The next question comes from Dr's S and S:
Dear Dr. Rob: We can't figure out how to raise kids properly. Can you give us some tips?
Well guys, I am glad to be able to impart my vast wisdom in the area. There are so many areas, I have actually thought of writing a book on the subject (a novel idea). No, not a novel, a book.
Anyway, let's start with the subject of co-sleeping. Co-sleeping is the practice of parents to share their bed with their children. Recent evidence has shown that this behavior is harmful to children:
Parenting Behavior Plays a Part in Preschoolers' Sleep Problems
MONTREAL, April 8 -- Sleep problems in preschoolers may be partly the result of disturbances earlier in childhood and how parents respond to them, a longitudinal study revealed.
In a study of nearly 1,000 children, sleep disturbances at ages five to 17 months predicted parental behaviors such as the mother being present when the child fell asleep, taking the child out of bed at night, which includes moving the child into the parents' bed (co-sleeping), and giving food or drinks at night, found Valerie Simard, M.Sc., M.Ps., of the University of Montreal, and colleagues.
However, these parental behaviors only explained some of the sleep problems seen through age six years after controlling for earlier sleep disturbances, the investigators reported in the April issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
"Our findings clarify the long-debated relationship between parental behaviors and childhood sleep disturbances," they said. "They suggest that co-sleeping and other uncommon parental behaviors have negative consequences for future sleep and are thus maladaptive."
I have never been for co-sleeping. Perhaps it is the story in the Bible where the lady rolled on her child and killed it (and then King Solomon showed his wisdom). But I think it is just common sense that says that a child will bug his parent more often when the barrier to do so is reduced. My daughter occasionally sleeps in our bed with us and practices her martial arts skills on me whenever she does.
As a pediatrician, I try to discourage such behavior for anything other than using it as a form of birth control (proven to be 98% effective). Still, despite my urging, parents will continue co-sleeping, smoking in front of their kids, and using walkers (which has been shown to delay development).
I also discourage this behavior:
Boy blows up 213 balloons with his nose
A 13-year-old boy is claiming the world record for blowing balloons with his nose. Using one nostril at a time, Andrew Dahl inflated 213 balloons within an hour Friday in the town's public library. His feat has been submitted for review by Guinness World Records.
His father, Doug Dahl, measured the balloons to make sure each was at least 20 centimeters, about 8 inches, the minimum diameter, and his mother, Wendy Dahl, kept the tally.
At one point he asked, "Does this count as practicing my trumpet?" His mother replied, "Only if you can play that with your nose."
It was his second try. In February he sent a videotape of himself inflating 184 balloons, only to learn that it didn't count because he handed them to his father to tie. This time he tied them off himself.
I am a parent of four children (and now one lobster) and have hopes for their lives. I want them to be happy and well-adjusted. I want them to care for others and contribute to society. I want them to get good grades, not have cavities, and avoid eating at Krystal.
I have not, however, dreamed of them inflating balloons with their nose (or any other unusual part of their body, for that matter). Yet this father not only encouraged the child, but measured the balloons while the mother (the other accomplice) kept the tally. Why? What could possibly be the reason for doing this to their son?
To humiliate him.
There can be no other explanation. Balloons and noses are just not meant to go together. Balloons and modestly-dressed ladies on the beach with bows and arrows? Maybe. But only if they don't use their nose to pull back the string (which it appears the lady in the middle tried to do).
Humiliating your children seems to be a hobby for some people (like my father when he wore the Bermuda shorts and the sandals with colored socks - I was mortified). Perhaps they feel they owe it to them for all the trouble and money it takes to raise them. Whatever the cause, it should stop immediately.
Another sad story of humiliation comes from the UK:
British schoolboy has scooped a top drawer world record by balancing 16 spoons - on his face.
Nine-year-old Joe Allison beat the previous world record of 15 spoons when he hung the silverware from his forehead, nose, cheeks, chin and ears.
Joe's proud parents, Peter and Fenella Allison, from Totnes, Devon, say they have to buy special British 17.7ml tablespoons after he used up all the ones in the kitchen
I don't recommend this for my patients, but I suppose it is better than steak knives.
So here is Dr. Rob's list of parenting tips:
- Do not co-sleep with your child. Co-water skiing, co-pole vaulting, and co-bull fighting are also bad ideas.
- Sweet tea is not appropriate for children under 6 months (this was actually asked of me by a grandmother).
- Do not name your child Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa, as Bob Geldof and his wife named thiers (or Depressed Cupboard Cheesecake which another couple in the UK named theirs). UK must be a cruel land.
- Toddlers should not use flame throwers.
- With good care and frequent oil changes, robot children can last for many years.
- Consistency in discipline is essential for raising well-adjusted children. The best place to adjust your child is at the base of the neck. It takes great consistency and discipline for you to use a child-adjuster properly.
- Do not have your child attempt to set two or more world records simultaneously. The spoons get in the way of the balloons.
- Do not use walkers, as they interfere with development. Runners, crawlers, and home-shoppers are discouraged as well.
- Keep the ravenous beasts out of your child's bedroom (unless they are teenagers).
- Don't worry, everyone psychologically messes up their children. Look what my kids will have to overcome.