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Older Children

With older children, meaning around the ages of starting school until age 9 or 10, the challenges of mothering as translation expand.  The children increasingly form their own opinions about cultural values, about the friends they want to play with, the toys they covet.  Yet, they are still little, still well within our cultural nest. 


Importance of Sleep

by Susan R. Johnson, MD, FAAP

"When our children ... stay up late at night we affect the liver's metabolism. It can no longer simply store sugar. Our body, by being awake and active, needs sugar in the blood stream and so we force the liver to reverse its process and breakdown glycogen to provide this sugar. We get a second wind, a burst of sugar in our blood stream, and yet we are really depleting our energy for the next day. Our liver can't store up the glycogen."

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Why is This a Battle Every Night? Negotiating Food and Eating in American Dinnertime Interaction

by Amy Paugh and Carolina Izquierdo

"This article analyzes interactions about food and eating among dual-earner middle-class families in Los Angeles, California. It synthesizes approaches from linguistic and medical anthropology to investigate how health is defined and negotiated both in interviews and in everyday communication. In particular, it explores dinnertime episodes from five families to illustrate how interactional bargaining contributes to struggles between parents and children over health-related practices, values, and morality. It compares naturally occurring videotaped interactions to parents' evaluations of their families' health elicited in interviews. The analysis of food interactions reveals much about the discursive construction of health and family life, including frequent conflicts between parents and children over eating practices." [View source]

Journal of Linguistic Anthropology, volume 19. Issue 2. September 2009 (Pages 185 - 204)


German Yule

by Chrstine Schoefer

"When I tell my friends that in the German style, we don't decorate our Christmas tree until Dec. 24, they pity me a bit. "What's the point?" one of them asked, assuming that this custom indicated a lack of holiday spirit. Nothing could be further from the truth. Christmas is by far the most popular German holiday and has been celebrated since the 16th century." Go to San Francisco Chronicle

from Everyday Blessings

by Myla and John Kabat-Zinn

"My ten-year-old daughter, in bed, lights out, says to me:

"Mommy, I feel so confused."

I reply: "What are you confused about?"

She says: "I don't know, I just feel confused."

I struggle with my urge to make it better ... "It's okay to feel confused."

She says: "It is?"

I say: "Yes, it is."

She is silent and drifts off to sleep.

What boys need

by Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson

"We build emotional literacy, first, by being able to identify and name our emotions; second, by recognizing the emotional content of voice and facial expression, or body language; and third, by understanding the situations or reactions that produce emotional states. By this we mean becoming aware of the link between loss and sadness, between frustration and anger, or threats to pride or self-esteem and fear. In our experience with families, we find that most girls get lots of encouragement from an early age to be emotionally literate -- to be reflective and expressive of their own feelings and to be responsive to the feelings of others. many boys do not receive this kind of encouragement."


The authors here do a rip-roaring job of describing the baby self vs. the mature self

by Anthony Wolf

"Every day seven-year-old Lance comes home from school, takes off his coat, and drops it on the floor, not three feet from the wall hook where he is supposed to hang it up. He does this every day, and every day he gets yelled at.

... Lance acts one way at home and another way at school. ... Like all of us, Lance has two different modes of functioning, which is actually like having two different selves. .. I call these two selves the baby self and mature self. At home, Lance's baby self wants what it wants now. It wants only pleasure and absolutely no fuss. .. The baby self will tolerate no stress. It does not like to be bothered by anything or anybody."

as they interact in our children and in ourselves as parents. They have 'Must Read and Memorize' ideas for handling 'baby self' behaviors in children (and ourselves, grin)



How We Took the Child out of Childhood

by Peter Applebome

One of the great mysteries of suburban life in America: "How did we get to the point where few kids ever get to play with friends outside of a play date, to walk to a neighbor's house without parental escort or to have free, unsupervised time in which they're not tethered to a television set, computer or Xbox?" [View source]

Applebome, Peter, "How We Took the Child Out of Childhood," New York Times, Jan. 8, 2006. see interesting readers' comments on

Doing Nothing Is Something

by Anna Quindlen

"... Summer is coming. Uniform skirts in mothballs. Pencils with their points left broken. Open windows. Day trips to the beach. Pick-up games. Hanging out.

"How boring it was.

"Of course, it was the making of me, as a human being and a writer. Downtime is where we become ourselves, looking into the middle distance, kicking at the curb, lying on the grass or sitting on the stoop and staring at the tedious blue of the summer sky." read more in Newsweek

Sleep comparisons internationally

"What’s more, different countries have different standards: in Japan, for example, it’s more or less accepted that kids doze off in class because they’ve stayed up late studying. Australian kids sleep almost an hour more a day than American kids, who sleep less than nearly all other children." see


Creative Play way down

by Alix Spiegel

Unfortunately, play has changed dramatically during the past half-century, and according to many psychological researchers, the play that kids engage in today does not help them build executive function skills. Kids spend more time in front of televisions and video games. When they aren't in front of a screen, they often spend their time in leagues and lessons -- activities parents invest in because they believe that they will help their children to excel and achieve.

And while it's true that leagues and lessons are helpful to children in many ways, researcher Deborah Leong says they have one unfortunate drawback. Leong is professor emerita of psychology and director of the Tools of the Mind Project at Metropolitan State College of Denver. She says when kids are in leagues and lessons, they are usually being regulated by adults. That means they are not able to practice regulating themselves. see more at

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How to Raise an Unhappy Child

by Christine Carter

"Though I'm anything but permissive, even by Chua's standards, I am one of those "Western" parents that absolutely does prioritize children's long-term happiness over their achievements and performances. Ironically, I adapted these values from a confluence of Eastern philosophy -- particularly Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching and Buddhist teachings -- and Western science, which provides ample evidence that success follows happiness, and not the other way around." see Raising Happiness

the Guardian
Gotta get that sleep

A recent article on children's sleep research supports the idea that children need a consistent bedtime to allow their brains to develop plasticity, but also shows the weaknesses in mainstream media's reporting on large-scale survey-based studies. "Writing in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, the authors suggest that irregular bedtimes affect the brain's "plasticity", or ability to store and learn new information. "Sleep is the price we pay for plasticity on the prior day and the investment needed to allow fresh learning the next day," the authors write. "Early child development has profound influences on health and wellbeing across the life course. Therefore, reduced or disrupted sleep, especially if it occurs at key times in development, could have important impacts on health throughout life." The study draws on information in the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), a long-term record of UK children who are now in or approaching their early teenage years. "Parents who took part in the MCS were asked whether their children went to bed at a regular time on weekdays. Those who answered "always" or "usually" were put in the regular bedtime group in Sacker's study, while those who answered "sometimes" or "never" were put in the irregular bedtime group." There are great benefits to large-scale surveys in the ability to identify trends, but the difficulty with such surveys is the accuracy of the individual answers. Qualitative research based more on participant observation takes into account both the answers people give willingly and the actual way people live their lives. For example, the subtle differences between the "usually" and the "sometimes" answers give great room to maneuver, yet in this study would have meant being placed in two separate groups. While these considerations may be discussed in the full academic report, mainstream media passes on only the superficial conclusions. go to The Guardian

Interested in more? Here are other articles:
time sports
sleep play
meals Japan
happiness environment
emotional literacy discipline
consistency child development

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