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  • Why the Russian Adoption Ban Matters

    mom and baby
    By Lisa Milbrand

    More than 60,000 kids from Russian orphanages have found families in the U.S. since the Russian adoption program began more than 20 years ago--but now Russian President Vladimir Putin is looking to put an end to one of the most popular international adoption programs for American families. And that's a big mistake for everyone--especially the thousands of Russian children who will end up growing up in the sterile, stifling orphanage environment, rather than the embrace of a loving family.

    RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About International Adoption

    If you look back, there have been rumblings of a ban for the past several years. Russian officials are angry about the 19 Russian children who died in the care of adoptive parents here in the U.S. (as they should be), and are concerned that some children have ended up in institutions here, after their parents deemed them too difficult to manage. And when Torry Hansen sent her son back to Russia in

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  • 5 Ways to Get Your Kids to Listen

    mom and toddler
    By Vicki Glembocki

    A few months ago I crashed headfirst into my most frustrating parenting problem to date: My daughters were ignoring me. I could tell them five times to do anything -- get dressed, turn off the TV, brush their teeth -- and they either didn't hear me or didn't listen. So I'd tell them five more times, louder and louder. It seemed the only way I could inspire Blair, 6, and Drew, 4, to action was if I yelled like one of The Real Housewives of New Jersey and then threatened to throw their blankies away.

    This was not the kind of parent I wanted to be. But their inability to obey or even acknowledge my husband, Thad, and me made us feel powerless. While walking through Target one Saturday, I heard no fewer than five parents say some variation of, "If you don't start listening, we're walking out of this store right now!"

    RELATED: Smart Discipline for Every Age

    I recognized that at least part of the problem was me. After much lamenting about my lame

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  • What the Affordable Care Act Means for Families

    parents and baby
    Parents magazine spoke to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the Department of Health & Human Services, to demystify the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This is what your family needs to know.

    Edited by Jessica Leigh Hester

    Parents: Which parts of the act impact women and families?
    Kathleen Sebelius: In 2010, preventive services started to be offered without co-pays. This was a way to encourage things like folic-acid supplements, immunizations, and mammograms, because we know that prevention or early detection is cheaper and healthier than treating a problem. Then, in August 2012, we rolled out a series of benefits aimed specifically at women. These include free HIV screening, contraception, and pre- and postnatal maternity benefits such as gestational-diabetes screenings and breastfeeding supplies and support. Too many women have been faced with policies that don't cover maternity care, and if something goes wrong along the way--they end up with an emergency C-section or they have a baby

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  • What the Fiscal Cliff Could Mean for Our Kids (OPINION)

    boy with ball
    By Amy Julia Becker

    Even though I'm the mother of three small children, I've never been a huge fan of child safety regulations. I often roll my eyes at warnings on labels. I think back to my own childhood, when Fisher-Price Little People were shaped like cylinders instead of marshmallows, and we still managed to survive. I think back to my helmetless bike riding days. I often tell my kids that I believe in germs and dirt, by which I mean I bypass antibacterial hand wash, and I allow them to play with other kids who have the sniffles (though I avoid stomach bugs like the plague). I also allow them to take calculated risks that sometimes result in skinned knees and sometimes result in greater strength, balance, and flexibility.

    Parents' Biggest Concerns for Their Kids

    So I read the recent Safe Kids Report on the effect of sequestration (aka the fiscal cliff) on children's health and safety with some degree of skepticism. And yet, despite my own laissez faire parenting, this

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  • The Biggest Kids’ Health Stories of Next Year

    mom with toddler's experts predict the kid-focused health stories you'll be talking about in 2013.

    By Richard Rende, Ph.D., and Kara Corridan

    1. The Book That'll Change How Mental Health Disorders Are Diagnosed
    If you're not familiar with the term "DSM-5" yet, you will be. In May 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) will publish the 5th version of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). The DSM is used by clinicians to diagnose psychiatric disorders, and it's what insurance companies and policy makers use to determine whether a person needs treatment, and what type they need. This latest version is well over a decade in the making, and we've already heard lots of debate over the major changes.

    For instance, many people--parents and professionals alike-are worried about the plan to eliminate Asperger's Disorder from the DSM-5 and create one category of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Critics contend that kids who currently have Asperger's will

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  • 10 Books Not to Miss in 2013

    Book and kid
    By Kristen Kemp

    Bookworms will love the lineup of parenting memoirs and advice that are scheduled for release in 2013. I know I am. Here are the books I can't wait to read in the New Year.

    The Heavy: A Mother Daughter Memoir
    by Dara-Lynn Weiss
    Did you hear about the mom who put her 7-year-old daughter on a strict diet and wrote about it for Vogue? Author Dara Lynn-Weiss caused such a stir that she got a book deal. This memoir tells the story from start to finish-how the doctor labeled her little girl obese, and how this mother decided to take care of it. The book is supposed to be brutally honest, and Lynn-Weiss claims that her insights will help other parents in the same situation. (Jan. 15)

    Never Look a Polar Bear in the Eye: A Family Field Trip to the Arctic's Edge in Search of Adventure, Truth, and Mini-Marshmallows
    by Zac Unger
    In this memoir, one dad takes his family to Antarctica-Churchill, Manitoba to be exact. In the "Polar Bear Capital of

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  • Tips from Justin Bieber’s Mom: 6 Ways to Be a More Sane Mom

    Justin Bieber and mom
    By Ellen Seidman

    Imagine being a woman who's endured sexual abuse, addiction, depression, and a suicide attempt. Hard to imagine, right? Now imagine being a woman who's weathered all that and single motherhood--and parented one of the biggest pop stars of our time. That, friends, is Pattie Mallette, Justin Bieber's mom. "She's the strongest woman I've ever met," Justin says in the introduction to her recently-released memoir Nowhere But Up: The Story of Justin Bieber's Mom, co-written with A.J. Gregory.

    As the parent of a kid with special needs, I found myself relating to Mallette's drive to keep forging ahead in life, doing anything she possibly could to help her son succeed in this world-and help herself, too. As she says, "I survived single motherhood by sheer willpower and a ton of prayer." I draw strength for raising Max--who has cerebral palsy--from other strong women I meet, and Mallette is made of super-strong stuff. The book is well written, and hard to put down, especially

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  • Should Parents Get Their Kids Genome Sequenced?

    baby and doctor
    By Richard Rende

    I just read a terrific series at about kids and DNA. One of the more intriguing questions posed was: Should you get your child's genome sequenced?

    The idea might not seem far-fetched. We hear more and more about how genes predict whether or not we will get a disease. So why not have your child's genome screened for disease genes?

    Well, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind (without even thinking about cost or ethics):

    Your child's DNA was probably already screened for major disease genes (really big ones that have severe effects on development) when they were born.

    RELATED: How Genetics Influence Your Baby's Looks and Personality

    Outside of those genes (there's probably less than 100 of them), most genetic markers are really not that informative. They give you some sense of increased risk for a disease - but a whole host of environmental factors undoubtedly contribute as well. This is especially true for "common" diseases -- like most of the

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  • Our Favorite Toys of 2012

    Justin Bieber and mom
    Our gift to you this holiday season is a stress-free shopping guide for the hottest playthings of the year. They topped our kid testers' wish lists!

    By Kourtney Eidam with Sarah Rammos and Brooke Bunce

    1. Having a Ball Roll and Pop Fire Truck

    Encourage your child to crawl with this BrightStarts vehicle that shoots out balls for him to chase. Put it in Park so he can push the buttons and work on his ABCs. 3 months+, $20;

    Buy the toy here! >>

    RELATED: Age-by-Age Guide to Toys

    2. Treetop Friends Musical Crib Mobile

    Owls, apples, woodland charm-this mobile pretty much covers the biggest nursery-décor themes of the moment. It also lulls your kid to sleep with music. 0 to 5 months, $45;

    Buy the toy here! >>

    3. Pour & Float Froggy

    Kids will hop at the chance to take a bath with this floating fountain that squirts water from its mouth. It also teaches numbers through songs and counting activities. 9 months+, $18;

    Buy the toy here! >>

    4. Koala Ring

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  • Avoid Halloween Candy Overload with Switch Witchery

    By Debbie Koenig

    I'm inviting the Switch Witch over for Halloween this year, but she won't arrive until after my 6-year-old has gone to bed. Are you familiar with the dear old hag? Like Santa or the Tooth Fairy, the Switch Witch visits children while they sleep and leaves a prize. But in this case the prize makes parents happy too, because she swaps it for that overflowing sack of Halloween candy.

    We first tried this ingenious ploy last year, when we realized that a triple dose of trick-or-treating at school, at our neighborhood's Witches' Walk parade, and from going door to door-meant that Harry was likely to haul his weight in bite-size sweets. The prospect terrified me, both for him (his teeth!) and for me (how would I resist the siren song of mini-Twix?). So during the week leading up to the holiday, my husband and I clued Harry in to the Witch's existence and asked him what toy he might like to trade for his leftover candy. He'd still be able to eat some, of course, especially

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