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Here’s A Brilliant Way To Comfort Nervous Kids Before School

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 07:46 AM PST

Some kids jump on the school bus that first day and never look back. Others have anxiety about school, a new routine, or for myriad reasons that can change by the minute. One mom's brilliant way to calm her nervous child reminds us the importance of letting our kids know we’re always thinking about them, even when we can't be there.

Writer Liz Petrone, a mother of four from New York, shared the idea on her Facebook page. "The anxiety has been strong with the littlest lately. I don't know why," she begins. "Maybe it's just that he's been asking me every single morning since he started school in September: "Mommy, is today Christmas?" and forever I'd just laugh and say oh no baby, we have a ways to go, except now that's not so true anymore and the anticipation is so much I think he might spontaneously combust."

Petrone said that morning she watched him get on the bus and start to cry, "crumpling into a big rush of sloppy tears" as the bus pulled away. As every parent can imagine, this would break your heart in a thousand tiny pieces, so she set out to find a way to comfort him.

The next morning Petrone said as they waited for the bus together, she pulled out a pen from her coat. "I grabbed his wrist, kissed the blue of his veins where the blood we share flows through his veins, and drew this heart," she writes.

Image via Facebook/Liz Petrone

She told four-year-old Luca, "I want you to look at this heart every time it feels like too much. I want you to look, and I want you to remember that no matter what happens out there someone is here waiting for you to come home. Someone loves you."

Petrone tells Scary Mommy that when his separation anxiety flares up or when he is feeling out of sorts, they have always tried to come up with creative ways to comfort him. "I was trying to think of a way to give him something he wouldn't lose during the day that he could look at and be reminded that I was with him and loved him even while we were apart," she said.

Petrone said she watched her son step on the bus that morning and waited for his face to appear at the window. "I waited for him to see me, to smile or wave or even to cry, but he never even looked at me. Instead, he looked at his wrist," she writes.

She says although she knows its not a long term fix, "it's a comfort just the same, and comfort can go a long way when you know someone loves you."

Petrone says it’s not only helped with his anxiety, but the concept has taken off with the entire family. “We've all been sporting them, including me,” she says.

Image via Liz Petrone

What a wonderful (and simple) way to remind the most important people in your life how very much they’re loved.

Brock Turner Seeks Appeal To His Conviction Because This World Is A Dumpster Fire

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 07:30 AM PST

Brock Turner is seeking an appeal to his felony convictions

On January 18th, 2014, 19-year-old Brock Allen Turner was arrested after a couple of students on bikes spotted Turner thrusting his body on top of a half naked, unconscious woman behind a dumpster on the Stanford University grounds. The students tackled Turner after he attempted to run, and called police. When the police were interviewing the men, one was crying so hard he could barely speak because of what he had seen.

After being caught in the act by the students, he was arrested and charged with five felony counts:  rape of an intoxicated person, rape of an unconscious person, sexual penetration by a foreign object of an intoxicated woman, sexual penetration by a foreign object of an unconscious woman, and assault with intent to commit rape. He was released from jail on $150,000 bail.

He was found guilty of three of the five felonies he had been charged with: assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated/unconscious person, penetration of an intoxicated person, and penetration of an unconscious person.

Then Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky sentenced him to six months in Santa Clara County jail. He was facing a maximum sentence of 14 years.

He walked out of county jail three months later — after serving only half of laughable sentence.

Now he’s filing for an appeal.

Turner’s lawyers are claiming their client was denied due process during his trial, and  that the trial was “fundamentally unfair.” Why? Because of the prosecuting lawyer’s repeated reminders that the assault took place “behind a dumpster.” Turner’s lawyers argue that what transpired that evening took place “in the open” not behind a dumpster. CNN reports the appeal states that “the implication that the crime occurred ‘behind the dumpster’ prejudiced the jury against Turner.”

The appeal states that the dumpster detail “implied an intent on the appellant’s part to shield and sequester his activities” and “implied moral depravity, callousness and culpability on the appellant’s part because of the inherent connotations of filth, garbage, detritus and criminal activity frequently associated with dumpsters.”

The “dumpster” isn’t what made this morally depraved. Cannot believe this is something that even has to be said.

The appeal also states the conviction was unfair because Turner was denied character witnesses to attest to what a stand-up guy he is.

“What we are saying is that what happened is not a crime,” NBC reports John Tompkins, Turner’s legal adviser, said. “It happened, but it was not anywhere close to a crime.”

“In the appeal, Turner’s legal team claims they were at a disadvantage on three fronts: The jury did not get a lot of evidence that represented Turner’s character; The jury was not allowed to consider a lesser offense; The jury was subjected to “extensive ‘behind-the-dumpster’ propaganda.”

What exactly would a “lesser offense” be? How else would they describe the repeated shoving of fingers into an unconscious woman’s vagina? The charges fit the crime. The punishment did not. And as if Jane Doe hasn’t already been through enough, this POS wants to bring this all up again to clear his record. And why? Because he truly doesn’t believe he’s done anything wrong.

"His life will never be the one he dreamed about and worked so hard to achieve. That is a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action out of his 20 plus years of life,” his father said after his conviction.

These people are so morally depraved, they would call the penetration of an unconscious woman “action” and think the biggest problem in this narrative is the dumpster. And all after their client paid for three felony convictions with three months of his life. In county jail.

The most dangerous type of criminal is one who thinks he's done nothing wrong. Where is the reassurance that he won't repeat a crime he apparently doesn't think he actually committed?

How could any woman ever feel safe in a world where this argument exists, and where lawyers would actually step up to make it?

Why We Need To Let Kids Make Messes — And Not Clean Up After Them

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 06:00 AM PST

Inwardly, I cringe and sit up a little straighter, as my three-year old awkwardly grasps her plate between two unsteady hands. As she tries to simultaneously scoot off her chair and balance her plate all the way into the kitchen, I watch her undeveloped movements, as I wait for the inevitable. Scraps of uneaten food go flying all over the floor that I just swept for the umpteenth time. It's all I can do not to say something — just a gentle reminder to “BE CAREFUL!”

I bite my tongue hard and look the other way. Blocking my view with my coffee cup, I take a deep breath, signaling total surrender.

Whatever will be, will be.

She looks down at the mess and then back up at me. I shrug my shoulders and take another sip. With that same toddler awkwardness and a few “uh ohs,” she stoops down to the floor and manages to pick up the biggest parts of the mess, and then heads into the kitchen to return her plate.

It's a minute thing, really, but I have found this simple refrain is just what she needs to reinforce that it's her responsibility to clear her place at the table and the mess that will inevitably follow. Somehow, just these small happenings that used to cause me so much exasperation have fortified both of us, allowing her to build crucial confidence as she learns a new life skill, enabling me to do the necessary: relax a little bit.

I hear the crash of plates and silverware as they are dropped into the sink and wonder if it has broken into a million little pieces. More often than not, allowing them space to do these things for themselves causes me more work. In these instances, I try to remind myself that this is the process of which we call life, whereby they will learn how to be functioning and well-adjusted members of society. It is not my job to do this for them, not the carrying of the plate or the cleaning up of the mess, but rather, to be the facilitator that gives them space to learn how to take care of themselves and the environment around them.

I know, it's just a plate and some uneaten food falling to the floor. But the clink in the sink prompts me to really contemplate the seemingly insignificant as it gradually connects together, like the millions of Legos littering my son's bedroom floor. Ultimately, what I expect from these small and unimportant experiences is the basis by which the structure of a balanced and secure existence will be formed.

It's going to get messy, this life thing, and sometimes, it's all going to fall apart. We know this and, as parents, of course, we want to protect our babies and do our best to keep everything from unraveling. Maybe, if we sit with this thought for a little while, what we want, too, is protection for ourselves from it, as well.

We take on many responsibilities as we raise our children. One that garners much of my consideration is that I need to allow the opportunity for things to periodically fall apart. Whether it's glitter all over the floor right now when they are young and unencumbered by the happenings of this world, or we are looking at some tough consequences as a result of a bad decision many years from now, I want them to understand this basic yet fundamental truth: there is very little that cannot be swept up, picked up, glued back together, or figured out — whether it is crusty waffles all over the floor, busted toys resulting in tears, or broken hearts that feel like they will be shattered forever. I want them to be confident in knowing, it will eventually all be ok.

It just takes time.

Things will take the time they need to take. I tell my kids this when they barrage me with the “whens” of life. “It will be done when it’s done. It will be ready when it’s ready.”

If they can grasp this, I tell them, then it will serve them well as they move through living in a world that refuses to bend to the demands of its creation.


We have to teach them that they are capable of picking up the pieces and figuring out how to put it all back together. And when the time comes that it isn't possible to put it back together, we may very well have to grieve what was and is now lost.

I won't do it for them, but I will try my hardest to stay calm and sit with them, until they can figure out the best way to pick it all up. And if they need help putting it back together, I want them to know we will find a way. It may not always be easy, and sometimes it will come at a personal cost, but beautiful things can be recycled out of those broken and shattered pieces.

Every time I open up my social media feed, there is a new article highlighting the anxiety epidemic that is eating America's teenagers alive. Kids are refusing to get out of bed because they cannot face another ridiculously stressful day. Packed into their backpacks along with pounds of college level AP text books are the overwhelming feelings of failure and fear of messing up. It has become too heavy and impossible for them to carry, and so with resignation and in the uttermost depths of loneliness, they look at the broken pieces of their lives, and decide it’s easier to let go than to mess up.

What's the use of trying if I am just going to make a mistake? Many kids repeat this mantra as they disappear deep into the bed covers, too overwhelmed to find a space to begin.

This all hit fairly close to home when a teacher friend of mine asked me to come and speak to his high school students about resilience. In his email, he explained the situation of their community and that they were seeing horrific results due to problems of pressure and anxiety. With a heavy heart he confided that last year alone, they had six students decide to take their lives because it had all become too much. This is an upper middle class area of the United States. They most likely had enough food, shelter, and warmth on cold nights.

What causes a kid to feel their only option is a permanent out?

As I think about these kids, I pick up the broom again, and start sweeping up the crumbs on the floor.

As I sweep it all up into the dust pan, I decide it's a small price to pay, all these messes and the clean up that follows, if it gives her the confidence she needs to move through life willing to just try.

Life isn't perfect, so why should she have to be?

5 Dinner Hacks To Make Your Life Easier

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 06:00 AM PST

There are so many afternoons when 4:00 p.m. rolls around and I’m ready to be done. Most of the time, I am not physically or mentally prepared to make a nice dinner unless I’ve done some prep before hand.

I do love to cook and bake though, and not having the time or energy to make a nice meal has been something I miss the most about my days sans kids. These cooking hacks saved me though. Saved me, I tell you. I swear by them all. While they aren’t fancy, I’m never too exasperated to serve these dishes because they are fast and easy and my kids actually eat them.

1. Frozen Pizza Hack

Katie Bingham-Smith

This frozen pizza hack is brilliant. I love when I hardly do any work at all and dinner comes out great. And serving a frozen pizza that doesn’t taste like cardboard is always a plus. The three secrets? Let the pizza thaw out before baking, turn your oven to the highest temp, and brush the crust with olive oil and Parmesan cheese. I made this for my kids and they devoured it. It tastes like brick oven pizza from our favorite pizzeria and I’m pretty much the next Giada De Laurentiis.

2. Pizza Roll Ups

Instagram Photo

And while we are talking about pizza, check out this super fun and easy way to make dippable pizza from diy._.food. My kids love making these — just grab some cheese sticks, crescent rolls, and pepperoni. If you’re feeling extra healthy throw in some sliced peppers or onions, too. I usually heat up some garlic butter and pasta sauce, and we camp out in front of the television and everyone is happy — and full.

3. Hulling Strawberries

Instagram Photo

I can not stand hulling strawberries, but my kids waste so much of the berry if I don’t. This hack by foods2hack is the easiest way to get rid of those stems. And the best part? Your kids will love helping you with it.

4. Taco Night

Instagram Photo

Taco Tuesday is huge in our house (Taco Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, too), and these crunchy shells are so much better when they are warm. Thanks to rootie_foodie, I now put them on the back of a muffin tin so they reach the perfect temperature without all the ingredients spilling out. Brilliant, and no one needs to make their taco twice.

5. Mess Free Bacon

Instagram Photo

Breakfast for dinner? Yes, please! But I rarely do this for any meal because I hate getting out more than one frying pan and having grease splatter all over the kitchen. But hold the phone, because this hack from foods2hack is genius. Fry that bacon in the waffle iron! I did this the other night, then poured my waffle mix right over the finished bacon. When I was done, I had bacon stuffed waffles and there was no mess splattered all over my stove, walls, or me.

I know you are dying to embrace your inner Martha Stewart now, so what are you waiting for? Pour yourself a glass of your favorite adult beverage and get that pizza outta the freezer already.

Chris Pratt Warns Of Imposter Posing As Him And Messaging Women On Facebook

Posted: 04 Dec 2017 04:43 AM PST

Chris Pratt tells fans an imposter is sending messages from a fake Facebook account

Chris Pratt is known for his hilarious social media updates, but one of his latest post is actually really serious. The actor took to his accounts to warn his fans of an imposter that’s posing as him and messaging women on Facebook.

“PERVY DUDE ALERT!!! (Not a joke)” he wrote. “It's confirmed: somebody is trying to pretend to be me on Facebook (and maybe other social media platforms) apparently hitting on a lot of different female fans, trying to get their numbers and who knows what else. I'm not joking.”

Pratt made it clear that he’d love nothing more than to use put those Jurassic Park biceps to use on whoever’s behind this gross scam. “Please know, I find this behavior reprehensible. If I find out who it is I'll have their account shut down and seriously would like to punch them right in the GD mouth.”

Obviously getting a message from someone you think is the Chris Pratt in your inbox would be enough to drive all rational thought from your brain. But he gave fans an easy way to tell if the message they receive is legit. “Look for the BLUE "VERIFIED" CHECKMARK next to the name. If there is no checkmark by my name that person is an imposter. I'm sorry.”

Instagram Photo

Pratt, who shares a five-year-old son with Anna Farris, said he was especially concerned with the thought of a child fan falling victim to the scam. After all, tons of kids are huge Star-Lord fans. “Tell your siblings. Educate our young ones,” he wrote. “It's probably mostly kids who would fall for this. Makes me sick.”

After Pratt’s post, some victims of the imposter stepped forward to say they had been targeted.

The imposter is messaging Pratt fans on Instagram and Twitter too.

Pratt’s known for being extremely generous when it comes to meeting and greeting his fans. He said he hated the thought of someone getting crushed when they realized they weren’t talking with the actor — or worse, getting taken advantage of in some way. “It terrifies me to think someone could be hurt, their feelings or much worse, by this imposter/potential predator,” he wrote. “I've had many, many people tell me about this. It's not an isolated incident. If anyone is in contact with this person block them immediately.”

Of course, some of his fans couldn’t pass up this opportunity to make a joke out of their missed love connection.

Why a spoon though?

Here’s hoping the imposter crawls back into their hole quickly and stays there. But it’s clear that if they don’t, Pratt’s been taking close notes from all his action hero films, and he’s willing to go scorched earth/grand finale if that’s what it takes to bring this faker down. “If it's you doing it, I'm warning you. Stop right now or you will@ [sic] be very unhappy with the outcome. Go find Jesus. 🙏 praying for you.”

Holiday Gift Guide For Kids Who Love Sports

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 06:00 PM PST

When your kid loves sports, well, sports = life. I know this struggle well. I’m constantly trying to up my game (see what I did there?) to keep my sports kid happy during the holidays. Your own sports-obsessed kid will be thrilled to get the following gifts this holiday season, so get out your pen and paper and start writing down these ideas.

1. All-Star Bedding Set


All of our sports fans will love to have this all-star bedding — it’s decorated with all of their favorite sports and comes with a comforter, flat sheet, fitted sheet, pillowcase, sham, and bedskirt. The best thing, however, is the price, as it all comes for under 60 bucks.

2. Sports Watch


Are you raising a future triathlete? I just might be. This watch is water-resistant, durable, and kinda cool-looking. Your sports addict can time their 100-yard dash and be stylish at the same time.

3. Basketball Set


This looks easy to set up, and it’s adjustable to grow with your kids. It boasts a clear backboard (just like the pros), and best of all, it’s less than 80 bucks. SOLD.

4. Little Tikes Golf Set


Do you have a little one who wants to be the next Tiger Woods? I mean, in the golf way, not all those other ways. Well, this is a good way to get your kiddo started. Pretty soon, they’ll be begging you to take them out onto a real golf course.

5. Huffy Bike


Tour de France, here we come. This Huffy bike is a great deal and will get your kid out and about, away from the screens and into the world. My first bike was a Huffy — I won’t tell you about the banana seat, but I could let my friends ride around on my handlebars (though I don’t recommend doing this).

6. Little Tikes Trampoline


File this under one of the best presents Nana ever bought for my kids. Ours lasted for so many years, through so many kids. And then, just as it was getting a bit stretched out from the thousands of jumps, we had a grown-up friend bounce on it, and it went kaput. We just might need to get another one of these this year.

7. NFL Uniform


Get your sports fan their favorite team’s uniform and helmet so they can go outside and pretend to support you with their NFL salary. This is a fun game for everyone.

8. Little Tikes Tee-Ball Set


Every miniature baseball fan starts out with a tee-ball set, and this looks like a great one. It’s also less than 20 bucks, so you can’t beat that. Maybe I could even learn how to hit a ball with this.

9. Velcro Catch and Toss Game


Every sports enthusiast has to learn how to catch and throw, and this fun toy seems like a great way to do it. Heck, you might even let them play ball in the house with this.

10. Beginning Archery Set


Your kiddo can get all of the excitement of a real bow and arrow, without all the risks and dangers that come with the real deal.

12. Kickball


BECAUSE WHY NOT? It’s the best game ever, you only need a ball, and you can knock people down. ‘Nuff said.

13. Basketball Rug


It’s a rug. Shaped like a basketball court. Sports kids will freak over this.

14. Pogo Stick


It’s harder than it looks. Trust me. But once your kid gets the hang of it, they’ll be hopping all over the yard with this and counting how many times they can hop without falling.

15. Ballet Backpack


And finally, dammit, ballet is a sport too. I’d like to see some of those football players try to do a pirouette. And look at how adorable this backpack is for toting your ballet-lover’s gear to and from class.

Good luck out there, sports parents. It’s helpful to know that there are plenty of options for gifts for our kids. Now if we could just get them to figure out how to clean their stinky sports gear…hmm.

Learn From My Mistake, And Don’t Forget To Change Your Tampon

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 06:00 PM PST

When I was in college, I got so sick one night that I actually wondered if I might, in fact, be dying. I was vomiting so much and for so long that I literally had to crawl to the bathroom, and I could barely talk. After a few hours, I went to the emergency room, where they took one look at me and found me a room stat.

I was in such rough shape that when they suggested a spinal tap to rule out meningitis, I didn't bat an eye. And that long needle stuck in the middle of my back was nothing compared to the sheer misery I felt everywhere else.

While the ER docs did their triage, I told them sheepishly, "I've had a tampon in for a very long time. Could it be toxic shock syndrome?"

I pulled that plug out as soon as I could get to the bathroom, and with some IV fluids, meds, and some rest, I eventually recovered. I went home from the hospital a few days later, and though I never got an official diagnosis, I did leave with an interesting story.

Remember that time you left a tampon in for days, and you might have had toxic shock syndrome? That sure was something, wasn't it?

Yeah, it was something alright.

As it turns out, leaving a tampon in too long is no laughing matter. While toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is rare, it can cause serious health complications. According to the Mayo Clinic, TSS often results from toxins produced by staph bacteria, but the condition may also be caused by toxins produced by strep bacteria, and it is often associated with leaving a tampon in for longer than the recommended 4–8 hours.

After manufacturers removed certain types of high-absorbency tampons from shelves, the incidence of TSS in menstruating women declined significantly, and it currently only affects about 1 in 100,000 people a year. Symptoms of TSS can include sudden high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, a sunburn-like rash on hands and feet, confusion, and muscle aches.

While tampon boxes are pretty clear about changing your tampon regularly, not everyone takes this seriously. I would like to say I learned my lesson, but I don't wanna lie either. Truth be told, I do sometimes leave a tampon in longer than the recommended time, and I know not one — but two — women who lost or forgot about a tampon and left it in for weeks. Yes, weeks.

According to Zoe Rodriguez, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, "The most common consequence of leaving a tampon in for too long or forgetting a tampon inside, is a very foul-smelling discharge and irregular spotting.”

Let's just say, from what I've been told, "foul-smelling" is putting it mildly.

"I would work out, and I could smell myself," one friend told me. She eventually turned to Dr. Google and buried in the could be an infection or cancer horror stories, one post suggested checking to see if there wasn't a tampon stuck in your vagina. Well, she contorted herself every which way in the bathroom and found that forgotten (and stinky AF) tampon.

"I am not flexible by any means, but I was determined to get that out on my own," she said.  After she pulled out what appeared to be a remnant of a super-plus tampon, she called her doctor, who simply said, “Glad you got it out. We see that more often than you’d think.”

Another friend told me she "smelled fairly ripe" for a  few days, but couldn't pinpoint the source of the stench. She also had some of the other symptoms, such as extended spotting and lightheadedness, but wrote it off as having too much wine getting ready for a holiday party or a possible yeast infection. Pretty quickly, though, she said she could barely stand the smell of herself and even her husband could smell her (which is never a good sign). Dr. Google once again came through, and she started digging for the lost tampon. Once it was finally retrieved (and the gagging had stopped), so did the smell, spotting, and cramps. Go figure, huh?

While these extreme situations happened when a tampon was left in for days or weeks, one can never be too careful, right? So bottom line: Change those tampons. Often. Seriously. Because toxic shock syndrome is real, and no one wants to smell like a funky tuna fish sandwich.

I Was Raising My Son To Be Sexist, And I Had No Idea

Posted: 03 Dec 2017 06:00 PM PST

My son, 10, is smart, funny, sensitive. He's a good kid, and on most days, I'm a decent parent. We're a middle-of-the-road, white, middle-class family living in suburbia. We do all the things families like ours do — sports, music, pets, birthday parties, playdates. Our boat is rarely rocked.

But I was jarred out of complacency this past week and forced to think about how I'm raising my boy when one of my idols, Charlie Rose, fell in a very public way. Multiple women have come forward accusing him of sexual harassment. Reading details of his exploits, I felt alternately ill, angry, and sad. Although I was horrified by the Harvey Weinstein allegations that came to light recently, frankly I wasn't surprised because it's Hollywood and sexual harassment is so normalized in our culture that we expect it to happen. I expected more from Rose and journalism.

I began thinking about what would make a man — especially a man who seemed so earnest and successful in a career focused on morals, accountability, truth — think it was okay to treat women that way. Under what circumstances would it ever be okay to lure a young female employee (decades younger) to your home for work and expose yourself to her? How could you ever justify calling an employee late at night to share your sexual fantasies about her? My mind wandered, and I began thinking about my job as the mother of a young boy. I realized I had failed my son, myself, and society at large.

I have coddled my son and catered to him because he's a boy. I've let his angry outbursts and tantrums slide. I've let him treat his younger sister as less than. I've done the very things as a parent that I saw and hated as a girl. Like my parents before me, I've given my son permission to think that because he's a boy, he can get away with more. And at its core, that's the basis for sexist behaviors. At the very least, these behaviors can be subtly damaging to women over a lifetime — death by a thousand paper cuts. Or they can be abrupt, shattering experiences as we've seen with so many stories coming out about sexual harassment and rape at the hands of powerful men.

Michelle Obama summed it up neatly when she restated an old aphorism: "We love our boys, and raise our girls." She nailed it when she also said, "We raise [girls] to be strong, and sometimes we take care not to hurt men — and I think we pay for that a little bit." At the back of my mind, I'm constantly worrying about whether what I say to my son is too harsh. I often try to soften things for him. It's something I don't do with my daughter.

I'm more reluctant to give my son consequences. He's never really forgiven us for having a second child, and it often manifests as unkindness toward his little sister. She will be on cloud nine about something; he sees how happy she is and how much my husband I enjoy witnessing her enthusiasm. So he makes a sarcastic remark meant to belittle her. I always stop and point out that this is bullying behavior. But I don't take the conversation to the next level, and I don't give him consequences.

I don't talk to him about what it means to live in a patriarchal society and to be privileged because he's a boy with white skin or the responsibilities that should come with that knowledge. I need to teach him to recognize his privilege and act in a way that shows awareness. That means teaching him to question his assumptions, his implicit biases, and not to take advantage of or belittle those in less powerful positions.

This is especially important because my family lives in a whitewashed community where the homogeneity compels conformity to an almost obsessive degree. So-and-so just got a Volvo. Wonder if they're back in style? Maybe we should get one. His parents got him a phone when he turned 11; I should get one. All the boys I know are mean to their sisters; you're asking too much of me. My gym teacher says girls aren't smart, so I can too. Everyone else does it, why shouldn't I? Bad behavior begets bad behavior. Boys aren't just being boys when they grab a girl's ass or stare at her breasts or call her a prude when she objects. They are deliberately demeaning another human being.

From time to time, my son has angry outbursts, especially as puberty kicks in, and instead of shutting them down, I look for reasons why. Why would he be so upset? What's behind all that anger? On some deep level, I'm probably trying to answer the same question I've been asking subconsciously since I was a little girl: Why does our society privilege men over women? Instead, I shore up my daughter and myself by reading about feminism and starting a Girl Scout troop. I tell my 8-year-old to ignore the mean things her big brother says.

We also go to therapy and talk about it. And while it's great that we talk about it, it's now clear to me that he needs consequences. Shouting and yelling is abusive, period, and I need to send the message that it's unacceptable. I can't help but wonder how many times Harvey Weinstein and Charlie Rose (and the millions of others like them) were verbally abusive when they were kids, and how many people stood by and watched. We already know a great many people stood by and watched them as adults.

I recognize that part of life is learning to navigate the bad behaviors of other people. Be like a duck. Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me. How many expressions do we have that teach us from a young age to ignore the hurtful things that other people say and do? Yet ignoring sexism and sexist behaviors, especially when we are more aware today than ever about what sexism is, seems irresponsible.

It's a small step that I hope will have a big impact on my son, but I plan to talk to him about sexism and his privilege as a white male. And he will have consequences when he is unkind or abusive. I'm not going to let things slide anymore because he's just being a boy.