Children’s issues

After “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother” Post, A Dramatic Turnaround

by Bill Brenner April 25, 2016 Children's issues

After the December 2012 Sandy Hook massacre, when 20 children and several educators were murdered by 20-year-old shooter Adam Lanza, a distressed mom wrote a blog post called “I Am Adam Lanza’s Mother.” The mental distress Lanza reportedly lived with was something Liza Long saw in her own son, Eric Walton. Sunday morning I heard a report on NPR in which Long and Walton opened up about the turn their lives took after that blog post went viral. And it’s…  [Read More]

When Your Kid Asks About Anti-Depressants

by Bill Brenner October 28, 2015 Children's issues

My 12-year-old has a few things in common with his dad. Both of us have mental disorders (his is ADHD, mine is OCD with wintertime undercurrents of ADHD). Both of us take medication to help manage our ills. But until last weekend, he had never asked the big question: “What do these pills do, anyway?” Mood music: To answer the question, I dusted off an analogy I had used some years ago to explain it…  [Read More]

Duncan at 12: Like Me, Only Better

by Bill Brenner September 16, 2015 Children's issues

Yesterday my younger son, Duncan, turned 12. He’s been through a lot, and he makes me proud every day. Mood music: I often tell people Duncan is the spitting image of me at that age. He certainly looks like I did at 12. And as I did, he has developmental challenges. As a kid I was never diagnosed with something like ADHD or placed on the autism spectrum. But that was the early 1980s, when…  [Read More]

A Generation of Do-Nothing Kids

by Bill Brenner February 20, 2015 Children's issues

An article in The Huffington Post asks an important question: Are we raising a generation of helpless kids? It would be wrong to paint every parent with one broad brushstroke, but we can’t deny there’s a problem. Mood music: The HuffPo article begins with the story of a college freshman who dissolves into a puddle of mush after getting a C- on her first exam: Sobbing, she texted her mother who called back, demanding to…  [Read More]

For Parents With Kids Freaked About Winter Storms

by Bill Brenner January 25, 2015 Children's issues

With a blizzard in the New England forecast this week and next month’s 37th anniversary of the Blizzard of 1978, I thought this might be of use: Mood music: I got a message awhile back from a mom who reads this blog regularly. I’ll keep her anonymous but share some details of the note: “My son, only 7, has suffered from pretty severe anxieties about weather over the past 3 or so years. It took me…  [Read More]

The Lost Generation of Revere, Mass.

by Bill Brenner November 22, 2014 Addiction

An old friend from the Point of Pines, Revere, sent me a note some time ago. He came across my post on Zane Mead and another on the Bridge Rats gang. For him, they brought up more memories of kids from the neighborhood who died young. Mood music: I’ll keep his name and certain details out to protect his privacy, but here’s some of what he wrote to me: I came across your piece in…  [Read More]

A Terrible Chapter Closes in Blackstone

by Bill Brenner October 23, 2014 Children's issues

A few weeks ago I posted about the terrible story in Blackstone, Mass., where children where found to be living in a house of absolute squalor. Police found four children, two of which were covered in feces and hidden from the world. A police search turned up the remains of three dead infants and dead animals. Those who went in the house said they will never forget the smell. Tuesday, the town demolished the house….  [Read More]

A Birthday Message to Colin

by Bill Brenner February 13, 2014 Children's issues

A mom from Kalamazoo, Mich., created a Facebook page for her son called “Happy Birthday Colin.” She did so after he told her he had no friends to invite to his upcoming birthday celebration. Colin has issues that are similar to autism, though his specific diagnoses are not yet public. Given my youngest son’s challenges on that front — not to mention my own — this squeezed my heart. What follows is an open letter to Colin. Mood…  [Read More]

Taking Lunch from Children Is Never OK

by Bill Brenner January 31, 2014 Children's issues

The headline was so outrageous I didn’t believe it at first. I see a lot of crazy stuff on the Internet that doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. Unfortunately, this one is true: Administrators  at Uintah Elementary School in Salt Lake City confiscated and trashed the lunches of up to 40 students because their parents were apparently behind in payments. Mood music: From The Salt Lake City Tribune: Jason Olsen, a Salt Lake City District spokesman, said…  [Read More]

When Teachers Get It

by Bill Brenner September 20, 2013 Children's issues

Last night I attended a parent information night at Sean and Duncan’s new school. It’s a great school, but the kids have been struggling to adjust, especially Duncan. That’s to be expected. But there is always that worry in the back of my brain that teachers will never truly understand Duncan, who has ADHD. We moved them to this new school because we felt Duncan in particular needed a more organized, regimented environment to thrive….  [Read More]