Step Up, Parents: Schools Won’t Teach Your Kids This Valuable Skill

For some kids, success comes early and easily. But once middle school hits and the stakes are higher, developing study skills is a must.

If elementary school was the ultimate indicator of life’s future success, then my kids would be set. I hit the academic jackpot with three children who never had to study, but still made the top grades in the class.

While other moms were investing in expensive tutors, we were breezing through without even trying. In the early years, we were the lucky ones, but our luck ran out. Kids like mine, who coast through elementary school, are in for an uphill battle later on because they don’t know how to study.

My oldest child probably could have slept through fifth grade and still aced every test. Studying was non-existent in our house, because it just wasn’t necessary. School was easy and he had no reason to devote extra time because the A’s flowed in effortlessly.

But then he hit middle school and it was like running headfirst into a brick wall. Suddenly, the A’s didn’t come easily. In fact, sometimes the B’s and C’s didn’t either. My intuitively “genius” child became a frustrated teenager who was not equipped to handle complex subject matter. For the first time he was challenged in school, but he was unprepared to respond. He had no study skills.

Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck warns that kids who do well in elementary school without trying are more likely to lose confidence and motivation when the work becomes more complicated. Dweck points out in her article, “The Secret to Raising Smart Kids” for Scientific American, that “a focus on ‘process’ – not on intelligence or ability – is key to success in school.” Children who learn that effort equals success are better off than those who are used to succeeding simply because they are “smart.”

Very few children can breeze through school forever, and the earlier they learn how to study, the better. Creating the habit is key and gets more difficult as your child grows older. The kids who had to learn study strategies to survive second grade math are now better prepared to tackle Algebra than my former elementary school whiz kid. Being smart isn’t enough, and now we are playing catch up.

When my son’s first subpar grade appeared, I immediately went into panic mode. I began battling him to study so he could get his grades back on track. He reluctantly reviewed for each test, but the grades didn’t rebound. I dug deeper into what my son was actually doing when he was studying, and discovered that he put in the time, but in the wrong way. He memorized his notes and underlined some key concepts, but that’s about the extent of what was going on at his desk.

Dr. John Dunlosky, a psychology professor and Director of Experimental Training at Kent State University, identified the best methods for studying, and debunked some of the most common ways children prepare for tests. According to research published in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, Dunlosky determined that many popular study practices aren’t very effective. Re-reading and highlighting do little to promote long-term retention and understanding, and rarely yield A’s when the subject matter gets tougher. Dunlosky says the best two study tips are quite simple: 1. Don’t cram; 2. Take practice tests.

Schools don’t teach study skills, so it’s up to parents and kids to come up with a system that works. After we recovered from the initial shock of some less-than-stellar grades, we regrouped on how to study more effectively. It has been a battle of wills with a stubborn teenager, but we are making progress with some simple steps.

Spread it out. Research says that studying more frequently, but for shorter periods of time, is best. Procrastination and cramming are so tempting, but we all know they are wrong. Keep a weekly calendar for each child, and overlay it with extracurricular commitments, so kids can map out their week of studying.

Re-work the homework problems they missed. It’s easy to be happy when homework grades are near perfect, but those couple of missed concepts might be significant at test time. Homework is the best indicator of what will be on the test.

Take practice tests. Many teachers’ websites include links to online quizzes. If yours do not, then search online for new questions that test the concept they are learning.

Don’t rely on memorization. Have them create note cards with their own definitions, instead of copying what’s in the book. That way they aren’t just memorizing, but truly understanding.

Turn the student into the teacher. Have them explain the concepts to you, in their own words. If they can’t teach it, they probably don’t understand it.

Acing third grade is great at the time, but if it happens without studying, they may pay the price later on. Even if your eight-year-old Einstein understands the life cycle of flowering plants better than you do, you need to force study time so they get into the habit early. Then, with a little luck, the middle school and high school years might be a tad easier. At least the academic part.

Seed Bombs for Earth Day

This post comes directly from Marcie Cuff’s blog Marcie wrote “This Book Was a Tree,” my favorite book about exploring nature with kids. 

Seed bombs are magical little nuggets of clay, compost and native seeds used to surreptitiously improve areas you’re unable to reach.

DSC_2534-300x200To determine native species in your area, ask a smart friend, or visit the Native Plant Database. My family and I live in the Northeastern U.S., and our seed bombs include (among other seeds) eastern red columbine, red milkweed, butterfly weed, New England aster, joe pye weed, lanceleaf coreopsis, blazing star, wild bergamot, sweet coneflower and rigid goldenrod.

Select low-maintenance drought-tolerant native species that can thrive with intermittent care. As mentioned previously, choose seeds wisely. You certainly do not want to select invasive species that will threaten biodiversity. Consider species that create habitats for other native critters like butterflies and birds.

To determine your soil type, do the squeeze test: take a handful of moist (but not wet) soil and give it a firm squeeze. Most likely, one of three things will happen:

  • The soil falls apart as soon as you open your hand. This means you have sandy soil.
  • The soil holds it’s shape, and when you give it a little poke, it crumbles. This means you have loam. Perfect for a garden—it retains moisture and nutrients, but doesn’t stay soggy.
  • It holds it shape, and when you give it a little poke, it sits stubbornly in your hand. This means you have nutrient-rich clay soil. Perfect for this project.

DSC_2534-300x200If you have dreams of a yard-ful of annuals, perennials and veggies, yet have the horrible misfortune of heavy clay soil (I can relate), today you are in luck. There is little need for clay amendment in your seed bomb recipe. Just head to your backyard and collect some clay soil. If your soil is sandy or loamy, however, you must add natural clay (often found in natural stream banks), terracotta clay powder or air-dry clay (found in art supply or health food stores).

Like making a mudpie, making a seed bomb is not an exact science. Use the below recipe as a guide, but your measurements needn’t be exact.

Seed Bomb Recipe

– 3 parts clay (see note above)

– 3 parts dry organic compost or worm castings

– 1 part small native perennial seed

– 1 to 2 parts water (added by the Tbs)

The mixture should be moist, but not wet. Knead it with your hands, being sure to incorporate all seeds. Roll it into 1 to 2 inch balls. Set them on newspaper to dry for 2 days before using, or store on a sunny windowsill before throwing over a fence. Your seed bombs are ready to wreak havoc on green wastelands. Just throw and they will grow. Rich in nutrients, the clay and compost aid in germination and help strengthen plant root systems.

Nicely packaged in a handmade bag, seed bombs make fantastic handmade gifts for friends, family and teachers. Include a nice note or quote like one of these:

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant. –Robert Louis Stevenson
Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. –A.A. Milne

Once there was a tree, and she loved a little boy. –Shel Silverstein

The greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. –Roald Dahl

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart. –A.A. Milne

Small as a peanut, big as a giant, we’re all the same size when we turn off the light. –Shel Silverstein

Once you have perfected the seed bomb, you may get the urge to branch out and attempt other small-scale unlawful acts. Do not mention my name during your interrogation!

Now, Joanie or Johnny Appleseed, plant something already!

On the Road Again? Pack These Foods.

Skip the fast food and unhealthy roadside fare on your next family road trip and bring these snacks instead.

Growing up, our vacations were road trips to visit family in Toronto or Virginia. Six hours of sitting side-by-side-by-side with siblings, parents and, sometimes, my grandmother—often in a sedan. All of us listening to 1) the same radio station, unhappily; 2) my dad calling every other driver a bastard, and 3) each other repeatedly inquiring how much longer we had to go. So I mostly have repressed the details of these dreadful drives (just kidding, Mom! Love you, Dad!)—but I’m pretty sure that road food meant stopping, halfway, at a McDonald’s in Buffalo or Breezewood.

Now, as a parent, the family roadtrips I plan—to visit my parents, or my husband’s—are double, even triple, the length of those I took as a kid. We allow videos, received happily; we travel in a giant van; and I pack plenty of road food and eating supplies, like this:

Everyone brings a water bottle. And each individual is responsible for refilling it, as needed, at stops.

Pack sandwiches on good bread. We do turkey, cheese and mustard (with a PB&J for our pickier kid) on whole-grain bread,  wrap them in aluminum foil and store them in a small cooler. I’m typically not a sandwich-for-lunch person but there’s nothing better on the road. Packing our own saves money, time—and us from having to settle for fast food, or one of those pre-made sandwiches that always seems weirdly cold and soggy.

Rely on ready-to-eat veggies: We like carrots, cherry tomatoes and snap peas. My kids never eat more vegetables than when they’re captive in a van, hungry, with few other options.

Bring whole fruits that travel well. Apples are great, and pears and grapes and clementines. I always bring a big Ziploc bag to contain cores and peels without mess.

Supplement with snacks. I usually bring one salty and one sweet. Pretzels and Pirate’s Booty are popular with our crew. Often, I pre-portion single servings into baggies (so I don’t house the whole big bag). I also bring two stainless steel bowls, with lids, for easier eating by kids. For a sweet, I pack my go-to homemade chocolate-chip (or leftover [fill in the last holiday] candy) cookies, which I mostly always have stashed in the freezer.

Coffee stops are fair game. Re-caffeinating on the road, in our book, is simply being a responsible driver—and navigator. Safe travels!



Get ready for “Dragons Beware” with our interview with Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado

A free flowing conversation with Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado about creativity, family, storytelling, and their popular books “Giants Beware” and “Dragons Beware.”

Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado first teamed up at Ohio State, where they collaborated on many projects together. They’ve remained friends since their college days. Jorge is a writer and television producer, who has written for Disney, Nickelodeon, PBS, and other networks. Rafael is a storyboard artist for Warner Brothers, Disney, and Cartoon Network. Both have been in the creative industry for over twenty years.

Their first graphic novel, Giants Beware, received dozens of rave reviews. The New York Times called it “a rollicking fun story.” It’s about a feisty aspiring slayer named Claudette, who teams up with a wannabe princess and an aspiring pastry chef to slay a giant. Claudette returns in a second graphic novel, Dragons Beware, on May 12.


Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado

Parent Co:  How did your experiences growing up contribute to you wanting to be involved in the creative industry?

Raf:  I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil, basically. My dad is an artist himself, even though he never did that as a living. He ended up working in the petrol chemical industry. There were other artists in my family too. My uncle is an artist, and art was always encouraged in my household.

When I was a kid, I saw a segment on Sesame Street where they were doing stop motion animation. I knew my dad had a great camera, and I was like, “Hey, I want to do this!” He helped me out, and it just kind of set me on that path. The drawing and the filmmaking both kind of came together because I work in animation for a living. So does Jorge.

Parent Co:  Jorge, what about you?

Jorge:  I’ve always liked stories, and my father always told me a lot of stories – Greek myths and those sorts of things on road trips. We took a lot of road trips.

I remember that there was one teacher in fifth grade who complimented my writing, and I guess it went to my head. I started thinking that I was a good writer. A couple of teachers along the way encouraged it too, but I think it was that one teacher. She told me I was a good writer, so I took it seriously.

Parent Co:  You’ve both done a lot of writing for television, film, and graphic novels for a younger audiences. What do you find most appealing and challenging about creating for younger audiences?

Jorge:  Raf might have a totally different opinion, but we talked about this before. We don’t actually write for a young audience. We sort of began writing in a way that would entertain each other. We just think like kids, I guess.

Raf:  Yeah. We’re trying to entertain ourselves first, I suppose. I feel like if you start writing for that audience in mind, for children in mind, you’ll start slipping into being a bit patronizing somehow. I don’t think that’s a good way to go. Basically we’re making stuff that we would enjoy ourselves, you know?

Parent Co:  Do you feel any limitations writing for a younger audience?

Jorge:  I think the only thing that limits us would be – we’ll go easy on the blood, and we don’t curse.

Raf:  That’s it exactly. That’s true.

Parent Co:  Do either of you have any children of your own?

Raf:  Yes, we both do.

Jorge:  I have an eight-year-old boy and a five-year-old boy.

Raf:  I have two daughters. One is twelve and the other one will be nine in May.

Parent Co:  How do you balance being parents and also working in very creative and demanding fields?

Jorge:  That’s the million-dollar question. I don’t think I’m 100% successful. I try, and it’s really difficult. I think that’s all you can do. You just try to not fail at your work or fail at your family, you know?

Parent Co:  Yeah.

Jorge:  Both are equally important.

Raf:  Yeah. It’s hard trying to find the time to focus because doing this kind of work, it’s not like you can just pick it up for ten minutes, do something else, and come back to it. It’s almost…you have to get in the zone.

Having the pressure of day-to-day work, family, and finding that creative space – that’s a real challenge. It ends up being a lot of really early mornings before anybody gets up, and at night when everybody is in bed, and some weekends.

Parent Co:  I also have a daughter, a seven-year-old. I really love the idea of a strong female protagonist like Claudette to share with her since there aren’t enough out there. What inspired you to create your graphic novels Giants Beware and Dragons Beware?

Raf:  Jorge and I are old friends. We went to film school together at Ohio State. We did some projects together in film school, and then we kind of both went our separate ways. But we always knew that we wanted to do another project together at some point.

I had this idea…the character of Claudette was just this character that I kept sketching all the time. I sort of had the personality, but I wasn’t sure what the story was. I just knew that this little character deserved some kind of story.

I think I was on a long family car trip to the beach, 12-hour car ride kind of thing, and things started percolating in my head. I wrote an outline for the basic story, and then I brought it to Jorge with some sketches. I said, “Is this something you’d be interested in?”

He looked at it, and then he went off on his own and totally fleshed out the world and came up with this really rich environment. We just took it from there.

Giants Beware

Parent Co:  The medieval settings and quirky characters are really engaging for parents and kids. What about schools? What role do you see for graphic novels playing in the classroom?

Jorge:  Well, I think they’re really great motivators for reading books. If you have a reluctant reader, it’s a really good introduction for that. I found that my seven-year-old son flips pretty quickly between graphic novels and regular books, and non-form fiction, and nonfiction as well. I feel like, they just help kind of tap into the imagination, and it does keep him reading.

Raf:  Almost like a good gateway into reading chapter books or fiction. I’ve heard this first-hand from a lot of parents and teachers, because I’ve been doing a lot of school visits for the last couple of years. Like Jorge said, the reluctant readers find this easier to tackle. If they’re having difficulty with reading, it helps. It’s a good step towards that direction. Then you end up reading regular fiction or what have you.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this from parents and teachers. It’s really good for those kids that are having trouble getting it. That makes me feel great.

Parent Co: It’s true. I teach ninth graders, and even at that age, using graphic novels makes reading and language more accessible for struggling or resistant readers. They’re also great for English language learners because they can access the illustrations to makes sense of what is happening.

Raf:  I grew up in Puerto Rico, and I learned a lot of my vocabulary just from reading comic books in English as a kid. I read in Spanish too, but I started getting English comic books because it would take them a year to get translated into Spanish, so I started buying them in English. It helped me certainly as a kid. When I moved to the states I had a bigger vocabulary and that came in handy.

Parent Co:  Very cool! Do you have any advice for kids and teenagers who are interested in becoming writers or illustrators?

Raf:  Sure. Certainly draw as much as you can. I always tell kids, “If you like to sketch, just make sure you keep a sketchbook or two or three are in the house, and jot down any idea you might have because it might come in handy later on.” You have to put them down, or they’ll disappear. It’s nice to have those sketchbooks to go back to.

And practice all the time. Practice as much as you can. I tell kids, “Just like learning to play an instrument or getting good at sports, it’s the same with drawing. You just have to be dedicated, practice, and always aim to get better.”

As far as your own comics, all you need is a piece of paper and a pencil to make a comic. It’s such an inexpensive art form. You know?

Parent Co:  Totally! 

Jorge:  Yeah. I would say something similar to writing as well. To become a good writer, you just have to write. And you have to show it to people. You should be able to listen, to take criticism – but pick which criticism to take and which not to take. You have to write a lot.

Parent Co:  I know that Dragons Beware comes out May 12. What’s next for Claudette? Are you working on a third installment in the Chronicles of Claudette?

Jorge:  Yeah. It’ll be another Beware. We’re not sure if we should say who she’s supposed to be with in the next book, or who should beware Claudette. The script is written and Raf is drawing as fast as he can. And it’s looking really good.

Raf:  I’m about two-thirds into the roughs.

Parent Co:  So happy to hear that. Claudette is such a fun and lovable character. Thanks for taking the time to speak with Parent Co. Do you have any questions for us?

Jorge:  Yeah. How far are you from the Ben and Jerry’s factory?

Parent Co:  Ha! We’re in Burlington, so we’re about 30 minutes away. Close, but not dangerously close.

Jorge:  I toured there once. I loved it.


Planting earth and growing community with school gardens

“Mom, when we were out there planting, people honked and waved all the time,” my son reported. “I think they really like our gardens.”

At my house, the answer to the question “What did you do at recess today?” is anything from “ran around and played soccer” to “well, Charlie is training to be a ninja, so I helped him practice by trying to sneak up and attack him.” (That always goes over well with the playground monitors.)

However last week, he came home with the most constructive answer yet. “I helped plant some of the gardens.”

Every spring for the last four years the perimeter of the schoolyard has been transformed into a miniature farm,  thoughtfully laid out and painstakingly tended by master gardener and community activist Bonnie Acker.

Of course she doesn’t do it all alone. On that particular day, the spreading of compost, sprinkling of seeds, and digging in the dirt was shared among the couple hundred kids who wandered over to help when the mood struck.

They hauled wheelbarrows, raked out the beds, and as far as I know, managed to resist jousting with shovels.

It’s likely that many were motivated by finding perfect red raspberries nestled between the leaves and briars during recess last fall. I know that’s what my son was thinking about. In August, raspberries were hard won, due to both popularity and scratch factor. Sun gold tomatoes on the other hand, were in plentiful supply. The branches drooped, heavy with fruit. For weeks, whenever we visited, I’d find my toddler crouched under the towering 6 foot tall plants scavenging for the ones that had let go.

Bonnie deserves a national holiday.  For over two decades she planted beautiful gardens in front of the local co-op and library, often with her daughter in tow. In fact, it was her then 3 year old’s suggestion that they do it at all. The co-op needed day lilies, she declared. After getting permission and supplies, they set to work, just the two of them. They loaded shovelful after shovelful of dirt into the dumpster to make way for compost until the dumpster actually tipped.

“Someone went inside to tell customer service and they said, ‘That’s not possible –  it’s just a mom and her 3-year-old out there.’ But we had!” Though her own child is now an adult, she donates countless hours to very appreciative schools, students, and parents. Talking to her, there’s no doubt her brand of passion for teaching kids about growing and eating healthy food could change the world.

Green beans and peas are usually planted along much of the school’s chain link fence, which divides the school yard from a well traveled 3 way intersection.

“Mom, when we were out there planting, people honked and waved all the time,”  my son reported. “I think they really like our gardens.”

The smiles and beeps of appreciation could out-sweeten the raspberries.

Of course there are many reasons to plant a garden with kids. It gives them a deeper awareness of the environment and the workings of nature. It teaches patience and can offer a sense of confidence and achievement. Sure, it can also convince them to eat vegetables they’ve vehemently refused for years, but that sells short the real potential.

Gardening, particularly in a public space, is a lesson in community. Schools, parks, community garden spaces (you can check here for one near you), even your front yard, offer kids (and grown ups) the opportunity to connect with neighbors and friends. “I don’t know of many other places in our culture where people just stop and say hi,” says Bonnie.

During the school’s big planting day, kids happily shared tools and turns (it’s easier to hand off physical labor than a turn on the swing, that’s for sure), and many passerby paused to compliment them on their hard work. At pick up, there were a lot of kids with mud streaked knees and mile wide smiles. And lots of parents being given a tour of all the excitement to come.

Ultimate List of Education Apps for Kids

Check out  Katie Williams, M.Ed. super useful list of Education Apps for Kids:

“This ultimate resource lists the best apps for kids, the best apps for parents, and the best apps for teachers. Please suggest links to help me build the most comprehensive top education app directory! Apps for kids, math apps, reading apps, science apps, classroom management apps, drawing apps for kids, and more!”

Education Apps for Kids by Katie Williams, M.Ed. | ZEEF.

Digital Natives, Yet Strangers to the Web – The Atlantic

“Although many of today’s teens are immersed in social media, that doesn’t mean “that they inherently have the knowledge or skills to make the most of their online experiences,” writes Danah Boyd in her 2014 book It’s Complicated: The Secret Lives of Networked Teens.

Boyd, who works as a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, argues that “the rhetoric of ‘digital natives'” is dangerous because it distorts the realities of kids’ virtual lives, the result being that they don’t learn what they need to know about online living. In other words, it falsely assumes that today’s students intrinsically understand the nuanced ways in which technologies shape the human experience—how they influence an individual’s identity, for example, or how they advance and stymie social progress—as well as the means by which information spreads thanks to phenomena such as algorithms and advertising.

Loewy decided that this void could be eliminated with an honest, interdisciplinary high-school curriculum for the digital age—a program that would fundamentally shift how schools address kids’ virtual experiences.”

via Digital Natives, Yet Strangers to the Web – The Atlantic.

The Puzzling Rise in Nearsighted Children – WSJ


“Nearsightedness among Americans has increased quite a bit over the past few decades, but it’s nothing compared to the spike in Asia. In a recent study, “80% of 4,798 Beijing teenagers tested as nearsighted.” While researchers can’t be sure exactly what’s causing the change, they have found at least one treatment that seems to help. Going outdoors more.”

The Puzzling Rise in Nearsighted Children – WSJ.

The best book for exploring and sharing nature with kids

My very favorite book for exploring and sharing nature with kids is “This Book Was a Tree: Ideas, Adventures, and Inspiration for Rediscovering the Natural World” by Marcie Chambers Cuff. It’s both a hands-on book of crafts and activities and a book of principles and ideas for reconnecting with the natural world.

My very favorite book for exploring and sharing nature with kids is “This Book Was a Tree: Ideas, Adventures, and Inspiration for Rediscovering the Natural World by Marcie Chambers Cuff.

It’s both a hands-on book of crafts and activities, as well as a book of principles and ideas for reconnecting with the natural world. It’s a book for budding scientists, before they even know what science is.

“You don’t need expensive new equipment and supplies to get to know the world; you need only to have an open mind that asks good questions.” – Marcie Chambers Cuff in “This Book Was a Tree”

Through the lens of nature, “This Book Was a Tree” encourages kids to “touch, collect, document, sketch, decode, analyze, experiment, unravel, interpret, compare, and reflect.” Each project is designed to spark an insight, illuminate a scientific principal, or teach a positive behavior.

Sample activities include making a pinhole camera, sketching maps, creating different types of terrariums, inspirations for what to look for when wandering, creating sundials (and using them to schedule a day of exploration), tips for getting dirty, building card-based eco-calendars, measuring natural patterns like tree rings, making natural bug lotions, building nests, creating habitats, guerrilla gardening and so much more.

“All life is an experiment. The more you make the better.” – Emerson


While this book is about nature, it isn’t anti-technology:

A funny thing happened on the way to the twenty-first century. In between uploading , replying to texts, friending and unfriending, listening to podcasts, and Googling, we all drifted off the trail. It’s a complicated story, since, in many ways, our complex networked lives have mostly been improved with high-tech devices and gadgets. But, in the end , technology has displaced our exposure to the natural world. 

I love how this book identifies kids as modern pioneers:

And now you— yes, you—are the modern pioneer. Not a leathery, backwoods deerskin-wearing salt pork and hominy sort of pioneer, or a lab-coat-wearing research type, but a strong-minded, clever, crafty, mudpie-making, fort-building pioneer.

“This Book Was a Tree” isn’t overtly a book about “saving” nature; rather, it’s about experiencing and learning about nature.

However, the truth is that we’ve never been more disconnected from nature, or more divorced from our surroundings. Around the earth, ecosystems are being converted into wastelands. Rather than preach or panic, “This Book Was a Tree” simplifies this reality into a practical coda:

“Just do the best you can with what you’ve been given and don’t try to do everything at once. Look around and identify a problem that needs solving, pick a few things to get done, and experiment with ecological alternatives. Every little bit helps.” – This Book Was A Tree

It’s more critical than ever that kids get outside, explore and learn about nature when they’re young. As “This Book Was a Tree” makes clear, authentic reconnection with the natural world comes via the most human pursuits of all: exploring, imagining, making and thinking.

This is a book to own. Get it on Amazon or Powell’s. Marcie shows you how to make seed bombs.

“What a horrible mother:” How a call from a “good samaritan” derailed these mothers’ lives –

“In the months that followed my ordeal, I struggled to see myself as that stranger had seen me—not a mother running an errand, making a judgment call, juggling demands, but a criminal, a threat to my own child’s safety, a social problem to be dealt with as quickly and as anonymously as possible.”


“What a horrible mother:” How a call from a “good samaritan” derailed these mothers’ lives –