kids and parenting | KUOW News and Information

kids and parenting

The recess bell rings at the Akha elementary school in Mosul and children come thundering out of the classroom. It's the first day of school.

An ordinary scene, except it hasn't happened for three years in this city. Iraqi forces drove ISIS fighters out of Mosul earlier this year in a battle that destroyed huge parts of the northern city, including hundreds of schools.

"None of us went to school when ISIS was here — we stayed at home," says Ali, who is in sixth grade. "It feels good to be back."

Lillian Rockett, 4, laughs as she is pushed on a circular swing on Sunday, October 1, 2017, at We Rock the Spectrum Kid's Gym in Bellevue.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Kirkland parents Shirley and Martin Sarmiento-Blaha were looking for a gymnasium for their six-year-old twin boys.

Their sons are on the autism spectrum. The gyms they found were too overwhelming for the boys.

Teens and children struggling with anxiety are often prescribed medication or therapy to treat their symptoms. For many, either drugs or therapy is enough, but some young people can't find respite from anxious thoughts. For them, a study suggests that using both treatments at once can help.

Suzanne Bouffard's new book, The Most Important Year, may be just what parents of preschoolers have been waiting for: a guide to what a quality pre-K program should look like.

Bouffard spent a lot of time in classrooms watching teachers do some really good things and some not-so-good things.

What are some of the things you learned?

Can you have kids and care about climate change? Listeners respond

Sep 29, 2017
Ashley Ahearn with her dog Burnaby
Courtesy of Ashley Ahearn

Should we have kids, given where the planet is headed? It's a deeply personal question that my husband and I are struggling with right now.

FILE: Teens at the King County Juvenile Detention
KUOW Photo/Isolde Raftery

"You have the right to remain silent."

Most people can recite at least the first line of the Miranda warning used by police when arresting people. The warning informs suspects they don’t have to talk to the police if they don’t want to, and that they have a right to an attorney. But brain scientists say young people often lack the perspective and judgment, especially in the moment, to know what’s in their best interest.

1 In 5 Teens Reports A Concussion Diagnosis

Sep 26, 2017

Concussions have gotten a lot of attention in recent years, especially as professional football players' brains have shown signs of degenerative brain disease linked with repeated blows to the head. Now, a new analysis confirms what many doctors fear — that concussions start showing up at a high rate in teens who are active in contact sports.

Executive Director of Shepherd's Counseling Services Janice Palm poses for a portrait on Thursday, September 14, 2017, at Shepherd's in Seattle. KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

There is a crisis that many of us would rather not face — childhood sexual abuse. 

According to Janice Palm, who works with adult survivors of sexual abuse at Shepard’s Counseling Service, one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18.

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office said the suspect in a shooting at Freeman High School outside Spokane, Washington, that left one student dead and three others injured Wednesday was “obsessed” with school shootings. 



Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich wore two loops of powder blue and white ribbon—the school’s colors—pinned to this chest as he briefed reporters in front of the courthouse. He said the 15-year-old suspected gunman got “sucked into a counter culture of violence.” 



Teens who take an X-rated selfie and then text the image can be found guilty of trading in child pornography in some cases. That was the 6-3 ruling of the Washington Supreme Court on Thursday.

Courtesy of Zuheera Ali

My mom, my Hooyo, has a special way of teaching you so much about the world and so little about herself.

She tells you the parts of her life that are going to push you to succeed the way she did, without letting you see the struggles she went through.


"Why didn't she text me back yet? She doesn't like me anymore!"

"There's no way I'm trying out for the team. I suck at basketball"

"It's not fair that I have a curfew!"

Sound familiar? Parents of tweens and teens often shrug off such anxious and gloomy thinking as normal irritability and moodiness — because it is. Still, the beginning of a new school year, with all of the required adjustments, is a good time to consider just how closely the habit of negative, exaggerated "self-talk" can affect academic and social success, self-esteem and happiness.

Hailey Dawson's favorite thing to do is throw out the first pitch at a baseball game, and thanks to a majority of all the MLB teams, she's going to be doing quite a bit of that in the future.

The first pitch seven-year-old Hailey threw out was at a University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels game. The UNLV engineering department had made it possible.

Josh Hanagarne is a dad, a librarian and an author. He also has an extreme form of Tourette's syndrome. But he doesn't let it and his tics — his involuntary movements and sounds — stop him from living his life. He says he actually chose to work in a library because it was the quietest place he knew of.

Josh first started showing symptoms of Tourette's syndrome when he was in elementary school, about the same age that his son Max is now.

There's nothing like the fair. Visitors can gorge on deep-fried Oreos, hot beef sundaes and heaps of cotton candy. There are rides, craft displays and, of course, barns full of animals that nonfarmers rarely get to see. Yet there's one day of the fair that's bittersweet and, for some, downright heart-wrenching.

Child marriage isn't just a practice that victimizes girls in poor countries. As this blog has previously reported, it's also long been an issue in the United States, involving girls from a wide range of backgrounds. Based on state marriage license data and other sources, advocacy groups and experts estimate that between 2000 and 2015 alone, well over 200,000 children — nearly all of them girls — were married. In nearly all cases the husband was an adult.

Around the country, students are moving into college dorms for the first time. As former dean of freshmen at Stanford University, Julie Lythcott-Haims observed parents becoming increasingly involved in their children’s lives. Consequently, their kids arrived at college without some basic living skills.

Courtesy of Ben E. King / HBO

Author Tom Perrotta made his name in 1998 when, still unpublished, one of his manuscripts was picked up for movie treatment. The quirky tale told in “Election,” starring Mathew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon, became a surprise hit. 

In 2015, Kiana Hayeri was living in Kabul and noticed something strange. She was helping her roommate, an Australian TV producer, with a script translation. The main character, a mother of three who divorces her abusive husband, was always described in a way that referred to a male relative.

It was not until his late 20s that Vincent Doyle discovered that his dead godfather, a priest based in central Ireland, was in fact his biological father. And Doyle, a Catholic himself, says that startling discovery inspired in him an abiding mission: to offer support to other children of Roman Catholic priests, who are bound by a vow of celibacy — and to ensure the church supports them, too.

Graduates of the International Rescue Committee summer school program, including Ikran Osman, 5, center, sit in the cafeteria before a graduation ceremony on Thursday, August 3, 2017, at Showalter Middle School in Tukwila.
KUOW Photo/Megan Farmer

Last year more than 1,700 refugees entering Washington state were school aged children. But many of them were not ready for the classroom.

For nearly a decade, a resettlement program has been running summer school in Tukwila for refugee kids to help them get ready to learn.

If you're in desperate need for some good news, look no further.

Scientists in the U.S. and India have found an inexpensive treatment that could possibly save hundreds of thousands of newborns each year.

And it turns out, the secret weapon was sitting in Asian kitchens all along: probiotic bacteria that are common in kimchi, pickles and other fermented vegetables.

Jeff Simpson at his home outside Portland, Oregon.
Thomas Teal for The Stranger, licensed for KUOW

The first time Ed Murray noticed him — really noticed him — he was 8.

When three-time Grammy-winning singer Angelique Kidjo was a 12-year-old schoolgirl in her native Benin, her best friend suddenly disappeared from school. Kidjo went to her friend's house and asked her father what had happened. The reason shocked Kidjo: Her friend Awaawou had become a child bride, and that meant that her friend's education — and her girlhood — were at an end.

The cubist revolution, now in its eighth year, is thriving.

That's Minecraft cubes, of course.

The game where you build virtual Lego-like worlds and populate them with people, animals and just about everything in between is one of the most popular games ever made; it's second only to Tetris as the best-selling video game of all time. There's gold in them thar cubes: More than 120 million copies have sold since Minecraft launched in 2009.*

So what's behind the game's enduring appeal?

For the first time, a generation of children is going through adolescence with smartphones ever-present. Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has a name for these young people born between 1995 and 2012: "iGen."

She says members of this generation are physically safer than those who came before them. They drink less, they learn to drive later and they're holding off on having sex. But psychologically, she argues, they are far more vulnerable.

Marty Jackson
KUOW Photo/Katherine Banwell

Marty Jackson runs the Southeast Area Network of the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative. For years, she had worked with Stephan Stewart, trying to keep him off the streets.

And her efforts appeared to be working.


I admit it. I have a "mummy tummy," also known as "mommy pooch." You know, that soft jelly belly you retain after having a baby — it makes you look a few months pregnant.

I've tried to convince myself that the pooch is a valiant badge of motherhood, but who am I kidding? The pooch bothers me. And it turns out it has been causing back pain.

So when I hear that a fitness coach and doctor have come up with a technique that can flatten the pooch quickly and easily, I think, "Why not?"

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.

A Young Irish Mom's Painful Decision

Aug 6, 2017
Sian Cullen and her daughter Aine. Cullen was a teenager in Dublin, Ireland when Aine was born. They now live in Seattle.
Courtesy Sian Cullen

I was 16 and going to school; I lived in Dublin and was infatuated with this older fellow who was a jack-the-lad kind of fella.

We met and had a relationship and it was brief. And I got pregnant.

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