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Category Archives: Article

Comparison of different childhoods

New Yorker article on “Why Are American Kids So Spoilt?”

Read this article this morning – oy vey. What an eye-opener!

Somewhat relieved that I make Miss 6-y-o, my DD, do chores. It’s expected that she can get herself dressed and that she can pack her schoolbag (granted, with a little nudging some mornings). She feeds the kitten and I clean the kitty litter. Those sorts of things. If she sat back and expected me to pander to every requirement, I would go nuts pretty quickly and doing everything for her would do her no service whatsoever. I want her to grow into a resilient, reliable, thoughtful adult.

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Selfish dads brought into the equation

A while ago I wrote about Dr Barry Walters who claimed older mothers were ‘selfish’ for having children later in life, complete with the mothers’ possible health problems and complications.

I mentioned that it’s not one sex alone – what about the men?

Today I read an article that also asks “Where are the dads?” Damn fine question.

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/where-are-dads-in-the-age-debate-20111031-1mrdb.html

 
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Posted by on October 31, 2011 in Article, children, Motherhood

 

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Older mums – a bit more

I wrote an earlier response here to a WA professor’s declaration that older mothers are selfish for a variety of reasons.

One thing that has come back again and again to me from friends, older mothers and those who have not had the opportunity to become mothers, is that there’s a disconnect in some people’s lives between one person wanting to have children, and their partner not wanting children, or not wanting to settle down.

I was interested to read an article today by Sara Holton, Jane Fisher and Heather Rowe that asserts that women delaying having children for selfish reasons in order to pursue personal ambitions or hedonistic activities such as travel are not supported by the evidence.

The article is based upon To have or not to have? Australian women’s childbearing desires, expectations and outcomes by the above women in JOURNAL OF POPULATION RESEARCH DOI: 10.1007/s12546-011-9072-3. I have the article here on my screen (the joys of access to a university library – thank you).

From the news article:

[T]he selfish, career-focused woman who chooses not to have children or delays childbearing is a myth. Women are not helped by the accusations that have been directed at them in recent weeks.

Women would benefit from public policies that are more sensitive to and address the barriers they face in having children.

In addition to the welcome recent improvements in maternity benefits, such sensitive public policies could include education for men about female fertility and the risks to their partner’s health of postponing childbearing.

Other initiatives could include flexible repayment options to permit suspension of higher-education debts while women provide unpaid care for dependent young children, and maximising housing affordability.

Many women would have more children if they could and if circumstances allowed. Women reported a main barrier was their partner’s reluctance to have a child, or another child.

Given that, I feel it is irresponsible for pundits and researchers to yell at ‘older mothers’ for being ‘selfish’ and having children later in life.

 
 

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School uniform

My latest reading is http://www.nber.org/papers/w17337.pdf.

Dressed for Success? The Effect of School Uniforms on Student Achievement and Behavior
Elisabetta Gentile, Scott A. Imberman
NBER Working Paper No. 17337
Issued in August 2011

Why am I interested in this working paper? As a child I was forced to endure school uniforms every day at school for 10 long years. Kindergarten and secondary college (Years 11 and 12) did not have a uniform.

I heard the usual reasons for uniform compliance: everyone looks the same, you can tell which school a kid is from, it looks neat, it engenders respect, kids behave better, etc. I was never given hard evidence that kids behaved better in uniform.

I remember the horrible scratchy wool-nylon blend fabric used for our unattractive plaid skirts, the Midford school shirts that never sat correctly on the bust, the horrible shoes, and the rebels who would daringly wear sneakers with their uniforms and claim that their parents couldn’t afford school shoes, though they could afford sneakers that were nearly twice the cost of school shoes.

It was interesting to read what the researchers discovered after examining data from a large urban school district in the south-west United States, which historically has a different approach towards school uniform policies. I recommend that you read the full paper yourself.

[W]e fou nd that uniforms have a positive influence on student attendance in secondary grades. Attendance rates in grades
6 through 12 increase by 0.3 to 0.4 percentage points after a school adopts uniforms. On
the other hand, we fou nd little evidence that uniforms have lasting impacts on achievement,
grade retention, or the likelihood of students switching schools or leaving the district for all
genders and grade levels.

In terms of discipline we also fou nd little evidence of uniform e ffects.

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2011 in Academia, Article

 

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Commuting makes mums mad

 

 

 

http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/journaldescription.cws_home/505560/description

 

 

 

Jennifer Roberts | Robert Hodgson | Paul Dolan
external link 
It’s driving her mad: gender differences in the effects of commuting on psychological health Journal of Health Economics  

doi:10.1016/j.jhealeco.2011.07.006

 

 

 

 
 

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Gen X women – career before babies?

Article .

This is research from the NY think-tank, the Centre for Work-Life Policy. 43% of Generation X women (born between 1965 and 1978, my generation) do not have children. I find it interesting that the article sees this as a choice and a preferred choice at that, rather than the usual comments one hears of “There are no worthy men around!” I can think of quite a few Gen X women who would have loved to have children but so far have not found a partner with whom they would like to have children, and they do not want to have a child on their own via assisted reproduction technology. Sure, I see that most of us were aware of how much we could achieve and we totally went for it! We could do anything, take on any career, and we believed (still believe) in people being promoted due to their merits rather than just because they’re a bloke.

Ninety-one percent of the surveyed women in relationships were part of dual-earning couples, and 19 per cent out-earned their husbands. Similarly, 74 per cent considered themselves ambitious, compared to 65 per cent of women from the baby-boom generation.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2011 in Article, the mummy race, women

 

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Bookmarks on your internet browser – good or not?

I admit that I have a lot of bookmarks for internet browsers, usually methodically filed under various headings (e.g. Education, Journals, Children, Psychology, etc.) I also bookmark things which I come across while doing research for lecturers, not necessarily what they wanted but things I’d found serendipitously.

The drawback is, of course, that I find the bookmarks later when I think “How on earth did I get to that one?” Or worse still, “Why did I take the effort to bookmark that?”

My treat today is from the American Association of Wine Economists, the AAWE Working Paper No. 36, .

After ranking the samples on the basis
of taste, subjects were challenged to identify which of the five was dog food. Although
72% of subjects ranked the dog food as the worst of the five samples in terms of taste
(Newell and MacFarlane multiple comparison, P<0.05), subjects were not better than
random at correctly identifying the dog food.

Best bit:

44% (8) of subjects incorrectly chose liverwurst (sample E) as the dog food.

We conclude that, although human beings do not enjoy eating dog food, they are
also not able to distinguish its flavor profile from other meat-based products that are
intended for human consumption.

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Academia, Article, Food, Odd stuff

 

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