Christian Homeschool Leader Announces Conference for Arranging Child Marriages

This November, in Wichita, Kansas, fundamentalist and conservative evangelical parents will gather at a conference to create betrothals for their marriageable children---with emphasis on the word children. This conference is called Let Them Marry and will be held by fundamentalist writer Vaughn Ohlman. I've avoided writing about Ohlman here for a while now, but this conference is so the last straw.Let me start with how a parent can know if their child is ready to be married off: 1) The … [Read more...]


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Why Do We as a Society Still Spank Our Children?

By now, you've probably heard about the new spanking study published in last month's Journal of Family Psychology. AUSTIN, Texas ­ — The more children are spanked, the more likely they are to defy their parents and to experience increased anti-social behavior, aggression, mental health problems and cognitive difficulties, according to a new meta-analysis of 50 years of research on spanking by experts at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan....“Our analysis foc … [Read more...]


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How Do I Explain Trump’s Rise to My Children?

This is the first election my daughter Sally has paid attention to, and she's horrified. Completely horrified. She has Hispanic friends at school, and while she may be too young to grasp all of the ideas in play, she's outraged by Trump's rhetoric and campaign promises on immigration primarily. She's terrified her friends will be deported, but mostly she's angry, and she laments the fact that she can't vote. For my part, I've lost track of how many times NPR has warned me to cover my child's … [Read more...]


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The Duggars, the Dionnes, and Child Exploitation

Child labor laws frequently come up in discussions of the Duggars. There are laws about how child actors are paid---laws intended to prevent their parents from exploiting them---but these laws do not apply to the children of reality TV shows. As I was thinking about this recently, the Dionne quintuplets came to mind, and I began to find some interesting parallels.The Dionne quintuplets---five identical baby girls---were born in 1934, in Ontario. The Great Depression affected more than just t … [Read more...]


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Why I Don’t Force Confrontation with My Children

Last week I wrote about the importance of getting down on your child’s level to interact with them face to face. Several commenters noted that as children they had sometimes found it scary or uncomfortable when an adult got down on their level, especially if it involved forced eye contact or interaction they couldn't choose to avoid. This brought up something I didn't discuss in that post---namely, that I try to avoid forcing interaction---and especially confrontation---with my children.I thi … [Read more...]


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How (Not) to Convince Someone to Have Kids

This week, Gavin McInnes posted a piece on The Federalist titled Why Your Top 10 Reasons For Not Having Kids Are Stupid. It would have been more aptly titled "10 Condescending Reasons This Parent Looks Down on People Who Don't Have Kids." McInnes does a terrible job making the case for having children---and I say this as a parent myself. But in making his (terrible) case, McInnes also illustrates some central problems in the way conservatives go about attempting to enact social change.Let's h … [Read more...]


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How I’ve Learned (and Unlearned) Parenting

I was raised in a strict evangelical home, and was taught that children must learn to respect their elders and obey their parents. As a result, I learned to view parenting from an obedience-focused punitive mindset. I left my evangelical upbringing behind just before I gave birth to my first child, my daughter Sally, and that meant I had to reinvent parenting. Over the years I've found the website Aha Parenting helpful, and I've learned a lot from the authors there, but I've also spent a lot of m … [Read more...]


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