Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos. Don’t forget to recommend us!

Good morning fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back after a week sans kids with your weekly parenting news update. Here are some topics we recently discussed at MotherTalkers:

In case you missed it, Pastor Dan and his wife Jen officially became parents! Check out their adorable family photo.

Have you or your partner taken parenting classes? According to a recent study by the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, classes that teach “positive parenting” techniques as seen from the Supernanny don’t decrease parental stress levels, but can result in a decrease in “harsh” or “abusive” parenting. Our Rachel had the scoop. In somewhat related news, I asked for advice on how to apply timeouts. When Eli hits or is especially defiant, we give her timeouts in this well-lit half bathroom. According to the experts, this is a bad place because she will have a bad association with the bathroom.

As for the teenage discipline corner, what would you do if your teen racked up a $4,756 cell phone bill? This happened to a father in Maryland and he ended up destroying the phone with a hammer. While I don’t blame him, surely this could have been avoided with some ground rules. What are your rules regarding teenagers and cell phone use? How do you punish your teen in general?

In celebrity gossip break — I am sorry, but this is what this has become — we had a long discussion about Bristol Palin’s new role as national spokeswoman against teen pregnancy. It seems like this girl has a tightrope to walk in that it would be crass for her to call her son a “mistake,” but also maintain her family’s good name. That is a lot of pressure. Why do you think she is doing it?

In much lighter news, we discussed the alleged affair of reality TV star and father of eight Jon Gosselin, which was splashed on the cover of US Magazine. Wait a minute. How did that thing make it into my hands? Help! :)

Happy Mother’s Day all! In case you missed it, the non-profit organization MomsRising had this awesome video that could be customized for your favorite moms. Definitely check it out!

How are you? What is on your mind?

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Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Good morning fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Here are some topics we recently discussed at MotherTalkers:

I can’t believe I am saying this at 32, but I am getting old, people. The other day I took Ari to one of those traveling carnivals and realized I could not ride a single thing without getting sick. What’s up with that?

We discussed a Washington Post story on what to do in the event a divorced couple disagrees on the health care of their children. For example, what should the mother do if dad is not onboard with junior taking psychiatric medication? You can view that discussion here.

Our Dana over at the lesbian mom site, Mombian, covered a study showing that many prospective adoptive couples don’t care about the gender of their children but gay men were most likely to have a preference and heterosexual men were least likely to have one. Whether you adopted or had biological children, did you have a preference?

Here is another off-the-wall science story linking divorce to whether or not the person smiled in childhood photos. Of course, many of us — moi included — checked out our childhood photos to see if there was any truth to it. Weird, huh?

One of our adoptive moms, “brave,” had an excellent story on a Malawian court’s rejection of Madonna’s application. Brave wrote about why organizations like Save the Children who are opposed to the adoption are wrong.

iVillage had a long discussion on whether it was okay for strangers to reprimand your children. I am very torn on this. Unfortunately, because I had my son at 26 and looked like a teenager, I was prime bait for scolders. While I will accept help from strangers who recognize I am having a tough time with the kids, what I don’t appreciate are personal digs at my parenting. For example, I have had strangers tell me my kid is straying too far and will be kidnapped. This only made me defensive and say, “Mind your own business.” OTOH, if I am at the checkout lane at the supermarket and my kids are running around while I am trying to pay, a little hand rather than a scold would be nice. Have you or your children been reprimanded by strangers? What was your reaction?

How are you this morning?

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Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos. Don’t forget to recommend us! :)

Good morning fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Here are some topics we recently discussed here at MotherTalkers:

Did you have a curfew growing up? What about your kids? We swapped stories and as it turns out many of you were responsible teens who did not have curfews. I was a responsible teen but my parents were convinced every mass murderer in the state of New Hampshire — as if! — were out to get me. So there was no staying out past 10 p.m. until I went away to college.

In somewhat related news, we discussed the controversy surrounding Gov. Sarah Palin’s allowing now ex-son-in-law-to-be Levi Johnston to spend the night with her daughter Bristol. Johnston recently told Tyra Banks that the governor allowed him to spend the night at their home and that he was pretty sure she knew he and Bristol were having sex. We discussed whether we would allow our own children to have co-ed sleepovers.

A disturbing study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine showed that almost 1 in 5 preschool-aged children are obese, a disproportionate number of them American Indian children, according to the Associated Press. Here is a breakdown of the  8,550 kids included in the study, according to AP: “Almost 13 percent of Asian children were obese, along with 16 percent of whites, almost 21 percent of blacks, 22 percent of Hispanics, and 31 percent of American Indians.” We had a lengthy discussion on how poverty and government policies play a role in this disparity.

It is the 10th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings and I have spotted all kinds of articles on it. The ones that most stuck with me were by the mother of victim Daniel Mauser who wrote about the tragedy at Open Salon.

And before I forget, here are some pictures from Eli’s birthday party last week. She turned 2. We celebrated with 50 other people at home, eating Salvadoran pupusas and busting a couple of piñatas. It was fun.

How are you? What else is on your minds?

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Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Good morning fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Here are some topics we recently discussed here at MotherTalkers:

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco recently heard arguments whether millions of women who work or used to work at Wal-Mart can join a class action lawsuit against the retail giant for pay discrimination, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. According to the plaintiffs, Wal-Mart showed a pattern in all 41 regions it serves of paying women, on average, $2,000 per year less than men who held the same positions. Men were also promoted at a greater rate than women, the women’s attorney said.

Just to show you that the unemployed are not the only people lacking health insurance, 1 in 5 U.S. workers currently has no healthcare coverage, according to the Associated Press. In related news, parents here discussed the benefits their companies have slashed to stave off layoffs in light of a news story showing that less working mothers are taking advantage of benefits like flextime in order to keep their jobs.

We had a long discussion about the lack of funding for gifted programs in schools. The conversation was sparked by this Newsweek column, in which a mom griped that there were more resources poured into her special needs son than her gifted daughter. What if her daughter can come up with a cure for autism? Personally, I agreed with those of you who said the purpose of a public education is to make sure everyone is served, not provide a specialized turbo education for a few kids. That said, there were many good suggestions on how to meet the needs of gifted children within a public school classroom. Are any of your children gifted? How are they educated?

For some light reading, check out this blog written by the grandma who was recently called out by the New York Times for being an uninvolved “glam-ma.” Also, check out The Great Zucchini, a wonderful profile in the Washington Post Magazine about a guy who has the unique ability to make preschoolers laugh and makes a six-figure salary doing it.

By the way, I gave in and opened a twitter account. I am still getting the hang of it, but you can follow me at ElisaBatista. Do you tweet? I am actually not a technophile and am still reeling over the Facebook changes. The horror!

What’s up with you?

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Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Good morning fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Here are some topics we recently discussed here at MotherTalkers:

This week we sadly mourned the loss of one of our moms, Janet Carol Lane Eaton, who was known as “Janetle” at both MotherTalkers and Daily Kos. She died of colon cancer at the age of 56.

For those of us fortunate to have known Janet either virtually or offline, she was an attorney by trade who left a job at a law firm to raise two children who are now in their 20s. She was smart, thoughtful and not afraid to hold back on her opinions. She was an inspiration to all of us and will be missed.

We were also shaken by the death of actress Natasha Richardson who died at the age of 45 from a freak skiing accident. She left behind her husband and two teenaged boys. While there is much talk in the media whether a helmet would have saved her, one thing we can all agree on is to hold our children as often as we can and never hold back from our loved ones.

Another topic that dominated the news this week, was the birthrate in the United States. More children were born in 2007 than at any other time in our country’s history, even at the peak of the baby boom 50 years ago. Some of the increase was due to the number of babies born to single, teenaged and Hispanic mothers. About 40 percent of those births were to single moms, again, more than at any other time in our history. But analysts expect less people to have children now that we are in a recession.

Also, in case you missed it, Eric Carle’s famous book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, is 40 years old. Newsweek had a story about the author, who is now 80-years-old and living in Key West, Florida. Anyways, La Oruga Muy Hambrienta, Colores and Oso pardo, oso pardo, ¿qué ves ahí? are three of my children’s favorite books. I found two of the three books in the foreign language kid section of Barnes & Noble. They also like the Dr. Seuss books, the “dinosaur” series by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague, and some “junk” books we found at the Scholastic Book Fair like Star Wars and Dora. What are your children’s favorite books?

Speaking of Dora, what do you think of the new doll to be introduced in the fall? Here is a picture of her at 10-years-old.

Also, we discussed the desperate measures some schools are taking to make up for budget shortfalls such as leasing cell tower space on school premises and selling ad space on exams. You have got to read some of our reader comments especially in regards to the ad space. They are funny!  

Finally, we discussed at what age children should receive allowances. There seemed to be agreement, at least on our site, that children should learn to earn and save money at around 7 years of age, but no money should be tied to household chores. This made sense to me.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Good morning fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

I am back with your weekly parenting news update. Thank you for reading and participating in this diary, which is in its fifth week of existence.

Here are some topics we recently discussed here at MotherTalkers:

First, some good news. Thanks to an aggressive public health campaign, less children today have high levels of lead than 20 years ago, according to a study cited by the Associated Press. On the flipside, poor minority children are still more likely than other demographics to be exposed to lead, but even that gap is closing, according to AP.

In related health news, a study cited by Reuters showed neither benefits nor harm to allowing children younger than 2 to watch television. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero TV watching for babies and toddlers and limited programming for young children in general.

I wrote my own editorial against the Washington Post’s editorial, which was in favor of vouchers for private schools. Personally, I think the D.C. voucher program should be done away with as it is not fully subsidizing the tuition of a private school in D.C. and seems to be a discount for middle class families. As I noted, the vouchers are for up to $7,500 a year, yet the family the Post profiled send their two children to Sidwell Friends, which costs $30,000 a year per child. Who is picking up the slack for the remaining $45,000 a year? Exactly. Don’t get me wrong. I have no problem with people sending their children to private school, as long as they do not expect taxpayers to pay for it — and at the expense of their local public schools.

A Missouri Republican legislator managed to diss stay-at-home fathers and start a mommy war by introducing a bill that would give a $600-a-year scholarship to stay-at-home mothers. She said fathers shouldn’t qualify because they are not “built-in nurturers” like women. Whatever.

Finally, Barbie has been in the news a lot lately. She is about to celebrate her 50th birthday and there are some people out there who want to crash her party. Take, for instance, this legislator from West Virginia who introduced a bill that would ban all Barbie doll sales — and dolls like her — in the state. Democratic Delegate Jeff Eldridge of Lincoln County says the dolls influence girls to believe physical beauty is more important than their intellect. What say you?

What else is on your minds?

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Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Hello fellow moms, dads and caregivers!

As I mentioned last week, this weekly thread is in its third week of existence and I hope to make it a permanent fixture here and on Daily Kos every Saturday morning. Please let me know what you think, as it is a work in progress.

Here are some topics we recently discussed here at MotherTalkers:

Bilingualism. Like, how do you get your children to learn a second language? All three of us who founded MotherTalkers are Latinas who grew up speaking Spanish at home. Our children speak Spanish with varying degrees of fluency. MTer Erika, who is married to a non-Spanish speaker, speaks to her daughter in Spanish and is also eyeing an immersion school in a nearby city.

My son is completely fluent, easily switching from Spanish to English depending on who is speaking to him. But it has not been cheap nor easy. My husband and I reverted to the language of our youth when he was born, which was awkward at first since we’d been speaking only English to each other the previous seven years. I translated most of his English books into Spanish and almost all the kids’ books that line his book shelf are in Spanish. (Check out the foreign language children’s section at Borders and Barnes & Noble.) He also attends a Spanish preschool, which has been painful to the wallet. But he is completely bilingual and bicultural, which has brought us and our parents much pride. Are your children bilingual? How have you helped them learn a second language?

Fellow MTer Gloria discussed all the ways she bonds with her 14-year-old daughter. Parenting teens is a different beast than parenting preschoolers. Please discuss the ways you maintain contact — okay tabs — on your burgeoning adult.

In case you missed it, the New York Times ran a trend story on how women are expected to surpass men in the workforce. A whopping 82 percent of layoffs due to the recession have afflicted men. Meanwhile, women are maintaining their families on predominantly female, but poorly paid jobs, in education and healthcare.

Finally, in celebrity gossip break, Bristol Palin admits that abstinence-only education is “not realistic at all.” Ouch.

Also, there was much hoopla — both good and bad — around Salma Hayek nursing a starving African baby on a relief tour. I thought it was a gesture of compassion and helped bring attention to the region. Newsweek and some of its readers, on the other hand, thought it was “weird.” What say you?

What else is on your minds?

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