On Monday, journalist Conor Dougherty tweeted a picture
of a transcript from a 1984 deposition where, upon being asked if his mother preferred to be addressed as "Miss" or "Mrs.", she responded, "Doctor." It was retweeted more than 2000 times. Here's the backstory.
discusses being born into a musical family in a TED talk entitled Music as a Language
. In contrast, Alex Lifeson
as a teenager clashes with his parents
about choosing music over school in an excerpt from the documentary Come On Children
"Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?"
an upcoming graphic memoir from Roz Chast
is excerpted in the New Yorker online.
For many students in New York, the approach of spring means getting ready for standardized test season. However, many parents, with the encouragement of their children's teachers and administrators, are opting out. [more inside]
You named me... WHAT?
Nine baby-naming rules.
Welcome to Dinovember.
"Every year, my wife and I devote the month of November to convincing our children their plastic dinosaur figures come to life while they sleep."
By Refe Tuma
The Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, CT (famous for once housing Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black) is converting from a women’s prison to a men’s prison
. Where will the inmates go? Aliceville, AL; a location more than 1,000 miles away, nowhere near a major airport, and 45 miles away from a train station
Eleven United States senators sent an open letter
to the director of the Bureau of Prisons
last month, and the transition remains in a state of delay. Piper Kerman wrote a NYT op-ed
with her perspective.
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
, 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
Yotam Ottolenghi, chef, author, and food columnist
for The Guardian, talks about coming out as a gay father.
Prom spending rising again, average of $1,139
The USA Today story is based on a recent VISA press release about prom spending
that comes out every year. The VISA press release breaks down how prom spending is highest among Northeastern families, with Northeasterners averaging $1,528 compared to Midwesterners paltry $722. It also shows a breakdown by income category with families earning less than $50,000 spending an average of $1,245 while those from higher earning families spend $1,129. [more inside]
"Them and Them." "Rockland County, New York's East Ramapo school district is a taxpayer-funded system fighting financial insolvency. It is also bitterly divided between the mostly black and Hispanic children and families who use the schools and the Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox Jewish majority who run the Board of Education and send their children to private, religious schools."
Also see: A District Divided
. [more inside]
Going through my parents' stuff didn't make me suddenly miss them, but I became more intrigued by them every day. I wanted to know more and more about them, to solve their mysteries. At the same time, I felt a corresponding, if conflicting, urge to speak, or write, about what many people seemed to think was unspeakable: my ever-present lack of grief. So I decided to combine these seemingly divergent impulses into an Tumblr blog called My Dead Parents, which I kept anonymous both out of respect for my family and because, after years of writing fiction, I wasn't sure if I could handle revealing so much about myself in writing.
Anya Yurchyshyn writes about rediscovering
her parents through their letters, after their deaths.
"Trusting your child with someone else is one of the hardest things that a parent has to do — and in the United States, it’s harder still, because American day care is a mess.
About 8.2 million kids—about 40 percent of children under five — spend at least part of their week in the care of somebody other than a parent. Most of them are in centers, although a sizable minority attend home day cares.... In other countries, such services are subsidized and well-regulated. In the United States, despite the fact that work and family life has changed profoundly in recent decades, we lack anything resembling an actual child care system. Excellent day cares are available, of course, if you have the money to pay for them and the luck to secure a spot. But the overall quality is wildly uneven and barely monitored, and at the lower end, it’s Dickensian."
In 2009, William Marotta, donated his sperm to a lesbian couple. Although they did not go through a licensed physician, per Kansas state law, the three signed an agreement relieving Marotta of any financial or paternal responsibility.
The women, who co-parent 8 children, broke up in 2010, and the state of Kansas is now attempting to get Marotta to pay child support. [more inside]
"Older parenthood will upend
American society." "Is waiting to have kids a big mistake
?" "Why do women believe they can delay children
for so long?" "Older men are more likely than young ones to father a child who develops autism or schizophrenia, because of random mutations
that become more numerous with advancing paternal age."
In 2008, Nebraska decriminalized child abandonment. Within just weeks of the law passing, parents started dropping off their kids. But here's the rub: None of them were infants. Twenty-two of the children were over 13 years old. The Atlantic
explores why not wanting kids is totally normal.
Introducing Nap Time!
, the latest, most effective tool for child tantrum prevention! (SLYT)
Dear Mountain Room Parents...
a tale for Day of the Dead / Halloween.
My Father Is an African Immigrant and My Mother Is a White Girl from Kansas and I Am Not the President of the United States
Or, How to Disappoint Your Absent Father in 20 Words or Less
Parents are a pain. Kids are a pain. But kids have their uses
--and sometimes, parents do too.
They can build things like a marble track around your room
. Or just hire someone to design a pirate ship bedroom
for you. Maybe teach you the alphabet in Star Wars
. Build a mini catapult for your toys
. Turn you into Robocop for Halloween
(or the Death Star
). Cut snowflakes
with you in the winter. If they get tired of pulling you and your sled up that hill, they can rig an engine
to do it for them. And who knows, they might inspire you
to start building your own projects. [more inside]
UK respite and foster parents may no longer be homophobic, even when it is due to religious belief.
An English Christian couple acting as foster parents have been banned from further placements due to their statement that they could not tell children that homosexual relationships were of equal value, with judges stating that their claims that adoption should still be allowed as a "a travesty of reality
". Reaction from the UK religious right (such as it is) is venomous
. [more inside]
How To Explain It To My Parents:
a video series from Lernert & Sander
where conceptual artists explain their work to their parents. [more inside]
(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]
How to Lose A Legacy
- a curator writes about the problem of what to do with stuff after death. (via
.) Professional organizers give advice
. [more inside]
When Parents Won't Cut the Cord.
As a reaction to helicopter parents (who read books about the stages of grief so they can cope with their kid's growing up), colleges are literally shutting the gates on parents who can't let go.
The paradox of good parents with toxic children.
'We marvel at the resilient child who survives the most toxic parents and home environment and goes on to a life of success. Yet the converse — the notion that some children might be the bad seeds of more or less decent parents — is hard to take.' 'For better or worse, parents have limited power to influence their children. That is why they should not be so fast to take all the blame — or credit — for everything that their children become.' But this is not the only family dynamic that is becoming noted. 'Therapists for years have listened to patients blame parents for their problems. Now there is growing interest in the other side of the story: What about the suffering of parents who are estranged from their adult children
A nearly 25-year study
has concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted
and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers
. Results were published this month in Pediatrics
: the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. (Abstract
. Free PDF
). [more inside]
What our kids made:
The refrigerator door of the internet [via mefi projects
From the surreal comic duo Tim and Eric
) comes a fifteen minute short about parenthood: Father and Son
The Defiant Ones.
In today’s picture books, the kids are in charge.
My Parents Were Awesome
Before the fanny packs and Andrea Bocelli concerts, your parents (and grandparents) were once free-wheeling, fashion-forward, and super awesome.
An Iwo Jima Relic Binds Generations. (SLNYTTJ - single-link new york times tear-jerker.)
Your mother has eyes in the back of her head. Chicago Public Schools
sends parents a text message when their child is not in class or the kid's grades slip. Mayor Daley attends a demonstration.
Chicago is not the only school district to use this technology. It's used in Calloway County, Kentucky
. Memphis, Tennessee
, and Saratoga Springs, New York
, to name a few.
It's not just used for monitoring your kids' grades. In San Antonio, you can also monitor the presidential propaganda
that's fed to your kids!
But what if you want to monitor the text messages your kids receive? Radar
alerts you when a "suspicious" person texts, calls, or emails your kid
collegehumor imagines a young lady bringing a n00b boyfriend home to her l33t parents
That is all.
Recently, there have been a host of websites that delight in exposing the inanity and stupidity of our society. There is the granddaddy, Overheard in New York
, which recounts silly conversations heard in the Big Apple, as well as a host of similar
There are now a variety of such websites, dedicated to different aspects of our society. [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