Category Archives: Children

Why Baby Drop Boxes Are Needed

In the United States, we have “safe-haven” laws in all 50 states, which allow children to be left anonymously in designated places (hospitals, fire departments, etc.).  Taking a similar initiative, European countries are providing more and more baby “drop boxes” for parents to drop off unwanted babies.  They have recently become a big deal in the news because the United Nations (which in my opinion is totally useless) has had the nerve to criticize them.

According to an article in Time, “At a children’s charity in Hamburg, Germany, there’s a steel door to a hatch where unwanted babies can be left anonymously. Once closed, it cannot be opened again from the outside.  Established [12 years ago], this is the first of Germany’s now 80-plus baby boxes or baby hatches.”  These are what the U.N. is criticizing.  The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a statement saying that the boxes are “contravening the right of the child to be known and cared for by his or her parents.”

Well no kidding!  That’s the whole point – there aren’t two parents wanting to take care of the kid.  Duh! 

And guess what?  Roughly 30 to 40 babies (that they know about) die each year in Germany because they’ve been abandoned, and about that same number have been left in the hatches since their inception. 

It’s an alternative to just letting them die.  Are we really that worried about violating a child’s right to a name, nationality, and parents? 

We’ve had so many scandals here in the United States regarding this issue.  Remember the teenybopper who went to a dance, gave birth, flushed the baby down the toilet, and then went out to finish the dance?  A report by the Department of Health and Human Services showed that out of 4 million births in 1998, 108 infants were abandoned.  Between December of 2000 and March of 2001, seven babies were found dead in New York City – one thrown out a window in Washington Heights, another dumped in a sewer in Queens, and a third left in a vacant Bronx lot.

So, in my opinion, arguing about whether or not this is a good idea is sort of silly.  We’re dealing with people who are not going to take care of their kids anyway, so what are the options?  A lot of young women want the anonymity and a lot of babies are saved.
 
Some of you may take the side of the U.N. and argue back at me that the child has a right to be known by his or her parents because of medical issues that could arise.  To that, I just say don’t even bother.  In this day and age with the technology we have, the scans we can do, and the blood and genetic tests we can conduct, we don’t need family history to know what your problems are likely to be if you don’t take good care of yourself.  A lot of people have genes for a disease, like breast cancer, but they never get it.  Some people don’t have the genes for breast cancer and get breast cancer.  There’s no guarantee either which way.  It’s a specious argument.  

Some people might ask, “Hey, but what about the dads?”  Well, if the dad has a feeling he’s knocked up somebody and he really wants his child, he can either talk to the woman who’s carrying it, or he can go to the authorities to register his DNA.  Some adoption agencies deal with the DNA matchup of the putative father.  But I don’t even know the number of fathers in these situations who want their kid. 

One of the fellows who organizes safe-haven adoptions says that each year, his crisis line gets about 2,000 calls.  Most – 70 percent – decide to keep the baby and raise it with the help of their family.  However, 20 percent decide to place the baby in adoption, and 10 percent decide to leave the baby in a safe haven anonymously.  That’s one out of 10 kids that gets adopted out with anonymity through a licensed adoption agency.  They are placed with mommies and daddies who want them.  I say that if the law saves kids, it’s worth it.

It would be nice if only responsible, sane, married moms and dads were the ones having babies, but that’s not the case.  I am all for anything which does not result in a baby getting killed for no good reason other than “oops!”   That’s why I think the U.N. is being stupid.

Why It’s Important to Eat with Your Kids

Some years back, I remember a television actor making a public service announcement suggesting that parents have dinner with their kids maybe once or twice a week.  I was flabbergasted – there actually had to be a public service announcement to tell people this?!

Then I realized that in our society, we probably do.  The notion of mommies and daddies, home and hearth, and meals with your own kids are becoming less and less the portrait of America. 

According to a study, “The average parent spends 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with his or her child.” 

Let me repeat that: Only 38.5 minutes in an entire week!

By simply eating dinner together each night and making an effort to talk to your kids, you can quadruple that number.  You’ll get to know your kids.  Isn’t that the point of having a family?

According to Harvard research, “Family dinners are more important than play, story time, and other family events in the development of a child’s vocabulary.”  The dinner table is the social center of families, so it is no wonder that’s where our kids learn to talk. It gives them “real live” demos and practice in speech and social interactions.

Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine show that frequent family meals are associated with “a lower risk of smoking, drinking, pot use, depressive symptoms, and suicidal thoughts.   Kids between the ages of 11 and 18 also get better grades.”  Wow.  All of that is helped just by having dinner every night with your kids?!

The archives also reveal that family meals are “related to better nutritional intake and decreased risk for unhealthy weight control practices.  Families eating meals together ‘every day’ generally consume higher amounts of important nutrients [such as] calcium, fiber, iron, vitamins B6, B12, C, and E, and consume less overall fat compared to families who ‘never’ or ‘only sometimes’ eat meals together.”  This is probably because mommy cooked dinner.

Additionally, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found that “the more often teenagers have dinner with their parents, the less time they spend with boyfriends or girlfriends, and the less they are going to be sexually active.”  Not only do your kids have less time to hang out, but having a really good relationship with you makes them less likely to search for closeness by becoming sexually active.  This is why you see a lot of young sexual activity in divorced families where mommy decided she didn’t need a man.

A study conducted by the University of Minnesota also showed that “adolescent girls who have frequent family meals, and a positive atmosphere during those meals, are less likely to have eating disorders.”  When I read that, I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own family.  During my last couple years of high school, I went down the anorexia path.  We had dinner every night as a family, but it was a nightmare because my mom and dad were always angry about something.  The atmosphere at dinner was not pleasant.  So, it’s not just being at home that makes the difference.  You have to make family dinners a good experience. 

Another survey asked kids, “What’s the most important part of the dinner?”   What do you think their answers were?  The food?  No!  54 percent said the important part of dinner was sharing, catching up, talking, and interacting. 

The surveyors also asked teens, “Would you say your parents regularly make time to check-in with you and find out what’s happening with you or not?”  Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners, teens who have infrequent family dinners were almost two-and-a-half times more likely to report that their parents don’t bother to check-in with them.  Teens who have frequent family dinners are twice as likely to spend 21 hours or more per week (an average of at least 3 hours per day) with their parents.

The bottom line?  Your family structure and dynamic affects your kids, especially at dinnertime.    

The Cost of NOT Staying At Home

We all know the costs of moms not staying at home with their kids.  But did you know it literally costs more for moms to work?

After factoring in the rising costs of child care, gas, wear and tear on the car, parking, and other work-related expenses (clothes, food, etc.), a growing number of mothers are figuring out it doesn’t pay to have a job. 

In a CNN article, a third-grade teacher making about $48,000 a year in the Fairfax, Virginia  public school system was shadowed.  Out of the $48,000 she earned, she brought home about $30,000 after taxes, health insurance, and retirement contributions.  Even though she lives in Virginia, where child care costs are among the lowest in the country, care for the child would have cost $12,000 a year – nearly half of her before-tax income.

She says, “It wasn’t worth $18,000 for us to let somebody else raise our son.”  So I thought, “Well what amount of money would make it worth it to have somebody else raise your kid?” 

The Pew Research Center also conducted a study on the public attitude about stay-at-home moms.  According to it, when motherhood and children are brought into the debate, there is an ongoing ambivalence about what is best for society. Oh my gosh!  Imagine thinking of the greater good.  Only 21 percent of adults think the trend toward mothers of young children working outside the home has been a good thing for society.  Personally, I’m sad that the response was as large as 21 percent, but it’s still small.  On the other hand, 37 percent of the people surveyed said being a working mom is a bad thing, and 38 percent were not sure it makes a difference. 

The study goes on to say, most working mothers (62%) prefer to only work part time, and only 37% say they prefer full-time work. That’s scary…a third of those children have mothers who would rather be away from them all day. And finally, only one-in-ten moms say having a mother who works full time is the ideal situation for a child.  Do you realize they took ten mothers and asked each of them, “If you work full time, is that ideal for your kid?”  And one of them actually said, “Yeah.”  I wonder what motivated that, because I’ve always said not everybody’s a great mom.  If you’re not a good mom the kid might be better off with somebody else.  It is possible. 

But then I asked my listeners to describe “Aha!” moments they had about being stay-at-home moms.  Here are just three of the responses… 

Heidi wrote:
“My ‘Aha!’ moment happened rather quickly when I became a mom for the first time.  I was open to returning to work and didn’t know how I was going to feel after giving birth.  But when they put my daughter in my arms for the very first time, I looked at her, felt her tiny little body against mine, and said to my husband, ‘I’m never going back to work!’  Within those first few seconds of holding my daughter, a rush of future moments overwhelmed all my senses.  I didn’t want anyone besides this beautiful baby’s mommy and daddy to care for her.  I didn’t want a nanny to call me when she took her first steps.  I didn’t want a text from someone other than her daddy telling me she ate carrots for the first time.  I didn’t want to learn via email my child could swing all by herself at the park.  I didn’t want a video sent to my cell phone watching her speak her first words or hear her first real giggles.  I didn’t want a Picture Mail of my child’s first smile after losing her first tooth.  No, I wanted to be there for every possible moment in her life.  What job or amount of money would be worth missing all of that?  I’m happy to say after 6 years with two children and a grateful husband who not only loves my choice but also respects my choice (as so few do) of staying at home to raise our children, I still stay at home!  Thank God I had my ‘Aha!’ moment so quickly.  Otherwise I would have missed out on the one thing that matters most in life: being a real and present mother who has enough videos and pictures to fill a thousand albums that were all taken by me!  We all have regrets in our lives on what we should have or wished we would have done.  I thank God that not being there for my children each and every day is not one of them.”

Mayi wrote:
“When I started staying home with my children, I was surprised to find out how much I didn’t value my position as a mother.  I found out I only get to be mommy once and time was valuable. I learned I could live on a lot less than I originally believed.  I learned I like teaching (as they were my first students).  I learned I only get one shot at being an awesome mom.  I learned how to love and appreciate myself as a woman with an important job.  I learned how to budget and sacrifice, and I began to connect with and honor other mothers.  I have learned how to be creative, work, and study from home, and I have learned how to organize and plan.  I know the bond we have created will never be broken.  And I learned as long as I put God first, He will lead and direct me down the correct path and continue to make me an awesome mom and wife.”

And Jane:
“I have my stay-at-home parent ‘Aha!’ moment almost daily when I pick my daughters up from school.  I see the other kids who come out from their classes to emerge into the quad or parking lot area only to look for their ‘after school program’ bus/van, and they have this look of sadness when they see children like mine, who have their mom there to greet them with a hug, kiss, and a smile once they come running out of their classroom.  It would break my heart if I was not able to be there like I am for my girls.  Yes, we don’t have the luxuries like the other kids do of going to Disneyland once a year, video game systems, or designer clothes/shoes, but we are happy with what we have and what we can do. I love my two girls, and I wouldn’t change being a stay-at-home mom for anything!”

Baby Shower for Shack-Up Honey

Two people get to know each other through dating.  They develop awe, respect and love for each and then decide to marry.  The next step is usually creating another life which should be celebrated as a blessed event.  But what about attending a baby shower for a “shack-up pregnant honey”?

Watch: Baby Shower for Shack-Up Honey
Read the transcript

Or watch other videos at youtube.com/DrLaura

Raising Boys Into Men

I was reading William Bennett’s article, “Have We Forgotten How to Raise Boys Into Men?” and realized I talk about this on my program way too often, which is a sad state of affairs.  Bennett comments:

Fashioning men has never been easy, but today it seems particularly tough. Boys need heroes to embody the everlasting qualities of manhood: honor, duty, valor, and integrity.

Mostly I hear from women who marry young guys who play video games.

Bennett goes on to state:

Without such role models, boys will naturally choose perpetual childhood over the rigors of becoming a man-as many women, teachers, coaches, employers, and adults in authority can quickly attest to today.

Even though the National Organization of (I Don’t Know What Kind) of Women continues to bleat and lie, women are better educated, more ambitious, and more successful than men today than ever before.  But we see a real decline in manhood.  Men earning college degrees have fallen from 60% in 1970 to 43% in 2006.  In 1950, only five percent of men in the prime working age were unemployed.  Today, it’s at 20%, the highest ever recorded.

But that’s not even the biggest problem.  The biggest problem we have in our society today is men are more distant from their family and children than ever before.  The out-of-wedlock birthrate is over 40%.  Fathers are missing from their boys’ lives in devastating numbers. 

And, except on 9/11 when we talked about how the firefighters were heroes because of their honor, duty, valor and integrity, we’re left with basically two images of manhood:  machismo street hoods and males who refuse to grow up.  Kay Hymowitz, who’s a great writer, talks about this in her article: “Where Have the Good Men Gone?

Young men were tuning in to cable channels… whose shows reflected the adolescent male preferences of its targeted male audiences. They watched movies with overgrown boy actors… cheering their awesome car crashes, fart jokes, breast and crotch shots, beer pong competitions and other frat-boy pranks.

… It’s been an almost universal rule of civilization that girls became women simply by reaching physical maturity, but boys had to pass a test. They needed to demonstrate courage, physical prowess or mastery of the necessary skills. The goal was to prove their competence as protectors and providers. Today, however, with women moving ahead in our advanced economy, husbands and fathers are now optional, and the qualities of character men once needed to play their roles – fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity – are obsolete. 

And then I came upon this blog by Thomas Matlock: “Raising Boys: A Dad’s Parenting Advice for Moms.” He brings up ten points about boys that moms forget or want to change.  Just a few include: “Think caveman,” ” Yes, it really is all about poop,” ” Pointless physical activity is perfect,” and “Bedtime is sacred.”

In my opinion, the basic problem we have in marriages today is a feminine disdain for masculinity and a refusal of males to rise to the occasion and act like strong men, not “wussies” afraid of their women.  We need them to embrace honor, duty, valor and integrity.  Instead we have at least two generations of boys raised to be male-looking girls.

When Bad Things Happen to Children

On my SiriusXM show recently, I spoke about the meaning of life, and then I got this email from Lisa:

I heard part of your program today and you read about the different thoughts about the meaning of life… I’ve been thinking about that, too.

As the mother of a child who is dying of cancer, like many of us, we are losing our faith in a big powerful “daddy in the sky” that hears our prayers. I’ve heard from Christians that “God doesn’t give you what you can’t handle” but I can’t handle this. “God gives you strength to get through it” – no, He doesn’t. I’m about to lose my mind… the pain is much too great to bear. I hear that this is God’s plan, or that God needs another angel. If he needed another angel, he would just take one, HE WOULDN’T TORTURE THEM FIRST! How could he PLAN to put a child through this kind of HELL? What good could ever come out of this?

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. We wear gold ribbons, but only 3% of cancer research goes to childhood cancers. Does anybody care? Is the meaning of life only to do research on the “popular” cancers because they are the ones that will make money for the one who finds the cure? My son’s cancer is so rare that he gets the same chemotherapy he would have had in the 1980s… it doesn’t get researched.

Please tell me what the meaning of life is!

If you look at God as a “big powerful daddy in the sky that hears [your] prayers” and will give you what you want, and if you are a good person, you can’t help but be disappointed on a daily basis. That doesn’t seem to be the way it works. 

I know no other pain on the face of the earth that is greater than a parent having to see their child suffer and die.   I think parents would rather they suffer and die and trade themselves in for their kids.  So, this is the worst torture, but this is not a test of God.  That someone’s child or husband or wife or parent or friend gets ill and dies is not a test of whether or not there is a God.  There isn’t a test of whether or not there is a God — that’s why it’s called “faith.” To say that “I’m dubious about God” because my prayers aren’t being answered in the way that I want, is, in my opinion, never to have understood faith in the first place, but just to have played a social role in which you call yourself “religious.” 

There is no explanation for these things.  And, I agree with Lisa when she writes:  “If he needed another angel, he would just take one, HE WOULDN’T TORTURE THEM FIRST!….What good could ever come out of this?”  I like that answer of hers.  I think telling somebody this is God’s plan is a little obnoxious and I always thought it was.  It’s your assumption God is planning this.  You have no proof of that.  People go back to the story of Job and what he had to suffer and Abraham who almost wiped out his own kid until God said, “I see you really love me.  You don’t have to do this.” 

There are some important concepts and issues here.  When any of us says “I can’t handle this,” yet we make it through every day, we are handling it.  “Handling it” doesn’t mean it feels good or it’s easy; “handling it” usually means we are surviving it and doing the best we can.

I don’t understand all of the mass murders of the world — Stalin, Pol Pot, Germany, Japan. I don’t understand how that’s God’s will or God’s plan. It doesn’t make any sense to me, either.  And I don’t know how to put it together.  I don’t know how it’s God’s plan to have little children put in ovens and killed.  Or mommies and their children shot to death and put into a hole in the ground, naked.  I don’t understand how any of that is God’s plan.  So, I have no answer to that. 

This was not a theological thing where I was going to explain what life really means, other than there’s always been horror.  It’s like the horror films you see in the movies where there’s evil and someone in the church or somebody else finally squelches the evil and at the end you see the evil creeping up through the ground again. 

There is evil, there is disappointment, there is pain, there is everything.  So, ultimately, whether you really believe in God or not, we really need to hold on to each other.  There is something about touching the hand of another who corroborates your pain.  That’s why with parents in this situation, I always tell them to find other parents in this situation.  They will be the first ones to hug you and they won’t get tired of hearing from you like other relatives will.  It’s not they get tired, per se, it’s just they can’t do anything to help and it’s upsetting, so they don’t want to hear it anymore.  They are not being bad, they just don’t know how to fix it. They feel guilt and they feel uncomfortable and then they start feeling anger.  So, to go to people who have been there and done that is the way we hold on to each other.  Some people call that behavior the way God helps you go through things which are inexplicable. 

So, let’s not call bad things that happen “God’s plan,” because that hurts people.  God planned to hurt my kid?  You’re gonna tell me, there’s some higher power and I’m supposed to rise above that pain and say absolutely “I adore you?”  I think it’s a horrible thing to tell people.  I don’t think it’s good to tell kids God’s an all-powerful “daddy in the sky” who can do anything.  Well, then why isn’t he doing it for me?  I don’t like when people walk out of a bus that just been in a crash and they are alive and everyone else is dead and they say, “but for the grace of God.”  What the heck does that mean?  God intentionally wiped them out and kept you?

I think we want to feel special like we feel to a parent.  God is some kind of extension of parenthood.  We sometimes don’t realize how cruel we sound.  So, here’s my frame of reference for all of this.  There are evil things people do because they are evil.  There are horrible things that happen just because there are horrible things that happen.  The human body has weaknesses and that’s just the way it is.  There aren’t cures for everything because we are not good enough yet to produce them.  It’s hard to get money for things only a few people suffer from – Lisa is right about that.

The bottom line is we’ve got to hold on to each other.  That’s the immediate salvation: to hold on to each other’s love, support, and kind feeling.  It’s irrelevant if bad things are happening or not.  The way to make it through life, I believe, is to really be compassionate and to be open to compassion.  That’s what helps you get through the things that are inexplicable and horrible.

Pedophilia is Normal Say Some Mental Health Pros

About 10 years ago, there was a major point I could not get people to see or believe. I said the sole end game of the liberalization of sexuality in our culture was to have sex with children. 

You look at societies throughout history and there are many societies in which having sex with children was okay.  You look at a place like Afghanistan and unless the men want to have babies, they do boys and animals.  This is nothing new on the face of the earth.  But, in western civilization, this is an issue and I said back then the end game was to have sex with kids. 

So, I found an article on Fox News titled “Mental Health Group Looks to Remove Stigma From Pedophilia,” which says:

“A group of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals say it’s time to change the way society views individuals who have physical attractions to children.

The organization, which calls itself B4U-Act, is lobbying for changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, the guideline of standards on mental health that’s put together by the American Psychiatric Association.”

The DSM is the one where you look up a number for the disorder so the insurance companies will pay.  And, let me remind you for the umpteenth time:  there is nothing in psychology that makes it a science.  What goes in and out of the DSM as a disorder is based on social pressures and voting.  It has nothing to do with science.  I want you all clear…psychology is NOT a science.

“The group says its mission is to help pedophiles before they create a crisis, and to do so by offering a less critical view of the disorder.”

That’s just a bunch of bull and it’s words.  Words sell things, and even “nice” words can be co-opted to do some awful things.

“B4U-Act said that 38 individuals attended a symposium in Baltimore …[and] the speakers in attendance concluded that “minor-attracted” individuals are largely misunderstood and should not be criminalized even as their actions should be discouraged.”

I said a long time ago the end game of all this social liberalization (unknown to people even amidst the social liberalization) was to do your kids and not be criminalized for it, and this is what this article refers to.

Many of you may not know or may not remember the American Psychological Association published the infamous “Rind article” in its 1998 Psychological Bulletin.  This was a study which downplayed the impact of men having sex with boys, finding quite a few of the boys remembered their molestations positively, and not every child who has been molested has problems.
 
That’s like saying “I shot you in the head and you survived; therefore getting shot in the head is not a bad thing.”  This article was published by the American Psychological Association, and it said essentially man/boy sex was okay as long as the boys consented, because it was “love.”

I went on the air after the Rind article was published and I was very clear about this article wanting to decriminalize screwing your kids.  Grown men screwing your boys:  “it wasn’t a bad thing, it was a ‘love’ thing.  It’s a cultural problem;  people are just misunderstanding it.”

Well, I went ballistic and I got everyone in my office on the phone to Congress, and I asked the audience to do the same. I want to tell you the upshot, and I’m going to take all the credit for it.  It was my pressure which made Congress condemn the study and the American Psychological Association for the first time in its entire history backed down and apologized and the president of the American Psychological Association found another job.  I am proud to say I had enough power to mobilize enough people.  And Rind and his buddies were still invited to talk everywhere and were still published in other places.
 
Well, that may have happened, but we still have mental health professionals going to a symposium from a group which looks to remove the stigma from pedophilia.  “It’s a cultural thing.”  If the culture allows it, it’s not a bad thing, they say.  It’s not a bad thing for example in Afghanistan.  So, if it’s the norm (like Rome before it fell), what’s the big deal?  This is savage and all I can say is, I warned you.
 
I want you to understand the attempt to normalize screwing your children is still on in full gear.
 
They refer to pedophiles as “minor-attracted individuals.” How benign can you make it?  That’s why I call things as they are.  There needs to be clarity.  When you say “minor-attracted individuals,” you can follow it up with “are largely misunderstood and should not be criminalized.”  So, don’t be impressed just because someone is a psychologist or a psychiatrist.  You have to be very afraid because people get into positions of power to change things.  If I were a pedophile and I wanted to get it normalized and not criminalized, I would secretly and quietly get a bunch of my buddies and we’d join the psychological associations and teacher associations –  everywhere there are kids — and get in positions of power.  And then we’d gently start using different words (i.e., words that don’t shock, words that don’t alarm, words that don’t send up red flags) and slowly make it happen.  Remember the Rind study said it was not a problem; kids were not hurt by this.  And the American Psychological Association actually published that.