Seven Interesting Articles from Around the Web (Brats in Public, Expensive Kids, The Problem with Teen Fiction, Happy Bees, Playground Safety, An Adult with Severe Allergies, and Abused Pigs)

1. (brats) - Permissive Parents: Curb your brats - I wanted to hate this article, but I think the author has a point. Though I'm aware that he might actually be writing about my own kids. Truthfully, I've gotten many more mean stares while disiplining my children in public then when ignoring them. What about everyone else? Here is one response to the brat article (link courtesy of The Evolving Homemaker). Personally I have a problem with using "kids as weapons" (though it is tempting at times) but to each her own.

2. (teen literature) - Has teen literature become too violent? In Darkness Too Visible
Contemporary fiction for teens is rife with explicit abuse, violence and depravity. Why is this considered a good idea?
Meghan Cox Gurdon makes a great argument that it has (and as a mother of young children, I must admit that this article scared the hell out of me).

"The argument in favor of such novels is that they validate the teen experience, giving voice to tortured adolescents who would otherwise be voiceless. If a teen has been abused, the logic follows, reading about another teen in the same straits will be comforting. If a girl cuts her flesh with a razor to relieve surging feelings of self-loathing, she will find succor in reading about another girl who cuts, mops up the blood with towels and eventually learns to manage her emotional turbulence without a knife.

Yet it is also possible—indeed, likely—that books focusing on pathologies help normalize them and, in the case of self-harm, may even spread their plausibility and likelihood to young people who might otherwise never have imagined such extreme measures. Self-destructive adolescent behaviors are observably infectious and have periods of vogue. That is not to discount the real suffering that some young people endure; it is an argument for taking care."

3. (expensive kids) - Why do we spend so much money on our kids - is it necessary or are we just trying to keep up with the Jones? Read Blaire Briody's article in the Fiscal Times and make your own decision.

4. (an adult with food allergies) - Sandra Beasley's article in the Wall Street Journal discusses her life with food allergies. She also discusses her concerns regarding the future for the new generation of allergy sufferers -"manipulating shared adult environments with bans and 'free' zones does not help those with allergies learn to fend for themselves in the real world. This generation of children with food allergies will soon be a generation of rebellious teenagers with food allergies, navigating the world of late-night drunken Waffle House binges and ordering hash browns cooked on a griddle that may or may not have been scrubbed free of egg. Later they will be 20-something travelers with food allergies who find there are no peanut-free zones in Shanghai. Someday they will be 30-something parents with food allergies, handling toddlers who cannot grasp the peril of spilling milk on mom . . . . You can only protect us from so much. Dodging death is a daily mission for those of us with food allergies. Living our lives is another." I completely see her point, but on the same note ever since we found out about the severity of P's peanut allergy, the mere sight of peanut oil makes me sick, nervous, and more scared than any horror movie I've ever seen.

5. (happy bees) - The Atlantic's "A Way to Save America's Bees: Buy Free-Range Beef" explains a scientific study connecting livestock grazing areas and bee populations. Interesting.

6. (playground safety) - Are playgrounds too safe? Read this NY Times Article and decide for yourself.

7. (sad pigs) - Time Magazine has a great expose on the horrors of factory pig farming (stop reading right now if you have food in front of you) - "Piglets are casually tossed across pens from one handler to another (one worker says pigs are "bouncy") and those that are considered sickly or nonviable are slammed head-first on the floor — a quick and efficient way to kill them. Animals are castrated and their tails are docked — or cut off — with no anesthetic. In crowded conditions pigs tend to bite one another's tails, and neutered males are generally less aggressive. Sows forced to breed repeatedly suffer fatal and painful uterine prolapses, with their reproductive organs sometimes spilling out of their bodies. Females are also confined in gestation crates, which allow them to lie down but provide them too little room even to turn around." SO PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE BUY LOCAL FROM A FARM YOU TRUST! PLEASE! I'M BEGGING!


  1. Wow on #1 - total extremes. I feel like we fall somewhere between on the discipline spectrum. We have three basic rules for the family - balanced meals, respect for ourselves and others, and proper bedtimes (at least for the kids!). Admittedly, a lot of stuff falls into category number 2 - speaking politely, helping around the house, not screaming in restaurants - but we give the kids plenty of room and freedom to be themselves. I tell R all the time that it's perfectly fine not to like something I've decided, but there are some things she has a choice about and things she doesn't. Yes, that's because she's the kid and I'm the adult. I don't think that's disrespectful to her. I also don't think there's anything wrong with teaching your kids how to act in a restaurant, in a grocery store, on a plane, at someone else's house. But we do what we can to talk about expectations ahead of time and schedule activities at good times for the kids (i.e. not at the end of the day after a skipped nap) and if the kids are having complete meltdowns or acting out, we remove them from the situation if possible, or take them to a quiet area to spin out the behavior. There's only so much you can expect from young children, through no fault of their own. I don't think that's treating them as second class citizens as much as it is respecting their limits.

    And R does respect "the look" -- and we've never spanked her or used physical or emotional abuse. To me, recognizing "the look" simply means that she's learned that there are consequences for breaking one of the three rules, whether that's a time out, or losing a privilege. I don't think it means she is afraid of us so much as it means she is making a conscious choice -- do I really want to continue with this behavior, or do I want to watch part of Beauty and the Beast tonight? But maybe I'm wrong and she quakes in fear of not getting to watch a crappy kids' movie for a half hour. :)

  2. Wonderfully stated! I found the brats guy a little too much but when I read the counter-article I was fuming. Using kids to out douche grown ups? So ridiculous in so many ways. Part of your responsibility as a parent is to teach your kid how to become a functioning adult. And there is nothing wrong with THE LOOK, at all.



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