D&D is what our kids need

by MooshiMooshi

My kids are dedicated D&D players and have been for years. I’ve come to appreciate how important it is in their lives, and the way it allows them to form close bonds with a small group of friends in this era of Instagram and selfies. We host a weekly D&D session which has persisted for a year and a half now. The kids who come are not the socially awkward geeks of Stranger Things. They are the cool artsy kids, the kids who do drama and AP art and play in rock bands. The session goes on for 3 to 4 hours, with the kids all gathered around our dining room table. It sounds like the Superbowl every week, with the kids hooting and cheering loudly (and using a certain amount of bad language). After it is done, my kid sits with a few of them for a while longer, or they walk up and down the sidewalk outside, discussing religion and art and politics, as well as school gossip.

Both kids participate in another D&D session, which started about 3 years ago. Most of the kids have gone on to college, but every week they do their session, using Google Hangouts. This one is more subdued, but the kids are absolutely dedicated to it.

I just missed D&D myself. We had role playing games in college and I loved doing them, but my high school years were just a bit before D&D, and it wasn’t a thing at my university either. The next generation in our family, the ones who are in their 40’s now, played and still reminisce wistfully about those days. But I think it is even more important for today’s teen players, since it is one of the few activities left in which kids meet up face to face and talk to each other

This is a great OpEd from the NYTimes that expresses exactly what I have seen. I also think it is funny that an activity that was heavily criticized as leading kids into Gothdom and doom and Satanism back in the 80’s is now seen as a salvation from the doom of social media.

How do your kids engage with each other face to face? Do they have activities that encourage them to get off their phones and talk?

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Are they done yet?

by S&M

Three recent things bring me to this question:

A mother’s Facebook response to her son’s post looking for tips on getting to sleep better. Had I not known she was his mother (and a mother I have always admired), I would not have recognized it from this, or any of her comments on his page. She seems to fully accept that he is now a (young!) adult, making his own decisions and his way in the world.

A conversation with my son, in which he asked if I think he’s “turned out well”. I don’t think he’s “turned out” yet at all, think we have a couple more very important years to go. At his age, no one would have predicted what I’d be like by the time I was 25+.

This news article, in which a father says he ignored his son’s warning that something was illegal, basically because he’s a bratty kid who shouldn’t be taken as seriously as he wants to be.

GOP candidate slams his ‘arrogant’ and ‘judgmental’ son who warned him about breaking election laws in North Carolina

So my questions are: when do you think a kid is grown up? How did your relationship with yours change, or how do you expect it to change? What do you see as an ideal relationship between parent and adult child?

I have been enjoying my son’s recent personality developments, his interests and his sense of humor. I will always be there if he wants advice or shelter, but at his request. Mostly I hope that we will be able to interact much as I would with any bright young person making their way in the world. I see it as my job now to prepare him to be an active agent in the world, making his own choices and able to accept the results, good or bad. I hope we will stay close, and that I’ll be close to any grandbabies. I think accepting him as an adult a few years from now will be key in developing that closeness. How about you?

Parental advice

by North of Boston

We Totebaggers are full of good, prudent advice. But what advice of yours have your children actually taken? If they didn’t take your advice on something, how did it turn out? (i.e., did the outcome make you think, “Well, they proved me wrong on that one”, or did it make you think, “I told you so!”) If you had to rank all the pieces of advice that you give your kids, what are the top two or three that you hope they follow, even if they disregard everything else?

And on the other side of the generational divide, what advice that your parents gave you are you particularly glad you took or did not take? What advice do you regret taking or not taking?

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Plus, this from Louise:

Charging Your Kids Room and Board

by Ginger

My daughter, a recent college graduate, moved back home after graduation. She has a well-paying job and she’s living at home to build up her savings. She has no student loans. DH and I discussed that once DD starts working full time, she should contribute to household expenses, and we agreed on a monthly amount for room and board.

We broached the topic with DD a couple of months before she started her job. She was angry and offended. She’s reluctantly paying room and board while slowly getting used to the idea. She’s also finding out that some of her friends are paying room and board, too, as well making student loan payments.

DH and I both paid room and board for the short time that we lived at home after college. Totebaggers, did you pay room and board if/when you moved back home after college? Do you plan on asking your kids to contribute to household expenses if they live with you post-graduation?

My grown kid lives at home. How much rent should I charge?

Why you should consider charging your kids board

Parenting teenagers

by S&M

Parents of current and former teens, please chime in! I understand that this curve represents the norm of teen years and parenting thereof, and now am experiencing it myself. Please post, in solidarity, stories of highs and lows, humorous or heart-tugging.

I don’t know which line is the parent and which is the kid, lol!

Parents in the school lunchroom?

by Swim

Ban on parents at school lunchrooms roils Connecticut town

The headline made me roll my eyes, but a paragraph in the article made me think of our discussion earlier this week about eating out and ‘fast food.’

Other districts have wrestled with lunchroom visitation policies including Beaverton, Oregon, where restrictions were added last year because many Indian and Pakistani families were bringing warm lunches from home daily for their children. The elementary school added a rack where parents can drop off lunches, and the district assesses visit requests on a case-by-case basis, district spokeswoman Maureen Wheeler said.

I’m not familiar with the idea of bringing lunch to school at lunchtime, but bringing in a warm lunch from home (which I’m equating with home cooked and therefore ‘healthier’) sounds like a habit to encourage and the solution seems to meet the needs of the parents, students and school staff.

Cell phones and kids

by Louise

Cell phones – particularly as it concerns kids. I am finding that a lot of parents of older kids are taking phones away as discipline tools. What about the younger kids ? I see cell phones quietly being given to keep kids entertained. Of course there is question of when to give kids a cell phone – what is the Totebag consensus ?

I find myself texting my kids after they leave the house and before they begin school and conversely they text me when they are done with school – all mundane matters. Is that good or bad ?