Advice and information for L.A. parents of teens and tweens.

Tweens and Teens

Social and Job Skills are the Focus of Center4SpecialNeeds Programs

The Center4SpecialNeeds, a nonprofit dedicated to providing resources, education and supports for children with developmental disabilities and their families, has sessions of two popular programs beginning in January. Kids/Teens Clubs offer activities designed to help improve children’s social skills and build self-esteem and confidence. The groups are co-ed and organized by age and abilities. Led by clinicians and support staff, the primary focus is cultivating the skills to communicate and...

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Disgusting Food Museum for Tweens

Tween Time: This Exhibit Is Disgusting

If you enjoy a good gross-out, you should line up for The Disgusting Food Museum (, a new pop culture pop-up residing in the A+D Architecture and Design Museum (900 E. 4th St., L.A.) through Feb. 17. It is the brainchild of Dr. Samuel West, the man behind The Museum of Failure that was a big hit in early 2018. The 80 items that make up this international collection of...

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light bringer project

Tomorrow’s Prize: Calling All High School Sci-fi Writers

High school students: Take out your keyboards and your wildest imagination.  For the fifth year in a row, the Pasadena-based nonprofit, the Light Bringer Project, is sponsoring a science-fiction writing competition open to all ninth- through 12th-grade students enrolled in schools across L.A. County. The Tomorrow Prize for short science fiction “inspires students to explore their present through speculating about their future and to excel in the art of storytelling,”...

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aida yodites

Aida Yodites: An Eye on Fashion and Comfort for Girls

I can’t wait to grow up! they think while they are still trapped in their young bodies, waiting impatiently for signs of adulthood. For boys, it’s that first, almost-invisible hint of a mustache. For girls, the first bra might be the confirmation they need.  Aida Yodites remembers her first bra well: the giddiness she felt and, just as vividly, the discomfort. You know the training bras of old: that stiff...

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nbc's this is us

‘This Is Us’ Star Lonnie Chavis Expands His #FixYourHeart Message

When NBC’s “This Is Us” star Lonnie Chavis discovered that a few people trolling his Instagram account were making fun of the gap in his teeth, he clapped back. Not with retaliatory words; instead, the 10-year-old sent a message that prescribes self-reflection and self-acceptance as antidotes to eradicating a culture of bullying and low self-esteem. “I could get my gap fixed. Braces can fix this, but can you fix your...

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‘From Me to You’ – Letters from a Dad’s Heart

Norman Aladjem made it through a good-size chunk of his adulthood working as an entertainment industry executive and living it up as a child-free bachelor – you know, one of those “commitment-phobic L.A. men.” Hey, those are his words, not mine. When he was a teen in Cleveland, a cheerleader named Laura had been his deepest crush, but there was just one teeny problem: the feeling wasn’t mutual. That all...

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tweens in la

Tween Time in LA: Termite Art,Kustom Kars & Outliers

During the 20th century, the distinction between “high art” (by trained artists) and “low art” (by untrained artists) has blurred, and the breaking down of these art walls is explored in three current local museum exhibits. The Petersen Automotive Museum ( is presenting “Auto-Didactic: The Juxtapoz School” (pictured) through June. Inspired by the influential underground culture magazine “Juxtapoz,” the exhibit showcases the eclectic work of 50 artists who helped to...

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bullying prevention

Get it Out! Seeks High School Students’ Voices on Bullying Prevention

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and a unique way for L.A. teens to get engaged is now available. L.A. Therapist Stephanie Bien, LMFT, LPCC and co-author of the book “Bully Prevention Tips for Teens: 18 Powerful Ways to Protect Yourself through High School,” just launched the Get it Out! Campaign. Bien and business partners Stephanie and Ned Jacobs teamed up with Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center to allow high...

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Book Illuminates Undocumented Family’s Quest for the ‘American Dream’

When people read headlines about undocumented students or the Dream Act, they generally have a vague concept of what the ideas mean and how they affect the people involved. It’s easy to generalize with a 24-hour news cycle. It is even easier to think you understand some of the complex and challenging reasons people come to the U.S. and remain undocumented. Fortunately, authors and activists with unique voices have helped...

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school safety in Los Angeles

New YA Press Portrays Teens’ Real Stories and Voices

With everything our kids have to face these days, from the threat of school shootings and cyberbullying to coping with divorce and body dysmorphia, there are not a lot of places for them to go to be heard and understood on their terms. Anthony Zuiker is hoping to change that with the creation of a new publishing imprint, Zuiker Press. Zuiker is the creator and former executive producer of “CSI:...

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meditation for children

Mallika Chopra: Making Meditation Accessible for Children and Families

An increasing number of schools and studios throughout the country are introducing children to meditation and yoga to help them deal with stress and overstimulation. Mallika Chopra, mom, author and wellness expert, wants these coping tools to be accessible to all children – even outside a workshop or class. With the publication of her new book, she is well on her way to achieving this goal.   Written for 8- to...

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Author Joey Green Partners with James Patterson for Funny Kids’ Book

Joey Green, co-author of the new middle-grade sci-fi fantasy, “Not So Normal Norbert,” is one funny guy.   His resume includes working as a “National Lampoon” writer and as a copywriter at the New York advertising agency J. Walter Thompson. His boss at the agency was a guy named Jim who occasionally wrote murder mystery books. “Jim became James Patterson. I became the author of more than 60 books, mostly humor,”...

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7 Steps to Becoming a Well-Behaved Parent

Are you a well-behaved parent? We are all so concerned about our children's behavior, yet so often we act like jerks to our kids. We lose our patience with them, yell at them, tell them what to do without saying “please” or “thank you,” change the TV channel without asking, tell them to move when we want to sit somewhere and expect them to have cleanliness and discipline skills we do...

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kids grieve

Camp Erin-LA Gives Kids a Place to Grieve Loss

Dealing with the death of a loved one can be difficult for a child. Thankfully, there’s a place for them to work through their grief alongside other children who are dealing with the same pain. Camp Erin-LA, located at the scenic 45-acre Camp Bloomfield campground in the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu, will offer a free weekend-long camp Aug. 17-19 for children and teens ages 6 to 17 who’ve lost...

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sibling rivalry

A Book that Celebrates Sibling Rivalry

“Frenemies in the Family,” the latest volume of historical and contemporary biographies by Kathleen Krull, is a wonderful read for people of all ages. I left it on my coffee table and came home to find my 80-year-old father-in-law and 6-year-old daughter equally excited to talk about the Bunker Brothers (go look them up!).   Krull has spent a lifetime as a biographer for children, and “Frenemies in the Family” is...

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etiquette classes in los angeles

Modern Manners for Kids in Los Angeles

How is etiquette school still a thing? That was my first thought when I received this assignment. The concept sounded frightfully outdated, especially in a household like mine, where there’s no room among the chaos for white gloves or ballroom dancing. And it certainly doesn’t seem to fit the L.A. vibe, where casual clothes and lattes on the go are more commonplace than a formal afternoon tea. But while “etiquette”...

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Summer Camp in Los Angeles

#CampReady: C is for Couselors-In-Training

Not all leaders are born. Some have been cajoled into leadership roles and molded into leadership material with the help of summer camps in Los Angeles. At least that’s Sasha Karlova’s story. While the young Karlova was soft-spoken and reticent, her mentors glimpsed a spark in her that they sensed could be stoked into something more. “Leadership is not something that comes easily for me, but I have been very...

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mommy and me spa in los angeles

Mommy and Me Spa Day in Los Angeles: Share the Ahhhhh

While a relaxing day at the spa can be a great solo break for a busy mom, it can also be a fun way to spend one-on-one time with your child. We found a fantastic group of L.A. spas that offer special packages for moms and kids to enjoy together, or services for kids to enjoy while Mom takes advantage of an adult treatment. So go ahead, bond with your...

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john august

L.A. Parent Chat Room: Meet Screenwriter and Author John August

You may know L.A. local John August from his screenwriting credits, which include “Big Fish,” “Charlie’s Angels” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” But, now he’s notched up a new credit: middle-grade novelist. “Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire,” an engaging and exciting blend of magic, mayhem and mystery, introduces readers to 12-year-old Arlo, a newcomer to Pine Mountain, Col. Arlo soon makes friends and is invited to join...

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mean girls

New Book Addresses ‘Mean Girl’ Effect in Early Years

As a child and adolescent psychotherapist, parenting expert and writer Katie Hurley, LCSW, argues that the “mean girl” syndrome is not reserved for high school. In fact, Hurley wrote her book, “No More Mean Girls: The Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls,” with younger girls in mind. “You’ll find information and strategies to help your girls from preschool through middle school with developing friendships, dealing with relational aggression...

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5 Tips for Protecting Your Children During Your Divorce

So, you have arrived at the difficult decision to end your marriage, a decision with which you struggled. How will you break the news to your son or daughter? How will you feel when you do not see your child every day? How will your child feel when he or she does not see you each day? What can you do to assuage the emotional impact the divorce will have...

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having more kids

On Having More Kids: When Baby Makes Four

The decision to have a child is one of the most momentous people can make. Those who venture down that path undertake lifestyle changes that transform every aspect of their financial, social and personal lives for decades to come. An equally momentous transition can be the one from one child to two. Add a sibling and you’re upending things for yourself, your co-parent and your first child. While parents bond...

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Helping Boys Get the #MeToo Message

Currently, we can’t watch the news or connect with social media without hearing about another sexual harassment scandal. Although our instinct is to want to talk to our daughters about ownership of their bodies, boundaries and consent. But the vital conversations to have right now is with our sons. In order to raise caring, empathetic and sensitive boys we need to create a cultural shift to one of mutual respect...

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The Battle Against Bullying

One of the worst things a parent can ever witness is their child being hurt physically and emotionally. Bullying covers both in spades.   Unlike schoolyard taunts, childish teasing and miscommunication, bullying causes hurt at a whole new level. It involves an imbalance of power where one person intentionally and repeatedly causes physical or psychological harm to another. This can take the form of pushing, hitting, destroying one’s possessions, excluding one...

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kids and chores

Can the Kids Pitch In? Kids and Chores

’Tis the season for ambitious resolutions, fresh starts – and perhaps a bit more help around the house. But where to start? Are your children old enough for chores? Should you pay them? Are you sick of nagging – and re-doing their efforts? When polling my friends with 5-year-olds about the topic, the responses were entertaining. A creative Eagle Rock mom had some success convincing her son that Tom Petty...

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Tween Time: A Day of Service for Los Angeles Teens

Some kids might think of Martin Luther Day Jr. Day, which this year falls on Jan. 15, as just another day off from school. Others, however, consider it a “day on” for volunteering. MLK Day, which became a federal holiday in 1983, also was designated a National Day of Service in 1994. While people of all ages can participate, the holiday presents a particularly good opportunity for tweens and teens...

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PhilanthroParties Show Teens How to Party for a Cause

Lulu Cerone grew up in the sweltering San Fernando Valley, so as a kid she became a lemonade stand entrepreneur, racking up cash as her thirsty neighbors sought out her homemade juice.  Eventually, Lulu’s mother, Lisa, encouraged her to turn her lemonade sale profit to good use – to look around her community and identify a social problem she wanted to help improve. But Cerone found herself transfixed by the...

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middle school students

Parenting Through Middle School Students’ Perfect Storm

New parents get all the sympathy. Everyone is ready to commiserate over the sleepless nights, dirty diapers and crush of responsibility that come with the birth of a child. Our babies, after all, need our 24/7 attention and care.  Parents of middle schoolers, on the other hand, don’t get much more than a grimace from those of us who have survived that stage in our kids’ lives. We roll our...

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kids social life

Kids’ Social Life at School: Helping Your Child Manage Without Meddling

We all know how important social life at school can be. We were kids once, too. From making new friends in kindergarten to navigating fickle social circles in middle school, forging and sustaining relationships is a huge part of growing up. Peers also play a significant role in kids’ development.  “The power of the relationship is crucial in building other components of learning,” explains Christina Kim, director of student life...

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stem in los angeles schools

Adding an M to STEM in Los Angeles Schools

Just who’s putting all this steam into STEM in Los Angeles Schools? Take a straw poll, and you’ll hear credit for the classroom technology boom assigned to a variety of individuals. Topping the list are the scores of ever-inventive teachers, principals and heads of school who are willing to experiment and generous parents and donors offering their time, expertise and funds. Finally, there are the students who – with their...

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Aligning Your Kids’ Enrichment With Your Big-Picture Goals

My 7-year-old son is a joiner. He plays Little League, basketball and dances in a hip-hop class. When the brochure for after-school enrichment comes home in his backpack, he pores over the choices, circling everything that interests him. This past year, he tried drum lessons, skateboarding, game design and cooking. I love his enthusiasm, but almost every day I see articles online about the dangers of having overscheduled kids. Am...

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tweens in los angeles

Tween Time: Pasadena Library Says ‘Yeah!’ to YA Fiction

Do you love YA fiction? Well, the folks at the Pasadena Central Library hear ya and will again host a day devoted to Young Adult literature. From 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 16, Pasadena Love YA brings more than 15 authors to the library for panel discussions, meet-and-greets and book signings. Amerie, Audrey Coulthurst, Cindy Pon, Emily Ziff Griffin, Daniel Sweren-Becker, Aditi Khorana, Jeff Garvin and E. Katherine Kottaras are among...

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Everything You Need to Know About Life in College

Whether your student is heading off to a big university or staying local and attending your city’s community college, starting at a new college can be a fun and exciting time filled with self-exploration, new friends and tons of memorable moments. In “UChic—The College Girl’s Guide to Everything,” author Christie Garton seeks advice from more than 50 girls who attended colleges all over the nation and draws from her own...

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los angeles programs for kids

Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders

A lifetime ago, my incoming junior-year class was required to participate in a “leadership day” at a nearby ropes course. It was my every nightmare come true: uncharted physical activities and interacting with high-school peers who had decided long ago I wasn’t up to par. I successfully crossed a tightrope and engaged in a sharing circle without stuttering, but the memory that most stands out was falling off a swing...

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For Teens and Tweens, A Look Back at the Watts Riots

Our current crop of teens and tweens might not remember the Los Angeles riots that followed the Rodney King verdict in 1992. Likewise, parents may not recall the Watts Riots, a monumental moment in L.A. history that took place 52 years ago this August. On that point, parents and tweens alike can get a history lesson courtesy of the new middle-grade novel from Karen English. “It All Comes Down To...

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Our Breakfast-to-Bedtime Back to School Guide

Remember last year’s back to school photo? The kids wore big, happy grins and fresh haircuts. Inside their shiny new backpacks awaited orderly pencil cases and a homemade-with-love lunch filled with summer veggies and nothing processed. Cut to the second week: Running to the car five minutes late, the day’s completed homework forgotten on the kitchen table and cranky parents playing Rock-paper-scissors to see who has to leave work early...

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Easy and Fun Recipes for Busy College Students

Healthy, low-cost food options that are dorm-room friendly have been traditionally hard to come by, but “The Quick and Easy Vegetarian College Cookbook” from Adams Media offers more than 300 meals that fit the bill. Staying healthy amid the hustle and bustle of college life can be tough, but this recipe book offers delicious meals and snacks for even the busiest students. The book suggest healthy late-night study snacks and...

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Father’s Day When Father Isn’t there

Father’s Day is usually an occasion for children to celebrate with their parents. Children might make cards, write stories or invite their parents to school for special programs marking the importance of their parents in their young lives. For a child whose father is absent, however, these celebrations can be confusing and even painful. A parent might have died or live in another state or town. A father could be...

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Talking to Kids About the Manchester Attack

On Monday night, May 22, a suicide bomber set off explosions that killed at least 22 people and injured 59 more outside Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. The crowd was there to see a concert by pop star Ariana Grande, so many of those injured and killed were kids and families. Because of Grande’s popularity with tweens, it’s likely your kids have heard at least something about the attack. They...

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los angeles teens

It’s Teen Time at the YMCA This Summer

Cure your teen's summertime blues with free fun at Los Angeles YMCA locations this summer. Ages 12-17 are invited to visit the Y during June and July for free meals provided by the Los Angeles Unified School District, part-time jobs through the city and county of Los Angeles and swimming, basketball, fitness classes, free Wi-Fi and exclusive teen programs. Enrollment begins May 1 at all Los Angeles YMCA locations. All teens enrolled must attend an orientation...

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Safe and Sensitive Sunscreen

Sun protection is a year-round necessity in Southern California. But what if you have a child with sensitive skin or a teen battling acne? Dermatologist Paola Rodriguez, M.D., from Kaiser Permanente South Bay Medical Center, shares great options for every skin type. How does sunscreen protect our skin? There are a couple of different ways in which sunscreen can protect our skin. Physical sunscreen, which some people would call a...

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Dating for Young Adults With Disabilities

Finding one surefire approach to dating for people with disabilities is as difficult as nailing down one definition for disability. “People with disabilities are the biggest minority group in the United States,” says Trevor Finneman, a 32-year-old attorney with hearing loss. “There are so many different kinds of disabilities, and each one impacts each person differently.” Dating can be awkward and challenging, if sometimes exciting, for anyone at any age....

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Understanding Middle School Mean Girls

Eleventh grader Natalie Hampton had always loved school. That changed in seventh grade, when fellow students at the private all-girls L.A. middle school she attended began cyber bullying and taunting her, even physically attacking her on four occasions. She almost always ate lunch alone and developed migraine headaches and gastritis. It was a common case of “mean girls” at work. Why do some girls become bullies around age 12 or...

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Getting Teen Boys to Talk

Recently, a mom I know lamented that her formerly talkative son became silent when he turned 13. “He used to tell me about everything,” she said sadly. “Now it’s hard to get two words out of him and he does not share his life with us at all.” Her comment reminded me that I had suddenly felt panic 16 years ago when I was six months pregnant and realized I...

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When the News Is Scary or Confusing

Editor's note: This is an update of a 2015 article which, sadly, is still quite relevant and timely. Television, radio, newspapers and social media bring us news of terrorist attacks and tragedy on a daily basis. And too often, as in the case of a shooting Monday (April 10, 2017) at North Park Elementary school in San Bernardino, the news is much closer to home. How can parents begin to...

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A Straightforward Approach to Parenting Teen Girls 

Wondering why your sweet girl is starting to push you away? Psychologist Lisa Damour, Ph.D., is an expert in parenting teen girls and she has some good news. The teen years, she assures parents wondering why we have suddenly become “inexplicably annoying and totally irrelevant,” are “the psychological equivalent of putting training wheels on a bike.” In her book “Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood,” Damour...

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National Study Looks at Adolescent Brains

If you’ve got tweens or teens, no doubt you’ve wondered what’s going on in their heads. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, USC and UCLA are now part of a 10-year nationwide study of 10,000 kids that aims to find out. The Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study will follow participants from ages 10 to 20, collecting brain-imaging data, genetic information and information about kids’ cognitive development and environmental exposures. Brain development...

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Why This Dad Is On Pokemon Go

Last year, Los Angeles TV producer Brant Pinvidic found himself equally baffled by two things. One was the exploding popularity of the smartphone game Pokemon Go, which in the summer of 2016 was played by millions of people, including his whole family. The other was how to find common ground with his 13-year-old daughter, who had become obsessed with catching its virtual characters to the point where he caught her...

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parenting - Margot Machol Bisnow

Margot Machol Bisnow: On Raising Entrepreneurs

Author Margot Machol Bisnow defines entrepreneurs not just as business owners but also as musicians who put together a band, actors who organize their own careers and activists working to create a better world. As a way to explore that spirit of resiliency, outside-the-box thinking and innovation, Bisnow interviewed 60 successful entrepreneurs and their moms to discover the parenting style that helped foster these confident and creative entrepreneurs. The result...

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teen marijuana use

Will Pot Legalization Boost Teens’ Use?

In November, Californians voted to legalize recreational use of marijuana. And while details are still being worked out, parents of teens and tweens should take action now and start having conversations about pot with their kids, says Diane Tanaka, MD, medical director of the Teenage and Young Adult Health Center at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Why? Because as use of marijuana becomes more tolerated, kids are less likely to consider...

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kids financial

Four L.A. Programs That Teach Kids Financial Savvy

Any financial planner will tell you that it’s never too early to start stashing away money for retirement or for that rainy day. Just as importantly, it’s never too early to learn about the proper ways to stash money away. There’s some evidence that most parents aren’t qualified to help children gain this knowledge. Total debt in the U.S. for car loans, student loans and credit cards is $4 trillion,...

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5 Common-Sense Tips For Raising Great Kids

It’s the middle of January and many of us have broken our New Year’s Resolutions and are back to who we were in December. For parents who are looking for a way to raise their children to be respectful, likeable, and successful adults it’s not too late. Here are 5 philosophical tips that will pay dividends for years to come including: Teach your kids to leave a trail of people...

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Giving Your Child The Power to Say No

The weekend was winding down and the four of us headed out for a Sunday matinee. We all decided on “Miracles from Heaven,” rated PG. It’s a story about a 10-year-old girl who has a rare, incurable disease. The mother becomes a fierce advocate for her daughter and the film eventually ends with the young girl recovering from her illness, in what can only be described as a miracle. But...

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kids mental health

Protecting Adolescents’ Mental Health with Screenings

Doc Talk: Tips & Advice  If your child is 12 or older and you visit the Emergency Department at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with a medical issue, you’ll likely be asked to leave the room for 2-3 minutes so the doctor can administer a mental-health screening. Dr. Alan Nager shares about the program he created. When and why did you begin these screenings? About four years ago. The American Academy...

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los angeles events

Tween Time With Author Greg Pincus

Did you know California once had a law that banned homework? Don’t worry, parents, it was repealed more than a century ago. This obscure law, however, did serve as an inspiration for Greg Pincus’ new middle-grade book, “Homework Strike.” Pincus has brought back Gregory K., the main character from his last book, “The 14 Fibs Of Gregory K.,” and now has Gregory struggling with the trials and tribulations of life...

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Parents Spend More Than Nine Hours a Day with Screen Media

A first-of-its-kind study released this month by Common Sense Media shows that parents spend more than nine hours (9:22) a day with screen media, the vast majority of that time being spent with personal media (7:43) and only slightly more than 90 minutes devoted to work media. The vast majority of these parents (78%) believe they are good media-use role models for their kids. Meanwhile, many parents are concerned about...

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parenting book

Book Review: “Girls & Sex, Navigating the Complicated New Landscape”

Peggy Orenstein, a New York Times best-selling author, covers it all – sexual myths our teens believe, the effects of social media, the hookup culture, the role of drugs and alcohol and the realities of sexual assault – in this book that every parent should read. Orenstein is a journalist and a mom who shares her own concerns as a parent and tells us early on that the in-depth reporting...

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tech for kids

Anti-bullying App Saves Kids a Seat

Navigating the school cafeteria can be stressful. But for 16-year-old Natalie Hampton, who lives in Sherman Oaks and was verbally, physically and cyber bullied during middle school, lunch was one of the worst parts of the day. Being seen eating by herself didn’t help. “I felt vulnerable and worthless. I also think being excluded branded me as a target for bullying,” says Hampton. Her experience led her to create the...

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kids money tips

Sunny Lee: Raising Money-Savvy Kids

Sunny Lee, the youngest of four children, grew up in a small village in South Korea. Watching her parents, factory and construction workers, scrimp to just barely meet their basic needs, Lee decided early on that she would use education, hard work and sheer determination to become financially independent. The Rancho Palos Verdes resident began her career as a journalist and later became a financial advisor. Her vigilance about money...

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positive parenting

Finding Diversity in Children’s Books

Five Easy Ways to Find Inclusive Reads Your Kids Will Love “There were tons of brown kids just like me running around the neighborhood where I grew up in East L.A. in the mid-90s, but I never came across a single book about anyone who looked like me until high school,” says Julia Casas, youth services librarian for the Santa Monica Public Library’s Ocean Park Branch. When Casas, a Latina,...

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fun ideas for kids

Booki Vivat Turns Doodles Into Her Debut Book

Inspiration for a writer can come for almost anywhere. An overheard conversation. A story on the news. Two paths diverged in the woods. For Booki Vivat, it was a doodle she drew that said: “I live my life in a constant state of impending doom.” That drawing evolved, eventually, into Vivat’s delightful debut book “FRAZZLED: Everyday Disasters and Impending Doom” (due out Sept. 27 from HarperCollins Children’s Books). The book...

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Helping Your Teen Through a Move

Being the parent of a teenager is a challenge in any city, but can be even more difficult if your family has recently relocated. Southern California in general, and Los Angeles in particular, can be a challenge for anyone who is not used to the diversity in people and activities. For a teen who is new to the area, the first few weeks or months will inevitably present challenges with...

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positive parenting

A Family Legacy Worth Leaving Behind

It is a day I will never forget – Christmas 2013 in snowy Chicago, and my parents were visiting from Texas. Christmas carols were playing, festive food and decorated cookies were on the table, and I had buttery egg nog in hand and a big smile on my face as I sat to watch my then 2-year-old daughter, Sofia, open her first gift from under our tree. The first package...

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On the Record: What Mom Really Wants for Mother’s Day

Every year when my husband asks, "What do you want for Mother's Day?" I always respond exactly the same way: “Amor, I don't need a Mother's Day gift. My kids are enough." But wait a minute, who am I kidding? I do want something! Why do I feel guilty admitting that I secretly want something for Mother’s Day? Is it because I feel like I should not get a gift...

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Doc Talk: Why There Are No Accidents

The other day, a 9-year-old came in to the emergency department with an elbow fractured in a way that required a surgical repair with metal pins, and a cut across the middle of his forehead that required plastic surgery. He had tried to skateboard down six stairs. In emergency medicine, we don’t call these “accidents,” because the injuries that happen by accident are almost always preventable. And the key to...

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A Plea for More Old-Fashioned Play

Happy New Year! Like many of you I also had a busy holiday season. This week, our kids were ready to go back to school, the house is slowly getting back to normal and routine is kicking in. If you are like our family, many gifts were given and received, especially anything that was device- or game-oriented. As a parent, educator and advocate for wellness and vitality, I have to...

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Mary McNamara: A Mom With a Critical Eye on TV

Mary McNamara took on her job as television critic at The Los Angeles Times in 2009. The mother of three – Danny Stayton, 17; Fiona Stayton, 15 and Darby Stayton, 9 – had been a features writer and editor at The Times for 18 years when she was offered the job. “My question was, ‘Can I work from home?’ And they said, ‘Oh yeah, you’ll have to.’ If I didn’t...

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Fun ideas for kids - Communigift

CommuniGift Helps Birthday Boys and Girls “Gift Back”

Most children who attend The Salvation Army’s Los Angeles Day Care Center downtown don’t expect a big party and a pile of presents on their birthdays. The center serves low-income children, many with parents who spend long hours working nearby in the Fashion District. So, 4-year-old Henry was shocked and delighted to receive presents courtesy of a secret birthday buddy who decided to “gift forward” some birthday presents through an...

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Keeping It Real For Your Child Actor

Every parent is proud of their little darling’s accomplishments, from the finger paintings on the refrigerator to – in the case of some of our Hollywood-bred children – the National commercial airing during the Super Bowl. We adults recognize the difference between these two accomplishments, but kids might feel much more excited about their artwork on the fridge than about the day they spent on set eating cereal. And that’s...

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Tips For Buying Your Child an Instrument

The holidays are at hand and you want to surprise your musically inclined child with a brand-new instrument. Or maybe your rental is due in a month and you would rather put money into an instrument you own. First, I want to applaud you for making this important investment into your child’s musical education and enrichment. A top-quality instrument can provide enjoyment for many years. But what do I look...

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Dr. Shefali Tsabary: Promoting ‘Conscious’ Parenting

Becoming a parent changes us in the most profound and irrevocable ways, and it is often our children who motivate and inspire us to grow into our best selves. Through everyday interactions and ordinary moments, we have the opportunity to create a meaningful connection with our children and nurture a deep sense of resilience, tolerance and self-acceptance in them. But first we need to better understand ourselves, says Shefali Tsabary,...

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What To Do When Your Kids Argue

Sibling rivalry is one of the most discussed topics in my practice. “How do I get my children to stop fighting? How do I help them get along?” No matter what the age difference between the children, this is an area of no escape. Common areas of conflict include siblings sharing rooms, siblings being rude to one another and siblings arguing when a friend is over. And when rivalries flare...

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Have a Fabulous Fiesta Birthday!

Lucky and I love throwing parties, celebrating with friends, laughing, drinking and eating. Lucky is the chef of the house and I am the party planner – but neither of us likes doing the dishes! Here are our tips for a great fiesta with plenty of fun ideas for kids: Mix up the guest list. Invite your most fun friends and your most interesting friends. Sometimes, these are the same...

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A Book Club Podcast Just For Tweens

For almost 10 years, Kitty Felde hosted “Talk of the City” on local public radio station KPCC. Part of the fun was attending the L.A. Times Festival of Books and meeting listeners at the KPCC table. Parents would bring their kids with them, and the kids would say they also listened to the station. Felde’s response: “You do not.” But the kids would always insist, “We have to. We’re in...

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Stop Over-Parenting and Raise An Adult

In recent years, there has been a lot of talk in the media, at PTA meetings and among parents and educators on the effects of helicopter parenting – knowing when to step in to help and when to allow children to do things for themselves. A new book by Julie Lythcott-Haims does a great job exploring the topic of over-parenting and its detrimental effects on young adults. How to Raise...

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Why Kids Need Job Skills Now

Except for occasionally being asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” most of us didn’t give much thought to our career options until our college years. Maybe. Our focus up to that point was on getting the grades to get into college. These days, programs are popping up that capitalize on our teens’ desire to do things on their own terms, channeling that drive to help...

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Local Programs That Give Girls a Voice

Janel Pineda always knew she loved writing, but never thought about how that could impact her life. That changed when her uncle mailed her a newspaper about a Los Angeles writing program for young girls. At age 14, Pineda joined WriteGirl, where she attended writing workshops and worked closely with a mentor throughout high school. “I always wrote short stories and poems in my free time, but my school was...

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A Different Kind of Carpool

Need to get each of your three kids to a different place at the same time? HopSkipDrive (, a ride service started by three L.A. moms tired of struggling to get their children to various activities, could be the answer. No, this isn’t Uber for kids. HopSkipDrive is more like an extension of your child’s caregiver. Drivers will follow your pick-up and drop-off instructions, walking in to sign your kids...

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Detecting Body-Image Issues In Your Teen

What does your teen see when he or she looks in the mirror? “Body image” is how we describe what people believe about their outward appearance, how they feel about their bodies and how they sense and control their movements. Issues can occur when teens start showing signs of a negative body image, perceiving their bodies as something other than reality, convinced that their size or shape is a personal...

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Teaching Kids To Speak Up

My daughter is lost in play with a friend, and I watch as her eyes suddenly fix on the floor beneath her. The conversation is quiet and I can’t quite make out the words between them, but I can sense from her posture that she doesn’t want to speak up. The path of least resistance tends to be her favorite path, even if it means pushing her own ideas and...

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Don’t Neglect Essential Social-Skills Development

“Don’t miss the forest for the trees,” so the saying goes. When it comes to parenting, the “trees” are the many academic milestones and measuring sticks society tends to focus on, and the “forest” is the bigger picture of overall development and social skills in our children. Society tends to be achievement oriented and, once children reach ages 3 to 5, their ability to verbalize, add, subtract and write takes...

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College Life: 5 Things To Tell Your Daughter Before Move-In Day

Your daughter is going off to college and you’re worried she won’t be prepared to live away from home (though she’d probably beg to differ). The team behind and The Her Campus Guide to College Life  has some simple tips you can offer to help her get the most out of her first dorm experience and have the best freshman year possible. Protect your safety and your belongings. Dorm...

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How Failure Improves Homework Habits

Most parents want to make sure they are doing everything they can to assure their children are happy, healthy, feel good about themselves and are successful. “How do I get my child to clean up their room without a fuss?” “How do I limit electronic entertainment?” “How do I get them to stop fighting with their siblings?” These are common questions I receive. But one of the most common is:...

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Taking the Perfect Family Photo: Photographers Give Their Advice

With summer under way, families are getting together for barbecues, pool parties and outdoor adventures, and taking advantage of all these summer activities to stage family photos. Family portraits can get a little stressful, especially since there is always that one person in the group who feels like taking pictures is not for them. Whether you have little ones who get fussy and don’t want to pose, a relative who...

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Teach Life Skills This Summer

As summer begins, many parents look forward to a relaxing, stress-free two months. They are so happy to be relieved of the pressures of getting their children ready for school in the morning, making lunches and making sure homework gets done in a timely manner. The household looks forward to the less-structured environment and a vacation from routine. I understand and sympathize with this feeling of relief. However, I want...

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3 Ways to Help Boost Your Teen’s Self-Esteem after Rejection

Rejection is never easy. More difficult to handle, as a parent, is the rejection of your child. You feel responsible and take the rejection personally. You ask yourself, How did I fail as a parent? But even more, you ask yourself, What can I say or do to mend my child’s broken heart? As a mother or father, you’re usually at a loss as to what to do in the...

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Girl Playing Tennis

Empowering Our Daughters

A Recipe For Raising Strong, Confident Girls By Robert Moskowitz Once upon a time, people said little girls were made of sugar and spice, and everything nice. Today, most of us recognize that the recipe for raising girls not only includes more ingredients, but that too much sugar can be toxic. According to Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author of the groundbreaking and still-relevant book Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent...

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