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When Kids’ Hard Work Doesn’t Pay Off

Also, sunscreen!!!! |

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belinda-luscombe

Calling all parental units,

This week I had an interesting discussion on the socials with a mother whose daughter was just starting to post photos on Instagram that seemed to her to be unnecessarily scantily clad. I took the position that this was a definite stage now, as girls try on identities and test out who they are. Mostly their friends chime in to say that they look gorgeous. She wanted to know why this process had to be so public. Partly, I believe that girls regard this public space as safe in a way we just didn’t at their age ans still don’t. And partly I think they’re taking ownership of being watched, as we know all girls of that age are. And yes, the girls sometimes agonize over whether they got enough likes or why other girls were prettier. But that is not unique to this social media age. Shutting down this behavior I think is less effective than talking through why they’re feeling how they’re feeling, what they want to actually say about themselves and how they’re much more than their appearance. But I could be wrong. Eager to hear other opinions! I’m at Belinda.luscombe@time.com or luscombeland on twitter. Have a great Memorial Day weekend! P.S. If you like this newsletter, please pass it on to a friend. And if you got it from a friend, sign up here for email delivery each Friday. You know, more or less.

roundup

As parents, it’s hard to watch your kids endure a setback. One of mine was held back at school and I still count that second first day of first grade as the most emotionally agonizing of my life. I had no idea how to help him. I worried I should have made him work harder (IN FIRST GRADE!). But sometimes, all you can do is be there. “We talk often about young adults struggling with failure because their parents have protected them from discomfort,” writes a college leadership counsellor in this essay. “But there is something else at play here among the most privileged kids in particular: a message transmitted to them by doting parents who have falsely promised them that they can achieve anything if they are willing to work for it.” TIME

It’s summer. I’m Australian. Therefore I’m sharing this with you. It’s about the most effective and safe sunscreens. Oh, and don’t forget to wear a hat. You can thank me later. Years later, if necessary. TIME

You may have seen reports out this week that there were fewer births in 2018 than there were in 2017. But don’t worry, this does not necessarily mean that parents are becoming an endangered species. The figures suggest that it more probably means people are waiting a little longer to have children. This could be because they’re studying longer and marrying later. Or it could be because they don’t feel financially stable enough until they’re a little older. In any case, parents are not a dying breed.  TIME

Imma show that I’m the bigger person here, because this is a really solid story about parenting little ones and all the guff you don’t have to listen to, which throws shade on a TIME cover story that said literally the same thing. But whatever. It’s  a worthwhile pragmatic read from that defuser of myths, Emily Oster. New York Times.

Finally! Somebody gets to the bottom of whether those veggie straws or chips are really much healthier than potato chips or just more expensive chips with the word “veggie” in the name. Answer: not much. TIME

I suppose at about this point in the parenting newsletter, you might be thinking, ‘Wow, Belinda is actually going to get all the way through a newsletter and not mention that her book came out this week. That’s kind of classy.’ Well, classy is for suckers. My book on how to have a happy marriage (and therefore I argue, a happy family) came out this week. I’m not going to say too much about it. I’m going to leave that to Jen Hatmaker.

PFFT: Parenting from Famous Types

Elizabeth McGovern, actor and parent of two, on her proudest moments as a parent

“One of them was my daughter Grace [now 21] going off the Ghana for a year when she was 18, to work with kids in a village. The other was my daughter Matilda, who’s 25, reading me the start of a novel she’s writing. They were both launching in different ways to their true selves. “

 
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