Postings for July 2011

ParentMap Golden Teddy AwardsGolden Teddy Awards
Where do you go to eat out with the kids? Grab a latte? Settle in for story time? Buy the best quality toys? We want to know!  Vote for your family favorites in more than 70 categories through July 14, and you could win a one-night San Juan Island getaway for two adults at Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes. We’ll be publishing the winners at in mid-August and highlighting favorites in our September Family Directory. Visit to vote now!

Dirty deeds
Digging in the dirt is good for you, and the expectation that little girls should keep their clothes clean might have adverse consequences for their health later in life. A researcher at Oregon State University found that women have higher rates of autoimmune disorders than men, and blames cultural expectations that keep girls from being exposed to bacteria and parasites that help develop their immune systems. Boys are encouraged to play outside and get dirty, she says, while parents still tend to want their girls to stay neat and clean. Girls and boys should be playing outside at higher rates than they already do; it’s fun, and it could be good for their health.

kids and risky behaviorRisky business
Investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) anonymously surveyed 156,000 high school students about their involvement in risky behaviors, from smoking to drug use to not wearing a bike helmet, and found that kids who identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual reported that they engaged in riskier behavior at much higher rates than their straight peers. Fifteen to 34 percent of gay and lesbian students reported attempting suicide in the previous year (compared to 4 to 10 percent of straight teens), and 20 to 48 percent of gay and lesbian students identified themselves as smokers (compared to 8 to 19 percent of straight teens). Since the CDC didn’t ask kids the reasons for their behavior, we don’t know why gay, lesbian and bisexual teens take more risks, but the study’s lead author linked the stigma and rejection these teens suffer to the increase in self-harming behaviors.

Work it out
Is your teen looking for summer work? She might have a hard time finding it. The May report from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics puts the unemployment rate for 16- to 19-year-olds who want a job at 24.2 percent (for perspective: That’s the lowest rate for that age group since the end of World War II). And African-American teens who want to work have it much worse — their unemployment rate is 40.7 percent. Ripples from such a high teen unemployment rate can extend far into the future: More work experience during the teen years means higher wages when those teens reach the ages of 20 to 25.

—Kris Collingridge

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