Thursday, July 5, 2007

Three for Thursday: Parenting Consultants, Parental Work-Outs, Medicine Inhospitable to Breastfeeding?

Item #1: Sub-Contracting Parenting

Several years ago, I wrote a couple of columns for Parents and Kids where I mused – tongue-firmly-in-cheek – about hiring a professional to potty-train my kids or to baby-proof my house. I’d had enough and was venting my frustration. So I joked (key word, JOKED) about enlisting professionals. Then this week I read an article about real-life parents hiring expensive real-life parenting consultants.

After giving it some thought, I think I’ve figured out why this is happening: In my humble opinion, the reason why parents are shelling out hard-earned money to people to provide them with parenting advice is because this generation of parents has been mercilessly hounded by parenting experts who tell them things like: Avoid telling your child, “No.” (You’re urged to come up with creative alternatives to, “No.”) Give your toddler choices (when it comes to clothing, food, activities, etc.) so he or she will have some sense of self-determination. Don’t use time-outs because they’re punitive; use positive reinforcement instead. Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.

And, after years of reading this advice, some parents become paralyzed with indecision when their children act like, well, normal children who are testing their boundaries. These truly well meaning parents fear making a mistake, so they enlist a specialist to make sure that they’re doing right by their kids.

As many local commentators have suggested, it’s a lot cheaper to just call your mother.

Item #2: No-Brainer of the Week

The New York Times has an article in today’s paper which says that becoming a parent leaves you with less time to exercise.

Item #3: Dr. Mom’s Breastfeeding Woes

Last week I mentioned a situation involving a Massachusetts would-be medical resident and mom of a newborn who was denied the opportunity to express her breastmilk during a nine-hour medical exam because the group overseeing the test determined that lactation is not a disability and that the mom did not need to be accommodated. (In a nice twist of irony, it’s the medical community that’s been telling mothers that they need to breastfeed their babies for at least a year in order to bolster their children’s health.)

This week, Parents and Kids colleague Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, writes in her blog that she too experienced a hostile medical environment when she became a mother and opted not to breastfeed because she just couldn’t breastfeed and work as a physician.

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