UMD Students Deserve Better

Originally published in the Baltimore Sun on December 13, 2018. Like countless other parents of college-bound high school seniors living in Maryland, I started steering my daughter toward her state’s flagship university last year, when we began talking about college options. The

University of Maryland, College Park, with its strong academic reputation — it touts itself as “one of the nation’s preeminent public research universities” — and reasonable price tag, seemed like a

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The Kavanaugh allegations dredged up bad memories. But it’s my teen daughter I worry about.

Originally published on September 27, 2018 on Washingtonpost.com It has been 30 years. I thought I had moved on from the painful memories of what I endured in the late ’80s as a student at a small, private college. But my own experiences with sexual harassment and attempted sexual assault — both hazy and razor sharp — have been dredged up along with accusations about Supreme Court justice nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. I am okay now. It is my 17-year-old daughter I worry about. As she embarks

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The voyeur vacation: How much of your friends’ fabulous trips do you really want to see?

Originally published in the Baltimore Sun on August 23, 2018. It’s the middle of August and, so far this summer, I’ve seen the Dead Sea, the Tuscan countryside, a quaint village in England and some ancient-looking towns in Italy. But the most exotic place I’ve actually visited is my backyard which, I will say, is rather lush and lovely after all the rain we’ve had this season, especially when looking up at it from a prone position in my swinging hammock. As for all these fantastic

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How We Get ADHD Wrong

Originally published in Education Week on February 13, 2018 Today, more than 10 percent of all children ages 5-17 in the United States receive a diagnosis of ADHD, despite the American Psychiatric Association’s estimation that only 5 percent actually have the disorder. The disparity is even starker for boys, 14 percent of whom end up diagnosed with ADHD. My son is one of those millions of boys who have been diagnosed with this greatly overused label. My 15-year-old son has been dubbed

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Could a Food Pantry Be in Your Future?

Originally published in the Baltimore Sun on May 12, 2017. As I was placing jars of spaghetti sauce on the shelf of a local food pantry one recent weekend, a man of slight build who appeared to be in his 50s peeked his head in the doorway and asked: "How well are the shelves stocked today?" I assumed he was a volunteer or employee of the food pantry, until he elaborated on his inquiry. Because you can only receive one allotment from the food pantry per month, he explained, it's best to

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Are smartphones killing your relationship with your kids?

Originally published in the Baltimore Sun on October 26, 2016. For parents of teenagers, it's tougher now than ever to find out what the heck they're up to. Not so long ago, I used to volunteer — selfishly, I'll admit — to play chauffeur to my now-teenage children and their friends. In the pre-smartphone era, acting as carpool taxi driver to adolescents used to allow me to act as a mole of sorts. It's a no-brainer, really. You squeeze a bunch of silly hormone-laden adolescents into

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The Youth Sports Machine

Originally published in the Baltimore Sun on June 2, 2014 Parents of child athletes, take this quiz: Does your child receive lessons from a professional, paid coach in addition to a team coach? Do you routinely travel more than 30 minutes, one way, to your child's sporting events? Does your child's sport schedule conflict with other family commitments? If you answered yes to any of the questions above, chances are your family has also been ensnared in the sport-centric web that's now

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Making Work Work for Moms

Originally published in the Baltimore Sun on October 28, 2015  _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ When you become a mother, you have your choice of umpteen how-to books to guide you on everything from when to change a diaper to how to say goodbye outside your firstborn's college dorm. But try to find guidance on how to blend motherhood with a career, and you're likely to come up short. The

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A Mother’s Warning: “Moderation!”

Originally published in the Baltimore Sun on March 20, 2016

Moderation!" This was my mother's parting word to me as I'd breeze out the front door on a Friday or Saturday night, ready to conquer the world, or, rather, our small, suburban town. As a teenager, I never gave my mother's warning much thought. I'm not even sure I stopped to think about what it meant. I had no reason to listen to my mother, or so I thought. I considered her a relic from the Stone Ages — from

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Year-round school would benefit kids, economy

Originally published in the Baltimore Sun, August 27, 2013 The office of Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot recently released a report suggesting that Maryland students start school after Labor Day so that families can take one last summer-fling vacation, thereby giving the state a nearly $75 million economic boost. I haven't crunched any numbers on the topic but, as a parent with school-age children, I believe the report's glowing financial projections fail to take into account several

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