Is your kid a huge baseball fan? You can make his party a real grand slam with these neat ideas. A baseball party is fun, ea…

  • If left to her own devices, my daughter Maggie, 16, would have played CityVille on Facebook all day. I'd have preferred she find a passion - a non-screen occupation to inspire her mind and soul - but she never seemed to feel the urgency. Whenever I went into a "Do something productive with your life!" rant, Maggie rolled her eyes and said, "Take a chillaxative, Mom."

    Maybe I was making too much of the passion problem, I thought. Maggie earned good grades, had friends, and seemed happy. I firmly believed, though, that kids should have a beloved hobby or interest - an answer to the question, "What's your thing?" Maggie had sampled dozens of sports, arts, and crafts. The passion deficit hadn't bothered me as much when Maggie was younger, but now I was worried that she had drifted too far and for too long. The phrase "follow your bliss" kept ringing in my ears. Maggie didn't know what her bliss was.

    Related: 125 Parenting Pointers

    My aim isn't to make Maggie and my other daughter, Lu

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  • By Charlotte Hilton Andersen, REDBOOK

    Crab legs, stuffed mushrooms, artichokes, and sushi: My 7-year-old's request for his birthday dinner read like a tasting menu from one of those restaurants that don't put dollar signs next to their prices in the hopes that you'll mistake those large numbers for the national deficit. At this rate, my son will want caviar for his eighth birthday. As I contemplated how my kids have acquired such expensive tastes, it made me think that, with their reputation for pickiness, maybe we don't have enough credit for eating weird foods. So, I asked my mom friends to see what strange foods are their kids' favorites:

    1. "My stepson's first choice is typically sushi (where he will happily eat sea urchin). If we are eating in, he prefers steak. He is nine! He is already quite a foodie." -Danielle

    2. "My oldest really enjoys eating cloves of garlic, jalapenos, pepperoni and green olives as snacks." -MJ

    3. "My 9-year-old asked for lobster and file

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  • Providing our children with short bursts of ecstasy is easy - simply hand over a chocolate bar or the latest must-have toy. But eventually, that joy bubble pops. The chocolate is eaten, the toy becomes not so cool, boredom ensues. And then we realize that true happiness - the ability to maintain a love of life, to weather challenges with grace, to feel good about one's own essential being - can seem as elusive as a 3-year-old's mid-afternoon nap.

    How can we help our children achieve genuine happiness? According to BabyCenter, the answer lies in helping them build up their inner resources. Here, five ways to do just that.

    Make time for free play

    You've heard it before: Free play - that is, unstructured time for a child to use his imagination without a coach or teacher breathing down his neck - is integral to development. But what you might not know is that it also helps children lay a foundation for future happiness.

    Through free play, your child can discover what brings

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