Category Archives: family

Kids being raised by their grandparents and the recession

Grandparents raising their children’s children are having a tough time during the current recession. While the unemployment rate is lower for those who are older once they lose their jobs it is more difficult for them to find work.
Adults who are raising their grandchildren already have enough on their plate without having to deal with the recession as well. With pink slips flying the recession can hit hard for those just making ends met at an age where finding a good job is close to impossible.The unemployment rate for those 55 and over have risen to 6.2% as of March. That is the highest figure since September 1949.

At the same tome the unemployment rates rise more grandparents have had to take on raising their grandchildren. In 2007 there were about 4.7 million children living in homes headed by at least one of their grandparents. The shift to grandparents raising their children’s offspring has risen due to several factors including more parents into drugs, AIDS, cancer and when struck by tragedy single adults leaving their children behind.

While not all grandparents are the sole providers most make significant contributions.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Not all of these grandparents are sole caregivers, says Kenneth Bryson, a director at Generations United, a Washington nonprofit, “but most are making important contributions,” providing “substantial care so that the parents can work or go to school.”

In the United States about twenty percent of grandparents or other relatives raising children other than their own receive grants. In New York that grant money comes to roughly $5,000 a year. That means the majority of those raising the kids are not getting any help.

Children who reside in foster care programs on average cost New York $22,000 per year for their care.

Sweden gives the go-ahead for gay marriage

On Wednesday Swedish Parliament voted 226 to 22 in favor of allowing same-sex marriages. In May, the nation will join Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Norway allowing gay couples to wed. Canada and South Africa also allow gay marriages.
The Parliament has spoken, making Sweden the fifth European country to allow same-sex marriages.

The BBC reports:

“The decision means that gender no longer has an impact on the ability to marry and that the law on registered partnership is repealed,” the government said on its website.

Not everyone in Sweden is happy about the Parliament’s decision. The Christian Democrats were the only party to oppose the law. The party had instead proposed the word of marriage be removed from Swedish law and replaced with a legally binding union between two persons. This would have made ‘marriage’ separate from the government and only a Christian ceremony that the church would conduct.


“Unfortunately this is not an April Fool’s Day joke, this is reality,” Yvonne Andersson, member of the Swedish parliament for the Christian Democrats, wrote on the party’s Web site following the vote.

Sweden has backed gay couples being one of the first nations in the world to give gay couples legal “partnership” rights in 1994.

Since January 2007 the Lutheran Church, Sweden’s largest church, has offered to bless gay partnerships. They have not given formal back to the term “marriage” and if a pastor is against same-sex marriage they are allowed to refuse to officiate such ceremonies.

Gay couples have been allowed to adopt children since 2002.

Traditional Parents Tend To Have Well-adjusted Tykes

Do you tell your kids no from time to time? Did you breastfeed? Do you want your kids to achieve greatness? Chances are your children are doing well then. A British study is showing that being a traditional parent is a good way to have well adjusted kids.
From breastfeeding to having high expectations for little one are ways to insure happy kids.

The study of 1,136 mothers reading a story book to their one-year-old found that breastfeeding for six months was assiciated with parents that continue positive parenting skills beyond infancy.

The UK has one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in Europe. Many mothers give up early on because of lack of support or they have to return to the work force. Fewer than eight in ten mothers breastfeed from birth. Only one fifth of have continued to feed their babies breast milk six months later.

Researchers at the Institute of Education in London recommend that more is done for mothers of infants so that they can breastfeed their young, including if necessary helping them with money so they can delay returning to work until their children are a little older.

The Telegraph reports:

Dr Leslie Gutman, who led the research, said: “Breastfeeding is a time-consuming activity and mothers can be tempted to put their babies on the bottle earlier if they feel they have to return to work for financial reasons.

“Mothers are given information leaflets in hospitals about breastfeeding but we may need more than this. Another option is workplace nurseries where mothers could go and feed their babies during the day.”

Breastfeeding has proven to be the best nourishment for infants. Studies have shown that breastfed children are less prone to obesity, have fewer allergies and respiratory illnesses and have higher IQ.

The study showed that the mothers who most benefited from breastfeeding were low income mothers. Those mothers had a higher quality of interaction with their children even five years later.

It appears that martial status though doesn’t change the quality of mother interaction with children. If anything single mothers who breastfeed seemed to make more of an effort to connect with their kids.

The Daily Mail reports that Gutman’s study also shows that strict parents have more ‘competent’ children. This is very important when raising girls. Those who lack confidence tend to turn to drugs according to the left-wing London’s Institute of Education.

‘Multiple studies have documented that children who have authoritative parents – that is, both firm disciplinarians and warm, receptive caregivers – are more competent than their peers at developmental periods, including pre-school, school age and adolescence,’ said the report.

Recession Pinch Hits Summer Camps

There may be more family time this summer as summer camps begin to feel the pinch of the recession. Bonuses that used to pay the high camp fees are disappearing and as they do so are the funds for weeks away for the kids.
Camps are still enrolling children, but they are doing later enrollments than usual this year says a Wall Street Journal article. Peg Smith of the American Camp Association said that the 2,900 camps in their membership are expecting more demand for financial aid.

Some families are opting for less expensive versions of camp; day-camps. These tend to be run by nonprofits like the YMCA.

At the numbers are clear. There has already been a drop of 10% to 15% less registrations for private summer camps this year. Nonprofit camps are seeing a rise in registrations.

The Kansas City Star reports that it is clear that while parents are still looking to send their children to camp this year they are budget shopping.

“They want to make sure their kids aren’t sitting home all day playing video games this summer,” said Pam Watkins, director of operations for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, which offers camp sessions all summer.

“Parents are absolutely going to cut back on summer vacations and weekend excursions, but as far as camp for their kids, it’s the one thing they’re willing to put the money out there for.”

Families may wait until later in the season to register their children hoping for deals that other years would not be available.

That may be a wise gamble. If the camps can’t fill their bunks they will have to be more flexible to survive.

Some camps are offering shorter seasons at their regular day cost. In the past The Aloha Beach Camp, a water-sports camp in Los Angeles, required a stay of at least 12 days at $107 per day. Last year they lowered the minimum to 5 days. This year if all a family can afford is two days they can get a two day spot.

Other camps are offering ‘early bird specials’ with discounts. That is what Berkshire Hills Emanuel Camps in Copake, N.Y. did this year for families signing up last summer. Instead of the $6,500 per child the cost in March was $6,100 for a full summer session.

Many camps offer ‘camperships’ for children who qualify for financial aid.

The UJA-Federation of New York will give $1,250 for kids attending a Jewish sleep away camp for the first time and $750 for the second time.

Not all camps can afford to offer funding. The River City Youth Foundation, an Austin, Texas, nonprofit, had funding cuts this year. The city says the camp should be spared but it is still dicey for the kids who could be attending a free summer day camp. If the funding doesn’t come through than low-income, at-risk children in Austin will not have the camping experience.

The National Camp Association and can help you do an online search for the camp that fits your families needs.

Some families have decided to have a family vacation this year instead of camp. With high session costs it is just more practical.

Good Son Gets Dad Stripper

When Cai Jinlai passed away at the age of 103 his son Cai Ruigong fulfilled a promised he had made to dead old dad. You see dad wanted a stripper to perform at his funeral if he made it to 100. A promise is a promise.

The Taiwanese son spent 80 pounds to hire an erotic dancer.

The stripper dancer for the dead man in front of his coffin for more than ten minutes.

Cai Jinlai passed away after walking into town to vote. He was the oldest in his village and left behind more than 100 descendants.

His son said his father was famous locally for his interest in strip clubs: “He would travel around the island with his friends to see these shows,” he added.

Jinlai had a good son.

Op-Ed: A Child Known As ‘Ashley’

The profoundly disabled girl known as Ashley, now 10, has achieved her full height, 4 feet 5 inches.
A year ago a family that opted to open up on their decision to keep their severely disabled child a “little girl” forever garnered criticizing media coverage. A year later they still in agree that for their family it was right for “Ashley.”

Her case could change the way severely disabled children are cared for in the future.

“The ‘Ashley treatment’ has been successful in every expected way,” Ashley’s parents told CNN exclusively in a lengthy e-mail interview. “It has potential to help many others like it helped our precious daughter.”

At the age of ten Ashley has reached her full height of 4 feet 5 inches. Her parents know that she will be able to be carried around by them for the rest of their lives. A year ago her family openly blogged about the time when their child underwent a sterilization that would stunt her growth. While the family knows for them it was the right thing it still was against the law in Washington state.

The child will always be a little girl because of the radical surgery but she was never going to be fully an adult regardless. She has the mental capacity of a six month old. Severely brain damaged with the condition called static encephalopathy she will never walk nor talk. She eats through a tube and wears diapers. What she can do is smile and be cuddled and loved. At her size she will always be able to be held and carried to wherever she needs to go.

Ashley did not grow in height or weight in the last year, she will always be flat-chested, and she will never suffer any menstrual pain, cramps or bleeding,” say her parents, who felt it important to publicly address their decision after repeated interview requests, in the hopes of sharing their experience with other families.

In 2004 the little girl went through a hysterectomy, removal of breast buds and had high doses of estrogen to retard both growth and sexual maturation. There are risks but “Ashley” has yet to suffer from any of those.

While many were outraged at the family they counter back with;

“If parents of children like Ashley believe this treatment will improve their children’s quality of life, then they should be diligent and tenacious in providing it for them,” her parents write. “We have a sacred duty to do what we believe is right for our children.”

The operation though wasn’t legal even if it seems to may as the right move. In May 2007 Children’s Hospital admitted that the child should have had a proper court review before the hysterectomy. Today the operation would require a court order.

Some doctors remain adamant the treatment shouldn’t be available.

“Adults can consent. But for a child, we’re making decisions for them and hoping in our heart of hearts we are making the right decisions,” says Dr. Nancy Murphy, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Children with Disabilities.

The overriding sentiment in the medical community is that this case was unethical.

“I think mutilating surgery involving removal of breast buds is indefensible under any circumstances,” says Arthur Caplan, the chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics and director of the Center for Bioethics at the University of Pennsylvania. “Growth retardation is not a substitute for adequate home aides and home assistance.”

In the end the child known as Ashley survives unaware of the fuss going on around her. Her parents are sure that as long as they are alive they will be able to care for her at home.

And she is loved.

That with all the ethics in the world that oppose or support Ashley’s parent’s choice makes a difference.

Boy Gets To Tell His Side Of Things In Family Dispute On Circumcision

A twelve year old boy Court. The court is allowing the son of James and Lisa Boldt to have his say about being circumcised. Both parents state that their child sides with them. Now the son will be able to let a judge in on his thoughts.

The divorced Boldt’s are in the middle of a religious dispute.
At the center of the case is their young pre-teen son who James wants to have circumcised in accordance of his new found Judaism faith. Lisa contends that having the surgical procedure could harm their son.

The parents each say their son agrees with them. A judge will now question the youth to see who is right on this matter. The Supreme Court made the ruling on Friday.