Archives for May 2011

Gender Neutral Baby Creates Storm of Its Own–Can There Be a Happy Ending?

When Toronto parents Kathy Witterick and David Stocker decided to withhold identifying the gender of their baby from everyone except a few friends and the siblings, it turns out that naming the baby Storm was prophetic.

For those of us who can remember a few decades before sonograms when the gender of the baby was a surprise to even parents until the baby was born, it seems like a silly thing for the public to get upset about.

In spite of the fact that the parents granted only one interview to the Toronto Star, this story has created an international sensation and is being widely reported and debated.

I’m no exception. I have an opinion too.

The public’s concern is another overraction to a private decision. While this Toronto couple can hardly be considered conventional, they are not doing anything that is out of keeping with what many modern parents are doing. The older two boys are free to grow long hair and are being homeschooled, according to news reports. So it this couple wants to shield their third child from gender stereotypes for as long as possible, why should that upset the rest of us?

(Of course, since this story has gone viral, it’s not likely that the gender will remain a secret much longer.)

The vitriolic reaction of some folks says more about the public than about the Toronto parents. Accusing these parents of engaging in a social experiment at the expense of their children or calling them “stupid” or “freaks” is irresponsible on the part of the attackers.

As long as these parents are raising healthy children in a loving environment, what right do we have to judge their decision?

Besides, those of us who are parents know that many factors other than the gender of our kids contribute to their eventual happiness. As the mom of four adult kids, I know that the efforts I made to shield or expose my kids to whatever influences we thought were best, had limited success. Once my kids grew up and were exposed to other kids, media, education and society at large, they eventually made their own decisions about everything, with gender preferences being my least concern.

Even if we raised our kids in a remote cave, free of any outside influences, their genetic dispositions will still lead them to make their own decisions and develop their own preferences.

So the public outrage over this private matter is outrageous. We each have much we could be doing instead to create happy endings for ourselves and our children.

What is your take on this story? Don’t be shy. You might as well chime in. Everyone else has.

What Parents and Students Must Know About Getting into College

karengracebakerGetting into college seems a lot tougher these days than it was for us baby boomers a few decades ago. To better understand what it takes to navigate the college admission process I recently interviewed Karen Grace Baker, educational strategist and President of Right College Choice.

Karen pointed out a number of reasons that getting into college has gotten more challenging.

1. 67% of high school graduates are headed to college, up from 50% in the past.
2. More international students, especially from India and China, are now actively seeking US educations.
3. Technology has made it possible for students to apply to many more colleges at one time than in the past.
4. The economic downturn as resulted in more adults returning to school to complete degrees or make career changes.

It was surprising to learn that the time to begin to prepare for college is middle school, a lot earlier than many parents realize. And the preparation should be taking the math classes early on that will prepare students for college across the board, rather than preparing for specific majors or careers.

Instead of seeking colleges based on prestige or popularity, Karen stressed the importance of choosing colleges that are the right fit based on the student’s personality, learning style, and activities.

While money is a big factor in attending college, it does not have to be a barrier for good students since there are many scholarships and special funding for needy students. Getting the help of an expert in the college admission process can help parents and students save money, time and stress.

Listen to the entire interview What Parents and Students Must Know About Getting into College–Karen Grace Baker and share it with others who can benefit.