The Top Parenting Stories of 2012

From the Time magazine cover that launched a thousand breastfeeding debates to the Calgary radio host who admitted he had a favourite child, parenting stories were all over the news this year. Here, are a few that that crossed our radar.

CTRL + ALT + DELETE: When Tommy Jordan’s teenage daughter vented on her Facebook page about the unfairness of her family’s rules, she probably didn’t expect her father to read it. But he did — out loud, on YouTube in a February rant that was both applauded and booed by viewers. At the end of Jordan’s rant, he took out a gun and shot his daughter’s laptop. At last count, the video had been viewed more than 35 million times. In an appearance on the Todayshow a month later with his daughter, the North Carolina dad admitted “I stand behind what I did, but the consequences were a lot larger than what hers were.’’

BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE: In the spring, WestJet announced Kargo Kids, “creating a quieter and more relaxing inflight experience, while children travel in a ‘special VIP’ area of the aircraft.” No word on whether any parents actually signed up for the put-your-kids-in-the-cargo-hold service, which turned out to be an April Fool’s joke.

HAZELNUTS IN THE NEWS: Two American mothers took on breakfast-food favourite Nutella over truth in advertising, and won. Ferrero USA lost a $3-million class-action suit over claims that its hazelnut spread was part of a healthy breakfast. The spread, which is actually full of sugar and fat, is made in a factory in Brantford, Ont., although Canadians were not part of the suit.

TWO MINUTES FOR IDIOCY: A Vancouver hockey coach was caught on tape after a June minor league game, intentionally tripping one of the players on the opposing team during the post-game handshake ritual. The fall broke one boy’s wrist. Martin Tremblay, 40, pleaded guilty last month through his lawyer, who told CTV news “he feels horrible about it. It’s affected the two boys, it’s affected his son who plays hockey, it’s affected his livelihood,” Bellows said. Tremblay has also been banned from coaching in the league indefinitely. And the weirdest thing? Tremblay’s team won the game. Tremblay is due to be sentenced next month.

GOT MILK? PART 1: Time magazine’s May 21 cover, showing a young woman breastfeeding her 3-year-old son as he stood on a chair, featured the headline “Are you mom enough? Why attachment parenting drives some mothers to extremes — and how Dr. Bill Sears became their guru.” The cover became an instant sensation, spawning furious debates on parenting blogs and in mainstream media and launching a number of disturbing internet memes. In an explainer on the cover photograph, photographer Martin Schoeller said “I liked the idea of having the kids standing up to underline the point that this was an uncommon situation.” The mother, Jamie Lynne Grumet, later told ABC News the Time magazine image was an “outtake.” She went on to pose for another magazine, Pathways to Family Wellness, in a photo that shows her surrounded by her husband and another son, breastfeeding her now 4-year-old son — on her lap.

GOT MILK, PART 2: A transgendered Winnipeg man, who blogs under the pseudonym Trevor MacDonald, went public in August with his rejected query about becoming a leader with breastfeeding support group La Leche League of Canada. MacDonald identifies as male but breastfeeds his toddler son; at the moment, La Leche League only allows women to be leaders. However, the publicity surrounding the story prompted this response from the breastfeeding group: “Should these policies be reconsidered in light of our changing society? Many believe they should; however, it may take considerable time, effort and discussion to reach an international consensus.”

GOT MILK, PART 3: Toronto mother Sheri Hebdon was breastfeeding her 11-month-old twins at a city-run daycare when she was asked to stop because a male staffer was uncomfortable. “I’ve never felt that degraded and humiliated in my life, “ Hebdon told the Star at the time. Thecity later issued a written apology over the incident.

PAPA CAN YOU HEAR ME? Calgary radio host and father of two little boys Buzz Bishopopened up a can of psychological worms when his candid post on fatherhood appeared on, a parenting website owned by Disney: “If I were to be absolutely honest, my older son is my favourite of the two.” The comment and follow-up comments by Bishop went viral, even meriting a clip on Good Morning America, where Bishop stuck to his guns.

DOWNTOWN CRABBY: Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday, formerly the mayor of Etobicoke and the resident of a “very quiet” street, failed to make any friends among parents living in the Toronto core last July when he commented that “most people,” given the option, wouldn’t raise their children downtown. Helen Spitzer launched the Downtown Kids tumblr web page in response, telling the Star at the time: “I don’t think anybody is saying that downtown is better than other places. They’re just saying that this was their choice and they like it.”

JUST SEARCH ‘MULTI-TASK’: Marissa Mayer became CEO of Yahoo in July and announced the same day that she was six months’ pregnant, sparking yet another discussion of mothers in the workplace. In October, Mayer gave birth to a boy and took just two weeks off on maternity leave, providing plenty of fodder for more debate. She found herself under fire again recently after an interview in which she said the baby’s been “easy.”

ALLERGIC RETRACTION: York Region mother Donna Giustizia backed down on her November plea to get the City of Vaughan to remove oak trees near an elementary school. Giustizia, who has two children with anaphylactic food allergies, claimed that the school offered “a false sense of security” saying it was nut-free, when in fact acorns from the oak trees littered the school grounds. Reports of Giusizia’s fight unleashed an online torrent of commentary, and she later withdrew her request, citing cyberbullying and hate mail. “In a free, civilized society we should be able to voice our opinions and make our requests to elected officials without fear of reprisal, ridicule, or regret,” she said.

Celebrity Parents, New and Not So Much

All the birthing ladies: Stratospheric music stars Beyoncé and Jay-Z brought a little bundle of controversy into the world with the January birth of their daughter, Blue Ivy, at Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan. A security detail approaching presidential standards took over the maternity ward and rumours swirled that the couple had spent upwards of $1 million getting the place up to scratch. And, of course, Jay-Z immediately uploaded a (kind of terrible) song about his new baby girl.

Give that girl a calendar, part 1: Actress Jessica Simpson gave birth in May to a daughter and named her (repeat, her) Maxwell Drew. Soon after, Simpson started shilling for Weight Watchers as a spokeswoman while she dropped the baby weight. But, perhaps not quite understanding the idea, Simpson is reportedly pregnant again, presumably putting the weight-loss deal in jeopardy.

Give that girl a calendar, part 2: In August, reality TV darling Tori Spelling welcomed son Finn, her fourth child, just 10 months after the birth of daughter Hattie.

Jersey boy: Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, previously known for doing shots and looking orange,brought a little meatball named Lorenzo into the world in August.

Someone like him: British singer Adele gave birth to a boy in October but was quite rude about it, refusing to release to the media his name or anything about him, really. Who does she think she is?

Bunny flop: TV star Kelsey Grammer and wife Kayte couldn’t figure out what to do with 3-month-old Faith for Halloween, so they schlepped her along with them to a party at the Playboy Mansion. “Kayte is breastfeeding, and we do not have a nanny or a trusted babysitter at this time, so Faith goes everywhere with us,” Grammer said in a statement to the New York Daily News. Fair enough. But maybe just stay home, then?

Hey, Boo Boo: The August debut of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo on TLC brought fame and perhaps fortune to Georgia’s Mamma, Sugar Bear and Alana, their beauty-pageant-loving 7-year-old. Without this show, we might never have known the power of “go-go juice,” a mixture of Mountain Dew and Red Bull given to young Miss Boo Boo pre-pageant.

Her Royal Nauseousness:Prince William and his wife Kate revealed to the world a bit earlier than they planned that a little royal will soon make His or Her appearance, after the Duchess of Cambridge landed in hospital with an acute form of morning sickness. The baby is due in the summer.

Multiple blessings: Nadya “Octomom” Suleman, mother of 14, continues to be an example to cash-strapped parents everywhere. Her porn effort “Octomom Home Alone” has been nominated for four adult-video awards. Kate Gosselin, mother of eight and reality TV junkie, was booted out of her latest gig as a blogger for the couponing site Coupon Cabin, with the site’s founder explaining in a statement that Gosselin, known for being a bit of a control freak, was just “not a good fit.”


By Kathryn Laskaris

Source: Toronto Star -


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