Friday, September 13th, 2013
Physical and sexual abuse of children has declined over the past two decades, but the number of children who experience emotional abuse and neglect–mostly by their parents–is increasing. These are the findings of a report by the Institute of Medicine, where researchers called the data a mixed blessing. More from NBC News:
Dr. Lolita McDavid, medical director of child advocacy and protection at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, says she believes awareness explains a lot. “I think we are much more aware now that there is physical and sexual abuse and I think we do a much better job of making families and children understand that,” McDavid told NBC News.
“We are empowering children.”
But the experts say it’s vital to look into the reasons that physical abuse may be going down, yet neglect and emotional abuse are staying at the same levels. They call for sustained federal research into what’s going on and a new database to track child abuse statistics.
Even if numbers are going down, overall, many children are abused and neglected in the United States, the panel of experts reports.
“Each year more than 3 million referrals for child abuse and neglect are received that involve around 6 million children, although most of these reports are not substantiated,” the report reads.
Image: Neglected girl, via Shutterstock
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Friday, May 31st, 2013
More than 40 percent of American women consulted in a Associated Press/WE tv poll say they would consider having a baby even though they are not married or in a romantic relationship. More from The Associated Press:
An Associated Press-WE tv poll of people under 50 found that more than 2 in 5 unmarried women without children—or 42 percent—would consider having a child on their own without a partner, including more than a third, or 37 percent, who would consider adopting solo.
The poll, which addressed a broad range of issues on America’s changing family structures, dovetails with a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau that single motherhood is on the rise: It found that of 4.1 million women who’d given birth in 2011, 36 percent were unmarried at the time of the survey, an increase from 31 percent in 2005. And among mothers 20-24, the percentage was 62 percent, or six in 10 mothers.
The AP-WE tv poll also found that few Americans think the growing variety of family arrangements is bad for society. However, many have some qualms about single mothers, with some two-thirds—or 64 percent—saying single women having children without a partner is a bad thing for society. More men—68 percent—felt that way, compared to 59 percent of women.
The survey found broad gender gaps in opinion on many issues related to how and when to have children. One example: At a time when the can-you-have-it-all debate rages for working mothers, women were more apt than men to say having children has negatively impacted their career.
And this was true especially among mothers who waited until age 30 or older to have children. Fully 47 percent of those mothers said having a child had a negative impact on their careers. Of women overall, 32 percent of mothers reported a negative effect, compared with 10 percent of men.
Image: Mother and child, via Shutterstock
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Friday, December 21st, 2012
New research is finding that oxytocin, the hormone that brings about feelings of love, connection, and belonging in relationships, may help fathers bond better with their children. More from Time.com:
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“In a study published in Biological Psychiatry, 35 fathers played with their five month old daughters, once after being given a nasal spray containing either oxytocin and again after being given a placebo. Each time, they were instructed to engage in a task called the “still face” paradigm, which produces a small, heart-tugging drama. Researchers measured oxytocin levels in both the dads and their babies before and after the exercise.
First, the father smiles and plays with the baby, who sits in an infant seat facing him. Then he keeps his face blank and expressionless, refusing to respond as the infant makes increasingly worried attempts to re-engage him. After a few minutes of watching but ignoring the child’s distress, the dad resumes a more loving expression and reassures baby that all is well.
After receiving oxytocin, the fathers were generally more responsive to their little girls— almost certainly having a harder time keeping their faces blank during the “still face” and consequently responding far more quickly when instructed to re-engage. Under the influence of the hormone, the dads made more eye contact, provided more touch, had more mirroring and reciprocal interactions and indulged in more baby talk than after receiving placebo.
Their babies also tended to respond more to their dads who had received the oxytocin sprays—with increased smiles, laughter, mirroring and play behavior—compared to their behavior when their dads were receiving the placebo. Their own oxytocin rose in near perfect sync with the elevation of the hormone occurring in their fathers.”
Thursday, October 4th, 2012
Dan Cathy, who is president of the Chick-fil-A fast food chain, said this week that his company supports “Biblical families.” The comments are among the first since Cathy made controversial comments this summer criticizing gay marriage. The earlier comments had sparked protests and boycott threats. From The Associated Press:
Cathy told Atlanta TV station WXIA in an interview released Wednesday (http://on.11alive.com/PONhtv) that families are important to ‘‘those of us who are concerned about being able to hang on to our heritage.’’
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He added ‘‘we support Biblical families, and they’ve always been a part of that.’’
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
Over the next few months, the editors of Parents.com will report on hot-button election issues that American families face today, from healthcare to education. In the spirit of offering diverse perspectives on the election, we’ve chosen three moms from across the political spectrum to be guest bloggers on Parents News Now. Each one of them will offer a unique take on the topics that they–and you!–are most passionate about. (Read the entire blog series.)
By Suzanne Venker
The summer heat is squelching. Here in the Midwest, things are so bad our A/C won’t register below 78. My family hates–really hates–the heat. We’d rather be hiking Mount Tom in Vermont with perfect sixty-eight degree temperatures.
That’s what we were doing earlier this summer, when we took our first long vacation–a two-weeker. It began with a drive to see family in Pittsburgh and ended with a house rental in Vermont. From there it was a visit to see friends in the Boston area and then a quick jaunt (okay, detour) to Niagara Falls before heading home.
It was the quintessential American vacation–family travels cross-country by car while younger child asks “Are we there yet?” a gazillion times–taken by an old-fashioned American family: a mom, a dad, and a couple of kids. We felt like the Griswolds from National Lampoon’s Vacation. I even called my husband Clark.
We don’t talk much about the American family these days; we’re more focused on the economy. But according to a new report from the Social Trends Institute, a non-profit, international research center that studies the effects of emerging social trends on society, the wealth of nations depends in large part on the health of the family. They’re two sides of the same coin.
The report provides several links between the economy and the nuclear family. Here are just a few: One, children raised in intact families are more likely to develop the social capital they need to become productive citizens. Two, married men work harder and earn more money than their unmarried peers. Three, the industry of household products from insurance to groceries are more likely to profit when families thrive. And four, if a booming economy is the goal–and let’s assume it is–reasonable fertility rates must be sustained.
The authors of the report, including W. Bradford Wilcox, associate professor and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, suggest that in order to preserve families and strengthen the economy, leaders should encourage policy that supports marriage and responsible parenthood.
Indeed they should. But don’t hold your breath–preserving the American family is not on our President’s radar. Why would it be? The traditional family (and by “traditional” I don’t mean Ward and June Cleaver; I mean two married parents with kids, one of whom takes on the bulk of the childrearing and the other who brings home the bulk of the income, regardless of gender) negates the need for a large-scale government. And if there’s one thing Obama and his supporters love, it’s a large-scale government. They believe it takes a village, not a family, to make the world go ’round.
But don’t confuse the left’s village with the kind of tight-knit communities America used to have, the ones where family and neighbors helped each other out. That was a village of a different sort, and it comprised what economists call social capital.
Social capital refers to neighborliness and civic engagement, such as volunteering and philanthropy, religious and school participation, and the like. It’s necessary for a number of reasons: growth of the GDP, lower levels of crime, educational attainment, public health, and marketplace production. (In other words, all the things government claims to offer.) In order for social capital to thrive, however, we must have strong families.
But we don’t, and here’s why. Big government competes with the traditional family, thus undermining social capital. The government wants your hard-earned paycheck so it can decide how your money should be spent.
Remember Joe the Plumber? We need to “spread the wealth around,” Obama told Mr. Wurzelbacher. He reiterated this message several weeks ago when he took a stab at successful business owners: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” he said. “Somebody else made that happen.”
In other words, your earnings aren’t really yours. They belong to a whole group of people. As if the business owner hasn’t helped to employ and empower people along the journey. As if he took something that didn’t belong to him.
This President’s class warfare is shameful. And it’s destroying the American family. As Charles Murray, author of the new book Coming Apart, notes in the Wall Street Journal, capitalism has become a bad word–an “accusation.” Yet capitalism “is the best thing that has ever happened to the material condition of the human race. Capitalism has lifted the world out of poverty because it gives people a chance to get rich by creating value and reaping the rewards.”
And without the chance to create value and reap rewards, there’s less incentive for a man to settle down with a wife and kids and work hard on their behalf. Which means the President has engaged in gender warfare as well, by putting a dagger in the institution of marriage. Simply put, big government replaces the nuclear family by providing for women and children in ways that men have historically done. When a man’s role is usurped, he has less incentive to marry.
Men are already retreating from marriage. According to the Pew Research Center, the share of men ages 18 to 34 who say having a successful marriage is one of the most important things in their lives has dropped six percentage points since 1997, from 35% to 29%. For women, the opposite has occurred: the share voicing this opinion rose from 28% to 37%.
The American family is disintegrating as we speak. This may worry you and me, but it doesn’t worry our President. Indeed, he has a new plan for the women of America.
We’ll cover that next time.
Read more opinions from Suzanne Venker.
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