In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 28, 2014 / 26 Adar II, 5774

The Peril of Over-Protecting our Children

By Suzanne Fields

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Beware the trends in child rearing. Newton might revise his second law of thermodynamics: In every theory of what's best for the child, there's likely to be its equal and opposite theory.

The tiger mom who aims for rigid excellence begets the stressed-out dropout. Parents obsessed with "self-esteem," who put feelings above the rules of right and wrong, may raise a rebel who grows up to prize everything Mom and Dad oppose. Lazy teenagers might become aggressive moneymakers, and disciplined learners might reject high-pressure goals for adult sandboxes.

One size rarely fits all. (You could check out the pantyhose counter.)

Whether working parents or stay-at-home home-schoolers, no method alone determines what a child becomes. That doesn't stop the promises and taboos exchanged while building a tower of Legos. You can believe that, as you reap, so will you sow, but as George Gershwin's lyrics neatly put it, "it ain't necessarily so."

Now parents are instructed to worry about the "overprotected child." They're warned that the child you walk or carpool to school, supervise at karate and creative cooking, watch diligently when planting an organic garden to make sure he didn't fall into the compost will grow up to be more fearful and less creative than his daredevil, skateboarding, skydiving cousins. I exaggerate, but only a little.

Hanna Rosin, mother of three, visits for The Atlantic magazine the latest playground equipment, changed since the '90s, to demonstrate how we're raising a generation of 'fraidy cats. The toys have been stripped of sensation and risk. No more dodge ball or roughhousing at school recess, either.

Ellen Sandseter, a Norwegian student of early-childhood and teenage behavior, says young people have "a sensory need to taste danger and excitement," to learn how acts have consequences. She suggests that kids, like chickens, need the free range before they come home to roost.

The argument is overstated, generalized and easily satirized, but it looks at how we've overreached in limiting child's play, guided as much by threats of lawsuits and sensational criminal cases as for a child's protection. The idea deserves a hearing.

You could start with a toddler in Chicago, who walked up a 12-foot curvy slide, supervised by his mother, and fell on his head onto the asphalt because there was a gap on the handrail of the stairs. It was a tragedy because the child suffered brain damage, and was exploited first by the lawyers and then by consumer "experts," who labeled playground behavior a form of Russian roulette.

Playground-safety guidelines quickly became stringent requirements. Tiny accidents the size of acorns were magnified into terrifying oaks.

Environmental engineers replaced grass, dirt and tree houses with rubber flooring and woodchips, and the pleasures of childish surprise vanished into technological dullness. "Rough and tumble" became "safe and secure."

A charming documentary movie based on the work of Roger Hart, a British researcher, about elementary school children in a New England town in 1972, shows them playing merrily without adult supervision, exploring the flora and fauna of a small nearby forest and creating secret houses and forts.

When these children grew up and became parents 32 years later, Hart revisited them and found they were afraid to let their children play alone even in their own backyards. A fence replaced the forest. They wouldn't allow him to interview their kids without a parent to chaperone.

Etan Patz, a 6-year-old in Brooklyn, N.Y., disappeared while walking alone to his school bus and became the famous poster child for National Missing Children's Day. Missing children appeared on milk cartons, and parents wouldn't let their kids out of their sight, even though crimes of abduction are rare, and continue to be as rare as ever. The pendulum swings.

Although fear of children being harmed may not result in more fearful children, as researchers claim, playgrounds are a lot less adventuresome. Some children get used to being watched instead of developing their own compasses for self-direction, and certain studies suggest that millennials suffer from a "play deficit" leading to depression and narcissism.

There's a class divide here. Many children of working-class parents crave the time and attention that middle-class children get from overprotective parents.

Even when both parents work, they add supervisory hours on weekends, overscheduling their children with "play dates" they can supervise. Children of less-prosperous parents are less aggressive and engage in more spontaneous play. No play dates for them.

There are learned studies to support both approaches, but maybe it's the right time to summon Aristotle and discover that middle way. We could build better playgrounds where children -- and the parents who watch them -- can enjoy a few thrills of risk and reasonable hazard. It should be fun.

Suzanne Fields Archives

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© 2006, Creators Syndicate, Suzanne Fields