Monday, November 26, 2012
When do you fess up and start telling the truth about Santa Claus?
We're not even into December yet and I'm already wondering how much longer I can talk about the existence of Santa Claus. If your kids are young enough to still believe, then you understand how easy it is to use him as the reason why they should be on their best behavior. "Don't hit your sister, Santa is watching," "If you don't go to sleep, Santa won't come," and, "If you're naughty, you won't get anything for Christmas." It's not like I'm the first parent to tell their kids about St. Nick. At our house, we perpetuate the story even further with an Elf on the Shelf. "Max" (our Elf) usually arrives the day after Thanksgiving to keep tabs on the kids and report back to Santa. I hate to admit it, but it works like a charm. Yes, my kids know …
Monday, November 12, 2012
Two people were arrested in Ankeny last week for allegedly locking their children in a basement. Authorities discovered the abuse through mandatory reporting by a teacher.
An Ankeny couple was arrested last week and charged with allegedly locking their children in a basement. Paul Drake, 45, and JoAnn Drake, 44, are each charged with two counts of neglect or abandonment of a dependent person and two counts of false imprisonment after their adopted children, a boy and girl, ages 14 and 13, claimed they were locked in a basement any time they were not in school for a three- to four-week period. Authorities began investigating the couple after one of the children reported the offense to a teacher at school. Due to mandatory reporting laws, that teacher took the allegation to the Department of Human Services. In Iowa, teachers, administrators, and police officers are all considered mandatory reporters. If they …
Monday, November 5, 2012
Talking politics with your kids can be a touchy subject. How do you do it?
If you have school age children, then you've no doubt been bombarded with political questions this election year. I know I have. Just last week, my first grader came home after a mock election at her school, proud to tell me she cast her vote for Barack Obama. While we've talked a little bit about the election at home, she still had a thousand questions about what happens next. "Mom, will you vote?," "How do they choose a winner?" and "What happens if Obama doesn't win?" I won't lie, it's hard to stay unbiased when talking politics with your kids. I want them to understand the process and make their own decisions about political affiliation when it's appropriate, not just mimic the things they've heard at home. Dr. Peggy Drexler, research …
Monday, October 22, 2012
Parents tell lies of all sizes. What lie have you told your child?
I was heading to the grocery store over the weekend with my 4-year-old son in tow. Just a few miles away from home, he noticed a deer lying on the side of the road, an obvious victim of a car accident. As we were stopped at the light, just a few feet away, my son asked why the deer wasn't moving. Not wanting to get too heavy into the life and death discussion, I lied and said the deer was, "sleeping." This got me thinking about all the things we, as parents, lie about to our children. There are the big things like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, and then there are the little white lies we tell like, "Mommy didn't bring any money to buy you candy," or, "The deer is just sleeping." I had a friend who once told her son that a rendering …
Monday, October 15, 2012
Is one Iowa high school's homecoming tradition harmless fun or too racy?
A YouTube video of Cedar Falls High School girls wrestling in Jell-O while hundreds of students look on is causing a stir. The video, which has been removed from YouTube, shows girls grappling in a giant pool of Jell-O at a Cedar Falls park, at times apparently trying to remove their opponent's clothing, pulling hair and hitting each other. You can watch parts of the video on KWWL's story about the incident. Cedar Falls police said three officers were in the area for crowd control, and a picture on KWWL's website apparently shows one girl, wearing a bra but no shirt, embracing an officer. Cedars Falls School Superintendent Mike Wells called the event, "unacceptable." Some students and parents, however, defended the Jell-O wrestling, saying…
Monday, October 1, 2012
Will you be getting your child the flu vaccine this year?
It's officially fall which means it's time to start thinking about getting the flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 85 million doses of flu vaccine have already been distributed, all part of the 135 million doses they'll distribute this year, and yet, a majority of people will choose to skip the vaccine and take their chances in getting the disease. A story on USAToday.com reported that only forty-two percent of Americans got a flu shot last year, about the same rate as the year before, according to the CDC. The CDC recommends the flu vaccine for children over the age of six months. But despite a mild flu season last year, 34 children still died of the disease in 2011. What will you do? With…
Monday, September 17, 2012
A study of children who underwent sleep-training as babies found no long-term consequences at age 6.
When you have a baby, the one thing you need the most is often the one thing you get the least - sleep. It's not for lack of trying. Often as parents, we're so spent at the end of the day that all we want to do is fall into bed and drift off for the night. Easier said than done with a baby in the house. Many parents have turned to different methods of sleep training to help babies fall asleep. Two of those techniques - controlled comforting and camping out - have both been criticized for being too harsh for a child. But a new study from health professionals in Australia is telling another story. The study, published in Pediatrics journal, found "no long-term emotional harms linked to two popular behavioral sleep interventions." Researchers…
Monday, September 10, 2012
Are you endangering the life of a child if you leave them unattended in a car?
It's something most parents - when pressed - would admit they've done at one time or another probably for the sake of convenience. Leaving a child in a car for a few minutes while you run into the store to pay for your gas or drop a letter into the mailbox seems harmless enough but in Iowa, it's grounds for child endangerment charges. Last week in Waterloo, there were two separate incidents of children being left alone while their parents went shopping. The first incident occurred around 6 p.m. Tuesday night when officers found a 3 year-old girl alone in a parked car outside a Walgreens. Police say the child had been left alone for 15-20 minutes. In the second incident, officers were called to Wal-Mart around 10:45 p.m. and found a 6-…
Monday, September 3, 2012
Last week the American Academy of Pediatrics altered its guidelines on male circumcision. Do you agree?
For the first time in more than 10 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics has altered its guidelines on male circumcision. Just last week, the AAP released a statement throwing more support toward the procedure typically performed on newborns shortly after birth. While the guidelines don't necessarily recommend circumcision, they do say the health benefits outweigh the risks. What do you think? With the AAP's new guidelines, would you circumcise or not? Tell us in the comments.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Do you think spanking is a reasonable form of punishment despite a study that says it has long-term repercussions?
Editor's Note: This article originally ran on Monday, Aug. 27. We're featuring it again for our weekend readers. I read about a study last week that concluded that adults who were physically punished as children were at a greater risk of developing mental disorders like anxiety or depression. The correlation was startling. The study found that "almost 20 percent of those who remembered being physically punished had suffered depression, and 43 percent had abused alcohol at some point in their life," compared to "16 percent of people who were not hit or slapped who complained of having suffered depressed and 30 percent who abused alcohol." I'm not an advocate for spanking, hitting, slapping or any other physical punishment when it comes to …