Author: Tim Walker

Letting Go

There’s a pile of laundry in my oldest son’s room, and it’s driving me crazy. I want to sneak in there, grab an arm full of clothes, and at least wash some of it. I hate when things are undone. Especially when I know I am capable of doing them. But those clothes are his responsibility. And when he needs something in that pile, he’ll do his laundry. His sense of timing, his plan of action is different than mine. My mentality is do a little bit of laundry often so you don’t get behind. His is to do...

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The Myth of the Perfect Kid

We parents are an emotional, neurotic mess, aren’t we? Sure, some of us are better at hiding it than others, but push the right button or confront the right issue, and every one of us comes to a point when we feel . . . helpless. clueless. lost. We thought we knew so much. Maybe we did when ours kids were younger. Or maybe not. But there comes a point, a stage, when we’re not quite sure how to navigate as parents. Despite what others may think around us, we know we’re not perfect. Just ask our kids—especially if they’re teenagers. So...

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Cats and Dogs

Ah, middle school. The smell of axe wafting through the air. The endless group texts. The hormonal mood swings. It really is a magical time, isn’t it? When my oldest son was a middle schooler, my wife and I were blindsided by the changes. We were constantly second-guessing ourselves, and wondering what we were doing wrong. Our parenting, for the most part, had worked well up to that point. Now we found ourselves immersed in some kind of mystery with cryptic clues. Then we went to open house at the middle school. Those types of gatherings usually have me...

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Chisel

It’s August, and I am officially the father of a senior. A few months ago, when the class of 2014 said their goodbyes, I watched with a renewed attention. This will be us next May. Celebrating. Dreaming. Planning. So much of what I thought I knew about parenting has unraveled over the past few years. My oldest son is truly the test subject in this experiment we call parenting. We’ve stumbled our way through communication. We’ve walked the tightrope of independence. I’ve over-parented at times. I’ve fought against the fear of him failing, and letting him bear the weight...

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Middle School Cabbie

It takes a special set of skills to parent a middle schooler—especially two of them. Caterer. Counselor. Sports manager. Bank. But there’s nothing bigger than this one—driver. The role frequently doesn’t involve planning the event. They like to do that themselves. Incessantly. In fact, they will plan entire schedules without your knowledge. (And at some point, you’ll have to talk with the other parents involved and sift through what is a legit plan, and what isn’t. Most middle schoolers never factor in logistics or the schedules of others.) No, I’m talking about the constant need to connect with friends....

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