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The satire masters at the Onion published a report on the "shocking abuses" that today's children are subjected to by their parents, at least according to the kids:"Encouraged to speak freely and confidentially about their home lives, subjects shocked even seasoned child welfare advocates with tales of systematic deprival and gratuitous cruelty. One Illinois…

This weekend was piano recital time for our family, and probably the opening of the official season. (It seems to coincide with turkey hunting season. Coincidence? Well, yes.) Let's talk turkey about piano recitals. Of course it's fun to see and hear your own children play their pieces. It's always a bit nerve-wracking, thinking they might really blow it on Fur Elise, or…

Andrew Galarneau has an excellent article in today's Buffalo News, examining what seems to be an ever-increasing vacuum in parents taking responsibility for the proper upbringing of their children. A thought that occurred to me as I read the story is that almost everything about parenting seems to involve finding a happy medium. When it comes to involvement in their child…

An NCAA committee on Wednesday proposed ending a loophole in college athletics recruiting in which coaches may send recruits an unlimited number of text messages. Texting, instant messaging and other forms of electronic communication would be banned under the proposal, which the NCAA Board of Directors is expected to pass at its April 26 meeting. Is there any chance we co…

The death toll is up to 33 from the gunman's rampage at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. I can't  imagine what it's like to be one of the parents who gets the dreaded phone call to the "next of kin." When young children get dropped off at daycare or preschool for the first time, they sometimes go through "separation anxiety" when their parents leav…

Our kids have been clamoring for a dog for about two years now. And for the past two years, we’ve responded with “We’ll see.” It’s not that we don’t like dogs. Our first “child” was an SPCA mutt named Spike. Our Christmas cards, in the days before kids, included a picture of Spike sitting with Santa. But at this point, it seems like we can barely support the humans in our…

Health and Fitness

The playoffs have finally arrived for the Buffalo Sabres, allowing us to take our minds off the weighty problems of the world, such as the fate of Don Imus' career. For a little mood music, check out the Sabres "audio essentials" over at In da Buff. I took my oldest daughter to exactly one Sabres game this year, and it was the night Chris Drury got hammered by…

Just as I was feeling guilty that April 15 is looming and I haven't finished our taxes yet, I realized that another April date of guilt is approaching -- April 26. That's Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day. Even though I can technically arrange to bring our kids to my workplace, that's the last thing I feel like doing, so I don't tell them about it and then I feel gu…

A couple of days ago, a neighbor sent their son and daughter over to play at our house. The son was charged with calling home from our house to let his parents know they had arrived safely. He forgot, and the parents soon called to summon their kids home immediately. I was impressed by their zero-tolerance approach to discipline. I know all too many households -- ours inc…

Today's the day we Buffalonians welcome spring (OK, not this year) and the end of Lent with Dyngus Day. Has anyone noticed that Lent seems to be a bit less somber each year? My older daughter announced she was giving up television, and we don't even watch television. Somber Lent or not, celebrating Dyngus Day is a nice tradition, and one that is primarily a Buffalo phenom…

Once again this year we spring breaked -- leaving us broke -- to New York City, as part of our continuing efforts to inject some street-smarts into our children. We have both lived and worked in the New York City area and have often thought that kids in the Buffalo area have an innocence about them that those from larger metro areas don't have. Not to say they're innocent…

I doubt that people in other regions of the country experience a spring social awakening the way we do in Western New York. First, after three to five months of being cooped up indoors, we all shed our parkas as quickly as Alberto Gonzales sheds federal prosecutors. It doesn't take long for the bicycles and strollers to hit the pavement. Socializing with our neighbors is …

I'm simultaneously impressed and repulsed by the American Girl doll phenomenon. It says something about our culture that wholesomeness is such a scarce commodity that we are willing to hoard it like crack addicts. Thus the success of the American Girl marketing machine of overpriced but tasteful dolls, historical books, and now themed shopping/real estate destinations in N…

I was saddened to hear about the return of Elizabeth Edwards' cancer. I hope that her cancer is treatable and that she enjoys many more years and lives to see her young children grow up. This is now more possible than ever given the improvements in treatment for stage IV breast cancer.I commend her strength and composure during this difficult time, and do not question the …

The most e-mailed story this year from New York Magazine is Po Bronson's article, "How Not to Talk to Your Kids." The thesis is that our generation of parents over-praise our children, which can inhibit their social and academic development rather than feed them.The article suggests that we commend our children for effort, rather than results. Bronson descri…