Yet another super-sized family has added a 19th baby to its clan. The Bates brood, who are friends with the Duggars, welcomed little Jeb Colton Bates recently, although he wasn't expected to make his debut until Valentine's day. Kelly Bates, the 45-year-old matriarch of this jumbo family has spent more of her adult life pregnant than not. The couple cites religious beliefs for their lack of contraception, saying "we just want to trust God with how many children we have." However, while they don't believe that God's plan calls for condoms, they do believe it calls for hormone therapy to strengthen Kelly's uterine wall, a treatment she underwent after suffering three miscarriages in a row. While many condemn the Duggars for the number of children they've brought into the world, nobody criticizes the finances of that self-sustaining family. The same cannot be said for the Bates family, who have been widely criticized for not having health insurance for their 11 youngest kids. In the past, dad, Gil Bates, has said that a Christian clinic takes care of their prenatal care, while "negotiations" with insurance companies have helped cover medical emergencies. It's said that the Duggar and Bates families see each other on a regular basis. Can you imagine those families going out to dinner together? Table for 42 please!
The first generation of helicopter parents (and their kids) enters the job market
They say a parents' job is never done. This is especially true for helicopter parents. For some, having their kid go off to college is just the beginning. First, they make sure their kid gets the best roommate possible and coordinates the class schedule. Then, once those kids graduate from college, parents need to be on hand to send their resume on to employers. Then, parents have to work hard to negotiate a better salary or more vacation time for those "kids." The first generation of heli-kids is all grown up(well, mainly). However, their entrance into adulthood hasn't stopped their parents from coordinating all aspects of their lives. While many colleges and employers frown upon this, some are recognizing that accepting or hiring a millennial is hiring the whole famdamily. Some colleges have even created an Office of Parent Relations. Employers are also starting to embrace the involved parent, creating events like "Take Your Parent to Work Day" and sending recruiting packets to both prospective employees and their parents.
Parents of habitually tardy kids get sent to court
When we hear "contributing to the delinquency of a minor," we usually think about adults handing a six-pack to a teenager outside of a minimart -- not a parent whose kids are tardy to school. Yet, that's the charge against one mom, whose kids are habitually late to school. She now faces a misdemeanor, which could land her a year in jail. She's not the only mom in her district to be facing some fairly stiff penalties for being chronically late out of the door in the morning. Another couple had the sheriff's deputy knock on their front door, handing them a court summons because their kids were regularly late to school -- usually by less than five minutes. That dad claims the extreme crackdown on tardiness is "the nanny state gone wild." District officials say tardiness and truancy amount to a "child welfare issue." While many states and districts are scaling back on punishments for truancy and tardiness, other states are upping the ante. A couple of years ago, Nebraska passed a law where kids with 20 or more absences (excused or not) get sent to the state attorney general. Is this "the nanny state gone wild," or is it time parents take education and punctuality seriously?
Two teachers in one school accused of abuse -- the entire teaching staff is replaced
Unfortunately these days it seems like we can't turn around without hearing of another heinous act against children. The Jerry Sandusky-Penn State scandal's been the biggest, but now there's another, new, horrible one making headlines. This time it involves two teachers in Los Angeles and some of the acts are said to have happened in the classroom. Now, the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District has announced that every single teacher at the school will be replacedthis week. The abuse is believed to have gone on for a number of years, which makes many to wonder if other teachers knew but didn't report it or if they somehow participated in a cover-up. Everyone's expecting a lengthy investigation. The teachers will be reassigned to a new school that hasn't opened yet. In addition, every kid in the district who has attended the school will be interviewed. While many are applauding the district for taking the situation seriously, others are worried about the message the massive overhaul might send to the kids. Undoubtedly, many innocent teachers will be reassigned and students will be left with only strange faces during a scary and uncertain time. Do you think replacing every teacher is the prudent thing to do or will it just further frighten the kids?
13-year-old girls given birth control implants at school --without their parents' knowledge
School nurses are known for bandaging scrapes and helping out during an allergic reaction. They even have tampons on hand in case a girl finds herself in need. But, many parents in Britain are outraged to find out that nurses at school have been giving girls as young as 13 contraceptive implants without telling their parents. It is said that in 2011, 1,700 13 and 14-year-old girls were given the implant and another 800 were given birth control injections. Add to that another 4,900 15-year-old girls who were given one of those forms of birth control and it adds up to a lot of ticked off parents. But, because of strict patient confidentiality rules, the staff can't inform parents about it. In addition to being upset that their daughters were given birth control without their permission, many parents are worried about the side-effects associated with the contraception, including weight gain, depression, acne and irregular periods (as if it wasn't hard enough raising teenage girls without those delightful new traits thrown in...). The girls who got the school-administered contraception live in an area that suffers from a high teen pregnancy rate.
Should tweens have their own cell phones
Getting your ears pierced used to be a major rite of passage for tween girls. Now, it's getting your first cell phone. Surveys show that cell phone usage amongst 10 and 11 year old kids increased by 80 percent between 2005-2009. Last spring, one mom came home to find a well-reasoned, written argument, from her fourth-grade daughter, asking for a cell phone. Despite her articulateness, the girl still got shot down. She was told she'd have to wait until middle school like her older siblings. However, over the past several months, her parents started to change their minds. The safety and convenience concerns finally convinced them to give her one for her 11th birthday. Does your tween have their own cell phone?
Dana Macario is a TODAY Moms contributor and Seattle mom to two sleep-depriving toddlers. Once properly caffeinated, she also blogs at www.18years2life.com.