Do dads prefer sons? |


Happy Friday, family-formers,

I wish to report a major victory. After a solid half decade of consistent, repetitive, frustrating work, I may have finally persuaded one of my children that it is not a violation of the labor laws to expect her to unpack the dishwasher. There's a horrible Catch-22 parents get ensnared in when it comes to chores. If you ask the child to do something more than say three times, you're a nag. If you ask them fewer than three times, they don't remember. So how do you do it? Firstly, do not be afraid to have your child think you're a pain. The truth is, we're all pains. They certainly are, it's just that we love them too much to notice. Secondly, I have discovered the utility of the sticky note: "This dishwasher is clean!" (Feel free to add a smiley face, if you can carry that off; I can't.) Lastly, when the child has unpacked the dishwasher/fed the cat/taken out the garbage, notice it and call it out and thank them. I know, I know. People shouldn't have to be thanked for stuff that is their job. But it never hurts. And the dishwasher gets unpacked. So, that only took five years. Now it's time to do something about putting the lid back on the toothpaste....

As ever, you can reach me at or @luscombeland on Twitter.

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Opinions on the most effective forms of parenting vary widely. Case in point: spanking. According to the General Social Survey, a national survey of American attitudes conducted every two years, about two-thirds of Americans believe it is necessary to sometimes spank a child. Yet this week the American Association of Pediatrics issued its strongest caution about that form of discipline to date. “Experiencing corporal punishment makes it more, not less, likely that children will be defiant and aggressive in the future,” the group writes in the statement. “Spanking alone is associated with adverse outcomes, and those outcomes are similar to those in children who experience physical abuse.” Is there any other parenting practice which has such a wide gap between what experts recommend and what a majority of the population believes?  TIME

The pressure to get a great education for children is extremely high in most Westernized countries. But it's not just a cultural thing. A recent application for a pre-school in China went viral after parents claimed their 5-year-old had "rich and varied experience." Also of note: parent-shaming isn't just a western thing either. TIME

Got a little athlete on your hands? Lucky you. New research suggests that you ignore the current practice of having him or her specialize early. Kids who participate in a wider range of sports often have more success in the long run, says a report from Penn State University.

For decades now, parents have worried about how their children will be able to afford college. For most, it's impossible to pay the actual tuition that colleges charge, so their children take on a lot of debt. Now young people are taking the issue into their own hands. Case in point: Abbie Finkenauer, who just unseated the incumbent in Idaho's first district by running on a platform that included addressing student debt. “There’s a whole generation of folks that are around my age or who are not doing as well as our parents did,” Finkenauer told TIME before her victory on Tuesday. She says it's stopping young people from settling down and starting families. “Everything is getting delayed right now and, and not because of necessarily folks want it to be, but just the economic reality of it.” TIME

An interesting  Finnish study has found that mothers prefer daughters and fathers prefer sons. While this may seem intuitive, the finding challenges a previous evolutionary biology theory that parents who are financially comfortable invest more in sons, and parents who are pressed for resources tend to devote them to daughters. In this study's experiment "women from all socioeconomic backgrounds expressed implicit and explicit preferences for daughters: they chose to donate more to charities supporting girls and preferred to adopt girls." Guys did the same for boys. University of Turku

You know that thing when you try to do the right thing as a parent and warn your kid that they're not where they should be and then you overdo it and you make the situation much worse and someone films it and you end up having your parenting fail go viral, when you were only trying to stop a goal? Well, that. TIME

PFFT: Parenting from Famous Types

Candace Swanepoel, Victoria's Secret model and mother of two, on her return to the catwalk five months after giving birth

“Our bodies become a vessel and it’s a mind blowing process making a human being. I’m far from perfect and every mother should give themselves time to recover and not have to focus on what they look like. It’s about how you FEEL that is important. You are important.”

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