Profile for Avital Norman Nathman

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Mommie Dearest: On Parents Who Publicly Shame Their Kids

MD bratty kid

When it comes to parenting, one of the more difficult aspects to figure out can be discipline. There doesn’t seem to be one set method that works for every child, yet everyone has an opinion on what supposedly works best. For parents, it feels like a lot is riding on our disciplinary method, as it’s a big part in helping to guide the desired behaviors of our children and raise a decent human being. Disciplinary techniques range all across the spectrum: time outs, spankings, negotiating, positive reinforcement, gentle discipline.It can be tricky to figure out what might work for your child and your family.

While I’m certainly no expert on discipline, I do have to say that there’s one type that leaves something to be desired: public shaming. It has popped up a lot recently and each instance never really sat well with me. Whether it’s snapping a photo of your toddler wearing a sign that details her transgressions and then posting it to social media or making your 7th grader hold a sign on a busy street corner as punishment for twerking at school, it feels like discipline gone wrong. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Parents Need To Get Real About Sex Ed

MD sex ed

Once upon a time, I was a high school social studies teacher. One of my favorite classes to teach was a college lecture-style current events course. I co-taught it with a handful of my colleagues and we gathered every morning in the school’s auditorium with the entire senior class. Since it was so convenient, administration occasionally used this time for other events like assemblies, graduation information, and the mandatory sex-education requirement for 12th graders. This requirement was fulfilled over the course of two days, where a sexual health educator from Planned Parenthood would come and lecture for two class sessions on contraception and STDs.

Ninety minutes. Ninety minutes over the course of an entire year. That is how long was devoted to teaching over 500 teenagers the ins and out of safe sex and sexuality. So it never failed to surprise me that, like clockwork, I would have students come up to me after the safe-sex presentation and ask me all sorts of questions. This is absolutely not to dismiss the wonderful educator from Planned Parenthood; she knew her stuff and was a pro at disseminating the information to teens. She never faltered, used to the outbursts, titters, and hand gestures routinely made … especially as she demonstrated the proper way to put on a condom. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Bravo Is Serving Up Some “Extreme Parenting”

Parenting Is Getting Extreme

There’s a new reality show coming to Bravo this Thursday: “Extreme Guide to Parenting” will be an hour-long show that follows the lives of a variety of families, all living on the “extreme” edge of parenting. Several stereotypical parenting philosophies will be represented, from the helicoptering couple to the overly attached attachment parents, authoritative parents who push their kids to excel at everything, and even a mom who hypnotizes her husband and children. Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Florida Hospital Tried To Force C-Section On A Mom

c section

A Florida mother gave birth to her fourth baby this past Friday amidst a hell of a controversy. Jennifer Goodall, who has had three previous C-sections, had been hoping to attempt a vaginal birth with her fourth delivery. However, her providers at Bayfront Health Port Charlotte were not on board with her wishes and went as far as saying that they would perform a C-section on Goodall against her will if need be. Earlier this month, Goodall received a letter from the hospital’s Chief Financial Officer informing her that they were going to seek a court order that would allow them to perform a C-section surgery on her without consent. Goodall also learned that the hospital planned to report her to the Department of Children and Family Services, threatening the custody of her other children.

At 41 weeks pregnant, Goodall and her lawyers fought back, but she was still frightened to enter a hospital that threatened to perform surgery on her against her will. In the end, she delivered at another hospital, one that honored her request to attempt a vaginal birth, despite it ending in a fourth cesarean. Goodall was not looking to go against best practices, and she wasn’t even against the idea of a c-section. All she wanted was a shot at birthing her baby vaginally. Keep reading »

Real Talk: On Debra Harrell’s Arrest, Motherhood & Race

Real Talk: On Debra Harrell's Arrest, Motherhood & Race

In last week’s Mommie Dearest column, I wrote about Debra Harrell, a South Carolina mother who was arrested for “abandoning” her nine-year-old daughter at a park while she worked at a nearby McDonald’s. (Just yesterday we learned that Harrell has been let go from her job.) I had mentioned in my post that Harrell is Black, prompting a few folks to ask why I needed to note her race. Instead of penning my own response, I thought it would be a good idea to hear from women of color who are mothers. We gathered for a virtual roundtable to discuss Harrell’s situation and  explorehow race impacts motherhood in the United States today. Meet:

Our conversation begins after the jump: Keep reading »

Mommie Dearest: Mother Arrested For Leaving 9-Year-Old At The Park While She Went To Work

Mommie Dearest: Mother Arrested For Leaving 9-Year-Old At The Park While She Went To Work

Another day, another mother arrested for trying to have it all. And by “have it all,” I mean struggling to figure out child care with little support while maintaining a minimum wage food-service industry job.

A 46-year-old Black mother from South Carolina was jailed for letting her nine-year old daughter play at the park unsupervised while she went to work. Let’s look at the facts, as detailed by Free Range Kids’ Lenore Skenazy:

  1. Debra Harrell works at a McDonald’s in North Augusta, South Carolina.
  2. Her nine-year-old daughter had been accompanying her to work for most of the summer, bringing along a laptop and using McD’s free wifi to keep her busy while Harrell worked her shift.
  3. Harrell’s home was recently robbed and the laptop was stolen, causing her daughter to request being dropped off at a local park.
  4. Harrell’s daughter was given a cell phone to call her in case she needed anything.
  5. On her third day at the park by herself, a stranger questioned Harrell’s daughter  about her mother’s whereabouts, called the police, and subsequently, Harrell was arrested on abandonment charges.

Keep reading »

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