Here, the stories that affected our lives and our kids' lives the most this year, from 'superior' Chinese mothers to tainted apple juice.
By Holly Lebowitz Rossi
Here's one thing most parents can agree on: there is no one right way to raise children. We are constantly tweaking, questioning, and adjusting to our growing, changing, challenging kids. What's more, we're adjusting to the constantly changing world -- the endless stream of warnings, recommendations, and philosophies put forth by so-called parenting experts. Read on to find out which big stories made our year-end list.
"Tiger Mother" Calls Parental Expectations into Question
What happened: Amy Chua, mother of two and author of "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," started a debate about how much pressure parents should put on their children to succeed. Her book, which was excerpted in January in the Wall Street Journal, attempt to explain why Chinese children are stereotypically such high achievers in math, music, and more.
Blog Posts by Parents.com
- Parents.com | Parenting – Tue, Dec 20, 2011 5:25 PM EST
Here, the stories that affected our lives and our kids' lives the most this year, from 'superior' Chinese mothers to tainted apple juice.Read More »from The Parenting Controversies that Changed the Way We Raised Our Kids in 2011
I don't mind if you think my daughter is pretty -- but please don't tell her.Read More »from Please Don’t Tell My Little Girl She’s Pretty
By Julia Landry
Well, here's an awkward topic for you.
My ex-mother-in-law always used to gush about how pretty Caroline was, to the point that it was almost uncomfortable. (I'm allowed to say this now because of the "ex" part. I think.) And I'm not just talking about the way your in-laws can annoy you no matter what they say. "You're so pretty, Caroline," she'd coo. "You're such a doll. A beautiful little doll. You are gorgeous. What a pretty girl." And so on, and so forth.
And I know this is horrible of me to think, and rude of me to say, but… I really don't care for it when people go on and on to my daughter about how pretty she is.
It's not that I don't think she is. I mean, she's my kid. I think she's beautiful. But must we zero in on little girls' appearances and ignore all the other great qualities about them?
What's wrong with "You're such a smart girl?" "You're so creative?" "You're so good at
Bike rides, creative meals, laughing out loud -- it's easy to have fun if you just know how. Try these mom-tested ideas.Read More »from Secrets of Happy, Healthy Families
By Susannah Felts
Making Healthy Fun
At last! Warm weather has returned, and my family and I are eager to get out and enjoy it as much as we can. One of our favorite ways: a predinner family run or bike ride with our 3-year-old (she hitches a ride in the jogging stroller or her seat on the back of my husband's bike), ending at the playground so the kiddo can get some exercise (and we can cool down on a park bench). I rarely feel more positive about my parenting job performance than during these outings. We're having fun, modeling healthy activity for our daughter, and showing her that fitness can be a built-in perk of together time.
Habits like this one are the stuff that happy, healthy families are made of -- from smart eating and exercise to discipline and downtime. And they're surprisingly simple to incorporate into your daily routines. Keep reading for more
- Parents.com | Parenting – Fri, Dec 9, 2011 12:26 PM EST
Although many important studies were published this year, some stand out because they not only offer new information, they also affect our way of thinking about parenting and child development. Here are my picks for the most important studies of 2011 -- and what lessons they hold for parents.Read More »from The Most Important Child Development Studies of 2011
By Richard Rende
Study: Parents' Depression Corresponds with Children's Depression
Study name: "Remission of depression in parents: links to healthy functioning in their children," Garber et al., 2011, Child Development, Volume 82 (1), p. 226 - 243.
What was found? By conducting six observations across two years of parents (70 percent were moms) in treatment for depression, along with their kids, this study revealed that kids' symptoms of depression mirrored their parents' symptoms closely. These included decreases in symptoms that corresponded to treatment effects, increases in symptoms once treatment effects ended, and lack of improvement in depression if parents didn't respond to treatment.
- Parents.com | Parenting – Wed, Dec 7, 2011 11:55 AM EST
Rule #1 of buying toys for kids with special needs: Make sure it's their idea of fun. Just like any other child, kids with special needs won't play with a toy unless it's interesting to them (no matter how therapeutic you think it could be).Read More »from Buying Toys for Kids with Special Needs: 7 Smart Tips
By Ellen Seidman
Whether a child likes funny noises, blinking lights, things that go fast or all of the above, you want to keep his or her fascinations in mind when you're looking for a toy that might give them a developmental boost. That doesn't mean they won't find the box the toy comes in more compelling, of course… like any child!
I know a thing or two about buying toys for special kids because I've spent 9 years getting them for my son, Max -- not just for birthdays, but often when a therapist has recommended something. I've also done a couple of toy guides on my other blog, including this year's Best Toys For Kids With Special Needs. A few pointers I've picked up along the way for buying toys for kids with special needs:
2. Make sure the
Ho, ho, ho, HELLLLLLLLLLLP! Holidays may be the season of good cheer, but they're also one of the more insane times of the year. While I can't help you deliver gifts or deal with a mother-in-law who always complains the turkey isn't moist enough, I do have some ideas for having a more sane season.Read More »from 10 Ways to Have a More Sane Holiday Season
By Ellen Seidman
1) Outsource. I'm not talking to India -- I'm talking to your husband. A lot of us (and I am definitely guilty here) tend to take the brunt of the holiday to-dos. But Santa has his elves, and so can you! Rope your husband into buying gifts and doing the home decorating. Get the kids to wrap presents -- who cares if they don't look perfect! You'll be a lot more merry if you're not a one-woman show.
2) Make a list, buy it twice. The idea is to come up with one or two great presents you can give to a whole lot of people -- say, a bunch of candles wrapped in ribbon for neighbors. Obviously, you'll want specific presents for your family but there's no reason the mailman and
You can't turn off all electronic devices for good, but there is plenty that parents can do to keep kids safe online.Read More »from The Best Online Resources to Stop Cyberbullying
By Linda DiProperzio
According to Pattie Fitzgerald, founder of Safely Ever After, Inc., cyberbullying is using computers, cell phones, or other electronic devices for the purpose of harassing, threatening, embarrassing, or taunting another person. It can be done through emails, text messages, postings on blogs or chat rooms, social networking sites, and sending photos or images online with the intention of physically or emotionally hurting another person.
In a poll by Care.com, cyberbullying has eclipsed kidnapping as the greatest fear parents have regarding their children's safety. As a result, 75 percent of parents are now monitoring their children's text messages and social media activity. "Mean kids and bullies are not new, but the access to social media networks and cell phones that can make bullying both anonymous and seemingly innocuous is the new danger. And
Richard Rende, associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown Medical School and Butler Hospital, discusses why we should stop talking about birth order and start enjoying our kids.Read More »from Why Birth Order Doesn't Matter
By Richard Rende
Parents have lots of things on their mind when they are thinking about having a second child. If I could deliver one message to them, it would be to stop worrying about the effects of birth order and birth spacing on development. Why? Simply put, the statistical effects are so small that they are of no practical value to any parent.
Here's a case in point. I just read this post in the NY Times Motherlode column, which is very well-written. It refers to yet another study on birth spacing, with the idea being trying to come up with an optimal space between siblings to promote cognitive development. The research was well done (it analyzes data collected from a large and informative longitudinal study) - I certainly don't have any issues with it. The analyses were
Bask in the joys of Christmas with these classics and spin-offs that are sure to keep your holiday merry, busy, and bright.Read More »from 18 New & Classic Holiday Traditions
By Samantha Mellone
'Tis the season of stress, so it's a great time to teach kids about the importance of being polite. Emily's Christmas Gifts, a story by Peggy Post and Cindy Post Senning, will help your kids learn that the best gifts of all are kindness and consideration.
Buy Emily's Christmas Gifts here.
Count down to Christmas, while trying to count your cards with this Charlie Brown Christmas Edition of Uno.
Buy Charlie Brown Christmas Uno here.
Santa's Coming to Town
Ho! Ho! Oh no! When Santa's sleigh gets separated from his reindeers, it's up to a farm full of animals to make sure kids wake up to their gifts on Christmas morning in Michael Garland's Oh, What a Christmas!
Buy Oh What a Christmas! Here.
Everyone's favorite red-nosed reindeer makes this old-fashioned game more fun. The super bright colored pieces are sure
- Parents.com | At Home – Mon, Nov 21, 2011 6:09 PM EST
The tree is the centerpiece in your family's deck-the-hall efforts. With our creative ideas, decorating the tree with family and friends can be one of the most memorable events of the season.Read More »from Jumpstart a New Holiday Tradition: 8 Fun Ideas for Trimming the Tree
By Melody Warnick
Each year, choose new ornaments for your children that represent some part of their lives in the last year: a ballerina for a budding dancer, a water-skiing Santa to remind your child of a family trip to the beach. Wrap the new treasures up and let your children open them to kick off the tree-trimming. Bonus: The yearly additions add up to a personalized ornament collection that your kids can take with them when they're grown up.
Arrange a tree-trimming round robin. Invite two or three families to share in the fun, and go from home to home to hang ornaments and drape garlands. (It's best to take care of the lights beforehand.) Make sure each family provides a little something to munch on, too, like savory appetizers at one stop, steaming