This month's postings, April 2009

Celebrate Earth Day April 22

Dis that bis!
The six biggest baby-bottle makers in the United States now say they’ll stop using bisphenol A. Critics worry about the chemical’s possible effects on the brain and prostate gland in infants and children. The FDA is still studying bis-A and hasn’t issued any warnings — yet. Still, the megabottler Nalgene recently stopped using the plastic. The six bottle makers now on board with the ban are Avent, Disney First Years, Dr. Brown, Evenflo, Gerber and Playtex.

BarbieTotally TOADY
She’s stacked, sleazed out and a staggeringly bad role model for little girls — behold, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Barbie! With her short shorts and stiletto boots, she’s suited up to slink over to the sidelines, where girls belong … right? The $80 doll is a big winner in one regard: DCC Barbie has just landed this year’s TOADY award — Toys Oppressive and Destructive to Young Children — for the worst toy of the year. The Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood says the doll “embodies a host of harmful expectations about what girls are supposed to be like.” Goooo, team!

Just say no . . . ’kay?
Here’s a big backfire: Those warning labels on violent video games? Total tot bait! A new study in the journal Pediatrics finds that the stricter the warning, the more kids ages 7 to 17 want to play the game. Games with the “M” rating (for ages 17 and older) were found to be “unspeakably desirable.” It’s the first study to prove what parents have always known: The lure of the forbidden is a potent force. Power up, parents!

Liar, liar
Not my kid! But it looks like many teenagers think it’s OK to lie if it helps them get ahead. A new survey of 750 teens conducted by Junior Achievement and Deloitte highlights the ethical confusion of teens: Eighty percent say they are prepared to make ethical business decisions when they get a job. Of that 80 percent, 38 percent say it’s OK to break the rules at school to succeed, and nearly half say lying to their parents is OK. Also, more than half of them — 54 percent — say their parents are their role models. Hmmm.

Half empty or . . . ?
The way that you answer that tired old question could determine how long you live, according to a huge new study. Half-full glassResearchers at the University of Pittsburgh surveyed more than 100,000 women ages 50 and older, and found a strong link between optimism and longevity. Women who are optimistic are 14 percent more likely to live longer — and 30 percent less likely to die of heart disease — than pessimists. Optimists are also less likely to have high blood pressure or diabetes. Seize the day, ladies!

Livin’ the dream
A poll turns up those closely kept yearnings that lurk in the hearts of local parents. Of the 300 'Mappers who responded, nearly 27 percent wish they could live on a farm, with horses and fresh air. Twenty-eight percent say they’d love to live in a swanky downtown apartment, in Seattle or New York City. Another 13 percent of you are secret divas, wishing to be rich and famous movie stars. But give it up for these girls: Nearly 20 percent say they’re living their dream and wouldn’t change a thing! Take the PM poll.

Got ’tude?
Straighten out that sulky, shaggy creature you call your teen — or at least find a better way to live in peace! We’re way beyond excited about the release of our new book: Getting to Calm: Cool-headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens and Teens. Drs. Laura Kastner and Jennifer Wyatt give you the goods on staying calm while settling struggles over attitude, grades, dating and more. Check it out  — and don’t miss Dr. Kastner’s lectures on April 16 in Tacoma and May 19 in Bellevue.

—Kristen Russell Dobson


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