Tag Archives | Children

Religious Children are Meaner

See, Sunday School just makes kids meaner! From the Guardian:

Children from religious families are less kind and more punitive than those from non-religious households, according to a new study.

Sunday school

Academics from seven universities across the world studied Christian, Muslim and non-religious children to test the relationship between religion and morality.

They found that religious belief is a negative influence on children’s altruism.

“Overall, our findings … contradict the commonsense and popular assumption that children from religious households are more altruistic and kind towards others,” said the authors of The Negative Association Between Religiousness and Children’s Altruism Across the World, published this week in Current Biology.

“More generally, they call into question whether religion is vital for moral development, supporting the idea that secularisation of moral discourse will not reduce human kindness – in fact, it will do just the opposite.”

Almost 1,200 children, aged between five and 12, in the US, Canada, China, Jordan, Turkey and South Africa participated in the study.

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Adults Are the Problem

children's day
Marian Wright Edelman writes at the Children’s Defense Fund:

It is time for adults of every race and income group to break our silence about the pervasive breakdown of moral, family, and community values, to place our children first in our lives, and to struggle to model the behavior we want our children to learn. School children don’t need one more “Officer Slam” as some students referred to the White South Carolina school resource officer who this week shamed the nation with his violent ejection of a 16-year-old Black female student from her classroom for a nonviolent offense. A very welcome counter narrative took place when a White female police officer in Washington, D.C. after diffusing a potentially volatile conflict between two groups of Black teens, then charmed with a “dance off” a defiant teen-age girl who had refused to leave.

Any parent who has gone through the challenges of adolescence could only admire the quick thinking and agile footwork of the D.C.

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People Are Getting Shot by Toddlers on a Weekly Basis This Year

Screen Shot 2015-10-20 at 12.44.52 PM

Christopher Ingraham writes at the Washington Post:

This week a 2-year-old in South Carolina found a gun in the back seat of the car he was riding in and accidentally shot his grandmother, who was sitting in the passenger seat. This type of thing happens from time to time: A little kid finds a gun, fires it, and hurts or kills himself or someone else. These cases rarely bubble up to the national level except when someone, like a parent, ends up dead.

But cases like this happen a lot more frequently than you might think. After spending a few hours sifting through news reports, I’ve found at least 43 instances this year of somebody being shot by a toddler 3 or younger. In 31 of those 43 cases, a toddler found a gun and shot himself or herself.

In August, for instance, a 21-month-old in the St.

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Let’s Get “Kids Out of Cages”


We here at Free Radical Media recently interviewed anarchist activist John Carico, and would like to share an anti-incarceration action he is helping to organize for Mayday 2016.

Here is an article from John discussing Kids Out of Cages, via The Fifth Column:

“Why are we against prison? Because what goes on behind those walls does anything but rehabilitate people.

In solidarity with victims of police brutality, we fight a judicial system that oppresses us all, but especially targets people of color, women, LGBTQ people. gender non-conforming people, and members of other marginalized groups, at every point of contact, from being pulled over for a broken taillight to being beaten up and thrown in solitary for daring to speak out.

The fact that our children are being oppressed and exploited in this same way, and subjected to the same brutal and inhumane conditions as offenders in adult prisons, is unacceptable.… Read the rest

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Children in Some Communities Have Higher Rates of PTSD than Veterans

india sad
Emily Watson writes at Alternet:

In his 22 years of teaching high school English to East Oakland’s teenagers, Jeff Duncan-Andrade has witnessed kids and their families struggle through all kinds of trauma. He has seen how the constant, unrelenting stress – what researchers are now calling toxic stress – that comes from housing, employment and food insecurity, as well as continued violence in the neighborhood, visits a punishing impact on students and how they learn.

These experiences led Duncan-Andrade, some years ago, to begin looking for ways to better support students and their families — to show students they were valuable members of a community and worthy beyond their test scores. Buoyed by the belief that it is essential to provide kids with the most basic supports (food, shelter, safety) before they can learn, in early August Duncan-Andrade opened the doors of the Roses in Concrete Community School, incorporating his philosophy of involving parents and families to lift up the whole community.

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Pope Calls on World Youth to Rise Up Against Global Capitalism

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Lauren McCauley’s posts here.

The latest call for a youth uprising against global capitalism came not from grassroots groups, but from the leader of the Catholic Church, who on Sunday gave a rousing speech during which he told a crowd of young people in Paraguay that it is their time to “make a mess.”

The address marked the end of Pope Francis’ week-long pilgrimage to Latin America, during which he also assailed the prevailing economic system as the “dung of the devil,” saying that the systemic “greed for money” is a “subtle dictatorship” that “condemns and enslaves men and women.”

During Sunday’s rally, which was held on the banks of the Paraguay River outside the capital Asunción, the Argentinian pontiff went off-script as he addressed tens of thousands of local youth.

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Study Shows Suicides Among Black Children Rise as Rates for Whites Drop

Don Gunn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Don Gunn (CC BY-ND 2.0)

A recent study published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, has found that suicide rates among black children have nearly doubled over the last two decades. Whereas the suicide rates of white children has dropped. The study focused on children aged 5-11 in the US.

Liz Fields writes at Vice:

The study, published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, highlights a surprising trend and “potential racial disparity that warrants attention,” researchers said of the the findings.

While overall suicide rates remained steady among 5-11 year-olds during the 19-year-study, conducted from 1993 to 2012, suicide rates among black children in this age group jumped from 1.36 to 2.54 per one million children, while white suicide rates in the group dropped from 1.14 to 0.77 per 1 million children, according to the study.

The researchers noted that for children aged between 5-11, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death.

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The Ethics of Having Children: Deontological Arguments

parents and children

This was originally published on Philosophical Disquisitions.

The having and begetting of children is central to human life. For many, it is a natural and unqualified good. The belief that your life is somehow incomplete or inferior if you do not have children persists in many cultures. Most people never question whether it is ethical to have children. But when you think about it this is pretty odd. A child is a sentient being who is highly dependent on the care of other human beings (typically its biological parents). So if you do have children, you are voluntarily taking on a significant moral responsibility and entrusting into your care a being capable of suffering great moral harms. This is not something to be taken lightly.

Consequently, it seems legitimate to ask the question: is it (morally) right to have children? In other words, is the having and begetting of children morally permissible, impermissible, obligatory or supererogatory?… Read the rest

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Treating Child Refugees as National Security Threats

Takver (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Takver (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Laura Carlsen writes at CounterPunch:

Mexico City.

When the crisis of unaccompanied minors migrating to the United States burst onto the front pages last summer, it seemed at last the U.S. government would come to grips with its legacy of disaster amid the current havoc in Central America.

The United Nations documented that most of the children were fleeing violence — violence caused in part by the failure to restore constitutional order following the Honduran coup of 2009 and the unfinished peace processes after the dirty wars in El Salvador and Guatemala, where Washington propped up right-wing dictatorships for years.

The governments of those three countries — known as the Northern Triangle — certainly share some of the blame for the mass exodus, which is not as new or unprecedented as the press made out when it sounded the alarm.

But in the end, the problem isn’t one of assigning blame, but rather helping children in conditions of extreme vulnerability, right?

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How to Discipline Your Children without Rewards or Punishment

Discipline is necessary for children, but we need to teach them to self-discipline, not bribe them to be good. Emiliano, CC BY-SA

Discipline is necessary for children, but we need to teach them to self-discipline, not bribe them to be good. Emiliano, CC BY-SA

Might parenting be one of the reasons so many people grow up to be obedient worker/consumer/sheeple?  Rebecca English writes at the Conversation.

Rebecca English, Queensland University of Technology

Many parents are moving towards “gentle parenting”, where they choose not to use rewards (sticker charts, lollies, chocolates, TV time as “bribes”) and punishments (taking away “privileges”, time-out, smacking) to encourage good behaviour, but encourage good behaviour for the sake of doing the right thing.

Gentle parents argue that to offer rewards and punishments overrides a child’s natural inclination towards appropriate behaviour by teaching them to behave in certain ways purely to receive a reward, or to avoid punishment.

What is discipline?

For most people it would seem impossible to discipline without rewards and punishments. However, it depends on your understanding of “discipline”.

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