TIME Parenting

What Bill Gates’ Kids Do with their Allowance

How do you teach insanely wealthy kids how to manage money?

The rich are different from you and I, but they still want to give their kids an allowance. So what do the world’s richest man’s kids do with their money? Melinda Gates came to TIME’s offices to talk about her new focus on women and children and especially on contraceptives, but she spilled some secrets about how she tries to get her kids to be purposeful with their money.

First of all, she tries to be true to her values, to articulate them and live them out. Then, they do a lot of volunteering together, at “whatever tugs at their heartstrings” says Gates. And of course, they’ve traveled with her. “They have that connection I think to the developing world,” she says. “They see the difference a flock of chicks makes in a family’s life. It’s huge.”

Read the 10 Questions with Melinda Gates here

Gates has always made a point of getting into the streets and poorer neighborhoods when she travels for meetings and conferences. And sometimes she takes her kids. It’s there, she says, that she meets mothers who tell her that their biggest struggle is having so many children. Although Gates was raised Catholic, she is heading up an initiative to get family planning information, contraceptives and services to 120 million more women by the year 2020. That includes new technology, better delivery system and a lot of education, including for men.

She’s similarly rigorous about her home life. Her kids save a third of their allowance and designate a charity they’d like to give it to. (They can also list donations to charities on their Christmas wish list.) As further incentive, their parents double whatever money they’ve saved. Which means they may be the only children in the world to get a matching grant from the Gates Foundation.

TIME Parenting

The 5 Trends Driving the Surge in ADHD

Jupiterimages;Getty Images

Researcher says it's less to do with brain chemistry and more to do with money

Until recently, 90% of all Ritalin takers lived in the U.S. Now, America is home to only 75% of Ritalin users. But that’s not because Americans are using less of the drug, says a Brandeis professor. That’s because ADHD diagnoses, and treatment via pharmaceuticals are growing in other parts of the world.

In a recent paper in the journal Social Science and Medicine, sociologists Peter Conrad and Meredith Bergey looked at the growth of ADHD in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy and Brazil and found that prescriptions for Ritalin-like drugs have risen sharply, particularly in the U.K. and Germany.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, is a controversial subject among many parents, educators and medical professionals. Some doctors insist it’s a genuine neurological condition, if occasionally over-diagnosed and not treated properly. Others believe parents are giving their children drugs unnecessarily. (For a look at what it’s like to be, or parent, an ADHD child, read TIME’s special report, Growing Up with ADHD).

Conrad and Bergey, while not doctors, fall into the second camp. They list five possible reasons for the jump in ADHD diagnoses that have little do with medicine.

1) Pharmaceutical companies are well-resourced and determined lobbyists, and have coaxed some countries to allow stimulants, such as Ritalin and Adderall to be marketed more directly.

2) Treating patients with counseling and non medical therapies is becoming less popular than treating them with medicine. (Many insurers, including Medicaid, will pay for drugs but not for psychotherapy, for example.)

3) The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), the bible of mental disorders, is gaining more traction in Europe and South America. The DSM has slightly broader standards for diagnosing ADHD than the system used by many other countries, the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD), hence more folks are falling within the standard.

4) ADHD advocacy groups are raising awareness of the condition.

5) Because everybody is occasionally fidgety and distracted and nearly everybody despairs of not getting enough done, people turn to the internet for answers and find checklists put up by drug companies, with overly general questions like: “Are you disorganized at work and home?” and “Do you start projects and then abandon them?” and encourage people to ask their doctors about medication.


According to the study, fewer than 1% of kids in the U.K. had been diagnosed with ADHD in the 1990s, but about 5% are today. In Germany, prescriptions for ADHD drugs rose 500% over 10 years, from 10 million daily doses in 1998 to 53 million in 2008. Conrad, author of The Medicalization of Society, worries that we may be addressing a sociological problem with a chemical solution.

“There is no pharmacological magic bullet,” says Conrad, who suggests that the one-size-fits-all compulsory education system might be more to blame for kids who can’t sit still rather than a flaw in brain chemistry.

“I think we may look back on this time in 50 years,” writes Conrad, “and ask, what did we do to these kids?”

TIME leadership

Melinda Gates on How Women Limit Their Opportunities

Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Gates Foundation, former Microsoft executive and spouse of the Uber-nerd has turned her attention to the issue of women and girls. Her purview is mostly the world’s poorest, but she had some things to say about how even educated and affluent women hold themselves back.

“They doubt themselves,” Melinda told TIME during this week’s 10 Questions interview. “Women don’t tend to see themselves as ready for the next role, as they ought to.” Gates, who recently raised $2.3 billion (that’s with a B) at the London Family Planning Summit, said that at first she didn’t want to head up the drive to make contraceptive choices available to women in developing countries. “I wasn’t sure I was the right person,” she said. “I kept looking for somebody else to lead the effort.”

But she noted that good managers can provide a simple workaround for this problem, simply by making sure to give the women a little nudge to throw their hats in the ring. “I think it’s up to the managers—men or women— to reach down and pull those women up and say, “No, you are ready for that promotion,” or, “You’re at least as qualified as the men.”

In the interview Gates also spoke about what she’s doing to make sure her kids handle their great wealth (including how they allocate their pocket money) and how she refocused her life after turning 50. Subscribers can read the interview here.

TIME Family

Men Want to Remarry; Women Are ‘Meh’

Ojo Images—GettyImages

Nearly two thirds of ex-married men would consider doing it again

Americans, who have lost a little of their ardor for marriage, are still pretty game to remarry. About 40% of all the new marriages in 2013 were not first marriages and in half of those cases, both spouses had ridden in that rodeo before. And new analysis from Pew Research finds that men are much more enamored of remarriage than women are.

“Most currently divorced or widowed men are open to the idea of remarriage, but women in the same circumstances are less likely to be,” says the report, which draws on figures from a survey it conducted in May and June. Almost two thirds of men either want to remarry or would at least consider it, while fewer than a half of women would.

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Perhaps it’s not surprising then that more guys do get remarried than women. Almost two thirds of men who have been married before and got divorced or were widowed wed again, whereas only a smidgen more than half of the women do.

There are lots of possible reasons for the gender discrepancy. Women tend to live longer, so they may outlast all their potential suitors. Or, since women now have more economic freedom than they did 50 years ago, they may feel less need for a partner. And while women still bear the bulk of the home care duties, once liberated, they may feel disinclined to enter into another legally binding agreement to look after somebody else.

However, the Pew analysis seems to suggest that the guys are being the shrewder partners, at least financially. “On key economic measures, remarried adults fare better than their currently divorced counterparts and about as well as those in their first marriages,” says the report, which gets its figures from analyzing American Community Survey data. Only 7% of people who are remarried live in poverty, compared to 19% of people who are divorced and still single. “Homeownership, which often reflects wealth, is also much higher for the remarried than the divorced—79% versus 58%.”

Of course, it may not be that the spouses are more financially stable because they are married. It might be that more financially stable people are in a better position to attract partners, build sturdy relationships and get married.

Slightly less than a quarter of all people who are married in the U.S. today are actually remarried people. Fifty years ago, they only represented about 13% of married people. In the same half century, marriage has fallen quite markedly out of favor among the young. But so far, the majority of people who have tried it are willing to give it another go.

TIME Comedy

John Cleese Chooses His Top 5 Sketches

The ex-Python digs into his archive to unearth some little-seen gems

In the course of John Cleese’s interview this week for TIME’s 10 Questions, the British comedy icon named the top five sketches he has written and/or performed in. He loves his Monty Python work, but given that it “would not be terribly interesting” to choose his best-known skits, he named some of his less celebrated comic works:

1. The Cheese Shop

Cleese conceived of the Cheese Shop sketch with his writing partner Graham Chapman after enduring a bout of seasickness in which he threw up on a cameraman twice, he recounts in his new memoir, So Anyway. He was looking so piqued as the duo drove home from the shoot that Chapman offered to buy him cheese, but the only store open was a pharmacy, so they began to imagine what it would be like to buy cheese there. Not long after that, one of his favorite sketches was born.

2. The Beekeeper

He’d also put on his list of favorites the Beekeeper sketch, here performed with that other British comedy icon best known for playing nutty characters (in this case, Mr. Bean), Rowan Atkinson.

3. The Bookshop

This sketch was originally shown on The 1948 Show, which ran on ITV in 1967 and 1968. “I think this was a classic,” says Cleese.

4. The Hearing Aid

This sketch, also from The 1948 Show, is clearly a precursor to some of his other manic shopkeeper exchanges.

5. A Fish Called Wanda’s torture scene

“It’s not a sketch but it’s a scene,” says Cleese. “I think that was one of the funniest things I wrote.”

Cleese lists two other favorites, a sketch from The Frost Report (on BBC between 1966 and 1967) in which he played a Sherlock Holmes-like character and a court scene also starring Tim Brooke Taylor from the show Cambridge Circus, a London theatrical production of a show that originated at Cambridge University and starred many of the performers who would go on to dominate England’s comedy scene. We’ll have to take his word for it, because neither of those sketches are available on the Internet.

While the Cheese Shop became one of his favorite creations, initially Cleese was dubious about whether it was funny. Chapman, who died in 1989, had to reassure him to keep writing it. “I was always reliant for those things on Graham,” Cleese said in his TIME interview. “He seemed to have a better judgment of what was funny than I did. Later on I think my judgment got better, but I’ve always found it difficult, even at this stage of my life, to know whether something was slightly funny or whether it’s terribly funny.”

Read John Cleese’s 10 Questions interview in TIME (subscription required)

TIME child development

Babies Identify Emotions by Looking at the Whites of Our Eyes

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Study shows the unique response of human babies to eye expressions

Babies, as anyone who has had one might have noticed, are not that good at stuff. They can’t talk to you, they suck on everything no matter what it’s supposed to be used for, they can’t run errands, they soil themselves. But they can recognize different facial expressions just from looking at someone’s eyes, apparently as early as seven months. How? It’s all to do with the whites of the eyes.

A new study out of the University of Virginia and that Max Planck Institute that was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that babies respond differently to eyes alone, if the eyes were showing different expressions. “Their brains clearly responded to social cues conveyed through the eyes,” said Tobias Grossmann, one of the study’s authors, “indicating that even without conscious awareness, human infants are able to detect subtle social cues.”

Humans, it turns out, are the only primates in which the whites of the eye are visible. The amount of sclera, as the white is known, is often an indicator of the emotions of a person. Wide open eyes, with a lot of visible white, express surprise or fear. When people smile, on the other hand, their eyes often narrow, hiding the whites. Fellow humans use the eyes a lot to detect what a person is really feeling, which is why movie villains, prison guards, and Vogue editor Anna Wintour wear mirrored or dark glasses even inside and on overcast days. If people can’t see the whites of each other’s eyes, they’re not really communicating.

The sociologists were trying to establish how consciously or unconsciously humans respond to eye expressions, whether it’s learned behavior or innate to the human condition. So they hooked the babies up to shower cap like EEG devices that measure brain activity and showed them pictures of eyes for 50 milliseconds—way too short a time for the conscious brain of a baby of that age to have any idea of what was going on. Some of the eyes were wide open showing a lot of white, some were narrowly opened, some looked straight ahead, and some had an averted gaze.

The babies’ brains responded differently to each type. “This demonstrates that, like adults, infants are sensitive to eye expressions of fear and direction of focus, and that these responses operate without conscious awareness,” Grossmann said. “The existence of such brain mechanisms in infants likely provides a vital foundation for the development of social interactive skills in humans.”

The moral of the story is: you may want to ditch the mirrored sunglasses when playing with your baby. He or she would probably just suck on them anyway.

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