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Both Peggy Orenstein and Cara Natterson have children who — deliberately, I assume — are mentioned only occasionally in their excellent books about raising better boys. Instead, Orenstein relies on the revealing and sometimes painfully intimate interviews she conducted over the course of two years with boys aged 16 to 22, and Natterson draws from years of practical experience as a pediatrician, and her ability to boil down complicated scientific studies to their tablespoon of curative parental medicine. But the personal stakes for both authors are clear, and urgent. These writers are worried. Our boys get awkward and quiet; we parents get awkwarder and quieter. To her credit, Orenstein acknowledges her biases. Orenstein takes the same eagle-eyed approach to jock culture, rape culture, L. Oh my God, the porn.
This is no longer a battle — this is an all-out war. Annoying, yes. But assuring. I remember thinking wow…. Again I remember thinking, good. This is really good. Nothing to worry about. Then last night happened My youngest son was visibly shaken as he was getting ready for bed. I knew something was wrong when I saw he was wearing his flannel pyjamas with little bears printed all over them on one of the hottest nights this month.
These are the things that teenage girls do: They play loud music. If their mothers like Creedence Clearwater Revival, they will probably play Rancid; if their mothers like Rancid, they will probably play Aaron Carter. They talk on the phone, also loudly, often instead of doing their homework. And probably, if their moms walk by or pick up the extension, just to check, they might overhear something like, "My mom said I could not go to see that Rancid, Aaron Carter show because I did not clean my room. My mom is such a bitch. Their mothers sometimes do. When they clean their daughters' rooms, some mothers find notes about missing homework assignments, or boys, or notes that say "My mom is such a bitch. Some find empty Budweiser bottles, condoms, sweatshirts that smell suspiciously like tobacco -- or they find actual cigarettes.