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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 8, 2007 / 20 Adar, 5767

Parenting magic only takes Mom and Dad

By Betsy Hart


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I like classical music. Not as much as I like Rod Stewart classics, mind you, but well enough.


But I never bought into the notion, prevalent throughout my four children's babyhood, that there was a small window of time to really shape a baby's brain. And that flooding that brain with Mozart or other classical music during those years was one key way to make a baby smarter. That understanding was based on "research" in the 1990s that just always seemed ... a little too easy to me.


Though apparently not to a lot of people. In the late 1990s, then-Gov. Zell Miller mandated that every new baby leaving a Georgia hospital be given a classical-music CD.


He said, "Listening to music at a very early age affects the spatial-temporal reasoning that underlies math and engineering and even chess."


Really? States started pouring millions into baby education and resources, with the hope that reaching babies in the first months and years of life would help them do better in school later on. Whole companies developed "brainy baby" products that teased parents out of untold amounts of money in the belief that just the right educational toy, CD or gadget in those all-important first three years of life would give their baby that all-important leg up on ... everything.


Well, finally somebody is showing a little smarts here after all. Sara Mead, a senior analyst at Education Sector, an education-policy think tank based in Washington, released her analysis this week, "Million Dollar Babies: Why Infants Can't be Hardwired for Success."


Mead writes that "there's a problem ... with the new conventional wisdom about building brighter babies: it's based on misinterpretations and misapplications of brain research."


She points out that the real evidence is that there's no magic "brain development window" that closes after the first three years of life. That, in fact, focusing on that "magic" window may let us parents and our communities off the hook later on when what we do for our kids really matters. And so, for instance, she recounts director — and so-called child advocate — Rob Reiner arguing: "If we're going to have a real impact on societal ills — crime, teen pregnancy, drug abuse, welfare — we're going to have to focus in on the first three years of life. It's problem-solving through the prism of zero to three."


Like I said, some folks sure want it to be easy.


Mead goes on to lay out the overwhelming science for dumping the super-baby approach. But, she's not the first. In 2005, Marina Krakovsky reported in the "Stanford Report" from Stanford University that while scientists had discredited the claims that Mozart affects babies' brains, the belief in the "Mozart effect" had still exploded in popularity over the years, becoming a myth that couldn't be dislodged.


As Krakovsky points out, the original Mozart-makes-baby-smarter theory came from a 1993 Nature journal report. It found a small and temporary (15-minute) increase in a college person's IQ after listening to classical music. Babies were not studied.


Still, the Nature report — along with other research that showed some major growth in a baby's brain in those early years of life — essentially ignited the "baby brain" rage. The "findings" made the cover of Newsweek, and were the basis of countless news articles.


I know, because my mother used to send them to me.


Unfortunately, I don't think the baby-brain "wave" will end anytime soon. A new mom and dad don't want to hear: "Trust your instincts, and just enjoy your baby. Your natural, loving interaction with him in those first years is all the stimulation he needs."


Too many parents want to build a "better, stronger, smarter baby," and they believe there is an expert out there who can help them do it.


Sadly, it seems many of today's moms and dads want to believe that it takes an expert to raise a child — maybe because, in a lot of ways, that's just so much easier than believing it takes a parent.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Betsy Hart, a frequent commentator on CNN and the Fox News Channel, can be reached by clicking here.

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