Joanna Goddard has been interviewing American women raising their children in other countries, to hear how motherhood around the world compared and contrasted with motherhood in America. She's talked to parents in Norway, Japan, Congo, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Abu Dhabi, India, England, China, Germany, Australia, Turkey, and Chile. [more inside]
Is your family looking for an inclusive alternative to the Boy Scouts of America? Lance Finney posts a rundown on the Skepchick parenting blog Grounded Parents. The list is based on research he did when working to start a group with families from the Ethical Society of St. Louis that was “fully inclusive of religious belief, ethnic background, sexual orientation, and gender.” [more inside]
In 2003, the New York Times published a lengthy article by Lisa Belkin about women who were choosing to leave the workforce to be stay-at-home moms: The Opt-Out Generation. In the the last ten years, the article's conclusions regarding upper-middle-class women's choices about work and motherhood have been debated, studied, rediscovered, denied, lamented, and defended. It's been noted by many that "most mothers have to work to make ends meet but the press writes mostly about the elite few who don’t." Ms. Belkin's piece also never mentioned what what a disaster divorce or the death of a spouse can create for dependent women in such situations. After a decade, the Times is revisiting the topic: The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In.
Having Daughters Rather Than Sons Makes You More Liberal In remarkable research, the sociologist Rebecca Warner and the economist Ebonya Washington have shown that the gender of a person's children seems to influence the attitudes and actions of the parent.
“Commitment vows are very powerful, even in a cynical era when people aren't afraid of getting divorced,”
Families in Flux:"As household arrangements take new directions, scientists attempt to sort out the social effects" [more inside]
"Internet Essentials" is a $10/month internet plan available to any family with one child eligible for free lunches at American public schools. [more inside]
Recent research on children. (1) Brothers and sisters who argue a lot can improve their language, social skills and outcomes: Guardian article; paper on part of the research (pdf). (2) First findings from Understanding Society. Conclusions include: the unhappiness of children’s mothers with their partners affect children’s happiness, but this is not the case if children’s fathers are unhappy in their relationships; having older brothers or sisters doesn’t appear to affect children’s happiness, but having younger brothers or sisters is associated with less happiness; not living with both natural parents has a greater negative impact on a young person’s life satisfaction than their material situation. (3) A longitudinal study on people now in their forties has found that for these people reading is linked to career success, though not necessarily to better pay, whilst playing computer games and doing no other activities was associated with less likelihood of going to university. In particular, those who owned a ZX Spectrum or Commodore C64 were less likely to go to university. thinq interview with researcher. Guardian article. Telegraph article. (4) Poll about children’s attitudes to losing in sport. Press release. Data from children’s survey. Data from parents’ survey. (All three are PDFs.)
(pdf) Chris Gottlieb writes in the "Baltimore Law Review" about judging parents. The article discusses instances of racism and classicism in the family court systems. An adaptation of the "Baltimore Review" article appears in the New York Times. [more inside]
More women in the developed world are choosing not to have children. 'So why do friends, family, colleagues and even strangers think it's OK to question their decision?' 'A woman's fertility status is still very much considered public property. There are still assumptions about women's role in society, about families and about family size."''US Census Bureau says 36% of American women have no children.''Once this was considered insane or unnatural. Even today, it is viewed with suspicion - women with no desire to procreate say they sometimes face awkward questions and disapproval.' [more inside]
The Case Against Homework. Does assigning fifty math problems accomplish any more than assigning five? Is memorizing word lists the best way to increase vocabulary—especially when it takes away from reading time? And what is the real purpose behind those devilish dioramas? Sara Bennett wants to stop homework. Here she explains why (pdf).
The novlist Julie Myerson has written a book, The Lost Child, about her son's addiction to cannabis, the violent behaviour she says this caused and her tough love policy. Extract. Her son is angry that she's published it, and says his parents over-reacted: "I wasn't doing anything that most other teenagers do, but such was their naive terror of drugs they were acting like six-year-olds". It comes out through MumsNet that Julie Myerson was the anonymous author of a Guardian column, "Living with Teenagers," which described her children's behaviour candidly without their knowledge. Extract. Myerson first denied this. The Guardian discusses whether it was right to publish the columns. Myerson is interviewed about whether she was right to publish The Lost Child. Her partner, and son's father, Jonathan Myerson supports her: This is an emergency. Her son says she's addicted to writing. [more inside]
Thinking of the (obese, cavity-ridden, materialistic, insecure, grasping, nagging) Children... for fun and profit!
Won't somebody please think of the children? Oh, don't fool yourselves! Americans under the age of 12 now spend or influence the spending of $565 billion a year - up from $2.2 billion in 1968, and kid-spending has roughly doubled every ten years for the past three decades, tripling in the 1990s. Which means someone is always thinking of the children. The American Association of Pediatrics (pdf) cites this bludgeoning of kidvertising as creating in children "a fever for shopping and spending, swollen expectations about material needs, decreasing immunity to the assaults of advertisers, self-concepts defined by brands of clothing, and a rash of of debt by the time they leave college". [more...]
California bill to ease "move aways" by custodial parents pulled. Until a recent CA Supreme Court decision, it was easy for custodial parents to move themselves and their children far from their ex-spouse. The Court reversed the old rule and held that the move could be blocked if the non-custodial parent could show that it would interfere with his/her relationship with the kids. Legislation to reimpose the old permissive standard passed through the State Senate, but has now been pulled off the legislative calendar after an outcry by father's rights groups.
A real Gucci bag out of your reach? Don´t worry, just compensate by naming your kid Gucci! Or Lexus, Evian, Enternity.... more brand baby names here.
"The Story About The Baby" - this consistently funny and entertaining website is well suited to anyone who has ever thought about having kids, has kids or anyone else. An endearing yet fantastically cynical take on the first year of raising a child has just wrapped up and in its completion is a great antidote to the overbearing cutesy-wootsy baby web pages that proliferate the internet. With entry titles such as: The Unbearable Grossness of Being, Dawn of the Neglectomatic and The Use Of Skinnerian Conditioning To Mold My Child's Brain, well how could you go wrong?
Abigail and Brittany Hensel are in the 6th grade and continue to defy the odds. After the initial struggle with the personal pronoun (her? their?), one is left with both curiosity and sympathy. The greater issue is how to assimilate the truly miraculous.
White couple gets black twins, sue IVF clinic. Experts say a mistake could have occurred in one of three ways.The wrong sperm could have been used to fertilise the right egg, the right sperm could have been used to fertilise the wrong egg, or the embryo implanted in the woman may have been another couple's altogether. Although it is not clear whether another couple has laid claim to the children, legal experts say the judge will be expected to make a modern-day judgment of Solomon on who should be considered the babies' legal parents. This is unploughed legal ground. Is there a fair way to sort this out?
Billy Jean's not my lover. Should non-fathers pay child support to someone else's children? More states are saying "no."
Mother jailed for girls' truancy A question for our British gang, is truancy such a problem in the UK now that this is really necessary? When I went to school in England, lo those mumblemumble years ago, I don't remember it being this bad. For the rest of the world, do you think truancy in your country would justify locking up the primary caregiver or is this punishing the wrong person? Can parents be held responsible for everything a child does? And better said, should they? When should we grant children the priviledges and penalties of their own autonomous actions?
Widow of Sept. 11 Hero Gives Birth. "Lisa Beamer, the widow of the man who cried, 'Let's roll!' as passengers aboard one of the doomed Sept. 11 flights prepared to confront their hijackers, has given birth to a healthy girl." How bittersweet; a part of him lives on, but I'm sure there is sadness because the husband couldn't be there for the birth.
Also, the Beamers have started a memorial foundation for children who lost parents in the 9/11 attacks.
Also, the Beamers have started a memorial foundation for children who lost parents in the 9/11 attacks.
I was just over at Matt's blog, and he mentions that his favorite baby blog is evohr.org. Personally, mine is henrysdiary.com. What's yours? Or do you have problems with this sort of site... do you think it's exploitive or otherwise dangerous?
The estate of a divorced father is freed from paying a failing son's tuition. Basically, the ruling establishes (at least in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) that children have obligations to parents. OK, if you want your parents to pay for your college education, you should at least try to graduate. But what are the other consequences of this ruling? What's the point at which a child's bad behavior releases a parent from their obligations as a parent? If your divorced dad is the Great Santini, can he cut off your child support if you hit him back?
More hours in daycare makes bad kids. "'If more time in all sorts of (child care) arrangements is predicting disconcerting outcomes, then if you want to reduce the probability of those outcomes, you reduce the time in care,' said Belsky. 'Extend parental leave and part-time work.' One of the lead scientists on the study with Belsky, [Sarah Friedman of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Developmen] said, 'The easy solution is to cut the number of hours but that may have implications for the family that may not be beneficial for the development of the children in terms of economics.'" Or, to say that in English, if you want your kids to be cared for at home you have to short them on food, clothing and shelter.
6 year-old boy in foster care because his mother insists on breastfeeding him. "It's an offense to me that my child has been in foster care for over 120 days because [the state] decided it didn't believe in my parenting philosophy," said the unidentified mother.