Tag Archives: Kids

FOR PARENTS: The Dangers of Baby Sleep Overs

baby-standing-on-his-bed-and-cryingIn this age where marriage and parenthood are increasingly separated across the social classes, many American babies and toddlers spend at least one night a week sleeping at the home of a non-custodial parent.

While this may be convenient for fathers who want a relationship with their children and single mothers who need a break, new research on attachment shows that young children who sleep away from their primary caregiver have an insecure attachment style with their mothers.

Attachment is a critical aspect of personality development and mental health. Having a close, enduring, bond with at least one primary attachment figure creates a blue print for love that a child will carry into their adult romantic relationships. And the younger the child, the more susceptible they are to attachment injuries that could lead to anxiety, depression, and mistrust of relationships.

This new research from the University of Virginia and printed in the journal Marriage and Family Health, shines a light on the dangers of even single overnights. Sleeping away from a consistent, familiar environment and mom, can cause a baby or toddler to have feelings of insecurity and have an insecure attachment with their mother. It also opens up the debate about how family courts dole out child custody arrangements. In deference to fathers rights, if both unwed parents want to be involved in the lives of their child, courts are increasing dividing custody of younger and younger children between two homes. But this research demonstrates that babies and toddlers would be better off seeing their father during day time hours and returning to a consistent environment for the night time routine.

It is important for adults to put the psychological needs of children above the needs of parents. Sigh. Parenting isn’t ever convenient.

FOR PARENTS: Parenting: A Magic Pill for Reading Skills

A bedtime storyThe fatty acids DHA and EPA found in fish oil may do far more than prevent heart disease and enhance immune systems. A groundbreaking new study out of Oxford University in the UK makes a strong correlation between low levels of omega-3 and problems with reading and focus in kids. The study took blood samples from just under 500 British school children, aged 7-8 who were reported to be below grade level in reading. The researchers found astonishingly low levels of the important long chain omega-3 fatty acids vital to brain structure and memory in nearly all the children. And the blood levels of the long chain omega-3, DHA, directly predicted how well the young students were able to focus and learn.

DHA and EPA are found primarily in seafood and must be taken in consistently through diet. In the UK, the dietary guidelines for children include consuming fish three times a week. Most of the slow readers in the study ate fish less than twice a week and ten per cent of them didn’t eat fish at all.

If parents are concerned about mercury levels in today’s harvested seafood, then a supplement should be given to children. To avoid the sour faces and turned up noses associated with the fishy taste, try your local health food store in the refrigerator section for flavored liquid fish oil.

FOR PARENTS: Singing Kids Behave Better

100801015413913_1The Sound of Music was a movie beyond it’s tine. Linking baby mozart to math skills may not have held up to research scrutiny  but there is new promise that music can do something else for kids: Make them behave better and solve problems.

Researchers from the University of West London School of Psychology examined how music made young children, aged four, more helpful and sociable. Dr. Maddie Ohl, Dr. Anne Manyande and undergraduate student, Rie Davies split 24 girls and 24 boys into two groups, ‘Music’ and ‘No Music’. Children in the ‘No Music’ Group listened to a story, while children in the ‘Music’ Group sang and played small percussion instruments. After the sessions, the children were tested for problem solving abilities with a ‘Helping’ game.  The results found that children who were in the ‘Music’ group, boys and girls, were more helpful than children in the ‘No Music’ Group; they were 30 times more likely to help than their music-less counterparts. Results also showed, girls were greater than 20 times more likely to help than boys of the ‘Music’ Group. The ‘No Music’ Group also showed less co-operation than the ‘Music’ group, whose co-operation was six times greater than their counterparts. Girls excelled again, and demonstrated more co-operation than boys. But when it came to problem solving boys in the ‘Music’ Group were four times more likely to problem solve than their peers.
            The results of this study show that pre-schooler music class isn’t a useless endeavor forced on kids by uber mommies. And the researchers suggest that even singing can be highly beneficial.  So, belt it out babies!

FOR PARENTS: Could Your Household Be Dangerous For Kids?

baby_proofHouseholds can take many shapes. Single parents, same-sex parents, blended families and multi-generational parents, to name a few. And research is revealing just which kinds of parents produce healthy kids. The results might surprise you.

Surprise, surprise. One of the major factors for a child’s overall well being, as it turns out, is the marital status of their parents. Research has found that children brought up by single parents or in blended families do not perform as well, academically, as their peers with married parents. Matthew DeBell, of Stanford University, published a piece in Social Indicators Research about children living without their fathers. DeBell found that if all socioeconomic factors were controlled the absence of a father would only give children a small deficiency. For most situations, the absence of a father creates a socioeconomic difference in the family life leading to worse health, academic achievements, educational experiences and less parental involvement in the child’s life. When there is an absent parent, or separated parents, many try to fill the void by bringing in a step-parent or co-parent. This may be more detrimental to the family environment than helpful.

The Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4)
found that children in blended families are more likely to suffer maltreatment and sexual abuse than children living with a single parent or married parents. Although single parenting may be a difficult task, in many cases it is better for the child, or children, present.

Another aspect of research that demonstrates the stable home environment marriage provides for children appears with same-sex marriages. Sociologist Michael Rosenfeld, of Stanford University, conducted a study to examine the educational achievements of children from same-sex couples and heterosexual couples. “The census data show that having parents who are the same gender is not in itself any disadvantage to children,” he said. “Parents’ income and education are the biggest indicators of a child’s success.” Rosenfeld specifically looked at the rates child of same-sex and heterosexual couples had to repeat a grade in school. He found there was little to no difference in children when it came to this educational achievement. The stable, nurturing environment that is healthy for childhood development is still present with married same-sex couples.

It’s not a perfect world, not every relationship or marriage will work out successfully. However, it is important to keep the well being of children involved in mind when it comes to making decisions about family structure.

FOR MEN: What a MILF Wants

rbk-help-moms-0612-mdnReprinted from askmen.com


When I first heard the term MILF (mom I’d like to f*ck), I was as appalled as I was excited. Excited because motherhood was clearly getting a vital makeover and appalled because I felt the term was yet another way to reduce women to a sex object.

But when my Facebook followers began to dub me “Dr. MILF,” I looked around at my day (I have two kids and a mortgage) filled with runny noses, homework tantrums and endless carpools, and decided that even this limited compliment glamorized my life a bit.

Continue reading FOR MEN: What a MILF Wants