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Posts Tagged ‘children’

Should Violence Directed Toward Children Be Part of Free Speech?

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 by:

I’m all for freedom of speech, but don’t we have to draw the line somewhere? On Monday the Supreme Court struck down a law that banned the sale of violent video games to children. Believe it or not, the judge compared the violence in M-rated video games to the Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel and Saturday morning cartoons.

The videos that will now be available for any child who walks into a store with enough cash encourage players to act out a variety of ways to kill, dismember and even sexually assault images of other humans. What’s next? Legalizing pornography for 13-year-olds?

I’m all for protecting artistic freedom, but in a world where random shootings are on the rise what can possibly be gained by letting video game manufacturers market extreme violence to our youth?

Supersized Mini-Me's

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 by:

Chances are your baby is bigger than you were as a child. Chances are he’ll also grow up to outsize dad, grandpa and grandma. Babies are bigger today than any time in history–and they’re growing quickly.

On a world-wide level, people have grown in height and weight more the past three centuries than many previous millennia. Why?

There are a few unknowns, but abundant supplies of food and nutrients–and less energy required to get it–are the biggest factors.

While much of our bigger stature is a good thing, there is a down side. Humans have been around for about 100,000 generations. Aside from the last 600 generations, our ancestors were hunter-gatherers. It takes a long time for the human body to adapt. Basically, we’re still hunters and gatherers at heart.

What does that mean?

We need a diet rich in fruits, veggies and meat. And, we need to work out.

Our oversized children can grow into supersized adults. Obesity rates and related illnesses such as adult-onset diabetes, coronary heart disease and some cancers were virtually unknown amongst hunter-gatherers. If we want to avoid the pitfalls or our size we need to make like the hunters and gathers and work our bodies and stick to a more natural diet.


What to do about whining

Monday, October 4th, 2010 by:

Few things are more irritating to a parent’s ear than whining or “nose talking” as we call it in our family. It is very difficult to deal with and can really push buttons for us as parents.

Whining is a behavior and behavior is a communication, in general children tend to communicate with their behavior, not their words. They don’t come home from school and say, “Well Mom, it all started in the sandbox when Sarah took my shovel…” They come home and whine or fall apart when something doesn’t go their way.

Children also tend to build up emotions and then let them out in different ways. Unfortunately, whining is one of them. Whining can mean that kids are uncomfortable, not feeling listened, to or are feeling uneasy, but it can also mean that they have figured out that this behavior gets results.

How to stop the whining
First make sure that you are listening to your child, they may have been trying to tell you things in a more appropriate way and you were missing it or not really listening, so they have escalated to whining to get your attention. The CALM listening technique in my book usually stops whining in it tracks, (which is basically listening to the message first and reflecting it back).

Never give your child what she asks for if she uses that whiney voice, or you will be reinforcing the behavior. Behaviors don’t stick around if they are not rewarded. Ask your child to repeat their message without whining. Use positives when she does say things differently and be patient, getting angry rarely helps and often makes things worse. It won’t get better overnight, but you should see steady improvement as she learns other strategies.

You can also try calling the whining something else, like “the complaining bug” that can sometimes help you to work on a problem together.

Give her lots of attention throughout the day, lots of tickling, cuddling and “baby play” – wonderful moments where she just feels delicious. This alone can often reduce whining and other negative behaviors.

Jennifer Kolari is a child and parent therapist, and founder of Connected Parenting. For more information you can contact jennifer at or visit

Junk Food Etiquette

Monday, September 20th, 2010 by:

Is it just me, or does anyone get annoyed at the volume of junk food that is offered to their young children by other well-meaning adults?

I drop my kids off at a mom’s group play group and return to find out they’ve been packed full of cookies right before lunch. Preschool snacks? You guess it, more cookies. Even the doctor’s office isn’t safe. After a brief check-up, my three-year-old is immediately offered a lollipop.

If adults are considerate enough to ask if I want my child to be loaded with sugar, 90 percent of the time it’s in front of my child–making me the bad guy if I say no. “Can Bode have a freezie?” as they are mid-way through handing it to him.

Now we all know that children love sugar. And we all know that it’s empty calories and prevents them from filling up on healthy, nutritious foods. Shouldn’t there be some kind of junk-food etiquette when it comes to feeding junk to other people’s children?

Is it too much to ask for a private conversation that lets me say no without my toddler ever having to know that junk food was on the table?

Why are our children becoming less creative?

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 by:

Creativity is on the decline and, as parents, that should have us worried. A recent article published in Newsweek points out that while intelligence is on the rise, creativity has been steadily declining since 1990.

“With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling.”

The scores for creativity are particularly bad for children kindergarten through grade six.

Since the correlation to lifetime accomplishments and success is three times stronger between childhood creativity scores than with IQ we need to start addressing what’s making our children less inquisitive and less likely to come up with original answers.

You could blame the usual suspects like TV, computer, video games and poor schooling and you’d likely be correct–at least in part. We can’t ignore the fact that as electronics gain importance in our lives creativity declines. But it is up to parents to make sure their children are given a creative outlet early in life.

Creativity flourishes when parents encourage uniqueness while providing a stable and loving home environment. Help your children discover their potential and give them the confidence to explore it.

Moms Against Climate Change

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009 by:

Are you worried about the kind of world your children will live in if nothing is done to prevent climate change?

Science clearly shows us the kind of the world our children will live in if we do nothing about climate change: melting polar ice caps, starving polar bears, drought, floods, unlivable climates in some parts of the world and even more extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and tornadoes. Such changes in our climate mean more instability around the world as countries fight for dwindling natural resources, or as people are forced to leave their homes to seek refuge.

Moms Against Climate Change was formed when Environmental Defence and Forest Ethics, two of Canada’s leading environmental groups, came together to partner in a campaign to affect Canada’s role at the UN Climate Change Summit in December. The campaign asks parents to take a stance on climate change on behalf of their children who, too young to vote, will be most impacted by the effects of climate change.

A new Public Service Announcement for the campaign ( asks, “If our children knew the facts we do, they’d take action. Shouldn’t you?” The video is currently sparking lots of debate on YouTube and will be showing on TV stations across Canada. There is also a website for the campaign,, where parents can take action by uploading a photo of their child. A photo mosaic will be projected in a public space near Parliament Hill before the Summit.

To join the thousands of moms across Canada taking action to protect our children’s future, please watch the video and pass it on. And upload a photo of your child to remind Stephen Harper who he’s representing in Copenhagen.

The flu shot’s available–should I get it?

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 by:

It’s a question I’ve been pondering a lot lately. And to be honest, I still haven’t decided. I’ve never gotten the flu shot, or given one to my children before–why should H1N1 be any different?

For one, H1N1 preys on children and young adults–most severe forms of the flu target the sick and elderly. Since April 2009, 76 children have died of H1N1 (including 19 last week). Sure, 36,000 people die of the flu each year, but 76 children in just six months of non-flu season is abnormally high.

I’m also thinking of getting pregnant again, which makes me question whether I should get the shot. The immune system is compromised during pregnancy, putting the expecting population more at risk. During the first four months of the outbreak, 100 pregnant Americans were hospitalized and 28 died. The further along the pregnancy, the higher the risks to mom and baby. In the third trimester the fetus pushes against the thoracic cage, decreasing lung capacity and increasing respiratory risk.

Since the H1N1 vaccination is available starting this week, why take the risk? Shouldn’t I just get the shot? To help weigh my options I made a pro/con list:

Against: The multi-dose vial contains thimerosal (a form of mercury), used as a preservative to prevent contamination.

For: A can of tuna contains more mercury than the H1N1 shot.

Against: Has the H1N1 vaccination really been tested sufficiently?

For: Experts say yes. In fact, even more so because it has already been widely used during the Southern Hemisphere’s flu season. During China’s flu season just four of the first 39,000 people to receive the vaccination experienced muscle cramps and headaches as side effects.

Against: Canadian shots contain adjuvants, which increase the potency–and the uncertainty–of vaccination safety.

For: American shots are adjuvant-free and pregnant Canadians can get adjuvant-free shots.

Against: My kids and I may be exposed to flus other than H1N1 and get sick anyways.

For: At least we’ll be H1N1 safe.

My decision? I remain undecided but am leaning more heavily towards getting the H1N1 vaccination.

Could the answer to peanut allergies be more peanuts?

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 by:

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that parents start feeding their children peanuts to rid them of their allergies. But a new study may hold hope for the future for families suffering from peanut allergies. A study out of Duke University has found that feeding children a tiny crumb of peanut every day may eventually help rid them of their allergies.

Researchers took small amounts of peanut protein and gradually increased amounts over a four-month-period. By the end of the study, participants were getting the equivalent of one peanut. “What we’re finding is that children are becoming less sensitive to peanuts,” says head researcher Dr. Wesley Burks. Potentially life-saving news should your child eat a peanut accidentally. “We hope by the end of this study participants will have actually ‘outgrown’ their peanut allergy.”

Some Peanut Allergy Facts:

  • Most children experience their first allergic peanut reaction between 14 and 24 months of age.
  • Some children react to as little as 1/1000th of a peanut and, in severe cases, it can be life threatening the first time.
  • If signs of allergy, such as eczema or other skin conditions, appear before six months of age, there is a one in five chance that your child will develop an allergy by age five.