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Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013
NBC’s Today Show has collected a number of New Year’s resolutions from parents that reveal the unique ways in which moms and dads hope to model good things for their children in 2013. From MSNBC.com:
Experts agree that New Year’s is the perfect time for parents to take stock of their parenting strengths and weaknesses, and make meaningful changes. But psychotherapist and TODAY contributor Stacy Kaiser warns that “big, lofty goals” are almost always impossible to achieve. For instance, resolving to spend an hour a night reading to your kids is pretty tough in the long run. Instead, Kaiser says, if you want to give yourself a good chance of keeping your parenting resolution past February, make it “easier and bite sized”— like resolving to read more to your kids on the weekends.
Eric Corpus, a parenting and lifestyle blogger in New York City, has a pretty manageable resolution in mind for 2013 — but one that he hopes will result in a big parenting pay off.
“I need to start teaching my 5-year-old son how to play the guitar,” he says. “I’ve been playing for 20 years, so we don’t have to hire an instructor.” And Corpus believes that playing guitar together will be a bond they’ll share for a lifetime.
His wife and co-blogger, Laura Corpus, has a different twist on quality time.
“In the coming year,” she says, “I want to make it a priority to do meaningful things apart from the kids so that I can be more fully present when I am with them.” In 2013, she plans to focus on her pastel artwork, and carve out from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m., when “nobody else needs her,” to make her painting a priority. (Yes, that’s right, 2 a.m. Apparently sleep won’t be a big priority in 2013!)
Corpus isn’t alone in her desire to strike the right balance between work, family and personal time. In a hyper-wired world, many parents say they want to be more “in the moment” with their children this year. Putting down the smart phone and listening a little more closely to those little voices is a common parenting resolution for 2013— for both “ordinary” and high-profile moms alike.
Image: 2013, via Shutterstock
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Monday, November 19th, 2012
Researchers at the University of Virginia have identified four distinct styles of parenting in a new study that explores differences in “family culture” that pervade communities and even families. According to The Huffington Post, the four categories are:
- The Faithful (20 percent) whose parenting style is morality and/or religion-based.
- Engaged Progressives (21 percent) who teach tolerance as a central value
- The Detached (19 percent) who want their children to be independent and practical in their thinking and learning
- American Dreamers (27 percent) who have aspirations that their children be more successful in life than they have been
More from The Huffington Post:
Parenting, this new research argues, is not a system you choose, but an outgrowth of who you are; you don’t select it as much as you let it find you. What is “good” parenting depends on the life you’ve lived and the values you hold.
Understanding this would go a long way toward ending, or, at least quieting, the parenting wars.
The Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia has been examining the roots of parenting style in “family culture,” and today’s report sorts American families into four distinct groups. No two agree on what kind of world awaits their children, nor what morals, values and ideals will be needed to navigate it.
“They speak different languages, they have different sets of beliefs and suspicions,” said Carl Desportes Bowman, Director of Survey Research for the Institute, when unveiling the results at a meeting in Washington, D.C. this morning.
Image: Family, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012
Children whose parents punish them with spanking or another physical means of discipline are more likely to suffer from emotional problems including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, and personality disorders, a new Canadian study has found. From CNN.com:
Researchers from Canada found that physical punishment (such as slapping, hitting, pushing and shoving) — even without child neglect or physical, sexual or emotional abuse — was linked to mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse and personality disorders.
While it may be true that many of today’s parents were spanked as children and are now well-adjusted, previous studies have also shown that those who were spanked are at a higher risk to be depressed; use alcohol; hit their spouse or own children; and engage in violent or criminal behaviors.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society discourage spanking and other forms of physical punishment. It is unlawful in 32 countries — not including the United States or Canada — for parents and other caregivers to use physical punishment against children.
The new study’s lead author, Tracie Afifi, said she believes that physical punishment should not be used on children of any age and that positive parenting strategies should instead be encouraged.
Preferred methods of discipline do not include physical punishment. For example, withholding privileges, using time-outs and offering consequences (for example, “If you throw your toy and it breaks, you won’t be able to play with it anymore”).
Image: Child being slapped, via Shutterstock.
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Monday, February 13th, 2012
Researchers say that when parents are highly controlling and expect kids to follow their rules without question, children are more likely to be disrespectful and delinquent.
One of the main findings of this study, published in the February issue of the Journal of Adolescence, is that kids who trust their parents and see them as legitimate authority figures are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior. Researchers also found that a child’s perception of her parents’ authority depends on the parenting style Mom and Dad use.
The study outlined three main parenting styles:
Authoritative parents are demanding and controlling, but also receptive to their children’s needs. These parents aim to establish two-way communication with their kids to explain why they’ve established rules and to hear their children’s opinions about those rules.
Authoritarian parents are demanding and highly controlling. They don’t explain their reasons for setting rules, and are not open to hearing their kid’s opinions about the rules. These parents have a “my way or the highway” approach, and expect rules to be followed without question.
Permissive parents are not demanding or controlling. These parents are attentive to their children’s needs, but set few boundaries, and any rules they make are rarely enforced.
The researchers analyzed survey responses from about 600 middle- and high-school students and found that an authoritarian parenting style led kids to lack respect for their parents’ authority. These kids were more likely than others in the study to engage in delinquent behaviors such as theft or underage drinking. The authoritative style was the most successful; kids were more likely to listen to their parents, and were less likely to be delinquent. Interestingly, the children of permissive parents had less respect for their parents, but were not more or less likely to be delinquent.
Readers, do these findings surprise you? How would you describe your parenting style?
Image: Daughter and mom via Shutterstock.
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Wednesday, January 25th, 2012
A major new report from The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia is shedding new light on often-asked questions about modern family life–how having children affects happiness levels. The report, “When Baby Makes Three,” is the 2011 edition of the “State of Our Unions” series, an annual examination of marital mores in America. The report considered data from three nationally representative surveys, including a new survey of 1,400 heterosexual married couples ages 18-46.
The main findings of the report, according to its executive summary, are threefold:
- Married parents are more likely than their childless peers to feel their lives have a sense of meaning and purpose.
- Parents who are married generally experience more happiness and less depression than parents who are unmarried.
- Parenthood is typically associated with lower levels of marital happiness.
Additionally, the report finds 10 factors that predict which marriages will succeed in combining parental and marital happiness. Those factors include shared housework, good sex, marital generosity, date nights, and having a college degree, as well as what the report calls “institutional” marital values like shared religious faith, commitment, the support of friends and family, a sound economic foundation provided by a good job, and quality family time.
Taken together, these 10 factors suggest “a hybrid model of married life appears to be the best path to successfully combine marriage and parenthood for today’s parents,” said W. Bradford Wilcox, the report’s lead author, in a statement.
Image: Happy pregnant couple, via Shutterstock.
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