A new study released by the Pew Research Center have found there are two dominant types of fathers in America: fathers who are actively involved in family life vs. fathers who are not because they live apart from the kids.
According to CNN.com, the Pew study found that today’s fathers are more active in their kids’ lives than 50 years ago, but fathers who live outside the household have also more than doubled since the 60s. Those who live with their families are more in tune with their kids, with 93% talking to their kids a few times a week, over 50% transporting their kids to activities, and 9 out of 10 eating a few weekly meals together.
Education, income, and race are still factors that determine fatherhood – white fathers with higher education and incomes usually lived with their familes. Only 21% lived apart. Even though 44% of African-American fathers lived apart from the family, they were still the most active group of fathers who lived outside.
Another Pew survey revealed that 69% of the survey takers believe fathers living in the house contribute to a child’s happiness. Not surprisingly, it’s important for fathers to be actively involved with their families, no matter if they’re living inside the house or not.
Depressed Dads More Likely to Spank, Shortchange Kids: Study Depressed dads are more likely to shortchange their children and use physical punishment, even on tots who are still crawling, new research suggests.A study involving fathers of 1-year-olds found they were more likely to spank and less likely to read to their youngsters than mentally healthy fathers. The finding adds more weight to the emerging awareness of “postpartum depression” among new fathers. [Yahoo News]
Mom’s Prenatal Stress Raises Child’s Disease Risk The children of women who experience a stressful life event either during or before pregnancy are at an increased risk of being hospitalized from infectious disease, according to a new study. Children whose mothers experienced a stressful event, such as the death of a loved one or divorce, while they were pregnant were 71 percent more likely to be hospitalized with a severe infectious disease than children of women who did not undergo prenatal stress, said study researcher Nete Munk Nielsen, an epidemiologist at Statens Serum Institute in Denmark. [MSNBC]
Children Still Play the Old Schoolyard Favorites Children still enjoy playing traditional games like skipping and clapping in the playground despite the lure of mobile phones, computer games, and television, a study published on Tuesday found. Playground games are “alive and well … they happily co-exist with media-based play, the two informing each other,” it said. [Yahoo News]
Updates Urged for Kids’ Heart, Breathing Rate Guidelines Guidelines for children’s heart and breathing rate reference ranges need to be updated, say researchers who reviewed 69 studies that included a total of about 143,000 children. The review produced new reference ranges that differ widely from existing published guidelines, according to Dr. Matthew Thompson, of Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues. The reference ranges are used for assessing and resuscitating children. [Yahoo News]
This past weekend, a friend (who is Chinese) sent me a link and I read, with a mixture of horror, amusement, disbelief, and slight agreement, the Wall Street Journal article by Amy Chua, “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.”
Being Chinese myself (and not even an American-Born Chinese or ABC), I wish I could tell you scary stories of what it was like growing up with an exacting, overbearing, and terrifying Chinese mother who would verbally beat me into submission. Except, believe it or not, I don’t have any. Growing up, I attended sleepovers and had play dates, watched TV, chose my own extracurriculars (including theater, but I didn’t act), rarely got grades less an an A (until college), and never played the violin (piano, yes, though I was far from being Lang Lang).
However, I did have Chinese friends with mothers like Amy Chua – and, those friends did excel better than me and also went on to Ivy Leagues, but some of those friends also grew up crying, feeling inadequate, and believing parental love and approval came with straight As. They extinguished their creative and artistic sides and prepared for life-long careers in medicine, engineering, and law. Over 147, 718 people (presumably Asians), including some of my friends, have shared Chua’s story on Facebook—and most of the comments have been the same: they remember what it was like growing up feeling criticized, never good enough, and uncertain whether the paths they chose was what they really wanted.
Amy Chua would probably say my parents became too Westernized when they moved to America and didn’t try hard enough. My own parents would probably be considered hippie Chinese parents even though they aren’t familiar with the term “hippie.” My parents never once yelled at me or called me “stupid, “worthless,” or “garbage.” They let me pull out of Chinese school when I refused to go and they encouraged my love for reading, art, and writing. As Patty Chang wrote on Huffington Post, not all children are the same so they can’t all be force-fed the same parenting style.
Below is a clip from Monday’s segment of the ”Today Show” in New York City, where Cheryl and her son (Dyson, now 5-years-old) speak about the importance of acceptance, inclusion, and embracing every child’s uniqueness. Plus, stay tuned for our own upcoming interview with Cheryl Kilodavis!
As parents, it’s inevitable that you love your kids and want to spend a lot of quality time with them. However, spending every waking moment with your kids may not be the best thing for you or your kids.
The Wall Street Journal believes “intense parenting comes with a cost.” Based on recent research from a Focus on Workplace Flexibility conference, the percentage of parents (especially dads) spending time with their kids have increased dramatically since the 1960s. However, the percentage of parents multitasking has also increased, which means that even as parents are spending more physical time with their kids, quality time is lacking.
Some parents are giving up important healthy rituals such as regular sleep, grooming, planning and cooking meals, cleaning, exercise, and leisure time with the spouse. As parents multitask and split their attention, they feel increased stress, frustration, and irritation.
By sacrificing certain things for their kids, parents are losing focus on themselves to relax, breathe, and recharge. Parents are becoming more distracted and distant.
As parents, do you multitask when you’re with the kids or do you focus your entire attention on them? Do you take time to reboot on your own or with your spouse?
Some parents would surprisingly say ‘yes,’ according to a new report from ABC’s Good Morning America. As Goodyblog noted in our Daily News Roundup on Tuesday, eating disorders among children under the age of 10 are on the rise. Sadly, America’s obsession with the notion that “thin is in” is being heavily projected onto even our youngest members of society—including those under a year old.
Dr. Jatinder Bhatia, who chairs the nutrition committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told GMA that many fat-fearing parents are projecting their own physical insecurities onto their small children: “I have seen parents putting their infant and 1 year old on diets because of history in one parent or another.” He recommends that, instead of putting an infant on a diet, parents breastfeed and and schedule regular visits with their child’s pediatrician in order to give babies a healthy start.
The GMA report goes on to mention one extreme couple in Seattle who went so far as to put laxatives in their infant daughter’s bottle in an effort to prevent her from gaining weight. They were eventually found guilty of starving the baby, and according to court documents, after the little girl was placed in foster care and was able to gain weight, her mother responded by crying, “Oh my God, she’s fat” and “I have a fat baby.” Proof, if you needed it, of Dr. Bhatia’s earlier point that a parent’s personal issues with weight can seriously affect and/or influence that person’s children.
For helpful information on weight and infancy, check out:
Parents Are Junkies
In the last few months, parents and researchers have been at war. Evidence has piled up to show that becoming a parent does not make people happier; it makes them unhappier. [Slate]
Even Short-Term Poverty Can Hurt Kids’ Health Being poor for even a short period of time can have lasting health implications for children, according to a new report by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. 15.5 million children are living in poverty in the United States, that’s one in five children according to the Census Bureau. [CNN Health]