Where mothers went wrong

Kevin Cowherd

October 05, 1992|By Kevin Cowherd

Although generations of mothers have urged their kids t "drink your milk!" health professionals now question milk's nutritional value and its possible harmful effects on young children.

-- From wire service reports

December 1992 -- According to an article in the current New England Journal of Medicine, sitting 2 to 3 inches from the TV will help children see better.

Close viewing of television also aids in the development of a child's eye lens and retina, the Journal said, as well as strengthening the optic nerve.

February 1993 -- Scientists announced today that running witscissors poses no discernible health hazard for children, and can actually improve a child's agility and self-esteem.

In a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University of 200 children ages 4 to 8, half were given scissors and told to run wildly over slippery, uncarpeted floors.

The other children were told over and over again to walk carefully with the scissors.

After six weeks, it was discovered that the children who ran with scissors showed markedly superior lower-body coordination, as well as increased confidence and better socializing skills.

The children who walked with the scissors, on the other hand, seemed timid and morose and struggled nightly with their homework.

Although one child fell and cut himself with the scissors across the palm of one hand -- the gash required 10 stitches to close -- it was dismissed as a statistical aberration by scientists. The injured child was described as a "klutz" who "would have hurt himself anyway."

"You think of all the kids who grew up with over-protective mothers and never had a chance to run with scissors," said one scientist, who requested anonymity.

He added that, with Christmas right around the corner, scissors would make excellent stocking stuffers for toddlers and pre-schoolers.

August 1993 -- The admonition, "You're going to poksomebody's eye out!" might rapidly become passe, as a group of leading pediatricians announced it is perfectly safe for children to play with sharp sticks.

"Mock sword fights are a wonderful way for kids to express themselves," said Emory J. Foy of Duke University Hospital.

Dr. Foy said curtain rods fashioned as spears and long screwdrivers used as daggers make excellent toys, despite the traditional reluctance of mothers to allow sharp objects as playthings.

"Honestly, you wonder what some of those mothers were thinking," he added.

January 1994 -- In a stunning departure from traditional thinkinchildhood squabbles, child care experts announced today that not only do sticks and stones not break bones, but it is names that hurt children the most.

Of the 10,000 incidents involving children and sticks and stones in a Chicago-area survey, most resulted in superficial cuts and mild abrasions, with very little accompanying emotional trauma.

However, when insulting names were introduced into routine arguments among children, many were quickly reduced to tears and reported lasting scars on their psyches.

The child care experts said "big, fat, lard butt" was the name that hurt children most, followed closely by "doody head."

October 1994 -- If the National Council on Child Nutrition has itway, concerned parents will soon be serving Doritos and M&Ms at dinner time.

The council's recommendation came on the heels of a report indicating that vegetables, particularly green beans, peas and broccoli, are a leading cause of diabetes, poor bone structure and stunted growth patterns in small children.

"Our children are simply not getting enough sugar and salt," said council spokesman Jay R. Weatherbee.

The council blamed "generations of bad parenting, particularly bad mothering" for the distressing nutritional habits of today's children.

In addition, the council said children are not snacking enough, and eating the wrong foods when they do snack.

"I watched a mother at a playground give her child carrot sticks and apple juice," Weatherbee added. "A couple of Oreos and a Pepsi would be so much better."

February 1995 -- If little Johnny's friends all jump off the EmpirState Building, little Johnny should be allowed to jump also, according to child care expert Dr. Benjamin Spock.

Preventing a child from leaping off tall buildings, bridges, mountain tops, etc., stifles a child's creativity and decision-making capabilities, Dr. Spock said.

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