Dr. Laura
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Tags: ChildrenMarriageParentingPersonal ResponsibilitySexSexualityValues
IconNo, I don't mean by the age of forty; I mean that if the trends of the past thirty years continue, it's possible that every American adult could be overweight forty years from now.' This is the warning coming from the Federal government's Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.' You can read all about this in the journal Obesity (online 7/24/08). They estimate that 86% of American adults will be overweight by 2030, with an obesity rate of 51%.' By 2048, all U.S. adults could be at least mildly overweight, a/k/a fat .The researchers also estimate that the healthcare costs directly related to excess body weight will double each decade, and reach almost $1 trillion in 2030, accounting for at least one of every six healthcare dollars spent in the USA.Being fat is voluntary.' Healthcare costs are skyrocketing, largely because people "volunteer" to move less and eat more.' Our Presidential candidates can mull over healthcare plans, but we need to take more personal responsibility for the state of our own health. More >>

Tags: ChildrenHealthParenting
IconThank goodness for technology, that's all I can say....no, it's not all I can say after all.'' The Associated Press reports that the number of children left to die in hot cars during the summer is rising.' Research shows that July is the month when most are "forgotten" by their parents to die a slow, horrible death in the back seat of cars.Now, in addition to your cell phone, BlackBerry, iPod, iPhone, GPS device, Bluetooth and mini-tape recorder, you can buy a "ChildMinder."' The device, costing about $60.00, consists of a sensor pad placed under the cushion of a car seat, and is wirelessly linked to an alarm on the parent's key chain.' If the adult walks more than a few feet away from the car with the child still in the seat, the alarm will sound.' Wow!' What a great way to help a parent remember that they have a small human being with them!In the past 10 years, almost 350 children have died in cars, because the parents or other caretakers simply forgot them.' Only about 7% of these sad deaths involved drugs or alcohol on the part of the adult.' Most cases involved dentists, nurses, ministers, college professors, concert musicians, social services board members, NASA engineers...you know, the pillars of the community.' These are the busy, self-involved folks always in a rush, for whom even dropping' kids off at a day-care center instead of tending to the little ones themselves was too difficult an assignment.Astonishingly, these parents, when prosecuted at all (and only 50% of them are prosecuted), receive only three to five year prison sentences.' Also astonishing is how much "understanding" public support they get from those who say "It can happen to anyone."' No, it can't happen to anyone.'It can happen only when parenting and family are not the highest priorities.' It can happen only when parents spend their time focused on maximizing their own personal fulfillment at the expense - and very existence - of their children. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyParentingRelationshipsRelatives
IconJapan has instituted one of the most serious campaigns in the world to get its citizens to be fit.' This action is motivated by the rapidly aging society's ballooning health care costs, as most Japanese are covered under public health care or through their employment.The term "metabo," comes from the medical concept of "metabolic syndrome," i.e., the factors that heighten the risk of developing vascular disease and diabetes.' They are:' obesity, high blood pressure, high glucose, and high cholesterol.' The term "metabo" has become the nation's nickname for "overweight."Under a two month-old national law, companies and local governments must measure the waistlines of people between the ages of 40 and 74 as part of annual checkups.' That amounts to 44% of the population of Japan.The International Diabetes Federation's ( www.idf.org ) guidelines for Japan of no more than 33.5 inches for men's waistlines and 35.4 inches for women is being used as the standard.' When folks are over those measurements and have a weight-related ailment, they will be given dieting guidance and education.The government will impose financial penalties on companies and local governments that fail to meet these targets.' NEC, a Japanese personal computer production company, said to the New York Times (6/13/08) that if it failed to meet its targets, it could incur almost 20 million in penalties.A survey by the National Center for Health Statistics in the U.S.A. found that the average waist size for Caucasian American men was 39 inches, a full inch smaller than the 40 inch maximum established by the International Diabetes Federation.Ladies didn't do as well:' the average waist size of Caucasian American women was 36.5 inches, about two inches above our threshold.' (The differences in thresholds between Japanese and Americans and men and women have to do with height and body type). More >>

Tags: ChildrenEat Less-Move MoreHealthObesityParentingSocial Issues
IconAccording to the Associated Press ( 5/27/08 ) Japanese youngsters are getting so addicted to Internet-linking cell phones that the government is starting a program warning parents and schools to limit their use among children.' The government is worried about how elementary and junior high school students are getting drawn into cyberspace crimes, spending long hours exchanging mobile email, and suffering other negative effects of cell phone overuse.' The government is also asking Japanese manufacturers to develop cell phones with only the "talk" function and GPS.Some youngsters are spending hours at night on email with their friends.' One fad is the "30 minute rule," in which a child who doesn't respond to email within 30 minutes gets targeted for bullying the next day.' Other children have sent in their own snapshots to a website and then ended up getting threatened for money.The cell phone craze in America is tightly connected to the growing "disconnect" between children and their busy, busy parents who feel some false sense of security while not supervising their children simply because the phone has a GPS locator.' Parents should not, as a matter of course, be giving cell phones with Internet access to children - it is just too tempting to abuse, and it puts them at risk. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensInternet-MediaInternet/MediaParentingTeens
IconCalifornia's Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute has found out some fascinating things about the mating behaviors of octopuses.First, some general information:' these particular octopuses are about as big as a human hand, and most of that size is in their sucker-covered tentacles.' Their bodies are just walnut-sized.' To procreate, the males deposit "sperm packets" in the female's body through a specialized tentacle.Second:' this particular species (aculeatus octopu) is normally yellow with dapples of brown, tan, and grey.' But when a male sees another octopus, he puts on his fighting and flirting colors (both of which look the same), turning nearly white with dark stripes.' That signals that he's a male, and is ready to fight OR mate.'Third:' the females will mate with any male octopus that wanders by.' The males are more selective and are more enthralled with the more voluptuous females - skinny girls need not apply.Fourth:' the little itty-bitty guys don't want to fight the regulation-size guys, so they crawl along the ocean floor to one of the voluptuous females in a den guarded by the larger male.' These clever smaller dudes remain brown and yellow (typical female behavior).' By hiding and "cross-dressing," these little guys often manage to get close enough to the female to mate....and, as I reported, she'll mate with anybody, anytime, anywhere.Moral to this story?? More >>

Tags: ChildrenParentingSex
IconHere's some good news for the day after Mother's Day.' One delightful index of the movement away from the "feminist mother" mentality of "other-than-mother" care is the percentage of new moms who are breastfeeding.' While it is possible that some women squeeze out breast milk into a bottle for the hired help to administer to their baby, the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data indicate that 77% of new mothers breastfeed their infants, which is the highest rate in the United States in at least 20 years!The percentage of black infants who were breast-fed rose most dramatically - to 65%.' Only 36% were ever breast-fed in 1993-1994, the study found.' For whites, the figure rose to 79% from 62%.' For Hispanics, it increased to 80%, from 67%.The rates of breast feeding were lowest among women who were unmarried, poor, rural, younger than 20, and had a high school education or less.Experts emphasize that breast milk is better than formula at protecting babies against disease and childhood obesity. More >>

Tags: ChildrenHealthMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParenting
IconIn the feminista days of my youth (college in the 1960's) I took up the sword of the feminist movement's message that marriage and mothering were yokes of oppression.' Fortunately, I recovered from that ailment in time to become a wife and mother.' Since my "rehab," I've been a fervent supporter of adoption over abortion and mothering over institutionalized day-orphanages.' I'm grateful to be able to say that I've been able to influence over 30 years' worth of listeners to my radio program.'To celebrate this Mother's Day I have decided to share of some their letters and lives: TaShanique: I began listening to your radio program before I got pregnant, and when I discovered that I was expecting, it was clear what I had to do.' My husband gave me the go-ahead to quit my stressful job in March of 2007, even though my son wasn't due until late July.' I was prepared to be a stay-at-home mommy.' One thing I wasn't prepared for was all the backlash that I received.' I' heard that I was being arrogant in assuming that I could teach my child everything by sheltering him from the world; I would be spoiling my child by not exposing him to other people.' Also, after church one day, I yawned and someone said to me 'Why are you yawning?' You don't have a job so you shouldn't be tired!'' I thought it was a joke, until I saw he wasn't laughing. This may have not bothered most people, but I was suffering from postpartum depression and had a hard time with such negativity from others.' I also hadn't been receiving my regular 'dose' of Dr Laura, so I started to second- guess myself as to whether or not I had made the right choice. However, it seems like everything changed in one day.' I got stuck in traffic and turned to your broadcast and listened to you encourage mothers to 'go do the right thing.'' When I got home, my husband greeted me with a big hug and kiss, and told me that I was doing a great job and that he's proud to have me as his wife and the mother of his son.' I was doing the right thing; I was being my son's mother and my husband's wife. That same evening, a person who had been the most critical toward me called me and was very upset. The pediatrician who cares for her daughter begged her to remove her daughter from day-care because she is constantly ill and underweight.' She was upset at the pediatrician, and asked me what she should do.' I told her to go do the right thing, which she took to mean that it was time to criticize me once again for making the choice to stay at home.' I told her that I had to go make dinner for my family and hung up.' What she had to say didn't bother me. My husband and I are planning on having another baby next year.' This time I will be well prepared.' I am currently creating a list that contains the reasons why I stay at home.' That will ensure that even through postpartum depression that I won't forget that I did the right thing." Karen: I have been wanting to write to you since my first daughter was born 4 years ago to proclaim 'I am my Kid's Mom!' and to tell you that I could not have done that without your encouragement. My parents did not teach me that the most important job in the world was being a parent.' My father did not respect my mother's role as wife and mother, and my mother obviously resented being his wife.' While she did tell us that being a mother was her greatest joy, I am not sure that she ever would have stood on a mountaintop to proclaim, 'I am My Kid's Mom!' Since that time, my parents divorced.' My mother died a month before my wedding, and my greatest sadness is that I cannot share with her my complete joy and happiness in being a parent.' My father, having had some dramatic life changes, has completely supported me and continually tells me how proud he is that I am choosing to be a stay-at-home mom, and to be 'My Kid's Mom.'' By the way, he listens to you as well and I made him a t-shirt with a picture of him holding my daughter at 6 hours of age - the t-shirt says, 'I am my grand-daughter's grandpa!' I am now 42 years old.' I did not meet the man of my dreams until I was 36, so we had to work quickly to start our family.' When I met the love of my life, I knew that he was the man that I wanted to be the father of my children.' I was so right.' He and my daughter are glued to each other every waking moment; she is happy to sit in his lap and watch C-SPAN!' Every day that I see them together, I fall in love with him more and more.' My favorite pastime is listening to them over the baby monitor as they read and giggle together!!' He is definitely his kid's dad. I remember as a teenager saying that I never wanted to get married or have a family - I did not want to give up my independence.' If I did, I wanted to be able to afford a full-time nanny.' What a crock of crap!' The day my daughter was born I changed my voice mail.' Instead of the business response, it now says, 'You have reached the proud mama of K.R.A.' Sorry we can't take your call, but we are busy at the park, at the playgroup, at the pool, at music class, etc.' I was so worried about my professional identity before she was born.' Took me less than two minutes to toss my professional identity out of the window because 'I am my Kid's Mom!' While this is a great story, where do you fit in, Dr. Laura?' I never, ever would have wanted to be my kid's mom without your encouragement as well as some modeling from some of my friends.' So, thank you for your wisdom and nagging. Excelsa: I am a stay-at-home mom to my 1 year 7 month old daughter.' Each day I teach her several words and she repeats them after me.' I started with the simple words and progressed to more difficult ones.' I went through all the body parts, then animals, then constellations and other miscellaneous words.' Well, just when I was beginning to wrap things up, I said to my daughter, 'Honey, can you say love?'' She smiled her cute little smile and said, 'Mom.' Oh, my heart just melted.' My husband was listening, and he just picked up our daughter and gave her the biggest kiss and said, 'Yes, honey, Mommy is love.' Just thought I'd let you know that this is such a defining moment for me as a mother, and that I know I am doing a great job raising my daughter. Final Thought: A caller to my radio program described being a surrogate mother for her brother and sister-in-law.' Preliminary tests suggested that the baby has Down Syndrome.' The brother and sister-in-law want her to abort; she wanted my opinion.' I suggested that she get them in contact with parent groups of Down Syndrome children for support and information; and if that did not change their minds, to either keep the baby herself (she was married) or get them to sign away their rights and offer the child for adoption.' I received scores of letters from married women willing to adopt this child.'Happy Mother's Day. More >>

Tags: ChildrenMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParenting
IconSenator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) is adamant in his support for abortion on demand.' Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) is as adamant in his support for the illegalization of abortion.' However, as odd as it may seem, they have joined forces in a bill (S1810), the "Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Condition Awareness Act."' Their bill would require parents faced with pre- and post-natal diagnoses of disability to receive "timely, scientific, and nondirective counseling about the conditions" as well as "up-to-date, comprehensive information about life expectancy, development potential, and quality of life" for a child born with Down syndrome or any other genetic disability, as well as "referrals to providers of key support services." Their hope is that when parents receive a more complete picture, more of them will welcome their disabled babies into the world, instead of choosing termination.' Nice bedfellows. More >>

Tags: BudgetChildrenEconomyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenParentingSex
IconMy, my, my.' My comments last week on why many men stray from their marriage vows generated more email to me than any one thing I've said in years.' 85% of the letters I received were wonderfully appreciative and supportive of what I said.' Men and women alike "got" what I was saying and acknowledged the need for husbands and wives to share the responsibility for the health of their marriages.'One wrote "After seeing you on The Today Show, I asked myself, 'Am I the kind of wife my husband wants to come home to?'' I look at each day as an opportunity to honor him.' Thank you for challenging me to have the courage to change.' My husband will never go a day without knowing his wife needs, loves and respects him." Another person emailed me because my comments motivated her to look at her own issues with the overall concept of personal responsibility.' This young woman wrote that she was motivated by my comments to stop her methamphetamine addiction: "I have chosen to quit.' Once you stop feeling like such a victim to some inanimate object (the pipe does not jump into your mouth on its own) you realize your power over it." Other folks, though, seemed absolutely apoplectic over my point of view that people need to take responsibility for their lives and their relationships.'Clearly this is the crux of the problem in this country.' The concept of promoting personal responsibility in a society that encourages victims to stay victims and glamorizes the bad behavior of celebrities and politicians seems to be a hot button that makes some folks' heads explode.' People tend to hold on to their anger, hurt and depression, especially if they don't have the tools they need to break out of the cycle of personal self-destruction.That's why I wrote Stop Whining, Start Living .' I wrote it because I wanted to help people enjoy their lives more and be more content inside themselves.' None of us can do that if we persist in the self-defeating notion that we are victims... that only leads to complaining and not LIVING.This book is not for people who want to embrace their problems - it's for people who want to solve them and move on to a more productive and happy life.' If you want to feel more in control of your situations in families, neighborhoods, jobs, etc., then you first have to look inside yourself and see what YOU are doing that you shouldn't be... or what you are NOT doing that you should be!' This is where the power to change everything comes in.Some people won't ever do this.' They hold on to sadness, victimhood and complaints.' But those who read Stop Whining with an open heart and mind will find the keys - through other people's real experiences and stories - to make their life easier and more pleasurable; to improve their lives as husbands, wives, parents, and friends, and to discover the joy of being an evolved human being.Getting letters and calls from people who have taken my advice to stop whining and turn themselves into productive members of society is all the inspiration I need to keep on keeping on.' That's what puts the smile on my face. Book signing tonight in Costa Mesa, California: And if you want to see me really smile and you live in L.A. or Orange County, come on down tonight to the Barnes and Noble at the Metro Pointe Mall in Costa Mesa at 7pm.' I'll be signing copies of the aforementioned new book, Stop Whining, Start Living for all of you who embrace your own personal responsibility. More >>

Tags: ChildrenMarriageMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingPersonal ResponsibilityValues
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