kids and parenting | KUOW News and Information

kids and parenting

Tymia McCullough fidgets in front of a mirror in her hotel room as her mom, Susie Pitts, puts the final touches on her hair and nervously drills her on what she is going to say when she gets to Capitol Hill.

"And this is where you let them know that Medicaid is what?" Pitts asks.

"Health assurance," Tymia responds.

"Health insurance that does what?"

"It pays for the need to see your doctor," Tymia says.

Tymia is just 11 years old. She came to Washington last week to lobby Congress over health care. Her family saw it as a life-or-death fight.

When Black Hair Violates The Dress Code

Jul 17, 2017

Raising teenage girls can be a tough job. Raising black teenage girls as white parents can be even tougher. Aaron and Colleen Cook knew that when they adopted their twin daughters, Mya and Deanna.

As spring came around this year, the girls, who just turned 16, told their parents they wanted to get braided hair extensions. Their parents happily obliged, wanting Mya and Deanna to feel closer to their black heritage.

As a new parent, Jack Gilbert got a lot of different advice on how to properly look after his child: when to give him antibiotics or how often he should sterilize his pacifier, for example.

After the birth of his second child, Gilbert, a scientist who studies microbial ecosystems at the University of Chicago, decided to find out what's actually known about the risks involved when modern-day children come in contact with germs.

Raising children is a task that requires extensive "on-the-job" training, which is why many women rely on new moms groups for parenting support and guidance. Often, however, as the kids get older, the mothers' friendships fall by the wayside.

Now, new research indicates that social support isn't just valuable for mothers of young children, it's beneficial for moms of teens, too.

Author and filmmaker Sherman Alexie waits with dancers backstage for his turn on stage as the keynote speaker at a celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, at Seattle's City Hall.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Sherman Alexie, author and friend of KUOW, posted this letter to his Facebook page on Thursday.

Linda Johnson, 33, a single mother of three, holds her 4-month-old daughter, Zimera, while sitting in her car that she often times sleeps in, on Thursday, June 29, 2017, in Bremerton.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Linda Johnson, 33, has three children and a four-door sedan with diapers stashed in the back.


Emiliano with his girlfriend Trista
COURTESY OF EMILIANO ALÁRCON

It was a warm summer evening. I could feel the sun on my back. I was sitting at the edge of a highway bridge.

The sounds of cars rolled both behind and under me as I looked down at what looked like my own final resting place. 


Kendra Roberson, lecturer at the University of Washington School of Social Work.
KUOW photo/Megan Farmer

When 30-year-old Charleena Lyles was shot and killed by Seattle Police, her death became part of a legacy of trauma absorbed by the black community. Brain scientists are only now researching impacts this kind of violence has on the psyche of African-Americans and their involvement in the criminal justice system.  

Kendra Roberson, a lecturer at the University of Washington School of Social Work, provides therapy services for black school-age girls. She told reporter Patricia Murphy that young people experiencing long-term trauma can begin to believe that bad things will happen to them.

Courtesy of Reema Tuffaha

My daughter asks me to explain
but my words falter.

Think about the Syrian civil war and refugee crisis. The seemingly endless cycle of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Now, if you have kids in your life, think about how you talk to them about war and human suffering.

When Kelly Barrales-Saylor was a new mom, she got a lot of children's books as gifts. Most were simple books about shapes, colors and letters. There were none about science — or math.

"My editorial brain lit up and said there must be a need for this," says Barrales-Saylor, who works as an editor for a publishing company outside Chicago.

Halfway across the world, Chris Ferrie was similarly unsatisfied.

When reading to his kids, Ferrie noticed that most books used animals to introduce new words. In today's world, that just didn't make sense to him.

USA Gymnastics announced Tuesday that it will adopt all 70 of the recommendations in an independent review of its policies about reporting abuse. An investigation by The Indianapolis Star last year found that at least 368 gymnasts have alleged they were sexually assaulted by adults working in the sport.

Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Washington.
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf (CC BY-ND 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/fuH8hN

A Seattle School Board resolution calls for the expansion of ethnic studies in district classrooms.

The Seattle-King County chapter of the NAACP first made a similar proposal last winter. 

Advocates for ending child marriage are trying a new tactic: Show governments just how much the practice is hurting their own bottom line.

The first book of the Harry Potter series went on sale in the U.K. 20 years ago today. It offers a convenient excuse to reacquaint yourself with a world before anyone on this side of the Atlantic had heard of muggles, horcruxes or pensieves, before tourists would crowd into London's Kings Cross railway station simply to peer wistfully at the space between Platforms Nine and Ten.

Here's the first story NPR ever aired about Harry Potter — a wonderful piece by the late Margot Adler, from All Things Considered in 1998.

Some gems, from that bygone era:

In many ways, parenting newborns seems instinctual.

We see a little baby, and we want to hold her. Snuggle and kiss her. Even just her smell seems magical.

Many of us think breast-feeding is similar.

"I had that idea before my first child was born," says Brooke Scelza, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of Los Angeles, California. "I definitely thought, 'Oh, I'm going to figure that out. Like how hard can it be?' "

Today we're going to update a story we first brought you back in 2004. That September, NPR set out to document what may be the most important day in any young child's life — the first day of kindergarten. For parents it's a day filled with hope, anxiety and one big question: Is our child ready?

The answer back then, as far as 5-year-old Sam Marsenison was concerned, was, "No, no, no!"

David Schmader at KUOW.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Bill Radke speaks with David Schmader about the essay he wrote for KUOW's Seattle Story Project titled, "My teacher abused me. I didn’t realize it until 20 years later."

In high school, Schmader was one of the theater kids. He even convinced his parents to let some family friends become his legal guardian so he could go to a school 20 miles away where they had one of the best speech and drama programs in all of Texas. He would rehearse before school, after school, during lunch.

He even started taking private lessons from one of his teachers. Schmader ended up having his first sexual experience with this man. 

baby kid
Flickr Photo/Tamaki Sono (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/224maX

Bill Radke speaks with artist, poet and mother of two, Natasha Marin, about the realization that she didn't have to become a mother. She says motherhood seemed like something she was always just supposed to do.

Radke also speaks with poet and curator Imani Sims about her decision to not have any kids.

Marin's story and this conversation on motherhood first appeared in an article by the Seattle Times.

Barbie's one-time blue-eyed boyfriend is getting a makeover. Toymaker Mattel is giving its Ken doll a variety of new looks in hopes the makeovers will move the toys into the modern era.

On Tuesday, the company rolled out 15 new Ken dolls with three body types: "slim, broad and original." They have seven skin tones, nine hairstyles — including cornrows and "man buns" — and an array of sartorial styles from business casual to athletic-chic.

Photographer and journalist Katie Hayes Luke reported throughout the year on an innovative school for homeless children in Oklahoma City, Okla. We're not using the first names of students and family members to protect their privacy.

On the last day of school, the fifth grade students at Positive Tomorrows perform last-minute rehearsals for the inaugural "Classy Awards."

Laurelhurst Elementary in northeast Seattle.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

On a gray day last October, teachers across Seattle wore a shirt that read BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Being a dad is not just about biology.

Juan Calvo and his husband, Darrow Brown, know that fatherhood isn't limited to a science. In 2007, after Calvo volunteered to care for drug-addicted infants in Baltimore, he knew he wanted to do more.

So, Calvo and Brown became foster dads. The two still remember the moment they met their first foster child.

"The worker came in, she chatted a bit, then left some formula and said, 'Here, here you go. Sign this paper,' " Calvo says. "And this little baby, he was so beautiful."

About 20 percent of baby food samples tested over a decade-long period had detectable levels of lead, according to a new report from Environmental Defense Fund, a nonprofit group.

The group evaluated data collected by the Food and Drug Administration from 2003 to 2013. This included 2,164 baby food samples. They found 89 percent of grape juice samples, 86 percent of sweet potatoes samples and 47 percent of teething biscuits samples contained detectable levels of lead.

The author, right, with his teacher, Shawn Kamp.
Courtesy of Nate Martin

Sometimes it feels like we’re missing something in our lives. And sometimes we find what we’re looking for when we least expect it. Kind of like what happened to me.


KUOW Photo/Liz Jones

This relationship started off with reservations.

The Oregon House unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that aims to prevent so-called “lunch shaming” in Oregon Schools.

Author and filmmaker Sherman Alexie waits with dancers backstage for his turn on stage as the keynote speaker at a celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Day Monday, Oct. 10, 2016, at Seattle's City Hall.
AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

In Sherman Alexie’s deeply personal memoir, “You Don't Have to Say You Love Me,” he tells the story of growing up as the son of Lillian Alexie on the Spokane Indian Reservation.

This is why I nursed my baby on the Seattle bus

Jun 10, 2017
The author with her son at their home in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood.
Krista Welch for KUOW

At the back of the Metro bus, we did something unusual: We talked to one another. Among us was a woman who had her toddler son with her — we smiled and waved at him as he asked his mom 20 questions about the world. Then, unexpectedly, he moved close to her, pulled on the collar of her shirt and pulled her boob out for a quick snack.

One of Luke Somers' photos in Yemen.
Luke Somers

The headlines about Yemen are dire. Civil war has put almost 7 million people on the brink of famine. The United Nations humanitarian chief says Yemen is in danger of "total social, economic and institutional collapse.”

I am a man of science. Okay, perhaps not of science, but certainly near it. As a science journalist, I'm science-adjacent. But I consider myself to be bound by logic and facts.

Which is why it was weird when I took my infant son in for his first vaccines and started peppering his pediatrician with questions. I inspected the boxes, telling myself that I was concerned about a recent bad batch of vaccines in Chiapas, Mexico, that made a bunch of kids sick. But really, I was looking for a label that read "not the autism kind of vaccine."

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