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Hello (Again)

As Stacey noted yesterday, I'll be leading the charge at On Parenting going forward. It's a huge challenge; Stacey did an incredible job of keeping her ear to the ground for parenting wisdom day after day, month after month, and I'm going to do my darndest to maintain that level of dialogue.

Many of you probably already know me, at least a bit. I've been writing on Thursday over here for just over a year, and I posted weekly to the late, great On Balance blog for a couple of years before that. But as quick background: I'm a 30-something former journalist and former at-home dad. I have two wonderful daughters and a fantastic urologist. I'm not a perfect parent: I'm sometimes impatient and frequently stressed, but totally in love with the kids.

Having had the good fortune to write at washingtonpost.com for more than 3 years means that I have do a bit of a record when it comes my parenting biases. I'm suspicious of just about anyone claiming a "right" way to parent. I've tried just about every child-care option imaginable (from care-shares to nannies to day care to at-home fatherhood). I'm generally anti-spanking, but I am tolerant of a small degree of kid-on-kid violence. I'm not particularly horrified by the Octomom or Ronald McDonald, but Miley Cyrus does freak me out.

My goal is to be as honest and as interesting as I can be with you here, and I value all feedback, especially from those of you who think I'm nuts. As always, the comments are open, and you can feel free to contact me directly at the On Parenting mailbox: parenting@washingtonpost.com.

Oh -- and p.s. -- we did offer the tutoring job to the guy.

Brian Reid writes about parenting and work-family balance. You can read his blog at rebeldad.com.

By Brian Reid |  August 25, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Child Care , Child Development , Dads , Work/Life Balance
Previous: So Long, Farewell ... | Next: The Five Best Things About Disney

Comments


Yay Brian. :-)

Posted by: laura33 | August 25, 2009 7:25 AM | Report abuse

"Oh -- and p.s. -- we did offer the tutoring job to the guy."

Good.

But, again, try to make sure he's not alone with her.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | August 25, 2009 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Brian, glad you gave the guy a chance.

Can I suggest a few topics and hope others join in:
For starters
1) back to school shopping-are those school supply lists getting too long?
2) best after school day care arrangements
3) Nanny sharing
4) home schooling, co schooling, no schooling
5)curriculum changes, standardized exams etc...
6) sleep training
7) how to throw a cheap birthday party

Those are just a few ideas. I hope everyone clocks in a few good ideas too.

Posted by: foamgnome | August 25, 2009 8:13 AM | Report abuse

Does the tutor guy know you write a blog? And you've written about him?
I guess he's young (and I'm old :), so he's probably used to it - but it would freak me out a little bit, what did freak me out was how you were talking about it before you hired him.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 25, 2009 8:37 AM | Report abuse

In any event, welcome Brian. I think it's great to have you here...with a new perspective, since you're a dad, not a mom. I suppose most of the parenting blogs are written by moms.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 25, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

get on with it already...two days of goodbye/hello and zero substance....

Posted by: 06902 | August 25, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse

get on with it already...two days of goodbye/hello and zero substance....

Posted by: 06902 | August 25, 2009 9:00 AM | Report abuse


Ha, ha, ha, ha!

The Deltas vote for less baby/young children oriented topics.

Posted by: jezebel3 | August 25, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

06902: just pick a topic and start posting. :)

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 25, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Congrats on doing the right thing and picking the best person for the job regardless of gender.

And I agree with Jezebel - I'd like to see more topics on issues surrounding school-aged kids and less on infants and toddlers. Of course that's because my kids are both in school now :)

Posted by: dennis5 | August 25, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Agree with Foamgnome and dennis5. Long list of school supplies already. Concerned about before and after care, particularly since they changed start/end times this Fall. Big fan of inexpensive birthday parties. Wondering if my kids would do better mastering things at their own pace vice a standardized schedule (answer is probably yes, provided a lot of guidance and structure is built around it to instill motivation). Now just working on rolling bedtime back so DD isn't falling asleep at her desk. And hoping there are other kids in her class who didn't spend hours every day this summer practicing writing, math and reading. Hey, we covered the math and reading...
Someone want to tackle part-time sibling issues?
Congrats Brian, I've always enjoyed your columns.

Posted by: StrollerMomma | August 25, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Sibling rivalry, please -- especially when kids are several years apart. This is driving me nuts right now, as older is chronically jealous that younger has it so much easier (doesn't have homework, gets to play all the time, doesn't have Hebrew school, is too little to carry the big dishes to set the table, etc.).

Posted by: laura33 | August 25, 2009 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Wow ... love the topic suggestions. Keep 'em coming.
-- Brian

Posted by: rebeldad | August 25, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Sibling rivalry - 12 year old is horribly jealous of older kids' jobs, drivers' licenses, cell phones, laptops. Doesn't seem to understand the connection among them, and differences in expectations/responsibilities/privileges.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | August 25, 2009 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Hey Brian! So now we have a dude running the Mommy Blog. Yeah!

And you hired the guy to tutur your daughter? Nice. Seriously.

but what we *REALLY* want to know is if your enthusiasm to convince more men to partake in traditionally female roles will compell you to recklessly endanger your daughter to several types of abuses by leaving her alone under the care of an older male on a regular basis. to (The keyword here is "alone")

As far as coming up with a topic near and dear to you, maybe we can come up with a concensus of acceptable conditions that we can safely leave are sons and daughters alone under the supervision of teenage and adult males. My opinion is that it is very unwise to put a man in a childcare role in a private setting that isn't closely monitored. Exceptions go for fathers.

And the last blog we had about this topic was splattered with cluelessness and misinformation. This tells me that a large percentage of parents remain ignorant on this subject. So Brian, please research and comment. Us parents could sure use the education!

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | August 25, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

My opinion is that it is very unwise to put a man in a childcare role in a private setting that isn't closely monitored. Exceptions go for fathers.


Posted by: WhackyWeasel | August 25, 2009 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Right. Cause unsupervised fathers never, ever harm kids. What a bozo!


Posted by: jezebel3 | August 25, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

BlogStats, how many times has WhackyWeasel posted his opinion on the topic of males and children?

Move on to other topics.

Posted by: anonfornow | August 25, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

BlogStats, how many times has WhackyWeasel posted his opinion on the topic of males and children?


Posted by: anonfornow | August 25, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

As many times as the perv has ranted and raved about the schools giving B.C. to his daughters (not his sons).

Posted by: jezebel3 | August 25, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

You're a good egg, Brian. Sorry for snarling in the past (and sorry in advance for snarling in the future). I'm glad to hear you're taking over.

Posted by: tomtildrum | August 25, 2009 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I think everybody should have something to rant and rave about. What's a blog for anyway?

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | August 25, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

think everybody should have something to rant and rave about. What's a blog for anyway?

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | August 25, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Dunno, moron. Haven't you spent enough time on the Achenblog?

Posted by: jezebel3 | August 25, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Top 10 posters YTD that have used the words "male" and "child" in the same comment:

16 emily8
16 newsahm
16 RedBird27
17 dennis5
17 JHBVA
24 Billie_R
24 foamgnome
27 ArmyBrat1
29 moxiemom1
30 atlmom1234
36 WhackyWeasel
48 cheekymonkey

Posted by: BlogStats | August 25, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Few other ideas
1. infertility
2. interfaith marriage-what to do about holidays
3. stepparenting
4. foster families
5. adoption
6. age span between children
7. hand me downs-best way to outfit kids on a budget

Posted by: foamgnome | August 25, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

fr foamgnome:

>Few other ideas
1. infertility
2. interfaith marriage-what to do about holidays
3. stepparenting
4. foster families
5. adoption
6. age span between children
7. hand me downs-best way to outfit kids on a budget

Good ones. How about adding same-sex parenting?


Posted by: Alex511 | August 25, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Pain in the a$s/deadbeat/nympho relatives - mostly his.
Gaga seniors in diapers who refuse to go the home - all his.
Christian wackos who can't shut up about getting born again - all his.
Christian hypocrites who practice their religion a couple of days a year - mostly mine.
Nursing mothers who constantly pop out their giant boobs in public oops! - all mine.

Posted by: jezebel3 | August 25, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

laura: we're going thru that now too! Like , the younger one wanted goggles, I find out after we get them, the only reason being that his older brother had them, he never uses them
Or I got tires for older one's bicycle and HE asks: did (younger one) get tires too? I MEAN REALLY!!! We get tires (or whatever) when you have a need for them.
It's getting worse every day, it seems.
I have heard 'Siblings without rivalry' is a good book. But I'm still getting thru: how to raise your spirited child. *sigh*.

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 25, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

topic suggestion: when your spouse disciplines more/less/differently than you

Posted by: interestingidea1234 | August 25, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

I second the idea about differing parenting styles between spouses. Also, for older kids: dating issues.

Posted by: justme22 | August 25, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

atlmom, yeah, we've read (and liked) "Siblings without Rivalry." Our problem is that half of our team has been too young for those techniques to work effectively. Will have to re-read in the near future; DS is almost 4 now, so sneaking up on reason. We hope. . . . :-)

And, yeah ditto on the different parenting styles Q -- I know that's one of our issues, too.

Posted by: laura33 | August 25, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

atlmom1234, I liked "Siblings without Rivalry" as well.

Posted by: dennis5 | August 25, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I gave each of my children a copy of "Siblings Without Rivalry" and told them whoever could read it fastest got to pick dessert.

Posted by: 06902 | August 25, 2009 2:21 PM | Report abuse

I'll have to use that technique, 06902. Thanks :).

Posted by: atlmom1234 | August 25, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Whacky, Here are the stats, according to http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm07/index.htm

I did some math based on the following, and it assumes the high end whenever possible. It's simple math, but it's what I had to work with.

The rate of victimization was 10.6 per 1,000 children in the population.

7.6% of those were sexually abused, so 0.8056 per 1,000.

42.4% of all perpetrators were men, so 0.3416 per 1,000.

Of those men, 5.8% were under 20, so there is a 0.0198 per 1,000, or a 0.001981% or less chance his tutor will sexually abuse his daughter.

Seems pretty slim to me, but I'll wait for the "buts."

Posted by: atb2 | August 25, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I goofed. I forgot that 80% of the perpetrators are the parents. And of course it could be that 80% of the sexual abuse is by men, etc. So ignore the previous post. I'll find better data...

Posted by: atb2 | August 25, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

"My opinion is that it is very unwise to put a man in a childcare role in a private setting that isn't closely monitored. Exceptions go for fathers. And the last blog we had about this topic was splattered with cluelessness and misinformation."

*************

Cluelessness and misinformation must be behind the suggestion of an exception for fathers. The most common perpetrator of child sexual abuse is a father or stepfather. Either WhackyWeasal is clueless or misinformed or he decided that the benefits of having the average dad in the house far outweigh the statistal chance that any particular dad will abuse his kids.

Posted by: bgraphite | August 25, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

OK, here it is: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/saycrle.pdf

OK, much scarier:

See table 9:

Offender probabilities in a typical 1,000 cases of sexual assault for girls 12-17yo, at home, with 18-24yo acquaintances: 219.

About 40 in 1000 12yo girls are sexually assaulted. So that's 0.876%. Not vanishingly small.

I'm guessing parental presence would reduce that quite a bit.

Posted by: atb2 | August 25, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

atb2: Brian's daughter is under 12, which means you use Table 8 vice Table 9, and the appropriate number is 53 vice 219.

But yes, parental presence, or the presence of somebody else, reduces the odds a lot.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | August 25, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Interesting, atb. Do they talk at all about the types of relationships involved? Speaking as a mom of a young girl, the whole "12-to-17- yr-old girl" and "18-to-24-yr-old boy" thing makes me immediately think of the whole older boyfriend thing (which is one of my own biggest parenting fears). I took a quick peek and saw that they divided it into only three categories ("acquaintance" at 2/3, "family" at 1/4, and "stranger" for the rest). I am guessing that the scenario above would generally fall within the 2/3 attributable to "acquaintances," but would be interested in seeing if they had a more specific breakdown. Also, I am presuming that these stats exclude statutory rape?

Posted by: laura33 | August 25, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

foamgnome-re. birthday parties on a budget, I could give you some advice there.

1. Limit the number of guests to one guest per year old.

2. Have "theme parties" in the backyard that don't require huge rentals. Examples would be parties with a theme based on the child's interests. Ideas like a movie and pizza party at the house-all you need is a room that you can make dark like a movie theater and make popcorn and soda for them, or a scavenger hunt party can be accomplished easily even on a tight budget.

3. Worried about tons of gifts? Arrange a party where the guests can donate money or items needed by a homeless shelter, Humane Society, etc. It keeps the clutter down and teaches kids that doing good for others is often far better (not to mention more fun) than shopping for gifts that will be "out-fadded" in less than a year.

Interfaith marriage-being Wiccans in a family that celebrates the secular aspects of the Christian holidays gives us a bit of experience with the holiday "balancing act!" I wouldn't mind seeing more discussion on that topic occasionally.

How to outfit kids on a budget/hand-me-downs...I've got a two-word suggestion on that one: YARD SALES. If you live in an area where those either aren't feasible or the quality of clothes being sold isn't the greatest, thrift shops are a good option as well. They're a bit more expensive than yard sales (depending on the prices at yard sales where you're located), but they're still fun to poke through and the variety isn't half bad.

Welcome aboard, Brian! I hope you find your experiences here to be pleasant, even if the crowd gets a bit squabblish at times. Good luck, buddy!

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | August 25, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Atb, From the research I've done, I've run across some frightening figures:

By the age of 13, about 20 percent of the girl population, and about 7 percent of the boy population have been sexually molested.

About 1 in 20 teenage and adult males have sexually molested a child at some point in their life. The rate for women 1 in 3,300.

I guess it all depends on what web site you visit as to what the numbers are. But I still think that Brian should do his own research on the subject and then throw them out to us. At least we would have something to work with so our opinion about males in childcare roles isn't based on pure heresay.


Posted by: WhackyWeasel | August 25, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

"1. Limit the number of guests to one guest per year old."

I've found that they prefer to have fewer guests as they get older. When the kids were younger, we did a lot of "invite the whole class" parties. Now that they are older (2nd and 1st grades) and have more defined friendships, they want to only invite the handful of kids they are really friends with.

Posted by: dennis5 | August 25, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"About 1 in 20 teenage and adult males have sexually molested a child at some point in their life. The rate for women 1 in 3,300."

Source please.

There are many statistics on victims of sexual abuse. Their validity depends on the quality and size of the sample data. The statistic above - that 1 in 20 men in the population have molested someone -- doesn't pass the smell test.

Posted by: bgraphite | August 25, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Hello Brian,

Are you sure you are ready to stand for this kind of abus....er, I mean comments everyday?

Off topic.

The Creepy Van is no more. It had died and gone to Cash for Clunkers Heaven.

Best to all

Fred

Posted by: Fred_and_Frieda | August 25, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Rust In Peace, Creepy Van!

Sorry Fred, I couldn't resist!

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | August 25, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

ATB2,

I don't believe those numbers from HHS- they don't jive with ANYTHING I've ever read about the percentage of girls who are sexually abused in some way (I've always heard one in ten). You have to remember that those are only the cases reported to CPS, and many (most?) cases of sexual abuse are never reported.

The higher number seems more plausible to me, given the percentage of women I know who were abused as children (at least, that I know if- it may be higher). And I don't think I'm socializing with an unusual cohort.

This article from the NYT gives the number as 1 in 4, though this number includes cases of date rape. Without seeing the studies involved, it's hard to know how much of that accounts for the high number without seeing the study. However, I tend to think that the type of study referenced here (ie, self-reporting) is probably more indicative of the truth than the HHS numbers, which omit all the cases of unreported abuse.

Posted by: floof | August 26, 2009 7:49 AM | Report abuse

woops, forgot to reference the article:

http://www.nytimes.com/specials/women/warchive/971001_758.html

Posted by: floof | August 26, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

From the Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute web site:

http://www.childmolestationprevention.org/pages/tell_others_the_facts.html

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | August 26, 2009 8:49 AM | Report abuse

The conclusions are only as good as the data, and because sexual abuse is often unreported and closeted, we can assume the numbers are higher. The DOJ was just very thorough, but based on reported crimes.

Posted by: atb2 | August 26, 2009 9:24 AM | Report abuse

Test

Posted by: LiliKang | August 27, 2009 6:44 PM | Report abuse

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