Online Child Prostitution On The Increase In Japan

Online crime hit a new high in Japan in the first six months this year, with the number of cases of child prostitution arranged on the Internet surging more than 60 percent, police said last week.

Arrests were made in 1,808 cases of Internet crime, up by six cases from the same period last year and the highest since 2003 when police started compiling similar half-year data.

For child prostitution (in some cases referred to enjo kosai or compensated dating), in which minors meet with adult clients on dating and other websites, the number of cases jumped 62.7 percent to 275.
Story Continues Below

"We will promote activity to ban children from using dating websites while pushing ahead with spreading filtering on cellphones," the National Police Agency said in a report.

Young Japanese often surf websites specially designed to be viewed on cellphones.

Online auction fraud remained the leading cyber crime, with 490 cases but the figure was down 33.2 percent from last year.

Thailand Make Moves To Fight Child Exploitation

Permanent secretary for justice Jarun Pukditanakul has instructed the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to expand its role to begin combating child exploitation, especially through pornography and transnational organised crime.

He said child exploitation was on the increase and that criminals behind child pornography had become more sophisticated. He said crimes were carried out using hi-tech media and global communications through transnational criminal networks.

"The DSI must have a role in fighting these crimes by cooperating and setting the scope of work with the National Police Bureau," said Mr Jarun during a seminar with DSI officials recently.

He said the DSI was better equipped to handle challenging issues such as transnational pornography distribution and that other police agencies might be over-stretched with existing tasks.

However, Mr Jarun also admitted that existing Thai legislation remains too weak to cope with child exploitation.

The Porn Media law for example does not separate child pornography from general pornographic crimes. Even the criminal law fails to punish a person found in possession of child pornography, unless they distribute or benefit from it.

"In some foreign countries, child pornography is considered as dangerous as drugs and possessing it is absolutely illegal because this kind of media can stimulate people's sexual desires for children," said Mr Jarun.
Story Continues Below

There was some good news however, as the cabinet has already approved a new bill for the suppression of tempting media, in which child pornography is categorised as dangerous.

"The bill was debated vigorously in the cabinet. Those opposing it were worried about some possible impacts on the public, but the majority were supportive. The prime minister has approved it in principle," he said.

The bill has been sent to the Council of State for further consideration but Mr Jarun said he could not tell when it would be passed on to the National Legislative Assembly for endorsement.

However, once the bill is endorsed, along with the human trafficking bill, both laws will be important tools enabling the DSI to better tackle transnational organised crime networks.

"Besides harsher penalties, what's more important is that both laws will improve efficiency in tracing and arresting criminals," he said.
Story Continues Below

Mr Jarun said the current criminal justice system was outdated and that many state officials still view prostitutes as if they were criminals.

"We must erase that kind of prejudice. Prostitutes are not criminals, but they are rather the victims of injustice. Those who reap the benefits from them are the criminals," he said.

He said he wanted the DSI to try a new approach by winning the trust of trafficked women, convincing them to become witnesses and then tracing back the origins of organised crime.

Travis Henry To Pay Child Support For Seven Of His Nine Kids

Travis Henry just got tackled by a $3,000-a-month child support judgment.

Sure, the Denver Broncos running back has a $25 million contract and a base monthly salary approaching $50,000, but that kind of bill can still crimp your style when you're accustomed to expensive cars and fancy jewelry — and lots of other child support payments.

Henry, 28, has fathered nine children by nine women in at least four Southern states and has been ordered by various judges to provide child support for seven of them, according to court records involving one child living in DeKalb County.

DeKalb Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger this week ordered Henry to provide $3,000 a month for the Lithonia boy he fathered out of wedlock three years ago with Jameshia Beacham, now 29.

Henry isn't the most thrifty guy, according to court records, so the judge wants to ensure payment by establishing an unusual $250,000 trust that Henry must fund by next spring.

Seeliger wrote that the football player displayed "bad judgment in his spending habits," dropping $100,000 for a car and $146,000 for jewelry. Meanwhile, Henry fell behind on support payments for his child with Beacham that were mandated by a previous order. Threatened with jail, he borrowed $9,800 from his former team, the Tennessee Titans, to pay the bill, according to court records.

The trust ensures Beacham will get timely payment if the pro player falls behind on his installments again. Yet the trust could be a sticking point for Henry, who could appeal.

His lawyer, Shiel Edlin, said that to his knowledge the trust would be without precedent in Georgia. A quarter-million dollars is a lot of money, even for Henry, Edlin said. "He has some concerns and he's weighing his options."

Beacham could not be reached for comment. Her lawyer, Robert Wellon, said he asked that the trust be set up because Henry rarely made the payments mandated by an earlier order, though they were $800 less a month. Wellon said there was testimony establishing that Henry received a $1 million bonus earlier this year but quickly spent most of it, buying, among other things, a Mercedes and gold jewelry.

"My argument was, if he makes wise investments, other than in gold chains, then he should be able to make the payments," Wellon said.

Edlin, though, said Henry collected much less than $1 million after taxes, and he said much of it went to debts. "He doesn't have any money," Edlin said. "The guy has significant financial issues."

Records show that Henry's children are scattered across both the American and National Football Conferences — including Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia. Wellon said Henry talked about gathering them together to watch him at training camp. Indeed, part of the custody arrangement Henry reached with Beacham requires two weekend visits when he is playing pro ball.

Edlin said Henry wants to be a good parent. "I know these are a lot of kids, and there might be some questions about it," he said, "but he's a really committed father."

A Husband's Role During Pregnancy & Childbirth

Giuditta Tornetta

In the seventies, a partner's role in the birthing and pregnancy process was finally brought to where it belonged: next to the mother. With the advent of the Bradley birthing methods, fathers were finally given something important to do. They became "coaches" for the birthing event, and their need to be needed was fulfilled.

Yet, the nine long months ahead of the "world series" game is a difficult and vague time for the men in our lives. Men really have no concept of how we feel physically and emotionally during this time, so they need our help and direction to create a safe and friendly environment for the mother-to-be and the child. They need to feel part of this miraculous process to establish a relationship with the unborn child early on.

Often feelings of fear, worry, and anxiety are common for most new fathers. We need to entitle our men to their feelings. Asking your partner how he would like to be involved at this point might end up backfiring. Most men's answer to a direct question like this one will say, "I don't know! What would you like me to do?"

This can only create frustration for both of you, and there is no need for that. One thing I have learned through the years is that if you don't ask for what you want and need, you probably will not get it. Stop thinking he is psychic. Stop thinking "If he loves me he'll know what I really need and want."

Know that what you want or need has nothing to do with his love for you. His giving what you want and need, or telling you honestly what he can and cannot give is no measure of his love.

Find outside support
One person alone cannot, and never will be able to, give me all that I need. A famous African adagio says, "It takes a village to raise a child," and I believe it takes a village to accompany any of us through our lives.

Your partner cannot be the only source of your fulfillment; you must create a support group especially in this miraculous time. Find friends who are willing to listen, find other mothers-to-be (your healthcare provider, your doula can help you with this one), and find chat rooms and web sites to answer your questions. Enroll in prenatal yoga or exercise classes.

Find a therapist if you feel the need to work on some of the tough issues that are coming up. Your insurance might cover a few sessions. No matter where and what you must rely on, multiple sources of support await your asking.

Yes, it is your time to get pampered, dear one, but remember that men also go through incredible changes during this time. They might not be hormonal, nor will they show up physically, but having a child is an emotional, mental and spiritual event for both of you. Acknowledge the little and big things he does for you. Tell him how to be useful, welcome him in your arms as often as you can, and remind him why you love him and why you think he will make a great father. This is such a magical time for both of you, cherish it. Every moment counts!

Love tips
# The best way to get your needs met is meeting your partner's needs. This is the concept of unconditional love. You receive what you give. And if you really want something from your partner ask and be specific.

# When you have something important to talk about, ask for a quiet and convenient time for both of you. Most anything can wait, if you overwhelm your partner with questions or an "important" subject the minute they enter the home you might not get the results you are looking for. I know it sounds ridiculous at first, but making an appointment to discuss what is in your mind will give both of you time to relax first and settle in.

# Tell your partner how special he/she is -- often. We are so quick to criticize and slow to praise.

# Don't improvise when it comes to your partnership. Most relationships need a little work. Together, attend workshops, see a couple therapist, or read books on enriching your relationships.

# Spend time thinking about all things you love about your partner and be grateful for each and every one of them.

# When you are upset about something, stop, sit down and write down what (WHAT not who) made you upset and see if you can find your part in it. It takes two to tango. Knowing your part will make your anger be balanced.

# Have you ever thought about what is it like to be in a relationship with you? What would you like more or less from this relationship?

# Keep romance and passion alive!

* Surprise him/her with tickets to his/her favorite event
* Take the car to be washed
* Have breakfast for him/her when they wake up
* Give her/him a back rub -- foot rub etc.
* Plan a picnic at the park
* Leave a love note
* Bring flowers home
* Sing her her favorite song or play it and ask her to dance with you
* Look at each other while you kiss or make love
* Tell her/him you love her in ten different ways -- get creative
* Get involved in the pregnancy from the beginning
* Take her to as many Doctor's appointments as you can
* Make time to discuss the future of your baby
* Make time to discuss the birthing experience you both want

# Stay close through crisis. Hormones run wild in these times, understand tears, moods and tensions, stay close and at times just listen.

# Don't EVER criticize yours mate's body!

Make Weaning A Positive Experience For You And your Little One

Anne Smith, IBCLC

Weaning your baby is part of the natural breastfeeding experience. It doesn't have to be a time of unhappiness for you or your baby. If done gradually, and with love, weaning can be a positive experience for both you and your little one.

How to wean
Ideally, your baby will nurse until he outgrows the need. This is called natural, or baby-led weaning. Just as you would not set an arbitrary limit on other areas of your baby's development, such as deciding exactly when he will sit up, roll over, move into a bed instead of a crib, etc. (instead, you watch for signs that he is ready to move on to the next developmental stage), it just makes sense not to set an arbitrary time limit on how long you will nurse your baby.

You actually begin weaning your baby the very first time you offer him any food other than your milk. Weaning should be a process, rather than an event. Depending on how you go about it, weaning can be abrupt or gradual, and may take days, weeks or months.

Abrupt weaning should always be avoided, if at all possible, for the sake of both you and your baby. If you suddenly stop nursing, your breasts will respond by becoming engorged, and you may develop a breast infection or breast abscess. Your hormone levels drop abruptly, and depression can result. Mothers with a history of depression should especially consider this when making decisions about weaning.

Abruptly withdrawing the breast can cause emotional trauma in the baby. Since nursing is not only a source of food for a baby, but a source of security and emotional comfort as well, taking it away abruptly can be very disturbing. Weaning gradually lets you slowly substitute others kinds of attention to help compensate for the loss of the closeness of nursing.

If you are told to wean your baby abruptly for medical reasons, you need to make sure that there are no other options. It is well worth getting a second opinion from someone who is knowledgeable about breastfeeding. Most of the time, you'll find that there are alternatives. For example, if you are prescribed a medication that is incompatible with breastfeeding, ask your doctor to see if another, safer drug can be substituted.

Even if you do have to take a drug that isn't safe while nursing, you have the option of just weaning temporarily and picking up breastfeeding where you left off. This involves expressing your milk during the interim, so that you will ready to resume nursing, and also to avoid engorgement. A hospital-grade electric pump is better for this purpose than a manual or small electric pump.

Benefits of extended breastfeeding
There are many, many benefits to extended breastfeeding, and very few benefits to weaning early. That is not to say that even one feeding at the breast doesn't have value, because it does. Whether you nurse for days, weeks or years, breastfeeding provides both you and your baby with many important benefits -- but breastfeeding for a year or longer offers the most advantages. Extended breastfeeding is definitely not the norm in this country -- in the US, fewer than 20 percent of babies are still nursing when they are six months old. While you may find it hard to imagine a mother in India nursing a three year old, that same mother would probably be baffled at the idea of taking a baby off the breast when he was just a few weeks old.

If you decide to go with natural weaning, be prepared for lots of unsolicited advice. You will be told that you're doing it for you, not the baby (this is ridiculous, because it is a proven fact that you absolutely cannot make a baby nurse if he doesn't want to). You will be told that your child will become a sexual deviant (yep, I bet if you took a survey you'd find that prisons are just chock full of men who were breastfed till they were ready to wean sure ). You will be told that your child will become hopelessly dependent on you, and you'll be following him to Kindergarten to nurse at rest time (interestingly enough, experience and research have shown that babies who are nursed until they are ready to wean are actually less dependent because their security needs have been met as infants). It really boils down to following your instincts as a mother -- nobody knows this little individual better than you, and you will know when he is ready to wean.

There are many benefits of extended breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends nursing for at least the first year of your baby s life.

* Your baby continues to get the immunological advantages of human milk, during a time when he is increasingly exposed to infection. Breastfed toddlers are healthier overall.
* When he is upset, hurt, frightened or sick, you have a built in way to comfort him. Often a sick child will accept breastmilk when he refuses other foods.
* Many of the medical benefits of breastfeeding (lower cancer risk in mother and baby, for example) are dose related -- in other words, the longer you breastfeed, the greater the protective effects.
* Human milk offers protection for the child who is allergic.
* Mothering a toddler is challenging enough -- nursing makes the job of caring for and comforting him easier. There is no better way to ease a temper tantrum, or put a cranky child to sleep than by nursing.
* Nursing provides closeness, security and stability during a period of rapid growth and development.
* Letting your baby set the pace for weaning spares you the unpleasant task of weaning him before he is ready.

It should be obvious that I have a bias toward baby led weaning. It just makes sense to me on so many levels. If someone tells you that babies shouldn't be nursed past six months, or one year, try asking them "Why?" They will be hard put to come up with a reason that makes sense, much less one that they can back up with any empirical evidence.

This is not to say that I think long- term nursing is right for everyone. When to wean is a very individual decision, and sometimes early weaning is the right decision. If a baby is not happy and thriving, and a mother is so stressed that she can't enjoy her baby, then it may be time to wean. Most babies do quite well on formula, and breastfeeding at all costs is not the most important consideration. You also need to be aware than nursing for days or weeks (or even one feeding at the breast) still offers important benefits to your baby. Nursing should never be an endurance contest.

Guidelines for early weaning
If you do decide that early weaning is right for you and your baby, here are some guidelines to follow:

* Try to do it as gradually as possible. Eliminate one feeding each day for several days to allow your milk supply to decrease slowly. After a couple of weeks, he should be down to nursing just a couple of times a day. Usually the last feedings to go are the first one in the morning, and the last one at night. If you're not in a huge rush, you may want to continue these couple of feeding for another week or two.
* Talk to your baby's doctor to find out what formula he recommends. Since babies are not ready for cow's milk until they are a year old, it is important to find the appropriate formula.
* Since young babies have a strong need to suck, offer a substitute (bottle or pacifier). Some babies will find their thumbs during this period, and there's not much you can do about that one way or the other. There are advantages to having a thumb-sucker -- those babies tend to be self-soothers, and often are better sleepers and travelers than babies who depend on pacifiers.
* Offer lots of physical closeness during this time. There is a tendency to avoid cuddling, because the baby associates the nursing position with breastfeeding, but it is important to snuggle your baby and get lots of skin-to-skin contact, even if you avoid the cradle hold.

If the decision is left up to them, most babies will wean themselves gradually, beginning by cutting back on nursing around the time they start solids. Physically, most toddlers are "ready" to wean. Nursing a child who is no longer an infant is done more out of concern for his psychological and emotional needs than for his nutritional ones. However, there are some older babies who make the transition from infancy to toddler-hood without the slightness indication of readiness to wean.

Weaning the older child
Weaning an older child who isn't ready can be a real challenge. You should not feel guilty if you decide to wean your toddler, because only you know when the time is right for you and your family. For example, you may be pregnant again, and while that in and of itself is not a reason to wean, your nipples may be so sore that you are gritting your teeth and not enjoying nursing your toddler AT ALL. He may begin to pick up on your feelings of resentment, and it may be time to wean.

Weaning an older baby doesn't have to be traumatic, although it may not be easy. Here are some tips:

* If possible, allow several weeks of concentrated time and attention to the process of weaning. Any baby who has nursed for a year or more is obviously really into it, and isn't likely to give it up easily.
* Don't offer, but don't refuse. Nurse him only when he is really adamant about it, but don't offer to nurse at other times.
* Make sure that you offer regular meals, snacks and drinks to minimize hunger and thirst. Remember also that babies nurse for reasons besides hunger, including comfort, boredom and to fall asleep.
* Try to change your daily routine to minimize situations where he wants to nurse. Does he want to nurse when he is bored? Try distracting him with a snack or a walk outside. Do you usually lie down with him at naptime? Try reading him a book or rocking him instead.
* If Dad is around, encourage him to take an active role in weaning. Have Dad try to put him back to sleep if he wakes during the night. If he nurses first thing in the morning, try letting Dad get him up instead of you and feed him breakfast.
* Watch his preferences and respect them. If he is having a really hard time giving up the first thing in the morning nursing, you may want to continue that one for a while rather than force the issue.
* With older toddlers (two years plus) you can begin by setting limits on nursing. For example, you can say "We'll nurse when we get home, but not at the mall." Substitute nursing on demand for nursing at your convenience.
* Shorten the duration of any given feeding. Say "That's enough, now." and gently remove the breast from his mouth.

In summary: weaning is a process that begins as soon as you introduce other foods into your baby's diet. (This comes in handy when someone asks you if you have started weaning him yet -- you can truthfully answer "yes"). Babies wean at different ages, just as they get teeth at different ages. When you wean your baby is a decision for you to make, ideally based on signs of developmental readiness. Breastfeeding provides benefits for both you and your baby no matter how long you nurse. Gradual weaning is always better than abrupt weaning, although there are times when this just isn't possible.

If you and your child both enjoy nursing, and your only reason for weaning is that you are under pressure from other people who think you should, then you need to look further for outside support of your decision to continue nursing. If you no longer enjoy nursing, or if there are legitimate pressing reasons for you to wean, you should do it and feel good about the time you did nurse, without feeling guilty about what might have been.

On a personal note: I have nursed six children. The first three weaned themselves before they were a year old. I was a La Leche League leader at the time, and all my friends were nursing their toddlers. I couldn t believe my babies were doing that to me -- I was willing to nurse them till they went to college, but there was absolutely no way to convince them to keep nursing. Even withholding food didn't work. My experience with my next three babies reminded me of the old adage "Be careful what you wish for," because they all wanted to nurse between 2 1/2 and 4 1/2 years. I practically had to pry them off with a crowbar.

It was interesting to me that the early weaners were all thumb-suckers and blanket holders, while the late weaners were never self-soothers, but used the breast for comfort as well as nutrition. All were breastfed on demand from day one, so I can only assume that individual differences accounted for the different weaning experiences.

I am happy to report that all six have turned out normal and well adjusted, so their radically different weaning schedules apparently didn t have a long term effect on their development. I'm so glad -- with six children, I have plenty of other things to feel guilty about.

52 Ways To Support Your Wife During Pregnancy

Giuditta Tornetta

Every dad needs support, encouragement, information, confidence and tools to help him be as involved as he possibly can with his new family. Here are some ideas that will make you popular around the house and make your wife the envy of all of her friends; pregnant and otherwise:

1. Offer to give her back rubs and foot massages.

2. Suggest activities that might be harder to do when the baby comes, like going to movies or concerts.

3. Bring home roses for no reason at all.

4. Vacuum the house, even under the bed, without being asked.

5. Give your wife lots of hugs; research shows that the more she is hugged, the more she'll hug the baby after he comes.

6. Buy her a moisturizing bubble bath.

7. If you're traveling on business, arrange to have a friend take her to dinner.

8. Offer to pick up a pizza on your way home from work, and surprise her with a pint of her favorite frozen yogurt, too.

9. Offer to run errands. Better yet, do those before you are asked.

10. Do the laundry before it piles up.

11. Tell her you think she's going to be a great mother.

12. If she arrives home after you, have a candlelight dinner on the table, complete with sparkling cider.

13. Write her a love letter and send it to her in the mail.

14. Go away for a romantic weekend (together, of course).

15. Buy a toy or outfit for the baby, have it gift-wrapped, and let her unwrap it.

16. Buy her a pretty maternity dress.

17. Go on a long walk with her.

18. Learn baby CPR

19. Offer to give her a back rub -- again.

20. If you smoke, stop.

21. Tell her she's beautiful. Then tell her again a few hours later.

22. Pay extra attention to making sure she has enough to eat--pack some snacks for her before the two of you go out for an evening or for a hike.

23. Organize a surprise baby shower for her.

24. Keep a list of your favorite names or buy her an interesting name book.

25. Paint a picture for or write a letter to your unborn baby.

26. Set up some interviews with potential child-care people.

27. Tell her she looks good even if she's put on weight.

28. Buy her a Mother's Day gift -- even if it's November.

29. Go to her prenatal appointments.

30. Keep a journal, either written, tape-recorded, or videotaped of what you're thinking and feeling during the pregnancy.

31. Do something with her that she knows you absolutely hate to do

32. Take her to visit the nursery at your local hospital.

33. Help her address envelopes for the birth announcements.

34. Learn a few easy recipes.

35. Smile and nod agreeably when she says, "You have no idea what it's like to be pregnant."

36. If you already have children, take them to the park and let your partner have time alone to relax or run an errand she's had to put off.

37. Surprise her with breakfast in bed on a lazy Sunday. Or, on a workday, get up five minutes earlier and surprise her with a power shake.

38. Take the day off from work and hang around the house with her.

39. Give other expectant mothers seats on trains and buses.

40. Make a donation to a local children's hospital or school.

41. Discuss your fears with your partner. Listen to hers too, but don't make fun of them, no matter how insignificant they may seem to you.

42. Paint or wallpaper the baby's room.

43. Listen to her complain and don't tell her she's complaining.

44. Help put together the changing table and crib.

45. Install smoke detectors in your house.

46. Make a new will that includes your baby.

47. Join a health club together.

48. Clean out closets to make room for baby things.

49. Call her on the phone during the day -- just to tell her you love her.

50. Offer to carry her bags.

51. Buy a few tapes of her favorite music to listen to in the labor room.

52. Say "No" if she asks if she's acting crazy.

Breastfed Babies Cope Better With Stress In Their Adulthood

The findings are based on almost 9000 children, who were part of the 1970 British Cohort Study, which regularly monitors a sample of the British population from birth onwards.

Relevant information was obtained at the children's birth, and at the ages of 5 and 10 years, from midwives and health visitors, parents, and teachers. This included how much the child weighed at birth and whether s/he was breastfed.

It also included factors that might influence or be linked with a child's reactions to stress and coping mechanisms, including maternal depression, parental education levels, their social class, and smoking habits.

When the children were 10 years old, their teachers were also asked to rate the anxiety of their pupils on a scale of zero to 50, while parents were interviewed about major family disruption, including divorce or separation, which had occurred when their child was between 5 and 10 years of age.

Unsurprisingly, when all the data were analysed, the findings pointed to a greater likelihood of high anxiety among children whose parents had divorced or separated.

But children who had been breastfed were significantly less anxious than their peers who had not been breastfed.

Breastfed children were almost twice as likely to be highly anxious, while children who had been bottle fed were over 9 times as likely to be highly anxious about parental divorce/separation.

The findings held true, irrespective of other factors likely to influence the results.

The authors emphasise that their research does not prove that breastfeeding itself makes children cope better with life stress; rather, it may be a marker of some other maternal or parental factors, they say.

But they cite animal research, which suggests that the quality of physical contact between mother and baby during the first few days of life may influence the development of the offspring's neural and hormonal pathways that are involved in the stress response. Babies with more of the type of contact experienced during breast feeding coped better with stress when older.

Breastfeeding may also affect the quality of the bonding between mother and child, and the way in which the two relate to each other. And this may have a lasting impact on the child's anxiety levels in response to stressful life events, the authors suggest.

How To Select The Right Daycare For Your Kid?

Adrienne Chaplin

Selecting the right day care for your kid can be a serious challenge. Are you like this single mother of a three year-old son, who needs a high level of personal attention, yet she needs to go back to work? No doubt your major concern will be to find the kind of daycare that would meet the needs of your son.

How lucky for you and your son that you were able to spend those first three years at home getting to know each other and enjoying one another. Placing him in a daycare situation is going to be a big step for both of you to find your independence. I have a number of suggestions on types of daycares that could cater to his personality. But only you as a parent that knows him best can decide which would work for both of you.

First of all, are you at all able to have a loving family member care for him? Younger (at heart) grandparents are especially wonderful for this as they have a "vested interest" in your son's upbringing and would have an easier time with a busy, inquisitive child.

Barring the possibility of family helping, there is the family daycare home. I especially like this option because it has the feeling of home (if done right) and yet it would enable your son to have the interaction with other children of ages near his. This helps with giving the child a sense of belonging while learning to interact with others that he may not have experienced by staying home with you. Just be sure to find a provider that has some structured activities as well as a balanced amount of play. After all, these are the years for him to get ready for school.

The other option you would have is to take your child to a childcare center. For a child that requires a "high level of personal attention" as you describe, you would want to find a center that has a lower ratio of children in the group he would be in, possibly 1 teacher to each six children. This may be hard to find, but at 3 years old he needs to start making the transition. A childcare center would have the added bonus that they generally provide more educational opportunities and support to their employees. They also have more funding to provide bigger and better activities and field trips to expand your son's base of experiences.

Whatever you decide, be sure on your choice. The hardest thing for your son in this circumstance would be to move from one provider to another too frequently. He needs to feel the security he had at home and yet feel like he can spread his wings. After all, he's becoming a big boy and that's a big deal!

About the author: Adrienne Chaplin is a home daycare provider and the mother of two boys. She has been working in daycare since 1995, shortly after her first child was born, when she realized that doing in-home daycare was one way to stay home and contribute to her family's finances.

Judge Grants Michael Jackson Custody of His Three Children

A judge in Los Angeles has denied a London woman's request for custody of Michael Jackson's three children, who she maintains are her own.
Nona Paris Lola Jackson, 36, had asked a judge to grant her joint physical custody of Jackson's 10-year-old son, Prince Michael, and 9-year-old daughter, Paris. She also claims to be the mother of 5-year-old Prince Michael II.
"I feel her evidence fails to establish any genetic relationship between herself and the Jackson-Rowe children," Judge Robert A. Schnider said today.
Schnider also denied the woman's request to nullify Jackson's marriages with his former wives Deborah Rowe and Lisa Marie Presley.
Nona Jackson spoke to the court through a telephone and loudspeaker. Jackson and Rowe did not attend the hearing. Jackson settled a custody fight with Rowe over his two eldest children in September. Details of that agreement have not been released. Jackson has not identified the mother of Prince Michael II.
Nona Jackson had sought joint physical custody of the children while giving Jackson legal custody. In court papers, she offered a tentative schedule for visits.
She also asked the court to grant her child support in an amount to be determined by Jackson, along with possession of his Neverland Ranch and a home in California's San Fernando Valley.
In court papers, Nona Jackson contended that "Michael and I are a sexually active couple and have been this way from the beginning." She also claimed to have written more than 3,000 songs for him.
The woman's three previous attempts to interfere in the custody battle between Rowe and Jackson were rejected by the same judge last November, in February and in May on grounds that she had failed to notify Jackson and Rowe of the hearings.
It was unclear what, if any, legal options she had left following Wednesday's ruling.

Sexual Advice For Teens Via SMS

A charity is rolling out a pioneering service that gives young people sexual health advice by text message after a successful pilot in the two boroughs with the highest rate of sexually transmitted disease in Europe.
Safe Haven is launching Text Sam across Britain to provide information for young men and women about contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and sexuality.
It was piloted in the London boroughs of Southwark and Lambeth, where almost 90% of young people have had a sexually transmitted disease, according to the charity. The text service received more than 42,000 requests for information in just two months during its pilot.
The innovative service was developed after a survey found 96% of 14- to 16-year-olds depended on their friends for advice. Text Sam hopes to reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections by letting young people make informed decisions.
Jacqui Jennings, the scheme's operations manager, said: "We have a national crisis on our hands which is getting more out of control every day. We as a society have an obligation to inform our young people of the possible consequences of having sex. We cannot expect young people to make sensible decisions without knowledge."
The charity said new diagnoses of syphilis, thrush, chlamydia and human papilloma viruses - some of which can cause genital warts and cervical cancer - had also risen in the two boroughs.
Nationally, nearly 1million people were tested for sexually transmitted diseases during 2006. Diagnoses of new sexually transmitted diseases in the UK rose by 2% to 376,508 in 2006 and new cases of genital herpes were up 9% to 21,698, according to the Health Protection Agency.
The UK has the highest teenage birth rates in western Europe - twice the level found in Germany, three times higher than France, and six times above figures in the Netherlands, according to a Unicef report.
· To obtain free sexual health information, text Sam to 60030. A text message will be sent which contains links to the nearest sexual health clinic and advice centres plus information about infections.