Has Princess Merida Just Grown Up?

Disney unveiled the newest of the Disney Princesses, Princess Merida from the Academy Award winning animated film Brave, and as part of translating her from screen to full merchandise character they tweaked her appearance a bit, as you can see in the image below: First off, you can see that the style of illustration is different, Merida from the original film looks almost like claymation or some other stop motion animation figure (especially in the…Read More

My daughter can buy the PlanB pill (gulp)

The Food and Drug Administration this week announced that the controversial emergency contraceptive “PlanB” tablet has been approved as an over-the-counter drug, and that it’s going to be available for women “15 and older” to purchase. In case you don’t know what PlanB is, it’s levonorgestrel, a drug that a woman can take after unprotected sex to avoid getting pregnant. Or, to phrase it another way, it’s the morning-after instant abortion pill. While the intent…Read More

Die Hard, Teen Boys and Age Appropriate Action Films

My 13yo son G’s life is a bit confusing. He goes to a school that discourages media consumption but his best friend has a TV and Xbox in his room. He lives part time with a mom who doesn’t have cable and thinks media is uniformly bad unless it’s from the 70s or earlier (he’s seen every episode of The Brady Bunch, G-d help him), and even then, well, everyone’s life would be better if…Read More

My letter to fellow parents about sex, drugs, and alcohol

Let me set this up: my son’s in 7th grade and so far things are moving along smoothly, with us parents having created a reasonably respectful community where we can talk about things, socialize on occasion and generally help nurture each other’s children as we all go through the first steps of our children’s adolescence. But there’s more going on when our children hit the teen years, and the pressures and opportunities for mischief get…Read More

My son’s first razor!

It’s not news to anyone who knows me that I get a lot of review products. Whether they’re iPhone cases, laptops, computer bags, DVDs or even foods, being a blogger has definitely paid off in terms of things we get to try out and play with. One of the most surprising categories of products I get are men’s grooming gadgets. In fact, I think I have about seven different electric razors from Panasonic, Norelco and…Read More

The Superbowl, Children and Momentum

My teen daughter and I had been planning a Superbowl party together for weeks. She was going to invite some of her friends, I would invite some of mine, and we’d have a fun time watching the game / the ads and sharing a lot of snacks. Yet yesterday, when the game rolled around, she stayed with her Mom. Problem was, I forgot to take momentum into account. Before I explain what I mean by…Read More

Why I am passionate about my daughter’s role models

As a father’s rights advocate, I’m the first to grumble and complain about news stories that decry the lack of female role models in contemporary culture. The reality is quite the contrary, as far as I can tell: the male/female pendulum has swung far towards female rights, towards canonizing women, particularly where parenting is concerned. It’s all over our movies, TV and literature: men as immature cads and potential rapists, while women are nurturing mothers-to-be….Read More

Clothes? They belong on the floor, don’t they?

This should be entitled “The Ballad of Teen Clothing”, perhaps, but I find it baffling that my otherwise highly engaged and aware teen daughter A-, who is now 16 and cooks for her siblings, helps with lots of chores, etc, has a blind spot when it comes to clothes. If you have a teen you know what I’m talking about. They take off their clothes and just drop them on the floor at that spot….Read More

“The Empty-Nest Road Trip Blues”

Being an author myself, I seem to know a disproportionate number of other authors, and it’s a rare week that one of my friends isn’t announcing the publication of a new tech book or even a work of fiction. Great fun and, of course, it’s always fascinating to compare my knowledge of them and their public persona with the narrative style of their book. Often their written work is an extension of themselves, as I…Read More

My Girl’s Sweet 16 Party is a Great Success!

I’m still not sure how this happened, but my oldest girl somehow turned sixteen in the last few weeks. Sixteen. Where’d the time go? Actually, I think that the relative nature of time is best demonstrated by watching children grow up, because there are definitely moments when I have felt time creep along far too slowly even while I’m also aware of it rushing pell-mell. Even those infinitely long evenings of tension and dissent are…Read More

Identifying External Emotional Influences in Children

My teen and I had a rough Saturday. There’s no way to sugar coat the friction between us, the sparks that kept flying and the frustration that we both felt with an afternoon that was more characterized by sullen silences and resentment than anything that approached our usual mutual affection and amused teasing of each other. The good news is that we do have a good relationship, but the bad news, obviously, is that it’s…Read More

Setting and enforcing a teen curfew

One of the issues that I never really thought about when my children were younger were curfews. If they wanted to be at a friend’s house, they’d need to be home in time for dinner. No complication, no problem. During the summer, if they were neighbors we knew, they could stay for dinner, but certainly needed to be home just after. Move forward a few years and sleepovers are in the mix. Again, not really…Read More

Parents can be jerks at sporting events!

My son’s on a local lacrosse team and I think we’re both enjoying it quite a bit. It’s a great sport for boys with lots of running, bashing into other boys, swinging sticks around and general physicality while they all wear padding and helmets to keep them reasonable safe from each other. He’s 12 and more than once he’s told me “I just want to really check some other boy hard!” on the way to…Read More

“I forgot”: logistics or natural consequences?

This morning, prior to going to school, I reminded all of my kids that they weren’t with me tonight (I’m heading into Denver to see The Avengers. Yes!) so they needed to think through what they’d need not just for today but also for tomorrow until we met up after school. With a bit of prodding, my son got all his lacrosse stuff together and put it in the car (well, except for his uniform…Read More

Talking to kids about Facebook, privacy and safety

This will be the third year in a row that I have been given an opportunity to talk with 9th graders at the local high school about Facebook, privacy, online safety, etc. It’s interesting each year because the kids confirm to me that they are more active than we adults realize and that many of them lie to their parents — or simply sidestep the truth — about their participation in the online world. It’s…Read More

Talking about Sex with your Teen

Yeah, I knew that article title would catch your attention, and it’s probably one of the most anxiety-provoking subjects that us parents have to wrestle with: talking to our children in an age appropriate manner about relationships, intimacy and sex. Worse, it’s not The Big Talk any more, it’s not one time you steel yourself and have a mutually embarassing conversation with your teen about the proverbial birds and bees, it’s actually a series of…Read More

Teens, texting and vacations. What’s a Dad to do?

I’m usually pretty good at coming up with solutions to technological dilemmas with my children, but I have to admit I’m a bit stumped this time, and feel like the problem reflects more on me being too uptight and less on my daughter’s ability to be engaged, part of our group, and maintain her relationship with her boyfriend back home. Let me set the scene: My kids get a two week spring break, so in…Read More

My teen daughter’s rules of dating?

And so the time has come that my teen daughter (15) has a boyfriend who comes over and hangs out with us. He’s a delightful and eerily respectful young man who sometimes seems more interested in impressing me than my daughter, but maybe that’s just because I’m an intimidating guy? I like him and am glad to see my girl stepping into the more adult world of dating and relationships. Problem is, I’m now waaaayyyy out of…Read More

My Kids Didn’t Give Me Presents…

I want to start out by saying I’m not complaining. Really. I’m just contemplating the holidays… For the first time in many years, I took my three kids to Los Angeles to celebrate Hanukkah with my Dad and have a bit of a collective holiday. We had a good time, though the last few days my son G- got sick, which was a drag. Still, visits to the beach, Dana Point and the always terrific…Read More

Making Smart Decisions as a College Freshman

I was given the opportunity to watch the made-for-TV movie Game of Your Life prior to it being shown on NBC on Friday, Dec 2 as part of NBC’s Family Movie Night series and was surprised and impressed with the storyline and production. The film takes place during freshmen year at the obviously fictional Digital Institute of Game Design and centers around likable Zach Taylor (Titus Makin Jr.). Enthusiastic about his new college life, Zach joins…Read More

Sunset at the Digital Gear Corral…

One of the most annoying of modern parenting challenges is managing electronics. Not battery life, not mediating between kids arguing about whose turn it is to charge their latest gizmo that’s “dying and I really need to get that text!” but just managing their all-too-pervasive presence in our lives nowadays. If it’s not a laptop, it’s a cellphone or smart phone. If it’s not one of those, it’s an iPod. Whatever it is, I have…Read More