Reliance on Science
Going with the Flow
Every year there seems to be one particular theory that is more popular than another. Sometimes it's not even so much a theory as it is a fad- Just something for the majority of the people in the world to belong to. You feel secure when everyone thinks the same way that you do, or when you think the same way that everyone else does. There are even theories in the early childhood and parenting realm that come and go. But at least those theories are scientifically proven. Right?
It's dangerous to allow your mind to easily conform to whatever is popular for the moment. Some ideas may be right, some may be wrong, and some just are what they are. But having this type of mindset that what whatever the world says goes will allow you to fall victim to whatever information is being displayed the most, instead of what information might be particularly helpful to your child.
Did you Know?
While reading my book for one of my early childhood classes, I was surprised to read a couple of statements about theories that are actually not scientifically backed. I read that it is not scientifically proven that red dye causes problems in young children. I found this pretty shocking, considering all of my coworkers thought that red dye was the Antichrist of early childhood. If we saw that a parent had packed a lunch for their child and it contained food with red dye in it, we would all have that look on our face that said why in the world would they do that to their child? But there's never any harm in being safe. If you're still skeptical about food with red dye, you might as well stay away from it. I also recently discovered that scientific theories that change are actually a sign that scientists are performing their jobs correctly. Science is a field in which new information is constantly being added to it because new discoveries are constantly being made. However, when it comes to he validity of products being questioned each year, this could be less of a matter of science and more of a matter pertaining to the shock value it produces.
Another fact I read that was even more interesting, was the fact that one fourth of children who have ADHD do not experience a change in their behavior after taking Ritalin. ONE FOURTH! Now I'm not doubting that medicine can have a positive effect on some. In fact, I worked at a center where I was able to see the miracle of children being on medication for ADHD. In addition to medication not having an affect on one fourth of ADHD patients, the author of this article also strongly advised teachers to not ask questions like "Did you take your medicine today?" on days when that child is being more rowdy. This encourages children to believe that their behavior is solely dependent on whether or not he or she takes medication. Also, this could possibly enable the teacher to have a mindset that says children with ADHD do not need to receive consequences because they cannot help their actions.
This last point was not mentioned in the book, but I thought I would bring it up for fun. Even a little bit of sugar has a big impact on the behavior of children. When I first started working in childcare, I refused to believe this was true. However, all of my coworkers, who had more experience in childcare than I had, claimed that the kids became rowdy after we allowed them to have a birthday treat or something with sugar in it. I don't remember seeing a difference. Honestly, at the time, I believed that they thought the children were more rowdy because of the sheer concept in their mind that children become more rowdy after having sugar. Later on, I went out to eat with my baby cousin and she was allowed to have a little bit of sugar. This was rare, because her mom is against her baby having sugar at all. I blurted out that sugar doesn't have an impact on children and she shot back, "Then you can come over and take care of getting her to bed." I thought this was funny, but then I did begin to notice that my baby cousin became really wound up as it got later. She was running, jumping, and screaming all at once. I was proven wrong by my little cousin.
So I guess I wasn't necessarily proven wrong by my cousin. Nevertheless, she allowed me to see that the rules for children aren't always cut and dry. Sometimes it's not either-or but it's both. I think sometimes the world (myself included) is so obsessed with trying to find that one answer. But I think it's more interesting trying to find out what works for your child. In this way, you are allowed to find out more about who your child is and about how he or she reacts to what the world says is true.