Blog Posts by Redbook

  • By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

    Are your kids spoiled or entitled this holiday season? If you'd have asked me last week, I would have answered no. That was before my 4th grader handed me a three-page Christmas wish list. Front and back. When I asked him to circle his top three favorites, he gave me a look that can only be described as Kardashian-esque and replied tartly, "Consider them all circled."

    Handing the papers back to him, I smiled. "At least you got lots of good handwriting practice out of this!" To which my husband added dryly, "And that's all you're going to be getting out of this."

    My husband and I work really hard year-round to instill gratitude and a spirit of service in our four children, but it seems like every year the holiday season conspires against us. Our best intentions are beat down by toy catalogs and school friends. I felt relieved when a survey showed that 76 percent of moms feel like their kids get spoiled during this

    Read More »from 'Tis the Season for Spoiled and Entitled Kids (And the Surprising Way to Undo the Damage)
  • Three Totally Hot Holiday Presents for Couples to Exchange

    By Joslyn Gray, REDBOOK

    My Darling Husband,

    Christmas is just around the corner, and since you normally wait 'til 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve to do your shopping, I figure it's still okay for me to give you some gift ideas. With funds being as tight as they are right now, we probably don't need to go crazy buying stuff we don't need.

    Here are a few ideas I had:

    Take the children somewhere. Anywhere. Just out of this house. The last time I had ten minutes to myself in our house, Madonna still had a New York accent. Ideally you will take them beyond our backyard, because I can still hear them screaming out there, and when one of the kids inevitably scrapes a knee I will end up dealing with it. I will even help you get the children ready to go outside. However, if any of them need to pee right after we get them bundled up, it's on you.

    If you do this for me, I will totally take the kids somewhere for an entire Sunday afternoon of football so you can watch the games

    Read More »from Three Totally Hot Holiday Presents for Couples to Exchange
  • 4 Health Resolutions You Can Make

    By Natalie Gingerich Mackenzie, REDBOOK

    Forget grand, sweeping promises that quickly flame out (starting today, no more cookies-ever!). It's time to focus on one simple health change you can stick with, like these readers. Here's help.

    1. I Want To... Quit Sipping Diet Soda

    "My mom has osteoporosis, and her doctor told her to give up soft drinks because they may weaken bones. I have a daily diet soda habit, and want to avoid the same fate." -ANN W., 28, OKLAHOMA CITY

    Your game plan: First, relax. No cold turkey! Ramping down gradually is the best way to quit any dietary habit, says dietitian Keri Gans, R.D. Start by subbing a different brand for your usual fix. Why? "You won't love it quite as much, making it easier to cut down," Gans says. After a few days, stop at half a can per day. After another week, go to every other day for a while. At that point, your habit has been thoroughly interrupted and you can drop the stuff completely or switch to sparkling water with

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  • Murphy's 8 Laws of Children

    By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

    Sometimes referred to as "the law of low expectations" I think Murphy's law was invented for kids. After all, "if it can go wrong, it will go wrong" pretty much defines the last 10 years of my life. I jest, but only a little. Here is how Murphy's law works in my house:

    1. The Law of the Grocery Cart: When your child is a toddler they will thrash and scream to get out of the cart, but you can't let them or it'll be a Code Adam in about two minutes. But then as soon as they're in grade school and capable of walking responsibly, all they'll do is hang all over the cart.

    2. The Law of the White Suit/Dress: Just like you are guaranteed to get your period the day you put on your new white linen pants, the second that little white dress makes an appearance, someone will hand your kid grape Fanta.

    Related: 100+ Gifts Under $50

    3. The Law of the Diaper Blowout: The noise your infant's bowel movements produce is inversely

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  • By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

    children's concert
    'Tis the season to be jolly! 'Tis also the season to hear your kid sing this song over and over and over again in preparation for the inevitable winter holiday choir concert. In theory the idea of watching be-robed tots fill the air with their angelic voices sounds delightful. In practice it's about as close the boy Vienna Boys Choir as Kris Humphries was to being a Kardashian. Which is to say that if you squint you probably won't notice anything amiss, until they open their mouths.

    Everything about an elementary school concert is unpredictable from the time it's scheduled (4:48 p.m.?) to the number of chairs in the lunchroom/stage to the performance itself. There are songs, dance numbers (often impromptu), waves to mom and dad, recorder solos, yells to mom and dad, and recitations.

    Yet all of the hoopla is worth it when you see your shiny faced first grader belting out "Jeremiah was a bull frog" and waving his hand-made Santa hat. (Note: I Read More »from Great Mom Debate: Is it Rude to Leave Your Child's Concert After Their Part is Done?
  • Christmas Gifts on a Budget: Want, Need, Wear, Read

    By Carmen Staicer, REDBOOK

    Quite simply, my children have too much stuff. Which means that they are exactly like the vast majority of American children today-and in fact, most all of us.

    I've been working very diligently throughout the year to teach my family that they don't need so many things, but it doesn't seem to be settling into their brains. I wondered if I could pinpoint where much of the "stuff" came from-thinking back through the last gift-giving occasions-and landing on Christmas. It was then that I realized that most of the consumerism came from me.

    In purchasing gifts, I wanted to be fair. No one wants to play, "Who does Mom love best?," and absolutely no one wants any of their children to feel left out-so, I tried to balance it, as best I could. In this endeavor, though, I realized I'd gone overboard, buying items that were extraneous and often virtually ignored. I wondered: What could I do to change this?

    Related: 7 Ways to Improve Your Fashion

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  • By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

    Earlier today Michelle Duggar had to make the difficult announcement that she had miscarried their 20th baby that was due in April. No matter how you feel about the number of kids she has, having to announce your loss to your kids, your family, and the entire country has to be immensely difficult. While I haven't had 20 kids-not even close!-I have had a couple of miscarriages and a stillbirth. I don't intend to speak for all women who have suffered a prenatal loss, but in the midst of all the beautiful, supportive things people said to me, there were a few things that really bothered me. And the worst part was that the speaker usually meant them in a kind way. So in the effort to save another mom a little pain, here are my 10 things not to say to a woman who has just miscarried a baby:

    1. "It's God's will." I'm religious but even I found this a bit pretentious. Who are you to know what God's will is? And if the woman is not religious

    Read More »from Michelle Duggar Miscarries #20: What Not to Say to a Woman Who's Had a Miscarriage
  • Dear Whys Guy: “How Can I Help My Husband Quit His Pot Habit?”

    By Aaron Traister, REDBOOK


    "I'm 22 and have been married for three years. My husband's and my relationship is usually good, except for one issue: He smokes pot. I would be fine if it was a weekend wind-down activity, but he smokes every day, twice a day, and claims that it's for spiritual reasons. He's been to rehab seven times for this, and has had a couple of mental breakdowns from his usage, which leads to him promising to never use it again, and then relapsing six months later. How do I handle somebody who believes that his behavior is untouchable, and that it's 'his life', and therefore I get no say?"

    Related: What Your Man Really Thinks in Bed


    Oh dear. First of all, I'm not a professional therapist, and it sounds like you really want to talk to someone about this, and from the sound of it, that person should be a professional therapist. Secondly, I'm not a theology expert or very knowledgeable about spirituality,

    Read More »from Dear Whys Guy: “How Can I Help My Husband Quit His Pot Habit?”
  • Surviving Holiday Travel with Kids

    By Tracey Black, REDBOOK


    Soon my kids will be out of school on holiday break, and like many other families, we'll be traveling to see our extended family. Unlike other families; however, we'll be traveling to Hawaii, where both my husband and I are from. I wouldn't normally be intimidated about traveling with my kids-especially to Hawaii, since we've made the trek several times before-but this time it's different.

    First of all, it'll be our first time traveling with our newborn son and our 4- and 7-year-old boys. It'll be a challenge to bounce from kid to kid to ensure they get ample mom and dad time. They'll especially need it on the 6-hour flight to Hawaii, and then back home to San Diego. I'm thinking this is where candy (normally forbidden for my kids unless they're at a birthday party, or it's Halloween) will help to fill some of the void-that along with a portable DVD player.

    Related: 100+ Gifts Under $50

    Second, we're traveling just a few days after

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  • Embracing Holiday Traditions as a Family of Two

    By Alicia Harper, REDBOOK

    'Tis the season for embracing family traditions! This marks the second year that my son and I will celebrate the holidays as a little family of two. Last year, I was really worried he'd be missing out on something because his other parent was not around. Not only was I afraid of how others would judge my situation as a single mom, but I was also particularly afraid of how Aiden would judge our situation.

    I was nervous he would think that his holiday was not measuring up to other family's holidays; that he would wonder why his pictures with Santa were only of the two of us and not with his other parent as well; that he would ask about his father's whereabouts when he saw families with mommies and daddies. It really stressed me out for a long time, but, at some point I began to realize that Aiden will judge our situation based on how he saw me dealing with it. Then, something marvelous happened. We made it through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New

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