Anthropologist on overparenting: stop |

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December 09, 2016

belinda-luscombe
I recently did an interview with Gretchen Carlson in which she talks about advice her dad gave her for dealing with people who didn't like her. It made me wonder what advice my kids will remember of mine. (The chief piece of advice my brothers and I remember our dad giving us is that "you only ever need to use two pieces of toilet paper," which, while profound, is not actually true.) I feel like wise parental sayings may be less of a thing in my family. Advice for non-family members about parenting is an even weirder bird. Why accept advice from somebody who doesn't even know your children? Or you? Even advice from friends can be iffy. My neighbor remembers me visiting her a few days after her son was born (mine were school-age at the time). Her spouse was traveling and she had no family in town. I have not much memory of this, but she says she poured out her maternal fears to me and I told her not to worry "because babies are actually pretty hard to kill." She says she found this comforting. Just bear that in mind as you read the parenting roundup I have gathered for you this week. For comments, or ideas (hardly anyone sent me what Christmas gifts made their kids happiest, alas, so still taking those suggestions), I'm at belinda.luscombe@time.com, or @luscombeland on Twitter.
Roundup

Interesting science-rich read on why the rise in C-sections might be messing with evolution. Human development has always been a bit of a battle between having big heads and pelvises (good for thinking and running) but favoring smaller heads and pelvises (good for squeezing out the birth canal). Now, a lot more babies with big heads and pelvises survive. How will that change us? VOX

A big new report about tech use was released by Commonsense Media this week. One major headline: Parents spend as much time on screens as kids do, and that’s not counting work. Reading this newsletter doesn’t count towards the total, because….you know what, go ahead, stop reading, play with the kids if they’ll have you. You can come back to this any time. TIME

If you're getting your kid a smartphone for Xmas, you might want to print out this handy DOJ print-and- fold guide to teen sexting, and slip that into the present with it. Never can be too careful. Department of Justice.

Oh great, now LeBron freaking James is flipping a water bottle. This sports-loving dad is not having it. Thanks for nothing, mate. TIME

Really interesting interview with an anthropologist from the Overparenting-is-Destroying-Our-Kids school of childrearing. Worth a read, even for such provocative observations as “Putting children and their needs first is dysfunctional and irrational…” If you agree with that, you’ll enjoy this piece. If you don’t, this is a worthwhile countervailing view. Psychology Today

E-cigarettes. Yes, better than cigarettes. But no, still not a habit you want your kid to pick up. One report says one in five high schoolers used an e-cigarette (also sometimes called a vape) in the last month. “We need parents, teachers, health care providers, and other influencers to help make it clear that e-cigarettes contain harmful chemicals and are not okay for kids to use,” says the Surgeon General. TIME

In memory of the late great John Glenn, I offer up this dad-made baby sleep/astronaut suit. Mashable

PFFT: Parenting From Famous Types

Savanna Guthrie of The Today Show on having kids late in life. The second one, a boy, was born Thursday.

“I didn’t have my act together. I was doing the best I could in my personal life, and my professional life was going better. So you know, you just keep doing the thing that works. I think that’s why I feel such an acute level of gratitude about getting to have a baby. Because I know how late it is in the game, you know? I’m a person of faith. It feels like the greatest embrace from God that I can imagine, to get to have a baby. And to get to have a second is just beyond.”

 
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