While 2013 may be almost history, these parenting headlines will be remembered for years to come.
It began a year ago, when Prince William and Kate Middleton announced they were expecting a baby, and as the months went by, royal baby fever amped up until they checked into St. Mary’s Hospital in London, England, in July. The media became a story itself when reporters and photographers camped out at the hospital until the announcement was made that the couple welcomed a son called His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge on July 22.
In Tennessee, a judge changed a baby’s name from Messiah to Martin, raising a firestorm in her wake. The decision was ultimately overturned, but it sent shockwaves through the nation. The U.S. is not, and has never been, a country where baby names are regulated, so when a judge invoked powers she did not have, not only were the baby’s mother and father shocked — so were the rest of us.
A breastfeeding report card released by the Centers for Disease Control showed that across the board, breastfeeding rates are on the rise in the U.S. — they reported that 77 percent of new moms breastfeed, which is good news. Also, in 2000 just 35 percent of moms were still nursing at 6 months, but that rate has gone up to 50 percent by 2011 (the latest year for which data was available). With more information and support given to pregnant and new moms, this rate should be expected to rise even more.
Across all age groups, pregnancy rates in the U.S. are on the decline, with 102.1 pregnancies per 1,000 women in 2009, contrasting to 115.8 pregnancies per 1,000 women in 1990. The pregnancy rates amongst teenagers had the biggest decline, which is good news for parents of teens. Controversies about sex education and condom accessibility aside, the data shows that teens are less likely to have sex, and when they do, they are more likely to use condoms.
In a huge turnaround from their previous policy, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) voted to allow gay members to join, starting Jan. 1, 2014. While boys may now join regardless of sexual orientation, the BSA still excludes gay leaders, so openly gay men will continue to be denied leadership positions. However, the decision was lauded by many, with hopes that the ban on gay leaders will follow in the future.
Miley Cyrus is no longer a child, and her performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards certainly cemented that fact. Parents everywhere were dismayed at her overtly sexual performance and wondered if the previous star of Disney’s Hannah Montana should continue to be a positive role model for kids or whether she should simply live her own life as she sees fit. The performance became a teachable moment for the moms and dads who let their children see it, or whose children came home from school talking about it.
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