In It For Health

Where health and psychology intersect

Archive for April, 2008

Is Miley selling out? Nope, her parents are doing it for her!

Posted by Dr. Susan on April 30, 2008

Today, Annie Leibovitz’s famous Vanity Fair photos of Miley Cyrus, inferred naked, wrapped in a sheet, hit the newstands. The debates are raging. Is she selling out? Shouldn’t she have known better? Is it Annie Leibovitz’s fault–she’s the photographer after all, shouldn’t she have been more responsible. What about Miley’s parents? Shouldn’t they have had better judgment about letting their 15-year old pose for such seductive shots? Actually, I don’t blame the photographer at all, despite reading many opinions that do. Miley’s not her kid! She’s looking for the most artistic shot, the most sensational shot. Her responsibility is to the magazine that’s hired her. Miley herself is a kid. Her brain–lots of research shows–is not yet developed enough to make good judgments. Therefore it is her parents who are to blame. YES! They are the ones who could have and should have looked at those pictures and vetoed them because they are incredibly sexualized for starters. Is that what they want for their daughter? Not to mention that they fly in the face of her Hannah Montana image–just poor judgment for sure. Haven’t they seen what has happened with all the other corrupt teen celebs. Don’t they want more for their girl? Who knows I guess?

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feeding your kids sugar every morning?

Posted by Dr. Susan on April 23, 2008

This study demonstrates the absolute height of marketing irresponsiblity in which large companies selling food for children are allowed to engage in whatever kind of advertising they want to sell their product, regardless of how healthy it really is. This simple, yet brilliant research demonstrates that the cereals marketed to children are, across the board, less healthy (more sugar, more sodium etc) than the cereals we eat ourselves!! But parents are not free of responsibility. Oh no. It is our job as good parents to be educated consumers and think–yes really contemplate what we’re going to agree to put into the bodies of our children–especially first thing in the morning when the food they eat will feed their brains for the school day. Yet so many parents continue to buy cereal that’s practically candy and cookies–sometimes even shamelessly named for thes–while we’re munching away on low sugar, low salt, low fat healthier alternatives. Let’s chew on that for a while!

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Guard your medicine cabinet

Posted by Dr. Susan on April 10, 2008

Yet another study finds that young children are finding themselves in the emergency room after OD’ing on OTC medications. This investigation lead by the CDC, says that each year over 7,000 kids go to the ER each year due to side effects of cough and cold meds. Of these, 65% of these visits are due to unsupervised ingestions, which was the most common reason for the 2 through 5-year old category of ER visits. The researchers suggests that we should be looking at how medication packaging could be made safer–Okay, why not. More importantly, I suggest we look at how parents could be more vigilant! There is no reason a two-year old should be able to get at a bottle of medication, especially when they know that it will taste good because they tried it last time they had a cold.

It’s time for all parents to begin the practice of keeping medications safe from their young children. Before long those children will be teens. And they’ll be taking medications without their parent’s permission for different reasons–to get high or to sell them.

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super-programmed kids disguised as getting exercise

Posted by Dr. Susan on April 9, 2008

I’m all for kids playing sports and getting other physical activity–of course I am!! But exactly as this CNN article depicts, kids are being groomed to be great athletes from the second they can walk. The problem is that the vast majority of kids do not have the innate ability to be nearly as good as their parents think they can be. This leads to the ultimate disappointment by both parent and child when said child doesn’t even make the high school team, let alone get a college scholarship (or go pro!) Most kids don’t need grooming, they need fun!

Then there’s the issue described in the article–unbelievable overprogramming in the service of making sure your child doesn’t miss out on anything and that becomes the best at it. Children are left with little or no down-time to do homework or just hang out because they are so overwhelmed by the sports they play. And I can’t only blame parents. Coaches–narcissistic about their particular sport–pay little heed to the fact that most kids, particularly in elementary school, cannot enjoy practicing four or more days a week. They burn out.

There’s no such thing as playing a sport for fun anymore when you’re a kid. The intensity is overwhelming, and parents and coaches–the adults–are creating it. Come on, give the kids a break. There’s enough pressure once you get to adulthood. It’s okay to set some limits, let a kid be rested. They don’t have to be involved in every single sport at the most intense pace. You’re the parent, say NO. Your child will be emotionally and physically healthier for it.

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No TV in you teen’s bedroom!

Posted by Dr. Susan on April 7, 2008

This new study, not surprisingly, links TV in teens’ bedrooms to being overweight and the American Academy of Pediatrics is urging parents to remove TV’s from their kids’ rooms. Previous studies have shown similar links between TV and chubbiness for younger kids, so these findings are a no-brainer as far as I’m concerned. But have you tried to take a TV out of a teenager’s bedroom…sound like a peaceful interchange to you??!! I don’t think so!!!

So, the most important information we can gain from this study is that a parent should not put a TV in their child’s room in the first place. It is virtually impossible to remove a TV from a teen’s room, without causing enormous stress in your relationship with him or her. But although not pain free, it is easier to say NO to the TV in the first place and stick to it!

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April Fool’s Stress

Posted by Dr. Susan on April 1, 2008

An April Fool’s article in today’s New York Times got me thinking about my feeling about practical jokes. Yes, practical jokes can be funny–to the executer and the receiver. But in many cases, it is only the person (or people) perpetrating the joke that ends up laughing. The victim–and I use this word deliberately–feels embarrassed, angry and vulnerable. It takes real talent and sensitivity to execute a practical joke that is funny for both sides of the equation. Most people either don’t have this talent or don’t take the time to figure out how to make it happen. Most prank victims, adults and children alike, will never admit that they were hurt or embarrassed by the prank. This is particularly true in the current climate of “American Idol” reality TV when people are being ridiculed all the time and are supposed to just accept it.

So, if you’re in the mood for an April Fool’s joke today, keep in mind that it’s only funny if both people find it funny, otherwise it’s just hurtful.

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