Does anyone else just feel crushed by this Sandusky child rape thing? I can't stop following it, but it's been making me so sad since it first came out. I can't stop thinking about those boys, who needed help, and no one would help them.

I think about all of my friends who were sexually abused as kids–so many of them.

I think about all of us parents who send our kids out into the world and make the absolute best guesses about who we can trust with our precious children.

I think about all the people who knew and didn't say anything.

I don't know what to think. But I can't stop thinking about it.

How is running a factory like raising children?

I was sitting in Operations Management class on Saturday morning, and we were talking about different philosophies of controlling processes. The professor brought up a slide about the Deming wheel, also known as the PDCA cycle (precusor to Six Sigma's DMAIC procedure).

Here's the Wikipedia explanation of the PDCA cycle (from the page I linked above):

"The steps in each successive PDCA cycle are:

Establish the objectives and processes necessary to deliver results in accordance with the expected output (the target or goals). By establishing output expectations, the completeness and accuracy of the specification is also a part of the targeted improvement. When possible start on a small scale to test possible effects.
Implement the plan, execute the process, make the product. Collect data for charting and analysis in the following "CHECK" and "ACT" steps.
Study the actual results (measured and collected in "DO" above) and compare against the expected results (targets or goals from the "PLAN") to ascertain any differences. Charting data can make this much easier to see trends over several PDCA cycles and in order to convert the collected data into information. Information is what you need for the next step "ACT".
Request corrective actions on significant differences between actual and planned results. Analyze the differences to determine their root causes. Determine where to apply changes that will include improvement of the process or product. When a pass through these four steps does not result in the need to improve, the scope to which PDCA is applied may be refined to plan and improve with more detail in the next iteration of the cycle."

As we talked about this cycle, I realized that that's how I've always approached parenting, in my own life and here on Ask Moxie. By Any Means Necessary IS the PDCA cycle. Every time we've answered an email with "You think you have one huge problem but you really have six small ones that are ganging up on you, so pick one and test things until you fix it, then move on to the next one, until you're done," that was the PDCA cycle.

This also immediately clarified for me why Ask Moxie readers have been the least judgmental bunch of people I have ever encountered on the internet: We're thinking about parenting as a process, instead of an absolute. It's like we're all business owners with different and non-competing businesses. If you find something that helped your business run better, you share it with someone else, but realize that her business is different from yours, so that one technique may or may not work for her situation.

Also, when you see parenting as a process of trying things and assessing how they work and then keeping or chucking them, you don't see your value as a parent in whether or not you "fix" every one of your kids' problems. Instead, your value as a parent is because you love your child. And the process of trying to troubleshoot problems (whether you end up fixing them or not) is what gives you your skills.

Thoughts? Am I on target with what's been going on here for the past six (6!) years? Or am I just a pattern-seeker and this is off and I should look to my Cost Accounting class for parenting models instead?

Fall back

Those of us who didn't change time last weekend are changing it this weekend (at 2 am Sunday morning). We're falling back into Standard Time (from Daylight Savings Time), so we get an extra hour.

That means your kids will wake up on Sunday at 6 am thinking it's 7.

You can:

1. Let them stay up later tonight and tomorrow to try to lessen the blow, OR

2. Do nothing now and then deal with it next week.


As always, remember that the worst days tend to be days 2 and 3 of the change, so Monday and Tuesday will probably be worse than Sunday.


Dealing with a moody 5-year-old

Happy Candletime! This is the third year already. If you've forgotten the rules, they're here.

And now a question from K, who wanted me to summarize and paraphrase her larger request.

Essentially, her son, since turning 5, has gone all Jekyll and Hyde. "Sweet as can be, helpful, and polite vs surly (actual surly), rude, and vicious. Permanent getting up on the wrong side of the bed, if you will." He's vicious to his older sister when she tries to interact with him, and blames his bad moods and behavior on his sister.

K thinks it may be jealousy that she's able to read and write and do other things he can't yet. But will it go away? Is there something she could be doing?

I'm looking for data points from people who may have had the same issue. My own two boys were horrible at 4.75 years but changed radically into cooperative, fluent little citizens shortly after turning 5. So I had the opposite experience.

Is there anyone else out there going through a Horrible Fives phase, or who had a child who had one? How long did it last? Was there anything you did that you think helped?