Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

New study: divorcing after kids turn seven causes them to underform at school

Dina sent me news of this interesting study from Medical Daily.


Kids whose parents divorce after they turn seven are significantly more likely to suffer a drop in performance at school, a UK government sponsored study has revealed.

The latest research sponsored by the UK education department linked exposure to parental divorce or constant arguing among parents after the age of seven to “lower educational attainment” in secondary or high school, according to The Telegraph.

The study conducted by the Childhood Wellbeing Research Center found that a variety of family factors affected children’s education performance and behavior.

Researchers also found that while children who have several brothers and sisters perform worse at school, they are not more likely to be poorly behaved.

The latest research sponsored by the UK education department linked exposure to parental divorce or constant arguing among parents after the age of seven to “lower educational attainment” in secondary or high school, according to The Telegraph.

The study conducted by the Childhood Wellbeing Research Center found that a variety of family factors affected children’s education performance and behavior.

Researchers also found that while children who have several brothers and sisters perform worse at school, they are not more likely to be poorly behaved.

Children who watch a lot of television were also found to have weaker verbal skulls, whereas children who have strict parents who enforce rules at home are more likely to have better verbal skills and have better scores on school tests. However, researchers noted that frequent punishment at home was linked to worse test scores and behavior at school.

Researchers found that parental skills were crucial in determining a child’s school performance and mothers and fathers could actively help to boost their children’s verbal skills by reading with them.

The good news is that children with the risk factors found in the report could benefit from extra help at school to “realize their potential”.

Researchers analyzed up to 40 factors on thousands of children and looked at how traumatic events like divorce or death and the family affected results in tests at the age of 14 and GCSEs (subject tests UK students need take to pass high school) at 16 and children’s behavior and well-being, based on parental questionnaires.

Researchers found that exposure to parental divorce after the age of seven was associated with worse behavior and worse GCSE test results. Based on the findings, researchers suggest that younger children may not be as affected as older kids because they are less able to understand the implications of divorce. Experts noted that the factors which affect test results at the age of seven are also likely to affect achievement later on in the child’s educational career.

“These findings highlight the continuing significance of family separation, conflict and dissolution on the educational attainment and wellbeing outcomes of young adolescents,” researchers wrote in the study, according to Daily Mail.

The study found that parenting skills, poverty and illness or disability had the most impact on a child’s success in school.

Social conservatives and Christians agree that it is important for us to minimize divorce, because of the negative impact that it has on children. We need to think through what policies make it easier and more profitable for people to get divorced, and then oppose those policies. Policies like no-fault divorce. We need to promote policies that discourage divorce, like tax incentives for marriage and mandatory shared-parenting laws. We know what is good. Now we who believe in the good have to advocate for laws and policies that promote the good. Children are depending on us to get informed and persuasive on these issues.

This study was also reported on in the UK Telegraph.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Single mothers are better off with a $29,000 job and welfare than with a $69,000 job

Socialism subsidizes single motherhood by choice

Socialism subsidizes single motherhood by choice

(click for larger image)

James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute explains how the welfare state discourages women from getting married before they have children.


The U.S. welfare system sure creates some crazy disincentives to working your way up the ladder. Benefits stacked upon benefits can mean it is financially better, at least in the short term, to stay at a lower-paying jobs rather than taking a higher paying job and losing those benefits. This is called the “welfare cliff.”

Let’s take the example of a single mom with two kids, 1 and 4. She has a $29,000 a year job, putting the kids in daycare during the day while she works.

As the above chart  – via Gary Alexander, Pennsylvania’s secretary of Public Welfare — shows, the single mom is better off earning gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income and benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income & benefits of $57,045.

It would sure be tempting for that mom to keep the status quo rather than take the new job, even though the new position might lead to further career advancement and a higher standard of living. I guess this is something the Obama White House forgot to mention in its “Life of Julia” cartoons extolling government assistance.

Fatherlessness is absolutely horrible for children across the board. Not just in terms of their development, but also their material well-being and their physical safety. Fatherlessness is a loss in three ways for children. The federal government should NOT be taking money from good married households and transferring it to women who decline to marry before choosing to have reckless, irresponsible recreational sex.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

An economist explains her ideas for teaching kids how to be responsible

Look at this great editorial from Fox News.

There are 7 rules in the article.

This one is obvious:

Rule 2: Economic Incentives — Offer Plenty of Jobs

Teach kids chores at an early age and pay them reasonable rates. For us, the seemingly endless loads of dishes — about three every day — became the main chore. Even small children can handle dishwasher take-out loads, at least if you first remove the sharp knives and use plastic glasses. And to them, it is a new learning experience.

Not tall enough? Just have a sturdy stepping stool and allow them to climb up on the counter to reach most shelves. If they still cannot reach safely, let them stack dishes neatly on the counter.

Seasonal outdoor job have included weeding (a great chore for anyone old enough to enjoy digging with a plastic shovel.) Explain why the root of the dandelion and plantain weed has to be dug up. Ten cents can be reasonable per weed, with extra bonus for big roots. Soon enough they learn not just biology but counting, too, as they see how much more they need in order to afford that toy at the store.

If you live near a town center, older children can be offered work running errands — buying a few items at the corner grocery store, picking up the Chinese food or taking a package to the post office.

But some are controversial:

Rule 5: Respect for Property Rights

The family provides basic family games that anybody can use — chess, Monopoly etc. Beyond that, games and toys are viewed as a luxury and can be accumulated by saving up and buying them or maybe receiving them as gifts one day. However, there naturally arises an asymmetry where the older ones possess much more than the younger ones.

Should the oldest be obligated to share with multiple little siblings, or should the younger ones have to wait until they have saved up to buy their own? Some people might argue that, out of fairness, the older child should share his ample possessions. But if he had to work hard, doing dishwasher loads etc. to buy himself the games, is it really so fair that his siblings would share in the fruits of his labor?

The solution? The budding entrepreneurs figured this one out by themselves: a fee for rental.

Parental monitoring might needed if siblings are a bit too young to understand exactly how much they are charged. The fee can be translated into something easy to comprehend, such as the equivalent of dishwasher loads or weeds pulled.

Actually, there are even more benefits to allowing the pay-to-play setup. Expecting a possible rental market with younger siblings, older ones figured they could recoup some of the purchase price for a new game, possibly even making a profit. That made them consider the tastes of their siblings — i.e. potential customers — when considering investing in new games.

And it went even beyond than that in creativity. Our oldest son even conjured up elaborate board games of his very own, with his younger siblings liking them enough to pay to play.

Property rights also mean you are free to sell off a game or toy to a sibling, as long as the buyer fully understands the consequences of the deal.

It made me feel a lot better about all my weird ideas about parenting. I can see how these rules would work to make children more responsible, but are they just too strict? It reminds me of the tiger mother article – about how Amy Chua parents her kids. I agreed with tiger mother, but I was in the minority of readers of this blog, if I recall correctly. Of course, her kids are all great successes now. Hmmmn.


Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , ,

Video: children complain about Obama-style redistribution of their Hallowe’en candy

Canadian conservative Steven Crowder took this hidden camera video:

Story from Red Alert Politics: (H/T Bad Blue)

Fox News contributor Steven Crowder decided he would see how well children would take President Barack Obama’s redistribution of wealth idea when it was applied to their Halloween candy.

He went to a trick-or-treat tailgate and had children line up after they had collected their candy and Crowder redistributed it so that every child would have an equal amount.

Sure enough, they weren’t too thrilled.

“Dude that’s not cool,” said one upset child dressed as a baseball player. “It’s not fun to take people’s candy. This is my candy, I worked hard for it.”

Another little girl in a princess costume’s jaw dropped as Crowder dropped a handful of her candy in another child’s bag. She looked up to her parents in disbelief and near-tears as if to demand that they protest this injustice.

The video is an attempt to show the real effects of a popular Obama campaign point which is to, “make the rich pay their fair share,” or, in other words, redistribute the wealth of the rich to the poor, regardless of who earned the money in the first place.

“You just stole my candy,” yelled one kid dressed all in white who looked like he was ready for a fist-fight.

“Is that your costume? You didn’t make that shirt, you didn’t build that,” replied Crowder, referring to Obama’s famous quote where he told business owners that they owed something to the government because they didn’t build their own businesses.

“I’m gonna call the police!,” yelled another child who swarmed Crowder with a group of his friends who appeared to be getting aggressive. Some even tried to swat Crowder in the face.

To say the least, Crowder was far from popular that night, but his prank served its purpose. Redistribution, in the words of one angry trick-or-treater, “is just not fair.”

Hilarious! But the public schools will brainwash them to become little socialist zombies in due time. What else can we expect from unionized public school teachers but big government indoctrination?

Filed under: Humor, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Marriage advice from Christian philosopher William Lane Craig

Here is a question of the week from Dr. Craig on “Marriage Advice”!

Here’s the question:

Dear Dr. Craig,

Marriage is in the foreseeable future, and I would like to ask you for any advice before it happens. Can we avoid any mistakes? Would it be helpful to meet with a pastor for premarital counseling? Are there any helpful tips you could give from a Christian perspective or from your own experience?

Thank you in advance!


Here are the main pieces of advice Dr. Craig gives:

  1. Resolve that there will be no divorce
  2. Delay having children
  3. Confront problems honestly
  4. Seek marital counseling
  5. Take steps to build intimacy in your relationship

And here’s the controversial one (#2):

2. Delay having children. The first years of marriage are difficult enough on their own without introducing the complication of children. Once children come, the wife’s attention is necessarily diverted, and huge stresses come upon you both. Spend the first several years of marriage getting to know each other, working through your issues, having fun together, and enjoying that intimate love relationship between just the two of you. Jan and I waited ten years before having our first child Charity, which allowed me the finish graduate school, get our feet on the ground financially, establish some roots, and enjoy and build our love relationship until we were really ready to take on the responsibilities of parenthood. The qualifier here is that if the wife desperately wants children now, then the husband should accede to her wish to become a mother, rather than withhold that from her. Her verdict should be decisive. But if you both can agree to wait, things will probably be much easier.

I wonder if the married readers agree with him about the “waiting at least a year after marriage bafore having children”?

Filed under: Mentoring, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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