Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fake babies ease women's anxiety, sadness

Dr. Gail Saltz looks at the psychology of adults who "play" with reborn dolls
It’s typical to think something is weird or creepy when it’s unknown, far from the norm, or common only to a different culture.
You don't say.
The reality, however, is that people often face sorrowful issues in their lives. In many cases, they use denial to cope with the loss and the resulting anxiety.

This happens to empty-nesters, who may feel they no longer have children to take care of and struggle with what identity they now have left. It also may happen to childless women, whether they have chosen to remain child-free or are childless through happenstance. They may be OK with this until they hit menopause, when they realize there is no going back, and they will never have a natural child. At which point the finality of the door being shut to possible children may bring a flood of sadness.
I'd love to see what they're basing this on. I have many childfree friends, and this sounds about the last thing they would ever want.

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Pint-sized, yes, but do children and pubs mix..?

The Scotsman
As he explained: "This year more readers than ever before have complained to us about pub visits being spoiled for them by badly behaved children running around unchecked. This is a peculiarly British problem; in continental restaurants and caf├ęs, it's normal to see families with children, not normal to see kids spoil things for grown-ups. So we have considerable sympathy with the landlord of one Sussex pub who told us that he had decided it 'just didn't suit children', as he didn't want to do plates of chips or burgers, and didn't want to have to look after customers' children."
. . .
In Scotland, the presence of children in pubs is growing, but from a small base. The introduction of the smoking ban has hit many pubs hard, according to the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA), and, in order to pull in more customers, an increasing number are rebranding themselves as "family-friendly" establishments. However, by August 2007, just 66 out of 731 licensed premises in Edinburgh had applied for a children's certificate. Although the figure is less than 10 per cent, it is expected to double by the time the new licensing law comes into force on 1 September, 2009.

The law concerning the admittance of persons aged under 18 into pubs is complicated. Under the licensing act of 1976, publicans are allowed to admit a person over the age of 14, as long as they are accompanied by an adult and do not consume any alcohol. However, for many years, very few pubs would allow an under-age teenager into their establishment on account of the monitoring involved to ensure they did not drink. Then in 1990, children's certificates' were introduced into law, allowing minors to enjoy pub lunches with their parents. . . .
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

We keep children safe to let them run wild

British adults have become estranged from the world of children. Many of them, according to a survey released yesterday, would go so far as to admit that they are scared of youngsters.

About half of 2,021 grown-ups polled by YouGov for Barnardo's indicated that children should be regarded as dangerous; a majority of them went so far as to state that children behaved like animals.
. . .
At first sight, this perception of children does not make any sense. How can grown-ups possess such depressing attitudes towards youngsters when we are meant to be more "child centred" than ever before?

The truth is that the negative sentiments are the direct consequence of the mistrust and suspicion fuelled by the prevailing paranoid regime of child protection. It is our obsessively protective parenting culture that is responsible for the erosion of inter-generational relationships.
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The problems of being an older mum

“There doesn't appear to be an increase in postnatal depression as it is hormonally driven, but tiredness is a key difficulty, as is reduced flexibility in adjusting to someone else's needs,” she says. “An older childless couple will be accustomed to making last-minute decisions or being free to schedule what they want to do when they want to do it. This goes out of the window with children - from the early days of the four-hourly feeds right through school age.”

(For those who get pregnant accidentally). . .“Some women will have realised there was little likelihood that they would become mothers and altered the ‘ideal self' to make it a closer fit with what seemed possible within their lives - by reducing the perceived value of what they could not have - to protect themselves from disappointment,” she says.

“This may include emphasising the downside of having children and exaggerating the benefits of being child-free. If they have managed that task successfully, they will then feel ambivalent if they find themselves pregnant because the situation requires them to ‘backtrack' on a sense of self.”
Fair enough. But it is worth noting that the risk of accidentally getting pregnant after 40 is low; with the abundance of infertility treatments, I would guess that another problem attaches to even more of these births. I don't think I need to explain to my readers the possible down side of having a child enter a parent's life after being conceived in the opposite circumstance: deperate longing for, expensive treatments to gain, and indeed self-definition through motherhood.
Peter Bowen-Simpkins, medical director of the London Women's Clinic, says that while the risk of having a baby with Down's syndrome increases once a mother reaches 40, the chances of having a healthy baby at an older age are still high.
This statement is just irresponsible, since it ignores the significant increase in the risk each year after reaching 40. For example, at age 44 (the age Sarah Palin gave birth to Trig) the risk is 1 on 40.
“It certainly adds to the strain of the pregnancy, because most chromosomal abnormalities occur in women over 35 and as they get older they are more common,” he says. “Overall, the chance of having a Down's syndrome baby is 1 in 650 before you reach 40 and then it's 1 in 100. But that still means that 99 women out of 100 give birth to a healthy baby.”
*Sputter* I am sure that is of great comfort to the 1% remaining. In what world is this an acceptable risk?

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Relief for grumps: the child-free cinema

We've all been there. You're in the cinema and all around are children eating nachos, enjoying the movie and being cheerily sociable rather than immovably silent. Now, a cinema chain is offering relief to grumps: child-free film-going.
"cheerily sociable"? Is that an euphemism for "so loud you can't hear the dialoge" or "screaming during a poignant scene and ruining it"?
Adults only screenings of family films aren't just odd, they're dangerous
But it doesn't really make sense, does it? For a start, the most unruly people I've seen in cinemas in the last few weeks were not teenagers – they were people in their twenties. It's a similar story outside the cinema, too. What sort of people cause the most trouble at football matches, or festivals, or on the beach, or when the pubs shut? Adults.

Unless what you're trying to remedy is movie hooligans brawling in the theatre, that's not really relevant.

But there's another thing to remember here. Think of the very British practice of doing things without your children, and what it actually means. These days, more and more people leave their children behind when they go to restaurants, or parties – the latest phenomenon is child-free weddings.

But this is not helpful in the long run, is it? It's by going to these things, over time, that children learn how to behave properly. And it's by leaving their children behind that adults learn how to behave badly. Having adults around forces kids to behave better, and vice versa. Otherwise you end up with adults snorting coke and being sick while their kids watch X-Factor with a babysitter.
So having to go to the movies only during the many showings that allow children, or at another theatre is somehow going to cripple their development?

But what they are doing can be seen as an affront to multiculturalism. And think of the arguments in favour of multiculturalism. If you start segregating people, so that different groups don't have to put up with each others' customs, what happens is that each group just becomes more extreme, and the process intensifies.
I'm sorry, I didn't realize that pooping in a diaper and crying for hours at a stretch was considered a 'culture'. This myopic stretch of logic does a disservice to actual multiculturalism.

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