Fathers Newsbytes

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 Children, Parents and Teens. See Parenting also.


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Bruce Linton
Ted Braude
Armin Brott
Tim Hartnett
Kathy Noll
Peter Baylies

Mark Brandenburg
Reena Sommer
John Hershey
Linda Nielsen
Independent Means
Mark Phillips

Missing Children
Related Issues:
Fathers, Talking With Kids About Tough Issues, Adolescence, kidstuff, children,  fathers & sons, fathers & daughters, single fathers, step fathers, military fathers and fathers stories
Other related issues: circumcision, fraternities, gangs, hazing, sexuality-general, sexual harassment, tv violence.
Resources on public changing tables, families, gangs, parents, father's rights, urgent, Fatherhood Aptitude Test to check if you're ready to be a Dad.
Books on: children, circumcision, communication, divorce-general, families, fathers-general, fathers & stepfathers, fathers & daughters, fathers-single, fathers & sons, gay fathers or gay children, stepfathers, marriage, parenting-general, parenting-single, relationship, ritual-initiation, sexism, sex roles, sexuality-general, sexual harassment, gangs, abuse-boys, abuse-child, sexual-incest, abuse-ritual, abuse-sexual, violence-rape, violence-sexual
Journals - on Child, Emotional, Religious, and Sexual Abuse and Trauma
Periodicals - Children, Parents, Teens
Slide Guide: Gangs, testicles, stds, aids, safe dating.

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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 child’s empathy.

But all isn’t lost! Find out what the experts do to curb their children’s screen time – and how you can do the same.
Source: mail.aol.com/webmail-std/en-us/suite

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 the Internet.

Have you seen them? Are they appropriate? Did you allow them to post pictures of themselves for millions of people to see and comment about?

Having your personal pictures of yourself online is as popular as Myspace itself. Perhaps it’s 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 don’t know, meeting people they don’t 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 home.

Lay down the law, follow up and NEVER allow the computer in the bedroom.
Source: By Richard French

Fathers Importance in Their Child's Language Development

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!
Source: www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061030183039.htm

Allowance Basics

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/allowance.html

Preventing 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.
Source: www.childcareaware.org/en/images/giveawaytextp1.gif

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:
Source: www.fatherville.com/Articles/Frontpage/Be_Inspired_by_The_Strongest_Dad_in_the_World/

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, Too!

Mothers aren't the only ones that are juggling work and kids. This article talks about the stress that fathers are experiencing today.
Source: www.careerjournal.com/myc/workfamily/20050506-stout.html?myc_whatsnew

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

Egg Allergy

Because eggs are used in many of the foods kids eat, an egg allergy can pose many challenges for parents.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/medical/allergies/egg_allergy.html

Farm Safety

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 precautions.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/home/farm_safety.html

Stay-at-Home Dads Gain

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, 2004

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/system/doctor/find_ped.html

Elite Junior Skaters Frequently Injured

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/figure_skate.html

Knocked-Out Tooth Emergency Sheet

A knocked-out permanent tooth is a dental emergency. Find out what to do in this printer-friendly sheet.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/sheets/tooth_sheet.html


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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/infections/bacterial_viral/adenovirus.html

Preventing Children's Sports Injuries

By knowing the causes, prevention, and treatment of sports injuries, you can help make athletic participation a positive experience for your child.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_fit/fitness/sports_safety.html

Homework Basics

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/positive/family/homework.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/food_intake_overeating.html

Lunch Lessons

With a little creativity and planning, you can help to ensure that your child is getting a good mid-day meal at any age.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/misc/lunch_lessons_banner.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/ear_tube.html

Homemade Chemical Bombs Endanger Lives

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/homemade_bombs.html

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 physician.
Source: American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/EMIHC251/333/33000/368727.html?d=dmtICNNews

Experts: Put Kids In Back Seat Of Car

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.
Source: www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/EMIHC251/29785/32212/368717.html?d=dmtICNNews

Cooking Without Heat

Follow these tips for preparing and serving cold foods and you'll enjoy a great summer cookout!
Source: www.kidshealth.org/teen/misc/cooking_banner.html

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 negative.

NBC-TV is Looking for Custodial Fathers

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?
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_fit/nutrition/food_safety.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/outdoor/water_safety.html


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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/emergencies/dehydration.html

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 behaviors.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/partner_abuse.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/learning_disabilities_and_lupus.html

Large Portion 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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/large_portion.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/drinking_risk.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/soccer_eye_injuries.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/positive/learning/after_hs.html

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 health?
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/talk_doctor.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/bullying_violent_behavior.html

Bullying Linked to More Serious Violent Behaviors

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/bullying_violent_behavior.html

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.
Source:  www.kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/emergencies/insect_bite.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_fit/fitness/bike_safety.html

Lower Back Pain in School-Age Children

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/back_pain.html

Hereditary Hemochromatosis

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 more!
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/general/aches/hh.html

Woods and Camping Safety for the Whole Family

Planning a safe family camping trip can be an enjoyable experience if you are prepared.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/outdoor/woods.html

Sun Safety

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/outdoor/sun_safety.html

Violence Influence On Teens

A brief explanation of the causes and impact of violence on your teen-ager.
Source: www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/EMIHC251/31697/32157/352561.html?d=dmtContent

Keepin' It Real About Sex

A better understanding of the sexual feelings that come with being a teen-ager.
Source: www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/EMIHC251/23414/23416/349580.html?d=dmtContent

Relations Between Parents and Children

From "the 19th century file"...How do you reconcile the law of equal freedom with parental obligations and the need to control/protect a child?
Source: Clara Dixon Davidson, www.ifeminists.net/introduction/editorials/2003/0225dixon.html

Close Ties to Un-Wed Birth-Fathers Best for Kids

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 First Intercourse

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 Violence

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/violence_substance_use.html

A Parent's Guide to Kids and Alcohol

Children see drinking around them all the time, and it's not unusual for them to experiment with alcohol themselves.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/kids_and_alcohol.html

Strength Training and Your Child

Lots of athletes use strength training to build muscle strength by exerting or resisting force, but is this kind of workout safe for your child?
Source:  www.kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_fit/fitness/strength_training.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/infant_botulism_construction.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/growth/learning/rainy_day.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/portion_sizes.html

Hot Water From Household Sinks Can Cause Severe Burns

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 child.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/water_scalds.html

Heart Disease Prevention Should Start With Tots

New guidelines recommend heart healthy behavior for kids.
Source: www.healthcentral.com/news/NewsFullText.cfm?id=512094

Fast Food + Boob Tube an Unhealthy Recipe

Now, a new study shows that both pursuits can have serious health consequences.
Source: www.healthcentral.com/news/NewsFullText.cfm?id=1501011

Cheerleading Can Be Dangerous

Sport can lead to back, shoulder and leg injury.
Source: www.healthcentral.com/news/NewsFullText.cfm?id=508682

Family Food

Help your kids avoid weight problems.
Source: www.healthcentral.com/news/NewsFullText.cfm?id=512055

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/

Child Suffocation Risk From Toys and Containers

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/suffocation_risk.html

Body Basics

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/general/

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/infections/bacterial_viral/rsv.html

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 healthy.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_fit/nutrition/pyramid.html

Intestinal Malrotation

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/medical/digestive/malrotation.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/breaking_news/combination_vaccine.html

Gel Candies: A Dangerous Snack for Children

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/choking_candy.html

Do Most Children Receive Vaccines on Schedule?

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 schedule.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/immunization_timing.html

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 used.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/CAM_asthma.html

If Your Child has to go to the Hospital

If your child has to go to the hospital for imaging or scanning tests, it can be a little scary - especially if your child doesn’t 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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/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 cavity prevention.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/growth/feeding/fluoride.html

Blood Culture

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/labtest3.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/general/sick/labtest2.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/sex_teens.html

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 in 1985.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/teen_pain.html

If Your Child Starts Losing Mobility

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.
Source: abcnews.go.com/sections/GMA/50states/GMA021011Dopa_responsive_dystonia.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/breaking_news/flu_shots_news.html

Swaddling May Reduce the Risk of SIDS for Some Infants

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/swaddling_SIDS.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/prevent_osteoporosis.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/tv_smoking.html

Body Image

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/index.html

Preventing Abductions

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 abducted.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/travel/abductions.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/home/safe_toys.html

Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections and Related Conditions

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 child?
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/medical/kidney/recurrent_uti_infections.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/violent_injuries.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/research/preemie_problems.html

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 & Newborns section.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_newborn/index.html

Farm Safety

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 precautions.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/home/farm_safety.html

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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/medical/arthritis/lupus.html


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.
Source: www.kidshealth.org/parent/firstaid_safe/emergencies/cpr.html

Importance of Father Love for Child Well-Being

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 aggression.

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 well-being.

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 substance abuse.

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. www.fatherhood.org/fatherfacts/late.htm

Consequences of Divorce on Father-Child Relationships

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 apart.

80% of the fathers were involved in helping the baby's mother during the pregnancy, either financially or in other ways (such as transportation).

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" or greater.

64% of the mothers and 75% of the fathers agreed with the statement, "it is better for children if their parents are married."

90% of unmarried mothers rated "husband having a steady job" and "emotional maturity" as very important qualities for a successful marriage.

37% of the mothers and 34% of the fathers lack a high school degree, and less than a third had any education beyond high school.

30% of the fathers were unemployed in the week before their child was born.

* 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 fathers.

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.
Source: www.fatherhood.org/fatherfacts/late.htm

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 , www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/8799/22002/347735.html

Life Without Father: What Happens To The Children?

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.
Source: www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/WSIHW000/8799/22002/347881.html

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 fatherhood.hhs.gov/on-going/NIH-FY00.htm

Are Today's Fathers Overworked and Stressed Out?

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 their emotions."

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 Childbirth

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 further.

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. news.excite.com/printstory/news/r/010615/17/health-hormones

Overheating baby's room increases SIDS risk

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 suggest. www.healthcentral.com/news/newsfulltext.cfm?ID=45152&src=n49

Cranky baby? Study says teeth are not to blame

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 chubby teens

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 inspiratoin.

Surprise! Ms. Does a Father Positive Story

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.

"Mothers Aren't 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 contexts."

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 gordonclay@aol.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 that perspective.

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 Venus.

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 to talk.

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 or Lance@AlliedRonin.com

Fathers Make Better Mothers

"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 fathers.

"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 Shakespeare

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