Help through videos
Worried that your teen-ager is experimenting with drugs, that your grade-schooler has been shaken by a pet death, that your preteen is having nightmares about death?
What are you waiting for? Run down to the local video store and, well, rent something.
But first you may want to pick up a copy of "Talking Pictures: A Parents' Guide to Using Movies to Discuss Ethics, Values and Everyday Problems With Children" (Running Press). Ronald J. Madison, a psychologist, and Corey Schmidt, a writer, have amassed a list of film titles for families to view together to facilitate discussion of tricky issues: divorce, racism, morality, mortality, even the paranormal.
In age-appropriate sections, the chapters discuss various themes and the films that illustrate them. Try "Bambi" or "Peter Pan" for "fantasies and fears" in early childhood; try "Harriet the Spy" and "Stand By Me" for a discussion of "friends, bullies and social life" with your 8-to-12-year-olds. Teen sex and romance? "Reality Bites," "Splendor in the Grass," and "Kids." Each chapter comes with film synopses, suggested discussion points and questions.
A set of Big Apple skyscraper bookends is just the ticket for keeping long, tall tomes upright.
Like their real-life art-deco counterparts, these mini-versions keep things in proportion: The 1,250-foot Empire State Building has been scaled down to 13 inches, a tad taller than the 111/2-inch Chrysler Building. Handcrafted in nickel-plated steel, the monumental pair is $80 at the National Building Museum Shop, (202) 272-7706.