Archive for the ‘General’ Category
Parents often underestimate their young children’s awareness, sending subtle signals of inadequacy and expecting their son or daughter not to pick up on it. Children’s beauty pageants are one of those instances, and television’s Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is drawing attention to such competitions.
The television show about the Georgia family is an offshoot of Toddlers & Tiaras, but while the youngest child, Alana “Honey Boo Boo,” appeared to be the only pageant contestant, she may soon have competition. According to recent news stories, Alana’s niece, Kaitlyn who has yet to earn a nickname, is already being entered into pageants. But, while Alana is 7, Kaitlyn, born to oldest daughter Anna “Chickadee,” is just a few months old.
Is even having a baby beauty pageant possible? Such competitions are not uncommon, it seems, and according to OurCuteBabies.com, babies not only need to be photogenic, but they should also be able to sit still for long periods of time, smile, and should enjoy being the center of attention.
While beauty pageants aren’t always harmful, parents should give their children a balanced life. According to Psychology Today, too great a focus on pageants leads to mental health issues down the line, such as body and eating disorders. Because such competitions tend to be hypercritical, children should have other activities in their lives.
On the other hand, a 2000 Harvard article shows, beauty pageants are considered positive in some instances, offering children a social outlet, allowing them to handle competition, and even being a form of social mobility.
But, as Harvard additionally points out, the positives are outweighed by the financial aspects in many cases. Pageants aren’t free, and dresses and fees can cost hundreds of dollars. Parents, looking to give their children an even greater advantage in the competition, make fork over money for coaches and stylists.
- Baby Beauty Pageants Move On to the UK (bellasugar.com)
- I Entered My Baby in a Beauty Pageant and Lost My Mind (jezebel.com)
- Honey Boo Boo’s Three-Thumbed Niece Enters Pageant – And Wins! (celebs.gather.com)
Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, Suri Cruise, and Blue Ivy Carter are stars for simply being born. And, all of them can – in actuality or theoretically – bring in the millions. But, it’s not for a film, television pilot, or record contract. Instead, these celebrity kids and many others used to be worth million in pictures – either from their parents or the paparazzi who snapped a photo and sold it to People or similar celebrity baby obsessed publication.
This demand, on the other hand, appears to be dying down – from a fire to warm embers. While Bradgelina’s twins brought in $11 million a few years ago (this amount was reportedly donated), today’s stars aren’t experiencing the same return for their spawn. The latest Kardashian child, Kourtney and Scott Disick’s Penelope Scotland, is estimated to be only worth $20,000 to $30,000. Why the great disparity? One Huffington Post editor postulates, saying:
“Kourtney’s second child isn’t such a big deal. If it were Kim’s baby, it might be different, but with the exception of hardcore fans no one is waiting to see what Penelope looks like.”
Compare that to A- and B-listers, like Jamie Lynn Spears, Nicole Richie, and Anna Nicole Smith, earlier last decade seeing $1 million or more from magazines for photos of their children.
On the other hand, not all stars are sending out their baby photos. Some, such as Jay-Z and Beyonce, keep them under wraps, later releasing them not through People but through their own Tumblr blog.
Do gossip rag readers simply not care anymore? Are celebrity baby pictures just passé and a tacky grab for money? In the case of Jessica Simpson’s daughter Maxwell, the high price — $800,000 – is not justified, as the magazine, People, again, saw its sales low for that particular cover.
It’s the celebrity baby story of all celebrity baby stories. Announcing her pregnancy less than six months ago, Beyonce gave birth to her daughter, named Blue Ivy Carter. Yet, even with this seemingly good news, the gossip rags still unearthed semi-sordid details from anonymous witnesses. Us Weekly, for instance, goes on about the extreme security measures the couple and their entourage took while staying at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. Called “insane” by one bystander, security, however, is practically necessary, considering the crazed nature of the paparazzi.
One parent sharing the same space with Beyonce and Jay-Z’s group describes being pushed out for the sake of security. He said: “They just used the hospital like it was their own and nobody else mattered. […] They locked us into the NICU and would say, ‘You can’t come out to the hallway for the next 20 minutes.’ When I finally was able to go back out, I went to the waiting room and they’d ushered my family downstairs!”
Do you think witnesses are exaggerating? Is this level of security necessary for the famous couple? Those quoted, however, may just be overstating for the sake of gossip. A hospital spokesperson told the magazine that, while the couple did reserve space, they didn’t take up a full floor.
Not even a week old, Blue Ivy already appears in a song and had a statement released. Written by Jay-Z, “Glory,” now already available online, features his daughter’s first cries. An ordinary couple – one without multiple chart-topping albums – might put out a simple birth announcement, printed with a photo of the new baby, to family and friends, but Jay-Z and Beyonce did theirs on a large scale, having a publicist put out a statement that reads much like a birth announcement:
Hello Hello Baby Blue!
We are happy to announce the arrival of our beautiful daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, born on Saturday, January 7, 2012. Her birth was emotional and extremely peaceful, we are in heaven. She was delivered naturally at a healthy 7 lbs and it was the best experience of both of our lives. We are thankful to everyone for all your prayers, well wishes, love and support. Beyoncé & JAY Z
A new baby costs $12,000, while having a child up until 18 years old is $250,000 in present dollars. Because children are a significant expense to a couple or single parent, financial planning must be done before; yet, spending and saving habits also drastically change after a baby arrives, according to Citibank’s Women & Co. survey conducted by BabyCenter earlier in December.
The survey shows that a mother’s thoughts change after she has a child. Money is primarily on her mind, with parenthood coming in second. But, while this figure may cause some to say, “Pay more attention to your kids!”, the majority of new mothers (60 percent) find themselves making more daily financial decisions; 30 percent split decisions equally with a partner.
Financial decisions and responsibilities increase at the same time. These include deciding on new products, budgeting more, spending, managing savings, and financial planning. While mothers generally spend less on themselves than before, they seek out deals or coupons more. In fact, saving is considered more often, as well as rethinking financing and discussing spending with a partner.
Saving, additionally, shifts from paying off past debt to future planning. A new mother, as well as her partner, starts saving for a child’s education, begins to plan retirement, and is regularly thinking of strategies to lower spending.
Although her role in the workplace and, if magazines are any indication, getting her pre-baby body back are generally thought of as concerns and changes for new mothers, finances go through just as much of a change, if not more. About the results of the survey, Linda Descano, CFA(R), President and CEO of Women & Co., said in a statement:
“As every parent knows, having a baby changes everything – and finances are not an exception. The life change of a baby brings about new and substantial financial needs and questions. After having children, moms are increasingly taking charge of not just day-to-day spending, but also the longer-term planning of the financial future of their family.”
Many parents wish to have a genius (or near-genius) child, one that starts speaking in complete sentences by 12 months, reading by 18 months, and writing novels by 3 years of age. Of course, such expectations are highly unrealistic and put an extreme amount of pressure on a young child, but educational video and computer software companies prey on such insecurities and wants when developing their products. But, despite all of the advertising behind Your Baby Can Read and Baby Einstein, a child’s vocabulary doesn’t significantly improve. As studies have shown, Baby Einstein doesn’t effectively communicate to children in a manner they understand, and Your Baby Can Read may in fact be teaching visual recognition rather than proper reading skills.
Is there a way for children to learn quicker and get ahead of their peers? A recent study by the University of London, Birkbeck, shows that, while computer software may not teach a child words, it can help with helping a baby focus. Detailed by the Telegraph, the study had 42 babies separated into five groups. Some of the babies were instructed to follow a target on several screens of a computer program, and others watched a television cartoon. When the babies were asked later to focus on images or play with toys without getting distracted, the computer software group focused longer.
Because the fronts of their brains are not fully developed, babies are prone to distraction. Nevertheless, being able to learn a language is easier in early years, as opposed to in adulthood. The study, on the other hand, is only the beginning for finding better approaches to teaching children new skills, including language, at younger ages. About these and future findings, Researcher Sam Wass, from Birkbeck’s Centre for Brain and Cognitive Sciences, said to the Telegraph:
“We know the brain is more plastic early on, so an impact at this stage could potentially make a big difference to a child’s abilities later on. We already know that the early years of school are very important; what we have shown for the first time is that it is possible that difference can be made at an even younger age.”
There’s no denying that the addition of a baby to a family is a significant change. New parents will need significant preparation for their children, not only in material things but also for finances, too. Nevertheless, parents have their own needs for the future, including retirement and life insurance. But, when raising a child in the modern world costs $250,000 from birth until 18 years of age, according to a recent Boston Globe article, how does a middle class family, who would be making around $60,000 per year, save up for themselves and for their child?
The article in the Globe gives an account of new parents changing their financial strategies not only for their new baby but also for themselves. The couple is already saving by using second-hand baby products, but more needs to be done – especially after the child is past the infant stage. Through consulting with a financial advisor, they found – and the article lists – some important points for saving for the future, which may include college tuition, retirement funds, life insurance, a new home, and general everyday expenses:
• Always put away a small amount of money each month for these short and long-term expenses. This will accumulate over time and, when retirement comes, you’ll have enough to last you through your seventies.
• Consider inflation. Prices on everyday items and college tuition meet the pace of inflation, but your bank accounts don’t. Always put a little bit extra for all of these expenses to meet the pace of future inflation.
• If you’re concerned about not having enough to send your child to college once the time arises, consider starting a 529 savings plan. This way, funds will accumulate over time and will compound to the amount you’ve saved up for college tuition.
When you’re getting ready to have a child, a significant amount of planning is involved. Most of that is financial and emotional but part of it is building up supplies. One item that most parents need is a stroller, and several types are on the market. The basic style, usually called a standard design, involves a secure seat with a five-point harness for the child and a sturdy frame that won’t tip. For parents, enough storage space needs to be available in back and on the bottom for a diaper bag and all other necessary items. Similarly, a travel system offers the same features, as well as a car seat that pops out from the rest of the frame.
One popular design in recent years has been a jogging stroller. If you’re looking for a sturdy design that allows you to exercise with your children, look no further. Each jogging stroller involves a streamlined design with three wheels and all the stability and storage space of a standard design. The wheels, however, differ for various models. Stationary wheels are better for parents who plan to take the stroller to run on a track, while rotating ones are ideal for varied terrains.
Aside from the larger strollers, a compact design may be needed on occasion. Called an umbrella stroller, these styles fold up and can easily be stored around the home. But, with a thinner frame, these should only be brought to push your children on flat surfaces, such as at a mall or on a sidewalk. Keep one of these on hand to use for brief trips and a standard or jogging design for something more substantial. Additionally, 2009 saw various product recalls pertaining to umbrella strollers, so check the brand – Maclaren saw one million recalls last year – before you buy.