The 12 Commandments for Parenting a 12-Year-Old Boy

12 year old boy

By: Shannon Ralph I adore my son. I love him with all my heart. I do, however, find myself sometimes marveling at the unparalleled anomaly that is a 12-year-old boy. Not yet a teen. No longer a little kid. My son is taller than me. Hairier. His feet are huge. His socks smell. He’s opinionated. […]

Why I Hug My Tween (Even When He Complains)

LucasPark

By: Shannon Ralph I vividly remember my last day as a cool person. I had been living for years—mistakenly—under the assumption that I was a “cool mom.” It’s been five months since that façade crumbled, but it seems like only yesterday. It was a beautiful spring morning when my wife informed me, rather sheepishly, that […]

A Transgender Man Tells His Story

IMG_3135

By: Shannon Ralph James Hart is a soft-spoken man with freckles and striking pale blue eyes. When you talk with him, his smile appears easily and often. He is kind and funny and has an infectious, if somewhat nervous, laugh. When I first approached James about being interviewed for this article, he admitted to having […]

Do White Parents Have a Responsibility to Talk About Race?

Brothers

By: Shannon Ralph   Recently, my 9-year-old son began taking swim lessons at one of our local Minneapolis YWCA locations. On the first day of his class, we had planned a family dinner out afterwards, so my wife, my other two children, and I marched into the YWCA hand in hand as a show of […]

The Invisible Girl

The Invisible girl

By Shannon Ralph My nine-year-old daughter likes boys. Not in a boy-band-posters-covering-her-bedroom-wall sort of way. Not in a gushing-and-squealing-loudly-because-OMG-NIALL-IS-SO-CUTE! sort of way. Not in any pre-pubescent romantic sense whatsoever. She simply likes to hang out with boys. It only makes sense. Sophie has a twin brother who is her very best friend in the world. […]

50 Secrets about Nine-Year-Old Girls (From a Mom in the Trenches)

50 secrets about a nine year old

By: Shannon Ralph She wants to be cuddled like the little girl she was not so very long ago. Until she doesn’t. Don’t even think about touching her when she doesn’t! You are her very favorite person in the entire world…ever. Seriously. Until five minutes later when she can’t stand the sound of your shrill […]

14 Ways to Instill Compassion in Your Children

Kids of LGBT parents

By: Shannon Ralph If I’ve learned anything from our national news as of late, it’s that our nation desperately needs a hearty dose of compassion. From burning churches to scorching flags to blistering rhetoric, we are a nation sorely lacking. As a parent, I find the deplorable lack of compassion I see in the news […]

Video Game Industry Becomes More Inclusive

Minecraft

By: Shannon Ralph As the parent of three budding young gamers, I have often lamented—along with my 9-year-old daughter—the white, straight maleness of the video game industry. This is an issue that has been discussed ad nauseum in The Washington Post, BBC News, The Huffington Post, and numerous other news franchises and blogs, but little […]

The Great Gay Marriage Anticlimax

marriage equality announcement

By: Shannon Ralph Friday, June 26th, 2015 was an historic day. A day for jubilation. For contemplation. For commemoration. It was a day when Facebook exploded in rainbow colors and love flooded my Twitter feed. It was a day when my family was finally seen. My family was recognized. Legitimized. Sanctioned and admitted to the […]