Archive for January, 2013

Do you have ‘fake’ uncles and aunts? Are there other things your kids feel misled on?

My 9-year-old has just discovered that Uncle A is not really a blood relative and just his dad’s college roommate. He’s very upset and feels very misled that Uncle A is not really his uncle.

I remember being really upset to learn that my mother colored her hair. I was probably 8 or so, and I remember crying when I found her coloring her hair one night.  I felt very misled about that. (My kids tells me when I need to color. No confusion there.)

Do you call friends uncle or aunt? Do your kids get they aren’t really their blood relatives? Do they care? Are there other things, like the hair color, that your kids feel misled about?

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Should you bring a toddler to ‘Zero Dark Thirty’?

We went last Saturday night to see “Zero Dark Thirty,” and I was surprised to see a small child in the theater. The little girl was probably between 2 and 3 years old. It was an 8 p.m. showing.

I guess the ticket for the child was less expensive than paying a baby sitter. The toddler didn’t make any noises and did fall asleep about an hour into the movie. However, the entire first hour of the movie was torture scenes to get information from terrorist suspects. I wanted to cover the toddler’s eyes and ears. The toddler was in her parent’s lap but was looking at the screen.

So what are your thoughts: If you know your child is going to fall asleep do you bring them to a questionable movie? Do you think it wasn’t a big deal because waterboarding may not register with a child as violent? Or were these parents just totally wrong to bring a small child into that movie at any time of day? Should the theater not allow kids in with their parents to movies like that or does it …

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Education reform: Does Michelle Rhee have the right ideas?

Recently, Michael and I watched a fascinating “Frontline” about education reformer Michelle Rhee. She was the chancellor for Washington, D.C. public schools and her methods to improve schools and children learning are very controversial. Since leaving the schools (being forced out is probably fair to say), Rhee has created an advocacy group called StudentsFirst to counterbalance the teachers unions and promote her brand of school reform.

From The Washington Post: (Please click the link and read this entire article.  It is very hard in encapsulate in just a few paragraphs and this is very important information.)

“Rhee embodies one extreme in the debate over public education. She believes that every child can achieve, regardless of conditions such as poverty, broken homes, underfunded schools. In her view, the main obstacles are weak teachers, bloated bureaucracies, union contracts. She is driven by data, convinced that learning and teaching can be measured with as much …

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‘Hey Girls’ breast meme: Cyber bullying or reasonable message of modesty?

A meme about girls keeping their breasts inside their shirts is making the rounds and some people are asking if it’s cyber bullying.

Click here to see the photos of the meme. If you search “Hey Girl” on Facebook a lot of things come up. Some have a similar message about the breasts but in dirtier terms.  (And for some reason a male escort from Spokane popped up as well.)

So here is the background and controversy according to Headline News:

“Last summer, on June 18, a Tumblr user posted the original four-pane image, seemingly innocuous amongst the typical flotsam of a teenage Tumblr page. Though it was deleted quickly, the picture had struck a chord that no delete button could erase. The “Hey girls, did you know?” picture went viral, and others followed. Some responses attacked the original message, including a popular copy that read, “Girls, did you know that, uhmm, your boobs can go wherever they want. Because it’s YOUR body.” Thousands of images cropped up on

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Coca Cola to address obesity in ads: Will it make a difference? Is soda an issue for your kids?

Atlanta-based Coca Cola will begin featuring ads that address the problem of obesity. For example, one ad will feature a montage of activities that would add up to burning off the 140 calories in the can of Coke. Another ad discusses obesity being a concern for all and working together to make a difference.

From The Associated Press: (I bolded for a quick read)

“The Atlanta-based company on Monday will begin airing a two-minute spot during the highest-rated shows on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC in hopes of flexing its marketing muscle in the debate over sodas and their impact on public health. The ad lays out Coca-Cola’s record of providing drinks with fewer calories over the years and notes that weight gain is the result of consuming too many calories of any kind — not just soda….”

“For Coca-Cola, the world’s No. 1 beverage company, the ads reflect the mounting pressures on the broader industry. Later this year, New York City is set to put into effect a first-in-the-nation cap …

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Homework on Friday afternoon or Sunday afternoon?

We went to visit some friends on Friday afternoon, and their eldest was hard at work on a long-term project due on the next Friday.

This was the second time we came a calling and the eldest was getting her homework done on Friday afternoon.

I was impressed by the discipline of the child and the adult. By the time Friday afternoon comes we are just done. We just want to bum around and do nothing.

But then comes Sunday afternoon, and we have to get to work. My two kids were working on their long-term projects on Sunday instead of playing.

So I am wondering do other families work on homework on Friday afternoon or put it off until Sunday afternoons? To which do the kids seem to be more amenable?

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With Russia closing its door, where should adoptive parents turn?

With Russia closing its doors to adoptions by U.S. families and declines in adoptions from China, Ethiopia, and South Korea, where should U.S. families focus their efforts to adopt children?

From USA Today:

“Adoptions by Americans from abroad are plummeting to a 20-year low after peaking at nearly 23,000 in 2004 and falling to 9,319 in 2011, according to the State Department. The number is expected to plunge further now that Russia, the third-largest source in the last five years, has announced it won’t allow Americans to adopt its orphans. Late Thursday, a Russian official said an existing adoption agreement with the U.S. would remain in effect until 2014 in spite of the new ban, but that no new adoptions would be permitted and only ones already cleared by the courts would be allowed to proceed….”

“A lot of families may switch to domestic,” said Jenny Pope of Buckner International, an adoption agency. Yet even that’s a growing challenge, because as single parenthood becomes …

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Has the flu epidemic hit your family — yet?

The holiday break is over just in time for kids to go back to school and catch the flu.

Georgia is listed under “widespread” according the Centers for Disease Control flu map.

From CNN:

“If you look at the charts that the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) put out on their website, it clearly has gone above that threshold. So we are into what would classically be described as a flu epidemic,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday.”

“The latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention flu advisory report, which covers the week of December 23 to 29, suggests that 41 states have widespread influenza activity, which was an increase of 31 states from the previous week. The CDC will issue an update on the flu situation Friday.”

“There have so far been 2,257 hospitalizations associated with laboratory-confirmed flu virus, the CDC …

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GAO: Children not getting mental health help when they need it

A new report from the Government Accountability Office finds that many children who need mental health care are not getting it.

From The Huffington Post:

“Most children whose emotions or behavior, as reported by their parent or guardian, indicated a potential need for a mental health service did not receive any services within the same year,” the GAO wrote.

“The report comes after Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (Calif.) requested that the GAO look into how psychotropic drugs affect the long-term development of kids who grow up in foster care. While the report is very specific in its scope, it’s sure to be a relevant piece of evidence as the Obama administration formulates policy to deal with the ramifications of the Newtown, Conn. elementary school shooting. The shooting has sparked a nationwide debate on gun control, but it has also directed America’s attention to the state of its mental health care system. “

“Here …

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Are food allergies a disability? Should college food services have to provide alternatives?

The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division announced recently that the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to college students who have food allergies at Lesley University in Massachusetts.

About 2 percent of adults and 4 to 8 percent of kids in the United States suffer from food allergies, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

From NPR:

“In the agreement with DOJ, Lesley is required provide gluten- and allergen-free food options in its dining halls, offer special meal plans for students with allergies, and pay $50,000 in damages to the students who filed the claim in 2009, among other measures.

“The Lesley settlement is terrific,” Marilyn Geller, chief operating officer of the Celiac Disease Foundation, tells The Salt. “It puts all universities on notice that they’re going to have to make these accommodations for students with celiac, gluten sensitivity and other food allergies.”…

“By applying the ADA to food allergies, the DOJ has essentially turned food …

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