Monday, June 05, 2006

I'm gonna write a book...

and the title will be Says You with the subhead: The Problem With Professional Parenting Advice. Or something like that.

It's provoked by a story in the Statesman with the title "Strict Parenting Linked to Overweight Kids." (I'd post a link but I can't get the code to work. You can go to and search on overweight kids if you want.)

Here's the gist: overly-strict parents who insist that their kids clean their plates end up with fat kids. Ok, fair enough, that's commomsensical enough that it hardly needs a newspaper story, but still, useful enough info. But then there's more: parents who are overly permissive end up with fat kids, ditto neglectful parents. Parents who are "firm but flexible" are the ones whose kids aren't overweight.

Message: be a perfect parent or your kid will be fat.

Of course, if you read carefully, it's a bit more subtle: some 17% of the kids of the authoratarian parents were overweight, compared to 10% of the kids of neglectful or permissive parents and 4% of the kids of firm-but-flexible parents. So being an imperfect parent increases your kid's chance of being fat somewhat.

The takeaway for the authoratative parent: make 'em eat everything on their plate AND run laps, do pushups and cut the grass.

Maybe I'm a little sensitive to this sort of story after yesterday at dinnertime: we were having a nice cookout at the next-door neighbors' house and Hubby and BabyGirl went home for a new pull-up and a couple of beers. I call Hub on his cell to say, hey bring some plastic silverware, too, and he says, ok, I'm sending the child back with the beer.

So, picture this: my 2-and-a-half year-old daughter is walking (ALONE) down the sidewalk, carrying a bottle of beer and repeating, Beer, Mommy?

Ooooh, boy. Lord have mercy. And thank heavens there wasn't a social worker driving down the street to see THAT.

Meanwhile, the neighbors are saying, aw, no biggie, happens all the time in THIS neighborhood.


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