Misconceptions of parenting/pregnancy Thread...

artmom

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Feb 26, 2015
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Because I was young when I had my daughter, I had a lot of information thrown at me and expectations. I enrolled in a school for a year and a half that was specifically for young mothers and there was quite a bit unique things we had to do that I don't recall any older parents were mandated to do. When I was pregnant I even felt I was treated differently.
So, that being said, I feel there was some unnecessary and completely misguided advice I received that I want cleared up, or maybe some of it wasn't that wrong.

1. Reading to your infant very early prevents illiteracy. I talking about starting before they are a month old. This was stressed on me like illiteracy is a disease your kid can catch if there isn't a book in their face, at least, once or twice a day. So, I started reading to her every night. Just try explaining that to the caregiver in the infant room at my school. She started a rule that all the babies HAVE to be read, at the school, everyday, so they can SEE that you're reading to your infant. Whether reading this early to your kid actually reduces illiteracy and gets them liking books isn't something I can answer. All I know is that my daughter loves to read and I like to think I played a big role in that.

2. Don't jump, run, or lift your arms over your head when you are pregnant. It's been well over a decade since I've been pregnant, so I'll let someone who is or has been preggers more recently clear that up.

3. Giving your toddler lots of gum will exercise their tongue and help them talk better, earlier. Where do I start with this? Let's just say someone I knew actually told me that. Of course, I didn't believe her in the slight bit. I just thought it was dangerous and dumb.
 

cybele

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#1 has a LOT of studies supporting it. I can ask my husband for them if you're interested, but essentially early language development comes from sound, rather than reading. Children who are read to often are exposed to on average 10,000 more words by school age than children who are not, just because books use words outside out our everyday vocabulary.

Increased vocabulary makes learning to read easier, because children are not learning new words and definitions alongside learning to read, they are learning to read words they already know, and in turn makes learning to read easier, which means that the child statistically has a lower chance of being illiterate, whereas those for whom learning to read is harder due to having to learn definitions alongside with learning to read find reading harder, are less likely to read for pleasure and therefore are more likely to be illiterate.

The militant view you describe is certainly not the point- that's really bizarre to me, but then I wasn't a notably young mother, so I really don't know, but yes, reading to a child from a young age has been proven to be a contributing factor to ease of reading, therefore a strong literacy foundation.
 

artmom

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Everything you do with a baby is militant style when you're under 18 with a baby. You're considered a bad mom until proven good. Everyone has to witness and be provided proof you're feeding them and changing them on a strict schedule and that their poop and pee are normal, and they want you to document all the things you're doing to ensure your baby is developing under strict deadlines.
Either way, my kid developed a Universal Developmental Delay that is still a mystery on how it occurred. Even though I read my daughter at least one, two, three or more books a day she still had to go to speech therapy and have extra help in school. But she always liked to read. She is quite determined and ambitious, I have to say. I am proud of her and myself for allowing her to pull through. She is past all that and is considered caught up, except for math (but even I was behind in math all throughout school. Turns out I have dyscalculia (numeric dyslexia) and dyslexia can be passed down in the genes. My mom is dyslexic but you wouldn't know it from her amazing skills with organization and administrative work. I can definitely tell with me. When I was working at a fast food joint on my own I started closing shop 2 hours early by accident because I swear the clock said it was nearly closing time. Then I really looked at the clock for a few moments and then I was able to see the time in it's actuality. Customers were looking at me like I was an idiot. That reminds me, I need to call the school and set up a dyslexia test with my daughter.

Anyways,
Another misconception.

#4. Breastfeeding builds such a strong immunity in your kid that it prevents them from getting sick later in life.

I'm sure breastmilk is better than formula and has a lot of advantages. But I find some of the claims are a bit far fetched. My kid was breastfed and, though I don't recall her getting sick while she was breastfeeding, she has been getting sick at least once a year like many other people. She also is prone to ear infections just as much as a formula fed baby, and I wasn't the type that just laid her down and propped up a bottle in her mouth. (That, I know, is not good.) From the stuff I hear, some people make breastfeeding out to give your kid some sort of super powers.

#5. You can spoil a baby by picking them up or tending to them whenever they cry.
I believe it was Dr. Spock? that said this in a book? My mom told me this and apparently she told me she actually practiced this (Thanks a lot. No wonder I'm emotionally scarred and feel a coldness from her.). My mom would holler and berate me for tending to my daughter at night, but then got angry that she was crying in the first place. She expected me to place her in her carrier and walk around with it. *facepalm. This concept didn't last more than one night with me. I thought it was an outdated and heavily misguided parenting practice. It's borderline neglect, if you ask me. You just can't follow everything you read. I mean, parents in, I think it was in, the '30? '40s or '50s, some time around there, were supposed to stick a rod up their toddlers butts to encourage bowl movements and get them potty trained earlier. It's stuff like this that I'm glad there is progress and research to be made in parenting.
 
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nicholas

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Aug 27, 2013
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I think #1 comes out of the discovery that low socio-economic status (SES) parents exposed their kids to much less reading and words. But many think we are overdoing it now. Head Start got into emphasizing hard skills because it boosted early IQ scores, but then we discovered that other kids caught up later and the early lead amounted to nothing in the long run. Head Start almost got defunded. But Nobel prize winner Heckman came along providing evidence that we need to emphasize soft-skills (persistence and emotional control) more before age five in low SES groups. Soft skills begets hard skills later, better school performance and success. Hard skills do not begat soft skills. The Perry School Study provides the best evidence for long-term effects.

Listening to your parent read to you can be a passive activity. Spending too much time reading early can mean spending too little time solving puzzles or playing together with the kid, so some child development experts argue. Reading is important, but you get diminishing return where more reading is not better.

The book "The Nurture Assumption" argues that there is little or no evidence that parenting makes a difference in high SES groups, except for (1) getting professional interventions when needed and (2) taking steps to not allow your kid to fall in with a bad crowd, making sure your kid has good peers.
 
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nicholas

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Aug 27, 2013
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#2 and #3 don't have any scientific basis as far as I know.

#4 There are randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that show that breastfeeding significantly reduces infections. So there is strong evidence it reduces sickness at some point in life. Lots of scientific papers say this is due to a boost of immunity, but I am not sure how strong the evidence for that explanation is.

#5 Actually Spock was very much in "the pick them up when they cry" camp. The "don't pick them up" thing dates back to the first half of the 20th century. It was partly due to trying to prevent infections back before antibiotics when they were more deadly. It was also pushed by the behaviorist John Watson and others. This decades-long fad had very bad effects in orphanages. There is a good book that covers this history called "Love at Goon Park".

I don't think #5 is fully sorted out. We don't have much solid evidence about the long term effect of anything. These days behaviorist stay away from discouraging attachment in the first 18 months, unless you include Ferber's method for solving sleep problems. It's certainly true that a parent can condition a kid only go to sleep while being rocked, etc., but whether you want to try to avoid or reverse this is controversial. After 18 months, experts are all over the place, everything from "time out" to "time in" is recommend for the same behavior problem depending on who you read. There are RTCs that show that Parent Management Training (behaviorism) works and there are some RTCs that show that Ross Greene's Collaborative Problem Solving works (which avoids behaviorism, except it advises not reacting to bad behavior with immediate attention when possible, which is similar to a behaviorism method).
 
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artmom

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nicholas said:
#2 and #3 don't have any scientific basis as far as I know.

#4 There are randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that show that breastfeeding significantly reduces infections. So there is strong evidence it reduces sickness at some point in life. Lots of scientific papers say this is due to a boost of immunity, but I am not sure how strong the evidence for that explanation is.

#5 Actually Spock was very much in "the pick them up when they cry" camp. The "don't pick them up" thing dates back to the first half of the 20th century. It was partly due to trying to prevent infections back before antibiotics when they were more deadly. It was also pushed by the behaviorist John Watson and others. This decades-long fad had very bad effects in orphanages. There is a good book that covers this history called "Love at Goon Park".

I don't think #5 is fully sorted out. We don't have much solid evidence about the long term effect of anything. These days behaviorist stay away from discouraging attachment in the first 18 months, unless you include Ferber's method for solving sleep problems. It's certainly true that a parent can condition a kid only go to sleep while being rocked, etc., but whether you want to try to avoid or reverse this is controversial. After 18 months, experts are all over the place, everything from "time out" to "time in" is recommend for the same behavior problem depending on who you read. There are RTCs that show that Parent Management Training (behaviorism) works and there are some RTCs that show that Ross Greene's Collaborative Problem Solving works (which avoids behaviorism, except it advises not reacting to bad behavior with immediate attention when possible, which is similar to a behaviorism method).
Not many of these have scientific basis. These are things that have been told to me by various people. All believing their methods ring truths.

I was quite tired when I wrote this. I remember my mom telling me she read Dr. Spock books and then telling me of all this outdated parenting philosophies that she was told. I may have cross-misinterpreted what exactly she was referring to.
 

babybibsplus

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People tell you all kinds of things when you are a new mom whether you are 18 or 30 it doesn't matter. lol As you raise children you are always learning. The best advice is that every child is different and what works with one may not work with the other. Live and learn together.