Growing up, I was occasionally threatened with “the belt,” or asked if I wanted a “patch on my tuchus” whenever I behaved extra naughty. But that’s all they were — threats. Instead, my parents sent me to my room, took away prized privileges, or assigned me extra chores. Now, with my own son, there aren’t even threats. There are other methods of discipline that are more than effective for us so I don’t need to hit, whip or spank my son in order to get him to behave.
I’ve never quite understood the idea of corporal punishment as a method of discipline. In my mind, discipline is used in order to shape good behavior while eliminating bad behavior. In the best case scenario, inflicting pain as punishment, especially when used on young children who may not quite understand what is going on, breeds fear and resentment. In the worst case scenario, it breeds the notion that physical violence is acceptable. In fact, studies have shown that the use of physical punishment actually increases violent behavior in children.
But what if your defense is that you beat your child out of love? Keep reading »
Sometimes it feels like moms who breastfeed in public can’t catch a break. Or, in the case of a Virginia mother, a few sips of beer.
A woman identified as “Crystal” was thrown out of Big Woody’s Bar and Grill for drinking a beer while she nursed her baby. Crystal says she only had one sip before beginning to feed her 11-month old and was going to drink the rest once she finished nursing. Before she was able to, however, a handful of other customers complained and she was asked to leave the restaurant by management. According to the bar’s co-owner, Jeff Leroy (who was not present at the time of the incident), the issue was less with the breastfeeding and more about the drinking of alcohol. Keep reading »
It’s back-to-school time for everybody from preschoolers to college students and you can’t throw a No. 2 pencil without hitting some advice on promoting academic success. Create routine! Eat properly! Get enough sleep! These are all well-intentioned suggestions we hear repeatedly. But I’m here to offer up one more nugget of educational guidance:
Don’t get suspended.
Sounds logical, and probably rather obvious, but what’s not so obvious are all the reasons that might cause you to be suspended this upcoming school year***: Keep reading »
It was only by happy accident that I scheduled our yearly family vacation to the outer Cape to coincide with Provincetown, Massachusett’s annual Carnival. For the uninitiated, Provincetown — or PTown, as its called — is a sweet little seaside village on the tip of Cape Cod, known for being the first place the Pilgrims landed (not Plymouth Rock, no matter what you learned in 2nd grade). In addition to its American history roots, PTown also happens to be known as “the ultimate gay and lesbian vacation destination,” with annual events like Bear Week, Women’s Week, various nightly drag shows, and of course Carnival.
Carnival is a weeklong celebration that culminates in a spectacular, some may say debaucherous, parade. Each year sees a new distinct theme and the entire town gets involved, putting floats in the parade, decorating storefronts, and promoting the theme through parties and events throughout the week. In addition, Carnival draws in over 90,000 spectators, including lots of tourists like ourselves.
This year’s Carnival theme was Comic Book Crusaders. Once I found out we’d be there the same week, I knew we had to go (especially since we end up hanging out in PTown anyway!). And it turns out that taking our family to a parade surrounded by half-naked folks and fierce, fabulous drag queens was one of the best experiences we’ve ever had together: Keep reading »
When it comes to parenting, one of the more difficult aspects to figure out can be discipline. There doesn’t seem to be one set method that works for every child, yet everyone has an opinion on what supposedly works best. For parents, it feels like a lot is riding on our disciplinary method, as it’s a big part in helping to guide the desired behaviors of our children and raise a decent human being. Disciplinary techniques range all across the spectrum: time outs, spankings, negotiating, positive reinforcement, gentle discipline.It can be tricky to figure out what might work for your child and your family.
While I’m certainly no expert on discipline, I do have to say that there’s one type that leaves something to be desired: public shaming. It has popped up a lot recently and each instance never really sat well with me. Whether it’s snapping a photo of your toddler wearing a sign that details her transgressions and then posting it to social media or making your 7th grader hold a sign on a busy street corner as punishment for twerking at school, it feels like discipline gone wrong. Keep reading »
Once upon a time, I was a high school social studies teacher. One of my favorite classes to teach was a college lecture-style current events course. I co-taught it with a handful of my colleagues and we gathered every morning in the school’s auditorium with the entire senior class. Since it was so convenient, administration occasionally used this time for other events like assemblies, graduation information, and the mandatory sex-education requirement for 12th graders. This requirement was fulfilled over the course of two days, where a sexual health educator from Planned Parenthood would come and lecture for two class sessions on contraception and STDs.
Ninety minutes. Ninety minutes over the course of an entire year. That is how long was devoted to teaching over 500 teenagers the ins and out of safe sex and sexuality. So it never failed to surprise me that, like clockwork, I would have students come up to me after the safe-sex presentation and ask me all sorts of questions. This is absolutely not to dismiss the wonderful educator from Planned Parenthood; she knew her stuff and was a pro at disseminating the information to teens. She never faltered, used to the outbursts, titters, and hand gestures routinely made … especially as she demonstrated the proper way to put on a condom. Keep reading »