Thursday, February 21, 2008

Don't Believe Everything you Hear...

I have a page called Myths too many parents believe. Someone wrote and asked me to add my opinion on why they were myths on the last four there (about writing, bedtime/jobs, self-regulation having to be taught, and not swimming right after eating), so while working on that I figured I might as well branch out and get some assistance!

I'm going to list a few things that have changed in my lifetime or not so long ago, or "truths" that turn out not to be true, and I invite you to add others. Google away, if you want to. Directions for making a clickable link in a comment field are in the sidebar, but if that's confusing to you just leave the URL and I'll come and enliven a link for you. Comments can be as long and as frequent as you want. Have fun!

Don't Believe Everything you Hear... from doctors.

"Nursing mothers have to drink lots of milk so they can make milk." Cows don't drink milk. People don't need to drink milk to create milk. It's nuts. Most adult humans are lactose intolerant anyway, but it hasn't kept schools and hospitals from giving milk out like crazy, and sometimes insisting that it be finished off.

"Four out of five doctors prefer Camels." (Magazine ads in the 1960's, which also explained how soothing to the throat smoking was, and helpful to the nerves.)

Dr. Dio Lewis, a prominent late-19th Century doctor, was sure that the northern U.S. created strong, wise men. The Carolinas had a climate that emasculated the settlers, and Southern California caused deterioration, loss of learning and of interest in ideas, and people who live in southern climates fall into gossiping. The exact quote is here.

Don't Believe Everything you Hear... from teachers.
"Your permanent record will follow you forever."
When I went to teach in the school district I had attended for ten years, I asked to see my permanent record. It was legal to make the request, and if it was going to follow me everywhere, why couldn't it be produced for a few minutes for a school employee to see? Uh.... "They're in storage and it would take a while to find it." I was like 22 years old and it had already quit following me!? I just laughed; I didn't press it. I'm just as glad not to know what insipid things were in there. The principal had written on my teacher review that I had "a good rapore with students."

"Brush your teeth up and down," which was replaced in a few years by "Brush down on the top teeth, and up on the bottom teeth," which was replaced within about a year by "Make the toothbrush go in circles." That might could go under don't believe everything you hear from doctors, but I learned it from teachers in health classes, telling us what the dental profession had learned to be crucial, tooth-saving Truth.

A friend of ours is an EMT and says mouth-to-mouth resusitation is not considered a good thing now. Lots of us who had red-cross cards over the years were told otherwise. Advice has changed on treatment of burns and on tourniquets, too. I put that under teachers instead of doctors because I learned first aid in school at in Girl Scouts. Here's one article on the changing stance, and many more can be found with a web search.

Don't Believe Everything you Hear... from parents.

"If you stick your tongue out your face will freeze like that."

Existing collection about parenting: "If I let him, he would..."

"Masturbation will [do various specific and unfounded things to] you." [Because of masturbation, "People would lose flesh, they would get weak, they would cough, and they would end up with tuberculosis, which of course he called consumption. " Read more about that here, including the original purpose of Kellogg's cornflakes. Eeyew. (And this, too, could've gone under the doctors' list but most people heard it from their parents and this might help explain why.)

"If kids play with guns they'll become violent."

Some of the best links and examples left in comments below might be added above. Expect the main entry to change, is what I mean to say. —Sandra


Anonymous said...

I like the idea of writing my connotations from reading these posts, which I sometimes want to do in discussion lists but deem inappropriate.

The milk myth made me think of a Kinder commercial that annoys me every time I see it. All Kinder commercials include the same message basically. The kid being happy with the candy because it contains cocoa, and the mother being happy because it contains MILK! Milk! It's so good for you every mother should stuff her kid with tons of candy, doesn't matter what's in it, as long as it has MILK! and since when is it the cocoa most children (or people in general) are attracted to? Isn't it the sugar?

Thinking of myths I have been the victim of...

I was told (I'm not sure by whom) when I was little that the crust on the bread had all the vitamins in it. (Borrowed from fruit, I suppose, and I don't *know* if it's true with fruit either, as I haven't inquired for proof) I believed it for years until I put some thought into how bread is actually made and figured it doesn't make any sense. If anything, it has less from more exposure to the heat.

Ooh. A quick Google search showed I'm not the only victim of this. Apparently it's also said that eating the crust makes you grow chest hair.
The page.

And maybe it's not completely wrong after all?

I'm sure there are more, but this is the only one that popped up.

One last thing, why is the Martha Stewart picture in there? She has always intrigued me. (Being from Israel I'm probably not as exposed to her).

Sandra Dodd said...

-=-One last thing, why is the Martha Stewart picture in there? She has always intrigued me. (Being from Israel I'm probably not as exposed to her).-=-

I just looked for a mom wagging her finger, and she's the only one I found, and she's a mom. That's all.

When kids ask a mom to cut the crusts off, they're often told "that's the good part," or "it will make your hair grow," or "it'll make your fingernails get longer." I think it's nothing but manipulation and laziness. I could be wrong, but I know of adults who've said it to my kids in the past few years, and I've never once appreciated it. If my kid wants the crusts cut off, that's fine. I make a lot of bread, too, and as they got older they ate crusts fine, because they wanted to.

Even if it turned out crusts made people immortal, I wouldn't make my kids eat them, nor would I lie to them. They can choose for their own reasons.

Anonymous said...

Oh I agree with your stance on it.

I'm not sure it's always laziness of not wanting to cut them out though. I think when it was told to me what stood behind it is a "finish off your plate" attitude, or an attitude of harassing children because things that usually only children do are perceived as inappropriate. (Like the sticking your tongue out one).
I don't think it's laziness because I didn't ask for it to be cut, I just peeled the crust off and someone along the way thought that wasn't okay. I still do it sometimes depending on the bread. It's just not very tasty.

Funny that a relation to hair and nails was created with these myths. I wonder what the process of that was.

Anonymous said...

We were outside playing at the neighbors' house one evening when it started getting dark. The neighbor mom told her 3 year old that it was time to go in because the snakes would come out when it gets dark. My 7 yo dd said, "Oh, it's okay, snakes are out in the day, too." Neighbor Mom said that was how she gets her dd to go inside for the night. Reminds me of people telling their kids there are monsters and other creepy things if they get out of their beds during the night.

Sandra Dodd said...

It's interesting how people decide to believe something, sometimes. With little kids, I think it's the worshipful love of their parents. They'll believe everything their parents say, so it's really important for parents to be found to be telling the truth when the child is old enough to discern that.

And children might be old enough to discern truth earlier if parents are carefully truthful.

Someone told an online forum once that when a pair of shoes is tied together and hanging over a power line or phone line, it means there's a crackhouse there. When others suggested it was probably just kids throwing their shoes (or more likely other kids shoes) over the wire to see if they could (or for meanness).

The mom was very defensive, and said we were wrong; her daughter had told her that, and her daughter never lied.

People can pass on bad information even if they believe they're telling the truth. It happens all the time, which is why it's important to tell WHY you think a thing, or where you heard what you're about to repeat.

Qualifying statements makes the difference between truth and nonsense. "I heard shoes means crackhouse" would have been true. "My mom used to tell me the snakes will come out" might be true (IF her mom told her that). The snakes WILL come out isn't necessarily true. The kid should say "cold-blooded animals are more likely to be out in the sunshine, aren't they?" and the mom will learn something when they look up nocturnal and diurnal snakes.


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