Monthly Archives: August 2013

Parenting Without Borders by Gross-Loh

Cultural Norms on Parenting
Arizona Extension

When Christine Gross-Loh and her family moved from the United States to Japan for several years, Gross-Loh observed a number of fascinating things about the variability of parenting styles in different countries. While growing up as part of the educated middle class in the United States, she learned to assume that certain parenting approaches and techniques are best, she learned that parents in other countries can raise well-adjusted, independent, successful children using totally different approaches.

After making her observations in Japan, Gross-Loh traveled to and studied parenting practices in a number of other countries, becoming fascinated with the subject. These included Japan, Italy, Finland, France, and China, among others.

In her recent book Parenting Without Borders, Gross-Loh relates what she observed and learned during this process.

She was surprised to find for instance that parents in the majority of the world co-sleep with their babies and do not require nighttime independence during infancy. While the current American norms strongly reject co-sleeping as negative and even dangerous, she learned that promoting the continuing attachment though co-sleeping may lead to greater independence. She also learned that small children who spend practically all their time with a parent in their earliest years can end up happy and independent.

Additional parenting practices Gross-Loh addresses include the American parent’s “hovering” mentality for older children – the belief that a parent has to monitor the child’s social interactions and ensure they are all supportive of the child’s self-esteem. She found that in a number of other countries, parents leave children to navigate their own time and social relationships as they get older.

Gross-Loh discusses and analyzes numerous other parenting practices, finding primarily how important it is to realize that an ethnocentric view of what constitutes good parenting can be problematic. She believes that we Americans have a lot to learn from others which may challenge our assumptions as to what good parenting is in a healthy way.

Los Angeles DFCS Under Fire after Abused Boy’s Death

Gabriel Fernandez
The Washington Times

Gabriel Fernandez came to school with multiple physical signs of severe abuse. Take a look at the sad photos. He was killed at age 8, his mother and her boyfriend charged with capital murder with the special circumstance of torture. At the time of his death, Gabriel had a fractured skull, three broken ribs, BB pellets embedded in his lungs and groin, cigarette burns on his skin and several teeth knocked out of his mouth. There were reported patterns of continuing injury.

Gabriel’s neighbors and teacher made numerous calls to Child Protective Services (CPS), yet investigator reports continued to find referrals “unsubstantiated” or “unfounded”, taking no protective action. At the time of Gabriel’s death, one referral was still open, months after the state deadline for completing the investigation.

Los Angeles CPS is under fire for failure to protect, and people are calling for criminal charges against the social workers assigned to the case.

While the Los Angeles Department of Family & Children Services (DFCS), which has been the subject of multiple audits and reports in recent months, has now announced the formation of a Blue Ribbon Commission on Child Protection, the Commission is headed by a former CPS director, and child welfare advocates have expressed concerns about objectivity.

DFCS Union representative David Green blames funding cuts and caseloads. However, this appears insufficient to explain the 570 child deaths under the Department’s purview in the past 18 months.

An in-depth independent report presented to DFCS director last April noted numerous investigative failures and called for reform to the systemic approach for handling child abuse reporting and response. One of the items mentioned was regular use of the terms “unsubstantiated” and “unfounded” without clarification.