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Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

Many thanks to PYW who shred this in a comment thread. It truly deserves a post of its own.


For Better, for Worse

In this excerpt from her campaign memoir, Hillary Clinton reflects on the bond that has helped her through victory and defeat.

I was confident that Bill would be great at parenting. His father died before Bill was born; he knew how lucky he was to have this chance that his own father never had. Still, a lot of men are thrilled to be dads but not so thrilled about all the work that a child requires. The writer Katha Pollitt has observed how even the most egalitarian relationships can contort under the strain of child rearing, and all of a sudden the mom is expected to do everything, while the dad pitches in here and there. She calls it becoming “gender Republicans”—a nifty phrase, if perhaps a little unfair to all the feminist Republicans out there, who really do exist.

I knew that I had enough energy and devotion for two, if it turned out that Bill wasn’t a co-equal in the child-raising department. But I really hoped that wouldn’t happen. Our marriage had always been a true partnership. Though he was governor and then president—jobs that would seem to “beat” a lot of others, if you were the kind of person who ranked jobs like that—my career was important to me, too. So was my time and, more broadly, my identity. I couldn’t wait to become a mother, but I didn’t want to lose everything else about myself in the becoming. I was counting on my husband not just to respect that but also to join me in guarding against it.

So it was a wonderful thing when Chelsea arrived ….

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Unemployment Takes a Heavy Toll on Children, Too

More than 12 million children currently live in households where at least one parent is unemployed or underemployed; about 11 percent of those children, or 2.8 million, are five-years-old or younger. This population has approximately doubled in size since before the United States recession, and shows no sign of decreasing. Families that experience unemployment come from a wide range of ethnic, racial and economic backgrounds, though unemployment tends to be most heavily experienced among African American and Hispanic families.

Children who live in homes where parents or caregivers are concerned about a severe decline in income experience a great deal of stress, and often have access to fewer important resources like high-quality childcare, nutritious and regular meals, health care and learning materials. This can be especially damaging for very young children because early experiences have a tremendous impact on their long-term health and well-being, and can impact their preparedness for kindergarten and beyond. Often, parents experiencing job loss can also be depressed or more irritable, affecting the quality of parent-child bonding and causing these important relationships to be stressed.

Parents and caregivers can help minimize the effects of unemployment on their children. Skills like learning how to focus on tasks at hand, set goals and make plans, follow rules, solve problems and control impulses are all helpful for parents and caregivers to know so they can protect the emotional well-being of their children.  In addition, there are important government resources that parents can apply for to help their children receive basic things like health care and food while they are unemployed, and also to help them manage finances and taxes during tough times.

 

Learn more:

  • This Urban Institute report highlights the impact of unemployment on children, and how parents can mitigate its effects.
  • The Center for the Study of Social Policy provides information on the side-effects of unemployment on children, and links to various resources for parents and caregivers to find help.

In the News:

Video

Dr. Jack Shonkoff of Harvard University’s Center for the Developing Child describes how we can strengthen communities to help children’s learning, health and behavior. >>

 

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