The Family Weekly: 20 Years After Columbine

Plus: Long-distance friendships, messy conversations about race with an interracial family, and how to raise a boy

(Andrew Shawaf / Getty / Shutterstock / The Atlantic)

This Week in Family

Many of the teenagers who survived the Columbine school shooting 20 years ago today are now parents, raising children in a time when mass shootings feel so common that even kindergartners are put through active-shooter drills. Some parents are still struggling with their own healing and post-traumatic stress, and deciding how to share their story with their children is taking an added emotional toll. “I essentially put the fear of God in her that she had to be ready, she had to be prepared that anything could happen,” one mother recalls after a conversation with her 7-year-old. “That was my fault. I put my PTSD, and my fears, and my troubles, on her.”

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(Wenjia Tang)

In this week’s installment of The Friendship Files, two women who met in 11th grade in India share the story of their long-distance friendship. Shortly after they met, one of them moved to Canada with her family, while the other stayed in India to finish school. Through instant messaging, and eventually video calls, they kept in touch virtually until they were able to meet up in Canada as adults. Their friendship withstood the tests of time and distance, but a Harry Potter spoiler almost came between them.
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When the psychologist Michael Reichert was raising his young son, he tried to teach him a lesson about standing up to a bully that might have reinforced the very gender norms he wanted to change. Reichert talks to The Atlantic about his new book, How to Raise a Boy, and what it would take to expand society’s vision of masculinity.
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High-school athletes might be more vulnerable to anxiety and depression than the average teenager. Knowing that their parents have poured time and resources into their training, or trying to live up to a parent’s legacy, some students feel the pressure to excel at all costs. When their identities are so closely tied to the sport they play, injuries that take them off the field can start to affect teens’ mental health and self-worth as well.
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(Mira Jacob / Courtesy of Penguin Random House)

It isn’t easy navigating race, identity, and politics these days—and trying to explain it all to your biracial 6-year-old son is even harder. The novelist Mira Jacob was inspired to create a new graphic-novel memoir from those sometimes funny, sometimes sad conversations with her son. The memoir spans her own childhood, as one of the few South Asian families in New Mexico, to the challenges and joys of her interracial marriage and motherhood, decades later.
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Programming note: Dear Therapist is on hiatus until April 29. You can read through the archives, and you can still send Lori your questions at