Family First Midweek Update (31 May) – hot off the press!

1.Marriage Reduces Child Poverty by 2/3’rds
Family Research Council May 27, 2011
Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) released a synthesis paper today showing that economic well-being in the United States is strongly related to marriage. The paper, entitled Marriage and Economic Well-Being, shows that married couples are better off economically than persons in any other family structure. The paper reports that only 5.8 percent of married families were living in poverty in 2009. MARRI Director Pat Fagan, Ph.D., said: “This research clearly documents why marriage is an important and fundamental part of society. Having the security of marriage in which to foster children is vital to reducing reliance on government welfare programs which cost taxpayers at least $112 billion annually. “Despite the disastrous effects of divorce on society, remarriage can have positive economic impacts on broken families. Remarriage tends to increase income and restore some lost wealth. The rate of poverty among children whose mothers remarry after divorce is reduced by 66 percentREAD REPORT
Family First Comment: You won’t hear the NZ Child Poverty Action Group mentioning the ‘m’ word! Sadly, the UK version of the CPAG even attacked the Conservative party when they suggested tax breaks for marriage, saying “Tax breaks for marriage would squander resources needed to end child poverty.” The 2009 report “The Value of Family – Fiscal Benefits of Marriage and Reducing Family Breakdown in New Zealand” commissioned by Family First NZ and prepared by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) estimated that the fiscal cost to the NZ taxpayer of family breakdown and decreasing marriage rates is at least $1 billion per year and has cost approximately $8 billion over the past decade. The study shows that the decline of marriage, NZ’s high teenage fertility rate, and our rate of solo parenthood is not just a moral or social concern but should also be a concern of government and policymakers. The focus has been on ‘child poverty’ but this misses the real issue – that is, poverty amongst families with children, and the way that divorce, unwed childbearing, teenage pregnancy and sole parenting contributes to that poverty. For example, sole parents have the lowest average living standards of all economic family unit types.

2.Legends, Myths, Allegations, and Lullabies = Research?
Research debunks Maori abuse
Sunday Star Times 29/05/2011
A new parenting programme targeted at Maori tells them they are inherently loving and nurturing caregivers and family violence has arisen only because of European missionaries. The Office of the Children’s Commissioner is releasing its “Maori Parenting” report on Thursday in a bid to curb violence.  ..Maori children were taught by Europeans that bad behaviour should be punished by physical violence, he said. This steered away from the traditional idea children were tapu and discipline should be avoided because it tamed the child’s spirit…… It traced Maori history from the separation of Ranginui the Sky Father and Papatuanuku the Earth Mother through to early Europeans’ reports of children’s relationships with whanau…However, the report has been criticised for painting too rosy a picture of pre-European times. Maori history professor Paul Moon, of Auckland University of Technology, dismissed the idea abuse began after the Europeans came. “The proposition that missionaries introduced violence, it’s one of those allegations that entered the historical bloodstream and once it’s in that bloodstream, it’s hard to get out. I would want to see evidence.” He cited the fact Maori girls were sometimes killed because they were considered less useful than males. “If children were treated as sacred items, how do you explain female infanticide?” Moon said the report’s reliance on oral histories and lullabies also raised doubts over its reliability. READ MORE
Family First Comment: If we’re going to solve the issue of child abuse, we need to tackle the realities of family breakdown, declining marriage rates, alcohol and drug abuse, mental health, and violence in our media – rather than legends, myths, allegations and lullabies. This isn’t research. This is romantic theories.
3.Gangs of toddler thugs terrorise kids and teachers
Dominion Post 28/05/2011
Children as young as two and three are forming gangs of “thugs” – swearing at, biting and kicking other kids and teachers. Dame Lesley Max, chief executive of children’s agency Great Potentials, said younger children were becoming more physically aggressive and less compliant, as parenting took place in an increasingly fast-paced life. Part of this resulted in unstable, “chaotic” home environments. READ MORE 
Family First Comment: This was predicted. Previously, smacking was blamed for this behaviour. Now they’re blaming busy parents! 
4.Teens Pressured to Abort, Loving Parents Excluded
Teen in tragic change of heart
Sunday Star Times 29/05/2011 A mother is angry her 15-year-old daughter wasn’t counselled through the pros and cons of having an abortion until she was on the hospital bed and presented with the termination-inducing pill. After a number of consultations, her doctor arranged for her to see a counsellor at Hastings Hospital. Her daughter told the Star-Times she was given a piece of paper at the hospital and asked to read and sign it. She said no one went through it with her or explained what it meant. Natalie said the hospital staff handed her a pill and said she needed to take it to “get the rest of it going”. However, after talking to her father and hearing that she would have her parents’ support, she became unsure about proceeding with the abortion. That’s when she talked to someone about the pros and cons of having a second-trimester termination. As a result, she decided to keep the baby  READ MORE
Family First Comment: This example – one of many – rebutts the claim by pro-abortion supporters that the parental notification law protects teenagers from nasty parents. Most parents, while being disappointed and shocked, quickly understand that they have an important role to play in supporting their child through a difficult decision and process. But some counsellors and medical professionals think they know better than parents. Wrong!

5.Obesity risk for sleep-deprived kids
Christchurch Press 27/05/2011
Children who do not get enough sleep have an increased risk of becoming overweight, a New Zealand study has found. The University of Otago study, published in the online version of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) today, found young children who slept less than an average of 11 hours a night had a significantly increased risk of obesity by the age of seven, even after other lifestyle factors were taken into account. READ MORE 

6.Millions of girls aborted in India – study

AAP May 24, 2011
S*x selection of foetuses in India has led to 7.1 million fewer girls than boys up to age six, a gender gap that has widened by more than a million in a decade, according to a study released today. In Indian families in which the first child has been a girl, more and more parents with access to prenatal ultrasound testing are aborting a second female in the hope that a subsequent pregnancy will yield a boy, said the study, published in The Lancet. Unlike Beijing, New Delhi does not enforce the kind of “one-child policy” that led to the selective abortion of firstborn females in China. The practice has left China with 32 million more boys than girls, creating an imbalance that will endure for decades. In China, 94 per cent of unmarried people aged 28 to 49 are male READ MORE
Family First Comment: Next time the Bioethics Council suggests s*x selection is ok in NZ, tell them to find a new job!

7.Teen boys more likely to struggle with parental separation  
Sydney Morning Herald 26 May 2011
Teenage boys tend to have a harder time than girls in adjusting to their parents’ separation, and are more likely to want them to re-unite, a study shows. The research shows no single post-separation living arrangement was in the best interests of all children. READ MORE

8.Judge lashes out at teen drinkers
Southland Times 26/05/2011
An Invercargill Youth Court judge has expressed his frustration that many people believe it is acceptable for minors to get drunk if they are supervised by adults. Judge Dominic Flatley asked the teen why he thought he was able to drink alcohol when he was 16. The teen, who had been at his sister’s place where he was drinking before driving, replied he thought minors could drink under the supervision of an adult family member. “Where do you get that from? This does my head in because I get it all the time,” the judge said. The intention of the law was that minors could have an alcoholic drink if they were at a function with their parents or guardians, he said. It didn’t cover allowing minors to get “completely legless”. READ MORE
Family First Comment: The problem is that the intention of the law is irrelevant to a teenager who has been given the green light to drink alcohol and is their last consideration when the effect of the alcohol has kicked in. This is why split-age and parental supervision proposals by the government are flawed. They fail to account for the effect of a drug (alcohol) on a developing teenage brain. The medical evidence is clear – the drinking age should be raised to at least 21

9.Child pageants ‘bad for mental health’
AAP 26/05/2011
Australian and New Zealand psychiatrists have backed calls for child beauty pageants to be banned, saying they encourage the s*xualisation of children and can cause developmental harm. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists says American-style pageants, like the one slated for July in Melbourne, promote an adult’s perception of “beauty”. When asked if they backed a ban of the competitions, chair of the college Phillip Brock told AAP: “Yes we do. We’re giving these kids messages that how they appear, how they perform and standards about what they’re to come up to is actually more important than what they’re like inside,” he said. READ MORE

10.Ashburton’s brothel now on the backburner
Ashburton Guardian May 24 2011
The licensee of a Christchurch escort agency is shelving plans to establish a brothel in Ashburton. Plans for the brothel were opposed by ministers of the town and Family First, but that had nothing to do with the licensee’s decision, she said yesterday. ..National director of Family First, Bob McCoskrie, said it was “good news” the brothel was being shelved. He doubted the licensee’s claim that opposition had not swayed her decision, as community backlash in other areas of the country had prevented brothels opening in residential areas. READ MORE
Ministers may take action against brothels
Ashburton Guardian 28 May 2011 Ashburton Ministers’ Association spokesman David Bayne said the ministers were seeking advice about using the District Plan to “protect” the community. READ MORE