If you take it really seriously, parenthood is the most challenging job you’ll ever have. The hours are long and the pay stinks. It requires the most emotional investment and the greatest patience. And no matter how well you do it, there will always be that nagging little voice in your head wondering, “Should I have handled that differently?” But parenthood is also the most rewarding and important role you’ll ever play. And the good news is that we're all in this together...

Tuesday, January 17, 2017


I read a provocative article recently that says while one in five children, even toddlers, exhibit signs of mental health issues, many fail to get help under their parents' assumption that "They will grow out of it." So what are some of the warning signs to be aware of?

Sunday, January 15, 2017


Most adults I know find alcohol to be effective social lubricant to help relax inhibitions at parties and make socializing seem more fun --  a glass of wine or two, maybe a couple of beers can make a gathering seem more festive. Teens often feel that way, too. However, there is one major disconnect – teens report that when they drink, they're not savoring a fine wine's bouquet or the body of a hearty ale. When teens drink, they generally drink to get drunk, and this can often hit the level of binge drinking (four drinks for girls, five for boys, in less than two hours)? Locally, teens say it happens nearly every weekend, often involving hard alcohol, and it can have dangerous effects on the developing brain. 

This was one of the most pressing concerns of the recent Brookline community Wellness Summit, and it resulted in Brookline Parent Education Network's new Parent Update on “Teens & Alcohol,” which includes facts, resources, tips, and strategies outlined by the forum to help keep teens safe. It's worth checking out...

Saturday, January 14, 2017


There it was in black and white on a sidebar as I was doing internet research -- the news that the world was mourning the death of Katie Couric, complete with a smiling photo of the much-admired news journalist. I admit it -- I was completely taken in. A friend of Couric's sister, I'd not yet heard the terrible news, and for a brief moment, I was shocked and saddened. Then the "Wait a minute" skepticism kicked in. Fake news strikes again.

If a seasoned journalist can be misled by a sensational headline, imagine how impressionable adolescents can be drawn in to the murky world of fake news, from celebrity deaths and misdeeds to horrifying tales of injustice to completely unverified statements posing as facts being spewed by anyone with access to a computer or microphone.

Common Sense Media offers an excellent primer on "How to Spot Fake News" that's worth checking out -- for yourself, and for your kids.


Friday, January 13, 2017


“Mom, we don’t use the word homosexual anymore.” Oh, okay. My bad.

Not the first time my kids have challenged my political correctness. And I’m sure it won’t be the last. In today’s extraordinarily diverse world, the usual challenges of adolescent parenting are amplified when we take into account not just differences of race, cultural background, and religion, but differences in learning and physical abilities, socio-economic situations, the gender spectrum, and more. While kids might be dealing with this diversity every day, sometimes parents can be a little more isolated. Friend and work connections may be more homogenous, making it tricky to be up-to-date on appropriate terminology and understanding outside our daily spheres of influences.

Recently Brookline Parent Education parent liaison Elvira Perez put together a terrific little guide of some basics, “A Parent-to-Parent Tip Sheet on Diversity & CulturalCompetency.” It’s by no means exhaustive, but offers a lot of food for thought, especially as we approach Martin Luther King Day

Wednesday, September 2, 2015


PFLAG recently released an excellent new publication  "OUR TRANS LOVED ONES: QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS FOR PARENTS, FAMILIES, AND FRIENDS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE TRANSGENDER AND GENDER EXPANSIVE that beautifully addresses some of the issues families face, serving as a supportive guidebook of experiences, expertise, knowledge, and resources. 

One paragraph serves as brilliant advice for all of us:
The most important thing for all children to know, at a very deep level, is that they are loved unconditionally. It seems like a fundamental concept of family, but when children are brave enough to look at themselves at such a deep level and share their reflections with those around them, it is crucial to remind them over and over of how proud you are of them for asserting this level of authenticity.  It is the bravest thing a human being can do and when a child is celebrated for doing so by a parent, caretaker, family member, or friend, it can be heartwarming; more importantly, it can be lifesaving.


The website Teen Safe (www.teen-safe.org) is designed to foster better family communication, promote resilience and healthy activities, and reduce risky teen behaviors via true-life stories, scientific evidence, and helpful educational materials for parents and teens/pre-teens. The site offers a free 15-minute video course for parents that is quite informative about the effects of substance use on teen brain development. The section detailing the impact of early marijuana use of mental health is especially worth noting as medical marijuana is beginning to be a part of our culture. It’s only 15 minutes long, and at least one local pediatrician is asking all his patients’ parents to check it out!


Today, as never before, the lives of adolescents are saturated with commercial marketing, targeted through video games, the Internet, and those omnipresent mini-computers -- cell phones. The level of digital activity and saturation is daunting. But I just ran across a website (yes, I know, the internet!) that offers some measure of direct guidance for parents. Boston Children’s Hospital pediatrician Dr. Michael Rich also happens to be a media enthusiast and something of an expert on the subject. He offers advice to parents via the hospital's Center on Media and Child Health. Through “Ask the Mediatrician,” parents can pose questions and get answers about how media use is affecting out children, with topics ranging from cyberbullying to the impact of multi-tasking on brain development, and he's dealing with questions both general and quite specific.  Check it out...