Glad I didn’t grow up with today’s helicopter parents

Not that overbooked kids and over-involved parents are anything new, of course.

From a column by Jon Carroll.

So I was walking by a school the other day and there, set up right in front of the administration building, was a woman selling Girl Scout cookies. Her daughter was in class, she explained, and she was just helping out, and did I want a couple of boxes of Thin Mints?

Did her daughter sell cookies too? I asked.

Turned out that the daughter was very busy, what with the traveling soccer games and the piano lessons and her active personal life. Of course she was also dedicated to the Girl Scouts, but there are only so many hours in a day and etc.

The girl in question, I ascertained, was 10 years old.

The Girl Scout literature in re: cookies suggests that, in addition to raising money for the organization, cookie sales build teamwork, responsibility and basic financial skills. There’s also, in theory, a sense of pride developed when a girl sells enough cookies to win a small prize of some sort.

No word yet on what emotions the girl feels if her mother wins a small prize.

Of course, if you’ve got a craving for Girl Scout cookies, you could make your own healthier versions.

No Kidding: What We Talk About When We Talk About Not Having Kids

I’m not going to have children. In fact, I can’t. I had my tubes tied last year just to be sure of that. I’ve always known I didn’t want to have children of my own, but in an extremely pro-natalist culture, being childfree is not as simple as it sounds. There are plenty of women just like me, though childfree women aren’t a homogenous group in any sense of the word. And though studies show that childlessness is on the rise, not having kids is still often seen as going against cultural, religious, and even biological imperatives.

Over the next eight weeks, I’ll be reprising my Bitch blogger role (see last year’s ecofeminist series, The Biotic Woman) to discuss what it means to be an intentionally childfree woman in Western culture. Why are some famous women (Oprah) relatively unscathed by the media when it comes to childbearing, while other famous women (Jennifer Aniston) can’t shake pregnancy speculation? Why are families with a dozen children featured on television when parents of only children or non-parents are arguably just as interesting? Why is it so tough for childless women to access permanent birth control? If you have something in particular you’d like to discuss or have me analyze, please let me know!

Front labels on food for children called deceptive

Researchers who conducted a recent study on food packaging say the front labels on food for children are deceptive. I think the front labels on food for just about anybody are deceptive.

Remember, if something claiming to be food comes with a label that makes nutritional claims, you should probably be suspicious.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Labels on the front of foods marketed to childrentout all types of nutritional benefits to give the products a healthful seal of approval. But 84 percent of those claims are misleading, according to a study released Wednesday by Strategic Alliance, a coalition of California nutrition and exercise experts.

Nutrition and health professionals looked at 58 “better for you” products, and found that most of them did not meet the basic nutrition standards set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Academies of Science.

"Parents know what is healthy, and they look for it when they shop. They’re looking for whole grains, low-sodium, low-sugar foods for their kids," said Larry Cohen, Prevention Institute’s executive director.

"When corporations put a label on the front of the box calling something a smart choice, parents believe it - and why shouldn’t they? You can’t blame them for trusting what they see. We have to regulate labels and stop using them to mask a host of unhealthy ingredients buried inside.

"Food companies should - and could - be doing better. Our families deserve it."