Show & Tell: What's Good, Bad, and Ugly for Raising Our Children

I've found some interesting articles, all having to do with raising our children or children in general. Look through the list & find one or two to read... you'll be glad you did!

  • New study finds that religious upbringing is good for kids: for their behavior, self-control, and ability to play with others. (Really just confirming what we already knew, but it's interesting to read their comments.)
    "The kids whose parents regularly attended religious services���especially when both parents did so frequently���and talked with their kids about religion were rated by both parents and teachers as having better self-control, social skills and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious parents."
  • For those of you who don't like the full-blown Westminster catechism for use with children, here's a children's catechism with simple questions and answers that may be useful for memory work or for family devotion times.
  • WHO is this kid and who are his parents? Who are these parents spending upwards of $1 million dollars to raise one child?! Consider this line to see the kind of parenting their talking about: "Parents with more than one kid then face the fiscal phenomenon of upgrading, where baby No. 1 starts with a standard-issue stroller, the middle issue gets an upgrade to a $300 MacLaren and, by the time No. 3 comes around, it is an $879 model by Bugaboo." Who is doing this, other than Kelly Ripa? In my experience, the third child is the one who gets the really threadbare hand-me-downs, plays with the already scratched-up Matchbox cars, and is reading taped-up books.
    "...for many families, drawing the line between attentive parenting and extravagance is a tough call; even parents who are relatively strapped will go to great lengths for their children." Read the whole article here.
  • Do interracial couples spend more money on their kids? This article says yes, in almost every instance, they do!
  • And finally, for a sad story about one child, a high school in Fresno, California has allowed a "trans-gendered" teen girl to run for Prom King. It's sad that this even has to be discussed among teens; this ain't your parents Prom!
Happy reading!


Isabella in the 21st Century said...

Hi Jess

Thanks for the link. I read the article on million dollar kids and my head just spun! Not just with what seemed to be a completely commodified childhood being described, but with the terrible over-scheduling of those children. I suspect a distinct lack of confidence in parenting skills is to blame...

sharyn said...

Interesting reading! (Depressing, also.) Are there children out there eating sushi twice a week that I'm unaware of?

I agree with you, Jess, that the subsequent children get more hand-me-downs rather than upgrades -- we have two boys and for birthdays/holidays we frequently end up telling grandparents to go in on something that both boys will use (i.e. a little table) because we already have everything we need and it seems silly to go buy another one when something's only been worn for a few months by the previous owner.

I think that the idea that more children are exponentially more expensive is one of the reasons families are put off by more than 2 children, sadly.

Thanks for the links!

Katie Gillet said...

To those with several children, how do you avert the fact that the oldest (at least of each sex) gets the clothes first? I would guess that at some point a younger sister or brother would find that an unfair phenomenon, which I suppose is a valid point. Being an only child whose few hand-me-downs came from a friend, I don't know that feeling so it's a pretty new question. But I don't want to be feeling like a second daughter would never have anything new.

Anonymous said...

When you say the Fresno story is 'sad', how do you mean? What would you have had the school do otherwise? The prom king contender seemed quite a happy person...

Steve & June Fuentes said...

Loved the 'cooking from scratch' article. As a mom of 8 I think its important to do that to save money and eat healthfully! I view cooking from scratch as an art that I would like to obtain much more in our home, so I have our daughters experimenting with many new recipes, this summer they will conquer many issues of "Taste of Home'" magazine and we will be eating like kings! I have a blog on encouraging moms, wives and homeschoolers you can visit at
God bless your family!

Jess said...

When I say the Fresno story is sad, I mean it in the same way that is evident in your comment and in the original article. Neither you nor the author of the article knew how to refer to HER- a GIRL who has somehow decided that she likes wearing tuxes. In both instances, pronouns like she/her (or even politically correct ones like him/his) were avoided in order to not error in calling the girl (a) a girl, which would offend her, or (b) a boy, which would be anatomically incorrect.

Do you see what all this modern business encouraging kids to "explore their sexuality" has done to kids like this poor girl, Cinthia? She now has to put on a tux and pretend to feel at ease with it all simply because no one ever revelled in her femininity. No one probably ever showed her the beauty of God's design for her as a female.

God is the One Who chose who and what we would be. God is the One Who designed her as a woman. And whether or not Fresno, or any other author, or anyone else refers to her as such, she is a young woman.

And I think it's sad that she's pretending to be anything else.

Buffy said...

I absolutely agree that girls should be shown how to celebrate their feminity, and that it doesn't happen enough these days. But sometimes, against all reason, a girl just doesn't want to be, well, a girl. If someone doesn't identify strongly with their gender don't we have to see them as an individual who breaks the mould rather than breaking them to fit the mould?

My mother tells tales of her sister who was a real tomboy. She had the same upbringing as my mother and their younger sister but she just wasn't girly. Wanted boys' toys instead of dolls, didn't want to wear dresses etc. Her mother simply wouldn't accept her as she was in made her childhood a misery by trying to force her into being more of a girl.

Just for the record I am not talking about homosexuality here as my aunt grew up to be happily married and had two children. But interestingly she was the main breadwinner and her husband stayed at home for several years and brought up the two children. It suited them. I quite agree this wouldn't work for most people.

Sorry for the long comment, you got me thinking. I'm not saying it was appropriate that the girl in Fresno should stand for Prom King. I like your blog BTW, very colourful!

Jess said...

Katie asked about how to avert the fact that the oldest gets the clothes first. And I guess the simple answer (in our home, at least), is that you don't avert that fact. The second one does get a lot of hand-me-downs. But particularly when they're little, this isn't a real disadvantage... it's not like they've worn through. They're still good clothes. And as they've gotten older, not everything fits the way it did with the older one. Of course occasionally new things have to be purchased, but the idea that each person has the "right" to new things is a new, modern idea. It's not some kind of right, and in fact would be resented by most people around the world. There's nothing (in my mind) wrong with re-using clothes that are in good shape, but then there's nothing wrong with shopping at a thrift store either (in my mind). So my kiddos that happen to be the second or third male or female will have the option of wearing the good jeans that have been passed down to them, while occasionally getting a new pair, or shopping at a discount store. And there's nothing--absolutely nothing -- wrong with that!

You said that a younger sister or brother would find that an unfair phenomenon, but I don't think we're going to encourage feelings of "rights" and "fairness" around our home. It's really not about what's fair or what we have the right to. Such language really has no basis among Christians. It's not that there are no "wrongs"- but rather, the things we read in the Word make it clear that we aren't to demand our way, and that we aren't to expect to be treated fairly or rightly. So I don't think I ought to be encouraging such feelings in my kiddos. Frankly, I think a lot of the current lawsuit culture comes from people feeling entitled to more than the basics.

It's not that our children won't have anything new; quite the contrary. Of course a parent delights in giving good gifts to their child. But it's just not about whether a certain percentage of their wardrobe is new or used, in my mind at least.

Anyone else have thoughts on this?

Anonymous said...

But nothing in the article (or any of the rest of the extensive press coverage) suggests that this person WANTS your pity. She doesn't see herself as a poor child, in fact she specifically says that acting the way she does makes her happier than she's ever been.

You're right, I wasn't sure what pronoun to use in relation to her, and I have settled on female ones for simplicity's sake. But I don't think my being unsure is in any way 'sad'. When you meet a woman, you don't know whether she should be called Mis or Mrs (or Ms!). So you wait and hold off and hope for the best until you get an opportunity to confirm what they prefer. And then you respect that. That's manners. It's not 'sad'.

You imply that Cinthia has been forced to put on a tux, but she herself insists she would never wear a dress. She's free to be the person she feels she is, not the person other people think she ought to be. You may think God made her to be one way - she feels He made her the way she is now.

I say again, I don't see how this story is sad. She seems a very happy and confident person. Respectfully, I think it's awfully patronising to call her a poor sad child.

Anonymous said...

Hi jess,
interesting subjects!
on clothes being handed down... it becomes what we make it. my 3 girls, and 3 boys quite like getting hand me downs. that is possibloy because i have always made it a positive thing - "wow! look at these great clothes! You'll be fitting into M's new clothes soon - you must be getting bigger!" etc.
we still get bags of clothes from friends from time to time, and in fact i almost never buy anything new! my 13yo dd has decided on an "op shop" party (charity shops) for her birthday. no shame at all in it in our house!
they will always take their cues from us, i think - if we grumble and complain about hand-me-downs, so will they.
love your blog ;)

Anonymous said...

I am the youngest of two. When I was little, all I wanted to wear was my brother's clothes-- not the nice girly clothes that my mom had made me. There are all these pictures of me in my brothers socks, shirts, and big-boy underwear over my little diaper.

I didn't grow up wanting to be a boy, I just admired my brother-- I even named my first baby doll after him. He wasn't pleased.

My point is that hand-me-downs aren't always a bad thing. In high school and college I wore a TON of my mom's old clothes from when she was in college. It was fun!