Sorry, When It Comes to Parenting, Orange Isn’t the New Black

Dear Mr. Dad: My girlfriend has had a drug problem since I’ve known her. She was clean while pregnant with our daughter, but started up again right after the birth. She was in and out of our daughter’s life for the first two years, disappearing for long stretches of time, and spent the past two years in jail. Because of my ex’s drug problem, I was given sole legal and physical custody. A few weeks ago, she got out of jail and suddenly wants to be super mom. Given her history, I’m skeptical. I’m also torn. On one hand, I think our daughter, who’s now four, and her mother have a right to a relationship with each other and I want to support that. On the other hand, I’m afraid that she’ll start using again and will land back in jail, leaving our daughter disappointed and confused again. I wonder whether making a clean break would be the best thing for everyone. What do you suggest?

If your daughter’s mother is drug-free and doesn’t pose a danger to your daughter or herself, I think that making a clean break would be a big mistake. Your daughter, like most children, sees herself as equal parts you and her mother. And she’s probably worrying that one day she’ll end up like her mom, doing bad things, getting arrested, and spending time in prison. I’m guessing she’s a very frightened little girl. In her mind, it doesn’t matter what her mom has done; she loves her very much. Keeping her from seeing her mom will make things worse.
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Why Your Kids Are Breaking the Law and How to Get Them to Stop

Barb Van Loon, author of Good Kids, Bad Choices.
Topic:
Why your kids are breaking the law and how to get them to stop.
Issues: Differences between youth crimes and adult crimes; recognizing red flags that may indicate that your child is engaged in criminal activity; non-violent crimes that could land your kid in jail (including cyberbullying, sexting, pornography, identify theft, and so on); when to blame yourself and when not; is it possible to recover from having a crime on your record?

When is reading with your kids like cigarette smoking?

Okay, provocative question, but I do have a point. When it comes to cigarettes, we all know what we should do: quit. And when it comes to reading to our children, we also know what we should do: story time for at least 20 minutes every night (or as close as you can).

So that’s why I was surprised to read about a new study done in London that found that less than a third of parents “read to their children every day and half say they are too busy to read and that work comes first.” And who’s to blame? Certainly not mom and dad.

The findings, commissioned for an annual search for new children’s authors, links the economic downturn with the decline of story time. Of 2,000 parents surveyed, 10 percent said they read to their kids only once a month, and another 10 percent say they never read to their children. “Half said their excuse for not reading was because they had been forced to work extra hours to cope with the rise in the cost of living.”

As someone who has read all of the Harry Potter books and all of the Series of Unfortunate Events books (13 of them) outloud to his kids at least twice, I’m pretty hard core when it comes to reading (I read to them and they read to me). You don’t have to be as obsessive as I am, but remember that kids who get read to when they’re young enter school better prepared and with larger vocabularies, do better in school, are more likely to graduate, and much less likely to get into trouble with the law (something like 75% of prison inmates have significant reading problems).

The full, gruesome article is here: www.indianexpress.com/news/parents-too-busy-to-read-bedtime-stories-to-their-kids/922737/0