Tony Woodlief | Author

The Art of Parenting

Own it

Jim Taylor on instilling self-esteem in children: “Parents were told to love and praise and reinforce and reward and encourage their children no matter what they did. Unfortunately, this approach created children who were selfish, spoiled, and entitled. . . without [a] sense of ownership, children are thoroughly unprepared for the adulthood because in the …

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The going rate

“Four M&M’s if I poop,” Isaiah explained. This is how we finally got him potty-trained, you see. With bribery. He was getting M&M’s for peeing as well, but then he started doling it out in little dribs and drabs in order to optimize his candy intake. And people think economics is hard to understand.


On the one hand, I can appreciate the fear that nefarious people will spirit away Haitian children for wicked ends. On the other hand, I doubt this class of people includes Baptists from Idaho. And there is the sticky question of what constitutes an orphan in Haiti, where parents and other relatives routinely hand over …

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Bad faith makes bad medicine, and so does bad math

The doctor who claimed a link between child vaccinations and autism has been rebuked by British medical authorities for irresponsible and unethical conduct. The folk theory will continue for generations, unfortunately, because autism tends to emerge around the time children receive vaccinations. For a time my family was in the anti-vaccination camp, until I looked …

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The deceptive average

A new study suggests parenting reduces blood pressure. Keep in mind that they’re only looking at averages, which means that when you spike after watching your two-year old do a back flip off the bed, and then collapse into a coma at nap time, you come out right about normal on average.

Marionette parenting

Judith Woods reminds us that there’s a difference between good parental involvement and hovering overkill (i.e., “helicopter parenting“). We ought to dispense with calling it helicopter parenting, in fact, and call it marionette parenting. Parents should be in the helicopter, hovering about their children’s lives. That’s their bloody job, after all — to supervise, counsel, protect. …

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What my kids call theirs are just fine, thank you

I don’t know which is creepier, the fact that U.K. public schools are going to start teaching five year-olds the names of private body parts, or the fact that the U.K. has a “Children’s Secretary.” And given the aberrant practices of ruling politicians and Royals over the years, does anyone in the U.K. really want …

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