Mystery Author: Strong Women, Great Stories

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I write three series: The Loser Mysteries, The Dead Detective Mysteries & the Simon & Elizabeth (Tudor) Mysteries as well as stand-alones that offer readers "Strong Women, Great Stories."
These days I also answer to Maggie Pill, who writes a cozy sleuth series. Maggie is a lot like Peg, just younger, cooler, and funnier.

When the Teacher Calls about Your Kid

As a teacher, I met lots of kids who misbehaved from time to time. What was interesting was parental reactions. It boiled down to two types.
When presented with an instance of a child's disruptive actions, the helpful parent said something like, "That won't happen again."
Most of the time, it didn't.

Unhelpful reactions took several forms:
"It's not true." - I'd walked into the girls' bathroom and seen their daughter with a lit cigarette in her hand, standing in a cloud of smoke. (I must have misunderstood, or maybe I need my eyes checked.)
"Someone else started it." Frequent reaction to fights.
"It isn't that big a deal." - This was in reaction to her son peeing on another kid because he wore ragged clothes. She actually said, "He's just a ___", naming a local family living in poverty.
"Other kids did the same thing and got away with it." This excuses your kid's behavior how?

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Of course life isn't fair, and sometimes people lie. But a responsible parent looks for the truth in two ways: what objective people say about their kid, and perhaps more importantly, what the kid him/herself says and does.

If reputable people present evidence that a kid's behavior is beyond what's normal, that must be taken seriously. People who deal with such things all the time know when an individual falls on the wrong side of the line of acceptability. They don't "go after" others without cause, and they don't make trouble for the fun of it. They take a stand when they feel they must, knowing they'll probably be called liars and worse by those who can't see past their own subjectivity.

Listen to people who know. Look at the behavior without excusing it. It's what every parent--and every voter--needs to do.

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