Monthly Archives: July 2005

Strengthen Family Bonds

A couple of random notes today about research on how to strengthen family bonds.

Dr. Elsie Taveras, in May’s issue of Obesity Research, says that families who eat dinner together eat more vegetables and fruits and less fried foods, soda and items containing trans fats than those who rarely or never dine together. Research has also found improved school and psychological performance in teens who eat dinner with their families, as well as fewer risky teen behaviors (such as using tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana).

Gregory Keer has some good reasons as to why modeling a good marriage for your kids is important. He also offers some helpful tips on what he thinks makes a good relationship for parents, including advice on constructive disagreement. I think this is a key element to modeling a good relationship. Every relationship has disagreements. It’s how you handle those disagrements that is key.

Finally, the icWales website has an article called Good Dad Guide, a collection of advice submitted by Dads from around Wales.

Buy More…Argue More

Juliet Schor, a sociology professor at Boston College has written a book called Born to Buy : The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture.

Schor’s research found that children who are label-conscious and materialistic tend to fight and argue with parents. “Higher levels of consumer involvement result in worse relationships with parents,” says Schor.

In another article on Parents Action for Children, Schor points out one possible reason for this conflict – the antiadultism of commercials. “There is a standard message in the consumer culture that kids are cool and adults are not.”

In the U.S., kids see about 40,000 commercial messages a year, and corporations spend 5 billion dollars each year to influence our kids to buy their products. What is even more surprising is the amount of influence kids have on our buying decisions. In 2004,children influenced $330 billion in adult purchases.

Even Dad Gets The Blues

More research on post delivery depression in Dad’s (yes, Dad’s also suffer from depression after a new baby arrives). Seems that a sad Dad can have a negative impact on the behaviour and mental health of a child, especially if that child is a boy.

Researchers at Oxford University are calling the effects “striking”, and say “the influence of fathers in early childhood may have been downplayed in the past.”

According to the research, about 3% of Dads suffer symptoms of depression shortly after the birth of a child, compared to 5% of new Moms.

Canada Day & Staying Up Late

Friday was Canada Day…a day of crowds, music, celebrations and fireworks. D and I had talked about it for a few weeks and decided that, since it was a special occasion, we would keep The Girl up well past her usual 7:30 bedtime and take her downtown for the fireworks display at 10:30. This marks the first time we have significantly broken her bedtime routine since she started sleeping in her own room a year ago.

I have to say, the bedtime routine has worked wonders for us. We are adamant that we stick to it…snack at around 6:45, bath at 7:00 with the same piece of soft music playing in the background, stories at 7:30, bit of a nurse at around 7:45 and wham, she’s out. It’s clockwork, and D and I have the evenings to ourselves. We have friends who keep their daughter up until they go to bed at 10 or 11, and we don’t know how they do it. Both of us love the evening time to catch up on our work, housework, and each other.

Because of this regimented bedtime routine, we were both curious, and a bit wary, as to how The Girl would handle staying up late in a strange environment (downtown outside with crowds around) with fireworks going off. We wondered whether or not we were doing the right thing.

I’m glad to say all went well. The Girl loved it. We hooked up with some other couples who had kids around her age, so she had a couple playmates. We found a great spot where they could safely run around. And, when the fireworks came, she was gleeful. After they ended, she asked for more. She even managed to stay awake in the car ride home (avoiding the dreaded car transfer that I have yet to consistently master), and we were able to tuck her into bed at midnight, where she had a great night sleep.

The nice benefit of the routine is that The Girl has bounced right back into it. For the past 2 nights, she has settled back into her regular sleep patterns without a hitch.

Ah, bedtime routines – magic.