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Parenting
05/13/2010
IconWith all the hoopla surrounding celebrity minors who get pregnant ' out of wedlock ' everyone seems to forget or ignore the price that their children pay.' Obviously, a Jamie-Lynn Spears or a Bristol Palin has a source of financial and family support, but that situation is the exception and not the rule.' Glorifying teen motherhood and supporting it (think of John McCain with Bristol Palin's 'baby daddy' in a photo-op, for goodness sakes) does a gross disservice to the realities of the situations.Babies need adult parents ' a Mom and Dad, who are (preferably) married.' Or are babies just accessories to be called 'cute,' and then passed on to the hired help?A recent study by the Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy pegs the annual cost to taxpayers at almost $10 billion per year.' Spread that wealth!' Less than 40% of teen mothers earn a high school diploma, and their children are far, far more likely to go into foster care and eventually end up in prison than children born to even slightly older mothers, writes University of Delaware economist Saul Hoffman in Kids Having Kids:' Economic Costs and Social Consequences of Teen Pregnancy .Linda Lausell Bryant, the Executive Director of Inwood House, a New York non-profit that assists teen mothers is frustrated by the racial issues involved.' The vast majority of girls are black or Hispanic. 'It's a double standard.' If you're a poor kid of color, it's a bad thing.' If you're affluent and white, it's not so bad.' She explained to the Associated Press that many of the girls served by Inwood House had already dropped out of high school before they got pregnant, and saw motherhood as a chance to add meaning to their lives, which may have been punctuated with abuse, abandonment and/or chaotic homes. 'It is a dream,' she says, 'of raising a child the way they wish they'd been raised ' being the kind of mother they never had. That's the fantasy ' it's very powerful.' Our celebration of teen pregnancies leads young girls in the wrong direction:' increasing poverty, despair, child abuse, abandonment, and even infanticide. Why am I one of the only voices in the media stating that what Bristol and Jamie-Lynn did was wrong? More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingTeens
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Tags: DepressionFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthMental HealthParentingPersonal Responsibility
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05/13/2010
IconA listener sent this in and there's a punch-line:According to a news report, a certain school in Garden City, MI was recently faced with a'unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would put it on in the washroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick, they would press their lips to the mirror, leaving dozens of little lip prints. Every night, the maintenance man would remove them and the next day the girls would put them back.'''''Finally, the principal decided that something had to be done. He called all the girls to the washroom and met them there with the maintenance man. He explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night. To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, he asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required.''''''''''''The maintenance man took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet, and cleaned the mirror with it.' Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''THE MORAL OF THIS STORY:'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''There are teachers, and then there are Educators. More >>

Tags: EducationEthicsFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingValues
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05/13/2010
IconI'm a licensed psychotherapist (MFT), and I'd like to offer the following to help you parents deal with your children when so much that is scary to them is happening locally and internationally.It is impossible for your children to not notice things like fires burning homes down, or hearing about gang violence, murders of children, store robberies and the like.' It is natural for parents to want to protect their children from ugly realities and have them immersed in their innocence as long as possible; it's just a bad idea not to answer their questions, even when the subject matter brings a sense of horror to your own heart.I've gotten a number of emails inquiring about how to answer questions like: "Why would God let all those homes burn down?" As children develop their notions of the Divine from whatever house of worship you attend, they tend, with their yet immature perspectives, to equate God with one of the characters in a Disney feature film with a magic wand, carpet or genii."Honey, God didn't burn down anybody's home; God created all the wonderful trees and flowers, and left it up to us to keep them trimmed, make our homes as fire-safe as possible, and not be careless with fire...as were those college students at the Tea Garden in California."An answer such as this places responsibilities on humans to take care of all their blessings, lest unfortunate, sad, and desperate things happen. "Dad," your child may have asked after Black Friday, "Why did those people crush the man in Wal-Mart? " "Sweetie," sometimes people get so focused on what they want or what they think they need - you know, they get greedy-that they don't even notice they are hurting other people's feelings or bodies." "Mommy, why are those terrorist people blowing other people up all over the world?" "My love, there are people who wish to believe that they and their way of living and believing about God is the only way.' When people are unable or unwilling to share the world with others' beliefs (as long as those beliefs do no harm to others), this is the sort of ugly thing that they do." "Mom, will they come here to get us too?" "Well, sweetie, it is possible and that is why we have so many police all over the world getting information and doing things to stop them.' Since 9/11, we've been saved by our government staying alert.' And God forbid, should something more happen here, we will have the courage to stand against it.I realize I sound like I'm politicizing some of these issues, and I don't really mean to.' I'm simply pointing out how I believe you, as parents, should handle the questions your children ask.' Don't hide from the questions; don't lie for the sake of a false sense of security.' Children need to know - age appropriately - the realities of life within the context of something they can hold on to to feel safe or at the very least, prepared.Some of the situations you'll have to contend with are far more personal.' For example, "Why is Mom/Dad leaving us?"' "Grandpa died when he was asleep.' Could I die when I go to sleep?"' "Cousin Andrea is having a baby and she's only 15 years old.' Can I have a baby, too?"' "Why did Uncle George kill himself?' What made him so sad?' I get sad too sometimes." In each situation, you must fill the vacuum of the child's lack of understanding with something that makes sense - or they will fill it with ideas that are far more destructive than the truth.' Always be reassuring that they are loved, will be taken care of, and that because something happens to someone they love, it doesn't mean it will happen to them.And always try to leave a moral message.' For instance, "As for Cousin Andrea, don't you think it is better for a baby to have a grown-up, married Mom and Dad like you have?"' This answer takes it from the "romantic" and brings it home. More >>

Tags: EducationFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyParentingRelationshipsRelatives
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05/13/2010
IconThis letter is from a listener who wishes to remain anonymous: Dr. Laura:I totally agree with you about how bad day care is, and how damaging it is for children.' Recently, I saw a mother who had just picked up her 18-month-old daughter from day care at 6 o'clock!' That's basically what time my kids go to bed!'' The baby was crying, grabbing at the mother's skirt, and refusing to let go.' The mother was getting annoyed, and kept saying, "Why are you acting like this?' What's wrong?" I felt so upset.' What a dumb question!' You neglected your baby for the entire day, she missed you, and is exhausted and stressed, and you're surprised that she's acting that way? I would think that a mother who has her child in day care the entire day would be the one crying and showering love and attention on her baby instead of getting mad at her.' The baby should be mad at the parent, not the other way around. And then, because parents don't see their baby all day, they put them to bed too late, which makes them more stressed and makes it even harder for them to cope with their emotions in day care.' When we, as parents, are tired, it's hard not to be fussy.' Well, imagine what it's like for a baby!' It's MUCH harder for them to handle being tired.' Parents need to do what's best for their children, not what's best for themselves, and if they don't want to, or if they think their children shouldn't stand in the way of their doing what they want, then don't have them! Why bring children into the world to give them to others to raise? Why bring children into the world if you are giving them the message that your job and your life are more important than them?' For those that say "Well, I'm just not the type to be home with my kids," or "I can't handle being with kids," then don't have them! I know of far too many babies that get attached to their nannies, and spend more time with them than with their own parents.' These babies wonder why their "parent" (that is, the nanny) is leaving them for the night.' Not only do they not have their real parents during most of the day, but then they don't have their "nanny parent" either. Sometimes, people say "I want my kids to have the best - the best car, the best house, the best toys."' Believe me, things are not what makes a baby happy.' Love and attention and kindness are what makes them happy. How sad. And then people wonder why children are so troubled, and why they "act out,"and why they would do anything for attention.' If a mother MUST work to feed her family, I understand, but the attitude shouldn't be that day care is the first choice .' The attitude needs to be "how sad that she cannot care for her baby." I think it's nuts that people think it's sad that my baby is home with me.' She is definitely happier than all the crying babies in the playground, but all the working mothers will' never know that their babies are crying, falling, or are just plain exhausted. More >>

Tags: DepressionFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMental HealthParentingStay-At-Home-MomsValues
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05/13/2010
IconIf I were any more disgusted with modern parenting my head would explode.' I just about screamed so loudly that they could hear me in Dallas, where the Dallas Morning News published a piece with the headline:' "Social Networking Sites Cater to Moms and Babies."' What?' What?' What?' Internet social networking for babies?' What the heck does that even mean?I'll tell you what it means: it's another self-centered, insensitive, lazy, neglectful way for most mothers to pretend they actually care about their children and are making the sacrifices and efforts to give kids what the kids NEED.Here's a great comment from the article: "The messages, of course, are from parents, usually moms, who say sites such as TotSpot provide them with TIME-SAVING ALTERNATIVES to PLAY DATES and FACE-TO-FACE RELATIONSHIPS..." [Note:' The capitalization is mine].So let me understand this...these so-called mothers spend time on the computer posting pictures and descriptions of their kids to virtual strangers (which we now call virtual "friends") and get texted back with the saying, "You've been tickled," and they assume that this in any way serves any need for any baby or toddler?Other equally ridiculous mothers (and all these women actually gave their real names...is there no shame?) are quoted as saying that they don't have time (what happened to MAKING time) for actual play dates...this way they can connect with moms and kids without leaving the house or the office.Since when were play-dates only about the moms?' I always thought play-dates were about introducing children - FACE TO FACE - to other children, adults, environments, pets, experiences, and so forth.' I didn't realize play-dates were just "jabber jabber" time for busy busy women who seem to wish to live in a virtual world rather than the concrete one their children will have to deal with eventually.' These are probably the kind of women who get crazed when their husbands choose to do the same with naked women on the internet.Aside from the oh so obvious problems with parents putting information about children on the internet (a pedophile's play land), it directs children (from the time they're infants and toddlers) toward a life on the computer instead of in the park, the back yard, the street, a friend's home, etc.Many of the parents spoke about being "proud" of their babies and wanted to show them off and have them - even before they can burp on their own - have their very own social web page.' This is so utterly pathetic.This is all about three things:1. FEELING, versus' BEING connected.2. FAKING being a parent who nurtures, protects, teaches, and loves by a web page''''3. SHOWING off your child and text-gossipingLet me go back to that one most damning statement in the Dallas Morning News piece: "The messages, of course, are from parents, usually moms, who say sites such as TotSpot provide them with time-saving alternatives to play dates and face-to-face relationships, while helping them connect with parents and children in nontraditional ways." We've come a long way, baby...we've become women...mothers...who are too busy to introduce our kids to life.' Great. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenInternet-MediaInternet/MediaMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingSocial Networking
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05/13/2010
Icon"Disney Accused by Catholic Cleric of Corrupting Children's Minds," was headline from The UK Telegraph that obviously caught my eye and curiosity.' I grew up with all the Disney cartoon movies...and save for Snow White shacking up with a lot of dwarfs with funny names - but no funny business - I can't think of anything corrupting about that Disney era.In fact, moral stories were always at the center: good guys and gals were ultimately saved and rewarded; and bad guys got their comeuppance in spades. What possible problem could Christopher Jamison, the Abbot of Worth in West Sussex, England have with Disney?He argues that the Disney Corporation pretends to provide stories with a moral message, but has actually helped to create a more materialistic culture which is in danger of losing its soul because of growing consumerism and the decline of religion.'Whoooo.' He's got something there.' These movies are wolves in grandma's clothing?' They present a dichotomy of good and bad and then market the heck out of it and make oodles of money seducing kids into buying all kinds of junk in the image of the cute - or nasty - images on the screen.Father Jamison targets the behavior of Disney in particular, which he says is "a classic example" of how consumerism is being sold as an alternative to finding happiness in traditional morality.' While he acknowledges that Disney stories carry messages showing good triumphing over evil (i.e., moral battles) he argues that this is part of a ploy to persuade people that they should buy Disney products in order to be a good and happy family and make them greedy for the merchandise that goes with them.While Father Jamison makes an obviously good point...it is a matter of the free market.' I don't begrudge Disney trying to make a buck selling stuffed animals and t-shirts based upon their story characters.' I do begrudge the weakness of parents saying, "Yes, dear," each time their child yells and demands something.' How 'bout instead of giving in so readily, you tell them to save up their money from putting out the trash or collecting leaves so they can buy their heart's desire for "101 Dalmatians" plastic or stuffed dogs?' The children will learn patience, and the art of saving toward a goal - actually gaining pride in earning what they desire.' In fact, after they work that hard and that long, that toy may not look as nearly as interesting a use of their hard-earned change.' This way, your children learn self-discipline, self-control and a real appreciation for the value of "junk," so they can make an informed decision as to how important it really is to them. More >>

Tags: Family/Relationships - ChildrenMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingSocial IssuesValues
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05/13/2010
IconI'm just sickened to hear the news that Lori Drew was only convicted on three misdemeanor counts of unauthorized access to computers after she, her then 18 - year-old assistant, and her teen daughter plotted to humiliate a neighbor 13-year-old...who ended up killing herself because of the emotional pain she endured at their fingertips on the computer keys.You've probably heard the story: the young girl committed suicide in October of 2006 after the end of her online relationship with a fictitious 16-year-old-boy created on a fake MySpace account.' According to various news reports, the trio used the account to contact and befriend Megan.' Within a few days, Lori Drew encouraged her daughter and her assistant to on-line flirt with Megan; they planned to lure Megan to a mall to confront her with the hoax and taunt her.As things go and grow, another neighborhood girl got involved in the whole thing and sent Megan a message - as if she were the fictitious boy - that he didn't want to be friends anymore.' Lori Drew's assistant then, according to the District Attorney, wrote, "the world would be a better place without you in it."Twenty minutes later, Megan's mother found her hanging from her belt in her bedroom closet.I'm not a lawyer and I don't really understand all the legal machinations about what criminal behavior this planned cruelty constitutes, but it's clear that there's no real punishment for people who misrepresent themselves on an internet chat site with the INTENT to do emotional harm to a child known to have several psychiatric disorders.' Federal and state laws appear to be mute on this issue, and while companies like MySpace have "Terms Of Agreement" (which is kinda what "caught" Lori Drew, because she didn't abide by those terms), they don't have much in the way of "teeth" - often the most they can do is terminate the service of the offender.Imagine: one mother decided to drive another mother's child to devastating emotional pain as entertainment; she includes her own young teen daughter and a young adult employee....and they all have a great time of it.' No one charged the assistant or the daughter, even though they were all complicit in the intent to do emotional harm.'I hope there is a civil court for something like wrongful death so that these people pay some price for their evil cruelty.Now - add to that the parental responsibility of more supervision of this vulnerable, fragile, emotionally compromised child...her parents had reversed the lock on her bedroom for her "safety," as they were aware that she had problems.' Children without psychiatric issues ought not have unsupervised access to the internet or text messaging or any form of communication without parental oversight.' Children with psychiatric issues are at more risk.'Recently, another teenager, this one 19, overdosed with several medications to kill himself while his computer stayed on so that everyone on the net could watch him die.' There was a huge rageful response to folks waiting 12 hours before reporting this situation to the net site or the police...who came too late.It seems that he'd done this before, so many folks thought he was playing "wolf," others just didn't care, some showed concern, and others just "egged" him on....the same way folks on the ground often "egg on" a person threatening to jump from a tall building.' There are always creeps about.What was curious to me is that the reports of this event include that the boy died in his father's room and on his bed; that he used a combination of prescription and illegal medications.' Again we have a pathetically ill young man without proper supervision by those who could understand and help him.' It sounds like he needed hospitalization.The Internet gives young folks the attention and pseudo-importance they naturally crave.' It is also a conduit for evil...the same way electricity is neutral...unless you try to electrocute somebody with it.Parents have to be less casual about the evil that comes through all these technological marvels of communication. More >>

Tags: Character, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - TeensInternetInternet-MediaInternet/MediaParentingSAHM stay at home momTeensValues
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Tags: AdulteryaffairChildrenEducationFamily/Relationships - ChildrenMarriageParentingSocial Issues
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05/13/2010
IconAds proclaiming, "Why believe in a god?' Just be good for goodness' sake" will appear on Washington D.C., buses starting this week and running through December.' The American Humanist Association recently announced the controversial $40,000 holiday campaign.Fred Edwords, spokesman for the humanist group told the Associated Press: "Our reason for doing it during the holidays is there are an awful lot of agnostics, atheists and other types of non-theists who feel a little alone during the holidays because of its association with traditional religion." No matter what side of the Christmas and God wars you may be on, that is one lame excuse for challenging the majority of people in the United States who are "believers" (92% according a poll by the Pew Research Center).'I am Jewish and have never felt "alone" because the end-of-the-year holiday event of the country was "Christian"; Christmas is a lovely spectacle no matter what your beliefs, and for those who are seriously Christian, it is additionally a sacred time.Last month, the British Humanist Association upped the ante with their bus sign campaign, which said: "There's probably no God.' Now stop worrying and enjoy your life." At least the American version still holds to the idea of doing good , while the British version is like letting kids go wild in a candy store claiming there are no such things as cavities or obesity.''''American Family Association president, Tim Wildmon, calls the American Humanist's ad, "...stupid.' How do we define 'good' if we don't believe in God?' God in his word, the Bible, tells us what's good and bad and right and wrong.' If we are each ourselves defining what's good, it's going to be a crazy world." Don Feder, editor of the "Boycott The New York Times" website, demanded equal space in the New York Times for the display of religious symbols as he perceives the paper to have a "relentless drive to secularize society." Feder writes: "The New York Times gives the game away when it insists that public property 'must be open to all religions on an equal basis - or open to none at all.'' In other words, a town that chooses to display the Ten Commandments - which are sacred to 90% of the American people and an integral part of our nation's heritage - has to give equal space to every other faith and New Age sect that's out there.' In reality, the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment was intended to prohibit a state church, like the Church of England.'"If the Founders thought giving one religion preference was odious, why was Congress's first official act to hire a Christian chaplain?' And why did the first Congress appropriate sums of money for Christian missionaries to the Indian tribes?' What about 'In God We Trust' on our currency and 'One Nation under God' in the Pledge of Allegiance - which clearly give preference to Judeo- Christian tradition over Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and Summunism?" To read more from Don Feder's point of view: www.boycottnyt.com and www.aim.org . More >>

Tags: ChildrenParentingReligionValues
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