MONDAY, 5 MAY 2014

“Smart phones, dumb people”

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This video is great.

You’re probably thinking that you’ve read a million articles on the downside of social media: of how it is making us become more isolated, more self-involved, and less social.

This video takes a slightly different angle. It definitely points out these disadvantages, but it also conveys the possibilities that we are missing out on if we’re always glued to our phone or device – the views we could enjoy rather than immediately photographing to put on online, the everyday moment we might live without having to update our Facebook community, the people we might meet and get to know face-to-face without first stalking their online profiles.

Watch it and see for yourself – and I wouldn’t say no to sharing it with every teenager and young adult that you know! As one of my Dad’s favourite phrases goes: “disconnect to connect!”

click here to read whole article and make comments

 

FRIDAY, 2 MAY 2014

Child abuse and mental illness

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The News Story - Why firing Olga Roche won’t fix the troubled DCF

The forced resignation of Olga Roche - commissioner of Massachusetts’ Department of Children and Families - “probably needed to happen,” according to Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker.  But don’t expect it to revolutionize the state’s DCF.

Walker writes that even before the case of Jeremiah Oliver, a five-year-old boy whose body was found in a duffel bag off of Interstate 190 while he was under DCF supervision, the department was severely dysfunctional.  Since that case, Massachusetts’ DCF has admitted that two other children have also died while under DCF care.
 
Walker believes that the “department’s entire approach needs to be revamped,” with more money going into prenatal care, “closer management” of case workers, and more teamwork and idea-sharing.  But research indicates that in a nation whose families are broken, such after-the-fact solutions will do little to help… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 30 APRIL 2014

How to raise a moral child

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As a parent, would you rather raise a successful child or a moral child? According to a recent article in the NY Times, parents surveyed the world over put greater importance on their child caring rather than achieving (can’t say I expected that, but what a great outcome!).

That’s all well and good – but what next? How can parents do their best to ensure that their child turns out “good” rather than “bad”? There’s no simple answer to this question, with everything from nature to nurture having an influence. But the article did have three main pointers that definitely make sense:

Reinforcing the good

Praise good behaviour, but in a way that commends good character, rather than good actions. Phrases like “you’re a nice and helpful person” are more effective than “that was a nice and helpful thing to do”. This is because praising character helps kids to internalise it… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 28 APRIL 2014

Fighting bullying starts at home

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When an elementary school student came home from class dressed head-to-toe in pink – more pink than usual—her father asked her about it. It was pink T-shirt day, an anti-bullying awareness initiative. When asked what she learned, she replied, “Wear pink and don’t bully.  That’s it, Dad.” Clear enough, but surely the school administration hoped more had sunk in.

The reality is that most programs don’t reflect the key role that parents play in combatting bullying.

School-based anti-bullying awareness has a place, but a new student survey released by the Canadian not-for-profit group MediaSmarts confirms that what happens at home truly counts. The report released March 18 affirms the important role parents have in preventing cruel and threatening online behaviour.

Furthermore, the study correlates rules at home about respecting others online with the reduced likelihood of engaging in mean and threatening behaviour. Students from homes without… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 23 APRIL 2014

Women are choosing dogs over motherhood

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The News Story - More young women choosing dogs over motherhood

If you think you’ve noticed an upsurge of tiny, furry friends being carried around in women’s purses lately, you’re right. It appears that more and more young women are foregoing marriage and motherhood, instead opting for pups as companions.
 
Reports the New York Post, “Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that a big drop in the number of babies born to women ages 15 to 29 corresponds with a huge increase in the number of tiny pooches owned by young US women.”  “I’d rather have a dog over a kid,” one young women told the Post.  “It’s just less work and, honestly, I have more time to go out. You . . . don’t have to get a baby sitter.”
 
The Post highlights that this trend is growing as women delay marriage to ever-later years.  But… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

SATURDAY, 19 APRIL 2014

Good manners on death row

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I just read about a highly intriguing concept: good manners on death row. The Time article was looking at research which showed that Southerners on death row in America were more likely to exhibit decorum than their counterparts from the North or West (whose last words were more likely to involve cussing than remorse).

I’m actually fascinated. Who would have thought that the “pleases” and “thank yous” that mum worked to get into your head would become habit enough to come out even in a situation like jail? Who would have thought that the concept of honour could exist in such a place?

The article talks about the “honour culture” of places like the South. People who grow up in such a culture have an entrenched code of what is acceptable and what is not; one that might stay with them even with the diversions… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 16 APRIL 2014

Teens prefer internet to drinking

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So, do you want the good news or the bad news first?

The good news – teen drinking is on the decline. Research shows that the proportion of 14-17 year olds who had not consumed alcohol in the last year jumped from 32.9 per cent in 2001 up to 50.2 per cent in 2010.

The bad news? The reason that teens are drinking less is the fact they are too preoccupied with the internet.

The Daily Telegraph article thinks this is an encouraging trend. But I have to admit that I’m a bit torn on this one – which is better?  Underage drinking or excessive internet use?

Let’s look at underage drinking first. There’s nothing great about it, and it’s true that it could increase the instance of alcohol abuse or addiction later in life. But often, I feel like it would be a passing… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

MONDAY, 14 APRIL 2014

The importance of Mum-time

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The News Story - In turnaround, more moms are staying home, study says

In a happy piece of news, a study by the Pew Research Center reveals that more moms are staying at home to care for their children.
 
Reports NPR, “After decades on the decline, the number of ‘stay at home’ moms in the U.S. has risen, with 29 percent of women with children under 18 saying they don't work outside the home . . . up from 23% in 1999.”  While immigrant moms, young moms, and those with a high-school education or less are most likely to forego work outside the home, some mothers also say the bleak economy has made the decision for them.  The study notes that 60% of Americans believe that “children are better off with a parent home.”
 
And those 60% of Americans would be… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

FRIDAY, 11 APRIL 2014

Marriage advice from a divorcee

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I realise that one might not think to get marriage advice from someone who just got divorced. However, upon reading this article, you might just change your mind. Gerald Rogers, upon the finalisation of his divorce, had 20 points worth of wisdom to dole out – in my mind, all things that help to keep the love young.

I’ve picked out my favourites and paraphrased them below:

Never stop courting. Never stop dating. Never get lazy in your love.

Protect your own heart. There is a special place in your heart where no one must enter except your wife.

Always see the best in her. Focus on what you love. What you focus on will expand. If you focus on what bugs you, all you will see is reasons to be bugged. If you focus on what you love, you can’t help but be consumed… click here to read whole article and make comments


 

WEDNESDAY, 9 APRIL 2014

What the older and wiser think you should know

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Do you think that it’s possible to love your day job? I’ve met many people who believe that such a thing is unattainable - that work is work and can never be anything more; much less something that brings any kind of joy.

Well, I want to disagree. And it seems that I’m on the right track according to a recent Time article on life lessons from older people: the most important lesson they wanted to pass on was, “Don’t stay in a job you dislike”.

To be honest, I didn’t see that one coming; I thought they’d focus on something to do with relationships or family. However upon reconsidering, it’s easy to see how connected work is to happiness (as well as to other factors like relationships), and therefore how important it is to appreciate your job.

Think about it – of maybe 112 waking hours in the week, perhaps… 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@ mercatornet.com


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