There are a lot of smart people producing smart, thoughtful pieces about parenting older kids. Here are some of the ones I've recently come across, in print and in video, that address everything from family dinner to chores to free time to worrying to the importance of repeatedly reaching out to our kids. Hope you enjoy them!
Where’s the Magic in Family Dinner? by Lisa Damour on Well Blog on the New York Times
"[W]hen my husband and I meet our tween and her younger sister at the table, we sometimes have worthwhile conversations or manage to crack each other up. But, at least as often, dinner devolves into a failing effort to find out what happened at school or a nag-fest over mealtime manners. After an especially short or harried supper, I can find myself wondering how the family gathering that just transpired could possibly help to raise my daughters’ grades, improve their psychological well-being or lower their risk of substance abuse."
(I was worried when I read that first part of the article, but I've wondered the same thing myself. What Damour discovered after digging into some research made me feel even better about and more committed to family dinner.)
Why are our kids so miserable? by Jenny Anderson on Quartz
"Like many things in life, intentionality is key. If we want our kids to play and have some freedom, we have to plan how to do it (yes, it has come to that). Facilitating time and space has to be a pre-meditated act, like signing up for soccer, or posting your daughter’s Girl Scout cookie sales target on Facebook. It won’t be easy. But if we believe that our kids’ mental health is at stake, we should certainly give it a try."
For another take on what our kids need, check out this video:
The Expectation Gap by Dr. Deborah Gilboa on TEDx
"There are three obstacles to raising people of good character who will improve the world. The first obstacle is the myth that we believe about achievement. While we firmly believe that a small umber of kids are capable of amazing us with their own inner drive . . . we equally believe that the vast majority of people cannot be expected to do well on a math test and take out the garbage. So we can take out the garbage for them. Except taking out the garbage builds character. Family work proves to kids that they are not above serving the needs of the group. They are not exempt as helping. We're convincing our kids that their character just isn't quite as important to us as their achievements."
Dr. G's message of empathy without action pairs really well with this article:
6 ways good parents contribute to their child’s anxiety by Karen Banes on On Parenting in the Washington Post
"She needs me to be strong, but instead I inadvertently send the message that anxiety is the ‘right’ reaction to her problems. Difficult though it is, we need to keep our own anxiety in check while sympathizing with theirs. We have to be the emotional rock: the person who understands, supports and (if asked) advises, without ever showing that their problems make us feel anxious too."
Knock, Knock: Conversations with My Millennial by Seth Taylor of City Dads Group
"Most conversations with my millennial daughter, 14, start with me knocking on her bedroom door. It usually doesn't get better from there. Until it does."
This post by a dad detailing what happens when he knocks on his 14-year-old daughter's bedroom door made me feel all the feels and want to hug all the tweens and teens and their parents.
As always, please feel free to share links in the comments to the pieces you've recently enjoyed and found helpful to your parenting! Thanks!
Prior Post: The best advice I've gotten from a 13-year-old
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Filed under: Parenting