Friday, January 16, 2009

The Parenting Pulpit, An Agenda all Its Own: Relevant Trenches

A friend commented to me today, after receiving news of further layoffs, "this recession is getting really scary." That sentiment is echoed throughout our communities, and especially in those that care for the most vulnerable in our society--children, elderly, and the disabled. Along with business budgets, community services budgets, and education budgets, household budgets are being slashed, and extremely difficult decisions are being made. Families that may have depended on after school programs are feared to possibly be resorting to leaving their kids home alone, as those programs become scarcer and scarcer. In some cases, social services case workers are reporting that older siblings (sometimes only 10 to 12 years old themselves) are missing school to care for younger siblings. People are pushed to the wall; what else could push a man to lock his kids in a cage in his truck while he was working because he didn't have anyone to watch them? At the very least "relay parenting" has become a reality for many households, where spouses work opposing schedules so that someone if always with the children, but it's not easy on a marriage. But another interesting byproduct of the economic downturn is that the rates of divorce are also falling--who can afford one?

Other stories around the parenting water cooler:
  • For those statistics nerds out there (you know who you are) a collection of pretty interesting parenting statistics. For example, "The University of Maryland found married mothers spend 22 percent more time with their children than their peers from the 1950s," and "Contemporary dads spend more than double the time with their children than their own fathers did with them." 
  • Inauguration excitement continues to build, and the ink about what Michelle Obama's "mom-in-chief" proclamation means for modern women continues to grow as well. An interesting post on the Huffington Post sees a hopeful dimension to what may be the most prominent First Lady in recent history's choices. Aside from affirming that choosing to focus attention on one's family is worthy employment for a woman, she may also bring a much needed dose of reality to the feminist debate. Heather Cabot writes, "she seems to be a woman who understands that having it all doesn't necessarily mean having it all at the same time." In fact both of the Obamas, President and First Lady, hold potent and potentially impactful roles, as "Parents In Chief," to set the example of positive parenting, particularly in the African American community.
  • In case you missed it, pot stirrer extraordinaire, Ann Coulter, has been making the media rounds to promote her new book, in which she pins the ills of society on single mothers. Dan Quayle tried this tack, attacking the television character Murphy Brown for promoting a negative example for women. It didn't work out so great then, and it's similarly causing quite an uproar now. But then, that is just what she likes.
  • And you thought it was tough to find a sitter on  date night! There is quite a babysitting crunch in the D.C. area for parents who are attending inauguration activities.
  • After years of the "self-esteem" school of parenting, the pendulum is swinging back towards teaching respect, deportment and manners to children (excellent article!). Not a moment to soon.
  • On this note, I came across a great and useful article about getting kids involved in chores around the house.
  • Many feel that medication is the only viable therapy for ADHD children, but real success is being found in focusing on the parental skills of the parents of these children to teach them how to handle the everyday challenges and stressors of parenting a child with special needs. The conclusion, "The take-home message for parents: There are other good treatments besides the pills, but no treatment's going to work without sustained effort from the whole family."
  • Should parents that persist in their belief in faith healing be held criminally responsible when their children pass away? What are the limits of parental choice in the care of their children?
  • How many hours to you spend in the car as a mom? Apparently on average of fourteen full days per year, according to a recent survey.
  • Are parents to cautious with their children? Are we buying into a culture of fear? Would you send your kid (not a teenager) alone on the NY Subway System?
  • A tricky issue is favoritism in families. Most experts agree that it is corrosive, and many parents reluctantly own up to having a favorite, although they say they strive to not show it. Whether or not they think they express it or not, it gets out, and the effects can be far reaching into adulthood. The solution: treat you kids as the individuals they are, and strive for fairness.
  • In that vein of parental analysis, what makes a "good parent?" Writer Meredith Jameson shares seven habits of good parents.
  • This tidbit has been sitting on my list of to blog about for awhile. Find out what the Dalai Lama has to say about sex and parenting.
  • Still want to read some more--check out the New York Times' list of favorite mommy and daddy blogs. Maybe someday I'll be among them!
Thanks for visiting!

Photo Credit mooshuspice

1 comment:

growingupartists said...

Of course that hits home, hearing how parents are forced to make choices that aren't in the best interests of their children, yet are choosing from the only options available. That's the most important news there is, in my opinion.

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