Tag Archives | Parenting

Why Rich Parents Don’t Matter

Annie& Daddy WarbucksInteresting article from Jonah Lehrer in the Wall Street Journal:

How much do the decisions of parents matter? Most parents believe that even the most mundane acts of parenting — from their choice of day care to their policy on videogames — can profoundly influence the success of their children. Kids are like wet clay, in this view, and we are the sculptors.

Yet in tests measuring many traits, from intelligence to self-control, the power of the home environment pales in comparison to the power of genes and peer groups. We may think we’re sculptors, but the clay is mostly set.

A new paper suggests that both metaphors can be true. Which one is relevant depends, it turns out, on the economic status of families.

For a paper in Psychological Science, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Virginia looked at 750 pairs of American twins who were given a test of mental ability at the age of 10 months and then again at the age of 2.

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Gov’t D.A.R.E. Program Causes Kid to Narc on Parents & Send Them to Jail

D.A.R.E.Jeff Rivenbark reports on WBTV:
MATTHEWS, NC — Two parents are facing drug charges after their child took their drugs to school and told a school officer his parents were breaking the law. The 11-year-old student is in 5th grade at a an elementary school in Matthews. Police say he brought his parents' marijuana cigarettes to school when he reported them. Matthews Police say he reported his parents after a lesson about marijuana was delivered by a police officer who is part of the D.A.R.E. program, which teaches kids about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. "Even if it's happening in their own home with their own parents, they understand that's a dangerous situation because of what we're teaching them," said Matthews Officer Stason Tyrrell. That's what they're told to do, to make us aware."
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Are Parents Less Loving Towards Fat Children?

obese-kidIn a nation suffering from a childhood obesity epidemic, this is bad news for the youth of the future: whether or not they intend to be, parents are meaner to their overweight children. TIME writes:

It’s no secret that overweight kids are typically not the most popular kids on the block. Nor is it news that kids can be mean, forming groups of “haves” and “have-nots,” gossiping, ostracizing their chunky classmates.

You’d think that home would be a safe haven for them, but a new study in the journal Obesity reveals that even parents can come down hard on their heftier offspring.

Researchers at the University of North Texas in Denton have found that parents may be less likely to chip in and help their overweight kid buy a car. “No one is going to be surprised that society discriminates against the overweight, but I think it is surprising that it can come from your parents,” researcher Adriel Boals told Reuters.

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92 Percent of American Babies Are Online With A Social Networking Presence

This just doesn’t seem right. The article gives stats for 10 Western countries, and no surprise that the U.S is #1 in parents putting their babies online. (I don’t expect there are many mutant super-genius babies creating their own profiles, but I haven’t been in the loop on what DARPA is up to these days…) Via CNN:
Babies on Facebook

Children can’t change their DNA, and now it seems they’re inheriting another permanent feature from their families — an online presence.

Thanks to the ubiquity of photo-sharing websites like Facebook, 82 percent of children in 10 Western countries have a digital footprint before the age of 2, according to a study by internet security firm AVG.

The U.S. led, with 92 percent of American children under 2 appearing in online pictures, the report said.

New Zealand was a close second with 91 percent, followed by Canada and Australia with 84 percent. The study also covered the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

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Government Seizes Newborn Baby Over Political Beliefs Of Parents

irishdocPaul Joseph Watson for PrisonPlanet:
A newborn baby was ripped from its mother’s arms by officials from the New Hampshire Division of Family Child Services accompanied by police after authorities cited the parents’ association with the Oath Keepers organization as one of the primary reasons for the snatch, heralding a shocking new level of persecution where Americans’ political beliefs are now being used by the state to kidnap children.
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I Love My Children — I Hate My Life

Photo: Jessica Todd Harper

Photo: Jessica Todd Harper

Jennifer Senior writes in New York magazine:

There was a day a few weeks ago when I found my 2½-year-old son sitting on our building doorstep, waiting for me to come home. He spotted me as I was rounding the corner, and the scene that followed was one of inexpressible loveliness, right out of the movie I’d played to myself before actually having a child, with him popping out of his babysitter’s arms and barreling down the street to greet me.

This happy moment, though, was about to be cut short, and in retrospect felt more like a tranquil lull in a slasher film. When I opened our apartment door, I discovered that my son had broken part of the wooden parking garage I’d spent about an hour assembling that morning.

This wouldn’t have been a problem per se, except that as I attempted to fix it, he grew impatient and began throwing its various parts at the walls, with one plank very narrowly missing my eye.

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Earth Day: Save The Planet By Not Having Children?

With Earth Day 2010 on this 22nd of April, I wonder how much the Green movement and the greater media at large will debate this opinion from Lisa Hymas on Grist:
Starchild

In 1969, graduating college senior Stephanie Mills made national headlines with a commencement address exclaiming that, in the face of impending ecological devastation, she was choosing to forgo parenthood. “I am terribly saddened by the fact that the most humane thing for me to do is to have no children at all,” she told her classmates.

I come here before you today to make the same proclamation — with a twist. I am thoroughly delighted by the fact that the most humane thing for me to do is to have no children at all.

Making the green choice too often feels like a sacrifice or a hassle or an expense. In this case, it feels like a luxurious indulgence that just so happens to cost a lot less for me and weigh a lot less on the carbon-bloated atmosphere.

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Bill Ayers On Radical Parenting

Bill Ayers. Photo: Supercomputer12 (CC)

Bill Ayers. Photo: Supercomputer12 (CC)

Pirate Papa interviews Bill Ayers, Professor at the University of Illinois and former member of the infamous Weather Underground:

PP: As a father, what were your personal reasons for having kids and how did this decision alter or reinforce your political ideals?

BA: Reason isn’t the exact register. Passion, desire, ecstasy, exuberance, awe…But raising these children was the best thing we’ve ever done, the least conflicted and the purest, the most astonishing and energizing, surprising and humanizing (followed by the experience of caring for our elderly and finally dying parents in our home for many years after our kids had left home).

PP: What were those last few years like living underground with kids? What were some of the ways this affected your family? I would imagine you had strict guidelines that all parties had to live by, structured fictions to deliver under certain circumstances?

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The Evolutionary Cost of Being Extremely Sexy

DeadSexyAnnalee Newitz writes on io9.com:
It's a classic tale of how mediocrity is maintained. Evolutionary biologists in California have discovered that when males shower attractive females with attention, it actually undermines those females' fitness as mothers. That means fit females don't pass their genes on. Today PLoS Biology published a study of fruit flies, a species where the male flies show a marked preference for mating with larger females because they are more fecund. The problem is that the males show such aggressive preferences that they basically badger the females constantly to mate. What this means is that the females are so harried that they have less time to search for food, which degrades their health. Also, among fruit flies, the mating process is itself damaging to the health of the females — fruit fly sperm is toxic. As a result, the most-desired females become far less capable of generating healthy offspring. And the smaller, less fit females wind up bearing as many offspring as the fitter ones. In the end, the males' aggressive mating with the fittest females ends up preventing their species from evolving into a much fitter group...
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