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Surf's up for parental advice

October 24, 1996
Web posted at: 9:45 p.m. EDT

By CNN Interactive Staff Writer Liza Kaufman Hogan

If it takes a village to raise a child, then it takes a global village to get all the information you'll need to do it.

Once parents looking for sound child-rearing advice had few resources beyond other parents and Dr. Spock. But the Internet has changed all that.

Now, there are hundreds of parenting sites on the Web -- for two-parent families, single parents, working mothers, full- time fathers, student parents, gay and lesbian parents, first-time moms, even soccer moms. Some of the sites read like slick magazines full of recipes, advice columns and ideas for entertaining children, while others are informal on-line communities sharing tips on child rearing over the electronic back fence.

What follows is a small sampling of what's out there for mothers and fathers at their wits' end over their temper- tantrum-prone two-year-old or those merely wishing to share the joy of parenting.

Advice for the 'parents-to-be'

stork site screen

First things first. Before you begin parenting, you'll need a child. If you're planning on having your own, you'll need lots of advice. Stork Site is a well designed, easy-to- navigate site for mothers and fathers to-be offering guidance and support through the pregnancy. The site is a project of Pillow Talk, a San Francisco-based childbirth education company.

Join the Stork Club and ask a registered nurse questions about your pregnancy and receive a 'Baby Gram' each time you log on which tracks your pregnancy and tells you what to expect at each step. Fathers can receive a "Baby Gram" too so they'll know what their partners are experiencing. One of the highlights of the site is a collection of bulletin boards where mothers who are at the same stage in their pregnancies can commiserate over morning sickness, share their fears or glean support and advice from other parents.

We cannot, however, vouch for the quality of all the advice. One mother-to-be recommended a combination of potato chips and lemonade as a cure for nausea. Stork Site also features a medical reference area and links to similar sites.

Well-written, concise articles

family planet screen

This daily on-line magazine for parents by Starwave multimedia company is one of the best parenting sites on the Web. Updated regularly, it includes a section of current news for parents, updates on recalls of children's products and lots of well-written, concise articles for the parent who doesn't have much time to surf.

Readers can order the Family Planet Dispatch or an e-mail version of the Family Planet Parents Daily. The site also includes several advice columns on serious topics, a section for e-mail greeting cards, and useful articles like "365 TV- free activities you can do with your child."

Lively chat area

Parent Soup screen

This site is stocked with interesting information for parents. Updated daily, Parent Soup includes advice for working parents, reviews of produces for children written by readers, ideas for entertaining kids and special holiday sections. The chat area is lively with as many as 10 sessions per day on topics as wide-ranging as living with a nanny to raising children's self-esteem.

Parent Soup is designed for parents but not all topics are devoted to parenting. Some features like "Chill Out" and the "Girls Night Out" Chat session are intended to give mothers and fathers some quality time away from the kids.

Parent Soup recently announced it will be merging with, another good general reference site for parents.

In the trenches with dad

Athome Dads screen

You won't find flashing graphics and slick advertising here. Made for full-time fathers and fathers who work at home, At- Home Dads is an on-line newsletter with articles written by men who are on the front lines of full-time parenting. Articles are divided into three topics "tips for kids" which relates solutions for handling common fathering difficulties, "Spotlight on Dads" which chronicles the adventures of men who go grocery shopping in the middle of the day, and "Business" a catch-all for articles related to children and money.

'Preserving mom's sanity '

Mommy Times screen

Billed as the newsletter 'for moms by moms,' The Mommy Times, is 'dedicated to preserving the sanity of moms everywhere.' The site is geared to mothers of infants and pre-schoolers. While you won't find wide ranging content here, you will find lots of good, sound advice for raising your children and support for that formidable task along the way.

Readers who join the Mommy Times Club can access to the monthly on-line newsletter and "mommy-to-mommy" bulletin boards. Advice columns on everything from hiring a nanny to weaning a child from the bottle are written by doctors, therapists and child development experts. "Special Delivery" is a place for mothers to share harrowing and sometimes humorous tales of child birth. Another section, "Those Krazy Kids," features funny quotes from children.


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Related sites:

  • CD-Mom - an interactive entertainment and education site for families
  • - an on-line magazine for parents
  • Parents at Home (formerly Moms at Home) - a newsletter for stay-at home mothers and fathers
  • - a general reference site for parents. Soon to merge with Parent Soup

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