Sound familiar?

Today I’ve got a links roundup for you. Some fascinating articles have come out in the parenting world this week, and a few of them dovetail nicely with what’s been going on in my own house. I actually used the advice in one the same day I read it. Below you’ll find useful tips, a recommendation, and–don’t say I didn’t warn you–an example of truly abysmal human behavior.

  • “‘It’s Not Fair!’ How to Stop Victim Mentality and Thinking in Kids and Teens” – Hands up if you hear this one from your kid. Okay you, the one with your hands down: kudos. Everyone else: read this. From Empowering Parents comes an article that I literally needed yesterday, and it gave me the tools to help explain to my eleven-year-old son the difference between someone who is targeting him and someone who is merely a grumpy person. It also helped me first empathize with his feelings, then start to work through steps to help him consider his own solutions to his problems and see that he has options for responses, even though he can’t necessarily change other people’s behavior. Problems solved? No. But it was a good beginning.
  • “How Could a Sweet Third-Grader Just Cheat on That School Exam?” – A Wall Street Journal article examines a question that often elicits horror, denial or both from many parents who find themselves confronted with the fact that their young kids have cheated in school. I know, because recently my own second-grader did something with her schoolwork she shouldn’t have, and I was appalled. But this article explains why it can be harder than we think for kids to understand where the lines between right and wrong are, and it offers tips for how to make those lines clearer.
  • “Mira Ptacin: Is Baby a Luxury?” - Health insurance issues: don’t get me started. As someone with several chronic medical conditions that I will have for the rest of my life, I could–and often do–go on and on about the unavoidable, ever-increasing out-of-pocket costs to me and my family, the Orwellian insurance battles, the…sorry. Here, Ptacin examines life in America for people like her: working but unable to afford insurance…and expecting a baby. I read the article, then had to take a walk to shake off my outrage.
  • “Rich Manhattan moms hire handicapped tour guides so kids can cut lines at Disney World” - Not outraged enough? You will be after you read this New York Post article. (Note that this practice has been confirmed in other media.) The comments made in the article by the people who engage in this behavior do nothing to help their case. Unfortunately, I fear this practice will open up people who make legitimate use of Disney’s handicapped policies to verbal abuse and scorn, because you really can’t tell the difference in many cases. Not everyone who needs accommodation is obvious, and disguises aren’t that hard to fashion. Don’t eat before reading this article, because it will make you nauseous.
  • The Boy at the End of the World, by Greg van Eekhout - Finally, here’s an update on a previous book recommendation: Jack and I read this book together, and he loved it. A boy, a robot, a mammoth and a giant, talking prairie dog. Suspense and a little humor in a future dystopian world. It’s a keeper. (Yes, I know the book’s a little off-theme, but I couldn’t bear to leave you on such a discouraging note. Trust me: the drive for survival and a mammoth that drops large quantities of dung page after page is much better–especially if you’re an eleven-year-old boy.)
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