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"Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify, simplify!"

Q: Can you suggest ways to deal with getting kids off technology at bedtime?

Dear Mr. Dad: Our 15-year old son is still a few years away from college, but my wife and I are already thinking about when he's going to move out and begin a life on his own. A number of our friends have kids who have already graduated from college and one after another, those kids are moving back home. We love our son and would be happy to have him visit anytime - or move back for a short time in case of emergency - but we really want him to be self-sufficient. What can we do now to make sure he can make it on his own out there?

You find out - long after others already know - that a close friend has decided to adopt a child. Or your cousin is getting a divorce because she's been having an affair you didn't know about. Or maybe a co-worker told everyone but you that he is getting promoted.

Q: We have my husband's sons about 40% of the time, and I have mine full-time. My husband works in another city during the week so it is sometimes only me and four boys. Now his ex says we need to have kids 50/50 (and kids want to, too), and even though my husband is out of town she still thinks it's his responsibility - and he pays a lot of child support, as well. In reality it will be me looking after them and I feel that I am doing as much as I can, so I have refused. Am I being unreasonable? What's good ex-etiquette?

There are moments, at age 57, when I feel stiff and rusty, like something Picasso welded together. For instance, I ate so many marinated mushrooms the other night that I three out my back. I also cleaned the garage earlier that day, which probably didn't help.

For nearly three years I've been waiting for this moment. Our oldest granddaughter, age 5, has lost a tooth. It's not the first tooth she has lost, just the first tooth she has lost naturally.

I've spoken at several conferences in the last year or so where presenters were opining on the subject of the teenage brain. Their thesis was that features of the so-called "teenage brain" are largely responsible for the self-centered, irrational, moody, rebellious behavior now associated with adolescence.

There are moments, at age 57, when I feel stiff and rusty, like something Picasso welded together. For instance, I ate so many marinated mushrooms the other night that I threw out my back. I also cleaned the garage earlier that day, which probably didn't help.

Recently I had the great, if somewhat terrifying, pleasure to stand before an assembly at Hope Elementary in Hope, Indiana, and speak to the students in grades 2-6 about "Reading, Writing and Life."

ORLANDO - Brutally battered on a June night five years ago, Joi Partain became known as the "Golf Club Girl" for her ex-boyfriend's weapon of choice.

In this season of trying out for high school sports - then not making the team and thinking it's the end of the world - our children need to learn how to manage their rejection and disappointment.

The vast majority of conservative Americans - 81 percent - believe it's "especially important" for children to be taught religious faith, while most liberals - 88 percent - place tolerance at the top of their list of values children should learn.

Did you know only 10 percent of American adults and children eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day? This means many families are missing out on the health benefits that fruits and vegetables provide, such as a lowered risk for heart disease and some types of cancer. By serving family meals that showcase a variety of ingredients from all five food groups, you will help your family meet their daily recommended servings and encourage lifelong healthy eating patterns.

If you're a football fan, your eyes have been glued to the news for updates on how the NFL is handling abuse issues within the league. More than one player has their career on the line for making questionable decisions when it comes to disciplining their kids. As parents, we all make mistakes and fall short from time to time, but when it comes to keeping our anger in check, we can't afford to get it wrong. Keeping kids safe has to be our number one priority. Below you'll find a few tips to help set boundaries and prevent tempers from flaring.

Joshua Chambers may be only 5 years old, but he's savvy enough to understand that if life gives you an opportunity to mix whipped cream and cheerleaders, you should seize the day.

Parents may complain they are frazzled, multi-tasking messes (or maybe that's just me?) but when it comes to focusing on work and other key tasks, they report more focus than those without kids, a recent poll found. The results may seem "counter-intuitive," but they showed parents reported longer attention spans than adults without children.

"I'm Officer Otis, and I'm here to help!"

My crucible was a papier-mache pueblo village.

One day you'll lie on the couch with a magazine, occasionally offering helpful suggestions to your children as they make you dinner, and it won't even be Mother's Day. Are you laughing? I understand. My kids are 15 and 11 now, and recently they prepared a meal of baked tofu, mashed potatoes, and salad. But when they were little, I never thought that day would come, any more than I believed those chimps at typewriters could someday write Hamlet.

We all have our own personal rhythm for when we work or concentrate best and children are no different. Not all children are able to come home and start their homework: Some need to have some relaxation time, while others will never get it done if it's not tackled straight away. Some will need to physically move while they learn and others will need to talk it through. Your child's dominant sense will give you great insight into how best to encourage and what nuances to allow when helping your child achieve successes with completing their homework.

Geoffrey Arnwine's keen visual sense told him something was wrong.

We're always looking for baby names that are at once wonderful and unusual, and so today's list compiles 100 great names given to fewer than 100 babies in the US last year. We included names from a range of styles: classic and under-appreciated as well as modern and under-discovered. Half of the golden 100 are girls' names and half boys' names. And the names are ordered from most-to-least used, with the number of children who received the name in 2013 noted after each. Our picks for 100 unusual and wonderful baby names are:

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Blame reality TV. Blame films about sexually active youths. Blame, as always, the Internet.

I often throw the word "joy" around.

CHICAGO - As Oboi Reed and Jamal Julien weaved their bikes around parked cars and potholes recently in the Chatham neighborhood of the city, a woman on the sidewalk called out, "Y'all are riding in the street?"

I stood frozen in a parking lot one day as a middle-aged woman screamed at a child that she was extracting from a car seat.

There's a growing recognition that STEAM - Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math - skills are key to our children's future success. And we're big believers that kids should start learning these skills as young as possible. This week, we had a chance to explore a number of science-based kits, several of which are aimed at kids as young as four. We had a lot of fun experimenting, and so will you. But please remember that even though kids are the target, you'll need to be there to supervise.

Maryam Morse and her husband formulated a plan for allotting their sons time to play video games and watch TV. The boys could do so, but only after reading, completing their homework and practicing the piano.

ST. LOUIS - Andrew Adolphson, 17, is a normal teen with an adolescent sense of humor who likes to tease his twin sister.



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