Toby Klein Greenwald
Toby Klein Greenwald, Executive V.P. Creative Development, is a founding partner and the editor-in-chief of WholeFamily. Toby is an educator, journalist, photographer, scriptwriter, poet, playwright, lyricist, and theater director, including for populations that have experienced trauma or are at risk. She is a Playback Theater conductor and is the recipient of Israel's Ministry of Education's Egerest Award for Culture, for her work in educational and community theater. She has more than 30 years of teaching experience and has served on numerous educational think tanks. Her specialties include the creation of innovative educational programs, and teaching Creative Writing and Film to AD(H)D and LD high school students, and to senior citizens. Toby is married to Yaakov and they have six children, most of whom have made her a proud mother-in-law and grandmother.
Dear WholeMom, My daughter is almost 17. I was cleaning her room and found a used pregnancy testing "stick". It was wrapped in a paper towel in a little used cabinet in her room. The upsetting thing about this is that this is a child who excels in school, will likely get a full scholarship to the school of her choice and never leaves the house without telling me she loves me. I have always talked to my children about sex, consequences as it relates to health, pregnancy and the sometimes emotional turmoil that early intimate relations can result in.
Dear WholeMom, I almost felt like I'm reading my own concerns about my almost twelve-year-old when I read the question about the "Unmotivated son." His teacher has advised that he will be failing his three major subjects on the next quarterly report card. His reading score in February of 99 is going to 40. He also was tested for ADD and learning disabilities, but very simply is not motivated. While his teacher has been fairly flexible, the simple fact is that success in school is measured by good grades and if you are in public school, there is very little room for special attention.
Dear WholeMom, Why isn't there a test to determine readiness for kindergarten, instead of these magical dates that are law? I have a son whose birthday is 19 days past our state cutoff date, and I feel that he's ready for kindergarten now instead of waiting a year. He thinks he's ready as well, and has been pushing the issue. He has met all of the requirements listed by the school district, such as knowing his ABC's, counting to 20, starting to read, dressing himself, etc. and is extremely bored in preschool. He even does 1000 piece puzzles and uses my home computer to entertain himself! He's been in daycare since 3 months of age, so he's used to socializing.
When our children were young, the family bed conundrum was a big issue for my friends and me. But like all new parents, when my oldest was an infant, I filled my shelves with books on “Parenting by Experts”. The leg up I had on the other moms in the neighborhood was that while many of my friends were getting married and having babies in their early twenties, I was 27 when Sara was born.
One of the greatest challenges facing a couple in a committed relationship is how to keep passion and romance alive. Kids, jobs, the house and the various pressures of life tend to wear down a marriage.
Ron, 45, a systems analyst and Andrea, 42, an emergency room nurse, are the parents of two teenage boys. Kenny, 16, the oldest, is having trouble in school. Andrea and Ron strongly disagree on how to deal with Kenny. The result is conflict between the couple and most likely, confusion for Kenny.
In the best case scenario, children grow up in a home with two parents. Often those two parents exhibit toward their children and toward each other different levels of affection, influenced by a number of factors: Different innate personalities, different family backgrounds, personal histories, etc. Children therefore have two examples constantly before them to either imitate or rebel against.
It may be painful to accept but it's true nevertheless: You don't marry a person --you marry a system. One of the challenges of marriage is learning how to master an essential part of that system--in- laws. In-laws come in different types: Some are supportive and respect the marital boundaries. Others act like your job is to serve their needs. A couple must act from the awareness that their primary loyalty is to each other and their new family. It takes courage to make that stand. On the other hand, the partners must make great efforts to develop and maintain positive relations with their respective in-laws.
Learn how to express yourself through letter writing- using proven techniques for creating positive relationships.
Join the Austen-Kutchinskys as they struggle to make their new blended family work.
Listen to others struggle with the marital and child-rearing challenges that stump us all.