kids and parenting | KUOW News and Information

kids and parenting

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?

When Scott Gatz and his husband decided to become fathers several years ago, pursuing parenthood meant finding both an egg donor and a surrogate to help them conceive a baby. Their first round of in vitro fertilization produced seven healthy embryos. One of those embryos was successfully transferred to their surrogate's womb, resulting in their son Matthew, who is now 6-years-old.

While the San Francisco couple feels their family is now complete, they are still in a quandary over what to do with their six remaining embryos — what they call their "maybe babies."

kids at play
Flickr Photo/guilherme jofili (CC BY 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/8Gw7aW

Dr. Peter Gray is an evolutionary research psychologist. He focuses on our education system and how children learn naturally. And that’s the rub: Gray points to the many ways our schools impede natural learning, with disturbing consequences.

His research and writing shed light on how the creativity and skills we establish in free play influence learning.

Standing before several dozen students in a college classroom, Travis Rieder tries to convince them not to have children. Or at least not too many.

He's at James Madison University in southwest Virginia to talk about a "small-family ethic" — to question the assumptions of a society that sees having children as good, throws parties for expecting parents, and in which parents then pressure their kids to "give them grandchildren."

Why question such assumptions? The prospect of climate catastrophe.

Bill Radke speaks with Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer about a rise in birth tourism in Canada. Anyone born in Canada is automatically a citizen. This is prompting women from other countries to fly to Canada to have their children and give them the opportunity for dual citizenship.

It was one of the worst moments of Durga's life: the morning her father suddenly announced that in about a week's time she would have to get married.

She was 15 years old. Her husband-to-be was in his 40s, had barely been to school and had a reputation as a heavy drinker. Even by the standards of their village in Northern India — where child marriages are still commonplace — this was a singularly bad match.

The residents of Flint, Mich., received some welcome news this week: Researchers released the results of a new round of water tests, showing lead levels in that city's water system falling just below the Environmental Protection Agency action level.

Too many water samples above that level is a red flag for utilities, a sign that they may have a broader lead problem.

Virginia Tech researcher Marc Edwards, who leads the team documenting Flint's water problems, called the new results the "beginning of the end," a turning point in the city's saga with corrosive water.

Lead problems with the water in Flint, Mich., have prompted people across the country to ask whether they or their families have been exposed to the toxic metal in their drinking water, too.

When it comes to assessing the risk, it's important to look in the right places.

Even when municipal water systems' lead levels are considered perfectly fine by federal standards, the metal can leach into tap water from lead plumbing.

In Puerto Rico the local association of obstetricians and gynecologists has launched a new attack on Zika. Because Zika primarily is a problem for pregnant women, the doctors are trying to reduce the number of pregnant women by offering free contraception across the island to any woman who wants it.

"We have had ... historical barriers to contraception in Puerto Rico for a long long time," says Dr. Nabal Bracero, the driving force behind the initiative and the head of the local chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Connie Hill of Columbus, Ohio, got some unsettling news after her son's 12-month checkup.

A nurse called to say that the 1-year-old's blood lead level test had come back as slightly elevated, which would put him in the top 2.5 percent of lead-exposed children ages 1 to 5 in the United States.

Sesame Street has been a constant presence in children's entertainment for nearly 50 years. In addition to Big Bird and Elmo and Oscar the Grouch, the program also has human characters who ground the show, teaching the muppets big life lessons and helping them on their zany adventures. But over the past few weeks, there have been some issues with the grown-ups of Sesame Street.

At These Museums, Tragedy Is A History Lesson

Aug 3, 2016

Last week, NPR Ed rounded up our favorite children's museums — places dedicated to letting kids learn in kid-friendly exhibits. That got us thinking about a different kind of museum: the ones that teach about the toughest episodes of history. How do you explain what happened during the Sept. 11 attacks to a child? What about the Holocaust, or the Oklahoma City bombing? We asked leaders from three memorial museums around the U.S.

New York Bans Registered Sex Offenders From Pokémon Go

Aug 2, 2016

At least 22 percent of Pokémon Go's millions of users are minors, according to a Survey Monkey study obtained by Forbes. With that many kids and teens playing the game — which is rated for users 9 years old and up — they become potential targets for child sex offenders.

Think about our planet for a second. Earth has an elliptical — oval-shaped — orbit. That means we're closer to the sun for one part of the year and farther away another part of the year.

Does that fact explain why it's hotter in the summer and colder in the winter?

Lots of kids think it does. Lots of adults think so, too. And they're wrong.*

Philip Sadler is both a professor of astronomy and the director of the science education department at Harvard University, and he is obsessed with wrong answers like these.

Bad Moms is a movie about good moms who try to go bad. Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis and Kathryn Hahn play suburban Chicago mothers who find themselves ground down by the daily cycle of school drop-offs and pick-ups, soccer games, supermarket runs, errands, chores and endless worries. One night they wind up at the same bar after a PTA meeting and together they decide to let loose.

e
Disney Channel

Move over, Elsa. There's a new Disney princess in town.

Her name is Elena, and she hails from Avalor — a fictional place that draws from several real-world cultures.

Elena is Latina. Which makes her the animation giant's first-ever Latina princess.

That's a big deal for Latino kids, who are for the first time, with "Elena of Avalor," seeing a Disney leading lady who resembles them. But for writer Melissa Lozada-Oliva, Elena isn't a complete success.

Kelly Paluso has been a child welfare worker with the Oregon Department of Health for 10 years.

OPB’s Kristian Foden-Vencil asked her what it’s like trying to find a home for a child when he or she is sitting right next to her in the Portland office.

“It’s close to impossible,’ Paluso said.

The biggest problem, she said, is trying to protect the child emotionally. That is, not letting him or her know you’re calling one foster home after another and being turned down, often because the are kids have behavioral issues and are seen as especially challenging.

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