Earlier today Mrs.Coturnix and I took Coturnix Jr. and Coturnietta to the pediatrician (and the dentist - they are in the same building). While sitting in the waiting room we saw a strange scene. A father and a son (about 14-years old, I'd say) walked out of the office, the boy vigorously rocking a little baby, the father saying "It's great we have a car. Cars are good things".
I guess I made such a face that the receptionist started laughing: "It's a doll". A girl waiting in the same room offered an explanation that in middle school you get a doll for a couple of days and have to take care of it. The doll is computerized and cries "all the time" (her words spoken over a painful grimace).
The receptionist (quite young herself) mused that "in her day" the dolls were not so sophisticated so she and her friends just locked them up in the lockers. I asked for the name of the program and she said "Let me check", got up and in a few seconds came back with the answer: Baby Think It Over.
I looked at Mrs. Coturnix and said "I have to blog about this", so here is what I found:
Baby Think It Over is an educational program that is done in high schools (and recently in middle schools) to demonstrate to the adolescents what parenting really entails.
This paper describes research on the effectiveness of the method and provides background information on which the program is based.
Here you can see what the doll does and what the 'parent' is supposed to do.
This is a good essay by a student who's done it and here are a few more experiences.
Beats "abstinence-only" Xtian programs hands down, I'd say.
Update: If you did not bother clicking on the links, the program is designed not to teach kids to parent, but to show tham how HARD it is ....and it seems to be working! They want to party and sleep, not change diapers. Harsh reality kicks in.