parenting

We all know which kid Mom and Dad liked best, and odds are you're thinking it's not you.

But does that really make a difference? It can, researchers say, but not always the way you might think.

Less-favored children are more likely to be using drugs, alcohol and cigarettes as teenagers, according to researchers at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

But what matters is not how the parents actually treat the children, but how the kids perceive it.

The Justice Department has weighed in on a class-action lawsuit in South Dakota pitting Native American tribes against state officials, and come down resoundingly in support of tribes.

If there's one thing Tiger Mothers have in common with those bringing up Bébé, it's that they both show us just how varied parenting styles can be.

Argentine parents let their kids stay up until all hours; Japanese parents let 7-year-olds ride the subway by themselves; and Danish parents leave their kids sleeping in a stroller on the curb while they go inside to shop or eat.

When Elizabeth O'Connell was expecting her first child, she knew she wanted to breast-feed. And, she says, she sort of expected it to just happen, naturally.

That's not quite how it panned out. "I was experiencing very tremendous pain," she says.

At first she figured that was normal — but soon it became too much to handle. "I was devastated," she says. "The reality is nursing is a wonderful bonding experience, but when you're in pain, you aren't really thinking about that."

The Prodigy Paradox

Jul 17, 2014
Baby Einstein / Creative Commons

In a society which rewards brains over brawn, who better than a prodigy to place your bets on? The answer may surprise you.  

Bobby Fischer was terrible at everything  except chess. His entire life was punctuated by extreme paranoia, bouts of seclusion, and cascading, erratic behavior. Ted Kaczynski, a child math and science prodigy… I don’t have to tell you how that one worked out.  

Thomas Chatterton was writing publishable poetry by the age of 12, and in the immediately ensuing years, wrote work that left its mark on the literature and influenced the  romantic movement. He took his own life with arsenic three months shy of 18. 

After a half-century of the War on Poverty, an anti-poverty agency in Ohio has concluded that decades of assistance alone just hasn't changed lives. Instead, it says, the ongoing breakdown of the family is to blame.

"You're seeing the same people come year after year, and in some cases generation to generation. And so then you think, why is that happening?" says Jennifer Jennette, program manager of the Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron and Richland Counties in Ohio.

Outside the concert hall at Occidental College, in Los Angeles' Eagle Rock neighborhood, children are invited to test out the instruments the Santa Cecilia Orchestra will play later. Alexa Media Rodriguez, 8, says she and her family have never before been to an orchestra concert. She heard about the orchestra when some of the musicians visited her school.

"I brought my dad, my stepmom," she says, "my sister, my brother and my sister's cousin ..."

That's the thing about this orchestra, says conductor Sonia Marie De Leon De Vega: The children are bringing the parents.

Having a teenager lost in his or her cellphone — texting friends and communicating with parents in monosyllabic grunts — has become a trope of the Internet age. But teens are not the only ones distracted by their devices.

Many parents have the same problem. As much as I hate to admit it, I'm one of them.

A couple weeks ago, my 12-year-daughter, Ella, staged an intervention. She and my wife basically threatened to take my phone and break it.

State Issues Alert on Infant Sleep-Related Risks

Apr 7, 2014
vivianejl / Creative Commons

An eight-week-old baby boy slips out of his sleeping grandmother’s arms and suffocates in the folds of a couch. A seven-week-old girl is found dead lying on her stomach in her mother’s bed, where she had been placed to sleep, as a nearby crib sat unused. These are two of 23 infants who died in Connecticut last year of “sudden infant death syndrome,” or undetermined causes. 

Of those cases, 18 were found to have risk factors associated with the sleep environment, including co-sleeping in an adult bed with parents, sleeping with a heavy blanket or pillows, or being placed on their stomachs.

kaatjevevoort / Flickr Creative Commons

Just last week, a Tennessee judge ruled that the parents of a baby boy they named “Messiah,” must change his name to Martin.

How Not To Name Your Baby

Mar 6, 2014

Six weeks ago today, I gave birth to a baby girl. Like her older sister, she spent the first few days of life without a name.

You see, my husband and I wanted to get our children's names just right, and that meant taking some time to consider the options and get a feel for how well they fit each new baby. But we also happen to be cognitive scientists of an evidence-based persuasion so, for us, it also meant gathering and analyzing some data.

Parents do a lot more than make sure a child has food and shelter, researchers say. They play a critical role in brain development.

CT-N

Connecticut Voices for Children held a forum on Thursday called, "Raising the Grade: Improving Educational Opportunities for Youth in State Care." State lawmakers, child advocates, and community leaders gathered at the capitol to hear sometimes emotional testimony from members of the DCF Youth advisory panel, teenagers who have been in the care of the state for most of their lives.

Ray Hardman / WNPR

The state of Connecticut will begin developing a plan to meet the behavioral health needs of all the children in the state. The plan is required under legislation passed last year by the General Assembly in response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

In the early 1990s, a team of researchers decided to follow about 40 volunteer families — some poor, some middle class, some rich — during the first three years of their new children's lives. Every month, the researchers recorded an hour of sound from the families' homes. Later in the lab, the team listened back and painstakingly tallied up the total number of words spoken in each household.

What they found came to be known as the "word gap."

Movies Rated PG-13 Feature The Most Gun Violence

Nov 11, 2013

Parents who rely on movie ratings to decide what their children can watch may think that PG-13 films have fewer villains flashing guns than R-rated movies.

But they're wrong.

The PG-13 movies actually show more gun violence, a study finds.

Gawker

We normally write about other people -- because other people are the news. Not us.

And then, sometimes, really strange things happen.

Starr Cookman and Kylee Moreland Fenton have been inseparable since childhood. They live on the same street. Kylee, a nurse, was present for the delivery of Starr's son, Rowan. And when Rowan came home from the hospital breathing rapidly and spitting up his food, both friends were alarmed — even when the pediatrician said he was doing fine.

Random Bedtimes Breed Bad Behavior In Kids

Oct 15, 2013

Parents learn the hard way that late bedtimes make for cranky kids the next day. But inconsistent bedtimes may have a greater effect on children's behavior, a study says.

Kids who didn't go to bed on a regular schedule had more behavior problems at home and at school. When those children were put to bed at the same time each night, their behavior improved.

Pregnant women hear a lot about things they should avoid: alcohol, tobacco, chemical exposures, stress. All of those have the potential to affect a developing fetus. And now scientists are beginning to understand why.

One important factor, they say, is something called epigenetics, which involves the mechanisms that turn individual genes on and off in a cell.

Emily Bell / Creative Commons

Connecticut's Department of Children and Families has organized an event this Sunday in Waterbury called Dads Matter Too!, an opportunity for fathers to enjoy a fun day with their children, and a chance to celebrate the role dads play in their child's life.

The day starts with a 5k road race at 9:10 am, followed by a fun run for the kids, and at 11:00 am, a one mile father/child walk.

kaatjevevoort / Flickr Creative Commons

Just last week, a Tennessee judge ruled that the parents of a baby boy they named “Messiah,” must change his name to Martin.

The College Kid

Rico Saccoccio is a junior at Fordham University in the Bronx. He's from a middle-class family in Connecticut and he spent the summer living at home with his parents, who cover about $15,000 a year in his college costs.

According to the U.S. government, Saccoccio is living in poverty. The $8,000 he earns doing odd jobs puts him well below the $11,945 poverty threshold for an individual. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that more than half of all college students who are living off campus and not at home are poor.

Sunsetme on Flickr Creative Commons

Today, we’re talking about the changing face of fatherhood.

While the birth of most children don’t get as much attention as the arrival of the royal baby, many of us already know what Prince William has yet to learn, this is just the start.

Of course, he’ll have a little help raising his young son--something a lot of dads don’t have. A recent series of reports from the Pew Center on Social and Demographic Trends say that in the United States, single father households are rising.

Fast-Forward Family

Jul 22, 2013
Barbara Wells/flickr creative commons

A CT Family Waits For DOMA Decision

Jun 19, 2013
Diane Orson

The US Supreme Court still has to rule on several major cases before the end of the term. Same-sex couples across the country are waiting for a decision on The Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.  A report now on how the DOMA ruling may affect one Connecticut family.

Under Connecticut law, same-sex couples can marry and adopt children.  But under DOMA and in the eyes of the federal government same sex marriage is not valid.

"This is my room, the best room in the house because I sleep in it!"

May is Foster Care Awareness Month, and as WNPR's Ray Hardman reports, advocates are pushing to extend foster care from 18 to 21 years old.

May is Foster Care Awareness Month, and as WNPR's Ray Hardman reports, advocates are pushing to extend foster care from 18 to 21 years old.

Daquella Manera, Flickr Creative Commons

Daquella Manera, Flickr Creative Commons

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