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issue of parenting. The father says to his daughter, "It
seems like you need to practice your reading!" The mother
thinks it's way too harsh, and says so. Remember: "Mothers
see the world in relation to their child, while fathers see
their child in relation to the world." Both philosophies are
essential building blocks for kids. Respect the differences
in your parenting styles, and negotiate. Or, you can insist
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Parents Just Don't Understand
At the Brooklyn preschool where my wife teaches, the parents of the youngest students, the not-yet-3-year-olds, arrive each fall wide-eyed and anxious. It's the start of their children's grand adventure in learning and socialization, with all the promise and pitfalls they recall from their own school days.
Fortunately, each of the 2-year-olds is specialat least, that's the understated message their parents try to impart to my wife at pick-up time. They point out how beautifully Belinda twirls"She should study ballet, don't you think?"or how intensely Tristan concentrates when he stacks Legos"He's a born engineer." They all think their children are future baseball All-Stars, Hollywood legends, or Nobel Prize winners. They can't help it: It's in every parent's nature to see his or her children in ways most others don't. In some cases, wearing rose-colored glasses benefits the self-esteem of parents and kids alike. In others, though, it can foster denial that helps no one.
WHAT PARENTS GET WRONG
Misperceptions are a natural part of parenting. Mothers and fathers see their children as they want to see themoften, as they've seen them since birth. They also persist in envisioning long-imagined futures for their kids. If your mom or dad ever expressed the assumption that you'd follow in their career footsteps, you know the drill. Or maybe your parents' "my baby" tag still clings to you like burrs to a sock although you long ago hacked your way through the adult underbrush. If you're a parent yourself, you're most likely guilty of similar misperceptions as wellyou may just not realize it.
There is no single cause of parental misperceptions, but one place to start looking, experts agree, is in the mirror. As egocentric creatures, we see the world through the perspective we know bestour own. We have far more information about ourselves than we do about other people, and this influences our assumptions and judgments about the people we interact with every day, our offspring most definitely included.
We also make highly subjective judgments about ourselves. Deep down, most of us believe that we are special in some way, that we possess qualities that set us apart from the masses. "The self-serving bias gives people an exaggerated sense of their own uniqueness," says psychology researcher Judith Rich Harris, the author of The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do. Such positive illusions provide real psychological benefits: They promote optimism, for example, and give us more of a sense of control over our future.
Parents, for better or worse, can extend these positive illusions to their children, believing, consciously or unconsciously, that their offspring possess special qualities that also happen to reflect favorably on their own parenting skills. "If their kids are turning out well," Harris says, "they may attribute this outcome to something they think is unusual about their childrearing methods, not realizing that what they are doing is almost identical to what most of the other parents in the neighborhood are doing."
Of course, to feed our self-serving bias, it helps to see our children in the best positive light. "Unless they have a conflicted, awful relationship, parents give their kids the benefit of the doubt," says Duke University psychologist Mark Leary. "They think their kids are smarter than they really are and probably more attractive than they really are."
Biology also plays a powerful role in parental bias. From an evolutionary perspective, we are compelled to reproduce to ensure that we pass our genetic line to future generations and avoid extinction. Our offspring represent a biological investment in our own futures, then, and we are driven to engage in strategic behavior to protect that investment.
That may not sound especially sentimental. Shouldn't love and affection factor into how we view our children? The answer is yes, says University of California, Davis developmental psychologist Jay Belsky, but those emotions are not necessarily the motivators we think they are. "We have this misguided notion in Western culture, and certainly in Western psychology, that parents invariably, unconditionally, and indisputably love their children and devote themselves to them," Belsky says, "when in fact the evolutionary analysis is that children are investments that parents make, perhaps unknowingly, as a function of the return they might get on those children."
Following are seven of the most common parental misperceptions, and their sources:
1: "MY CHILD IS A CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK"
Jennifer Watson, 47, grew up in rural Camden, North Carolina, near the Great Dismal Swamp. The second-oldest and sole sister of four boys, she eagerly took part in the wrestling, tree climbing, and motorcycle racing that defined her childhood. "I was always around boys and their friends," says Watson, now a web developer in Richmond, Virginia. "I wasn't afraid to try things that girls at that time normally wouldn't do." She was convinced that if she had any daughters of her own, they'd be as rough-and-tumble as she'd been.
Watson has since given birth to three children, all girls, and also has a stepdaughter. But her oldest, 21-year-old Jenna, and Isadora, one of her 13-year-old twins, have little interest in her vision of childhood play. "I didn't try to push them one way or another," Watson says. "I just felt that if I had girls, they would be tomboys because I had felt like one so deeply."
Watson's assumption that her girls would naturally follow in her footsteps might be fairly standard among parents, especially new ones. But expecting to raise a "chip off the old block" derives from a misperception about how children actually develop and the limited amount of control parents have over that process. In reality, a child's home environment is only one of a range of factors that influence who he or she will become.
Watson's "chip off the old block" misperception also points to a presumption that major personality traits are heritablethat just because she shares a genetic legacy with her girls, they will naturally be like her. In truth, Jenna, Isadora, and her twin, Odessa, could have grown to love princesses, NASCAR, astrophysics, or all of the above, and there's little Watson could have done to influence that.
"That's the mistake a lot of parents makethey think that either it's 'my genes' that are going to make my kids like me, or my upbringing and how I raise my kids that are going to make them like me," Leary says.
Studies of behavioral genetics show that, on average, people's personalities are about half genetically determined and half environmentally determined. "And the half that is environmental is not necessarily parental," Leary notes.
Why, then, are so many parents convinced that their kids are just like them, even when evidence suggests otherwise? "Parents notice the matches between their kids and themselves more than the mismatches," Leary says. "So when my kid does like something I like, or gets angry in the same way that I do, or has the same attitudes I do, I'm much more attuned to that than I am to times when my kid is different from me. But in fact, the differences probably outnumber the similarities."
Parents can profoundly influence their children's lives by placing them in schools where they will thrive and creating a home environment that supports creative activity, Harris has written. But parental attempts to model behavior are typically not as effective, and moms and dads will generally find they have no more influence on a child's behavior than do his or her peers.
But if parents are not the primary influence on how kids turn out, how do we account for real-life chips and blocks, like Liza Minnelli and Judy Garland; Peyton, Eli, and Archie Manning; or Ben and Jerry Stiller? These examples are not so surprising, Harris says, because parents do exert some influence on their children, in some cases more than others. Genetically, parents pass on certain psychological and physical characteristics, and environmentally, they can provide children with training, contacts, and a step up in a certain career. Taking over the family business is sometimes simply a sound financial decision.
2: "MY CHILD IS GIFTED"
We live in an unusual era for parenting in the United States, one in which families are having fewer children on average than ever before. Between 1970 and 2007, as birthrates slowed, the average population per U.S. household dropped from 3.14 people to 2.56. From an evolutionary standpoint, having fewer eggs in our family baskets may lead parents to focus on their select few to ensure their survival. Compared to periods when having multiple children was much more common (in part because the risk of infant mortality was higher), "we invest far more in our children today," Leary says.
Evolutionary psychologist Jennifer Hahn-Holbrook of Chapman University in Orange, California, agrees. "One of the reasons we have such high rates of helicopter parenting today, and this strong need to see your child as better than average, is because we have fewer children," she says. "When all your hopes for your genetic line are tied up in one egg, you're going to invest everything in that egg. But if you have, say, six or seven kids, you can actually get away with investing less in each one because no single child's outcome is going to be the be-all and end-all of your reproductive success."
Long-term societal changes have also had an impact. It once took a village of extended families and close neighbors to raise a child, but we are now a nation of independent family units. Parents today operate in large part without the guidance and experience they once received from elders, and they have less day-to-day experience of observing other children's and parents' behavior. They can end up drawing conclusions about their kids based on a very limited sample basewhat happens in their own home.
This breeds circular thinking which, along with a desire to elevate children's status in a competitive economy steeped in mixed messages about success, can contribute to the common reflexive misperception that "my child is gifted."
"If I'm trying to decide if my kid is doing better or worse than everybody else's kids, I'm really operating on pretty skimpy information," Leary says. "That would not have been true for most of human evolutionary history, including more recent history. I think we have more room to make these kinds of mistakes in our judgments of our kids than at any time in the past."
This phenomenon is sometimes called "the Lake Wobegon effect," after Garrison Keillor's public radio series, A Prairie Home Companion, which announces itself as being broadcast from a town where "all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average."
"Of course my child is gifted!" says University of Nevada, Las Vegas anthropology professor Peter Gray. "There's a halo effect: If you love your kid, you see her through rose-colored glasses, so she's more attractive, more intelligent, and more socially and academically gifted. You could say, from an evolutionary perspective, that that's adaptive, part of facilitating the attachment a parent feels for his kid, and it makes the parent want to do all sorts of things for her."
3: "HE'S STILL MY BABY"
Attachment may also help explain why so many parents forever view their youngest child as the baby of the family, in some ways literally, even after he or she has become a full-grown adult.
In a 2013 study, developmental psychologist Jordy Kaufman, of Australia's Swinburne University, surveyed 747 mothers and found that 70 percent reported that their first or youngest child (all were between the ages of 2 and 6) appeared to grow suddenly and substantially upon the arrival of a new sibling. Kaufman says that shift in perception occurs because the mothers had perceived the previous youngest (or only) child as smaller than he or she really wasabout three inches shorter, on average. When a new baby is born, the "spell" is broken and the mother finally sees the once-youngest child as he or she really is, while presumably transferring what Kaufman terms her "baby illusion" to the newborn.
"Parents' concept of 'babyness' influences how they see the youngest child for potentially the rest of their life," Kaufman says. "And they don't update their concept. That is, unless another child is born." At which point, the new child becomes "the baby" and should expect to stay that way, at least in the parents' eyes.
4: "MY OLDEST IS A SLACKER"
On the other end of the birth-order spectrum, parents may see their oldest child as a slacker, a byproduct of higher expectations for the oldest to excel academically and set an example for younger brothers and sisters. The parental refrain, "You could try so much harder," may be familiar to many firstborns, but the reality is that, on average, oldest children outperform younger siblings academically.
For a 2013 study, Duke University economist Joseph Hotz and co-author Juan Pantano of Washington University in St. Louis surveyed parents, then separated them into two categories: those they called "unforgiving," who were willing to discipline any of their children for poor school performance regardless of birth order, and "forgiving" parents, who did not like to punish any child, regardless of birth order.
Hotz asked the latter group a hypothetical question about each child in the family: "If [he/she] brought home a report card with lower grades than expected, how likely would you be to keep a close eye on [his/her] activities?" The replies revealed that the forgiving parents would come down harder on their oldest child and supervise him or her more closely than they would the others. Hotz theorizes that this apparent bias against the firstborn is actually an effort to send a message to younger siblings that their parents are in charge and that there will be retribution for any perceived academic slacking. Calling the phenomenon "trickle down discipline," Hotz explains, "You put the most energy into the firstborn, trying to set the tone for all."
The parents in his study were well intentioned, Hotz says, and their reaction to the "slacker" dilemma may just be an attempt to remedy a perceived problem. The way parents choose to discipline their children depends on their own priorities, he says, but he found a common thread of treating kids differently depending on their position in the family birth order.
5: "MY CHILD'S WEIGHT IS HEALTHY"
The ramifications of misperceiving a child's height are fairly benign, but that's not the case for the equally common misperception that children who are overweight have no such problem.
In February, University of Nebraska researcher Alyssa Lundahl and two colleagues issued a review of 121 previously published studies covering more than 80,000 parental estimates of children's weight. They found that more than half of all parents of overweight or obese children underestimated their child's weight, and that parents of kids ages 2 to 5 were the most likely to do soa particularly troubling result because overweight children in that age group are five times as likely as others to be overweight at age 12.
In this case, outside influencesspecifically, the mediamay be partly to blame for the misperception. Lundahl believes that parents do not have an accurate enough understanding of what a healthy weight should be for their children because media reports on child obesity so often focus on extreme cases. In essence, the parents' mental image of a child's average weight, and of the risks of being overweight, has become distorted.
But there may be an additional layer to the misperceptiondenial. "Parents might be resistant to labeling or stigmatizing their child," Lundahl says, and they might seek to avoid negative reflections on themselves. Acknowledging a child's weight problem, she says, "might mean that they maybe haven't been feeding their child correctly or encouraging healthy lifestyle behaviors." Further, taking action could mean that the parents would have to make lifestyle changes they may be resistant to making.
6: "MY CHILD COULDN'T BE A BULLY"
Denial is also at the heart of a two-headed misperception having to do with children and aggression. Studies have shown that parents fail to recognize both when their children are being bullied and when they're acting as bullies.
"Children very seldom tell their parents either that they bully or are being victimized," says social psychologist Debra Pepler of York University in Toronto, an expert on bullying prevention. "It's a very shameful experience to be victimized by peers, and there are a variety of reasons children don't tell their teachers or their parents. Some of that has to do with thinking the parents or the teachers are going to make it worse."
In the early 1990s, Pepler studied two groups of children: One, identified as highly aggressive, had been referred for social skills training by their teachers. The other was a comparison group of children, with the same age, gender, and ethnic mix, who had been identified by teachers as socially competent. Pepler put microphones on the two groups and observed their behavior on the playground. Her findings took her aback: The socially competent and socially incompetent bullied other children at the same rate.
"Since that study, a lot of research has shown there are different types of children who are bullies," Pepler says, "and even highly socially skilled children become more popular when they bully. So it doesn't surprise me that some parents think that their child could never bully."
Bullying is a complex behavior and learning to identify whether a child is an aggressor or a victim is not easy; some are both. It's another issue that may be exacerbated by the modern state of parenting without a village support system. "Our children are very disconnected compared with those in virtually every developed country," Pepler says. Parents may see their children in an unduly positive light or simply deny problems.
7: "MY DAUGHTER-IN-LAW WANTS MY ADVICE"
It would be nice to think that by the time we reach adulthood and start our own families, we could fly free from the misperceptions our parents have about us. But that's not always the case.
When children grow up and get married, a new set of parental misperceptions can come into play, says social psychologist Terri Orbuch of the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. Prime among them is the belief, especially in the early years of a child's marriage, that parental advice and guidance are invaluableand welcome.
In 1986, Orbuch began tracking 373 newlywed couples to better understand the nature and pressures of marriage. In 2012, she released findings showing that when husbands have a close relationship with their in-laws, a couple's risk of divorce drops by 20 percent. However, when wives reported a close relationship with their husbands' parents, a couple's risk of divorce rose by 20 percent. "When men feel close to their in-laws," Orbuch says, "it sends a signal to the wife that 'you're important to me, so your family is important to me.' Men also tend to take comments from in-laws less personally."
Women, however, are more relationship-oriented than men, Orbuch says, and more sensitive to commentary about their role in their family, a finding confirmed in her research. "Womenwivestake those comments very personally because they say something about us as individuals or about our sense of self or our worthand when it comes from a mother-in-law, that can be interpreted as meddling," Orbuch says.
Consciously or not, a mother-in-law can drive a wedge into a marriage with her input, Orbuch says. Still, psychologist Joshua Coleman, cochair of the Council on Contemporary Families, says we should cut mothers-in-law some slack as they adjust to a new role: "Many parents have a hard time navigating the natural decrease in attention and availabilityand love, realisticallyfrom the adult child who forms a committed relationship with a wife," he says.
Parental misperceptions arise and take hold in ways that, at first glance, defy logic. Factor in the intensity of most parent-offspring relationships and they can become almost unshakable. All we can do is recognize them and work to overcome them. "Deep down inside, realizing that your children are different from you is probably the best gift you can give them," Jennifer Watson says. "You need to nurture that and just let them be who they really are."
Mama, We're All Gifted Now
How we decide that what's best about our kids is what's most important for any kid is it possible for the parents of every kid in a class to think their child is giftedand for all of them to be right?
It's a phenomenon known in social psychology as idiosyncratic trait definitions. "Each of us has a set of filters on when we consider information about ourselves and our kids," Mark Leary says. "Without even thinking about it, we filter the information in a way that's to our liking."
In other words, we redefine what a positive trait means so that we can say that weor our childrenhave it.
For example, one parent's definition of being a "gifted"
student could be completing homework on time; for another,
it may be getting top math grades. Idiosyncratic definitions
allow each of us to maintain the perception that we have a
gifted child and project that to others, Leary says, for
many reasons, including "to make us look good socially."
Is it Cheating to Use a
Study Drug to Focus on Schoolwork?
Can Stress Influence Your
Childs Risk-Taking Ability?
Watch this extended footage from our film BREAKING POINTS, featuring George Slavich, PhD, Director of the UCLA Laboratory for Stress Assessment and Research, discussing the effects of stress on the brain and why some students turn to risky coping mechanisms like abusing prescription stimulants to alleviate it.
Is it Cheating to Use a
Study Drug to Focus on Schoolwork?
School can place tremendous pressure on high school and college students, especially when it comes to grades and academic performance. As a result, many teens and young adults will do anything to cope and get through including abusing prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin, sometimes referred to as study drugs.
What many dont know is that abusing prescription stimulants not prescribed to them actually does not improve your GPA, and can be very harmful to their health and well-being. Beyond that, relying on a substance for academic performance can be considered cheating moreover, it doesnt teach you how to navigate through challenges, which is a key component in learning how to negotiate life.
Watch this video featuring extended interviews from our film BREAKING POINTS, and hear students, educators and healthcare professionals discuss the abuse of prescription stimulants, cheating and the development of grit and resilience.
Can Overparenting Lead
Kids to Abuse "Study Drugs"?
Parenting is complicated and challenging. Its hard to know how much to push and how much to pull back.
We all only want whats best for our child. But in the high-pressure atmosphere of high school and college, many of us get a little too involved in our teenagers life and overparent.
Weve all heard of helicopter parents but what does that really mean? How do we, as parents, stay involved in our son or daughters life but ensure that theyll grow up to be independent? Its an elaborate system of pulling back, of giving support but also allowing your kids to make a mistake, says Matthew Zito, a former high school principal. If you step in and manage everything in your teens life, how will they receive any other message except, I cant do this by myself?
Watch this video featuring extended interviews from our film BREAKING POINTS, and hear educators and healthcare professionals talk about the dangers of overparenting and how it can potentially lead to the abuse of prescription stimulants:
Is Helicopter Parenting?
What is helicopter parenting?
The term "helicopter parent" was first used in Dr. Haim Ginott's 1969 book Parents & Teenagers by teens who said their parents would hover over them like a helicopter; the term became popular enough to become a dictionary entry in 2011. Similar terms include "lawnmower parenting," "cosseting parent," or "bulldoze parenting." Helicopter parenting refers to "a style of parents who are over focused on their children," says Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D., director of the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders near Detroit and author of Anxiety Disorders: The Go-To Guide. "They typically take too much responsibility for their children's experiences and, specifically, their successes or failures," Dr. Daitch says. Ann Dunnewold, Ph. D., a licensed psychologist and author of Even June Cleaver Would Forget the Juice Box, calls it "overparenting." "It means being involved in a child's life in a way that is overcontrolling, overprotecting, and overperfecting, in a way that is in excess of responsible parenting," Dr. Dunnewold explains.
Who is a helicopter parent?
Although the term is most often applied to parents of high school or college-aged students whodo tasks the child is capable of doing alone (for instance, calling a professor about poor grades, arranging a class schedule, manage exercising habits), helicopter parenting can apply at any age. "In toddlerhood, a helicopter parent might constantly shadow the child, always playing with and directing his behavior, allowing him zero alone time," Dr. Dunnewold says. In elementary school, helicopter parenting can be revealed through a parent ensuring a child has a certain teacher or coach, selecting the child's friends and activities, or providing disproportionate assistance for homework and school projects.
Why do parents hover?
Helicopter parenting can develop for a number of reasons. Here are four common triggers.
What are the consequences of helicopter parenting?
Many helicopter parents start off with good intentions. "It is a tricky line to find, to be engaged with our children and their lives, but not so enmeshed that we lose perspective on what they need," Dr. Gilboa says. Engaged parenting has many benefits for a child, such as increasing feelings of love and acceptance, building self-confidence, and providing guidance and opportunities to grow. "The problem is that, once parenting becomes governed by fear and decisions based on what might happen, it is hard to keep in mind all the things kids learn when we are not right next to them or guiding each step," Dr. Gilboa explains. "Failure and challenges teach kids new skills, and, most important, teach kids that they can handle failure and challenges."
How can you avoid being a helicopter parent?
So how can a parent love and care
for their children without inhibiting their ability to learn
important life skills? Dr. Gilboa offers this advice: "As
parents, we have a very difficult job. We need to keep one
eye on our children now--their stressors, strengths,
emotions--and one eye on the adults we are trying to raise.
Getting them from here to there involves some suffering, for
our kids as well as for us." In practical terms, this means
letting children struggle, allowing them to be disappointed,
and when failure occurs, helping them to work through it. It
means letting your children do tasks that they are
physically and mentally capable of doing. Making your
3-year-old's bed isn't hovering. Making your 13-year-old's
bed is. As Dr. Gilboa says, "Remembering to look for
opportunities to take one step back from solving our child's
problems will help us build the reliant, self-confident kids
It's getting hot in here.
It's the middle of summer, which is usually the time of year we start talking more about kids being left in cars.
According to Kars4Kids, an average of at least one child dies from heat stroke each week after being left in a hot car.
But here's the thing: Often parents or caregivers don't realize how hot it can get inside a car, even when it's not that hot outside.
When the outdoor temperature is in the 60s, it can still rise to over 110 degrees inside a parked car. So knowingly leaving a child alone in a car can create a life threatening situation, no matter the temperature.
And then there's this sad fact: Sometimes parents yes, even otherwise "good" ones forget that their kids are in the car altogether.
While that might seem hard to believe, it's possible and it happens. (There's a great Washington Post article about parents who forgot their children in cars that's worth reading if you're skeptical that quality parents can make real, tragic mistakes. You can also read first-person stories from loving and heartbroken parents who made this mistake themselves on KidsAndCars.org.)
Morris Franco from Kars4Kids explains, "There have been many tragedies of this kind that were a result of very loving and responsible parents forgetting their child [in the car]." Morris notes that it happens across socioeconomic levels and professions doctors, lawyers, computer scientists, teachers, and more have all forgotten their children in hot vehicles.
"Experts have explained this phenomenon of 'Forgotten Baby Syndrome' with the following," says Morris.
"Many tasks during the day for most people are performed by rote and require very little conscious thought. The part of the brain that controls that type functioning is the motor cortex. Then there are other tasks which do require critical thinking in order to make a clear decision and that is governed by the hippocampus part of our brain.
Whenever a person is stressed, sleep deprived and/or distracted there is a very high probability that the motor cortex part of the brain will override the cognitive thinking part.
A classic example would be when planning to make a stop on the way home from the office, when suddenly you find yourself parked in your driveway with your errand undone. That is your motor cortex kicking in your routine, while your critical thinking 'takes a break.'"
So what can we do to keep kids out of hot cars?
First, we can educate people about how hot it actually gets inside of a closed vehicle. In this social experiment conducted by Kars4Kids, the organization offered $100 to people who could complete the "Hot Car Challenge" remaining in a closed car for 10 minutes.
Watch how long these people lasted (and see how they reacted) to understand exactly how hot it gets inside of a car.
Not one single person lasted 10 minutes. Every person asked to get out before the time was up.
As one participant said, "It seems fine at first, but once that door closed, almost immediately, it becomes really hot and the air flow becomes oppressive."
Second, we can find ways for parents or caregivers to remind themselves that there is a child in the backseat.
Franco offers the following ideas to help:
Remember, don't ever leave kids in a car even when it doesn't seem that hot outside and don't think that an honest accident couldn't happen to you. Take precautions to remind yourself that your little one is in the backseat.
Maybe it was that time you took the kids to the amusement park, and on the way home their adorable faces still sticky from the slushies youd sprung for, their little wrists adorned with pricey full-day passes they asked to stop for ice cream. You declined, and they yelled, We never get to do anything!
Or the time you asked them to dust the living room after you had vacuumed the house, cleaned the bathroom, mowed the lawn and shopped for groceries, and they wailed, Do we have to do everything?
Nearly all of us have bang-our-head-against-the-wall stories about our kids acting entitled. Weve tried what feels like everything to stop it, and we still feel as if were not quite getting it right.
But theres a young and fascinating field of research called behavioral economics that explores the sometimes irrational ways we all make decisions and think about the world. Maybe if we understand a little more about the instinctive, irrational quirks of our kids minds, well be better equipped to raise kinder, less-entitled kids.
My excuses are totally legit
The cobalt-blue sports car roars up beside me, swerves into my lane, then races ahead. Seriously? I grumble. Idiot!
Just then, he hangs a quick left, right by a big sign that says, Hospital Emergency Room Entrance.
Oh. Right. (Well played, Universe. Well played.)
When someone cuts us off in traffic, shows up late or otherwise offends us, we often reflexively attribute it to an intrinsic characteristic of the person, yet when we inconvenience others, we generally blame outside forces (e.g., he was in my blind spot). This Scrooge-like tendency is so universal that behavioral scientists have a name for it: the fundamental attribution error.
How can parents use an awareness of this tendency to their benefit? The next time were at a restaurant and the kids are moaning, Where is our food? This waitress is terrible! we can point out that maybe the kitchen is backed up and shes doing her best. Maybe shes covering extra tables for someone who called in sick, or this is her second job and shes been up since 4 a.m.
Just talking about How do you think that person is feeling? is so important, says Amy McCready, a mother of two and author of The Me, Me, Me Epidemic: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World. Its a way of un-centering our kids universe and getting them thinking outside of themselves.
The curse of the chocolate-chip pancakes
Its Saturday morning and youve just set fresh pancakes on the table. Your sweet kids take a bite and then stop chewing. No chocolate chips?! they say, affronted.
Behavioral research shows that humans can become acclimated to almost anything if theyre exposed to it frequently. Its called hedonic adaptation, and its why Justin Bieber is always buying more outrageous cars, why the kitchen we just remodeled suddenly needs a new backsplash and why lottery winners, after the initial thrill of winning, end up about as happy as they were before.
What does this mean for kids and parents? Anything we provide or do regularly will become the new norm, whether its postgame milkshakes or a certain brand of clothes. And not doing things can also become a norm: If our kids have gotten used to having their beds made or dinner table set, theyll come to expect that, too.
I really think about it as Whats the default that Im setting up? says Tess Thompson, a mother of two in Webster Groves, Mo. My kids summer day camp is set up for their nonstop entertainment, so naturally they thought summer Saturdays would be, too. Thompson had to reset their expectations. Once the special outings werent every Saturday, they actually felt like treats.
You know this isnt normal, right?
Six-year-old Allison McElroy invited a friend over to play, but her playmate kept peering around the house. Finally, puzzled, the friend spoke up. Is this a mini-house? she asked.
Allisons mom, Cheryl, tried to keep her voice level. Uh, no, this is a real house. We live here.
Her tone was like, Is this all there is? recalls Cheryl with a laugh. Her daughters new friend lived in a neighborhood of soaring foyers and echoing great rooms, different from the lovely ranch house the McElroys live in. I really think shed never been in a one-story house before, Cheryl says.
The little visitor was experiencing what behavioral scientists call the availability bias, which causes us to overestimate the prevalence of something if we see many examples of it. So if everyone at our kids school wears $120 sneakers, our kids are going to think thats normal, not because theyre spoiled monsters, but because its what they see every day.
Its really challenging, because weve chosen to send our kids to nice private schools, and the other kids are coming back from spring break saying they went skiing in Aspen or Jackson Hole, and our kids start to get the impression thats the norm, says Josh Wright, a father of three in Takoma Park and executive director of behavioral consulting firm Ideas42. So were always telling them: You know thats not normal, right? Its just one little slice of the world. To give his kids a sense of the wider world, Wright regularly takes them to volunteer at a local soup kitchen; he also chose to live in a socioeconomically diverse neighborhood so his kids would be exposed to a broader range of experiences.
Girl, age 6. Wants: Undershirts.
The paper angel in my daughters hand read, Girl, age 6. Wants: Undershirts. The angel in my sons hand read, Boy, age 7. Likes: Dinosaurs. My lectures about faraway starving children had previously fallen on deaf ears, but on that December day, my kids, then age 5 and 8, eagerly dashed around the store to find just the right gifts. I think shell like these! They have princesses on them! Can I get him a sweatshirt, too? I dont want him to be cold!
Of course, it wasnt my fabulous parenting that finally got them thinking. It was what behavioral scientists call the identifiable victim effect the human tendency to respond more empathetically to the plight of a single individual, rather than a large group.
For instance, as behavioral economist Dan Ariely illustrates in his book The Upside of Irrationality, you might consider sending a few dollars to victims of a tsunami far away. But if you were walking through a park and saw a little girl drowning in the river right in front of you, you wouldnt hesitate to plunge in to save her. The vivid, nearby individual always trumps the vague, faraway many.
An awareness of this tendency can help us choose more effective ways to engage our children with those in need. For kids to internalize it, it needs to be about individual people, Wright says.
Come on, everybody, heave! With a final shove, you and your new neighbors wrestle their piano up the steps and into their house. The husband goes to the kitchen, where you assume he is getting you a beer, and comes back instead with his wallet. Here, he says, slapping $20 into your palm. Thanks for the help.
Suddenly, oddly, your warm fuzzies fade, and your desire to invite them over for pizza later fades with it. But why? Research indicates that we are more motivated to do things as part of a social transaction than a financial one. When Ariely asked students to move a couch either as a favor or for $10, more students were willing to do it as a favor than for the money: Once money was involved, Ariely writes, they started thinking: Is this really worth my time? Is $10 enough? Is this guy stiffing me?
This suggests that paying our kids to do chores isnt necessarily going to turn out as we hope. True, it will probably work at first, McCready says, and its no problem to pay for occasional, large tasks. But for everyday chores, at some point, youll ask them to unload the dishwasher, and theyll be like, Ehh, Im good. I dont really need the money today, she says. Or, the kids will start negotiating: How much will you pay me to carry these groceries inside?
Instead, McCready suggests framing chores as needed contributions to the functioning of the family. I know cleaning the bathroom isnt fun, but if we all get to work, well have the house clean by lunchtime. [Hand child a sponge.] Thanks for the help!
Clean house, warm hearts, generous kids.
Hi! Welcome to the club.
Thanks to the internet mostly TikTok, let's be real new slang words and phrases are popping up all the time, making it hard to have a conversation with your offspring.
A sample conversation with a teen: "Oh, that VSCO girl? She's definitely not in my squad. But I stan her swagger even though those scrunchies are trash. Hundo P. OK, boomer?"
Translation: A trendy girl is not in your child's group of friends, but she appreciates her confidence even though her big ponytail holders are terrible. She 100% thinks that, don't you understand, you old, out-of-touch mom?
Here's a list of teen slang terms and their definitions. Hopefully it'll help you better understand what your kids are saying.
Ah, the VSCO girls. You'll recognize these girls if they have scrunchies in their hair, sip out of Hydroflask water bottles and wear oversized sweatshirts. The term "VSCO" comes from the camera app VSCO. There are many explainers if you'd like to go more in-depth with the term, which has turned into a full-fledged meme.
VSCO girls can often be heard saying "sksksk," to the confusion of many. Yes, this is the sound you make when you hit lots of keys at once on your keyboard. Buzzfeed notes this term didn't begin with the VSCO girls but started in the black community (as does much viral online chatter).
And I oop
Still with us? Drag queen Jasmine Masters said "and I oop" in a viral video clip, which sent the internet (and yes, eventually, the VSCO girl section of the internet) into a tizzy.
You can say "and I oop" when someone says something unexpected or provocative.
Gen Z and millennials are retaliating against the baby boomers' perception of them with the phrase, "OK, boomer." When someone responds to someone or something with "OK, boomer," they are basically calling that thing old, out-of-touch and resistant to change. "Boomer" catchphrases have existed for some time, but "OK, boomer" has gained traction through TikTok.
Poor Karen. She's right up there with Felicia. A "Karen" is typically used to refer to an entitled mom, who can be a bit irritating with her frequent requests to "talk to the manager." She may also have a giant bob haircut and drive a Volvo.
Generally used to start off a story. You can call anyone a bruh but should probably reserve it to friends and not, say, a supervisor. For example: "Bruh, you won't believe what just happened to me."
These days, a Chad would be a hyper-masculine and overtly sexual young man.
Sis can be used in multiple ways. If someone asks you what happened and you respond with "Sis," it means there's a whole lot of drama that unfolded and there's a whole lot more to the story. "Sis" can also be used as a term of endearment.
A stan is a fan. But like a super-obsessed fan. It originated from Eminem's music video for "Stan" where an obsessive fan by the name of Stan (look at that) commits suicide after sending multiple unanswered fan letters to the rapper.
Garbáge. Horriblé. Used to refer to something that is absolutely unacceptable because it's all-around terrible. Like when you tell your friends your boyfriend is celebrating Valentine's Day on Feb. 15 because he has to "work" on Feb. 14. Yeah sis, that man is trash.
Similar to the literal meaning of goals. When you see something you want or aspire to be like, you say "goals." Like when Beyoncé and Jay-Z closed down the Louvre for a music video. Goals. Often, you'll find a word in front of it like "couple goals." Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard are "couple goals."
The people you hang out with, like your family or your close group of friends. These are your "ride or die" kind of friends. If you see a squad that you admire or want to have, that's "squad goals."
Short for "hundred percent." Absolutely, for sure, you are definitely confirming that thing 100%. Want to go to Costco for free sample day? Hundo P.
Savage is when someone does or says something completely outrageous and doesn't fear the repercussions or consequences of their actions. For example, if you told your friend you wanted the last cookie out of the cookie jar and then they took it and ate it right in front you, that's savage.
In this case, fire is good. It means great, amazing, wonderful, all the good things. If you go over to your grandmother's house and she makes that sweet potato pie you like so much, you can say, "Thanks grams! This pie is FIRE!" The fire emoji can work too.
Also used to compliment outfits, hair, glowing skin and, of course, food.
Sorry to this man
In a Vanity Fair video featuring a polygraph test, Keke Palmer was asked about former Vice President Dick Cheney in relation to her time on the TV series "True Jackson, VP." When the interviewer presented her with a photograph of him, she said she didn't know who he was and that if he came up to her on the street, she wouldn't know a thing. "Sorry to this man," she said, pushing the photo back. And a meme was born.
"Sorry to this man" is said when you don't know who a person is (either because you genuinely don't know who they are or are pretending not to know them in a way to diminish their existence).
People say "same" in response to things they have in common with someone. You are putting up your Christmas decorations early and don't care what anyone else thinks? Same. But it can also be used sarcastically. For example, if you tell a friend, "OMG guys, Justin proposed," they might respond with "same" to mock your happiness.
"Mood" is similar to "same" except that it is a full-body relatable feeling. Let's set the scene: There is snow on the ground and it's 9 degrees outside. Scrolling Facebook, you see a photo of a cat wrapped up tight in a fuzzy blanket with just his nose sticking out. Mood.
Either said in strong agreement to something or to hype someone up. When one of your friends posts a photo on Instagram looking extra hot, it is appropriate and even encouraged to comment "yassss!"
Or when someone says something you really agree with because it spoke to your soul, you can say "yasss!"
The person saying this is not actually dead. This phrase is used in response to something that's so hilarious it has you figuratively dying from laughter. Also used in place of physically laughing.
Very. That's it. That's all you really need to know. "V" literally is short for "very," providing emphasis to any statement. That "unicorn dog?" He's V cute. See also: "p," short for "pretty."
"Chill" can mean, well, a lot. If someone tells you to "chill," it means you need to calm down a la the Taylor Swift single. If someone invites you to "chill," that means they're asking you to hang out. If someone asks you to "Netflix and chill," that means they're asking you to "watch a movie" which will undoubtedly lead to sex. Context matters.
There's creative variety with this word. It can mean to throw something, said in excitement, in agreement and can also be a dance move. Take your pick. Either way, don't yeet your baby like the woman here.
Not your mother's designer handbag. This basically just means some variation of "good." Can be used in multiple ways: Let's say Karen brought a casserole over but she accidentally dumped it on your white carpet and after repeatedly apologizing she can tell you're still a little irritated. Karen may ask if you're OK, and because you don't want to create any more tension, you can say, "I'm gucci" or say, "It's all gucci."
This has nothing to do with sleep in the literal sense. Being "woke" means to be socially conscious and aware of racial, gender and myriad injustices.
Shade is usually thrown, meaning you'll most commonly hear it in a sentence like, "He threw shade." But it can also be used like, "Why are you so shady?" To throw shade means to make an underhanded critical remark toward someone.
Bet is used when you're in agreement with something. If someone makes plans and you say "bet," that means you are confirming said plan.
This basically means no lie. When someone adds "no cap" to a sentence, it serves as a statement that they're not lying. It can also be used as the converse "cappin,'" which means lying. "Why you cappin'?" is asking someone why they're lying.
There are multiple ways to have your tea. You can sip it, or you can spill it. If you're "sipping your tea," it means that you're minding your own business basically side-eyeing the situation and keeping it moving. If you're "spilling tea" or "having tea," that means you have some gossip you're about to share.
Eboy or egirl
The internet says these are active internet users, often
stereotyped has having an "emo," punk-rock style. The terms
seem to be gaining on TikTok.
Want your kids to tell
you about their day? Instead of asking questions, try
For generations, the most common answer to this question has been Nothing, followed closely by I dont know and its cousin, I dont remember.
When my daughter started preschool, I was desperate to know what she did all morning, but I couldnt get any information out of her. Some experts recommend giving kids space and time to decompress before launching into questions. I tried that, but she still wasnt forthcoming. Others advised me to make questions more specific, yet still open-ended. The Internet abounds with lists of quirky alternatives to How was your day? But when I asked my daughter who made her laugh or what games she played outside, I was met with sighs of irritation and emphatic replies of, Stop asking me those fings!
When school began this year, I tried a new approach at the dinner table. Do you want to hear about my day? I asked my daughter.
And on that day and every day since, she has never said no. So I tell her about meetings and photocopying, the jammed printer and how I lost and found my keys. I tell her about the games on the playground, the lessons I taught and how many kids asked to go to the nurse. I start with taking attendance in the morning and I end at dismissal. I am a teacher at her school although her class is on a separate campus.
Then, like shes taking her turn in a game of Go Fish, my daughter tells me about her day. I learn what book she listened to at the library, that she changed from her rain boots to her sneakers by herself, and the cause of her brief venture into timeout. She tells me who was classroom helper and who she sat next to at snack time. She sings Itsy Bitsy Spider for me, crawling her fingers up the invisible water spout above her head. She leans in close. Did you make letters in sand today? she whispers. I did that!
Although being a teacher may make my days relatable to a child attending school, I think my daughter is most interested in unveiling the mystery of what I do when Im not with her. It doesnt matter whether youre a software developer, a cashier, a blogger, a doctor, a bus driver or a stay-at-home parent, because its not about the minutiae of the work. Its about sharing what makes us laugh and what bores us, the mistakes we make and what is hard for us, the interesting people we meet. When I model this for my daughter, she is more willing to share the same with me.
Work is usually the last thing I want to talk about when I get home. I often think that a rundown of my day would be a bore to anyone, including me. Maybe my daughter finds listing all her cutting and pasting and cleaning up blocks equally tedious. But I delight in hearing the details of her day, just as she delights in mine.
Tonight at the dinner table, as my daughter inexpertly wielded her knife and fork and I started talking about tomorrows plans, she interrupted.
Mom? Arent you going to tell me about your
Set Boundaries. Make sure that the rules and expectations that you set for your teenagers are clear. This should apply to things that your teen shouldn't do, like smoking and drinking, as well as to privileges like driving and curfews. It is important that your teen knows that consequences for breaking the rules will be enforced.
Know Your Teen's Friends. How do your teens interact with their friends? Are the relationships equal and respectful? Are your teens easily influenced by what their friends say to them? Use these observations to talk with your teens about their choices in friends. Make an effort to know the friends' families too.
Encourage Independent Thinking. Help your teen
practice thinking for themselves. Ask questions like, "What
do you think of what that group's doing? What do you think
of those choices?" Having your teen think through the
answers to these questions is just as important as the
answers themselves. The more your teen trusts his or her
decision making skills, the less vulnerable they'll be to
Hard to believe it's mid-August and in some areas of the country and world, kids have already taken up residence back in the classrooms. I hear ya: big sighs of relief that summer boredom has passed. But as we're celebrating, let's keep in mind how difficult it can be for kids to navigate peer pressure, bullying and judgment after a carefree summer. These kids are our responsibility, so let's buck up and make their transition to the school year as safe and smooth as possible. Which leads me to the gist of this article: how to make the school year safe for your LGBT kid.
There is no magic wand to ward off bullies, snide remarks or narcissistic opinions of those who don't understand homosexuality or the LGBT world. The only way to navigate through it is with love, understanding, and a few good support mechanisms.
1. Support starts at home! Even if you're still in crisis, confusion, or coming to terms with your child's sexuality, remember how you felt as a child when you thought your own parents didn't understand or support you. It wasn't the best feeling in the world, was it? Whether those moments led to shouting matches, tears, or standing in the quiet, contrary corners of "I'm right and you're wrong," none of us relishes the feeling of parental rejection. Now, as parents ourselves, it's time to support our children, and beyond a shadow of a doubt, let them know we've got their backs.
2. It's not you, it's them. By having a solid and supportive talk with your child about the fact that their sexuality has nothing to do with others or their opinions, you begin to lay the groundwork for a confident kid. While it seems elementary to have this conversation, it truly is important. Even more important is to teach your child not to use the "It's just your opinions, your upbringing and your weird beliefs" mentality as a defense mechanism. A positive approach is "We're all as different as the back to school clothes we bought, and isn't that cool?"
3. Know when to hold them, know when to scold them. Now I'm not advocating fights, screaming matches, or stirring up trouble at school. However, there is a beauty that exists in powerfully standing your ground, even as a child, teen, and young adult. This takes parental finesse and confidence to help your child master this type of approach. However, the lifelong gift of confidence you bestow on your child that enables them to speak their mind in a respectful and healthy manner is a life lesson worth practicing.
In fact, that's exactly what I would advocate: role playing with your child some of the potential situations they might find themselves in throughout their school days and beyond. You can't prepare for every scenario, but the support your child will feel is priceless when they see your willingness to go this extra mile.
4. Be bold and give their teacher an apple. I'm not being literal about the apple, but it couldn't hurt to take a real one along with what I'm about to suggest. Take the courageous step and meet your child's teachers. Don't stop there. Talk to them and listen. Share with them the unique light your child brings into the world because of their sexuality. Then ask them for concerns, feedback, and how they'd like to be supported.
Even if they are not of like mind, or not supportive of LGBT individuals, it is their responsibility to ensure that your child receives an education and is kept safe when they are in their care at school.
If you achieve nothing more than an understanding of where they stand, then you'll be more prepared to navigate the waters of the school year. Same goes for making a personal connection with the school counselors, principles, anyone and everyone your child will be interacting with. One not of caution: make sure your child knows you are going to these lengths, and that they are on board. Nothing would be worse than for them to find out you went about this task as if you were on a covert assignment from the Gay Mafia. (Which doesn't exist. I don't think).
5. Find solace in support. This tip may seem obvious, but for many, until they ask, they don't know that there are numerous groups right in their own communities that support LGBT Youth and their families. Here are a few:
By no means is this list complete. There are numerous, support groups that make it their mission to ensure that schools are a safe place not only for LGBT kids, but for all kids regardless of sexual orientation.
As a parent myself, raising two teens, I've come to realize, as most parents do, that you can't protect them. You can only prepare them. I happened to be at the funeral of a good friend's mother not long ago, and as her brother was giving the eulogy, he made a profound statement: As parents, we all want what's best for our children. Ironically, as parents, we don't always want what's right for our children.
As the 2013-14 school year kicks off, I challenge all
parents, regardless of their child's sexual orientation, to
hold a special space in your hearts to do what's right for
your children. And how do you do that? Enable the lines of
communication to always be open and never, ever closed.
Talk To Your Kids About Tough Issues
We all do it, but experts say we might want to rethink our approach. Here's how (Most parents teach their children, almost from birth, that lying is okay. And they don't even know they are doing it.
This is how it starts. The child is lying in its crib. A parent is talking on the phone. The parent makes an excuse why they can't do something right now. "I'm really busy today and can't get together." they say. Then, hang-up the phone, and go sit in front of the TV all afternoon, or take a nap, or what ever. Now, of course, the child can't comprehend the misinformation but, on a psychic level, it starts to build this reservoir of "little lies" until around 8th grade the concept is well established in the child's psyche. It's okay to lie. - Editor)
The Avoidant Lie
What it is: Lying to avoid embarrassment. This is most common when talking to kids about sex. For example, "Babies come from the stork."
What to say instead: The age-appropriate truth, like Babies grow in their mommys belly. Its important for parents to get over their own feelingsor at least put them asidein order to take care of their child's needs and questions, says Harris.
The Double-Standard Lie
What it is: Painting your past as picture-perfect out of fear that the fact that you smoked pot in college will make your kids think its OK for them to try it, too. You might have said, "I never broke curfew/did drugs, drank alcohol until I was grown" or "I never had sex before I was married."
What to say instead: In this case, its better to not say anything until your children reach an age where they are faced with these issues, says Harris. Then you can admit to your mistakes and talk about what you might have done differently knowing what you know now.
The Protective Lie
What it is: Rewriting/lying about events because they could be upsetting to your child. Saying, "Your uncle died of a bad sickness," when in fact he killed himself might be one such lie. Or telling your child, "No, I will never die."
What to say instead: Its OK to avoid sordid facts or [rephrase them in a way] thats more understandable for a child, but its not OK to tell something that is not true, says Harris. In the case of the uncle, you could say: "He had a really bad accident that caused him to die." Instead of telling a young child youll never die, comfort him by saying: "Not for a long, long, long, long time."
The Persuasive Lie
What it is: Making up consequences in order to convince your child to do what you want her to do. A variation of this is, "If you don't get ready for bed when I tell you, Santa won't come."
What to say instead: Motivate instead of threaten. "As soon as you get ready for bed, we can read books. What one do you want to start with tonight? Kids can easily see through our misleading attempts to have it our way and can quite quickly learn not to trust us, says Harris. Even worse? Kids could start to mirror your own behavior and be misleading and dishonest with you, she says.
The Bottom Line
No matter what your kids ask you, try to answer their
questions truthfully and keep answers simple, says
Cookand dont overburden them with lots of
unnecessary information. Follow your child's
lead, says Harris. If telling only a bit of the
truth satisfies your child, then that is fine until more
questions come. Then, just keep telling them more facts
until your child is satisfied.
I am sorry if the title of this post shocks you, or strikes you as harsh or over-dramatic. But honestly, parents dont realize what theyre asking of their LGBTQI kids. And they dont realize what their rejection is doing to them.
This is not about inclusion. This is a matter of life and death.
By making their children stick to their own expectations and standards for them whether they really think their gay child is going to hell or honestly are just ashamed of them parents are asking their kids to change something inherent, something that son or daughter cant change. No matter how much they pray or plead. Its just not happening.
And the message that sends is absolutely devastating. It tells our kids (young, teens or adults) that they are broken, not okay, for whatever reason.
Its plain wrong. And it can be tragic.
The suicide statistics for LGBTQI youth is alarming 40% of gay youth contemplate suicide, 50% of transgender youth 4 to 5 times the rate for their straight peers. And gay youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as gay peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.
I have been in dialogue with a close friend about my support and affirmation of gays, and I am heartsick. We are going to meet for coffee, to see if we can find any common ground. She follows Jesus too, so that should be our common ground. But people get disjointed about this, bent out of shape, worked up.
She has already expressed her deep disapproval in me. I am simply loving without condition, which my main job in life (and its hers, too!). To even think about meeting with her makes me queasy, but I must speak up for those who deserve to be spoken for.
Just imagine the one who IS gay. How do they feel? Having to discuss this with a family member who doesnt approve, and other family members, and friends, and church, and society. No wonder this is so hard to walk through. No wonder they feel so alone, because they essentially are so alone.
Family we are supposed to love and support each other no matter what. If our own family wont do that, how does that impact our confidence that anyone else can?
Imagine the depth of the shame of a child rejected, condemned, shunned by parents. Or the shame that comes from parents who just tolerate their gay child, but the child clearly knows the parents are disgusted by who they are.
And imagine a parent conveying the message that God too is ashamed and disgusted?
Shame is not a good motivator, its a horrible motivator that can destroy a persons heart and spirit. Shame only makes a person feel fundamentally defective, and no one has the right to do that to someone else.
EVERYONE deserves to be treated as a human being. Even people you might disagree with.
I know this can be hard. Please dont go through it alone. Seek out people to talk to people who will support and encourage you people who will affirm, accept and love your gay child, and you too.
I have private Moms groups on social media, Rob has a Dads group. Contact us about those.
I am so proud of you for reading this. It may be the first step in making the decision to err on the side of love, to affirm your child. You may have saved their life.
I promise you that it does get better. The answers will come. Just take the next step, and find someone to take it with you.
I am here if you need me.
We know of way too many families who kicked out, condemned, rejected, shunned and shamed their gay child in Jesus name, claiming they were speaking for God and who lost their child to suicide or drug abuse.
Please. Dont. Just dont. Dont drive your child over the edge.
Every one of us would regret that for every single day of the rest of our lives.
Breathe. Love them for who they are. Err on the side of love. Trust God with all the rest.
Its what they deserve because they are human and because they are your precious child. No matter what.
Just love. Please.
When mom and dad have different ideas on what to do when it comes to the kids, from what their child should wear, to when their child should come home, and so on, communication usually stalls. This is a nice way of saying, you aren't talking to each other! When this happens, both parents can feel frustrated and often argue. Fussing and fighting isn't the way to livefor you or for your kids. Let's have a new goalto reach a place where both people have power and are listened too. Sound crazy? We think not...
Whether it's communicating with your spouse, former spouse, son or daughter, problem solving like the list that follows will leave both parties feeling satisfied. Use these steps to help solve problems between you, your wife, your ex-wife, or heck, try this with your kids too!
1) Name the problem
Write it down. Seriously, have you ever been arguing for a extended period of time, and there doesn't seem to be an end to the bickering? It's probably because one or both of you lost sight of the real problem. Work on only one problem at a time. You can't fix everything overnight. Agree at the start on one problem to try and solve, then attack that one problem, not EVERY problem!
2) Decide who owns the problem
Is someone doing something you or someone else doesnt approve of, but does not see it as a problem? Is the problem yours or someone elses? More than one person can own a problem. It's important to discern and accept responsibilities for said problem before moving to the next step.
3) Discuss why the problem needs to be solved
This step can be the hardest one of all if the problem is someones behavior. For example, someones behavior is harming someone else and it needs to stop. This step also takes a lot of listening from both sides. The person creating the problem is generally the one who isn't as willing to listen. Try and be sure that person isn't you this time!
4) List what's been done to try and solve the problem
Write them down if the person has tried a lot of things. This process can go a long way in showing how much both parties care about fixing the problem. This also provides a great road map to what hasn't or doesn't work such that you can try something new to solve the problem. Which leads us to this...
5) Brainstorm new ways to solve the problem
They must be realistic ideas. Write them down if there are a lot of them and use the ideas during the next step. Discuss pros and cons for each idea.
6) Make a decision
Its okay if there is more than one solution. If the problem is owned by one person, let that person pick. If it is owned by more than one person, like the entire family, have those people agree on what to do. Remember, this isn't a dictatorship no matter how badly you might try for it to be.
If you brainstorm ideas and one or more of them dont offer a clear way to solve the problem, go through the first three steps again to figure out the problem, see who owns it, and why it needs to be solved.
You could get stuck on Step 6 if you and the person
involved doesn't have your ideas about the right way to
solve the problem.
Imagine this scenario: Your baby cries, but instead of grabbing the diaper and performing a uniform change, you talk them through it. "I'm going to change you now, because your diaper is wet."
That's one of the main ideas behind the RIE parenting method, that by speaking to your baby, you'll slow down. Brought to the U.S. by infant-development expert Magda Gerber in 1973, Resources for Infant Educarers (RIE), a nonprofit organization headquartered in Los Angeles, coined the term that refers to giving babies more independence and respect.
Deborah Carlisle Solomon, author of "Baby Knows Best" appeared on HuffPost Live to discuss the true premise of RIE. And it's not about treating babies like adults. "We believe babies should be treated like babies," Solomon said. "[But] respect is the underlying foundation of this approach to being with babies."
In other words, talk to them like you would a person, such as the above scenario. An article in Vanity Fair pointed out that another facet of RIE includes giving babies the attention they deserve, without hovering:
Bouncers are discouraged on the principle that they are disrespectful to a babys true emotions, as the object is to make him zone out and stop annoying you. RIE is philosophically opposed to anything that disrespects a baby, including not only sippy cups and high chairs but also baby gyms, baby carriers like Björns, baby swaddles, and baby walkers, which Gerber, who had quite a way with words, called a moving prison.
Jennifer Lehr, blogger for "Good Job And Other Things," follows the RIE approach and told HuffPost Live that the method allows her to see the world through her child's eyes. She compared the treatment to the way someone would treat a paraplegic. "I talk to my child like I talk to a person."
Solomon agrees that the approach not only helps the
child, but parents as well. "It helps parents relax and
become more confident. It's a win-win for everybody."
Dads and moms aren't perfect. But, if mom understands the importance of involving dad, she will understand that she herself - is a vital factor in connecting father to child. The following story reveals exactly this...
Jamal recently emailed me with his story of becoming a father overnight...
Its been eight years since my daughter has come into my life. I say come into, because I was not present when she was born. In fact, I didnt even know that I had a child. Let me explain. I dated my daughters mother the spring/summer of 2005 and the relationship ended in the fall of 2005. We did not speak or communicate for months after the break up. During this period of time, I decided to focus on improving my life, so I re-enrolled myself in college to complete my degree. I picked a temp-to hire position with a company with the hopes of working there full time after completing my education. I lived at home with my mother, made very little money, and the only responsibility I had was to myself.
The summer of 2006 rolls around and Im continuing to stay focused on my goals working during the day and going to school at night. One night, I saw a news report which mentioned my ex's name and connected her in some way to an abandoned baby. Feeling a sense of urgency to see if my ex was okay, I immediately called her and we spoke briefly. In my mind I started to count back the months that she and I had been intimate, and it had been almost exactly nine months. So I asked her if the abandoned baby was my child. I was told no, and to stay out of it.
I just knew I had to know the truth for me.
We at NFI spend a lot of our time creating tip cards, brochures, and pocket guides to help dads and moms understand these very facts - and as I read Jamal's story, I saw the pieces falling into place. There are so many benefits for everyone involved when mom helps to ensure dad is involved from the start:
Your child benefits from Dad's involvement the moment he or she is born and the benefits continue through adulthood.
Healthy Development: A child with an involved dad has been shown to do better on tests of emotional, social, and mental development. Involved dads have been shown to increase weight gain in preterm infants (preemies) and increase the change that mom will breastfeed.
Success in School: a child of an involved dad does better in school, on average, than a child who grows up without an involved dad. They're more likely to get A's, behave well, and less likely to drop out of school.
Good Physical Health: Involved dads who are active and have a healthy weight are more likely to have a child who is active and have a healthy weight which is vital to avoiding many diseases such as diabetes.
Good Behavior: a child with an involved dad is less likely to smoke, use drugs, become or get someone pregnant as a teen, or engage in violent and other risky behavior.
Well-Being and Success as an Adult: a child with an involved dad is more likely ot have higher self-esteem.
Mom benefits from dad's involvement from the moment mom becomes pregnant. Really!
Good pregnancy: when dad is involved in moms' pregnancy, mom is more likely to attend pre-natal visits. Mom is less likely to have health problems while pregnant, such as anemia and high blood pressure.
Less Stress for Her: an involved dad reduces moms' stress. It's easier to talk with an involved dad about ways to help reduce stress.
Better Family Finances: an involved dad is more likely to work harder and earn more money.
Better Marriage/Relationship: When both parents share the load of raising a child, it reduces the stress on both parents. Less stress leads to a better marriage and relationship.
Dad benefits from his involvement from the moment mom becomes pregnant. These benefits include some of the sames ones that mom receives, includingbetter family finances and a better marriage relationship.
Early Bonding With Child: When dad prepares to be a dad while mom is pregnant, he is better able to bond with his child and more likely to be involved as his child ages. Studies show that when dad is involved leading up to and during the birth of his child, his oxytocin or "bonding hormone" rises while his testosterone or "wandering hormone" declines.
Better Health and Well-Being for Him: An involved dad is more healthy emotionally and physically. He is more likely to go to the doctor when sick and for regular check-ups.
More Giving: Being a dad can help dad be more giving to family and the community. The involved dad is more likely to be social, volunteer, and spend time doing things like attending church and helping the community.
Success at Work: The involved dad's child is more likely to succeed, to advance, and advance more quickly in his or her career. The skills dad develops while raising a child is the same skill that helps him succeed at work.
Let Jamal's story encourage and remind you that everyone
wins when a child has an involved dad. Oh, and, it's never
too late to start being involved.
A former PTA president just pleaded guilty to charges that she arranged a birthday party for her 16-year-old son that featured booze, marijuana, and a stripper named Kristi. Joan Boysen, 47, even admitted giving her teenage guests (aged 13-16) a lesson on how to roll a joint. Below you'll find excerpts from a Mason County (Washington) Sheriff's Office report detailing the April bacchanal at the Boysen family's weekend home outside of Olympia. Included in the report--which was released following Boysen's November 6 conviction--are accounts provided by several teen partygoers and the stripper herself, a 30-year-old woman who also works as a dance instructor and teaching assistant at a Montessori school. Boysen, who pleaded to one felony and a pair of misdemeanors, was sentenced to 30 days in jail, 60 days home confinement, and ordered to perform community service and pay a $15,000 fine. Boysen's husband is also expected to face a misdemeanor charge of providing alcohol to minors. TSG has redacted the names of Washington State's underage party animals. (10 pages)
Gee, we never got invited to the kind of raucous slumber parties they throw on the Left Coast. In fact, according to this incredible set of police reports, the teenage girls in Pleasanton, California not only hire male strippers for their bashes, but they don't hesitate to, um, interact with the paid entertainment.
In fact, that's what recently landed 29-year-old stripper Steven Schmitt (stage name: Steve Mitchell) and the mother of one of the party hosts in hot water. Seems that Schmitt got real familiar with some of the nubile partygoers (most of whom were 15 or 16), while mom/chaperone Carye McGrath was observing the action unfolding in her San Francisco-area home.
Before Schmitt arrived (he was hired via an online Strip-a-Gram firm and came dressed like a cop), the precocious girls amused themselves with classic party games like the door-to-door condom hunt and Bobbing for Trojans. Prior to Schmitt's performance, McGrath allegedly had to warn her excited teenage charges not to touch or lick the talent.
So, you might ask, what did these girls learn from an incident that resulted in the arrest of Schmitt and McGrath? Well, dirty dancing with a guy in a g-string is no Kodak Moment. And when mommy says, "don't grope the naked guy," you should listen to her. And next time, limit your entertainment to the Leonardo DiCaprio canon.
In some documents, police have changed names to "Jane Doe." In other reports, The Smoking Gun has redacted the names of underage party animals. And as for those two evidence photos, we had to employ the red bar.
Editor's note: Sure seems like the mother should be
up on a morals charge.
It's a worrisome trend, according to this dad.
When I was a kid, if it wasn't a school day or a soccer weekend I was off in the woods with my dog or with my neighborhood friends. My family lived on a forested hill on the outskirts of townexactly the kind of place an adventurous kid would want to grow up. There were creeks to dam, dirt mounds to jump bikes off of, tree forts to build, new and winding trails to explore. In winter, with a foot of new snow to track out, it was even better. I would leave in the morning, after doing chores, and as long as I made it home at the agreed-upon time, or checked in by phone if I ended up at a friend's house, all was good. I was free for the day.
Can you imagine letting your kids roam free today? That is, free all day, unsupervised and without a cell phone or BlackBerry or homing device strapped to their waists? There's something about our world in 2006the seemingly ever-present threat of shooters, kidnappers, predators, drug dealers, scammers, or natural hazards like ponds and wellsthat makes the child-rearing freedoms of yesteryear seem dangerous and anachronistic. And yet somehow, we survived.
My mom and dad were great parents. They were involved in all aspects of my childhood, but when it came to just being a kid, they backed off. They gave me a lot of space to grow and learn and explore and figure things out on my own or with friends, as long as I showed them I could make good decisions and be responsible for my actions.
Of course back in the '70s most people still smoked and seat belts were an abstract concept. Public safety campaigns and liability lawsuits had yet to grip America, and PlayStation/Xbox/Nintendo and the Internet weren't even blips on the short-attention-span horizon. "Disorder" probably meant you got the wrong hamburger at Dairy Queen. One could easily dismiss those days as a "different time." And certainly technology and medical science and communication and safety standards have changed dramatically, but kids are still kids. Their basic needs haven't changed.
I'm just a dad, not a sociologist, but it seems to me that for healthy development, kids need equal doses of responsibility and freedom. Get rid of one and you're asking for trouble. Get rid of both and it's going to be a bumpy ride. And yet that's exactly what I see a lot of parents doing today. They eagerly do all they can to smooth out life's troublesome potholes for their kids, while at the same time micromanaging their every move. As writer Hara Estrof Marano put it, parents try to "engineer a risk-free world for children."
In 2004, Marano wrote an article for Psychology Today called "A Nation of Wimps." Her book by the same title is due out in 2007 (nationofwimps.com). I'm not one to pay much attention to so-called experts, but I think Marano is onto something.
"Cell phones function as an eternal umbilical cord," she said during a recent phone interview, "and it's all so misguided. Kids aren't allowed the freedom that allows them to build their own identities. They can't make their own mistakes, and so they miss out on critical life skills. When something difficult arises, there's mom or dad on the cell phone trying to fix everything."
Parental anxiety is natural, said Marano, but too often horribly misplaced. "Anxious parents turn their kids into projects." And you can dispense with the notion that it's the guilt-ridden working parent who's most at fault. "Often the at-home parent is the one freaking out. A lot of moms and dads, especially in affluent homes, leave the work force to focus on their kids. They apply their professional training to parenting and try to turn their kids into résumés on two legs."
Or worse, into patients. "I think it's appalling how many parents are willing to have their kids labeled 'diseased' because they think it will help them academically," Marano continued. "It all centers around giving their kids more time to take tests, especially the big testthe SAT." She says a lot of parental anxiety involves getting children into college. "When kids do not function well in that narrow academic groove, parents try to give them an edge or have the rules bent for them." She also says kids are often labeled defective so early that they don't fight it; they internalize that something's wrong with them. They see themselves as weak.
Marano has plenty of research and experience to back up her findings. Me? Just my daily observations. You see them at the playground, at the mall, across the backyard fence, at PTA meetingsmoms and dads who hover or praise or scold to the point of annoyance or irrelevance. Those parents who are so consumed by their kids' security and self-esteem and academic standing that you wonder if those poor children will ever have a chance to speak out or grow up or just be themselves.
Of course it's our duty to protect our kids and help them succeed. But at what cost? The last thing we should do is project our sometimes irrational anxieties onto them, like the mother who recently told me she wasn't sure if her child was allergic to peanuts but she had the medication for it just in case.
You know, all kids are different, but they're tough. They're built to survive, and sometimes we forget that. We need to step back and remember the world for the beautiful place it is. And let kids be kids.
Let's hear it: Are parents too anxious about their kids these days?
Changing diapers all day is dirty business. So is working
from home in a house strewn with kids' toys. MSN.com
frequent contributor Kristopher Kaiyalahappily married
and the proud father of a 7-year-old girl and 2-year-old
boytackles the daily joys and challenges of being a
full-time at-home dad in a regular column for Men's
I saw them again in the grocery store checkout line: MTV's Teen Moms. The show's about how tough it is to be a teen mother, but two of them smiled at me from the cover of yet another tabloid. They're bona fide celebrities. Over 4 million people watch the show. Is it possible we're missing the old days when younger couples did the parenting and older couples were grandparents?
Women in developed nations are postponing childbearing longer and longer despite the fact that the childbearing imperative is beginning earlier and earlier. So what's the perfect age for women to have children?
In days of old, women had children in their late teens and twenties.
How about starting a few years later, say late twenties or early thirties?
What if you're thinking of waiting? About twenty percent of babies are now born to women over 35, and that number is rising.
There are serious pros and cons at any age. So what should be the deciding factor?
Readiness? No, that can't be it. Any mother knows there's literally nothing you can do to prepare for the real work of it. You just have to be willing to do it.
Being settled? Preposterous. Kids have a way of taking over. Bringing home a newborn means saying goodbye to a well-organized life.
Happiness? Life isn't about being happy all the time. It's about learning, experiencing, giving and receiving and putting our happiness at stake so we can know its real value. Putting adult happiness first is a dangerous precedent for parenthood.
A stable relationship? We're getting closer to an answer here, but parents know that having children has every potential of removing intimacy from a partner relationship so that parenthood itself becomes a couple's primary sense of purpose. It's always been that way and always will be.
Fertility? With everything else equal, this becomes the real issue. I, like many women, was touched to the core by the infertility crisis of Holly Finn, forty-something author of "The Baby Chase." Still unable to conceive, she gives women aged 26 to 34 the arguably countercultural advice to, "Start having babies."
Here are the facts behind that recommendation: In their early twenties, more than 85 percent of women will conceive within a year of trying, and this falls to 51 percent by age 35. Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART), like artificial insemination and IVF, are significantly more effective for younger infertile couples than older ones. The CDC reports that a woman under 35 has at least a 40 percent chance of conceiving with ART and her own eggs. At 40 she has only a 15 percent chance, and that declines to only 1 percent when she's over 44.
Looking at all the pros and cons, it's hard not to agree with Finn -- if you want children, have them when you're younger. You can't postpone fertility, and you can spend a lot of money and emotional reserve playing the odds when you've waited too long.
But in the end, a woman should choose motherhood for the
right reasons: the kids themselves. Children (teen moms)
shouldn't have children to find a sense of identity, nor
should every woman feel her identity ultimately lies in
being a mother. If you haven't discovered who you are
independent of your significant other or your potential
offspring, that's probably important to work out before you
have kids. If you want your children to truly know you, you
first need to know yourself.
Choking on food and nonfood objects poses a significant safety risk for children. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention investigated the causes and reasons for choking among children in a large national study of U.S. emergency departments.
Strollers are convenient for parents. How else would you shop at the mall, enjoy an outdoor carnival or fair, or tour the local museum? But strollers aren't risk-free - falls, pinches, and tips from strollers send many children to the emergency department each year.
Most childhood illnesses are caused by infection, and KidsHealth has a virtual encyclopedia of them - from chicken pox and fifth disease to flu and pinkeye. Learn how to recognize symptoms and when to call the doctor. Check out KidsHealth's Infections section.
Television may seem like a good thing: your child can learn the alphabet on public television and you can keep up with current events on the evening news. But how does TV affect your child?
Is your child scheduled to have a lumbar puncture, also known as a spinal tap? Find out how this test is performed and when you can expect the results.
If you've just found out that your child has a birth defect, you're probably experiencing a number of emotions. Fortunately, you aren't alone - with a little effort, you'll find that there are lots of people and resources to help you.
Every parent should know how and when to administer CPR. Our informative article for parents will teach you more about cardiopulmonary resuscitation and your child.
Are Ear Thermometers Accurate?
What Keeps Children From
Walking or Biking to School?
Treating Hemangiomas in
Proper dental care begins
even before your baby's first tooth appears?
Getting Help: Know the
Girls Need to Learn to Run
Guiding Your Child Through The
Guiding Your Child Through The Early Years will lead you through the major stages you and your child will face together. It includes things you need to know about keeping your toddler healthy and happy, from basic care to safety.
Violence prevention programs, such as those in place at many schools at high risk for violent crimes, strive to make schools and the surrounding neighborhoods safer for children. Do they work?
Many children see a speech therapist, physical therapist, or occupational therapist at home or at school. Want to know more about what these specialists do? Check out KidsHealth's section on Medical Care & the Health Care System.
Caring for animals and pets offers a tremendous learning experience for children. But it's not uncommon for animals and pets to transmit infections to humans, especially children. Read this article for more information about how to protect your child from infections carried by pets and animals.
Osteosarcoma is the most common type of bone cancer. Although many types of cancers spread to other parts of the skeleton, osteosarcoma begins in bones and sometimes spreads elsewhere.
Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is a primary immune deficiency that can be successfully treated if it's identified early. Otherwise, it's often fatal within the first year.
More and more low-birthweight babies are being born across the country, and the rate is growing even faster in the suburbs than in the cities.
For children, intimacy is as much about connection as it is about content. Bedtime works like magic, but so can car time, when it's just the two of you, or chore time, when you're working at something side by side.
Hospitals should not feed powdered infant formula to most premature or sick newborns because the powder isn't sterilized and could cause a rare but dangerous infection, the government warned.
Now you can take KidsHealth with you! From the creators of KidsHealth.org comes "KidsHealth Guide for Parents: Pregnancy to Age 5" (Contemporary Books, A Division of the McGraw-Hill Companies). This 800-page book provides practical, understandable, and medically reliable information that anticipates just about every medical concern and situation that parents might face. It includes fast-access reference sections on first aid and emergencies; signs and symptoms, what they mean and when to consult a doctor; and childhood infections. Full of useful tips and advice from real parents. Makes a great gift for new and expecting parents (and grandparents). To learn more or to order, please visit: store.yahoo.com/kidshealth/index.html
It used to be that obsessing over body image belonged mostly to teens and young adults - but now even children as young as 5 and 6 are showing signs of body image problems. What can you do to instill in your child a healthy sense of self? Check out KidsHealth's Emotions & Behavior section for ways to help your child build self-esteem and avoid destructive behaviors.
Malrotation is a type of obstruction caused by abnormal development of the intestines while a fetus is in the mother's womb. Find out more about this condition and the complications it can cause.
Physical therapists offer treatments for a variety of medical conditions with the goal of improving the quality of life for children and adults. Learn how physical therapy may help your child.
Mumps is a disease caused by a virus that can infect many parts of the body, especially the parotid salivary glands.
Did you know that there is much more to that tooth than meets the eye? Our article for kids explains all about teeth and the different parts that make them work.
Have you ever hit the inside of your elbow in just the right spot and felt a tingling or prickly kind of dull pain? If so, then you already know where you funny bone is. Find out more in this article just for kids.
Proper dental care begins even before your baby's first tooth appears? It's never too early to start thinking about your child's oral health, so check out KidsHealth's General Heath section for more information on healthy teeth and gums.
All children bite at some point in their early years. But are you concerned that your child's biting indicates a larger problem? Read our article for parents to find out more.
Finding out their child is pregnant and planning to have the baby is certainly not what most parents expect, but it happens every day: nearly half a million teenage girls give birth every year. How can you support your child through the changes and challenges that are ahead?
Want to know what it's like to have a condition from the kids who have it? Then take a look at My Journal, a collection of interactive articles written by kids who have different illnesses and conditions.
Lots of kids need to take Ritalin because they have ADHD. Read this article to find out more.
Strep throat is a disease caused by tiny egg-shaped bacteria called Group A streptococci. Strep throat makes your throat hurt and makes it hard to swallow. Find out more in this article for kids.
The Food and Drug Administration is suspending a rule that lets the government require safety testing of adult medicines commonly given to children - from asthma treatments to Prozac.
Many children see a speech therapist, physical therapist, or occupational therapist at home or at school. Want to know more about what these specialists do? Check out KidsHealth's section on Medical Care & the Health Care System.
When you bring your child to the doctor for a cold or flu, do you automatically expect a prescription for antibiotics? If so, read this article to find out why taking antibiotics too often or for the wrong reason may do more harm than good.
Now you can take KidsHealth with you! From the creators of KidsHealth.org comes "KidsHealth Guide for Parents: Pregnancy to Age 5" (Contemporary Books, A Division of the McGraw-Hill Companies). This 800-page book provides practical, understandable, and medically reliable information that anticipates just about every medical concern and situation that parents might face. It includes fast-access reference sections on first aid and emergencies; signs and symptoms, what they mean and when to consult a doctor; and childhood infections. Full of useful tips and advice from real parents. Makes a great gift for new and expecting parents (and grandparents). To learn more or to order, please visit: store.yahoo.com/kidshealth/index.html
Bumps, bruises, sprains, and strains - childhood is full of minor injuries. Which ones can you treat at home and which should be brought to the attention of your child's doctor? Check out KidsHealth's General Health section to find out.
Cellulitis is a spreading skin infection that can affect any area of the body, but it is most common on the face or lower legs. Find out more about this infection by reading this article for parents.
Many parents worry about their child's hearing, especially if he's too young to talk. Usually there's no need for concern, but it's comforting to know that hearing may be evaluated at any age.
Blocked tear ducts are a fairly common problem in infants. The earlier they're discovered, the less likely it is that infection will result or surgery will be necessary.
Osteoporosis may not be something you think about much now - unless someone you love has this condition. Wondering what it is? How can you prevent osteoporosis now? Read this article to find out!
Getting involved in your childs school life is one of the most important things you can do to support your childs success. By taking an active interest in what goes on in her classroom, you show your child that you value her efforts and her education. For tips on getting involved, check out KidsHealths Positive Parenting section.
If your child has been diagnosed with dwarfism, you're probably wondering what lies ahead for her and your family. Read this article to learn more about the condition and living with dwarfism.
A nosebleed can be scary, but it is rarely cause for alarm. Most nosebleeds are caused by blowing, picking, or a blow during play. Learn more about nosebleeds in this article for parents.
If your child is hitting puberty, it may be a challenging time for both of you. Hormonal changes coupled with physical and emotional growth can bring on a wave of insecurity in your son or daughter and lots of questions about what's "normal." Talking ahead of time about the changes your child can expect can be a big help. To find out how to talk to your child about puberty, check out KidsHealth's Positive Parenting section.
Frostbite must be handled carefully to prevent permanent tissue damage. Children are at greater risk because they lose body heat faster than adults do and because they may be reluctant to go indoors.
A gastrointestinal disease that affects mostly premature infants, necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) can be extremely frightening for new parents. Find out more about the treatment of NEC.
Are you concerned about bullying in your childs school? Although it's impossible to "bully-proof" your child, there are some things you can do to help him through a tough situation. Whether your child is the victim of a bully or the bully himself, check out KidsHealth's Positive Parenting section for tips on how to handle this growing problem in our schools.
Choosing products for your baby can be confusing, with all the gadgets available. But there is one consideration that must never be compromised when picking out stuff for your baby: safety.
Genetic counselors work with people who are either planning to have a baby or are pregnant to determine whether they carry the genes for certain inherited disorders. Find out more about genetic counseling. Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/medical/genetic/genetic_counseling.html
One of the most important things you can do to help prevent serious birth defects in your baby is to get enough folic acid every day - especially before conception and during early pregnancy.
H. pylori (Helicobacter pylori) is a bacteria that can cause digestive illnesses, including gastritis and peptic ulcer disease.
It seems that once a child is born, the word "percentile" automatically becomes part of a parent's vocabulary. From very early on, doctors plot your child's height, weight, and body mass index on percentile charts to see how his growth compares with that of his peers. But what do these charts mean? Even more important, what don't they mean? Find out how to keep these charts in perspective by checking out KidsHealth's General Health section.
More children are injured in auto accidents than in any other type of accident, but you can protect your child by learning the proper use of car seats and booster seats.
Hepatitis is an inflammatory process involving the liver. Hepatitis, in its early stages, may cause flu-like symptoms.
Your child does her homework, helps you clear the table after dinner, and even helps with housework. So can it be true that this child was really caught shoplifting?
Neurofibromatosis (NF) is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to grow on nerve tissue, producing skin and bone abnormalities. Learn more about NF, including its diagnosis and treatment.
You've always dropped off your 1-year-old child at day care without a problem - until today. She's anxious and distressed and clinging to you for dear life. It could be separation anxiety, a normal phase of childhood development.
Studies show that children ages 2-17 watch on average 20 hours of TV per week. Combine this statistic with the recent release of a study conducted by the University of Michigan, which proved a direct correlation between TV watching and an increase in violent behavior, and you'll conclude that many of our nation's youth could be on a road to destruction. Help turn the tide by recognizing TV Turnoff Week 2002, April 22-28, in your home and community. Go to www.tvturnoff.org/index.html for information and ideas on how to turn youth away from TV and on to other healthier activities.
Researchers at Adelaide's Flinders University decided it was time to ask boys what they think of school and their teachers.
The responses of 1800 boys in grades 9 through12 both support and contradict some of the current theories as to why boys' rates of retention and achievement are declining.
Many boys think school work is boring, irrelevant and a waste of time. They say that teachers don't listen to them or care what they think, and that the system won't prepare them for the world of work. Interestingly very few thought "masculinity" was an issue.
Source: Read the summary of the ABC Radio
National interview at www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/lm/stories/s288946.htm
Parents want toys that make their kids think, but all kids want are talking Barbies and Kens that can kill, according to Ralph Osterhout. Ralph used to design diving equipment for the US Navy Seals and Gulf War night-vision equipment, now he designs toys. In this New Scientist interview he shares his views about why boys play with guns and girls with dolls and what he thinks the toys of the future will look like.
These days, it is not unusual for girls as young as age 10 to try to emulate the look of glamorous fashion models and wispy television stars--a trend that may be linked to eating disorders among young children.
Exercise may be wise, but sometimes it's hard to get up and get going. Keeping Fit and Having Fun is full of ideas on how to stay focused and healthy.
The Apgar score is the very first test given to your newborn, and it occurs right after your baby's birth in the delivery or birthing room.
Scarlet fever is a rash that is caused by strep infections. Learn important facts about scarlet fever in this article for parents, including how to recognize its symptoms.
Shaken baby/shaken impact syndrome (SBS) is the leading cause of death in child abuse cases in the United States. The syndrome results from vigorously shaking an infant, which can cause brain damage.
Tetanus (also called lockjaw or trismus) is a serious, often fatal disease that affects the muscles and nerves. It occurs when a certain type of bacterial infection grows in a contaminated wound.
Not only does snoring interrupt a good night's sleep - sometimes, it's a sign of a serious problem that should be treated by a doctor. Read this article to find out more about the snore!
If your child is sick, you'll probably think of countless questions to ask your child's doctor. But how many times have you made a list of questions and concerns to share with your pharmacist?
Coughs are one of the most frequent symptoms of childhood illness, and although they can sound awful, they usually aren't a symptom of anything dangerous. Learn about your child's cough and what you can do to help.
Almost all infants experience irritability and sleeplessness at times. But if your bottle-fed baby seems excessively fussy much of the time, it could be due to an allergy to cow's milk.
For all you teachers, mentors, parents and home schoolers out there, New Moon has free curriculum and study guides available on our website for each issue of New Moon for Girls. This is a great resource that we are proud to offer. Find them at
Have you ever thought how incredible it would be, how healing it would be, to sit in a weekly circle with young women who felt safe to tell the truth about their lives and with whom you, too, could tell the truth about yours?
For the past 10 years, women from the Daughters Sisters
Project and other national organizations have been
practicing the growing D/S model in compassionate listening
and speaking to do just that. The results have been
phenomenal for everyone involved. In May, D/S Project is
offering two trainings, where young women who have been
involved in circle work, as well as adult facilitators, will
share the process with women who are interested in starting
a circle in their communities. Please contact Linda Wolf for
more information at 206-842-3000 or firstname.lastname@example.org
US Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher unveiled an action plan aimed to improve services for children and adolescents with mental health problems, which the Clinton administration calls a "health crisis."
Moms and Dads who were asked to compare their parentsing skills with those of their parents said they're going:
About as well as their parents - 48%
Source: Dr. Benjamin Spock, 1,016
parents, April 19-22, 2001
Sleep deprived parents might believe that their infant's regular 3 A.M. request for a story is par for the course of parenthood, but according to preliminary findings this habit may signal future sleep problems.
The children of parents with panic disorder or major depression are at increased risk of developing the same disorders that afflict their parents--even at a very young age, according to researchers in Boston.
Children whose parents opt not to vaccinate them against measles or whooping cough are much more likely to contract the illnesses compared to children who are vaccinated, according to a new study.
Tami spent a good part of her life working jobs that didnt necessarily agree that time off with a new baby for either or both parents was a good idea.
Then she met Marcus Lemonis of the CNBC reality show "The Profit," which takes over struggling businesses and turns them around. She was offered paid maternity leave and, soon after, was made co-owner of the Key West Key Lime Pie Company.
Her experience was an exception, however.
Paid maternity leave is something the United States is actually really far behind the rest of the world on.
Heres a map that kinda brings it into shocking worldpolicycenter.org/topics/family/policies
When new mothers are forced to go right back to work, they can experience all sorts of negative health issues, such as post-partum depression, extreme fatigue, physical problems related to childbirth, and more. Conversely, children who have their mothers at home tend to be healthier.
Here are a few of the benefits kids see when their mothers can stay with them:
For a country that professes to care so much about our children, the United States sure seems behind the curve with family leave.
Thankfully, small businesses are generally more likely to support family life and the ability to take time off to deal with health crises and having kids and the things that go along with, you know, life. They're just more able to have that personal touch and to get to know employees personally.
When we lose small businesses to big corporations buying or forcing them out of business, we lose some of that personal, family touch.
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A few big companies, such as Netflix, have begun offering paid parental leave, but sometimes to salaried professionals only, not to the hourly workers who usually need it the most. Others have followed suit; Nestle and Virgin are now offering paid family leave, though in the latter case, once again, for management only. Another, The Gates Foundation, recently began offering up to one full year of paid family leave.
Also, the U.S. Family Medical Leave Act can provide some unpaid time off (up to 12 weeks), but 40% of U.S. workers do not qualify. In addition, how many people who are already making close to poverty-level wages can actually take unpaid time off and not lose their home, car, or everything? It's a stop-gap measure at best.
Becoming a small-business owner reinforced Tami's view of paid parental leave one that she formed when she didn't have access to it.
It's interesting hearing her perspective after becoming The Boss. For some folks, it might change their mind.
Not her. Watch:
Where parents do too much for their children, the children will not do much for themselves. - Elbert Hubbard
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