Parents have always depended on helpers. But nowadays, many families are cut off from the social networks that our ancestors took for granted. What have we lost, and why has it become so difficult for parents to find good social support? Cross-cultural observations — and recent experimental studies — may offer some answers.

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Being surrounded by encouraging friends, relatives, and neighbors not only helps relieve parents’ stress, but also benefits their children. Because many parents deal with childcare on a daily basis, it is important that this setting be particularly vigilant in promoting social support.

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Families all over Memphis will soon be inviting people to join them for special meals, for parties and celebrations, and for gift-giving. It’s the season when nothing seems more important than friends and families engaging in holiday and cultural traditions that remind us of who we are, how we belong, and what we mean to each other.

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The approaching holiday season will bring opportunities to reconnect with friends and family and be reminded of their importance in our lives. The holidays can also be a time of increased stress as parents try to make child care arrangements during school break and stretch the family budget to pay for presents and parties.

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October is not only the month we celebrate Halloween; it is also National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Trick or treat means little to Memphis children being raised in families with domestic violence. A cruel trick of birth has placed them in home environments where they must face the effects of anger, violence, and toxic stress.

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The season for candy, costumes, and trick-or-treating is upon us! While this is a time for imagination and tradition, if you have young children this holiday, it may be a good idea to reevaluate your standard Halloween expectations in order for the littlest ones in your crew to enjoy the experience, too.

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