Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Why it is not 'Kids These Days', a millennium of child hate

https://www.flickr.com/photos/vinothchandar/8530944828/in/photolist-dZRjFE-riWRst-pDCGUW-2vVkpu-Curwec-nvp6uv-7bWjuW-riZtid-8vBVVr-8vEXcj-nJXFx8-SPhwaZ-SthJiZ-mSkYCV-ctCM79-pW1Y6z-oAMPPm-oPz1aV-riWQGR-RX46xh-fdCAav-gwmAC2-nxsLKt-gwmN7H-bEBEhc-4HfejV-ntCBay-nvHJJs-6Gb2Z5-F8uHQ-hfyLZB-nvGccn-qn4NS7-ozToQw-g1EDcJ-nvoTXT-hktADh-RTuk8L-VzUhTe-4JTxqe-5BPYRZ-dFRoRT-hiCM52-62taoH-dJu49c-hWX3qc-nPaBLg-aAE6v8-a7BA1a-8qJ6ZMI rue for the days when adults were capable of creating a coherent argument about society today that took into account the reality of society yesterday and predicted something accurate for society of tomorrow. 

I should live so long...

Today, in the facebook parenting group, this piece of tripe


was served up, raw and slimy. I mean, why...?

Go ahead and read it. Take your time.

I completely agree with this teacher’s message that our children are getting worse and worse in many aspects. I hear the same consistent message from every teacher I meet.
Does it look and smell remarkably like any of these gems?

15 Historical Complaints About Young People Ruining Everything

I love this quote:
A pernicious excitement to learn and play chess has spread all over the country, and numerous clubs for practicing this game have been formed in cities and villages...chess is a mere amusement of a very inferior character, which robs the mind of valuable time that might be devoted to nobler acquirements, while it affords no benefit whatever to the body.
Scientific American, July 1859 


Which of course, mirrors this claim:
Kids used to play outside, where, in unstructured natural environments, they learned and practiced their social skills.  Unfortunately, technology replaced the outdoor time. 
You can almost hear them all nodding sagely, in unison ...

... meanwhile, back in reality ...
The study, published Wednesday in The American Journal of Family Therapy, found students in the early elementary school years are getting significantly more homework than is recommended by education leaders, in some cases nearly three times as much homework as is recommended.

Children spend 50% more time on school drive than in their parents' day

Yeah... that's all about the evils of video games interfering with all that free time outside...


... and then, about being free:
Since when do children dictate to us how to parent them? ... What good are we doing them by giving them what they WANT when we know that it is not GOOD for them? Without proper nutrition and a good night’s sleep, our kids come to school irritable, anxious, and inattentive.  In addition, we send them the wrong message.  They learn they can do what they want and not do what they don’t want.
Yes, dear. The problem is children these days are doing what they want, instead of playing ... outside ... doing ... what ... they ... ... ... um ... ?

What is 'wrong with kids these days' is that the adults watching them can't think properly. Back in my day, we learned to think before we put our names on mindless twaddle and claimed it was original thought and intelligent discourse ...

Here's what is really happening:

Children today, the kids of digital natives (those horrific Millennials who are about to destroy civilization with all their inclusion policies and international communications and staying-in-touch with virtually every person they've ever met, who never learned to socialize properly, according to their teachers and parents) have in their hands extremely powerful tools, often for most of the day. This enables them to:
  • socialize when they are not supposed to, without passing notes in class (Hi, Gen-X and Boomers!), and, incidentally, voluntarily honing their written communication skills
  • to look up current, accurate information (remember the card catalogue, that dusty, dated collection of books printed back when all truth was simple and never changed?)
  • to both record and report crimes as they are happening, holding criminals accountable and making it clear that even police won't be excluded from this era of constant, private surveillance
  • to create their own industries and earn while they learn by sharing what they know and monetizing it through their social networks across the globe (lazy beasts, going around earning money while they're studying, playing, sleeping...)
  • criticizing static knowledge, abuse of authority, sexist and senseless policies, arbitrary restrictions and even the place and practices of 'school' as we know it --just as if it weren't some sacred cow developed over a hundred thousand years by Master Thinkers trained for decades in How To Analyze Quality Education Methods... because it isn't.
While these all-seeing and all-knowing teachers (and even the author herself, with her grand centuries-of-personal-experience: 
Clearly, throughout my time as an Occupational Therapist, I have seen and continue to see a decline in kids’ social, emotional, and academic functioning...
... ahem.) are amazingly good at repeating what they heard last and believing whatever they think, they are clearly not good at critical thinking, understanding history, or observing their own world. 

The education world: a mish-mash of cobbled together ideas to free all adults to contribute to the GDP, control the population and stop them thinking they have any right to a voice in public decision-making, to create 'well-rounded' adults (that, at least, is working with their demands for sitting still and drug them if they don't) and copy this iota of that country's system that produces 'better' results (while ignoring the suicide rates, a completely unrelated result no matter how many young adults write 'pressure to get perfect scores' on their notes) ... while ignoring the research that indicates clearly what helps kids thrive (like getting to sleep when their bodies need to, not taking 7am extra-curricular classes so their portfolios will have enough 'roundedness' for Harvard to let them in...) because it's inconvenient to the system that is, really, what our fine lady Victoria calls the first problem:
Using technology as a “Free babysitting service” 
We can't change the hours of school because school is for free babysitting for the normal (like that's real now or ever was) work week. If teens started at 1pm, who would babysit them for the mornings while they sleep according to their circadian needs ... and who would do the 'afterschool' work in their places, if they are in school until 7pm? How can they be taking their younger siblings to school so parents don't have to, if they're sleeping later than the kids' start? 

That can't work... we can't be adaptive to reality, because The School System is ideal ... well, made already ... employs too many people comfortable in their places ... too big to fail... 

Clearly, the problem is parents today being all terrible at parenting ... like always... 

Parents take care to feed their children with wholesome diet; and yet how unconcerned about the provision for the mind, whether they are furnished with salutary food, or with trash, chaff, or poison?
Reverend Enos Hitchcock, 1790 

Monday, 12 June 2017

5 Ways to Mislead Exhausted Parents: Baby Sleep Research

https://www.flickr.com/photos/rocketjim54/170096756/in/photolist-g2MQG-4GBwTq-9qP5Ra-dvD2CZ-28Bcf-b5wN6R-7iTeDF-8ygy8y-askAzY-giwVD-8okk4m-5J7ncY-6w5LCm-2aKS7-byxYUP-zqQMh-42Tdws-SWG7H-aJZ5v4-8tXXkm-7KxKak-6LH4Le-8tXXjq-5rsgjX-8tXXjL-dWgG1s-5Gdt8L-9Z2MAd-CnbgSQ-FXvEe-5wRo8-ujjwS-5dqwBu-8bZMcW-bNhyg-TuRWF-8g6Tnb-dgwmHr-bVxsM6-9jfMdj-3QRz3s-yuuTx-5WySJy-7pY8ri-bsK7rc-bmxWg9-9iLWwQ-5ca1AS-bnn5vh-8zsrHJIt is a bit like hunting rabbits in a hutch ... guaranteed clicks on headlines that read like this:

Mom and baby sleeping in same room associated with less sleep, unsafe sleeping habits

Oh, the allure of 'better' sleep! 

Tired parents all over the world are looking for exactly this, so they're hooked on every instance of this kind of bait.

What's wrong with getting parents to click on news reports of research that will get them more sleep?

It's unethical, for one thing, which annoys me. It's unethical because it uses the desperation and needs of a collection of people for private gain.

Parents aren't going to get any more sleep, and the research results bear no resemblance to the headlines, but it looks good, so they click, share, and prove the cynics right: you can never go wrong by fudging the truth to match people's desires.

What is really going on, here, and how is this misleading to parents?

Here are a few resources that explain what the study actually shows, and what is wrong with the methodology:

Reality Check: When Should Babies Be Allowed to Sleep In Their Own Room? In which the lovely Judy Arnall, a certified child development specialist and owner of Professional Parenting Canada, points out the conflicts between this 'research' and far higher quality research that the Canadian Pediatrics Society and the American Academy of Pediatrics use to make their recommendations.

Should Babies Sleep Alone? Analysis of the INSIGHT Study's Findings on Infant Sleep by Location, in which the conflicts of interest in the whole study (which, as noted within, is a long term project designed to evaluate interventions to prevent childhood obesity --uh... relevance?), by the lovely Evolutionary Parenting blog.

And here is the list...

5 Ways to Mislead Exhausted Parents:

1. Fail to Define Terms

What, precisely, is 'better' sleep? It is presumed, because that's convenient for parents and an easy sell, that 'better' = longer, but is that actually true? Is longer sleep 'better' sleep for babies?

Piece of relevant information, somehow omitted from the discussion:
Babies grow while they sleep, burning calories as if they were up and doing things, so they need calories throughout the night to thrive.
2. Fail to Mention Bias

When parents participating in this study believe that the 'right' way for infants to sleep is 'through the night' and 'on their own in a crib' --because the researchers have supplied them with exactly that information, and with encouragement to accomplish it... how will most parents respond to the face-to-face interviews with the people telling them The Right Way? 

And how will parents be entering the information in the reporting sheets, knowing they will be facing those people-with-strong-opinions? (remember the conflict of interest up there? One of the researchers is a professional 'sleep trainer' who believes-without-proof that babies don't need to eat in the night and infants should sleep alone in a separate space, in the face of decades of sleep lab-based research to the contrary)

3. Promise to Solve Reality

A dear friend points out that you can solve problems, but you can't solve reality. This kind of media coverage abuses parents' unmet need for more sleep by promising to solve reality: that small humans have needs in the night that are real and that they cannot meet alone.

How is that reality promised to be 'solved'? By helping parents feel validated in their desire to put the baby further away. 
How does having a baby further away stop the baby from needing things in the night that s/he can't do anything about alone?
It doesn't.

 4. Fail to Confront the Lies Because Profit

Yes, dear, of course your baby can-and-should sleep through the night so you can 'get a break.' Here's a great method I just happen to be selling a book about. I can help you accomplish that because I sell my services as a sleep trainer. 

It is remarkable that so many people who are so convincing just happen to be selling the 'cure' ... how amazing.

The lie is 'babies can be put on a shelf when you need a break, because reality is hard.'

Alfie Kohn says: if you wanted something convenient, why didn't you buy a poster instead of having a baby?

5. Fail to Acknowledge the Importance to Parents of the Infant-Parent Relationship

All this misleading 'information' for profit inevitably fails to address how important it feels to parents to bond well with their babies, and how these recommendations actively interfere with that bond for profit. Because the fact is
...there is no upper limit to how much people will buy when they're convinced they just don't have the right tool or technique or expert yet to solve reality...
... when the experts are convincing that reality can be solved. 

There is a never-ending parade of 'if that didn't work, try this' based on the lie that it is possible to refuse to meet a baby's needs to stop the baby from having needs. Here's a quote from one:
You don't want parents resenting their child because they don't get a break.

The issue, according to this 'expert', Jodi Mindell, Ph.D ...is that the relationship between baby and parents will be damaged by parents meeting baby's needs. The founder of the 'free resource' for "evidence-based sleep information on children's sleep..."

And here's the money connection for you:


  wow. I am shocked. Look at that: not free books.