Family & Parenting

Parents December 2019

Parents brings you expert advice you can trust to help you raise happy, healthy kids at every age, every stage! Celebrate the joys of parenthood! Say yes to Parents now and get all the family-focused fun, down-to-earth tips, and advice from the heart you need to be the best mom you can be!

United States
Meredith Corporation
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12 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
editor’s note

How Parents Can Change the World HAVE YOU EVER met a parent who, when asked if they want their children to be kind, said no? Of course not. As mothers and fathers, we know it’s our job to teach our children to be generous and caring. But our message can get muddled as they grow. I was shocked when Harvard researcher Richard Weissbourd, Ed.D., told me that in his study of more than 40,000 high-school students, about 80 percent thought their parents were more concerned about their achievements or happiness than their caring for others. Yet when I reflected on the conversations I have with my own ninth-graders, I realized that I’m usually asking about homework, test scores, teacher reactions, and highlights from their sports and clubs. I want to shift the…

5 min.
let’s get real

• CELEB Words for All of Us These famous parents are all about thoughtfulness, and we’re here for it. “Friendships between women, as any woman will tell you, are built of a thousand small kindnesses … swapped back and forth and over again.”—Michelle Obama, in Becoming“When you respect the idea that you are sharing the earth with other humans, and when you lead with your nice foot forward, you’ll win, every time.”—Kristen Bell, to the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts graduates“Perhaps it’s the newfound clarity I have as a father, knowing that my son will be mimicking my behavior … From small acts of kindness to large measures of character, each move that we make matters. Especially when we don’t think anyone is watching.”—Prince Harry, at the National Youth Mentoring…

3 min.
taking the high road, even if it kills me

A WRITER friend shared this classic saying with me: Fate leads those who follow it and drags those who resist it. The same is true of motherhood. We can fight it, but it will change us nonetheless. In my life before kids, there weren’t many consequences for the things I did and said. As long as I was able to weave my antics into a wacky adventure, I was typically rewarded for them. This was especially true in my relationship with my husband’s ex-girlfriend, Baz. My obsession with Baz was the foundation for most of my comedy on Twitter and the inspiration for not one but two chapters in my first book. In my younger years (read: most of my 30s), I did drive-bys down her block, posted pics of myself in…

1 min.
6 gifts for kids that spark kindness

1. Healing Service Project The Mini Box of Hope contains five wooden stars plus supplies for decorating. Go to the website to find a community dealing with a tragedy, then mail your creations to those affected to be hung as symbols of strength. $45; starsofhopeusa.org 2. A Game to Teach Empathy Friends and Neighbors: The Helping Game emphasizes the importance of altruism. Players work together to lend a hand to as many characters as possible. A fun antidote to Monopoly! Ages 3+, $18.50; amazon.com 3. Heartfelt Ornaments Artwork made by patients at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital inspired these Pottery Barn Kids ornaments. (Half the proceeds go to the incredible organization.) Put one on your tree for a nice reminder of what really matters in life. $10.50; potterybarnkids.com 4. One to Give, One to Keep When a…

6 min.
compassion for others starts young

Even 6-month-olds can demonstrate empathy, says a study in the British Journal of Psychology. Researchers showed infants two videos. In one, a square character climbs a hill and meets a circular friend; they happily go down the hill together. In the other, a circular figure hits a square character, making it cry and double over. When researchers presented the squares to the babies, more than 80 percent chose the one that had been hit, showing that the infants were empathetic to the bullied shape. You can help your baby develop this tendency. “Her brain grows with love and connection, so gaze into her eyes as you feed her and coo back when she coos at you,” says Robin Berman, M.D., a Parents advisor and author of Permission to Parent. “If she’s…

10 min.
the eczema effect

ALEXANDRA FUNG, a mom of three in Chicago, thought she had her baby’s eczema under control. After all, her older kids, ages 10 and 12, have the skin condition (like nearly 10 million kids in the U.S.), and so does she. Fung knew to use gentle detergents and moisturizers. She put tiny mittens on her baby’s hands at night to curb his scratching. But the red and pink patches on his cheeks, which arrived when he was a few months old, only worsened. Then other sensitivities began to appear. Eating dairy exacerbated his rash and made him fussy. He had a reaction to eggs at 10 months (a bout of vomiting, which Fung wasn’t too concerned about), then another to peanuts at 1 year (swollen lips, which was far more…