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Parenting Columns

Charting the puzzles and peeves of kid-herding — from Huggies to homework, Pilates to pinatas.

2017

  • What Makes Dads So … Non-Mom?
    June 23, 2017
    A group of young dudes in Spokane, Washington, recently put an ad on Craigslist for a “BBQ Dad” who’d be…
  • 13 Reasons Why Parenting Is Frightening
    June 4, 2017
    With Wisdom Comes Age ... And Fear Last month saw the launch of two unrelated cultural phenomena that enchanted teens…
  • TTYL, College Kid o’ Mine
    June 3, 2017
    The Joys of Keeping in Touch, via Text, With Your Out-of-State Son Right now, high school seniors throughout the country…
  • Parenting Under a Toddler-in-Chief
    February 12, 2017
    When you’re a kid, they tell you the greatest thing about this country is that absolutely anyone can grow up…

2016

2015

2014

2013

  • Best Part of Parenting: The Music
    November 7, 2013
    When my kids queue up my jams - The Pixies or Sam Cooke or Blondie, say - all is right…
  • Trashing Junior High
    August 29, 2013
    Young adult author Teddy Steinkellner joins me this week in bashing the miseries of middle school—an experience he calls 'a…
  • Manhattan Made
    April 11, 2013
    Where do you vacation when you live in paradise? To the urban jungle so your 7-year-old can learn to hail…
  • Benefits of the Boob Tube
    March 14, 2013
    We lazy parents are vindicated: Turns out kids can learn life-saving skills from staring slack-jawed at TV.
  • No Children, No Comment
    February 28, 2013
    Is 'I don't like children' a reasonable thing to say?
  • Paranoid or Preventative?
    February 14, 2013
    The Lockdown Lowdown: Our kids are practicing cowering in corners. And I don't like it.
  • No to Botox
    January 17, 2013
    I need my furrowed brow ... so I can strike terror into my children.
  • Tracking Your Teen
    January 3, 2013
    Our parents never knew where we were. But parents today can monitor our kids' locations, connections -- even their speed.…

2012

  • Parental Kissing: Ewww
    November 22, 2012
    Must we hear 'yuck' and 'nasty' when we plant one on our partners?
  • May I Have This Dance?
    October 11, 2012
    Teens making over-the-top overtures to invite dates to homecoming.
  • Kid Herding
    September 13, 2012
    What every parent should know about pedicures, pizza and peeing in bushes.
  • Family Car Decals
    August 16, 2012
    Why tally your clan in stick-figures on the back of your Yukon?
  • Dog Hair: The New Superfood
    July 19, 2012
    Thank dog. Turns out great hygiene does not a good mother make.
  • Cool or Not Cool?
    June 21, 2012
    Sometimes my kids ask me questions that rattle my mind like a cold, brass church bell, like when my teenager…
  • Fatherly Lessons
    May 28, 2012
    Cannibals, Harleys, and Other Things My Daddy Taught Me
  • One Tyke, One Teen
    May 10, 2012
    The ups and downs of having seven years between sibs.
  • Indecent Exposure
    April 26, 2012
    Today's teens are born to porn. Need we worry?
  • Your Child, Your Mouthpiece
    January 5, 2012
    Don't turn your kid into your personal picket sign. It's creepy.

2011

2010

  • Fame and (Mis)Fortune
    November 25, 2010
    Are All Child Stars Doomed?
  • Happy Meals lose weight
    November 11, 2010
    I've been waiting decades for someone to make my parenting job easier. And you've just done that.
  • Scouting for Some Sense
    October 28, 2010
    Starshine talks to a gay dad who was booted from his son's Boy Scouts troop. So much for 'loyal, friendly,…
  • Insanity by Baby Book
    September 30, 2010
    The sole purpose of baby books is to make moms more deranged than we already are. There, I said it.
  • Take My Kids … Please
    September 16, 2010
    Have you named a guardian for your kids? YOU HAVEN'T?! Yeah, me, neither.
  • Life is Laundry
    September 2, 2010
    Does your kid know how to clean a toilet? Hang a picture?
  • Our Kids are Snitches
    August 19, 2010
    AACK! Why teach our children to be honest if they'll just turn it against us?!
  • Family Travels
    August 5, 2010
    You've got a lot of nerve calling this a vacation. Where's my flip-flopping cabana boy?!
  • Why Have Kids? No, Really.
    July 8, 2010
    Starshine contemplates the joy — and the horror — of having offspring.
  • I Ain’t No Supermodel
    June 24, 2010
    Sloth, baked goods, monkey sex and other reasons I shouldn't be a role model to children.
  • Forced Friends
    June 10, 2010
    What if you don't WANT to be friends with your kids' friends' parents? Do you HAVE to? REALLY??
  • Little League Lunatics
    May 27, 2010
    Parents going gonzo on the sidelines?
  • Tweens ‘Dating’ Tweens
    May 13, 2010
    Sixth-graders? 'Going out'?!!
  • Enough for Two
    April 29, 2010
    Only child ponders the Math of Love: How do you divide affection between 2 kids?!
  • Home School
    April 15, 2010
    Teaching college students has made me a meaner instructor -- but a better parent.
  • Sex Talk
    April 8, 2010
    Where's the stinkin' stork when you need him?
  • Fall From Cool
    February 25, 2010
    Starshine is suddenly humiliating to her children. And doesn't much care.
  • Trickle-Down Trepidation
    February 18, 2010
    How I officially freaked out my kids. Sigh. Again.
  • View from the Control Tower
    February 11, 2010
    Control freak? Yeah, maybe. But isn't that my job?
  • The Getting from Giving
    January 7, 2010
    Slop-slinging can be glee-inducing.

2009

  • Parents’ wise words seldom build vocabularies
    December 31, 2009
    'Don't let the dog lick your privates' and other things no one should have to say.
  • Scarred by Santa?
    December 10, 2009
    Will decades of December deceit land our kids in therapy?
  • Parenting by Committee
    November 26, 2009
    How Facebookers helped me survive the Tween TV Tantrum Trauma!
  • Baby Einstein Refunds
    November 12, 2009
    Did 'Baby Mozart' fail to make your child a genius? Join the 'I couldn't care less' club.
  • The Playdate Secret
    October 29, 2009
    The crazy thing about having other children over to your house is, it's actually easier than not having them.
  • Infernal Artwork
    October 15, 2009
    The saddest eight words in the English language are 'Mommy, why is my drawing in the trash?'
  • Gloss of Innocence
    October 1, 2009
    How do moms decide when it's okay for their tween girls to wear makeup?
  • Begging for Tuition
    September 17, 2009
    Single mom Shelle Curley has taken to begging for cash at a freeway off-ramp to raise tuition money for her…
  • The All-Nugget Diet
    September 3, 2009
    The experts say I'm doing it all wrong. And by the way you bellow 'that's YUCK!' at the sight of…
  • Little Drummer Boy
    August 20, 2009
    My son is a drummer. An enthusiastic one. With beefy forearms and a double bass pedal. The kid, I'm just…
  • Whose Getaway Is It?
    August 6, 2009
    Who Needs a Break More, Starshine or Her Kids?
  • Rated PG for Parental Gaffe
    July 23, 2009
    I realize memory fizzles as you age, but I don't recall my favorite flicks containing so much sex, violence, drugs,…
  • Kids and Marijuana
    July 16, 2009
    Keep Your Offspring from Smoking by Being a Pothead Yourself
  • The Nip/Tuck Talk
    July 9, 2009
    What Parents Tell Their Kids About Plastic Surgery
  • Off-Leash Kids
    June 25, 2009
    Have Americans become unnecessarily fearful for our children's safety?
  • Fathering Females
    June 18, 2009
    For Father's Day, Starshine gives the dads-of-daughters a good grilling.
  • End-of-the-Year-Gifts for Teachers
    May 28, 2009
    No coffee mugs. No cheap candy. Starshine asks teachers what they really want for end-of-the-year gifts.
  • Motherhood
    May 21, 2009
    Starshine chats with the stars of a startlingly honest new film about mom-bonding.
  • Pool Spawn
    May 14, 2009
    Loathing floaties: Swim lessons make Starshine want to beat someone with a pool noodle.
  • My Son’s Peaceful Defiance
    April 30, 2009
    Fed up with life's bossy mandates, Starshine finds freedom in a toddler's two-word cue: 'I won't.'
  • Sin City
    April 16, 2009
    Of schlepping the kids to smut-soaked Sin City, Starshine has this to say: OOPS.
  • Bag o’ Tricks
    April 2, 2009
    In the event of a nuclear disaster, you'd better hope you're sitting next to Starshine.
  • The Sob Squawk Screech of Siblings
    March 19, 2009
    Who's got it better, only children or siblings? As an only herself, Starshine has no clue how to parent the…
  • Rent’s Price of Admission
    March 5, 2009
    Rebellion for 'Rent': Should high-schoolers play smack-addicted, cross-dressing pole dancers?
  • The Post-Baby Bop
    February 19, 2009
    Hop on Pop? Starshine chats with a sexpert who swears that new parents can have a rockin' boudoir.
  • The Dirty Truth
    February 5, 2009
    Dirty talk: Starshine finally gets a leg up on all you Lysol-huffing scrub nuts.
  • The Family That Rocks Together…
    January 29, 2009
    Crank it up, son! Starshine finds out what happens when parents rock out with their kids.

2008

  • Pop Goes the Kids’ Bop
    December 25, 2008
    Wiggle me this: Why does kids' music have to suck so badly?
  • Trophy Atrophy
    December 11, 2008
    Starshine finds out why all kids -- even the sucky ones -- get trophies these days.
  • Projectile Homework
    November 27, 2008
    The two words that most set my family moaning are these: class project.
  • Preschool Lock-Down
    November 13, 2008
    PTA meetings aren't boring when a gunman's on the loose.
  • The Handoff
    October 30, 2008
    There are good reasons why kids shouldn't play tackle football. Starshine offers five: Smack. Crack. Thud. Grunt. Oof.
  • The Best Toy Ever
    October 16, 2008
    Beanie Babies? Ha. Wii? Puh-lease. Starshine reveals the best toys EVER.
  • A Formula for Guilt
    October 2, 2008
    China's formula fiasco feeds Starshine's (gulp) guilt about not breast-feeding.
  • The Stuff Slough
    September 18, 2008
    Life doesn't live in the things that we have. It takes place in the things that we do.
  • Party Favors
    September 4, 2008
    Remember when you didn't have to hire an elephant to fete a birthday?
  • Me Time
    August 21, 2008
    It's impossible to feel lonely, Starshine discovers, when you're high on acetone.
  • Starshine Roshell, Meet Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii
    August 7, 2008
    Few people know what it's like to have a name as odd as Starshine's. But Talula Does the Hula from…
  • Growing by Bleeps and Bounds
    July 24, 2008
    Through some terrible mutation of natural law, a four-letter word has become my young son's all-time favorite utterance.
  • Look Alike
    July 10, 2008
    Despite what it looks like, Starshine swears she did NOT give birth to two Sarah Brightman-loving 68-year olds.
  • Next Stop: Freedom
    June 26, 2008
    Powerless at the pump, the bus may be the exact change you need.
  • Phantom Tiara Syndrome
    June 12, 2008
    Lamenting that boys prefer guns to glitter.
  • Do You Have to Like Your Kids?
    May 29, 2008
    Parents aren't supposed to say this out loud, but... we don't always like our kids.
  • Mothering the Mothers
    May 15, 2008
    Fifty mothers bask in a kindness that has become all but foreign to them.
  • How to Handle the Brave New World of i, X, IM, and Wii
    April 24, 2008
    iPods and YouTube and Twitter, oh, my! An unnerving but enlightening teens-and-the-media summit.
  • Spring Cleaning
    April 17, 2008
    Deconstructing Spring Cleaning and other lies meant to torture us.
  • Spork It Over
    March 20, 2008
    Starshine submits to a cafeteria lunch at a local elementary school and lives to tell the tale.
  • The Game of LIFE
    March 6, 2008
    Starshine skipped college, avoided kids and shacked up with a woman, but -- thank you, Milton Bradley! -- she still…
  • The Swing of Things
    February 21, 2008
    Don't flirt with hunky dads, and other playground rules by Starshine.
  • Hang the Potty
    February 7, 2008
    Kick the can: Starshine is happy to leave her youngest in diapers forever.
  • Mom Envy
    January 24, 2008
    Starshine has been on both sides of the schoolyard tension between working moms and stay-at-homes. And she thinks it's stupid.
  • Mommy’s a Liar
    January 10, 2008
    Starshine tells the truth about fibbing, cheating -- and swindling for Hannah Montana tickets.

2007

  • Where Are the Homeless When You Need ‘Em?
    December 20, 2007
    Hell-bent on benevolence, Starshine ponders: Where are the homeless when you need 'em?
  • The Nana-Fest Manifesto
    December 6, 2007
    The Nana Manifesto: Starshine begs grandparents not to turn their grandchildren into unbearable brats this season. But really ... what's…
  • Innocence Glossed
    November 22, 2007
    The birds and the bees and the mom behind bars: Starshine pits information against innocence -- and finds that it's…
  • Old Wives vs. New Science
    November 8, 2007
    Remember when Pop Rocks were lethal? Starshine hates how science takes all the fun out of ignorance.
  • Once Upon a Cool Mom
    October 25, 2007
    From belches and butt-heads to limits and let-downs -- how Starshine was stripped of her coveted Cool Mom title.
  • I Killed the Tooth Fairy
    October 4, 2007
    After a celebrated and centuries-old career in the dental detritus trade, the Tooth Fairy, sadly, is dead. Because Starshine killed…
  • Powerless Steering
    September 27, 2007
    A close encounter with a pick-up truck reminds Starshine that control is nothing more than a lame Janet Jackson song.
  • Warning: Children in Charge
    September 6, 2007
    Is CBS' controversial Kid Nation really the devil's work, or are parents just kidding themselves? Only Starshine knows for sure…
  • The Great Disney Smoke-Out
    August 16, 2007
    Starshine doesn't just analyze Disney's decision to ban tobacco from its films. She puts it in her pipe and smokes…
  • You Camp Be Serious!
    August 9, 2007
    Stuntman camp. Heavy metal guitar camp. Jedi camp. Now that summer nears a close, Starshine and other parents ask: What…
  • Love Bites
    July 19, 2007
    Starshine dishes on the curious kitchen phenomenon that happens when the man of the house skips out for supper.
  • Down With Uptalk
    July 5, 2007
    I owe you all a big apology. Because when I was a kid? Growing up in the San Fernando Valley?…
  • My Father’s Gift
    June 14, 2007
    Starshine's Father's Day gift: What do you get the Dad who betrays everyone?
  • Who Wants to Be a Cotillionaire?
    May 31, 2007
    Don't mind her manners: Starshine learns that a trip around the cotillion ballroom is a lesson in balancing party punch…
  • I Now Pronounce You SISSY and WIFE
    May 17, 2007
    Hyphenates are for sissies. As California men demand the right to adopt their wives' last names, Starshine confesses her surname…
  • Only Pinocchio Nose for Sure
    May 10, 2007
    Fibbing in Frontierland? Starshine encounters deceit, perjury and a whole lot of hooey at The Magic Kingdom.
  • Road Trip, a.k.a Chaos in a Box
    April 19, 2007
    On the highway of life, nothing forces an appreciation of the here and now like the crowded, noisy chaos of…
  • Babies vs. Puppies: Who’s More Trouble?
    April 5, 2007
    Whiny, drooly and prone to mess themselves just as you're headed out the door, puppies and newborn babies have a…
  • Turning the Other Cheek on Spanking
    March 8, 2007
    Starshine reveals the bare-bottom truths about spanking.
  • The Third-Grader’s Guide to Girls
    February 7, 2007
    Starshine answers for her puzzling, pony-tailed gender in The Third-Grader's Guide to Girls.
  • The Business Trip
    January 4, 2007
    Business trips sound enticing to this work-at-home mom, but kidlessness - it turns out - has its price.

2006

  • Season’s Bleatings
    December 20, 2006
    Dearest Friends and Family, We hope this holiday letter finds you merry, gay, and all the other pleasant emotions the…
  • Confessions of a Mall Santa
    December 14, 2006
    Starshine gets to the bottom of what makes all those mall Santas tick. She finds that there are three types…
  • Barbie Schmarbie
    November 16, 2006
    As a little girl, I lived vicariously through my Barbie. When she wore her Bob Mackie halter gown, I was…
  • Protect your children! Eat their candy
    October 10, 2006
    I think we can all agree that candy is the devil's work. That's why we, in order to be good…
  • What’s next… toddler cell phones?
    September 12, 2006
    As the first school bell signals the end of summer, you may think your children have everything they need to…

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My columns are collected in three lovely books, which make a SPLENDID gift for wives, friends, book clubs, hostesses, and anyone who likes to laugh!
Keep Your Skirt On
Wife on the Edge
Broad Assumptions
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