Is My Kid the Asshole is growing up!
It’s been nine months since I launched Is My Kid the Asshole?, which means that this baby has learned to sit up, crawl, and even take its first steps. Seriously, though, I feel like launching a newsletter is a lot like raising a kid — everything is constantly changing, and I often feel like I’m flailing.
But, as with parenting, writing this newsletter has also been exceptionally rewarding. I’ve received many emails from readers saying that the newsletter has helped them understand their kids and better handle their behavior, and that makes it very worthwhile. So I wanted to say thank you, and also share some exciting news.
As you know if you’ve been reading it, what makes Is My Kid the Asshole? different from other parenting advice is that it’s grounded in science. I have a background in molecular biology and nearly 15 years’ experience as a science journalist, and I do lots of reporting for each newsletter I send out — I hunt for and read relevant studies and interview experts. For instance, here’s a screenshot of the 19 studies I read for last week’s newsletter on sharing. (Yes, I really did read all of these. For my Q&As with authors, I always read their books before interviewing them, too.)
Look, I love doing research. Nothing makes me happier than sitting down with a pile of studies, a highlighter, and a giant mug of coffee. (This is one of the key reasons I wrote my book, HOW TO RAISE KIDS WHO AREN’T ASSHOLES, which is grounded in science and cites hundreds of studies.) But as you might imagine, this kind of reporting also takes a lot of time. Which is why, in the past, I’ve typically dug into the science of parenting for publications that pay me to do it: Outlets including Slate, where I used to be a regular parenting columnist, The New York Times and The Washington Post.
Recently, however, the landscape of parenting journalism has changed, and many opportunities have dwindled. But I don’t want to stop doing it. I want to keep bringing scientific rigor to parenting, because parenting is the hardest job there is, and advice rooted in research truly makes the job easier. Friends and family will often tell you contradictory things, so it’s incredibly grounding to be able to point to research and say, a-ha, this is the approach that has been shown to help the most parents and children. And I know you want more research-based advice, too, because those of you who were kind enough to fill out my subscriber survey a few weeks ago told me that. So that’s why I’ve decided expand Is My Kid the Asshole? and launch paid subscriptions. I want to provide more evidence-based advice on various parenting issues, run Q&As with experts on expanded topics, and also get to know you through weekly topical discussion threads.
Don’t worry, I’ll still be providing free weekly content — but I hope that you’ll consider supporting my reporting through a paid subscription, which will cost $5 per month or $50 per year. You also have the option of becoming a Founding Member for $150 (although you can also name your own price) — Founding Members who pay at least $150 per year will receive a signed copy of my new book, HOW TO RAISE KIDS WHO AREN’T ASSHOLES (while supplies last).
You can sign up for a paid subscription here. Here’s how it will work:
Everyone will continue to receive the free weekly column every Tuesday, which will alternate between advice on handling challenging kid behavior and Q&As with parenting experts. I will also be expanding my Q&As so they are not only with authors, but also with researchers and therapists who can dig deep into specific aspects of child development that have implications for how we parent.
Paid subscribers will also get my new Dear Melinda columns, which will run every other Friday. These are advice columns that use science to answer various kinds of parenting questions — not just ones related to child behavior. Like: Is it bad if my partner and I have different parenting styles? Is homework actually helpful? Should I give my kids probiotics?
Paid subscribers will also gain access to a weekly Thursday discussion thread on a specific parenting topic. My goal with these threads is to foster an inclusive and supportive community of parents who feel comfortable sharing their ideas, complaints, concerns, etc. Parenting is hard, many of us feel isolated right now, and we need all the community we can get.
Paid subscribers will be able to access searchable archives of the newsletter.
Paid subscribers will get other special perks that I’ll be announcing soon. They could include monthly product reviews and other discussion threads.
It’s important to me that Is My Kid the Asshole? remains accessible. If you are unemployed, under-employed, a student, a gig worker, or otherwise struggling financially, please email me for a comp subscription.
Next week, all subscribers will receive the free Tuesday newsletter, will be able to participate in the first Thursday thread, and will receive the first Friday Dear Melinda column. I think it’s important to let you to try out the paid content and see how you like it.
Starting the week of September 27, the paywall will come down on the Dear Melinda column, the thread, and the archives. You can, of course, go paid then — but why not do it now so you don’t miss anything?
I have to admit it feels a weird to ask for your support. I am one of those people who really, really, doesn’t like to ask for help (which, to be clear, is not a good thing). But the fact is, good journalism requires time and careful reporting, and I strongly believe that journalism on parenting also deserves this respect and attention to detail. I want to be able to provide you with the quality of reporting that you’d see in publications like Slate, The New York Times or The Washington Post. (With enough support, I could even hire an editor and/or fact-checker, which would be glorious.) You can trust my reporting, too: I have won nearly a dozen science journalism awards, including the 2019 Bricker Award for Science Writing in Medicine. So please consider supporting my newsletter. I’m excited to help make your life as a parent a little bit easier.
Book news: I just heard that this week, HOW TO RAISE KIDS WHO AREN’T ASSHOLES is the #13 bestselling book at Hive in the UK, an online retailer that supports independent bookstores. Woo-hoo! Maybe it’s because of the profile of me that ran in The Guardian last week, which was also picked up by the Irish Times. It seems the Brits and the Irish are really excited to raise kids who aren’t assholes. YAY!