I would guess most of us have seen the article when it was published a few years back (at least I hope it was only a few years… anyone else notice as they get older that they just can’t keep time straight anymore?) Anyway, the articles were all over the news, for example: Does sugar make kids hyperactive?
We all have our own anecdotes about this, of course. I’ve personally found that sugar + kids has been similar to cultural expectations of drunkenness… particularly the pseudointoxication aspect. I cannot count how many times I’ve seen parents give their children verbal and nonverbal cues (including initial refusal to give the treat) that the sugary treat they were about to give their child was going to cause their child to run amok. Self fulfilling prophecy? I’ve always wondered…
Today society has a particular obsession with sugar. Which is completely reasonable, considering there are real problems with over-indulgence. Cavities and other oral hygiene related issues (including heart disease), sugar crashes, cravings, obesity… and these are difficult problems to solve. How many of us are willing to give up those sugary sweets? However, concerns with sugar have also exploded into all sorts of pseudo-scientific and distracting non-issues. As always, there is ongoing research about what over-consumption of sugar actually causes and what constitutes over-consumption. A lot of truth ends up being tangled in the confusion of the Internet world of opinions and anecdotes (yes, mine as well).
All that aside, I think there are few people who would argue that reduction of sugar is a bad thing. Ultimately we’re all on the same side, it’s simply a matter of extremes… when the fear of sugar becomes irrational and is based on non truths.
Regardless of how you feel, remember that how you eat and what you feed to your child will have a lifelong impact on them. You are creating their future comfort foods, their future indulgent foods… right now. You are teaching them what tastes normal and what tastes too sweet, too bland, too salty. This isn’t just table sugar but also about syrups, fruit juices, and the like. You don’t need to invent reasons to be concerned about that. You’re a parent.
LINKS ABOUT SUGAR:
Harvard School of Public Health: Carbohydrates
Colorado State University Extension: Sugar and sweeteners
Linus Pauling Institute: Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load
American Cancer Society: Common Questions About Diet and Cancer
National Institute of Mental Health: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
The sweet taste of gripe water is an anodyne. (Probably explains effectiveness of “homeopathic” gripe water.)
American Academy of Pediatrics: Use and Misuse of Fruit Juice in Pediatrics
Mayo Clinic: Artificial sweeteners and other sugar substitutes
LINKS OF THE WEEK
I have wondered what forcing kisses implies to my son about consent, but maybe this is going too far. What do you guys think? I definitely think a child shouldn’t be forced to be in contact with anyone if they seem truly upset or uncomfortable, but where do you draw the line? What does the research say?
Have you considered MOOCs to supplement your parental skills? Not just in terms of teaching your kids, but teaching yourself? Right now Coursera is hosting courses on teaching and the Common Core. Iversity has a class on Gamification Design (“Can we design that kind of gameful experiences in non-game contexts to make them more engaging?”). Know of any other cool MOOCs that can help parents? Shout ’em out in the comments!
What do you think of educational doll sets for girls, like Girls Explore?