Dr. Wedge's book, currently in hard cover (above), will be released as a paperback in August, 2012 with the new title: Pills are not for Preschoolers: A Drug-Free Approach for Troubled Kids
PRESCRIPTIONS FOR CHILDREN may be on the rise, but there are many behavioral health providers who advocate for treatments that do not include medication. Family therapist Dr. Marilyn Wedge numbers among them - she says: fix the social environment, fix the child. A regular contributor to both the Huffington Post and Psychology Today, Dr. Wedge writes about her years of experience helping children get better without pills in her new book: Suffer the Children: The Case Against Labeling and Medicating and an Effective Alternative.
She spoke with KTD producer Sarah Gonzales from her office in California.
NUMEROUS STUDIES HAVE looked at the relationship between how much couples share household duties and how much they have sex. Generally speaking, more sharing of housework leads to more frequent sex, less contentious marriages and partners reporting being more content.
Now, there’s a certain segment of the population that doesn’t believe those studies: back in 2009 when the Wall Street Journal published the findings of one of them, several commenters complained that the studies couldn’t control for all factors, or that they must have been paid for by feminist groups.
But the whole idea kind of makes sense to KTD! contributor Jessica Cochran. So when she spied a book on the grocery store shelf titled Equally Shared Parenting – Rewriting the Rules for a New Generation of Parents by Amy and Marc Vachon, she bought it.
TRYING TO TEACH kids the value of giving is one of those abstract issues that can be tricky to talk about. We here at Kids These Days! appreciate the value of good books for helping parents have these discussions with their children, so we asked four youth services librarians at Anchorage’s public library for some suggestions.
1. The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry - Sue Sommers recommends this holiday classic with a surprise twist at the end. First grade and up.
2. My Sister's Keeper, by Jodi Picoult - Mary-Kate Fowee says this novel about two sisters - one sick, one well - is a great read for older kids, illustrating lessons about depending on family while establishing independence. Grades 8-11.
3. Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney - Sherrie Douglas likes this book's theme of learning to give as modeled by a mentor and then taking what you learn out into the world. All ages.
4. 14 Cows for America, by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez - Linda Klein suggests this book for its pictures as well as its story about the Maasai people in Africa offering a gift to those grieving in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. First grade and up.
What are your family's favorite books about giving? Let us know in the comments below!
I ENJOY READING for its ability to transport me somewhere else. Like many parents I find the opportunities to pick up a book of my choosing few at best. Most of my reading moments are seeing what a curious monkey is doing (again), what Dora is taking a picture of, or what human activities Richard Scarry is illustrating via the animal world.
A work trip or late sleepless nights seem to be some of the few opportunities I get to read for me and I consider it a luxury. For this reason I have surprised myself by recently picking up some non-fiction books that deal with fatherhood. But, unfortunately I feel like these choices may have not made the most out of this luxury time.
As someone who enjoys humor more than most I have found it an essential asset to getting through many of the challenges of fatherhood. The fathers who penned these books must have felt the same way because many (if not all) of the stories they offer are predictably funny. There is the story about changing a diaper somewhere uncomfortable to the distaste of onlookers. The realization in a late moment in the day that Dad discovers that he has been sporting some spit-up milk on the shoulder of his dress shirt. Not being prepared for the second urination while changing the diaper from the first. Oh, and the father carrying a diaper bag and pushing a stroller while his buddies pass-by with catcalls! Ha ha! I get it. These moments are funny and sometimes it helps take the stressfulness out of parenthood to sit-back and laugh at the absurdity.
Then my laughs subside and I get frustrated with the make up of most of the “Daddy” books. They are not real. Where is the Dad who is trying to keep friendships alive with friends who consider other people's children baggage? Where is the Dad who works at home and spends copious amounts of time with his children because he is an established writer?
Where is the dad who is working hard at his career but is rarely recognized with appreciation by his family and friends? Where is the Dad who gets the sideways glances from the moms at the playground or playgroup because he is the only Dad present?
Humor is an escape and I am glad that there are authors that present the obvious that doesn't always enter a father’s head in the moment but I am tired of the predictability! Why is humor the constant default setting for us Dads?
Portraying the humorous is ignoring the realities of this role of father. It is messy, loud, disorganized, taxing, sleepless, disorienting, demanding, endless, and sometimes it just sucks! Fatherhood is challenging and continuous work and that is what makes it worth so much more than laughs!
I now find myself attempting to escape from this unrealistic escape of Dad books after all I am busy creating my own father story.
It may be hard to remember a time when Google, Facebook or Wikipedia weren't at the ready to supply us with information and to connect us to others. These days we can look up any ailment or join a support group just by using our smart phones, but a few years ago when Susan Kushner Resnick was experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression she couldn't find anyone who'd been through it and who'd survived to tell their story. She wanted to feel less alone.
So after she survived her postpartum depression, she wrote a memoir all about her experience - to let others know that it gets better.
Producer Sarah Gonzales recently spoke with the author.
A new baby is a reason to celebrate but the time after birth can bring with it a wealth of conflicting emotions that sometimes go beyond typical "baby blues". What does everyone need to know about recognizing and treating postpartum mood disorders and supporting those who are suffering?
DID YOU KNOW? These are the signs and symptoms of a perinatal mood disorder (including postpartum depression):
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, you can get help by visiting Postpartum.net, or in Alaska, by calling the Crisis Line at: (907) 563-3200
- One woman's story of Sleepless Days - A few years ago when Susan Kushner Resnick was experiencing symptoms of postpartum depression she wanted to read about another woman who'd been through it and made it out okay - but she couldn't find anything. So after she survived PPD, she wrote a memoir, Sleepless Days: One Woman's Journey Through Postpartum Depression, all about her experience and to let others know that it gets better. She spoke with Sarah Gonzales. (Read an excerpt of her book here.)
- A father's perspective on PPD - The partners of those experiencing postpartum depression will not only support their partners during a very hard time, but they will most likely have to take on more household responsibilities while mom gets better. Steve SueWing's family recently weathered PPD, and we asked him to share with our listeners why dads need support, too. (Steve's new blog - "Capitol Letters: Notes from a Juneau Dad" - starts Thursday here at KidsTheseDays.org!)
- Parents talk about self-care - At a recent “parentTalk” meeting held by thread, parents shared their tips for sneaking some “me” time into the day – even if it’s just in 2 or 3 or 5 minute doses. Jessica Cochran spoke with the guest-presenter and some of the participants to share those tips with our listeners. (Thank you to thread and Wells Fargo for supporting this story from our our Early Childhood Desk.)
For more discussion on this topic, check out a recent episode of Line One: Your Health Connection with Dr. Thad Woodard on the topic of Maternal Mental Health.
One of our guests this week, Katharine Huffman, spends her days training professionals, parents, groups, schools and individuals about how to speak to the children in their lives about healthy sexuality. She brought a stack of books with her to the studio and although we didn't have time to include her talking about these books on the air, we have her recommendations right here for you!
Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father and Son
Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood
The Modern Dad's Dilemma: How to Stay Connected to Your Kids in a Rapidly Changing World
The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood
Throwaway Dads: The Myths and Barriers That Keep Men from Being the Fathers They Want to Be
Diapers and Hormones: An Account of 21st Century Fatherhood
- Reviewed by Matt Reed
About halfway into The Daddy Shift, Jeremy Adam Smith's thoroughly researched and deeply felt book describing the experiences of stay-at-home dads in America, I learned an unsettling fact. When a child is born not only does the father's levels of testosterone fall dramatically, but those fathers who are physically close to mother and child will also experience increases in prolactin (the hormone primarily responsible for lactation) to aid in the bonding process. As a thirty-three year old man who read a good part of this book with his three month old daughter tethered to the front of his chest, has taken to carrying a diaper bag over his shoulder like a purse, and recently caught himself singing to his daughter in public, it seemed now like I was fighting a war for the definition of manliness on two fronts – as both society and biology were squeezing me out of the pleasantly unfocused plan I'd had for my future.
|The Daddy Shift: How Stay-at-Home Dads, Breadwinning Moms, and Shared Parenting Are Transforming the American Family
By Jeremy Adam Smith
Paperback, 256 pages
Beacon Press: 2010
List price: $16.00
I had spent a good part of my life since graduating from college avoiding the forward-looking milestones (such as marriage, careers, and home ownership) that college graduates in my parents' generation expected to reach in what seemed like weeks after setting off on their own. Instead I spent the decade living on the cheap, trying to accumulate as little life clutter as possible as a full time ski instructor, then grad student, then dorm Parent and prep school English teacher. I learned that my girlfriend was pregnant one night last March after returning from visiting Ph.D. programs and I was so taken aback, I had trouble finding my way out of the airport parking garage. My daughter was born eight months later in November. In the short time since, my girlfriend has gone back to work, and I care for our daughter during the day. We live in a small two-room apartment as we try to save money to buy a house and we marvel at how strange and wonderful it is being parents.
When I stumbled into fatherhood I understood I was taking on a new role, but I never expected to be shaped into a caregiver from the inside out, or as this book suggests, that I was joining a modern revolution of dads.
Smith's goal in The Daddy Shift is not to undercut the traditional role and image of fatherhood but to augment them with new ways of approaching stale ideas of dad. He recounts the history of fatherhood in America starting with the Civil War from which he excerpts affectionate letters (though they seem formal and stiff in the diction of the day) from soldiers to their children and wives. He continues up to the 1980’s which marked the moment when the stay-at-home dad and pop culture first crossed paths with the release of the movie, Mr. Mom.
What's interesting about this history is there is very little documentation about the state of fatherhood until the last twenty years. The evidence in the book is either anecdotal or closely linked with economic studies. For instance, we know that stay-at-home fathering spiked amid the vast male unemployment of the Great Depression, but we don't know much else about the practical side of fathering history. Things that new dads might like to know - like how those fathers of yore transitioned their kids from breastfeeding to bottle feeding or how they prevented diaper rash was left for the mothers to share amongst themselves, these weren't the lessons passed down from male to male.
But just because that practical information hasn't been recorded doesn't mean it isn't being experienced. As of the 2000 census, Smith writes there are approximately 170,000 stay at home dads in the United States. He guesses this is a vast under counting because this number doesn't include those dads who work part time or in some other way contribute to breadwinning. But his point is that the numbers only serve to illustrate that dad as primary caregiver is a growing trend and that it's as much a question of identity as economics. A large part of this book, then, is devoted to shaking the reader free of the traditional notions of American fatherhood, (ie., breadwinner and authoritarian), and it's the nooks and crannies of this argument (and the peeks into other cultures; China, for instance) where the book shines.
Throughout the book, he interviews a variety of stay-at-home dads and asks them questions like: “What kind of role model is [your dad] for you as a father… What are some things a good father does?” While each of these conversations are earnest and sincere, they represent a weak spot in the book, in part because it's obvious these men usually don't talk about this kind of stuff - at least not face to face. There is none of the stilted discourse, though, in his blog, Daddy Dialectic where discussion topics (contributed by upwards of 100 stay-at-home dads) have included Rad Dad, Poop Banter, and Space Travel, making it a much better tool for those of us making do in the trenches.
While it might be packaged as a book on parenting, The Daddy Shift is more of a call to solidarity - a rallying cry for those of us who occupy what might be considered a difficult circumstance - to see fatherhood as a privilege. Towards the end of the book, Smith proposes a thought experiment in which he lays out what a father utopia might look like and makes no bones that we have to be proactive in order to make stay-at-home fathering a lasting part of American society. I have to say, though, that it's an awkward dynamic - reading a book that proclaims revolution (at least in modest terms), then closing it to return to the messiness of my own experience.
But, just this week and with the help of a medicine dropper, I finally managed to feed my daughter by myself and even with a good portion dribbling from her chin the accomplishment felt like utopia enough for me.
IT TURNS OUT too much lazing around during the warm summer months can add up to some big losses in learning - as much as 2 months of literacy skills gained during the school year.
KTD Contributor Jessica Cochran has a look at some of the numbers behind the “summer slide.”
Learn more by visiting SummerLearning.org, and by reading Daniel Hernandez's report: Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation published in April, 2011.
This story originally featured in Show 32: Summer Reads.