Positive peer pressure - four tips

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Over the weekend, 19-year old Georgina Bartter collapsed and died at a Sydney music festival from a suspected adverse reaction to drugs. Reading that awful story in a Sydney Morning Herald article, one quote stood out to me – “She had allergies and it was extremely out of character."

It stood out to me for two reasons – because of the obvious pull of peer pressure that ended in tragic loss of life; but also because just that weekend, a teenage girl was asking me how to discourage her friends from getting involved in unhealthy behaviours: such as substance abuse, excessive drinking, and casual sexual encounters.

This kind of thing really goes to show how important it is to teach your kids the dangers of certain social activities. But I think it suggests a step further: teenagers should be taught how to talk to their friends about substance abuse and other… click here to read whole article and make comments



You are not yourself on the Pill

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About 10 years ago I attended an intensive personal development program. It involved activities from rope courses in southern California to building outhouses in a homeless camp in Mexico. The goal was to develop qualities such as courage, compassion, vulnerability. In one exercise, I had to stand in front of my five team mates, all sitting in a circle, and express a very personal desire so that the mere energy coming out of me would make them stand up all at once. We were in a room where about 50 other teams were doing the same. After a few attempts, I got my team to rise as one and the whole room to hear when I exclaimed with the power of conviction: “I want to be myself!”

Being myself now is amazing. I am more realistic and real, think with more clarity and decisiveness, know… click here to read whole article and make comments



In good times and in bad

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About six months before I started dating my fiancé, I was pretty fed up with guys. My recent dates had not quite been up to scratch. So I wrote a list of what I was looking for – corny, I know – but something that helped me to get the frustration out and remind myself of what I deserved.

Generous, honest, a hard worker, confident - the list certainly wasn’t shallow. But there was one thing that I probably missed: could I suffer with them?

This week I read a great article on how the most overlooked characteristic we look for in a mate is whether we can suffer with them. At the beginning of a relationship, it’s normal to focus on the positive side of things, especially as everything is exciting and the future seems to have a rose-tinged glow, full of possibility. But the fact of the matter is… click here to read whole article and make comments



More marriage, stronger economy

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The News Story - Being married has a lot to do with economic success, scholars say

Nationally syndicated columnist Michelle Singletary trumpeted the results of a new study by W. Bradford Wilcox and Robert I. Lerman this week that demonstrated that the retreat from marriage has a lot to do with the state of our national economy.
Summarizing their findings, Singleton writes that “stable, two-parent families decrease the chance of people ending up impoverished. . . . The median income of families with children would have been 44 percent higher in 2012 had we had the same level of married parenthood as we did in the 1980s, the report says.”  Singleton agrees, arguing that her own marriage is testament to the institution’s ability to pull men and women alike into better economic situations than they would have expected.  The gap between rich and poor will only… click here to read whole article and make comments



Childbirth rids you of creativity – true or false?

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“I would have been either 100 per cent mother or 100 per cent artist. I am not flaky and I don’t compromise…There are good artists that have children… they are called men.” These are the recent comments of English artist, Tracey Emin, who thinks that having children could be the difference between being a good artist or a great artist – as in, you can’t be a great artist if you have kids.

Anyone else's hackles raised in feminist indignation? Luckily not just mine - as evident by a comeback article by artist, Venus Backfire. She says: “As both a female artist, represented by a respected London gallery, and a mother, I don’t know what I find more offensive; that I can no longer be “good,” that I am perceived as “flaky,” or that I am apparently unable to commit fully to either my child or career.” And doesn’t she… click here to read whole article and make comments



Natural birth control - a man’s point of view

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Think of children in an inner-city context, growing up without knowing anything else. When they’re exposed to a country setting - or mountains, or the beach - it may be exciting, but it can also be uncomfortable and even scary for them. They’d rather retreat back to the confined, polluted and unsafe environment that they’re used to. We can all agree however that they miss out. In the same way, most men have been conditioned to women being on contraceptives. They can hardly imagine the world without them and they need help (hello women!); they need to be taken there the first time and shown that it’s actually a safer, better place to breathe.

That’s my story.

I came to natural birth control by accident. Twice, and the second time it took. The first time was when my wife and I had been married about three years. We decided to conceive our second… click here to read whole article and make comments



The high cost of modern heartbreak

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Heartbreak. It ain’t what it used to be. Seems like a weird thing to say, but you can call me convinced after reading this recent article from Time. Here are five parts of modern life that affect the dynamics of heartbreak:

People are getting married later

According to the statistics, over 50% of Americans aged 25-34 have never been married, but the majority hope to wed one day. This suggests that many of the people in this age group are still working towards that goal of love – as opposed to my parents’ generation, where the norm was to marry in one’s early twenties.

There are a few ways that this affects heartbreak. For one, there is not as much support for a working young professional as there would be for someone still living at home, where others are around to show them a bit of love. As well, heartbreak later in life is… click here to read whole article and make comments



Not the voice of my generation

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During one of the first episodes of the popular HBO show Girls, Lena Dunham’s character Hannah tells her parents, “I don’t want to freak you out, but I think that I may be the voice of my generation—or at least a voice of a generation.” Dunham, who rose to fame after the success of Girls and her “First Time” campaign ad for Barack Obama in 2012, has truly come to see herself as exactly that, the voice of my generation. But, is she? 

In her recently released book, “Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's ‘Learned’”, Dunham echoes the themes of “Girls”, which include -- sex, dating, friends, food, mental illness and other issues facing young women today. But, as in the TV show, the underlying theme of every topic is almost always ...… click here to read whole article and make comments



Breast cancer campaigns – and the risk they don’t mention

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posterAnd what else?


In keeping with the international trend, we have just had breast cancer awareness week in the UK. Women were told to have mammograms, to take exercise, to avoid hormone replacement therapy, to breastfeed. All good. But, as usual, certain other things we should do or avoid were not mentioned.

A woman would never guess, for example, that the choices she makes about pregnancy and childbirth can raise or lower her risk of breast cancer. Taking the contraceptive pill, delaying her first child, aborting a pregnancy – these things are among the factors driving the “epidemic” of breast cancer among younger women. Doesn’t she have a right to be told?

It has long been known that having children tends to protect women against breast cancer. Even in medieval times it was noted that nuns were more prone to this disease. We can… click here to read whole article and make comments



Bigger the wedding, more likely the divorce?

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The smaller and cheaper the wedding, the better the marriage – agree or disagree? Well, according to a recent study out of Emory University, the more expensive the wedding and engagement ring, the shorter the duration of the marriage.

This research did not go into the reasons behind this, apart from suggesting that couples who spent more on their wedding perhaps were more likely to suffer from financial stress later on, which impacted their relationship. I think that this could definitely be part of it, but my theory extends a little further too.

I think that it’s all about the couple’s attitude. While I could be generalising, it seems quite safe to say that the couples who spend a large to excessive amount on their wedding are more focused on the day itself – on impressing their guests, indulging every whim or idea that they’d ever had about their marriage, maybe… 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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