Top enterprise stories of the week (March 4-10)

Published: Monday, March 11 2013 6:00 a.m. MDT


No 'recipe' for healthy families, but some shared traits

Gary Malone is a psychiatrist who admits he has seen some of the worst that family life can offer, from sexual abuse to alcohol, physical abuse to neglect. "If you don't address it, you will repeat it. But you can recognize and create the family you want," Malone said.

No recipe exists. But there are shared traits that most high-functioning families have. There are three in particular that make all the difference. Family is a place where a child experiences unconditional love. Individual family members are allowed to have their personal identity. And parents set boundaries and provide structure and consistency.

To that list, Craig Pierce would add paying attention. Pierce, who just published "Parenting Without Distraction: The Attunetion® Approach," said, "We respond, respond, respond. But we don't stop long enough to tune in to what matters most. We all need to tune in, past distractions."

Marital conflict down, satisfaction up in 21 minutes with writing exercise

While marital satisfaction typically declines after the first year, that's not true for couples that invest a little time by writing down an objective appraisal of their conflicts, according to researchers.

And they do mean "a little time." A study documented results in three seven-minute writing sessions a month.

A study led by researchers at Northwestern and Villanova universities showed intriguing evidence that couples who spent seven minutes at a time three times a month taking a neutral look at their moments of marital discord are generally less bothered by the friction than those who don't. That increases the likelihood that marital satisfaction stays high, the loving feelings undiminished by spats.

Care for the poor

Will the real minimum-wage worker please stand up?

Since President Barack Obama's proposal to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 during his State of the Union message, there is a heated disagreement over who minimum-wage workers are. Are they teenage kids folding T-shirts at the Gap or single mothers working full-time at McDonald's to support their kids?

How experts answer the question depends on how they do the math.

Those who oppose the proposal say minimum-wage earners under 24 account for 49 percent of the total and 62.2 percent of those earners live in families with incomes more than double the poverty level. Only 16.8 percent fall below the poverty line.

On the other hand, 84.1 percent of those who would benefit from increasing the minimum wage to $9.00 are at least 20 years old. This means that less than 16 percent are actually teenagers.

Income disparity limits access to technology at school

Teachers across the nation say they are increasingly relying on digital technologies like laptops, tablets and cellphones in middle and high school classrooms, but they note a "striking" disparity in access to the latest technology between affluent and disadvantaged schools, according to a new survey.

Ninety-two percent of teachers say the Internet has a major impact on their ability to access content, resources and material for their teaching, yet 56 percent of teachers at low-income schools say they do not have sufficient resources to effectively incorporate digital technology into their classrooms.

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