In my recent talking with kids, Scrooge of London seems to have lost a lot of ground as the definitive morality tale about Christmas self-redemption. Instead it’s another miserable misanthrope, the green Grinch of Whoville, who seems to have captured children’s imaginations lately. Perhaps the farfetched hairy Grinch (first depicted by Seuss in 1956) is better able to appeal across cultural boundaries in today’s multicultural America than the strictly British characters Dickens invented in 1843.
Americans in 2016 do not much resemble Londoners from Dickens’ story. Last year I did a study in southern New Jersey (in households that were facing economic struggle and had kids age 6 to 8). Read more
Mr. Trump (I believe he deserves the respect of “Mr.” because he is the president-elect) was successful in tapping the fear, anger, and frustration of an America that is hurting economically. Job prospects generally improved under President Obama, but the benefits did not reach many of those who supported the winning candidate. Certainly, their wages have not risen in recent memory, and the hope that their children would achieve a better life than they did was lost along the way and has never returned. Worse, the “establishment” didn’t seem to care about or even recognize the depths of their discontent.
In 2001 I was hired to lead a large regional foodbank. That year I became aware of a shift in economic conditions that was like a silent tide raising around our ankles. More of the folks seeking help at food cupboards were not unemployed, and they lived in communities where hunger had never been a problem. As conditions continued to deteriorate, few national alarms bells went off, up until the economic crash in the fall of 2007. Massive layoffs then sent the unemployment rate soaring and lengthened the lines of people trying to get food assistance. Read more
In focus groups in Des Moines, Iowa, and Las Vegas, Nevada, a few years ago, voters were asked what their top issues were, but only one in each group of 20 mentioned an issue related to children. The economy, terrorism, the Middle East, and other issues were mentioned. Kids were an afterthought.
The focus group moderator and conservative communications strategist Frank Luntz proceeded to ask people — many parents, grandparents, and employees in professions that work with children — why they didn’t care about kids, and the participants became quite angry. “Why, of course, I care about kids!” several of them demanded. A few rose out of their chairs to further emphasize their passion for children. Read more
Is there such a thing as unintentional abuse? Absolutely. I experienced it myself.
Author, therapist, and PsychCentral.com columnist Támara Hill, MS, NCC, LPC-BE, MS, specializes in working with children and adolescents suffering from behavioral and mood disorders. She helped educate me about the realities of unintentional abuse and what it looks like.
So, what exactly is it?
Hill notes that unintentional abuse is often perpetrated by someone emotionally unavailable to provide adequate emotional or physical care to a child. The unintentional abuser does not maliciously intend to harm or intimidate a child but does just that through: Read more
Immigration, jobs, terrorism, and government-provided health care may have taken front and center on the campaign trail, but with Election Day approaching, polls tightening, and independents mulling over the choices, it’s the sidebar matters like childcare, education, and family leave that could prove the tipping point for many voters.
“The state of America’s children in 2016, especially for children of color, continues to have odds staked against their academic and later economic success,” said Patti Hassler, vice president of outreach and communications for the Children’s Defense Fund. “We believe that this is the greatest threat to our national security and economic future.”
So how do the two main party candidates stack up? Read more
At a Trump rally in January, a girls’ musical trio, The U.S.A. Freedom Kids, gyrated on stage and denounced “enemies of freedom.” The youngest member was 8 years old.
At a rally in New Mexico, a child held a sign as big as she was, printed with words she likely could not spell: “I am not a rapist or a drug dealer.”
And a photo of a young boy and girl holding a “Fuck Donald Trump” sign, likely a manipulated image, went viral in March.
Yet in the discourse surrounding the approaching election, there is little mention in the media of the needs and challenges of America’s youngest citizens. News outlets reported at length on the crying baby Trump “kicked out” of a rally and the 10-year-old boy who yelled, about Clinton, “Take that bitch down,” but almost nothing has been said about the school readiness gap or the one in five American children who live in poverty. Read more
The representation of everyday children in our media-driven society often ignores how parents shape their child’s digital presence long before the child is able to have a say. Issues of privacy and protection, hotly debated in other arenas, are overlooked as parents post images and videos on social media. Katie Elson Anderson focuses on the issues of protection and privacy as everyday children’s lives go viral. —Cyndi Maurer, PhD (editor)
YouTube is full of adorable babies, sassy toddlers, precocious preschoolers, and talented and entertaining elementary school students. When a video goes viral, besides being viewed on the internet, it can be widely shared by other media outlets, including the nightly news or a late night comedy show. In some cases, adults are encouraged to share videos in which they do mean things to their children, such as tell them they ate all of their Halloween candy (Jimmy Kimmel Live, 2015). The child’s reactions and emotions become entertainment for a broad audience, violating the child’s right to privacy, which encompasses the right to cry about a hurtful event without being put on display.
Twenty-two percent of children in the United States live in families with incomes below the poverty level. While this alone is a frightening statistic, it becomes even more alarming when you realize that poverty has a direct correlation to child maltreatment.
A 2010 study of child abuse and neglect led by Andrea J. Sedlak, PhD, found that children living in lower-income or poverty-level households are three times more likely to become victims of neglect, or physical or sexual abuse. In most cases one or more parent is the perpetrator. Read more
In Camden, New Jersey, young children and youths face community violence, struggling schools, family problems, and poverty on a daily basis. They navigate a city widely considered to be among the most dangerous in the United States. The unemployment rate in Camden is approximately 40 percent, and about 90 percent of the city’s school children are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. Many families experience difficulty meeting fundamental needs, such as acquiring sufficient food. Here, Dr. Marano reflects on the relationship between incarcerated youths, food insecurity, and the juvenile justice system. —Cyndi Maurer, PhD (editor)
The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. —Anatole France
Anatole France was known for his ironic commentary on French social conditions at the end of the 19th century. His words continue to resonate because, for some, there is difficulty in securing shelter, food, and other things that cost money. Having enough money for food, clothing, and shelter may seem basic to many of us but would seem like luxury to others. Read more
Why do children cut, burn, hit or poison themselves? The cause is often a feeling of despair or untreated mental illness and depression.
And it’s a growing issue among pre-teens and teens. Nearly 2 million cases of self-harm are reported each year, but the actual number may be higher, as a majority of those engaging in self-injurious behavior (SIB) conceal their activity.