Like An Island?
WARNING FOR PARENTS: Beware operating as an island!
In my home and with immediate family, I can be like an island. As a parent, I will do whatever is needed to take care of a child, which is perfectly natural and appropriate. If they are hungry, I feed them. If they are sick I get them better. Basic stuff. Plus, I’m busy. I need to get it done quickly. Who’s got time to ask questions and find answers?
From the island, my view may look like this:
- In the U.S., it’s the norm to eat processed foods—everyone else is doing it. Must be okay. They tell me it’s safe. It’s convenient. No time to cook anyway.
- Yes, the doctor prescribed ________ (fill in the blank: antibiotics, steroids, stimulant for ADD, inhalers, etc), why be concerned? The doctor wouldn’t prescribe it if the medicine weren’t safe for children.
- My children are doing just fine, there’s nothing to be concerned about. They are children, they can be grumpy, they will always have the sniffles, they have short attention spans, they aren’t supposed to sit still, it is all normal.
- I’m just doing what everyone else is.
But after I feed them, give them medicine, then what? Do I ask the questions? What is causing the health problem? Is this really normal? Or, is this new normal better? Can my child be happier? Healthier?
AM I GETTING TO THE CAUSE?
When the doctor says the child needs steroids every day to breathe normally, we do it. If doctors say antibiotics are needed, we give them to our child. Whatever is going on, don’t miss asking: what is causing it? Is there a way we can prevent the illness from happening at all? Be very wary of answers that say there are no solutions or that they will just grow out of it.
ARE LOTS OF CHILDREN FACING THE SAME ISSUES?
Is my child’s health problem common? Why are more children suffering from food allergies and sensitivities? Why are kids so sick so often? Why is ADD and ADHD a common label and why is it mostly boys? Why are kids so anxious? Depressed? Angry?
Is there an overall decline in children’s happiness and behavior? What if, as a society, we are experiencing an overall decline of our children’s health but because it is happening to most children, the decline becomes very difficult to see. If health and learning ability everywhere is declining, a socially normal and healthy child might not truly be healthy and normal. The difficulty is that no parent wants to believe something is different or wrong with their child. There is a natural tendency for a parent to believe their child is doing great, so it is challenging for parents to recognize and acknowledge that health, learning or behavior problems are occurring.
PACK THE ISLAND WEAR AWAY AND PUT ON THE DETECTIVE HAT
My children need me to look closely at what is going on in our culture and ask hard questions. Is this natural? Healthy? Is it safe? How does it affect my child?
Fortunately, some of the stuff is easy. I must remove the dangerous stuff from my children’s diet. Even if I don’t think there’s anything wrong with my child’s health or behavior, at a minimum, make sure I dramatically reduce the level of sugar and eliminate the fake food, the chemicals, preservatives, colors, flavor enhancers—the results may surprise me. My happy child will get happier. My healthy child will get healthier. So will I.