Tough times on campus |


Hello Character in Charge of Children,

This week for the dead-tree issue of Time I interviewed this incredibly successful woman, Cathy Engelbert, who's CEO of Deloitte US. I talked to the people around her and her sister (siblings are always great for the real stories). There are many, many things that have to go right for a person to become CEO of a big company like that. But I couldn't help noticing how one of the constants in this woman's life was team sports; they helped her find an identity in college, learn how to lose, learn how to play with others, learn how to manage her time. Coincidentally, I also went to the final parent teacher meeting for one of my children and asked her counselor what we might have done differently and she said she wished my daughter had continued to do athletics. So if you're on the fence about this, keep your kid on the team, not because they're going to be pro-athletes, but just for the experience. It's probably worth it. Probably. Unless the practices start really early.

I’m at or @luscombeland on Twitter. Feel free to follow me, but not necessarily my parenting philosophy.

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You know how the Kindergartners are always the most fun kids to watch at the school concert? They don't seem to give a tinker's cuss that everyone can see them. They just sing, or don't or sway or look around the room. An interesting new study suggests that while kids that age are un-self-conscious, they have already started to care about—and manage—their reputation. TIME

It's one of the mantras of change: you cannot be what you cannot see. A new study might put it differently: you cannot aim for what you cannot draw. (In my accent, that rhymes.) Researchers have been asking children to draw a scientist for several decades now. And no surprises, a lot more of them have started to draw their scientists a bit differently. Here's how: TIME

Have you seen that viral video of the 4-year-old doing the box jump? He fails a bunch of times and finally nails it. (He also has incredible thigh muscles.) Well, as usual with public parenting, people have opinions about whether this is good for that child. Parents offers a summary. My view is that if the kid wants to jump, he should jump. It doesn't look like anyone is forcing him here.

There's almost nothing more worrying as a parent than having an unwell child who is not in your care. Who will look after them? Yet, on U.S. campuses, ever-greater numbers of young people are seeking mental health services and colleges are struggling to keep up with demand. "Between 2009 and 2015, the number of students visiting counseling centers increased by about 30% on average, while enrollment grew by less than 6%," says this examination into the record numbers of university students with anxiety and other health issues.  TIME

Speaking of college, I love, love, love this essay. Don't feed your kids the tale that they have to do x or y to get into a good college or they will have a miserable life. The facts don't support it. Also, "the problem with the stories we’re telling our kids is that they foster fear and competition. This false paradigm affects high-achieving kids, for whom a rigid view of the path to success creates unnecessary anxiety, and low-achieving kids, many of whom conclude at a young age that they will never be successful, and adopt a “why try at all?” attitude." TIME

Sometimes parenting is drudgery and sleeplessness and endless preparation for really short excursions. And other times, its this: Twitter  (P.S. If you look a the guy's bio, I think they got a puppy.)

PFFT: Parenting from Famous Types

Mila Kunis, actor, and parent of two, on the difference between raising boys and girls

“Girls are just on it and boys are like, ‘Dum da-dum da-dum da-dum.’ They’re more like little linebackers going through life, and like … Neanderthal-ish.”

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