Links: Bus Segregation, Divorce, Autism, Harsh Parenting

piano reflectionThe post on the veiled women of Beit Shemesh led to record traffic over the last few days. I’ll be posting some reactions soon.

In the meantime, enjoy these links:

  1. Miriyummy’s husband models the Talit he won at the Galilee Silks contest.
  2. A story about a woman who reorganizes your home and your life.
  3. Kosher Cooking Carnival is up at Batya’s.
  4. AussieDave at Israellycool is hosting a Pro-Israel blogoff, with prizes. You can submit posts until Tuesday, January 18.
  5. On Cooking Manager, a series on cooking with children including babies and toddlers.
  6. A new film about divorce in the haredi community.
  7. Spacing children less than two years apart may be a risk factor for autism.
  8. Gender segregation on buses can continue on certain bus lines on a voluntary basis, with caveats including regular inspections.
  9. This post about the Superiority of Chinese Mothers has been making the rounds. Be sure to check out the comments. I’m not convinced. Jewish mothers don’t act like this (generally), yet Jews are still pretty successful. Update: A reader sent me a followup to the story: Tiger Mother Backpedals on Hyper-Strict Parenting Advice.

You may also enjoy:

Autisim Diagnosis: Dreaming a New Dream

Breastfeeding and the Working Mother

Calling Happily Married People (Or Not)

Photo credit: midiman


  1. I think that there’s something true in the fact that the more you demand of your children, the more they believe they are capable of, therefore the more they achieve. I never heard of a Jewish mother telling her son “One day you’ll grow up and be a well-paid plumber.” I remember saying to my daughter while I rocked her to bed one night “you can be any kind of doctor you want to be.” and while I won’t love her any less if she becomes an orange picker (and indeed if she did it for a summer or a year as a break in her education, I would think that it’s a great thing to do), I wouldn’t stop telling her that she can do better.

    When I was working as a writer last year, my dad kept telling me “but it’s really time for you to start your own business” and I wasn’t exactly doing unskilled labor.

  2. It would be interesting if they repeated that Austism research in communities in Israel such as the religious, haredi and Arab, who often have closely based childrne

    • Keren, a few studies came out recently warning about risks to both mothers and babies of close pregnancies. Another post floating in my head that will probably come out soon.

      • Yesterday I heard discussion about this on a reshet Bet program
        They asked what I asked.
        And the answer was that there is no correlation of this report in Haredi families with many closely based children (they were talking to a professor in Israel who works in this field.) And the professor concluded that the findings were probably a result of the fact that parents of 2 children close together were more likely to compare them, and therefore discover Autism more and earlier

  3. I like that he allows for the possibility of higher diagnosis rate for second children who are close in age.

    Good science tries to find every possible explanation.

    I would say that this is enough to convince me that if you’re having two kids close together, you shouldn’t stop taking prenatal vitamins in between (because it’s a very minor, low-risk change that MIGHT help lower risks).

  4. I was pretty horrified by the WSJ article–largely because it was coming from the angle that all kids need the same things. Same kinds of teaching, same kinds of pursuits, nothing individualized or personalized. This flies so entirely of the face of what my parenting experience has been, I have to wonder if someone is doing it wrong. Hint: I don’t think it’s me. I get a lot of things wrong and will continue to do so in the future, but forcing my children with two different personalities, learning styles, interests and talents to do/be the same won’t be one of them.

    • Which WSJ article?

    • Kate, I didn’t read the original article and it just occurred to me that I better do so before saying what I think.

    • Okay, read the article and this Q&A with Chua. Here’s what I think. Chua, her husband and the piano playing daughter are all highly gifted. Chua also has the ability to recognize her daughter’s skills. She worked with her and knew that she was capable of doing the piece. Parents who know their kids well have a very good sense of what their children are capable of doing. Sometimes parents are wrong. But she wasn’t! See the Q&A where she talks about her sister with Down Syndrome.

      • I’m not sure she “wasn’t wrong”. Let’s face it, we know NOTHING about what kind of person either daughter is. And, we also DO know that her younger daughter DID rebel, and Tiger Mom did have to pull back. She in an interview she admits that she came very close to losing her second daughter. A mother who really knows what her children need and are capable of rarely gets to that point, and doesn’t need the kind of dramatics that ensued to get the message.

        • The piano example was completely over-the-top, but I don’t like the complete opposite approach of saying “it’s too hard for you so you don’t have to do it” either.

          Again, to cite juggling, when you’re trying to learn a new trick, sometimes the time that you’re not practicing gives your mind time to get the new move with less stress – so that practicing for an hour is often less effective than practicing for 20 minutes, resting 20 minutes, and practicing another 20 minutes.

          A good approach would be to give the child many ten or twenty minute sessions over a period of a few days – both because it’s actually a more effective way to learn, and because it’s less discouraging.

  5. Well, my autistic kid is a two and a half year space- where does that fit in? 🙂

    I don’t get leaving PDD and Aspergers out of the study- it’s all one thing. And while I know it’s just anecdotal, this spacing theory is not the case with most of the autistic kids I know. In fact, a lot of autistic kids are oldests.

    I really like the “more likely to be diagnosed” clause, which also applies when you have multiple cases in the same family.

    • staying afloat: Who knows if later studies will bear out this research, but you need to look at a really large number before drawing conclusions. The autistic kids I know are not the oldest.

  6. Staying afloat: if they leave out PDD and aspergers… then it’s hard to imagine classical autism going undiagnosed. I’m sure that aspergers and pdd go undiagnosed all the time. I know an adult who almost certainly has aspergers but was never diagnosed.

  7. RaggedyMom says The Chinese Mothers article disturbed me personally, and I don’t think there was much for me to learn – I feel like there’s a line that’s crossed between constructive and destructive criticism of one’s kids.

    I feel that it’s not possible to gauge the effect this extent of meanness can have on the relationship the child has with the parents as an adult, and has with other adults later in life. Since it’s not possible to know your child’s level of resilience and strength from the outset, that’s a gamble. I don’t believe that emotional beatings create resiliency, and as I watch my kids grow, I see that a very great deal of temperament is inborn. Strictness can be useful, but I’d prefer to err on the side of slight emotional coddling/respect than risk scarring a psyche. And that’s something that’s not possible to predict at 3, 7, or 11 years old.

  8. Raggedy, agreed, but I do think that accepting that your child can’t do something is just as likely to be emotionally scarring.

    “You can do it if you study harder and I’ll help you.” seems less scarring than “Some people just aren’t good at math.”

    I think there is something to be learned from the article even if she takes things to the unacceptable extreme.

    • As someone who is “just not good at math” I actually disagree, pushing kids to study and study when they are clearly not able to do it is awful. i took algebra 5 times before i passed! (barley). sometimes it is better to accept that your talents lie elsewhere (which they do in my case thank you very much) and had i been left alone about math/science i might have had better self esteem as a teenager. Knowing basics of various subjects is important, but unless you actually NEED math or science (or English or History) for your given field i see no reason to continue that subject to a high degree. rather one should help their child pursue and develop the talents and skills God actually gave them. (and plumbers make good money!)

      • As I wrote below, the difference here is that Chua did know that her child was capable. Her assessment was correct, even if I don’t like her methods.

      • It’s easy to say you have no aptitude for X. I have no aptitude for physical activity. I had to take remedial gym classes. I have no aptitude for coordination.

        Yet I forced myself to learn to juggle when I was in high school. It took me months. (Some of my nephews learned to juggle in under an hour. I really lack natural ability in a big way.)

        You’d be surprised how much knowing how to juggle has changed my life… If I’d given up after a few hours because of my lack of aptitude, well… everything important about my life would be different today. (those of you who know me well can chuckle, but it’s really true.)

    • “You can do it if you study harder and I’ll help you.” seems less scarring than “Some people just aren’t good at math.”
      Dr. Ginott suggests telling a child “it’s hard to do X.” That acknowledges his struggle while giving him an out.

  9. The “Chinese mother” author (of the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother) was on the Diane Rehm show this morning (, and explained that the excerpt in the WSJ article didn’t capture the arc of her book, namely, that she learned from her mistakes and relaxed her parenting style. So that fairly inflammatory article should perhaps be viewed in that context, which softens the blow a bit. Good publicity for her book, though. 😉

    I haven’t read the autism link, but I’m skeptical, especially after the vaccine/autism link has been debunked (

    • Rivki, I agree that we should be skeptical. This is an initial study and there is sure to be more research. I don’t know if it’s a good study or not, but it shouldn’t be associated with the awful Wakefield “research” just because it’s about autism.