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July 24, 2017

This week’s family-related news included data on the dropping U.S. divorce rate, ways to keep cool when tensions rise among siblings, why school desegregation has not been more successful, a look at the controversial issue of intermarriage in the Conservative Jewish movement, details about what makes France so family friendly, data concerning the high rate of scheduled child births in the U.S., suppositions why the birthrate in Japan is declining, a ruling on attorneys fees in the Kentucky same sex marriage case, and finally Malawi raises the legal age to marry to 18.

U.S. Divorce Rate Dips, but Moral Acceptability Hits New High Andrew Duggan, Gallup, July 7, 2017 As the national divorce rate has fallen to its lowest point in decades, 73% of U.S. adults say divorce is “morally acceptable.” Since 2001, there has been a 14-point rise in the percentage of Americans who find divorce morally acceptable, even as the national divorce rate has declined.

How to Stay Mindful When the Kids Are Fighting: Meditation for Real Life David Gelles, The New York Times, July, 12, 2017 Remind yourself that conflict among siblings is normal. It’s how they learn to set boundaries, express desires and share not only property, but also experiences. Take a deep breath and encourage your kids to do the same.

Americans Oppose School Segregation in Theory — but Not in Practice Perpetual Baffour, The Nation, July 13, 2017 A debate over integration of a wealthy school in New York City shows that change is not easy. Despite rapidly changing demographics in this country, school diversity has barely kept pace, and research shows that all students perform better academically and socially when they learn in diverse classrooms.

We’re Headed Toward One of the Greatest Divisions in the History of the Jewish People Emma Greene, The Atlantic, July 16, 2017 A small, vocal group of Conservative (a major Jewish denomination) rabbis is pushing the movement to accept marriages between Jews and non-Jews. However, there is some resistance…some believe that the future of Jewish identity and pluralism is at stake which would affect global Jewry.

French Moms Aren’t Superior Parents — They Just Have It Easier Quartz, Paris, July 19, 2017 French women are the most prolific baby producers in Western Europe, producing nearly two kids compared with 1.35 in Italy and 1.7 in Denmark. There are several societal factors in France that help support families and make it easier to parent.

Babies and Bankers’ Hours: A Shift in U.S. Birth Patterns Barbara J. King, NPR, July 20, 2017 Fifty percent of births in the U.S. are now either scheduled by the mother and her doctor during daytime hours or are induced for medical reasons — and the vast majority of that 50 percent falls into the first, voluntary category. In comparison, most other mammalian mothers give birth alone without assistance, and most other primates show a nocturnal pattern of labor and birth.

The Mystery of Why Japanese People Are Having So Few Babies Alana Semuels, The Atlantic, July 20, 2017 Japan’s population is shrinking. For the first time since the government started keeping track more than a century ago, there were fewer than 1 million births last year, as the country’s population fell by more than 300,000 people. Many point to unromantic 20-somethings and women’s entry into the workforce, but an overlooked factor is the trouble young men have in finding steady, well-paid jobs.

Kentucky Must Pay $224,000 After Dispute Over Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Matt Stevens, The New York Times, July 21, 2017 A federal judge on Friday ordered Kentucky to pay more than $224,000 in legal fees and costs because one of its county clerks had refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Former Child Bride Is Pedaling Her Way to a Brighter Future Courtney Columbus, The New York Times, July 22, 2017 This week, in Washington, D.C., 300 girl advocates from around the world gathered at the Girl Up Leadership Summit, an annual event organized by the U.N. Foundation. There the topic of child marriage and other issues were addressed. One positive change was noted: The president of Malawi signed a constitutional amendment in April that changed the legal age of marriage to 18. Previously, girls could legally marry at 15 with parental consent.

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