FRIDAY, 19 JUNE 2015

Father’s Day: The difference a dad makes

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An article in the Wall Street Journal this week reviewing research on the way fathers bond with their children drew the following exchange in the comments section:

Richard McDermott: Can these lab researchers figure out where my Dad put my nose after he stole it some 40 years ago?

Jared Blanton @Richard McDermott Look behind your ear!

@Jared Blanton @Richard McDermott I'll be darned.  Thanks!

That perfectly sums up one of the distinctive things about the way dads play with their kids: the element of surprise and silliness that can snap a child out of boredom or crankiness and make them laugh.

“In one study, when a preschooler grew tired and started crying, his father flipped the child upside-down into a midair headstand,” reports the Journal. “Another dad sparked his toddler’s interest in playing by yelling in mock distress, “Ow,… click here to read whole article and make comments



Video: Preschool meets nursing homes

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Here’s a bit of beautiful for your Wednesday: at a nursing home in Seattle, preschool children come on the weekdays to have their classes and spend time with the elderly patients. It’s a similar idea to the Netherlands nursing home that offers rent-free accommodation to university students, provided they spend at least 30 hours a week being “good neighbours” to the elderly residents.

This preschool idea is just as great, and just as beneficial to the (too-often) loneliness of ageing and the generally selfishness of youth. It’s perhaps even better actually, as pre-school age children come with no assumptions, no judgements and no awkwardness – just lots of time to spend and heaps of love to give.

Check out the video and get ready to have your faith restored in humanity a little.

click here to read whole article and make comments



The red and blue of family stability

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Nathan Rupert / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)  

Family stability is good for kids growing up, and having your own two parents still around as a teenager indicates stability. So, what is the recipe for that kind of success?

Marriage, according to most research, keeps parents together more often than just settling down together does, although cohabitation is on the rise. So, what kind of life script will encourage the younger generation to marry, and stay married?

Some social scientists in the United States have been looking at this question in terms of “red state” (Republican, conservative) and “blue state” (Democrat, progressive) family values. According to these scholars the “red” family model has failed, but a new analysis by the Institute for Family Studies shows that, looking at both in their purest forms, red still has the edge over “blue”.

The authors of the IFS… click here to read whole article and make comments



Are you ready for marriage?

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So you think you’re ready for marriage? How do you know? Like any commitment, it’s something you choose, make the leap for, and stick to – plus, admittedly, learn the ropes as you go along. But if a readiness factor could be measured, I can think of a few pre-requisites that are non-negotiable in my books, inspired by a few articles (such as this one) that I've come across recently:

You’re aware of your worth.

We all have our own insecurities and fears, but at the end of the day we should know that we are valuable and believe it without needing a relationship to confirm it. Loving yourself, as silly and cliché as it may sound, is about having the self-esteem to actually bring something to a relationship rather than use it to fulfil your own needs. Awareness of your own worth also means that you won’t let anyone mistreat… click here to read whole article and make comments



Bruce Jenner is now Caitlyn Jenner

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The story of Caitlyn Jenner, once American Olympic gold-medalist Bruce Jenner, has been flooding social media, TV, radio and print for the last 48 hours or so. And to be completely honest (because no-one else seems to want to be), the overwhelmingly positive reaction is really bothering me.

Why? Not just because of all the gender and feminism issues it brings up (I’m not going to attempt tackling those, but this article has some great points); but because it seems fake – it’s a worldwide show of political correctness that’s quite draining. Because as much as Bruce’s gender transition to Caitlyn is being applauded as a brave move, a move that finds her apparently now finally happy and fulfilled, no-one wants to admit that the situation is objectively not normal and super intense for all involved. Behind the too-upbeat comments from everyone… click here to read whole article and make comments




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The News Story - Fresno County billboard campaign against underage drinking revealed

Some Fresno teens are taking the battle against underage drinking to the streets with a new billboard campaign, reports a Fresno TV station.
The billboard features images of teens pursuing their dreams—in graduation gowns, a chef’s uniform, or workout gear—coupled with the slogan “#mysoberswag.” The campaign, organized by Fresno County Friday Night Live youth leaders, is “designed to encourage . . . peers to remain sober during graduation season.” “Alcohol is the most widely abused substance among teens,” the story reports, with 14 percent of 10th graders and 28 percent of 12th graders nationally reporting at least one instance of intoxication in the last month.

But as laudable as such efforts are, they are only a band-aid to a problem that runs much deeper.

The New Research - Broken homes,… click here to read whole article and make comments


FRIDAY, 29 MAY 2015

Teaching your daughters to dress with class

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that teenage girls don’t love it when their mums tell them what to wear. So how should parents help their daughters to navigate monotonous and often degrading trends that everyone else seems to be wearing, and help them to develop their own unique style?

One approach that seems to be working is fashion and style events for young women, by young women. Just last weekend in Toronto, Canada, the TREnDS group (which stands for “Teens Reacting Effectively and Discovering Style”) held their inaugural Fashion Forum event to celebrate 10 years of monthly and annual activities – which have reached thousands of women with the aim of educating them in the areas of style and beauty. We talked to TREnDS’ President, Shannon Joseph, and Planning Committee members Sofie Wassmer and Ulrika Drevniok, about how it all works:

Could we have a quick rundown of the Fashion Forum event?

click here to read whole article and make comments


TUESDAY, 26 MAY 2015

Easy divorce, earlier death?

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The News Story - Breaking up is hard to do in Arkansas: why divorce laws are getting stricter

While it may seem like divorce is easier than ever to obtain, the reverse is actually true, according to Newsweek. Thanks to the efforts of conservative politicians like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry, many states have instituted policies that require long mandatory “cool-down” periods and time-consuming parenting classes.
And this trend, Newsweek believes, is unhealthy, because “Instead of trying to make a highly charged scenario easier to navigate, such legislation does the opposite. . . . it just forces two unhappy people to stay together longer.” As an alternative to such legislation, the story proposes the example of California’s new pilot program, “One Day Divorce.” In contrast to the tight-lipped, pale-faced couples in traditional divorce proceedings, “the litigants in One Day Divorce are universally smiling and overflowing with joy to the… click here to read whole article and make comments


MONDAY, 18 MAY 2015

Antibiotics for infants aren’t a good idea

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The News Story - Giving antibiotics to infants is strongly related to illness in adulthood

Many news stories in recent years have covered the dangers of overprescribing antibiotics, but a new study reveals the precise way in which giving infants such drugs sets them up them for a lifetime of illness.

Reports TIME, “The antibiotics may alter infant gut bacteria, which are tied to everything from allergies and obesity to infectious diseases.” More specifically, antibiotics appear to alter “critical gut microbiota that determine our vulnerability to a number of infectious diseases.” The story warns that antibiotics “remain the most prevalent drug prescribed to children,” but that “30% of prescriptions are deemed unnecessary.”
What this story does not cover, however, is that family breakdown plays a crucial role in decisions to request antibiotics.

The New Research - Breeding supergerms

Few threats worry public-health officials more than that of new strains of bacteria resistant to antibiotics. Epidemiologists increasingly recognize that… click here to read whole article and make comments



Trusting in the goodness of your children

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Tonight after stories and snuggles with my two-year old, during which I almost fell asleep, I gave him a little rock-a-bye and put him in his crib. He struggled up and began to protest, but I didn't have the energy for more and went to my room. Shortly he became quiet and I heard soft singing as if a Disney princess had come to croon him to sleep. It was my eight-year old who had been reading on the couch nearby. She got up without being asked to comfort her little brother, the tiny prince in our family of five girls. 

The best part of this little scenario for me is that her heart told her what to do. The impulse to comfort and care for another came from within: maternal instinct in my biggest little girl. This makes me happy because despite all my failures, my moments of impatience or… click here to read whole article and make comments


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Family Edge looks at news and trends affecting the family in the light of human dignity. Our focus is the inspiring, creative, humorous, annoying, ridiculous, and dangerous ideas in the evening news. Send tips and brainwaves to the editor, Tamara Rajakariar, at tamara.rajakariar@

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