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What is the Matter with Parents these Days? – Part 3/4

Yes, my wife and me felt it was more important that our daughter be happier as an adult than during her childhood, which is why we left the TV off, no video games, no social networking (at least until her second year in high school), limited the number of school dances she attended, no mobile phone for personal use and focused on her reading books, doing homework, learning ballet, piano, how to change a flat tire, install a toilet, change a lock, install drywall, tile a floor, etc.

And last but not least, we never bought or drank any brand of soda. There was water and then there was water (sometimes there was fruit juice such as apple or orange juice).

Needless to say, many of our daughter’s peers in middle and high school felt sorry for her, because she wasn’t having as much fun as they were. However, our daughter graduated from high school with a 4.65 GPA and was accepted to Stanford University (the only student from her high school that year) where she is starting her third year majoring in biology with goals to pursue a medical degree.

Contrary to popular opinion, she’s happy and loves to dance and play the piano and enjoys reading books. She has a boyfriend at Stanford she loves too and the two share many similar interests. She might want to be happy every waking moment and have loads of fun but she learned as a child that there is a difference between work, happiness, entertainment, bring bored and depression.

To achieve a better chance at adult happiness, her mother and me had to say no to many things leading to boring hours doing homework and studying in addition to reading books to fill the empty hours.

After all, according to the law in California (it varies by state ranging from age 14 to 18), one is a child until his or her eighteenth birthday. Then the child becomes an adult with a life expectancy of at least 84.9 years (on average) if he or she has a college education and earns an above average income. You see, education and income has a significant impact on health and a higher life expectancy and the average college graduate earns much more than a high-school dropout or high-school graduate.

Science Daily reported, “New findings from Harvard Medical School and Harvard University demonstrate that individuals with more than 12 years of education have significantly longer life expectancy than those who never went beyond high school. … Overall in the groups studied, as of 2000, better educated at age 25 could expect to live to age 82; for less educated, 75.”

In addition, The Economic Policy Institute discovered “While life expectancy has grown across the United States between 1980 and 2000, the degree to which people live longer has become increasingly connected to their socio-economic status.” The average life expectancy of the least well-off in 2000 was 74.7 years while it was 79.2 years for those that were most well off—meaning they had more money and usually a better education.

However, if left up to most children in the average family that does not live in poverty, happiness means not exercising, eating lots of sugary foods swallowed with gallons of sugary sodas, watching TV, listening to music, social networking, playing video games, hanging out with friends after school and on weekends, sending daily text messages by the dozens—and according to surveys and studies that is what the average child in America is doing ten hours a day.

Where are the parents?

Then there is this thing about parents blindly encouraging kids to follow their dreams without a realistic backup plan.

Continued on July 26, 2012 in What is the Matter with Parents these Days? – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 8/9

There are many reasons why “nonviolent civil disobedience” is acceptable when it comes to No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

One example is latchkey children. According to the U.S. Census, 15% were home alone before school, 76% after school and 9% at night. Presumably, the 9% have parents who work night shifts.

In fact, most homework is supposed to be done after school when 76% of children are often alone without proper adult supervision.

Without parental supervision, we have many American children that avoid homework, reading assignments and studying. Instead, many of these children spend more than 10 hours a day dividing the time watching TV, social networking on sites such as Facebook. playing video games, listening to music, or sending text messages to friends, etc.

And who is blamed when these children fail to meet NCLB benchmarks? public school teachers and their unions

Then there is poor nutrition, which affects a child’s ability to learn, and too much sugar consumption has been found to lower the immune system and affect short-term memory causing memory problems in addition to mood swings.  If a child’s memory is compromised, how is he or she supposed to do well on a standardized test or remember what teachers taught in US history, English, math and science?

And who is blamed when these children fail to meet NCLB benchmarks? public school teachers and their unions

Poverty also has a huge impact on a child’s ability to learn.

The National Center for Children in Poverty says nearly 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level – $22,050 a year for a family of four.

Combine poverty, latch key children, poor nutrition and sugar consumption, and the challenge become almost insurmountable. Even the greatest teachers and the best lessons may not be able to overcome all of these challenges.


Street Gangs South L.A. Bloods and Crips – Impact on Education

However, who is blamed when these children fail to meet NCLB benchmarks? public school teachers and their unions

Even in China, with its Confucian influenced culture and deep respect for teachers and education, poverty plays a role in children completing school or dropping out. The drop our rate in rural China often reaches 70%, where most of China’s poverty and/or lower incomes may be found. In India, the crushing 40% severe poverty rate has resulted in a country with about 40% illiteracy.

However, unlike the U.S., which makes scapegoats of its teachers and their labor unions, China is struggling to solve this challenge instead of looking for idealistic, Pollyanna solutions.

Then there is the 800,000 strong American street gang culture, which is very anti education. Street gangs in the US are into drugs and violence that influence the learning environment in US schools due to poor behavior and bad attitudes.

In 2001, the US Senate was split evenly between Democrats (50) and Republicans (50) and conservatives held a majority in the House of Representatives while G. W. Bush, a neoconservative, evangelical, born-again Christian President, ruled the country from the White House. Due to this alone, it is not surprising that NCLB became a law in 2001 that in 2010 identifies millions of teachers and more than 50 thousand public schools as failures, because public education was set up to fail due to the language of the NCLB Act.

Democrats voted for NCLB because they naively believed that teachers were capable of overcoming all of the challenges mentioned in this series, while it is obvious conservatives wanted to set the schools up for failure so private school vouchers would win support from the public.

That leads to the conclusion that shows why nonviolent civil disobedience, such as changing answers on standardized tests or helping students to select correct answers or refusing to cooperate with the federal government as several states have done, is an acceptable way to protest the poorly designed, misleading NCLB Act.

There is more than one historical precedent for civil disobedience for unreasonable and unrealistic laws such as NCLB, which will be revealed in Part 9.

Continued on August 8, 2011, in Civil Disobedience and No Child Left Behind – Part 9 or return to Part 7

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

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A Brief History of Parenting – Part 3/3

As you may have learned in Part One and Part Two, Old-World parenting was an improvement over the way children grew up before the 18th century and the Chinese may have learned this parenting method from the invading Western nations after The Opium Wars.

However, parenting methods developed further and by the 1960s, according to research, the best method of parenting is not Authoritarian but Authoritative, which is characterized by moderate demands with moderate responsiveness.

The authoritative parent is firm but not rigid, willing to make an exception when the situation warrants. The authoritative parent is responsive to the child’s needs but not indulgent. Baumrind makes it clear that she favors the authoritative style.

The worst parenting style represents what studies show are the “average” child and parent in the United States today.  These parents are Permissive, Uninvolved or a combination of both.

Since the average parent in the US today talks to his or her child less than five minutes a day and the average child spends more than 10 hours a day dividing his or her time up between watching TV, playing video games, social networking on sites such as Facebook, or sending hundreds of text messages monthly, it is obvious what the results are. Source: Media Literacy Clearinghouse

Since the Permissive and/or Uninvolved parent has few requirements for mature behavior, children may lack skills in social settings. While they may be good at interpersonal communication, they lack other important skills such as sharing. The child may also fear becoming dependent on other people, are often emotionally withdrawn, tend to exhibit more delinquency during adolescence, feels fear and anxiety or stress due to lack of family support and had an increased risk of substance abuse.

Return to A Brief History of Parenting – Part Two or start with Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).

His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

lloydlofthouse_crazyisnormal_web2_5

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 

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Putting the Blame where it Belongs — Part 5/6

The last step to input this data into the new API index would be easy.  Teachers would make a digital copy of the grades on a CD or a thumb drive or attached to an e-mail sent to an administrative site where the information was fed into a database.

If the law says we cannot reveal student names, then we use student ID numbers, which are kept confidential at the school site.

The district has information on ethnicity, age and sex for every student so that information is merged using the student ID numbers.

The result would be an index that reveals which students are working and those that aren’t. Teachers would only be responsible to teach, correct student assignments and record grades, while students and their parents would be responsible to see that the work and reading is completed.

To make sure that students are learning, there would still be the standardized test to measure growth but with students actually involved instead of watching TV, playing video games or sending the average 1500 text messages a month, there would be reading outside of class, doing homework and studying instead.

This puts the responsibility where it belongs—on students and parents. If a teacher is not doing a good job teaching, students are going to complain and administration is going to observe.

Every few weeks, I printed out a progress report for each of my students that told them everything I’ve mentioned in this series of posts and I required those students to take those reports home and have their parents sign them.

However, if our society is unwilling to hold students and parents responsible to cooperate in their education and we keep placing “ALL” the blame on teachers, America has failed and nothing will solve this problem.

On May 20, 2011, in Solving the API Dilemma – Part 6, we shall see a comparison between the actual API scores in California and my friend’s suggestion of how to show results on standardized tests without being racist when showing who is responsible for the results.

Continued on May 20, 2011 in Putting the Blame where it Belongs – Part 6 or return to Part 4

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

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Putting the Blame where it Belongs — Part 1/6

It is absurd and stupid to blame teachers for students that do not do class work, homework, and study for tests or read books outside class.

Washington D.C. and the president of the United States are demanding that teachers do the impossible.

We must repeal the No Child Left Behind Act and enact into law “No Student and/or Parent Ignored” (NSPI), because that is what we are doing—ignoring the students and parents.

An old friend suggested this idea, and it is how America will resolve its problems with public education.

The reason students do not show gains on the Academic Proficiency Index is NOT because of bad or boring teachers or teacher unions.  It is because most of those students are not doing homework, studying for tests or reading outside of school and many are not reading in school.

Since no one in Washington D.C. and/or the White House has placed blame where it should be, on students and parents, then why should students work?

Students must be held responsible to learn but they are not. Instead, many are encouraged to feel good and have fun and/or are ignored by parents.

After all, thanks to “No Child Left Behind”, parents are not responsible for their child’s education—only teachers have been held responsible. However, teachers cannot follow 150 to 200 students home and make sure they do homework, read and study each day.

A Kaiser Generation M2 – Kids/Youth/Media Survey (January 2010) said, “Total Media Exposure for all 8 to 18 year old’s average amount of time spend with each medium in a typical day was 10:45 hours

That average 10:45 hours was divided up with 4:29 hours spent watching TV; 2:31 hours listening to music; 1:29 hours on the computer; 1:13 hours playing video games; 30 minutes reading print media, and 25 minutes watching a movie.

If this is what the “average” child is doing daily in the US, when are they doing homework, reading or studying?

Continued on May 16, 2011 In Putting the Blame where it Belongs – Part 2, where we shall see my “old” friend’s solution to solve this problem.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.

 

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Avoiding the Mainstream Parenting Trap – Part 9/9 (THE QUIZ)

How much of an “average” American parent are you? Take this quiz to find out. You may want to write the scores on a piece of paper then add them at the end to discover your final grade. The grade scale is listed at the end.

1.   What describes the amount of time (on average) your family and/or children watch TV daily. (Read Avoiding the Mainstream Parenting Trap – Part 1 and Part 2 to understand the importance of the first four questions.)

  • 6 hours                        (30 points)
  • 5 hours                        (25 points)
  • 4 hours                        (20 points)
  • 3 hours                        ( 15 points)
  • 2 hours                        ( 10 points)
  • more than 1 hour daily but less than 2 (7 points)
  •  about 3 hours a week or less (no points—good for you!)

2. Video games

  •  The video games in our house are kept in the child’s room and are not locked up. He or she may play any time and as much as he or she wants (20 points)
  •  My child has one or more video games that are not kept in the child’s room, and (on average) the family and/or children play daily for twenty minutes or more (10 points)
  •  My child has one or more video games that are kept locked up, and he or she plays once or twice a week (five points)
  •  My child has one or more video games that are kept locked up, and he or she plays once or twice a month (one point)
  •  There are no video games in our home (no points—good for you!)

3.   If your child has a mobile cell phone, does he or she send and receive text messages and if so, how many (on average) each month?

  •  1500 or more  (50 points)
  •  1000                (40 points)
  •  750                  (30 points)
  •  500                  (20 points)
  •  250                  (15 points)
  •  100                  (10 points)
  •    50                    (5 points)
  •  My child does not have a mobile cell phone (no points—good for you!)

4.  How much time does your child spend on the Internet on sites such as Facebook?

  • more than 2 hours daily                      (25 points)
  • between one and two hours daily       (20 points)
  • about one hour daily                           (15 points)
  • less than one hour daily                      (10 points)
  • about three or four hours a week        (5 points)
  • less than three hours a week              (3 points)
  • less than two hours a week.                (2 points)
  • less than one hour a week.                 (1 point)
  • My child is not allowed to social network in the Internet (no points—good for you!)

5.  How many hours (on average) does your child sleep daily? (Read Avoiding the Mainstream Parenting Trap – Part 3 to understand the importance of this question)

  • my child sleeps about 3 hours or less a night                         (50 points)
  • my child sleeps more than 3 hours but less than 5                 (45 points)
  • my child sleeps between 6 and 7 hours a night                      (35 points)
  • my child sleeps between 8 and 9 hours a night                      (10 points)
  • my child sleeps nine or more hours a night                            (no points—good for you!)

6. Does your child eat a nutrition breakfast each morning? (Read Avoiding the Mainstream Parenting Trap – Part 4 to understand the importance of this question)

For example, a nutritious breakfast might be a bowl of steel-cut organic oatmeal (this may be bought in bulk and is not expensive) and/or one soft or hardboiled egg, and one or more of the following: a banana, apple, orange, some melon the size of a fist, or two kiwi (or another real piece of fruit) and a glass of “real” orange juice with no sugar added.

If you answered YES, the score is ZERO (good for you!).  If you answered NO, the score is 50.

Note: Sources for healthy protein: grass fed organic beef or organic free range chicken (6 ounces a day); legumes (peanuts are a legume as are pinto and kidney beans) or nuts such as raw or dry roasted almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pecans, sunflower seeds etc. (no salt)

7.  Is your child considered obese? If you do not know, go to Kids Health.org and read the five-part post about Overweight and Obesity. If you have trouble reading, there is a “Listen” function. (Read Avoiding the Mainstream Parenting Trap – Part 5 to understand the importance of questions 7, 8 and 9)

If you answered YES, the score is 50.  If you answered NO, the score is ZERO (good for you!).

8. Does your ENTIRE family sit down at the same table without a TV or computer or video game or cell phone or music playing and eat a home cooked meal at least six days a week; does that meal include more vegetables than meat and sweet deserts, and does your family talk during this meal and no one can get up until everyone is done? Is the main beverage water?

If you answered NO, the score is 50.  If you answered YES, the score is ZERO (good for you).

NOTE—Learn more from CDCG’s Nutritious Food

9. Does your child have diabetes?

If you answered YES, the score is 50.  If you answered NO, the score is ZERO (good for you!).

NOTE—Diabetes is a lifestyle disease. It is possible to Get Rid of Diabetes without medications.  To learn how, read 3 Steps to Get Rid of Diabetes Once and for All.

10.  What kind of grades does your child earn in school?  (Read Avoiding the Mainstream Parenting Trap – Part 6, Part 7 and Part 8 to understand the importance of this question.)

  • My child mostly earns FAILING GRADES and/or “D’s” from academic subjects such as history, science, math, English, journalism and/or a foreign language (PE, art, drama, chorus, band — do not count as academic subjects) EARN 50 points
  • My child earns “C’s” or better for all academic subjects (never earns a “D” or a FAILING grade) EARN 25 POINTS
  • My child earns “B’s” or better for all academic subjects (never earns “C’s”, “D’s” or FAILING GRADES) EARN 5 points
  • My child has earned all “A’s” from academic classes every year he or she has been in school. (subtract 100 points from the total—WOW!!!!!!)

NOTE: Good, demanding teachers do not give grades. Students earn them by reading both in and out of school, doing class work, doing homework and studying for tests and quizzes. At home, a child should read a half hour or more daily, 365 days a year. Books are the best source for reading. Libraries loan them free. There is no excuse to not read.  The more one reads, the more literate he or she will be.

EVALUATION—To learn what your score means, compare your total with the following grade scale. [Earning an A, B or C may indicate you are not an “average” American parent. This is good!]

If I were grading this quiz as a teacher, an “A” would be a score between 42 (A-) and ZERO (A+)—Congratulations, you may be an outstanding parent!

To earn a B, the score would be between 43 (B+) and 83 (B-)—Congratulations, you may be an excellent parent!

To earn a “C”, the score would be between 84 (B+) to 124 (B-)—Congratulations, you may be a good parent.

To earn a “D”, the score would be between 125 (D+) to 166 (D-)—Improvement needed!!!

FAILURE falls between 167 (F+) and 415 (F-)

NOTE— Childhood as defined by the law in America is to the age of 18, but it is possible that an individual will live to be 80 or older.  This means he or she will be an adult for possibly sixty-two years or more.

Poverty and poor health is not fun.

If you earned a FAILING grade on this quiz and are unwilling to improve as a parent, why did you have children? Was it an accident?  Do you know that love means sacrifice and a willingness to say no and mean it? Why would you want to poison your children with bad food and focus on too much fun instead of having the child work toward earning a good education that may lead to a more financially secure and healthy future as an adult?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap – Part 2/9

In 2009, children and teens spent an average of one hour and 29 minutes on a computer while texting (on a cell phone) up to four times longer.

A PEW study from April 2010 says, “The typical American teen sends and receives 50 or more messages per day (on a cell phone), or 1,500 per month.”

In fact, teens spent less time talking on a cell phone than texting.

One way to combat texting is to call the provider and ask if texting may be blocked. We use AT&T and I asked and discovered that AT&T offers blocking so text messages cannot be received or sent. Even if a child/teen does not text, friends may send texts and it takes time to read them.  It also costs money to receive a text message. All of our cell phones are now blocked for texting.

A Kaiser Generation M2 – Kids/Youth/Media Survey (January 2010) said, “Total Media Exposure for all 8 to 18 year old’s average amount of time spend with each medium in a typical day was 10:45 hours

That average 10:45 hours was divided up with 4:29 hours spent watching TV; 2:31 hours listening to music; 1:29 hours on the computer; 1:13 hours playing video games; 30 minutes reading print media, and 25 minutes watching a movie.


Rules and Discipline by Dr. Archer Crosley

A Pew “Teens & Social Media” Study reported, “Nearly two-thirds of teens – 63 percent – have a cell phone; 35 percent of all online teen girls blog, compared with 20 percent of online teen boys and 32 percent of girls ages 12 to 14 Blog, compared to 18 percent of boys age 15 to 17.

It does not help that the US has More TV’s than people. More than 50% of homes have at least three working televisions. The average number of TV’s in homes for the US is 2.8, which means many family members may be in different rooms watching different programs.

If you are not in the same room and the TV is on for that many hours, where does quality time come from for talking to each other?

In addition, evidence is growing that early TV exposure undermines all the building blocks, and this study is proof that tuning into the tube at an early age contributes to attention problems (ADHD) and hampers learning.

In fact, children exposed to more than an hour of screen time daily eventually develop ADHD and other learning difficulties by the age of seven. Memory retention also declines as the brain is constantly shifting focus and remembers only those incidents, which have had most impact from the pleasure point of view. Thus, retention of academic concepts suffers. Source: Short Attention Span Theatre

There is also an “average” or “norm” for sleep, which will be the topic of Part 3

Continued on May 3, 2011 in Avoid the Mainstream Parent Trap – Part 3 or start with Part 1

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”

 
 

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