Profile for Avital Norman Nathman

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Mommie Dearest: Your Kids Need To Know About Consent Long Before They Head To College

MD sexual assault
Teach Boys Not To Rape
On Steubenville High School and teaching boys not to rape. Read More »

Talking about sexual assault is never an easy thing. But as a parent, it’s crucial to find ways to talk to your children about it. Lately, there’s been a lot of attention focused on campus rape and sexual assault, and with good reason. Many colleges have been called out (and even sued) for not taking the right steps in handling sexual assaults that take place on campus, which has sparked the Campus Accountability and Safety Act bipartisan bill that could improve the way colleges deal with sexual violence.

What’s a parent to do? It can be difficult to figure out where to start with all of this, especially in talking about it to our own children. Recently, there have been a few resources that parents may want to look into. In hopes of providing a jumping off point for folks to discuss sexual assault,the White House recently unveiled their It’s On Us campaign, using videos of celebrities taking the pledge to keep women and men safe from sexual assault. The idea sounds really great and revolutionary at first glance — celebs like Jon Hamm, Connie Britton, and Questlove all standing up against sexual assault. The heart of the campaign is in the right place. But the execution leaves a bit to be desired. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: On Adrian Peterson, Discipline & Child Abuse

MD Adrian Peterson

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 »

Mommie Dearest: On Breastfeeding In Bars

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Drunk Mom
drunk mom jowita bydlowska
Jowita Bydlowska on alcoholism, parenthood and writing. Read More »

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 »

Mommie Dearest: How Not To Get Suspended

suspended 090314

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 »

Mommie Dearest: 4 Reasons I’m Glad I Brought My Kid To Provincetown’s Carnival This Year

MD carnival

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 »

Mommie Dearest: On Parents Who Publicly Shame Their Kids

MD bratty kid

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 »

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