My mother is like another country I used to live in, familiar but no longer a place I call home. When I visit, I don't stay long; dysfunction is the official language, the terrain is a desert of constantly shifting emotions, and the weather is grey when it's not dark and stormy. Estrangement is so much easier.
Raising Teenagers: The Mother of All Problems by Rachel Cusk [New York Times]
Children are characters in the family story we tell — until, one day, they start telling it themselves.
Friends often try to assure me that people mean well, urging me to go easy on them, to be gracious, to give people the benefit of the doubt. "People don't mean to be offensive," they tell me. "They just don't know how to say it without coming across that way."Nishta Mehra writes about her family's experience with learning how to navigate the landscape of interracial adoption in a "post-racial" America: Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair.
What these friends don't understand is that when the act of defining your family structure becomes an expected part of every day of your entire life, you grow tired of being gracious. It's exhausting to have strangers view your life as an up-for-grabs educational experience. For my kid, it's to constantly hear the underlying message: "Your life, your family, doesn't make sense to me. Someone needs to explain it to me. You owe me an explanation."
It's the people who live comfortably inside majorities who tend to discount any sort of commentary from minorities as being "overly sensitive." And I imagine that it's hard to step back and grasp the fact that when the world you occupy is built to accommodate you, you fit inside the boxes. You make sense. You are expected.
You named me... WHAT? Nine baby-naming rules.
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.
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."
"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."
The Bateses of Tennessee are just behind the Duggars of Arkansas. Not even close to the 18th century Vassilyevs though.
(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]
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. Scribd). [more inside]
The Defiant Ones. In today’s picture books, the kids are in charge.
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.
Parents charged in death of girl forced to drink water - Forcing a 4 year old to consume large amounts of water seems like an odd way to promote family bonding. Death by over watering can happen, but this sounds more like an episode of Law & Order.
Yoga in the classroom? EGADS! That reeks of religious implications, say parents in Aspen, Colorado. "For some families, the chanting that accompanies a selection of yoga techniques creates a challenge for separation of church and state." Aspen Elementary says the pilot program "was proposed as a way to help kids cope with their return to school. Rowdy tots could be calmed and readied for class work after recess using a series of relaxing breathing and stretching techniques."
For Paranoid Parents everywhere. A global satellite positioning wristwatch, in happy-happy day-glo colours, that you can security-clamp onto your kid's wrist. Then, at your office terminal, you can find out exactlywhere they are. Love the 911 button. How about actually playing with your kids, rather than launching them out into the urban wilderness, on a wireless tether? "Latch-key" takes on a whole new dimension.
As Harry Potter tops all box office records, it seems that some parents don't want their kids to watch the film because some think it promotes witchcraft. Are separation of church and state arguments valid here, or are the parents a bunch of wet blankets?
Pennsylvania School cut father's opportunity to lunch with his son after he has been there every day for four years. Due to his work schedule this is the only time he has to spend with his son.