Posts

Hold the Salt!

Here’s an important story for parents as we get ready to enter the New Year. Are your kids getting too much SALT in their diet?  The fact is that childhood obesity is a growing problem in the US, and excess salt intake may have a lot to do with it.

CBS News writer Ryan Jaslow reports on a new study done in Australia—it found that reducing the amount of salt in kids’ diets may be a first step in preventing obesity. That’s because salty foods lead kids to reach for sugary drinks—a major contributor to childhood obesity.

The researchers tracked the eating and drinking habits of 4,200 Australian kids. They found that the kids who took in the most salt, also consumed the most sugary drinks.

For every one gram of salt per day, children took in 17 grams per day more of a sugary drink.  Children who drank more than one serving per day of a sugary drink were more likely to be obese.

While we know that salty foods can cause us to be thirsty, experts were quick to point out the study did not show cause and effect for salt’s role in obesity.

By the way, The American Heart Association recommends that people should take in no more than 1,500 milligrams milligrams of sodium each day.

However, a recent survey found most Americans average 3,400 milligrams of sodium each day, mostly from processed and restaurant foods.

And what are the biggest sodium culprits?  Breads and rolls, cold cuts and cured meats, pizza, poultry, soup and sandwiches.

To learn more about a healthy level of salt intake, go to the Heart Association’s website at heart.org.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

CLICK HERE for the audio version of this article.

Reading the Christmas Story

Guess what people are tracking this Christmas season (and it’s not a man in a red hat). If you guessed the number of times the Christmas story was read on-line you’d be right!  Oh, and have you read the Christmas story with your family this year? ~ Garrett

http://churchm.ag/christmas-story-tracker/

Concerned Grandma Asks About Grandson’s Development

Dear Dr. Bill,

My daughter has a 1-year-old boy who is starting to walk but hasn’t begun talking yet — no “Mama,” “Dada” or anything else. If he wants something, he just points and screeches very loudly!

I’ve also noticed that he often stares off in his own little world for a moment or two several times a day. He comes back eventually or you really work to get his attention otherwise. Is this normal behavior? Or could my grandson have some kind of problem — like autism? What do you think?

–Diana


Dear Diana,

I appreciate the fact that you are such an involved, observant grandmother. Your grandkids are fortunate.

Here are my thoughts on your 1-year-old grandson. First of all, the fact that he isn’t talking yet shouldn’t be a concern. Language development varies greatly from child to child.

Many children don’t begin saying “mama” or “dada” until well into their second year of life. Their level of verbal development at their first birthday does NOT predict how verbally skilled they will be by age two or three, or tell you anything about their overall level of intelligence.

On the other hand, I am concerned about the fact that your grandson seems to stare off into space several times each day, and that you have to work to regain his attention. This could be a sign of a hearing problem, a developmental delay, or even recurring minor seizures.

Given your description, I would suggest your daughter make an appointment with her family physician right away, and describe the behaviors she is observing at home. The physician should give your grandson a complete medical and developmental evaluation.

Thanks for writing, Diana. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click on the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

CLICK HERE for the audio version of this article.

4 Tips For Teaching an At-Home Home Ec Class

Click here to learn 4 tips for teaching an at-home home ec class!

Grandmother Asks For Advice About Her Grandson

Dear Dr. Bill,

My son and his wife have been separated for 3 years.  They have joint-custody of their 4-year-old son and I help care for my grandson when he’s with my son.

But now conflict has erupted between me and my former daughter-in-law.  That’s because whenever my grandson visits me, he resists going back home to his mother.  He kicks and screams, and tries to run away with his arms outstretched for me.

I’ve been accused of treating the boy like a king and being lax with discipline.  His grandfather and I do give him a lot of attention — playing games and taking him fishing.  But I can’t imagine why he doesn’t want to return home to his mom.  What should I do?

–Linda

[divider]

Dear Linda,

Since many divorces involve a great deal of animosity between the ex-spouses, and that anger can spill over into relationships with grandparents.

I’d sit down with your former daughter-in-law and discuss the situation.  Tell her that you know it’s been difficult for her, and that you never intended to do anything that would interfere with her relationship with her son.

Also, ask yourself if she may have a point.  Do you give in to your grandson when he tantrums or demands his way, or do you set appropriate limits on his behavior?  If you allow him to always get his way when he’s with you, you are definitely making his mother’s job harder.

That being said, I’m concerned about the way he violently protests when returning home.  Could there be a possibility that he is being abused or neglected?

If your daughter-in-law is parenting appropriately and your grandson is acting out simply because he doesn’t want to leave grandma and grandpa’s “fun house,” you’ll need to work together to find a compromise.

Thanks for writing Linda.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, just click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

CLICK HERE for the Audio Version of this post.

12 Tips for Teaching Financial Skills to Children

CLICK HERE to read more about how to teach your kids about finances from Dough Main Blog.

Parents Ask About 11-Year-Old Son’s Obesity

Dear Dr. Bill,

We have an 11-year-old boy who LOVES food.  He’s always asking us for treats or snacks, and becomes disappointed and upset when we say “no.”  Worst of all, he’s 4-foot, 9-inches tall and weighs 114 pounds!

We often talk to our son about the importance of a healthier diet, but we battle with overeating ourselves.  Both of us are 20 to 30 pounds overweight.  We’ve tried not to make things worse by forbidding ALL junk food, yet our son will “pig out” whenever we can’t control his diet.

Of course, we love our son no matter what, but we feel we can’t allow this to go on.  But we don’t want to damage his self-esteem or steal away what he seems to enjoy the most.  What should we do?

–Paul

[divider]

Dear Paul,

I consulted with my friend Dr. Walt Larimore, a family physician who is an expert on childhood obesity.

He said that if son weighs 114 pounds and is 4 foot 9, his weight puts him in the 95th percentile for boys his age.  That means he is clinically obese, and at high risk for diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, depression, and early death.  In fact, according to one study, his life expectancy right now is only 46!

Your family needs to make some dramatic lifestyle changes, not just for your son’s sake, but for yours as well.  The fact that you are both overweight puts you at risk for multiple health problems and premature death.

Dr. Larimore suggests that your family focus on five things:  better nutritional choices, an increase in physical activity, eating meals together as a family, better rest and recreation habits, and wiser media choices.  For more specifics, go to supersizedkids.com.

Thanks for writing Paul.  If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, just click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

CLICK HERE to listen to the audio version of this post.

How Should I Discipline My 11-Month-Old Boy?

Dear Dr. Bill,

My husband and I have 11-month-old twins who are generally good babies. But my son continually is pulling his sister’s hair and even biting her. I have told him “no” over and over again, and I’ve even given him light spank on his legs. He never cries but simply stares at me.

He has also started throwing tantrums — where he give a little grunt and squeal whenever he is frustrated. What do you suggest we do to discipline him?


Dear Amanda,

Some of the behaviors you are describing are a bit unusual. I don’t want to alarm you, but they could be signs of a developmental disorder. I’d recommend that you have your son evaluated by his pediatrician. Describe the behaviors that you are observing and tell the physician how your son responds when you attempt to intervene.

If the doctor gives your son a clean bill of health, you’ll need to try other forms of intervention. With a child his age, the most effective form of intervention is time-out.

I often recommend to parents of toddlers that they use a Pak N’ Play playpen as a “time-out” location. When your son acts aggressively toward his sister, tell him “no” as you’ve been doing, but then immediately remove him from situation and place him in the Pak N’ Play.

Make sure it’s located far enough from the action to be boring, but close enough to monitor him. A good rule of thumb is one minute of time-out for each year of age.

Your son will likely scream and tantrum at being placed in time-out, but don’t give in to the temptation to pick him up until he’s “served his time.” Also, don’t continue to nag or scold him for his misbehavior—that will simply reinforce him by providing him with attention. Instead, ignore him until the time-out is over.

Thanks for writing Amanda. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

CLICK HERE for the audio version of this post.

We’ve Become a Nation of Yellers

Have you yelled at someone today? According to a story in USA Today, we’ve become a nation of yellers.

Apparently most of us yell in anger, in frustration, or simply to “vent.” It seems that for some Americans, they’re preferred mode of commutation may be yelling.

A few years ago, researchers asked a thousand families about yelling and found that 88 percent of parents admitted yelling, screaming or shouting at their children during the year. In families with 7-year-old kids, that number climbed to nearly 100 percent.

The USA Today article reports that raising our voices is exhausting. Especially if it becomes our reaction to stressors — or our way of relating. Not only does it take a physical and emotional toll on the yeller, but it deeply affects those on the receiving end of the angry communication.

Psychologist and Researcher Myra Shure, author of Raising a Thinking Child, says children’s brains are so sensitive to yelling that a child who is yelled at regularly can become “immune” and start to “tune it out.”

In her research, she found a troubling correlation between kindergartners whose parents disciplined through yelling and the children’s own expression of aggression.

Dr. Sure says that chronic yelling can create a kind of “relational erosion,” damaging trust and security between two people.

There are some key triggers that tend to drive our yelling: stress, impatience, needing to be heard and feeling anxious.

For some ideas on “quelling the yelling,” go to USAToday.com and enter “yelling” in the search engine.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM

CLICK HERE for the audio version of this post.

Should We Allow Our Teenage Daughter To Model?

Dear Dr. Bill,

Our 13-year-old daughter is started high school this year and wants to pursue her dream of becoming a model. Should we encourage this? My husband and I don’t see any harm in it, but some friends of ours believe it’s the worst thing we could do for our daughter. What do you think?

–Stephanie


Dear Stephanie,

I think your friends are right to be concerned. The world of professional modeling is filled with risks. It tends to be a cut-throat profession where drug and alcohol use and sexual promiscuity are the norm. Due to the emphasis on thinness, many young models suffer from eating disorders.

Modeling also places value on external beauty only, rather than internal qualities like the strength of a person’s character. The bible tells us that God is much more concerned about what’s on the inside. His wants us to focus on developing qualities like honesty, kindness, gentleness, patience, and respect.

That being said, there are professional models who are Christians. They feel called to represent Christ in that very secular atmosphere, and to share their faith with others in the entertainment business. But I’m sure they’d acknowledge the many challenges they face, and they wouldn’t advise parents to allow young girls to enter the modeling profession.

I’d suggest you have a heart-to-heart talk with your daughter and gently explain these concerns. Let her know that if she is still set on modeling as a career in a few years, you will re-visit the issue when she is 16 or 17. She’ll also need to demonstrate that she has the maturity and strength of character to handle the temptations she’ll face in that profession.

I’d also make it clear that she will need to save up her own money for things like head-shots, make-up, and the outfits she’ll need to wear for auditions. If she’s serious about getting into the modeling business, she’ll need to be responsible for the significant costs involved.

Thanks for writing Stephanie. If you have a question for me about family issues or Christian living, click the “Questions” link on the Family Expert page.

CLICK HERE for the audio version of this post.