Hmm, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America is trying a new approach with YouTube videos starring Patsy, an inept but well-intentioned mom who pats down her children, employs a drug-sniffing dog and tries to hide the family’s pharmaceuticals. The anti-drug crusaders are hoping the videos, which they seem to think are absolutely hilarious, go viral. We’re not so sure. Here, take a look, then tell us what you think.
Partying Contra Costa teens could land their parents in jail and with a steep fine if county officials pass a new ordinance today. The social host ordinance would charge parents with a misdemeanor if hosting a party for an underage child in which three or more people under age 21 are drinking. The punishment is steep: up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. (Read more in Matthias Gafni’s article.) That’s a major climb from the current $200 fine and no jail time. And even parents not in the know about their kids’ partying ways will find themselves on the hook.
Frankly, it’s high time someone got serious about this. According to 2007 California Healthy Kids Survey, 41 percent of Contra Costa 11th graders reported drinking in the past 30 days. What’s more staggering is the number of teens who drink and host parties with alcohol in which their parents turn a blind eye. Hey, I get it. My high school years were spent in Germany, where the drinking age started when you were tall enough to reach the bar. Despite that, my parents never hosted teen parties with alcohol, and my sister, brother and I lived with tangible threats — no car keys, no college — if we tried to do this behind their backs. The I-didn’t-know excuse doesn’t fly anymore; like it or not, parents don’t get to check out just because their kids have become teenagers.
Sure, we know there are chemicals in cosmetics. We’re not sure our teenage daughters know though, and there they are, slathering glosses, lotions and assorted goos on their baby soft skin. It’s a concern for Jill Hughes, a Campolindo High senior, too. She not only makes her own cosmetics and beauty products – brown sugar body scrub, anyone? – she’s organizing a Teens for Safe Cosmetics workshop on Sept. 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Orinda. The free beauty fair is open to middle and high school girls, and it includes workshops on making your own bath salts and natural beauty products, as well as an intro to the “Dirty Dozen,” toxic chemicals that lurk in commonly used commercial products. Very cool. For details, drop her an e-mail.
We’re guessing spilled peas prompted this invention. Two enterprising Danville moms, Michele Wong and Paige Akabane, invented a way to keep their tots’ food corralled on the plate. Now, their Plate-Mate – a spill guard that fits around the rim of junior’s plate – has won a slew of awards. Catch Paige on the “Today Show” tomorrow morning.
Shifting children from the lazy days of summer to rigid school schedules is a challenge for most families. It’s hard enough when young sleepyheads don’t hear the alarm or wake up just enough to turn the ringer off before going back to sleep – we’ve also had a couple of sleepwalkers who actually went for a walk with the clock and left it somewhere.
But add in the frantic rush to get washed, dressed and fed, load the backpack, pack the lunch and get out the door and you’ve got all the elements of a nightmarish morning. So we asked some experts for help in beating the morning rush.
1. ID the problem: Some children aren’t morning people, others have trouble with transitions, and some get too easily distracted to focus on more than one instruction at a time. Make sure you’re solving the right problem. Read the rest of this entry »
On the front page this morning, a coalition of 100 college presidents is lobbying lawmakers to think about lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18. The current law, they say, is not working – 40% of college students exhibit at least one sign of alcohol dependence or abuse – and it may be indirectly encouraging harmful binge drinking. (Click here for links to more statistics on drinking by college-age teens and 13- to 17-year-olds.)
The Associated Press story quotes Duke University sophomore Moana Jagasia, who grew up in Singapore where the drinking age is lower, saying, “There isn’t that much difference in maturity between 21 and 18. If the age is younger, you’re getting exposed to it at a younger age, and you don’t freak out when you get to campus.”
What do you think? Is the current law working? Should it be changed? Or should we be considering a graduated drinking law that, like its graduated driver counterpart, offers a how-to/how-not-to educational component and gives freedom gradually. Punch a button on the poll or click “comments” and share your thoughts.
The news is spreading like wildfire, molten lava or whatever other incendiary metaphor you prefer to describe this: that JC Penney‘s latest ad, which shows two teens practicing for an illicit afternoon by timing how quickly they can shed their clothes, just won a prize at the Cannes Lions, an international advertising awards event, over the weekend. The “Today’s the day (to get away with it)” ad is spectacular – artsy, edgy, evocative. But JC Penney??? Teen sex? What the-? Turns out, it was unauthorized. More on that in a moment. But first, the ad itself:
UPDATE: The news just keeps getting weirder. Now the mayor of Gloucester, MA, is denying that the pregnancy pact announced by a Massachusetts high school principal ever existed, and one of the teens involved agrees. She told “Good Morning America” that the girls only teamed up after they discovered they were pregnant.
Seventeen. Count them: 17 teenagers at a Massachusettes high school got pregnant on purpose. The girls, ages 16 and under, entered a pact to get pregnant. Some were disappointed when the school nurse informed them their pregnancy tests were negative. Their reason for doing this, according to the school superintendent Christopher Farmer: “They will have a baby as part of their life to give them status. Motherhood gives them status.” No, what it gives them first and foremost is a child.
The questions that beg to be asked here is where were their parents? Where has our education system gone so wrong that children think having children is a smart choice? They don’t have their high school diplomas and most are without jobs. How do they plan to adequately care for a child?
On Wednesday, NBC starts airing “Baby Borrowers,” an experiment where teenagers contemplating parenthood get a firsthand look at life raising a child. It’s beginning to look like what passes for reality TV may in fact turn out to be a much-needed public service announcement.