Wednesday, 30 May 2012

PPP - another bijou rant-ette.

Blame it on the hot weather and screaming kids! :-D

PPP stands for Piss Poor Parenting.

Why, oh why, oh why do parents allow children to dictate their own diets? As if children know what's good for them! At an event I attended recently, "Johnny*" was given a plate of chicken drummers (mechanically-recovered chicken formed into the approximate shape of chicken drumsticks and coated with breadcrumbs) and oven chips. I asked Johnny if he would like a beefburger, sausage or pork steak. He replied. "I don't like them". He only wanted manufactured shite. Seriously, WTF?

When I was a lad, I was given the same food as my parents. If I didn't eat it, I went without. I ate it!
Nowadays, "children's menus" in restaurants (I'm being quite generous in the use of the word restaurant) consist of lots of manufactured shite that children like. Unlike veggies & fruit, this shite contains very little fibre/fiber or Magnesium.

Is it any wonder that childhood constipation is a problem? Why are children being given PEG or even Lactulose, when there's a much better solution - Epsom Salts (which contains 10% Magnesium by weight). The brain needs Magnesium to remain cool, calm and collected i.e. function properly. The brain also needs EPA, DHA and Vitamin D3 to function properly. Many kids don't like oily fish, so they won't eat it. It's not rocket science to purée some sardines or wild red salmon with some Bolognese/Sweet chilli/w.h.y. sauce so that they won't notice it. Many kids play indoors or are smothered in sunblock when they do go outdoors, so they get little or no Vitamin D3. Is it any wonder that childhood ADD & ADHD is much more common? Medication and psychotherapy? Seriously, WTF?

See Effect of MAGNE-B6 on the clinical and biochemical manifestations of the syndrome of attention deficit and hyperactivity in children.

Supplementation of polyunsaturated fatty acids, magnesium and zinc in children seeking medical advice for attention-deficit/hyperactivity problems - an observational cohort study.

Moderators of treatment response in adults with ADHD treated with a vitamin-mineral supplement.

When I was a lad, there were a couple of show-offs in my class at school, but nobody behaved like "Jimmy*" (physically and mentally hyperactive with bad behaviour, screaming and shouting). Johnny was also badly behaved, but not as bad as Jimmy. The parents at the event seemed content that, every day, their children had to be given "uppers" (e.g. Ritalin) to help them concentrate during the day and "downers" to help them sleep at night. Seriously, WTF?

I will now take a deep breath and count to twenty. There, that's better!

*Names changed.


praguestepchild said...

It's messed up, of course, but a more interesting question, in my mind, is why kids have such different tastes?

Kids are notorious for having sweet tooths, and that seems to abate at puberty.

My back of the napkin hypothesis for this is that it is probably related to lactose, which is a sugar after all, that it's a carry back to our more fruitarian ancestors (perhaps related to neoteny genes), or that that fruit was such a necessary rarity that we developed an extra craving for it as young'uns.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Milk doesn't taste sweet, not even human breast milk, er, allegedly! ;-p

Sweet natural foods (e.g. sweet fruits, some canes, some roots, honey) are usually safe to eat. In olden times, honey was hard to obtain, so it wasn't over-consumed.

tess said...

PPPing is the most incomprehensible problem.... they're not doing the kid ANY favors, making them think the world revolves around them! if people don't want to DO PARENTING, they shouldn't BE parents.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I totally agree, but people who are completely incapable of parenting DO have (sometimes lots of) kids because
a) it's their fundamental human right to do so*
but mainly
b) they're completely incapable of arranging effective contraception.

Don't get me started on PPD (Piss Poor Drivers).
There's more steam coming out of my ears!

*when the human population reaches some humongous level, I wonder whether this right will be rescinded by governments & by what means?

marie said...

Your rants are usually jewels, Nigel ;-)
Looks to me like parents are fighting a losing battle against the media and peer pressure that has not only grown to saturate kids' environments, but has less and less counterbalance from an extended family's adults.
Once upon a time, we raised kids within an extended family and an even wider family network, the parents were backed-up by aunts/uncles and grandparents, more or less daily. That was the environment with the biggest daily influence on the kids before adolescence. That hasn't been the case for decades. A family is very close if the grandparents see the kids once or twice a week...and aunts and uncles, if they have them, even less frequently.
And don't get me started on neighborhoods, where Tommy's mom could grab you by the ear and drag you back home if you'd been caught hanging upside down from her tree, again, with your skort partly hanging around your face and unable to get down...ahem. I've been raising kids (step, natural and volunteer-foster) for 23 years and the change has been painfully obvious in terms of both media and natural environment.
Not that Most parents couldn't stand to do quite a bit more, but the challenges are a lot higher too.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Marie, what *do* you mean "Your rants are usually jewels, Nigel ;-)"

People will think that I regularly have a rant! ;-p

Are you saying that the situation in the US/Canada is worse than I thought with regards to media pervasiveness & persuasiveness and that kids have more "pester power" over there than over here? Giving in and saying "Yes" leads to peace short-term, but *loads* more trouble long-term.

I saw things at that barbecue that made me seriously wonder about some parents' priorities in life. Oh, dear!

Kade Storm said...

One of those subjects that I could rant about forever.

I don't believe that we can casually attribute so much blame on the media. While the game has gotten much harder, I myself am a young parent of three (o teh over populationz), and have taken the appropriate measures to tackle and disarm such factors in the shaping of our children.

Without a single day's exception or distraction, our kids eat what we eat, and there's no additives or non-whole-food crap in our house. It's a matter of taking control from the start of the game and establishing desirable habits that are aptly rewarded. It certainly can seem like an up-hill battle against market influence, but at the end of the day, it's the law of the house that can play a pivotal part in shaping their outlook. . . and even inspiring a bit of harsh rebellion if the law isn't implemented in a graceful /non-confrontational, but firm manner.

Fuckin' proud that my kids don't espouse those bad habits and demand even one of the many crap-infested 'food concepts' that are targeted at 'em over the good 'ol idiot box. Our two daughters -- two and three-years-old -- are the only ones among their peers who don't have rotting teeth, some kind of skin problem, or a desire to fight us to the extreme on the food we serve. They not only eat what's served, but they've grown to enjoy the food quality and perceive much of the menu as treat in and of itself.

"Giving in and saying "Yes" leads to peace short-term, but *loads* more trouble long-term. - Nigel

Indeed. Classical behaviourism. Once a response has been conditioned, and then reinforced multiple times, it becomes exponentially harder to uncondition the individual. Also, leaving the unconditioning job half-done before throwing in the towel furthers their acclimatisation to the tactics, making it an even tougher problem to break later on down the line.

The concept of forming decent dietary and hygiene habits can be so simple and straight forward if people take initiative from the get-go rather than wait for when they think it is 'societally appropriate' to start putting limits on the children.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

There's not a lot I can say to that, other than "well done!" (apart from teh overpopulationz, lol).

Do other parents ever ask you for your secretz, when they see how healthy your kids are compared to theirs?

marie said...

Kade, you have toddlers? Imposing your rules Should be easy at that stage. Just wait. Ah, youth.... :-)
Yes, of course it can be done later too, but the obstacles grow enormously once the kids hit school and simultaneously gain enough skills to interact more with media. So counteracting this, and moreover doing it all alone without the reinforcement of extended families and neighborhoods, really requires skills, effort and time that most working parents do not have...did not Need to have at any point in our evolution. That's my only observation.

Kade Storm said...

Cheers, Nigel.

We do get constant compliments from onlookers and strangers that we run into on their behaviour and how well they look and act in general (pleasant behaviour; no tantrums; helping with shopping rather than throwing a strop in public or at the local grocery store).

Quite often, we do get asked about the methods we employ, but it always comes across as a chore to those who make the inquiry, mainly because previous negative habits have already been established and process seems very uphill to them. Comparatively speaking, I do find our children rather flexible and easy to manage. Perhaps some children are easier than others, but I think some credit does go towards providing the child with basic structure. Nature versus nurture, and all.

This personal anecdote of mine simply supports what I've studied about behaviourism and fundamental establishment of boundaries and operational structure with regards to child psychology. It also supports what I've observed in other children, including those of our close friends. Children instinctively explore limits to identify a sense of security and boundary for themselves, which is where parents are required to help provide said structure.


You are correct. They're toddlers, and there's a big difference between that stage and what follows on at later points in life. Hell, some of us decide to have an all-out rebellion and do a complete one-eighty-degree turn with an adult transformation. But let's also keep in mind that a lot of fundamental behavioural queues and traits can be formed during the years when parents have easy control. While such control is no guarantee, it does give strong probable support to the cause of preventing problems at a later stage.

From my point of view, the problem isn't in just about how easy it is to control a mere toddler in comparison to an older child. Problem is that a majority of parents I am seeing these days, don't even bother controlling toddlers any more because 'aww, aren't they so cute when they're so small. . . let them get a bit older'. An actionable strategy at this stage helps form and contain their basic nature at a lower level that certainly helps constrict -- and perhaps even prevent -- certain issues at a later point. That stable template, I think, is quite essential.

So yes, imposing my rules are easy at this stage. I wish other parents -- who experience problems -- would do the same while it's still easy and take advantage of having access to that basic level programming rather than wonder where things went wrong once it becomes a case of 'too little, too late'.

Don't get me wrong though; I do agree that the game has become significantly more complicated. However, I still believe that parents can establish control by being proactive earlier on, and instilling the kind of structure and pattern in children at such a basic level that would help them avoid the pitfalls of negative external stimuli at later points in life.

Kate Ground said...

I dont like the lack of threads on blogger. Annoying.......Nigel, breast milk tastes like the milk left at the bottom of a cereal bowl. It is slightly sweet. But you are so correct in your rant that you got me all upset....not really. I was very "strict" with my first 2 kids. They were weaned on goat's milk, ate puréed veggies I cooked, and if they didn't like it, they went without. With child #3 I got a little lazier bit still, she ate well. Child #4 is when I threw up my hands. She had and still has this texture phobia. Would and still does (she is 17) throw up when putting certain textures in her mouth. She ate crap. But...behavior was never an issue. I'm a strict mom. A lot of Johnny/Jimmy's behavior problems at the BBQ are the parents not controlling their child. Diet is only a small issue. Lack of training is the main issue. Granted, training a child to eat well is part of that, but it isn't always that simple.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Hi Kate,

Going back in history to a time before blenders or puréed baby food existed, what did babies eat?

Did mothers keep breast-feeding until their babies had enough teeth to eat solid foods unaided, or did mothers pre-chew their babies' foods?

I wondered, as there's a hilarious video HERE of a baby being fed puréed green beans. A wild guess tells me that green beans on their own are not a natural food for babies!

john said...


Maybe high dopamine response/sensitivity has something to do with young kids loving sweets. Their high metabolic flexibility probably decreases upon puberty. Resistance to obesity, metabolic flexibility, and dopamine signaling usually go together.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

RE Johnny/Jimmy's behavior problems at the BBQ: The 2 mothers that I was talking to told me that, without Ritalin, their children were completely uncontrollable. Johnny was pretty bad even with Ritalin, so a lack of discipline from his (single) mother probably had something to do with it, along with his poor diet.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

@john: I believe that a taste for sweets is acquired, rather than built-in. Eskimo kids (before Western food arrived) would have been weaned onto fermented seal & whale-meat. If a taste for sweets was built-in, Eskimo babies would have been extremely frustrated.

See Mmm, meat! Meat >>> Green beans!

See also Banana vs Extra-bitter chocolate. Extra-bitter chocolate > Banana!

Kate Ground said...

True, breast feeding until they had teeth is the thing, but I only puréed things like sweet potatoes and beans are for teeth. My daughter is skipping the mashed food bit and having her six month old gum soft stiff. She is a primal eater and had, thank God, skipped the rice cereal crap. I wish I had.

Kate Ground said...

Sweets aree an acquired taste. My older granddaughter picks bacon over bananas

Nigel Kinbrum said...

I remember being given rusks to eat when I was little. No wonder I wanted 5 teaspoons of sugar in my tea/cocoa and guzzled Corona lemonade like it was water!

I hope that Real Food/Primal/Paleo etc diets become increasingly popular, I really do.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

In my 09:13 comment, I meant to write Jimmy, not Johnny!

Galina L. said...

My son used to fit perfectly Wooo's description of some kids "hyperactive child who loves sugar and hates food". He was not allowed to eat much sugar at home, and when grew-up, lost completely his taste for sweets, and actually has very little tolerance to sweetness now. Some fruits he can't eat because it tastes too sweet.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

On BlackBerry, so will be brief.

Good for you, Galina. Too many parents won't say "No".

N Matheson said...

Hi, we chewed up our babies meat and some veggies until she could handle them herself. We still do for beef. There was a Desmond Morris documentary which showed (inuit I think) traditional people chewing up and kissing meat into a babies mouth. We tried that as there was an honest to goodness urge to do so.
As it would lead to us getting into a lot of trouble we only did it once.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

Good stuff!

For some reason, breasts and kissing which were originally intended for feeding babies has been turned into something sexual.

Thank goodness that breast-feeding is still legal and you can still put pre-chewed food into a baby's mouth using a spoon.