The Tragedy of Baltimore’s Dawnta Harris

Originally published on May 3, 2019 By now, most of us have seen the mug shot of then 16-year-old city resident Dawnta Harris taken after his arrest for the felony murder of Baltimore County Police Officer Amy Caprio along with burglary and theft. In it, Dawnta looks tough. But if you look closely, his eyes, which refuse to meet the camera, seem fatigued — far more so than any 16-year-old’s should look. His mouth is closed, as if purposely resisting expression. This image stands in stark

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Rejections hurt. Here’s how to help your child during college-application season.

Article originally published in the On Parenting section of the Washington Post on March 5, 2019. Anita Walia’s daughter had always been an overachiever. She made the girls’ varsity soccer team as a high school freshman, earned good grades in the most challenging courses at the private school she attended and received high marks on standardized tests. So, when it came time to apply to colleges in fall 2017, she felt ready. But she wasn’t prepared for what happened next. Walia’s daughter

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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

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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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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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Bedroom Wars: are they worth waging?

Originally published in Baltimorefishbowl.com, December 29, 2014 It’s a universal, timeless battle borne between parents and their teenaged children. No, it’s not an argument over drugs, alcohol, sex, or loud music. And while it may not be as dangerous or controversial as any of these hot-button topics, it’s nonetheless the target of many heated discussions and even angry shouting matches between parents and teenagers. Still in the dark? The subject under scrutiny is the state of

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My daughter needs the h1n1 vaccine: why can’t she get it?

Originally published in the Baltimore Sun, October 25, 2009 I'm beginning to think I'd have better luck finding a needle in a haystack. But I'm not looking for just any old needle. I want one loaded with the vaccine that I'm told will guard my asthmatic daughter from developing the swine flu, or H1N1. According to scary media reports, she's a prime candidate for complications of the virus. Based on these vivid accounts of the flu's effects on vulnerable populations, it doesn't take much

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