For many of my out-of-school hours as a child, no adult had any idea what I was doing. This has everything to do with who I am today, in some remarkably good ways. As a parent, I can’t help but wince at the lack of supervision I received, especially given what my friends and I did. We spent hours in really tall fir trees, pretending they were houses. I lived on Long ...

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I love digital media. I love my iPhone and my iPad. And as much as I admire those who go on digital vacations, I’m not going to do so anytime soon. But I had two moments recently that made me realize that we all need to take a closer look at our digital habits. The first was when I was leaving work one evening. As I waited at the crosswalk outside ...

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I still can’t think about the Sandy Hook shooting without starting to cry. It hit me really hard, because when it happened, I had a first-grader whose classroom was right off the main lobby of his public elementary school. If a shooter like Adam Lanza ever stormed into his school, Liam wouldn’t have a chance. I can’t imagine life without Liam. If he were to die, I can’t imagine how I would ...

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Technology and baby monitors: Why this pediatrician worries It’s scary being a parent, especially a first-time parent. I mean, talk about the responsibility: an actual human being is relying on you for survival. And basically, you have no idea what you are doing. Sometimes, it seems amazing that our species has made it this far. So why not turn to technology? Why not wire your ...

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Recently, a family in my practice decided to move out of state, back to where they had lived before. When we said goodbye, the mother said that she was sad to change pediatricians. The pediatrician they would be returning to, she said, “only takes care of strictly medical things.” Clearly, she meant that I take care of more than the strictly medical things. I was flattered, especially since this was something ...

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The other day, my 8-year-old son asked if he could have an allowance. I told him no. I don’t think Liam needs one, and I don’t really want him to have one yet. But there are plenty of parents who do give their 8-year-olds an allowance. When I Googled “allowance in kids,” I found various sites advocating starting in kindergarten. They argued that it helps them learn about money, and starts ...

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Flu season has begun, which means that it’s flu shot time. I see lots of different responses when I talk to families at our clinic about the flu shot. Some are happy to get it. Others are unsure, worried about side effects. Others plain old refuse. Plain old refusal isn’t an option for me -- as a doctor and an employee of Boston Children’s. I need to get it -- and I ...

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When you reach for ibuprofen for your sore back or a pill to help you sleep, are you sending a bad message to your kid? Yes, says Bryant Gumbel in his video commentary about the drug charges against ball player Alex Rodriguez. While he thinks that Rodriguez should be punished for being a liar and a cheat, he doesn’t think that people should be shocked by the fact that Rodriguez was ...

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Online dating is a bad idea for teens -- especially young teens. That’s why it wasn’t particularly responsible of Seventeen Magazine to publish a blog in which “dating blogger” Isabelle Furth floated the idea of using sites like Match.com to find dates. To be fair, she had concerns about the idea, and she’s in college, so theoretically old enough to make these decisions. But college kids don’t read Seventeen. Middle school ...

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We have got to stop talking about stay-at-home vs. working mothers as if it were some sort of debate, as if it were the central issue of parenting and families. It’s not. I am really annoyed by an installment in The Debate, a blog on Huffington Post in which Lisa Heffernan says that she regrets being a stay-at-home mom. She laments her loss of income (which she clearly didn’t need), and that ...

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