“Democracy is hard. It demands teamwork, compromise, respect for rules and a willingness to engage with other opinionated, vociferous individuals. It also demands practice. The best place to get that practice may be out on the playground.”
Dr. Corinne Masur
You aren’t going to want to read this, even though you need to read this:
Kids and Porn
This is a difficult subject.
Parents don’t want to believe that their kids are watching porn. But…your kids, if they are computer literate, are probably watching porn. I’ve had patients as young as seven who admitted that they had gone to a porn site and watched “sex.” This was accompanied by giggling and embarrassment. But behind the giggling, I found, was confusion over what sex is and why people are all watching this stuff.
Older kids, from ages 10 through adolescence, may understand more about the meaning of the word sex and why people watch porn– but don’t assume that they have accurate ideas about either.
A teacher at Philadelphia’s Friends Central School, Al Vernaccio, teaches sexual literacy starting in elementary school. He begins by talking about puberty to the 4th and 5th graders, continues with discussions about romantic crushes with the middle school kids, and in high school he talks about the question: what is sex? Continue reading
It can be difficult to find a family-friendly show that’s a good fit for both younger and older kids. We love the new Netflix series Somebody Feed Phil, which follows the travel and food adventures of Phil Rosenthal, a television writer who brings enthusiasm and wonder with him whoever he goes. He was recently interviewed by 7-year-old fan Evan Wittenberg, who asks the hard-hitting questions we want answers to, such as “What’s the grossest food you ate this season?”:
We hope you enjoy the show too!
We loved this article about raising a teenage daughter, which was written by Elizabeth Weil and edited by her 15-year-old daughter. Just click on the highlighted sections to read Hannah’s reactions to her mother’s writing:
And check out The California Sunday Magazine for an entire issue devoted to the lives of teenagers in the United States today.
Dr. Corinne Masur
Once upon a time (when I was growing up) children were told, “Tonight we are having chicken a la king for dinner.” Now, you might have hated chicken a la king, or perhaps you had the same thing for lunch at school…but that was STILL what was for dinner.
At some point parenting changed, and the idea that choices were important for children’s development became popular. “Child centered parenting” was on the cutting edge, and giving children choices in what to wear, what to eat, and what to do was part of that.
At the very same time, our society was becoming increasingly industrialized with more and more consumer products becoming available in stores. In the 50’s, as the world was recovering from WWII, middle class people in Western nations might have a car– or they might not. But they usually didn’t have two cars. Adult women might have a few nice dresses and a few for everyday wear, but that was it. No one had a walk in closet–they didn’t need one! Children had clothes for dressy occasions, school, and play, and these categories did not mix.
Now that we have prepared foods at grocery stores, take-out food, fast food, Amazon, Target, and Walmart (plus lots of things imported from other countries where labor is cheap), dinner is often whatever your child wants. Kids often have a great deal of choice in clothing, and their weekends are full of playdates and activities of their choosing.
Is this helpful for children? Continue reading
Dr. Corinne Masur
The promotional website for Screenagers, a film about technology in families, is offering new conversation starters for parents every Tuesday. This week, they’re focusing on how kids feel about their parents’ connection to technology and asking the following questions:
- What are some of the best ways I give you my attention?
- Do you find that I’m on my phone, tablet or laptop when you want my attention?
- What are ways you can tell that I am only half paying attention?
And if you’re interested in learning more about the movie: “Award-winning SCREENAGERS probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including the director’s own, and depicts messy struggles, over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through surprising insights from authors and brain scientists solutions emerge on how we can empower kids to best navigate the digital world.”
Dr. Corinne Masur
In an op-ed in last week’s Sunday New York Times, Frank Bruni talks about the shock that many – or perhaps most – college freshman face when they get to college. Having been sold on how much fun college will be, on how they will have “the time of their lives” by nostalgic parents and teachers, they are stunned to feel…lonely. And not just at first. In a survey of 28,000 college students on 51 campuses by The American College Health Association, more than 60% said they had felt “very lonely” in the previous 12 months. Nearly 30% said that they had felt that way in the past 2 weeks.
What gives? Continue reading