TIME Developmental Disorders

Kids With a Parent In Jail Need Special Care, Research Says

Boy presses his nose against window
Lynn Koenig—Flickr RF/Getty Images

It's a greater influence than the death of a parent or having divorced parents

Having a parent in jail is associated with more behavioral problems and learning disabilities in kids compared to children of divorced parents or a parent who has died, according to a new study.

“Children of incarcerated parents, compared with their counterparts, are a vulnerable population who are disadvantaged across an array of health outcomes,” the authors write. “The correlation between parental incarceration and children’s health means that physicians serving poor and minority communities may consider screening children for parental incarceration and that social workers in these communities should pay special attention to children’s health.”

The study, published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, used data from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health and compared kids with similar socioeconomic, demographic and behavioral characteristics. The results showed that kids with a parent in prison were associated with a greater likelihood for ADD or ADHD, behavioral problems, speech and language problems, learning disabilities and developmental delays.

Among black children with fathers without a high school diploma, the data showed 50% experienced a parent in jail by the time they were 14 years old compared to only 7% of white children. The rate of developmental and behavioral disorders in kids was higher in those whose parent went to jail versus kids who experienced a parent death or divorce.

Since the incarceration rate in the U.S. continues to increase—researchers estimate that 2.6 million kids have a parent in the jail at any given time—the study authors believe it’s important to remember that having a parent in jail has a serious impact on the people they leave behind.

 

 

TIME Sex

This Sex-Ed Book Is Way Too Sexy, Parents Complain

Sex Spelled in Alphabet Blocks
Corbis

Teaches ninth-graders about masturbation, like they've never heard of it before

California parents are complaining that a new sex-education book for ninth-graders has way too much hot, naked sex in it.

The Fremont school board voted to replace a 10-year-old sex-ed book with a new book, titled Your Health Today, which includes details about things like foreplay, masturbation and bondage.

Some parents are not happy about it. Almost 2,000 of them have signed a petition to remove the book from schools, but the school district says it has no intention of pulling it.

“There’s a section that tells you how to talk to your prospective partners about your sexual history,” parent Asfia Ahmed told the San Jose Mercury News. “I am a very liberal person, and, in spite of that, I still find the book shocking.” Other parents were appalled to find mentions of ropes, handcuffs and sex toys.

School-board president Lara Calvert-York said that despite parental objections, it’s better to educate teens early, before they become sexually active. “Ninth grade is the last time when we have an opportunity to help educate our students on how to be physically and emotionally safe,” she told the Mercury News.

[San Jose Mercury News]

 

TIME Family

Couples With Marital Stress More Likely to Have Daughters

Parents Baby Daughter
Mother and father are shown kissing their baby daughter. Chris Ryan—OJO Images RF/Getty Images

“Girls may well be surviving stressful pregnancies that boys can’t survive”

They’re always blaming the children. After years of research showing that couples with daughters are more likely to divorce, Duke researchers Tuesday offered up an interesting explanation as to why: female embryos are better at toughing it out.

Duke economist Amar Hamoudi co-authored the study, which analyzed longitudinal data from a random sample of Americans between 1979 and 2010. Their results showed that women who reported higher levels of relationship stress, linked to a increased prevalence of later divorce, were more likely to give birth to girls.

“Girls may well be surviving stressful pregnancies that boys can’t survive,” Hamoudi said. “Thus girls are more likely than boys to be born into marriages that were already strained.”

Research has widely documented men’s higher mortality rates from birth to age 100, and recent studies have shown that the “female survival advantage” may even begin in the womb. Hamoudi suggests that science needs to take a closer look at this critical life stage.

“It’s time for population studies to shine a light on the period of pregnancy,” Hamoudi said. “The clock does not start at birth.”

MONEY Love and Money

5 Money Discussions You Need to Have With Your Spouse Right Now

If you and your spouse haven't yet answered these important questions, you should. Your financial life depends upon it.

This article was originally published on AllYou.com.

Couples with the best shot at marital success keep the lines of communication open—even when it means tackling a tough subject. Here are five difficult conversations all married couples should have.

1. How can we resolve different spending habits?

If you are not on the same page as your spouse with daily money decisions, you probably will not be in sync when it comes to big financial decisions. Even worse, when partners cannot agree, they might engage in financial infidelity, which ranges from occasionally hiding a shopping bag in the back of a closet to more serious offenses such as keeping a secret credit card. The three keys to a financial partnership are compromise, transparency and understanding. It’s not uncommon to look at money in a different light than your husband does. In fact, many people wind up marrying their “money opposite.” It’s important to identify your money personality and your spouse’s so you can address your differences head-on.

2. Could we care for elderly parents?
More than 65 million Americans are family caregivers. The cost of a parent’s assisted-living care averages $3,550 per month, according to the 2012 MetLife market survey. First and foremost, talk with your parents to determine what they desire. Chances are they will want to live independently for as long as possible. Hold a family summit and discuss their wishes, as well as backup options, with siblings and spouses. For instance, is it possible to rotate caregiving among your siblings? Keep in mind each family’s income and flexibility, as well as space issues.

3. What are our retirement goals?
If you and your spouse haven’t discussed retirement, you might not have much of a nest egg, or your visions of how you expect to spend your senior years might vary greatly. According to a 2012 survey by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 27 percent of employed people never talk about their retirement plans with family or friends. Whatever your goals, plan together.

4. Who would be our children’s guardian?
Drafting a will can give you the opportunity to designate a legal guardian for your children. If you don’t and something happens to you and your spouse, a judge will appoint someone—and it might not be the same choice you would have made.

5. What are our wishes for end-of-life care?
Well-publicized disputes such as the Terri Schiavo case illustrate the importance of designating someone to make health-care decisions if you cannot make them yourself. Many couples avoid this talk because it’s unpleasant, but it’s crucial to discuss the quality of life you would want should one of you be incapacitated. Whatever your wishes, talk them out and declare them in a living will in order to avoid legal battles between family members.

Check out these other articles from AllYou.com:

How to Start Couponing

Free Health Programs at 6 Supermarkets

Money Saving Tips for Buying the Best Refrigerator

 

TIME Family

Study: Less-Structured Time Correlates to Kids’ Success

Research found that young children who spend more time engaging in more open-ended, free-flowing activities display higher levels of executive functioning, and vice versa

Parents, drop your planners—a new psychological study released Tuesday found that children with less-structured time are likely to show more “self-directed executive functioning,” otherwise known as the “cognitive processes that regulate thought and action in support of goal-oriented behavior.”

Doctoral and undergraduate researchers at University of Colorado, Boulder, followed 70 children ranging from six to seven years old, measuring their activities. A pre-determined classification system categorized activities as physical or non-physical, structured and unstructured.

The resulting study, published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, was led by Yuko Munakata, a professor in the psychology and neuroscience department at the university. Munakata measured self-directed executive functioning using a verbal fluency test, “a standard measure on how well people can organize direct actions on their own,” she said.

The test asked children to name as elements in a particular category, like animals, as they could. “An organized person will group the animals together, listing farm animals, then move on to the next grouping,” Munakata said. “An unorganized person will say ‘cat, dog, mouse’,” providing a disconnected list of animals, inhibiting further recollection.

The results indicated that children who spend more time engaging in less-structured activities display higher levels of executive functioning. The converse also proved true: Children in more structured activities displayed lower executive functioning abilities.

“Executive function is extremely important for children,” Munakata told EurekAlert!. “It helps them in all kinds of ways throughout their daily lives, from flexibly switching between different activities rather than getting stuck on one thing, to stopping themselves from yelling when angry, to delaying gratification. Executive function during childhood also predicts important outcomes, like academic performance, health, wealth and criminality, years and even decades later.”

Munakata added a disclaimer that the study merely proves correlation, not causation. “Right now we don’t know if kids self-directed executive functioning are shaping their time, or if their activities are shaping self-directed executive functioning.”

Causation is the next piece of the puzzle, and will undoubtedly be the focus of a future longitudinal study. Until then, parents looking for the perfect balance for their kids have something else to chew on.

MONEY Shopping

School’s (Almost) Out! Just In Time for Back-to-School Sales

BSIP SA / Alamy—Alamy

If you thought now was the time to relax and celebrate the end of the school year, J.C. Penney, Walmart, and Lands' End have a back-to-school sale for you.

Last summer, retailers raised eyebrows by rolling out back-to-school sales in early July, within a week or two of when kids escaped the clutches of teachers, principals, and algebra homework. “In seven and a half years, I’ve never once seen so much emphasis put on back-to-school before July 4,” National Retail Federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis told AdAge at the time.

Fast-forward to June 2014, and retailers are at it again, pushing back-to-school sales earlier than ever. Consumers are getting the message that the time to purchase gear for the upcoming school year is before the current school year has ended. Like, now.

J.C. Penney began promoting back-to-school sales last weekend, according to Consumerist. Walmart already has a back-to-school web page for student fashions, backpacks, and other school gear, as well as another page devoted to back-to-college apparel and tech. Target just introduced a college registry program, so that students can try to get other people to buy them stuff. Apple’s back-to-school promotional deals are expected to be announced any day now. And Lands’ End? It started zapping customers with e-mails a couple of weeks ago, pushing the idea that early June is a fine time to buy school uniforms that kids won’t wear until around Labor Day.

It’s totally understandable why retailers try to move back-to-school shopping earlier and earlier each year. Families generally have finite resources they can allocate to back-to-school fashion and paraphernalia, and once the pencils, protractors, glue sticks, notebooks, and a few new outfits are purchased, their back-to-school expenditures are done (in theory). Retailers want to beat the competition to the punch, before the family’s back-to-school budget is depleted.

“Retailers are going to do what they can to try to get consumers into the stores to shop, but the fact of the matter is they might not have much luck,” Britt Beemer, chairman of America’s Research Group, explained to CNBC. “There aren’t any parents that I can find who have even thought of back-to-school shopping, because for most kids, they haven’t even gotten out of school yet.”

Still, even if shoppers don’t actually buy back-to-school stuff in June, the enticements may get them thinking about their needs for the upcoming school year. Panic sets in for a lot of overwhelmed parents, and they’re more apt to want to cross all of their children’s back-to-school items off their list as soon as possible. How can you relax on a summer vacation when you know there will be dorm rooms to decorate and Number 2 pencils that need to be purchased?

What’s more, early-season promotional efforts are limited mostly to the digital world. It’s much cheaper and easier for a retailer to send out an e-mail blast or put up a back-to-school web page than it is to rearrange shelves and create promotional sections inside thousands of stores. That’ll happen soon enough, of course, during the especially puzzling period when you’re likely to encounter Fourth of July, back to school, Christmas in July, and plain old summer sales in your local megamart, perhaps mixed in with the odd early Halloween aisle.

Of course, retailers risk some customer backlash by taking the expansion of shopping seasons too far. So-called “Christmas creep,” the phenomenon in which the Christmas shopping season kicks off in September and Christmas ads air within a few days of Labor Day weekend, has caused many an observer to groan in exasperation.

When the calendar says one thing and retailers are telling consumers something very different via sales and promotions, the result can be jarring, even off-putting. Yet retailers assume shoppers have short memories, and they hope that whatever bad feelings a too-early sale produces are outweighed by deals that are just too good to pass up.

MONEY Sports

Fore! No, Make That Five! 5 Reasons Golf Is in a Hole

digging golf ball out of bunker
Thomas Northcut—Getty Images

Golf's U.S. Open and Father's Day both take place this weekend. Chances are, dad isn't celebrating by playing golf.

Golfer numbers are down. Golf equipment sales have been tanking. The number of golf courses closing annually is supposed to dwarf the number of new courses opening for years to come. “We really don’t know what the bottom is in golf,” Dick’s Sporting Goods CEO Edward Stack said in a recent conference call, attempting to explain why golf gear sales have fallen off a cliff. “We anticipated softness, but instead we saw significant decline. We underestimated how significant a decline this would be.”

Insult to injury: Tiger Woods isn’t playing in the U.S. Open this weekend, and that’s sure to hurt TV ratings big time. The overarching question, though, is why the golf business has entered such a rough patch—and why it looks to remain in a sand trap, so to speak, for quite some time. Here are a handful of reasons, including the curious case of Woods himself.

People are too damn busy. When someone asks how you’re doing, the response among working professionals and working parents especially is probably a kneejerk “crazy busy.” Studies show that leisure time has shrunk for both sexes, and that dads are doing more work around the house, though moms still devote more time to chores and childcare than their spouses. A so-called “leisure gap” still exists between mothers and fathers, and while dads tend to enjoy an extra hour per day of free time on weekends, they’re more likely to be watching TV than hitting the links. Fathers spend an average of 2.6 hours per week participating in sports (compared to 1.4 hours for mothers), which isn’t nearly enough time to play 18 holes.

As new dad Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal put it recently, speaking for dads—all parents, really—everywhere, “It is more likely I will become the next prime minister of Belgium than it is that I will find 4½ hours on a weekend to go play golf.”

A year ago, golf groups launched a “Time for Nine” campaign, pushing the idea that, because so many people can’t find the time for 18 holes, it’s acceptable to play a mere nine holes. The problem is that it looks like people don’t have time for nine holes either, lately.

It’s elitist and too expensive. There are plenty of ways to save money on golf, including booking discounted, off-peak tee times and finding deals on equipment. So golf can be affordable.

It’s just that, by and large, the sport has a well-deserved reputation for being pricey—think $400 drivers, $250,000 club “initiation” fees, and too many gadgets to mention. The snooty factor goes hand in hand with the astronomical prices and atmosphere on the typical course. As USA Today columnist Christine Brennan cautioned recently, unless the sport figures out a way to change course, “Golf is destined to continue to hemorrhage participants and further ensure its place as a mostly-white, suburban, rich men’s niche sport with plenty of TV sponsors who make cars, write insurance and invest money.”

It’s just not cool. In 2009, Jack Nicklaus lamented, “Kids just don’t play golf any more in the United States and it is sad.”

American kids today seem to be nearly as overscheduled as their parents. And like their parents, tweens and teens probably don’t have the time to regularly play 18 holes, what with soccer practice, saxophone lessons, and coding classes to attend to. Even if kids had more time, would they want to spend it playing an “old man sport”? When iPhones and tablets and Xboxes and Instagram are drawing their attention?

Among the suggestions offered by Golf Digest to increase participation in the sport, columnist Ron Sirak recommended that the USGA should fund caddie programs, and that private clubs should give four-year “scholarships” to junior players, with free lessons and playing privileges.

It’s too difficult. Pretty much every other sport on the planet is more immediately rewarding than golf. Take a snowboard lesson in the morning, and by afternoon, you can make a few turns down the bunny trail without falling (much). Golf is renowned not only for being frustratingly difficult for beginners, but even longtime players “enjoy” it as a frustratingly difficult hobby.

“The deep appeal of golf, once you get hooked, is that it’s difficult,” John Paul Newport, golf columnist for the Wall Street Journal, told NPR last month. “Normally when you play a round of golf, you step onto the green and that’s when all the intense stress starts. You know, this tiny little hole, you have to look at putts from many ways, you hit it a few feet past and you add up strokes quickly around the green.”

Newport was discussing a new golfing option involving 15-inch cups, a system created to make the game much easier and approachable, particularly for beginners. But don’t expect to see it anytime soon. In the description to Golf Is Dying. Does Anybody Care? author Pat Gallagher points to golf’s “resistance to productive change” as a big reason why participation has slumped dramatically. “While other sports have embraced new technology and innovation with open arms, traditionalists strive to protect the game of golf and keep it exactly as they love it—even in the face of suffering courses and shrinking audiences.”

Tiger Woods. Skeptics insist that golf isn’t dying. Not by a long shot. The sport’s popularity, they say, is merely taking a natural dip after soaring to unjustified heights during the “golf bubble” brought on by the worldwide phenomenon that was Tiger Woods. After the infidelity scandals and, more recently, poor play and loads of injuries from Woods, fewer people are watching golf on TV, buying golf gear in stores, and, you know, actually going out and playing golf.

So perhaps it’s not so much that golf is losing favor with the masses today as it is that golf’s widespread popularity a decade or so ago was something of a fluke. The decline in golf, then, would basically be the return of golf’s status as a niche game. “Golf courses were overbuilt, saturating major cities and secondary markets with ridiculous golf hole per capita ratios,” golf blogger David Hill wrote in a manifesto on why the sport, in fact, isn’t dying. “Tiger’s decline from Teflon coated Superhero to mere great golfer precipitated the bursting of the golf bubble. It’s as simple as that.”

MONEY Kids and Money

Why Daughters Are Better Than Sons — At Least Financially

140612_FF_InvestinDaughters_1
Both cute, but the one on the right may cost you less later. Tripod—Getty Images

If you're raising a girl, congrats. A new survey finds that in adulthood, daughters are less likely to bleed parents dry—and more likely to provide free care.

Ever wonder when your kid will move out of the house for good and stop treating you like an ATM?

If that kid is a boy, you may have longer to wait than if you’d had a girl. After age 18, daughters are less likely than sons to move back home or need a financial hand from mom and dad, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Poll for Yodlee Interactive, a digital financial services technology company. And not only are those grown-up daughters more financially independent, they are also more likely to provide care for their aging parents down the road.

In the survey, 41% of adult men with living parents report getting funds from mom and dad to cover expenses. Only 31% of adult women with living parents say the same. Unsurprisingly, aid is more common among young adults: Of those 18 to 34, three-quarters of men and 59% of women say they receive financial aid from their parents.

But that help lingers for many. Of 34- to 45-year-old men, 35% still get parental help, while only 18% of their female peers do.

Perhaps women have been conditioned to getting less financial support. A study from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research found that boys are 15% more likely to get paid for doing chores, and a new survey from Junior Achievement USA and the Allstate Foundation found that 70% of boys get an allowance, compared to only 60% of girls.

When do I get my guest room?

Parental help doesn’t end with handouts. Men are more likely to room with mom and dad, too: 32% of adult men do, vs. 25% of women, and that can be costly. A report in the Wall Street Journal found that hosting a child over 18 can run $8,000 to $18,000 a year.

A Pew Research analysis of 2012 U.S. Census Bureau data found that millennial males were more likely than their female counterparts to live with their parents. A full 40% of men ages 18 to 31 did, vs. 32% of women that age.

The Yodlee survey found that this trend extends to other generations. Among 35- to 44-year-olds, 32% of men are still spending nights in their childhood bedrooms, while only 9% of women are. Of those living at home, the most common reason cited by sons was un- or underemployment, while daughters listed taking care of their parents.

A sliver of good news for parents of sons: By age 45, these stark differences in financial independence fade, with males lagging only a few percentage points behind females in these two areas.

Traditional roles persist

Still, the advantage of having daughters persists in other ways: Daughters easily out-perform sons when it comes to supporting aging parents. Sons are almost twice as likely as daughters to say that they will not back up their parents emotionally by doing things like calling or visiting. Close to 60% of daughters provide that support, while just under half of sons do.

Sons’ redeeming quality? They are slightly more likely to help subsidize their parents’ living costs than daughters are, even as women are more likely to be the caregivers. This role is long-established. A study published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology last year found that women were more likely to care for parents, assist with their personal needs, and help with chores, errands, and transportation.

Finally, if you have a son, don’t expect your daughter-in-law to fill the gap. Yodlee’s survey found that you’re out of luck on all facets of support from in-laws, male or female.

Yodlee_Interactive_Fathers_Day_Infographic

 

TIME Military

Where Bowe Bergdahl Goes From Here

Afghanistan Bergdahl
In this image taken from video obtained from Voice Of Jihad Website, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl sits in a vehicle guarded by the Taliban in eastern Afghanistan. Uncredited—AP

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is just days into what could be months or years of recovery

U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl arrived at a German hospital three days ago, which means he’s just finished the minimum 72-hour decompression period of his “Phase III Reintegration.”

What does this mean? It’s part of a three-step process to Bergdahl’s reintegration into American society. For someone who’s been gone for five years—one of the longest-held POWs ever treated by the U.S. Southern Command—that process is bound to be a long one.

Phase I, initial recovery, occurs “at the forward operating location within hours of recovery.” In Bergdahl’s case this was likely on a military base in Afghanistan. It involves “medical triage, psychological support and tactical debriefing for time sensitive information,” according to a fact sheet given to TIME by the U.S. Southern Command.

Phase II is called “decompression” and it happens in a regional hospital — Landstuhl Medical Center, in this case. It lasts a minimum of 72 hours, but it can last longer depending on the medical and psychological needs of the POW. There is no indication of how long Bergdahl will stay in Germany. When he’s ready, he’ll move on to Phase III, which will happen at Brooks Army Medical Center at Ft. Sam Houston in Texas.

Bergdahl’s parents had yet to even speak to him by phone as of Tuesday evening, according to Idaho National Guard Spokesman Timothy Marsano, who has acted as the family’s spokesman for years. After appearing alongside President Barack Obama in the Rose Garden Saturday, Bergdahl’s parents have returned home to Hailey, Idaho. When their son is ready, they will meet him in Texas, where they will spend months helping with his recovery as he enters Phase III.

Phase III is the longest part of reintegration. It involves “establish a perception of control of their life,” having “their emotions normalized” and reengaging “in a healthy life style with family, socially and with work.” It also involves gathering “time sensitive” and “strategic intelligence” and “evidence” to “prosecute criminals.”

Southern Command, which deals with all reintegration cases, developed this protocol after the Vietnam War to help with the flood of hundreds of returned POWs. Since 2007, they’ve treated an Army contractor held hostage in Ethiopia for three months, three Pentagon contractors held in Colombia for more than 5 years, an Army civilian held in Iraq for two months and a U.S. service member held in Colombia for over four months.

“So, yes, obviously this will be one of our longer cases,” says Col. Hans Bush, director of public affairs for U.S. Army South.

Bergdahl’s road home is complicated by an Army investigation into whether he defected or should be held on charges of going AWOL (Absent Without Leave) the June, 2009 night he walked away from his unit in Afghanistan. Normally, POWs who successfully finish Phase 3 return to service. Given the circumstances, though, Bergdahl could be returning to a court martial and potential jail time.

All of which is to say, Bergdahl almost surely won’t make it home for the June 28 “Bowe Is Home” celebration being planned in Haley to mark his release. The celebration was originally planned as a “Bring Bowe Back” event. So, while many questions remain, his family and friends can celebrate that he is, at least partway, back.

MONEY Small Business

Forget the Corner Office. Most Millennials Want to Own the Corner Store.

According to a new study, the majority of 20-somethings assume they'll be self employed at some point in their careers.

Faced with a lagging labor market and mounting student loan debt, millennials seem either to have found reason to be optimistic about the new economy—or to have lost faith in it completely. According to a new survey from Buzz Marketing Group and the Young Entrepreneur Council, 81% think that they’ll either own a business or be self-employed at some point in their careers.

During tough times in particular, millennials say, they would rather work for themselves. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed said if they became unemployed, they would likely start a business or become freelancers versus 23% who said they would continue looking for a job working for someone else.

Gen Y may be already laying the groundwork for future entrepreneurship: 46% of all respondents say they’ve done freelance work in their fields.

YEC founder Scott Gerber says the results show that millennials want a different kind of career than the ones their parents had. “You’re talking about a generation that has seen what happened with their parents and Enron, and what happened in 2009 and 2010—the traditional workforce eroding before our eyes,” Gerber said. “Millennials have new ways of thinking about the future of work.”

The catch in Gen Y’s plan? Mom and dad. A majority of respondents said their parents would rather see them find “real jobs.” Gerber urges those parents to let their children try, fail, and learn from their mistakes. “Understand the reality of today versus the nostalgia of yesteryear,” Gerber said. “Instability is here to stay.”

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