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The No-Lunch Lunch Plan

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“Who can give me an example of a protein?” I quizzed the kids. It was the beginning of the school year, and they decided they’d like to be on the school’s hot-lunch program, which meant that they’d be responsible for making healthy food choices and eating well-balanced meals. I figured I should educate them first...

Parenting Challenges: Helping My Struggling Adolescent

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In my last article, I addressed how parents can assist young children confront scary information. We discussed a particular case where a child came home after hearing information about the Holocaust on the school playground.

Adolescents, as they struggle through issues of identity and finding their unique place in the world, will often struggle with difficult personal, spiritual, and emotional questions that require a venue for discussion and insight. As opposed to perhaps hearing something for the first time, teenagers have already been exposed to experiences and situations that have at least begun to get them thinking about “life issues.”

Besides this distinction, I think that it...

The Sauce Hater

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Pizza is supposed to be a universally loved food. On any given day, 13 percent of Americans are consuming it. It would probably be higher, if not for the sauce haters out there. Every family has one, a child so averse to sauce that he eats most meals with napkins by his side, blotting out anything red that might provide moisture or flavor to the food. This totally ruins pizza night. Or meatball night. Or anything that isn’t dry-food night.

I remember growing up, one sister didn’t like sauce, and so my mother would have to specifically order something else for her when she’d buy a pizza to feed the rest of us. Sometimes it was a knish, a falafel, or just a home-made pot of noodles...

The Favorite Parent

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I spent many of my elementary school years trying to be viewed as the favorite student in the eyes of my teachers, however, the feeling of wanting to be favorite has completely escaped me as an adult. I’m always excited to learn I am not the preferred parent. Each of my kids has gone through a “Daddy!” phase in the early years (although one of my older children never graduated from this), and it is always a welcoming break for me from the incessant barrage of “Mommy!!.” It is even better with a younger child.

“Let me change your diaper!” I say, chasing my toddler around.

“No! Daddy!” screams my youngest son. And a huge smile crosses my face as I hand off the giant mess...

The Risk of Playing Games

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“Can we play Risk?” my son asks me on a Shabbat afternoon. I quickly glance at the wall, unsure of what excuse I can give this time. Usually, I say that I have to take care of our toddler; most games are impossible to play with him around because he generally tries to be included in the activity and ends up ruining it and causing several disappointed children to have tantrums. But our 2-year-old is sleeping; I am at a loss.

“Can you take the Risk down?” he asks. It is on the highest of shelves in our toy closet, buried in the back with other games I hate; Sketchy, Candyland, the Dr. Seuss one where you have to crawl under a foam-rod. They are not easy-to-access, this way the...

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