Jewish World Review June 20, 2003 / 20 Sivan, 5763

Keith Olbermann

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The parenting files | Now, from the 'Department of the Trials and Tribulations of parenting,' here are some interesting parenting stories.

Some parents prefer to stay at home, others promise plastic surgery, and some teach their kids to rob banks. But one thing's for certain: However you choose to raise your child, it's not going to be easy.

A surprising change in the way women are approaching motherhood: more and more of them deciding to stay at home to raise the kids. According to the latest census, the number of women choosing to leave their jobs to stay at home with kids is up 13 percent over the past 10 years. Some experts are attributing the surge to the economic boom of the 90s. But whatever the reason, the logic of full-time parenting does not seem to end with women. The number of stay-at-home dads also surged — it is up 18 percent since 1990.

* Chinese-style parenting. And if you’re having trouble getting your kids to study, how about bribing them with plastic surgery? Parents in the Chinese city of Guangzhou are doing just that — promising nose jobs and liposuction to their kids if they do well on their high school exams. According to “The South China Morning Post” last week, 90 percent of the city’s cosmetic surgeries were carried out on high school graduates.

* Robber mom. Of course, we don’t do that in this country. Kids get plastic surgery whether they do well on their exams or not. And Kathleen Jones is accused of pushing her kids a little too hard — not towards a good degree, not even towards a good plastic surgeon. In fact, she was pushing them to rob a bank. Kathleen Jones has now admitted to driving her 14-year-old twins to a bank in New Jersey last year. Armed only with a toy gun, the girls allegedly stole over $3,000 to make a mortgage payment. The twins are now in custody — along with their mother, stepfather, and their older sister.

* Saving dad. This good news from a 7-year-old in Scotland - Semm Slaven was hiking with his father in the mountains when his dad suddenly had an onslaught of glaucoma. Jeff Slaven, Semm Slaven’s father, became disoriented and completely blinded in one eye. Instead of panicking, Semm took on the role of the parent: leading his dad 3,000 feet down to the foot of the mountain. Mr. Slaven says his son provided more than just direction. Semm also gave him moral support, telling him, “It won’t be long, Dad. We will be okay.”

* Hand-cuffed to dad. In Des Moines on Sunday, police went to the home of William Kline, where they arrested and cuffed him - in fact, because of outstanding criminal mischief and theft warrants. Police led him [Kline] away in cuffs in front of his 10-year-old son, Brian, on Father’s Day. Cruel? Unnecessary? No, actually, it was the kid’s fault. An hour before, young Brian had given dad a gag gift for the holiday. He had found a pair of handcuffs and locked himself to his father’s wrist. When nobody could find the keys, the cops were called to the Kline home - where they freed William Kline from one set of handcuffs and promptly locked him up in their own. Of course, kids don’t remember events like that, do they?

* Should I stay home with the kids? According to the U.S. Census Bureau, moms make-up 55 percent of the work force, down from a record 59 percent in 1998. For many mothers, going back to their job is a very difficult choice. “Today”contributor Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist with the New York Presbyterian Hospital, has advice for mothers making this tough decision.

* ‘But all my friends are doing it!’ — Advice on keeping peace in the home but enforce the rules. Most parents and their children find themselves on different pages of the book, or even not in the same volume, many, many times during the growing years. Why? Well, because kids and parents see things differently. Ruth A. Peters, “Today Show” contributor and clinical psychologist, gives advice on how to keep peace in the home but enforce the rules.

* Are your kids driving you crazy? — Tips for arguing constructively with your children, a skill you both need in life. Do you find you’re often battling and feel like you’re getting nowhere fast? Well, as is true in adult relationships, it’s normal for parents and kids to get angry with each other and argue, but arguing isn’t the problem. It’s how you argue that matters. On NBC’s “Today” show, contributor Dr. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist with New York Presbyterian Hospital, shares some advice for parents. Read her tips.

* Talking to kids about war, violence — Children learn of major events from commercials, friends. Even if your child doesn’t sit down and watch news programs or read the newspaper, chances are that he knows and hears about major events, and even some minor ones, just from commercials for the news and word of mouth. Overheard conversations and rumors at school can lead to exaggerated and inaccurate ideas about what’s going on in the world.

* Success rate: 76% for kids getting off probation — Likelihood of success much lower for teens who commit more serious offenses, according to report. Most Alaska kids who break the law appear to stay out of trouble after they get off probation, preliminary statistics show. But the picture is bleaker for those whose crimes were serious enough to land them in the state’s long-term, lockup facilities.

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The writer hosts MSNBC's “Countdown with Keith Olbermann.” The news program, dedicated to all of the day’s top stories, telecasts weeknights, 8-9 p.m. ET. Comment by clicking here.

06/19/03: As the world churns
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06/04/03: Terror attack preparation: Too much or too little?
06/02/03: Bush vs. Clinton?
05/29/03: Ticket blitz in New York City? Hey, at least pregnant women won't be blocking stairwells
05/21/03: ‘Barney’ as torture
05/08/03: Because you just can't take the news too seriously
04/30/03: Should we be more scared of SCARS, or a government that will readily deny you your freedom on the suspicion that you may have it?
04/29/03: Man bites dog --- really!
04/28/03: Because you just can't take the news too seriously ...
04/25/03: The panic over SARS
04/22/03: Playing —and greeting cards in a changed world
04/21/03: Reading your own obituary ... and other 'oops' moments
04/15/03: Saddam Hussein and the Sorcerer's Stone: The secret to Saddam's immortality

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