The Daddy Complex

Dads living with their children are more active as parents, study finds

I find it incredible that an active invested parent benefits kids. (←sarcasm)

Okay. I get that there’s not much data on fathers compared to the massive amount of data on mothers. And I also get that you kinda need to start at the bottom when collecting said data.

But, c’mon, this study by the National Center for Health Statistics seems kinda like a no-brainer.

Anyway, the study found “about two-thirds of fathers who lived with their children talked to them every day about things that happened [that day]…”

Do people not do that? How else do you find out about all the sweet ninja moves your kids learned during recess?

High-res Today in: Ridiculous Studies…
theatlantic:

Why Babies Fear Plants

A study published last week in the journal Cognition by a team of Yale researchers deployed this line of analysis and produced a headline that no doubt caught the eye of many Baby Bjorn-toting parents: Babies Reluctant to Grab Plants. The study reported that infant subjects took much longer to touch plants than a variety of other objects.
Read more. [Image: Shutterstock]


Also, here’s a bit of link-baiting—the study uses the word “reluctant,” the story headline uses the word “fear.” Not exactly the same thing. I mean, I’m reluctant to exercise, but I don’t fear it. No, I fear werewolves.
Anyway, the study’s author suggests babies won’t touch plants because of some vestigial hunter-gatherer nonsense. According to the study, babies wait to see if other people touch a rhododendron, for example, before determining it’s safe for them… though, I just Googled “rhododendron” and learned it’s actually poisonous for kids. Who knew?
Not me. Or babies, apparently.

Today in: Ridiculous Studies…

theatlantic:

Why Babies Fear Plants

A study published last week in the journal Cognition by a team of Yale researchers deployed this line of analysis and produced a headline that no doubt caught the eye of many Baby Bjorn-toting parents: Babies Reluctant to Grab Plants. The study reported that infant subjects took much longer to touch plants than a variety of other objects.

Read more. [Image: Shutterstock]

Also, here’s a bit of link-baiting—the study uses the word “reluctant,” the story headline uses the word “fear.” Not exactly the same thing. I mean, I’m reluctant to exercise, but I don’t fear it. No, I fear werewolves.

Anyway, the study’s author suggests babies won’t touch plants because of some vestigial hunter-gatherer nonsense. According to the study, babies wait to see if other people touch a rhododendron, for example, before determining it’s safe for them… though, I just Googled “rhododendron” and learned it’s actually poisonous for kids. Who knew?

Not me. Or babies, apparently.

Generation slowpoke? Kids don't run as fast as parents once did, study finds - TODAY.com

They clearly haven’t met Wyatt. That kid is faster than most adults.

Anyway, for other kids, it seems that old villain weight is to blame…

The reason is simple: they’re carrying too much body fat, making it “more difficult [for them] to move through space,” explains lead researcher Grant Tomkinson, Ph.D., a senior lecturer in the University of South Australia’s School of Health Sciences, whose research was presented Tuesday at the American Heart Association’s annual meeting in Dallas.

However, researchers also cite a lack of actual running space as a contributing factor. As Joni Mitchell sang, when “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot,” they literally removed green space for our kids to run.

That explains why Wyatt and Boone constantly sprint up and down our hall.

Growing Up Poor Changes Young Brains

Just another example of poverty’s unseen effects. There is hope, however. The study’s authors said:

"The finding that the effects of poverty on hippocampal development are mediated through care-giving and stressful life events further underscores the importance of high-quality early childhood care-giving, a task that can be achieved through parenting education and support, as well as through preschool programs that provide high-quality supplementary care-giving and safe haven to vulnerable young children."

So, once again, education is the answer. And… why do we keep cutting school and support funding again? Oh, right. Because legislators are assholes who don’t care about kids.

Stanford study shows importance of parents talking directly to their toddler

Umm… duh.

I’m sorry, but this seems like another one of those non-brainer revelations. Of course your kid will learn language better if you speak to them. Who doesn’t speak to their child? Well, apparently, some don’t, according to these two recent studies.

Anyway, one important discovery: Just hearing word doesn’t count. You must direct language at the child. From the story in Stanford’s Scope blog, some insight from Anne Fernald, PhD, associate professor of psychology and the senior author of these studies…

"An 18-month old child cannot understand complex syntax or abstract words," Fernald said. But when an adult or an older child talks directly to the toddler at the right level – speaking in a way the young child can relate to – the child gets valuable practice in interpreting language. "Those Baby Einstein videos don’t take the child into account, because they don’t engage the child directly. They don’t work," Fernald said.

I’ve written before about how both my wife and I spoke to our boys (and our dog, for that matter) as if they always could speak, as if they understood everything we said. We believe that led to their firm grasp of language and communication. And smartassery.

Someone should do a study to explain why our dog never got it, though.

If I don’t eat a corn chip at my local taqueria because I have doubts about the lack of research on GMOs and believe it’s because science and the government are in Monsanto’s pocket, I’m not going to put my dining companions at risk of disease. But if I decide not to vaccinate my kid, I make him a potential carrier. He may be able to fight off measles, mumps, rubella, and other illnesses — but what if he spreads a disease to somebody who, for whatever reason, isn’t so lucky?

Lessley Anderson • In a new editorial, discussing those who choose not to vaccinate their children, published by The Verge earlier this week. Anderson takes a rather strong stance in the article, arguing that those who choose not to vaccinate are endangering more than just their own families, and even suggests that vaccine deniers are just plain “dumb.” What say you, dear SFB readers? Think Anderson was being a bit rough on the anti-vaccination crowd, or was she dead-on with her critique?  (via shortformblog)

(via shortformblog)

New study shows child behavioral problems linked to bedtimes

We try to get our boys down at the same time every night, though not for this reason. For us, it’s more about sanity (and allowing time for our semi-regular cocktail/Project Runway viewing).

Anyway, this behavioral issue seems to have biological roots. From the story:

Inconsistent bedtimes can disrupt natural body rhythms and cause sleep deprivation, impairing brain development and the ability to regulate some behaviors, the research showed.

No word on how to get your kid’s bedtime on track, so I recommend the time-tested method of dosing your child with NyQuil.

(orig. article, study)

New Baby Smell Creates 'Very Strong' Bond In Mom's Brain

A new study published in Frontiers in Psychology shows the smell of a new baby causes a mom’s brain to react in a way similar to the way an addict’s brain reacts when they finally take the drug for which they were jonesing.

The study compared moms and non-moms and scanned their brains while they interacted with the new baby smell. From an NBCnews.com story on the study:

…as soon as the newborn scent was detected, the pleasure centers of the all the women sparked, but in the new moms they lit much brighter.

This explains why my wife sometimes looks at me coyly while holding a friend’s baby, as if to suggest we should have another. That’s when I counter the urge created by the baby smell by introducing her to the smell of a margarita.

Moms' Financial Fears Lead To More Spanking, Shouting

A new study conducted by smart people at a handful of impressive universities found that when moms stress of finances, they tend to shout at and spank their kids more. Surprisingly, though, the study found a national economic downtown has the same effect for mothers with what researchers call the “sensitive allele,” even if the family isn’t affected financially. That means when the economy goes in the crapper, even some rich moms get stressed and lash out at their kids. From Princeton’s release about the study:

…the “sensitive” allele, or variation, of the DRD2 Taq1A genotype, controls the synthesis of dopamine, a behavior-regulating chemical in the brain. Deteriorating economic conditions had no effect on the level of harsh parenting of mothers without the sensitive allele.

If you’re asking why well-to-do parents would still react to a situation that doesn’t affect them, it’s because they’re reacting to “the anticipation of adversity.”

Once again, no word on dads since this study just focused on mothers. So, I’ll just assume dads don’t experience this at all and deftly handle stress of any form. They also smell good and have great hair.