kids and parenting | KUOW News and Information

kids and parenting

Picture this: You're in the supermarket with your hungry preschooler in tow. As you reach into the dairy case, you spot a sign with a friendly cartoon cow. It reads: "Ask your child: Where does milk come from? What else comes from a cow?"

In a small study published last year, signs like these, placed in Philadelphia-area supermarkets, sparked a one-third increase in conversations between parents and children under 8.

A Winchester Safes representative sets the lock on one of several gun safes on display at the 35th annual SHOT Show, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, in Las Vegas.
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

Kim Malcolm talks with Dr. Joseph Simonetti about the public health implications of safe firearm storage. His research finds that adolescents with risk factors for suicide are often easily able to access guns in their homes. Simonetti is Instructor of Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver.

Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Many Seattle elementary schools are doing away with homework this fall, citing a growing body of evidence that take-home assignments tend not to help elementary and middle school students.


Courtesy of April Reyes

This is me and my family. My mom, my dad, brother, and sister. (Not pictured: cats.) 

Six months ago, they were just strangers. And six months ago, I was homeless and couch surfing. I worked about 35 hours a week at Panda Express while attending school full time. I was a junior in high school, 16 years old. 

Bill Radke speaks with local independent podcast producer Marlo Mack about how she came to accept that the child she thought was her son was actually her daughter. Mack, who goes by a pseudonym to protect her child, has joined with KUOW to collaborate on a new season of How To Be A Girl, a podcast about raising a transgender daughter. 

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My dad's Cinderella story: Finding love in Somalia

Sep 28, 2016
Courtesy of Zubeyda Ahmed

My dad's life story is kind of like Cinderella’s. 

My dad, Abdul-Basit Hassan, grew up without a mom, worked for an evil relative and found his princess in the least expected way. 


How to be a dad (of a transgender kid)

Sep 28, 2016
Marlo Mack

In this episode of How to Be a Girl, Marlo Mack introduces us to her ex-husband and father of her child. When they were together they were raising a son. Four years later they now share custody of a transgender daughter.

First, a story:

Late one night, a man searches for something in a parking lot. On his hands and knees, he crawls around a bright circle of light created by a streetlamp overhead.

A woman passes, stops, takes in the scene.

"What are you looking for? Can I help?"

"My car keys. Any chance you've seen them?"

"You dropped them right around here?"

"Oh, no. I dropped them way over there," he says, gesturing vaguely to some faraway spot on the other side of the lot.

"Then why are you looking here?"

The man pauses to consider the question.

Few things inspire more loathing in the hearts of high school students than the words "extra homework." But as Florence Mattei hands out a pamphlet to her homeroom class at the Southlands School in Rome, she tells them they may want to give this assignment a chance.

"Who would like to read what it's about?" she asks the room full of 18-year-olds.

A senior named Alessio translates from Italian into English: "For the people born in 1998 there is a 500-euro bonus that you can spend on cultural things, such as going to the cinema, visiting museums and this kind of stuff."

About one in five children in the United States shows signs of a mental health disorder — anything from ADHD to eating disorders to suicide.

And yet, as we've been reporting this month, many schools aren't prepared to work with these students. Often, there's been too little training in recognizing the problems, the staff who are trained are overworked, and there just isn't enough money.

The King County Council has unanimously approved the master plan for the $400 million Best Starts for Kids initiative voters passed last fall.

Half of the Best Starts for Kids funding will go toward early childhood efforts, like programs that send nurses on regular home visits with low-income moms and babies, a new system for infant and young child mental health, and increased spending on public health services for pregnant women and children.

Oh, middle school. The land of pantsing. Mean girls who won't let you sit with them in the cafeteria. And, these days, cryptic taunts posted on social media, where parents and teachers can't always see them.

The Oregon Health Authority says an increase in selenium concentrations near Bullseye Glass Company has prompted an inspection.

Data from a device near the Children’s Creative Learning Center in Southeast Portland showed slightly elevated concentrations of selenium on September 6.

Selenium is an essential nutrient needed in the human body, but it can be hazardous at high levels.

Bullseye has been in trouble with the state several times this year for similar emissions problems.

John Muir Elementary in Seattle, where 48 percent of the students are black.
Flickr Photo/Joe Wolf http://bit.ly/2cLugNE (CC BY-ND 2.0)

An event at a South Seattle school aimed at inspiring students of color has been canceled after John Muir Elementary received an online threat.

An example of recent treasures hidden on Mercer Island.
Facebook Photo/Mercer Island Rocks!

Bill Radke talks with Richard Ronald about the game his family started playing on Mercer Island beaches: collecting and painting rocks and then hiding them for others to find

You're at a cafeteria, you've got your lunch ... and then you just don't know where to sit. You don't want to sit alone, but you also don't know who would be friendly and let you sit with them. Sixteen-year-old Natalie Hampton has been there. She's an 11th-grader from Sherman Oaks, Calif., and the creator of a new app called Sit With Us.

Hampton recently spoke about the app with All Things Considered host Audie Cornish. A transcript of their conversation follows, edited for clarity.

Sam struggled with depression in middle school.
KUOW Photo/Natalie Newcomb

Sam, 17, has a bright smile and is always making  her friends laugh.

But in seventh grade, Sam struggled. She was trying to figure out her role in the social ladder, and her parents were fighting, and she was feeling extremely sad.


My mother swears I learned to read by watching The Electric Company on TV, so maybe that's why I was initially a bit lax when it came to my daughter and screen time.

But after realizing she would be perfectly content to spend every free minute switching between the PBS Kids app and toy unboxing videos on YouTube, my husband and I drew several lines in the sand and drastically limited her screen use by both time and content.

Federal Judge Ann Aiken heard from attorneys Tuesday in a case that 21 young people have brought against the Obama administration over climate change. the audience for the hearing overflowed into two other rooms at the Eugene Federal Courthouse and in courtrooms in Portland.

Attorneys for the federal government and fossil fuel industry groups argued for dismissal of the case.

Sean Duffy, with the Justice Department, acknowledged climate change is real and human caused. But he said the judicial system is not the right forum to push for more action to cut carbon emissions.

Donald Trump is once again taking the fight to Democrats and Hillary Clinton.

During a week in which the Republican presidential nominee has been attacking Clinton for disparaging half of his supporters as "deplorables," Trump plans to roll out a new proposal that treads deep into the core issues that Clinton and other Democrats regularly campaign on: making child care more accessible and affordable.

Erin Jones, left, and Chris Reykdal are running for state schools chief in Washington state. Jones has been under fire for her comments on gender curriculum.
Campaign photographs

Q. Erin Jones and Chris Reykdal are the two candidates for state schools chief. So let's get to know them. What do you know about Reykdal?

Reykdal is a three-term Democratic state representative from Tumwater.

He’s been a teacher, and he’s vice-chair of the House Education Committee.


Jonathan Carollo, 14, captured viral attention when he played his washing machine. Now he's part of an international video including child prodigies
KUOW Photo/Emily Fox

Four years ago a kid in Sammamish started playing a unique kind of instrument.

The washing machine. Which, it turns out, is like a drum kit with a spin cycle.

At 10, Jonathan Carollo became a viral YouTube sensation. Now he’s back with a new video.


School supplies
KUOW Photo/Bond Huberman

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW education reporter Ann Dornfeld about why Washington asks its students to help supply their schools. 

Washington requires traditional supplies meant for individual use, like a 24-pack of crayons and some spiral bound notebooks, as well as more unusual supplies meant to be shared by the classroom, like one jumbo pack of napkins, two bottles of hand sanitizer and two reams of copy paper. 

Teen pregnancy is way down. And a study suggests that the reason is increased, and increasingly effective, use of contraceptives.

From 2007 to 2013, births to teens age 15 to 19 dropped by 36 percent; pregnancies fell by 25 percent from 2007 to 2011, according to federal data.

Scantron test sheet
Flickr Photo/COCOEN daily photos (Cc-BY-NC-ND)

Bill Radke speaks with KUOW education reporter Ann Dornfeld about the most recent Washington State report card.

Students who took the Smarter Balanced Assessment, a statewide test for public school students, did better on average this year. Still, approximately half of elementary school students are not meeting the standard in math, and they're not doing much better in English language arts.

Sharon Ballantine at University Book Store
Photo Courtesy of Monica Valenzuela

Sharon Ballantine is a life and parenting coach and the author of “The Art of Blissful Parenting.” In it she writes about the ways parents can build rich, lasting, meaningful relationships with their children.

But it’s not all about the bliss. One of her suggestions: give yourself, not just your child, a time-out when things get stressful. Her reading and talk offers helpful tools and suggestions for any parent.

Author and illustrator Elisha Cooper
Courtesy of Elisha Cooper/Christopher Smith

In his new memoir, “Falling: A Daughter, A Father, and a Journey Back,"  author Elisha Cooper recalls how he and his family faced and survived his daughter Zoe’s cancer.

The act of reflection, some years after the events, is cathartic for Cooper. The result is the chronicle of a life-changing period, marked by terrifying uncertainty and resilience. He tells the story with humor and a palpable sense of awe. 

Where to send foster kids? For 72 hours, Skookum House

Aug 24, 2016
Skookum House provides 72 hours of shelter for foster kids in Bellingham, giving social workers more time to find them a home.
KUOW Photo/Sarah Eden Wallace

There was a kid they called Peanut at the Child Protective Services office in Bellingham.

“He spent a lot of time with social workers, just going around the office,” recalled Alex Fitzstrawn, a supervisor here. Peanut also slept on the couch in the office.


On a Saturday morning, a group of adults gather in a circle in an elementary school classroom on the campus of Gallaudet University. Each wears a name tag — and on that name tag is a common sexual term: "Ejaculation." "Orgasm." "Condom."

One by one they introduce themselves by the name on their tag. Not in spoken words, but in American Sign Language (ASL).

These are parents and caregivers who have — or work with — children who are deaf or hard of hearing. The moms and dads are bashful at first, but after signing for a few minutes, they're laughing at themselves.

Many parents who grew up playing outdoors with friends, walking alone to the park or to school, and enjoying other moments of independent play are now raising children in a world with very different norms.

In the United States today, leaving children unsupervised is grounds for moral outrage and can lead to criminal charges.

What's changed?

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