Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Best of Parenting 2013: Popular posts at a popular parenting column

In my continuing quest to wrestle the parenting media into a more comprehensible entity, I've been scouring the internet for other reviews of parenting news from the past year. When I posted my thoughts on the Top Parenting News of 2013 last week, I'd yet to come across another selection in the genre, the Top Twelve Motherlode Posts of 2013.  KJ Dell'Antonia posted it the same day on the  Motherlode column at the New York Times. 

How did the editor of one of the better parenting columns decide on the Top Twelve Posts of 2013? Fortunately she explained her methods straight away before I could get impatient wondering about it:

If you read that headline aloud [The Top Twelve Motherlode Posts of 2013], it’s nice and alliterative. These 12 posts represent Motherlode’s “tops” of last year — the most read, most commented-upon, most-shared, and in general, the most “Motherlode.” They’re conversation starters: Entertaining, interesting and in some cases provocative. via New York Times
I'm still not clear, however, if some posts are the most read, others the most commented on, others most shared or a combination thereof. Just curious. Anyhow, the twelve selections cover a range of topics from helicopter parenting, gender stereotypes, work/life balance, Harry Potter, the Cat in the Hat (amusing) and breastfeeding. Some are written by KJ, others by some names you might recognize. 

I couldn't help but search for empirical evidence in the posts, taking note of any reference or hint of data. It's come to that, friends. It's not often I can read something related to children or really adults without wondering about supporting scientific evidence. It's not that everything ever written should cite recent studies,  but so often I see missed moments (or claims) that would not only would benefit from some supporting evidence but really should address it. 

So I couldn't help but notice that of the Top Twelve posts at Motherlode, only four contain any whiff of empirical evidence although three do refer to actual studies and one, the second, focuses on a Pew Study on working mothers that I covered earlier in the year. 

Don’t Make Your Children The Exception to Every Rule by LISA DAMOUR
Don’t Lean In: Do We Want Mothers to Work Part Time? by KJ DELL’ANTONIA
Americans Support Breast-Feeding, as Long as It’s ‘Free’ by KJ DELL’ANTONIA 
Helicopter Parents Make Children Miss Milestones by KJ DELL’ANTONIA. 

So that works out to empirical evidence in a third of the top posts. True readers might not be expecting it or for that matter they might not even enjoy reading empirical-based articles at Motherlode. It is, however,  a respected and I have to think popular source for discussion and information so from my perspective it should link to research and feature studies. Let's see what next year brings. 


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