Baby Knows Best + What Works and What Doesn’t in Blended Families

Deborah Carlisle Solomon, author of Baby Knows Best.
Raising a confident and resourceful Child.
Issues: The RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers); how to respond to your baby’s cues and signals; how to help your baby develop healthy sleep habits; seeing your infant as a competent people with a growing ability to communicate, problem-solve, and self-soothe.

Patricia Papernow, author of Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamily Relationships.
What works and what doesn’t.
Issues: What makes stepfamilies different? Five challenges for stepfamilies; why ex-spouses are part of the family; how stepfamilies change and develop over time.

More Post-Holiday Fun

Glitzi Globes Starter Kit
glitzi globesGot a girl who loves animals? How about all things pink and sparkly? If so, you’ll want to check out Glittzy Globes, a kit that lets your child create her own snow globe accessories. The Glitzi Globes Starter Kit comes with four globes kids can make all by themselves. They can design these glittery Globes by using the included dome maker (which looks sort of like an egg slicer, but without the blades) that holds the globe firmly, freeing up your young artist’s hands so she can add different characters and charms. Each kit includes a special water bottle that can be filled with water and inserted into the globe, four snow domes, four bases, four pop sticks, one bag tag for displaying your creations, 12 floating charms, five glitter tablets, four characters, and one instruction booklet. Whew. That’s a lot of stuff for one box! $18 at Toys R Us or your favorite retailer.

KRE-O CityVille Invasion Police Station Zombie Defense
zombie defense police stationKids can build their own city and defend it from zombie invasion. This police station comes compete with a rotating gun turret, combat vehicle, two police and two zombie figures. The cops can patrol CityVille and round up zombies with their squad car outfitted with a zombie-capturing claw. Back at HQ, they can lock up the zombies in special jail cells. For kids seven and up, but fun for parents too, especially if they’re fans of “The Walking Dead.” Go ahead and re-create the prison breakout scene, but let Hershel live… $25 pretty much everywhere.

Calico Critters Cozy Cottage
calico critters cottageThe Calico Critters Cozy Cottage is a great way to begin a Calico Critter collection. Or, if you already have a bunch of the critters, it’s a perfect place to put them. The soft, detailed, and posable critter figures are not only cute and cuddly, but also come in many animal varieties and sets. The house comes fully assembled, furnished, and ready to play with (which may come as a relief to any parent who’s feeling a little overloaded after non-stop Holiday assembly projects), so there’s absolutely no need to buy anything else. The Cottage includes Bell Hopscotch Rabbit, a bed with matching sheets, a round table with chairs, a kitchen counter with sink and oven, a moveable ladder for easy access to each floor, cookware, and plenty of food. Designed to demonstrate real life values (friends, family, sharing) and encourage imaginative play, each Calico Critter family and doll plays a different role in the Cloverleaf Corners community. $50 wherever you like to buy your toys.

Mamas and Papas Rainbow Hobby Horse
rainbow hobby horseWhat kid doesn’t love a hobby horse? It’s perfect for playing cowboys, riding through the Wild West, catching bad guys, being a castle-storming knight, a princess on her valiant steed, or anything else you can think of. The possibilities are truly limitless. This colorful printed hobby horse (which is also available in a slightly more boyish “cowboy” horse print) will inspire hours of imagination as your child gallops through the house and yard, jingling as she goes. Press the horse’s ear and he’ll neigh. These hobby horses have solid wood hand grips and poles, a colored harness, and yarn mane. Although recommend for ages three and up, we think kids even younger will like it too. But stay close, just in case your toddler decides to wield it as a weapon. $35 at

Men’s Health Begins with Boys

Boys fingers“Our male youth are in trouble,” says Dennis Barbour, CEO of The Boy’s Initiative. “Their school dropout rates are climbing and they are dropping out of college more than ever. They are failing to adjust to a rapidly changing economy.” Harsh words from a man who really cares about where America’s youth are headed. [Read more...]

Rhythm of Closeness—Part 1

“How we enter into love and behave in closeness and nearness. . . [our] habitual structure of relating, patterns of gesture and tone of voice, all bear the marks of mother . .”
-James Hillman, Jung’s Typology

Not  knowing our own deep internal rhythms can be deadly to our relationships with others. How long did your mother stay with you before being called away or before she grew impatient with your neediness? How long could she be with you before she said something shaming that sent you hurling into outer space? How long could she stay before giving way to sickness? How long could she stay with her lover, your father, before disappearing? These rhythms are embedded in our muscles, tissues, bones, and memory. [Read more...]

Who Needs a College Education? Not Everyone.

Dear Mr. Dad, my son will be finishing high school this year and my wife and I want to help set him on a good career path. We’d always assumed that he’d go to college, but he’s a lot more interested in carpentry—and he’s really good. I’ve been reading about how hard it is for young people to get a job these days, even with a degree. Should we push him towards college or encourage him to develop his skills in a trade school?

A: There are, of course, plenty of exceptions, but for the most part, having only a high school diploma severely limits upward mobility and earnings. For that reason, encouraging your son to get any kind of higher education is the right thing to do. And it’s good that you’re open-minded enough to consider non-college higher education options. The fact is that although we’ve been pushing it on kids for decades, college is not the right place for everyone. Only about a third of recent college grads are working in a field that’s related to their major, and unemployment lines are filled with young people who haven’t been able to find jobs at all.

Passion Central
The most important factor here is for your son to pursue a career he’s truly interested in. For him, that’s carpentry, but for the children of other readers who are facing similar dilemmas, that could be any number of things, including auto repair, plumbing, gardening, cooking, construction, and even web design. None of those skills requires a college degree and all of them can provide a good income, because there will always be a need for people who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty (literally and metaphorically).
[Read more...]