Friday, March 20, 2009

Dispelling the Myths

There are certain things that make me cringe. So many myths have been proliferated through the years and are only now being abandoned. However, I still routinely run into these infractions on blogs, in books, and even in conversations. Allow me illustrate with three examples.
#1: Terrible Twos
Many parents refer to their toddler's years as the "terrible twos". As antagonistic as a two-year-old can be, there is nothing terrible about their behavior. A few things to consider: toddlers want to choose. When they say "no" it is not because they are being defiant or difficult, but is because they are gaining autonomy. Parents often forget that the most frequent word they, as parents, use is "no" as well. Perhaps learning how to say "yes" more often may temper your toddler's desire to use "no" as much. Some other tips from experts include using routines, structure, and allow for your toddler to make choices. It might be irritating to allow your toddler to choose their own outfit (not to mention time consuming) but allowing this will prevent the melt down. Handling toddlers is about learning patience and love.
#2: Baby-Sitting/Anything to do With Children is Good Birth Control
No. The only good birth control is the kind you actually use. Do you really think you will have 6 3-year-olds at one time (you may, but odds are against you)? Having children one by one (or sometimes in pairs) is not as scary as it might seem. This whole fear comes from perceptions that children ruin marriages. Well, let me enlighten you. A professor of mine conducted an analysis of marital satisfaction research. He discovered that marriages with and without children have the same slight decrease in the first years of marriage. This decrease is so small that it is hardly distinguishable from the rest of the graph.
#3: Infant Colic (or Smile) is a Product of Gas
While this advice might seem likely, there is not hard facts behind this. How about attributing colic to the mean circumstances of placing an infant into the harsh, cruel world to feel pain, discomfort, temperature changes, and other new and somewhat traumatizing sensations. The transition from the nice, warm, and comfortable womb must be tough! I imagine that there is not one solution for why some babies develop colic (which is actually quite common in most infants for their second month), but suggesting that it is solely gas is just absurd. Gas cannot cause pain and smiles at the same time. That is a dichotomy. Nonetheless, smiles come from reflexes in the first couple of months (or 4 weeks) anyway. I think that the best way to help the infant is to love and nurture yourself and your baby. Surround yourself with a good social support group and remember that the baby is not out to get you. It could also be helpful to determine whether your baby is sensitive to milk products, this is quite a helpful diagnosis.
Whether or not you believe in one or all of these myths, I hope that you feel more informed. Sometimes I just need a place to vent, and writing is the most soothing thing for my soul.

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