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Parenting
05/13/2010
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
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05/13/2010
IconI remember several "brouhahas" over the last few years concerning some Christian religious leaders making comments about severe weather, HIV and even September 11, suggesting that it was "God's punishment" for perceived flaws in American social life.' Boy, oh boy, did the media go mad over that!Although she has had to backtrack and apologize for her comments, I didn't see anywhere near the same response to Sharon Stone's suggestion that China's devastating earthquakes, which killed an enormous population might be "karma," because China is "not nice to Tibetans."' First of all, the average Chinese person has no power to dictate foreign concerns, much less their own domestic situation.' Has anybody lately looked at their form of government?' Anyone whining about "disenfranchisement" of voting privileges in America should visit China for a year - and make sure that the 50% of deployed military's ballots are actually counted for a change.To suggest that God or karma wiped out innocent people, because He is unhappy with their government's international political position is, in my never to be humble opinion, blasphemous, and phenomenally insensitive and disgusting.Christian Dior has dropped spokeswoman Stone from their advertisements in China, and has also apologized to its customers there. But, I imagine, because she is a popular, liberal, Hollywood type, with great facial bone structure, she will not be feeling the negative impact of her own "karma" for very long. More >>

Tags: babyParentingPoliticsValues
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05/13/2010
IconBesides the assault on Western civilization from the outside by Islamist jihadists, we are deconstructing our own society by declaring null and void basic concepts of mother- and father-centered lives for children.Forget the biology:' Male and female create offspringForget the psychology and sociology:' children who do not have Mom and Dad-centered home lives tend to have higher poverty rates, and more problems on all levels with education, violence, and substance abuse,Forget everything that is basic and makes sense, because some women are so selfish and/or incompetent to have a healthy relationship with a man that their desire - desire - is to have a child, intentionally robbing that child of a father and a mom and dad-centered home.Well, permission to do so has been granted by the British government to do just that.' The British government voted just last week to remove the requirement that fertility clinics consider a child's need for a father.' Let me repeat:' they removed the requirement that fertility clinics even consider a child's need for a father.' Can you believe that?' The best interests of a child are eliminated from discourse, because a female wants to make a baby for her own pleasure - and a historically civilized government backs her up?' Sheesh!Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, in an interview with London's "The Times," said, "I think it strange that the government should want to take away not just the need for a father, but the right for a father." This action effectively declared fathers an irrelevance in modern Britain.' It is scary that only 60% of Brits who were polled believed that a child should have a mommy and a daddy - that's the power of the "feminista" movement!Here are some letters that were sent to London's "Daily Mail:"1. Raised in a single-parent family, I can say from experience that a child needs a father.' Mothers alone cannot take his place.' It's a selfish act and implies women are more concerned with fulfilling their own needs to have a child than thinking of the child's welfare.' Men:' STOP DONATING SPERM! 2. What about a man's right to have children without a mother?' In order to avoid sex discrimination the [government] must surely now provide surrogate mothers for any would-be father who asks for one in order that he might have children. 3. With all our problems with 'feral, fatherless' youngsters in modern Britain, this vote seems utterly baffling, and frankly, obscene. 4. Is there really any need for a mother either? More >>

Tags: FamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingRelationshipsRelatives
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05/13/2010
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
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05/13/2010
IconOne of the criticisms lobbed at the home-schooling community/movement is that home-schooled children are being shielded from diversity and a multitude of challenging influences which will ultimately handicap them in their ability to function in the "real world."' In other words, "How will these children function in our diverse, multicultural society when they are raised in a setting with monolithic views and beliefs?"Research examining home-schooled students' academic achievements have consistently found that they score higher than the national norms on standard achievement tests.' So the only grenade left to throw at home-schooling parents is that they are hurting their children socially and emotionally.' The few studies in these areas have generally found home-schooled children to have equal or better self-esteem than traditionally schooled students.' Then the argument becomes one of how to truly know you are measuring self-esteem.Researchers from the Department of Psychology at Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi recently published their findings in Home School Researcher (Vol. 17, No. 4, 2007, pp. 1-7).' They decided to study home-schooled students' ability to successfully adjust to college life as an important criterion for demonstrating a positive outcome (or not) of home-schooling.They compared Christian college freshmen who had previously been home-schooled with a matched sample of traditionally schooled Christian freshmen on the College Adjustment Scale.' The average scores of the two groups were compared across nine scales designed to measure emotional, behavioral, social, and academic problems as typically presented to university counseling centers.The home-schooled students scored significantly lower on the anxiety subscale, while no difference was found between the two groups on the remaining scales.' Additionally, there was a general trend characterized by home-schooled students reporting fewer symptoms of emotional distress and social problems, and achieving higher first semester GPAs: The results suggest that home-schooled college freshmen successfully adjust to the social and academic environment of a Christian college with a diverse student population.' The college does not require that all students attending the college assent to a personal faith in Christ.' The previously home-schooled students are also confronted by many peers who make lifestyle choices different from their own.' Most of the college peers of the home-schooled students would be considered less conservative in their dress, entertainment interests, moral values and behaviors, than those typically experienced in most Christian home-schooled families.' Therefore, these students are not entering a homogeneous social community that necessarily mirrors their family backgrounds." Obviously, home-schooled students have additional adjustments to make when leaving their homes and entering a university or college environment:' social relationship, peer pressure, classroom structure, etc.' They are being forced to adapt to a social environment decidedly different from their homes or home school support groups.The results demonstrate that home-schooled students are able to successfully adapt emotionally, interpersonally, and academically to their first, and most challenging, semester in college.' That is probably because, having had the consistent teaching and support of a family and a community, they have developed strengths and convictions that provide a bridge over the troubled waters of a multitude of challenges and temptations.I personally believe that home-schooling helps students who have problems with focus and difficulties with energy control.' The traditional school environment required "Stepford Child" control, and the teaching techniques required for a group of thirty do not necessarily assist the learning needs and talents of each individual student.' So, instead of drugging kids to be docile, perhaps we should turn to the successes of home-schooling. More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenHomeschoolHomeschoolingParentingSocial IssuesStay-at-Home Mom
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05/13/2010
IconMore than half of American children between the ages of 3 and 6 are in child care centers or preschools, so the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center recently released the results of a study of children's physical activity in day care settings. ( NY Times, 5/6/08 )The researchers surveyed staff members at 34 area child care centers to find out more about how kids spend their time while they're in day care, including the reasons why they may or may not spend time outside. They presented the findings recently at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Honolulu, Hawaii.' The findings may surprise you.Children are kept inside by day care workers if they show up in flip-flops rather than sneakers, or if they don't have a coat on a chilly day.' If only one child doesn't have the right clothes for outdoor play, the whole group may be kept indoors.' Occasionally, parents will deliberately drop off a child without a coat, because they don't want the child going outside that day.Mulch is often used to landscape playgrounds and outdoor spaces at child care centers.' The researchers found that kids eat the mulch, get it caught in their shoes or use it as weapons, so day care staff indicated that outdoor play can sometimes be troublesome.Also the feelings of teachers and parents influence whether or not children play outside.' Children learn important motor and social skills by learning to kick a ball or negotiating with another child for a turn on the swing, but teachers said they felt pressure from some parents who were more concerned with children spending time on academic skills.In addition, some day care workers said it was just too much trouble and took too much time to bundle up the kids during cold weather, while other workers said they just didn't like going outside.What more can be said about institutionalized day orphanages? More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenParentingValues
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05/13/2010
IconSue Shellenbarger writes a column for The Wall Street Journal that generally sends me up any available wall. The column is entitled "Home & Family," and I keep up with it if only to counter its content.She recently answered a reader's question ( 4/30/08 ) that had to do with a divorced father wanting to take his 10 year old son to his native Australia for 10 days, but his ex-wife is fighting the plan. The father contends that life lessons of such a vacation trump school. He's going to court for the right to take him, and asks Shellenbarger what she thinks.First of all, there are laws which prohibit one parent from taking a child out of the country without the express permission of the other. The reason is obvious: child-stealing. Secondly, having divorced parents at war with each other over a child hurts the child as he or she feels divided loyalties and tremendous anxiety. Thirdly, taking a child out of school for a protracted trip teaches the child that education is less of a priority than personal desires for fun. This father could arrange a summer trip when no school is missed. My guess is that this is a major power play.Shellenbarger not only doesn't deal with any of these issues, but she focuses on the whim of the child: if he would be comfortable with the trip; if he would see it as an adventure....in other words, just considering what the kid wants. What?? Of course the kid wants to be out of school and hanging out with dingos and kangaroos! "The ideal route would be for you and your ex-wife to set aside your personal feelings and focus on what he truly wants," contributes a New Jersey Marriage and Family Therapist. "[It] depends on your son's openness to the experience. Try to give him a free and honest choice, unfettered by feelings of loyalty to either of you or fear of letting you down." Is she kidding? How can a ten year old do that? And why put the burden on the child? Aren't the parents supposed to want and do what is best for the child? This is more of the "if it feels good it is good" school of thought - an experiment whose failure doesn't seem to curtail its perpetuation. More >>

Tags: DivorceFamily/Relationships - ChildrenInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMarriageParenting
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05/13/2010
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
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05/13/2010
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
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05/13/2010
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
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