Top 10 Parenting Stories: What Moved Us In 2012
The top 10 parenting stories of 2012 had recurring themes: custody agreements, stereotyping through toys, and attachment parenting. All these themes united to form a common thread: the education and protection of our children. (10 Photos)
Katie Holmes Gets Main Custody of Suri
2012's biggest parenting story started out with Katie Holmes leaving her husband, Tom Cruise, in a whirlwind move two days before his 50th birthday. 6-year-old Suri Cruise and her mom moved to New York from California, and quickly settled in to a new life together there. Katie managed to obtain main custody of daughter Suri, a bold and successful move against one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. The couple worked together to ensure the best possible outcome for their daughter, providing hope for divorcing parents ( and newly single moms) watching everywhere.JOSIAH KAMAI/BUZZPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES
Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year old student and blogger, was shot in the head October 9 by the Taliban on her way to school. Malala, who's father is a teacher, had continued to attend school in Pakistan's dangerous Swat valley, an area bordering Afghanistan despite threats and attacks on female students. Malala not only decided to continue going to school, she blogged about the roadblocks for girls in her country for the BBC. After her attempted murder, Malala was sent to England to recover and is currently recuperating. Her bravery is an inspiration for girls and women everywhere.KEYSTONE PRESS
The Duchess of Cambridge is Pregnant!
Years of speculation have come to a brief end, as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge confirmed they are expecting their first child. Will and Kate, despite the hassle of being surrounded by the world's lenses, soon had bigger battles ahead. Hyperemesis Gravidarum is extreme nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, leading to dehydration. While Kate was being treated in the hospital, Australian radio hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian decided to play a prank. They pretended to be Queen Elizabeth the !! and Prince Charles, and obtained information on the Duchess' health from a nurse, which they broadcast over the radio.
The nurse who gave out Kate's health information killed herself three days later, herself the mother of three young children.GETTY IMAGES
The Rise Of Gender Neutral
Girls may like pink and boys may like blue, but these things forever won't be true. Take a look at Sweden:
gender neutrality, and the education of children without referring to them as a girl or boy, has become a federally-funded industry. Preschool teachers are encouraged to use the word "hen" when speaking about a boy or a girl, instead of he or she, so that there is no perceived difference between the children at all.
Here, Hasbro has revealed this past month they are revamping their Easy Bake Oven. The surprise? Focus groups for boys and girls, with a new boy and girl-friendly Easy Bake Oven set for later in 2013. We can't wait for more toy-makers and toys to start being hip to this idea.ISTOCKPHOTO
Attachment Parenting, In All Its Forms
Jamie Lynne Grumet is the infamous breastfeeding mom from Time Magazine's spring cover, feeding her then three-and a half year old son Aram beside the caption Are You Mom Enough?
Seemingly designed for controversy and to pit parents, breastfeeders, and generally everyone with an opinion on parenting against each other, the cover story was promoted to spotlight attachment parenting. First written about extensively by William Sears, M.D., attachment parenting encourages co-sleeping, longer breastfeeding with child-led weaning, and lots of parent-child bonding through skin to skin contact.
In its newer forms, attachment parenting means consistent parenting, modeling good behaviour, and appropriate, measured rewards and discipline. We love that idea, and think it would help create calmer, saner family dynamics all around. As for the Time Magazine breastfeeding mom? She's hoping her fame will bring attention to her new charity, The Faye Foundation, which aims to assist orphans in Somalia. It's a cause that's close to the whole family: Older son Samuel was adopted from Somalia in 2010.COURTESY OF PATHWAYS TO FAMILY WELLNESS MAGAZINE
What happened at Sandy Hook Public School in Newtown, Connecticut this past December, 2012 is still reeling in our minds. 20 children died, along with several teachers, the principal, and other school staff.
The murderer ran into the school and killed as many people as possible with automatic machine guns he had procured in his own home, the property of his mom, whom he killed before leaving the house.
What is known is that the killer was mentally ill, and did not receive the help he needed. The children who were killed were all six or seven years of age, and the shooting happened a few weeks before Christmas.
This tragedy for parents everywhere is generating collective heaviness in our souls. What do we tell our kids, and how can we stop this from ever happening again?AP PHOTO/NEWTOWN BEE, SHANNON HICKS
Bullying Awareness, and PreventionAwareness around bullying by peers, the media, even of the media reached new heights in 2012. Canadian provincial governments like Ontario's Liberal party passed anti-bullying laws. School boards had to make it a priority to report any incidents of bullying in their schools, and had a 0 tolerance policy for bullies. In the news world, Wisconsin's Jennifer Livingston was called fat by a viewer in a letter. She called him out and issued a rebuttal live. British Columbian teenager Amanda Todd's struggle with bullying was brought to the world's attention with her suicide this past fall. Bullied on Facebook and social media, Todd issued a video of her struggle she put together herself. Facebook issued its' own anti-bullying measures in 2012 against cyber-bullying, urging members to report and shun any instances of on-site bullying they saw.ISTOCKPHOTO
Why Women Can't Still Have It All
When Anne Marie Slaughter, who had a high profile job as part of Hilary Clinton's foreign policy team in Washington, D.C., left her job, she wrote about it in an essay this past spring in The Atlantic.
Titled Why Women Still Can't Have It All, Slaughter writes succinctly about what it meant for her to leave her job. As the mother of two teenage sons, she details how her work on Capitol Hill involved waking up at 4:20 a.m. and commuting back to California to see her sons on weekends. She says that she is working full time now still as a professor, and writes frequent articles and makes 40 to 50 speeches a year. Slaughter reveals the truth from her inner circle: If you're going to have a high profile job in public policy, you won't be able to spend time with your kids while you do that job. The solution? Slaughter thinks it's for her country, the United Sates, to elect a woman president and at least 50 U.S. Senators. That way, she says, women's interests will be guaranteed to be at the forefront. We would love to see this change in Canada, too, and want to work together to make this happen. Don't you?FLICKR.COM, COURTESY OF CHATHAM HOUSE
Anti-Obesity Movements Reach Canada
It's a well-publicized fact that obesity in children is accelerating in the United States, Britain, and Canada.
You'd think that more pro-active national nutrition campaigns would already be in place for our children, but governments are going a step further. Body Mass Index is being measured in children in many U.S. States, and Canada is not far behind in this initiative. Many Ontario schools have been participating in the 60 Minute Kids Club, a program promoting exercise, healthy eating habits, and being physically fit. My seven-year old had it written down in his agenda to go onto the Website and log on at night. The acronym ELMO is used on the site to motivate kids: Eat Less More Often.STRONG4LIFE.COM
Digital Monitoring Of Kids Time Online
We figured out this year that most of our son's friends in grade two had access to iPads. With laptops at home often reserved for parents, iPhones and androids were seen in kids hands while passing time in the grocery store and the mall. As for the ipad, it's ubiquitous: we know more families with young children who use them now than not. News reports revealed that Apple and other manufacturers of digital devices had been tracking minors' usage, location, and other data habits without permission, and using this data to boost future sales and other marketing purposes. This is hardly surprising, but sinister nonetheless. With tablet sales in 2012 surpassing any other year before, we need to be vigilant and protect our kids: not just from predators, but from manufacturers, advertisements, and social media marketing. Luckily, parents have a wealth of options to monitor their kids' time spent on the iPod touch or laptop. Now that we've given them the tools, we have to be responsible enough to see them through using them.
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