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    Getting to 50/50: How Working Couples Can Have It All by Sharing It All

    Kids, husbands, and wives all reap huge benefits when couples commit to share equally as breadwinners and caregivers.  Mothers work without guilt, fathers bond with their kids, and children blossom with the attention of two involved parents. - Amazon Review

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    A toddler's robot ABC book (in Kindle version, for the on-to-go family)!

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    Robot Dreams

    "Graphic novel about a dog and a robot shows us in poignant detail how powerful and fragile relationships are."

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    « Early Childhood Music Education: Where To Begin | Main | Math Counts: The M&M (or Vegetable) Graph »
    Friday
    Jul152011

    Leiby Kletzy: Parenting in the shadow of a tragedy

    By Jill Simeone

     

    Leiby Kletzy, an 8 year old boy, walks home from camp, gets lost, asks a stranger for help, and disappears.  

    Lucas Jackson / ReutersAs I typed my blog earlier this week, just blocks away this horrifying story was unfolding.  Parts of the boy’s body were discovered in a dumpster just a few streets away from our home.  

    This is an unthinkable tragedy for the Kletzy family, and I humbly acknowledge that I have no meaningful advice on how to pick up the pieces and keep living after the loss of a child.

    But the entire city is grieving this event, both for the loss of a child, and for the loss of childhood.  We can’t help but personalize it.   “What does this mean about any family’s safety?” we ask. 

     For several years now, the debates have been raging in the blogosphere:  helicopter parents trading spars with advocates of raising “free range” kids. 

    And everyone is right.  We need to keep our kids safe because scary stuff happens.  On the other hand, if we don’t give them some freedom, they won’t develop the judgment to someday keep themselves safe.

    So what do we do?  I have asked this question over and over this week, and the best answer I’ve heard so far came from the dentist’s office.  A dental assistant who grew up in the city told my husband (as he lay prone during a root canal) that he remembered pushing his dad for independence as a kid, begging to walk to the store, walk to school alone, etc.  He says his dad finally relented, but for a while, he knows his dad followed him, a half block behind.   This allowed the child to practice independence with a net. 

    Please share your thoughts, too.

    My heartfelt condolences, as a neighbor and mother, to Leiby’s family.

    ****

    Also see....my comments to Lisa Belkin's wonderful NY Times Motherlode blog on this topic.

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    Reader Comments (3)

    My entire childhood was spent thinking up dangerous stuff to do and hoping to survive. Now, as a dad, I want to put my kids in my pocket and never let them get hurt. But then what kind of kids will they be? Tough questions. Few answers.

    July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErik

    Beyond feeling the deepest sympathy for the family and the community involved in this tragedy- I've also been struggling as I think through these same issues. I was raised by a helicopter mom and I longed to ride my bike alone down the street. Not having had those small freedoms made me resentful as a child and left me (and my mother) unprepared for independence when I left for college. There are no simple answers and these are issues each family negotiates with each of their children on a daily basis. Thanks for this post- putting many people's feelings into words.

    July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErin

    Erin & Erik...thanks for sharing.

    I'm still struggling with how to best discuss these safety topics with my young kids.
    The main STRANGER book out there is the Berenstain Bears book, which I don't love.
    I think it is too complicated and I end up editing it a lot when I read it.

    Anyone have any other book suggestions to help facilitate the discussion with small kids?

    July 15, 2011 | Registered CommenterJill Simeone

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