A Prying Parent and a Persuasive Son for 02/03/2018

A Prying Parent and a Persuasive Son for 02/03/2018
Dear Family Coach

Dear Family Coach: I ask my fifth-grader obsessively about her day — who did she eat lunch with? Who did she hang with on the playground? Where was Girl X? Who did Girl Y hang out with? She has always talked openly with me about everything, but she is starting to keep things to herself. I know that is supposed to happen, but I really love details. How do I satiate my own need to know while still respecting the privacy I know she needs? — Nosey Parker

Dear Nosey: You are in for a long adolescence. Younger children tend to be more forthcoming about their day-to-day adventures. But as puberty ensues, they drift away from the home front and move closer to a private life.

Updated: Sat Feb 03, 2018


A Prying Parent and a Persuasive Son for 02/03/2018

HEXBUG VEX Robotics

HEXBUG VEX Robotics Catapult
$19.99 on Amazon (on sale for $12.79 right now)

My son, Emmett, likes to build. We recently learned about a new line of toys from HEXBUG (yes, same company who makes those awesome crawling little robot bugs) called VEX Robotics. Sure, robotics are all the craze right now. But there’s a place for the VEX products. Here’s why.

As a parent, there are several things I appreciate about the VEX line. To start, VEX allows kids to experiment with robotics without breaking the bank. It’s frustrating how expensive some of the robotics toys can be. Many families are just priced out. But the VEX products are generally between the $12 – $20 range. There’s a big bang for the buck here. Kids have to use their brains to build it. And unlike other building toys, once it is put together, kids can still play with it. The VEX robotics products don’t just sit on a shelf and collect dust. They continues to provide a fun activity long after the initial fun of constructing is gone.

Emmett and some of his friends build the Catapult, the Zip Flyer and the Crossfire Airplane Launcher. They were all great. The Zip Flyer is great for younger kids (8+). The Catapult and the Crossfire are recommended for 14+ but my son is 11 and built them both without assist. The only downside to any of the toys is that the balls for the Catapult are easily lost. That’s due to no fault of HEXBUG but still it’s a minor issue. Luckily, they supply extra balls there are some to spare.

Emmett’s Review:
When you start building any of the VEX toys I like how you don’t really know how it is all going to come together. You don’t know how it’s going to work. Then when you are building it you learn how each machine will work. After you build it I liked how there are a lot of different things that can be done with it. You can launch it at different levels. So you can choose the distance which is fun. The Catapult was the most complicated one to build of the VEX toys we tried. I would say that a kid needs to be a little experienced at building before trying the catapult. The Zip Flyer would be better for younger kids.

It’s fun to play catch with the Catapult or to try shooting it at a target. I would recommend all of the VEX products and specifically the catapult.

Overall Recommendation: Great toy at a great price point.

Disclosure: These products was provided for free. However, these reviews are our own and reflect our true feelings on these products. Some links may be affiliates. 

A Recital Disaster and Avoiding Overscheduling for 01/27/2018

A Recital Disaster and Avoiding Overscheduling for 01/27/2018
Dear Family Coach

Dear Family Coach: At a recent piano recital, my daughter bombed. For weeks leading up to it the teacher asked my daughter to stop and practice this one section more because she wasn’t getting it. I also kept calling my daughter out when she practiced, to stop and try it again. My daughter would get mad, but I was just doing what the teacher kept asking her to do. Considering the less than stellar performance, what do we say to her about it? — Disappointed

Dear Disappointed: Before I answer, I have one question for you to ponder: Do you want to be honest or kind? Because you likely can’t be both.

Updated: Sat Jan 27, 2018


A Recital Disaster and Avoiding Overscheduling for 01/27/2018

A Friend's Birth Control and Teen Chats for 01/20/2018

A Friend’s Birth Control and Teen Chats for 01/20/2018
Dear Family Coach

Dear Family Coach: I’ve always been close with my 16-year-old daughter’s best friend. Recently, she confided in my that she is sexually active and would like to acquire some birth control. Her mother is a strict believer of abstinence and won’t entertain the idea of birth control. Would it be wrong to take her to the doctor myself without discussing it with her mother? — BFF Mom

Dear Mom: That’s quite the tricky situation. Dealing with an unintended pregnancy at 16 would surely cause difficulty for this girl. But being sexually active and taking medication behind her mother’s back could also cause considerable strife.

Updated: Sat Jan 20, 2018


A Friend’s Birth Control and Teen Chats for 01/20/2018

A Classmate's Suicide and an Unfriendly Mom Friend for 01/13/2018

A Classmate’s Suicide and an Unfriendly Mom Friend for 01/13/2018
Dear Family Coach

Dear Family Coach: A child in my daughter’s high school committed suicide over the holiday break. My daughter didn’t know the child and doesn’t seem particularly bothered by the incident. I’m not sure if I should discuss this incident or just let it blow over. Any advice? — Scared

Dear Scared: Teenage suicide is certainly cause for alarm. Impulsivity paired with hormonal mood swings and the rise of social media make even one suicide worrying.

Updated: Sat Jan 13, 2018


A Classmate’s Suicide and an Unfriendly Mom Friend for 01/13/2018