Weekend Reads: Naked Parents, Science vs Silliness and Improving Vax Rates

Happy Easter Weekend Readers! I hope everyone has a great time celebrating the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus by mimicking pagan fertility rituals involving eggs and bunnies!

Megan Zander at Romper asks “When should you stop being naked in front of your kids?” And she receives some really thoughtful answers.

While we’re asking the Matriarchy for advice, let’s find out if it is ok for your daughter to dress like a princess.  (The answer is yes…)

There are a lot of child psychology myths out there making the already hard job of parenting even harder. The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry examines them in Science vs Silliness. 

Corporal punishment in schools is illegal in 28 states, which is steady progress (New Mexico was the most recent state to abolish it in 2011.) But abolishing the practice entirely faces stiff resistance. In the places where it is still used corporal punishment has deep roots. 

Tom Vitaglione, of the child-advocacy group NC Child, says for years he’s been sending school leaders research papers showing corporal punishment leads to bad outcomes for students: higher drop-out rates, increased rates of depression and substance abuse and increased violent episodes down the road.

Principal Matheson says he’s seen that research, but he still believes paddling is an effective form of discipline. “I think if more schools did it, we’d have a whole lot better society. I do, I believe that.”

Vitaglione takes issue with that: “When it gets to schools, we now have an agent of the state hitting a child,” he says. “And we don’t believe that should happen.”

Are you violating your kids privacy often enough? The West Virginia State Police don’t think you are snooping enough…  (We at Grounded Parents don’t support ransacking your kids rooms like an episode of Law and Order:SVU)

Which segue’s nicely into this excellent Everyday Feminism piece, 5 Ways We Ignore Children’s Agency That Perpetuate Rape Culture. 

A new mom talks about what it is like to be pregnant and an abortion provider. 

Betsy DeVos was an awful choice for Secretary of Education. Her appointee to the departments Office of Civil Rights might be worse. 

Vox’s Dylan Matthews really liked the Sesame Street debut of Julia, an Autistic Muppet. 

“Meet Julia” begins with its title character drawing pictures with Elmo, Abby Cadabby, and the adult human owner of Hooper’s Store, Alan (Alan Muraoka), who serves as Julia’s confidant and caretaker throughout the episode. Big Bird shows up and tries to talk to Julia, who doesn’t want to talk back. “Sometimes it takes Julia a while to answer,” Alan explains. “It helps to ask again.” Then Big Bird offers a high five to Julia, and gets totally whiffed. “I don’t think Julia likes me very much,” he tells Alan.

There’s a subtle brilliance in how the show frames this interaction. The segment is shown through Big Bird’s perspective. He’s trying to make a new friend, but she won’t talk to him or high-five him. An overly careful show might have avoided this, but it’s crucial. The episode is aimed at neurotypical kids, and highlighting the ways they might take autistic people’s quirks as personal slights is very important. There’s no use pretending this isn’t how kids often react in this kind of situation.

Just as importantly, Big Bird is trying to be friends with Julia. He’s not angry that someone is disrespecting him; he’s sad that a potential friend doesn’t seem to like him. Even as Sesame Street is telling a story from a neurotypical point of view, the show is painting friendship with autistic kids as desirable, and modeling a response to perceived slights that doesn’t escalate into anger and ostracism.

“Oh, no, you two are just meeting for the first time,” Alan tells Big Bird, who thinks he gets it: “Oh, so she’s shy. I can feel shy sometimes too.”

“But with Julia, it’s not just that. She has autism. She likes it when people know that,” Alan tells Big Bird. The last line might seem like a superfluous flourish, but it’s key. It takes Alan from purporting to be Julia’s voice, to speak on her behalf as though she doesn’t have thoughts of her own (a particularly dangerous tendency with autism), to being just a friend respecting her wishes.

Stephen Crowley is a Dad with a baby, an Instagram feed, and a mission… to freak out the squares. 

Finally, after an alarming spike in measles and whooping cough revealed the risk Michigan was taking by having the 4th highest rate of un-vaccinated children in the country, officials took action. Sneaky action. 

Without much fanfare — or time for opponents to respond — they abandoned the state’s relatively loose rules for getting an exemption and issued a regulation requiring families to consult personally with local public health departments before obtaining an immunization waiver.

The new rule sidestepped potential ideological firefights in the state Legislature, which have plagued lawmakers in other states trying to crack down on vaccination waivers. The regulation had a dramatic effect. In the first year, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reported that the number of statewide waivers issued had plunged 35 percent. Today, Michigan is in the middle of the pack among vaccination rates.

“The idea was to make the process more burdensome,” said Michigan State University health policy specialist Mark Largent, who has written extensively about vaccines. “Research has shown that if you make it more inconvenient to apply for a waiver, fewer people get them.”

Here’s an Easter Message from the White House…


Featured Image Credit: someecards.com

Louis Doench

Lou Doench is a 52 year old father of three. Twelve years ago he married the coolest woman in the world and gave up the lucrative career of being a photography student to become a stay at home husband and Dad, or SAHD. An atheist geek, or a geeky atheist if you prefer, Lou likes reading, photography, video gaming, disc golf, baseball and Dr. Who. He has been playing Dungeons and Dragons since 1976. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is also an excellent home cook, not that his children would know because they only eat Mac & Cheese. Follow Lou on Twitter @blotzphoto or check out his photography at www.flickr.com/photos/blotz/

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