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Aug 27 2014

I Think It’s OK That My Daughter is a Brat

By at 3:10 pm

Lela-brat

The other day I was sitting in the dentist office with my daughter. For the first half hour, she looked at books and fiddled around with the spattering of baby toys in the waiting room. And then it began.

“I’m bored, Mama!”

“It will be our turn soon.” Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 7 2014

Five Reasons to Stop Saying the B-Word

By at 9:36 am

bullying-eraser

When I received a call that my 5-year-old son was being a bully at camp, I felt as if I had failed as a mother. Outrage quickly followed the humiliation, as I imagined a scenario in which my child would intentionally bother another child. By the time I arrived at camp at the end of the day to collect him, I had worked through an entire spectrum of emotions, but I vowed I would listen to his explanation and try to contain myself. There is always another side to the story after all, and at the risk of sounding defensive, I know my child. And he is not a bully.

From the conversation I had with my son, I gleaned that there was an altercation during a soccer game and both boys had been aggressive. When the other child tried to take the ball my son lashed out and was sidelined. He was remorseful and assured me he would try harder to get along with this particular boy in the future. Together we reflected on alternative ways that he could have reacted to the situation and how he might control his anger going forward. I then informed him of what the repercussions would be if I ever heard another discouraging report like this again.

Now that I have had several days to ruminate on the situation, I realize that the main source of my angst is the word bully itself, and I think it is time we reevaluate the usefulness of this term. Below are five reasons I think we should stop using this word so haphazardly. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 29 2014

My Sensory Sensitive Son is Having a Growth Spurt–and It’s Not Easy

By at 1:16 pm

boy-sensory-issues

So my son is going through a growth spurt right now. One way I can tell is that he is eating more food than I eat sometimes. The other way I can tell is that he is totally not in control of his body.

Here’s the thing. J is wonderful. He is often polite (his recent thing is to thank my wife and I for dinner when he likes it). He is very funny (“I’m just being silly Daddy”). He is extremely verbal (particularly with anything relating to trucks, but also with rhyming words). But he also has a bit of SPD, which leads him to being out of control.

SPD, or Sensory Processing Disorder, is a condition in which any of the various sensory systems can be either over or under developed leading children to have inappropriate reactions to a variety of situations. Some kids may be averse to sounds or smells. Others may have trouble with light touches. J has difficulty with what they call “vestibular tracking” (i.e. combining balance and visual stimulants), and he seeks out deep pressure. Often the need for deep pressure leads to “disorganized” behavior and actions that, frankly, we don’t want to happen (i.e. pushing, laying on other people, occasionally biting). Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 25 2013

Torah MOMentary: Remaining Calm in the Face of Uncertainty

By at 9:51 am

i can't keep calm i'm jewish

This post is part of our new Torah commentary series. This week we read Parashat Haye Sarah. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

My adorable toddler has a disturbing new habit.

It goes like this: Sylvie’s playing with another kid at the park. Suddenly she grabs the kid’s hair, shrieks in excitement, and pulls. The kid’s mom and I run over and pry her hands off (harder than you’d think!), mom kneels to console crying kid, I apologize profusely. And there’s Sylvie, grinning uneasily.

I know she doesn’t mean to cause pain; she’s just excited. But on some basic human level, it feels odd to see someone smile while hurting someone else. So when this first started happening I was pretty concerned. I’m still new to this whole mothering thing. Was this a developmental stage, or the beginning of a real problem? Read the rest of this entry →

May 23 2013

Why Can’t You Be More Like Your Brother?

By at 12:05 pm

little boy frustrated with homework“Why can’t you be more like your brother/sister?”

It’s a question parents are advised never to ask.

But, that’s a tall order to fill. At least for me.

I have three children. And, except for the fact that they look ridiculously alike (my husband’s and my joke is that if they gave us the wrong baby at the hospital, we got all three of them from the same family), they are all completely different. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 5 2012

All People Are Not The Same

By at 11:30 am
Alina's chlidren

Two of Alina's kids (on the outside) with a friend in the middle.

I really enjoyed (and appreciated) Erika K. Davis’ piece: Do You Talk to Your Kids About Race.

I was all set to answer her question with delightful and pithy anecdotes about how we do things in our interracial, interfaith and intercultural household (dad: African-American, mom: Soviet-born Jew, three kids: all of the above), when my eyes fell on some of the comments both on the original article, and the Kveller Facebook page:

I am not sure that it’s necessary to have a specific talk about race unless your child brings it up or encounters or observes some type of racist behavior….

Yes, but not unless it brings itself up naturally. There’s no reason to address it otherwise…

It should be a non-conversation….

Kids don’t notice it until you tell them about it…

First of all, the latter comment is blatantly untrue. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 24 2012

Easy Behavioral Tips for Kids with Special Needs

By at 10:15 am
little boy pulling hair tantrum

No more tantrums.

My son Reuben is 6 years old and was diagnosed as autistic three years ago. My kid is not so different from yours; he is just an exacerbated version. Reuben gets scared of the dark (mostly when he doesn’t want to go to bed), doesn’t want to eat brussels sprouts (who does?), and smacks his sister when I’m not looking (though sometimes I think she might deserve it).

The difference is in how difficult it is get him to modify his behavior unlike your kids (although I am sure you would disagree).

Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 30 2012

When Your Toddlers Start to Act Like Teens

By at 9:03 am

little girl in heelsThere is a saying that the way your kids were as toddlers is how they’ll be as teens.  (Only bigger and louder and, in some places, with the legal right to drive.)

If that’s true, then we’re really in for some fun times over at my house.

When my oldest was a toddler, he didn’t talk much.  But–Bad Mommy confession–we really didn’t notice until our pediatrician got a concerned look on her face and started asking questions while taking notes and measuring the size of his head (boy had a really big head. Literally off the charts big. He still does). Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 7 2011

Ask Bubbe: Why is My 5-Year-Old So Obnoxious?

By at 10:03 am

Dear Bubbe,

What should I do about my sassy 5-year-old daughter? I tell her to do something, she responds, “NO!” She’s been getting increasingly defiant lately, despite our efforts to discipline her.

Jody, California

Hi Jody,

I will preface any comments here by saying that, whatever you think a 5-year-old can get up to is NOTHING compared to what a 15 -year-old can get up to. So in the face of whatever your Miss Sass can throw at you, try to maintain perspective. (Little children, little problems, big children, big problems–old Yiddish proverb, sounds better in Yiddish.)

Children are mirrors; children are sponges; children have friends, but the grip of the peer group is unlikely to be driving her behavior at this stage. If you want respect from her, you need to show her respect, too. This does not mean that the relationship is democratic; you are in charge. You want her to WANT to please you but it is natural that there will be some desire on her part to differentiate herself and to test the limits.

Let’s look at the background here. Is she getting enough sleep? There’s a whole world of poor behavior triggered by lack of sleep, overstimulation, lack of fresh air  and exercise, and poor diet, too high in processed foods, etc. Read the rest of this entry →

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