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'90s Family | REAL LIFE

News You Can Use Tailored for Your Needs

May 12, 1996|LYNN SMITH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Are you a single mother looking for advice and support? Or a bachelor father? There's a newsletter for you: SingleMOTHER ($12.97 a year, P.O. Box 68 Midland, NC 28107) or Dear Dad ($15 a year, 3135 4th St., Boulder, CO 80304).

Are you a grandparent looking for ways to build family ties? Try Your Grandchild ($12.95 a year, 1102 Grand, 23rd Floor, Kansas City, MO 64106).

If you are moving away from the often generic child-rearing advice offered in books or magazines, a recent surge of newsletters offers information customized to appeal to almost every type of caregiver, every type of child.

There are newsletters for parents who want to know how to teach their children spiritual values--the Parenting Path ($25 a year, Bagby Publishing, 1712 Escalona Drive, Santa Cruz, CA 95060).

There are newsletters for parents who are trying to overcome problems related to child abuse and neglect: the Parent Network (published by Parents Anonymous, 675 W. Foothill Blvd., Suite 220, Claremont, CA 91711).

There are newsletters for parents whose children are gay: the Flagpole ($8 a year, 1101 14th St., N.W., Suite 1030, Washington, DC 20005) and newsletters for gay parents: Network ($25 a year, P.O. Box 50360, Washington, DC 20091).

Two of the best newsletters that have appeared over the past year have been targeted to parents of early and middle adolescents: Parenting Insights ($19 a year, 16625 Redmond Way, Suite M-12, Redmond, WA 98052-4499) and Daughters ($25 a year, 1808 Ashwood Ave., Nashville, TN 37212).

The publishers said they had been unable to find information to help them understand and guide their own children. Many parents who are active in their young children's lives tend to drift away during this period, they said.

Parenting Insights, which received a Parent's Choice award, offers articles such as "When Parents Violate Their Adolescent's Privacy" and "Family Politics: Grandparents, Parents and Kids" to parents of children ages 7 to 14.

It was founded by Susan Palmer, a teacher / psychologist / mother from Seattle who draws on educators and child development specialists to write practical advice. Middle school principals have copied the articles and sent them home to parents, said newsletter spokeswoman Michelle Bowman. The articles are also available in Spanish, she said.

Jack Hoos, a former market researcher with two daughters, ages 9 and 3, said he wanted to know about the stages of puberty, how to keep the lines of communication open, how to prevent his daughters from falling into the "beauty trap," how to avoid eating disorders and promote participation in sports. Most of the information he found was based on research about boys' behaviors.

The artistically designed newsletter, edited by Amy Lynch, draws articles from experts and parents.

A recent article encourages mothers to be angry when it is useful and appropriate as a way to demonstrate to their daughters how they can stand up for themselves. The next issue will discuss research on why girls drop out of sports programs.

Hoos said his most valuable insight so far has been to realize the importance of relationships to girls as they head toward independence. While the issue for boys is separation, he said girls want to build more relationship skills and learn how to apply them. As he has become impressed with the difference in parenting boys and girls, Hoos said he is already starting to think of his next newsletter: Sons.

* Lynn Smith's column appears on Sundays. Readers may write to her at the Los Angeles Times, Life & Style, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA 90053. Please include a telephone number.

A recent surge of newsletters offers information customized to appeal to almost every type of caregiver, every type of child.

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