Emily Oster

18 min Read Emily Oster

Emily Oster

Raising Boys

Another side of gender equality

Emily Oster

18 min Read

Whenever ParentData features writing about boys, I hear from parents of boys. The overwhelming message is Thank you for making me feel seen. There are many, many wonderful things about parenting boys. There are also challenges that seem disproportionate. More boys than girls are held back in school entry. Girls do better in school at nearly all levels, and are significantly more likely to attend college. Yet this doesn’t get the kind of attention that it might if the genders were reversed. 

In this episode, I talk to Richard Reeves about his work on the challenges facing boys and men, and his efforts to combat them. Richard is the president of the American Institute for Boys and Men. He’s also an author and a policy advocate, and one of the most interesting people I know. We get into big-picture questions, along with the nitty-gritty problem of dirty adolescent backpacks. Enjoy!

Here are three highlights from the conversation:

Why do you focus your research on boys and men?

Richard Reeves:

Well, I think the honest answer is because nobody else was, really. People knew that there were lots of gaps, particularly in education, where really it was boys and men who were lagging behind, but it was always like an afterthought or a secondary thought to another paper. So someone would do a paper on something and they’d say, “Oh, look, well, there’s a big gender gap” and then move on. It also felt that some of those issues, if they were getting attention, they were either getting fleeting attention or the wrong kind of attention. In other words, they’re picked up in online circles or perhaps by people with more reactionary intent. I think you know a thing or two about people taking data and using it for the wrong purposes as well as the right purposes.

Emily Oster:

I do know a bit about that, yes.

Richard:

I just kept hitting these data points, like the college enrollment rate dropped seven times more for men than women when the pandemic hit. Almost one in four boys have been diagnosed with a developmental disability in K through 12, twice the rate for girls. Men were dying from COVID in much bigger numbers.

As someone that’s had, I would say, a pretty robust commitment to gender equality, actually, I just noticed that people were uncomfortable really shining a light on those. That discomfort really in the end is what drew me to the work, because I realized that because of that discomfort, it wasn’t being done or it wasn’t being done well.

How are boys doing in school? 

Emily:

I think that the way many parents would talk to me about this is “My boy doesn’t seem ready for school” or “Circles are being run around him by the girls who are the same age.” There are a bunch of different reactions to that: holding boys back, thinking about changing schools. There’s many ways one can come into this. Do you want to talk a little bit about why this happens? What is going on, to the extent we understand it, and maybe when in school this is most salient?

Richard:

So, I know the wonderful thing about this podcast, Emily, is that I don’t need to talk about overlapping distributions and averages all the time, right?

Emily:

No, the wonderful thing about the podcast is you can talk about overlapping distributions.

Richard:

I can just say, no one thinks that the statement “men are taller than women” means that all men are taller than all women. That’s true for everything that we’re going to talk about. So, we don’t have to say “on average” every time, but the gender gaps are there all the way through K through 12. Then that shows up in higher education, where we’ve now got a bigger gender gap than in the early ’70s when we passed Title IX, but the other way around. You see big gaps in school readiness at 4 and 5 and then big gaps at the end.

In GPA, for example, which is a really good aggregate measure, two-thirds of the top 10% are girls and two-thirds of the bottom 10% are boys, and a linear relationship in between. 

Then the second part of your question is, When does it happen? So, it’s happening all the way through, but I would say two things. One is it’s particularly true in English and literacy, where in the average school district now, the boys are almost a grade level behind girls. There’s no gap in math, at least until high school, where it starts to tweak open a little bit again in favor of boys. 

Then the second thing is, it’s hard to say for sure, but middle school and the transition into high school seems to be where a derailment happens. The boys are behind all the way through, but if I could choose a grade or two grades when actually I just see that gap opening up, it tends to be towards the end of middle school and that transition into high school. Eighth and ninth grade seem to be where the girls just pull away. They’re ahead all the way — but you are a runner. So, they’re ahead, but then that’s when the girls just kick it, and the boys, they’re in the dust from that point on.

Why are boys falling behind?

Emily:

One way to see that is to think about the timing of puberty and the magnitude of the effective age gap in frontal lobe development. I think another way to frame that is to ask, What are we asking of people in schools at that time? That is a time in which we start asking way more of executive function and of organization than we did in the third grade, where if you don’t bring in your homework, nothing happens. Then we hit seventh, eighth grade, and we start expecting you to bring your homework every day and bring in your schoolbook, and not play a game where you smash the Chromebook on each other’s hands until it breaks. We’re expecting more, and then we start seeing those differences.

Richard:

That is a good game.

Emily:

It’s a good game. It has some potential negative outcomes, but until you get to the negative outcomes, it’s pretty awesome. So, I guess I’m asking about how much the structure of schools [is relevant]?

Richard:

Well, they’re obviously interdependent. One of the criticisms of this developmental story that we’re talking about here is, oh, so you’re blaming the boys. You’re saying, “Oh, well, they’re immature.” Actually, it’s the opposite. My view is that the education system has inadvertently defaulted to more of the female standard. There’s a “Why aren’t you more like your sister?” flavor to, I think, our entire education system, and it’s actually one of the reasons I worry so much about the cratering share of male teachers. We’re down to 23% now. That’s a 10 percentage point drop in the last 20 years and the share of male teachers.

I think one reason to care about that is just because I think, through no one’s fault, if you have a massively gendered occupation, it’s likely to take on that median way of being. I do think the pedagogy, the structure of the school day, the assessment mechanisms are just a bit more female-friendly than male-friendly. So to that extent, the boys are a bit of a square peg in a round hole. You can either blame them for being square or wonder why the hole is only round. I do think that there’s a lot to do in the education system to make it a bit more boy-friendly, and again, I’m not blaming anybody. This is not a feminist conspiracy to fail boys. It’s just the inadvertent consequence of a series of shifts we’ve seen is to just leave education. It’s just not as friendly to boys.

Full transcript

This transcript was automatically generated and may contain small errors.

Emily Oster:

My first born child is a girl. When I was pregnant with my second and I found out that he was going to be a boy, people said a lot of things. Some people said, “Oh, it’s so nice, you’ll have one of each.” But one person told me, “Oh, you just wait. Boys are really slow. You’re going to think your son is really stupid.” I want to say I have never thought my son is stupid, but this echoes the way I hear a lot of parents talk about their concerns about their boys.

But this sentiment is not so far from the way we often talk about how boys can struggle, especially when they’re younger. When I talk to parents about their boys, they worry about later language development. They worry if they’re ready for the rigors of kindergarten. When they get a little older, they worry about how their seventh grade boys can’t keep up with seventh grade girls in almost anything. When we look out at the data, there’s a lot of evidence that boys do less well in school. When we look out at the world, we see even at older ages, boys and men are struggling. 40% of college enrollment is men, 60% is women.

Looking at some of these numbers, hearing parents, it’s sometimes hard to shake the view that if this were reversed, if girls were behind, we would be more panicked about it. In fact, 40 years ago when girls were more behind, we were more panicked about it. As a result of this, we’ve seen a lot of headlines in the last few years which say things like, “What’s going on with boys? Why are boys struggling? What’s wrong with our boys?” Yet, on the other side, it’s hard to shake the feeling that there’s also a lot of progress we need for women, certainly globally, but also in the US.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but if we’re so worried about boys and men, why are they still in charge of basically everything? That contrast, I think, frames what’s wrong with this discussion, which is that it feels sometimes zero-sum. That when boys get more, girls get less. My guest today is going to push back on that. Richard Reeves is a writer and a scholar, and he’s the President of the American Institute for Boys and Men. He has dedicated his career to thinking about the issues that face boys and men and to thinking about gender equality writ large as equality and not just as empowerment of one group over another.

Richard and I are going to talk about the big issues of problems facing boys and men today, but we’re also going to get into the nitty-gritty details of practical questions about raising boys and why sometimes it’s different from raising girls and what kinds of things parents should and maybe shouldn’t do in the process of doing that. I love talking to Richard and he and I push back on against each other quite often. We always come up with new ideas. After the break, Richard Reeves. 

Emily Oster:

Richard Reeves, I’m absolutely delighted to welcome you to ParentData.

Richard Reeves:

I’m really happy to be here.

Emily Oster:

I would love for you to start by introducing yourself a little bit to the audience.

Richard Reeves:

So my job is President of the American Institute for Boys and Men, which is the first and only thinktank that does research and policy development, specifically focused on boys and men. I’ve been a policy wonk and in and out of government most of my career. I just recently did 10 years at the Brookings Institution where I focused mostly on inequality issues. Before that, I was in the UK government, doing some kind of policy stuff there. I have three sons all in their 20s now, so I’m through that bit of the parenting journey.

Emily Oster:

On the other side.

Richard Reeves:

Yes, the other side. I mean it never really ends, but it’s a different side or a different phase for sure. That did motivate some of my work around boys and men, which led to a book, which led to the Institute.

Emily Oster:

So I’d love you to talk a little bit about why this focus, because you’ve thought about a lot of things. You’ve done a lot of different kinds of policy and you’ve ended up in a place where you’re thinking about quite specifically about boys and men. Why have you turned your considerable expertise and talents to this particular issue?

Richard Reeves:

Well, I think the honest answer is because nobody else was really. It wasn’t really discovery. People knew that there were lots of gaps, particularly in education, which I’m sure we’ll get to in others, where really it was kind of boys and men who were lagging behind, but it was always like an afterthought or a secondary thought to another paper. So, someone would do a paper on something and they’d say, “Oh, look, well, there’s a big gender gap” and then move on. It also felt that some of those issues just weren’t getting…

If they were getting attention, they were either getting fleeting attention or the wrong kind of attention. In other words, they’re picked up in online circles or perhaps people with more reactionary intent. I think you know a thing or two about people taking data and using it for the wrong purposes as well as the right purposes.

Emily Oster:

I do.

Richard Reeves:

Do you know what that’s like?

Emily Oster:

I do know a bit about that, yes.

Richard Reeves:

Okay. I just kept hitting these data points like the college enrollment rate dropped seven times more for men than women when the pandemic hit. Almost one in four boys have been diagnosed with a developmental disability in K-12, twice the rate for girls. Men were dying from COVID in much bigger numbers and stuff. As someone that’s had, I would say, a pretty robust commitment to gender equality, actually, I just noticed that people were uncomfortable really shining a light on those. That discomfort really in the end is what drew me to the work because I realized that because of that discomfort, it wasn’t being done or it wasn’t being done well.

Emily Oster:

Yeah, there’s a fact that I’ve heard you say before about college enrollment. That is when we passed Title IX, 40% of college enrollment was women and now 40% is men and that somehow, the way that we’re talking about that is completely different in terms of whether it’s a problem than it was in the 1970s. Question of just putting those things together and asking, are we underconcerned about this or are we avoiding talking about it because it somehow feels like it’s not an okay thing to grapple with?

Richard Reeves:

That’s what you hear a lot from people, which is, yeah, either I see it in my own life or my own institution, but maybe it’s just me, just us. I get it and I see it more, but I just think it’s too risky to talk about. Those are the kind of responses that you get. The truth is that these are public issues. I mean, these are general issues. If you’re a parent and your boy is struggling in school, well, I’m not suggesting girls don’t struggle in school as well, but boys are struggling more, right? It’s not you and it’s not your boy. It could be at least partly something to do with the school and the education system. So, you’re not alone, I think, is an important part of the message.

But then the second thing is just to try and make it a bit safer to talk about, because there are still many people, I think it’s getting better, but who genuinely believe that to draw attention to some of the real problems of boys and men is to some way dilute our commitment, continuing to do the work that’s necessary for women and girls that we have to choose. If you’re a parent and you’ve got a son and a daughter, but you’re only allowed to care about one of them, is what it would feel like, caring about both of them.

Well, if you love him, you can’t love me because there’s only so much love to go around. But it has that feel in public policy circles. A lot of people will say that to me, and that just feels wrong and dangerous to me to frame gender equality as a zero-sum game. I don’t think that’s been going well in the recent years either.

Emily Oster:

Yeah, I mean, it’s interesting, and maybe we can come back to this, but for me, some of that comes from this realization that it’s still the case that men are in charge of a lot of things. So, it’s still the case that at the top end of the income distribution or at the top end of the employment distribution still, I notice a lot of men running companies, many more than women. So, somehow reconciling the places we still very much need to go in those areas or would like to go with the fact that in other parts of the economy and in education, we’re often seeing boys and men really struggle and make much slower gains or fall backwards relative to women.

Richard Reeves:

Yes. I think that’s part of the issue here is being able to see both of those things at once. You’re right that particularly not all but many of the gender gaps that we still have to be really concerned about as they impact women are in the labor market and especially in the higher reaches of the labor market in those kind of leadership roles where we continue to see significant underrepresentation of women and in politics, by the way. I mean the US is still really, really depressing outlier in terms of the lack of women in politics. So, venture capital is another area where we just don’t see… Access to capital is still a huge issue for women.

So, those are kind of issues that aren’t maybe affecting the kind of median family as much, but they are the kinds of issues that the people who are in charge of the discourse, the people who write articles and run universities and make podcasts and so on too, they’re more likely to be in those more elite circles. So, if they’re just looking around their own communities or maybe even looking up, they’re still seeing the kind of old gender inequalities. I don’t mean they’re not there. You know what I mean by old, but maybe they don’t actually spend much time in working class communities where actually men have seen their wages go down.

Emily Oster:

So I think this is a good place to pivot to kids because I think in those communities, the place that we do see this, and I think a lot of people resonate with some of this message is in the boys in school piece of this. To frame that fact, I think that the way many people, many parents would talk to me about this is just my boy doesn’t seem ready for school or circles are being run around him by the girls who are the same age. There are a bunch of different reactions to that, holding boys back, thinking about changing schools. There’s many ways one can come into this. Do you want to talk a little bit about why this happens? What is going on to the extent we understand it, and maybe when in school this is most salient?

Richard Reeves:

So the first thing to say is that on average-

Emily Oster:

On average.

Richard Reeves:

… the gender gaps. So, I know the wonderful thing about this podcast, Emily, is that I don’t need to talk about overlapping distributions and averages all the time, right?

Emily Oster:

No, the wonderful thing about the podcast is you can talk about overlapping distributions.

Richard Reeves:

Well, I can, but I don’t need to because-

Emily Oster:

Everyone knows.

Richard Reeves:

I can just say that and I can say, no one thinks that the statement men are taller than women means that all men are taller than all women. That’s true for everything that we’re going to talk about. So, we don’t have to say on average every time, but the gender gaps are there all the way through K-12. Then as you point out, that shows up in higher education where we’ve now got a big agenda gap than in the early ’70s when we passed Title IX but the other way around. That really does largely reflect what’s happening earlier than that. So, you see big gaps in school readiness at four and five and then big gaps at the end.

So, in GPA, for example, which is a really good, I think, aggregate measure, if we look at high school GPA and rank it by decile from the highest to the lowest 10%, two-thirds of the top 10% are girls and two-thirds of the bottom 10% are boys and a linear relationship in between. So, in terms of GPA, it’s a different world honestly, through high school. Then the second part of your question is when does it happen? So it’s happening all the way through, but I would say two things. One is it’s particularly true in literacy, English and literacy, where in the average school district now, the boys are almost a grade level behind girls. There’s no gap in math, at least until high school, where it starts to tweak open a little bit again in favor of boys.

In poor school districts, the boys are behind in English and math. So, there’s English. Then the second thing is it’s hard to say for sure, but middle school and the transition into high school seems to be where a lot of this really… I don’t necessarily say takes root. It’s almost like the moment where a derailment happens. So, the boys are behind all the way through, but if I could choose a grade or two grades when actually I just see that gap opening up, it tends to be towards the end of middle school and that transition into high. Eighth and ninth grade just seem to be where the girls just pull away. They’re ahead all the way, but you are a runner. So, they’re ahead, but then that’s when the girls just kick it and the boys, they’re in the dust from that point on.

Emily Oster:

You would pick up that more than kindergarten where I think so much of the discourse that I hear about this is around what we call redshirting kids in kindergarten, that recognizing the gaps in kindergarten readiness and exactly what that means, we can talk about, but recognizing those gaps and saying, “Should I hold my kindergartener back? Because in the kindergarten classroom, they’re going to struggle.”

Richard Reeves:

Yeah. Well, actually, I mean there’s two things I’d say in response to that. One is you just alluded to the what’s captured by school readiness, but it also applies to the GPA thing too, which is that the gender gap is largely around non-cognitive skills, like softer skills, organizational skills, executive functions.

Emily Oster:

Executive function.

Richard Reeves:

Non-cognitive skills, right? Yeah. I mean the girls aren’t smarter than the boys. There’s no gender gap on SAT or ACT or most of the standardized tasks, or vice versa I should say, in case we still have to say that in 2024. It’s not the boys are smarter than girls, but GPA and school readiness measures, they’re really about things like ability to pay attention, your organizational skills, self-efficacy skills. That’s really where the gender gap shows up. Of course, it has huge implications for education, and I know why people talk about kindergarten. I have myself have proposed that it would be good to at least pilot having boys start somewhat later than the girls because they are younger.

If we think about the difference between chronological age and developmental age, chronological age is a really crude proxy for your developmental age. Obviously, there’s massive variation among five-year-olds, but where I start to see it really happen, it is in those early adolescence years and puberty comes earlier. That does seem to be associated with a little bit of the development of frontal cortex stuff. I’ve just learned from a Jewish friend that in the modern Jewish tradition, the bat mitzvahs are typically a year earlier than the bar mitzvahs, right? Well, maybe there’s a little bit of wisdom to that. No one questions it, by the way. Everyone just goes, “Well, of course,” but why of course? They go, “Because the girl’s mature earlier.” Oh, okay.

Emily Oster:

Have you met any 13-year-old boys, just FYI, Richard?

Richard Reeves:

I’ve met at least three.

Emily Oster:

At least three.

Richard Reeves:

Margaret Mead had this great line where she said, “If you go into the average ninth grade classroom, you won’t just think that the boys and girls are of a different gender. You’ll think they’re of a different species.” That’s an overstatement for sure, but you know what she means if you have spent time in those age groups. So, developmentally, the girls are behind all the way through. So, I actually think it’s at least as much about adolescence as it is about the early years.

Emily Oster:

One interpretation, one way to see that is to think about the timing of puberty and the magnitude of the effective age gap frontal lobe development. I think another way to frame that is to ask, “What are we asking of people in schools at that time?” So I wonder if that overlap’s here that that is a time in which we start asking way more of executive function and of organization than we did in the third grade where if you don’t bring in your homework, nothing happens. Then we hit seventh, eighth grade, and we start expecting you to bring your homework every day and bring in your schoolbook and not play a game where you smash the Chromebook on each other’s hands until it breaks. We’re expecting more and then we start seeing those differences.

Richard Reeves:

That is a good game. That’s a great game.

Emily Oster:

It’s a good game. It has some potential negative outcomes, but until you get to the negative outcomes, it’s pretty awesome. So, I guess I wonder how much you think this is about the structure of, I’m asking about how much is the structure of schools?

Richard Reeves:

Yeah. Well, they’re obviously interdependent. So, one of the criticisms of this developmental story that we’re talking about here is, oh, so you’re blaming the boys. You’re saying, “Oh, well, they’re immature. You’re rolling your eyes.” Actually, it’s the opposite. My view is that the system, the education system has inadvertently defaulted to more of the female standard. There’s, “Why aren’t you more like your sister?” flavor to I think our entire education system, and it’s actually one of the reasons I worry so much about the cratering share of male teachers. We’re down to 23% now. That’s 10 percentage point drop in the last 20 years and the share of male teachers.

I think one reason to care about that is just because I think through no one’s fault, if you have a massively gendered occupation, it’s likely to take on that median way of being. So, I do think the pedagogy, the structure of the school day, the assessment mechanisms just a bit more female-friendly than male-friendly. So, to that extent, the boys are a bit of a square peg in a round hole. You can either blame them for being square or wonder why the hole is only round. I do think that there’s a lot to do in the education system to make it a bit more boy-friendly, and again, I’m not blaming anybody. This is not a feminist conspiracy to fail boys. It’s just the inadvertent consequence of a series of shifts we’ve seen is to just, I think, leave education. It’s just not as friendly to boys.

Emily Oster:

More ParentData, including what the shifts are that have favored girls over boys, what we lose when we eliminate standardized testing, if it’s even possible to teach our sons to have better executive function, and what Richard Reeves would do with $20 million, after the break.

Emily Oster:

I think it’s worth asking the question, what are the shifts that we’re seeing that are making this more female-friendly, less appropriate for boys, less male friendly?

Richard Reeves:

Yeah. So, I’d say the first thing is, I’ve already mentioned this, but the fact that the teaching profession, which has always skewed female, is just doing so very much more so than in the past. So, it’s just a much more female-dominated environment and that might have an influence on… There is some evidence that female teachers on average just react a little bit differently to male behavior. I’d actually love to know whether it would be true if female teachers have sons.

Emily Oster:

I always wonder that.

Richard Reeves:

Yeah, maybe we’ve talked about this before, but I just have to be super interesting study, if you could somehow compare the ones that have sons versus daughters and how they react to it. But nonetheless, there does seem to be something about just the culture and so on in the classroom and how that’s reacted to. I do think that some of the move away from recess and extracurricular and phys ed stuff has been bad period, but probably a little bit worse on average for boys. The move towards more continuous forms of assessment like GPA, et cetera, I think that’s had a different effect for boys and the move away from more vocational forms of training and more hands-on learning styles.

This sounds a bit counterintuitive to people, but the way I look at the evidence suggests that actually girls are on average are a little bit better at abstract learning and just learning for the sake of learning. Boys seem to need more of a sense of, “Wait, why am I learning this again? What is the point of this?” They’re just not as good at dutifully sitting there and doing it because they’re supposed to do it. We can have all kinds of arguments about why that is. So, if it’s more hands-on and more applied and more vocational, it looks like that seems to work a bit better for boys, but we’ve moved away from that. So, we’ve got fewer teachers and more female profession. Fewer male teachers moved away from more of those.

High stakes testing has gotten bad rap in many circles now, but that’s one of the areas where boys at least can hold their own and then move away from vocational education. I’ll say one more thing because I think this will interest you if it hasn’t crossed your radar, but one consequence of higher education institutions going test optional or to remove the task from college admissions is to massively increase the female share of students by four percentage points. The only big effect of going test optional is to hugely increase the gender scale. I mean four percentage points is a big shift in your student composition. If anyone’s wondering, that’s a lot. That’s a lot. The main reason for that of course is because the only aspect of college admissions where boys are at least equal with girls is standardized tests. On every other measure, they’re way behind.

Emily Oster:

That is extremely interesting. I did not know that. Of course when you say it, it makes-

Richard Reeves:

It’s mechanical, isn’t it?

Emily Oster:

It’s mechanical.

Richard Reeves:

But it’s not the intention of the policy. I don’t think that that was why they were doing it. Now a lot of them are also worrying about the fact that they’re very, very female skewed. I always say, “Well, did you go test optional?” I mean, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have done that.

Emily Oster:

Did you think about it? Yeah. So, when we’re parenting boys, the other thing that comes up a lot is this diagnosis fact, which you mentioned briefly that a much larger share of boys than girls are diagnosed with ADHD or your related developmental issues. I’m not exactly interested in overdiagnosis, but just the question of how our interactions with our boys relate to just that fact of diagnosis.

Richard Reeves:

Yeah. Well, it speaks a little bit to the work that I’m so happy you did for us around competence as well because what does that signal? Well, there’s something wrong with you and it is twice as high. There isn’t good recent data on this, but even a while ago, it’s 23% of boys I mentioned who have a “developmental disability”. I think a couple of things. One is that should make us look hard at the structure. I think if we’ve learned anything from the disability lobby, it is that very often environments are disabling, rather than the people who are disabled, or at least you should think about both sides of that equation. Then I think also the second thing is if you’ve got a square peg that’s trying to get into a round hole, then the danger is what you do.

Well, this isn’t working. There must be something wrong with you. Oh, maybe you’ve got a disability. Maybe it’s ADD or ADHD or something like that. Okay. Well, let’s medicate you. So, if you take this too far, you end up treating boys like malfunctioning girls. In order to make them more functional in the classroom, what you do is you give them drugs that might make them a bit more like girls and a bit less like boys. I’m not suggesting that isn’t appropriate in certain cases, but I do worry that that gap we see between where boys are, what their interest level is, just the way of being in the world is and what the school system requires of them, that sometimes that gap is being filled with drugs and that seems like not the best solution.

Emily Oster:

Agreed. So, I’m curious about teaching skills because I read some of this, particularly if we go back to some of the adolescent stuff and thinking about the gap growing there. Many of these things, they feel like non-cognitive skills, they feel to me like executive function. There’s a lot of organization where boys maybe take a longer time to development. They may or may not ever get… I don’t know if there are adult gender differences in that ability, but it does feel that one could teach that.

So, I’m wondering if you think that’s a part of the solution to actually think about literally organizing your backpack as a class, that could happen and we could tell people this is how you might organize your life and this is how you would organize your day and make a schedule and whatever are the things that seem to come naturally to some people and not to others. Should we be trying to teach them?

Richard Reeves:

Well, there are thousands of parents out there cheering on your idea of organizing a backpack.

Emily Oster:

Classes on backpack.

Richard Reeves:

Just like if you ever ran for office, then I just think that should be your main platform.

Emily Oster:

I would just run with pictures of my son’s backpack, which is just full of pieces of wood, small pieces of wood and crumpled papers. Where did they come from?

Richard Reeves:

It doesn’t matter. They’re awesome. They’re precious. They’re precious artifacts.

Emily Oster:

You have to throw them away when they can’t see.

Richard Reeves:

You have to be careful about that though.

Emily Oster:

You do have to be careful.

Richard Reeves:

You think it is just an old piece of wood. It’s not.

Emily Oster:

It’s not.

Richard Reeves:

It’s something very important.

Emily Oster:

It’s something very important.

Richard Reeves:

That’s why when I share this data on frontal cortex average, where there’s this huge gap, especially in adolescence, and I say, “Look, if you don’t believe me, go into a seventh or eighth grade classroom and just ask them to open up their backpacks.” Everyone gets that. Again, it’s like a well done moment. We don’t need social science to tell us, but if that’s true, I agree. So, there’s two things we could do. Well, maybe there’s three ways to approach this difference in non-cognitive skill. Number one is more intentionally do some skill training around this stuff and boys will benefit more from that. Of course, you wouldn’t only do it for boys, but that will be a way to address that and just be more intentional.

Don’t presume they’ve already got those skills just because you have them and the girls have them. Also, don’t just roll your eyes and say, “Well, organize your backpack. What’s all this wood for? Why didn’t you have nice little colored tabs in a nice folder?” He was basically opening up the book bag of middle school or the boy is like a controlled explosion. You just have to step back a little bit.

Emily Oster:

So my kids, there’s a thing they say, which is that you could sip your homework, which is stuff in planner because you’re supposed to put it in your binder. But many people, more boys than girls, will just sip their homework, just stuff it in their planner, and then it often doesn’t come back after it’s been sipped. So, they’re being told, “Don’t sip your homework. Put it in color coded…”

Richard Reeves:

Well, I’m well aware of the phenomenon, I just didn’t know it now acquired a label.

Emily Oster:

It has a label.

Richard Reeves:

So we could teach it. We could also compensate a bit more for it. I just say as a parent myself, it just took me way too long to just recognize that some of these skills were just being presumed on the part of the education system and they were not present. It wasn’t true to the same degree for all my sons, but it wasn’t there. So, the gap between what the school thought he had in terms of skills and what he actually had was one that I blamed him for. I said, “Well, clearly, the gap’s on you.” Actually, I now think, and I was slow to this, well, maybe some of the gap was on the school just assuming that. So, substituting for it is okay.

One of my colleagues at the Brookings Institution, Camille Busette, sat her son down. I think it was seventh or eighth grade, and she said to him, she said, “Look, the school system thinks you’ve got a fully developed frontal cortex. You don’t. I am going to be your substitute frontal cortex for the next five years.” She showed him the brain charts. Because she’s a Brookings scholar, so she showed him that and he’s like, “Okay, mum.” It became a thing. She’s just like, “Okay, I’m going to be your stand-in frontal cortex.” By the way, I think that many upper middle class parents are doing that for their sons, which is why the gender gaps are not as big at the top of distribution, one of the reasons why they’re not as big.

So, we can just recognize, we’ve got to step in. But the third thing we can do is maybe think about whether or not schools and education institutions could actually just relax some of those requirements or think differently about them at least. I don’t want to in any way say we should dumb down or level down, but is some of this non-cognitive demand that you’re putting on the students, is all of it necessary? Could you think about rebalancing that? So I think there’s three different things we can do, skill up, compensate, but then also maybe just demand a bit less of it.

Emily Oster:

So I like one and three, the skilling up and the thinking holistically of that for everybody, having this be less of a thing. I worry about the compensation piece of this, and this is related to this something I wrote for you guys on what I call the competence gap. But I worry a little bit that when we compensate, we both leave boys or whoever we’re compensating for in a position where they haven’t learned those skills and then they don’t learn them even when they would be ready to learn them. I worry that it conveys a message that it’s okay to be incompetent like this and that this is just the way you are.

You’re a boy, you’re disorganized, your backpack smells like garbage. That’s just the reality and we can’t hope to change it and that somehow we’re not holding people to a higher standard. There’s a distinction between I’m going to help you scaffold getting to that higher standard as opposed to saying, “You could never get there. So, let me just make sure I clean out your backpack every day and then I do this for you because I can never hope that you will be able to do this.” Somehow I find that balance really tricky.

Richard Reeves:

Yeah, I think that’s fair. Scaffolding is a great term in this context, I think, because maybe the position you should take on this is that you’re not just only substituting. Although there may be a little bit of that sometimes, but it’s more you are simultaneously substituting and training. So, we’re going to clean your backpack out together and we’re going to figure out what that means. But we’re not just going to say, “Well, have you cleaned your backpack out?” With my kids, I’d be like, “Have you done your homework?” They’d say yes, and it took me a while to realize that that was not reliable data. So, it’s like I’m going to help you structure to get your homework with your backpack, but trying to skill up at the same time because of course you want to develop.

But if there’s a gap between the level of development they’ve currently got and what the institution’s demanding of them, I do think particularly in more higher pressure, higher stakes educational environments, to a lot of people, it doesn’t feel like, “Yeah, well, maybe you’ll just only graduate high school and struggle to find a college, but you’ll figure it out in the end.” I actually wish more parents were a bit more like that. That’s a bit more where I ended up, honestly, but that’s not how a lot of people feel about this. You can’t just write off your freshman GPA. Well, it turns out you can. Two of-

Emily Oster:

But people don’t think that.

Richard Reeves:

… my sons did. They don’t think that, right? Yeah, my sons absolutely did that. But I do think that people don’t think that, and they’re not wrong to just think it’s okay to let you sink or swim because eventually that will be how you learn to swim. So, how do we support you whilst training you up? So you’re right, there’s a middle ground.

Emily Oster:

I think there’s a very complicated thing in parenting this age, which is thinking about, “When is it okay to let them fail and learn from the failure? When is the failure going to either actually follow them or more feel like it follows them? When is the moment when you step in because they forgotten something and it’s very important that they actually do it and when is the moment that you say, “Well, you didn’t bring your shoes to school, and so now you have to play the soccer game with no cleats and that’s too bad. Next time let’s work on how you can remember that,” and just figuring out which failures should we allow? It can’t be none of them, but also when do we realize the failure is too big a failure that it’s going to affect them too much either in a real or a perceived way? So we have to fix it.

Richard Reeves:

Yeah, but that’s a great example because I think that one of the things that we’re talking about here is how proximate the consequences are. That makes a difference because one of the things that you get with the executive functioning in a frontal cortex is more of a future orientation. You get longer time horizon. So, actually, I’m just thinking about it like, yes, if they don’t take their lunch or they don’t take their cleats, well, they’re going to be hungry or they’re going to not be able to play soccer. Actually, that’s a consequence that really hits with a ninth grade boy. But I have to tell you from personal experience that getting a 1.7 GPA in your freshman year doesn’t really bother some of them because they haven’t figured out what the A means in GPA yet.

They certainly don’t care about college or that stuff to a ninth grader generally, but especially for a boy who’s a little bit behind, getting him to realize that his grades might matter now because it’s four years away, good luck with that. This is helpful because it’s really important to see the consequences, but one of the foundational problems here is that you are not developed enough to know that the consequences of your inaction or failure on turning your chemistry homework is going to matter to your future self. You don’t have a good sense of your future self. You’re very short term at that point. That’s true for both, but it’s particularly true for boys.

Emily Oster:

I mean, in some ways, I think there is like a lot of productive realizations in that because if you think they care a lot about the things that are immediate like lunch and soccer cleats and whatever things that actually don’t matter too much, but if they forget them, it will be a moment to be like, “Oh, how can I put in some place something that will make sure I remember that?” That’s a low stakes way to let them fail. That may matter quite a lot to them while you are scaffolding to make sure the homework does go in, which is something where they’re not as much going to care about remembering it, but it is very important. So, there’s almost an opportunity. There’s almost an opportunity.

Richard Reeves:

You’re building muscle.

Emily Oster:

Yes, exactly. You build muscle in places-

Richard Reeves:

You build muscle around that.

Emily Oster:

… that feels-

Richard Reeves:

Something they care about.

Emily Oster:

… important for them, but they don’t-

Richard Reeves:

Yeah, it feels immediate to them, which is incredibly important.

Emily Oster:

I feel like we fixed it. So, this was great.

Richard Reeves:

This is great. This is incredibly high value podcast. Anyone listening to this, we’re done. Presumably you can just wrap up now the podcast.

Emily Oster:

Okay. So, I actually wanted to ask you what you’re going to do with your $20 million that Melinda Gates just gave you?

Richard Reeves:

Yeah, that was a surprising email, I’ll be honest.

Emily Oster:

Can you give people a little more context?

Richard Reeves:

Yeah. So, it’s Melinda French Gates has just made a huge investment in gender equality and much of the money is going particularly around women’s empowerment and many of the issues we talked about earlier around access to capital, women in leadership positions, et cetera. She’s of course a world leader on this issue-

Emily Oster:

She’s amazing-

Richard Reeves:

… and is now using her philanthropy.

Emily Oster:

Just an absolutely lovely, amazing person.

Richard Reeves:

I now even more strongly agree with you that she’s a lovely person because she thought that $20 million of that money, in fact, $40 million because $20 million went into another fund that Gary Barker who runs an organization called Equimundo that does a lot of stuff on masculinities and reducing violence particularly. So, what happened was that 12 people were each asked to direct $20 million through a donor advised fund. I was one of those people that was fortunate enough to be chosen to do that. So, in support of gender equality, Melinda French Gates has decided that that should include investments in boys and men. I think that’s an important signal, an important moment.

Obviously, the money’s important. I’ll say a bit more about that in a moment, but I don’t want to get past the significance of someone of her stature signaling that she’s beyond the zero-sum framing of this and has recognized that we do rise together and that actually ignoring the problems of boys and men is not good for anybody, including for women in the long run. Because if men are floundering, it’s hard for women to flourish. So, it’s exciting and unexpected. I think it’s an accelerant of the debate as well.

Emily Oster:

Let me just say, I think it is very important for exactly that reason. I mentioned this to my husband when I was saying I was going to interview you. I was saying, I was going to ask you about this. He was like, “I thought Melinda Gates was supporting women.” I was like, “She’s supporting gender equality.” He was like, “Oh.” I guess it was like a moment where, oh, I guess that this is also an important piece of this.

Richard Reeves:

Yeah, and it’s interesting. I mean it’s still early days in this debate, but I’m seeing in other parts of the world and some other people that Surgeon General has also said, “We can do both.” So I think if you’ve been an advocate for gender equality for a long time, you’ve obviously fused that in your mind with the issues of women and girls. To be clear, in a lot of the world, that’s still true. In some places, it is still true. But the question now is, with these growing gaps facing boys and men as well, do you expand your idea of gender equality to include them or do you dig in and say, “No, no, no, gender equality can only ever be about women and girls”?

I think what Melinda French Gates has shown here is that she’s in somewhat more of an expansive mindset, which is to at least include some of those issues of boys and men. By the way, I just think that’s an incredibly important message to young men as well. If they feel like gender equality by definition excludes the issues that they’re most concerned about, then they may not be on board with it as much as they’d otherwise be. Each of us has full autonomy on how to spend the money. It’s a little bit of like, “Well, put your money where your mouth is.”

So first of all, of course, my inbox is even fuller than ever. I’m incredibly popular, and I even had one person who I had been trying to raise funds from the week before approach me and say, “Well, the shoe’s on the other foot now. Can I have money from you?” It’s a really nice exchange, but honestly, I don’t really know yet. I’m going to take a bit of time to think about it. I think there are some programs that I’m already interested in.

I definitely want the themes around mental health and fatherhood and some of the stuff we’ve talked about here around, “Where are the big pushes to get more men into education, for example? Are there good initiatives around all of that?” But it’s a very young field, not only academically, but also programmatically. There aren’t that many and certainly not many that have been strongly evaluated. So, I’m all ears right now, but also thinking like, “Okay, so you wrote a book, you set up a thinktank, and now you’ve actually got to spend some money on some people who you think are solving the problem.” Oh, wait, okay. That’s tougher. That’s harder.

Emily Oster:

Well, I’m going to give you my pitch, which is not specific, but is about data that I would love you to think about how you’re going to evaluate the things that you fund when you do this. So, is there a way to do this such that we would learn about what works while you are also helping people?

Richard Reeves:

Yeah, but let me ask you a question in turn though, because it’s a very interesting debate right now, of course, between… I’ll characterize it horribly, but there’s RCT or bust. Everything has to be pure. I need a fantastic identification strategy and great power and all. Then there’s the other group that’s like, “Well, that’s just numbers. Actually, my lived experience is something very different. You’ve just got numbers. I’ve got experience.” So there’s a kind of lack of humility sometimes on both sides, but I’ve worried a bit even about myself in the past. I’ve maybe been a little bit too purist. Is that a danger?

Emily Oster:

I think it is a danger. I mean, I would’ve framed it a little bit differently, which is I think sometimes when we run RCTs, they are too divorced from on the ground reality.

Richard Reeves:

You don’t have to have everything be a randomized control trial.

Emily Oster:

You don’t have to have everything to be randomized.

Richard Reeves:

No, or it can be quasi-random or we could start talking about diff and diff in a minute.

Emily Oster:

Tomorrow, I feel that the producer-

Richard Reeves:

She’s going to do edit that out.

Emily Oster:

… Tamar is going to kill us.

Richard Reeves:

She’s going to edit all of this. She’s taking all this stuff out. There’s obviously a replication problem too. Actually, someone said to me the other day, they said, “You know what? The best measure of whether or not something’s working well is staff turnover,” actually the data. So, just measure turnover, the data on whether something’s doing good work in the world, actually just look at the real preference of the people working on it. If people aren’t sticking around, that probably means it’s not great. If people are sticking around for a long time, that probably means it’s great.

Emily Oster:

I also think there’s so much in so many of these programs, which really have to do with the person at the top and whether that person is running a shop people want to be engaged with and is thinking carefully about how the program goes. That’s really hard to measure. It gets back to, anyway, data cannot tell us everything. I can’t end with that. Data is very useful.

Richard Reeves:

Data’s beautiful.

Emily Oster:

Data’s beautiful. Richard, thank you so much for joining me. This was a delight.

Richard Reeves:

Oh, thank you for having me. I loved it.

Emily Oster:

ParentData is produced by Tamar Avishai with support from the ParentData team and PRX. If you have thoughts on this episode, please join the conversation on my Instagram @ProfEmilyOster. If you want to support the show, become a subscriber to the ParentData Newsletter at parentdata.org, where I write weekly posts on everything to do with parents and data to help you make better, more informed parenting decisions. For example, earlier this year, ParentData published an article called, “Why Adolescent Boys Are Struggling”, which takes a close look at many of the issues that Richard raised in this episode and focuses specifically on what parents can do to support their sons, as well as a list of resources to explore. Check it out at parentdata.org.

There are a lot of ways you can help people find out about us. Leave a rating or a review on Apple Podcasts. Text your friend about something you learned from this episode. Debate your mother-in-law about the merits of something parents do now that is totally different from what she did. Post a story to your Instagram debunking a panic headline of your own. Just remember to mention the podcast too, right, Penelope?

Penelope:

Right, Mom.

Emily Oster:

We’ll see you next time.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Teen boys at school

Mar 19 2024

8 min read

Why Adolescent Boys Are Struggling

American men are lonely. According to an American Enterprise Institute survey, 15% of men have no close friendships at all, Read more

Christopher Pepper
ParentData podcast art

May 23 2024

15 min read

The Kids Are Actually Alright

The Kids Are Actually Alright with Dr. Mathilde Ross

Emily Oster
Lifestyle photo of Expecting Better by Emily Oster

May 30 2024

2 min read

Four Books by Emily Oster on Pregnancy and Parenting

Here at ParentData, we want you to find the judgment-free, data-driven answers you’re looking for on your pregnancy and parenting Read more

ParentData
Parent and a child brushing teeth

Jun 06 2024

2 min read

If a Child Looks More Like One Parent, Will They Act Like That Parent?

Is there any data to show that children who look more like one parent also inherit more character traits, mannerisms, Read more

Emily Oster

Instagram

left right
Milestones. We celebrate them in pregnancy, in parenting, and they’re a fun thing to celebrate at work too. Just a couple years ago I couldn’t have foreseen what this community would grow into. Today, there are over 400,000 of you here—asking questions, making others feel seen wherever they may be in their journey, and sharing information that supports data > panic. 

It has been a busy summer for the team at ParentData. I’d love to take a moment here to celebrate the 400k milestone. As I’ve said before, it’s more important than ever to put good data in the hands of parents. 

Share this post with a friend who could use a little more data, and a little less parenting overwhelm. 

📷 Me and my oldest, collaborating on “Expecting Better”

Milestones. We celebrate them in pregnancy, in parenting, and they’re a fun thing to celebrate at work too. Just a couple years ago I couldn’t have foreseen what this community would grow into. Today, there are over 400,000 of you here—asking questions, making others feel seen wherever they may be in their journey, and sharing information that supports data > panic.

It has been a busy summer for the team at ParentData. I’d love to take a moment here to celebrate the 400k milestone. As I’ve said before, it’s more important than ever to put good data in the hands of parents.

Share this post with a friend who could use a little more data, and a little less parenting overwhelm.

📷 Me and my oldest, collaborating on “Expecting Better”
...

I spend a lot of time talking people down after they read the latest panic headline. In most cases, these articles create an unnecessary amount of stress around pregnancy and parenting. This is my pro tip for understanding whether the risk presented is something you should really be worrying about.

Comment “link” for an article with other tools to help you navigate risk and uncertainty.

#emilyoster #parentdata #riskmanagement #parentstruggles #parentingstruggles

I spend a lot of time talking people down after they read the latest panic headline. In most cases, these articles create an unnecessary amount of stress around pregnancy and parenting. This is my pro tip for understanding whether the risk presented is something you should really be worrying about.

Comment “link” for an article with other tools to help you navigate risk and uncertainty.

#emilyoster #parentdata #riskmanagement #parentstruggles #parentingstruggles
...

Here’s why I think you don’t have to throw away your baby bottles.

Here’s why I think you don’t have to throw away your baby bottles. ...

Drop your toddlers favorite thing right now in the comments—then grab some popcorn.

Original thread source: Reddit @croc_docs

Drop your toddlers favorite thing right now in the comments—then grab some popcorn.

Original thread source: Reddit @croc_docs
...

Just keep wiping.

Just keep wiping. ...

Dr. Gillian Goddard sums up what she learned from the Hot Flash  S e x  Survey! Here are some key data takeaways:

🌶️ Among respondents, the most common s e x u a l frequency was 1 to 2 times per month, followed closely by 1 to 2 times per week
🌶️ 37% have found their sweet spot and are happy with the frequency of s e x they are having
🌶️ About 64% of respondents were very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of the s e x they are having

Do any of these findings surprise you? Let us know in the comments!

#hotflash #intimacy #midlifepleasure #parentdata #relationships

Dr. Gillian Goddard sums up what she learned from the Hot Flash S e x Survey! Here are some key data takeaways:

🌶️ Among respondents, the most common s e x u a l frequency was 1 to 2 times per month, followed closely by 1 to 2 times per week
🌶️ 37% have found their sweet spot and are happy with the frequency of s e x they are having
🌶️ About 64% of respondents were very or somewhat satisfied with the quality of the s e x they are having

Do any of these findings surprise you? Let us know in the comments!

#hotflash #intimacy #midlifepleasure #parentdata #relationships
...

Should your kid be in a car seat on the plane? The AAP recommends that you put kids under 40 pounds into a car seat on airplanes. However, airlines don’t require car seats.

Here’s what we know from a data standpoint:
✈️ The risk of injury to a child on a plane without a carseat is very small (about 1 in 250,000)
✈️ A JAMA Pediatrics paper estimates about 0.4 child air crash deaths per year might be prevented in the U.S. with car seats 
✈️ Cars are far more dangerous than airplanes! The same JAMA paper suggests that if 5% to 10% of families switched to driving, then we would expect more total deaths as a result of this policy. 

If you want to buy a seat for your lap infant, or bring a car seat for an older child, by all means do so! But the additional protection based on the numbers is extremely small.

#parentdata #emilyoster #flyingwithkids #flyingwithbaby #carseats #carseatsafety

Should your kid be in a car seat on the plane? The AAP recommends that you put kids under 40 pounds into a car seat on airplanes. However, airlines don’t require car seats.

Here’s what we know from a data standpoint:
✈️ The risk of injury to a child on a plane without a carseat is very small (about 1 in 250,000)
✈️ A JAMA Pediatrics paper estimates about 0.4 child air crash deaths per year might be prevented in the U.S. with car seats
✈️ Cars are far more dangerous than airplanes! The same JAMA paper suggests that if 5% to 10% of families switched to driving, then we would expect more total deaths as a result of this policy.

If you want to buy a seat for your lap infant, or bring a car seat for an older child, by all means do so! But the additional protection based on the numbers is extremely small.

#parentdata #emilyoster #flyingwithkids #flyingwithbaby #carseats #carseatsafety
...

SLEEP DATA 💤 PART 2: Let’s talk about naps. Comment “Link” for an article on what we learned about daytime sleep!

The first three months of life are a chaotic combination of irregular napping, many naps, and a few brave or lucky souls who appear to have already arrived at a two-to-three nap schedule. Over the next few months, the naps consolidate to three and then to two. By the 10-to-12-month period, a very large share of kids are napping a consistent two naps per day. Over the period between 12 and 18 months, this shifts toward one nap. And then sometime in the range of 3 to 5 years, naps are dropped. What I think is perhaps most useful about this graph is it gives a lot of color to the average napping ages that we often hear. 

Note: Survey data came from the ParentData audience and users of the Nanit sleep monitor system. Both audiences skew higher-education and higher-income than the average, and mostly have younger children. The final sample is 14,919 children. For more insights on our respondents, read the full article.

SLEEP DATA 💤 PART 2: Let’s talk about naps. Comment “Link” for an article on what we learned about daytime sleep!

The first three months of life are a chaotic combination of irregular napping, many naps, and a few brave or lucky souls who appear to have already arrived at a two-to-three nap schedule. Over the next few months, the naps consolidate to three and then to two. By the 10-to-12-month period, a very large share of kids are napping a consistent two naps per day. Over the period between 12 and 18 months, this shifts toward one nap. And then sometime in the range of 3 to 5 years, naps are dropped. What I think is perhaps most useful about this graph is it gives a lot of color to the average napping ages that we often hear.

Note: Survey data came from the ParentData audience and users of the Nanit sleep monitor system. Both audiences skew higher-education and higher-income than the average, and mostly have younger children. The final sample is 14,919 children. For more insights on our respondents, read the full article.
...

Happy Father’s Day to the Fathers and Father figures in our ParentData community! 

Tag a Dad who this holiday may be tricky for. We’re sending you love. 💛

Happy Father’s Day to the Fathers and Father figures in our ParentData community!

Tag a Dad who this holiday may be tricky for. We’re sending you love. 💛
...

“Whilst googling things like ‘new dad sad’ and ‘why am I crying new dad,’ I came across an article written by a doctor who had trouble connecting with his second child. I read the symptoms and felt an odd sense of relief.” Today we’re bringing back an essay by Kevin Maguire of @newfatherhood about his experience with paternal postpartum depression. We need to demystify these issues in order to change things for the better. Comment “Link” for a DM to read his full essay.

#parentdata #postpartum #postpartumdepression #paternalmentalhealth #newparents #emilyoster

“Whilst googling things like ‘new dad sad’ and ‘why am I crying new dad,’ I came across an article written by a doctor who had trouble connecting with his second child. I read the symptoms and felt an odd sense of relief.” Today we’re bringing back an essay by Kevin Maguire of @newfatherhood about his experience with paternal postpartum depression. We need to demystify these issues in order to change things for the better. Comment “Link” for a DM to read his full essay.

#parentdata #postpartum #postpartumdepression #paternalmentalhealth #newparents #emilyoster
...

What does the data say about children who look more like one parent? Do they also inherit more character traits and mannerisms from that parent? Let’s talk about it 🔎

#emilyoster #parentdata #parentingcommunity #lookslikedaddy #lookslikemommy

What does the data say about children who look more like one parent? Do they also inherit more character traits and mannerisms from that parent? Let’s talk about it 🔎

#emilyoster #parentdata #parentingcommunity #lookslikedaddy #lookslikemommy
...

SLEEP DATA 💤 We asked you all about your kids’ sleep—and got nearly 15,000 survey responses to better understand kids’ sleep patterns. Comment “Link” for an article that breaks down our findings!

This graph shows sleeping location by age. You’ll notice that for the first three months, most kids are in their own sleeping location in a parent’s room. Then, over the first year, this switches toward their own room. As kids age, sharing a room with a sibling becomes more common. 

Head to the newsletter for more and stay tuned for part two next week on naps! 🌙

#parentdata #emilyoster #childsleep #babysleep #parentingcommunity

SLEEP DATA 💤 We asked you all about your kids’ sleep—and got nearly 15,000 survey responses to better understand kids’ sleep patterns. Comment “Link” for an article that breaks down our findings!

This graph shows sleeping location by age. You’ll notice that for the first three months, most kids are in their own sleeping location in a parent’s room. Then, over the first year, this switches toward their own room. As kids age, sharing a room with a sibling becomes more common.

Head to the newsletter for more and stay tuned for part two next week on naps! 🌙

#parentdata #emilyoster #childsleep #babysleep #parentingcommunity
...

Weekends are good for extra cups of ☕️ and listening to podcasts. I asked our team how they pod—most people said on walks or during chores. What about you?

Comment “Link” to subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster, joined by some excellent guests.

#parentdata #parentdatapodcast #parentingpodcast #parentingtips #emilyoster

Weekends are good for extra cups of ☕️ and listening to podcasts. I asked our team how they pod—most people said on walks or during chores. What about you?

Comment “Link” to subscribe to ParentData with Emily Oster, joined by some excellent guests.

#parentdata #parentdatapodcast #parentingpodcast #parentingtips #emilyoster
...

Humility. That’s why. That’s the whole reason.

#emilyoster #secondbaby #parentingjokes #parentinghumor

Humility. That’s why. That’s the whole reason.

#emilyoster #secondbaby #parentingjokes #parentinghumor
...

Bug season is upon us. Besides annoyance, this can bring up safety concerns, particularly with ticks. They are carriers of diseases, most notably Lyme disease. So what’s the best course of action?

Prevention is key! I suggest:
⭐ Regular tick checks
⭐ Using bug sprays with DEET 
⭐ Wearing long sleeves and pants in the woods

Some parents worry about DEET, but repellants with up to 30% DEET are recommended by both the CDC and AAP. The data says you’re in the clear, so go for it. Enjoy your summer!

#parentdata #emilyoster #tickseason #bugbites #bugspray

Bug season is upon us. Besides annoyance, this can bring up safety concerns, particularly with ticks. They are carriers of diseases, most notably Lyme disease. So what’s the best course of action?

Prevention is key! I suggest:
⭐ Regular tick checks
⭐ Using bug sprays with DEET
⭐ Wearing long sleeves and pants in the woods

Some parents worry about DEET, but repellants with up to 30% DEET are recommended by both the CDC and AAP. The data says you’re in the clear, so go for it. Enjoy your summer!

#parentdata #emilyoster #tickseason #bugbites #bugspray
...