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Family & Culture

Million Dollar Babies: Why Infants Can't be Hardwired for Success
Sara Mead, Education Sector, Apr 07. In the last decade, the market for products and programs designed to boost baby brain power has grown into a multi-million dollar industry. This report suggests parents might be better off putting the money spent on pricey educational baby toys into a college savings account or using it to meet other family needs. Full report, 8 pages, in .pdf

Nostalgia as Ideology
Stephanie Coontz, The American Prospect (www.prospect.org). Apr 02. “There is no way to re-establish marriage as the main site of child rearing, dependent care, income pooling, or interpersonal commitments in the modern world. Any movement that sets this as a goal misunderstands how irreversibly family life and marriage have changed, and it will inevitably be dominated by powerful "allies" who are not interested in supporting the full range of families that exist today and are likely to in the future.” Full article in HTML

Family Values: The Sequel
Arlene Skolnick, The American Prospect (www.prospect.org). May 97. “Americans have still not come to terms with the gap between the way we think our families ought to be and the complex, often messy realities of our lives.” Full article in HTML.

The New Crusade for the Old Family
Arlene Skolnick, The American Prospect (www.prospect.org). Jun 94. “What is the root cause in America of poverty, crime, drug abuse, gang warfare, urban decay, and failing schools? According to op-ed pundits, Sunday talking heads, radio call-in shows, and politicians in both parties, the answer is the growing number of children being raised by single parents, especially by mothers who never married in the first place.” Full article in HTML

Moral Parent, Moral Child:
Family structure matters less to a child’s development than the quality of the parenting

Richard Weissbourd, The American Prospect (www.prospect.org). Aug 02.“These days there is once again a great deal of hand-wringing about the sorry moral state of America's children. All the usual suspects have been rounded up: parents who lack values, schools that neglect "character" education, and -- conservative pundits' favorite culprit -- family breakdown. …Concern about single parenthood is legitimate. But single parenthood is not primarily responsible for children's moral troubles. The bigger problem is that our country fails to support good parenting, and it dramatically fails to cultivate critical moral qualities in adults -- qualities that are critical to children's moral development -- in part because of wrongheaded notions about the fundamental nature of adult's moral lives.” Full article in HTML

The Bad Mother
Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, from The New America Foundation (www.newamerica.net). Aug 04. “In recent years, Munchausen by proxy has seeped into popular culture, with rapidity and a fervency that recall the fascination with child sexual abuse in the nineteen-eighties… Paid experts now regularly testify in court about the syndrome and conduct workshops for law-enforcement officials and social workers. Web sites publicizing the disorder offer checklists and warning signs. And, lately, mothers of chronically ill kids nervously joke— or openly worry— about being accused of the disorder.” Full article in HTML

Navel-gazing their way through parenthood
By Katie Allison Granju for Salon (www.salon.com). Oct 03. “Why do Gen X moms and dads have an insatiable appetite for reading and writing about the experience of raising kids?” Full article in HTML

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Dispelling Myths About Unwed Fathers
Sara McLanahan, Council on Contemporary Families, 2006
Fact sheet. "Much of what we read in the newspapers or hear on television about unwed parents is based on anecdotal rather than scientific evidence. This policy brief is intended to dispel three common myths about unwed fathers and their children." Fact sheet, in HTML

Distancing Dad:
How Society Keeps Fathers away from Their Children

Richard Weissbourd, The American Prospect (www.prospect.org). Dec 1999. "Why are millions of fathers a trivial presence in their children's lives, and what might we do about it? …A crucial key to bringing men back into the fold may lie neither in programs nor in marches, but in the far more mundane work of changing the fundamental practices of the institutions— schools, health plans, religious organizations, community agencies— that interact with families day to day.” Full article in HTML

Fatherhood Movement Has Range of Ideology, Agenda
Sarah Stewart Taylor, Women’s eNews (www.womensenews.org). Jun 01. "Bush has named two members of this movement to important posts. Some preach imposing a Father Knows Best lifestyle on low-income mothers; others are bitter opponents of mothers winning custody battles. Some promote good parenting." Full article in HTML

Why Dad Can’t Have it All
Karen Kornbluh and Shelley Waters Boots, The New America Foundation Work and Family Program (www.newamerica.net). Jun 04. “For dads, like moms, cash competes with care. Much has been written in the last few years about the financial sacrifice this often entails for Mom, especially in the event of a divorce. But less has been said about the price that Dad and the kids pay when a demanding boss, or fear of a pink slip, trumps Dads ability to attend to a sick child or show up for a parent conference.” 2 pages in PDF

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Marriage & Divorce

The Marriage Cure: Is wedlock really a way out of poverty?
Katherine Boo for The New Yorker, from The New America Foundation (www.newamerica.net). Aug 03. “Traditionally, singleness has been viewed as a symptom of poverty. Today, however, a politically heterodox cadre of academics is arguing that singleness— and particularly, single parenthood— is one of poverty’s primary causes, for which matrimony might be a plausible tonic.” Full article in HTML

Can Marriage Be Saved?
Frank Furstenberg, Dissent, Summer 2005
"If we use the middle of the twentieth century as a comparison point, it might appear that we have been witnessing a deconstruction of the two-parent biological family en masse. But such a view is historically shortsighted and simplistic. The nuclear family, though long the bourgeois ideal, had never been universally practiced, at least as it was in the middle of the last century." Full article in HTML

The New Case for Marriage
Margaret Morganroth Guilette The American Prospect (www.prospect.org). Mar 2004. “Every new birth… obliquely announces the possible onset of the Equality Wars. The lack of child care in the United States is as bad as ever, adding domestic uneasiness to work worries. Insecurity and overtime in the workforce lead to more stress in the relationship, felt by both the parents who work double shifts and the children who miss them. Young mothers may have to fight even more fiercely inside their frail, heterosexual dyads than mothers in my generation to avoid the ‘compromises,’ or postponements and defeats, that we suffered while our male partners continued on their culturally lightened careers and job paths.” Full article in HTML

For the Sake of the Children?
Paul R. Amato, Council on Contemporary Families, 2006
"We find that children who live in high-discord families are better off, in the long run, if parents separate than if parents remain continuously married. When 'good enough' marriages end in divorce, however, children are more likely to show a variety of psychological and interpersonal problems in adulthood." Fact sheet, in HTML

What does marriage mean?
Dan Savage for Salon (www.salon.com). Feb 02. Married life between a man and woman can follow many twists and turns. So why do gay marriages have to be so straight? Full article in HTML

Marriage and Its Discontents
Larry Smith for AlterNet (www.alternet.com). Aug 04. An interview with Cathi Hanauer, editor of The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage, and her husband, Daniel Jones, whose complementary anthology The Bastard on the Couch: 27 Men Try Really Hard to Explain Their Feelings About Love, Loss, Fatherhood, and Freedom was released in early 2004. Full interview in HTML

Reconcilable Differences:
What it would take for marriage and feminism to say “I do”

Janet C. Gornick, The American Prospect (www.prospect.org). Apr 02. “Married mothers often withdraw from paid work when their children are young; many more work part-time; and a substantial share forgo remunerative jobs that require “24-7” commitment, nighttime meetings, or travel. Few married fathers make such accommodations to family. Not surprisingly, despite progress in women's employment, men remain the primary breadwinners. As of 1997, among American married couples with children under age six, fathers took home three times the earnings of mothers. And studies confirm that wives, even wives employed full-time, still devote substantially more time than their husbands do to unpaid work -- both caregiving and housework.” Full article in HTML

Financial Impact of Divorce on Children and Their Families
Jay D. Teachman, Kathleen M. Paasch, The Future of Children (www.futureofchildren.org), Volume 10. 1994.“The preponderance of evidence suggests that, following divorce, custodial parents— almost always mothers— suffer considerable decline in economic well-being… Fathers are much less likely to experience such a decline and often experience an increase in income.” Full chapter in PDF or HTML

A Feminist Perspective on Divorce
June R. Carbone, The Future of Children (www.futureofchildren.org), Volume 10. 1994. An overview of feminist views on limitations of existing divorce policy and proposals for reform aimed at improving the circumstances of custodial mothers and their children. Full chapter in PDF or HTML

US Divorce Statistics
Compiled by Divorce Magazine.com (www.divorcemag.com)
Includes facts on rates of divorce and demographics of divorcing men and women as well as statistics on single parents. List in HTML

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