There’s a little place near the corner of Kellogg Avenue and Valley View Road in Edina that bore witness to my (then) three-year-old daughter’s melt down. I’m not sure what set her off: indecision, fatigue, overwhelmed by the number of kids all taller than she, blocking her view of the tubs of colorful ice cream? In any case, she blew her stack and I carried her out of there, screaming and kicking, under my arm similar to the way a running back carries a football. I felt the eyes of many upon my back as we departed.
My mother has related a time when my brother did something so horrific while hiding inside a rack of women’s clothing at Southdale that she could only collect her offspring and get out of there as quickly as possible.
I’m sure you can attest to plenty of episodes like these: when our kids embarrass us; but real tough stuff, the stuff that tests parenting mettle, is a bit harder to talk about. When do we start talking to our kids about sex? What might we say to our children when they are confronted with racism? These are the tough stuff issues we dread, way more than the tantrums and the innocent spoutings in public about ladies with mustaches and men with no hair.
When I was discussing Kelly Bartlett’s article, Getting comfortable with “the talk” in a management meeting, I saw colleagues in the room recoil slightly. Just the word, sex, even, makes some people fidget. But making the topic part of your child’s upbringing—before your child knows what embarrassment means—will go a long way in broaching more difficult discussions when they are older. Take a look at her article, beginning on page 20.
As for racism, our “Real Dad” this month, Tony Carr, has turned that “tough stuff” intolerance on its head by becoming a collector of black memorabilia. So, how does he explain some of the most provoking pieces his collection contains to his four young daughters? His wise answers begin on the last page of this magazine.
It is our hope at Minnesota Parent that our information can help you through some of your toughest challenges, as well as shine a light on all of the fun and joy that parenting brings. As always, let us know how we are doing or what you want to read more about via email ([email protected]) or our Facebook: facebook.com/MNParentMag.