Several studies have documented earlier onset of puberty in girls over the past few decades. In a longitudinal study following more than 1,200 girls for seven years, researchers found those with higher BMI had earlier onset of puberty, as measured by breast development, and that white girls are entering puberty at younger ages than previously reported. The study, “Onset of Breast Development in a Longitudinal Cohort,” in the December 2013 Pediatrics (published online Nov. 4), tracked girls in San Francisco, Cincinnati and New York City. The age at onset of breast development varied by race, BMI, and geographic location. In white, non-Hispanic girls, breast development began at a median age of 9.7 years, which is earlier than previously documented, according to the study authors. Black girls continue to experience breast development earlier than white girls, at a median age of 8.8 years, compared to 9.3 years for Hispanic girls and 9.7 years for Asian girls. However, BMI was a stronger predictor of puberty onset than race or ethnicity. Study authors conclude the earlier onset of puberty in white girls is likely due to greater obesity.
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Dear Mr. Dad: My fiancé and I have been engaged for a year. Four months ago, I moved in with him and became an instant step mom. His kids are 8 and 4 and I understand that they’re a priority for him. But even though we do a lot of stuff with the kids, my fiancé and I have no date nights, and basically no quality time together at all. To make things worse, there’s some tension between the kids and me, which I think is because their mother has never gotten over the divorce and wants to punish the man I’m engaged to. Unfortunately, he blames the tension on me and says I’m not doing enough to bond with the kids. I love him and the kids, but I’m not feeling loved or appreciated and it seems like my needs aren’t important to him at all. I try to talk to him about this but he won’t budge. What should I do?
A: In all honesty, I think you should move out. Your fiancé has some serious issues to deal with, and he needs to do that on his own. But it sounds like you really love him, so I’m guessing that you want to find a way to make your relationship work.
If so, the first thing you need to do is lower your expectations. Hopefully, things will get better with time, but there’s a good chance that the way things are now between you and the kids is the way they’ll always be. You say that you love them, but do you really? Think about that before you answer.
A study in Pediatrics has found violence in films has more than doubled since 1950, and the presence of gun violence in PG-13-rated films has more than tripled since the rating was introduced in 1985. The study, “Gun Violence Trends in Movies,” in the December 2013 Pediatrics (published online Nov. 11), analyzed a sample of the top-grossing films for each of the years from 1950 to 2012. Trained analysts coded each film for the presence of violence and guns during each 5-minute segment of the movie. Researchers found an overall annual increase in gun violence from 1985 to 2012, but the trend differed by movie rating. Among films rated G and PG, gun violence decreased slightly. The rate of gun violence did not change for R-rated movies. Among films rated PG-13, gun violence increased, and since 2009, PG-13 movies have contained as much or more violence than R-rated movies. The study authors conclude that even if youth do not use guns, because of the increasing popularity of PG-13 movies, they are exposed to considerable gun portrayal and violence, which may increase their aggressive behavior.
by Stew Friedman The stories we tell children transmit cultural values. Based on the surprising results of a new study my colleagues and I conducted of two generations of Wharton School graduates, I bet that today’s boys and girls are hearing new kinds of stories about men and women than the ones you heard as […]