“I own me.” This sentence, comprised of three short words, seems inarguable. But when attorney and author Faith Jones says them aloud, as she does in her 2019 TED Talk and in her new book, “Sex Cult Nun: Breaking Away from the Children of God, a Wild, Radical Religious Cult,” they symbolize a lifetime of experience, learning and healing.
Jones was born into and raised within the powerful Children of God, later known as the Family, a religious group founded by her grandfather David Berg.
There’s an amnesia particular to the experience of parenting babies and toddlers that makes it ill suited for advocacy. No matter how acute the parenting pain of the moment, it never lasts long. Paid parental leave, universal childcare? They have broad public support, and their impact can be felt for decades, even generations. But because parents experience the strain of their absence for only a handful of years, they have never had the same organizing momentum of, say, the student debt movement.
The same goes for navigating U.S. cities with small humans in tow.
Care and Feeding is Slate’s parenting advice column. Have a question for Care and Feeding? Submit it here or post it in the Slate Parenting Facebook group.
Dear Care and Feeding,
My 12-year-old daughter’s friend “Maya” was complaining to her about how much she disliked going to therapy and how she disliked her therapist. After my daughter told her that she hadn’t liked therapy either when she “had to go,” Maya did something questionable. I saw it happening, though I didn’t understand what was going on at first.
Search “toxic parents” on Instagram, and you’ll find more than 38,000 posts, largely urging young adults to cut ties with their families. The idea is to protect one’s mental health from abusive parents. However, as a psychoanalyst, I’ve seen that trend in recent years become a way to manage conflicts in the family, and I have seen the steep toll estrangement takes on both sides of the divide. This is a self-help trend that creates much harm.Read original
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Every child has the inherent right to be a part of a loving, caring and secure family. It’s a truth that we have championed for more years than we can count, yet it is juxtaposed with the reality that some 15 million children around the world are living outside the love, security and permanency of a family.
Our most recent federal reports show that approximately 400,000 children are being cared for in the U.S. foster care system with 120,000 of them having had parental rights terminated. And those numbers are only climbing.
Jenée Desmond-Harris is online weekly to chat live with readers. Here’s an edited transcript of this week’s chat.
Q. My wife wrote a secret book: My wife is an accomplished author who also holds down a fulltime job in an unrelated field, mostly for the benefits. When we had our first child last year, we agreed that she would pause her writing career—something had to go with a new baby at home.
Except, it turns out she didn’t pause it. She got a great idea for a new novel, wrote it secretly during her lunch break at work, and sold it for $100,000.
According to various surveys, the cost of raising a child in the United States during their first year on this planet ranges from a median of $6,000 to $12,000. That’s after the baby is born—one study found that even for those with health insurance, being pregnant and then giving birth by C-section costs, on average, more than $5,000 (a vaginal birth is slightly cheaper). It’s the depressing reality that in the U.S., a baby, much like a college education, can equal a crippling financial burden.Read original
If you’ve been watching Serena and Venus Williams since the beginning, you’ve watched them play for almost 30 years. Their tennis careers are old enough to be millennials, with over 1,600 singles wins, 122 singles titles, and 30 Grand Slam singles wins combined. They will go down in history as two of the greatest female tennis players of all time, with Serena arguably being the greatest player in history.Read original
Care and Feeding is Slate’s parenting advice column. Have a question for Care and Feeding? Submit it here.
Dear Care and Feeding,
My husband and I are vegetarian. He has been since birth, due to his family’s religion. I have dabbled over the years, but committed fully a while after we began dating. We now have a 2-year-old, and we are raising him vegetarian. We’ve talked a lot about how to handle this because my husband is not religious and really hated how oppressive his family was with their beliefs and rules for him in his youth.