Skip to main content


Showing posts from May, 2013

Kids, Make Your Own Beautiful World

"Make a beautiful Bubble of your own."
Some great advice from a great person you may not have heard from: Bryan Caplan. Maybe I like this so much because it fits my world view.  Confirmation bias can be a powerful thing, as Caplan would probably tell you.  Caplan also wrote "Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids," which I used as a primer to my life as a triplet dad.  Essentially, raising kids isn't as hard as we sometimes make it.  Genetics plays a majority role in whatever they will become.  We are more guidance systems directing them on their path rather than leaders bringing them down it.  But that is for another time.
The quote comes from an article in which Caplan laments his time as a teenage misanthrope (who wasn’t?).  Caplan’s teenage self found the world “dreary, insipid, ugly, boring, wrong, and wicked.”  So what did he do?  He created a world around him that is beautiful in his eyes.
As Caplan says: “Either fix your world, or get to work and make a b…

Face Time

From the “more evidence you probably aren’t doing parenting wrong” files:
When talking to their babies, French mothers refer to “someone else” only 10 percent of the time.  Compare this to mothers from West Africa, who refer their “others” in their interactions with their babies 40 percent of time.
The study concluded French mothers were preparing their children for a culture where life was conducted one-on-one, whereas West African mothers expected more communal engagement.
Is one preferable over the other?  Not really.  Sure, a child raised with a more communal upbringing might not fit perfectly into French life, but would such a fit be impossible?  Hardly.
The study notes that Western parents emphasis face-to-face interaction so much so that “we think of this sort of dyadic interaction as what parenting is.” 
But parenting differs wildly by culture.  Middle-class American mothers spend twice as much time staring at their babies’ faces as middle-class Japanese mothers.  The

The Bottles And Cans Approach To Child Development

As I noted in a previous post, we have been trying to speed up child development for years.  Generations, really.  Whether through skills-building activities, or Sesame Street or Little Einstein toys, we have made it our mission to get our child to speak first, speak the most words or do Task X first or failing that, do it the best.
It hasn’t been working.  Children today hit developmental markers at the same ages as children 600 years ago.  The amount of words your child will know and use at 18, the amount and difficulty of mathematical calculations they can do in their head and how otherwise “smart” they are is genetically pretty much set at conception.
You may have also heard that we have fallen behind many other countries on standardized tests, especially in the realm of math and science.  Maybe you believe this, maybe you don’t.
The point of this post is that all our obsessive, “must get our children into Harvardesque pre-schools” compunction not only isn’t working, it unnecessarily…

So, I missed a week

You may have noticed I missed a post last week.  Sorry, I'll try not to let it happen.

But that is what sometimes happens when Blogger conspires with your wife's car accident and the death of your friend's dad.  Sometimes you miss a post.

Consider it bereavement leave.

Anyway, upcoming posts on cultural differences in parenting and why they mean you probably aren't doing the parenting thing wrong; a bottles and cans approach to developing children; and a thought or two on creating your own Bubble.