We measure things here at On Parenting, and I admit that I like to see the numbers behind our pieces. How many people read or click on our particular stories doesn’t determine whether a piece is great, yet it does help me see what people like. It’s not a perfect way to say “Here are the most-loved pieces we had this year.” What the numbers do say is “Here are the pieces the most people clicked on.” Whether by thoughtful readers, or trolls, that click counts the same.
That said, we wanted to share our 10 most-read pieces in 2016. All of them are thoughtful. All are interesting. And the best thing is I see confirmation of a trend that I noticed this year: Pieces that had to do with teaching kids kindness, empathy and the importance thereof continue to be our best read, most shared, least trolled. So, to all the writers here, and especially to all you readers, thank you. A very happy (and kind) 2017 to you all.
Our most-read piece, by far (and it continues to be popular) is “How to raise kinder, less entitled kids (according to science).” This terrific piece by Karen Weese illustrates a very normal scenario (the chocolate chip pancake anecdote is my house exactly) and gently takes us through the ways we can guide our kids in the right direction.
Jenn Morson emailed me during the Olympics and said she just had to write a piece about how an announcer said Simone Biles’s parents weren’t her “real” parents. Her piece was to the point and spoke to so many people. The comments and emails were thoughtful and open, and people shared their own experiences. I’m also guessing her words made a lot of people realize they had it all wrong when speaking parents vs. birth parents.
It’s not a surprise that this piece called “6 ways good parents contribute to their child’s anxiety” drew in a lot of readers. It’s a reminder that our actions, even if they seem just fine, have consequences (good or not so good).
“Why 70 percent of kids quit sports by age 13” was a bit of a gut punch, but also reality in today’s world. Julianna Miner gets into the reasons for this phenomenon. Kid sports culture sure has changed since we were young.
The age-old question of how to get your kids to talk about their days is answered well in Sara Ackerman’s piece that says “Instead of asking questions, try this.”
Kate Haas’s piece on why she regrets letting her teen take an AP course really struck a lot of people. Filing this one away under the “more to think about” folder.
This one caused quite a ruckus, with some weighing in on whether this was a good idea while others attacked the writer in the comments. I’m always sorry to see that, but I wanted to run this piece because I think it’s good to see how other people live, whether we think it would work for us or not.
Speaking of ruckus, Jody Allard’s piece about her teen boys and rape culture caused one. The points she brings up about how she feels her boys just don’t get it was eye-opening.
This piece, based on a report by the Making Caring Common project at Harvard, gets us back to kindness. The authors explain how the report encourages parents, educators and college admissions staff members to give greater weight to how an applicant has helped their world than a million achievements designed to get into school.
And, my goodness, this piece from 2014 is still in our top 10. It’s about five ways to raise kind kids. So, in other words, here’s to the future. I see a lot of kindness coming our way.