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New York Sun columnist Lenore Skenazy writes at the Free Range Kids blog about leaving her 9-year-old son -- at his request -- inside Bloomingdale's and having him navigate his way back on a subway and a crosstown bus to their Manhattan home. Her son made it safely home and he was ecstatic about his taste of independence. Ms. Skenazy writes that half the people she tells …

Can't resist the opportunity to comment on Mileygate, the controversy about the recently released pictures of Miley Cyrus posing under a sheet for Vanity Fair. It's only a matter of nanoseconds in America when a teen star goes from wholesome to fulsome, and of course the schadenfreude kicks in for the lesser among us (that would include me) when this happens. The Teen of A…

Our oldest daughter, a high school freshman, will attend her first prom in a few weeks. I am happy to say that she and her friends are going as a group, so there's none of that messy "dating" business to deal with. Of course, young ladies shouldn't begin dating until they're about 25 or 26 years old. To think about such things at a younger age would be unseemly…

National Public Radio's Allison Aubrey takes a look this week at how children learn to curse. (Here's a hint: they got a lot of it from us.) Actually, they get their first taste of it at home, but don't blame yourself too much. Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker tells Aubrey that children are far more influenced by their peers than their parents. "That's why kids of…

Remember when names like Declan or Suri sounded exotic? Now it's handles like Billy or Mary that you rarely hear in the halls of preschool. An article in today's News looks at the great pains that some parents take in naming their unborn or newborn children. Offhand I know a couple of Declans, plus children named Dylan, Maeanna, Namaste, Seychelle and Wei. All terrific n…

Parent Company has just completed a trip to India. After we recover from jet lag and get back on our feet, we will have much to say about this fascinating country. In the photo above, I am riding an elephant with our travel guide, Manu, in Kerala, a region on the southwestern coast that is known as "God's own country." To give you something to read in the me…

We apologize for the light posting this week on Parent Company. We're on a secret mission that we will write about later. Let's just say we'll be crossing a big item off our bucket list. Anyone out there see the movie "Juno?" I just caught up with it. I know that some parents would object to the acceptance in it of a 16-year-old unwed girl getting pregnant. But …

Brian Reid's great blog, Rebel Dad, contains a section of reader-submitted "manifestos" about parenting. Here is a terrific section from the manifesto submitted by a mom named Michelle Grajales: Martyrs are no fun.  Have a short list of things you do every week to maintain your own happiness and sanity.  Personally, I prioritize "me time" b…

On Saturday evening, our family observed Earth Hour, at the urging of our eldest daughter. For the uninitiated, Earth Hour was a worldwide movement to turn out the lights from 8–9 p.m. on March 29 to raise awareness about climate change. Note: this isn’t a blog post about climate change; it’s a chronicle of one family’s lame attempt to participate in this global st…

You can't celebrate Easter in Buffalo without a trip to the Broadway Market , and you can't go to the Broadway Market with kids and NOT get a picture taken with the Easter Bunny, well, at least according to this mom. So we headed to the bunny area. When I saw the median kid age in the picture line was about 4, even I began to question if I was pushing this annual tradi…

Our cleaning ladies fired us this week. Those are not easy words to write, but I'm hoping that by sharing this experience I may be able to prevent others from making the mistakes I've made. We have a mother-daughter team who comes every other week to help restore order. Usually on the day when they come I go through the house in the morning with a shovel, pick axe, leaf …

Now here is a provocative essay: The novelist Harlen Coben says that spyware used by parents to monitor what their children are doing on the Internet is a good idea. Why, he says, aren't more parents using it? Coben published an op-ed article in the New York Times on Sunday in which he said that the risks of unfettered access to the Web far outweigh our offsprings' right …

I’m vindicated! My slacker attitude toward youth sports has received an unofficial endorsement from none other than Myles Brand, president of the NCAA. Here’s what he had to say in the New York Times: “The youth sports culture is overly aggressive, and while the opportunity for an athletic scholarship is not trivial, it’s easy for the opportunity to be overexagger…

Facebook used to require an e-mail address ending in dot-edu in order to register, meaning college students made up the bulk of its registered users. Now it's open to anyone who wants to sign up. I recently created a Facebook account, and on Saturday night I signed up Allison. Our 15-year-old daughter recoiled in horror on Sunday when she heard. "Mom is on Faceboo…