Category Archives: Parenting Articles

4 Annoying Things Your Kid Does That Are Actually Really Great


Every parent has had a moment where they’ve stared at their screaming, tantruming child and wondered, “Am I doing this wrong? Am I creating a monster?”

Raising a child up into adulthood is a path full of struggles. We all want our children to be the sort of perfect angels that will make other parents coo in awe and envy, but it doesn’t always work out that way.

As it turns out, though, raising a perfect child might not be such a great thing after all. According to psychologists, some of those terrible things your children do that drive you insane are actually working wonders for their development – and might be great signs about their futures.

[Read the full article at]

Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits Through Horrible Lies


We were in the grocery, waiting to check out, when my son spotted that tantalizing row of colorful candy bars shining in the impulse aisle. “What,” he gasped, “is THAT?”

“This?” I asked, holding up a bar of pure milk chocolate filled to bursting with creamy caramel. “You wouldn’t like this. It’s medicine.”

“Ew,” my son said. “I don’t like medicine.”

“This one’s really bad,” I told him. “It tastes like dog drool. You’d really hate it.”

It wasn’t my finest moment. Ten years ago, if I’d seen a parent lying to their child in the brazen openness of a supermarket, I’d have tsked and quietly told myself, I’ll be a better parent than that.

Today, though, I am a parent, and I am not better than that. My wife and I lie to our son about food often enough that it’s almost a family policy. It’s not something we’re proud of, and it’s not something we’d recommend to other parents – but it is something we’re doing.

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The Heartbreaking Reality of Being a Stepparent


There’s always a strange moment that comes up whenever my family meets someone new. “This is my wife,” I’ll tell them, pointing my white hand to my white wife. Then I’ll rest a hand on our half-Chinese child and proudly say, “And this is our son.”

Most people are too polite to ask how we created a Chinese child. They just go wide-eyed, say “Oh.” out loud, and try to hide that they’re thinking: Does he know? Should we say something? Just what has his wife been up to?

There was a time when I’d explain that I was a stepparent, but I rarely do it anymore. I just can’t bring myself to say the word. My family has never viewed me as a second-rate parent a step-removed.

I am his father, and he is my son.

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Why Is My Child So Angry?


“I just wish I wasn’t so angry all the time!”

It was the type of self-reflection you’d expect to hear from a middle-aged man after his third or fourth divorce, but there it was coming from my four-year-old son. His face was down on his bed, his little fists clenched so tightly they’d turned red.

He’d just gotten in trouble for throwing a toy, and been told to go to his room. He’d struggled with the command. We could see the battle inside his mind playing out on his face – on one side, the desire to be a good boy; on the other, a furious sense that all of this was horribly unfair. In the end just he let out an animal scream, threw himself into the ground and broke down, punching and kicking the floor.

Now he was in his room – dragged there – and was stewing in his own fury, staring for the first time as the complexity of his soul and the nature of the beast within.

The question he’d asked was one my wife and I had asked ourselves more than once before, when his emotions overpowered his sensitivity and he burst into these fiery rages. Why was he so angry all the time? Was it our fault? Was it normal? Was it controllable? Or did we have a future serial killer under our roof, building up a fury that would one day explode?

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How to Potty Train Without Ever Buying a Single Diaper


Our son was barely two years old when we enrolled him in a daycare in China. We were two western parents raising a child abroad, and we liked to believe we were doing a pretty good job at it. We took pride in the belief that our boy was ahead of the curve.

But when he showed up with a diaper under his pants, the teachers reacted like we’d brought him in covered in bruises.

“No good,” the head of the daycare said with tsk and a disappointed shake of her head. “We will fix this.”

[Read the full article at]


The Art of Potty Training: In Defense of Slitted Pants


Expat parents often feel shocked and upset when they see a Chinese child dressed in slitted pants, however, Mark Oliver investigated this “absurd” way of  Chinese potty training and found it quite useful.

Most expats probably aren’t about to go out and cut a hole in their children’s pants, but it’s still worth looking at the Chinese system closely enough to learn from it. Quite simply, Chinese potty training works.

[Read the full article at Qingdao Family.]