Archives: October 2011

Hymowitz: ‘Don’t believe the hype, college educated women are still getting married’

10.21.2011 1:45 PM

Kay Hymowitz pens an excellent response to the Kate Bolick Atlantic cover story:

…Like most marriage-is-dead arguments, Bolick’s  hinges on two statistics badly in need of deconstruction. One is that only 48%  of American households are headed by a married couple compared to 78% in 1950.  That’s a striking decline but it has little to do with any loss of interest in  the institution.

Most of the unmarried households are made up of  young immigrant men, elderly women who, thanks to modern medicine, are out  living their husbands for many years, and young singles who are marrying at  historically late ages.

In reality, a little more than 80 percent of women  and men marry at some point. This represents a decline from the 90 percent of  marrieds in 1950, but it is similar to many other periods of American  history.

The second statistic that is used to prove the end of marriage  is the over 40% of American children born to unmarried mothers. This is also a  number that hides as much as it reveals.

The vast majority of women who have children outside  of marriage are low income and working class women. No doubt the “stigma against  single motherhood” has eased, yet college educated women like Bolick continue to  do what their mothers and grandmothers did; they tie the knot before having  children. The latest Census shows that percentage of college educated women who  have children outside of marriage is only about 6%. That’s an increase from  previous years, but a very small one…

In other words, women like Bolick  are the most likely to marry, to have children within marriage, and, to stay  married…


Washington Post: Doherty and Sears on “Second Chances” Proposal

10.21.2011 12:57 PM

Conventional wisdom holds that about half of U.S. marriages end in divorce — and that most Americans wish the divorce rate were lower. Still, many are skeptical about whether we can lower the divorce rate without trapping more people in bad marriages.

This skepticism is fueled by two common assumptions: Divorce happens only after a long process of misery and conflict; and, once couples file for divorce, they don’t entertain the idea of reconciling.

We now know those assumptions are wrong.

Research over the past decade has shown that a major share of divorces (50 to 66 percent, depending on the study) occur between couples who had average happiness and low levels of conflict in the years before the divorce.

Contrary to popular belief, only a minority of divorcing couples experience high conflict and abuse during their marriages. Most divorces occur with couples who have drifted apart and handle everyday disagreements poorly. It is these “average” divorces that research shows are the most harmful to children.

In their study documenting the difference between high conflict and average divorces, sociologists Paul Amato and Alan Booth offer this promising conclusion: “Our results suggest that divorces with the greatest potential to harm children occur in marriages that have the greatest potential for reconciliation.”

But do any parents already in the divorce process still want to save their marriages?

William J. Doherty and his team of researchers asked 2,500 divorcing parents in Minnesota who were well along in that process whether they were interested in services to help them reconcile. In at least 10 percent of these divorce cases, both spouses were open to efforts to reconcile — and in another 30 percent, one spouse was interested in reconciliation. Results for couples earlier in the divorce process were even more promising.

In other words, a substantial number of today’s divorces may be preventable. READ MORE


The Infinity Mushroom Burial Suit

10.19.2011 2:29 PM

I had been thinking about inheritance and legacy all day when I happened upon this recent TedTalk concerning decompi(culture).  The talk is only 7 minutes long but may radically change how you decide to be buried.

Artist Jae Rhim Lee is training edible mushrooms to eat decomposing flesh.  I realize that that sentence sounds a bit gross but it’s actually a quite lovely concept that counteracts our current practice of preserving dead bodies.  She says:

“I see this as a step toward accepting that one day I will die and decompose…and I would like to minimize the impact of my death on the environment.”

Soon, you too, will be able to purchase a death suit covered with crocheted netting with embedded mushroom spores.


Winners of the Hastings Center’s Bioethics Contest

10.19.2011 12:42 PM

The Hastings Center announced the winners of their recent bioethics forum questions, which covered the sex or non-sex having of trans humans, the medical practice that will be inconceivable in 50 years, and the writing of a caption to a cartoon featuring a test tube family with a human baby.

See here for winners as well as a recap of many interesting submissions…


“Fewer Babies, For Better or Worse”

10.19.2011 11:10 AM

The New York Times recently asked this question at their Room for Debate blog: “As European, Chinese and American women have fewer children, is the global economy endangered? Or is this easing the burden on a crowded planet?”

Brad Wilcox, who co-authored the recent report by the Social Trends Institute, The Sustainable Demographic Dividend, argues that declining fertility rates and marriage decline is one factor in the global economic crisis. Says Wilcox:

[O]ne reason that some of the world’s leading economies — from Japan to Italy to Spain to the euro zone as a whole — are facing fiscal challenges is that their fertility rates have been below replacement levels (2.1 children per woman) for decades. Persistent sub-replacement fertility eventually translates into fewer workers relative to retirees, which puts tremendous strains on public coffers and the economy as a whole. Indeed, one recent study finds that almost half of the recent run-up in public debt in the West can be attributed to rapid aging over the last two decades.

See here to read more.


I Hate Halloween 2011 Update

10.19.2011 9:27 AM

As I truck through the rain up the hill to the train station for day four of federal jury duty, I get to witness the annual rite of my formerly decent-seeming, classy neighbors hanging plastic made in China crap in their trees. Today’s topper were severed limbs painted in fake blood with a hatched still embedded in the plastic flesh. This on a property that for the rest of the year is a lovely well-tended Victorian home and front garden replete with bird bath, flowering plants, and wicker chairs in which the woman of the house often sits with her tea and calls out a cheery “hello” when you pass.

So much violence and tragedy occurs already in this beautiful, broken world of ours. Why do we do this every year?


End of Life and Sperm Donation Collide

10.19.2011 8:46 AM

In today’s “Dear Judy…” column this question was posted:

“Dear Judy,

I had prostate cancer two years ago, and before undergoing surgery, etc., I banked my sperm for later use. I am married with one child (7 years old), and my question is weird:

My wife and I are considering separation and very probably divorce. She had two affairs, and I didn’t know about either until two months ago.

Here’s the good news: My wife doesn’t know about my frozen sperm. I just decided to bank it on a whim before surgery and chemo, and saw no reason to tell her about it either then or – naturally – lately. But what if I remarry, then die of cancer, and a future wife decides she wants to carry my child even though I am dead? How can I make sure a) she receives my sperm and it isn’t destroyed by my current wife – should she learn about it; and b) that any baby born of that sperm will inherit?

I’m asking all this, as you might have guessed, because I have a future wife in mind. Can you help with this, or is it too weird to answer?

Mike”

Judy responds that he is not weird and that his question will be far more common in the future since the use of reproductive technology is on the rise.  She tells him to go to a lawyer and specify what he wants done and who gets what, etc…But she concludes that death and conception are always more complicated than we think.

Perhaps all advice columns devolve into “What if…” scenarios but this one in particular reminded me of the Casuists, who wrote intricately laid out documents advising you on every possible scenario for your life that they could think of and then, of course, advising you as to what you should do in every situation.  I laughed thinking that you could spend your whole life thinking about how you should live instead of actually living or paying attention to any of the people actually living around you.  Such as the child that might be conceived by a current or ex-wife after you are dead.  I realize that many people live far more dramatic lives than I do, but Mike’s questions seemed to point to either a new John Grisham novel, “The Tube,” or to a really sad episode of Threes Company.

I also thought of John Irving’s novel The Fourth Hand about a man who donates his hand to another man.  We follow the hand and each character, including the widow of the man who donates his hand, who wrestle with whose hand it really “belongs” to.  The eternal debate of essence and accidents.  Where does “me” start and stop…and how much control over “me” do I really have?

So, I commented to Judy that I am someone who never thought that I would think about sperm donation as much as I have in the last few years but am thankful that I have, and that she should read “My Daddy’s Name is Donor” as well as visit Anonymous.us.  What would you tell her or Mike?


Minnesota Marriage Debate

10.18.2011 6:42 PM

Two very smart people, Dale Carpenter and Maggie Gallagher, will have their public debate on legalization of gay marriage in Minnesota aired tomorrow on Minnesota Public Radio at 11 am central.


A Dragon Mom, Indeed

10.17.2011 9:54 AM

When I first began serving in hospice care as a chaplain, I was surprised to learn that we cared for babies and toddlers.  On the one hand, many diseases that once took the lives of infants and children are quite treatable and thus beatable, but still there are children who die.  Most of these children are born with genetic anomalies that effect the growth of the heart or with brain encephalitis.  Many of these infants can even develop normally for some time, but the shadow of death never leaves.

I have been stunned to learn that most of the conditions that cause death in children are incredibly cruel.  I learned of Tay-Sachs disease about a year ago.  We were preparing to admit a 3 year-old with the disease and none of us on the team had heard of the disease so we looked it up.

“Infants with Tay-Sachs disease appear to develop normally for the first few months of life. Then, as nerve cells become distended with fatty material, a relentless deterioration of mental and physical abilities occurs. The child becomes blind, deaf, and unable to swallow. Muscles begin to atrophy and paralysis sets in. Other neurological symptoms include dementia, seizures, and an increased startle reflex to noise.”

Without a feeding tube most children die before age 3.  Our team sat in stunned silence.  Just when you think that there couldn’t be a crueler way to die, one presents itself.

I do not have a child with a terminal illness, but I have witnessed parents that do, and they are amazing people.  When our first son was born, I sat in stunned silence realizing that there was now someone in this world whose death would devastate me in ways that my own never could.  My own existence seemed like folly to the weight of wanting this little person to survive and thrive.  There is a fierceness and grace and even normalcy to parents of a terminally child that renews my hope in the seasons of existence and that love is worth it, no matter the length of time given to love.

Yesterday, a powerful piece by Emily Rapp, a mother of a son living with Tay-Sachs, was in the NYTimes Opinion pages.  Her words touch the heart and she closes with these words to all parents:

“This is a love story, and like all great love stories, it is a story of loss. Parenting, I’ve come to understand, is about loving my child today. Now. In fact, for any parent, anywhere, that’s all there is.”

 

 


In Defense of Differing With The Entire Human Race of Earlier Ages

10.17.2011 4:40 AM

In an anti-abortion/anti-marriage equality essay, Stephen Heaney writes:

With a different understanding of marriage, one might argue that same-sex couples are harmed by the lack of marital status because they believe it is owed to them.

The simple fact that no one in the entire history of humanity has ever thought it even possible for two people of the same sex to marry should give us pause.

Stephen is, of course, exaggerating; obviously, some people in “the entire history of humanity” have thought same-sex marriage possible, or we would not be discussing it now.

The same day I read Stephen’s essay, I also read this, by “Tardiff Mark”, in the comments at Unequally Yoked.

Read More


Win what?

10.16.2011 5:33 PM

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/health/yuck/5534532/story.html

 


The M.Guy Tweet

10.16.2011 2:52 PM

Marriage Media
Week of October 3, 2011
Courtesy of Bill Coffin

1. Marriage and Babies: Good for Business?, American Enterprise Institute

Are subreplacement fertility and the ongoing Western “flight from marriage” bad for business? If so, how do these trends constrain growth and development? What should governments, businesses and private citizens be doing to turn them around? Please join us as we host a panel to explore the interaction between birth rates, marriage and economic growth.

Panelists: W. Bradford Wilcox (National Marriage Project), Nicholas Eberstadt (AEI), Jonathan Last (The Weekly Standard)

2. National Association for Marriage and Relationship Education Homepage

  • 2011 NARME Conference Recordings
  • Why Join NARME
  • The NARME Charter
  • TANF Agreement Signed

3. WATCH: ‘From Fatherless To Fatherhood’: The Impact Of Paternal Absence On Black Families, HuffPost/CNN

Through a series of interviews and narratives, Brown explores the impact of paternal absence and how some men are breaking the cycle by taking an active role in the lives of their children, despite not having fathers of their own. “The purpose of this documentary is to ignite discussion throughout the African-American community … to let people understand that their lives are not determined by the absence of their fathers, that they can move beyond that and succeed nonetheless,” Brown told CNN.

4. Study: Modern Economies ‘Rise and Fall’ with Nuclear Families, The Washington Times

This is because economic growth, viability of welfare programs, size and quality of a workforce, and profitability of large sectors of an economy – health care and food, for instance – are intertwined with the family decisions of the populace, says the report, which is co-sponsored by six international institutions and the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia.

For more, see

5. Washington Injects Another $120 Million Into Marriage, Fatherhood Programs Amid Skepticism, Fox News

The Administration for Children and Families, (ACF), which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, announced Monday that it was awarding $119.4 million in grants to 120 organizations — $59.9 million for 60 marriage programs and $59.3 million for 60 fatherhood programs.

See a number of government grantees here.

6. What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas, Right?, Sliding versus Deciding

I’m not actually much interested in Vegas but I am interested in the Vegas mindset. The core idea, of course, is that what happens in Vegas does not touch the rest of your life. It’s a no-harm, no-foul, place with a firewall around it. You can do whatever you like in Vegas and it won’t affect the rest of your life. I have a theory about this. It has two parts.

Part 1. What happens romantically between the ages of 18 and 34 (or whenever a person settles down in marriage and family life) affects the rest of life.

Part 2. People are now more likely to believe than in the past that what happens before they settle down will not affect their prospects for life-long love and happiness.

Part 1 is really pretty easy to document. Part 2, then, is the hypothesis that matters here.

7. For Your Marriage Launches New Radio and TV Spots, For Your Marriage

The For Your Marriage campaign has launched a new round of television and radio public service announcements with the theme, “A good marriage goes a long way.”  The spots feature real married couples answering questions such as “How many people does your marriage touch?” and “What’s the best thing about being married?” . . . The first TV spot. . .can be viewed. . . homepage; the radio spots here.

 

For more, see this site.


The M.Guy Tweet

10.15.2011 3:38 PM

Marriage Media
Week of September 26, 2011
Courtesy of Bill Coffin

1. Nine Psychological Tasks for a Good Marriage, American Psychological Association

  • Separate emotionally from the family you grew up in; not to the point of estrangement, but enough so that your identity is separate from that of your parents and siblings.
  • Build togetherness based on a shared intimacy and identity, while at the same time set boundaries to protect each partner’s autonomy.
  • Establish a rich and pleasurable sexual relationship and protect it from the intrusions of the workplace and family obligations.
  • For couples with children, embrace the daunting roles of parenthood and absorb the impact of a baby’s entrance into the marriage. Learn to continue the work of protecting the privacy of you and your spouse as a couple.
  • Confront and master the inevitable crises of life.
  • Maintain the strength of the marital bond in the face of adversity. The marriage should be a safe haven in which partners are able to express their differences, anger and conflict.
  • Use humor and laughter to keep things in perspective and to avoid boredom and isolation.
  • Nurture and comfort each other, satisfying each partner’s needs for dependency and offering continuing encouragement and support.
  • Keep alive the early romantic, idealized images of falling in love, while facing the sober realities of the changes wrought by time.

2. Divorcing Couples Open to Second Chances, Star Tribune

“Marriage-friendly” therapist William Doherty of the University of Minnesota has published new survey results suggesting that a surprising number of divorcing couples are interested in reconciliation. In collaboration with Hennepin County District Court Judge Bruce Peterson, Doherty surveyed 2,500 couples with children whose divorces were pending but not finalized. After taking court-ordered parenting classes, one in four said they believed their marriages could be saved through hard work.

3. Some Couples Pull Back from the Edge, USA Today

William Doherty, a psychologist, marriage and family therapist, and professor of family social science at the University of Minnesota, says there are “hard reasons” and “soft reasons” couples split up. . . “Soft reasons,” Doherty says, include “general unhappiness and dissatisfaction, such as growing apart and not communicating.”. . . If your reasons are in this category, he says, “you probably have a lot to gain from slowing down and seeing if you can get those things fixed. The majority of people get divorced for the soft reasons that they’ll turn into hard reasons.”

4. November 1st Vermont Fatherhood Conference, VTDigger.org

The Vermont Fatherhood Initiative is a fledgling group of dedicated volunteers made up of parents, professionals and concerned citizens who believe fathers count and that responsible fathering is an essential part of healthy child development. We are coming together to talk about how we can strengthen families by uplifting fatherhood.

5. No Wedding, No Womb: Celebrating Marriage and Two Parent Families, Washington Times

Last year, dozens of writers, journalists, bloggers and advocates participated in the united No Wedding, No Womb campaign. This group wrote essays and prose dedicated to the celebration of marriage in black families, and encouraging young children to forgo having babies outside of marriage. The effort was met with praise and accolades but also lots of criticism, disdain and condemnation by those who were under the mistaken impression that the sole purpose of the message was disparaging single motherhood, those who grew up in single family households or those who are currently raising children they conceived outside of marriage.

6. Educated Blacks More Likely to Marry Whites, Florida Courier

Blacks who have completed high levels of education are more likely to marry Whites, according to a new study by the Journal of Marriage and Family to be published in October. . . The study also found that Black-White marriages are becoming more common.  In 2008, 10.7 percent of Blacks who married in the previous year married Whites—compared to three percent in 1980.

7. Marriage Education Reduces Military Divorces by Two-Thirds, Marriage Gems

Marriage education can be effective for engaged couples and couples who have been married for decades. Just a reminder that many organizations offer marriage education, often within different states or within religious organizations. In addition, if you can’t get away for an entire weekend, poweroftwomarriage.com offers marriage education skills online where couples can have complete privacy and can go at their own speed.

 

For more, see this site.


Always Go to the Funeral

10.15.2011 2:58 PM

A reader of my last post remembered an essay written for NPR’s “This I Believe” program from 2005.  “Always Go to the Funeral” is a beautiful essay by Deirdre Sullivan about how her father taught her to go to funerals. She writes:

“I believe in always going to the funeral. My father taught me that.

The first time he said it directly to me, I was 16 and trying to get out of going to calling hours for Miss Emerson, my old fifth grade math teacher. I did not want to go. My father was unequivocal. “Dee,” he said, “you’re going. Always go to the funeral. Do it for the family.”

So my dad waited outside while I went in. It was worse than I thought it would be: I was the only kid there. When the condolence line deposited me in front of Miss Emerson’s shell-shocked parents, I stammered out, “Sorry about all this,” and stalked away. But, for that deeply weird expression of sympathy delivered 20 years ago, Miss Emerson’s mother still remembers my name and always says hello with tearing eyes.” Read More…

 


Just Go

10.14.2011 1:37 PM

At the heart of the new movie 50/50 is a funeral.  The main characters in the movie go, they don’t say anything or do anything particularly monumental, they just go.

Other than hearing one verse from Psalm 23 as a casket is lowered into the ground, I wouldn’t necessarily call the movie religious or spiritual, but I found that this one verse from Psalm 23 could be lens for seeing the whole movie. (to read more see my HuffPost review…)

“Yea, though I walk

Through the valley

of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil

For Thou art with me

Thy rod and Thy staff;

They comfort me…”

Psalm 23 is often used at funerals and I sometimes think just the cadences of the Old English King James version comfort us, much like how a mere tune of a lullaby can soothe a crying child. But the imagery of Psalm 23 offers powerful claims of a God who walks with us wherever the journey may lead, and even though we may experience fear, we don’t need to fear evil.  I also love the image of the rod and the staff, for a shepherd uses the rod to push the sheep along and the staff is used to save a sheep who is wandering off or getting into danger.  I am firm believer that God protects us but also can poke us, and in both there is comfort in being known and companioned.

Wherever you are, God just goes.

In talking with interviewees for our new project, “Homeward Bound: How We Live When Our Parents Die,” we talk at length about the funeral of their parent or parent-figure.  Most of the people we talk to had a funeral, which differs from other geographic regions where funeral services are on the decline.  I was fascinated earlier this week when the NPR fan page on Facebook posted a question about how people expect to pay for their end of life costs: nursing home, hospice, funeral expenses.  Most people responded one of three ways: they can barely afford to live let alone think about dying, their family will take care of them, and who cares—I’ll be dead.  And yet, when you talk to someone whose parent was ill and died, the who, what, why and how are very important and get done whether you have a lot of resources or few.

I am firm believer that the once in a lifetime ritual of your funeral is important for many reasons, but one element that has surprised me is that many of those we talk to will mention fondly of how moved they were that an acquaintance attended the service.  Someone they work with–a boss, a co-worker, a teacher–or a tangential friend or neighbor came to the funeral, and their presence meant a lot.   They do not remember actually talking to this person, but they smile warmly remembering that this person actually came to pay respects and be present.  It makes me think of how in this day and age, in the midst of our busy schedules, when most funerals happen during the day which can mean having to take time away from work, that many of us may skip a funeral, thinking ‘I’ll call later next week,” or “I’ll visit soon.”  Some of us fail to go because we fear saying the wrong thing or don’t know what to say at all.

But I realized that at the funeral most of the bereaved family members are in such a state they don’t remember the particulars of what is said, unless it is truly awful, and they just remember that you came.  You don’t need to say anything.  They remember your face and that you came and sat and listened and witnessed a life now changed and heard the spiritual narrative that somehow tries to make sense of it all.  And there is comfort that in the deep shadow of death, you came to walk by their side.

So, if you are wondering about attending a funeral, may the memories of the bereaved impel you:

“Just go.”


Naming

10.13.2011 11:57 PM

A query…

Does anyone have anecdotes about this: When a woman who already has a child marries another woman, does she refer to her new wife as her child’s mother or stepmother? (Similarly, when a man who already has a child marries another man, does he refer to his new husband as his child’s father or stepfather?)

In opposite-sexed couples, when you already have a child and you marry someone new, you are said to be forming a stepfamily and the new partner is said to be your child’s stepparent. To me this would also be the appropriate language in same-sex couple headed families that bring children from previous unions into the family.

In some interview I saw a while back actor Jane Lynch referred to herself as the stepmother of her wife’s child. I respected that.

Thoughts?


Is the Right to Marry the Right to Conceive a Deliberately Fatherless or Motherless Child?

10.13.2011 11:38 PM

From One Parent or Five: A Global Look at Today’s New Intentional Families:

There are affirmative early reports that use of third-party donors to conceive children does appear to be increasing in jurisdictions that have recognized same-sex marriage or similar arrangements, as couples with new legal protections now seek assistance from fertility clinics to achieve pregnancies.

A 2007 report from Britain claimed that “Lesbians and single women in Britain are increasing their share of donor insemination, accounting for 38% of such treatment last year compared with 28% in 2003 and 18% in 1999.” Especially noteworthy is that this trend, if the numbers are verifiable, was occurring before 2008. For decades, and even after civil partnerships were legalized in Britain in 2004, British fertility law has said that the child’s “need for a father” must be taken into account when offering fertility treatments. Despite that clause, rates of lesbian and single women inseminated by clinics have been rising. In May 2008, after a long and heated national debate, the fertility treatment authority dropped the “need for a father” clause—removing the last policy barrier for lesbians and single women to access donor insemination services in the nation’s clinics.

In Massachusetts, a December 2007 news report read:

“Since the legalization of same-sex marriage there has been a marked increase in the number of gay couples seeking assisted reproduction, a medical center specializing in in vitro fertilization said….“Each year we’re seeing an annual increase of about 50 percent in the number of same sex couples coming to us for IVF to have their children and build their families,” said Dr. Samuel Pang, Medical Director of Reproductive Science Center of New England. RSC has eight locations throughout New England…and is the seventh largest medical practice of its kind nationwide. “I don’t know how much equal marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples has affected the upward shift, but it seems to be the trend over the last three or four years.””

Turn next to Denmark, which passed a law in 1989 allowing gays and lesbians to enter registered partnerships. In 2006 the parliament then passed a law allowing lesbian couples and single women the right to obtain free artificial insemination at publicly-funded hospitals. Mikael Boe Larsen, chairman of the Danish National Association for Gays and Lesbians, said, “People are almost euphoric, people are crying, and especially the lesbians are extremely happy since it is a governmental approval of their family form.”

In other nations, too, there is evidence that marriage rights and rights to artificial reproductive technologies are seen to go hand in hand. In 2005 in Victoria, Australia, the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby released a survey of 652 gay and lesbians persons that revealed, among other things, that 98 percent of those surveyed wanted same-sex marriage to be made legal in Australia, and that more than 90 percent felt that gay and lesbian couples “should have access to assisted reproductive technologies such as clinical insemination of donor sperm and IVF.” Moreover, the survey revealed that “77 percent supported altruistic surrogacy as a right.”

In Norway, the law affirming the right to same-sex marriage that was passed in 2008 also affirms the right for lesbian women to have access to artificial insemination.  In nation after nation, the right to marriage is also interpreted as a right to access reproductive technologies that deliberately deny children a relationship with one or both of their biological parents. To read more, and for citations, go to page 32.


A Toy House That You Can Split

10.13.2011 2:45 PM

A real British toy designer has really made this:

The Detacho toy house is a re-configurable toy house which can be separated and made into multiple homes, thus replicating issues such as divorce and the changing make-up of many modern day families.

Thanks to The Deacon’s Bench blog for the tip, via google alert.

And more:

The range of Persona Figures represents new and existing people who may come into the child’s life following parental separation such as step-parents and step siblings; thus allowing them to roleplay and imagine them in the playscene.

The magnetic parent figures kiss when their hair is rotated so that they show a smiley face and when their hair is turned to a frown or sad face, they repel; thus moving apart and only kissing on the cheek.


Men, Do You Consent to Conceiving a Child After You Die?

10.12.2011 9:20 PM

No? Well, that probably can’t stop someone from using your sperm.

In the new report One Parent or Five: A Global Look at Today’s New Intentional Families, another “One Parent Family” I examine is that achieved through posthumous conception:

For some single mothers there is another, albeit less common, way of obtaining sperm, one that brings another layer of social sympathy for the mother, additional assurance that dad will not get involved in the child’s life, and an extra layer of pain for the child. This way of achieving a pregnancy is called “posthumous conception”: conceiving a baby with the sperm of a dead man.

…a father’s death before his child’s birth was once the stuff of grave misfortune, the excruciating plot twist in novels and films, the subject of classic poetry (especially if the father died at war)—a heartbreaking story of love, sex, death, and new life happening in the span of nine months. Think of how the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl shook the nation and became the subject of a major motion picture, in part because of the compounded tragedy that Pearl’s wife was pregnant with their son when he was brutally murdered. While the scenario might seem dreadfully romantic in the movies, most people would agree that in real life avoiding such a tragedy would absolutely be the right thing to do for a child. Read More


Which part of America are you thinking about?

10.12.2011 7:02 PM

“When we think of family, many of us still picture people within a certain age bracket; we tend to think about 30- to 40-something parents with young children. However, it’s not only parents of young children who seek work-family balance and yet experience high degrees of work-life conflict. Work-family issues remain meaningful across the life course.” (Huff Post Business)

Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, PhD, good try, but what planet are you living on? Among the grad-school educated set people may be raising young children up until their 40s, sure. But most children in America are born to women in their twenties. By their late forties some of these women may be grandmothers — grandmothers with aging parents, no less. How’s that for a sandwich generation?