Kevin Salwen, coauthor of The Power of Half.
Topic: One family’s decision to stop taking and start giving.
Issues: Realizing how much each of us has; what can you give away? The importance of volunteering; starting a family conversation; tapping into anger; experiencing the lives of others.
Joan Friedman, author of Emotionally Healthy Twins.
Topic: A new philosophy for parenting two unique children.
Issues: Recognizing each twin as a unique individual; fostering each child’s separate friendships and activities; coping with the stress that comes with caring for two babies at the same time.
Alan Kazdin, author of The Kazdin Method for Parenting the Defiant Child.
Topic: Parenting a defiant child without pills, therapy, or battles.
Issues: Why most of the parenting advice we get is guaranteed to fail; a research-based and proved approach that is guaranteed to work.
As the father of three daughters, I support Sheryl Sandberg’s message that girls can lead. But I don’t support her other messages: First, it’s okay to use half-truths, twisted data, inaccurate and outdated information, and outright lies to get what you want. Second, women and girls aren’t smart enough to make their own life choices. Third, you don’t need to work hard to achieve success—the world owes you something just because you’re female.
Here are just a few examples.
Sandberg wants “equality” in the workplace, and drags out the old canard that there’s a male/female pay gap—and that that gap is the result of discrimination against women. The truth? Yes, the total amount of money earned by men is greater than the total earned by women. But that is largely a function of the different choices men and women make. Men put in about 50% more hours at work than women and, more importantly, men dominate in fields where there is less flexibility, more danger, and higher salaries, while women dominate in fields that offer more flexibility and, unfortunately, less income.
So, Sheryl, how much workplace equality do you really want? Ninety-five percent of people who die on the job are men. And two thirds of the unemployed are men. Where’s the outrage, Sheryl? Do you really want equal representation for males and females?
Dear Mr. Dad, I have a real problem with my ten-year-old daughter: Just about everything she says is a lie. If she tells me she’s texting a girl friend from school, it’s probably a boy. If I ask whether she’s cleaned her room, she’ll look me straight in the eye and tell me Yes, even though I know (and she knows I know) that she didn’t lift a finger. If I were to ask her if grass is green, she’d probably tell me it isn’t. Why is she doing this and how can we get her to stop?
A: Telling lies is a part of human nature, and it starts very early in life. A study on lying done at Toronto University in Canada found that about 20% of two-year-olds lie, but by age four, 90% were doing it. And the lying doesn’t stop when we grow up. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts found that 60% of adults can’t make it through a simple 10-minute conversation without telling at least one lie (in fact, people in the study told an average of three lies in that 10-minute period).
Lying is a learned behavior. When we’re very young, we look at the adults in our lives as all-powerful and all-knowing. Trying out a lie—and getting away with it—shows us that people can’t read our minds. As we get older, we discover that lying can sometimes get us out of trouble and may even help us avoid getting punished. The more successful the lies, the more often they’ll be told.
Katrin Schumann, author of The Secret Power of Middle Children.
Topic: How middleborns can harness their unexpected and remarkable abilities.
Issues: What makes middle children different from their older and/or younger siblings; middle children in the workplace; middle children as parents; parenting a middle child; specific positive and negative traits associated with middle children.
Many a parent has turned to a smartphone or tablet during a restaurant outing with children. How does this mobile device use affect parent-child interactions? In a qualitative analysis, researchers sought to describe patterns of how caregivers and children use mobile devices around each other. In the study, “Patterns of Mobile Device Use by Caregivers and Children During Meals in Fast Food Restaurants,” published in the April 2014 Pediatrics (published online March 10), researchers observed 55 caregivers eating with 1 or more young children in fast food restaurants. The researchers wrote detailed field notes, describing how the caregivers used their mobile devices and how they interacted with the children. Researchers described how “absorbed” the caregiver was in the device, how children responded when caregivers used a device and how caregivers managed this behavior, and co-viewing or shared use of devices by caregivers and children.
Caregivers who used devices ranged from having the device on the table to almost constant absorption with the device throughout the meal. Some children accepted the lack of engagement and entertained themselves; others acted out in a bid for attention. The study raises several questions for future research, including what types of activity (eg, work, entertainment) on mobile devices are associated with the highest levels of caregiver absorption, and what are the long-term effects on child development from caregivers who frequently become absorbed with a device while spending time with their children.
From the journal Pediatrics.