Boys Will Be Boys: 10 Activities to Engage Them in Education

A February 2 New York Times opinion piece decried the fact that boys are academically falling behind their girl counterparts. Nothing new there. Girls are apparently getting better grades, graduating in greater numbers from high school and pursuing higher education. The prevalent theory is that today’s classrooms, curriculum and assessments are not set up for boys. So they disengage. As parents, we can take part in engaging our boys in their education from the start. I have three boys, so I have thought a lot about what the articles are saying. These are some ideas for parents of boys in Denver (they are great for girls too): 1) Create a fantasy football league, do baseball stats, or otherwise find ways to play with numbers and sports together so that they are doing math without even think...

Becoming Mothers: My Birthing Epiphany–It’s All About Letting Go! Seriously!!!

My husband and I had been trying to get pregnant for about a year. We decided to shift gears and do some home remodeling since the baby thing didn’t seem to be happening. We ordered new windows, hardwood floors, and “rice paper” white carpet and, of course, promptly discovered I was pregnant. We let go of our expectations and then, surprise! I loved being pregnant, had very little nausea – really, like twice, and my biggest complaint was how large my mammary glands, aka breasts, became. For a while they extended farther than my belly. I let go of the image I had of my body and practiced accepting the beautiful body of motherhood. We were absolutely certain we were having a girl and had a name all ready. Then, of course, we found out we were having a boy. We let go

All’s fair in love and siblings

Our family's last visit to my mother-in-law's summer cottage ends in a story where one of my children throws the other under a proverbial bus.

An explosive start to summer

My children spend the early part of summer vacation inadvertently conducting a science experiment in their bedroom. But it's OK. It's all cleaned up now.

The Good Son

My son becomes the caretaker for his mom. And I see for certain just how much she contributed to the man he is.

Mama Drama: Respectful Independence

Dear Mama Drama: My eight-year-old son has recently become very rude and disrespectful. Every time I ask him to do something he argues with me. When I try to help him with something he becomes surly and impatient. When he is with his friends he is either rude or acts embarrassed to be seen with me. We used to be so close and he would cuddle with me and hold my hand wherever we went. I don’t understand his behavior and am not sure what to do. ~ Disrespected Mom (photo credit) Dear Disrespected: It sounds like your son is trying to exert his independence, but he does not know how to do so respectfully. Around the age of eight or nine, boys begin to feel the need to individuate from their mothers. They become aware of the gender difference between themselves and their moms and need to find wa...

Mama Drama: Handling Disappointment

Dear Mama Drama: My 5 year old son seems to be very sensitive.  He cries at nearly everything; if we say no, if things don’t turn out how he hoped, if he doesn’t win a game.  I’m not sure how to help him deal with his feelings.  I am not sure if he reacts this way at school, or just at home. I just don’t know what words to use. Mom To A Sensitive Boy (photo credit) Dear Sensitive’s Mom: Many children struggle with being told no or things not going as expected. Five-year-olds are increasing their autonomy, but often experience difficulty modulating their emotions. They are very rule oriented and can have strong feelings about justice and fairness. Five-year-olds are also still very ego-centric and struggle to see things from the perspective of others. I encoura...

Mama Drama: Why why?

Dear Mama Drama: My son is always asking me “why?” when I ask him to do something. I get very frustrated with his constant questioning of my authority. We often end up in arguments and power struggles because of the constant “why, why, why?” (photo credit) I have friends whose children do not question them at every turn and I don’t know what I am doing wrong. I really just want my son to do what I’m asking and not question me. ~Tired of the questioning Dear Tired: Having your child question your directions can feel like your authority is being threatened. Parents often take this personally and respond with anger and indignation to this perceived slight. It is important, however, to remember that “why” is not always a challenging question. “Why” is also an information question. Children are...

Mama Drama: Toddler Tantrums and Clean Up Meltdowns

Dear Mama Drama: My three-year-old daughter is driving me crazy! I love her to death and she’s got so much spunk, but when I need her to get things done and she refuses or throws a tantrum and I am at a loss. She could care less about consequences and seems to enjoy all the attention she gets from lectures. I seem to be the only one frustrated in this situation. ~Going crazy / CC BY 2.0 Dear Going Crazy: Three can be a challenging age as children seek more independence and challenge expectations. They often run on their own time schedule and our demands can appear random and unreasonable to them. Creating a daily visual schedule can help your daughter to understand the routine of the day. If something needs to change for that day, you can change the pic...

Mama Drama: Grocery Grabbers and Independent Eights

Dear Mama Drama: Every time we go to the grocery store my two-year-old daughter climbs all over the cart. She stands up and grabs at things and has nearly fallen out several times. I have talked with her over and over, bribed her with treats, and threatened to leave the store, but nothing has worked. What else can I do? ~At my wits end! Dear Wits End: The first thing to do is buckle your daughter into the cart every time she is in one. She may fuss and whine, but this should be a non-negotiable point. Next, give her something to do while she is in the cart. Sitting for long, seemingly endless trips to the store can be very frustrating for a child. Let her hold the shopping list and help you cross off items. Give her a drawing pad or magnet drawing toy and have her make her own list. Bring ...

Mama Drama: Brotherly Love and Playgroup Problems

Dear Mama Drama: I have three sons, ages 7, 4, and 2. Everyday after picking up my oldest son from school, within five minutes either the seven year old or four year old is crying. The struggles are often related to rude behavior and hitting. The oldest wants time to himself at this time of day and the younger brothers have been eagerly awaiting his return. The reconnection between the oldest and youngest is a love fest, but the middle and oldest set each other off. It seems like this should be a fun and exciting part of our day, but it quickly deteriorates into frustration for all of us. ~Hoping for a peaceful ride home Dear Hoping: Kids put out a ton of energy being at school all day and even though they may be running around, they are often exhausted emotionally and physically. Re-enter...

Mama Drama: Sibling Rivalry and Playtime Struggles

Dear Mama Drama, I recently took my 6 and 8 year old daughters to a pumpkin carving contest. It is a wonderful family event that focuses more on community than competition, but the pumpkins are judged and there are winners. My 6 year old won and my 8 year old did not.  At first, the 8 year old was very supportive of her sister, but then she started crying. When we finally got to the root of the problem, she was upset that she had given her sister ideas and that her sister had won and she didn’t. This sibling competition expresses itself frequently in negative ways in our family and I am unsure how to react or what to do about it.  Growing up most of my life as an only child, I really don’t understand and am not very sympathetic to sibling rivalry. How can I encourage my childre...

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