Adventures in parenting
April 9, 2021

Being an 11-time Grammy Award nominee is maybe not as glamorous as you might think.

Singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, who shares two daughters with her wife, Catherine Shepherd, published her memoir, Broken Horses, this week, and in it details the complexities of being both a music star and a parent.

Describing the morning that she learned that she and her bandmates had received six Grammy nominations for their album By the Way, I Forgive You, Carlile writes that "both my kids woke up vomiting. That's what I love about the juxtaposition of my jobs. You'd think that it would be a total downer to spend a day like that getting life-affirming news and simultaneously being thrown up on and stuck in front of Dora the Explorer all day, but it was PERFECT."

Read more at The New York Times. Jeva Lange

November 3, 2015

Jimmy Kimmel asked parents to send in video of their kids' reactions when they told them, falsely, that they'd eaten all their Halloween candy — and even though this was the fifth year he's hosted the same Halloween YouTube Challenge, Kimmel said, he still got more than 1,000 entries. "I will be able to do this for as long as people continue to have sex," he said on Monday's Kimmel Live, before unveiling a highlight reel of the winning entries. So if you want to see children cry as their parents lie to them — and of course you do — watch below. The kid in the blue underwear is a nice stoic palate-cleanser to all the tears. And any child cursing or hitting? The parents totally deserve it. Peter Weber

August 18, 2015

If you are a parent, you want your kids to be successful — whatever that means to you. There are libraries full of books on how to help steer your children toward a happy life, and one of those authors, Jennifer Prosek, sat down with The Wall Street Journal's Tanya Rivero to discuss some strategies in her book, Raising Can-Do Kids. The first tip: Teach optimism. "Framing the day as an adventure, being an optimist, rubs off on your children," Prosek said. "And if you want them to embrace failure, for instance, as entrepreneurs do, you have to have a certain level of optimism."

You have probably heard some of her other tips — encourage unstructured free-play time, creativity, and participation in the arts — but when it came back to failure, Rivero had a question: "Should we actively take the opportunity to set them up in ways that they will fail?" Prosek said yes, "we should look for, sort of, safety zones to take a risk. Let's not hurt our children," she added, "but, you know, if there's an opportunity to take a small risk, that is relatively low-risk, it's worthwhile." One strategy is to stop doing everything for your children — including small things like tying their shoes. "Listen, whether you're an adult or a child, that feeling of, 'I didn't think I could do it, and then I did it!' is a huge experience," she said, "and we take it out of our child's life every day." You can watch her ladle out her advice in the video below. Peter Weber

May 19, 2015

The U.S. is the only country other than Papua New Guinea that doesn't guarantee women maternity leave after they have a baby — a point John Oliver used to shame America a few weeks ago. The Economist goes a step further and looks at the benefits of allowing new fathers to take a few weeks off, too. In Denmark, for instance, 90 percent of dads take more than two weeks off after the birth of a child, for example, and everyone seems to benefit.

In one study, fathers who took paternity leave "were more likely to feed, dress, bathe, and play with their child long after the period of leave had ended," The Economist notes in the video below, and their kids — especially daughters — did better in school, up through at least high school. The third beneficiary of paternity leave? "Women's careers." Not persuaded? Watch below. —Peter Weber

October 31, 2014

We're already well aware that Ebola is nothing to joke about.

But when an Ebola prank is made in the privacy of your own home, who's to judge? Tens of thousands of YouTube viewers, that's who.

A short video posted on Wednesday shows what appears to be a family at home, crowded into a hallway. The mom, wearing a mask over her face, is reading the temperature of her tween-age son who stands before her with a doe-eyed fear.

"Look at his temperature," she says to the man behind the camera. "Oh hell no," he says. "This one's got Ebola."

The kid immediately lets out a long, painful wail. Well, technically, he breaks down before the dad even says the word "Ebola," but perhaps he'd been prepared for this dire diagnosis. There's no "gotcha!" caught on camera, only the slowed-down version of the boy's tears.

While there's a chance the video is simply a decently acted family skit, I couldn't help but giggle. But you can judge for yourself. --Lauren Hansen

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