Parenting-School Years

It isn't just stocks that are splitting. So is Parenting. This month, the magazine transforms itself into two targeted editions: Parenting School Years and Parenting Early Years. Both are getting a design makeover. I have to limit myself to the former. Yes, kids are cute, but much better company once toilet-trained. Then you can take them to the theater, even if it's "Curious George Goes to the Moon." At least, it's a live performance. Later, they can toe-tap to "Guys and Dolls" and wonder at "Wicked."

For now, it's enough that parents raise healthy, happy progeny -- and that's no easy trick. Adults are often stressed, cash-strapped and sleep-deprived -- on a good day. Throw in excessive homework, grumpy kids and spousal fury -- 40% of moms are angry their husbands can't multitask -- and a magazine with concrete advice could prove invaluable. The 500,000-circ Parenting School Years hopes to fill the bill.

Face it: Once the kids board the school bus, their life -- and yours -- will change dramatically. Between cliques, bullies and teachers, parents need help navigating those key years between 5 and 30. OK, School Years tops out earlier. But with the slacker phenom and the staggering return of college students to the mothership, a parent's job -- and cash outlay -- never ends. Assuming you're the parent of a "prostitot," defined as "little girls whose parents dress them in clothes so skimpy you worry for more than their body temperature," it's never too soon to start a legal fund.

What struck me was PSY's relentlessly upbeat tone, which even extends to the ads for ADHD. (If you can't focus, how did you remember to have kids?) Much of my regular magazine reading is confined to The Week and The New Yorker, which is super-informative, but slim on life tips, unless you count the importance of knowing every cabaret opening, which I do. Plus, as an aunt, my game plan is: Show up, compliment often, act eccentric. The daily grind is a parent's prerogative -- and here's where bite-size information on health, toys and life counts.

For instance, the magazine opens with "Their Health," tips about kids' well-being - from vaccines to videogames. In "Your Health," parents get clued in on everything from diet to sex. That's followed by "Their Toys" and "Your Toys," which is a nice way of saying advertorial, though many of the suggestions were thoughtful. However, I paused at fragrance sticks to relieve stress. Vodka is more potent, and it doesn't leave a scent.

Similarly, "Our Money" was big on life insurance in case of spousal death, meaning the Mrs. If Mom's gone, experts assume Dad will hire caregivers and housekeepers. To cover those expenses, PSY recommends a $500,000 life insurance policy for just $30 a month. $30! I can't find term life for $50,000 that charges that little. The advice is sound, but who's offering it -- Bernie Madoff? And you'll get a yearly 12% return, too!

Features about the revolution to lessen homework and the rant against useless husbands were instructive. The former was on-point and discussed ways to deal with teachers and school districts. The latter was a much-needed vent. Judging from the stats, it's amazing there aren't more single-child households. Or divorces.

For busy parents, PSY's concise round-up of concerns is probably a help. No one has all the answers -- expert suggestions are meant as aids, not chiseled-in-stone dictates. The pub wisely ended with a top 10 list of things not to feel guilty about. No. 5: "Introducing your sister's kid -- little miss organic-only -- to her very first Twinkie." Hey, chemicals are a part of life! Forget those pesky rules about familial boundaries. Just remember Twinkies -- when you care enough to send the very best.


Published by: Bonnier Corp.

Frequency: Monthly


Next story loading loading..