Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Let them eat pizza: Parenting guru's recipe for bringing up children

By a man who knows what the genetics research shows. I have long known it too so when I was helping to bring up kids, I let them do pretty much what they wanted -- but I did spend a lot of time playing with them. And as adults they are all now absolutely fine

Children should be allowed to eat pizza and watch more television, says a parenting guru. Dr Bryan Caplan believes parents try too hard when bringing up their offspring and advises a more relaxed approach.

He claims ‘investment parenting’ – music lessons, organised sports and educational games – does not make the slightest difference to children when they become adults.

Instead, the academic says, parents should ‘cut themselves some slack’ and stop trying to control every aspect of their child’s lives.

He calls for a relaxed and fun style of bringing up children dubbed ‘serenity parenting’ which involves parents taking a backseat role. The theory will cause consternation among the growing band of so-called ‘tiger mothers’ who have subscribed to the latest childcare movement which recommends tough love, hard work and minimal play.

Based on the best-selling book by Amy Chua, Battle Hymn Of The Tiger Mother, that theory says parents should fight to improve the academic achievements of their child.

But Dr Caplan’s advice is likely to relieve the many busy parents who are often racked with guilt over how little time they can devote to their children. Dr Caplan, a father of three, argues his case in Selfish Reasons To Have More Kids: Why Being A Great Parent Is Less Work And More Fun Than You Think, published this month.

He states: ‘Right now, parents are “overcharging” themselves for each kid. Parents can sharply improve their lives without hurting their kids. Nature, not nurture, explains most family resemblance, so parents can safely cut themselves a lot of additional slack.

‘Quit fretting over how much TV your kids watch. Don’t force them to do a million activities they hate. Accept that your children’s lives are shaped mostly by their genes and their own choices, not by the sacrifices you make in hopes of turning them into successful adults.’

Dr Caplan, an academic and economist from George Mason University in Virginia, America, says his ‘serenity’ theory is based on scientific evidence. He points to academic research on twins and on adopted children which found that parenting’s long-term effects range from small to zero for a wide range of outcomes such as health and success in later life.

Studies also show that a child’s intelligence can be increased by parental interaction when they are young. But by the time they reach the age of 12 it has no effect.


British red tape adviser: 'community volunteers should not face legal action'

A small step towards sanity, it seems

People who volunteer to help others should not be sued if their well-intentioned acts go wrong, the Government’s red tape adviser has said. Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts suggested people should not have to take out a gambling licence to hold raffles with low value prizes.

In a report, Lord Hodgson said it was time Britons fought back against red tape which was preventing them from helping in their communities. His study, Unshackling Good Neighbours, criticised a “suffocating blanket of red tape and an insidious mythology about being sued are deterring millions of Britons” from helping others.

A key finding was to seek to develop a ‘reasonableness’ test to protect volunteers from consequences of well-intentioned voluntary acts. For example, he said, charity volunteers should be protected from being sued if an elderly person slips on a pathway.

Lord Hodgson, the chairman of the Big Society Red Tape Task Force, said: “As long as volunteers behave reasonably they should not be liable if something goes wrong - the legal framework must make this clear.”

The study also recommends that car insurance could also be cut for people who use their vehicles for volunteering. The Association of British Insurers told Lord Hodgson that it would revise its definition of “non-business ‘social driving’, which currently puts people off using their cars for volunteering because they have to pay higher insurance premiums.

It also suggested simplifying the licensing of fund-raising events, so that people would not have to take out a gambling licence to hold raffles with low value prizes.

The report published a 20-strong list of what people can do to improve their community. They included putting a plaster on a child’s cut, putting up hanging baskets, hanging flags and bunting at events and holding a pancake race.

It also recommended reforming the law to clarify the extent of charity trustees’ and volunteers’ liability to encourage more involvement and participation.

Nick Hurd, minister for Civil Society, said: “Many volunteers, charities and social enterprises are frustrated with the amount of red tape interfering with their day to day work. We do have a responsibility to protect people but it’s clear we need a better balance. We will consider the recommendations in full.”

Sir Stuart Etherington, Chief Executive of National Council for Volunteering Organisations, said: "We are delighted to see common sense prevailing. "Beyond the headlines about conkers and pancake races, this report makes huge strides in setting out how to balance appropriate risk taking with the Government's duty to regulate."


White Americans See Anti-White Bias on the Rise

Both white Americans and black Americans perceive significant progress in the fight against anti-black bias, but white Americans believe the progress has come at their expense, a new survey finds.

The researchers contacted a random national sample of 209 whites and 208 blacks, and asked them how much discrimination each group faced, on a scale of one to ten, for each decade since the 1950s.

Black Americans saw anti-black bias as declining steadily, from 9.7 in the ’50s to 6.1 in the ’00s. Over the same period, they perceived a small increase in anti-white bias, from 1.4 to 1.8.

White Americans saw an even steeper decline in anti-black bias: from 9.1, in the ’50s, to 3.6, in the ’00s. But more striking, according to the researchers, was the sharp increase in perceived anti-white bias: Among whites, it shot up from 1.8 to 4.7.

White Americans, in short, thought that anti-white bias was a greater societal problem by the ’00s than anti-black bias.

The researchers described the pattern—which did not vary markedly with regard to age or education levels—as evidence that white Americans see race relations as a zero-sum game, in which one group’s gains must be offset by another’s loss.


Australian Govt blocks sharia law push by Federation of Islamic Councils

THE GILLARD Government has quickly moved to block calls for sharia law to be introduced in Australia.

In its submission to the parliamentary inquiry into the government's new multiculturalism policy, The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils has called for Muslims to be granted “legal pluralism".

Attorney-General Robert McClelland stomped on the request. “There is no place for sharia law in Australian society and the government strongly rejects any proposal for its introduction," Mr McClelland said.

Sharia has faced repeated criticism. It is again in the headlines following an Iranian court's decision to delay a planned “eye-for-an-eye" act of justice against a man who threw acid at a woman's face because she refused his marriage proposal.

“As our citizenship pledge makes clear, coming to Australia means obeying Australian laws and upholding Australian values," Mr McClelland said. “Australia's brand of multiculturalism promotes integration. “If there is any inconsistency between cultural values and the rule of law then Australian law wins out."

Mr McClelland is keen to assert Australia's position as a “stable democracy" where “rule of law" underpins society.

“People who migrate to Australia do so because of the fact that we have a free, open and tolerant society where men and woman are equal before the law irrespective of race, religious or cultural background."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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