Category: Parenting

Can spirituality save our achievement-driven kids?

The capacity to subscribe wholesale to the American dream is often thought to be exclusive to adults. We rarely stop to consider the effects of a performance-driven worldview on youth. Yet the insidious tendency to compare ourselves with others, self-identify with our careers and make self-worth contingent upon productivity is as threatening to children as it is to adults. Lisa Miller, director of clinical…  [more]

Sex ed for Christians

Two years ago I sat in a parent-packed auditorium waiting to find out what our fifth graders would be learning in their first round of sex education. Since our family had just switched from a Christian school to a public one, I wondered what I’d hear. The night was tame enough, at least from the instructor. She assured parents our fifth graders really got “puberty ed” - all body hair, body odor,…  [more]

Raising narcissists: what over-approving parents can learn from Philippians 2

A study released this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found a strong correlation between parental patterns and the development of narcissism in early adolescents. The study found that childhood narcissism “is cultivated by parental overvaluation: parents believing their child to be more special and more entitled than others.” This is set in contrast to what the researchers…  [more]

Bringing pathos into the vaccination conversation

Do you think meat from genetically modified food is safe for human consumption? Do you think it is ethically acceptable to use animals in research? Do you think it’s safe to vaccinate children against measles? According to a new survey by the Pew Research Center, you likely answered in the affirmative to all three questions only if you are a scientist. The study found a wide gap between the beliefs of…  [more]

Why “normal Barbie” might not be the answer

Who knew a bunch of second-graders could make me so defensive about Barbie? You’d think I’d be past this. After all, I’ve had a lifetime of concerns about the plastic blonde. I’ve worried her famously out-of-proportion physique could lead to body image problems. I’ve recoiled when a talking Barbie declared that “math class was tough.” (Even though, honestly, I agreed with…  [more]

Kids these days: Parsing that interview with Jaden and Willow Smith

Just playing devil’s advocate here: maybe Will and Jada Smith are just like any other good parents who believe their children possess a particular brand of genius. Let’s be honest, if the New York Times style magazine wanted to feature our kids’ accomplishments and precocious personalities in an interview, we’d let them. Otherwise why are we all filling the Internet up with the videos, photos…  [more]

Three-parent babies? Let’s not forget about begetting

Every few months, a story pops up about a new frontier in reproductive medical technologies: so-called “three-parent IVF.” NPR recently reported on efforts in Britain to allow embryos created via this technique to be transferred into women’s uteruses, while a New York Times Magazine cover article last summer focused on whether the Federal  Drug Administration would approve human clinical…  [more]

Egg freezing and the facts of life

Apple and Facebook recently made headlines with their decision to cover the medical costs for female employees who want to freeze their eggs. Many fertility clinics now advertise this as a procedure one might choose in order to “pursue educational, career or other personal goals.” These headlines were a fresh reminder that Protestant Christians often ignore the ethical implications of reproductive…  [more]

How the anti-vaccination movement turns a blind eye toward history

On Wednesday, Google’s home page featured a happy illustration. In a street scene, smiling adults watched children play joyfully. Two children carried a sign in honor of the occasion: “Thank you, Dr. Salk!” On the 100th anniversary of Jonas Salk’s birth, some stopped to recognize his achievement and generosity in developing a polio vaccine and sharing it with the world. Many were happily…  [more]

Parenting is not a covenantal relationship. Marriage is.

I don’t know if it was the provocative title - “How American parenting is killing the American marriage” - or the actual content, but something about a recent Quartz article caused 47 of my friends to share it on Facebook. Maybe it was the opening sentence: “Sometime between when we were children and when we had children of our own, parenthood became a religion in America.” While the…  [more]

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