Back-to-school season can be a stress trigger for teens.

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I had to hound my daughter to take a shower or simply change her clothes. I thought she was acting lazy. But when her therapist admitted her to the hospital for suicide risk, I learned that personal hygiene had been too much to ask. All of her energy went into facing the day.

There is no suicide season. It happens year round and for every child there are different stressors and back-to-school season can absolutely be a stressor. School’s social and academic expectations can exacerbate anxiety and leave a child feeling overwhelmed. …


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Plans and budgets only take you so far. No matter what you do or where you go, these seven things I know for sure:

1. You Will Forget Something

Stop making lists. Accept that I speak the truth. My husband had driven two hours in the direction of Canada to meet his fishing buddies before he realized he had forgotten his passport. I was halfway to Michigan when I startled the children in a spontaneous burst of expletives. I had forgotten my medication. After a flurry of preparations, loading up the car, and getting on the road, the car quiets down and then that one missing item will pop into your head. …


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“Get back in the kitchen.”

“Go make me a sandwich.”

These are some of the more PG-rated sexist comments that Malory Fox of Cincinnati hears when she’s playing an online multiplayer video game. She’s not alone.

Talk To Boys And Girls About Sexism In Gaming Online

“The industry was long structured as a kind of ‘boys club,’ and those ideologies are often reinforced still,” says Shira Chess, author of Ready Player Two: Women Gamers & Designed Identity.

Traditionally, gamers had two options: Play a friend or play the computer. The internet has added a third: Play online with strangers.

That can sound scary to parents, but it’s not all bad news. “The beautiful thing about gaming these days is that it is so accessible for so many people,” says Jenny Haniver, the founder of the website Not in the Kitchen Anymore: Chronicles of a Female Gamer. With games on our phones, computers, and TVs, there really is something for everyone, she says. …


Making money beyond the assignment.

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Most United States publications purchase columns and articles for First North American Serial Rights. This means they get to publish the article first and after an embargo period, usually specified in your contract, the writer is free to reprint their work elsewhere. However, many agreements these days are done via email without a written contract which means it’s up to the writer to clarify what rights are being sold and what the exclusivity time the buying publication expects. Otherwise you’re operating from assumptions which is always dangerous territory. When in doubt, ask.

Selling reprints has the same goal as syndication. Both aim to expand exposure and gain readers from different demographics. If you’re looking for information on syndicating columns, The National Society of Newspaper Columnists is a good resource. Read HERE and HERE. For the purpose of this post, I’m going to focus on the details of selling reprints: who wants them, how to pitch them, and how much they pay. …


I’m Gardening Instead of Grieving

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Mother’s Day means I can put flowers in the ground without fear of frost. It’s the commercial name given to my annual ok-to-plant day. It’s time for warmth and new growth in my planting zone. Any other reason to honor the day has been determined by someone else. Consumers are expected to spend roughly $25 billion dollars in honor of Mother’s Day this year and I wonder if my plants are included in that total.

When I was seven I lost my mother to a car accident. It happened in February and I still had to make a Mother’s Day craft with the rest of my second-grade class in May. I was told she would still see it in heaven. That set the tone for the rest of my school days. Whether it was a craft to make or a poem to write, the day served only to twist the knife for what I didn’t have. I was the minority along with foster children and others who have lost. …


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Many of us are freelancing these days — which means we’re looking for leads, reading submission guidelines, and pitching stories to new publications on a regular basis.

Ideally, every publication would have clear writer’s guidelines that include the managing editor’s name, contact, columns accepting submissions, and desired word count. However, most writer’s guidelines include some variation of the following statement I pulled from Rethinking Schools Magazine:
“Before you submit a piece to us, please make sure that you are familiar with our publication.”

That’s a pretty vague statement. What does that mean? What are you supposed to pay attention to when studying these publications? Whether you’re targeting an online publication, a glossy New York magazine, a regional publication, or a special-interest magazine for your pitch, there are a couple of key things you should study in every publication. …


May 3 is World Press Freedom Day. This is my story of censorship.

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I am a freelance writer and, like many other freelancers, I value a regular gig. So when a regular gig goes south and I’m faced with the decision of whether or not to take my pen and go write someplace else, it’s not a decision I make lightly. May 3 is World Press Freedom Day, and it was about this time last year that I butted heads with and severed ties with the publication that I had come to rely on for a steady stream of work.

I write for parenting publications and I was very proud of the fact that I wrote award-winning features for a regional parenting publication in my city. For this publication, I also wrote a monthly blog and had a modest following. …


Part I of chasing down the history of our new old home.

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Photo Taken April 26, 2019

What can I say? It’s and unassuming brick box with a beautiful bay window and glass paneled door frame. I was instantly intrigued. It’s currently a two-family home but that was not its intention when it was built in 1926. Buildings, like people, reveal their pasts in pieces.

My husband and I were shopping for our new home when we found it. We’re moving back to the small Northern Kentucky community where I grew up. We visited the school and we participated in local events to check out the vibe to make sure this is where we wanted our three-year-old Ezra to grow up. It is. …


In the age of technology everywhere, it’s important to remember that REAL play is critical to your child’s development.

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Cincinnati mom, Sarah Hunt, says her two boys are big fans of creating puppet shows. “The puppets are simple paper bag or sock puppets and the “stage” is whatever shipping box they can find in the basement,” she says.

Sometimes play doesn’t look much like learning, and to parents, play often looks like a plain mess. Parents are tempted to focus on the latest technology, downloading educational apps, and whipping out flash cards to give their kids an edge. However, experiential learning is a child’s foundation for life. Kids need to play with real things and experience real people. …


Let’s Look at How Opinion Writing Still Fits

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Columnists are bound to take a hit no matter their stance. It’s part of the job and it’s the risk you take publishing opinion. Oh, the comments sections though…don’t look! Readers say they no longer know whom to trust. “Fake News!” is an accusation that gets hurled around when opinions differ. People seem to rely more heavily on “gut checks” than fact checks. Plus, it’s no secret the industry is evolving and it is obvious to see that the industry as a whole is struggling in that evolution. However, opinion journalism is still relevant and important. …

About

Bonnie Jean Feldkamp

Bonnie is an award-winning freelance writer and Communications Director for the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Find her on social media @WriterBonnie

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