"Tweens" Are the New Teenagers
Parents who think their children are growing up too fast may not be simply lamenting the passage of time.
Child development experts agree that physical and emotional changes that would have happened to teenagers years ago are now common among children age eight to twelve, or "tweens," according to the Associated Press.
Children have easier access to contemporary influences that parents don't approve of, such as images of sex, violence, and adult humor in movies, music, video games, television shows, and Web sites. Some kids start dating at earlier ages and carry cell phones, AP said, and girls wear makeup and clothing that is well beyond their years. Many tweens are increasingly disrespectful of their parents.
"The shift that's turning tweens into the new teens is complex — and worrisome to parents and some professionals who deal with children," AP said November 26. "They wonder whether children are equipped to handle the thorny issues that come with the adolescent world."
Along with the article was a list of tips for parents of tweens, which began with advising parents to set limits such as "You can't go to an R-rated movie." Also, parents must recognize teachable moments when they'll be able to convey to their kids their own family values. Parents might want to seek a support system through a circle of likeminded parents facing the same tween challenges, AP said.
And parents are advised to keep a close relationship with their children because such relationships often offer alternatives to violent and sexual messages.
Religious Conservatives — More Generous Than Their Liberal Counterparts
Per capita, Americans give more money to charity in the month of December than most nations give all year long, and Americans who attend a house of worship weekly are 25 percent more likely to give than people who rarely attend, according to a Syracuse University professor.
"For too long, liberals have been claiming they are the most virtuous members of American society," Arthur C. Brooks writes in his book, Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, released in November. "Although they usually give less to charity, they have nevertheless lambasted conservatives for their [supposed] callousness in the face of social injustice."
Brooks is a behavioral economist who was raised in a liberal home, and he writes a regular op-ed column in The Wall Street Journal. At Syracuse, he's the director of nonprofit studies for the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs.
In his book, Brooks uses an array of statistical analysis to conclude that conservatives who practice religion, live in traditional nuclear families, and don't favor government-funded social services are far more generous than their counterparts, regardless of income.
Also, conservatives are more likely than liberals to donate blood and serve as volunteers, Brooks found.
"While 85 million American households give away money each year to nonprofit organizations, another 30 million do not," Brooks wrote in The Wall Street Journal November 27, adding that the charity gap is driven not by economics but by values.
"Nowhere is the divide in values more on display than in religion, the frontline in our so-called 'culture war,'" Brooks wrote. "And the relationship between religion and charity is nothing short of extraordinary.... These religious folks also give nearly four times more dollars per year than secularists, on average, and volunteer more than twice as frequently.
"It is not the case that these enormous differences are due simply to religious people giving to their churches," he added. "Religious people are more charitable with all sorts of nonreligious causes as well.... On average, people of faith give more than 50 percent more money each year to non-church social welfare organizations than secularists do."