Category Archives: Parenting

Mother of Dragons

Some parents are too cool for words. 

Looks as if it was taken at a ComicCon somewhere.

Past lives: sailor and his sweetie with motorcycle

It’s weird sometimes to think that at some point your parents might have been more cool than you are.


Mommy’s Breaking Point

For all of my mommy and daddy friends. I know you’ve all been there.

Mummies Breaking Point mommies kids headaches
How many of you mommies and daddies can relate to this?

It’s not only Amazon which overworks and underappreciates


The Nation looks at the somewhat dubious claim that work is what makes us feel most fulfilled:

By now many of us have read The New York Times’s insider account of the brutal workplace culture at Amazon’s corporate offices. We already knew about what it’s like to work in Amazon’s warehouse centers: boiling heat, impossible production demands, and frequent firings of the temporary workforce.

For the white-collar workers, demands are also high, if of a different nature: staff regularly cry at their desks, are shamed for taking time off for cancer treatments, and so often work during weekends and vacations that they develop ulcers. Failure to respond to a late-night e-mail comes with a reprimand. One employee recounts that her fiancee had to come to headquarters every night at 10 pm and call her repeatedly to get her to leave.

The Times article also includes stories from employees who profess to simply love working at that grueling pace. They are motivated by “thinking big and knowing we haven’t scratched the surface on what’s out there to invent,” as one retail executive put it. “This is a company that strives to do really big, innovative, groundbreaking things, and those things aren’t easy,” the company’s top recruiter said.

Our culture of work has so infiltrated our collective psyche that we like to think that we’re putting in long hours and responding to e-mails on the weekends because we’re devoted and ambitious. This is what journalist Miya Tokumitsu has skewered repeatedly in her writing: the “do what you love” ethos—the idea that we should all seek work that we’re emotionally devoted to, not sticking with just for a paycheck—that demands unending passion and therefore unending work, even if those long hours don’t actually mean we’re getting more done.

But while some employees call it a choice to put in long hours, it’s hard to see how that can really be true—for anyone. 

For a more realistic view of things from a first-hand perspective, read this piece by a woman who found out that the team spirit at Amazon, already weak to begin with, essentially evaporates when you get sick or have a baby.

Source: Longer Hours, More Stress, No Extra Pay: It’s Not Just Amazon, It’s the Modern Workplace

Source: I Had a Baby and Cancer When I Worked at Amazon. This Is My Story

Source:’s Workers Are Low-Paid, Overworked And Unhappy; Is This The New Employee Model For The Internet Age?

Source: Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace – The New York Times


Teenage brains and risk-taking

teenage brains

As advances in neurological imaging continue, the evidence mounts as to why the peculiarities of teenage brains mean they are programmed to drive parents to distraction — and should almost never be tried in courts as adults or punished like adults.

Nearly every parent I know well with teens has, at some point, expressed exasperation at how their teenagers are prone to doing things that cannot pass without a stern parental lecture — ignoring danger, being insensitive to the feelings of others, etc. — yet sullenly act as if it is the parents who are confused about right, wrong and realistic expectations.

By far the first item — being reckless in the face of danger — is the one that gives parents the worst nightmares. Teenage death rates by accidents support those sleepless moments waiting for teens to return from a night out with a car.

But along with teens’ not yet fully developed frontal lobes there appears to be another reason for these behaviors: an over-developed, compared to adults (or, more precisely, not yet atrophied) region of the brain that controls how pleasure is sought and perceived.

The New Yorker‘s science and medicine writer Elizabeth Kolbert has an article in the new edition online now that sheds new light on research into the often perplexing behavior of teenagers, including studies performed by Laurence Steinberg, a professor of psychology at Temple who works with, among other things, drunk mice:

According to Steinberg, adults spend their lives with wads of cotton in their metaphorical noses. Adolescents, by contrast, are designed to sniff out treats at a hundred paces. During childhood, the nucleus accumbens, which is sometimes called the “pleasure center,” grows. It reaches its maximum extent in the teen-age brain; then it starts to shrink. This enlargement of the pleasure center occurs in concert with other sensation-enhancing changes. As kids enter puberty, their brains sprout more dopamine receptors. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, plays many roles in the human nervous system, the sexiest of which is signalling enjoyment.

“Nothing—whether it’s being with your friends, having sex, licking an ice-cream cone, zipping along in a convertible on a warm summer evening, hearing your favorite music—will ever feel as good as it did when you were a teenager,” Steinberg observes.

And this, in turn, explains why adolescents do so many stupid things. It’s not that they are any worse than their elders at assessing danger. It’s just that the potential rewards seem—and, from a neurological standpoint, genuinely are—way, way greater. “The notion that adolescents take risks because they don’t know any better is ludicrous,” Steinberg writes.

Teen-agers are, as a rule, extremely healthy—healthier than younger children. But their death rate is much higher. The mortality rate for Americans between fifteen and nineteen years old is nearly twice what it is for those between the ages of one and four, and it’s more than three times as high as for those ages five to fourteen. The leading cause of death among adolescents today is accidents; this is known as the “accident hump.”

Steinberg explains the situation as the product of an evolutionary mismatch. To find mates, our primate ancestors had to venture outside their natal groups. The reward for taking chances in dangerous terrain was sex followed by reproduction, while the cost of sensibly staying at home was genetic oblivion. Adolescents in 2015 can find partners by swiping right on Tinder; nevertheless, they retain the neurophysiology of apes (and, to a certain extent, mice). Teen-agers are, in this sense, still swinging through the rain forest, even when they’re speeding along in a Tundra. They’re programmed to take crazy risks, so that’s what they do.

This is especially the case when teen-agers get together. A teen driving with other teens in the car, for example, is four times as likely to crash as a teen driving alone. (The risk for adult drivers, by contrast, remains constant with passengers or without them.) This effect is often attributed to distraction or peer pressure; kids, the story goes, egg each other on, until, finally, they wind up in the E.R. But Steinberg, who has conducted all sorts of experiments on adolescents, both human and rodent, sees the problem as more fundamental. What matters is the mere presence of peers, or really even just the idea of them.

Got that? You will NEVER enjoy doing fun things with your friends as much you enjoyed doing them as a teen.

Depressing, huh? But it makes you better able to raise kids, keep a job and generally be more responsible. Which is not the worst trade-off in the world, if you think about it. 

All of this points to the enduring truth — more often now backed up by neurological evidence — that teenage brains are not like adults’ in the ways that they process signals for risk vs. reward.

Yet more reasons why expecting them to process information like adults — and treating them in courts and prisons like adults — makes no sense from the standpoints of criminal justice or rehabilitation.

It also further explains why they drive parents crazy, if that is any comfort for all of you out there with teenaged children.

Source: Why Teen-Agers Are the Worst – The New Yorker  

teenage brains
It is behind the wheel of a car where teens present the greatest danger to themselves and others.

Some boys like girl clothes. What’s the problem?

Some boys like girl clothes

This bit of parenting happiness comes from Ellen’s web site:

Dan Ewen’s 6-year-old son Gardner has never been all that interested in “boy clothes.”

Instead, he prefers to dress like his twin sister Moxie.

In the Ewen household, the freedom to be who you are is a top priority, and so to show support for Gardner, Dan tweeted a sweet note this week, and passed along an adorable picture to go with it.He tweets: “Sorry me letting my son wear a dress makes you uncomfortable. See I’m trying this crazy thing where I have his back no matter what, forever.”

What a beautiful way of putting it.

All kids should be so lucky to have a father who loves them this much.

It shouldn’t really be about anything more complicated than clothes. Some boys like girl clothes. And some girls like boy toys. And some boys like girl movies. And some girls like boy clothes — although girls have always been given a lot more leeway in this regard.

It’s OK for a girl to want to do boy things. It’s a step up. But boys who want to be girls? Absolutely not. That is failure as a boy.

I don’t see how forcing children to be afraid of such minor things teaches them anything useful other than to cave into groupthink on issues for which total strangers should have no say.

If it is freighted with social issues baggage that is society’s issue with which it really should have come to terms long ago in an allegedly educated populace.

Source: Dad Tweets Beautiful Statement in Support of His Child |  

Diner owner under fire for yelling at misbehaving toddler

There are many seemingly intractable divides in our society: Israel, abortion — and whether parents should remove a misbehaving toddler from a restaurant:

child misbehavior
Marcy’s Diner owner Darla Neugebauer is interviewed by local Portland (ME) news about her yelling at the screaming child in her restaurant.

The owner of a Portland diner is defending her actions – and comments she made on social media – that have left many outraged.

Marcy’s Diner on Oak Street in Portland’s downtown is a busy place on the weekends. Owner Darla Neugebauer said that’s partly what led her to snap at a child on Saturday.

Neugebauer said the child’s parents had ordered three pancakes and then didn’t feed them to the girl, causing the child to cry loudly. After attempts to get the family to leave, or to take the girl outside, the diner owner said she slammed her hands down on the counter and told the girl to be quiet.

If a child screams in the forest and there are no bloggers there to witness it, can it still cause an uproar on Facebook?

I watched the clip below a couple of times and, while the actions of owner Darla Neugebauer might shock someone outside of New England, she doesn’t strike me as someone who is more menacing than just being a bit too brash for her own good — or for people outside of that part of the country.

I also wouldn’t have given the story legs by continuing it online.

Nonetheless, if the child had screamed for more than an hour, that seems well over the time limit required for Neugebauer to have simply offered crayons or a ramekin of Cheerios in an attempt to nicely quiet the child and make the meals of her other paying customers bearable. It appears the parents of the child in question had wrongly decided that they could react to the kid’s acting out in public in the same way they might do at home: let her scream until she wore herself out.

I was eating in a restaurant the other night and at the table next to me were what appeared to be a grandparent and parent, who seemed willfully unaware that the two toddlers with them were screaming and running around the other tables in the restaurant taunting one another and laughing. One child even ran into me and another person seated at another table. Everyone seemed annoyed by it but the two adults in a position to stop it.

Finally what appeared to be a manager of some sort came over and stood near the offenders’ table and glared at the parents and kids. They got the message— this time — and left.

I feel for parents whose kids act out in restaurants, crying or throwing tantrums. One more meal ruined by something that can be largely beyond your control no matter what non-parents think. What is not beyond their control is whether a misbehaving toddler rises to the level of ruining the dining experience of others around them.

Also, this was the “other top story” for the news broadcast that night? I wonder what that other story was? Perhaps a fight on Twitter over Ariana Grande licking donuts?

I had the video on live connect on this page, but it autostarts and that is annoying, especially since it starts so loudly.

Go to the link below to watch.

Source: Portland Diner owner under fire for yelling at toddler, Facebook posts

It can be so hard to please kids these days


“It just doesn’t seem right that there are homeless people. I think everyone should have a place to live”

From the mouths of children.

Pretty amazing little girl:

Though Hailey Fort is only 9 years old, she has already done more to help the homeless and needy than many of us have. This young girl spends her free time building mobile shelters for the homeless, and even grows food and provides toiletries for them, too!

When Fort was 5 years old, she asked her mother, Miranda, about helping a homeless man she saw in Bremerton, Washington, where she lives. Her mother said yes, and now they work together to help the needy. The man she helped, Edward, has become her friend. She builds the shelters, “so then you don’t get rained on and you feel safe and stay dry.” “It just doesn’t seem right that there are homeless people,” Hailey told King 5 News. “I think everyone should have a place to live.”

Many more pictures of Hailey doing her thing at the link below, where you can also donate to her work if you are so inclined.

via: 9-Year-Old Girl Builds Shelters For The Homeless And Grows Food For Them, Too – Bored Panda

Photo via Bored Panda

Who do you love more, Mom or Dad?