and how a mom fought Big Pharma |


August 26, 2016

My colleague Charlotte, who sits opposite me and whose phone charger I often borrow, has traveled the nation for a year and interviewed a bunch of super-successful siblings to see if there are any common threads in how they were raised. Like every parent reading this story I was curious to see if there were any correlations with how my children were growing up. Immigrant parent, sort of! One educator parent, sort of! And then this sweet sweet music to my ear: fights between siblings are O.K. “Most [families] recall a conflict-heavy family life, but that conflict was rarely between the parents.” If it's sibling conflict that leads to success, my kids are SET. It’s all pretty fascinating, so check it out. (If you’re not a subscriber it might cost a couple of bucks. Worth it.)

Have you been following the Epi-Pen story? The life-saving devices, which many kids with severe allergies have to carry with them at all times, have slowly but surely risen in price. For many people they’re covered by insurance; but for the poor or under-insured, they’re not. Parents mobilized to fight back on social media, with pretty impressive results. One of the things I like about this story is that the woman who started it was fully insured; the higher prices didn’t affect her. New York Times.


Is there a link between how much haircare girls need to meet a certain beauty standard and how much they exercise? These academics think there is, actually, especially among black teens. And they did a study to test their theory. TIME

As many mothers who have daughters between the ages of about 13 and 18 know, this can be a deeply strained time for the mother-daughter relationship. And no, it’s not just you. Emotional flexibility is a key asset in those years. A new study from Canada has looked at how much emotional flexibility is optimal. Turns out it’s a Goldilocks thing: not too much, nor too little. Because it would just be so terrible if it were simple. Queens University

This is incredible. A guy gives more or less real time advice on what he’s learning as his whole family is felled by food-borne illness. (In this case, organic ham.) Warning, he’s really going into some nitty-gritty detail about how to manage the bodily fluids, as are his commenters, so steel yourself. On the upside, totally practical and straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. Reddit.

In mixed news for helicopter parents, the kids who do best at school are more likely to move away. I think this is what is meant by a Pyrrhic parental victory. TIME

A sad truth about human nature: many bullies—or at least the most damaging ones—are not random oafs (is that right? oaves?? oaffal? oafaries?) your kids pass in the corridor, but former friends or lovers. This is especially true in cyberspace, a new study from Penn State has found.

We’ve all heard of internships. Now cometh “returnships,” which are for parents—or, let’s face it mostly moms— reentering the workforce. FORTUNE

O.K. this video of shapes in a dad’s beard is going to be the most Brooklyn/Portland/Austin/hipstercityinyourstate thing you will see this week. If not ever. YouTube

Every new parent loves nap time. But few love it as much as this mom who spends a lot of effort and a suspiciously huge number of wigs on dressing up her napping baby, who is apparently an amazeballs sleeper, and then photographs and uploads the photos to the social. This mom has some craft game. Huffpo

Table Talk: The Election

Vote Aqui sign and american flag sticker
Meredith Winn Photography—Getty Images

Passions run high around this year’s presidential election, on both sides. And not just among adults, but among kids.

Kids, even little ones, hear what’s going on in the news. At school, their friends will often repeat what they hear from their parents. Many understand the election will have an effect on them. And they have their own thoughts and feelings about all of it.

But hardly any school-age kids are old enough to vote.

So how can parents start good conversations with their kids about how they can contribute to the election, even without casting a ballot?

Kids of all ages, says Eileen Hunt Botting, Associate Professor of Political Science at University of Notre Dame, can start with a simple step: “talk to other people about it!”

For Elementary age kids, Botting says, parents can start by encouraging their kids to ask adults questions: “Why do you vote? What do you vote for? What are the best qualities of a candidate for president?” Questions like these, Botting points out, encourage people to “think hard about what they believe in. They will have to give reasons for their voting and choices and other political actions.” And by asking people to express their thoughts about the election, Botting says, even young kids can have an influence on it.

Middle school kids, says Botting, can get down to the brass tacks of our basic government: “read the U.S. Constitution and debate its ideas with their teachers, family, and fellow students.” The Constitution, Botting points out, is short and readable, and contains the seeds of all our contemporary political institutions, including the presidency and the electoral college. And by engaging with it, students can “inspire others to attain the same knowledge.”

With high school students, Botting says, “the sky’s the limit! Teen power to influence other people through social media is vast, beyond anything that young adults of the past ever had.” Kids have probably always had an impact on their parents’ political views, Botting says. “But today’s teens can impact not only parents but also adults, including strangers, through public dialogue and debate via the Internet.”

And if kids are wondering if any kid ever really affected history, Botting points to Joan of Arc. She led the French in battle against the British in 1429, which had a profound effect on the history of both countries. And she did it all when she was about seventeen – still not old enough to vote.—by Carey Wallace

PFFT: Parenting From Famous Types

Rachel Dratch, comedian and mother of a son, Eli, 6, on playdates with Amy Poehler's and Tina Fey's kids.

"It's just like regular kids hanging out— I don't want anyone to think our kids are, like, doing comedy bits on the porch. But it's cute how they jive together."

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