Sunday, January 16, 2011

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother-- Another opportunity to teach parenting

The book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua is stirring an important discussion of the role of parents in their children's success.  Some of the controversy over this book was stirred up by the Wall Street Journal that titled an article, "Why Chinese Mothers are Superior."    But the topics discussed by Ms. Chua raise important questions about parent expectations, discipline, peers, practice, and so forth. 

Here are some interesting discussions:  Huffington Post:  

Slate magazine is hosting a discussion of the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua on January 27th. 

Participating Online about Parenting

This cartoon which shows a gun with the word "parenting" as the safety switch was a major topic of discussion in my house this week.  It raised lots of questions. 

1.  Are parents to blame for gun violence?
2.  Are parents "responsible for gun violence"?
3.  What are our responsibilities about dealing with our adult children's positive or negative behaviors?
4.  What are the challenges of finding resources/supports for our adult children with difficulties?
5.  What are the limits of our ability as parents to influence our children?
6.  If not parents, then how do we explain the troublesome behavior of young adults?

We didn't have any firm opinions on these matters.  As family life educators and professionals who study parenting, child development and families, should we be talking about this issues.  Should we respond to cartoons like this? 

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Autism: The Long Tail of Misinformation (Seth Mnookin)

There has been a consensus among scientists for many years that there is little evidence that vaccines cause autism, but that has not stopped many in the general public to continue to believe this idea.  In some parts of the US and UK there are still significant numbers of parents who are refusing to have their children vaccinated.

We are still learning how people of using the Internet to maintain ideas that have been discredited in various sources.  There is much we need to learn here.

Here are three interesting commentaries that deserve careful consideration as we think about the long tail of misinformation.

Seth Mnookin:  The Panic Virus (On the Media interview)-- book--The Panic Virus
Newsweek article-- Autism and the Affluent

Science Friday  Paul Offit -interview

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Citizen Scientists?

The web is increasing the opportunities for more people to become involved in science and to participate in data collection, data analysis, etc.  This New York Times article highlights a number of efforts to engage people in scientific work.  In addition to the examples in the article there are additional links and examples in the comments section.

Almost all these examples are from physical sciences, where are the social and behavioral science examples?  We are missing something here?