Fascinating Study on Temper Tantrums

Here is a fascinating study on temper tantrums that appeared in NPR. Thanks, Shenanigans, for the tip!

Green and Potegal found that sad sounds tended to occur throughout tantrums. Superimposed on them were sharp peaks of yelling and screaming: anger.

The trick in getting a tantrum to end as soon as possible, Potegal said, was to get the child past the peaks of anger. Once the child was past being angry, what was left was sadness, and sad children reach out for comfort. The quickest way past the anger, the scientists said, was to do nothing. Of course, that isn’t easy for parents or caregivers to do.

Interesting. Eli is still tantrum-prone and I tend to help her move from the anger phase to sadness as quickly as possible. Perhaps I feel that way because I don’t want to disturb people around us when she throws a tantrum in public. Now I ask her, “¿Necesitas un abrazo?” “Do you need a hug?” Usually, she nods yes and cries into my shirt.

What do you think of this study? How do you respond to temper tantrums?


Study: U.S. Immigrants on Road to Prosperity

In a unique study that tracks U.S. immigration patterns between now and 2030, the Center for American Progress found that immigrants will not only assimilate into American culture, but their home ownership rates will surpass that of native U.S. Americans.

Here is more from a press release on the study:

The authors of “Assimilation Tomorrow“ track the cohort of immigrants that arrived during the 1990s, a decade of robust levels of immigration. Among the most important findings, the authors illustrate that while only 25.5 percent of immigrants from the cohort owned their own homes in 2000, by 2030 70.3 percent are projected to own their own homes, on par or slightly higher than the homeownership rate among the native-born.

As (study co-author Dowell) Myers commented at a recent Center for American Progress event, “This is the American Dream … and that achievement is something you don’t hear about very often, because it doesn’t support an agenda held by restrictionists.“

Rather than hinder the economy, immigrants will increasingly become the future homebuyers of America, helping to jump-start our housing market.

Hispanic immigrants as well are projected to make great strides. Contrary to the assertions of some who argue that Hispanic immigrants are not assimilating and will not assimilate to American life, the authors find that these newcomers follow the same upward trajectory as immigrants overall, albeit from a lower starting point. Homeownership, for example, jumps from 21 percent of the Hispanic immigrant population in 2000 to 67 percent in 2030.

Another indicator of interest from a political standpoint are immigrants’ naturalization rates that similarly rise from 13 percent to a substantial 70.6 percent by 2030.

As someone who has seen over and over again immigrants lose their native language and customs to assimilate into the United States — or at least prefer English to their parents’ native language — the immigrants-don’t-want-to-assimilate-meme is the most tired and ridiculous assertion I have heard tossed around in our current public discourse. If anything, it is harder for older immigrants to learn English and assimilate. My grandmother immediately comes to mind. She came to this country when she was 40. My father? As a tween/teen, he had no problem learning English, going to school and working in English-speaking environments.

The scapegoating of immigrants today is definitely due to lies becoming truth. Sigh.


Disturbing Study on Sexual Harassment

The New York Times ran a story on a disturbing study showing that nearly half of 7th to 12th grade students have been sexually harassed.

On its survey of a nationally representative group of 1,965 students, the American Association of University Women, a nonprofit research organization, defined harassment as “unwelcome sexual behavior that takes place in person or electronically.“ Over all, girls reported being harassed more than boys — 56 percent compared with 40 percent — though it was evenly divided during middle school. Boys were more likely to be the harassers, according to the study, and children from lower-income families reported more severe effects….

Over all, 48 percent of students surveyed said they were harassed during the 2010-11 school year. Forty-four percent of students said they were harassed “in person“ — being subjected to unwelcome comments or jokes, inappropriate touching or sexual intimidation — and 30 percent reported online harassment, like receiving unwelcome comments, jokes or pictures through texts, e-mail, Facebook and other tools, or having sexual rumors, information or pictures spread about them.

Whatever the medium, more girls were victims: 52 percent of girls said they had been harassed in person, and 36 percent online, compared with 35 percent of boys who were harassed in person and 24 percent online.

Pretty girls and well-developed girls were picked on for their looks. Effeminate boys were picked on for being gay.

The Latina Lista blog broke it down further by race. The study showed that sexual harassment had even a more deleterious effect on African American and Latino youth.

Notably, African American students were more likely than their white counterparts to stop doing an activity or sport, get into trouble at school, and find it hard to study because of sexual harassment. Hispanic students were more likely than white students to stay home from school because of sexual harassment.

African American and Hispanic students were more likely than white students to change the way they go to or from school and switch schools in response to sexual harassment.

Wow. As Latina Lista’s publisher, Marisa Treviño, also noted, perhaps we adults should set an example and not tolerate sexual harassment. Herman Cain, anyone?


Study: Daily Exercise Boosts Cognitive Ability

Researchers in South Carolina have found that students who exercise in school 45 minutes a day were not only physically fit but boosted more cognitive skills than students who had physical education once a week.

From GreenvilleOnline.com:

Dr. Julian Reed, an associate professor of health sciences at Furman University who has been studying the effects of Legacy’s 45-minutes-a-day exercise program on its students’ brains, found that not only did they improve on 92 percent of the fitness measures tested, they also grew by 59 percent in their cognitive abilities, compared to 25 percent for students of similar backgrounds in other schools who had just one period of PE a week.

At a time when physical education is being trimmed back because of budget cuts, and state and federal governments are placing greater demands for academic performance, Reed believes his year-long study demonstrates that regular exercise should be a vital part of the curriculum.

“If we can demonstrate that kids perform better and it increases their cognitive ability, it gives further leverage to say, hey, we need to make sure our kids get more movement opportunities, not less,“ he told GreenvilleOnline.com

Have your schools cut back on physical education? What has been the effect on students?


Study: SpongeBob Bad for Kids

The traditional media was all over a study about how SpongeBob Square Pants turns our kids’ brains into mush. The book, Nurture Shock, by the way, also had major reservations about the show — a different concern, although one that I share.

While my kids find SpongeBob funny, I admit that I am uncomfortable with how mean the characters are to each other for most of the show, and then there is a resolution, in like, the last two minutes. I have spoken to Ari about it, and he responded, “But mami, look at this part! Isn’t it funny?”

I also admit that I have not banned SpongeBob in my house despite my reservations. I figure that I already limit TV in my home, although according to this recent study, what our children watch matters just as much as how much time they spend on the tube.

What say you? Do you let your kids watch SpongeBob?


Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up? First, here is a gratuitous mom photo from the MomsRising.org retreat on Sunday and Monday. I am pictured slouching in the front row with black pants and green sweater:

Can I just say I think I suffer from some kind of work-at-home ADD? I am used to working in bursts, getting up frequently to complete household chores or do something as mundane as drop off Netflix movies at the mailbox. While I was enthralled by the conversation and other smart moms at my work retreat, I found myself getting up often to use the bathroom or serve myself a cup of tea. I swear, my inability to sit still for more than two hours reminded me of a schoolboy straying from his desk.

Is it age or the work habits I’ve developed over the last few years? Are you suffering from work-at-home ADD?

In other news: about half of men ages 18 to 50 don’t have a primary-care physician, and a third haven’t had a checkup in more than a year, according to a survey reported on by USA Today. Men tend to go to the doctor only when something’s wrong. The problem with that is that a yearly check-up, or preventative care, is actually cheaper in the long run than treatment.

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


Study: No Job Better Than Bad Job

Having no job is better for your mental health than a bad job, according to a study cited by Time magazine. Read on:

Australian National University researchers looked at how various psychosocial work attributes affect well-being. They found that poor-quality jobs — those with high demands, low control over decision making, high job insecurity and an effort-reward imbalance — had more adverse effects on mental health than joblessness.

The researchers analyzed seven years of data from more than 7,000 respondents of an Australian labor survey for their Occupational and Environmental Medicine study in which they wrote:

“As hypothesized, we found that those respondents who were unemployed had significantly poorer mental health than those who were employed. However, the mental health of those who were unemployed was comparable or more often superior to those in jobs of the poorest psychosocial quality… The current results therefore suggest that employment strategies seeking to promote positive outcomes for unemployed individuals need to also take account of job design and workplace policy.”

I believe this study in that I have always thought that there was nothing suckier in this country than having a job you hate and being broke. Shudder. What do you all think?


Study: The State of Middle Class Unions in Disarray

I believe we have chatted about this before, but more affluent and educated people are most likely than any other social class to be blissfully married, according to a study covered by the Huffington Post.

The divorce rate is now at 38 percent for middle class couples with no college education.

The data sparked the conclusion that “the United States is devolving into a separate-and-unequal family regime, where the highly educated and the affluent enjoy strong and stable households and everyone else is consigned to increasingly unstable, unhappy, and unworkable ones.”

“The State of Our Unions” attributes the change to an overriding shift in values. Once the most socially conservative part of the country, middle America now appears to be becoming more socially permissive and less marriage-minded. For example, whereas 76 percent of adolescents in highly educated households would be embarrassed to get someone pregnant, only 61 percent of moderately educated people felt the same way, and only 48 percent of the least educated believe that is so. Furthermore, while 81 percent of 14-year-old girls in highly educated households lived with their mother and their father (a number that has jumped by a percentage point since the 1970s), 58 percent did so in middle America–a whopping 16 percent drop from the 74 percent who reported they lived with both parents in the 1970s.

While the most affluent sector of society has held onto marriage as a defining social unit, the study found that the rest of the country is suffering, at least in part because they are having trouble doing so. Marriage–“an institution to which all could once aspire,” has become “a private playground of those blessed with abundance.”

So why sound the alarm bells over these findings? Because when marriage is at risk, so, too, the study argues, is the very foundation of our society: “Marriage is a core social institution, one that helps to ensure the economic, social and emotional welfare of countless children, women, and men in this nation.”

While the HuffPo article implied that the middle class was devolving into the “low class” because of promiscuity and other dubious values, I have a different take. One, the recession and our regressive tax code is creating a gap between rich and poor, which is taking its toll on middle class families.

Also, despite our country being known as the Land of Opportunity, we still archaically view marriage as a way to make people middle class or affluent. With a good safety net and real opportunities for everyone, individuals should be able to pay their bills without a spouse. What say you?


Tuesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

In Politics: It’s election day, which means we will have a special open thread tonight at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Please join us!

Many people from the Daily Kos crew will be at my house to cover the elections. Even though we are expecting a rough night, we plan to order pizza and eat cake as it is Mr. Ari’s 7th birthday today.

In somewhat related news, Medicare will face severe cuts unless Congress acts, according to the Washington Post.

Alcohol More Deadly Than Heroin? A British study, which was cited by the Washington Post, lead with how alcohol was more deadly than heroin and cocaine. But reading through the article, it sounds like heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine, or crystal meth, are much more deadly to the individuals who consume them. However, overall, alcohol has a much wider-spread and devastating cost to society.

When drunk in excess, alcohol damages nearly all organ systems. It is also connected to higher death rates and is involved in a greater percentage of crime than most other drugs, including heroin.

But experts said it would be impractical and incorrect to outlaw alcohol.

Leslie King, an adviser to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and one of the study’s authors, suggested education programs that target problem drinkers as opposed to the majority of people who indulge in a drink or two. He said that the price of alcohol should go up so it isn’t as widely available. What do you all think?

World Series: For San Francisco Giants fans following the World Series, our local Zeum Children’s Museum in San Francisco made these adorable movies out of clay models.

LGBT Youth: Our Dana wrote a timely article for the Keen News Service about federal initiatives to curb bullying of LGBT students in school.

Holiday Gift Idea: If you are looking for holiday gift ideas for young children, Sesame Street is offering a 10 percent discount on all its video games to mothers on the blogs. Just go to this website and enter promo code MOMMY at checkout.

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


Finally, a Story on Maternal Wage Gap

Having worked for MomsRising.org, one of the statistics that is often cited by us and I wish were dissected by the media is the wage gap between men and women. It’s conventional wisdom that women make 75 cents to a man’s dollar. But the truth is the real gap exists between mothers and non-mothers — of either gender.

The same is not true for fathers, by the way.

While the New York Times tried to skirt the issue by writing yet another story on the lack of female managers and the male-female wage gap, it did mention the wage gap between mothers and non-mothers. Check it out:

Managers who were mothers earned 79 cents of every dollar paid to managers who were fathers, after adjusting for things like age and education. This gap has stayed the same since at least 2000.

The greater toll that parenthood appears to take on women’s paychecks may help explain why, generally speaking, female managers are less likely to have children than their male counterparts.

In 2007, 63 percent of female managers were childless, compared with just 57 percent of male managers. Of those managers who did have children, men on average had more children than their women counterparts.

Female managers were also less likely to be married than male managers, at rates of 59 percent versus 74 percent, respectively.

Kudos to Representative Carolyn B. Maloney of New York for requesting this study.

“When working women have kids, they know it will change their lives, but they are stunned at how much it changes their paycheck,“ Ms. Maloney said of the report. “In this economy, it is adding insult to injury, especially as families are increasingly relying on the wages of working moms.“

Why do you suppose the media and others make issue of the male-female wage gap, as opposed to the gap in wages of mothers? Why do we continue to ding mothers for working?