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Entries in Family Life (16)

Friday
Jul132012

Parents: What to Watch Out For at the Dentist

Design Pics/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As detailed in a report on Thursday's Nightline, an ABC News investigation found that American children are being put at risk by inadequately trained dentists who often seek to enhance profits by sedating their young patients for even routine tooth cleaning and cavity treatments.

There is no national registry of dental deaths, but according to the Raven Maria Blanco Foundation, more than a dozen children have died after being sedated by dentists. Some experts say many deaths go unreported or are never officially tied to dental sedation.

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To lessen the risk for young patients, the American Dental Association has prepared the following list of questions that parents and guardians should ask about sedation or anesthesia for children.

Questions to Ask Your Dentist about Anesthesia and Sedation for Your Child

The ADA offers the following questions that parents and guardians should ask concerning in-office sedation or general anesthesia for their children provided either by the dentist or by a separate sedation/anesthetic practitioner in that dental office. The ADA recommends talking to your dentist about any concerns you might have about the treatment plan prior, during and after the procedure:

Prior to the procedure:

  • Who will provide the pre-operative evaluation of my child including their past medical history such as allergies, current prescription medications and previous illnesses and hospitalizations?
  • What is the recommended time that my child should be without food or drink prior to the procedure (with the exception of necessary medications taken with a sip of water)?
  • Will any sedation medication be given to my child at home prior to their coming to the office and, if so, how should they be monitored?
  • What training and experience does the sedation/anesthesia provider have in providing the level of sedation or anesthesia that is planned for the procedure? Does this training and experience meet all of the standards of the ADA Guidelines for the Use of Sedation and General Anesthesia by Dentists?
  • Does the staff assisting in the procedure have current training in emergency resuscitation procedures, such as Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers, and other advanced resuscitation courses as recommended by the ADA Guidelines? Is this training regularly renewed?
  • Does the state dental board require a special sedation/anesthesia permit or license that allows for the sedation/anesthesia provider to administer this specific level of sedation or anesthesia in the dental office?


During the procedure:

  • In addition to the use of local anesthesia (numbing), what level of sedation or general anesthesia will be given to my child? Is it minimal sedation (relaxed and awake), moderate sedation (sleepy but awake), deep sedation (barely awake) or general anesthesia (unconscious)?
  • How will my child be monitored before, during and after the procedure until the child is released to go home? Are the appropriate emergency medications and equipment immediately available if needed, and does the office have a written emergency response plan for managing medical emergencies?


After the procedure:

  • Will the sedation/anesthesia provider give me instructions and emergency contact information if there are any concerns or complications after returning home?


For more information on oral health topics for you or your family, please visit the American Dental Association's website www.MouthHealthy.org

The Raven Maria Blanco Foundation, which seeks to alert parents to the potential dangers of the use of oral sedatives on young patients, has its own recommended sedation checklist for parents. CLICK HERE for the foundation's "Pediatric Dental Care Checklist."

The foundation is named for 8-year-old Raven Blanco of Chesapeake, Virginia, who died after her dentist, Dr. Michael Hechtkopf, gave her "three times the average range" of sedatives, according to the Virginia Board of Dentistry.

The dentist had his license restricted for three months and was ordered to complete seven hours of continuing education in record keeping and risk management. He has since retired.

A lawyer for Dr. Hechtkopf said the dentist "regretted" what happened.

Raven's parents, Robin and Mario Blanco, set up the foundation in their daughter's name to urge dentists to be better prepared for emergencies and to warn parents that what happened to their daughter could happen to others.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul102012

Can Sex Without Orgasm Bolster Marriages?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Matt Cook hasn't had an orgasm in seven months, and he hopes never to intentionally have one again. The 51-year-old publisher from Virginia isn't celibate. Happily married for 25 years, Cook said his sex life is more exciting than ever and giving up the goal-oriented climax has improved every aspect of his life.

Cook, the father of two adult sons, is a newcomer to karezza, a form of intercourse that emphasizes affection while staying far from the edge of orgasm. Climax is not the goal and ideally does not occur while making love.

"It creates a deep feeling in a relationship that is very difficult to describe -- much deeper than conventional sex," he said.

Cook is one of a growing number of men who have embraced karezza and have found it has helped heal their marriages, inject more spark into their sex lives and even shed porn addiction.

A recovering porn addict, Cook suffered from performance anxiety with girlfriends. Sex got better with his wife, but he didn't know how much until he discovered karezza.

Now, he has sex almost every day.

"It kind of never ends," said Cook. "Why would I want to give that up for a 15-second orgasm?"

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Deb Feintech, a counselor from Portland, Maine, uses karezza to help couples repair their broken relationships.

"The people most interested are men," she said. "It's very radical for them, but they are finding the emotional intimacy far outweighs any of the thrill of the chase and the mating mind."

And Feintech said the practice is not just helpful for middle-aged couples struggling with the ennui of a long marriage, but for young couples headed to the altar.

"I offer this to them as something to try for a month or so," she said. "They wake up every single morning and they are not even thinking about genital stimulation. They are snuggling, holding and breathing with eye contact and flow. It's very conscious -- from the genitals to the heart."

It puts the emphasis on attachment, not climax.

The word karezza was coined by Dr. Alice Bunker Stockham, a Chicago obstetrician and early feminist who promoted birth control, a ban on corsets and sexual fulfillment for both genders. In 1896, she wrote a book by that name -- from the Italian word carezza, which means caress.

For strengthening marriages, she encouraged what was then called "male continence," although in the interest of equality, she asked that women abstain from orgasm, as well.

Marnia L. Robinson has carried the contemporary torch in her 2009 book, Cupid's Poisoned Arrow, and on her website, Reuniting: Healing With Sexual Relationships.

"Even for those with the highest libidos, performance can become a grind and drive a craving for novelty," said Robinson. "Such feelings, although perfectly natural, can create projections and resentment that cause disharmony, especially after our temporary honeymoon neurochemistry wears off."

Technique is "virtually immaterial," she says. "It's a practice about not doing, about getting your goal-driven mammalian mating system out of the way long enough to fall into a state of relaxed union."

A former corporate lawyer and now a devotee, Robinson argues that karezza's power is rooted in neuroscience.

"Orgasm really isn't in our genitals, but actually between our ears," she said.

In the "passion cycle of orgasm," the hormone dopamine rises in anticipation of sex, and then crashes after orgasm, creating a biochemical "hangover," according to Robinson.

In men, that happens almost immediately after ejaculation; for women, it can be two weeks before the brain returns to homeostasis, according to Robinson.

"Karezza turned out to be an enjoyable way to tiptoe around biology's agenda," she said.

Overstimulation of the pleasure receptors can also desensitize the brain to pleasure or create a craving for more. When men are addicted to pornography or have frequent orgasms, "no amount of pleasure can satisfy," she said. "We are always looking for something novel."

But in karezza, lovemaking never finishes, so sexual energy continues to flow, helping to prevent boredom with a partner, say advocates. Karezza also elicits the relaxation response and encourages the brain to release the "love" hormone ocytocin, which helps in bonding behavior.

Robinson, unable to sustain intimacy, had been married twice before meeting her husband Gary Wilson, a former science teacher who helped her in her research. He had experienced depression and alcohol addiction, but after the couple explored karezza together, he was able to give up Prozac and drinking.

She found she was able to sustain a lasting and harmonious marriage.

"We sit tight, next to each other 24/7 and are never apart," said Wilson. "I don't feel the need to have my space, which is unusual."

Though many other men look at Wilson "like I am crazy," he said karezza can surprisingly help "rekindle things" in a long-term relationship.

For each couple, the experience is different.

"The natural 'karezzanauts' would be committed couples who want to sweeten the harmony of their relationships," said Robinson.

But young people, too, can try their hand at karezza, she said. In the very least, the practice is an effective form of birth control.

"I doubt any of us forget how to have conventional sex if pregnancy is desired," she said. "You can still ride a bike, even if you drive a car."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jul062012

Parenting Debate: Waxing for Girls Younger Than 15?

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Young girls are growing up faster than ever before, wearing makeup and high heels. But what about a cosmetic treatment that many middle-aged women find painful?

More teens and tweens today want to get waxed, a grooming technique that involves applying hot wax to remove unwanted body hair.

And a new ad for a salon chain that offers discounts on waxing for girls 15 and younger has reinvigorated the debate among parents about how young is too young.

The debate erupted after a 50 percent-off promotion began running for Uni K Wax salons up and down the East Coast, targeting teens 15 and younger to celebrate their independence this summer by getting waxed.

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“Celebrate Freedom and Independence All July,” the ad reads. “During the month of July, girls 15 and under can enjoy their FIRST waxing experience and find it NATURAL, SAFE and PLEASANT.”

It’s not just this ad. It seems many teens and tweens – some as young as 10 – are now prepping for summer camp by removing unwanted hair.

Anna Dolgon-Krutolow, 12, begged her mother to take her to Uni K Wax Salon in New York City for a bikini wax. “I swim when I’m at camp so I just wanted to just be fresh,” she said.

For her mother, Carol Dolgon-Krutolow, the procedure wasn’t an easy sell.

“She was very adamant, you know, and she’s becoming a woman,” her mom said. “She’s very concerned about how she looks and it’s important that I listen to her.”

But some, including Atlanta-based therapist Tiffanie Henry, fear that waxing could be over-sexualizing teen girls. “I just really have a difficult time stomaching, inviting girls, specifically girls who are 15 years of age and younger into a salon to be waxed,” said Henry, co-host of ABC’s The Revolution.

Uni K Wax stands by its promotion. In a statement to ABC News, the CEO and founder Noemi Grupenmager said the promotion is intended to help young girls boost their self esteem.

“By the age of 11 or 12, some young girls develop hair on their legs and upper lip.  This can not only be embarrassing, but it often makes these young girls targets for bullying at school, especially during PE and recess,” Grupenmager said. “Uni K Wax is offering a safe solution in a comfortable environment for these girls.”

This was the case for Anna, who considers the procedure a confidence booster and said she plans to come back for another wax.

“I really feel that once I go to camp I’m going to be more self confident and less self conscious, which is a really great feeling,” she said.

Uni K Wax requires minors younger than 17 to have their parents sign a consent form before receiving any treatments.

Therapist Henry advises that tween waxing opens the door even earlier for mothers to have an important conversation with their daughters about their bodies.

“Moms need to be talking to their daughters about grooming, about their daughter’s body changing, about hair growing in places that hair has never grown before,” Henry explained.

Click here to read the full statement as received by ABC News from Noemi Grupenmager CEO and founder of Uni K Wax Center.


Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jul052012

Gay Dads Sue; Health Club Reverses Stand on Memberships

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- After a lawsuit was filed against the Roanoke Athletic Club by a same-sex couple for offering them a "family membership" then revoking it, the club today changed its policy.

Will Trinkle, 54, and his partner Juan Granados, 40, filed a lawsuit against the club on June 27 for breach of contract and were seeking to have their family membership reinstated.

The Virginia couple, who have been together for eight years and have a 2-year-old son Oliver, said the club had discriminated against them because they are gay.

But today, the RAC posted a new policy on its Facebook page: "A household consists of a primary member and up to one additional household member that permanently lives in the household, and any of their dependent children under the age of 22 who also reside in the household on a permanent basis ...Club dues will not change; dues for the Household Membership will be the same as the Family Membership it is replacing."

"It is really defined on Facebook," an RAC club spokesman told ABC News when asked if they now offer discounted memberships to gay families. "That is definitely what it says -- for public knowledge."

The athletic club is owned by Carilion Clinic, one of the region's largest medical providers. They have a company-wide nondiscrimination policy that bans bias on the basis of sexual orientation.

Eric Earnhart, spokesman for the parent company, Carilion Fitness, told ABC today said, "We have not yet received lawsuit information and can't comment on litigation."

Trinkle, a real estate agent, and Grenados, a marketing director, alleged in their lawsuit that they had been mistreated because they were same-sex parents.

"Actually it was like someone punched us in the stomach," Trinkle told ABC. "It's from a place we couldn't imagine that there would be this kind of discrimination and this kind of attack. We have come a long way but this shows we still have a long way to go."

ABC News was unable to reach the couple or their lawyer John P. Fishwick Jr., to find out if they would now drop the lawsuit.

At the time, they had been told they could not have a family membership because the club defined family as "husband, wife and their children ages 21 and younger living at home."

Without the family rate of $112 a month, each of the partners would have had to pay $69 for a total of $138 and their 2-year-old child would be included, according to the club.

The couple said their initial acceptance, then rejection, was the basis for the lawsuit and they are seeking enforcement and compensation under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.

Trinkle said he had recently moved his offices and decided to join the club so he could use the RAC on lunch breaks and his son Oliver could swim in the pool.

On May 15, Trinkle applied for membership at RAC and was encouraged to sign up for the "family" option. The couple filled out the application truthfully, including listing the "member name" and "spouse name" and Oliver Trinkle Granados as their "dependent child."

"There was no ambiguity," he said.

The initiation fee was $50 and the first month's membership was $112, he said. Both were posted to his credit card.

The couple began to use the facilities, but on May 23 Trinkle got a call from the director of operations that the club had made a "really big mistake," and they did not meet the definition of family, the lawsuit alleges.

"We tried to resolve this with Carilion's leadership," said Trinkle. "We were not only told that they were sticking with their decision to kick us out, but because of us, they were 'tightening policies' so no families like us would ever 'get as far' as we had."

The lawsuit alleges that the RAC manager in reviewing their application thought that Granados was "Juanita" and not "Juan."

A petition on Change.org has called on the owners of the club to allow same-sex families to get memberships. So far it has 40,000 signatures.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul032012

My Three Daddies: California Eyes Multiple Parenting Law

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- California, the battleground state for the arguments for and against same-sex marriage, is now considering an unconventional law that would allow children to be legally granted more than two parents.

The bill -- SB1476 -- would apply equally to men and women, and to homosexual or heterosexual relationships. Proposed by State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, it has passed the Senate and awaits an Assembly vote.

Leno cites the evolving American family, which includes surrogacy arrangements, same-sex marriages and reproductive techniques that involve multiple individuals.

"The bill brings California into the 21st century, recognizing that there are more than 'Ozzie and Harriet' families today," Leno told the Sacramento Bee, which first reported the story.

"We are not touching the definition of a parent under the current law," said Leno. "When a judge recognizes that a child is likely to find his or her way into foster care and if there is an existing parent who qualifies as a legal parent, why not have the law when it is required to protect the well-being of the child?"

Parents would have to qualify under all legal standards and agree on custody, visitation and child support before a judge could divide up responsibilities.

Several other states, including Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maine and the District of Columbia, recognize more than two parents.

"Most children have at most two parents, but some children have more than two people in their lives who have been a child's parent in every way," says Leno in his fact sheet on the bill. "For example, a child raised from birth by a biological mother and a non-biological father may also have a relationship with his or her biological father.

"In such a situation, the child may consider both adults in the home to be parents, as well as his or her biological father. In such a case, it may be in the child's best interests to have a legally protected relationship with all three of the parental figures in his or her life."

Glenn T. Stanton, director of Global Family Formation Studies for the conservative group Focus on the Family, argues that the bill appears to advocate for children's rights, but in reality gives adults legal protection to create "radical families."

"We hear all this celebratory talk about 'new families,' but there is no sociological, psychological or medical data showing any of these new family forms have served to the elevate the general physical, mental, educational or developmental well-being of children in any meaningful way," said Stanton. "That job is best done for children by their own mother and father," he said.

But Leno argues that a new law would address more than just same-sex families, including one in which a man raises a nonbiological child with a woman, but the child also has a relationship with the biological father.

A lesbian couple, for example, might also want to include a male friend who provided sperm for the conception of their child as a legal parent.

Leno maintains that it is in the best interest of a child to designate multiple parents to provide financial support, health insurance and other state benefits.

Not to do so can have "disastrous emotional, psychological, and financial consequences for the child," according to Leno.

Such a law might serve not only same-sex families, but adoptive ones as well, where there may be a relationship with a biological parent.

However, Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, said situations where the law might be applicable are "pretty limited."

"Most people don't aim for this and don't need it," he said. "It's an arrangement that's created for specific circumstances -- but I don't see a big trend here."

"People in the adoption world get very concerned about a law like this," said Pertman. "One of the concerns they have about open adoptions is co-parenting and it simply is not. There are circumstances where there is a real need and individual cases where it serves the needs of the child. That should be the focus, to have a law that permits the child to get what he or she needs."

And some legal experts in California question the impact of such a law on an array of issues like tax deductions and wrongful death suits.

Leno acknowledges that the law might be applied in "rare circumstances" and only when it is required "for the best interests of the child."

"Some of the hyperbolic corners of the opposition are suggesting there could be four, six or eight parents," he said. "But I think that it will not be used when a child has too many parents, but when there are too few."

The bill was co-sponsored by the University of San Diego School of Law's Children's Advocacy Institute and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun192012

Childless by Choice: Why Some Americans Pass on Parenthood

File photo. iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Shannon Chamberlain doesn't want kids, but most people think she'll get over it.

"They keep telling me I'll change my mind," said 29-year-old Chamberlain from Alameda, Calif. "Or they assume you're infertile. At least that staves off the questions!"

Chamberlain, who's currently pursuing a PhD in English literature at Berkeley, insists her decision to forgo parenthood is both voluntary and final. And she's not alone. One in seven non-parents of childbearing age is childless by choice, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"I have a great life," said Chamberlain, who enjoys exotic trips and lazy Saturdays with her husband. "Adding something else into the mix could make things worse. I suppose it could also make things better, but that's not really a chance I'm willing to take."

Chamberlain defended her stance on spawn in an essay for Slate magazine, writing, "Having kids is making a decision to live a life with strollers, diaper bags, breast pumps, sleep deprivation, and the withering looks from strangers like me, who wonder why you thought it was a good idea to bring your toddler to a Victorian painting exhibit."

It sounds selfish, Chamberlain admits.

"But I do care about myself, and I know I wouldn't be a good parent if I was unhappy," she said, describing the thought of attachment parenting as her "own personal nightmare."

Birth rates are declining, according to the CDC, as more Americans put parenthood on hold in uncertain economic times. But a relatively stable 6 percent of U.S. adults decide to skip kids for reasons beyond their estimated $234,000 per head price tag.

Heather Gentry, 26, said she chooses to be childless because kids are like parasites.

"To have my body distorted beyond recognition for an alien-looking creature to live there for nine or 10 months and use up my food and energy storage? To have doctors poke and prod at my most private places because that's where it'll be born? Then, to be free of the creature on the inside, but to have to care for it for years and years, while it eats my food, lives in my house, and takes up my energy?" she wrote in her essay for Slate. "No, thank you, I will not have kids/parasites for reasons that will probably insult you."

Gentry, who works as a waitress in Summerville, Ga., said she knew her kid-parasite comparison would be controversial.

"It's kind of a hot-button issue. Mamas love their sweet little babies," she said. "I don't have anything against them; I just don't feel like I can do it. I'm kind of glad there are people like them and people like me."

The opposing views provide a necessary balance, Gentry argued in her essay.

"If I can suffer through your alien ultrasound photo on Facebook or grin at your crying kids without vomiting, then you can be grateful that women like me will always be around to organize an occasional girl's night out and to keep the population in check."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May172012

Improve Significant Other’s Listening Skills with a Vitamin?

Cultura/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A new survey shows 63 percent of Americans take a vitamin or supplement, but many wish the manufacturers would come up with a vitamin that would improve their significant other’s listening skills.

A survey commissioned by The Vitamin Shoppe finds 50 percent of respondents wish there was a pill that could improve their partner’s listening.  Forty-three percent wish there was a vitamin that would improve their significant other’s cleaning skills, while 31 percent expressed a desire for a vitamin that would improve their partner’s “bedroom” skills.

Respondents were asked: “If your significant other could take a vitamin to improve upon any of the following areas, which would you choose?

  • Listening, 50 percent
  • Cleaning, 43 percent
  • Physique, 37 percent
  • Cooking, 35 percent
  • “Bedroom” Skills, 31 percent
  • Dancing, 24 percent
  • Don’t know/Refused, 20 percent


Additional findings from The Vitamin Shoppe survey:

  • 93 percent of Americans feel more confident about their health when taking a vitamin or supplement.
  • 72 percent of respondents take multivitamins on a regular basis.
  • 56 percent believe vitamins and supplements are necessary to achieve your health and fitness goals.


Respondents were also asked: “What would put you in a better mood – good sex or a good workout?

  • Good sex, 57 percent
  • Good workout, 35 percent
  • Don’t know/Refused, 8 percent


The Vitamin Shoppe survey of 1,000 U.S. adults was conducted by Wakefield Research.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
May102012

1 in 5 White Women Have Smoked While Pregnant

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- One in five white women have smoked cigarettes while pregnant, according to a new government study released Thursday.

The report, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, showed that 21.8 percent of pregnant white women ages 15 to 44 had smoked a cigarette within 30 days of when the survey was conducted.

Those numbers contrasted with 14.2 percent of black women and 6.5 percent of Hispanic women of the same age.

“When pregnant women use alcohol, tobacco, or illicit substances they are risking health problems for themselves and poor birth outcomes for their babies,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a statement. “Pregnant women of different races and ethnicities may have diverse patterns of substance abuse. It is essential that we use the findings from this report to develop better ways of getting this key message out to every segment of our community so that no woman or child is endangered by substance use and abuse.”

The rate of alcohol use during pregnancy among black and white women was about the same: 12.8 percent and 12.2 percent respectively. Only about 7.4 percent of Hispanic women reported drinking alcohol while pregnant.

Black pregnant women were more likely to use illegal drugs than white and Hispanic pregnant women: about 7.7 percent of blacks, 4.4 percent of whites and 3.1 percent of Hispanics reported using drugs at least once in 30 days prior to the survey.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May082012

Best Place to Be a Mom: Where Does the US Rank?

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Just in time for Mother’s Day, Save the Children has released its 13th annual State of World’s Mothers report. The report, which ranks countries from best to worst in places to be a mother, saw the United States placing 25th, moving up from last year’s ranking of 31.

Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children, said there’s still much work to be done. “We still fall below most wealthy nations,” she said on the Save the Children website. “A woman in the U.S. is more than seven times as likely to die of a pregnancy-related cause in her lifetime than a woman in Italy or Ireland. When it comes to the number of children enrolled in preschools or the political status of women, the United States also places in the bottom 10 countries of the developed world.”

Norway came in No. 1 on the list, which, according to the Save the Children, weighs such factors as a mother’s health, education and economic status, as well as such critical child wellness indicators such as health and nutrition.  Niger came in last, largely because of the food crisis facing the nation. It replaced Afghanistan, which held the bottom spot for the past two years.

Save the Children found that encouraging mothers to breastfeed could save 1 million children’s lives a year. The report also found that less than 40 percent of all infants in developing countries received the full benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
May082012

Are You a “Helicopter Parent?"

Goodshoot/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Most parents consider themselves fairly easy going when it comes to their parenting style, but many others can’t help but exert complete control over their children’s lives.

A new survey by Crowd Science, an analytics company that focuses on audience targeting, finds 17 percent of surveyed moms admitted their parenting style is “extremely hands-on, having full control.”  The vast majority of moms surveyed, 83 percent, believe they don’t overdo it.

Whether you’re simply staying in touch with your kids or hovering over them constantly, social media has made it easier to do both.  The survey finds 50 percent of moms are “friends” with their kids on Facebook.

The Crowd Science survey is based on a sample size of 167 moms.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio