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Criticism: The Ultimate Father's Day Gift

June 14, 2013

This Week In The News

Criticism: The Ultimate Father's Day Gift

Happy Father's Day, Dads!  Not that you don't need another pair of socks, but SFSU Psychology Professor Jeff Cookston is encouraging dads this year to ask their children for feedback on how they're parenting.  His research suggests that kids perceive their father's parenting differently than intended.  "You may think that you’re being a good parent by not being harsh on your kid, for instance, but your child may view that as 'you’re not invested in me, you’re not trying.'" said Cookston.
Cookston's work relates mostly to adolescents, but I decided to try his suggestion out with my 4 year old son.  "I don't know" was his response to "Am I doing a good job as a father?".  "Ok, that makes sense", I said, "I guess you don't have any other Dad for comparison".  "No only you, Dad!", he said, surprising me with a big smile and a hug that brought a tear to my eye.  I persisted, asking if there were ways I could improve as a parent.  He told me he wanted me to fight more often, specifically with a friend from his pre-school class.  I puffed up my chest and reassured him that he can confidently use "oh yeah, well my dad can kick your butt" for another couple of years, until about 3rd grade or so :)
Psychologist's Research Yields Parenting Tips for Dads

Only Child: More Maligned Than Maladjusted

Parent of an only child and only child herself, Lauren Sandler takes to task the popular notion that kids without siblings are at a disadvantage.  Her new book draws on multiple studies to assert that only children fare as well or better than other children.  "Only children don't spoil themselves. Parents spoil kids. And you can spoil two kids or three kids as much as you can spoil one."
NPR Interview With Lauren Sandler (Audio)
"One And Only" by Lauren Sandler (New Book)

Finding Common Ground on the Common Core

The Common Core State Standards Initiative was in the news a lot this week, with opinion pieces being published both for and against the effort led by state governors and chief school officers to bring diverse state curricula into alignment with each other by following standards-based education reform.  I must admit that I wasn't able to digest the issue well enough to form an informed opinion in one week.  Proponents cite the admirable goal of improving US student performance internationally and point out that this is a state collaboration not a federal mandate, while opponents raise concerns about states being forced to comply against their interests and question whether there's evidence that the initiative will actually achieve its stated goals.  I'm looking forward to covering the issue more fully in upcoming weeks.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative (official site)
Tea Party Mobilizing Against Common Core (Washington Post)
Tea Party Wrong About Common Core (Washington Post)


Hands-Free Not Risk-Free, Compares To Driving Drunk

AAA-funded research led by psychologist David Strayer at the University of Utah found that using speech-recognition to issue voice commands to devices while driving resulted in "a relatively high level of cognitive distraction" even when eyes were on the road and hands were on the wheel.  Voice commands are more distracting than talking on the phone and much more so than listening to the radio, though not as distracting as solving complex math and memory problems.  The research doesn't mention cycling at all so I'm going to assume that calculating the Fibonacci sequence while listening to music on my headphones while weaving through rush hour is perfectly safe.

AAA study on cell phones in cars: "Hands-free is not risk-free" (LA Times Article) 
Driver-Friendly Audio Coverage of the Story (NPR Audio)


Actually I'll Have Steak For Father's Day

Did you take me seriously about wanting criticism for Father's Day?  Actually steak. Our next-door neighbors growing up were a Korean family - the mom made the most amazing flavorful beef. I've yet to find its match but am optimistic about trying this recipe on the grill this weekend.

Grilled Kalbi Flank Steak
Grilled Kalbi Flank Steak

Sendback Sendack, Please

Google honored beloved storyteller Maurice Sendack, who passed away last year and would have been 85 this week.  Check out the design process that went into creating this interactive tribute.

Google Doodle: Maurice Sendack
Maurice Sendack's 85th Birthday

Jedi Mind Tricks To Get Another Cookie

Dad Matthew Clarke and friend David Milchard (as his 2-year old daughter) are back with the 3rd episode of their viral video series, this time exploring the unwinnable battle of wills over whether another cookie is in order.

Convos With A 2 Year Old - Episode 3 - Cookie

Convos With 2 Yr Old Episode 3: "The Cookie"