Thursday, May 29, 2008

More kids, fewer teeth

The title pretty much summed it up

"Women who gave birth to more children tended to lose more teeth during their lives, regardless of whether they were rich or poor, U.S researchers found.
...
"People might say that happens because women who are poor have more children and women who are poor are not going to be able to afford the dentist," she said. "But we found that it was true across all socioeconomic levels."
...
Women are more prone to gingivitis during pregnancy, when the response of the oral tissues to the bacteria in the mouth is altered, Russell said.
...
In addition, Russell said women may be less likely to see a dentist while pregnant, perhaps in part because they want to avoid dental X-rays due to concern over radiation exposure.

Women with multiple children may also forgo their own dental care, possibly due to lack of money or time, Russell said."


I still like the term "childfree" better than "toothful."

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Some ideas for fees to improve flying
The recent news that American Airlines is charging for all coach-class checked baggage is ridiculous ("Bag fee latest sign of airline desperation," Republic, Thursday).

However, there are a couple of new airline fees I would happily pay. One is for a baby/child-free zone. If I'm paying extra to sit by a window or on an aisle, I'm not getting my money's worth if I have to hear someone's "little darling" squawking and mewling for the entire flight. . . .


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Friday, May 09, 2008

More Explanation to the Delusion that Kids Make You Happy.

Parenthood doesn't lead to joy: expert

This continues the discussion a few articles below, which features another article covering Prof. Gilbert's Australian visit. further back in our archives is news coverage from when the book was released in the U.S. a few years ago.
Professor Gilbert left the sacred cow of parenthood for last, saying that despite the belief children were the apples of our eyes, they actually had a negative impact on happiness.
. . .
Explaining why the statistics conflicted with most people's view of parenthood, Prof Gilbert made the unusual comparison to buying a pair of Armani socks.

"When people own Armani socks they can't stop telling you they are the best socks, the most amazing socks," he said.

"(But) I suspect that one of the reasons that people who own Armani socks think they are wonderful is because they have paid $US85 ($A90.30) for a pair.

"The psychologists tell us that we like things more when we pay for them - what does that sound like? It sounds like children.
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Japan slowly moving towards catastrophic childless future

Conta Costa Times
The proportion of children in the population fell to an all-time low of 13.5 percent. That number has been falling for 34 straight years and is the lowest among 31 major countries, according to the report. In the United States, children account for about 20 percent of the population.

Japan also has a surfeit of the elderly. About 22 percent of the population is 65 or older, the highest proportion in the world. And that number is on the rise. By 2020, the elderly will outnumber children by nearly 3 to 1, the government report predicted. By 2040, they will outnumber them by nearly 4 to 1.

The economic and social consequences of these trends are difficult to overstate.

Japan, now the world's second-largest economy, will lose 70 percent of its workforce by 2050 and economic growth will slow to zero, according to a report this year by the nonprofit Japan Center for Economic Research.


Um... Immigration? Work visas? Redirecting governmental spending expenses normally allocated to children (such as education) towards those centered on the elderly?

With this happening in Japan, Germany, and potentially in all Western countries (save the U.S.) with restrictive immigration laws, how about NOT structuring our economies as pyramid schemes?

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Thai restaurant bans kids under 6

I'll have a vegetable pad thai, with a side of "Don't let in the toddlers"
Management for a popular Silverton restaurant announced Thursday that young children would no longer be allowed into the establishment.The manager at the Red Thai restaurant on Oak Street said children younger than 6 aren't welcome in the eatery. The Red Thai manager, Craig Gereau, said children disrupt people who are trying to enjoy a quiet dinner.
. . .
Gereau said he's not discriminating against anyone, he just wants to run a restaurant that caters to adults, and there are plenty of family restaurants in Silverton for children.
Here's my thought... the only reason this has become the policy is most likely due to incidents that happened in the restaurant in the past. So parent of unruly children, you have only yourselves to blame. And it's the responsible parents with kids who do behave who wind up getting screwed.

As an aside, there's a recurring issue in a lot of discussions about breastfeeding in stores, restaurants, etc. Laws frequently state that women can breastfeed whenever and wherever they please, while some store and restaurant owners are none too thrilled about it, especially when it's done as a political action rather than simply feeding their kid. By having a rule that bans all kids under 6, this effectively prevents breastfeeding in the restaurant, presumably without violating the law (oddly enough, by banning an entire group, rather than a specific action). Is this the loophole businesses have been looking for?

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Kids, marriage, happiness

It's a Trap!

And despite the belief that children were the apples of our eyes, they actually had a negative impact on happiness.

The more kids you had, the sadder you were likely to be, Prof Gilbert said.

US and European studies had shown that people's happiness did spike while they were expecting a baby but sharply plummeted after the child was born.

The low point came when children reached the ages of 12-16, and recovered only when they had flown the coop, he said.

"In reality ... children do seem to increase happiness as long as you're expecting them, but as soon as you have them, trouble sets in," he said.

"People are extremely happy before they have children and then their happiness goes down, and it takes another big hit when kids reach adolescence.

"When does it come back to it's original baseline? Oh, about the time the children grow up and go away."

So, it's basically a big initial high, followed by a decline, and eventually a crash, and then you build back up to where you started. So, if you're the kind of person who can resist the draw of that initial high, you sidestep the foray into negative territory.

"The psychologists tell us that we like things more when we pay for them - what does that sound like? It sounds like children. We pay for them in time, attention, blood, sweat and tears - what kind of idiots would we be to devote all of that to the rearing of our young if they'd didn't bring us some happiness?"

The fact that parenthood crowded out all other things in life could explain why we considered children our greatest source of joy, he said.

"Parents tell me all the time that: `My child is my greatest source of joy'," he said.

"My reply is that: `Yes, when you have one source of joy, it's bound to be your greatest'."

You know, he raises a very interesting question. Why would people have kids if they didn't bring them happiness? With this data, it suggests that kids *don't* bring happiness to everyone (at least, not a net happiness). If people knew this, would they decide not to have kids? Or would biological drive and societal pressure still win out?

I don't want to discount the fact that some people find lots of happiness in having and raising their kids. But we need to stop pretending that it's a universal thing. And we need to stop willfully ignoring the fact that having kids can have a negative affect on many marriages.

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