kids and parenting | KUOW News and Information

kids and parenting

Advice to my daughter from a trans woman

Nov 9, 2016

There is far more acceptance today towards people who are transgender. Think of former Olympic champion Caitlyn Jenner or actress Laverne Cox. But there was a time when the world was far less tolerant. Marlo Mack  turns to an older transgender friend for advice about raising her trans daughter.

Being a parent is hard, even if you have a partner and a steady income (or two). Now, imagine doing that job solo.

It's a trend that's risen steadily in the past few decades. In 1968, 85 percent of children were raised in two-parent families, according to U.S. Census data. By 2015, the share of U.S. kids in families with one parent had more than doubled, to 27 percent.

There's a perception that children don't kill themselves, but that's just not true. A new report shows that, for the first time, suicide rates for U.S. middle school students have surpassed the rate of death by car crashes.

The suicide rate among youngsters ages 10 to 14 has been steadily rising, and doubled in the U.S. from 2007 to 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014, 425 young people 10 to 14 years of age died by suicide.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released new guidelines last week on kids' media use. According to headlines across the country, the new guidelines downward revise the medical group's previous call that parents prohibit their kids from using screens until they are at least two years of age.

Another child in Washington has contracted an illness that causes muscle weakness.

Health officials are now investigating nine possible cases of acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), including one child from Bellingham who died Monday in Seattle. The latest child hospitalized is from Snohomish County.

Bill Radke speaks with Seattle Times health reporter JoNel Aleccia about a mysterious illness that's caused the hospitalization of nine children in Washington state this fall. One child has died so far.  

Premature Births Rise Once Again, Despite Efforts To Prevent Them

Nov 1, 2016

The number of preterm births in the United States rose in 2015 for the first time in eight years, according to data presented Tuesday by the March of Dimes. Babies born too early face a risk of health complications that can last a lifetime.

The organization also reported that racial minorities continue to experience early labor at higher rates.

Preterm births increased from 9.57 to 9.63 percent of births in 2015, an additional 2,000 babies born prematurely in the U.S., the report found.

A view of the Pike Place Market in July 1919.
Seattle Municipal Archives

Pike Place is haunted by the ghosts of children.

Mercedes Carrabba is a second generation vendor at Pike Place. She says the nine acre Pike Place district “is the most haunted location in the city, if not possibly the state.”

Young children and teenagers are increasingly likely to be poisoned by opioid painkillers that are often prescribed for other family members, a study finds.

The rate of children hospitalized for opioid poisoning increased 165 percent from 1997 to 2012, from about 1.40 per 100,000 kids to 3.71 per 100,000. In six years in which mortality data was available, 176 children died.

Experts at the Oregon Poison Center are warning parents to be on the lookout for marijuana edibles in their kids’ Halloween candy.

There haven’t been any reports in Oregon of people slipping edibles into kids' candy, but toxicologist Robert Hendrickson, worries it could happen accidentally.

“This is a time of year when there’s lots of candy around the house because they’re going to go out into bowls to be handed out. And there are kids coming home with candies," he said.

When Katlyn Burbidge's son was 6 years old, he was performing some silly antic typical of a first-grader. But after she snapped a photo and started using her phone, he asked her a serious question: "Are you going to post that to Facebook?"

She laughed and answered, "Yes, I think I will." What he said next stopped her.

"Can you not?"

That's when it dawned on her: She had been posting photos of him online without asking his permission.

State and federal law protect the rights of Native American children even when one of their parents is not Indian. That’s the word today from the Washington state Supreme Court.

Most parents have experienced sticker shock when they find out just how much it will cost to care for their infant or toddler full- or even part-time. For parents who have little choice, this can be a big financial strain.

In fact, the most common challenge parents face when looking for child care is the high cost. That's the finding of a recent poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

It's a familiar scene for sleep-deprived parents everywhere: They put down the baby in the bassinet to sleep, and those tiny eyes flutter shut. Then they flutter back open and the crying starts. The only thing perhaps more harrowing than those long wakeful nights of a baby's first year is the fear that one day the child won't wake up.

Baby Helmet Therapy on the Rise

Oct 25, 2016

As parents of newborns have been following pediatric recommendations of putting their babies to sleep on their backs to prevent Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, there has been a steep rise in babies with misshapen skulls. Now, doctors have increased prescribing orthotic headgear to correct the condition among infants.


Parents can reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome by keeping their child's crib in the same room, close to their bed, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The state has released numbers to show how often school staff physically restrain or isolate K-12 students. Student advocates say the data is concerning.

Life is pretty busy for Mike Buchmann, a high school art teacher and football coach, and his wife Shannon, who works as an assistant controller at a small private college near their home in Mishawaka, Ind.

Everyone is out the door by 7:45 each morning: Mike shuttles their two older kids to before-school care, while Shannon drops off their 14-month-old at a church-based child care center before they head off to their full-time jobs.

Every day in the United States, millions of expectant mothers take a prenatal vitamin on the advice of their doctor.

The counsel typically comes with physical health in mind: folic acid to help avoid fetal spinal cord problems; iodine to spur healthy brain development; calcium to be bound like molecular Legos into diminutive baby bones.

When Rosley Espinoza's daughter was very young, in preschool, she started acting differently. She seemed distracted and would get in trouble at school.

"Lack of interest, teachers' notes coming home with behavior notes," Espinoza says, speaking in Spanish.

She says she asked school officials to evaluate her daughter, Citlali, for special education, but they didn't.

If there's one rule that most parents cling to in the confusing, fast-changing world of kids and media, it's this one: No screens before age 2.

As of today, that rule is out the window.

Whether your kid is 3 and obsessed with Daniel Tiger videos or 15 and spending half her conscious hours on Snapchat, you are probably somewhat conflicted about how to think about their media habits.

How much time? What kind of media? What should our family's rules be?

Ryan Reilly's first-grade student offered their interpretations of a bell hooks book about prejudice.
KUOW Photo/Ann Dornfeld / KUOW

Teachers at schools across Seattle wore Black Lives Matter shirts to class Wednesday. They also gave lessons about race and equity – and talked with students about what their shirts mean.

How to find a playdate for your trans child

Oct 19, 2016
Marlo Mack's daughter and her best friend.
Courtesy of Marlo Mack

Worrying about your kid's social life is part of being a parent. And it’s not always easy. Especially if you are raising a transgender child. In this episode Marlo Mack shares the challenges of finding a play date for her transgender daughter.


When Jolie Ritzo was looking for day care for her son Cannon in Falmouth, Maine, she checked out as many centers as she could.

She was looking for a place with the right feel.

"Most importantly, the people who are providing the care are loving and kind, nurturing and interested in developing these little beings," she says.

There was one center in town that had a great reputation, but it was so pricey, Ritzo says, "It would break the bank."

Parents and teachers are worried.

They believe that today's kids are growing up in an unkind world and that learning to be kind is even more important than getting good grades. But, when it comes to defining "kind," parents and teachers don't always agree.

My mom's mental illness told through photos

Oct 14, 2016
From the ongoing photography project, You Have Nothing to Worry About. Title: Mom's new makeup, 2014.
Melissa Spitz

Since 2009, I have been making photographs of my mentally ill, substance-abusing mother. Her diagnoses change frequently – from alcoholism to dissociative identity disorder – and my relationship with her has been fraught with animosity for as long as I can remember.

Flickr Photo/WarzauWynn (CC BY-NC 2.0) http://bit.ly/2e4FXO7

A little girl went home in tears recently: She had been called "a Trump" at her school in Seattle.

A first-grade boy, the son of a KUOW employee, asked his mother if his Muslim classmates would have to move away if Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, were elected.


Developmental psychologist Alison Gopnik
Wikimedia Photo/Kathleen King (CC BY-SA 3.0) http://bit.ly/2miDSmR

The concept of "parenting" has only been around since the 1960s. Child development researcher Alison Gopnik believes our modern views on child raising do a disservice to children’s ability to thrive.

Gopnik is a professor of psychology and philosophy at University of California, Berkeley, where she directs the Gopnik Cognitive Development Lab. Her new book is “The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children.”

She spoke at Town Hall Seattle on October 3. Sonya Harris recorded her talk.

Chun Zheng has lived through a house fire, a flood and an earthquake. None of that, she says, compares to sending her infant daughter and son abroad to live with her extended family.

"It's the worst hardship I've ever had to bear," says the 42-year-old hotel housekeeper, speaking in Mandarin.

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