Tag: parenting

The Road to Hell



Baltimore writer Elizabeth Hazen confesses (and reconsiders) an ancient crime.

Some mornings my son, nearly six and a half years old, wakes up raging over the injustices of the world: Why does he have to eat green vegetables? Why does everything he wants cost “too much money”? Why doesn’t his dad live with us? Why, as he once phrased it from his booster in the backseat of our car, is life so hard? Devastated that I had failed already to guard him from this truth, I had little comfort to offer. Finding my own life a series of difficult navigations and compromises that leave all parties feeling deprived, I have struggled throughout my adult life to reconcile the lessons I learned as a child – all dreams are achievable, hard work always pays off, people get what they deserve – with the reality of my experience. The science of these teachings, quite simply, doesn’t play out. So what, then, do I tell my son? That intentions don’t matter? That the universe is random and our place in it negligible? That it is virtually impossible to predict what will happen, and even harder to know what will make us happy?

A Radical New Year’s Resolution for Helicopter Parents


helicopter imager

Picture this scenario. A pair of helicopter parents sits around the kitchen table discussing new year’s resolutions. They may be overweight. They could be closet smokers, caffeine junkies, or worse. Regardless, it’s doubtful the resolutions these parents are planning have anything to do with bettering themselves.

The chief objective of helicopter parents is not to achieve a personal goal of their own, but to mold their children into some vision of grandeur—however unrealistic, unlikely, or downright unobtainable that vision may be. Bearing this in mind, I’ve got an idea for a new year’s  resolution that might seem frighteningly radical to hover parents, but that could actually make the entire family more balanced, happy and, ultimately, successful at their individual pursuits.

Just Older, No Wiser: College Admissions the Second Time Around


As it turns out, we learned nothing last year.  I was hoping we would have gained some insights from having watched our oldest trudge through Senior year, trying to figure out where to apply, how to position herself, which side to feature, to get into the school of her choice.  Unfortunately, it seems, we are just a year older.  No wiser.

Welcome Home, Little One: A Student Returns After the First Semester Away at College


The first visit home from college is not without its bumps…

With painstaking attention to her preferences, I spent time last week preparing for Emily’s first return from college. She has been gone since August 23, and while my husband and I have seen her once, during Parents’ Weekend on her campus, she has not been home for almost three months. We have really been looking forward to having Emily home for Thanksgiving, picturing lingering meals, with no pressure to be anywhere else, and easy, joyful conversations, maybe with me sitting on the end of her bed.

You Have No Idea What Your Teenager Is Up to Online


Parents of teenagers have always been a little clueless as to what their children are really up to — but thanks to the internet, parents are even less aware of what their children are up to. According to a new study, most teenagers are doing something online that they’re hiding from their parents, everything from hacking into peers’ Facebook pages to cheating on schoolwork to engaging in cyber-bullying. So what’s a parent to do?

What Are the Appropriate Boundaries When Kids Go off to College?


July was a great month.  We had a little family vacation.  The rest of the time, the kids were working at good jobs, learning stuff, and making money.  We’ve had down time — a nice change of pace from the mad rush of the school year.  Emily is getting ready to go to college, so there has been some Bed, Bath & Beyond shopping.  Between the medical forms, and supply lists, it has felt a lot like getting her ready to go to summer camp.  All fine.

Now it’s August and reality is setting in.  We are making reservations for hotel rooms for the drop-off weekend, and trying to sort through some first-time, “growing up” decisions:  Do we give her spending money for the things we would provide her at home?  Are these now her expenses?  Does she need to tell us when she is traveling off campus, or do we no longer have the right or need to know where she is?  If she makes a road trip to visit her boyfriend at his college, is that any of our business?  Is her information her own, or, for educational and medical matters, do we have any role in her world anymore? 

“Hey Mom, Watch This!” Even Olympians Work to Make Their Mothers Proud

Proud mom Debbie Phelps gives son Michael a kiss at the Beijing Olympics.

After pulling off an incredible gold medal win in the Olympic 100 meter backstroke, the bubbly 17-year-old phenom Missy Franklin announced to reporters: “I knew my parents were going to be proud of me, no matter what.” It struck me as somewhat odd that the accomplished young swimmer, still dripping wet after the performance of a lifetime, thought to proclaim her parents’ approval to the world.  On second thought, I guess it should come as no surprise.

Kid Discrimination at a Baltimore Restaurant?


We’ve read nationally that hot restaurants are trending away from customer coddling. One Baltimore restaurant seems to echo this rhythm, but is it actually symptomatic of a larger happening? Local diners, please weigh in below. – The Eds.

The world of a work-at-home mom almost always has one of two things going: either a juggling act or a balancing act, but typically it’s a circus. I don’t think the majority of people realize the sacrifices moms makes in order to maintain a daily presence with their children. That’s a topic for another column. My own juggling act brought me to a cozy, upscale urban bistro at lunchtime, with my tween, my toddler, and meeting notes.

Get Invisalign and Get Straightened out for Good


Being a teenager is tough enough without crooked teeth or bulky braces. What’s worse, the pain of a crooked smile doesn’t fade with age. Countless middle-age moms cringe when they see their adolescent children reliving the same painful smile that’s plagued them for years. The rest of the world notices, too: A new study confirms that straight teeth make people seem happier, friendlier, healthier — even more popular and trustworthy. (See the results in the graphic below.) If you’ve got a crooked smile, don’t despair. Now there’s a new way to straighten out your smile permanently with an FDA-approved method that’s nearly invisible and comparable to braces.

Invisalign uses clear, nearly invisible braces (called aligners) to straighten teeth — without any clunky metal or wires. (Remember the days when kids called a braces-wearer metal mouth? Thank goodness, your kids won’t have to hear it.) Using Invisalign, you can expect to straighten teeth in about a year if you suffer from overly crowded teeth, widely spaced teeth, crossbite, overbite, or underbite. Of course, total time varies, depending on the severity of the case.