Spotting Good Parenting Advice

How do you know if the latest parenting news or parenting advice is worth your time? 

This remains a challenge for parents seeking quality parenting information. My kids seem to be learning how to sort through the enormous offerings of information online. However, most of us parents largely missed this lesson in school. As we were busily copying outdated information from Encyclopedia Britannica. At least some of us.

Anyhow, I hope my efforts here over the years have helped some of you more readily or confidently recognize the better studies and the flawed ones, the sounder advice and also think twice about what you hear and read. If you have any tales of spotty studies or claims in the parenting media, please let me know. Would love to hear from you.


Beth said...

The encyclopedia, lol. I wish I didn't have too hear so many comments about vaccinations. A doctor friend told me she was worried about vaccinating her baby. I just can't.

Anonymous said...

Here's a claim that came up today that I could tell by the source was probably not credible: that prenatal vitamins causes lip ties and autism. I'm newly pregnant for the second time and finding that I have to re-read stuff I figured out the first time, like which prenatal vitamins to choose. So I keep coming across this claim that folic acid is bad for you. I think this is a pretty good summary of the claims I've been seeing lately.

Unfortunately I'm also seeing a lot of reaction to the recent study about the flu vaccine linked to increased risk for miscarriage. So many women heard the general news reporting on that and decided not to get a flu vaccine, or any vaccine. When in reality it was just one vaccine (the 2011-2012 one) that was linked to an increased risk, likely due to added H1N1 strains. And that study was not replicated. All other studies find no increased risks due to the flu vaccine.
Here's an example general news article:

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Hi Beth, I've heard the same from doctors and nurses. Just recently I ran into a doctor who said she was nervous about getting the HPV for her daughter. And there has been much less "drama" surrounding it than the early childhood ones. True, there's the issue of sexual activity involved in the HPV vaccine but I don't think that's what she was talking about.

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Hi Anony, congratulations on your second pregnancy. Great examples.

The folic acid issue has been around for a while, at least floated in relation to autism. I took a look at the link, and could not focus due to the sheer number of factoids. I have never heard of GPS before, for the uninitiated, that's Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Treated by the GPS Diet. How about the claim that liver is one of the first foods to feed babies? Definitely not endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The flu vaccine study in the news last month probably will reduce rates of vaccination among pregnant women. The latest finding could be a fluke, could be due to the particular strain as you point out. I couldn't get into the WashPo article but heard the NPR story on it. Readers can find it there too.

It's a good example of findings that the researchers really did not want to find. Or publicize, for fear that it will make people more hesitant to get flu shots. But it did bring the researchers some media attention, I suppose, right?

Lee Procida said...

It would be really great if someone made one of these for parenting news:

*hint* *hint* *nudge* *nudge*

Polly Palumbo, Ph.D. said...

Hi Lee! Thanks for the hints!! I have loved Health News Reviews for some time now. Never heard of John Bohannon - thanks for sharing. Just the other day a girlfriend was pushing me to do a podcast. Hhhhmmm. I would need some guests....hint, hint, maybe someone interested in parenting yourself?