Ages 2-5Ages 6-9DisciplineUncategorized

Good Reasons to Hit Your Kid

So three or four years ago, my kid broke the screen on her iPad, for the second time. I was telling the story to my students before class started, kind of laughing about it, the way you do, because kids, am I right, when one of the students in the …


Your Kid’s Telling Lies? Good for Her!

(Caveat: This essay does not attempt to advise parents of children with ADHD, or addictions, or children with mood or eating disorders. Lying in those situations is a special case, with much different causes and consequences.) When I first came to Arkansas, many years ago, one of my students told …

Ages 10-12 (Tween)Ages 13-17 (Teen)FeminismFoodHealth

Do My Knees Look Fat? Or, Body Issues And Your Child

One evening when my kid was about ten, she climbed up to sit on the table where I was working, grading my midterms.  “All the girls in Upper El are on diets.” “What?” I frowned at her over the grammar exam I was in the middle of.  “All of them?” …

Ages 13-17 (Teen)EducationFeminism

Default Sexism

Like many of you, perhaps, I was raised in a patriarchy*. What this means, it means Women were barred from many jobs Jobs women did have were often menial, relatively low-paying, or service jobs – waitressing or house-cleaning, nursing, childcare, or – for middle and upperclass women, selling real estate; …


Teaching Your Child To Talk Back; or, Raising the Young Skeptic

A few years ago, my kid came out into the living room, flung herself down on the couch, and began reading her current book.  I looked up from my own work to fret at her: “Will you please turn on the light if you’re going to read?  You’re going to …


On Being The Grown-Up

Here’s a confession: I have an inordinate fear, almost a phobia, of cockroaches. This is a fear so serious that in my house no one is allowed to call them cockroaches, because the very word is (as we say in the progressive world) triggering.  Instead, when we want to refer …

Photograph by kellyhogaboom, WikiCommons
Ages 13-17 (Teen)Ages 2-5DisciplineFood

You Can’t Have Any Pudding If You Don’t Eat Your Meat

Caveat: This post doesn’t address children who have medical problems related to food — those with severe allergies, or illnesses or genetic issues which make limiting or controlling their diets essential. The advice here does not apply to those cases! About a year ago, I was having dinner with one …

Ages 13-17 (Teen)DisciplineEducationMedia & Technology

Why I Will Never Have My Kid’s Password

Long ago in internet terms, a tech blogger, Janell Burley Hoffman, became briefly famous when she wrote a post about “giving” her son an iPhone for Christmas, along with a contract he had to sign to keep the phone. I became aware of Hoffman’s post when it went viral on …

Ages 2-5Ages 6-9

Book Review: Jon Muth

I first came upon Jon Muth’s work almost by accident. My kid loves books, especially poems (two English professors for parents, go figure), so when she was little, we spent a lot of time at the library.  One Saturday, we picked up A Family of Poems, edited by Caroline Kennedy. …

EducationParenting Styles

Breaking The Rules

  One day last week I took my kid to a local park, which has trails down through the woods to the Arkansas River.  This was the first sunny day out in a string of icy, grey days, though still very cold.  We took the trail we always take, but …