American families have changed dramatically since the 1960s. Whereas two parent households were the norm several decades ago, today families come in a variety of shapes and sizes that can present unique challenges to the stability and long-term development of children if not managed carefully.
According to current data, about 28 percent of households are headed by a single parent. Because of higher rates of divorce or births outside of marriage, roughly half of all children will at some time live in a single-parent home. In addition, many more children now live with parents who are cohabiting rather than married, a situation that can present an uncertain environment for children in the earliest years if partners change frequently.
But shifting family structures are only part of the instability that young children can experience. Even in homes with married biological parents, sudden changes like job loss may result in unmanageable stress for young children. The stress that accompanies major family shifts, such as dramatic income loss, changes in housing, sudden loss of contact between parents and children, or increased parental anxiety can prove harmful to the emotional and mental development of young children.
This is because during the first five years of life, children are still developing the mental, social and emotional tools to handle high levels of stress. In fact, studies have found that family instability exacts a heavier toll on children from birth to the end of kindergarten than to older children.
Sudden changes to family structure and households can contribute to difficulty sleeping in young children, behavioral problems, as well as poorer health outcomes later in life, such as obesity and asthma.
While there are no easy answers to these challenges – especially in relation to work outside the home, or serious life events, like divorce, that result in single-parenthood – there are ways parents can mitigate the negative effects of family instability.
As researchers at the Urban Institute conclude, parents can foster close relationships with friends and relatives, use consistent but sensitive discipline, and maintain consistency in scheduling and child care so children know what to expect from an early age.
For example, research shows that a consistent bedtime for babies and young children is critical for healthy brain development and lends order and stability to their lives. Likewise, finding time to talk with young children, while engaged in other activities like meal preparation or diaper changes, can help with bonding and vocabulary development, and increases quality family time.
- A factsheet on family instability, brought to you by Too Small to Fail.
- Research report from the Urban Institute on the harmful effects of family instability.
- Tips for working parents from the American Academy of Pediatrics, on how to find better work-family balance.
- Tips for single parents on how to reduce stress, from Parents.
In The News:
- “The Mysterious and Alarming Rise of Single Parenthood in America”, The Atlantic, September 3, 2013
- “Single Moms Speak Out on Challenges”, NPR, August 28, 2012
Posted in Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Too Small To Fail | Tagged Clinton Foundation, Early Childhood Development, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Next Generation, Too Small to Fail | Leave a Comment »
Yesterday, Hillary’s engagements began at 8:30 in the morning at Brookings, proceeded through Bill Clinton’s being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a trip to Arlington to pay tribute to John F. Kennedy and mingle with Kennedy family members, and an appearance at the Kennedy Center where she co-hosted the premiere of the new movie about Nelson Mandela. It was a day resembling some of her heavy schedules as secretary of state, but the the film debut was not the end of it. In the evening, she joined her date at the dinner for Medal of Freedom honorees at the Smithsonian. She wore a flowered shawl and looked as fresh as the rose centerpieces.
Hillary has some excellent informants. She knew what the decor was going to be and dressed to blend in so beautifully. It reminds me of how, at the State Department, she knew what venues she would be in and wore colors that picked up those in the environment. Remember her “flag diplomacy?” (No one called it that except me, but I have plenty of examples.)
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The Clintons joined the Obamas this afternoon at Arlington National Cemetery to honor John Fitzgerald Kennedy in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his assassination in Dallas. The two presidents escorted Ethel Kennedy, widow of Robert F. Kennedy, to the gravesite. Following the wreath-laying ceremony, they all greeted a gathering of Kennedys there for the event.
Posted in Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Willam Jefferson Clinton | Tagged Arlington National Cemetery, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Ethel Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, John F. Kennedy, Michelle Obama, Robert F. Kennedy | 8 Comments »
Hillary, Chelsea, and her husband Marc looked on proudly as President Obama bestowed the Presidential Medal of Honor upon former President Bill Clinton today. Other honorees included the late Senator Daniel Inouye, whose widow accepted, former Senator Dick Lugar, Ben Bradlee, Sally Ride, whose life partner accepted for her, Ernie Banks, Loretta Lynn, Gloria Steinem, Oprah Winfrey, and Arturo Sandoval who escaped Cuba aided by Dizzy Gillespie.
Congratulations all around!
Posted in Appearances, Awards, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, White House, Willam Jefferson Clinton | Tagged awards, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Honors, Presidential Medal of Freedom | 6 Comments »
Appearing on the podium with Chinese Vice Premier Madame Liu Yandong, with whom she collaborated as secretary of state on a variety of similar issues, Hillary Clinton addressed an audience at the Brookings Institution today on one of her signature initiatives: Early Childhood Development (#ECD on Twitter).
Special thanks to Tracy Viselli who has been kind enough to share her twitpics from the event.
8:30 – 9:20
Keynote Address: Madame Liu Yandong and Hillary Rodham Clinton
People’s Republic of China
Former U.S. Secretary of State
Brookings and the China Development Research Foundation co-hosted a discussion on opportunities and challenges for early childhood development (ECD) programs in both countries. Dual keynote addresses were delivered by Her Excellency Liu Yandong, vice premier of the People’s Republic of China, and the Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state.
Madame Liu, speaking in Mandarin with simultaneous translation, said that “China will soon release a national plan for development of children in poor areas,” with a goal “to ensure the healthy growth of every child in China.” She cited data demonstrating how China has met UN Millennium Development Goals in infant and child mortality rates dropping. While acknowledging the “daunting challenge” of promoting children’s development in China, home to nearly 310 million children, Madame Liu said that “investment in early childhood development is a human capital investment with the highest return.” Chinese President Xi Jinping, she said, “attaches great importance to early childhood development,” sharing a vision with that expressed by President Barack Obama.
Sec. Clinton echoed many of the points Madame Liu made about the importance of early childhood education, citing research, and stressing the opportunities for U.S.-China collaboration and communication on this issue. “Investing in early childhood development,” Clinton said, “is one of the best returns on investments that a country can make to accelerate long-term economic growth and productivity.” Citing research that shows that children born into higher-income families hear 30 million more words in their formative years than do children born into lower-income families (and described by Richard Reeves in his “Parenting Gap” paper), Sec. Clinton said that “We want to see our young people working together, understanding each other, communicating … to have the background and confidence to work through those disagreements peacefully … much of that depends upon education and the start in life that children in both of our countries have.”
Brookings tweeted this picture. It’s lovely, and clearly a color memo went out for today!
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Talking policy last Friday at Georgetown, she was all business in tweed with playfully polka-dotted, pink-accented trim. Last night at two events at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, Hillary Clinton, beautifully attired in evening wear, graced two formal events.
At a dinner hosted by the World Jewish Congress, she presented Elie and Marion Wiesel with the organization’s Theodor Herzl Award. Here she is with the Wiesels and Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress.
She also attended the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute 2013 Gold Medal Gala where she and Antonio Banderas were honored by her majesty. We see her with the queen, Oscar de la Renta, and fellow honoree, Banderas. Both ladies looked absolutely stunning in shades of navy and midnight blue brocades.
Posted in Appearances, Awards, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Honors, Speaking Engagements, Uncategorized | Tagged Antonio Banderas, Appearances, awards, Elie Wiesel, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Honors, Marion Wiesel, Oscar de la Renta, Queen Sofia Spanish Institute, Ronald S. Lauder, Speaking Engagements, World Jewish Congress | 13 Comments »
With November 2013 not even over yet, Hillary Clinton leaves her successful fund raising for Terry McAuliffe and Bill de Blasio behind and moves on toward the mid-term primaries. Her first beneficiary will be someone very close, according to HuffPo.
Marjorie Margolies represented Pennsylvania’s 13th district from 1993-1995. She lost reelection after casting the final and deciding vote to pass President Clinton’s 1993 budget (as he had asked her to) despite her opposition to it. No one should have any doubt about the value the Clintons place on loyalty. Those up for reelection who never paid dues in the past need to take note. It may take more than running over to Ready for Hillary or signing a letter to get a Clinton on your campaign bandwagon. For now, at least, they are keeping it in the family.
PHILADELPHIA – Hillary Clinton will be appearing next year at a fundraiser for Marjorie Margolies’ congressional campaign in the Pennsylvania suburbs, according to Ken Smukler, who serves as a communications consultant for Margolies.
Margolies, who is Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law, is locked in a Democratic primary campaign against a strong progressive, state Sen. Daylin Leach, as well as two others. Margolies served one congressional term in the early 1990s.
Longtime Margolies fundraiser Linda August, who attended Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, also confirmed Clinton’s upcoming appearance.
“Hillary said from the beginning that she was not going to be political this year except for McAuliffe and family. She is scheduled to come in six months before the election. She is coming in just when we need her,” said Smukler, who also serves as spokesman for the local Democratic party. “The Clintons are doing this for themselves as much as for Marjorie. They can’t have a family member lose a race for Congress six months before she is gearing up for a presidential election.”
Posted in 2014 Election, Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. House of Representatives, Uncategorized | Tagged 2014 elections, Bill de Blasio, Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Huffington Post, Marc Mezvinsky, Marjorie Margolies, Pennsylvania, Terry McAuliffe | Leave a Comment »