kids

All posts tagged kids

condominiums spaces

Published August 15, 2013 by Tony

Let children play alone

The City of Milan has proposed an amendment to the regulation of the municipal police, which would allow use of the spaces inside the condominiums to residents, for letting children play or other purposes, in compliance with the provided time slots.
A good news indeed, if we consider that, especially in the North, the condos are closed and “sad” spaces, sometimes very big that do not have a real utility. Therefore, it is nice to know that these collective microworlds can find their own arrangement, like to be used by children to play or dwellers to organize  little parties, without having to rent a special “site” to do it.

Today, many parents are forced to accompany their children in small playgrounds or prohibit the young teenagers to go out alone. They look like prisoners who are brought out in small confined areas and watched over.
Years ago, everything was simpler and no big concerns, our kids could play in the yard or even in the street. Fortunately, in the South this “custom” still remains in many countries. I have already had the opportunity to talk about this subject in some previous posts, and I am of the opinion that, at least for kids, this is the best way to socialize and make friends…. oh gosh yea! a lot better than Facebook!

INTERNET and CHILDREN

Published February 10, 2013 by Tony

INTERNET RESTRICTED FOR CHILDREN?

PARENTAL CONTROL

For years now, the controversy whether children must have free access to Internet is going on. Months ago, there were rumors about the new technology developed by Facebook that would allow (officially) the registration also to under 13. I put the word “officially” in brackets because we know that millions of kids already attend social networks regularly, inputting a false date of birth. From long, Windows gives the possibility to add filters to the browser (for blocking adult contents) or restrict access to the computer by using the users account.
But the question remains, restriction or not?!
As always, various discordant opinions about, and  now I will have my say.

As with everything, it takes common sense, as we must reason with knowledge of the facts and free from any bias, without getting caught by excessive obsessions or easy generalizations.
The first thing that sounds unpleasant here is the word “limitation”, which indicates lack of freedom.
From time immemorial, any “prohibition” and “censorship” were always fought hard, from the freeing of the slaves, to the free sale of alcohol.
How many other things  were “banned” until the last century? Rock music, for example, which for many was considered sinful, encouraging sex and drugs. Woodstock was our reply.
Today it is said that Internet is dangerous for children because of pornography, for talking to strangers and, even worse, for case of enticement. Ok, let’s talk…..

1 – It is well-known that every “no” always gets the opposite effect, increasing curiosity and the desire to transgress. But, let’s analyze the situation in detail, because in addition to the downside, you should consider other possibilities.
2 – In addition to the computer, nowadays internet is easily accessible via tablet, ipad, iphone and any mobile phone. So every parent also should monitor the use of these devices or limit their use, where this could be possible.
3 – Our children are not always at home and, street or stores apart, they are often at classmate and friend’s home. With this in mind, then should parents also forbid to go out or meet up with their friends?
4 – Today, about IT-based, kids are in most cases better prepared and skilled than their parents, so any “block” could easily be removed and put back without anyone noticing.
5 – With regard to the pornography, porno magazines have always existed and will continue to exist, thus obscuring Internet the problem is not entirely solved, provided that the porn is. Millions of kids in the past, myself included, have watched porno magazines and not for this old generations were traumatized or became sick.
6- The last concern, from what I read around, is the soliciting of minors. Apart from the fact that statistics in hand, cases of solicitation over internet represent a very small percentage, but do you relatives really believe that if an adult wants to lure your child he/she can do it only via internet?! Adults that eventually your child can meet on internet are infinitely less than those meet every day at school, on the street or on the bus! The world outside our windows is full of sex, drugs and bad affairs, useless to blame internet. To me it is absurd that parents filter internet and not talk about sex with their children, for instance.
7 – Finally, my last point concerns the nature of your children. Restrictions and prohibitions are of little use if they have a strong and determined character, and if they have made up their mind to do something. By Internet or not, stubborn kids usually manage to experience what they want do, in one way or another. Every parent knows their children, and if the family is healthy and the child has always received a sound education, whose parents are an example, needless to worry. Children already know what is good and what is bad. If we give them confidence in everything they usually do, we must also give it in respect of internet.

For me, every complaint about internet is misplaced and anachronistic. Today, Internet (including social networks) is the opposite of loneliness, boredom, silence and ignorance. Internet, as well as a way to get knowledge, is a window on the world, but please do not forget that  you have others windows at home that are real!
Fortunately, although for parents their children always seem candid, naive and childish, they generally are smarter and more mature than people think.
For comparison, for me restricting the use of the internet is like if we wanted to limit the number of murders by limiting the sale of bullets!
If these 7 points are enough for you, then please, let kids alone, and let’em live their own life without prohibition, limitation or deception.

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FLYING NANNY

Published February 6, 2013 by Tony

AU PAIR PARENTS


The idea of students staying for few weeks with host families in different countries of the world, has been successful because it is one of the easiest, practical and economical way for boys/girls to stay in a foreign country and learn traditions, customs and language. Recently also is spreading the new idea, to take advantage of older people, parents or grandparents in fact, who wish to visit another country, and staying with families that do need someone, in their absence, as babysitter and to take care of their home.
Flying Nanny is a form of child care independent of time and place.
I’m thinking of the opposite thing instead, where it is not the student to move, but a parent that does it.

The idea that I’d like to develop is similar to “au pair” students but with different assumptions, namely that the host family is looking for “flying nanny” not by their absence, but on the contrary, for people from other countries to stay together and able to teach to their kids a new language – or perfect it – sharing customs and traditions. It would, indeed, a mutual exchange, with grandparents perfecting local language and culture, and the host family that does the same, with regard to the language and customs of the country from which the “flying nanny” comes from. A sort of foreign “au pair parents” that in exchange for spending time with the kid, teaching their language and taking care of them, in case of a short absence of parents, receive room and board. An interesting and inexpensive way to have both what they are looking for and for free. 

The organization I’m thinking about and that would like to pursue, should create a database of Italian intended parents and the country in which they would like to stay, with the one of families who are looking for an Italian parent for themselves of for their kids. Combining data and, where both requirements are met, then put people in touch with each other.
Simple and easy.

In this regard I would like to know who is interested in this idea and want to share it seriously.

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Boys Are Hitting Puberty Earlier

Published October 22, 2012 by Tony

Boys Developing at Younger Age

It is well known that in last decades girls mature at a younger age, while for boys we only had supposed such a thing.  [In girls, breast development is the first sign and  it starts at age 7-8  in about 10 percent of white girls, 23 percent of blacks and 15 percent of Hispanics, while the start of menstruating is around age 11- 12 on average].
Now, some recent studies reveal that it’s not just girls who are developing at younger ages but also boys are entering puberty earlier than past generations. And this is conflicting with what some doctors thought till now, since the food rich in estrogens -the main responsible for the early development in girls-  logically speaking had even to delay sexual maturation in boys. What a coincidence, in a prior post I just mentioned a similar evolutionary issue.
The new study has been conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) through data coming from 212 practitioners in 144 pediatric offices that in 41 states have recorded information on 4.131 boys age 6 to 16. Conventionally, doctors based their examinations on the so-called Tanner stages of development, used to measure how far along in puberty a young person is. This method checks the sexual development during puberty and divides it into five stages, depending on the size of the genitals (G1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and hairs (P1, 2, 3, 4, 5). [see below for the stages table]
Results say that on average genital changes in boys start around the age of 9-10, with evident pubic hair between age 10 and 11, testicle size increasing before age 10, and with a full sexual maturity at 14-15. The stage 3, meaning a sexual development with a penis growing and testicles already producing sperm, happens at age 12. Besides the study says that African-American boys develop earlier than their white and Hispanic peers.
An older study, from the  1950s through 1970s of white boys in England, found that boys started genital development at age 11-12 on average, with pubic hair development typically between 12 and 13 – about two years later than in the new study.
Of course, for now doctors have only theories to explain the reasons of this changing as it is still not clear why boys also are hitting puberty sooner.
Contemporary data on the ages of pubertal characteristics in American boys, from onset to maturity, were lacking until now.
Although these results can give happiness to young guys and be a source of pride, another study by Cornell’s College of Human Ecology noticed that boys reaching sexual maturity more rapidly can go towards psychological problems, as getting along with others their age and having a higher risk for depression. Besides, when the release of the hormone testosterone reaches its maximum, boys can assume particularly risky behavior, as shows of strength, negligence or high propensity to violence, acts that lead to an increased number of serious accidents.
Regardless if such early development is good or not, parents should pay attention to their kids’ development, because in these cases evidently become important having a diverse chat with them and start talking earlier about sexuality and sex activity. Consequently, the sexual development takes boys to a greater need for masturbation or for sex with peers. Probably, this just is another reason why nowadays cases of pregnant teenagers girls have increased or because porno users age is lower. Thus, our society needs to take note and adapt to this, beyond medical or psychological dissertations, whereas it is impossible to deny or prohibit sexual activity to a girl or a boy of 14 years whose sexually already gets the same need of a  more mature person. But according to the hypocrisy, moralism and puritanism of our society, these legal and mental changes will not be easy to achieve.

TANNER STAGES TABLE
Sexual organs are staged as follows:
Stage 1: The testes, scrotum, and penis are about the same size and proportion as in early childhood.
Stage 2: The scrotum and testes enlarge and the scrotal sac reddens and changes in texture. There is little to no enlargement of the penis.
Stage 3: There is further growth of the testes and scrotum and the penis begins to enlarge, mainly in length.
Stage 4: The testes and scrotum continue to enlarge and the scrotal skin continues to darken. The penis continues to grow in breadth and length with development of the glans.
Stage 5: The genitalia are of adult size and shape. No further enlargement takes place.

Pubic hair is staged as follows: 
Stage 1: The vellus of the pubis resembles that over the abdomen.
Stage 2: Sparse growth of long, slightly pigmented, downy hair, straight or only slightly curled, appears chiefly at the base of the penis.
Stage 3: The hair is considerably darker, courser, and more curled. It spreads sparsely over the junction of the pubis.
Stage 4: The hair is now adult-like but the area covered is still considerably smaller than in most adults. There is no spread to the medial surface of the thighs.
Stage 5: The hair is adult in quantity and type, distributed in the “male” pattern of an inverse triangle, and may spread to the medial surface of the thighs.


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DISCRIMINATION & BULLYING

Published October 15, 2012 by Tony

WHAT A BAD SOCIETY WE’VE SET UP!
TEEN TAKING THEIR OWN LIFE

AmandaTodd

Bullying takes another heavy toll, another victim, AmandaTodd, a fifteen-Canadian girl who leaves us with another shocking video on youtube. The girl committed suicide on Oct. 10 because victim of cyber-bullying through the social networking website Facebook.
I read that about the 36,951 suicides recorded in the U.S. in 2009 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 265 involved children ages 5-14, while suicide remains the third-leading cause of death among U.S. teens and young adults. I do not know how many people have committed suicide worldwide so far,  because of bullying or because our society had put them in the dock, but they are a lot considering that the simple internet search “teens committing suicide by bullying” I’m doing just now, returns me dozens of cases.
Too many!
I have not continued the research because it was useless and saddened me further, it takes only the names reported in this short list to tell us that something is wrong, that our mentality has to change, starting from the institutions, through the school and by a large worldwide campaign against bullying and any type of discrimination. A bad taste in my mouth seeing that many of these teenagers are dead because were gay or only considered as such. None of us can even begin to imagine the pain that they went through. My heart goes out to all of these peoples families. We need to put a stop to this, our generation is being stolen right out from under our feet because we’re so judgmental, rude, and just plain insensitive. I care about every single life lost in this struggle of survival in this cruel world. The age of the subjects shown in this list condemns us all equally and let us understand that it is young people, our children to pay the price. Each of us is responsible for this because even in our small way, what little we can do, we can contribute and must help things to change.

In loving memory of….

Adam Grigg, 14 years, West Yorkshire, UK
Aimee Wellock,  16 years, Bradford, UK
Alex Teka, 12 years old, New Zealand
April Himes, 13 years, Washington, UK
Asher Brown, 13 years, Texas
Austin Murphy; 16 years,
Belinda Allen, 14 years, West Sussex
Ben Vodden , 11 years, UK
Billy (William) Lucas, 156, Indiana
Brian Frankish, 14 years,
Brice Edwards, 15 years old, Philadelphia
Celina Okwuone, 11 years,Florida
Chelsey Shores, 17 years, Illinois
Ciara Pugsley, 15 years, Ireland
Darren Steele, 15 years, Staffordshire, UK
Desire Dryer; 17 years, Ohio
eric_mohat Eric Mohat, 17 years, Ohio
Hope Witsell, 13, Tampa
Jack Glasby, 13 years, NY
Jared High, 12 year, Vancouver
Jaheen Herrera, 11 years, Virgin Islands
Jamie Hubley, 15 year, Ottawa
Jamie Sell, 17 years, Cardiff
jessie-logan-sexting-suicide-girl Jesse Logan, 18, Ohio
Jevan Richardson, 10 years, London
Jon Carmichael, 13, Texas
Jon Gettle, 14 years, Illinois
Joseph Daniel Scruggs, 12, Connecticut
Justin Aaberg, 15 years, Minnesota
Karl Peart, 16 years, Northumberland
Kerby Guerra Kerby Guerra, 13 years, Colorado
Kristina Calco, 15 years, Idaho
Luke Walmsley, 14 years, Lincolnshire, UK
Myles Neuts, 10 years, Ontario
Nicola Raphael, 15 years, Scotland
Phoebe Prince, 15 years, Massachusetts
Raymond Chase, 19 years, Wales
Ryan Halligan, 13 years, Vermont
Ty Smalley Field, 11 years, Oklahoma
Shaun Noonan; 14 years, Cheshire
Tempest Smith; 12 years, Michigan
Sian Yates; 13 years, Leicester
Stephen Ayres, 13 years,
Seth Walsh, 13 years, California
Tyler Clementi, 18 years, New Jersey
Zach Harrington, 19 years, Oklahoma

Children Embarrassing Questions

Published October 6, 2012 by Tony

Things we should say to our children

We are not born as parents, but we try anyway to become one even if at school “parenting” is not a subject of study.
Parenting is not an easy task, for many.
Apart from the usual problems that all children give, what many find difficult and embarrassing are some questions that children often submit them. About, there are different philosophies, with those who believe it is better to evade the questions, partly because unprepared to provide the right answer, and those who, a few actually, believe it is opportune to discuss everything.
One thing is certain, the children are not as unprepared or unready to assimilate certain subjects. On the contrary, for some topic it is best to deal in advance and be clear with them.
In all honesty, when my offspring were children, I do not recall having received embarrassing questions but, if they did I think I would have tried to answer using words appropriate to their age and knowledge.
Depending on the age of the child, it could happen that he/she tries to find elsewhere the answers to the questions that parents were unwilling or unable to respond. Still, it’s likely that children no longer will ask for those questions, even if they have not found answers.
Our children are more mature than we suppose, and why take the risk that they acquire erroneous concepts by third parties, or that they remain unprepared on topics that, who knows why, many still find inopportune and embarrassing. War, violence, religions, quarrels, sex, relationship, illnesses, addictions  and discrimination are part, as always, of our lives, for better or for worse, so why should we refrain from talking about these important issues?
If  children does not grasp some concept, parents can say that they will understand more over time, but at least we tried to explain things and they will have had an inkling of what it is. Better a poor explanation than silence or embarrassment that, on the contrary, will turn on the child’s
imagination and curiosity. This because, as said,  many parents underestimate the insight and sensitivity of their children!
It may be that my children have not put any question about sex when still 
babies because I bought the “Encyclopédie de la vie sexuelle” by Cohen and Nathan Kahn, divided into 5 tomes, each targeted to an age group and starting from 7 years. The first two books, designed for children aged from 7 to 9 and from 10 to 13, speak of a family with a son and a daughter. The first volume, as a little story, is about two people who meet, get engaged, married and then having two children. Through simple drawings the human body is shown, its physiology, its development, the sexual act till conception. The second volume, although similar to the first as a structure, is more exhaustive and instead of drawings shows real images of the family. Each topic is covered in the different tomes and by numerous images nothing is seen as inconvenient or embarrassing. Just everything kids need to know about sex. I do not know if my children have read these books, but if they did it, they had the first right approach to sexuality.These books or similar ones can help some parents to give the answers that surely their kids will ask them, such as the classic and evergreen question:

How babies are made?” – or,  “What sex is?” – and unless you are addressing a very young child, please do not say that he/she “is brought by the stork” or “was born under cabbages” in the garden!!

If they ask you what the “willies” or the “pussy” is,  with confidence you can say that it is our sexual organ by which in addition to pee, when they grow up and get married, will allow them to have children. Of course, much depends on the age of the child and in case of a teen or pre-teen asking for these questions, the answers should be more detailed and in-depth. In fact, at that age the sexual development has begun and there also are other important issues such as lust, masturbation, erection, ejaculation, menstruation, conception, STDs or condom which should be treated, even if in a simple and concise way. There are many men who when teenagers have discovered by themselves – not without trauma – what the erection meant, while the ejaculation led them believe to be sick even!
Unless you’re a puritan with narrowness of mind, make your children understand that sex, regardless of gender, is a natural thing…. already there are too many bullies and homophobes around, please try not to train another one!

Here are some images captured by these books.