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comment My stepdaughter wants to go to California to see her girlfriend
You don't know people any more in person than online? Really? A 14 year old traveling a great distance to meet someone they've only known online (and thus, don't truly know isn't a 47 year old man pretending to be a 14 year old girl) is a totally different situation than traveling to visit somebody that they knew/dated for some time. If it's the former neighbor, a schoolmate, etc., somebody the parents have met (but has since moved far away), I think you can have confidence that you "know" them in a way that is entirely different than some random cross-country chatroom acquaintance.
comment How to stop my father from physically abusing me
Most 15 year olds are not in the same physical league as a grown adult male, particularly one who has shown he is willing and able to inflict violence on a family member. (He probably would already have stopped if the kid were physically imposing.) It's at least as likely that this will be an escalation in the severity of household violence, or result in being thrown out of the house, or worse.
comment Is it fair (or adequate) to ask a 4 yr old to stop crying for some reason?
It seems to me that the answer has a lot to do with the reason for the crying. Injured? Tired? Emotionally upset by something that is legitimately distressing? Something trivial that she needs to learn to talk about or accept without a meltdown? Or has she learned that she will be showered with attention and sympathy for as long as she cries? I would never tell a kid who just skinned her knee to stop crying, but I certainly would say that to a kid who's throwing a tantrum because they saw a toy that you aren't willing to buy.
comment Is there an age before which you should avoid the concept of death or dying?
It seems to me that it would be remarkable and rare to make it to 9 or 10 without a single close relative, friend, or pet dying by that point. I wouldn't want a close tragic event to be the very first time we discussed these issues, gotten a handle on the concepts, and had the emotional tools to deal with it.
comment When is it safe for a child to start boxing against a bag?
Just running through the math... 2500 injuries, 19 years, 1/3 hand injuries (I'm assuming that the majority of non-hand injuries were of people getting hit, not hitting)... that's only about 50 ER-worthy hand injuries per year, nationwide. And, though I have no data, I'd hazard a guess that the majority of those were actually boxing, not hitting a bag. I'm not sure I'd classify that as especially high risk, and personally would err on the side of letting my kid do it (casually, not to excess, and after being shown how to do so safely, with an appropriately weighted bag).
comment How do I address a teacher humiliating my son by calling him a “tattletale”?
I dunno, reporting a crime gets somebody into trouble, not out of trouble. That doesn't make it a problem. Perhaps a more important distinction is between matters of safety or justice, versus trivialities that aren't really doing anybody any harm.
comment Where does a child's intellectual curiosity come from?
I don't have any pointers to research, but my own approach is just to model it myself: "I don't know, but let's try to find out" is something my son hears from us without hesitation.
comment How do you respond when a child catches his parents having sex?
Note that not very long ago (well within the last 100 years), one room for the whole family was a common arrangement, and with most of the population living and working on farms, all children would be fairly well acquainted with the mechanics of mammalian reproduction. Somehow everybody survived, so the notion that this is "a situation" is a fairly recent concept. As far as the answer to the real question, I suppose that depends a lot on how neglectful the parents have been in explaining the facts of life up to this point.
comment How can I motivate my 16 yo daughter to do something valuable with her life?
Players who get salaries are so rare as to be negligently distracting -- much like professional sports, if not worse. On the other hand, if interest in the internet or games can be turned into an interest in actually designing and building such things, it can be turned into a really good career.
comment How to begin reading to an active toddler?
+1 for the suggestion that daily reading should have started as an infant.
comment What are allergy-friendly alternatives to peanut butter?
All I know is that in my son's school, it's "no peanuts or tree nuts", and since sunflowers aren't trees this is allowed by the rules.
comment What are allergy-friendly alternatives to peanut butter?
@cabbey: It's fairly common to have rules like this, and at this age (3-ish) kind of understandable since it's hard to explain to the kids not to eat or not to share. Some kids with peanut allergies are really allergic.
comment What age is it appropriate to start martial arts?
As a lifelong practitioner of several martial arts, I strongly agree with the point that selection of a good instructor (and school) is vastly more important than which martial art style you choose.