Trying to raise my kids the best I can

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Child Psychology on: Play

One of my pet peeves is the obsession with "child obesity" coupled with the blindness to the cause. You should see all the ads on the kids channels with the message of "get out and play". The root cause, let me tell you, is this societal obsession with protecting children. The fear of strangers. The fear of injury. (And in turn, even if you don't fear all those things, the fear of social services if you don't conform to societal norms). Children cannot play outside freely, unsupervised anymore! When I was in kindergarten I used to walk home without a grown up. Now, that isn't even an option.

I'll go even deeper into this. I know not only the cause. I also know the cause of the cause! The reason society has become so obsessed is that the population rate is in decline! Sure, the immigrants are keeping it above replacement level, but in the white suburbs- especially here in the Northeast, we are definitely below replacement level. And when that happens we become more protective of the next generation. Fewer eggs in our baskets. More to lose if something happens to them. God intended us to have about seven kids. (Given the years of fertility each woman has). When we fall away from God's plan we reap the rewards. One of which is... in a strange turn of events... child obesity.

Makes me want to move to a rural area and let my children run free. But I love the city. So that's not really an option. Right now anyway.

I found a psychology web site that is in tune with the needs and problems of this generation. It emphasizes free play and unschooling type ideas. Thumbs up to Peter Gray, the Boston College Professor for getting this right.

Two days after writing this I saw the headline that Michelle Obama has chosen childhood obesity as her pet project. I'm actually quite happy about that. It's not the topic that makes me role my eyes, it's the ineffective methods of fighting it. I like her goals though:
  • improved school nutrition
  • better labeling of high-calorie foods and drinks
  • support for farmers’ markets
  • a coordinated education campaign to help moms and dads instill good eating habits
More power to her! I would love to see a massive campaign to get kids to drink water instead of milk and juice. I think that could make a huge difference. Too bad that's not on her list. That's too controversial though. The dairy industry would throw a massive fit. And WIC would have to be turned on it's head. Too much trouble. But if she wanted to make a real difference, that's what I recommend. :)

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