Tag: children

“Momentum Is Building” on New 120-Bed Youth Jail in Baltimore City


Right now, included among the inmates at the Baltimore City Detention Center are 43 youths who have been charged and tried as adults — they are kids, convicted of things like “murder, rape, assault, handgun violations and robbery with a deadly weapon.” Maryland has been tasked with improving the conditions these young people endure –which have included “assaults, lax oversight by correction officers, and stifling heat” according to the Sun.

Kid Discrimination at a Baltimore Restaurant?


We’ve read nationally that hot restaurants are trending away from customer coddling. One Baltimore restaurant seems to echo this rhythm, but is it actually symptomatic of a larger happening? Local diners, please weigh in below. – The Eds.

The world of a work-at-home mom almost always has one of two things going: either a juggling act or a balancing act, but typically it’s a circus. I don’t think the majority of people realize the sacrifices moms makes in order to maintain a daily presence with their children. That’s a topic for another column. My own juggling act brought me to a cozy, upscale urban bistro at lunchtime, with my tween, my toddler, and meeting notes.

Baltimore Skips Out on $150,000 Settlement to Family of Teen Allegedly Kidnapped by Police


Three Baltimore City police officers have been accused of kidnapping for allegedly “picking up two West Baltimore teens in 2009 and driving one to East Baltimore and dropping the other off in a Howard County park” in a $100 million lawsuit brought by the family of one of the teens. When both sides agreed to a $150,000 settlement, the trial date was canceled

This Week in Research: Children and Race; Your “Seizure” is Actually Just Stress


The Trayvon Martin shooting has led to a lot of soul-searching about how Americans approach race. And it turns out that our understanding of racial dynamics begin to take shape early in life — and not always in a good way, according to research that Anderson Cooper and CNN commissioned from the University of Maryland.  Child psychologist Melanie Killen showed groups of six year-olds images that were designed to be ambiguous:  one child is on the ground looking sad, but it’s impossible to tell if he fell or he was pushed. Then Killen and her team asked the children questions like “What’s happening in this picture?”, “Are these two children friends?” and “Would their parents like it if they were friends?”

Researchers found that the black first-graders tended to see the images in a positive, helpful light; only 38 percent offered a negative interpretations (ie, “Chris pushed Alex off the swing.”) In contrast, 70 percent of white children gave a negative interpretation of the scene.

One explanation for the divergent views of the same image is that black parents might have more open and overt discussions about race with their children. “African American parents … are very early on preparing their children for the world of diversity and also for the world of potential discrimination,” said Killen, adding, “they’re certainly talking about issues of race and what it means to be a different race and when it matters and when it doesn’t matter.” In contrast, white parents might believe that there’s no need to address race because children are colorblind:  “They sort of have this view that if you talk about race, you are creating a problem.”

But the research clearly shows that children are aware of racial differences from an early age. And if discussions about race don’t happen at home, the kids will absorb messages from the culture at large — which can be problematic.

Oh, and that optimism about interracial friendships that black six year-olds have? It fades by the time they’re thirteen. At that age, both black and white children have equally pessimistic views. The one upside of the study? Children at racially diverse and majority black schools were less negative than those at majority-white schools.

Kids Today: Needy and Greedy?


We usually think of anthropologists studying cultures far removed from our own — remote Amazonian tribes, or South Pacific island societies. But it turns out that there’s just as much strange, fascinating stuff going on right in our own backyards, according to a couple of UCLA anthropologists who’ve spent the past decade examining that most exotic of cultures… the American middle class. And their results show that our children are kind of helpless and bratty.

Thousands of Children Occupy Inner Harbor


Baltimore’s first Ultimate Block Party drew thousands of children and their families to Rash Field in the Inner Harbor on Sunday. The goal was for kids to engage in “unplugged” play — bean bag toss, four-square, paper airplanes, and sidewalk chalk were some of the low-tech attractions. And children played in the brisk fall air in this quaint, old-fashioned way for over six hours.

The event was organized by over 125 local organizations working in concert, seeking to duplicate the success of a similar event held in New York’s Central Park last year.

The statistics, cited in The Sun are remarkable. Kids between 8 and 18 interact with electronic media seven and a half hours every day. But wait, there’s more. Because of the younger generation’s tendency to play video games while they watch TV (while they’re on the internet) they actually squeeze ten hours and forty-five minutes of “media content” into seven and a half hours of real time. Wow. While some who hear those statistics may simply feel proud of their child’s ability to multitask, the organizers of the Ultimate Block Party were moved to action. And for at least one day, for a few thousand children, those statistics were defied (assuming those kids didn’t pull a video game / TV / internet all nighter when they got home).

"Good Riddance, High Testosterone!"


A recent long-term study measured testosterone levels in men when they were young and single and then again when they were older. Some of them had become fathers; some of them had not.

Here’s what it found, and, guys, you have to hear me out on why this is okay: the men with higher testosterone levels initially were more likely to have children, but the men who became fathers saw rapid declines in the hormone. The more active the fathers were in raising their children, the steeper their declines.

Thank God. If you ask me, men have been worshipping testosterone for far too long. High levels of the stuff are linked to more hair on your back, less on your head, and an increased risk of prostate cancer.

And as a new father myself, the testosterone drop couldn’t come fast enough. Let’s just say that fatherhood is a very different scenario, for which previous hormone levels would be inappropriate.

That a man’s hormone levels respond to changes in his behavior (and not just the other way around) is an empowering thought. If a man thinks of himself as not cut out for parenthood, he can take comfort in the fact that an earnest effort to be involved will pay off in biological changes that will adapt him to the job.

And, oh man, I cannot wait until the next time someone tries to tell me that men are not really suited to being parents. You bet I’m going to cite this study, and I will absolutely do it in a less belligerent way than I would have if I were single and childless.

SpongeBob SquarePants is Making Your Kids Stupider


In the good academic tradition of keeping things anonymous, when Pediatrics published a study questioning the cognitive effects of a particular children’s television show, they identified it only as “a very popular fantastical cartoon about an animated sponge that lives under the sea.”

So all we can say is that a show that may or may not be SpongeBob SquarePants is responsible for impairing kids’ ability to remember, self-regulate, and pay attention (also known as executive function) after only a few minutes of viewing. The study’s authors hypothesize that it’s SpongeBob’s (sorry, we mean the very popular undersea animated sponge‘s) quick pace that may influence the kids’ behavior. (Children who were shown a slower-paced PBS cartoon performed better on the executive function tasks.)

This is, of course, bad news for any parent who’s had to sit through a glacially-paced (and incredibly boring) episode of Blues Clues. SpongeBob is just more fun to watch — for adults at least. But then again, I was raised on a steady diet of hyper-kinetic Looney Tunes, and I turned out fine, I think.

So what’s your take on kids’ TV — a threat to healthy development, or an overblown influence?

Learning to Cope with Autism


The video “Fixing Autism” on our video landing was sent to us by Mark Kodenski, a partner at Brown Advisory who has a child with autism. It was sent to him by autism awareness activist Adrienne Gleason who got it from former WMAR anchor Mary Beth Marsden’s website RealLookAutism.com, which chronicles her life with her autistic child.

The video features Lou, a father of three whose eldest, Bianca, has Autism Spectrum Disorder. Through a series of index cards, he shares his struggles raising a child with ASD. The Indiana dad writes about his challenges on his blog “Lou’s Land.” 

“My life consists of fighting chaos at every turn and trying to develop routines that will help Bianca to thrive and feel comfortable while trying to ensure that my other kids do not resent their sister for the restraints her condition put on our daily lives.” 

Whether you have a child with autism or not, any parent can identify with Lou’s desire to do well by his child. Take a minute to check out the powerful and moving video. 

Video Spotlight is a new feature on Baltimore Fishbowl that highlights videos of particular interest.  

Signs of Style at an Early Age

Personal style can be learned, certainly, but some are born with it.  We thought pre-school sisters Ava and Lillian showed signs of a genetic predisposition when we spotted the two stylish little girls eating ice cream with their Daddy. Ava, 5, and Lillian, 3, may be younger than your average frock star, but they own their look.

You both look so pretty. I love what you’re wearing! Even your flip-flops match!

Ava: We both like dresses.

Who picks out your clothes to wear for the day, Mommy or Daddy?
We do it!

 What are you going to do this summer? 
Ava: Go to the pool.  Lillian: Go to the playground.
What’s your favorite thing to do when school is out?
Ava: Play outside!  Lillian: Dress up like a princess.
Lillian wrapped herself around her father’s knee as Ava giggled. A perfect Father’s Day photo op.