New Zealand parents with children starting school may have to decide whether they want their five- and six-year-olds to learn, in class, not only the proper names of sexual organs but how they function. Kathryn Heape, who launched the Every Body Education programme this year, said in a television interview:
"We talk about how the baby grows in the uterus, [and] we talk about how the penis's job is to deliver the sperm to the egg through the vagina. It's all very matter of fact."
Other information covered in the programme aimed at year 1 and 2 primary school students includes how a baby is born, that sex is an adult activity and what condoms look like.
What they look like when? Surely this is too much information, irrelevant information, for little children.
The other night my mum mentioned a wedding that she attended. She had been surprised to find out that the mother of the bride had no idea what the wedding dress looked like beforehand, and was similarly clueless as to the menu. Was this normal? Personally, I’d want my mum’s opinion, and even if I didn’t, she’d still be in the loop. Not only her – I would be calling on my sisters and friends too. But this got us talking about how weddings have evolved in recent decades.
A generation or two ago, the whole wedding was usually planned by the parents of the couple, while these days, it’s the couple themselves. This isn’t a bad thing in itself, and potentially stems from a couple of things: the fact that now the couple finances the wedding rather than their parents, and because people are marrying a lot older than they used to.
Among all the doom and gloom about the state of marriage these days, it’s nice to celebrate a heart-warming story once in a while. Meet John and Ann Betar, who celebrated their 81st wedding anniversary last week – making them the longest-married couple in America. And how happy they look to still be together!
The video can do the talking, but here are some of their words of wisdom about keeping their love young:
"Just contentment... with what you have, what you're doing."
"Marriage isn't a lovey-dovey thing for 80 years... You learn to accept one another's ways of life, agreements, disagreements...”
“They expect miracles from each other...like you have to agree with me...but it doesn’t work that way.”
The cutest bit? The way that they laugh together, even all these years later – I’m sure that’s one of their secrets too.
Women love advising other women when it comes to guys. As a girl, I can vouch for this. And a new app called Lulu is letting women do this even more – but you get to “advise” women that you’ve never met, regarding guys that they’re potentially interested in.
This social networking app allows women to anonymously review men who are their Facebook friends. Choosing their answers from multiple choice quizzes, women can add to the profiles of the guys that they know – whether that guy is an ex, potential boyfriend, friend or relative. In this way, if someone is interested in dating them, they can get a quick rundown of what other girls have to say.
The News Story - Teen obesity linked to serious health problems in adulthood
A new study from Pediatrics reveals that teen obesity may be an even stronger predictor of adult health problems than previously thought. Medical News Today reports, “[A] large study shows that obese adults who were obese as teens have a much greater risk of developing adverse health conditions, including abnormal kidney function, asthma and difficulty walking."
The study, conducted by researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Pittsburgh, followed 1,502 severely obese adults, ages 19-76, enrolled in the Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery-2. Those adults who had been severely obese as teenagers were more than four times as likely to have developed swollen legs and skin ulcers, three times as likely to have limited mobility and kidney problems, and much more likely in general to have polycystic ovary syndrome, asthma, diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea.
There’s a lot of uncertainty in dating these days. Common complaints amongst the single ladies start with the fact that guys these days often don’t ask a girl out, and kind of hope it will just happen. Or if they do, it’s so vaguely put that we are left to agonise over whether this is a just-friends situation or an Actual Date.
Last week I read this article from the Sydney Morning Herald, which cited an RSVP.com survey and found that only 9 per cent of respondents had recently asked someone out in a cafe or bar situation. That’s not a whole lot when you think about a world population that needs continuing! However I am definitely inclined to believe it. What interests me most however, are the reasons for all of this. Why don’t guys plainly ask out a girl anymore?
When I saw the title of an article, “Marriage Isn’t For You,” accompanied by a photo of a happy-looking couple on their wedding day, I was naturally intrigued. Written by Seth Adam Smith, he talks about how just before he got married, he faced the normal fears and anxieties. He took them to his dad, asking questions like “Am I ready? Will I be happy? Is she the right one for me?”
I’m just going to copy what his father responded, since it’s a little bit amazing:
Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise…
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Participants in a regional meeting at Lagos, Nigeria, in September 2013.
Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family, a United Nations observance which many voluntary groups hope will prod governments towards greater recognition of the social importance of the family. The 75 million youth who are unemployed around the world have reason to understand that.
International years usually result in some idealistic charter for governments to take into account in policy making over the next decade. Preparations have been under way for some time in the form of international and regional meetings, research and various other exchanges about good family policy.
This article was originally published at The Conversation. Sarah Biggs is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Paediatric Sleep at Monash University in Melbourne.
We’ve long known that children need a certain amount of sleep: nine to 11 hours per night for older kids, and up to 14 hours in 24 for toddlers. There’s no doubt that getting enough sleep is paramount to a child’s healthy development, but recent research has shown that a regular routine – going to bed the same time every night and waking the same time every morning – is just as important to a child’s daytime functioning.
An Australian study of almost 2,000 school-aged children recently showed that, when compared to a child with the same bedtime (less than a 30 minutes difference across the week), a child with a 60-minute difference was twice as likely to display hyperactive behaviours and have problems controlling their emotions.
The News Story - More US girls developing breasts before age nine
A Pediatrics study released online Monday reveals that girls are becoming women faster than ever before. Reports Reuters, “Girls are developing breasts at younger and younger ages, a new study confirms. And upward trends in childhood obesity seem to be playing a major role.”
The study—which followed more than 1,200 girls in the San Francisco, Cincinnati, and New York City areas—revealed that “African American girls started getting breasts just before they turned nine, on average. Among white girls the average age was about nine and a half—a few months earlier than in the 1990s.” The researchers tied rising rates of childhood obesity to this new trend and claimed the need for more research, as early onset of puberty is linked to having sex at a younger age, using drugs, depressive symptoms, and low self-esteem.