Program helps families help themselves

The Family Partnership has strengthened Twin Cities families for 140 years through therapeutic preschools, mental health counseling and anti human-trafficking programs. Now TFP is taking a dramatic step backward, so to speak. The nonprofit is the first in Minnesota to test a grant-funded program that sends coaches into at-risk households weekly for up to 18 months. The coaches are trained in a method called Mobility Mentoring. Instead of meticulously case-managing clients' stubborn issues, mentors step back and guide parents as they assess their own stability, set their own goals and, remarkably, often double their household income in the process. Senior Vice President John Everett Till tells us more.


Ex-etiquette: Kids often wonder if mom and dad will get back together

Q: My boyfriend has a 10-year-old daughter who I am quite close to. He has made it very clear to her that we are together and that we love each other very much, but a few days ago while we were doing something in the kitchen, she made it very clear that she wants her parents to get back together. My boyfriend and his ex often spend time alone with their child – going to the movies, sometimes dinner. I'm wondering if this is confusing her? I have no idea how to approach this with him. What's good ex-etiquette?


Living with Children: What should grandparents do when children won’t listen to good advice?

Q: We have ten grandchildren, spread between three of our kids. They all live within an hour's drive, so we see them often. We want to be involved in their lives and to be good influences. Our problem is with the parents. None of them are receptive to any advice or information we try to give or share. At least four of the grands have major behavior problems, for example (and all of them lack proper manners). It's obvious to us that the real problem is parents who don't know how to exercise effective authority, but any suggestions fall on deaf ears. One child has been diagnosed with an "oppositional" disorder. The parents have been told he can't help behaving the way he does, but he's no problem at all when he's with us, even for an extended stay. This is beginning to cause tension (and some conflict) among us. What should grandparents do when children won't listen to good advice?


Parents @ Play: The importance of roughhousing

Dear Mr. Dad: My husband and our boy-girl twins love to wrestle, but I'm worried that all that physical activity and getting revved up will make them – especially our son – see violence as acceptable. Should I be concerned?


Book review: ‘P Is for Pterodactyl,’ alphabet book teaches preschoolers about silent letters and spelling

Parents need to know that "P Is for Pterodactyl" shows kids lots of English words that are hard to spell (or pronounce) because they begin with silent letters, like pterodactyl, aisle, knight, and knot, or have silent letters in them. It also gets into words that come from languages other than English, like gnocci and tsunami, and plays with homonyms like sea and see. Every page has a fun, cartoon-like illustration and sentence below it that help kids understand the meaning and context of the words. "P Is for Pterodactyl" is a word lover's delight and an almost mandatory read-aloud. Includes a glossary at the back.

Entertainment & Life

Game review: ‘Override: Mech City Brawl,’ fun, flashy anime bot fighting game

Parents need to know that "Override: Mech City Brawl" is a futuristic arena-based fighting game available on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Windows-based PC. Players choose from a selection of giant robots and battle against up to three opponents in destructible environments around the globe. While there's large scale destruction as the robots stomp through the arenas, crushing everything in their path, the actual violence is relatively tame. Robots fight with a variety of melee punches and kicks, as well as unique special attacks that incorporate flashy special effects. Multiplayer matches include local split-screen co-op, online play for up to four players, and even a "party" game where up to four players team up as one 'bot, with each player controlling specific parts. While the game doesn't include any profanity, parents should be aware that online play could still open up younger kids to potentially offensive conversation via party chat. It also offers additional downloadable content (DLC) for new outfits and fighters.

Entertainment & Life

How my kid found friends on ‘Fortnite’

When we moved to a new town last summer, I wasn't sure how my 12-year-old son would make new friends. I saw lots of kids his age biking around our new neighborhood or playing ball at the park. But when you're 12, it's not easy to just walk over to a strange kid and introduce yourself. Plus my son was more interested in staying inside to play "Fortnite" and other video games, which wasn't helping. With the new school year approaching and my son's anxiety about going to a new school rising, I decided to take things into my own hands.

Personal Finance

Social Security: Safeguarding children all year long

During the holiday season, most of us, regardless of our beliefs, focus on the children we love. Children are our future – we share our knowledge and talent with them – we pass on our values to them knowing they will share those gifts. Social Security safeguards children all year long, but we'd like to take this opportunity to share information about our programs that provide direct support to children.

Health & Fitness

Study: At what age could media begin affecting kids’ body image?

Body image is developed early in childhood, and even very young children can exhibit body dissatisfaction. Common Sense's report on body-image studies, "Children, Teens, Media, and Body Image," found that more than half of girls and approximately one-third of boys age 6–8 indicate their ideal body weight is thinner than their current weight.

Entertainment & Life

App review: Drops: Learn 31 new languages, fun games, vivid representations aid learning

Parents need to know that Drops: Learn 31 new languages, is an education app that aims to helps players learn a new language through games that promote word-picture association. The app provides a brief tutorial and visual prompts to support the directions, which are meant to be intuitive and merely require kids to tap, swipe, or trace. Kids can choose from 31 different languages, and they have the option to switch languages at any time. Content is free but limited to five minutes a day unless players opt to extended it through in app purchases. Each session is followed by a progress report that allows kids to see the list of the words they have learned and their development towards the conversationalist phase. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

Watch Newsom family at California State Railroad Museum

Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom and his family hosted a free family event at the California State Railroad Museum as a pre-inauguration celebration on Jan. 6, 2019. Newsom's inauguration will take place on Jan. 7, 2019.