and ebullient, running around the rim of the pool, long strong limbs flying, stopping only to ham it up for the camera. The only tell-tale sign that... read more

Anger Management

By Elizabeth Bruce Web Exclusive It's a dirty little secret. Good mothers get angry. Sometimes they get really angry. Stay-at-home moms do it, working moms do it, all moms do it. Take it from me. I am the mother of four young children, two of them, er, "spirited," so I know a thing or two about maternal anger. Kids will be kids, and as such, they will get into trouble, fight, wreck things, and argue with you. As an adult, it is often hard to sympathize with children's irrational, destructive, messy, or loud behaviors. Anger does not mean that you don't love your... read more

Mothering › Child Articles