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Children

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Teaching children that they have to endure unwanted touching is a mistake

Illustration: Eliot Wyatt

When my daughter Layla was three years old, a woman in line behind us at the grocery store leaned over and caressed her head and hair, cooing about how cute she was. Layla quickly batted her hand away, and the woman responded with a hurt look and a comment about teaching my daughter better manners.

I responded with the world’s biggest eye roll. Because here’s the thing: I don’t think it was my daughter who was behaving rudely — it was the woman who touched my child without her permission who was out of line.

Now that it’s the holiday…


Power Trip

The case for paying our kids to play video games

Credit: Hero Images/Getty

I pay my kids to do chores. They vacuum the rug, scrub the toilets, take out the recycling. It’s amazing how quickly they’ll turn away from video games when there’s money involved.

I know plenty of people would object to my method. They’d tell me that it’s not the right way to raise my kids. After all, popular opinion says that extrinsic rewards promote the “bad” kind of motivation. But the truth is, it’s only mainstream pop psychology and revenue-driven human resource departments that still cling to the dichotomy between intrinsic and extrinsic incentives. …


I published a book about choosing not to have kids. But I’m not gloating and neither should you.

Credit: Westend61/Getty Images

The word “childfree” is everywhere these days. You see it on T-shirts and coffee mugs. You see it in the steady influx of news articles and think pieces about how millennials are too economically insecure and/or afraid of world collapse to procreate. It’s in the title of several books, most recently Childfree By Choice, by sociologist Amy Blackstone.

I get why this term has caught on. It’s concise, looks good with a hashtag, and makes a crucial distinction between people who choose not to have children and those who, for whatever reason, wish to be parents but cannot. It’s also…


My apathy put my daughter’s life in danger. I’ll never let that happen again.

Photo: Sasiistock/Getty Images

I knew going into my first marriage that the man I was about to call my husband had absolutely zero interest in having children. I wasn’t outright opposed to kids, but it was still a faraway idea. I was just 22 years old; I had a lot of living left to do.

The universe had different ideas.

I got knocked up in January 2007, not quite three months after our little white wedding in suburban Oklahoma. Our daughter was born two days after my 23rd birthday. She was healthy and vibrant and I, for the first time, understood what love…


Don’t turn away from the Trump administration’s devastating immigration policy

Photo: John Moore/Getty

In the weeks after my daughter was born, I felt cosmic. Giving birth to a child seemed like some kind of initiation, the key to a new understanding of humanity. My one body had been split into two lives, me and the little stranger who had arrived through me, who could not eat or rest without nuzzling into my chest and nursing herself to sleep. I felt (so I thought) connected with every mother on the planet, any woman who’d ever been the starting-point and sustenance for a new person.

It was probably the hormones; I was blissed out on…

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