Archive | November, 2013

American Childhood As a Social and Cultural Construct

20 Nov

This week I chose to read about how our society is taking the playfulness and naivety out of childhood. According to the reading, over the past four centuries every aspect of a child’s life has changed significantly. The way a child is raised, plays, is educated are just a few of the ways in which children’s lives have shifted. Nowadays, many children are treated more like adults, and are expected to be more independent then they ever have. Another point that the article stresses, is the idea that the concept of childhood really is a social and cultural construct that varies by region, class, and historical era. Even the relationships that children have with their parents and peers is so different than relationships  have been in the past. Things are similar to the past in some ways though. In colonial America, the parents main goal was to hurry and raise their child to adult status. Parents were to get their child to read, write, speak, reason, and contribute to the family economically as quickly as possible. I feel that this is not too different from how parents are raising their children in today’s society.

kids-growing-up-too-fast

1. http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-11-14/local/35283261_1_mobile-phone-cholesterol-levels-middle-school-dance

This was a really interesting article. This article talked about how maybe parents are pushing their children towards adulthood too quickly. How signing them up for intense athletic training camps, violin lessons, tutors, and more all before the age of 6! Kids are hitting puberty much sooner than before. The woman who wrote this article, began by writing about how she heard a young boy (about 10 years old) in her after-school carpool, talking to his mother on the phone about it was nearly time for him to get his HPV shot. When she spoke with her friends about this issue, one of her friends said that her children are getting it at 16 and 13, but they will not be engaging in any sexual relationships, because she is in charge of how they grow up. I just thought that was very interesting.

2. http://www.parents.com/kids/development/puberty/how-to-keep-your-kids-from-growing-up-to-fast/

This article talked about how in today’s society, there are sort of blurred lines when it comes to childhood and tweenhood. How little girls are into both playing with American Girl dolls, and following the latest celebrity trends. Being grown up is appealing to children, but because they are in fact still children, they still have desires to just run and play tag. A way to help slow down the process of children growing up too fast, is to monitor their exposure to the media. Children in today’s society are watching too much television (and I agree). Children are also beginning puberty quite early, and are becoming more aware of their body at an early age.

3. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21670962

This article was about how today’s society is “snatching away the precious years of childhood”. Young girls and young boys are beginning to worry a lot about body image. Not only that, children don’t want to be seen as children anymore. Childhood is ending at age 12, for some even at age 10. What I found interesting was that the article stated that boys and girls are pressured to take an interest in sex at an early age, which is a terrible result of our oversexualized culture.

4. http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/what-happened-kindergarten

Children in kindergarten are not seen as children anymore. They are expected, before even entering school, to know quite a lot of information. Children are essentially doing work that is above for their level, in most schools and most grades. To push children to excel academically is great, but children are being kept from developing creatively and socially (among other areas). Children need to engage in imaginative play, so that they can develop self-esteem, physically, emotionally, morally, and socially.

 

Not Just Provide and Reside: Engaged Fathers in Low-Income Families

15 Nov

This week I chose to read about how positive father involvement in a child’s life, allows for much greater cognitive, physical, and socioemotional development. Even if fathers do not live with their children, they still have the potential to positively impact their children’s lives. Despite popular belief, fathers are just as sensitive and emotional as mothers during their child’s developmental periods. Research shows that low-income children with involved fathers actually acted out less and had fewer problems socially. There is no doubt that children growing up and living in poverty are at a much higher risk for harsh, negative parenting, but this doesn’t have to be the norm. Children in low-income families benefit from their caring mothers, but will benefit much more if they have supportive fathers.

Mixed race father and son

1. http://thefatherhoodproject.org/2013/10/30/educational-tool-he-treasures-being-a-dad/

This video was about four different dads, and the current situtations they are in with their children. It was very interesting to watch. It showed how they all struggle and do their best to be part of their children’s lives. I think it is great that despite their struggling, they are taking the time to part of their children’s lives, rather than completely absent.

2. http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/family/center/fatherengagement

This is one of the many programs that is available to help encourage fathers to be more involved. There are videos and articles and different ways for men to understand just how to be engaged with their children. I think programs like this are super great, because often times fathers don’t exactly know how to remain part of their child’s life, especially if they are not with/married to the mother.

3. https://www.childwelfare.gov/famcentered/engaging/fathers.cfm

Child welfare has a list of resources for fathers, and father figures, to discover ways to be engaged; much like my previous example. I like that they make it clear that having a father figure is extremely beneficial to the child, so fathers should not allow themselves to be selfish in not wanting to be prt of their child’s life.

4. http://news.yahoo.com/science-dad-engaged-fathers-help-kids-flourish-140859321.html

I really enjoyed reading this article. It focused more on married dads, and having this “bumbling dad” image, but it stated that fathers are just as important as mothers. Dads teach their kids to control their bodies by roughhousing, nurturing and playing with children increases IQ, and so on. I don’t think children, though it is not wrong or corrupting for a child, were meant to be raised solely by one parent. I think it is important for children to have a  mom and dad figure in their lives.

Briefing Paper: Women’s Money Matters

8 Nov

This week I chose to read about earnings and housework in dual-earner families. According to research, women who work are more likely to have more bargaining power in marriage. Men and women, though still not a large amount, are beginning to divide up chores and child care. Research also states that even women who earn as much (or more) than their husbands, actually do more homework then their husbands. Why I found this interesting, is because the article claims that this is because of “gender display”. Women, though they are trying to create an identity for themselves outside the home, still feel somewhat inclined to engage in traditional gender roles.

Image

 

1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/sabrinaparsons/2013/10/25/weve-come-a-long-way-women-in-the-workplace/

This was an article about all the progress we have made as a nation to allow women more equality in the workplace. The woman who wrote the article was proud of all the progress. She has the ability to take her children to work sometimes, and thus still has the opportunity to fulfill her motherly duties. She feels that moms, and parents in general, need to be okay with involving their children into their careers; sort of blend them together in a slight way. Being a woman, and being a mom, and being a successful woman can all go hand it hand. 

2. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lindsey-trimble-oconnor/todays-employees-no-longe_b_4214099.html

This article talked about how many people are remaining single, or waiting later in life to have children. Those that are waiting later in life to have children are usually also having to take care of older relatives, as well as their own children. The amount of women in the workforce has increased a lot. So now, both men and women are involved in their career and family. Parents in the 50’s were not as involved with their children, not even mothers. Today, both men and women are working, as well as contributing to the raising of their children. 

3. https://vimeo.com/71431162

This video talks about how there was a survey conducted in Germany, where people were asked if they would promote a woman who was always cheerful. There was a huge majority that said they would not. These people wanted a female boss (IF they had to have a female boss), who was assertive. They even preferred someone who didn’t really show any emotion at all. I am really baffled by this. I just don’t understand why women need to prove their power or authority.

4. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/business/readers-advice-for-young-women-in-the-workplace.html?_r=0

This was an interesting article. It is an article made up of advice for young women in the workplace, given by readers who submitted their thoughts. All of the advice was great! Be confident, don’t focus on the fact that you are a woman, ask questions, be engaged, be brave, have an open mind. All good stuff. It was good to read advice given by some successful women, and to see what they have learned in working in man-dominant careers. 

Domestic Violence in Heterosexual Relationships

1 Nov

This week I chose to read domestic violence. This reading provided new information about domestic violence, as well as feminist social-justice theory perspective. The purpose of this is so that families that have experienced abuse can become healthy and functioning. Of course, domestic violence is usually thought of in terms of the male being the dominating one (the abuser). Domestic violence is not only just physical abuse, it is also emotional, sexual, and economic abuse. Not only that, but as well as threats, intimidation, isolation, and control just to name a few. What I found interesting was how the book described domestic violence, which was: “gender norms taken to their extreme”. There is also always justification in the abuse. Men and women alike, who abuse others, tend to argue they have a just reason, or are doing the act in a calm way to teach respect. Image

1. http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/269279/chris-brown-charged-with-assault-on-rihanna

Now this was a highly publicized altercation between singers Chris Brown and Rihanna that happened a while back, but it is still spoken of. Chris Brown caused some great bodily harm to Rihanna, and is said to even have threatened her. For a brief time, after the incident, Rihanna and Chris Brown were seen vacationing together. I still don’t know how this is possible. I find it very shocking that someone who was physically abused, I would assume more than once, would run back to the person who abused them. I get that there is perhaps fear and forgiveness involved in these kinds of situations, but this is once case I had a difficult time understanding. 

2. http://www.ted.com/talks/leslie_morgan_steiner_why_domestic_violence_victims_don_t_leave.html

Leslie Morgan Steiner gave a pretty powerful talk about how she was living a really great life, but at the time, the person she thought loved her was threatening to kill her over and over. He had a gun that he would point to her head, and she cannot even count the number of times he threatened her. She says that domestic abuse happens to EVERYONE. It is not just a women’s issue. Abuse also only happens in interdependent, intimate, long-term relationships; which is usually families. In the United States, women ages 16-24 are 3x’s as likely to be domestic violence victims as women of any other age. There was just so much information in this video, it was a bit overwhelming; especially coming from someone who was abused. 

3. http://www.psychiatry.org/domestic-violence

This article just defined domestic violence, and gave some warning signs about those that might be in abusive relationships. The article says that women who have fewer resources, are perceived to have be a lot more vulnerable to abuse than others. It even spoke about the mental health effects of domestic abuse. Abuse tends to cause trauma, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and even homelessness. People are likely to be more at risk to attempt/commit suicide. There are just so many factors that come into play when one is experiencing abuse (any kind). It really does show you that anyone, at any given time, can be experiencing abuse. 

4. http://www.ted.com/talks/jackson_katz_violence_against_women_it_s_a_men_s_issue.html

Jackson Katz argues that calling gender violence a “women’s issue” is a problem. One of the problems with this is that men tune out after they here “women’s issue”. He says men have been erased from a subject that is essentially about men. Our cognitive structure is set up to ask the victims questions, to ask women questions. This talk was so good, and so informative. It is important for men and women to realize that this is wrong, and address this issue, so that everyone is informed about domestic violence.