Dispatches from Planet Parenthood

So “child star” Jamie Lynne Spears, now pregnant at 16, has gotten a head start at catching up with her famous sister. A swing around today’s news proves you don’t have to know the family Spears to shake your head at the good, bad, and ugly side of parenthood.

In Willow Springs, Illinois, a mother wanted to teach her 6-year-old son a lesson because he had a habit of wandering off. So she took him to a mall, and left him there.

In Texas, a woman ran out of gas and left her 5 year old and 10 month old in the car while she hoofed it to a gas station. The 5 year old ended up in traffic.

“Your mother loves you, but she’s not very good at being a mother,” said Judge Paul Tressler. “It’s as simple as that.” He was sentencing a teen for plotting a Columbine-style attack. Guess who bought him the guns?

In the U.K. a grieving mother has had photos of her soldier son, who was killed in Iraq, stolen by pickpockets while on her way home from a memorial service for him.

Doctors at Ruijin Hospital saved a girl’s life by performing the city’s first liver transplant using part of a liver from both her mother and father. Only five countries in the world have successfully performed such an operation, and there had been only two in China.

The number of single dads is climbing.

Father, brother, now son killed by drunk drivers.

The long-estranged father of 9/11 victim Kenneth M. Caldwell cannot claim a penny of his son’s $2.9 million estate, a Brooklyn judge has ruled.

Raising four teenagers is a chore under the best of circumstances, when both parents are alive and well and money is not an issue. Brian Gardner is raising four teenagers alone. But they are not his children.

A father in Arizona is mourning the death of his wife, who died giving birth to triplets.

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