Bullying in perspective

When my eldest started kindergarten, he was bullied by a trio of 3rd graders playing a game where they encouraged him to chase them, cried when he tagged them and got him punished by the teacher’s aide. Only after observing the behavior directly did my husband catch on and confront the girls while I let the school know what the game was. We also talked with Benjamin about saying no when the girls ask him to play tag. The next day, the game was over and my son went from miserable to elated.

Helicopter parenting or effective intervention?

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I don’t negotiate with terrorists

We’ve been under assault – a sort of psychological warfare in the house this weekend. On the surface, we have a loving, playful and musical seven-year old. Beneath the surface, an instinctive plotter lurks.

Although the subject of this current dispute is piano practice, it’s not really about the piano. It’s about how he deals with a challenge. His response to a song, book, swim test or other task that is a stretch is to get angry, frustrated and combative.

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Working with your child's natural wiring

When my first son was 4 weeks old, we attended a talk on how to raise a Jewish child in an assimilated community. The most memorable comment had nothing to do with the actual topic – it was parenting advice so logical and practical, I’ve shared it with everyone I know:

“I’m not a childcare professional or psychologist, but as the father of 9 children from 5-17, I think I am a bit of lay expert in the matter of children –

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Exasperating Eights

The terrible twos don’t come close to comparing with an enraged almost 8 year old. Every Thursday, my boys have a swim class. They’re at the same level but Taylor, the younger, is about to achieve his next “ribbon” and Benjamin is not. Benjamin learned this fact last week. Now showing: "Rage at Swim Lessons".

When I arrived – Benjamin was arguing with the instructor at the front desk about how he hates swimming

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My boy discovers summer and needs sleep

This is the first week of summer in California and the boys have discovered that camp is a lot more fun than school. This week, it’s soccer camp. For Jammer, that’s 9-3 – six hours of soccer camp. Running, kicking, drills and games for 5 hours (time for water, food and bathroom breaks). And we’re still doing jujitsu on Monday and Wednesday, piano on Tuesday and swimming on Thursday.
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The many virtues of sleep

It's shocking how virtually all of the behavioral challenges of my kids (and myself) can all be attributed to lack of sleep. Although we practice Judaism in the home, we are true disciples of sleep. Meaning that we run our lives so that our kids are in jammies by 7:00 and asleep by 7:30. Except for the baby, who is 11 weeks old and isn't yet on the program. That would be nice...

Sleep is the key to happy children who role with the punches.

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