November 7, 2017

Roundup on Aging: The Bright Side and the Dark

Americans are retiring later at closer to 67 and dying sooner,

Data released by the Society of Actuaries found that health in the United States is declining and more people are forced to endure shorter retirements.  From 2014 to 2015, mortality rates rose 1.2 per cent marking the first year-over-year increase in the number since 2005. According to a study by journal Health Affairs, people in their late 50s are having the same if not worse ailments than people at those ages a decade ago  At the same time, Americans in the workforce are having much longer careers, forcing the age of retirement to rise. Result: more people are forced to endure shorter, less active retirements.

An 82-year-old man hiked the entire Appalachian Trail. Then he danced a jig
Dale Sanders, 82, stopped to kiss his last trail marker before becoming the oldest person to hike all 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail within a year

 Dale Sanders 82 Appalachian Trail

He is, incidentally, two years older than the Appalachian Trail, which was officially “connected” in 1937, meaning people could hike it in its entirety from Georgia to Maine. Sanders hiked it in a “flip-flop” sequence, meaning he did a Georgia-to-Harpers Ferry leg, followed by a Maine-to-Harpers Ferry leg. A naturally gregarious person, Sanders had periods of depression while alone on the trail. He was helped by what he calls “trail angels,” people who recognized him from seeing him on the Internet, who called out his trail name — “Grey Beard” — and hiked alongside him for a stretch. ...His next move?  “I’m done and I’m tired,” he said. “And I can go home."

Dancing Has Greater Anti-Aging Effects On Brain Than Exercising

A new study finds that while regular exercise helps keep us strong physically and mentally, dancing may be the most valuable form of physical activity — so much so that it actually has certain anti-aging effects more substantial than the benefits of general fitness.  ....“In this study, we show that two different types of physical exercise (dancing and endurance training) both increase the area of the brain that declines with age. In comparison, it was only dancing that led to noticeable behavioral changes in terms of improved balance,” says the study author at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg.

People Over 60 More Content In Life Than All Other Adults, AARP Survey of 2600  Finds.

80-Year-Olds As Street Smart As 20-Year-Olds, Study Finds

The elderly are just as keen at identifying shady figures or situations as young adults, it turns out. Researchers at the University of Portsmouth recruited 126 individuals — about a third of whom were aged 59 to 91, and the rest of whom were 20 to 28 — for a study on whether one’s age can reliably determine their street smarts — that is, their ability to accurately assess dangerous situations. “The results could encourage older people to recognize they are street smart, that their gut instincts are spot on.”

The Financial Abuse is a different story.

Survey: Nearly 7 In 10 Seniors Targeted By Fraud Campaigns

About two-thirds of elderly Americans have been targeted by a fraud campaign, and more than a quarter have actually fallen victim to such efforts, reports a new survey by at the Cooperative Credit Union Association (CCUA), a trade group that represents credit unions, polled nearly 1,200 Americans, all of whom were caretakers of senior citizens, hoping to learn more about the scams that prey on unsuspecting baby boomers.Correspondence via email was found to be the most common (53 percent) attempt at fraud, followed by telephone (49 percent), text message (16 percent), and postal mail (also 16 percent).

How senior citizens can be victims of elder financial abuse

“Each year, elder financial abuse costs Americans more than $36 billion, and 1 in every 5 seniors — age 65 or older — has been abused financially,” Abuses are often committed by people the elderly person knows, and the abuses are often never investigated. Such abuses include theft of valuables, credit card scams and false shipment, as well as home repair and moving scams. “Just 1 in 44 financial elder abuse cases are ever reported,” according to the National Adult Protective Services Association.

In the New Yorker, a bombshell report.  How the Elderly Lose Their Rights by Rachel Aviv
The stories are horrifying. Strangers get appointed guardians and proceed to sell their assets and control the lives of seniors without their consent and without notifying their families, all to reap profits.

In the United States, a million and a half adults are under the care of guardians, either family members or professionals, who control some two hundred and seventy-three billion dollars in assets, according to an auditor for the guardianship fraud program in Palm Beach County. Little is known about the outcome of these arrangements, because states do not keep complete figures on guardianship cases—statutes vary widely—and, in most jurisdictions, the court records are sealed. A Government Accountability report from 2010 said, “We could not locate a single Web site, federal agency, state or local entity, or any other organization that compiles comprehensive information on this issue.” A study published this year by the American Bar Association found that “an unknown number of adults languish under guardianship” when they no longer need it, or never did. The authors wrote that “guardianship is generally “permanent, leaving no way out—‘until death do us part.’ ”
April Parks Parks drove a Pontiac G-6 convertible with a license plate that read “crtgrdn,” for “court guardian.” In the past twelve years, she had been a guardian for some four hundred wards of the court. Owing to age or disability, they had been deemed incompetent, a legal term that describes those who are unable to make reasoned choices about their lives or their property. As their guardian, Parks had the authority to manage their assets, and to choose where they lived, whom they associated with, and what medical treatment they received. They lost nearly all their civil rights.
in a detailed summary of the investigation, Jaclyn O’Malley, who led the probe for the Nevada Attorney General’s Office, made passing references to the “collusion of hospital social workers and medical staff” who profited from their connection to Parks. At Parks’s grand-jury trial, her assistant testified that she and Parks went to hospitals and attorneys’ offices for the purpose of “building relationships to generate more client leads.” Parks secured a contract with six medical facilities whose staff agreed to refer patients to her—an arrangement that benefitted the facilities, since Parks controlled the decisions of a large pool of their potential consumers. Parks often gave doctors blank certificates and told them exactly what to write in order for their patients to become her wards.

Two documents that can help keep you safe from such financial abuse

A bombshell report in the New Yorker detailed how one woman allegedly took control of strangers' financial and health decisions in Nevada.  Simple documents — like a power of attorney form and healthcare directive — can help you retain control, even if you are no longer able to care for yourself.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:29 PM | Permalink

May 30, 2017

Heckler's veto in France

In First Amendment law, a heckler's veto is the suppression of speech by the government, because of [the possibility of] a violent reaction by hecklers. It is the government that vetoes the speech, because of the reaction of the heckler. Under the First Amendment, this kind of heckler's veto is unconstitutional.  But not in France where 93% of Down Syndrome children were aborted.

French Censors Target Children With Down Syndrome

A public-service TV ad—‘Dear Future Mom’—is rejected because it could trigger guilty feelings.

The 2014 ad, “Dear Future Mom,” addresses a pregnant woman who has just discovered her baby has Down syndrome. “Dear future mom,” says one child. “Don’t be afraid,” says another. “Your child will be able to do many things.” “He’ll be able to hug you.” “He’ll be able to run toward you.” And so on.
In France three TV networks agreed to carry it as a public service. The feedback was glowing—until that summer, when the government’s High Audiovisual Council, or CSA, issued a pair of regulatory bulletins interdicting the ad. The regulator said it was reacting to audience complaints.

It wasn’t until after the foundation retained legal counsel, in December 2014, that the nature of the audience complaints became clear. There were only two.

You can watch the viral Pro-Life video Dear Future Mom produced for World Down Syndrome Day on YouTube.  Here's another video by a young girl with Down Syndrome who says it's 'not scary' and garnered more than 8 million views on Facebook.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:06 PM | Permalink

May 19, 2015

Amazing story

Two women, both adopted, both dropped out of high school, one from New Jersey, one from Florida and Iowa, both move to NYC and both decide in their thirties to go back to college to study writing find out on the first day of class that they were sisters.

2 Women Moved to Write Stories Uncover a Surprisingly Personal One

 Sisters Discover
Katy Olson, left, and Lizzie Valverde, who were adopted by different families more than 30 years ago,
in the Columbia classroom where they met.
Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:00 AM | Permalink

March 20, 2015

The long-lasting effects of a class policy mistake

Ross Douthat For Poorer and Richer

"SOME arguments are hard to settle but are too important to avoid. Here is one: whether the social crisis among America’s poor and working class — the collapse of the two-parent family, the weakening of communal ties — is best understood as a problem of economics or of culture.

Nicholas Kristof in the NYT: When Liberals Blew It Fifty years ago this month, Democrats made a historic mistake.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan, at the time a federal official, wrote a famous report in March 1965 on family breakdown among African-Americans. He argued presciently and powerfully that the rise of single-parent households would make poverty more intractable. “The fundamental problem,” Moynihan wrote, is family breakdown…. a community that allows large numbers of young men to grow up in broken families … never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future — that community asks for and gets chaos.”

Liberals brutally denounced Moynihan as a racist…..Scholars, fearful of being accused of racism, mostly avoided studying family structure and poverty….The taboo on careful research on family structure and poverty was broken by William Julius Wilson, an eminent black sociologist. He has praised Moynihan’s report as “a prophetic document,” for evidence is now overwhelming that family structure matters a great deal for low-income children of any color.
So let’s learn from 50 years of mistakes. A starting point is to acknowledge the role of families in fighting poverty. That’s not about being a moralistic scold, but about helping American kids.

Kay Hymowitz: The Black Family: 40 Years of Lies  Rejecting the Moynihan report caused untold, needless misery.

Read through the megazillion words on class, income mobility, and poverty in the recent New York Times series “Class Matters” and you still won’t grasp two of the most basic truths on the subject: 1. entrenched, multigenerational poverty is largely black; and 2. it is intricately intertwined with the collapse of the nuclear family in the inner city.
More than most social scientists, Moynihan, steeped in history and anthropology, understood what families do. They “shape their children’s character and ability,” he wrote. “By and large, adult conduct in society is learned as a child.” What children learned in the “disorganized home[s]” of the ghetto, as he described through his forest of graphs, was that adults do not finish school, get jobs, or, in the case of men, take care of their children or obey the law.
If change really is in the air, it’s taken 40 years to get here—40 years of inner-city misery for the country to reach a point at which it fully signed on to the lesson of Moynihan’s report. Yes, better late than never; but you could forgive lost generations of ghetto men, women, and children if they found it cold comfort.

Gil Troy in the Daily Beast on The Last Sane Liberal

Daniel Moynihan predicted the breakdown of everyday American values in black families 50 years ago. Why are so many of us still unwilling to admit that what he said applies to all families?
By 1993, mourning the “manifest decline of the American civic order” Moynihan complained in The American Scholar that Americans were “defining deviancy down.”
Every day the media burlesque spotlights an American with too much binge-drinking, drug abuse, sexual violence, family breakdown, celebrity worship, and psychic pain. America’s soul hurts partially because we lack moral anchors in our new, ultra-liberal and libertine Republic of Nothing. Modern liberalism remains too entwined with media-fueled, and now Internet-operated, nihilism. Millions of us, and some of our leading thinkers, may have started rediscovering the value of tradition, but have yet to embrace the traditional values that anchored and guided our parents and grandparents—or a valuable new tradition.

David Brooks on The Cost of Relativism

We now have multiple generations of people caught in recurring feedback loops of economic stress and family breakdown, often leading to something approaching an anarchy of the intimate life.

But it’s increasingly clear that sympathy is not enough. It’s not only money and better policy that are missing in these circles; it’s norms. The health of society is primarily determined by the habits and virtues of its citizens. In many parts of America there are no minimally agreed upon standards for what it means to be a father. There are no basic codes and rules woven into daily life, which people can absorb unconsciously and follow automatically.

Reintroducing norms will require, first, a moral vocabulary. These norms weren’t destroyed because of people with bad values. They were destroyed by a plague of nonjudgmentalism, which refused to assert that one way of behaving was better than another. People got out of the habit of setting standards or understanding how they were set-…….
Next it will require holding people responsible…..Next it will require holding everybody responsible.
History is full of examples of moral revival, when social chaos was reversed, when behavior was tightened and norms reasserted. It happened in England in the 1830s and in the U.S. amid economic stress in the 1930s. It happens through organic communal effort, with voices from everywhere saying gently: This we praise. This we don’t.

Stuart Schneiderman American Anomie

Brooks defines the problem clearly. He does not use the word “anomie,” but the word means normlessness or rulelessness.  …One understands that the “plague of non-judgmentalism” was foisted upon us by the therapy culture. One recalls that when Freud came to America a century ago he confided: “They don’t know that we are bringing them the plague.”

Rod Dreher on The Broken Social Contract and poses the Benedict Option

I am pessimistic about the ability to turn this culture around in the short term. It will require religious revival; of that I am certain. And it will require families and communities of like-minded families seeing themselves and their collective institutions — their churches, their religious schools — as consciously and joyfully countercultural institutions. These institutions have to be open to any who wish to join them and live by their life-giving moral vision of a sacred order higher than the Self. This is how society will eventually be renewed, though none of us alive today may be alive to see it.

A commenter: Today the Greek-Roman-Christian-Romantic “narrative” is completely gone. The replacement is the scientistic-positivistic narrative of liberation (from superstition, from repression etc), which has proven completely unable to provide common people with reasons to live, to have a family etc.  And in fact it cannot provide such reasons, since it implicitly denies that the universe has any objective meaning, and it explicitly affirms that human being are JUST highly evolved animals.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:23 PM | Permalink

February 24, 2015

"They’re getting divorced, and they’ll do anything NOT to get custody of the kids.”

In the WSJ, Nicolas Eberstadt on The Global Flight From the Family
It’s not only in the West or prosperous nations—the decline in marriage and drop in birth rates is rampant, with potentially dire fallout.

"They’re getting divorced, and they’ll do anything NOT to get custody of the kids.” So reads the promotional poster, in French, for a new movie, “Papa ou Maman” (“Daddy or Mommy”), plastered all over Paris during my recent visit there. The movie sounds like quintessential French comedy, but its plot touches on a deep and serious reality—and one not particular to France.

All around the world today, pre-existing family patterns are being upended by a revolutionary new force: the seemingly unstoppable quest for convenience by adults demanding ever-greater autonomy. We can think of this as another triumph of consumer sovereignty, which has at last brought rational choice and elective affinities into a bastion heretofore governed by traditions and duties—many of them onerous. Thanks to this revolution, it is perhaps easier than ever before to free oneself from the burdens that would otherwise be imposed by spouses, children, relatives or significant others with whom one shares a hearth.

Yet in infancy and childhood and then again much later, in feebleness or senescence, people need more from others. Whatever else we may be, we are all manifestly inconvenient at the start and end of life. Thus the recasting of the family puts it on a collision course with the inescapable inconvenience of the human condition itself—portending outcomes and risks we have scarcely begun to consider.
Our world-wide flight from family constitutes a significant international victory for self-actualization over self-sacrifice, and might even be said to mark a new chapter in humanity’s conscious pursuit of happiness. But these voluntary changes also have unintended consequences. The deleterious impact on the hardly inconsequential numbers of children disadvantaged by the flight from the family is already plain enough. So too the damaging role of divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing in exacerbating income disparities and wealth gaps—for society as a whole, but especially for children. Yes, children are resilient and all that. But the flight from family most assuredly comes at the expense of the vulnerable young.

That same flight also has unforgiving implications for the vulnerable old. With America’s baby boomers reaching retirement, and a world-wide “gray wave” around the corner, we are about to learn the meaning of those implications firsthand.

"The breakdown of family in ever new ways and directions."  in what the Europeans call The Second Demographic Transition.

Economist Milton Friedman wrote,   "We tend to talk about an individualist society, but it really isn’t, it’s a family society. And the greatest incentives of all, the incentives that have really driven people on, have largely been  the incentives of family. “.  No free society has ever existed that was constituted primarily of individuals pursuing their own interests as isolated individuals. It is stable, successful families, and communities of families, that make a free society possible.  The only real world alternative to a society built upon the state, is a society built upon the family."

Some of this was foreseen by Daniel Patrick Moynihan who warned about family breakdown in the black community 50  years ago.  Jason Riley in the Wall Street Journal Still Right on the Black Family After All These Years . Will liberals ever forgive him?

History has proved that Moynihan was onto something. When the report was released, about 25% of black children and 5% of white children lived in a household headed by a single mother. During the next 20 years the black percentage would double and the racial gap would widen. Today more than 70% of all black births are to unmarried women, twice the white percentage.

For decades research has shown that the likelihood of teen pregnancy, drug abuse, dropping out of school and many other social problems grew dramatically when fathers were absent. One of the most comprehensive studies ever done on juvenile delinquency—by William Comanor and Llad Phillips of the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 2002—concluded that “the most critical factor affecting the prospect that a male youth will encounter the criminal justice system is the presence of his father in the home.”
Ultimately, the Moynihan report was an attempt to have an honest conversation about family breakdown and black pathology, one that most liberals still refuse to join. Faulting ghetto culture for ghetto outcomes remains largely taboo among those who have turned bad behavior into a symbol of racial authenticity. Moynihan noted that his goal was to better define a problem that many thought—mistakenly, in his view—was no big deal and would solve itself in the wake of civil-rights gains. The author’s skepticism was warranted.

Later this year the nation also will mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which some consider the most significant achievement of the modern-day civil-rights movement. With a twice-elected black man now occupying the White House, it might be difficult for younger Americans to appreciate this milestone. However, in 1964, three years after Barack Obama was born, black voter registration in Mississippi was less than 7%, the lowest in the South. By 1966 it had grown to 60%, the highest in the South.
But even as we note this progress, the political gains have not redounded to the black underclass, which by several important measures—including income, academic achievement and employment—has stagnated or lost ground over the past half-century. And while the civil-rights establishment and black political leaders continue to deny it, family structure offers a much more plausible explanation of these outcomes than does residual white racism.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:12 PM | Permalink

July 18, 2014

Good and bad marriages

From Science Daily, Marriage and healthy hearts: Correlation between unhappy marital interactions, cardiovascular disease risk

The affairs of the heart may actually affect the affairs of the heart in ways previously not understood.”Growing evidence suggests that the quality and patterns of one’s social relationships may be linked with a variety of health outcomes, including heart disease,” says Thomas Kamarck, professor of psychology and Biological and Health Program Chair in the University of Pittsburgh Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences.

He is an author of a new study that correlates unhappy marital interaction with thicker carotid arteries and a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. “The contribution of this study is in showing that these sorts of links may be observed even during the earliest stages of plaque development [in the carotid artery],” Kamarck continues, “and that these observations may be rooted not just in the way that we evaluate our relationships in general but in the quality of specific social interactions with our partners as they unfold during our daily lives.” Nataria Joseph, who recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship under Kamarck, is the lead author of the paper, published this month in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine. Given the size of the effect in the study and the relationship between carotid artery plaque and disease, Joseph’s findings, made at Pitt, indicate that those with marital interactions light on the positive may have an 8.5 percent greater risk of suffering heart attack or stroke than those with a surfeit of good feelings. 

Dr Greg comments in   Can A Bad Marriage Kill You? Study Says, “Yes, and A Good Marriage May Heal.”

More and more, research is showing that the quality of our relationships has tremendous impact on our physical and emotional health.  I think this is another area where there is increasing agreement between psychology and theology.  For instance, Dr. Dan Siegel– a founder of the developing field of Interpersonal Neurobiology which looks at how relationships affect health and neurological functioning–argues that it is foolish to think of an individual as apart from his relationships.

He argues that, in a sense, there is a flow of energy within the relationships between people that interacts with and impacts the functioning of the mind and body of each individual in the relationship on an atomic level.  The effects of this interaction can be observed–if not the process itself–in the way different relational and environmental states have been shown to impact gene expression and the development of new neural connections throughout the brain and nervous system.  When I read his work, I am often reminded of Pope St. John Paul the Great’s argument in his Theology of the Body that just as the Trinity is a communion of three distinct but united persons, the human beings made in the image and likeness of that Communion are also, at their most basic level, best understood to be inseparable from the communion of persons in which they participate. The Takeaway I realize that’s all rather thick language and if I lost you, it doesn’t really matter because the larger point is still clear enough.  Namely, that the well-being of each human person is intimately tied to the quality of his or her relationship with others and that is exactly as God intended it to be. The takeaway is that taking care of your relationships may be just as important as diet and exercise for longevity and health.   Even if you don’t feel like working on your marriage for the sake of your partner, for instance, you may want to work on it out of a commitment to your own well-being because avoiding the work isn’t punishing your partner as much as it may be punishing yourself. If you fail to do the work that your intimate relationships require, you may literally be breaking your own heart.

As Charles Murray said in Advice for a Happy Life

A good marriage is the best thing that can ever happen to you. Above all else, realize that this cliché is true. The downside risks of marrying—and they are real—are nothing compared with what you will gain from a good one.

Consider Marrying Young.  You've got to wait until the right person comes along. I'm just pointing out that you shouldn't exclude the possibility. If you wait until your 30s, your marriage is likely to be a merger. If you get married in your 20s, it is likely to be a startup.  …What are the advantages of a startup marriage? For one thing, you will both have memories of your life together when it was all still up in the air. You'll have fun remembering the years when you went from being scared newcomers to the point at which you realized you were going to make it.

Even more important, you and your spouse will have made your way together. Whatever happens, you will have shared the experience. And each of you will know that you wouldn't have become the person you are without the other.

Many merger marriages are happy, but a certain kind of symbiosis, where two people become more than the sum of the individuals, is perhaps more common in startups.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:37 AM | Permalink

June 17, 2014

"Without the family, the pyramid scheme of the state faces a demographic collapse" "

Sultan Knish writes in Twilight of the Family of the horrifying future when the state takes over the functions of the family

Governments have come to serve as undying guardians of human society, ushering new life into the world and ushering old life out of it. New parents are as likely to turn to the government for help as they are to their extended family. When their child is old enough to look around for a career, it is the government that they expect to provide the education and the jobs. And when they grow old, the child can keep on working at his government job and paying off his student loans knowing that the government will be there to make all the difficult and expensive decisions about their care.
The family has been displaced and replaced. In some places it is even repressed. Like an old station wagon, it idles by the side of the road, while its former owners drive away in their new sleek electric government compact car built for two or a micro-car built for one into a wonderful childless future of unfunded pensions, social collapse and death panels.
Modern society has made the price of children extremely expensive and many couples have found it easier to end the family with their own deaths.  The future of the West has been aborted or never conceived. It has been broken up, divorced and never married.

The state gave its citizens the impression that it could fulfill all the functions of a family far better than the real thing. Its appeal was the power of bigness, the stability of a system too big to fail and rooms full of experts working night and day to improve on the fallible family. With its vast industrial social services bureaucracy, the state would be able to provide a more stable social safety net, save everyone money on health care, educate their children, care for their elders, perpetuate their values, protect their income, safeguard their way of life and usher in a bright new future.
Unfortunately the state is more like an actual pyramid scheme …And nowhere has the pyramid scheme of the social state schemer proven more disastrous than in the collapse of the family. The state has usurped the family, but it depends on the family to crank out industrious little taxpayers, small men and women who will work the shops and factories, toiling night and day, paying their fines and fees dutifully while raising the next generation of taxpayers. Without the family, the pyramid scheme of the state faces a demographic collapse.
The spectre of Communism is no longer haunting Europe. It has come and gone. Under Socialism, it is the spectre of demographics that haunts Europe. It is the dead children, no longer killed in factories or protests, but in clinics and for convenience's sake, that float aimlessly through the streets of Munich, London and Paris. Europe is no longer haunted by its dead, but by those who were never born.
Socialism has left behind a terrible bill and there is no one left to pay it. The population is crashing in every Western country. The elderly are losing their generous benefits, the men and women of middle age worry for the future and the youth no longer believe in the future at all.

The future is rapidly approaching.  In Scotland, they are racing to undermine parents with a sinister 'Named Person" scheme

Children  have all been assigned a 'Named Person' to oversee their welfare, supervise their upbringing and intervene where they deem it to be appropriate, even when this conflicts with the will of the parents.
Holyrood has effectively passed a bill which nullifies parental rights and endows the state with higher baby-sitting authority: Scotland has become the progenitor and guardian of all her children - not ultimately or in extremis, but right from the beginning. …parents will be reported to the state for trivial family incidents, such as forgetting a child’s doctor's or hospital appointment.

Parents are not allowed to know who the 'named person' for each of their children is.  Nor is the 'named person' available for consultation or discussion.

At the same time, a proposed "Cinderella Law"  in the U.K.  would make it a crime to deliberately harm a child’s ‘intellectual, emotional, social or behavioral development’ and sits alongside the physical or sexual abuse of children. Its definition of abuse includes “controlling or coercive behavior” which would “encompass but is not limited to physical, financial, sexual, psychological or emotional abuse”

Those found guilty would face up to ten years in jail. The change will update existing laws in England and Wales.  Currently, adults responsible for a child can only be prosecuted if they have deliberately assaulted, abandoned or exposed a youngster to suffering or injury to their health.

This may be a well-intentioned law, but it will be a disaster in its implementation.  It is vague, overbroad and underspecific,  How will religious families trying to pass on their traditions far ?  Just what is 'controlling or coercive behavior' anyway?  Already parents have been arrested because their child was too fat.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:43 AM | Permalink

May 1, 2014

Natural Remedies for skin wounds, insect bites, sunburn, hangover, sore eyes and travel sickness

Honey for Minor Wounds

For centuries honey has been used to treat skin wounds and burns and is now used in hospitals around the globe to deal with skin infections.

Honey helps kill the bacteria that may cause infection. When honey comes into contact with damaged skin, it triggers the production of antibacterial hydrogen peroxide.Furthermore, the sugars in honey mean there is little space for water molecules (bacteria need water to survive, so reducing the amount available makes it hard for them to thrive). Dabbing on honey or a sprinkling of sugar can deprive the bacteria of water, which ultimately destroys them.

Teabags for Insect Bites

Steep a few teabags in boiling water for ten minutes, allow to cool and then apply the liquid to the sting site using a cloth. This helps to relieve inflammation as tannins in the tea are astringent, so reduce the swelling.

Cucumber for Sunburn

Cucumber, a well-known soothing remedy for tired and sore eyes, can also help bring relief to sore, sunburned skin. This is because it contains vitamin C and caffeic acid (an antioxidant also found in coffee) which both have anti-inflammatory effects that help reduce the irritation of sunburn.

Bananas for Hangover

Drinking won’t just dehydrate you (because alcohol is a diuretic), many people also feel light-headed and woozy the morning after.  This is because normally the liver releases glucose into the bloodstream. But when the liver is busy processing alcohol, this doesn’t happen, which can lead to low blood sugar levels.
While drinking plenty of water can rehydrate you, a banana helps raise depleted sugar levels — the reason being that it has a low glycaemic index. This means the sugar it contains is released slowly.

Camomile Tea for Sore Eyes

Camomile contains anti-irritant compounds such as terpenoids, and flavonoids, a form of antioxidant that soothes inflammation. Brew a cup of camomile tea. Remove the teabag and allow it to cool then place against closed eyes.

Ginger for Travel Sickness

It’s believed that compounds called gingerols and shogaols — which give ginger its spiciness — are what provide the benefits, possibly by blocking chemical messages in the brain, so helping to relax muscles in the stomach and gut.How you take it is up to you, but popular ways include ginger tea, ginger biscuits and dried ginger
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:38 PM | Permalink

October 21, 2013

Research-backed tips on How to have a Happy Family

How To Have A Happy Family – 7 Tips Backed By Research

1) Having Dinner Together Matters….having joint meals as infrequently as once a week makes a difference…..

2) Share The Family Histor
y…..The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem, and the more successfully they believed their families functioned….

3) Reduce Stress…..The kids’ number one wish was that their parents were less tired and less stressed……

4) Be Part Of A Larger Community….Tons of research shows religious families are happier. Why is that?……Further study has shown it’s the friends that a religious community provides. A community of ten supportive friends makes families happier……

5) Use Checklists

6) Empower The Children!…..By picking their own punishments, children become more internally driven to avoid them. By choosing their own rewards, children become more intrinsically motivated to achieve them...

7) Grandmoms Have Superpowers….When grandparents are involved, the study found, the children are more social, more involved in school, and more likely to show concern for others……
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:01 AM | Permalink

August 14, 2013

Parenting roundup: Organic family planning apps, hormonal contraception, Gameboy back, unruly children get fat

New app helps track best times to conceive  It's called Glow and it's available at the App Store.  Tech Crunch described it thusly

completely free fertility tracker, which lets women enter detailed data about their menstrual cycles and the symptoms surrounding them to help predict their exact level of fertility each day. The Glow fertility predicting app can be used worldwide.

It sounds very much like the science behind Natural Family Planning which has its own app MyFertility MD available at the  App Store and on all mobile devices .  The developers of the app  call it 'organic family planning' and an app by doctors for women.

The organic alternative sounds especially good after reading this story.  Is your birth control pill controlling YOU? New book claims hormonal contraception is a tool to suppress women in society

British author Holly Grigg-Spall has written 'Sweetening the Pill: Or How We Got Hooked on Hormonal Birth Control' and believes that a number of studies proves her point that contraception is in fact controlling women.

She adds that women’s unquestioning acceptance of such powerful medications is in some ways a submission to a culture steeped in hatred of the feminine.
While Ms Grigg-Spall was on birth control she felt a distance between herself and her ‘femaleness'.  She said, "Over the years [of being on the Pill] I felt no connection between my self and my body, between my self and the world around me, between my femaleness and myself.’

A 2011 study of women both on and off hormonal contraception found that the medication did affect a woman's memory.
A 2012 study revealed that women on hormonal birth control - which suppresses naturally occurring testosterone - were attracted to men with lower testosterone levels.

The World Health Organization has declared several forms of oral contraceptives and estrogen replacement therapy as a Group 1 Carcinogen.  Links to WHO data on Birth Control Pill and Estrogen Replacement Carcinogenicity here.

Rise of the 'Gameboy Back': Children are developing curvature of the spine because they hunch over consoles and smartphones

They say the modern phenomenon, which causes curvature of the spine and sometimes herniated (slipped) discs, is a result of children sitting hunched over games consoles and smartphones for hours on end.

They do not however believe a ban on such devices is required. Instead more attention needs to be paid to correct posture, they said.

Surgeons Piet van Loon and Andre Soeterbroek said the last time such symptoms were observed was more than 100 years ago, when child labour was common in Europe.  The problem is particularly prevalent in eight to 18-year-olds.
'It makes no difference to the body whether you’re hunched over in a cigar factory or spending eight hours over an iPad.'

Device Nags You to Sit Up StraightLumoBack Sensor Vibrates Whenever You Slouch.  Lumoback website

Your Personal Posture Trainer…$150

LUMOback acts as your personal posture trainer, gently correcting you and offering encouragement in your journey toward better posture and a healthier lifestyle. It serves as a posture monitor, providing consistent reminders to maintain healthy posture and be more mindful of your body.

Our mobile app allows you to easily track your progress as you improve your posture. It also encourages you to be more active by tracking how many steps you take each day and what percentage of the day you spend sitting, standing, walking, and running. You can even monitor your sleep patterns and track your mood changes.

Inducing and Augmenting Labor May Be Associated With Increased Risk of Autism

Pregnant women whose labors are induced or augmented may have an increased risk of bearing children with autism, especially if the baby is male, according to a large, retrospective analysis by researchers at Duke Medicine and the University of Michigan.

The findings, published in JAMA Pediatrics on Aug. 12, 2013, do not prove cause and effect, but suggest the need for more research, particularly as labor induction and augmentation have been used more frequently in recent years.
The findings suggest that among male children, labor that was both induced and augmented was associated with a 35 percent higher risk of autism, compared with labor that received neither treatment.

Disciplining children really IS for their own good: Unruly kids become fatter adults

Encouraging 'good' behavior in youngsters definitely makes parents' lives easier. It is also assumed to instill positive personality traits that will help them grow in to well rounded adults. And now new research has revealed that a person's behavior as a child could have a startling impact on their waistline in their future.

The longitudinal study observed a group of Hawaiian schoolchildren in the 1960s and then compared their vital statistics today as 50-year-old adults.
ORI scientist Sarah Hampson, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health, Hawaii report these findings in the August issue of Health Psychology. …This is the first study in which all the big five personality traits assessed in childhood have been used to predict objective health status assessed by multiple biomarkers over 40 years later in older adulthood.

Others have shown that more conscientiousness children live longer. Now we have shown that these conscientious children are also healthier at midlife' noted Dr. Hampson, while on a panel on personality and health at the national American Psychological Association meeting in Honolulu.

Hawaiian school-children rated by their teachers in the 1960s as less conscientious had worse global health status as adults. They also had significantly greater obesity, high cholesterol, and increased risk for cardiovascular disease.

On the other hand If you have unruly kids and they do get fat, they probably have a better chance of surviving the flesh-eating disease necrotizing fasciitis.

'I survived a flesh-eating bug because I'm FAT': 27 stone man's excess flab meant bug had plenty to eat - giving doctors time to save him

Russell Kimble, 39, developed necrotising fasciitis after a routine operation.  The bug was spreading at a rate of three centimeters an hour.  He spent nine days in an induced coma and had 20 operations, spending a total of seven weeks in hospital and missing his own wedding
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:06 PM | Permalink

July 25, 2013

See Your Folks

“We believe that increasing awareness of death can help us to make the most of our lives,  The right kind of reminders can help us to focus on what matters, and perhaps make us better people.”

That's from the British designers who used WHO data to determine life expectancy and create the app See Your Folks which calculates how many times you'll see your parents before they die

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:56 PM | Permalink

July 13, 2013

The Nuclear Family

Michael Barone on the Nuclear Family. With Its Roots in the Nuclear Family, the Nation Evolves Into America 3.0

The roots of American exceptionalism,  our penchant for liberty and individualism, stretching far back -- more than 1,000 years -- beyond 1776. Back to the Anglo-Saxon invaders of England after the fall of the Roman Empire.  Historians… . and contemporary scholars ... argue that the Anglo-Saxons brought with them a unique institution, the absolute nuclear family, "the continuous core of our distinct American culture."

In nuclear families, individuals, not parents, select spouses; women have comparative freedom and equality; children have no rights of inheritance; grown children leave parents' homes and are not bound to extended families.  On each point this is contrary to longstanding family patterns in the rest of the world.

This enduring family pattern has consequences. It has made Americans liberty-loving, individualistic, keen for equal opportunity but not equal outcomes, venturesome, mobile and suspicious of big government.

From early on in England and then in America, the absolute nuclear family fostered a market economy, property ownership and the common law, which evolves through individual court cases rather than a rigid code like Europe's Roman law.  These mores have promoted economic growth and enabled societies to adapt to economic changes.

I’m Sorry, But Your Utopia is Just a Little Creepy

David Thompson begins by quoting  Lowry on ‘progressive’ parenthood before reporting how certain leftists' call for the dismantling of the family structure that is “riven by power, patriarchy, conflict and the unequal distribution of resources and respect.”

As the ultimate private institution, the family is a stubborn obstacle to the great collective effort. Insofar as people invest in their own families, they are holding out on the state and unacceptably privileging their own kids over the children of others. These parents are selfish, small-minded, and backward. “Once it’s everybody’s responsibility,” [MSNBC host, Melissa] Harris-Perry said of child-rearing, “and not just the households, then we start making better investments.”

This impulse toward the state as über-parent is based on a profound fallacy and a profound truth. The fallacy is that anyone can care about someone else’s children as much as his own. The former Texas Republican senator Phil Gramm liked to illustrate the hollowness of such claims with a story. He told a woman, “My educational policies are based on the fact that I care more about my children than you do.” She said, “No, you don’t.” Gramm replied, “Okay: What are their names?”
The truth is that parents are one of society’s most incorrigible sources of inequality. If you have two of them who stay married and are invested in your upbringing, you have hit life’s lottery. You will reap untold benefits denied to children who aren’t so lucky. That the family is so essential to the well-being of children has to be a constant source of frustration to the egalitarian statist, a reminder of the limits of his power.
Buoyed by her own imagined radicalism, Ms Schwartz went on to claim, again based on nothing, that ‘nuclear’ family structures “isolate” people, rather than, say, introducing them to a potential support network of aunts, uncles, sisters-in-law, etc. You see, raising a child without a partner - and therefore without at least half of that familial support structure - isn’t isolating at all.  Because somehow the “community” will fill in the gaps. Or more typically, the state and its bureaucracy, at other people’s expense. And gosh, how radical is that?

This rickety barge is kept afloat by the kindness of strangers.

The terrible toll of making divorce easier: Children are more likely to be violent, take drugs and have underage sex

Children who encounter family break-up are far more likely to be violent, unhappy and feel unfulfilled throughout their lives, according to an NHS study.  Researchers found that the turmoil endured by youngsters has a crucial influence on nearly every facet of their later life.
The chances of suffering a difficult childhood leapt for those born after 1971, when the law changed to make divorce easier. This generation was found to be significantly more likely to smoke, drink heavily, take drugs, fight, be mentally ill and have sex underage.

Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust, a campaign group which researches the causes and consequences of family breakdown, said: ‘Casting aside traditional patterns of family life carries a high price tag in terms of the health, education and employment prospects of the next generation.
‘The relaxation of divorce laws  – along with the increasing proportion of births outside marriage – has resulted in a growing number of children lacking the benefit of being raised by both their natural parents in a stable unit.’

ZeroHedge.  27 Facts That Prove That The Family in America is in The Worst Shape Ever

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:23 PM | Permalink

June 26, 2013

What about same sex spinster sisters?

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, gay spouses may not only file joint taxes, they will be entitled to the same survivor benefits as straight spouses.

Are there other classes of people who ought to be afforded the same?  What about same-sex spinster sisters?  The push for the same treatment for relatives who live together for decades is beginning to happen  in the U.K.

Spinster sisters could win legal right to be treated as married couples,

The introduction of same-sex marriage could finally open the way for carers and relatives such as unmarried sisters who live together to be given the same legal status as married couples.

Baroness Deech, the leading lawyer, told Peers that, once the change in the marriage laws is enacted, the European Court of Human Rights would be likely to support a challenge to the current civil partnership restrictions unless they are opened up to those not in a sexual relationship.

Such a change would mean that relatives who live together for decades would not risk losing their home because of inheritance tax if one of them died, she said.

She highlighted the case of Joyce and Sybil Burden, two elderly sisters who lost their legal fight for the right to be treated as civil partners at the Strasbourg court six years ago.
“Civil partners and married couples, gay or straight, will be treated in law far better than, for example, two elderly sisters who share a house or an elderly father and the daughter who cares for him.”

She added: “Why should consanguinity be any less important than the relationship between married and civil partners?

“The state should not prefer sexual relationships, which may be short-lived and serial, over blood relationships that have proved to have endured decades.

In their 2006 tax battle, two elderly spinster sisters argued, Treat us like lesbians

Inheritance tax concessions discriminate against some heterosexual couples, lawyers for two elderly sisters told the European Court of Human Rights yesterday.  Joyce Burden, 88, and her sister Sybil, 81, claim that they should enjoy the same tax advantages as a lesbian couple.  The sisters looked after their parents and two aunts at their home near Marlborough, Wilts, until their deaths.

They now care for each other. But when one of the sisters dies, the other will face a hefty bill for inheritance tax.  They fear that the home they inherited from their parents will then have to be sold. Inheritance tax is not payable on property passing on death from one spouse to another.

They lost their battle in 2008 when the European Court of Human Rights ruled that they do not face unfair discrimination under British inheritance tax rules

After losing the first case in 2006, Joyce Burden commented: “If we were lesbians we would have all the rights in the world. But we are sisters, and it seems we have no rights at all.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:56 AM | Permalink

May 14, 2013

Why the Left hates families

Once a leftist, Melanie Philips, is now deeply hated by the left though they still admit to her 'fierce intelligence".  This remarkable piece details her disengagement from the left

But they reserve a special loathing for me. This is not just because I refuse to be cowed.  It’s because I was once one of them, one of the elect, a believer.

As a university-educated young woman with hippie-style hair and an attitude, I, too, generally toed the standard Leftist line in the late Seventies and early Eighties. Poverty was bad, cuts in public spending were bad, prison was bad, the Tory government was bad.  The state was good, poor people were good, minorities were good, sexual freedom was good.
Bit by bit, I saw through the delusion of the Left’s supposedly ‘progressive’ politics.  Increasingly, I turned away from their stupidity, hypocrisy and moral blindness. They, of course, dismissed me as contemptibly ‘Right-wing’, as if that was sufficient to destroy my argument.
Rather, I fight the Left on its very own purported moral high ground, which I once believed we all shared, but which I came to realise it had most cynically betrayed. The defining issue for me — the one that launched me on a personal trajectory of confrontation with the Left and with my colleagues and friends — was the persistent undermining of the family as an institution.

Why the Left hates families: MELANIE PHIILLIPS reveals how the selfish sneers of Guardianistas made her see how the Left actively fosters – and revels in – family breakdown…

Having experienced how the absence of proper fathering could screw up a child for life, I believed I was doing no more than stating the obvious when I deplored the explosion of lone parenting, female-headed households and mass fatherlessness.

But, to my amazement, at The Guardian, I found that over this and many other issues, I was branded as reactionary, authoritarian and, of course, Right-wing.  The result was social ostracism. One of the mentors I had looked up to — a thoughtful person, independent-minded and intellectually curious, or so I had thought — simply walked off rather than talk to me about these issues.
Truth was being sacrificed to personal expediency. Evidence would be denied if the consequences were inconvenient. Self-centred individualism and  self-justification ruled, regardless of the damage done to others.

Surely, though, the essence of being ‘progressive’ was to protect the most vulnerable?  Yet these ‘progressives’ were elevating their own desires into rights that trumped the emotional, physical and intellectual well-being of their children — and then berated as heartless reactionaries those who criticised them!

The more this was being justified, the more it was happening. Rising numbers of people were abandoning their spouses and children, or breaking up other people’s families, or bringing children into the world without a father around at all.
This revealed another sad truth about the Left. What matters to them above all is that they are seen to be virtuous and compassionate. They simply cannot deal with the possibility that they might not be.
I was as perplexed by this as I was appalled. I had been brought up to believe the Left stood for altruism rather than selfishness, community rather than individualism, self- discipline rather than the law of the jungle and the survival of the fittest.

Instead, society was worshipping at the shrine of the self, and this was causing a rising tide of juvenile distress, crime, emotional disturbance, educational and relationship failure.
But I believe my experience is symptomatic of what has happened to British society and western culture as a whole over the past 30 years.

Our cultural and political elites have simply turned truth and justice inside out and, with argument replaced by insult and abuse, taken leave of reality itself. They have destroyed rational discourse, polarised opinion and thereby undermined the possibility of finding common ground.

The result is that there are two Britains — the first adhering to decency, rationality and duty to others, and the second characterised by hatred, rampant selfishness and a terrifying repudiation of reason.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:53 PM | Permalink

May 10, 2013

Consider a take away Mother's Day gift

Take away some of their stuff that they want to unload writes David Ekerdt at the New Old Age blog.  Stuff from their basements, attics, garages and sheds
or  old photo albums when they can still tell you while they can still tell you who all those people are.

 Old Photoalbum Best

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:14 PM | Permalink

April 13, 2013

"Obscurity and a competence—that is the life that is best worth living"

One of the more delightful blogs I follow is Sippican Cottage .  A writer, furniture maker, raconteur,  musician and probably the best headline writer ever, Sippy marvels at his boys who aren't being raised in government schools.

If We Are Mark’d To Die, We Are Enow To Do Our Country Loss; And If To Live, The Fewer Men, The Greater Share Of Honour

My wife was teaching the little feller. There was some discussion about his older brother, who will finish high-school level homeschooling this year. He had questions about what that meant. "Your brother wants to be a musician when he is a man," my wife said to him; "What do you want to be when you grow up?"

"I want to be a musician, too," he said, though I wonder about that. He's sort of a wunderkind in a small area of musicianship -- he can do simple things almost effortlessly. But he has not shown the dogged determination that his older brother has shown at learning music. He is very young and might change his mind, and be one of those people I used to hate: people that could play music better than you could, but never had to try at it.

He wasn't done. "I want to be a husband. I want to be a father."

That is an astonishing thing to hear. Why should it be astonishing to hear a nine-year-old wants to grow up and be a husband and father? It shouldn't be, but it is. If he'd uttered that in a public school, I imagine he'd be in a re-education camp by nightfall. And on the flip side, I don't think the term "wife and mother" can be uttered in public school without a SWAT team of egalitarians being called.

My children don't want to be musicians because they dream of drug abuse and licentiousness and a vision of being carried around on a litter chair by flunkeys. My older son was old enough to have come to my music shows and seen the real work it was. He still wanted to do it, because work doesn't scare him. They both want to be productive citizens, useful to other productive citizens. They want to be husbands and fathers, with everything that means.

It is everything  we've wanted for them. When the little one shows flashes of genius, I dread it. You do not want to be wonderful in this world, son. Wonderful is a big millstone in the swimming pool of life. I wanted to be normal my whole life, and during my lifetime on earth, being "normal" has gotten so strange that your mother and I are living on the edge of civilization hanging on by our fingernails.

Obscurity and a competence—that is the life that is best worth living. -- Mark Twain

And what kids he has.  Wonderful and talented and normal.  Just listen to them playing So What by Miles Davis.
A band of two brothers, Unorganized Hancock,  figured out how to do this themselves.  Their father says

Amazing to me what the kids have been able to do with a little bit of hardware and software thrown in. I had nothing to do with this, except pressing the big PHD button on the camera. PHD stands for "Push Here, Dummy."

Don't miss them playing Take Five


And the backstory

It's the kids' idea to play it. We homeschool the kids. Well, my wife homeschools the kids, and I try not to mess it up too badly. Take a big bite, and keep chewing, we counsel them. This seems more than a big bite to me. I've watched it dozens of times already. I find it kind of astonishing. But better than that --I find it entertaining. I'll put this version of Take Five on my mp3 player and erase the original, and never look back.
Yesterday was special. I promised my wife, and the kids, that for the first time in three years, I'd take a day off. A real day off. No furniture. No writing. I've promised that in the past, many times, and always failed. I wrote everything the day before, and didn't bang my thumb or anything in the woodshop. I volunteered to be their key grip.

We took the furniture out of the dining room, and lugged their stuff in there, and we set up two ladders. Between the ladders, we laid two, eight-foot two-by-fours. We got the two-by-fours from the dump. We took a skateboard, and clamped a video camera to it with two spring clamps from the woodshop. Then I rolled the skateboard back and forth while the kids played. We moved the ladders this way and that for the different shots. We didn't bother filming the bass playing. My wife was out all day on a mission of mercy, and we boys re-enacted The Cat In The Hat, tearing the house asunder while Mom's away, and putting it all back, and doing all the dishes before she got home.

It was, in every way but one, the best day of my life.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:37 AM | Permalink

April 11, 2013

The French have it right when it comes to gay marriage

In this politically charged issue, a disclaimer is necessary.  I have no animus against homosexuals and i've supported civil unions, but I've drawn the line against marriage because I am so concerned with the well-being of children and so opposed to any commodification of human beings.

Adults may have great desire to have children, but they have no "right" to  children.  If a couple can not procreate, they can not buy children or demand the state children provide them children.  They are allowed to adopt children but only if they satisfy the state's requirements of adoption which are concerned with the welfare of the individual child and the fitness of the prospective adoptive parents. 

On the other hand, children have the right to have two parents, male and female.  It is the way nature works.

But we are already deep down the path of turning children into commodities to be bought and sold  There is little or no regulation about sperm donation, about IVF, about surrogacy and already the consequences are very troublesome for the the children involved.  Do we want even more children with gaping holes in their lives whose Daddy's name is Donor?

I'm  French when it comes to the issue of gay marriage. 

Robert Oscar Lopez is right when he says the French are ahead of us in exposing the great lie of gay marriage.

Gay marriage is posing as liberation for homosexuals but really hiding the nefarious goal of commercializing procreation, turning children into commodities.  Designer children will be a huge business in the future, but without "gay equality" as a smokescreen to distract people from the ugliness of what such a commerce entails, the market would come under massive criticism.

Gay marriage eradicates the role of mother and father and institutionalizes a form of child-rearing that works by contract and purchase, which the government naturally controls and oversees in collaboration with massive corporations.

It was the French man on the street who figured out the big lie -- that this movement for gay marriage is really all about big money, about men like Elton John and Pierre Berge buying children and disposing of women (Berge said that renting a womb to make a baby is like renting a worker's arms in a factory to make a product); that this movement for gay marriage is being pushed not by gay advocates, but by well-funded usurpers of gay rhetoric.
Ironically, the left, supposedly against McCarthyism, enjoys the total suppression of dissent at universities and in the press on this issue.  Ironically, the left, ostensibly the party of civil rights, is eagerly leading a lemming charge backward into the sale and purchase of human beings,

Child’s Question: ‘Which Parent Do I Not Need: Mom or Dad?’ Stumps Legislature

Minnesota state legislators considering a same-sex marriage bill for the state did not have an answer to an 11-year-old girl’s question on which parent is not needed.

“Since every child needs a mom and a dad to be born, I don’t think we can change that children need a mom and a dad. I believe God made it that way,” Grace Evans, 11, said before the Minnesota House Committee on Civil Law last week. “I know some disagree, but I want to ask you this question: Which parent do I not need – my mom or my dad?”

Gay marriage is a social experiment that will cause serious harm to children

It is either right to maintain the ideal man-woman definition of marriage – our most important social institution — or it is not. We must not base our decision on compassion for gays (or misunderstood sense of fairness), whether the gay person is our child, a sibling, friend or anyone else.
Same-sex couples in New Jersey already receive equal benefits under civil-union law, and these unions deserve distinction for good reason. A new gold-standard, peer-reviewed, family structures study released in June 2012 by sociology professor Mark Regnerus from the University of Texas indicates that the social experiment of homosexual “marriage” will cause serious harm to children. The study found that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are significantly more likely than those raised in a two-parent heterosexual home to: have social and mental health problems requiring therapy, identify themselves as homosexual, choose cohabitation, be unfaithful to partners, contract sexually transmitted diseases, be sexually molested or raped by a parent or adult, have lower income levels, drink to get drunk, and smoke tobacco and marijuana.
Consider that the social mistakes we as a society have already made, and are headed toward now, will weigh most heavily on the shoulders of children. They are the innocent victims of social experimentation and have become morally and even physically broken in the name of so-called “freedom, equality and progress.”
This month, Doug Mainwaring, a gay man, wrote an insightful article for, sharing that intellectual honesty and experience as a gay person raising children can lead to opposing same-sex marriage. “There are perhaps a hundred different things, small and large, that are negotiated between parents and kids every week,” he said. “Moms and dads interact differently with their children. To give kids two moms or two dads is to withhold … someone whom they desperately need and deserve in order to be whole and happy. It is to permanently etch ‘deprivation’ on their hearts.”

No Pasaran!, Canada's Precedent in Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage: Are There Any Valid Reasons to Be Against Gay Nuptials?

In his book Nation of Bastards, Farrow criticized  warned that by claiming the power to re-invent marriage, the Canadian state “has drawn marriage and the family into a captive orbit. It has reversed the gravitational field between the family and the state… It has effectively made every man, woman, and child a chattel of the state, by turning their most fundamental human connections into mere legal constructs at the state’s disposal. It has transformed those connections from divine gifts into gifts from the state.”
By fundamentally redefining marriage, [Douglas Farrow] says, the state has appropriated the institution of marriage and turned children, indeed all citizens, into wards of the state. Marriage and family have always existed in relative autonomy vis a vis the state, resting as they do on the nature of human beings and the natural human family.  In a liberal society, marriage and family mediate between individual and state. As such they are indispensable to liberal democracy.
They may or may not be recognized and protected by the state, but marriage and family in any case are not created by it. They are, by their nature and not the state's fiat, the way in which one generation turns from its own concerns to those of the next, requiring a sacrifice and commitment of the autonomous ego to a relationship ordered to procreation, fidelity, and a covenantal relationship involving man, woman, and any children that result from their union.
It is true that totalitarian states invariably seek to undermine and subordinate the family and all of civil society, dismantling them and slowly grinding them up, in Nietzsche's expression, "into a random collection of individuals, haphazardly bound together in the common pursuit of selfish ends."

That sounds right for Nazi Germany or Communist Eastern Europe, where all civil society, everything that stands between individual and state, is weakened and destroyed.

But Canada? It sounds far-fetched, but if Farrow is right, we can expect to see, as in Europe today, the increasing control of the state over children's education and socialization (home-schooling was outlawed in Hitler's Germany and just recently parents have been arrested for defying the law). Parents cannot be trusted not to raise their children in their own faith, whose values may contradict those of the state; parents will have fewer and fewer rights to exempt their children from the state's version of sex education and instruction in the moral acceptability of fornication. Professionals, denied protections of conscience, will be fired, not for "imposing their moral views on their clients," but for failing to impose the state's.

The Well-Being of Children

A study by Elizabeth Marquardt and associates entitled “My Daddy’s Name is Donor,”……According to Marquardt, “Donor conceived children know that the parents raising them are also the ones who intentionally denied them a relationship with at least one of their biological parents. The pain they might feel was caused not by some distant birth parent who gave them up, but by the parent who cares for them every day.”

The purpose of adoption is “to find parents for children who need them. Donor conception functions as a market, the purpose of which is to create children for adults who want them.”
Calling same-sex relationships marriages harms children. It says to them your need for your own biological father and mother doesn’t matter
Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:15 PM | Permalink

March 21, 2013

Family Stories: the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness

The Family Stories That Bind Us

Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your mom and dad went to high school? Do you know where your parents met? Do you know an illness or something really terrible that happened in your family? Do you know the story of your birth?

Dr. Duke and Dr. Fivush asked those questions of four dozen families in the summer of 2001, and taped several of their dinner table conversations. They then compared the children’s results to a battery of psychological tests the children had taken, and reached an overwhelming conclusion. The more children knew about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believed their families functioned. The “Do You Know?” scale turned out to be the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness.

“We were blown away,” Dr. Duke said.

And then something unexpected happened. Two months later was Sept. 11. As citizens, Dr. Duke and Dr. Fivush were horrified like everyone else, but as psychologists, they knew they had been given a rare opportunity: though the families they studied had not been directly affected by the events, all the children had experienced the same national trauma at the same time. The researchers went back and reassessed the children.

“Once again,” Dr. Duke said, “the ones who knew more about their families proved to be more resilient, meaning they could moderate the effects of stress.”

Why does knowing where your grandmother went to school help a child overcome something as minor as a skinned knee or as major as a terrorist attack?

“The answers have to do with a child’s sense of being part of a larger family,” Dr. Duke said.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:45 AM | Permalink

March 18, 2013

Four Signs Your Relationship Might Be Doomed

Melanie Pinola takes a look at the Four Signs Your Relationship Might Be Doomed

Dr. John Gottman studied couples for over thirty years and discovered the four communication qualities that could predict a couple will break up—with over 90% accuracy. Called "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," these predictors have also been linked to physical illness and disease.
Criticism: Not just feedback or even criticism that isn't constructive, but rather an attack on the other person's character or interests. As Gottman explains in the video above, it's an attitude one partner has in diagnosing the other person's personality defects—and even wanting to be praised for that diagnosis!

Defensiveness: Here, one person plays "the innocent victim."

Contempt: The biggest predictor of a failing relationship is contempt. One person takes on an air of superiority (thinking he/she is more intelligent, a better parent, more tidy, etc.) and looks down on and insults the other person. Gottman says this is also a predictor of infectious illnesses for the person on the receiving end. If your partner corrects your grammar while you're arguing with him/her, that's a huge red flag.

Stonewalling: The person just tunes you out and withdraws.
All couples experience conflict, but the strongest ones deal with it with more respect. If your relationship shows any of the above signs, all may not be lost, but it's a good indicator that you and your partner need to work better together to keep the relationship from falling apart.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:26 AM | Permalink

March 6, 2013

Bring back Home Economics classes and Shop classes as well

In the U. K. there's a story of a cash-strapped mom who didn't know how to cook so she pureed cheeseburgers for her baby

Experts believe this grave situation is mirrored all over Britain because a generation with little or no parenting skills is bringing up their children on a diet of fast food.
Significant numbers of youngsters also arrive at primary school not toilet trained and cannot even use a knife and fork, according the Child Poverty Commission.
Another woman who was given a carrot also admitted she had no idea what it was,

Knowing how to cook is a necessary life skill.  Otherwise, one must resort to processed foods, eating out or takeout food, all of which are contributing factors in the astonishing rise of  obesity.  I'm always surprised at the number of people who don't know how and don't care to learn. ( If you haven't been taught, pick up a beginner's cookbook, read and follow directions.)

I began thinking it's  to bring back home economics classes to junior and senior high schoolers.  What convinced me that the time has come was this article in the New York Times.  What Housework has to do with waistlines People aren't moving at home doing housework but plopping themselves down in front of one screen or another for hours at a time.  If you have a a reasonably sized house, there's no reason why you can't do you own housework  and save the money you would otherwise spend at a gym and on housecleaners.

Mothers aren't teaching their children how to do simple household tasks like laundry, deep cleaning, and ironing.  Maybe because they don't know themselves.  Home economics classes (the economics and management of home and community) would teach students how to properly run a family environment.  Classes include cooking and nutrition, cleaning, sewing as well as child development, managing money and relationships.  And why not an updated version of shop classes too to teach the basics of home repair, machine safety, design and technology as well as computer and security maintenance for every student?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:03 PM | Permalink

February 25, 2013

Quotes of Note "Who Needs the Family"

Sultan Knish, Who Needs the Family

Socialism has left behind a terrible bill and there is no one left to pay it. The population is crashing in every Western country. The elderly are losing their generous benefits, the men and women of middle age worry for the future and the youth no longer believe in the future at all. The streets are full of angry foreign teenagers, grinning and glaring, cutting and smashing, and the veiled women shop for goat in small dirty butcher shops. The old native men and women, of the stock that once made world empires, dream of leaving it all behind for Greece or Spain where they hope for a familiar foreignness, rather than the foreign foreignness that has overwhelmed their countries and made their cities no longer their own.

The state replaced the family. It told men and women that they no longer needed to make permanent commitments to each or to their parents and children. So long as they paid their taxes, the state would bear the burden of their commitments. And so men and women gave up on each other, parents gave up on their children and children gave up on their parents, the family fell apart and now the state that took its place is also falling apart.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:57 AM | Permalink

February 19, 2013

"Family, church, and school are the three basic people-forming institutions'

The Wealth of Nations Depends on the Health of Families  by  Patrick Fagan

Family, church, and school are the three basic people-forming institutions, and it is no wonder that they produce the best results—including economic and political ones—when they cooperate.
When men get married, their sense of responsibility and drive to provide gives them the incentive to work much harder. This translates into an average 27-percent increase in their productivity and income. With the retreat from marriage, instead of this “marriage premium,” we get more single men (who work the least), more cohabiting men (who work less than married men), and more divorced men (who fall between the singles and cohabiters).
Adding all this together, the conclusion (visible in the federal data) is that married families with children are the main source of the higher income, education, and productivity that grows the economy and its capital.

Interestingly, and today controversially, chastity—sexual abstinence until marriage and lifelong monogamy thereafter—significantly strengthens marriages and therefore the economy. Research on the pathways to divorce shows this.
Thus the core strategy for forming great workers for the economy is growing intact married families who are united in worship through their community of belief and send their children to schools that inculcate those values and beliefs. Not only does that produce the greatest average human capital for the marketplace; it also produces the best citizens for the polis and the common good.

And from this strong family, other benefits abound: marriage, education, health, income, savings, longevity, and a society shielded from the many costs and sufferings of crime, addictions, sexual perversions, bad health, poverty, and abuse. While strong families will not fully obliterate all societal weakness, they massively reduce them.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:03 AM | Permalink

January 15, 2013

"The rights of children trump the right to children"

It was a "March for All" in Paris  by an alliance of secularist, straight, gay, rightist, leftist and non-partisans, Catholics,  Jews , Evangelicals and Muslims, all  against gay marriage being imposed by the federal government without public debate.

Estimates of  the numbers of participants who came from all over France to converge on Paris range from 360,000 to 1,000,000 with most settling on 800,000.

“This law is going to lead to a change of civilization that we don’t want,” said Philippe Javaloyes, a literature teacher who bused in with 300 people from Franche Comte in the far east. “We have nothing against different ways of living, but we think that a child must grow up with a mother and a father.”


Robert Oscar Lopez writes in The Public Discourse, Lessons from France on Defending Marriage.

In France, a repeating refrain is “the rights of children trump the right to children.” It is a pithy but forceful philosophical claim, uttered in voices ranging from gay mayor “Jean-Marc” to auteur Jean-Dominique Bunel, who revealed in Le Figaro that two lesbians raised him. For most of France, LGBT rights cross the line when they mean that same-sex couples have a “right” to children—something that both France’s grand rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, and Louis-Georges Barret, Vice President of the Christian Democratic Party, have refuted as a right at all.
The right to a child, according to Bernheim and Barret, does not exist; it would mean changing children, as Bernheim says, from “child as subject” to “child as object.” Bunel states in Figaro that such a shift violates international law by denying the right of children to have a mother and a father. Bunel writes:

I oppose this bill because in the name of a fight against inequalities and discrimination, we would refuse a child one of its most sacred rights, upon which a universal, millennia-old tradition rests, that of being raised by a father and a mother. You see, two rights collide: the right to a child for gays, and the right of a child to a mother and father. The international convention on the rights of the child stipulates in effect that “the highest interest of the child should be a primary consideration” (Article 3, section 1).

"We love homosexuals but a child must be born from a man and a woman, and the law must respect that,” said Frigide Barjot, the alter ego of comedian Virginie Tellene, the intentionally apolitical face of the protest.

Carl Olsen comments

there are many Americans who believe they have a right to "have children", and to treat children like projects or even experiments, as if they are blank slates that can be filled up with the whims of their parents (and others). In this perspective, children are objects that exist because we wish them to and make them so, not because they are gifts from God who come to us through the marital embrace, to be raised by a mother and father, who are also the primary educators of their children.

Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, told Vatican Radio the church supports cultural and social progress, but not "at the expense of nature."  He said he wondered why so many people were so committed to protecting the environment from manipulation, but "not very concerned about manipulation against the inner workings of anthropology."

"The French are tolerant, but they are deeply attached to the family and the defense of children," said Frigide Barjot, the alter ego of comedian Virginie Tellene, the intentionally apolitical face of the protest..  Their efforts appear to have had an impact. Surveys indicate that popular support for gay marriage in France has slipped about 10 points to less than 55 percent since opponents started speaking out. Fewer than half of those polled recently favored giving gay couples adoption rights.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:38 AM | Permalink

September 26, 2012

Redefining basic human relationships

The Future of Marriage  George Weigel

In public policy terms, the Catholic critique of “gay marriage” reflects the Catholic idea of the just state. Rightly understood, marriage is one of those social institutions that exist “prior” to the state: prior in terms of time (marriage existed before the state), and prior in terms of the deep truths embedded in the human condition. A just state thus recognizes the givenness of marriage and seeks to protect and nurture this basic social institution.

By contrast, a state that asserts the authority to redefine “marriage” has stepped beyond the boundaries of its competence. And if that boundary-crossing is set in constitutional or legal concrete, it opens up a Pandora's box of undesirable results. For if the state can decree that two men or two women can make a “marriage,” why not one man and two women? Two women and two men? These are not paranoid fantasies; the case for polyandry and polygamy is now being mounted in prestigious law journals.

And if the state can define “marriage” by diktat, why not other basic human relationships, like the parent-child relationship, the doctor-patient relationship, the lawyer-client relationship, or the priest-penitent relationship? There is no principled reason why not.  Thus “gay marriage” is another expression of that soft totalitarianism that Benedict XVI aptly calls the “dictatorship of relativism.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:26 PM | Permalink

September 18, 2012

Are the new ideas of what a 'family' is good for society?

Harvard professor categorizes families across time and culture into three types    Family Impact on Society

Scott Hahn in his book “First Comes Love” cites the monumental work of Harvard University Professor, Carle C. Zimmerman’s entitled “Family and Civilization” …..  Zimmerman studied families in different societies throughout history.  He classified families in these societies into three categories:  the trustee family, the domestic family, and the atomistic family.
The trustee family includes the ancestors, the present living family members, and progeny, yet to be born, as members of the family.  This type of family is called “trustee family” because the living members are the trustees of all that belongs to the family:  its values, its religious beliefs, its rights, its blood, its name, and its property.  The duty of the present members is to preserve, protect, and pass on to future generations all that they consider as properly belonging to the family.  The trustee family sees itself in religious terms, and considers itself united by a sacred bond to its ancestors as well as to its future descendants who will perpetuate the family name, honor, and worship. The trustee family considers children to be a divine blessing; a father is treated with great respect as a patriarch who serves the ancestors as well as the offspring.  In the trustee family sexual immorality is considered a crime.  Marriage is a covenant.

The domestic family limits its members to the living, the children of a father and a mother united as husband and wife by a marital bond.  The family members have individual rights, but also family duties. Children are considered as indispensable economic agents.  The father is seen as the chief executive of the family.  Sexual immorality is considered an individual sin, and the marriage bond is a contract.

The atomistic family emphasizes individual rights above family duties.  The offspring consider the household as a place from which to escape.  Children are considered a liability and an obstacle to personal fulfillment.  The father is viewed as a pathetic figure that must be left behind, in order for an individual to grow.  Sexual immorality is considered a private matter, an alternative life style.  A society in which the atomistic family model predominates has a high rated of divorce, negative population growth, and pervasive sexual immorality.  Marriage is seen as a convenient means of companionship.

The most significant finding of Zimmerman’s studies is that societies that embrace the trustee family model are societies that rise to the level of civilizations.  Whereas societies based on the atomistic family model are societies on the verge of ultimate decline.

No civilization is eternal.  Over time the concept of family degenerates from the trustee family model to the atomistic family model before the total collapse of that civilization.

We are seeing today an all-out assault on the traditional meaning of families.  One example from the headlines:  California's proposed three parent family law .  Jennifer Roback Morse writes that it was inevitable.

Can a child have three parents? If California State Senator Mark Leno has his way, children in California will be able to have three legal parents. Before we dismiss SB 1476 as another example of California Weird, we had best look into it more closely.
I believe this development was inevitable, more inevitable in fact than the much-vaunted inevitability of gay marriage. Once we started trying to normalize parenting by same-sex couples and redefine marriage to remove the dual-gender requirement, we had to end up with triple-parenting.
We are replacing the natural pre-political concept of biological parenthood with an artificial, government-created concept of parenthood that is entirely socially constructed. Instead of the government simply recognizing and recording the pre-political reality of biological parenthood, we are giving agents of the state the authority to construct parenthood.
The solution is to amend the law to remove the possibility of a person unrelated to the child, either by biology or adoption, being counted as a parent. The solution is to stop requiring a gender-neutral reading of a statute that is based on the biological, gendered facts of human reproduction.

Brazil's three-way 'marriage' ignites uproar.  A legal notary gave her stamp of approval to a civil union between a man and a woman and another woman.

Domingues believes that the couple represents a new idea of what “family” is and how the definition of what a family is has changed over the years.

The BBC quotes Domingues saying, “What we considered a family before isn't necessarily what we would consider a family today.  We are only recognizing what has always existed,” she added. “We are not inventing anything."

While polygamy is illegal in Brazil, this is classified as a "civil union" not a marriage.

A lawyer who helped draft the civil union document says the women and their man merely wanted to make it official, to protect all of their rights if they split up, and to make it easier to divide pensions, health benefits, and personal property if one or another (or another) dies.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:58 PM | Permalink

July 24, 2012

Be careful with fake tans

'Fake tan can cause fertility problems'.  Users are warned that lotions could harm unborn babies and trigger cancer.

Women who use fake tan could put themselves at an increased risk of fertility problems and having babies with birth defects, according to experts.
Although seen as a safe alternative to sun beds, the products can contain a ‘cocktail’ of chemicals which may pose a risk to health – and can even cause cancer.  Among the dangerous ingredients found in fake tan are hormone-disrupting compounds, which can affect the healthy development of babies.

The products often also contain carcinogens, including formaldehyde and nitrosamines, as well as skin irritants and chemicals linked to allergies, diabetes, obesity and fertility problems. The potentially dangerous effects of fake tan are thought to be more worrying than for other cosmetics as it is applied over the whole body regularly.

The active ingredient in fake tanning products is dihydroxyacetone, which reacts with the amino acids on the skin to turn it brown. When it is sprayed on to the body, it is often inhaled and absorbed into the bloodstream.  Scientists say it could damage DNA and cause tumors.  They also claim the chemical may worsen asthma and other lung problems, such as emphysema.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:41 PM | Permalink

February 29, 2012

"Morally irrelevant" babies

I find this appalling and chilling and profoundly wrong. 

Ethicists call for killing of newborns to be made legal

A leading British medical journal has published an article calling for the introduction of infanticide for social and medical reasons.

The article in the Journal of Medical Ethics, entitled “After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?” states in its abstract: “After-birth abortion (killing a newborn) should be permissible in all cases where abortion is, including cases where the newborn is not disabled.”

The article, written by Alberto Giubilini of the University of Milan and Francesca Minerva of Melbourne University, argues that “foetuses and newborns do not have the same moral status as actual persons” and consequently a law which permits abortion for certain reasons should permit infanticide on the same grounds.

Lord Alton, co-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group, said that infanticide was the “chilling and unassailable” logical step for a society that permits killing a baby one day before birth.

He said: “That the Journal of Medical Ethics should give space to such a proposition illustrates not a slippery slope, but the quagmire into which medical ethics and our wider society have been sucked.

“Personal choice has eclipsed the sacredness, or otherness, of life itself. It is profoundly disturbing, indeed shocking, to see the way in which opinion-formers within the medical profession have ditched the traditional belief of the healer to uphold the sanctity of human life for this impoverished and inhumane defence of child destruction.

“It has been said that a country which kills its own children has no future. That’s true. And a country which accepts infanticide or the killing of a little girl or a little boy because of their gender, the killing of a baby because of a disability, or the killing of a child because it is inconvenient, the wrong shape, or the wrong colour, also forfeits its right to call itself civilised.”

But Julian Savulescu, the editor of the Journal of Medical Ethics, has defended the publication of the paper on the British Medical Journal website. He said: “What is disturbing is not the arguments in this paper nor its publication in an ethics journal. It is the hostile, abusive, threatening responses that it has elicited. More than ever, proper academic discussion and freedom are under threat from fanatics opposed to the very values of a liberal society.”

We know what's next - euthanasia or assisted suicide.  Even further down the slope, anyone sick or in a coma or disabled  or whose care costs too much for the government. 

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:59 PM | Permalink

February 19, 2012

"When neither doctor nor patient can make the right decision, it is vital to have a caring family member advocate on your behalf.'

How a diagnosis of stage III stomach cancer profoundly changes an oncologist

By the reckoning of my physicians, survival was a percentage, and a horrible one — fifteen to seventy percent if I completed the treatment regimen.  That seemed to be an incredibly wide spread.  More and more I found myself thinking about percentages. If I completed the regimen and the disease returned, there were seemingly no other viable treatment options. It was morphine and palliative care. I was 39 years old. Death was a 100 percent certainty, eventually. So did it matter?

During one particularly desperate moment, I decided that I had had enough. I refused further treatment. I lay in my bed without anxiety, comfortable that I had made the correct decision. I watched the events around me, including the distress of my husband, Brian.

My doctors couldn’t override it or persuade me to change my mind, but, luckily, my husband, Brian, could and did. From my mental cocoon, Brian was by my side convincing me to finish treatment.

My dreams of dying were not the products of anxious moments of terror. I was simply incapable of making the right decision for myself. My doctors were professional but ultimately could not decide for me. When neither doctor nor patient can make the right decision, it is vital to have a caring family member advocate on your behalf. Without Brian, and his tireless commitment to my recovery, I wouldn’t be here today.

While I am still battling cancer and have not yet returned to work nor am I leading a normal life, my illness has changed me profoundly as a physician. No amount of doctoring can prepare you for being a patient.  During the past year, I have endured multiple treatment methods, metastasis, and most recently the discovery of a brain tumor that threatens my eyesight.  The past year has been full of the most vulnerable moments in my life.

If anything, it’s that recognition of vulnerability as well as expertise that makes me a better doctor today.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:39 PM | Permalink

February 2, 2012

Children of divorce

How divorce ruins childrens' lives

A new study on divorce, looking at the complete spectrum of research on the subject, confirms what most people already know – even if they are not willing to admit it: divorce causes “irreparable harm” to the whole family, but  particularly to the children.

There have been plenty of individual studies exposing one or more effects of divorce, but rarely do researchers give an overview of the findings to date – and it makes disturbing reading.
In short, if a society wanted to reduce children’s chances of living a happy and fulfilled it could find few better ways to do it than by promoting divorce. Why then do so many “advanced economies” allow easy divorce?

From the report, The Effects of Divorce on Children from the Marriage and Religion Research Institute

Each year, over a million American children suffer the divorce of their parents. Divorce causes irreparable harm to all involved, but most especially to the children. Though it might be shown to benefit some individuals in some individual cases, over all it causes a temporary decrease in an individual's quality of life and puts some "on a downward trajectory from which they might never fully recover."

Divorce damages society. It consumes social and human capital. It substantially increases cost to the taxpayer, while diminishing the taxpaying portion of society. It diminishes children's future competence in all five of society's major tasks or institutions: family, school, religion, marketplace and government.
Divorce detrimentally impacts individuals and society in numerous other ways:

Religious practice: Divorce diminishes the frequency of worship of God and recourse to Him in prayer.
Education: Divorce diminishes children's learning capacity and educational attainment.
The marketplace: Divorce reduces household income and deeply cuts individual earning capacity.
Government: Divorce significantly increases crime, abuse and neglect, drug use, and the costs of compensating government services.
Health and well-being: Divorce weakens children's health and longevity. It also increases behavioral, emotional, and psychiatric risks, including even suicide.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:57 PM | Permalink

January 27, 2012

A mother's love is priceless

Why a mother's love really is priceless: It prevents illness even into middle age

Tender loving care in childhood was found to reduce a person’s risk of conditions including diabetes and heart disease in adulthood, according to researchers at Brandeis University in Boston.

They examined 1,000 people from low-income backgrounds, which has been shown by a wealth of previous research to be related to poorer health in later life and lower life expectancy.

However, they found some people from disadvantaged families managed to buck this trend – and they tended to have had a loving mother.
Psychology professor Margie Lachman said events in childhood seem to leave a ‘biological residue’ on health during adult life.
The study was published in the journal Psychological Science.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:21 PM | Permalink

October 14, 2011

The Empty Cradle

Low birth rates a threat to economy, study shows

Throughout the developed world, lowered birth rates and family breakdown will have a devastating effect on the global economy and the welfare state’s viability, says an international study released Oct 3.

“On current trends, we face a world of rapidly aging and declining populations, of few children — many of them without the benefit of siblings and a stable, two-parent home — of lonely seniors living on meagre public support, of cultural and economic stagnation,” says the study, entitled “The Empty Cradle: How Contemporary Trends Undermine the Global Economy.”

Co-sponsored by the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada (IMFC) and pro-family groups in the United States, the Philippines, Spain and Colombia, the study shows even developing countries such as Iran, Lebanon, Chile, Thailand and South Korea have seen their lifetime births per woman shrink to fewer than two from averages as high as six. Canada’s birth rate is only 1.5 children per woman.

The study also examines the role of culture and religion.

“Today there remains in the individual countries of Europe, and of the West generally, a strong and growing correlation between conservative religious values and larger-than-average family size.”

In France and Spain, for example, practising Catholic women have “significantly more children” than non-religious women.

“Much the same story can be found throughout the globe, where the religiously observant typically have markedly higher birth rates than does the rest of the population.”

Recognizing that none of their suggestions are adequate, the authors of the study

indicate a philosophical approach is needed, “one that emphasizes the critical role of the intact, nurturing and financially secure family in sustaining and renewing the human, social and financial capital of aging societies around the globe.”

One uncomfortable fact is that if the 40 million children aborted since 1973 were alive, we would not be facing a social security problem.  About 25 million more people would be paying into the system and creating demand in the economy.

But it was Mark Steyn who put it best in It's the Demography, Stupid

The design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birth rate to sustain it.
Europe by the end of this century will be a continent after the neutron bomb; the grand buildings will still be standing, but the people who built them will be gone. We are living through a remarkable period: the self-extinction of the race who, for good or ill, shaped the modern world."
Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:48 AM | Permalink