Menstuff® has compiled newsbytes on the issue of fathers.
Photos above are from left to right by Amanda Currey, George
Silk, Matsuzaki, Dorien Grunbaum, Bruce Davidson, J. H. Lartigue,
Charles Biasiny Rivera, Georg Oddner, Guy Gillette, Howard Sochurek,
David Strickler, Jill Freedman, Bob Willoughby, James H. Baker, Burk
Uzzle, Bruce Davidson, and Donald McCullin from The
Family of Children. Also see Newsbytes for
See Parenting also.
Click on covers for more specific
- Children Spend 8 Hours Per Day
Looking At a Screen
- Parents of MySpace hoax victim
- Kids Posting Pictures on
- Poll: Family Ties
Key to Youth Happiness
Challenges, rewards and surprising health effects
- The Making of a Modern
- Fathers Importance in Their Child's
- 10 is the new 15 as kids grow up
- Allowance Basics
- Cost of being a
stay-at-home mom: $1 million
- Preventing Hospital Visits in
Kids and Teens With Asthma
- Why Children
- Ten Ways to Become a More Effective
- The Strongest Dad in the
- Jeff Foxworthy Sums Up what being a
Father is All About
- The Trouble With
- Father's Day
- In gender wars, advocates for
boys battle back
- Importance of Family
- It's Not Your
Mother's Fathers Movement Anymore
- Is he "the loser"
or is he "Dad"?
- Fathers Juggle Work, Kids, and Stress,
Changes in Fathers
- Unplug your Kids
- Egg Allergy
- Taking Ibuprofen,
Naproxen, and Aspirin During Pregnancy Increases the Risk of
- Farm Safety
- Being a Good Dad is Good for Your
- Finding a Doctor for Your
- Benefits Of Living With Father
Depend On Dad's Antisocial Behavior
- Elite Junior Skaters Frequently
- Knocked-Out Tooth Emergency
Out for a Paternity Act in Your State
- Preventing Children's Sports
- Homework Basics
- Restricting Children's Food Intake
May Actually Promote Overeating
- Lunch Lessons
- Earlier Rather Than Later Ear Tube
Insertion May Not Improve Long-Term Cognitive
- Homemade Chemical Bombs Endanger
- Backpacks And Bad Backs
- Experts: Put Kids In Back Seat Of
- Cooking Without Heat
- Do You Have 'Boomer Ear'?
- Food Safety for Your
- Staying Safe While in the
- Many Teens in Intimate
Relationships Are Abused by Their Partners
- Sons of Mothers With Lupus Are at
Increased Risk for Learning Disabilities
- Large Portion Sizes May Encourage
Children to Overeat at Meals
- Young Teens Who Drink Are at Risk
for Problems in Late Adolescence and Adulthood
- Eye Injuries in Soccer
- Helping Your Teen Decide What to
Do After High School
- How to Talk to Your Child's
- High-School Hazing: What It Is and What
You Can Do About It
- Bullying Linked to More Serious Violent
- Insect Stings and Bites
- Gearing Up for Bicycle
- Lower Back Pain in School-Age
- Woods and Camping Safety for the
- Sun Safety
- Violence Influence On
- Keepin' It Real About Sex
- Relations Between Parents and
- Close Ties to Un-Wed Birth-Fathers Best
- How Age of First Date Relates to Age
of First Intercourse
- Talking to our Children About War
- Exposure to Violence
Linked to Substance Use in Teens
- A Parent's Guide to Kids and
- Gun Safety
- Strength Training and Your
- Many Teens Exposed to
Secondhand Smoke Through Parents and Peers
- Neighborhood Construction May Put
Infants at Risk for Botulism
- Rainy Day Fun
- Food Portion Sizes Have Increased in
Restaurants and at Home
- Hot Water From Household Sinks Can
Cause Severe Burns
- Heart Disease Prevention Should Start
and Girls Affected by TV Violence
- Fast Food + Boob Tube an Unhealthy
- Cheerleading Can Be
- Family Food
- Smoking Decreases Men's
Chances Of Fatherhood By IVF And ICSI
- Talk to You Kids About Tough
- Child Suffocation Risk From Toys and
- Body Basics
- Respiratory Syncytial
- The Food Guide Pyramid
Homes Harm Kids More
- Intestinal Malrotation
- New Combination Vaccine May Mean
Fewer Shots for Babies
- Gel Candies: A Dangerous Snack for
- Do Most Children Receive
Vaccines on Schedule?
- Complementary and Alternative
Medicine Use Among Teens With Asthma
- If Your Child has to go to the
- Fluoride and Water
- Blood Culture
- Why Doctors Order Laboratory
- Fewer High School Students Are Having
- Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain
Increasingly Common Among Teens
- If Your Child Starts Losing
- Don't Delay Flu Shots for Babies and
Toddlers This Fall
- Swaddling May Reduce the Risk of SIDS
for Some Infants
- Gymnastics and Bone
- Teens, TV, and Smoking
- Body Image
- Choosing Safe Toys
- Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections and
- Violently Injured Teens Often
Experience Persistent Stress Symptoms
- Premature Babies Have Long-Term
Behavior Problems and Lower Cognitive Test Scores
- When a New Baby is on the
- Farm Safety
- Living With Lupus
- Importance of Father Love for Child
- Consequences of Divorce on
- "Fragile Families"
- Delayed Childbirth May Have Long-Term
Health Consequences For Mother
- Life Without Father: What Happens To The
- No Paternity Leave say Most
Dumb Parents Don't Wear Helmets
- NIH Expands Fatherhood Research
- Are Today's Fathers Overworked and
- Father's Hormones Fluctuate Around
- Do Mothers Create
- Overheating baby's room increases
- Cranky baby? Study says teeth are not
exposure linked to cancer in children
- Chubby babies not all destined to
be chubby teens
- Our children are anxious -- and
for no good reason
nappies linked to infertility
- Garth Brooks Retires to
- CSurprise! Ms.
Does a Father Positive Story
Are Not Essential in Raising Children
- Happy "Bad
Father's" Day says the Fox Television Channel
- Solo Dads Better
- Getting Down With Your
- Fathers Make Better
Related Issues: Fathers,
Talking With Kids About Tough
fathers & sons,
fathers & daughters,
single fathers, step
fathers, military fathers and
Other related issues: circumcision,
sexual harassment, tv
Resources on public
changing tables, families,
to check if you're ready to be a Dad.
Books on: children,
& daughters, fathers-single,
fathers or gay children, stepfathers,
- on Child, Emotional, Religious, and Sexual Abuse and Trauma
Periodicals - Children,
Guide: Gangs, testicles, stds, aids, safe dating.
Click on bumper sticker to purchase
Children Spend 8 Hours Per Day
Looking At a Screen
The average 8 to 10 year old is spending almost 8 hours per day
looking at a screen and older children and teenagers are spending 11
hours a day, according to the New York Times.
The effect this can have on kids is widespread: schoolwork and
grades suffer, social skills decline, and if the screens involve a
lot of violent movies and video games, it can also decrease a
But all isnt lost! Find out what the experts do to curb
their childrens screen time and how you can do the same.
Kids Posting Pictures on MySpace
If you have a webcam or digital camera and your child has a Myspace
account or other social networking account like Youtube, Bebo, Xanga
etc. then chances are they have numerous pictures of themselves on
Have you seen them? Are they appropriate? Did you allow them to
post pictures of themselves for millions of people to see and comment
Having your personal pictures of yourself online is as popular as
Myspace itself. Perhaps its probably time you log into their
account and take a look around. Look at their site and go to a few of
their friends sites. Hopefully everything meets your approval and
everything is appropriate. However, if the pictures are not
appropriate or you have a problem with them then you need to start
your journey into becoming a better Internet parent. If you have
reviewed their site then you are on the right road.
Start with setting the rules about posting pictures then you need
to cover rules about sharing information, talking to people they
dont know, meeting people they dont know etc. you can use
the family internet safety contract found on TheParentsEdge.com as a
guide or use it as is to setup the rules and guidelines in your
Lay down the law, follow up and NEVER allow the computer in the
Source: By Richard French
Fathers Importance in Their Child's
In a study of children between ages two and three who grow up in
families with two working parents, researchers found that fathers had
a bigger impact on their children's language development than mothers
did. If you're a father, you better do your best to hang around your
kids when they're young, because the impact is huge!
An allowance can be a great way to teach your child money management
skills. With an allowance, your child can learn how to make
decisions, deal with limited resources, and understand the benefits
of saving and charitable giving.
Hospital Visits in Kids and Teens With Asthma
Researchers studied parent and doctor perspectives on how to reduce
childhood hospitalizations for asthma.
Ten Ways to Become a More Effective Dad
Interested in becoming a more effective father? Child Care Aware.com
lists ten ways to be a better Dad on their website.
The Strongest Dad in the World
Here's the article link to the Dick Hoyt story. I hope you enjoy it
as much as I did:
Jeff Foxworthy Sums Up what being a
Father is All About
With one foot in the show-business fast lane, Jeff Foxworthy says he
has purposely made his life as normal as it can be. "I got invited to
host a dinner at the White House once, but I couldn't go because it
was the same night as my daughter's play at school," he says. "Twenty
years from now, the president won't remember if I came to the White
House. But my daughter will remember if I wasn't at her play."
Source: American Profile
Fathers Juggle Work, Kids, and Stress,
Mothers aren't the only ones that are juggling work and kids. This
article talks about the stress that fathers are experiencing
Unplug Your Kids
You see it everywhere. A car pulls up, and there's a young child in
the back with a walkman on or playing a video game. There's not a
whole lot of talking going on. The same parents who allow this from a
very early age tend to be the ones who complain that their kids don't
talk to them when they get older. If we don't grow up, our kids
probably never will, either. Give your kids a chance to connect with
you when they're young. Unplug them, and give them a chance. It may
be the only chance you get. -- Mark Brandenburg
Because eggs are used in many of the foods kids eat, an egg allergy
can pose many challenges for parents.
Before you spend a day in the country, it's important to learn about
farm safety. Animals, heavy machinery, and pesticides are just a few
of the dangers that can befall children on farms. Learn how to
protect your child from everyday dangers by taking safety
While there has been a 15% increase in the number of stay-at-home
moms since 1994, stay-at-home dads are up 38%.
Source: People magazine, May 17,
Finding a Doctor for Your Child
What will you do once the baby is born and wakes up with a fever? Who
will you call with important health questions? Choose a health care
provider before your baby is born.
Elite Junior Skaters Frequently
If your child participates in junior figure skating competitions, the
physical stress could be taking its toll on his or her body.
Researchers from Canada, Croatia, and The Netherland, investigated
how skating movements contributed to acute and overuse injuries in
young figure skaters.
Knocked-Out Tooth Emergency Sheet
A knocked-out permanent tooth is a dental emergency. Find out what to
do in this printer-friendly sheet.
A group of viruses that infect the membranes of the respiratory
tract, the eyes, the intestines, and the urinary tract, adenoviruses
account for about 10% of acute respiratory infections in children and
are a frequent cause of diarrhea.
Preventing Children's Sports
By knowing the causes, prevention, and treatment of sports injuries,
you can help make athletic participation a positive experience for
When parents are actively interested in their children's homework,
children learn to value their achievements. Read this article to
learn important tips for helping your children with homework.
Restricting Children's Food Intake May
Actually Promote Overeating
Beware of using food restriction to ensure your child eats a healthy
diet. Researchers from Penn State University found that girls whose
food intake was restricted by their mothers were more likely to
overeat as they got older.
With a little creativity and planning, you can help to ensure that
your child is getting a good mid-day meal at any age.
Earlier Rather Than Later Ear Tube
Insertion May Not Improve Long-Term Cognitive Development
Children who have tympanostomy tubes (ear tubes) inserted because of
recurrent ear infections may not benefit from having the tubes
inserted earlier rather than later, say researchers from the
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pennsylvania.
Homemade Chemical Bombs Endanger
Homemade bombs made from household chemicals are not child's play -
these explosive devices can cause severe injuries and even death.
Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
reported data about homemade chemical bombs and resulting injuries
over a 10-year period.
Backpacks And Bad Backs
Overloaded backpacks used by children have received a lot of
attention from parents, doctors, school administrators and the media
in the past several years. According to the U.S. Consumer Product
Safety Commission there were more than 21,000 backpack-related
injuries treated at hospital emergency rooms, doctors' offices, and
clinics in the year 2002. Read the story and comments from a Harvard
Source: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons,
Experts: Put Kids In Back Seat Of
Safety advocates are praising smart air bags, which turn themselves
off or deploy softly if they sense a driver or passenger is too
small. But they say it's still a lot smarter for drivers to put small
passengers in the back seat.
Cooking Without Heat
Follow these tips for preparing and serving cold foods and you'll
enjoy a great summer cookout!
Do You Have 'Boomer Ear'?
Blame it on the Stones. Or Zep. Or one of those other 100+-decibel
bands you rocked out to in your younger days. Thanks to them, you
were ringing in the New Year with ringing in your old ear. But what
to do about the maddening buzz of tinnitus? A recent study looked at
magnet therapy -- and the findings are both positive and
NBC News is doing a segment about single fathers and has asked NFI
(National Fatherhood Initiative) for help in locating a custodial,
single father, preferably one who is divorced or widowed and is now
raising his children without their mother. If you fit this
description, or you know someone who does, please contact Vincent
DiCaro, NFI's Public Affairs Manager, at VDicaro@fatherhood.org
and include your contact information.
Food Safety for Your Family
Why is food safety important? And how can you be sure your kitchen
and the foods you prepare in it are safe?
Staying Safe While in the Water
Pools, lakes, ponds, and beaches can offer cool relief in hotter
weather. But water also can be dangerous for children who are not
aware of its hazards.
Sometimes children lose abnormally large amounts of water and salts
through fever, diarrhea, vomiting, or long periods of exercise. This
is called dehydration. Read this article to learn the symptoms of
dehydration and what to do if your child becomes dehydrated.
Many Teens in Intimate
Relationships Are Abused by Their Partners
Abuse in adolescent dating relationships (both girls and boys
perpatrate abuse, though actions of abusive girls are generally
minimized and discounted, or not even noticed - Editor) is common,
say researchers from the University of Rochester School of Medicine
who examined abusive teen relationships and links to other risky
Sons of Mothers With Lupus Are at
Increased Risk for Learning Disabilities
Sons of mothers with lupus are at greater risk for learning
disabilities, say researchers from New York.
Sizes May Encourage Children to Overeat at Meals
Rates of childhood obesity are increasing. You may be tempted to
serve your child large portions of food at mealtimes, thinking that
your child will eat only what as much as he or she needs to grow. But
serving overly large portions only may leads to overeating, say
researchers from Pennsylvania State University in State College.
Young Teens Who Drink Are at Risk for
Problems in Late Adolescence and Adulthood
Many teens who drink at a young age have problems that persist into
adulthood. California researchers investigated the prevalence of teen
drinking and other problem behaviors over a 10-year period.
Eye Injuries in Soccer Players
Sports are the leading cause of eye injuries. Although sports provide
several benefits for kids and teens, they also contribute to eye
injuries. Researchers from Portugal investigated the severity of
soccer-related eye injuries over an 8-year period.
Helping Your Teen Decide What to Do
After High School
Helping to prepare your teen for life after high school is one of the
most important tasks you will have as a parent.
How to Talk to Your Child's Doctor
What are the best ways to communicate your concerns and questions to
your child's doctor? And how can you strengthen your relationship
with the doctor who plays a prominent role in your child's
High-School Hazing: What It Is and What You
Can Do About It
A group of seniors at a school outside Chicago were caught on tape by
a fellow classmate allegedly beating junior girls and covering them
with mud, feces, pig entrails, garbage, and paint. The incident has
caused a firestorm of controversy, bringing the topic of high-school
hazing into the limelight. Read on to find out what hazing is and how
you can help to prevent it from happening to your child.
Bullying Linked to More Serious Violent
Bullying is a significant problem in U.S. schools. Approximately 30%
of children in grades 6 through 10 report being bullied, perpetrating
the bullying, or both. According to researchers from the National
Institute of Child Health and Human Development, bullying may be
linked to more serious violent behaviors.
Insect Stings and Bites
The two greatest risks from most insect stings and bites are allergic
reaction and infection. Find out what you should do if your child
gets stung in this article for parents.
Gearing Up for Bicycle Safety
It's a beautiful day and the kids are home from school. It's a
perfect day for a family bike ride, right? Read this article to find
out why bicycle safety is so important and what you need to know to
keep your kids safe.
Lower Back Pain in School-Age
Lower back pain is a cause of discomfort for some children, and
previous studies have suggested that back pain in children might be
related to carrying heavy backpacks. British researchers studied the
prevalence of low back pain in school-age children and the factors
that increased a child's risk for back pain.
Your 68-year-old Irish uncle was just diagnosed with hereditary
hemochromatosis, a genetic disorder common among people of Northern
European descent. You've never heard of this condition before, and
now your head is spinning with questions. It's time to learn
Woods and Camping Safety for the Whole
Planning a safe family camping trip can be an enjoyable experience if
you are prepared.
It's important to teach your children how to enjoy fun in the sun
safely. With the right precautions, you can greatly reduce your
child's chance of developing skin cancer.
Violence Influence On Teens
A brief explanation of the causes and impact of violence on your
Keepin' It Real About Sex
A better understanding of the sexual feelings that come with being a
Relations Between Parents and
From "the 19th century file"...How do you reconcile the law of equal
freedom with parental obligations and the need to control/protect a
Source: Clara Dixon Davidson, www.ifeminists.net/introduction/editorials/2003/0225dixon.html
Close Ties to Un-Wed Birth-Fathers Best for
The children of adolescent mothers who continue to have close ties
with their fathers while they are growing up have better outcomes in
education and employment as adults.
Source: Marianne E. Felice, M.D., Professor of
Pediatrics, University of Massachusetts, Board of Directors, Campaign
For Our Children
How Age of First Date Relates to Age of
Age of first date is related to age of first intercourse. According
to research, among children who began dating before the age of 12, 91
percent were sexually active before the end of high school. By
delaying dating until age 13, the percent decreased to 56 percent.
Source: Yawn BP, & Yawn RA. (Winter, 1997.)
Adolescent pregnancy: A preventable consequence? The Prevention
Researcher, Vol. 4, No. 1.)
Talking to our Children About War and
This will be the most televised war in history. How do we deal with
war coverage in our homes? We could watch the war coverage on
television 24 hours a day. This is not healthy for any of us,
particularly our children. As adults we want to know what is going
on, but we have to balance that with too much exposure.
Exposure to Violence Linked
to Substance Use in Teens
Children and teens who witness violence or who are victims of
violence in their communities are more likely to use dangerous
substances such as cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs,
say researchers from Belgium, Russia, and the United States.
A Parent's Guide to Kids and
Children see drinking around them all the time, and it's not unusual
for them to experiment with alcohol themselves.
Strength Training and Your
Lots of athletes use strength training to build muscle strength by
exerting or resisting force, but is this kind of workout safe for
Neighborhood Construction May Put
Infants at Risk for Botulism
Infant botulism is an infection caused by Clostridium bacteria, which
typically reside in soil and dust. Researchers from the New York City
Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported four cases of infant
botulism that occurred between 2001 and 2002.
Rainy Day Fun
Looking for ways to keep the kids entertained and off the couch when
it's less than sunny outside? Check out a few quick-and-easy ideas to
help prepare you for the many rainy spring days to come.
Food Portion Sizes Have Increased in
Restaurants and at Home
The rising obesity rates among kids and teens have led many health
experts to point to larger portion sizes in restaurants and at home
as a factor. Researchers from the University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill examined trends and patterns in food portion sizes from
1977 to 1998.
Hot Water From Household Sinks Can Cause
Scalds from hot water are the leading cause of childhood burns that
require admission to the hospital. Even if you're very careful to
always test the temperature your child's bathwater to prevent burns,
accidental scaldings from household sinks could severely injure your
Heart Disease Prevention Should Start
New guidelines recommend heart healthy behavior for kids.
Fast Food + Boob Tube an Unhealthy
Now, a new study shows that both pursuits can have serious health
Cheerleading Can Be Dangerous
Sport can lead to back, shoulder and leg injury.
Help your kids avoid weight problems.
Talk to You Kids About Tough Topics
A new TV ad campaign tells parents that if they talk to their kids
about smoking, drinking, and drugs, their kids will listen - and this
advice couldn't be truer. But how do you know what to say? Check out
KidsHealth's Emotions & Behavior section for tips on how to talk
to your kids about tough subjects.
Child Suffocation Risk From Toys and
When choosing your child's toys, you may not realize that some
containers, toys, or toy components may put your child at risk for
suffocation injuries. The U.S. The Consumer Product Safety Commission
released a study detailing the dangers of products that can cup a
child's mouth and nose and cut off air flow to the lungs.
After high school biology, you probably thought you'd never need
another anatomy lesson again. But then you had kids, and suddenly you
realize how helpful it is to know more about the systems of the body
- especially what happens when they don't work properly. For a quick
refresher course, check out the Body Basics articles in KidsHealth's
General Health section.
Respiratory Syncytial Virus
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a major cause of respiratory
illness in young children. Read this article for parents to learn how
to recognize the signs and symptoms of this contagious infection.
The Food Guide Pyramid
You've probably seen the Food Guide Pyramid, but you may not know how
you can use it to ensure your child eats healthy meals. This article
for parents is a look at the foods your child needs to stay
Malrotation is a type of obstruction caused by abnormal development
of the intestines while a fetus is in the mother's womb. Find out
more about this condition and the complications it can cause.
New Combination Vaccine May Mean Fewer
Shots for Babies
Babies may need six fewer shots if they receive a newly approved
combination vaccine that protects against diphtheria, tetanus,
pertussis (whooping cough), hepatitis B, and polio.
Gel Candies: A Dangerous Snack for
Every 5 days in the United States, a child dies from choking on foods
such as hot dogs, candy, nuts, and grapes. Lychee-flavored gel candy,
a popular product in Asian food markets, may be an especially lethal
snack for infants and children because of its resistance to
dissolving in the throat.
Do Most Children Receive Vaccines
Although health organizations such as the American Academy of
Pediatrics suggest that children receive immunizations on a schedule
that gives 15 vaccinations by 19 months of age, many factors may
prevent parents from ensuring their child is immunized on the proper
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Use Among Teens With Asthma
Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx,
New York, investigated whether teens were using complementary or
alternative medicine to treat asthma and the types of treatments they
If Your Child has to go to the
If your child has to go to the hospital for imaging or scanning
tests, it can be a little scary - especially if your child
doesnt know what to expect. Get all the information you need -
from how the tests are performed to how long it takes to get the
results - in language you can understand at KidsHealth's section on
Medical Care & the Health Care System.
Fluoride and Water
Keeping you child's teeth healthy means more than just brushing his
teeth every day. Fluoride, a substance that's found naturally in
water, plays an important role in healthy tooth development and
A blood culture is a blood test that helps doctors determine which
bacteria are causing an illness. Find out how this test is performed
and when you can expect the results.
Why Doctors Order Laboratory Tests
How do doctors use laboratory tests to help them make diagnoses? In
this guide for parents, you'll learn important facts about common lab
tests, from bone scans to ultrasounds.
Fewer High School Students Are Having Sex
Teens who have unprotected sex are at risk for pregnancy and sexually
transmitted diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC), though, there's some good news: risky sexual
behaviors among teens overall decreased during the last decade.
Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain Increasingly
Common Among Teens
Does your daughter complain of back pain after a long video game
session? Or does your son dread writing term papers because the time
spent at the computer hurts his neck? Finnish researchers who
examined the prevalence of back, neck, and shoulder pain in teens
found that these ailments are much more common in 2001 than they were
If Your Child Starts Losing
There must be nothing more tragic than finding that two of your
children are losing mobility, and can't walk. But there must no
nothing more joyous than finding, after five tortuous years of tests,
that something as simple as a few pills, replacing a missing
chemical, can cure them.
Don't Delay Flu Shots for Babies and
Toddlers This Fall
Protecting babies and toddlers between 6 months to 23 months old from
the flu is especially important - this age group has an increased
risk of hospitalization from flu-related complications. This year,
for the first time, parents of children under 2 are encouraged to
immunize their children against the flu.
Swaddling May Reduce the Risk of SIDS for
Parents are urged to put their babies to sleep on their backs, but
some babies may have difficulty sleeping well in the supine position.
Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in St.
Louis, Missouri, investigated whether swaddling would help babies
sleep in the supine position.
Gymnastics and Bone Density
Exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise such as jumping and
running, helps develop and maintain bone density. Researchers from
the University of Georgia studied whether practicing gymnastics
positively affected the bone density of female athletes.
Teens, TV, and Smoking
Kids who begin smoking in adolescence are more likely to become
regular smokers by adulthood, which makes them more likely to develop
certain diseases or die. In a study funded by the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, researchers investigated whether television
viewing is associated with teen smoking.
It used to be that obsessing over body image belonged mostly to teens
and young adults - but now even children as young as 5 and 6 are
showing signs of body image problems. What can you do to instill in
your child a healthy sense of self? Check out KidsHealth's Emotions
& Behavior section for ways to help your child build self-esteem
and avoid destructive behaviors.
It's terrifying to imagine someone taking your child, but there are
steps that you can take to lessen the chances that your child will be
Choosing Safe Toys
Choosing safe toys out of the thousands out there is an important
part of being a parent. Read this article to make sure your child's
toys are safe.
Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections and
Recurrent urinary tract infections can cause kidney damage if left
untreated, especially in children under age 6. How can you recognize
the signs of these repeated infections and get help for your
Violently Injured Teens Often Experience
Persistent Stress Symptoms
Teens who have experienced violent injuries, including bruises, cuts,
bites, broken bones, knife wounds, and firearm injuries, often feel
stressed and fearful immediately after the injury occurred. But they
may also have posttraumatic stress symptoms that persist for weeks
and months after the event.
Premature Babies Have Long-Term Behavior
Problems and Lower Cognitive Test Scores
Hundreds of research studies have been conducted over the past 20
years evaluating the long-term developmental and behavioral outcomes
of children born prematurely. A recently published study analyzed and
summarized the results from the most scientifically sound studies on
this topic published over the past 20 years.
When a New Baby is on the Way
There are so many choices to make when a new baby is on the way -
what kind of pain management to use during labor, whether to
breast-feed or bottle-feed, whether to circumcise a son or not. Need
help sorting it all out? Check out KidsHealth's Pregnancy &
Before you spend a day in the country, it's important to learn about
farm safety. Animals, heavy machinery, and pesticides are just a few
of the dangers that can befall children on farms. Learn how to
protect your child from everyday dangers by taking safety
Living With Lupus
Lupus is a rheumatic or autoimmune disease in which a person's immune
system mistakenly works against the body's own tissues. Read this
article to learn what causes lupus, how it is treated, and more.
Every parent should know how and when to administer CPR. Our
informative article for parents will teach you how to perform
cardiopulmonary resuscitation on your child.
Importance of Father Love for Child
In an analysis of nearly 100 studies on parent-child relationships,
father love (measured by children's perceptions of paternal
acceptance/rejection, affection/indifference) was as important as
mother love in predicting the social, emotional, and cognitive
development and functioning of children and young adults:
Having a loving and nurturing father was as important for a
child's happiness, well-being, and social and academic success as
having a loving and nurturing mother.
Withdrawal of love by either the father or the mother was equally
influential in predicting a child's emotional instability, lack of
self-esteem, depression, social withdrawal, and level of
In some studies, father love was actually a better predictor than
mother love for certain outcomes, including delinquency and conduct
problems, substance abuse, and overall mental health and
Other studies found that, after controlling for mother love,
father love was the sole significant predictor for certain outcomes,
such as psychological adjustment problems, conduct problems, and
Source: Rohner, Ronald P., and Robert A.
Veneziano. "The Importance of Father Love: History and Contemporary
Evidence." Review of General Psychology 5.4 (December 2001): 382-405.
Consequences of Divorce on
In a longitudinal study of 2,500 children of divorce, twenty years
after the divorce less than one-third of boys and one-quarter of
girls reported having close relationships with their fathers. In
contrast, seventy percent of youths from the comparison group of
intact families reported feeling close to their fathers.
Source: Hetherington, E. Mavis, and John Kelly.
For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered. New York: W.W. Norton
and Company, 2002: 231. www.fatherhood.org/fatherfacts/late.htm
"Fragile Families" Findings
Preliminary survey data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing
Study, a longitudinal study of 2,670 unmarried couples with children,
suggests that most unwed fathers are highly involved shortly after
the child's birth:
50% of unmarried parents were living together at the time of the
child's birth, and another 33% were romantically involved but living
80% of the fathers were involved in helping the baby's mother
during the pregnancy, either financially or in other ways (such as
73% of mothers reported that the chances that they will marry the
baby's father are "fifty-fifty" or greater; 88% of fathers reported
that the odds of marrying the mother of their child are "fifty-fifty"
64% of the mothers and 75% of the fathers agreed with the
statement, "it is better for children if their parents are
90% of unmarried mothers rated "husband having a steady job" and
"emotional maturity" as very important qualities for a successful
37% of the mothers and 34% of the fathers lack a high school
degree, and less than a third had any education beyond high
30% of the fathers were unemployed in the week before their child
* Compared to a nearly perfect response rate from mothers, only 75
percent of fathers responded to the survey, resulting in a selection
effect that most likely inflates the above percentages for
Source: McLanahan, Sara, Irwin Garfinkel, Nancy E.
Reichman, Julien Teitler, Marcia Carlson, and Christian Norland
Audigier. The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study Baseline
Report. The Center for Research on Child Wellbeing (Princeton
University) and the Social Indicators Survey Center (Columbia
University), August 2001.
Delayed Childbirth May Have Long-Term
Health Consequences For Mother
Women who delay childbirth until after the age of 35 may be more
likely to develop cardiovascular disease and conditions such as
diabetes, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, according
to a new study. (Why are we reporting this the
"Fathers" section? Because if you want to have children, and you
really love her and you're dragging your feet, find out what your
resistance to commitment is and get over it.
Source: Center for the Advancement of Health ,
Life Without Father: What Happens To The
Why do children raised without their fathers run serious risks? Sara
McLanahan, Princeton University explores this issue in an article,
'Life without Father: What Happens to the Children,' in Contexts, the
newest journal of the American Sociological Association. Answering
this question can help shape productive policies and perhaps quiet
the culture war raging around single parenthood.
No Paternity Leave say Most CEOs
When 1500 CEOs and human resource directors were asked how much leave
is reasonable for a father to take after the birth of a child, 63
percent indicated none. (Editor: I guess they figured if
they weren't going to spend timing being a father, their employees
shouldn't either. Even with corporations that have a Paternity Leave
program, it's interesting how few father's in most of those
corporatoins actually take advantage of it. We believe that those
corporatoins have an unwritten rule - don't dare take paternity leave
or your career WILL suffer.)
Source: Pleck, J.H. Family Supportive
Employer Policies: Are They Relevant to Men? Wellesley, MA:
Center for Research on Women, 1991.
NIH Expands Fatherhood Research
The US Department of Health and Human Services is in the process of
dramatically expanding its fatherhood programs. As part of of this
effort, the National Institutes of Health has developed a compilation
of fatherhood research projects that it is funding.
These studies are being sponsored by the NIH National Institute on
Child Health and Human Development and by other NIH institutes.
Source: NIH Activities in Support of the
Fatherhood Initiative through September 2000 can be found at
Are Today's Fathers Overworked and
Today's fathers are finding themselves in roles their fathers never
imagined. As more mothers enter the work force, fathers often have to
pick up the slack at home as both a parent and housekeeper.
"The breadwinner image of fathers is being severely undermined by
women's tremendous involvement in the work force," says Ron Levant,
EdD, psychologist and dean of psychology at Nova Southeastern
University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. "The current change can be
painful for many men. Overtime, we may get rid of the gender role
straitjacket so that men can be freer with their heart and emotions.
But we are not there yet. Getting there is causing a lot of stress
and strain for men."
Such stress can put men at increased risk for mental health
problems such as anxiety and depression, says Levant, who is also the
recording secretary of the American Psychological Association. He
points out that the barrier for change is often the male chorus at
work. Men grow up knowing that they should be committed to their
jobs, not cry, and not show emotions.
Although many men are reluctant to change, an increasing number of
younger fathers in their 30's embrace the change byopening themselves
more to their wives and not giving it all at work.
"I do want to give credit to the younger fathers who may have
grown up when some of the gender roles and straitjackets began to
loosen," says Levant. "They are more open and more in touch with
As an inevitable part of this change, fathers increasingly feel
that they now have no control over their wives' professional life.
This has been shown to cause great stress for fathers, says Harvey
Ruben, MD, a spokesperson for the American Psychiatric Association in
Washington D.C., "There is clearly increasing stress for fathers, but
there is stress for mothers, too. The family, as a unit--the husband
and wife--have to acknowledge what's happening and work together to
decrease the stress they are experiencing."
Ruben, who is also a clinical professor and director of continuing
education at the department of psychiatry at Yale University Medical
School in New Heaven, Connecticut, says that continued exposure to
stress can contribute to mental illness.
"Increasing stress puts a person who has a tendency toward mental
illness [such as a family history of depression] at greater
risk, and managing stress helps reduce the risk," says Ruben. Up to
one third of the people in this country will suffer from some form of
mental illness at some point in their lives.
But one concern over the management of stress is that men regard
seeking medical treatment as a sign of admitting weakness and
vulnerability, says Alan Feiger MD, a psychiatrist and president of
Feiger Health Research Center in Denver, Colorado. Instead, they turn
to substance abuse such as alcohol, or having extramarital affairs to
relieve their stress. "The good news is that we now have good
pharmacological treatments that are not addictive," says Feiger
"Acknowledging that you are dual functioning, seek help when you are
at significant distress or marked impairment at either work or at
home," says Feiger.
It is also important for fathers to find outlets for frustration,
says Feiger. "Do things that make you happy. Exercise if it is okay
with your doctor. Spend time on hobbies such as gardening, music,
religious activities and fishing," says Feiger. "Maintain social
contact and keep an optimistic attitude about life."
Source: Hong Mautz, www.cbshealthwatch.com/cx/viewarticle/402802
Father's Hormones Fluctuate Around
While some men have been known to cut back on their social lives,
change their eating habits or lug around excess weight in sympathy
with their pregnant wives, a new study takes such behavior one step
According to the report in the June issue of the Mayo Clinic
Proceedings, levels of three hormones that rise in women before they
give birth were found to fluctuate in expectant fathers in the period
surrounding the birth of their child.
The study included 23 men who were about to become first-time
fathers and 14 men who were not becoming fathers, matched for age.
Researchers measured levels of three hormones--estradiol, a form of
estrogen; testosterone; and cortisol, a stress hormone--during the
first trimester of their partners' pregnancies and at various points
until 3 months after the birth of the baby.
All humans secrete these hormones in varying amounts. In women,
levels of all three hormones rise as the birth approaches and decline
following the birth. While the role of these hormones in the birth
process is not entirely clear, studies in rodents and nonhuman
primates have suggested that postpartum cortisol facilitates
mother-infant bonding and pre-partum testosterone might produce
protective feelings toward a newborn, Dr. Katherine E. Wynne-Edwards,
a study author, told Reuters Health.
In men, changing hormone levels did not exactly mimic changing
levels in women, however.
"That result could reflect different roles or stimuli for the
hormones in men or it could reflect other essential differences
between expectant mothers and fathers, namely hormonal changes
associated with pregnancy and nursing but not with parental behavior
towards the newborn," said Wynne-Edwards, a professor at Queen's
University, in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
The study found that new fathers had significantly lower
testosterone and cortisol levels and higher levels of estradiol
compared with men who were not fathers.
Among fathers, estradiol levels were higher in the month after the
birth compared with levels tested the month before the birth. Levels
of testosterone were slightly lower in the first week after birth
compared with levels taken more than 1 month after birth.
"The physiologic importance of these hormonal changes, if any, is
not known," the researchers conclude. "However, they are hormones
known to influence maternal behavior."
Source: Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2001;76:582-592.
Overheating baby's room increases SIDS
Babies who sleep in overheated rooms are known to be at higher risk
of sudden !infant death syndrome (SIDS), but the majority of parents
do not know how warm their baby's room should be, survey findings
Cranky baby? Study says teeth are not to
Drooling, coughing, crying, diarrhea, rashes, fever and poor sleep
can all be blamed on an infant's teething. But more often than not,
these so-called symptoms have nothing to do with the eruption of a
child's first teeth, researchers report. http://www.healthcentral.com/news/newsfulltext.cfm?ID=45394&src=n49
Chubby babies not all destined to be
Michigan researchers have filled in a piece to the puzzle about birth
weight and adolescent obesity. We've always assumed that fat babies
become obese teenagers, but that's not !necessarily so. It seems the
parents' body weight is an issue -- a fat baby born to skinny parents
will not be a heavy teen. www.healthcentral.com/drdean/DeanFullTextTopics.cfm?ID=45229&src=n49
Our children are anxious -- and for
no good reason
According to this study from Case Western Reserve, the average child
today is more anxious than a child psychiatry patient in the 1950s.
But why? I blame the media's unrelenting parade of exaggerated
dangers in our environment. No wonder kids like to numb their brains
with cartoons and video games. www.healthcentral.com/drdean/DeanFullTextTopics.cfm?ID=45403&src=n49
Garth Brooks Retires to Parent
Garth Brooks recently broke record, something about selling the most
albums. In an interview on CNN, he was really clear that, up-to-now,
music has been his number one priority, even over his wife and
family. However, he is changing his focus (now that he's worth
millions - but something that many other millionaire fathers haven't
gotten to yet). After he finishes his next album, he will retire to
concentrate on raising his three children. Thanks for the
Surprise! Ms. Does a Father
I could believe it. They did a story, though only 2/3 of a page, on
Dawn Riley, the captain and CEO of the American True syndicate in. In
1995 she captained the first all-women America's Cup team and the
current America's Cup competition has 11 multimillion-dollar boats
competing. They were in third place the the time the article was
written. Her dad, it seems, took all the family savings in 1977 and
took his family sailing. Her mother basically said sailboat racing is
a man's world so don't go dreaming something that you can't do. Maybe
that was part of the impetus, the article doesn't say. It does say
she echoed her father and great-grandfathers "I've never met a crisis
I didn't warm to. And later, "following in her father's footsteps,
she put her own life savings into her boat, gathered a crew of women
and men, and took to the sea. Who says fathers can't be an important
example to their kids? They also report that the 1999 Women's Soccer
World Cup edged out the NBA finals by 390,000 households.
Thanks, MS. Minor confusion where, either I don't get it or
they need a calculator. Maybe they aren't tell the whole story. They
quote a piece from Reuters that 38% of teen girls believe their
husbands will stay home with the kids while 51% of teen boys think
they will have a wife who stays home. However, that leaves 49% of the
boys believing their wives won't stay home. Sounds pretty encouraging
to me. Also, it doesn't add up. Their cover price is $5.95. They
print 6 issues a year, that's $35.70 at the newsstand. But, if you
"Subscribe Today!", you'll save $10. The subscription price - $35.
Looks to me like I only say 70 cents. I'm probably missing something,
or they are.
Essential in Raising Children"
American Psychologist, The Journal of the American
Psychological Association, June, 1999. We reported on this finding
last year but hadn't seen the actual 11 page article. We ask that you
read the following through to the end before having any conversations
about it, writing any letters, or quoting. And, if you want to do any
political work around it, you should get your own copy from the APA,
ISBN 0003-066X for $20 including shipping. www.apa.org/journals/amp/699tc.html
Quoted from the article: "Neoconservative social scientists have
claimed that mothers are essential to positive child development and
that responsible mothering is most likely to occur within the context
of heterosexual marriage. This perspective is generating a range of
governmental initiatives designed to provide social support
preferences to mothers over fathers and to heterosexual married
couples over alternative family forms. The authors propose that the
neoconservative position is an incorrect or oversimplified
interpretation of empirical research. Using a wide range of
cross-species, cross-cultural and social science research, the
authors (Louise B. Silverstein and Carl F. Auerbach, Yeshiva
University - wherever that is) argue that neither mothers nor fathers
are essential to child development and that responsible mothering can
occur within a variety of family structures. The authors conclude
with alternative recommendations for encouraging responsible
mothering that do not discriminate against fathers and diverse family
forms." And, we go on.
"In the past two decades, there has been an explosion of research
on mothers. There is now a broad consensus that mothers are important
contributors to both normal and abnormal child outcomes. Infants and
toddlers can be as attached to mothers as they are to fathers. In
addition, even when mothers are not physically present, they may play
an important role in their children's psychological lives. Other
important issues about mothers and families remain
controversial...Our data on lesbian couples have convinced us that
neither a mother nor a father is essential. Similarly, our research
with divorced, never-married and remarried mothers has taught us that
a wide variety of family structures can support positive child
outcomes. We have concluded that children need at least one
responsible, care taking adult who has a positive emotional
connection to them and with whom they have a consistent relationship.
Because of the emotional and practical stress involved in child
rearing, a family structure that includes more than one such adult is
more likely to contribute to positive child outcomes. Neither the sex
of the adult(s) nor the biological relationship to the child has
emerged as a significant variable in predicting positive development.
One, none or both of those adults could be a mother (or father). We
have found that the stability of the emotional connection and the
predictability of the care taking relationship are the significant
variables that predict positive child development....They found very
few significant differences in the ways that fathers and mothers
treated girls and boys and concluded that 'very little about the
gender of the parents seems to be distinctly important...Taken as a
whole, the empirical research does not support the idea that mothers
make a unique and essential contribution to child development."
"Social policy is needed that removes the impediments to paternal
involvement for never-married and divorced fathers. Rather than
privileging the institution of heterosexual marriage at the expense
of other family structures, it is essential to strengthen the
father-child bond within all family contexts, especially non marital
Editorial comments: Their conclusion from reviewing 1 1/2 pages of
references in the article, is that neither birth parent is
"essential" to the raising of healthy, responsible children. Two
responsible parents are a preference, but it doesn't need to be in
the context of marriage and neither one need be the birth parent. I
think anyone who reads the published article will agree that this is
what they are saying. So, since neither the father nor the mother are
essential to the healthy development of a child, I left the third
paragraph as written and took the title and the first two paragraphs
of the article and used the word mother when they said father, and
father when they said mother. If their research and findings are
correct, then why would it matter. Our culture has long held a
preference for "the essential mother" and hasn't seen the "essential
father" even as a remote concern. If that were not the case, our
custody laws would be drastically different and not automatically say
that physical custody should go to the mother. This article would
seem to say there should be no preference based on the sex of the
parent. Therefore, all of these stay-at-home dads that I know who
have been raising their kids, shouldn't get them taken away if there
is a divorce. And, dysfunctional mothers shouldn't have priority
either, which they do now. I'm sorry for misleading you. It just
seemed that what they were saying was that the sex or the marital
status didn't matter, but were afraid to say, outright, that the
mother wasn't essential. While the article makes that claim, it is
structured with the focus on bunking the research on "essential
father" to lessen the reaction about the lack of importance of the
mother. If they aren't pushing a political agenda to maintain the
position of the "nonessential mother" as the "essential mother" and
more important than the "nonessential father" in government, state
and local programs, then hopefully, they will rewrite the article,
putting equal emphasis on the lack of importance of the "essential
mother" so that therapists around the world, particularly MFCC's,
won't take the information at a glance and negatively impact their
work with families. If you have comments, I can be reached at
email@example.com. One of
the authors, Louise B. Silverstein, can be reached at 99 Clinton
Street, Brooklyn, NY 11201, or LBSREMSEN@aol.com
Footnote: It is curious why, out of the 64 references they give in
the article, Sara McLanahan, a Professor of Sociology at Princeton
University, 10 year study was not included. Probably because it
showed that a child living with the custodial mother, regardless of
social class, economics, background, race, or sex, has a 2 to 3 times
greater risk of dropping out of high school, having a lower grade
point average, have school attendance problems, trouble finding a
job, be a teen mother/have a child outside of marriage, and more
likely to divorce if they do get married. It's surely not hidden data
since PBS's Frontline air a program based on the information
called The Vanishing Father. Maybe they had a press deadline
or their tenure was in jeopardy if they didn't get published.
Inquiring minds want to know.
Solo Dads Better
"New research by Denmark's Social Research Institute says single
fathers are less likely to beat or punish their children than lone
mothers. The daily Berlingske Tidende said today a study of 1200
children aged between three and five, half living with a single
mother and half with only a father, showed the mothers as far more
stressed and depressed than the men."
The risk of violence from a parent is only one of several risk
factors for a child in a sole parent home.
Danish social scientists would have controlled for family
finances, perhaps unlike the U.S. researchers who produced the
following (note the denigrating headline added by the Sunday Star
Times, a Weekly national newspaper in New Zealand).
Getting Down With Your Kids
This article appeared in Las Vegas KIDZ Magazine. It is
presented here with permission of the author. It is a bit lengthy -
so it's best to save and print when you can.
One of the things that constantly amazes me when I'm working with
parents and teachers is that many have become blind to the most
obvious and simple stuff when it comes to communicating with kids.
We've all heard that "in order to understand a kid and get her to
hear you, you've got to 'Get Down There With Her!'" But the
underlying need and subjective understanding, as well as the
practical application of "Getting Down" seems to escape allot of
moms, dads and teachers. Unfortunately we replace "Getting Down" with
talking DOWN AT kids, OR talking BENEATH kids (using baby talk) or
attempting to get kids to REASON with us (grow up before their time).
And when we don't get the result we want or that we feel we deserve
because of our age or the fact that we are "Mom" or "Dad", we go one
of two directions - 1) I'm not a good parent (teacher) OR 2) my kid
isn't a good kid.
One of the fundamental principles I work with the general public
and business/organizational leaders is the powerful notion of "Being
Here Now". I generally begin all my trainings, workshops, seminars
and meetings with an analogy about the immense training value that
can be obtained by the participant if they will just "Be Here Now"
during the training. And I have done this for twenty three years. But
what I've learned from my four kids by observing them and living
"with them" (outside training scenarios), is that "Being Here Now" is
possibly the most difficult thing an adult can do with kids - and in
any life situation for that matter. And yet it is possibly the most
powerful thing an adult can do with kids - and in any life situation
for that matter. When John Gray wrote his tremendously successful
book, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, I think he was
attempting to get adults to stop, step outside of their inherited and
learned ways of communicating so that they could improve their
relationships with the opposite sex. The motivation for the reader
was and is - if you want something from your partner in a
relationship you've got to first understand your differences, learn
how to go over to him/her (give), and then practice that
understanding and action with a high degree of consistency. He wanted
men and women to look, hear and feel from a simple alternative
perspective (the language of the other sex expressed through words,
tones, body and emotions), and communicate with a sensitivity back to
What I've found in my experience is that kids also speak a
language of their own; that it's somewhat unique from Mars and Venus
(until kids become like the men and women they unwittingly learn
from); that this language is simply "Down To Earth"; and it's a
language that demands "Being Here Now".
In general I suggest that moms and dads and teachers live most of
their waking hours in the mental worlds of "yesterday" and
"tomorrow". We're thinking about what didn't get done last week or
last year or early this morning. And when we're not thinking about
that, we're often thinking about what we need to do later today,
where we need to go tonight, what we need to spend money on next
month, how we need to be when we get "there"... where ever "there"
is. We adults literally exist in the mental chatter of the past and
the future. And we try to do a balancing act with it everyday. Kids
don't! At least, I don't think they do. Have you ever noticed how
quickly a kid can move from one state of mind to another? They are
laughing with each other, then hitting each other, then one gets
scraped by something sharp, then "I want ice cream", then there's a
giggle, then a sour face, then they're coloring together... And, hey,
all within the space of a few of minutes. It drives us crazy,
especially if we are the kind of parent or teacher that always has to
be "in control." But to kids it's normal. Why is that? Maybe because
they live (and communicate) moment -to moment -to moment. And in
order to communicate to them, or with them, to understand them, to
request of them, to get their attention, to get things done then
we've got to learn how to get very present to them very fast... and
then... actually put that how to into action, i.e. DO IT!. And then
DO IT AGAIN. And AGAIN, and AGAIN WITH CONSISTENCY.
Adults often underestimate the effects that their body size and
position has on their ability to hear a kid and get a kid to
effectively hear them, in a way that produces understanding, action
and results. Stop right now and think about your relative body size
compared to a small child. Now think what it would be like for you to
communicate with some "thing" that is relatively that much bigger
than you. I did that comparison once with my youngest, Alex. And once
was all it took. I suddenly visualized someone about thirteen feet
towering over me, looking everywhere but at me, talking around me but
not to me, someone I would have to strain my neck to look up at while
he used words and feelings as big or bigger than his body. If you'll
try it you may find it to be uncomfortable at best... very scary at
worst... or at least ridiculous enough to make a point. " Getting
Down There" means get down there physically (kneel, sit, scrunch) to
a level that's no higher than the kid. And if possible, a shade lower
than their eye level. So that you have to look slightly up into his
or her eyes.
In my work with parents and teachers I often reread books,
especially the ones that have been sitting on the shelf for a few
years. You know, the out of date ones. Not long ago I picked up a few
and was struck by the fact that they all communicated to me the point
just covered here. I found it in The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott
Peck. There it was again in Bodenhamer's Back In Control. Again in
The One Minute Father and The One Minute Mother by Spencer Johnson,
M.D. And again in Faber's and Mazlish's How to Talk So Kids Will
Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk. And hidden between the lines
of Bill Cosby's Fatherhood. Physically "Getting Down With" a kid
makes all the difference in their world, NOW. It means Stop! Put down
the dish towel. Set aside the wrench. Put the book away for moment.
Open your body and move it to a position that's just below that of
the child. Look into the child's eyes. In some way make
non-threatening physical contact, if only for an instant... a slight
brush or touch on the hand or arm with your finger may be all that's
needed. NOW YOU'RE GETTING DOWN THERE. Back to Earth from Mars and
Of the questions I most often like asking parents to get them to
think is, "When your child was an infant, how much attention did you
give to them?" This causes them to recall the time of their life when
they were probably most present with their kids on a recurring basis.
Usually the answer I get sounds something like, "Constant!" Then I
usually ask my next one, "Really?" And I hear back, "Oh, yes!" And
then I say something that usually stops most parents in their tracks
and raises hairs on the back of some necks, "Oh, I really doubt
that!". At which point I go on with, "You mean you paid A LOT MORE
attention to them than you were used to paying to almost anything
else prior to their birth. But if it was constant attention it would
mean you didn't do almost anything else... you didn't eat, you didn't
go to the bathroom, you read nothing... you were literally glued to
the kid. Now you may have felt glued to the kid, but you weren't."
After pausing for a few moments of well drawn out of silence I ask
them, "Think about it now from an infant's perspective and how much
attention he or she gave to you... Aside from their nursing, crying,
sleeping and pooping... maybe it was they who gave you all of their
attention. In other words, you (moms and dads) were the constant
focus of their attention. They suddenly looked out into their blurry
world and began to focus it and experience it. They began to study
you... all your mannerisms... what made your mouth move up (ahh, that
means I can generate a happy response from the giant')... what made
your mouth move down in a frown ('oh, giant doesn't like
that')....what made you yell ('OH, GIANT REALLY DOESN'T LIKE
THAT!')... And, why? Because they had to survive.
You also became the unwitting teacher in their ability to push
your buttons. Yes. What they saw you do was important to their system
learning the basics of survival in life. To use modern terms they
were like a relatively un-programed computer with an unlimited byte
capacity and a wide open super fast modem connected to the "parent
wide web". Suddenly the switch flipped on and information began
racing in at an enormous rate... through sight, sound, feelings and
touch. And in the process they began to learn that certain things
done a certain way could elicit two completely opposite and opposing
responses from the two main data sources... the big giant main frames
called mom and dad. They learned (subjectively and unconsciously)
that some things could be done (burps and belches and glitches) that
could usually drive wedges between the two giant main frames. They
learned how a kid can get his or her own way especially if kid can
get mom and dad or the teachers off track and into a world that's
somewhere other than Here and Now. They also learned that mom and dad
and the teachers often don't see it coming, don't realize they've
been had, and slip off into their normal worlds of yesterday (he
said, she said, you always do that, you never listen to me) or
tomorrow (you're always going to be like this, I can't live this way
for much longer, what's going to happen when...)."
At my two younger boys' school I have the opportunity to
volunteer. On occasion I get "yard duty". One day a little girl
walked across the yard in front of me, obviously distraught, while I
was trying to figure how much time we had left for recess. I leaned
over, keeping one eye on the school yard and another on her, and
asked what was wrong. She stopped walking but wouldn't talk. I
continued to lean over her and ask if she would tell me what had
happened. She just looked down, and refused to speak. Then I sat down
on the ground. Reached out with one finger. Asked her to grab hold.
Looked up at her, as she was now much taller than me. And she began
Make an honest attempt this month to make it a practice of yours
to increase your activity in "Getting Down There With Your Kids". You
can do it with teenagers, too. Just get creative. You will surprise
yourself with the results. And you'll probably like most of them.
Lance Giroux, Allied Ronin Leadership Training & Consulting,
PO Box 931 Petaluma CA 94953 or 707.769-0328 or www.AlliedRonin.com
Fathers Make Better
"Fathers make better single parents than mothers, according to new
research reported in the Sunday Star-Times.
"Studies in the United States suggest children brought up by only
their mother are four times more likely to drop out of school, become
delinquent or commit suicide as children brought up by their
"Henry Biller, professor of psychology at Rhode Island University
and author of 'The Father Factor', said delinquency was three to four
times as frequent in children in the care of only their mother.
"We are talking about drug use, criminal behavior, school drop
out, unmarried pregnancy,' he said. "Paternal deprivation is much
more of a problem than maternal deprivation.'
"According to Richard Warshak, professor of psychology at the
Texas University Southwestern Medical Centre, boys suffer 'harmful
effects' of being brought up without a father. 'Children are more
likely to avoid harmful effects of divorce if they live with the
parent of the same sex.'
"Dr Warshak said: 'There is no reason to believe that mothers have
the monopoly on competence at bringing up children. Fathers can do
just as well, and in some cases better."
* * *
There were times when we were broke and I knew it. Dad found a way
to sacrifice a quarter for me. I must keep that natural circle of
love going around for my own son. Gregory Hines
It is a wise father that knows his own child. - William
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