Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Parenting Research Unplugged

Kids still as creative as ever? (Credit: © BeTa-Artworks / Fotolia)

Research you (might) need to know.

Smoke from open-fire cooking associated with children's lower cognitive skills.  Cooking over an indoor fire in the developing world, not the smoker you occasionally fire up in your backyard. 

Perhaps it was sharing food over an enclosed flame (and subsequent mental blunting) that led to enduring male-female relationships...if you believe the next bit.

Females responsible for end of promiscuity and the start of modern families? 
Dear Mr. Evolutionary Psychologist: Don't try to pin the domestication of the human male on women. Instead, blame the low-ranking males who started bringing women food in return for sex (as opposed to the high-status males running off to find another woman). It was their bright idea in the first place though even they couldn't have forseen the consequences.   

While we're on the issue of domestication it's time for yet another round of
MarriageGate: Does Being Married Makes Us Happy? 

This week the answer appears to be YES.

Married people happier.  If they stick it out long enough. If they live long enough. If they can get over the unhappiness visited upon them by kids and the spectre of looming college tuition.

If they don't mind eating veggies and otherwise modeling good parenting behavior.

Parents with good eating habits have kids with good eating habits.  Hide the Milk Duds and try not to order, force or bribe anyone at the dinner table.

But don't think the mere act of eating with your kiddies is going to prevent them from hitting the bottle or getting a college scholarship. 

Family dinner not the magic bullet for improved grades, mental health, alcohol and drug use. So come fall when National Family Dinner Day rolls around, remember the study cited again and again is pretty much crap.  It's about communication and trust, not stuffing faces around a table 5 nights a week.

Kids more creative although they play less.  Still researchers can't help but suggest parents encourage more play because they cannot quite believe the results. Nor can I. You?

Memory training not going to boost IQ or improve ADHD.  No more excuses for buying Brain Training other than the pursuit of pure entertainment. 

4 comments:

Breastfeeding Without BS said...

Regarding the healthy eating study... I had a look and was unable to find the original paper. Is this an intervention-based study which got randomized groups of parents to do certain things, or did it just observe things parents were doing already? Because if the latter is the case, the results tell us nothing; biological children of good eaters are obviously going to have a higher chance of being good eaters themselves, even if they are learning nothing from their parents.

Great site by the way... keep it coming!!

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Hi and thanks, BF without BS! Great name. Think it was observational. Yes there are several explanations here. Will have to check the link. Like your site too.

Breastfeeding Without BS said...

http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/1112545297/children-look-to-parents-for-healthy-habits/

Aha! I found a more detailed discussion of the study here. Looks like it was indeed observational. Hmmmm.....

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Just as we expected....in terms of accuracy I hold self-report diet/nutrition surveys somewhere between self-reported racial prejudice and sex surveys. People have some difficulty providing accurate reports for a variety of reasons e.g. self-deception, motivation to give "correct" answers, forgetfulness, conscious fudging, etc.