Weekly Parenting News Roundup

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.

Hi all!

I am back from a trip to Chicago. My brother-in-law got married in a unique and beautiful ceremony. You can read all about it and see pictures here and here.

Now onto some parenting news…

Are you a yeller? You are not alone. We discussed a New York Times story about how yelling is the new spanking. A poll cited in the article stated that as many as 88 percent of parents have yelled at their children. But no studies have been conducted to show whether this is harmful to kids.

Our Erika highlighted this MSNBC story about kids getting braces younger and younger. How old were your children when they got braces?

I am sure similar diaries have been posted here, but I thought I would mention to you that the Courage Campaign is seeking a few good volunteers to help fight the anti-gay marriage initiatives in various states and cities.

In somewhat related news, one of our front-page posters, Katie, is wondering whether she should change her last name when she marries her partner Kelly. It sparked a long discussion about women changing their last names — if at all — hyphenated names and everything you can possibly think of when it comes to choosing a last name. Ayayay!

Yet, in other LGBT news: The Scholastic Book Fairs banned books with gay and lesbian relationships, according to our contributing writer Dana. She and other moms on our site, who signed a petition, received a less than satisfying response from the company.  

Our Gloria highlighted this brow-raising article in Jezebel about mothers in their late 30s or early 40s being jealous of their teenaged daughters’ good looks. I am not there yet and found this article surprising and disturbing. What do you all think? Are you jealous of your gorgeous teenagers?

Attention Patrick Swayze fans: I reviewed the book Time of My Life. What a satisfying and quick read!

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


Are You a Yeller?

My confession for the day: I have been known on more than one occasion to blow a fuse and scare the bejesus out of my children by yelling at them. Sometimes after a day of work, cooking, cleaning, carpooling and running around like a madwoman there is only so much crap one person can take, ya know?

But I am aware of it and try to enforce time-outs as my preferred method of discipline. (Although, I probably should stop yelling “time out!” at the top of my lungs.)

You could say I was not surprised to learn that “shouting is the new spanking,” according to this New York Times article.

Many in today’s pregnancy-flaunting, soccer-cheering, organic-snack-proffering generation of parents would never spank their children. We congratulate our toddlers for blowing their nose (“Good job!“), we friend our teenagers (literally and virtually), we spend hours teaching our elementary-school offspring how to understand their feelings. But, incongruously and with regularity, this is a generation that yells.

“I’ve worked with thousands of parents and I can tell you, without question, that screaming is the new spanking,“ said Amy McCready, the founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, which teaches parenting skills in classes, individual coaching sessions and an online course. “This is so the issue right now. As parents understand that it’s not socially acceptable to spank children, they are at a loss for what they can do. They resort to reminding, nagging, timeout, counting 1-2-3 and quickly realize that those strategies don’t work to change behavior. In the absence of tools that really work, they feel frustrated and angry and raise their voice. They feel guilty afterward, and the whole cycle begins again.“

A study cited in the Times article stated as many as 88 percent of parents have yelled at their children. Another study listed “yelling” as the No. 1 guilt-inducer for parents over spanking, working outside the home and missing a school event.

While there are no studies showing the effects of regular yelling, childcare professionals said loud sarcastic and hurtful comments could have a long-term damaging effect.

My reaction? When I first became a parent, I felt guilty every time I yelled. But now that I see that Ari is a smart and sweet boy, I don’t worry about it as much. It’s not like I yell regularly and every once in a while it probably is not a bad idea for him to see that even adults get frustrated.

Are you a yeller? What other tools of discipline do you have at your disposal?


What Would You Do If Someone “Shooed” Your Child?

The other day I spotted this letter in the Mamasource newsletter:

My family and I went to the Tech Museum in San Jose today. we brought our 18months old son and my 2 nieces to see the museum. After we toured the Museum, we decided to also see the Grand Canyon Movie that was also in the museum. At the time the movie was starting, my son was not in the mood and wanted to walk around. So, I got and took him at all the way at the back near the exit door. We stayed there for awhile and when he got interested on movie, we sat and watched for awhile. Then he wanted to walk around again, so i let him since there were no people at the back and they were only few people with kids too watching the movie. Now and then, he would watch and play but if he sees something he likes about the movie he would say something but he wasn’t loud. There’s these two guys who was sitting 2 rows down, and one shooed and the other one said “take him outside, leave”. I was appalled and answered back “excuse me?!”, and I left…After the movie, I waited for my fiance by the door.when I saw my the two guys, i said to them “don’t you shoo at my child, he’s just a child”. They started saying that i was rude and the other guys told me to shut up. I got so mad and my fiance told the guy to shut up,and i forgot what else he said…the people who work there got in the middle and told us to stop and take outside. I was yelling at the guy who shooed my child, he was saying that i should brought him in there.first of all, it’s a family movie we were watching and my child wasn’t that loud or bothering them. when we were already outside, i said to them “wait till you have your own child”. The other guy said, “oh, yeah. we do have 2 kids and they’re are not that.” That really pissed me off and i wanted to say something back but i just walked away since the security people telling us to stop. So, we just left.

The mom was slammed in the comments section for rudely taking her 18-month-old to the theater.

It is unfortunate but one of the sad things I learned when becoming a mom is that it is an isolating experience. Part of it is you are exhausted and do not have time for much of a life outside of family. But also people get annoyed when you bring your small children to public places. Unless it is a kids’ movie for the 10 a.m. matinee on Sunday, my husband and I rarely go to the movies. We used to go all the time b.c. (before children).

Of course, children bring their own rewards. I feel like we are re-living our childhoods and holidays like Christmases and birthdays are much more fun. But if I had advice for this mom, it is to ride out those early years until her son is old enough to sit still in the theater and behave himself in a restaurant.

How do you deal with your children’s disruptions in public? What would you say to a stranger who “shooed” your child?

For the record, crying or screaming children in public do not bother me. At all. I have learned to screen it out, and I understand how difficult it is for the parent who simply wants to go out.