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Mothering › Child Articles

You Can't Spoil Them with Love

By S.K. Valenzuela   Though Valentine's Day has already come and gone, the whole month of February always seems to me to be dedicated to love. It gives us a fabulous excuse to reflect on what love really is and to assess our growth in love.    I teach Baby Care classes at an area hospital, and one of my goals is to help parents to understand the fundamental relationship between responsiveness and trust. It's a cycle that begins from the very first moments after birth and continues...well, frankly, I don't think it ever ends. The basic premise is that responding... read more

Standing Up: Mom on Mom Bullying

For the past few days I've been working on a story as part of my freelance writing work with The Huffington Post. The topic is one I've covered before: online mom bullying. Due to increased awareness about the prevalence of bullying in our schools the term "bully" has been applied to everything from expressing dissent to actual harassment. My personal opinion is that disagreeing becomes bullying when it crosses the line into the realm of repeated personal attacks and/or directly impacts someone's quality of life.     I've written about this topic... read more

What Teens Need from Us

A common misconception is that teens need us to drop the reins. But neurodevelopmentally, they are as tender as infants, so teens still need us very much. One of the most important books I’ve encountered about parenting during early adolescence is poignantly and aptly titled Our Last Best Shot. Author Laura Sessions Stepp spent two years finding out what teens need for future psychosocial wellbeing and success. She admits in the book that she “wanted to minimize the significance of parents and emphasize the importance of other adults.”   While she discovered the... read more

Happily Mediocre - Challenging the Goal of Greatness

By Beth Berry     Among my favorite things about living abroad are the unexpected encounters and rich relationships we’ve formed with people from all walks of life and corners of the planet. One such experience stands out as particularly interesting... Some months ago, I met a man from England at our favorite hole-in-the-wall wine bar down the street from our house. He, a chatty guy in his late 40s, and I, excited to be out without kids and sharing a table with jovial strangers from six countries, enjoyed a lively conversation on subjects from healthcare... read more

What It's Really Like to Work From Home

By Beth Berry     (Dug up this script from two years ago thinking a few of you might relate...)   My kids are home from school today, unexpectedly. I knew it was a national holiday, it just never registered that school would be out for the rest of the week. It seems appropriate to write about the very circumstances under which I find myself -- working, while tuning out/minimally managing the chaos around me. Over the next hour I will share with you the interruptions and requests from my children and husband, just for kicks. This ought to be... read more

Raising a Child Who Wants to Behave: Dare Not to Discipline

Thank you to Dr. Laura Markham and Perigree Books for sharing this exclusive excerpt of Dr. Markham's new book Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting.   How to Set Empathic Limits Setting limits is an essential part of parenting. Limits keep our children safe and healthy and support them in learning social norms so that they can function happily in society. And if we set limits empathically, kids are more likely to internalize the ability to set limits for themselves, which is otherwise known as self-discipline.   How are you... 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

A Homebirth Story from Licking the Spoon Author Candace Walsh

Is anatomy destiny? Former Mothering features editor Candace Walsh was raised in a family where medicalized birth was the default. She thought, when she got pregnant with her daughter in 2000, that the only next step was to start seeing an obstetrician. But the hurried, brusque doctor didn't make her feel safe or cared for at all. Her maternal instincts were screaming, "Run away!" That led her on the path to seek out a midwife, Sylvie Blaustein (later featured in The Business of Being Born.)    When she and her then-husband moved to Santa Fe in 2002, it was only... 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

Holiday time: when family & friends criticise your parenting choices

By Lisa Hassan Scott         “Well, when you come to visit, I can try to see if I can get a portable crib.” My husband and I were planning our first visit to his parents’ house, and my in-laws were really excited.  “That won’t be necessary,” I said, “the baby will just sleep with us.”  A silence.  “With you?  But won’t you roll on top of her?”  And so began a conversation about parenting that has been going on for ten years.  At first, I felt uncomfortable and defensive of our choices.  Everything we were doing was so, well, different from the choices our... read more

Mothering › Child Articles