Parents @ Play: Building strong families

Building, whether it's with blocks, bricks, paper, metal, pipe cleaners, or anything else, is one of the very best ways for parents and children to spend time together. Here are some new products that will help you keep busy and close during those long, winter evenings.


Ask Mr. Dad: Tech for toddlers: don’t. But if you absolutely must –

Dear Mr. Dad: A few weeks ago, you talked about how bad technology is for toddlers. My wife and I generally like your advice, but in this case, we think you're wrong. Tech is everywhere – even little kids are learning to code –and we want our baby to be as prepared as possible to survive in the world. And part of that means getting him familiar with smartphones and tablets. But we want to do it right. What do you suggest?


Living with Children: Kids are no shield from a bad marriage

Just about every marriage has its share of bad times; then again, some marriages simply go bad. The reasons for the latter include abuse, adultery, alcoholism (and other forms of chemical self-indulgence, such as drug addiction), and emotional and/or physical abandonment. Not to say that any one of those can't be overcome, but they are four of the top five reasons why some marriages arrive at a point where there's no going back.


Ex-etiquette: Ex’s new girlfriend has her way for Christmas

Q. Every year my ex has a Christmas party. He invites me, plus our kids – all adults, yours, mine, and ours, and all have kids of their own. We have done this for years. He hires Santa for the grandkids. It's really fun. This year he has a new woman in his life and I wasn't invited. As a matter of fact, I was told it would be inappropriate if I come. It seems his new person doesn't want me there. My kids are very upset. I don't care that he's seeing someone else. What's good ex-etiquette?


As Fortnite blows up, parents need to up their game

Does your kid talk endlessly about Tilted Towers and V-Bucks? Do his shouts of "Revive me! Revive me!" ring throughout your home? Have you considered moving to a remote island without internet access to rid yourself of absolutely anything having to do with Fortnite? Welcome to Fortnite frenzy! You're the parent of one of 125 million players of the enormously popular multiplayer third-person-shooter video game "Fortnite: Battle Royale."

Movie News & Reviews

‘The Christmas Chronicles’: Netflix’s edgy Santa adventure is a fun holiday pick for tweens

Parents need to know that "The Christmas Chronicles" is a holiday adventure movie starring Kurt Russell that has enough edgy content to make it best for tweens and up. Characters do risky things like steal cars and climb telephone poles. Strong language includes a few uses of "damn" and "hell," plus insults like "moron." The main characters are grieving their father, a firefighter who died saving others, during their first Christmas without him. A boy starts to tell his younger sister that there's no Santa but doesn't go through with it. Violence is mostly cartoonish mayhem, with no serious injuries, blood or gore shown, but viewers will see punching, shoving, knocking down and characters brandishing a baseball bat and a chainsaw. Characters are in danger, and Santa's CGI elves are cute but sometimes scary, too. A rock'n'roll musical number has slightly sexualized background singers and some innuendo. Holiday messages are mostly about how it wouldn't be Christmas without presents and Santa Claus, but positive themes include family unity and believing in yourself. The movie also sends the idea that it can be OK to do something naughty (even illegal) if it's for a good cause. Santa is portrayed with a gruff exterior, but he cares about the kids and will do anything to save Christmas.


Game review: BattleTech: Flashpoint gets a 5-star upgrade

Parents need to know that "BattleTech: Flashpoint" is the first paid expansion to Paradox Interactive's BattleTech turn-based sci-fi strategy game for download on Windows- and Mac-based computers. The expansion adds new units, mission types, environments, and story elements to the base game. "Flashpoint" gives players more control over the path of their characters' stories, following choices to their ultimate conclusions. There's plenty of sci-fi violence, including robotic units getting dismembered and human units dying on the battlefield, though there's no blood or gore shown. Some vulgarity (mainly the word "s–t") occasionally appears in the game's dialogue, and multiplayer games have the potential to be exposed to other offensive content via in-game chat.


Movie review: The best family movies of the year

From superhero adventures to eagerly anticipated sequels to groundbreaking role models and representations, these movies offer the best of 2018 for kids, teens, and families. They entertained us, made us think and gave us plenty to talk about. At the same time, they offered worthwhile messages, modeled important character strengths and left us oohing and aahing at their big-screen spectacles. All also earned the Common Sense Seal, which means they offer an exceptional media experience to families with kids of all ages.

What is bullying?

This bullying explainer that defines what bullying is, who is affected by it, and how prevention is possible.