NEWSWEEK TO PARENTS: DROP DEAD!

NEWSWEEK TO PARENTS: DROP DEAD!

Killer hurricanes, an ugly presidential campaign, and 1,000 dead American soldiers in Iraq were not enough to bump the week's most important story from the cover of Newsweek: How to Say "No" to Your Kids. This sprawling suburb of an article boils down to: Hey, come on, guys, stop buying your kids so much stuff! Especially you rich moms! You're, like, so making it hard for the rest of us to say no! With heartbreaking tales of parents losing fierce battles to prevent their credit cards from buying iPods, Xboxes and other gewgaws, the magazine bemoans a generation of parents utterly lacking in values raising a marauding band of whiners who stand poised to destroy America's standing in the world.

Whatever. The article is, of course, correct, although we strongly doubt that it has put its finger on a problem unique to this time and place. Of course it does no one any good to spoil children by buying them everything they want. It costs too much, for one thing. And it teaches kids all the wrong lessons, while setting them up to become adults no one likes. But these are not exactly groundbreaking discoveries.

FD's take? Buying everything your kids want doesn't stop the whining. But saying "No" to them doesn't stop the whining, either. Still, it is cheaper, so we'll sign on for that second one.


NOW AVAILABLE FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE ALREADY SURRENDERED

VTech has introduced the first video-game system for preschoolers, the V.Smile, whose dubious benefits are already being debated passionately, according to an article in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal (not available online). According to the VTech Web site, buying the V.Smile console is a win-win situation. . . especially for VTech:

Kids love video games. Parents want their kids to love learning. With V.Smile everyone gets what they want!
Well, when you put it that way, how can we disagree. Hey, we love beer. And our kids love Clifford. So, why don't we just fill a Clifford Thermos with Sam Adams and have a party? Everyone gets what they want!

The Web site details 3 available games, one each based on The Lion King and Winnie the Pooh, along with a non-Disney alphabet game. Of course, for kids in the target audience (age 3 and up), the games offered for free on sites like pbskids.org and noggin.com would seem to fit the bill well enough. On the other hand, they don't come in a bright orange console, so there's that to consider.


THANKS TO HIS CLEAN TEETH AND PROPER UPBRINGING, ONE OF JANE BRODY'S SONS WILL BE PRESIDENT IN 2041. TUNE INTO THE WB SUNDAY NIGHT TO FIND OUT WHICH ONE.

She's at it again: In her "Personal Health" column on Tuesday, Jane Brody of the Times proposes a significant, expensive rethinking of medical advice on infant and toddler dental care, apparently just so more families can get in line with her own neuroses.

Brody suggests that a child's first dental checkup should come well before the age of 2, advice that contradicts the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics, which recommends a first visit at around age 3, the age when all 20 baby teeth should be in place. Brody's advice also contradicts the advice of our own pediatrician and pediatric dentist. So what's her source? Life experience:

Having spent much of my childhood . . . in a dentist's office getting cavities filled and crowns and bridges installed, I was determined that my sons would enjoy a better fate.
. . . I had read an article by a pediatric dentist admonishing parents . . . to take their toddlers to the dentist for the first time at or before the age of 2.
Yes, but do you have any more recent authority for this advice?
Now, however, pediatric dentists suggest an even earlier first visit.
And Michael Eisner suggests that parents buy more Mickey Mouse sheets, but you could argue that he has a financial interest in it. Still, other than the advice on first dental appointments, Brody's article is worth reading as a general review of infant and toddler dental care, although there's no real news here: Clean infants' gums with cloth or gauze; don't let infants fall asleep sucking on a milk bottle; and brush toddler's teeth with non-fluoride paste - although our own pediatric dentist suggests that water is probably about as good as non-fluoride paste in cleaning kids' teeth.


RULE OF THUMB: IF ANYTHING YOU'RE DOING COULD BE THE BASIS FOR A TV MOVIE, YOU'VE CROSSED THE LINE

Jeffrey Zaslow has a fascinating column in the Wall Street Journal this week about fathers dealing with changes and new boundaries in their physical relationships with their daughters. Having a daughter who is only a year and a half, these concerns are still in the future for us, but we imagine we'd sympathize with the dads quoted who regret having to give up that tactile connection to their daughters. A piece worth reading for all dads.

September 9, 2004 | Permalink | Subscribe to RSS

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