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I'm not an extroverted person by nature, and I think that carries over to my parenting style. I try to lead by example, and my family would probably describe me as a man of few words. (That is NOT the case with my co-blogger, so our median verbal output as parents is right in line with national norms.) Now that our oldest daughter is 14, there can be awkward silences bet…

I knew we were overdue for a dreaded shopping trip to the mall when our son went off to school on Friday (a very hot day) in a long-sleeved shirt, long pants and winter Merrell mocs. Since he shot up a few sizes from last summer, he did not own anything appropriate for an 80-degree day. Wanting to go to the beach on Saturday, I knew the only way we could make that happen …

There have been signs recently that it's time to have "the talk" with our 8-year-old son. Kids that age can be cruel. If our boy doesn't know the facts of life, classmates will latch onto that and try to make him feel ignorant or inferior. And who knows what version of reality he is likely to learn from those know-it-alls on the schoolyard. Our son owns an …

Last weekend I attended my 25th reunion at Smith College, a watershed occasion for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the water shed in the form of tears by some of my kids whenever I leave on a trip. Smith is a women's college, and one with a strong feminist tradition. Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan are graduates, and Steinem delivered the commencement ad…

A 60-year-old woman in Saddle River, N.J., has given birth to twins. Frieda Birnbaum says she has as much energy now as she did in her 30s and 40s. (No jokes, please. The kids were conceived with in-vitro fertilization.) Birnbaum said on "Good Morning America" that she hopes to become a role model for other older woman who want to bear children. "I guess …

First there were milk cartons with missing kids on them. Now divorced parents who fall behind in their child-support payments in parts of Virginia and Ohio could see  their faces on the cover of pizza boxes. Sheriffs there are using the pizza box campaigns to publicly shame the "deadbeat" parents into settling their accounts. The program was started in But…

There is controversy raging in Raleigh, N.C., over the county board of education's plan to institute year-round schooling to relieve overcrowding. To population-challenged Erie County, it might seem like a nice problem to have: The influx of people into Wake County is swelling enrollment in the public schools. But tax revenues are lagging behind enrollment and jam-packed …

The playoff struggles of a certain hockey team present parents and their children with a good chance to examine the role of perfectionism in our lives. "One team, one goal" made a great commercial slogan -- most of have been there, done that, bought the New Era cap -- but does falling short of that one goal invalidate all of the excitement and entertainment that…

I am a mother, and two of my kids play soccer, but does that technically make me a SOCCER MOM? "Soccer Mom" isn't just a description, it's a lifestyle. What's the difference in having kids who play the game, and being totally a Soccer Mom? The following quiz should help. Are You a Soccer Mom? 1. Do your kids play on a soccer team? 2. Do you drive a min…

I am enjoying a rare moment of peace. With the beautiful weather, all our kids are outside, as are many of the neighborhood children. Imagine that, playing outside! Kids of different ages, both boys and girls, making up games with a ball. Running around, laughing, fighting, riding bikes, then not riding bikes, then riding bikes again. Except for when they're conducting an …

An article in the New York Times today describes the decision by the school board in Liverpool, N.Y., near Syracuse, to do away with its program providing laptops for every student. Why are they giving up? Because they found their students logged more time playing games, exchanging test answers with friends or trying to download porn than they did using the machines to do…

Mary Jo Monnin had an interesting article in The News this week about the shortage of umpires for baseball games in Western New York. As the father of three children who participate in sports, this  concerns me because it suggests that if I want our kids to play baseball or softball, I may have to take a turn as an ump myself. That's a thankless job that I would do ju…

Groucho Marx once said, "I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." So taking their cue from Groucho, the Center for Screen-Time Awareness created TV Turnoff Week, which wraps up today. Their hope is that " people can live healthier lives in functional families in vibrant communities b…

I remember back in a time long, long ago, when I would come home from school with an order form from Scholastic Books in my hand. It was a thrill to hold that newsprint leaflet and pore over the rather short list of books. Let's see, should it be "The Phantom Tollbooth" this month? Or maybe "The Moffats?" When the books came, they always had that speci…