Like a lot of other parents around the world, I had to face facts early in 2020 that a family vacation wasn’t going to be happening. We didn’t have anything particularly ambitious planned (though my
No more nightmares—helping kids feel safe at night
Kubla used to have bad dreams a couple times a month. One night he dreamed he was all alone and couldn’t find me or Liping. The next night he was afraid to go to sleep.
Kids are more capable than they and the grown-ups around them realize
When Kubla was two years old, he thought the words for ‘Open it’ were ‘Try harder’. He would hand me a jar to open. I would hand it back and say try harder. He would
End dinner with an act of love, not with a chore
“Don’t forget to clear your plate.” Is that really how families want to end dinner? With a chore? That word, chore—makes me think of Cinderella not being able to go to the ball. What do
How our family avoids 700 fights a year
“I want a cookie” “No. Not before lunch.” Now louder, and whining, “I WANT A COOKIE!” Our family used to fight about sweets at least a couple times a day. Liping and I would fight
Have players of different abilities play by different rules
It’s time to introduce Kubla to some thinking games. Chess, checkers, Connect Four. I teach him the rules. We play a few games. I warn him what I’ll do next if he makes this move
Change the rules of the game
Like most babies, Kubla loved to drop things and make me pick them up. Like most parents, I quickly got tired of being a baby’s marionette. One day I decide to change the game. Kubla
Kubla won’t fold the laundry. I sit down with him and fold a couple shirts. He plays with his socks. “Kubla, would you please help fold the clothes?” “Don’t want to.” He gets up and
Is it possible to do things together instead?
I like to lift weights at home. It saves me a trip to the gym. Three year old Kubla wants to help. I’m afraid he’s going to get crushed by a dumbbell. Liping tries to
Why resist the inevitable?
There’s an old Samurai saying—Die before going into battle—the idea is to accept death so you can fight without fear. Kubla and I go to the beach. In less than 30 seconds he’s wet and