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Topic: Parenting Issues (Read 15288 times)
October 18, 2007, 07:49:02 AM »
Liberal Fascism continues , , ,
Birth Control Allowed at Maine Middle School
By JOEL ELLIOTT
Published: October 18, 2007
PORTLAND, Me., Oct. 17 — The Portland school board on Wednesday approved a measure allowing middle-school students to gain access to prescription birth control medications without notifying parents.
The proposal, from the Portland Division of Public Health, calls for the independently operated health care center at King Middle School to provide a variety of services to students, including immunizations and physical checkups in addition to birth-control medications and counseling for sexually transmitted diseases, said Lisa Belanger, an administrator for Portland’s student health centers.
All but two members of the 12-person committee voted to approve the plan.
The school principal, Mike McCarthy, said about 5 of the school’s 500 students had identified themselves as being sexually active.
Health care professionals at the clinic advised the committee that the proposal was necessary in order for the clinic to serve students who were engaging in risky behavior.
The conference room at the Wednesday night meeting was packed with parents, students and television cameras as school board committee members discussed the issue and heard testimony from experts and residents.
“It has been shown, over and over again, that this does not increase sexual activity,” said Pat Patterson, the medical director of School-Based Health Centers.
Reaction was mixed.
“This is really a violation of parents’ rights,” Peter Doyle, a Portland resident, told the committee. “If there were a constitutional challenge, you guys would be at risk of a lawsuit.”
Others argued for approval.
“Not every child is getting the guidance needed to keep them safe,” said Richard Veilleux, who said his child attends King Middle School. “This is about giving kids who are sexually active the tools that they need.”
According to the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care, about 30 percent of the 1,700 school-based health centers in the United States provide birth control to students, Dr. Patterson said.
NY Times: Too much praise
Reply #1 on:
October 30, 2007, 02:54:19 PM »
An excess of praise may be doing kids more harm than good.
A cover story in this month’s Scholastic Instructor magazine asks whether kids today are “overpraised.'’ The concern is that by focusing on self-esteem and confidence building, parents and teachers may be giving real goals and achievement short shrift. The article cites a recent study in which eighth graders in Korea and the United States were asked whether they were good at math. Among the American students, 39 percent said they were excellent at math, compared to just 6 percent of the Korean eighth graders. But the reality was somewhat different. The Korean kids scored far better in math than the over-confident American students.
The notion that you can praise a kid too much is heresy to parents and teachers who have long believed that building self-esteem should be the cornerstone of education. If kids believe in themselves, the thinking goes, achievement will naturally follow. But confidence doesn’t always produce better students. Scholastic cites a 2006 report on education from the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center that found that countries in which families and schools emphasize self-esteem for students lag behind cultures where self-esteem isn’t a major focus.
The problem with this “rah-rah mentality,'’ as the magazine describes it, is that it can take away the sense of satisfaction that comes from genuine achievement. “Self-esteem is based on real accomplishments,” Robert Brooks, faculty psychologist at Harvard Medical School, told the magazine. “It’s all about letting kids shine in a realistic way.”
The downside of too much praise is that kids may start to focus on the reward rather than what they are learning. Worse, failure can be devastating and confusing for a student whose confidence is based on an inflated ego, rather than his or her actual abilities, the magazine notes. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t praise our kids or that teachers shouldn’t try to engender self-confidence. But self-esteem should be the result of good grades and achievement, not false accomplishments.
Last month, Cognitive Daily reported that parents and teachers should be specific rather than general when they dispense praise. An example of general praise is telling a child, “You’re smart.'’ Specific praise would be to say, “You did a good job reading,'’ or “You did great on your math test.'’ Kids who receive general praise about their abilities are more likely to exhibit “helpless” behavior when they encounter problems with learning, compared with kids who receive specific praise about their achievement on a task. The reason: a child who knows she’s a smart girl feels defeated if she has trouble reading a sentence. But a child who has been told she is a good reader is more likely to have confidence in that specific ability and work a little harder to tackle a more difficult book.
Re: Parenting Issues
Reply #2 on:
December 17, 2007, 12:13:52 PM »
12 Ways to Make Your Kids Financially Savvy
By JONATHAN CLEMENTS
December 17, 2007; Page R1
Ten years after I am dead and gone, I suspect only two people will give much thought to me, and their names are Henry and Hannah.
They're my legacy, so I hope they thrive -- and I sure hope they remember me fondly.
Henry and Hannah are, of course, my children, now ages 15 and 19, respectively. Like any parent, I spend a lot of time thinking about my kids, including how I can best help them financially. This isn't simply about coughing up dollars and cents, though the sums involved have been frighteningly large. Rather, what it's really about is passing along values. Yes, I want my kids to be financially successful. But mostly, I want them to be competent, contented managers of their own money, so they don't spend their lives agonizing over their finances and dogged by foolish mistakes.
I am not claiming to have the road map for every parent. We all have different values, different incomes and strong ideas about how best to raise children -- and you will likely scoff at some of the things I've done. With that caveat, here are a dozen ways I have endeavored to help my kids financially.
1. WAITING UNTIL LATER
If children are to grow up to be successful savers and investors, they need to learn two key skills: How to delay gratification and how to take risks prudently. The first is easily the most important. Indeed, the self-control needed to delay gratification is associated not only with good saving habits, but also with things like succeeding in school and coping better with frustration and stress. Yet this isn't an easy skill to teach. Henry and Hannah grew up spending their parents' cash, so they didn't have much incentive to curb their desires. My response? Make them feel like they're spending their own money.
One of my early tricks was the soda game, which I learned about from a reader. When my children were young and we went to restaurants, I would give them a choice: They could have a soda or they could have $1. Henry and Hannah ended up drinking a lot of water.
2. ASKING THEMSELVES
Emboldened by the soda game's success, I looked for other ways to apply the same notion. The breakthrough came when Hannah was 14 and Henry was 10. That was when I opened a savings account for each of them. The accounts came with a cash-machine card. Every three months since then, I have deposited pocket money for them in their savings accounts and, as they have grown older, their clothing allowance as well. That way, they've had to learn to budget for a three-month period. More important, they no longer ask me for money. Instead, if they want to buy something, they have to ask themselves. The effect has been startling. Henry and Hannah almost immediately became more careful spenders.
Sound manipulative? You'd better believe it. But I also think of it as financial self-defense. Suppose Henry and Hannah don't learn good money skills and grow up to be financial deadbeats. If they ended up deeply in debt, I can't imagine not helping -- at which point their financial problems would be mine.
3. TALKING THE TALK
I haven't just molded Henry and Hannah with financial incentives. I have also used family stories.
Values are passed down to our children in the stories we tell. My children may live in an affluent household in an affluent town. But I want them to know that their mother and I struggled financially, and that they will likely have their own struggles. So I talk about the mouse- and cockroach-infested Brooklyn apartment where we all lived while their mother worked on her Ph.D. and we squeaked by on a junior reporter's salary. I tell them about the beaten-up '76 Camaro that used to stall if the traffic light stayed red too long. I recount taking them as toddlers to the "toy museum," otherwise known as FAO Schwarz, where we would play with the dolls and the trains but never buy.
Instead of regaling my children with these tales, I could simply lecture them about the virtues of thrift. But the stories pack far more punch.
4. SCOFFING AT WEALTH
I have also encouraged my kids to be suspicious of displays of opulence, whether it's the big house, the fancy car or the designer clothes. The fact is, this sort of spending doesn't lead to lasting happiness, but it can create a heap of financial stress.
In belittling conspicuous consumption, I may be a little too strident, but there's a reason. Henry and Hannah may have grown up hearing about the dilapidated Brooklyn apartment. But I grew up hearing a far more powerful story, about my maternal grandfather and his four siblings, who in the 1940s each inherited what today would be millions of dollars. My grandfather's siblings quickly blew the money on fast cars and high living. My grandfather blew his money more slowly, on horses and cattle farming. Either way, the great family fortune was gone, and reckless spending was largely to blame.
5. COMPOUNDING FOR DECADES
When my children were young, I opened a variable annuity for each of them. This isn't a product I particularly like, because many have outrageously high annual expenses and charge back-end sales commissions if you sell within, say, the first seven years.
Still, there are a few no-load variable annuities with low annual expenses, notably the offerings from Fidelity Investments and Vanguard Group. Moreover, unlike with an individual retirement account, you don't need earned income to fund a variable annuity, so you can open an account for a toddler. Today, my kids' low-cost variable annuities are each worth some $37,000.
I have long been captivated by the idea of starting Henry and Hannah on the road to retirement. Think about it: The dollars I invested when they were youngsters might enjoy six decades of tax-deferred compounding. That's enough to turn $1 into over $100, assuming an 8% annual return. And thanks to the tax penalty on early withdrawals, my children will be discouraged from touching the money before they are 59½.
6. GROWING FREE
There are far better investment vehicles than a variable annuity, and my chance came a few years ago. Hannah got a job at a local restaurant, which meant she had earned income. That allowed me to open a Roth individual retirement account for her, which will give Hannah tax-free growth.
Instead, I could have funded a regular IRA, where withdrawals are taxable but you get an initial tax deduction. That tax deduction, however, wouldn't have been worth much, given Hannah's low tax rate, so the Roth seemed like a better bet.
The money I've stashed in my kids' variable annuities and in Hannah's Roth IRA won't be nearly enough to pay for their retirement, especially once you figure in inflation. But fully funding their retirement was never my aim. Rather, the accounts are intended to be a powerful example, showing my children how money will grow if they are willing to sit quietly with a diverse collection of low-cost funds.
7. HEADING HOME
When I bought my first home, my parents helped me financially, and I want to do the same for my kids. To that end, I have invested $15,000 for each of them. Even with a decade or more of growth, that $15,000 probably won't be nearly enough for a 20% down payment. But it will give them something to build on. I stashed Hannah's $15,000 in a target-date mutual fund that's geared toward 2010, while Henry's money is in a 2015 fund. I bought those funds knowing my kids probably won't buy homes until five or 10 years after those dates.
My thinking: Target-date funds typically have around half their money in stocks as of their target date, and then they continue to become more conservative in the years that follow. By the time my kids need their down-payment money, their target-date funds should be largely invested in bonds.
8. KEEPING SCORE
When my kids buy a house, they won't just need a down payment. They will also want to have a good credit score.
With that in mind, I listed Hannah as a joint account holder on my Visa card earlier this year. That meant the card's credit history was added to her previously blank credit report. Suddenly, she looked like a model financial citizen. That allowed her, a few months later, to apply for a Discover card on her own. I now have her on a strict regimen, where she charges a small sum each month and dutifully pays it off, thus slowly building up a good credit score.
When Henry reaches college age, I will go through the same nonsense with him. This, alas, is necessary nonsense. The reality is, a good credit score will help my kids get a lower mortgage rate, lower insurance premiums and a host of other financial benefits.
9. VOWING TO HELP
Full disclosure: I am divorced. But even before my marriage broke up, I was horrified by the way many families blow $20,000 or $30,000 on a single day of celebration for a wedding. To put such spending in context, consider this: According to the Federal Reserve's 2004 Survey of Consumer Finances, more than 96% of households headed by someone 65 to 74 had some savings -- but the median value of these financial assets, including things like checking accounts, stocks and mutual funds, was just $36,100.
Spending $30,000 on a party is not one of my values, and I've made sure my kids know it. I have told them I will give them $5,000 toward a wedding or at age 30, whichever comes first. What if they want the $30,000 wedding? They can ask their mother.
10. LENDING A HAND
While an expensive wedding is low on my list of priorities, a good education ranks near the top. My ex-wife and I long ago agreed that we would pay the full cost of our children's undergraduate education. Again, this was something my parents did for me, and we all tend to be heavily influenced by our parents' behavior.
There is, however, a limit to my generosity. I have told Henry and Hannah that, if they want to go on to graduate school, they will have to take out loans. I may relent somewhat when the time comes. But I think that there should be some cost to staying in school, so I am not inclined to continue footing the full tab.
11. SETTING EXPECTATIONS
As you might gather, I have talked to my kids a fair amount about money. They know they will graduate college debt-free, they will get some help toward a house down payment and they will receive just $5,000 toward a wedding. They know about the retirement accounts. I have also promised them $5,000 upon graduating college, to get them started in the world.
No doubt some folks will think I'm overly generous, while others might consider me cheap. Many will question my priorities. For instance, folks have told me that they would have skipped the retirement accounts and allocated more toward a house down payment. But, frankly, the precise sums aren't that important. Instead, what I am striving to do is set expectations. By detailing everything to Henry and Hannah, I have made it clear where I think my financial responsibility ends and where theirs will begin.
12. GETTING EDUCATED
Along the way, I have also endeavored to teach my kids about sensible investing. It's been a slow process.
For instance, earlier this decade, I tried a family investment contest. We all picked a mutual fund, I invested $50 a month in each and then we tracked who fared best. I thought the competition would grab their interest, but it wasn't a great success. Maybe Henry and Hannah were too young. Indeed, I have continued to show them their mutual-fund statements as they arrive in the mail, and my kids have grown more interested as they have grown older. They have also become more curious about the financial markets, and I can now chat about investing for at least 30 seconds before they reach for their iPods.
I hope enough of this will stick, and they will grow up to be prudent managers of their own money. The potential savings are huge. A financial adviser might charge 1% of a portfolio's value each year, and then recommend mutual funds that cost another 1%. What if my children learn to build their own index-fund portfolios that cost a mere 0.2% a year? When their portfolios hit $1 million, they will pay just $2,000 a year in investment costs, instead of the $20,000 they would be paying if they used an adviser. And, with any luck, they will remember whom to thank.
--Mr. Clements, who is based in New York, writes the Getting Going column for The Wall Street Journal. He can be reached at
Like a virgin
Reply #3 on:
January 08, 2009, 10:44:07 AM »
Like a Virgin: The Press Take On Teenage Sex Yes, attitudes do make a difference in behavior.
By WILLIAM MCGURN
The chain reaction was something out of central casting. A medical journal starts it off by announcing a study comparing teens who take a pledge of virginity until marriage with those who don't. Lo and behold, when they crunch the numbers, they find not much difference between pledgers and nonpledgers: most do not make it to the marriage bed as virgins.
Like a pack of randy 15-year-old boys, the press dives right in.
"Virginity Pledges Don't Stop Teen Sex," screams CBS News. "Virginity pledges don't mean much," adds CNN. "Study questions virginity pledges," says the Chicago Tribune. "Premarital Abstinence Pledges Ineffective, Study Finds," heralds the Washington Post. "Virginity Pledges Fail to Trump Teen Lust in Look at Older Data," reports Bloomberg. And on it goes.
In other words, teens will be teens, and moms or dads who believe that concepts such as restraint or morality have any application today are living in a dream world. Typical was the lead for the CBS News story: "Teenagers who take virginity pledges are no less sexually active than other teens, according to a new study."
Here's the rub: It just isn't true.
In fact, the only way the study's author, Janet Elise Rosenbaum of Johns Hopkins University, could reach such results was by comparing teens who take a virginity pledge with a very small subset of other teens: those who are just as religious and conservative as the pledge-takers. The study is called "Patient Teenagers? A Comparison of the Sexual Behavior of Virginity Pledgers and Matched Nonpledgers," and it was published in the Jan. 1 edition of Pediatrics.
The first to notice something lost in the translation was Dr. Bernadine Healy, the former head of both the Red Cross and the National Institutes of Health. Today she serves as health editor for U.S. News & World Report. And in her dispatch on this study, Dr. Healy pointed out that "virginity pledging teens were considerably more conservative in their overall sexual behaviors than teens in general -- a fact that many media reports have missed cold."
What Dr. Healy was getting at is that the pledge itself is not what distinguishes these kids from most other teenagers. The real difference is their more conservative and religious home and social environment. As she notes, when you compare both groups in this study with teens at large, the behavioral differences are striking. Here are just a few:
- These teens generally have less risky sex, i.e., fewer sexual partners.
- These teens are less likely to have a teenage pregnancy, or to have friends who use drugs.
- These teens have less premarital vaginal sex.
- When these teens lose their virginity they tend to do so at age 21 -- compared to 17 for the typical American teen.
- And very much overlooked, one out of four of these teens do in fact keep the pledge to remain chaste -- amid much cheap ridicule and just about zero support outside their homes or churches.
Let's put this another way. The real headline from this study is this: "Religious Teens Differ Little in Sexual Behavior Whether or Not They Take a Pledge."
Now, whatever the shock that might occasion at CBS or the Washington Post, it comes as no surprise to parents. Most parents appreciate that a pledge of virginity -- a one-time event that might be made at an emotional moment in a teen's life -- is not some talisman that will magically shield their sons and daughters from the strong and normal desires that grow as they discover their sexuality. What these parents hope to do is direct these desires in a way that recognizes sex as a great gift, which in the right circumstances fosters genuine intimacy between a man and a woman and at its freest offers the possibility of new life.
This is not the prevailing view, of course. And these parents know it. Far from conformists living in a comfortable world where their beliefs are never challenged, these families live in an environment where most everything that is popular -- television, the movies, the Internet -- encourages children to grow up as quickly as possible while adults remain locked in perpetual adolescence.
Nor do these families believe their children are better than other kids. Unlike the majority of health experts and their supporters in the press, however, they don't believe that the proper use of the condom is the be all and end all. For these parents, the good news here is that the striking behavioral differences between the average American teen and the two teen groups in this study show that homes and families still exert a powerful influence.
That, alas, is not something you're likely to read in the headlines. For when it comes to challenging the conventional wisdom on issues of sexuality, the American media suddenly become as coy as a cloistered virgin.
Liberal Fascism strikes again
Reply #4 on:
February 04, 2009, 07:45:25 AM »
'They say we're too old to care for our grandchildren': Social workers hand brother and sister to gay men for adoption
By Graham Grant and Marcello Mega
Last updated at 12:38 AM on 29th January 2009
Two young children are to be adopted by a gay couple, despite the protests of their grandparents. The devastated grandparents were told they would never see the youngsters again unless they dropped their opposition. The couple, who cannot be named, wanted to give the five-year-old boy and his four-year-old sister a loving home themselves. But they were ruled to be too old - at 46 and 59.
For two years they fought for their rights to care for the children, whose 26-year- old mother is a recovering heroin addict. They agreed to an adoption only after they faced being financially crippled by legal bills. The final blow came when they were told the children were going to a gay household, even though several heterosexual couples wanted them.
When the grandfather protested, he was told: 'You can either accept it, and there's a chance you'll see the children twice a year, or you can take that stance and never see them again.' The man said last night: 'It breaks my heart to think that our grandchildren are being forced to grow up in an environment without a mother figure. We are not prejudiced, but I defy anyone to explain to us how this can be in their best interests.'
Social workers themselves have admitted that the little girl is 'more wary' of men than women.
The case, in Edinburgh, raises worrying issues about state interference in family life.
It will also fuel concern over the practice of gay adoption, which has been promoted by Left-wing ministers and council bosses.
Some local authorities forbid adoption by smokers and obese people but actively support gay fostering and adoption - even though research shows overwhelmingly that children are best brought up by a mother and father.
The grandparents first stepped in because the children's mother was unable to look after them.
But council social workers became worried that the grandparents' ages and health problems meant they would also be unable to care for the children properly. The 59-year-old grandfather, a farm worker, has angina while his wife is receiving medication for diabetes.
The children were taken into foster care during the two years of court hearings.
When the grandparents eventually conceded defeat, they were assured by social workers that they would still have regular contact with them. The fostering arrangement worked well, but the council decided that the children should be adopted, to give them a permanent home. The grandparents agreed - as long as they could be assured that the adoptive parents would be a loving mother and father. The couple were then told an adoption had been arranged - but the grandfather 'hit the roof' when he discovered that the adoptive parents were two gay men.
Social workers dealing with the case admitted that heterosexual couples who were approved as adoptive parents had also been keen to adopt the children. The decision was taken even though a confidential social work report - now part of the court records held by the grandparents - contained that the little girl is generally not as happy around men.
The report says she 'has tended to be more wary of males in general.'
Her grandparents insist they are not homophobic.
But they reject the view of social workers that the decision to allow the gay couple to adopt the children was made 'in accordance with who can best meet their needs.'
When they made their opposition clear, however, the couple were told that social workers would 'certainly look' at allowing them access to the children 'when you are able to come back with an open mind on the issues'.
The grandfather was told by a social worker: 'If you couldn't support the children [in the gay adoption], if you were having contact and couldn't support the children, and were showing negative feelings, it wouldn't be in their best interests for contact to take place.'
He said last night: 'The ideal for any child is to have a loving father and a loving mother in their lives. But in our society the mother is generally the cornerstone of the family and the most important person for a young child.'
His wife added: 'It's so important for children to fit in, and I feel our grandchildren will be marked out from the start when they draw pictures of their two dads.'
The last time the couple saw their grandchildren was shortly after the agreement for them to be adopted but before the decision to place them with a gay couple. They took dozens of photographs and tried, for the sake of the youngsters, not to break down.
'Granny, I'm not going to see you for a very long time,' said the five-year-old boy. 'Maybe when I'm in Primary Seven I'll be able to see you.'
'We'll try our very hardest to see you soon,' said his grandmother, choking back tears.
The boy told his grandfather: 'Grandad, if you want to see me you will have to pick me up because I will be a very long way away.'
Then he added innocently: 'We are getting a new mummy and daddy.'
A spokesman for the Roman Catholic church condemned the council's decision last night, warning that the children's welfare could be jeopardised.
Peter Kearney said: 'This is a devastating decision which will have a serious impact on the welfare of the children involved. There is an overwhelming body of evidence showing that same-sex relationships are inherently unstable and reduce the life expectancy of those involved. With this in mind, the social work department has deliberately ignored evidence which undermines their decision and opted for politically correct posturing rather than providing stability and protection. It is impossible to see how this decision is in the best interests of the children.'
The City of Edinburgh Council said last night that it could not comment on individual cases.
Adoption by gay couples in Scotland was approved by MSPs in 2006 - despite an official consultation process which showed that nearly 90 per cent of people opposed it.
Colter: Second hand children
Reply #5 on:
February 04, 2009, 07:28:02 PM »
by Ann Coulter
It's been weeks since the last one, so on Sunday, The New York Times Magazine featured yet another cheery, upbeat article on single mothers. As with all its other promotional pieces on single motherhood over the years, the Times followed a specific formula to make this social disaster sound normal, blameless and harmless -- even brave.
These single motherhood advertisements include lots of conclusory statements to the effect that this is simply the way things are -- so get used to it, bourgeois America! "(A)n increasing number of unmarried mothers," the article explained, "look a lot more like Fran McElhill and Nancy Clark -- they are college-educated, and they are in their 30s, 40s and 50s."
Why isn't the number of smokers treated as a fait accompli that the rest of us just have to accept? Smoking causes a lot less damage and the harm befalls the person who chooses to smoke, not innocent children.
The Times' single motherhood endorsements always describe single mothers as the very picture of middle-class normality: "She grew up in blue-collar Chester County, Pa., outside Philadelphia, and talks like a local girl (long O's). Her father was a World War II vet who worked for a union and took his kids to Mass most Sundays." Even as a girl she dreamed of raising a baby with a 50 percent greater chance of growing up in poverty.
How about some articles on all the nice middle-class smokers whose fathers served in World War II and took them to Mass? Only when describing aberrant social behavior do Times writers even recognize what normality is, much less speak of it admiringly.
According to hysterical anti-smoking zealots at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking costs the nation $92 billion a year in "lost productivity." (Obviously these conclusions were produced by people who not only have never smoked, but also don't know any smokers, who could have told them smoking makes us 10 times more productive.)
Meanwhile, single motherhood costs taxpayers about $112 billion every year, according to a 2008 study by Georgia State University economist Benjamin Scafidi.
Smoking has no causal relationship to crime, has little effect on others and -- let's be honest -- looks cool. Controlling for income, education and occupation, it causes about 200,000 deaths per year, mostly of people in their 70s.
Single motherhood, by contrast, directly harms children, occurs at a rate of about 1.5 million a year and has a causal relationship to criminal behavior, substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, sexual victimization and almost every other social disorder.
If a pregnant woman smokes or drinks, we blame her. But if a woman decides to have a fatherless child, we praise her as brave -- even though the outcome for the child is much worse.
Thus, the Times writes warmly of single mothers, always including an innocent explanation: "Many of these women followed a similar and familiar pattern in having their first child: They planned to marry, found they hadn't by their 30s, looked some more and then decided to have a child without a husband." At which point, a stork showed up with their babies.
So apparently, single motherhood could happen to anyone!
How about: These smokers followed a similar and familiar pattern, they planned never to start smoking, found themselves working long nights at the law firm and then decided to have a cigarette to stay alert.
Then there is the Times' reversal of cause and effect, which manages to exonerate the single mother while turning her into a victim: "The biggest reason that children born to unmarried mothers tend to have problems -- they're more likely to drop out of school and commit crimes -- is that they tend to grow up poor."
First, the reason the children "tend to grow up poor" is that their mothers considered it unnecessary to have a primary bread-earner in the family.
Second, the Times simply made up the fact that poverty, rather than single motherhood, causes anti-social behavior in children. Poverty doesn't cause crime -- single mothers do. If poverty caused crime, how did we get Bernie Madoff?
Studies -- including one by the liberal Progressive Policy Institute -- have shown that controlling for factors such as poverty and socioeconomic status, single motherhood accounts for the entire difference in black and white crime rates.
The Times' claim that poverty is the "biggest reason" for the problems of illegitimate children is on the order of claiming that the biggest reason that smokers develop heart disease and lung cancer is not because they smoke, but because they tend to work so hard. It's a half-baked, wishful-thinking theory contradicted by all known evidence. Other than that, it holds up pretty well.
Finally, the Times produced an imaginary statistic that is valid only in the sense that no study has specifically disproved it yet. "No one has shown," the Times triumphantly announced, "that there are similar risks for the children of college-educated single mothers by choice."
No one has shown that there are similar risks for smokers who run marathons, either. There are probably about as many college graduate single mothers by choice (7 percent) as there are smokers who run marathons. And, unlike single mothers, smokers who run marathons look really cool.
If the establishment media wrote about smoking the way they write about unwed motherhood, I think people would notice that they seem oddly hellbent on destroying as many lives as possible.
Reply #6 on:
February 14, 2009, 09:46:00 AM »
Tricky Dog (A PhD in Physics btw!) turned me on to this. Check out the demo on the front page! I just ordered it. I think the children will love it and if they don't I will!
Re: Parenting Issues
Reply #7 on:
February 14, 2009, 12:22:04 PM »
13 year old father
"LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A school boy of 13 has become one of Britain's youngest dads, underlining concern about the rate of teenage pregnancies in the country.
Four-foot Alfie Patten, who looks considerably younger than his age, was just 12 when his 15-year-old girlfriend Chantelle Steadman conceived after a night of unprotected sex."
Im speechless .
Re: Parenting Issues
Reply #8 on:
February 20, 2009, 12:40:26 PM »
Nadya Suleman, aka Octomom, is now the mother of 14 children -- eight newborns and their six older brothers and sisters. She has also managed to give birth to debate on issues as far-ranging as welfare, reproductive technology, health care and celebrity worship (Ms. Suleman is said to have an Angelina Jolie fixation). She has even generated heated discussion about the tort system, because the young mother could have paid for her miracle babies through the $168,000 awarded for a back injury she suffered in 1999 at a psychiatric hospital where she worked -- an injury, it should be noted, that did not prevent her from delivering, on Jan. 26, more living babies than once thought humanly possible.
But in all of this punditry one question goes missing: Where is Octodad? Surely Ms. Suleman's babies have a father. Yet his role in the baby-palooza is barely mentioned. Not that this should surprise anyone. The reaction to Ms. Suleman and her brood typifies our cultural ambivalence about fathers, an ambivalence fed in no small measure by the fertility industry.
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M.E. CohenOn first thought, Americans seem really keen on fathers. We fret about the emotional impact of father absence and insist "that responsibility does not end at conception," as then-candidate Barack Obama put it in a memorable speech last Father's Day. We excoriate "deadbeat dads" who fail to pay their share of their children's upbringing; in fact, the stimulus bill adds $1 billion to child-support enforcement. Married fathers who don't step up and share the burdens of diapers and pediatrician appointments are condemned, in the words of one much-discussed book of essays, as "bastards on the couch." After all, the argument goes, a father is just as much a parent as a mother.
Except when we decide he's not, as did Ms. Suleman and her medical enablers. According to media reports, the male friend who provided the sperm for all of Suleman's 14 children had begged her to stop after the first six -- to no avail. Having consented to the use of his sperm, he would have been expected to give up control over the future children created with them. More commonly, sperm banks offer young men who will remain anonymous $200 for a little R&R that they would happily engage in without remuneration; as the Fairfax Cryobank in Virginia has advertised: "Why not do it for money?" Donors -- or, more precisely, sellers -- sign contracts that assure them, contrary to Father's Day rhetoric, that responsibility really does end at conception.
Sperm banks and fertility doctors hardly bear sole responsibility for defining fathers down to chromosome factories. Clearly, donors themselves happily agree to their downgraded status. Their nonchalance is in line with the widespread assumption that we should expand the rubric of "a woman's right to choose" to include not just abortion -- where a woman's decision understandably carries more moral weight than a man's -- to the care of and responsibility for actual children, where it's not at all clear why that should be the case.
True, studies of "choice mothers," as single, financially independent mothers call themselves, suggest that most of them had wanted to find a husband to be father to their kids before they decided to go it alone. But once they make that decision, they often choose anonymous donors precisely because they don't have to worry about the fathers interfering with their -- or is it her? -- children. Shortly before Ms. Suleman made headlines, the New York Times Magazine published an article, notably titled "2 Kids + 0 Husbands = Family." It describes a clan of college-educated single mothers, all of whom admitted how they wanted to "make decisions about their kids, from when they are excused from the table to where they go to school, and how hard it would be to share that authority."
But our equivocation about paternity is finally untenable. Out-of-wedlock birth rates in the U.S. are now 38%; among African-Americans the figure is 70%. Fathers of children living with single mothers are far less involved with their children than are married fathers; about a third of all children in single-mother families have not seen their father in the previous year. Yet decades of social science have made it clear: Children who grow up without their fathers experience more poverty, have more problems at school, more trouble with the law -- and more single motherhood in the next generation.
In recent years, medical science has also raised doubts about our frequent desire to wish fathers away. Every week, it seems, science confirms just how much genes matter. Everything from eye color, to propensity to high cholesterol, to a rotten disposition, to talent at math or tennis is encoded, to some degree, in the genetic material passed on from our two biological parents.
In Canada, donor children have brought a class-action suit demanding the same right to know their parentage that adoptive children there already have. For the same reason, Norway, the Netherlands and New Zealand have all banned donor anonymity, and Britain now requires donors to agree to be contacted when their children reach 18; unsurprisingly the country's sperm banks are now as depressed as its financial institutions. In the U.S., some sperm banks have begun to ask donors to volunteer to be identified to their children when they reach adulthood. Some agree; most do not.
And why would they agree? They know that even if fathers make good politics, they make dispensable parents.
Ms. Hymowitz is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a City Journal contributing editor.
Reply #9 on:
March 07, 2009, 05:30:44 AM »
What about those octuplets?
Government indifference to responsible fatherhood is what made the tragedy of OctoMom possible.
What are we to make of the case of Nadya Suleman, the California woman who gave birth to octuplets through IVF? The case has inspired lots of internet chatter and water cooler talk. I maintain that insurance and government funding are the least of the worries of this case. The case illustrates two deep problems with our current attitudes toward artificial reproductive technology (ART). First, no one has a right to have a baby. Second, the state should not be in the business of deliberately separating father from their children.
No one has a right to a baby. That is because becoming a parent is something no one can do alone. It is the ultimate team effort. To say that a woman is entitled to a baby comes awfully close to saying that someone is required to help her have one. But this is obviously nonsense. No one is required to help her.
What we mean to say when we think that someone has a right to a baby is something like this: I have the right to try to persuade someone to cooperate with me in the physical act necessary to create a baby. I am not entitled to the cooperation of any one particular person, or to some generalized cooperation from society at large. I am only entitled to try.
If I am successful at getting someone’s cooperation, the child’s father has as much entitlement to that child as I do. Both parents have rights and responsibilities toward their child. This protects the legitimate interests of the child in having the care of both parents, as well as the legitimate interests of both parents in the well-being of their child. Those rights, which flow naturally from the organic reality of human sexuality, inhere in both parents.
Even if one agrees with me that no woman is entitled to the cooperation of any particular man in impregnating her, one might still object that my position is hopelessly old-fashioned and out-of-date. Technology relieves us of the necessity of having any kind of personal relationship with your child’s other parent. We allow unmarried women access to artificial reproductive technology, complete with anonymous sperm donors, on a regular, and completely unregulated basis. So why are we now all of a sudden hysterical over a woman exercising her “free choice” to implant all the frozen embryos she has on hand? Any woman is entitled to unlimited access to the use of artificial reproductive technology, provided that she can pay for it.
But look at what this position actually entails. We are permitting women to have babies without any relationship with their child’s father. Under normal circumstances, we think there is something wrong with parents who don’t cooperate with each other for the good of their children. In the case of artificial reproductive technology, we not only permit it, we enlist the aid of the state to make it possible. The legal intervention of the state permits a woman to do something that could not be possible in the ordinary course of human life: she can have a baby without ever having even a single encounter with her child’s father. The state enables all the arrangements that make this possible. The state makes the sperm donor, that is to say, the child’s father, a “legal stranger” to the child. The state preserves the anonymity of the donor, which obviously could not happen in a normal encounter.
Now children get separated from their parents all the time. But we usually recognize this as an unavoidable tragedy, from which any humane soul would spare the child if we could. But in the case of artificial reproductive technology with anonymous sperm donors, the state is actively separating a child from his or her father. The state itself is enabling something that we ordinarily strive to prevent.
And why is the state acting as the agent of separating children from parents? Because the woman wants the state to do so. But her desires are sufficient reason to violate so basic a right as the child’s right to affiliation with both parents.
This is the real tragedy which the Nadya Suleman case brings to light. It is not that she made an unconventional decision, in part using other people’s money, and counting on financial support from her parents and the state. The problem is that no one has a right to have a child, in the way that anyone with the ability to pay has a right to buy a house. This use of the language of the market assumes the very point that is necessary to prove, and which I believe can not be proved: namely that a child is a kind of commodity, to which other people have rights and entitlements. The child is not an object of rights, but a person who has rights of his or her own. The child is an end in himself or herself.
The violation of rights in this case took place well before she and her doctor decided to implant “a lot” of embryos, rather than a “reasonable” number. The real violation took place when she decided, with the help of the state, that she was entitled to the use of someone else’s genetic material to achieve her personal reproductive goals.
I am second to none in my admiration for the market. But not everything should be treated as if it were a commodity. Children are not commodities, and neither is someone else’s genetic material. It is time to rethink our whole approach to artificial reproductive technology.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse is the Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, and author of Love and Economics: Why the Laissez-Faire Family Doesn’t Work, newly reissued in paperback.
Founding Fathers as fathers
Reply #10 on:
June 20, 2009, 07:54:58 AM »
By BARBARA DAFOE WHITEHEAD
Barack Obama is a doting father who says that one of the greatest pleasures of his presidency is eating dinner with his daughters on the nights when he is in town.
Some of the nation's Founding Fathers were not so lucky. Doting dads though they were, patriotic service forced them to live apart from their families for years at a time. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the three Founders who spent the most time abroad, missed milestone events. Franklin was a no-show at his daughter's wedding and his wife's funeral. Adams was in Philadelphia when his wife, Abigail, gave birth to a stillborn daughter. While in France, Jefferson received word that his 2-year-old daughter had died of whooping cough. The news came seven months after her funeral.
Trans-Atlantic separations proved too painful to bear. Whenever possible, the Founders took their children with them or sent for the children once they had established a household abroad. John Adams set off on his maiden voyage to England accompanied by his 9-year-old son, John Quincy. On a second crossing he brought along sons John Quincy and Charles. His teenage daughter, Abigail, arrived in France with her mother a few years later. Benjamin Franklin's son, William, and his two grandsons, Temple Franklin and Benny Bache, were part of the Franklin overseas ménage at various times. A new widower, Jefferson took his elder daughter, Patsy, along with him on his diplomatic mission to France and later sent for his younger daughter, Polly.
The children were not always thrilled to go. Charles Adams sobbed inconsolably as he boarded the ship with his father. Eight-year-old Polly begged her father to let her remain at home in Virginia with her beloved aunt: "I am very sorry you sent for me," she bravely wrote. "I don't want to go to France." Still she went, accompanied on the journey by a 14-year-old babysitter named Sally Hemings. Upon arrival in London, the homesick girl spent the next month in the temporary care of Abigail Adams until her father sent a French-speaking manservant to fetch her. Abigail pointedly reminded Jefferson that the experience was traumatic for the child who, once again, was faced with separation from a mother figure and sent off to live with a father she did not know.
Nor was the arrangement a piece of cake for their fathers. In addition to the all-consuming diplomatic responsibilities of winning allies and funders for the Revolution, these lone fathers had to raise Revolutionary Kids. Chief among their responsibilities was securing an elite European education for their young offspring while protecting them from the temptations and dissipations of living abroad. The Founders' children and grandchildren kept company with an aristocratic power elite, savored Continental fads and fashions, and learned to speak fluent French.
It was all too easy, their fathers worried, for the Revolutionary Kids to abandon the republican virtues of industry and frugality and, even worse, to lose their native language. "It is a mortification to me," John Adams wrote to John Quincy, "that you write better in a foreign language than in your mother tongue."
To protect their children from corrupting influences, therefore, the Founding Fathers had to part with them again. Franklin dispatched his 9-year-old grandson, Benny Bache, to school in Switzerland for five years. The Adams sons attended schools in Holland. The Jefferson daughters were placed in a convent in Paris.
Yet no matter how devoted, the Founding Fathers were not inclined, as today's parents are, to lavish their students with praise. "Good job" was not in their vocabulary. "Take care you never spell a word wrong," Jefferson admonished his younger daughter. "Remember too . . . not to go out without your bonnet because it will make you very ugly and then we should not love you so much."
Nor did the Founding Fathers leave it up to their children to "make good choices." Instead, they moralized endlessly on the perils of indolence, time-wasting and thriftlessness. Jefferson reproved Patsy: "If at any moment, my dear, you catch yourself in idleness, start from it as you would from the precipice of a gulph." John Adams lectured John Quincy, hardly a slouch of a student, to "lose no Time. There is not a moral Percept of clearer Obligation or of greater Import."
When Benny Bache asked his grandfather for a gold watch, Franklin responded tartly: "You should remember that I am at a great Expence for your education . . . and you should not tease me for things that can be of little or no Service to you."
Even the profligate Thomas Jefferson embraced the virtue of frugality. When Patsy appealed for extra money, her father refused: "The rule I wish to see you governed by is of never buying anything which you have not money in your pocket to pay for. Be assured that it gives much more pain to the mind to be in debt, than to do without any article whatever which we may seem to want."
Judged by today's psychological standards, these 18th century fathers sound harsh and unfeeling. Yet to see the Founding Fathers as flesh-and-blood dads, to glimpse their struggles to rear their children at a time of grave uncertainty and peril, is to appreciate their service and sacrifice anew. Founding a nation meant more than winning a war. It also called upon the nation's Founders to pass on the passion for freedom, educational excellence and civic virtue to their children and grandchildren.
John Adams said it best in a letter to Abigail: "The education of our children is never out of my Mind . . . Fire them with Ambition to be useful and make them disdain to be destitute of any useful or ornamental knowledge or accomplishment. Fix their Ambition upon great and solid objects."
Ms. Whitehead is director of the John Templeton Center for Thrift and Generosity at the Institute for American Values and co-editor of "Franklin's Thrift: The Lost History of a American Virtue," just published by Templeton Press
Reply #11 on:
July 03, 2009, 09:41:13 AM »
Not a perfect fit for this thread, but I didn't know where else to put it.
By KAY S. HYMOWITZ
Is marriage in the midst of the social equivalent of the financial meltdown? The first inkling -- the Bear Stearns moment, if you will -- came almost a year ago when the National Enquirer reported that John Edwards appeared to be the father of a love child. The full-scale crisis hit in the past weeks with les affaires Ensign, Sanford and (at least according to rumor) reality-show star Jon Gosselin. Adding to the sense of a Great Marital Depression was a much discussed article in the Atlantic by performer and writer Sandra Tsing Loh about her own infidelity and ultimate separation from her husband, titled "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off."
Yes, marriage is suffering a full-scale crisis of consumer confidence. Some say that marriage is an outdated institution. Others argue that humans are not designed for long-term monogamy, especially these days. "Our life expectancy has shot from 47 to 77," Ms. Loh observes, "isn't the idea of lifelong marriage obsolete?" Responding to Ms. Loh's article in the online magazine Double X, Kerry Howley proposed that we relieve ourselves of the ideal of permanence that has been a defining characteristic of the institution since men and women began tilling the earth. Ms. Loh, Ms. Howley noted, had been married for 20 years and produced two children. That's a pretty good run, isn't it? People change, life moves on, new love calls. And for skeptics who point out that children might quibble with this sort of deregulation, you could still argue, OK, give the kids 18 years and then you can call the whole thing off.
In any crisis, people tend to panic and forget basic facts. This meltdown is no exception. First and foremost, marital breakdown is not rampant across the land. It is concentrated among low-income and black couples. Americans seem to have a lot of trouble grasping this fact, probably because so much public space is taken up by politicians, celebrities and journalists with marriages on the skids. But in actuality, the divorce rate for college-educated women has been declining since 1980. Out-of-wedlock childbearing among the educated class remains rare. The bottom line is that higher-income, college-educated couples are far more likely to get married and stay married than their less-educated and lower-income peers. We shouldn't go so far as to call Ms. Loh and Mr. Sanford, if he decides to return to the heart he left in Buenos Aires, outliers. But they do nothing to clarify a key problem facing the country, which remains the apartheid state of marriage.
The seemingly reasonable notion that marriage is crashing because we're likely to live till 80 also doesn't hold up. The typical divorce is not of a midlife couple bored with finishing each other's sentences; it's of a twosome who have just written the last thank-you note for wedding gifts. More than one-fifth of marriages break up within five years. The median age at first divorce is 30.5 for males and 29 for females. The risk of break-up goes up after one year of marriage and peaks at 4½ years. That's right. A lot of Americans barely wait till the paint is dry in the new family room before setting out for more promising territory.
But if recent high-profile break-ups don't tell us much about our systemic failure, they do illustrate a paradox of marriage as it has evolved in the post-boomer era. On the one hand, despite their sophistication, the marrying classes still want love with a capital L. The New York Times nuptials pages, once simple status announcements about Muffy Branford marrying J.W.R. Witherspoon, now include details of how the couple met and found a full-tilt, love-of-my-life connection. People may admit that passion fades a bit, but soul-mate idealism is a defining part of contemporary marriage. So is the "relationship work" that is supposedly required to sustain it. On the other hand, the college-educated marrying kind believes -- correctly, judging from the considerable research on the subject -- that their children will be better off growing up with their father and mother in the house. In this sense, they take a practical view; marriage is an investment in their children's future.
The cruel joke for the good investor, though, is that the latter practical goal -- kids -- undermines the former idealistic one: love. Kids tend to decrease marital satisfaction, social scientists tell us. It starts with the first child and goes downhill from there. Yes, all couples, including the childless, find their ardor cooling over time. And couples with children still enjoy lots of things together, especially, as Arthur Brooks, the author of "Gross National Happiness," has quipped, "spending time away from kids."
But children take a toll on a twosome expecting to maintain an intense, soulful love bond. They suck up all the oxygen that used to be spent, um, communicating. Ms. Loh tells us that her husband is a "good man . . . a decent man." She just didn't feel the connection anymore. No doubt marrieds have long suffered after the thrill was gone and marriage was about the kids needing shoes or the grass requiring mowing; their disappointment gave birth to the "midlife crisis." But the disillusioned Soul Mater, his or her lofty dreams dashed, is especially vulnerable. It just wasn't supposed to be like this. We're different from our parents and grandparents. We don't have to compromise. We can leave. (Long pause.) Can't we?
It doesn't help that the Soul Mate seeker likely suffers from the American disease of restlessness. The essence of the marriage vow is to stay still. But as a group, Americans are an especially flighty bunch, always looking for a better opportunity, a bigger home, a second chance. We're no less fidgety in our mating habits, as Andrew Cherlin demonstrates in his recent book, "Marriage-Go-Round." Americans divorce and "repartner" far more than do people in other Western countries, either by remarrying or shacking up. True, the educated classes are less inclined to actually hop on the go-round. But that does not mean that they don't hear the barker calling: You can start over, you can do better.
Those who maintain that long-term, monogamous unions are at odds with nature are surely on to something. But it's worth remembering that the first human beings didn't spend 9 to 5 in an office cubicle or, for that matter, wear clothes. Marriage is a human invention designed to create order and some semblance of permanence out of natural chaos in order to rear the next generation.
One of the many ironies of the institution is that marriage seems more satisfying to those who no longer have children in the house. If people simply grew more tired of each other over time, then we would expect that couples unloading the Explorer at the college dorm would head directly to the lawyer's office. On the contrary, marital happiness increases once the kids are gone, despite the prospect of decades of dreary, pass-the-Maalox-dear evenings. A few years ago the AARP warned of a growing trend in "gray divorce"; others cautioned about the coming of "Viagra divorce," as older men came to realize that, with a little chemical help, they could restart their engines. Didn't happen. Empty-nesters still stay together for the duration, just as they did 40 years ago.
Perhaps it's the declining hormones of late middle age. Perhaps it's the joint pride of a difficult task completed. Maybe they're satisfied with their investment, after all.
Ms. Hymowitz is the author of "Marriage and Caste in America" and a contributing editor to City Journal.
Reply #12 on:
September 25, 2009, 07:06:39 PM »
You’re teaching my child what?
Miriam Grossman | 24 September 2009
The following is an interview with Miriam Grossman, MD, author of the recently-released You’re teaching my child what? A physician exposes the lies of sex education and how they harm your child. The interview was conducted by Peter Jon Mitchell, Research Analyst, Institute of Marriage and Family Canada and is published here at Mercatornet with permission.
IMFC: What was your motivation for this new book?
Miriam Grossman: Frankly, I wrote it because I was fed up. As you know, I worked for twelve years as a psychiatrist for students at the UCLA campus here in California. During that time, thousands of kids came through my office. I was alarmed at how many of them had sexually transmitted infections and concerned about students, mostly young women, whose sexual lifestyle placed them at risk for disease, emotional distress and even infertility later in life. I was frustrated to see patient after patient in similar situations, yet my hands were tied. There wasn’t much I could do for them. These were young people who were otherwise well informed and proactive about their health. They were careful about what they ate, they exercised, avoided tobacco, and so on. But in this one area, in their sexual behaviour, they took alarming risks, and that was perplexing. I began to question these students carefully, and I examined how campus health and counselling centers approach sexual health issues. Those findings were discussed in my book Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Harms Every Student.
This new project was an extension of that. I went deeper into the field of sex education, looking at exactly what kids are taught, and at the history of sex education in the United States. I went online and explored the websites, books, pamphlets and videos created for kids and young adults. What I discovered was deeply disturbing, and that’s what this book is about.
IMFC: In the book you argue that sex educators and activists dismiss the fundamentals of child development, and omit critical findings of neurobiology, gynaecology and infectious disease. You suggest this has profound consequences, particularly for girls. How so?
MG: Absolutely. We have a wealth of new science that’s omitted from sex ed. For example, in the past decade our understanding of the teen brain, and how it reasons and makes decisions during moments of high stimulation has grown tremendously. We didn’t know until recently that the brain area that is responsible for making rational, thought-out decisions, the area that considers the pros and cons and consequences of decisions, is immature in teens. The circuits aren’t complete; the wiring is unfinished. Sex educators insist that, like adults, teens are capable of making responsible decisions, they just lack information about sexuality and access to contraceptives. So the way to fight sexually transmitted infections and teen pregnancies, these authorities argue, is to provide teens with information and contraceptives, and teach them skills like how to say “no” and how to put on a condom. But current neuropsychological research does not support this stance. We know now that teens’ poor decisions are likely due not to lack of information, but to lack of judgement. And there is only one thing that will bring that: time.
Another example of critical information omitted from sex ed: a girl’s biological vulnerability to sexually transmitted infections. The cervix of teen girls is covered by a layer that is only one cell thick. That area is easily penetrated by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can cause cervical cancer. (The human papillomavirus is the STI we now have a vaccination against, and that’s another controversial issue.) With time, the surface is covered by cells that are 30 to 40 layers thick, and is therefore much more difficult to infect. Girls need to understand this from an early age. We have dramatic images [of the immature cervix] that we must show girls so they can grasp the importance of delaying sexual behaviour. These kids must be informed that putting all questions of morality aside, if they are sexually active at a young age, they are at risk for infections that could impact their physical and emotional well-being over the course of their lives.
A third point is kids aren’t told that oral sex is associated with cancers of the throat. Needless to say this is important, and indeed life-saving, information yet it is withheld from kids, and that is the height of irresponsibility. One of the points I make in the book is organizations such as Planned Parenthood and SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the US) claim to be providing up-to-date, medically-accurate information. But they do nothing of the sort.
Instead, these organizations teach kids that they are “sexual” from cradle to grave, that adolescence is the natural time to explore sexuality and that kids have the right to express their sexuality in whatever manner they choose. This message promotes sexual freedom, not sexual health. This is ideology, not science. When sexual freedom is the priority, sexual health suffers. And indeed, the statistics in the US on sexually transmitted infections, HIV, teen pregnancy, and abortion are mind numbing.
IMFC: Where do these organizations place the role of parents in their ideology? What are they saying to kids about parents?
MG: This is another disturbing feature of the sex ed fiasco. I discovered a duplicity exists. When speaking to the media, and in their material for parents, sex educators state that sex education should start at home and that parents should be the primary sex educators of children. But in material directed at kids the message is altogether different. Here’s what SIECUS says in an online booklet for kids called All About Sex. It opens with eight pages on sexual rights: “Every human being has basic rights. Still, adults may say and do things that make young people feel like they don’t have rights. It’s important for you to know your rights so you can stand up for yourself when necessary.” Then a bit later: “You have the right to decide how to express your sexuality at every point in your life. You can choose if and how to express your sexuality.”
Ninety per cent of parents want their kids to delay sexual behaviour, and they expect sex educators to enforce that message. Organizations like SIECUS promise to do so, but they don’t. All About Sex is a good example of what really goes on. The goal is for the young person to realize that, sure, adults may have their opinions, but kids of all ages have the right to their own ideas about sexuality, as well as the right to behave in any way they like. Nowhere in this pamphlet are kids told: we urge you to delay sexual behaviour because that’s the healthiest choice.
IMFC: The book will be an eye opener for parents. What can concerned parents do?
MG: The situation is sobering but my overall message is positive. The good news is that all these sexual health problems are 100 per cent avoidable. And there is so much parents can do to protect their kids. We know that young people are profoundly influenced by their parents, the messages they get from their parents, their perceptions of what their parents believe in, their parents’ values, and what their parents’ expectations are. There are many studies that I go through in the book that demonstrate that a parenting style of being warm and supportive and yet having high expectations and firm rules has profound influence on children and teens and the decisions they make. Obviously parents need to be informed. They need the information in this book; they are not going to find it anywhere else. I’m a medical doctor and I scoured the literature for the latest on sexually transmitted infections, how girls are more vulnerable emotionally and physically than boys, what kids are told about same-sex attraction, gender identity, and many other topics. My book is not politically correct, but it is medically accurate. I explain biological truths that are not discussed elsewhere. For example, kids are being told that they can be male, female or something else; that there are more than two genders and that it is natural to question who you are at any time in your life. This is madness. It’s not only medically inaccurate, it confuses our kids and it leads them into a minefield of emotional and physical hazards.
IMFC: What would you say to government policy makers?
MG: They must find the courage to challenge the status quo. People need to stand up, be politically incorrect, and acknowledge the truth of biology. Certain groups will object, because what is seen under the microscope and on brain scans contradicts their vision. It’s going to take that courage to change policy, to have an extreme makeover of our approach to sex education. You see, sex educators have institutionalized 20th century theories and social agendas, but hard science from this century completely discredits those theories and agendas. Sex education needs to come into the 21st century and leave behind ideas that are remnants of the sexual revolution and feminism.
Parenting Issues: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
Reply #13 on:
January 15, 2011, 10:43:37 AM »
A Chinese mother, Yale Law Professor Amy Chua, tells her story about Chinese mothering. The toughness she describes is a bit scary, even offensive by permissive western standards. I am lucky that my daughter is almost that tough on herself so I don't have to do it.
"...when Western parents think they're being strict, they usually don't come close to being Chinese mothers."
"In one study of 50 Western American mothers and 48 Chinese immigrant mothers, almost 70% of the Western mothers said either that "stressing academic success is not good for children" or that "parents need to foster the idea that learning is fun." By contrast, roughly 0% of the Chinese mothers felt the same way."
"What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences."
Re: Parenting Issues
Reply #14 on:
January 15, 2011, 11:32:32 AM »
"What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences."
What a great point of view.
Throughout my life I hear people tell me while I am learning something how "easy" it is.
Well sure, it is easy once you understand it or are good at doing it. Getting to that point is hard work.
Like using email is "easy". No its not when you are first learing it. Yes it is once you know how to do it.
""stressing academic success is not good for children"
You won't find any Jewish parents telling their children this.
Many of my middle aged unemployed pts who cannot find jobs. What can I say if they didn't finish high school let alone don't have a college degree.
WSJ: Why do we let them dress like that?
Reply #15 on:
March 22, 2011, 08:16:08 AM »
In the pale-turquoise ladies' room, they congregate in front of the mirror, re-applying mascara and lip gloss, brushing their hair, straightening panty hose and gossiping: This one is "skanky," that one is "really cute," and so forth. Dressed in minidresses, perilously high heels, and glittery, dangling earrings, their eyes heavily shadowed in black-pearl and jade, they look like a flock of tropical birds. A few minutes later, they return to the dance floor, where they shake everything they've got under the party lights.
But for the most part, there isn't all that much to shake. This particular group of party-goers consists of 12- and 13-year-old girls. Along with their male counterparts, they are celebrating the bat mitzvah of a classmate in a cushy East Coast suburb.
Today's teen and preteen girls are bombarded with images and products that tout the benefits of sexual attraction. But must we as parents, give in to their desire to "dress like everyone else?" asks author Jennifer Moses. She talks with WSJ's Kelsey Hubbard.
In a few years, their attention will turn to the annual ritual of shopping for a prom dress, and by then their fashion tastes will have advanced still more. Having done this now for two years with my own daughter, I continue to be amazed by the plunging necklines, built-in push-up bras, spangles, feathers, slits and peek-a-boos. And try finding a pair of sufficiently "prommish" shoes designed with less than a 2-inch heel.
All of which brings me to a question: Why do so many of us not only permit our teenage daughters to dress like this—like prostitutes, if we're being honest with ourselves—but pay for them to do it with our AmEx cards?
I posed this question to a friend whose teenage daughter goes to an all-girls private school in New York. "It isn't that different from when we were kids," she said. "The girls in the sexy clothes are the fast girls. They'll have Facebook pictures of themselves opening a bottle of Champagne, like Paris Hilton. And sometimes the moms and dads are out there contributing to it, shopping with them, throwing them parties at clubs. It's almost like they're saying, 'Look how hot my daughter is.'" But why? "I think it's a bonding thing," she said. "It starts with the mommy-daughter manicure and goes on from there."
I have a different theory. It has to do with how conflicted my own generation of women is about our own past, when many of us behaved in ways that we now regret. A woman I know, with two mature daughters, said, "If I could do it again, I wouldn't even have slept with my own husband before marriage. Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?"
We are the first moms in history to have grown up with widely available birth control, the first who didn't have to worry about getting knocked up. We were also the first not only to be free of old-fashioned fears about our reputations but actually pressured by our peers and the wider culture to find our true womanhood in the bedroom. Not all of us are former good-time girls now drowning in regret—I know women of my generation who waited until marriage—but that's certainly the norm among my peers.
So here we are, the feminist and postfeminist and postpill generation. We somehow survived our own teen and college years (except for those who didn't), and now, with the exception of some Mormons, evangelicals and Orthodox Jews, scads of us don't know how to teach our own sons and daughters not to give away their bodies so readily. We're embarrassed, and we don't want to be, God forbid, hypocrites.
Still, in my own circle of girlfriends, the desire to push back is strong. I don't know one of them who doesn't have feelings of lingering discomfort regarding her own sexual past. And not one woman I've ever asked about the subject has said that she wishes she'd "experimented" more.
As for the girls themselves, if you ask them why they dress the way they do, they'll say (roughly) the same things I said to my mother: "What's the big deal?" "But it's the style." "Could you be any more out of it?" What teenage girl doesn't want to be attractive, sought-after and popular?
And what mom doesn't want to help that cause? In my own case, when I see my daughter in drop-dead gorgeous mode, I experience something akin to a thrill—especially since I myself am somewhat past the age to turn heads.
In recent years, of course, promiscuity has hit new heights (it always does!), with "sexting" among preteens, "hooking up" among teens and college students, and a constant stream of semi-pornography from just about every media outlet. Varied sexual experiences—the more the better—are the current social norm.
I wouldn't want us to return to the age of the corset or even of the double standard, because a double standard that lets the promiscuous male off the hook while condemning his female counterpart is both stupid and destructive. If you're the campus mattress, chances are that you need therapy more than you need condemnation.
But it's easy for parents to slip into denial. We wouldn't dream of dropping our daughters off at college and saying: "Study hard and floss every night, honey—and for heaven's sake, get laid!" But that's essentially what we're saying by allowing them to dress the way they do while they're still living under our own roofs.
—Jennifer Moses is the author of "Bagels and Grits: A Jew on the Bayou" and "Food and Whine: Confessions of a New Millennium Mom."
Re: Parenting Issues
Reply #16 on:
March 22, 2011, 08:24:27 AM »
Letting girls look like adult women places them in jeopardy. Not a good practice at all.
Re: Parenting Issues
Reply #17 on:
March 27, 2011, 03:46:14 PM »
I'm sure the left/feminists will be all over this, just as soon as they are done calling Sarah Palin a tw*t.
CA bill respects authority of parents
Reply #18 on:
May 19, 2011, 11:51:49 AM »
I have to confess my initial reaction to the headline was to roll my eyes in contempt for yet another government entity that I assumed was trying to legislate good parenting. After all, it’s a trend that has gained traction of late.
Some states are mandating the content of school lunches. Others have laws about how old kids must be to baby-sit. All states now have rules about bicycle helmets and federal law dictates when parents can take the booster seat out of the minivan and put it in a garage sale.
In fact, there are even laws about what sorts of toys and child gear can be sold at a garage sale. (Short answer: pretty much nothing unless you have it tested for lead.)
Given the propensity for governments to take it upon themselves to “assist” parents in the upbringing of our children on the assumption that we obviously don’t know what we’re doing, I figured a proposed California statute was just more of the same.
Turns out I’m in agreement with the legislation introduced by the Golden State’s Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, a Democrat. Not only is her bill an effort to empower users of social networking sites and protect their privacy when creating user profiles, but more importantly, Mrs. Corbett’s bill would restore parental authority over the online activities of minor children.
Currently, sites such as Facebook have default settings for new users. When you sign up for a Facebook account, your profile automatically is set to allow “Everyone” to see your information. You then must change to more restrictive settings if you want your profile viewed only by “Friends” or “Friends of friends.”
The California bill would demand that social networking sites do exactly the opposite - default to a restrictive setting that shows only your name and city. You then could open the door to your public profile, rather than close it after the fact.
More importantly to parents, this bill would allow Californians to demand that sites like Facebook take down within 48 hours information about their minor children when parents request it.
Like me, your reaction might have been, I already have the right to demand this, I’m the parent. Unfortunately, according to Facebook’s “frequently asked questions,” you don’t have that right at all.
Facebook didn’t get to be the world’s largest social networking site by catering to concerned parents, after all.
The company prohibits users younger than 13 and cooperates with parents or others who report underage users by deleting their accounts, though if you want to see the information a child posted on Facebook, you “may” be able to do so. It’s not an easy process. (There’s notaries, forms, conforming to applicable laws, etc., to deal with.)
But users ages 13 to 18 are guaranteed privacy by Facebook. Parental authority essentially is meaningless when your child becomes an “authorized” user of Facebook. Rather, the company simply encourages parents to talk with their kids about the best ways to use the site.
We send some strange and conflicting messages to our teenagers. On one hand, we practically encourage their ongoing adolescence with rules that regulate whether they can ride a bike to school, much less get a job or drive a car.
Then again, we let them roam the Internet, facilitating and respecting their privacy without the means to assert our proper protection and judgment over their virtual activities.
There probably are a host of unintended consequences with this bill, but there’s also a germ of respect for parents in it that ought to be upheld more broadly.
Solid parenting usually will alleviate the need to go around a teen and demand that information be removed from his or her Facebook page.
Still, a law that reminds social networking companies of the primacy of parents in the lives of their minor children is a good thing.
Same Sex Adoption is not a game
Reply #19 on:
November 18, 2011, 08:13:44 AM »
Same sex adoption is not a game
Allowing same sex couples to adopt children deprives them of a mother or a father and subjects them to a dangerous social experiment.
Moves by legislators and homosexual activists to endorse same sex adoption are misguided. Their intentions may be good, but they are ignoring the rights of children and important social and psychological research into the homosexual lifestyle.
The recent decision of Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois to separate from the Church and place children in same sex unions occurred after Illinois followed the lead set by other states and enacted legislation to protect so-called rights for homosexual unions. This legislation, the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, denied funding to social service agencies that refuse to permit same sex adoption.
Experimenting on children by permitting adoption by same sex couples poses serious problems. Children have a right to and a need for parenting by both a father and a mother. This need should be recognized by the state and by professional groups as far more important than an adult’s supposed right to adopt.
The views presented here are based on extensive social science research and scholarship, on my clinical experience as a psychiatrist that includes consulting with adoptive and foster children for several years, treating adoptive children for almost 35 years, writing about their treatment in a textbook for the American Psychological Association (1) and as the father of three adopted daughters.
The risks in same sex unions
Same sex relationships do not provide an ideal environment in which to raise children for several reasons.
First, same sex couples tend to be promiscuous. One of the largest studies of same sex couples revealed that only seven of 156 couples had a sexual relationship which was totally monogamous. Most of these relationships lasted less than five years. Couples whose relationship lasted longer incorporated some provision for outside sexual activity: “The single most important factor that keeps couples together past the 10-year mark is the lack of possessiveness,” observed two scholars who were also partners, David McWhirter and Andrew Mattison. “Many couples learn very early in their relationship that ownership of each other sexually can be the greatest internal threat to their staying together.” (2)
Second, the unions are very fragile. The probability of breakup is high for lesbian couples. In a 2010 report, the US National Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study, 40 percent of the couples who had conceived a child by artificial insemination had broken up.(3) Lisa Diamond reported in her book, Sexual Fluidity, that “more than two-thirds of the women in my sample had changed their identity labels at least once after the first interview. The women who kept the same identity for the whole ten years proved to be the smallest and most atypical group.” If a woman in a same-sex relationship changes her identity label, the relationship breaks up.
And third, the couple may not necessarily be physically healthy. Dutch research has found that most new HIV infections in Amsterdam occurred among homosexual men who were in steady relationships. The researcher concluded that: “Prevention measures should address risky behavior, especially with steady partners, and the promotion of HIV testing.” (4) Research shows that same sex unions suffer a significantly higher prevalence of domestic abuse, depression, substance-abuse disorders, and sexually transmitted diseases.(5) Should adopted children be placed with a couple at risk of a serious and emotionally draining illness?
Children need a mother and a father
The most important issue is the welfare of the child. Social science research has repeatedly demonstrated the vital importance of both a father and a mother for the healthy development of children and the serious risks that they face if they are raised without a mother or a father. Mothers and fathers bring unique gifts that are essential to the health of a child.
Among the many distinctive talents that mothers bring to the parenting enterprise, three stand out: their capacity to breastfeed, their ability to understand infants and children, and their ability to offer nurture and comfort.
Social science studies confirm this. Numerous reports indicate that infants and toddlers prefer mothers to fathers when they are hungry, afraid or sick. Mothers tend to be more soothing. Mothers are more responsive to the distinctive cries of infants; they are better able than fathers, for instance, to distinguish between a cry of hunger and a cry of pain. They are also better than fathers at detecting the emotions of their children by looking at their faces, postures, and gestures.
Children who were deprived of maternal care during extended periods in their early lives “lacked feeling, had superficial relationships, and exhibited hostile or antisocial tendencies” as they developed into adulthood.(6) Clinical experience suggests that deliberately depriving a child of its mother, motherlessness, causes severe damage because mothers are crucial in establishing a child’s ability to trust and to feel safe in relationships. All cultures recognize the essential role of the mother.
Fathers also have distinctive talents.(7) Fathers excel when it comes to providing discipline, play, and challenging children to embrace life’s challenges. They also provide essential role models for boys. Their presence in the home protects a child from fear and strengthens a child’s ability to feel safe. The extensive research on the serious psychological, academic and social problems among youth raised in fatherless families demonstrates the importance of the presence of the father in the home for healthy child development.
The rights and needs of children to a mother and a father should be protected by the state. Adults do not have a right to deprive children of a father or a mother.
The children do suffer
There are strong indications that children raised by same sex couples fare less well than children raised in stable homes with a mother and a father.
In 1996 a well-designed study of 174 primary school children in Australia -- 58 children in married families, 58 in families headed by cohabitating heterosexuals and 58 in home with homosexual unions – suggested that married couples offered the best environment for a child’s social and education environment. Cohabiting couples were second best and homosexual couples came last.(
The results of a 2009 study of women in New York, Boston, and San Francisco are similar. Researchers interviewed 68 women with gay or bisexual fathers and 68 women with heterosexual fathers. The women (average age 29 in both groups) with gay or bisexual fathers had difficulty with adult attachment issues in three areas: they were less comfortable with closeness and intimacy; they were less able to trust and depend on others; and they experienced more anxiety in relationships compared to the women raised by heterosexual fathers.(9)
Flawed studies with positive results
Not surprisingly, there are scholars who oppose this weighty evidence. Two major studies published in 2010 are often cited by homosexual activists and the media. Nanette Gartrell and Henry Bos (10) and Timothy Biblarz and Judith Stacey (11) claim that children who were deliberately deprived of the benefits of gender complementarity in a home with a father and a mother suffer no psychological damage.
However, all data in the Gartell and Bos article are self-reports by the mother and the child. The mothers were aware of the political agenda of the research and this must have skewed the results. This defect in methodology severely weakens the report.
In the meta-study by Biblarz and Stacey, in 31 of the 33 studies of two parent families, it was the parents who provided the data, which consisted of subjective judgments. Once again, this created a social desirability bias because the homosexual parents knew the political agenda behind the study. Furthermore, of the 33 studies in two-person families, only two studies included men, although the title, “How does the gender of parents matter?” suggests that both men and women were fully represented.
Much of the research on same-sex couples tends to have serious methodological flaws. It is often argued that there is no evidence that children are harmed if they are raised by homosexual men. This is true, but the absence of evidence does not prove the case. It means that there is no evidence. Studies of children raised by homosexual men are rare. No studies have examined the long-term effects on adult males raised by homosexual men.
A grave injustice for adopted children
An adopted child has been separated from his or her biological parents. The child feels this loss. For this reason adoption agencies historically have sought the best possible placement -- a sensitive and stable father and mother. A same-sex couple is by definition a second-class placement, since a parent of the opposite sex is missing.
A grave injustice to adoptive children is occurring as growing numbers of Catholic social service adoption agencies that have provided outstanding help to children, parents and families for decades are being denied the right to continue. Legislatures are placing the rights of homosexual unions to adopt above the needs and rights of children to a mother and a father.
Deliberately depriving a child of a father or a mother harms the child.(12) Social science research supports this view. Adoptive children have experienced early-life abandonment trauma and should be protected from the additional trauma of being exposed to a cruel social experiment. Will no one step forward to protect these children?
Rick Fitzgibbons is the director of Comprehensive Counseling Services in West Conshohocken PA. He has practiced psychiatry for 35 years with a specialty in the treatment of excessive anger.
(1) Enright, R. & Fitzgibbons, R. (2000). Helping Clients Forgive: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association Books ,p. 187-89.
(2) McWhirter, D. and Mattison, A. 1985. The Male Couple: How Relationships Develop. Prentice Hall.
(3) Gartrell, N. & Bos, H. (2010) US national Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of 17-year-old Adolescents, Pediatrics, Volume 126, Number 1, July 2010, 28-36.
(4) Xiridou, M. et al. (2003). The contribution of steady and casual partnerships to the incidence of HIV infection among homosexual men in Amsterdam. AIDS 17: 1029-38.
(5) D. O’Leary. (2007) One Man, One Woman: A Catholic’s Guide to Defending Marriage Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press, 149-68.
(6) Kobak, R. (1999). "The emotional dynamics of disruptions in attachment relationships: Implications for theory, research, and clinical intervention". In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver. (Eds.), Handbook of Attachment (pp. 21-43). New York: The Guilford Press.
Sarantakos, S. (1996) Children in three contexts. Children Australia, 21(3), 23-31.
(9) Sirota, T, (2009) Adult Attachment Style Dimensions in Women with Gay or Bisexual Fathers. Arch. Psych Nursing, 23, 289-297.
(10) Gartrell, N. & Bos, H. (2010) US national Longitudinal Lesbian Family Study: Psychological Adjustment of 17-year-old Adolescents, Pediatrics, Volume 126, Number 1, July 2010 p. 28-36.
(11) Biblarz, T. J. & Stacey, J. (2010). How does the gender of parents matter? Journal of Marriage and Family. 72, 3-22.
(12) Kobak, R. (1999). "The emotional dynamics of disruptions in attachment relationships: Implications for theory, research, and clinical intervention". In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver. (Eds.), Handbook of Attachment (pp. 21-43). New York: The Guilford Press.; Popenoe,D. (1996) Life Without Father, New York: Free Press, P. 176; Golombok, S. et al (1997) Children raised in fatherless families from infancy: Family relationships and the socioeconomic development of children of lesbian and single heterosexual mothers. J. Child Psychology and Psychiatry 38: 783-791; Gallagher M. & Baker, J.K. (2004) Do Mom and Dads Matter: Evidence from the social sciences on family structure and at the best interests of the child. Margins 161(4):161-180.
Want to read more articles by Rick Fitzgibbons? Click on the links below
Daughter caught in a lie
Reply #20 on:
December 01, 2011, 06:57:15 AM »
Zach Wahls Speaks About Family--Two Lesbians Raised A Baby
Reply #21 on:
December 01, 2011, 09:35:40 PM »
Zach Wahls Speaks About Family--Two Lesbians Raised A Baby And This Is What They Got
When asked by Reddit users how growing up with two mothers affected him, Wahl's told them that he has realized when he is asked this question that he is actually being asked what it is like growing up without a father.
"I had to learn how to shave from my best friend's dad. It's something I was briefly bullied about when I was growing up. It made me aware of the whole gay marriage debate--and the effects it might have on my family--from a young age," Wahls said.
Re: Parenting Issues
Reply #22 on:
December 02, 2011, 10:18:02 PM »
"When asked by Reddit users how growing up with two mothers affected him, Wahl's told them that he has realized when he is asked this question that he is actually being asked what it is like growing up without a father."
Let's look at black America and see how a population raised without fathers has worked out so far......
interesting parental take on gay children
Reply #23 on:
January 06, 2012, 06:30:41 AM »
On August 16 I learned what viral meant.
I wrote an essay about my oldest son and his love of a popular gay television character, Glee's Blaine, and how this crush led to him telling me he wanted to kiss boys, not girls. I naively posted it to a blog, thinking some fans of the show might think it was cute.
Within 24 hours it had been reposted and "liked" over 30,000 times on the blog's website. It wasn't long before messages started flooding in, other websites began posting it and people were commenting. The response was overwhelming positive. What I thought was a simple story about my kid and our family had clearly stuck a chord with a lot of people.
It also made some people uncomfortable. Of the criticisms, the most common is that my son is six years old and doesn't know anything about sex. While I fully acknowledge this may not be the end-all-and-be-all to my son's sexual orientation, I object to the idea that being gay is only about sexual acts. Our emotions and feelings, our attractions and compulsions, all contribute, not just our body parts. If my son had a crush on the star of iCarly, I doubt people would be saying he was too young to have those sexual feelings towards a girl. I think they would think it was an innocent schoolboy crush, which is exactly what it is.
Plus, for every comment I've read saying my son is too young, I have received multiple messages from adults saying "I knew when I was little, too."
It got me thinking and after awhile I started to feel like I knew this big secret that shouldn't be a secret at all: Every gay adult used to be a gay kid. It's not as if all children start off as straight until some time later when someone flips the gay switch. We are who we are from the very moment we are born.
The horrible and hate filled words of the Michele Bachmann's of the world take on a whole new level of disgusting when picturing them being screamed at a group of kindergartners and first graders. They are unnatural. They are sinners. They are going to hell. They are dirty, wrong and sick.
These people would tell my innocent little boy (who currently wants to be a fireman-ninja when he grows up) he is the biggest threat the American family... because he wants to kiss boys and not girls.
The reality is they are pounding these words of ignorance and hate into the ears and minds of gay children every day. And those children are hearing them. I know because many of those kids are now writing to me. Kids as young as 14 have sent me messages. So many are scared children, who sure as hell did not choose this for themselves, living in fear of their family finding out because they know full well what their mom and dad will say. And they tell me they wish I was their mom.
I want to keep all this talk, all these lies, all this hate, away from these kids. Of course, there is an inherent problem with that. We can't pick out the gay kids simply by looking, and behavior isn't a clear indicator (some little straight girls are tomboys, and some little gay boys love their monster trucks). The only way we can truly know someone's orientation is if they tell us, which for some doesn't happen until well into adulthood.
So the solution is obvious to me. Keep it away from all our kids. It's my responsibility as a mother, as a human being, to stand up and say "No more." No, you are not allowed to say those things in front of my children, not unless you want to deal with me. Because I will not allow any of my sons to be viciously attacked without seeing me defend them. They will never have to doubt for a second exactly where their parents stand, and never have to live in fear of who they are.
Because since August 16, I have learned that hate is the virus we all need to be worried about.
The Trevor Project is determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including our nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline, digital community and advocacy/educational programs that create a safe, supportive and positive environment for everyone. For more information or to talk to someone, visit their website or call 866-488-7386.
Re: Parenting Issues
Reply #24 on:
January 06, 2012, 08:20:24 AM »
Wow, that's some responsible parenting right there.
Perhaps it's not a good idea to expose small children to media images that glorify deviant sexuality, but then that might deprive this leftist parent of the opportunity to bask in her self-created activist role. Hey, what's a little self indulgent NARCISSISM at the expense of her 6 year old son? After all, if he ends of learning what viral means after having bloodwork done, then that another opportunity for his mom to seek attention through another Huffpo post.
Re: Parenting Issues
Reply #25 on:
January 06, 2012, 08:27:08 AM »
The boy could simply be responding naively to the femininity of the character, but now thanks to his mom having planted the seed for him in this world that he is gay, he may have to deal with assumptions of his trajectory that make heterosexual success harder for him.
Reply #26 on:
March 20, 2012, 01:48:47 PM »
Sibling Rivalry Grows Up
Adult Brothers and Sisters Are Masters at Digs; Finding a Way to a Truce
• By ELIZABETH BERNSTEIN
Marianne Walsh and her sister, Megan Putman, keep track of whose kids their mother babysits more. They also compete with each other over parenting styles (Ms. Walsh is strict, Ms. Putman is laid back) and their weight.
Even after siblings grow up, rivalry and one-upmanship continue to crop up, Elizabeth Bernstein reports on Lunch Break. Photo: Getty Images.
"My kids play more instruments, so I am winning in piano," says Ms. Walsh, 38, the younger of the two by 13 months. "But she won the skinny Olympics."
Adult sibling rivalry. Experts say it remains one of the most harmful and least addressed issues in a family. We know it when we see it. Often, we deeply regret it. But we have no idea what to do about it.
Ms. Walsh and Ms. Putman have been competitive since childhood—about clothes, about boyfriends, about grades. Ms. Walsh remembers how in grammar school her sister wrote an essay about their grandfather and won a writing award. She recited it at a school assembly with her grandpa standing nearby, beaming. Ms. Walsh, seething, vowed to win the award the next year and did.
Ms. Putman married first. Ms. Walsh, single at the time, clearly recalls the phone call when her sister told her she was pregnant. "I was excited because this was the first grandchild. Then I got off the phone and cried for two hours," says Ms. Walsh.
Marianne Walsh, far left, and her older sister, Megan Putman, have worked out a way to end negative conversations based on rivalry.
Ms. Putman, 39 and a stay-at-home-mom in Bolingbrook, Ill., remembers that she too felt jealous—of her sister's frequent travel and promotions in her marketing career. "The way my parents would go on and on about her really made me feel 'less than,' " Ms. Putman says.
Ms. Walsh eventually married, had a son and named him Jack. Seven weeks later, Ms. Putman gave birth to a son and named him Jack. The discussion? "That was always my boy name." "I never heard you say that."
Sibling rivalry is a normal aspect of childhood, experts say. Our siblings are our first rivals. They competed with us for the love and attention of the people we needed most, our parents, and it is understandable that we occasionally felt threatened. Much of what is written about sibling rivalry focuses on its effects during childhood.
But our sibling relationships are often the longest of our lives, lasting 80 years or more. Several research studies indicate that up to 45% of adults have a rivalrous or distant relationship with a sibling.
Stop Fighting, Already
What siblings say indicating a rivalry is smoldering. Responses either make the rivalrous feelings worse, or defuse the situation.
People questioned later in life often say their biggest regret is being estranged from a sister or brother.
The rivalry often persists into adulthood because in many families it goes unaddressed. "Most people who have been through years of therapy have worked out a lot of guilt with their parents. But when it comes to their siblings, they can't articulate what is wrong," says Jeanne Safer, a psychologist in Manhattan and author of "Cain's Legacy: Liberating Siblings from a Lifetime of Rage, Shame, Secrecy and Regret."
Dr. Safer believes sibling rivals speak in a kind of dialect (she calls it "sib speak"). It sounds like this: "You were always Mom's favorite." "Mom and Dad are always at your house but they never visit me." "You never call me."
"It's not the loving language that good friends have," Dr. Safer says. "It's the language of grievance collection."
It's hard to know what to say in response. "You are afraid that what you say will be catastrophic or will reveal awful truths," Dr. Safer says. "It's a lifelong walk on eggshells."
Sibling discord has been around since the Bible. Cain killed Abel. Leah stole Rachel's intended husband, Jacob. Joseph fought bitterly with his 10 older half brothers. Parents often have a hand in fostering it. They may choose favorites, love unevenly and compare one child with the other.
Dr. Safer draws a distinction between sibling rivalry and sibling strife. Rivalry encompasses a normal range of disagreements and competition between siblings. Sibling strife, which is less common, is rivalry gone ballistic—siblings who, because of personality clashes or hatred, can't enjoy each other's company.
Al Golden, 85, chokes up when he talks about his twin brother, Elliott, who died three years ago. The brothers shared a room growing up in Brooklyn, N.Y., graduated from the SUNY Maritime College in New York and married within a month of each other in 1947.
Yet Mr. Golden still remembers how their father often compared their grades, asking one or the other, "How come you got a B and your brother got an A?" He rarely missed a chance to point out that Elliott wasn't as good as Al in swimming.
When the boys were ready to get married, he suggested a double wedding. Mr. Golden put his foot down. "I shared every birthday and my bar mitzvah with my brother," he said. "I'll be damned if I am going to share my wedding with him."
Elliott Golden became a lawyer and eventually a state Supreme Court judge. Al Golden went into the mirror business, then sold life insurance. He says he always envied his brother's status and secretly took pleasure in knowing he was a better fisherman and owned a big boat. Once, Elliott asked him, "I am a lawyer. How come you make more money than me?" Mr. Golden says. "He meant: 'How come you are making more than me when you are not as successful?' But it made me feel good."
One day, Mr. Golden says, Elliott accused him of not doing enough to take care of their ailing mother. After the conversation, Mr. Golden didn't speak to his brother for more than a year. "It might have been the build-up of jealousies over the years," he says.
His brother repeatedly reached out to him, as did his nieces and nephews, but Mr. Golden ignored them.
Then one day Mr. Golden received an email from his brother telling a story about two men who had a stream dividing their properties. One man hired a carpenter to build a fence along the stream, but the carpenter built a bridge by mistake. Mr. Golden thought about the email then wrote back, "I'd like to walk over the bridge."
"I missed him," Mr. Golden says now. "I never had the chance to miss him before."
Dr. Safer says brothers' rivalries often are overt, typically focusing on things like Dad's love, athletic prowess, career success, money. Women are less comfortable with competition, she says, so sister rivalries tend to be passive-aggressive and less direct. Whom did Mom love best, who is a better mother now.
Brothers often repair their rivalries with actions. When women reconcile, it's often through talking. Ms. Putman and Ms. Walsh have learned to stop arguments using a trick from childhood. When a discussion gets heated, one sister will call out "star," a code word they devised as kids to mean the conversation is over. The sister who ends it gets the last word. "You may still be mad, but you adhere to the rules of childhood," Ms. Walsh says.
For some years, the two didn't socialize much. But when Ms. Putman's husband died last fall, Ms. Walsh, now a stay-at-home-mom in Chicago, helped plan the wake and write the obituary. Arriving at her sister's house one day before the funeral, Ms. Walsh found her in bed, crying, and climbed in next to her. The sisters said, "I love you," and Ms. Putman says she realized she was going to be OK.
"Lying there, I felt that if I've got my sister, I"ve got my strength," Ms. Putman says. "She is my backbone."
Putting a Stop to Sibling Rivalry
Fix the problem by addressing it head-on, says psychologist Jeanne Safer.
•The first step is to think. Who is this person outside his or her relationship with you? What do you like about your sibling? Remember the positive memories. Identify why you think the relationship is worth fixing—if it is.
•Take the initiative to change. It could be a gesture, like an offer to help with a sick child, a conversation or a letter. Be sincere and don't ignore the obvious. Say: 'These conversations between us are painful. I would like to see if we can make our relationship better.'
•Gestures count. Not everyone is comfortable talking about a strained relationship, especially men. But phone calls, invitations to spend time together, attempts to help should be seen as peace offerings.
•Consider your sibling's point of view. Try not to be defensive. What did childhood look like through his or her eyes? 'You have to be willing to see an unflattering portrait of yourself,' Dr. Safer says.
•Tell your sibling what you respect. 'I love your sense of humor.' 'I admire what a good parent you are.'
•And, finally: 'It won't kill you to apologize,' Dr. Safer says.
Write to Elizabeth Bernstein at
or follow her column at
Parenting Issues - Living (well) with Down Syndrome
Reply #27 on:
May 03, 2012, 12:02:05 PM »
George Will: ..."the world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome, who are quite nice, as humans go."
Another story that doesn't fit neatly into existing threads, but Down Syndrome becomes the life of the parents as well as of the child. 90% of Down's kids are now aborted; the remaining parents bond quite strongly together, living with a common challenge and joy. In our (extended) family, a beautiful Down Syndrome girl is for sure our favorite relative. She is the one always most excited to see you, most excited about meals, dessert, presents, birthdays, even naps. I call it 'up syndrome'. Anything more about her needs to go in the gratitude thread.
Anyway, George Will has a column about his oldest son Jon Will, now turning 40. His love and pride shines through the story.
Read George Will’s Touching Column on Raising His Now-40-Year-Old Son With Down Syndrome
"Jon Will’s gift" by George Will
"The day after Jon was born, a doctor told Jon’s parents that the first question for them was whether they intended to take Jon home from the hospital. Nonplussed, they said they thought that is what parents do with newborns." (Subtly written in the third person for perhaps the most powerful moment in their life.)
"This era has coincided, not just coincidentally, with the full, garish flowering of the baby boomers’ vast sense of entitlement, which encompasses an entitlement to exemption from nature’s mishaps, and to a perfect baby. So today science enables what the ethos ratifies, the choice of killing children with Down syndrome before birth. That is what happens to 90 percent of those whose parents receive a Down syndrome diagnosis through prenatal testing.
Which is unfortunate, and not just for them. Judging by Jon, the world would be improved by more people with Down syndrome, who are quite nice, as humans go. It is said we are all born brave, trusting and greedy, and remain greedy. People with Down syndrome must remain brave in order to navigate society’s complexities. They have no choice but to be trusting because, with limited understanding, and limited abilities to communicate misunderstanding, they, like Blanche DuBois in “A Streetcar Named Desire,” always depend on the kindness of strangers. Judging by Jon’s experience, they almost always receive it.
Will’s column concludes on a hopeful note, noting that Jon will spend his 40th birthday at a baseball game, where he is, apparently, at his happiest."
Re: Parenting Issues
Reply #28 on:
May 03, 2012, 12:09:56 PM »
This would also be a nice fit in the abortion thread.
Re: Parenting Issues
Reply #29 on:
May 03, 2012, 12:33:32 PM »
I like George Will's works a great deal.
Re: Parenting Issues
Reply #30 on:
May 03, 2012, 01:09:33 PM »
"This would also be a nice fit in the abortion thread."
My thought exactly. But if I put it there you would have sent me here.
Of course abortion is a parent issue too as the kid has no say in the matter...
These kids often grow up to work jobs that offset only part of their cost. Unfortunately that is far better than a whole lot of no-excuse, able mind and body Americans.
Re: Parenting Issues, Jon Will
Reply #31 on:
May 05, 2012, 03:01:47 PM »
A couple of follow up thoughts on the beautiful George Will story about his son. He closes by saying his son will enjoy his birthday at his favorite activity, a baseball game. Later I recalled what a baseball enthusiast and Red Sox fan the father is. There is quite a joy in finding that your offspring end up loving some of the same things in life that you do. Personally I'm grateful my daughter loves the same sports that I do. No idea how that happened. Her favorite orchestral piece that they performed this spring is perhaps a favorite of 3 generations before her.
impact of a dying child
Reply #32 on:
May 06, 2012, 06:43:02 AM »
This is a beautiful story. I sincerely hope you read it:
"His life ended last week at age 5, but still Tadan’s story ripples like a wave, reminding strangers that simple moments of living are extraordinary."
Reply #33 on:
July 12, 2012, 09:04:23 PM »
With the exception of the imperial offspring of the Ming dynasty and the dauphins of pre-Revolutionary France, contemporary American kids may represent the most indulged young people in the history of the world. It’s not just that they’ve been given unprecedented amounts of stuff—clothes, toys, cameras, skis, computers, televisions, cell phones, PlayStations, iPods. (The market for Burberry Baby and other forms of kiddie “couture” has reportedly been growing by ten per cent a year.) They’ve also been granted unprecedented authority. “Parents want their kids’ approval, a reversal of the past ideal of children striving for their parents’ approval,” Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell, both professors of psychology, have written. In many middle-class families, children have one, two, sometimes three adults at their beck and call. This is a social experiment on a grand scale, and a growing number of adults fear that it isn’t working out so well: according to one poll, commissioned by Time and CNN, two-thirds of American parents think that their children are spoiled.
The Myth of Mr. Mom
Reply #34 on:
November 30, 2012, 04:05:19 PM »
The myth of “Mr Mom”
Jenet Erickson | 28 November 2012
There’s been a strange turn of opinions about fatherhood—at least in recent public debates. Decades of research have now documented the tremendous challenges children face when they grow up without their fathers. But you would never know it by looking at some of the recent public arguments for “genderless parenting.”
So what do the decades of research on fathers say? Boys from fatherless families are twice as likely to end up in prison before age 30. Girls raised in homes without their fathers are much more likely to engage in early sexual behavior and end up pregnant as teenagers—for example, girls whose fathers left home before their daughters turned six are six times more likely to end up pregnant as teenagers. Children who grow up without married mothers and fathers are also more likely to experience depression, behavioral problems, and school expulsion.
There is also more abuse in homes without fathers. In studies of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, fathers living with their children emerge as strong protectors—both through watching over their children’s activities and communicating to others that they will protect them. In one study, abuse was 10 times more likely for children in homes with their mother and an unrelated boyfriend.
These differences can partly be explained by the fact that these children aremore likely to grow up in poverty. But that too reveals the importance of dads, as married fathers are the primary breadwinners in almost 70% of married families—providing resources that benefit children in a whole host of ways.
In spite of this evidence, some academics and voices that shape public opinion are asserting that fathers are not, in fact, essential. As two researchers recently argued in a top-tier family science publication, “The gender of parents only matters in ways that don’t matter.” Though it may be important to have two “parental figures,” their genders and relationship to the child don’t matter that much. Fathers—as well as mothers—are supposedly disposable when it comes to their own children’s development.
Not surprisingly, arguments for “genderless parenting” are often based on a particular view of what defines male and female equality. Depending on the definition, one can do what the other can do, and do it just as well, if given the chance. Thus, mothers and fathers are interchangeable, and one or the other gender is unnecessary and replaceable.
It’s easy to see why these claims seem believable. We all know mothers who are breadwinners, and fathers who perform the traditional female role of providing full-time quality child care. And a body of research shows that fathers have both the desire and capacity to be protective, nurturing, affectionate, and responsive with their children.
But are fathers and mothers really the same? Do mothers “father” and do fathers “mother” in the same way the other would do?
Canadian scholar, Andrea Doucet, has explored this question in her book Do Men Mother? Her extensive research with 118 male primary caregivers, including stay-at-home dads, led her to conclude that fathers do not “mother.” And that’s a good thing. Although mothering and fathering have much in common, there were persistent, critical differences that were important for children’s development.
To begin, fathers more often used fun and playfulness to connect with their children. No doubt, many a mother has wondered why her husband can’t seem to help himself from “tickling and tossing” their infant—while she stands beside him holding her breath in fear. And he can’t understand why all she wants to do is “coo and cuddle.” Yet as Doucet found, playfulness and fun are often critical modes of connection with children—even from infancy.
Fathers also more consistently made it a point to get their children outdoors to do physical activities with them. Almost intuitively they seemed to know that responding to the physical and developmental needs of their children was an important aspect of nurturing.
When fathers responded to children’s emotional hurts, they differed from mothers in their focus on fixing the problem rather than addressing the hurt feeling. While this did not appear to be particularly “nurturing” at first, the seeming “indifference” was useful— particularly as children grew older. They would seek out and share things with their dads precisely because of their measured, problem-solving responses. The “indifference” actually became a strategic form of nurturing in emotionally-charged situations.
Fathers were also more likely to encourage children’s risk taking—whether on the playground, in school work, or in trying new things. While mothers typically discouraged risk-taking, fathers guided their children in deciding how much risk to take and encouraged them in it. At the same time, fathers were more attuned to developing a child’s physical, emotional, and intellectual independence—in everything from children making their own lunches and tying their own shoes to doing household chores and making academic decisions.
As she evaluated these differences, Doucet wondered if fathers just weren’t as “nurturing” as mothers. Their behaviors didn’t always fit the traditional definition of “holding close and sensitively responding.” But a key part of nurturing also includes the capacity to “let go.” It was this careful “letting-go” that fathers were particularly good at—in ways that mothers were often not.
Her findings provide empirical evidence for the feelings described on Public Discourse by Robert Oscar Lopez in his recent account of growing up without the influence of his father. Lopez yearned for what kids in traditional families often take for granted—the opportunity to learn how to act, speak, and behave in ways that reflect the unique gender cues provided by the parenting of a father and a mother. Although Lopez would have appeared normal on most sociological indexes (as a well-trained, high achieving student), inside he felt confused. In his own words, he grew up “weird,” unable to relate to or understand either gender very well. And that made it hard to understand himself.
Andrea Doucet ends her report by sharing an illuminating moment from her research. After a long evening discussing their experiences as single dads, Doucet asked a group of sole-custody fathers, “In an ideal world, what resources or supports would you like to see for single fathers?” She expected to hear that they wanted greater social support and societal acceptance, more programs and policies directed at single dads. Instead, after a period of awkward silence, one dad stood and said, “An ideal world would be one with a father and a mother. We’d be lying if we pretended that wasn’t true.” Nods of agreement followed with expressions of approval from the other dads. Although many had had bitter experiences of separation and divorce, they couldn’t help but acknowledge the inherent connectedness of mothering and fathering—and the profound deficit experienced when one or the other is not there.
Arguments for the non-essential father may reflect an effort to accept the reality that many children today grow up without their dads. But surely a more effective and compassionate approach would be to acknowledge the unique contributions of both mothers and fathers in their children’s lives, and then do what we can to ensure that becomes a reality for more children.
Jenet Erickson is an assistant professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. This article has been reproduced with permission from Public Discourse.
"A car plus $ to pop my son's cherry"
Reply #35 on:
July 19, 2013, 11:00:03 AM »
Father fuct by judge-- 6 months for paying too much child support
Reply #36 on:
January 11, 2014, 01:47:11 PM »
wanna guess who will be stuck paying for some of the child support benefits?
Reply #37 on:
February 05, 2014, 09:40:22 AM »
Woman On The Rebound Wants Back In Ex's Court
By Abigail Van Buren 10 hours ago Dear Abby
DEAR ABBY: After a two-year relationship ended, I got pregnant on the rebound. I called my ex and told him I was having a baby with another man because I wanted to hurt him. Apparently it worked -- at least that's what his best friend told me.
Now that a few months have passed, I ran into him and all those loving feelings I had for him came rushing back. Should I tell him? The father of this baby is a good-for-nothing deadbeat. He wants to be father-of-the-year without helping me financially.
What should I do about my feelings for my ex, and what should I do about the father of my baby? -- CAN'T DECIDE IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR CAN'T DECIDE: It is time for you to grow up and accept responsibility for the situation you're in right now. Your behavior has been immature and irresponsible. The child you're carrying is going to need someone who can provide for him or her financially and emotionally.
Because you have feelings for your ex, contact him and let him know, but don't count on him wanting to reconcile. Then you should also contact a lawyer about ensuring that "Babydaddy" lives up to his financial responsibilities.
And in the future, when you decide to have sex with someone, recognize there could be consequences and use birth control. Every time!
Last Edit: February 05, 2014, 05:23:36 PM by Crafty_Dog
Reply #38 on:
April 27, 2014, 05:37:24 PM »
I confess this one got to me.
The Crisis in Fatherhood
Reply #39 on:
June 25, 2015, 09:27:25 PM »
As we approach Father's Day, it may be useful for us to reflect on what's happened to fatherhood, and indeed male identity in America.
Some would argue that America is rapidly becoming a fatherless society, or perhaps more accurately, an absentee father society. The importance and influence of fathers in families has been in significant decline since the Industrial Revolution and is now reaching critical proportions. The near-total absence of male role models has ripped a hole the size of half the population in many urban areas. For example, in Baltimore, only 38 percent of families have two parents, and in St. Louis the portion is 40 percent.
Across time and cultures, fathers have always been considered essential—and not just for their sperm. Indeed, no known society ever thought of fathers as potentially unnecessary. Marriage and the nuclear family—mother, father, and children—are the most universal social institutions in existence. In no society has the birth of children out of wedlock been the cultural norm. To the contrary, concern for the legitimacy of children is nearly universal.
As Alexander Mitscherlich argues in Society Without A Father (link is external), there has been a "progressive loss of the father's authority and diminution of his power in the family and over the family."
"If present trends continue, writes David Popenoe (link is external), a professor of sociology at Rutgers University, "the percentage of American children living apart from their biological fathers will reach 50% by the next century." He argues "this massive erosion of fatherhood contributes mightily to many of the major social problems of our time...Fatherless children have a risk factor of two to three times that of fathered children for a wide range of negative outcomes, including dropping out of high school, giving birth as a teenager and becoming a juvenile delinquent."
According to David Blankenhorn, author of Fatherless America, (link is external) chair of the National Fatherhood Initiative and founder/president of the Institute for American Values, organization, and research conducted by Popenoe and scores of other researchers:
Approximately 30% of all American children are born into single-parent homes, and for the black community, that figure is 68%;
Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, suicide, poor educational performance, teen pregnancy, and criminality, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics.
Over half of all children living with a single mother are living in poverty, a rate 5 to 6 times that of kids living with both parents;
Child abuse is significantly more likely to occur in single parent homes than in intact families;
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes according to the U.S. Bureau of the Census;
72% of adolescent murderers grew up without fathers. 60% of America's rapists grew up the same way according to a study by D. Cornell (et al.), in Behavioral Sciences and the Law;
63% of 1500 CEOs and human resource directors said it was not reasonable for a father to take a leave after the birth of a child;
71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes according to the National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools;
80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes according to a report in Criminal Justice & Behavior;
In single-mother families in the U.S. about 66% of young children live in poverty;
90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes;
Children from low-income, two-parent families outperform students from high-income, single-parent homes. Almost twice as many high achievers come from two-parent homes as one-parent homes according to a study by the Charles F. Kettering Foundation.
85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes according to a study by the Center for Disease Control;
Of all violent crimes against women committed by intimates about 65% were committed by either boy-friends or ex-husbands, compared with 9 % by husbands;
Girls living with non-natal fathers (boyfriends and stepfathers) are at higher risk for sexual abuse than girls living with natal fathers;
Daughters of single mothers are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 111% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a premarital birth and 92% more likely to dissolve their own marriages.
A large survey conducted in the late 1980s found that about 20% of divorced fathers had not seen his children in the past year, and that fewer than 50% saw their children more than a few times a year.
Juvenile crime, the majority of which is committed by males, has increased six-fold since 1992;
In a longitudinal study of 1,197 fourth-grade students, researchers observed "greater levels of aggression in boys from mother-only households than from boys in mother-father households," according to a study published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.
The Scholastic Aptitude Test scores have declined more than 70 points in the past two decades; children in single-parent families tend to score lower on standardized tests and to receive lower grades in school according to a Congressional Research Service Report.
Blankenhorn argues that America is facing not just the loss of fathers, but also the erosion of the ideal of fatherhood. Few people doubt the fundamental importance of mothers, Popenoe comments, but increasingly the question of whether fathers are really necessary is being raised and said by many to be a merely a social role that others-mothers, partners, stepfathers, uncles and aunts, and grandparents can play.
"The scale of marital breakdowns in the West since 1960 has no historical precedent that I know of," says Lawrence Tone, a noted Princeton University family historian, "There has been nothing like it for the last 2,000 years, and probably longer." Consider what has happened to children. Most estimates are that only about 50% of the children born during the 1970-84 "baby bust" period will still live with their natural parents by age 17-a staggering drop from nearly 80%.
Despite current interest in father involvement in families, an extremely large proportion of family research focuses on mothers and children. Health care agencies and other organizations exclude fathers, often unwittingly. Starting with pregnancy and labor and delivery most appointments are set up for mothers and held at times when fathers work.
The same is true for most pediatric visits. School records and files in family service organizations often have the child's and mother's name on the label, and not the father's. In most family agency buildings, the walls are typically pastel colors, the pictures on the wall are of mothers, flowers and babies, the magazines in the waiting room are for women and the staff is predominantly female. In most welfare offices, fathers are not invited to case planning meetings, and when a home visitor is greeted at the door by a man, she often asks to speak with the mother. Given these scenarios, fathers are likely to get the message that they are invisible or irrelevant to their children's welfare, unless it involves financial support.
Popenoe and others have examined the role of fathers in raising children and found there are significant differences than that for mothers. For example, an often-overlooked dimension of fathering is play. From their children's birth through adolescence, fathers tend to emphasize play more than caretaking. The play is both physically stimulating and exciting. It frequently resembles an apprenticeship or teaching relationships, and emphasizes often teamwork and competitive testing of abilities. The way fathers play affects everything from the management of emotions to intelligence and academic achievement. It is particularly important in promoting the essential virtue of self-control.
A committee assembled by the Board of Children and Families of the National Research Council, concluded "children learn critical lessons about how to recognize and deal with highly charged emotions in the content of playing with their fathers. Fathers, in effect, give children practice in regulating their own emotions and recognizing others' emotional clues."
At play and in other realms, fathers tend to stress competition, challenge, initiative, risk taking and independence. Mothers, as caretakers, stress emotional security and personal safety. Father's involvement seems to be linked to improved quantitative and verbal skills, improved problem-solving ability and higher academic achievement for children. Men also have a vital role to play in promoting cooperation and other "soft" virtues. Involved fathers, it turns out according to one 26 year longitudinal research study may be of special importance for the development of empathy in children.
Family life-marriage and child rearing-is a civilizing force for men. It encourages them to develop prudence, cooperativeness, honesty, trust, self-sacrifice and other habits that can lead to success as an economic provider by setting a good example.
Mark Finn and Karen Henwood, writing about the issue of masculinity and fatherhood, in the British Journal of Social Psychology, argue that the traditional view of masculinity, with its focus on power, aggression, economic security, and "maleness", and the emerging new view of fatherhood, which incorporates many aspects of motherhood is a source of struggle for many men who become fathers.
In a study of fatherhood in popular TV sitcoms, Timothy Allen Pehlke and his colleagues concluded that fathers are generally shown to be relatively immature, unhelpful and incapable of taking care of themselves in comparison with other family members. In addition, the researchers found that fathers often served as the butt of family members' jokes. All of these characterizations, while the intention may be humor, depicted fathers as being socially incompetent and objects of derision.
In a study of depictions of fathers in the best selling children's picture books, researcher Suzanne M. Flannery Quinn concluded that of the 200 books analyzed, there were only 24 books where the father appears alone, and only 35 books where mother and father appear together. The author concludes, "because fathers are not present or prominent in a large number of these books, readers are given only a narrow set of images and ideas from which they can construct an understanding of the cultural expectations of fatherhood and what I means to be a father."
It seems to me that the issue of the decline of fatherhood and the problem of the male identity crisis are inextricably intertwined.
In my Psychology Today article, "Our male identity crisis: What will happen to men?" I said, "In a post-modern world lacking clear-cut borders and distinctions, it has been difficult to know what it means to be a man and even harder to feel good about being one. The many boundaries of a gendered world built around the opposition of work and family-production versus reproduction, competition versus cooperation, hard vs. soft-have been blurred, and men are groping in the dark for their identity."
Overwhelmingly, the portrayal of men and the male identity in contemporary western societies is mostly negative. Men today are extensively demonized, marginalized and objectified, in a way reminiscent of what happened to women. The issue of the male identity is of crucial importance because males are falling behind in school, committing more suicides and crimes, dying younger and being treated for conditions such as ADHD more than females.
There has also been a loss of fatherhood in society as artificial insemination by anonymous donors is on the rise. Further, medical experiments have shown that male sperm can now be grown artificially in a laboratory. There has been a rise in divorce rates where in most cases, child custody is granted to mothers. Continuous negative portrayal of men in the media, along with the feminization of men and loss of fatherhood in society, has caused confusion and frustration in younger generation males, as they do not have a specific role model and are less able to define their role in society.
From once being seen as successful breadwinners, heads of families and being respected leaders, men today are the butt of jokes in the popular media. A Canadian research group, Nathanson and Young, conducted research on the changing role of men and media and concluded that widely popular TV programs such as The Simpsons present the father character, Homer, as lazy, chauvinistic, irresponsible, and stupid and his son, Bart, as mischievous, rude and cruel to his sister. By comparison, the mother and daughter are presented as thoughtful, considerate and mild-natured. The majority of TV shows and advertisements present men as stupid buffoons, or aggressive evil tyrants or insensitive and shallow "studs" for women's pleasure.
According to J.R. Macnamara, in the book, Media (link is external)and the Male Identity: The Making and Remaking of Men (link is external), less than 20% of media profiles reflected positive themes for men. Violent crimes, including murder, assault, and armed robberies accounted for over 55% of all media reporting of male activities. Macnamara says that over 30% of all discussion in the media of male sexuality was in relation to pedophilia, and males' heterosexuality associated with masculinity is seen as violent, aggressive and dominating. Men are frequently shown in TV shows and movies as lacking in commitment in relationships and are shown as frequently cheating on women. And with increasing frequency, women are shown on TV shows and movies as being independent single mothers, not needing a man.
Guy Garcia, author of The Decline of Men: How The American Male is Tuning Out, Giving Up and Flipping Off His Future, (link is external) argues that many men bemoan a "fragmentation of male identity," in which husbands are asked to take on unaccustomed familial roles such as child care and housework, while wives bring in the bigger paychecks. "Women really have become the dominant gender," says Garcia, "what concerns me is that guys are rapidly falling behind. Women are becoming better educated than men, earning more than men, and, generally speaking, not needing men at all. Meanwhile, as a group, men are losing their way."
"The crisis of fatherhood, then is ultimately a cultural crisis, a sharp decline in the traditional sense of communal responsibly, " contends Popenoe; "It therefore follows that to rescue the rescue the endangered institution of fatherhood, we must regain our sense of community."
Beyond that, fathers—men—bring an array of unique and irreplaceable qualities that women do not ordinarily bring. Some of these are familiar, if sometimes overlooked or taken for granted. The father as protector, for example, has by no means outlived his usefulness. And he is important as a role model. Teenage boys without fathers are notoriously prone to trouble. The pathway to adulthood for daughters is somewhat easier, but they still must learn from their fathers, as they cannot from their mothers, how to relate to men. They learn from their fathers about heterosexual trust, intimacy, and difference. They learn to appreciate their own femininity from the one male who is most special in their lives (assuming that they love and respect their fathers). Most important, through loving and being loved by their fathers, they learn that they are worthy of love.
Recent research has given us much deeper—and more surprising—insights into the father’s role in child rearing. It shows that in almost all of their interactions with children, fathers do things a little differently from mothers. What fathers do—their special parenting style—is not only highly complementary to what mothers do but is by all indications important in its own right.
For example, an often-overlooked dimension of fathering is play. From their children’s birth through adolescence, fathers tend to emphasize play more than caretaking. This may be troubling to egalitarian feminists, and it would indeed be wise for most fathers to spend more time in caretaking. Yet the fathers’ style of play seems to have unusual significance. It is likely to be both physically stimulating and exciting. With older children it involves more physical games and teamwork that require the competitive testing of physical and mental skills. It frequently resembles an apprenticeship or teaching relationship: Come on, let me show you how.
The way fathers play affects everything from the management of emotions to intelligence and academic achievement. It is particularly important in promoting the essential virtue of self-control. According to one expert, “Children who roughhouse with their fathers . . . usually quickly learn that biting, kicking, and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable.” They learn when enough is enough.
Children, a committee assembled by the Board on Children and Families of the National Research Council concluded, “learn critical lessons about how to recognize and deal with highly charged emotions in the context of playing with their fathers. Fathers, in effect, give children practice in regulating their own emotions and recognizing others’ emotional clues.” A study of convicted murderers in Texas found that 90 percent of them either didn’t play as children or played abnormally.
So as we annually celebrate Father's Day, and reflect on it's importance to social stability, more men in our culture need to find their male identity and commit to the central importance of fatherhood.
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