Archive for September, 2009

Does spanking create dumber, more aggressive kids?

A new study from the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University found that children who are spanked as 1-year-olds are more likely to behave aggressively and did worse on cognitive tests as toddlers than children who were not spanked.

HealthDay News reports:

” ‘Age 1 is a key time for establishing the quality of the parenting and the relationship between parent and the child,’ said study author Lisa J. Berlin, a research scientist at the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University. ‘Spanking at age 1 reflects a negative dynamic, and increases children’s aggression at age 2.’ “

The study, which is published in the September/October issue of “Child Development” examined data on 2,500 white, Mexican American and black children from low-income families. The data included parents’ reports about their children’s behavior, their use of spanking, as well as home visits by trained observers to document parent-child interactions at ages 1, 2 and 3.

“About …

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What is your best advice for a new wife and stepmom?

Emilie compressed

My friend Emilie, her new husband Job and his (their) 5-year-old son Jesse. It was a beautiful wedding, but now she has a lot of new responsibility.

My 30-something girlfriend got married for the first time Labor Day weekend in a spectacular wedding on her family’s farm in the Berkshires. We were blessed that we were able to get away for 36 hours and go to her fabulous wedding. (Best wedding we’ve ever been to! More on the get-away later.)

But now the wedding is over, and it doesn’t matter that her dress was drop-dead beautiful or that her menu was amazing. Now she is a married woman with a 5-year-old stepson. (Her new little guy is a fantastic kid. I really enjoyed meeting him and chatting with him! He gave me a very detailed explanation of how the reception tent was hammered into the ground.)

So I thought it would be interesting to offer her our best marriage advice and advice on being a new stepmom. I think learning to be a great stepmom and walking that fine line with the …

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College money: Are you saving in this economy?

A new Gallup survey found that because of the economic crisis, 47 percent of parents are saving less or aren’t saving at all for their kids’ education. The survey was released in May by student-loan provider Sallie Mae.

From The Wall Street Journal article:

“While not saving for that degree may have felt like a smart move while the stock market was crashing, the need to fund your kid’s college account has only grown. For the 2008-2009 school year, the average cost of attending a four-year public school for in-state residents — including tuition and room and board — rose 5.7% to $14,333, according to the College Board. The cost was up 5.6% to $34,132 for a private university. (These numbers aren’t adjusted for inflation.)”

“Meanwhile, the value of 529 college-savings accounts sank 21% last year, according to Boston consulting firm Financial Research, leaving families with far less tuition money than they had counted on.”

529s are college savings plans that work much …

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Taylor Swift a good role model for kids!

Good role models in pop culture are few and far between, but I’m proud that my 8- and 6-year-old like Taylor Swift.

The 19-year-old country music star writes her own songs, plays multiple instruments, always thanks the fans and those who have supported her and hasn’t become a diva or a problem child despite incredible success at a young age.

Tonight on the MTV Music Video Awards, Swift showed incredible grace and composure after Kanye West stormed the stage and took the microphone from during her acceptance speech for female video of the year. He basically said that Beyonce should have won the award. Not only did she handle the incident well, less than 10 minutes later she performed live, singing her song “You belong with Me” while riding in a moving subway car from one location to the next.

Tomorrow, I’ll be proud to let my kids watch Swift win and perform. Juxtapose Swift’s behavior with that of  Katy Perry _ another of my kids’ favorite singers _ earlier in …

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Appropriate at a kid’s party to have winners and losers?

A regular sent me a great note last week with a dilemma. She does a great job explaining it so here’s what she wrote:

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot because I’m planning a party soon for my soon-to-be-7-year-old.  It will be an outside party and I would like to include age appropriate games like a dizzy bat or hula hoop relay race, and a ring or bean bag toss.  I would like to give the winner a prize, but is that OK?”

“I took this same child to a party a few months ago and all the kids were divided into 2 teams and given 2 rolls of toilet paper to wrap one of their team members into a mummy.  The mom of the birthday girl said ‘Let’s see who can use all their toilet paper first!’,  then turned on music.  The kids wrapped, and one team was first.  And that was it.”

” It sure sounded to me like a set up for a prize, and I think some of the kids did too, but the game was done.  That mom is a big believer in ‘everyone’s a winner.’  I am not.  These kids are in …

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What does your family want/need in health insurance?

I was very interested to hear what President Obama would say about health-care last night on TV since my family has had such as close encounter with our nation’s health-care system recently. (Here is a summary the of the speech in case you missed it.)

With my brother in the hospital for more than 10 weeks this summer (he was finally released last Friday), we have had a very first-hand view of hospitals and how at least his health insurance company operates.

We were very lucky to have a fantastic hospital like Emory close by and also very lucky that Emory has a transplant coordinator team to help the patients through the entire process – including staying on top of their insurance companies.

That Emory transplant team (coordinators and doctors) worked hard to make sure all the procedures my brother needed were approved and would be covered. They were more aggressive with the insurance company than a regular person could probably be.

When my brother had to be taken in for a …

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What to do when your ‘baby’ grows up?

Here's my Georgia fan taking the crib apart for probably the last time.

Michael taking apart the crib for probably the last time. He wants to sell it. I told him No Way!

We’ve had a lot of changes in our house over the last few weeks. Our baby (actually 2 years and 6 months old) has started preschool and moved into a big girl bed (bye bye crib), and I’ve had some tearful days with these transitions.

The red bed has been in our family for 60 years. But I'm still sad about saying bye-bye to the crib.

The red bed has been in our family for 60 years. But I'm still sad about saying bye-bye to the crib.

About three weeks ago it really hit me, oh my goodness my baby is going to start Mother’s Morning Out two mornings a week. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot but when you’re used to them being with you, it is! I found myself crying in my minivan and at home with Michael so sad that our baby is growing up!

Now I know that she is more than ready to go to preschool. She needs to develop her own friends, her own age and not just hang out with Rose and Walsh’s buddies. Plus, she is ready to be a little bit independent. She practically ran into the place on …

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Did reading Obama’s speech change your mind?

The White House released the text to President Obama’s speech for today to the school children. Now that you’ve read the speech, are you feeling less stressed about the whole thing?

Michael had a friend send him a note saying, well now that I’ve read it, I’m fine with it. Meanwhile, I think my friend was just thrilled the speech was moved to noon because her children could be counted as present and then she could check her children out before the speech.

According to another story Gwinnett is supposed to be showing the speech but we got a note from a principal saying they didn’t have the technology to show it to all the classrooms. Hmm, now sure what’s up with that.

Are you feeling less stressed? Did you keep your kids out of school? Will you check them out? Are you OK with them listening now?

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Nagging evolves: Are you nagging by text now?

The Washington Post reports that there’s a new trend in how parents are communicating with their kids – it’s called nagging via text messaging!

Parents are texting their kids the things they usually would say to them as they walked out the door in the morning or called them to say by phone such as: Don’t forget your homework!, Where are you? Who are you with?

From the Washington Post story:

“Some digitally inspired nagging is an evolution of necessity, parents say, because many teens do not answer phone calls from Mom or Dad, especially in the company of friends. Text allows nagging remotely — and discreetly.”

“Take Marcia Malloy. The 58-year-old Leesburg mom of five frequently sends her high school-age daughter texts of just one word:

Update. …”

“At Gaithersburg High School, Principal Christine Handy-Collins says so many parents text students during school hours that she made a point of discouraging the practice at a recent freshman orientation.”

“When students are caught …

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Do you care if your kids hear Obama’s speech at school?

I got a call on Thursday from a mom friend who was in full outrage. She’s making her plans to keep her kids out of school on Tuesday so they are not forced to listen to President Obama’s planned podcast to school children about education.

She was told by her school she could send in a letter stating that she didn’t want her kids to participate and they wouldn’t have to listen. But she’s afraid of reprisals within the school system. Also one of her children has an African-American teacher who she is afraid of offending.

So she’s planning to keep them home sick and no one will know exactly why.  Although she’s hoping one-half of public school children won’t show and that will send a message.

If you have no idea what my friend is talking about here’s the background on the story:

According to the Department of Education:

“At 12:00 p.m., Eastern Time (ET), September 8, 2009, President Barack Obama will deliver a national address to the students of America. (Please note that this …

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