Children’s issues

To Duncan on His 14th Birthday

by Bill Brenner September 14, 2013 Children's issues

Note: I’ve often written notes to my kids on their birthday. This was originally written when Duncan turned 1o. An open letter to my second child on his 10th birthday… Mood Music: At 2 a.m. on Sept. 15, 2003, I was jolted awake by your mom shoving me in the shoulder. I had just gone to bed 45 minutes earlier, and I had had a lot of wine the night before. You weren’t expected for…  [Read More]

Stuff My Kids (And Other People’s Kids) Say: Tween Edition

by Bill Brenner March 23, 2013 Children's issues

It’s been awhile since I did a “things kids say” post. It’s getting harder to write these because my children have passed the adorable stage and are now well on their way to manhood. In a lot of ways this makes them more amusing than ever. It just took me a few months to adjust to their changes — especially with Sean, who is almost 12 and starting that phase of his life where Dad…  [Read More]

Heartbroken and Praying

by Bill Brenner December 14, 2012 Children's issues

This is not a post about whether we need more guns or fewer. This is not a post about what makes a man sick enough to fire a weapon at innocent children. It’s just a post to say how heartbroken we are in the Brenner house. Mood music: We don’t know any of the victims in Newtown, Connecticut. But we have children under this roof and couldn’t even begin to understand what so many families in…  [Read More]

Welcome Back, Mrs. Silva

by Bill Brenner September 5, 2012 Children's issues

I rushed to the kids’ school this afternoon for a parent-teacher meeting and saw the most excellent sight: Eileen Silva, back in the mix, helping her fellow teachers sort through the usual chaos of afternoon dismissal. The first-grade teacher missed all last year due to illness, but she’s back, and it’s like she never left. Mood music: [spotify:track:0ZGLuduCPjgWY1n85ykgMe] We Brenners love Mrs. Silva for many of the same reasons other parents and students do: She’s a…  [Read More]

New Section: Resources for Readers

by Bill Brenner July 20, 2012 Children's issues

Today we launch a new section with links to resources specializing in mental health issues, including children’s issues, faith, eating and relationships. We’ll be building the section over time, adding new topics as we go. Today, we’re starting with resources for parents and children dealing with mental health issues. Check out the new section here. Since this blog was launched in December 2009, the full focus has been on the author’s personal experiences with mental…  [Read More]

Teachers Who Ignore Kids With Food Allergies Should Be Fired

by Bill Brenner June 12, 2012 Children's issues

When school officials repeatedly fail to protect a child from something like a life-threatening nut allergy, the damage to that child’s mental health is as bad as to their physical health. When that happens, even if the child is physically unharmed, the reaction from us grown-ups should be nothing other than outrage. Mood music: [spotify:track:5t8sFMJ2aQaHqLnrAd4Q40] In elementary school, I was banned from any food product with dairy in it. Even a trace of it was…  [Read More]

Fatherhood Saved Ozzy, Eddie & Me

by Bill Brenner May 4, 2012 Addiction

Yesterday I watched the “God Bless Ozzy Osbourne” documentary, which focused heavily on how his addictions maimed him and his family over four decades. Though my addictive behavior pales by comparison, it still struck a chord. Mood music: [spotify:track:6xb9RiyqpDXWF4wUYPDwI2] What hit me deepest is how Ozzy finally decided to get real sobriety after his son Jack had kicked drugs and alcohol. It took his son to show him the light. There’s a similar plot in…  [Read More]

For A Girl Recently Diagnosed With Crohn’s Disease

by Bill Brenner May 3, 2012 Children's issues

The daughter of close friends just found out she has Crohn’s Disease. She’s suffering a lot right now, and I know exactly what she’s going through. This post is for her. Mood music: [spotify:track:3l4L10OL1gbfypzTwjvINb] Hello, my young friend. I’m sorry that you’re hurting so much right now. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when I was around your age, and spent many weeks in the hospital between ages 8-16. It stinks. But if there’s one…  [Read More]

Strong Too Long, Or Weak Too Often?

by Bill Brenner April 23, 2012 Addiction

There’s a saying on Facebook that depression isn’t a sign of weakness, but simply the result of being strong for too long. Somewhat true — though weakness does feed the beast. Mood music: I’m feeling it this morning. I’ve always taken a certain level of satisfaction from my ability to stay standing in the face of death, illness, family dysfunction, depression and addiction. Sometimes, I get an over-inflated sense of survivor’s pride. People love to…  [Read More]

The Wit And Wisdom Of Sean Brenner

by Bill Brenner April 21, 2012 Children's issues

Today is Sean’s 11th birthday, and we’re all very proud of him. In honor of this special day, I share with you some of my favorite Sean-isms. Mood music: –Heard in the bathroom: Sean singing to no one in particular, “Your butt’s too big to be real…” –Me: “I missed you Sean. I love you.” Sean, staring intently at the drawing he’s working on as I tell him this: “Dad, go get me a pencil”…  [Read More]