Summary of “Parent-child play: It’s constant and exhausting, but is there a better way?”

How did so many middle-class American parents get stuck with this guilt? Do our kids really need us to play pretend with them all the time? And if they don’t, how do we convince them of that fact? Because there’s somebody in this house who wants to play “Goggy”, and somebody else who’d rather not.
“As the mother is urged to make play an aspect of every activity, play assumes a new obligatory quality.” The mother must not only carry out every caretaking activity required of a good mom; she must also bounce and sing as she does it.
If a mother was working most of the week; if the parents were getting divorced; if kids now had to go to schools that were eating up their time and making them miserable; if parents didn’t “Give” their child a sibling or two; if parents couldn’t provide a house in a neighborhood where it was safe to play outside-if any of these newly common conditions prevailed, middle-class parents felt more and more like they “Owed” their children good fun, under whatever terms the children required.
“There are lots of cultures where considered absolutely inappropriate-a parent would never get down on their knees and play with the children. Playing is something children do, not something adults do,” developmental psychologist Angeline Lillard said in an interview.
Assessing whether he would, after a few decades of research, change the message of How to Play With Your Children, he pushed back against those advising playfulness for the sake of “Making your kids smarter”: “We favor occasional parent play mainly for the way it increases the competence and vividness of family or peer play relationships rather than for any fairly marginal academic outcomes.” And a parent playing with their kids could get it wrong: “The occasional participation with and modeling of play for children seems to have a powerful influence on their own playfulness, unless it is too intrusive, overpowering, or one-sided.”
Alford told me she thought parents who played “Pretend” with their children too much undermined the development of this fluidity because “Adults don’t think that way anymore.” Indeed, the open-endedness and indeterminacy of children’s play was one of the things the mothers I asked cited as “Annoying” when contemplating playing with their children: “As a kid I used to like playing pretend but now I’d rather clean the toilet,” one wrote.
The Sutton-Smiths began their book with the caveat: “You do not have to continue playing night and day. In fact, the ruling principle in this book is, ‘If it isn’t fun, forget it.'” Say no to play, they wrote, “If you feel like you are intruding, or you feel it is a duty, or you are too grumpy, preoccupied, or just plain exhausted to enjoy the fun you are supposed to be having together.” Every contemporary source I consulted, from the people who wanted parents’ hands off children’s play to the adult-child play cheerleaders, emphasized the idea that you should not play if you resent it.
Schedule time for child-driven solo play at home, and try to seize on and expand those moments when your child is happily playing alone.

The orginal article.

Summary of “When a parent dies by suicide, how are the children told?”

Compared with those who’ve lost a parent to other forms of sudden death, children bereaved by suicide are more likely to suffer adverse outcomes.
Since such prejudice can extend to the close family members of those who actually die by suicide, it’s easy to see why so many are wary of acknowledging the suicide of a parent.
One woman who’d lost her father to suicide six years prior wondered aloud: ‘Will the stigma be attached to the children, to the children’s children, and to their children in turn?’.
Research on the emotional impact of parental suicide is surprisingly slim, with much of the literature tending to focus on suicide bereavement in the opposite direction.
Many children attribute the suicide to something they’d recently done to upset the parent.
In other situations, the child is spared from exposure to the act itself, but the living parent is adamant that the child not be told of the suicide.
‘For adult children of suicide,’ writes Cain, ‘the most salient precipitate in their relationship with their offspring is the fear-laden expectation that their youngsters will also commit suicide especially if a particular child [is] perceived as resembling the suicided grandparent in some significant respect – looks, temperament, talents, or interests.
‘ Because many such adult children of suicides keep the information assiduously hidden as a family secret, the third generation might be completely unaware of why their parent treats them the way they do.

The orginal article.

Summary of “12 months. Nearly 1,200 Kids Killed By Guns.”

After the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, kids who endured the unspeakable emerged with a blunt message for the grownups of America: You are failing us.
Their frustration was initially and primarily directed at elected officials in Washington and state capitals around the country, but it also extended to the media.
Since Parkland, a new project from The Trace and the Miami Herald.
Was conceived as an antidote to that imbalance – one powered by young people themselves.
Over the summer, more than 200 teen reporters from across the country began working together to document the children, ages zero to 18, killed in shootings during one year in America.
The stories they collected go back to last February 14, the day of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, when at least three other kids were fatally shot in incidents that largely escaped notice.
As the weeks went on, the stories came to include children lost to school shootings, as well as to armed domestic violence, unintentional discharges, and stray bullets.
Please click the banner below to visit the project site.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Erika Christakis: Active-Shooter Drills Are Misguided”

Deaths from shootings on school grounds remain extremely rare compared with those resulting from accidental injury, which is the leading cause of death for children and teenagers.
In 2016, there were 787 accidental deaths among American children ages 5 to 9-a small number, considering that there are more than 20 million children in this group.
Preparing our children for profoundly unlikely events would be one thing if that preparation had no downside.
Much more worrying: School-preparedness culture itself may be instilling in millions of children a distorted and foreboding view of their future.
It’s also encouraging adults to view children as associates in a shared mission to reduce gun violence, a problem whose real solutions lie at some remove from the schoolyard.
In an escalating set of preparations for nuclear holocaust during the 1950s, the “Duck and cover” campaign trained children nationwide to huddle under their desk in the case of a nuclear blast.
Assessments of this period suggest that such measures contributed to pervasive fear among children, 60 percent of whom reported having nightmares about nuclear war.
This comes at a time when children are already suffering from sharply rising rates of anxiety, self-mutilation, and suicide.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Play Deficit”

In a book called The Play of Animals, Groos argued that play came about by natural selection as a means to ensure that animals would practise the skills they need in order to survive and reproduce.
It explains why young animals play more than older ones and why those animals that depend least on rigid instincts for survival, and most on learning, play the most.
Lion cubs and other young predators play at stalking and pouncing or chasing, while zebra colts and other prey species play at fleeing and dodging.
Groos followed The Play of Animals with a second book, The Play of Man, in which he extended his insights about animal play to humans.
In hunter-gatherer bands, at Sudbury Valley School, and everywhere that children have regular access to other children, most play is social play.
Preschoolers playing a game of ‘house’ spend more time figuring out how to play than actually playing.
Social play is by far the most effective venue for learning such lessons, and I suspect that children’s strong drive for such play came about, in evolution, primarily for that purpose.
We think of play as childish, but to the child, play is the experience of being like an adult: being self-controlled and responsible.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The New York Review of Books”

Public broadcasting appealed to the minister in Rogers: he was concerned that profit-driven networks like NBC diluted arts programming, and he envisioned programming for young people with less slapstick, more meaning.
Coworkers remember Rogers as both zany-dancing across the set with an inflatable sex doll they had hid in his closet-and imperious, as when he reprimanded an actor who kindly suggested to Henrietta Pussycat that she not cry, something Rogers would never suggest to a child.
A new book, Maxwell King’s The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers, offers the almost wacky details of his life but only hints at the tension within Rogers, both the dutiful son of an industrialist and a sensitive composer devoted to the idea that the world children live in is fundamentally different from the world inhabited by adults.
King seems to almost reluctantly settle on “Androgynous” when he might have just left it with what Rogers told a friend: “Well, you know, I must be right smack in the middle. Because I have found women attractive, and I have found men attractive.” This would satisfy a preschooler but is too loose for King, who treats his subject’s sex life as if he were conducting a police investigation: “There was no double life. And without exception, close associates concluded that Fred Rogers was absolutely faithful to his marriage vows.”
Two years later, Rogers was featured in a Wall Street Journal profile under the headline “Loved by Kids for His TV ‘Neighborhood,’ Mr. Rogers is a Hit in Boardrooms, Too.” Rogers declined to discuss the strike but criticized the union’s existence.
In a series of tweets a few weeks after the film grossed $20 million-the highest-earning biographical documentary of all time-Aberlin listed the reasons she chose not to participate, chief among them a refusal first, she says, by Rogers and then by his production company after his death to allow the actors to continue with what Aberlin refers to as the Fred Rogers “Ministry,” Neighborhood-derived performances intended to reach children in meaningful ways, by staging the operas, for example.
Recently, the Fred Rogers Company, renamed for him after his death, sold the rights to one of his songs to be used in Google’s new Pixel 3 phone commercial, and a biopic starring Tom Hanks is now being filmed.
The film and book blur the distinction between art and commerce, and the new shows are born of the mercantilism of the Fred Rogers Company, not the art of its original artistic director.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Diabolical Genius of the Baby Advice Industry”

So “Two or three” books became six, and 10, and eventually 23, all with titles that, even before the sleep deprivation set in, had begun to blur into one other: The Baby Book and Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and The Happiest Baby on the Block and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and The Contented Little Baby Book.
Such mysteries begin to disperse when you realise that baby advice isn’t only, or perhaps even mainly, about raising children.
This same urge to recast a baby as something fundamentally mundane and familiar suffuses the debate over sleep, where hostilities between the Baby Trainers and the Natural Parents are most acute.
From five or six months old, I learned, we could choose to let our baby cry himself to sleep for a few nights, which the Baby Trainers felt was essential if he were ever to learn to “Self-soothe”, but which the Natural Parents swore would cause lasting neurological damage.
Not for the last time in the history of the baby advice industry, Liedloff turned her disdain for parenting experts into a successful career as one, publishing a 1975 book, The Continuum Concept, which urged American and European parents to embrace the laid-back ways of the Ye’kuana.
It sold healthily, but its greatest effect was undoubtedly in the influence it had on William Sears, a devout Christian paediatrician from Illinois who incorporated its message into his own childcare philosophy, coining the term “Attachment parenting” and achieving breakthrough success in 1992 with The Baby Book: Everything You Need to Know about Your Baby from Birth to Age Two, written with his wife, Martha.
The anthropological literature is littered with contemporary examples of baby-rearing practices that would appal both Baby Trainers and Natural Parents: among the Hausa-Fulani of west Africa, for example, there is a taboo against mothers making eye contact with their children; the Swazi of southern Africa sometimes don’t even name a baby until it is several months old.
Last year, Amy Brown, a health researcher at Swansea University, conducted a study involving 354 new mothers, examining their use of parenting books “That encourage parents to try to put their babies into strict sleeping and feeding routines” – the manuals of the Baby Trainers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Speaking in Tongues”

Cognitive multitasking arising from speaking more than one language was deemed to act as protection.
Speaking another language is the only true way to grasp this fullness.
Of course, the way in which speaking another language opens up not just new words and cultures but also produces a particular mindset can be the stuff of clich├ęs.
A Catalan, Basque or Kurd would, no doubt, have much to say on the subject; a mismatch between official language and home language, for one, creates asymmetry, turning schooling into a likely source of grievance.
Every language, particularly indigenous languages, are reservoirs of untapped knowledge, and when a language ceases to be spoken, irrecoverable wisdom – in areas of medicine, science, agriculture and culture, along with unique ways of viewing the world – rapidly disappears.
Historic English, with its accumulated layers of maturity, has unwittingly spawned a rootless and pragmatic derivative that is inexorable in its unfolding, sucking the texture out of the very language that gave it birth, and impoverishing other tongues along the way.
Thanks to the language I was speaking to them, they had glimpsed a potential route into the immensity and wider heterogeneity of the world.
At a time when difference is being assaulted from all sides, and the numbers of students learning a foreign language are dropping in many Anglophone countries, my wish to speak to my children in another language is a way of saying that the plurality and diversity of the world matters.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Report: big tech is collecting children’s data at an alarming rate”

Along with those adorable photos, they are sharing crucial data about their children that big tech companies are harvesting.
In late November, Anne Longfield, England’s children’s commissioner – tasked with promoting and protecting the rights of children – published a report titled “Who Knows What About Me,” which examines how big tech collects data on children and what the potential dangers can be.
In the report, Longfield argues that parents are exposing their children’s data at an alarming rate.
The report calls on parents and schools to examine the type of gadgets children play with, like smart speakers, wifi-powered toys, and gaming apps, all of which are collecting data on kids.
Data shared by parents about children is collected at an alarming rate Potential dangers for children no longer just entail speeding cars and strangers with candy.
Smart devices are watching children too – and collecting their data Smart toys have already garnered plenty of criticism for leaving children’s data like location vulnerable.
Longfield writes in the report that “The amount of data inferred about children was of real concern.” Families are now being targeted with products because they are essentially being watched every time they’re online.
What will all this data on children mean for their future? While the report highlights current safety concerns for children’s data privacy, it also mentions some troubling future possibilities.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why the world is becoming more allergic to food”

Around the world, children are far more likely than ever before to develop food allergies.
Food allergy now affects about 7% of children in the UK and 9% of those in Australia, for example.
The frequency of food allergy has increased over the past 30 years, particularly in industrialised societies.
Australia has the highest rate of confirmed food allergy.
The increase in allergies is not simply the effect of society becoming more aware of them and better at diagnosing them.
A newer, “Dual allergen exposure” theory, suggests food allergy development is down to the balance between the timing, dose and form of exposure.
There is currently no cure for food allergy, and managing the condition relies on avoiding the offending foods and on an emergency treatment plan in case of exposure.
The main way to identify food allergies is for a patient to gradually eat increased amounts of that food under medical supervision.

The orginal article.