December 11, 2008

The Greatest Parenting Invention

Our baby was having a huge meltdown the other morning while my wife was already at work. As I dropped my older son in front of the television and picked a Bob the Builder cartoon from On Demand, I wondered how my parents raised me and my sister before VCRs and DVR players and YouTube. Did they simply have to hope there was a “Sesame Street” episode starting on KQED when the toddler-related chaos hit DEFCON 1? How did they entertain us when “Electric Company” wasn’t on? Elaborate puppet shows?
I’m perfectly happy to take this for granted.

This is a thought I have almost every day. Whether it’s jumpy houses to wear my kids out at the Farmer’s Market or technological developments such as portable DVD players on plane trips, I frequently salute the parenting inventions that have come along during my lifetime.

Full story: The greatest parenting invention of your lifetime

December 10, 2008

Best way to teach kids

Sometimes, the best way to teach kids to become good leaders is to put them in situations that require such skills. Lance D. Shaw proposes to raise the bar a notch higher: to put kids in the actual parental role. He shares his real-life experiences on this theory in Parenting Dad (&/or Mom). This began in Silicon Valley, when they were preschoolers.

Following the belief that learning and influence in the family should be a two-way street, Shaw discovers a radical way of teaching his two kids to become good leaders — that is, to switch roles with them as the parent. His children took turns with him at being Dad — or Mom, as the case may be — on a daily basis. He saw this as the perfect way to train his children’s creativity, initiative, judgment and decision-making skills, encouraging an open-minded albeit unconventional environment.

Full story: Dad Teaches Kids to Play Mom and Dad

November 20, 2008

Parenting and the Economy

..reviving an economy is more like parenting. There’s no manual. If there were a parenting manual, every hospital would hand one out with every newborn. But there isn’t a manual because each kid is different. And parents come to learn that they aren’t really in charge. There’s too much of the process they can’t control. So great parenting isn’t about doing whatever it takes. It’s an art. It’s about a set of principles and knowing which principle to apply in which situation. When to be tough. When to be soft. When to give a kid a do-over.

Even the most skilled parents make mistakes. Not because they don’t understand what it takes to be a good parent. Not because they aren’t committed to doing the job as well as it can humanly be done. But simply because there’s no way of knowing what to do next.

Full story: How To Move The Economy Forward

– Ravi Jayagopal

November 6, 2008

Vaccines: Separating fact from fiction

When Katie Shutters’s 13-month-old daughter, Averie, was born, she followed the recommended vaccine schedule for two months. Then she did some research and decided to hold off on additional shots until Averie turned 9 months old. “I liked the idea of my breast milk giving her the immunities she needs and allowing her body to work for her instead of some medicine,” says the stay-at-home mom from Indianapolis, Indiana. “She isn’t in daycare, and we don’t travel overseas. I had concerns about injecting her for no reason.”

Eventually Shutters found a doctor who would immunize according to her schedule: “We broke up the MMR [which protects against measles, mumps, and rubella] into three separate shots spread out over a year, and we’re skipping the chicken pox shot,” she says. “Instead, I’d love to find a kid who has chicken pox so we could expose Averie naturally.”

Full story

October 8, 2008

Annoy Your Teenager Without Being There

Ford has made parenting a little easier by introducing MyKey, a programmable ignition key for Ford automobiles that monitors teenage driving behavior. With MyKey in place, various driving habits that parents may consider unsafe, or merely obnoxious, can be curtailed.

It covers all the common parental complaints: The car’s speed cannot exceed 80mph. Radio volume is limited to 44 percent of maximum and, if seatbelts aren’t fastened, no sound will come from the speakers at all. Extra-careful and/or paranoid parents can place warning sounds at 45, 55, and 65mph, blasting a warning of potential reckless driving to the youthful driver.

Full story: MyKey Turns Your Ford Focus into Your Mom