Viking Role Reversals

So, Bridget the Viking has been rapidly civilizing ever since her big sister Brontë started Kindergarten a few weeks ago. Gone are the sudden, inexplicable tantrums that would alarm neighbors living two blocks away. She doesn’t throw Legos at cats anymore, or refuse to eat anything while simultaneously screaming about how hungry she is. She’s […]

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Carrots, Sticks, and Goldilocks Parenting

Parenting is infinitely complicated, but for the sake of discussion, I’m going to greatly oversimplify it by saying it all comes down to managing the carrot and the stick. Some parents are into the stick-heavy approach, meaning they believe in high expectations, firm discipline and obedience. They believe children are naturally defiant, lazy, and need to be wrestled into social conformity […]

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When a Gender War Erupts at Preschool

As some of my readers may know, my daughter Brontë is enrolled in a cooperative local preschool that requires a parent to work a supervisory shift every week. So I spend every Wednesday helping other parents look after about thirty children under five. This place is all about letting kids learn social skills, through independent negotiation, […]

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The Humiliating Life of Toddlers

It was midmorning at the preschool and my shift for the day was watching the goldfish pond and the “manipulatables,” which means the various magnetic shapes and blocks that little kids can build stuff with while improving their fine-motor and, hopefully, future geometry skills. Two boys were tormenting another kid by using their magnets to swipe shapes […]

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