Health & Family

Health & Family

Parents @ Play: Gifts inspired by travel

The gift giving season is just around the corner, therefore 'tis the season for travel. With that in mind, take a look at these activities that will take you away, whether that's just down the street to the barber, into the jungles of South America, inside an ancient pyramid, or even further back to the days of the dinosaurs. Ready to hit the road?

Health & Family

Living with Children: Give a child enough rope –

Q: Our 8-year-old has suddenly developed a very sassy mouth. She picked this up from a new neighborhood friend who speaks to her mother in a very disrespectful tone, like she's the girl's servant. There are no other girls this age in the neighborhood, so I hesitate to put a stop to the relationship but at the same time I want to nip this new skill in the bud before it becomes habit. Do you have any suggestions?

Health & Family

Ask Mr. Dad: Sexual harassment: It's everyone's problem

Dear Mr. Dad: Over the past month, I don't think there's been a day without a news story of some famous person being accused of sexual assault or harassment. I'm disgusted by these men's behavior, but I'm concerned that one group of victims is being left out: men who are assaulted or harassed by women. At my last job, my female boss frequently made suggestive comments to me, touched my butt, and on several occasions told me that if I slept with her, it would be good for my career. I reported her to HR, but was told that men are the only ones who can sexually harass and that I should just enjoy it. I dropped my complaint and ended up quitting. I can't believe I'm the only guy out there who's been through this. Am I?

Health & Family

Game review: 'Just Dance 2018,' familiar but fun dance routine has a few new steps

Parents need to know that "Just Dance 2018" is the latest release in Ubisoft's popular rhythm and music series. The version for newer consoles includes some deeper content, and the Switch version in particular sports a few exclusive modes and features that take advantage of the dual Joy-Con controllers. While the game encourages players to get active with full body movement, players can skirt by using only minor motions in the hands and arms. Parents should also be aware that, despite having a decent amount of content packed in, "Just Dance 2018" pushes hard for players to purchase additional downloadable content, with a specific focus on a monthly subscription service for the game.

Health & Family

Project: Light bright

With a simple process and kid-friendly steps, you can transform a bag of wax and colorful crayons into pretty candles. Make a set for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, or just because!

Health & Family

App review: Onward – Reduce Tech Addiction, app tracks usage, has privacy concerns

Parents need to know that Onward – Reduce Tech Addiction, encourages "tech-life balance" by tracking usage across devices and creating reports that detail where and how much time users hang out online. The paid Pro version can also block problem websites and apps, like gambling and porn. Both the free and Pro version require users to add VPN configurations to their device and agree that "all network activity" on the device can be filtered or monitored. NOTE: This app can collect and track the bulk of your phone's usage, and that data can be shared with third parties (though without personally identifying information). Read the app's privacy policy to find out more about the types of information collected and shared.

Health & Family

The 10 most violent video games of 2017 (and kid-friendly alternatives)

It's a dark night. You've just escaped from a sprawling mansion deep in the Louisiana bayou. You're terrified. You've been shot at, bludgeoned, and stabbed as you try to escape this life-or-death situation. What's worse, it looks like you're on your own, because a sheriff's deputy was killed in front of your eyes. You take a break in an upstairs bathroom to catch your breath, but something doesn't feel right. You should go, but as you get to the door, it swings open, and you're face to face with the man you killed minutes before. How is he still alive, and worse, how are you ever going to escape if you have to kill him again and again?

Health & Family

Slow-cooker brisket tastes like barbecue

PORTLAND, Ore. – Food blogger Leigh Anne Wilkes believes that using a slow cooker can reduce the stress of holiday cooking. Her new cookbook, "Holiday Slow Cooker," has recipes for feasts – such as Herbed Turkey Breast and Sausage Cornbread Dressing – as well as easy weeknight meals – Sesame Chicken, and Ham, Lentil and Vegetable Soup.

Books

Book review: 'Long Way Down,' will spark conversations about gun violence and loss

Parents need to know that "Long Way Down" is a novel in verse by National Book Award Finalist and New York Times Bestselling author Jason Reynolds that tells the story of an African-American teen boy at a crossroads. Determined to avenge his brother's death, Will takes his brother's gun out of their shared bedroom to kill the person he's certain is the murderer, but it's a long way down the elevator. The whole novel takes place in the span of the 60-second ride, as Will's past and "The Rules" he's learned about being tough flash before him. There are multiple incidents of gun violence, death, and grief recalled and described, some swearing (including "s--t" and "damn"), adult drinking, and some teen ghosts smoke cigarettes. Parents should be prepared to have conversations about grief, loss, gun violence, and how to make sound decisions.

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John D. Simmons jsimmons@charlotteobserver.com
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