Tag Archives | Parenting

Baby Drop-Off Boxes Spread Across Europe

The BBC on a burgeoning recession-era parenting technique — towns provide a box in which struggling parents may stick babies they are incapable of caring for:

Boxes where parents can leave an unwanted baby, common in medieval Europe, have been making a comeback over the last 10 years. Supporters say a heated box, monitored by nurses, is better for babies than abandonment on the street – but the UN says it violates the rights of the child.

There is a stainless steel hatch with a handle. Pull that hatch open and there are neatly folded blankets for a baby. The warmth is safe and reassuring. There is a letter, too, telling you whom to call if you change your mind.

Critics say that baby boxes are a throwback to the past when the medieval church had what were called “foundling wheels” – round windows through which unwanted babies could be passed.

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Can Feminists Be Good Mothers?

Via ScienceDaily:

What kind of mothers do feminists make? According to a new study by Miriam Liss and Mindy Erchull, from the University of Mary Washington in the US, feminist mothers endorse the importance of the time-intensive, hands-on parenting practices associated with attachment parenting — a child-centric parenting technique in which children’s needs are ideally met on the child’s schedule rather than the parent’s. Their work is published online in Springer’s journal Sex Roles.

Feminists are often portrayed in the media as anti-family and anti-motherhood and the stereotypical assumption that feminists are uninterested in caring for children has contributed to the backlash against the feminist movement.

Liss and Erchull looked at whether attachment parenting practices, specifically, are endorsed by feminist women to help sharpen the conversation about whether or not attachment parenting is actually an empowering or an oppressive way to parent. They were also interested in whether stereotypes about feminist parenting matched the reality…

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It Is Now Possible To Decode An Unborn Baby’s DNA

Writes Bonnie Rochman on TIME:

Researchers at the University of Washington have sequenced the entire genome of a fetus. The scientific advance could help detect certain diseases in the womb, but some experts worry that the trove of genetic information may prove more scary and overwhelming than useful.

Suspended in the blood of a pregnant woman — along with some added information from a dad-to-be’s saliva — lurks enough fetal DNA to map out an unborn baby’s entire genetic blueprint.

It may sound like something conjured by Jules Verne, but it happened at the University of Washington: a professor and his graduate student used DNA samples from the parents of a baby boy who was still in utero and reconstructed his entire genetic makeup from A to Z.

The account, published in Science Translational Medicine, takes prenatal testing to new heights, promising a motherlode of genetic information about a child who had not even been born — along with a corresponding trove of data that even experts don’t yet know how to interpret…

Read more: TIME

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Is America Autistic?

An interesting article I discovered from Hug the Monkey:
Donna Williams, a self-described "mad, autistic artist"— as well as a teacher, author and consultant — wrote an article for American Chronicle that boldly questions whether our technology-oriented, individualistic society is creating more infants with reactive attachment disorder and autism. She writes,
Is possible that we’re living in an age where some pregnant mothers being so busy with cerebral, passive interactions with technology and its related increase in time use that they don’t have the range of movements, emotional experience, that it’d be conceivable some don’t develop the same full prenatal bonding with their child that may have been more common before the '80s and '90s?
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Thirty-Five-Hour Work-Week Recommended for Parents

ParentingRaising children isn’t considered work, of course. Via ScienceDaily:

Swedish mothers of small children work a lot more now than in the 1970s. This is an important reason why so many parents feel extremely pressured for time. One way to handle the stress is to take advantage of the right for Swedish parents to work half time, according to a new doctoral thesis from the University of Gothenburg. The author of the thesis Jörgen Larsson suggests shorter workweeks for parents.

Jörgen Larsson’s doctoral thesis is based on the observation that parents of small children are in the middle of the most hectic part of their lives. One major reason behind the time pressure is that parents work more hours than in the past. The total paid work time for mothers and fathers of small children has increased by an average of 10 hours per week since the 1970s.

The study, which is based on statistical analysis of 20,000 parents and interviews with 19 fathers, explores parents’ temporal welfare.

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Homophobes Likely Repress Same-Sex Feelings, Prejudice May Stem From Authoritarian Parents

Pride FlagPeople who greatly fear homosexuality are likely to have experienced an attraction to a member of the same sex, according to a new study presented in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. As Jeanna Bryner reports on LiveScience:
Homophobes should consider a little self-reflection, suggests a new study finding those individuals who are most hostile toward gays and hold strong anti-gay views may themselves have same-sex desires, albeit undercover ones. The prejudice of homophobia may also stem from authoritarian parents, particularly those with homophobic views as well, the researchers added. "This study shows that if you are feeling that kind of visceral reaction to an out-group, ask yourself, 'Why?'" co-author Richard Ryan, a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, said in a statement. "Those intense emotions should serve as a call to self-reflection."
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‘My Real Mother is a Green Alien’ Claims Labour Politician

Simon ParkesVia the Northern Echo:
A Labour politician has stunned his town council colleagues by claiming his “real mother” is a 9ft green alien with eight fingers. Councillor Simon Parkes, who was elected to represent Stakesby ward on Whitby Town Council last month, said although he has had hundreds of close encounters with extra-terrestrials, it will not interfere with his mission to help residents at the seaside resort. Speaking on YouTube, Coun Parkes said he first saw an alien at the age of eight months, when “a traditional kite-shaped face”, with huge eyes, tiny nostrils and a thin mouth appeared over his cot. He said: “Two green stick things came in. I was aware of some movement over my head. I thought, ‘they’re not mummy’s hands, mummy’s hands are pink’.”
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Some Atheist Scientists With Children Embrace Religious Traditions

Flying Spaghetti MonsterVia ScienceDaily:

Some atheist scientists with children embrace religious traditions for social and personal reasons, according to research from Rice University and the University at Buffalo — The State University of New York (SUNY).

The study also found that some atheist scientists want their children to know about different religions so their children can make informed decisions about their own religious preferences.

“Our research shows just how tightly linked religion and family are in U.S. society — so much so that even some of society’s least religious people find religion to be important in their private lives,” said Rice sociologist Elaine Howard Ecklund, the study’s principal investigator and co-author of a paper in the December issue of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

The researchers found that 17 percent of atheists with children attended a religious service more than once in the past year. The research was conducted through interviews with a scientifically selected sample of 275 participants pulled from a survey of 2,198 tenured and tenure-track faculty in the natural and social sciences at 21 elite U.S.

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Parents Using Facebook to Trade Viruses In the Mail to Infect Their Children

Chicken Pox PartyRight, because you're "afraid" of vaccines, let's deliberately put pathogens in the mail. Reports KPHO CBS 5 News:
PHOENIX — Doctors and medical experts are concerned about a new trend taking place on Facebook. Parents are trading live viruses through the mail in order to infect their children. The Facebook group is called "Find a Pox Party in Your Area." According to the group's page, it is geared toward "parents who want their children to obtain natural immunity for the chicken pox." On the page, parents post where they live and ask if anyone with a child who has the chicken pox would be willing to send saliva, infected lollipops or clothing through the mail. Parents also use the page to set up play dates with children who currently have chicken pox. Medical experts say the most troubling part of this is parents are taking pathogens from complete strangers and deliberately infecting their children.
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Mother Bear Kills Cub and Itself to Escape ‘Crush Cage’ Torture for ‘Bear Bile’

Bear Crush Cage

Photo: SlimVirgin (CC)

AsiaOne reports:

The Chinese media has reported on an extraordinary account of a mother bear saving her cub from a life of torture by strangling it and then killing itself. The bears were kept in a farm located in a remote area in the North-West of China. The bears on the farm had their gall bladders milked daily for ‘bear bile,’ which is used as a remedy in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

It was reported that the bears are kept in tiny cages known as ‘crush cages’, as the bears have no room to manoeuvre and are literally crushed. The bile is harvested by making a permanent hole or fistula in the bears’ abdomen and gall bladder.

As the hole is never closed, the animals are suspect to various infections and diseases including tumours, cancers and death from peritonitis. The bears are fitted with an iron vest, as they often try to kill themselves by hitting their stomach as they are unable to bear the pain.A person who was on the farm in place of a friend witnessed the procedures and told Reminbao.com that they were inhumane.

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