Watching the World
▪ “About one-third of girls in the United States get pregnant before age 20.”—CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION, U.S.A.
▪ A U.S. study of 420 men as “victims of domestic violence” found that “nearly three out of 10 have been battered or otherwise abused.”—AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PREVENTIVE MEDICINE.
Many parents fear that exposing young children to a second language will jeopardize their ability to speak their mother tongue. Yet, the opposite is true, says a research team led by neuroscientist Laura-Ann Petitto in Toronto, Canada. “Neural tissue that you’re born with . . . is ready and in place to learn language,” says Petitto, “and it can handle multiple languages.” In school, bilingual children often outperform children who speak only one language. However, says the Toronto Star, “parents must take the lead in teaching young children a second language if they want them to have all of the benefits that come along with being bilingual.”
Pornography Disturbs Children
Children are confronted with harmful pornographic and violent Internet videos at an increasingly early age. According to Heinz-Peter Meidinger, chairman of the German Association of Philologists, boys 12 and older often know how and where to find Web sites featuring extreme violence or degrading pornography. While children may appear outwardly tough and unconcerned, inwardly many are shocked and disturbed at viewing it. Meidinger urges parents to be interested in what is on their child’s mind and on his or her computer.
Planning for Divorce
A record number of Australians are signing prenuptial agreements that require their partner to meet specific lifestyle conditions, reports Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph. Prenuptial agreements are contracts that spell out how couples will divide their assets in the event of divorce. Many agreements now stipulate the lifestyle each partner must maintain for the marriage to last. Clauses can define who cooks, cleans, or drives, as well as whether pets are allowed, how much each partner can weigh, who walks the dog, and who takes out the trash. Lawyer Christine Jeffress notes that people “have less expectation that their relationship is going to last forever.”
Parents Struggling to Show Affection
“An increasing number of parents need an instruction manual on how to treat their little children, since they are apparently incapable of showing them natural affection,” says the Polish magazine Newsweek Polska. Parents need to be taught the basics, such as hugging their children, playing with them, and singing to them. These activities are vital for children’s balanced development. Research shows, however, that “among Polish families, watching television and shopping took first place in the most common ways that parents spend time with their children.” Playing together came in only sixth.