The happiest parents have four or more kids

An Australian family has found that the happiest parents are those with four or more children. [Read more...]

Court rules that parents don’t have to be perfect

A mother in New Jersey left her sleeping daughter in the car for 5-10 minutes while she dashed inside a store in a suburban mall.  Someone noticed, and the mother was charged with child endangerment.  But the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in the mother’s favor, making an interesting legal distinction.

In a unanimous decision, the court said that the law must consider only actual harm, as opposed to possible harm.  That is to say, we worry about what might happen to the child left in the car (a bad guy could run away with her; she could wake up, start the car, and run it into a building, etc.).  But the law can only deal with what does happen.

Thus, as Lenore Skenazy explains the case, parents do not have to be perfect, lest their children be taken away from them. [Read more...]

Whatever happened to working class families?

Robert Putnam’s book Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis continues to get attention.  Michael Gerson has a good discussion of its impact, excerpted and linked after the jump.  The problem being documented is that whereas a new traditionalism in middle class families is paying off in stronger marriages, better parenting, and successful young people,  in the working class–white no less than black– families are in a state of collapse, with more and more people refusing to get married at all, single parenting becoming the norm, children being left to fend for themselves, and when they grow up experiencing all kinds of problems.

As Putnam documents, things didn’t used to be that way.  Lower income Americans used to have strong families.  Economic struggle is and always has been a problem, but that doesn’t account completely for the current family collapse and other dysfunctions.  Something cultural is going on.  For one thing, as we’ll be blogging about, church attendance in this demographic which wouldn’t seem to be connected to economic problems, has plummeted.

College educated kids, though exposed to postmodernist ideology and pop culture at its most destructive, seem for the most part to be turning out all right.  But the less well educated, who presumably are not being so exposed to cultural nihilism, are becoming cultural nihilists.  What do you think is going on? [Read more...]

Raising little narcissists

A study purports to show how certain parenting styles can turn children into narcissists.  But it distinguishes between narcissism, which is bad, and “self-esteem,” which is good. [Read more...]

The mom busted for letting her kids walk home

The mother accused of child neglect for letting her children walk home from the park by themselves tells her story. [Read more...]

Letting kids walk home as child neglect

A 10-year old-boy and his 6-year-old sister were walking home from a park in an affluent Maryland suburb.  The police stopped them and are now investigating their parents for child neglect.

The parents are said to be part of the “free-range” parenting movement.  But I walked seven blocks to and from school from the time I was in the first grade, aged six.  And once I could ride a bike, the whole town was my playground.   My parents, who were not part of any movement, certainly weren’t neglecting me!  Are the times that much more dangerous today?  Evidence would suggest not, and yet letting a six-year-old walk to school like that probably seems unthinkable to most parents.  (It’s unthinkable to me, thinking of my grandchildren!) [Read more...]