Saturday, May 26, 2007

Parents at sportsgames

Adult behaviour at their children's sport's games is both fascinating and repelling. As I head off to soccer and then netball I will take this advice, with me (although it's not me who really needs it.)

Visiting American sports expert Bob Bigelow has a simple message for parents readying themselves to bark instructions from the sidelines this morning: "shut up".

I am one of the quieter parents confining my sporadic outbursts to to "Go, Go!" when a goal is imminent or "Get in there!" when my daughter seems to have momentarily forgotten she is on a field along with a ball and goalposts.

But there are plenty, a majority, of parents who do exactly what bothers Bob Bigelow. Sometimes when a child does register an instruction aimed at them, they stand stock still trying to process it. I notice that the "enthusiasm " of a parent can be inversely proportionate to the success of the child - although by no means always.

Then there is the PC dilemma (when isn't there one when it comes to being a parent today?) Should I be yelling encouragement for other children as much as my own? Post game, should I heap glowing praise on each and every member despite some clearly being better performers? You can end up monitoring your own performance as much as the players. So I've given up trying.

But maybe I should start screaming my lungs out. Because the $10 "reward" for scoring a goal isn't working. Or hasn't worked so far. In Sam's case, however, I suspect barracking would be as effective as bribery. Not at all.

She's having a great time though. The whole team are - nearly as good a time as their rowdy parents, warm and dry and full of running on the sidelines.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Thought for your Happy Hour

There is almost certainly an agenda developing to have a zero-alcohol driving law imposed. Drink-driving prosecutions are up, we are told. The figures are alarming, we are told.

"These people are endangering us all and it is a situation that neither the police nor the public should tolerate."

Of the 156 people killed on the roads so far this year, 43 deaths - or 27.6 per cent - have been alcohol-related.

In 2005, there were 100 alcohol-related deaths. Apart from 2002, this is the lowest toll in the last twenty years. They made up 29 percent of all deaths.

The following is an international comprison of road deaths per 100,000;

Of the above countries, 10 have higher road deaths than NZ. Three of them have zero alcohol breath limits, 6 have 50mg limits and 1, like NZ, has an 80mg limit.

The evidence is barely compelling.

How many more people will be processed, fined and lose their licences for the sake of a glass of wine with dinner? I thought we were trying to cultivate a mature attitude to drinking in this country. Observing the current limits, not getting legless and not being treated like children is going to serve us better than a ban - because it won't stop at just lowering the limit. The wowsers never give up.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Rick Ellis is just doing his job

For the life of me, I cannot see what's wrong with what Rick Ellis said about a commitment to showing Maori on TV including programmes about crime and prisons. Surely they fulfill a commitment to showing Pakeha too. This kind of nonsensical outrage is the result of state racism - no more, no less. Content quotas based on race, gender, or nationality are stupid. And the politics around them is inane.

Maori 8 times more likely to be teenage parents on welfare

Media Release


Thursday, May 24, 2007

Maori make up 19 percent of the 16-19 year-old population but 54 percent of 16-19 year-old parents on welfare.

According the Lindsay Mitchell, welfare commentator, "The rate of teenage parents on a benefit is 10 per 1,000 for non-Maori compared to 85 per 1,000 for Maori."

"This significant disparity will ensure Maori children continue to be disproportionately represented in the many negative social statistics that culminate in over-representation in courts and prisons."

"Because children of teenage parents are recognised as 'high-risk' the Ministry of Social Development is putting some resources into working with those in the most disadvantaged regions. But nothing is being done to stop the inflow of teenage parents onto benefits in the first place. Existing policy is allowing another generation of vulnerable children to develop into tomorrow's offenders."

The numbers at December 2006;

16-19 year-old parents and caregivers in receipt of a main benefit;

Maori 2,062
NZ European 1,110
Pacific Island 288
Other 131
Unspecified 194

Female 3,648
Male 137

IHC accountable to government

David and Rhonda Heather have a son who is deaf, almost blind, mentally retarded and cannot talk. He has congenital rubella syndrome. He was assessed by IHC as in the highest category of need ie 1:1 care. IHC receives $60,000 funding from government to pay for this service. The Heathers maintain he is not receiving it and were advocating for him at the social services select committee yesterday. IHC are very much at odds with the couple and "reserving the right to expel Richard from services". Here's the piece of the story that had me riled.

IHC has also refused to provide information about funding and services, saying they are accountable to the Ministry, not the client.

Were you ever under the impression that the IHC was a charitable organisation who might be answerable to its patrons? I collected for the IHC annually until I received a letter late last year saying they weren't running their usual house-to-house appeal. Perhaps they are now so much in the governments pocket they don't need to work at fundraising so hard.

But this is the price clients pay. According to Paul Hutchison, "There are so many parents who are too afraid to speak out for fear of what will happen to their children."

The dilemma is, is IHC another one to strike off the list of worthy causes? When the line between state-funded charity and privately-funded charity becomes blurred the problems begin.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Men lucky to be living shorter lives

Some people can always find something to moan about. Now it's a problem that women live longer than men;

Older and bolder? Pensioner paradise is not yet here

Older women may live longer than men, but they are more likely to have poor quality of life, says Professor Elizabeth Markson, Director of the Gerontology Centre at Boston University, who was visiting Auckland in March.

In the USA, one in three women over 65 is impaired in daily living activities compared to one in five men. Women are five times more likely to be widowed and marriage has been found to insulate elderly men against illness.

'The moral of this is to marry a man seven years your junior if you don't want to be widowed,' Professor Markson quipped.

Having had lower incomes through their lives, women are poorer in old age. They are twice as likely as men to have trouble accessing health services, prescription drugs and adequate housing, and even when women visit doctors they are treated differently. Women are given more examinations but receive fewer diagnostic procedures and are less likely to receive therapeutic treatments for the same conditions as men. Presumably for these reasons, women are more likely to die in hospital.

On the other side of the coin, caregiving falls heavily on women. Professor Markson reported that in the USA 29% of caregivers of older relatives are daughters, 23% are wives, 20% are other female relatives and only 23% are men. Wives are most likely to care for a disabled spouse as long as possible who are usually only admitted to long-term care as a last resort, incontinence usually being the trigger. Where wives leave off, daughters sometimes take over.

There are gender differences in caregiving, said Professor Markson. 'Women tackle the hands-on care such as bathing and dealing with incontinence, tasks that can be physically and emotionally taxing. Women caregivers tend to suffer more ill health than men caregivers and are likely to use their holidays and sick leave providing care. Men typically take over bill-paying and mowing the lawns.'

Conflicts for the caregivers are matched by dilemmas for the recipients. They can be treated as 'wrinkled toddlers'. Caregivers who take charge can induce dependency and helplessness, leading to a loss of skills and independence.

'Depression is not uncommon and can easily be mistaken for dementia,' said Professor Markson.

Wow. Happy days are here again.

What is Benson-Pope up to?

Remember this, Youth unemployment drops 92 percent under Labour, a week ago today?

The just-released Ministry of Social Development's Statement of Intent shows the Estimated percentage of 15-19 year-olds not in formal education, training, work or looking after children was 6.6% in 2006 - up from 6% in 2005.

Not a large increase but raises the question yet again, What is Benson-Pope up to? Have Work and Income been directed to specifically crackdown on youth either on or applying for the dole? Somewhere there are around 15,000 NEETS unaccounted for. Are they being supported by family, friends, the black market or crime?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Bored with Boy Racers

Gee I'm tired of this subject and Christchurch Mayor Gary Moore's opining about parenting and alcohol and fast cars (my Austin A40 wouldn't spin the gravel in the driveway) is pointless. We don't have a crisis; that is, a problem that's gotten far, far worse. Just take a snapshot.

In 1985 there were 274 road deaths with alcohol as a factor. 2005 - 115.

In 1985 23% of the drivers affected by alcohol were 15-19. 2005 - 20%.

In 1985 the population was 3.3 million. 2005 - 4 million.

In 1985 there were 8.3 road deaths with alcohol as a factor per 100,000 population. In 2005 there were 2.9 per 100,000.

Nail on the head

Why I won't vote National. Colin James writes;

Key is not Brash. He has implicitly bought into big-government conservatism - as John Howard has in Australia - so is seen as no great threat to social services.

"Women dominate at the chalkface"

Right assessment. Wrong solution.

New Zealand now has one of the largest gaps in the world between male and female achievers, with the men coming out as the losers, according to Massey University's pro vice-chancellor in education, James Chapman.

Professor Chapman's remarks followed a Massey University College of Education graduation in which only 15 of the 158 graduates were men.

"There has been a quite significant decline in the interest of males in primary school teaching and particularly in the early childhood field. It is not quite so evident in the secondary school area."

There were probably many factors involved, but one of the main ones was the gradual "feminisation" of education in New Zealand, in terms of policies as well as teacher gender.

He suggested that perhaps the drive to find equal opportunities for women had gone too far and there was a need to pull back a bit to restore that balance.

What could he mean by this? That we need reverse sexism? If women are dominating education it's because men have let them. Yes, feminisation has produced a huge social shift in the past 30 years, most markedly in the family. It has driven a wedge between men and women. But it is the home in which boys (and girls) first hear negativity towards males. I don't even know if women realise they do it half of the time.

I was out delivering flyers and two women were power walking and talking - as they do. A four wheel drive was reversing out of a driveway, very slowly. Never got near them. One swings around, "THAT was dangerous. Shouldn't he be coming out forwards? Did he have his engine on or was he just drifting?" The indignation. If the guy had been reversing into his driveway she would have found even more fault.

There was no problem but she had to make one. Probably because the object of her annoyance was a man.

Bossy, nosey, self-obsessed, know-it-all women are everywhere. And it isn't just men who give them a wide berth. So do other women. But we shouldn't. We should stand up to them.

That's how we can redress the balance. Not by making it a man/women issue. But by making it an issue for individuals. Don't buy into feminism, racism and ageism and all the shonky ideas these ideologies propagate. Think about what you want to do and single-mindedly pursue it and banshees be damned.

I have sympathy for men who shy off becoming teachers but they mustn't. If they want to teach we need them, just as we need good women. But the individualists just quietly go off and do something else. Children lose the benefit of their outlook and are overly exposed to collectivist, entitlement-embracing, rights-based, socialist thinking. Children are the losers.