Sunday, August 24, 2014

Parenting Rules To Live By

My daughter is five. Here's a list of some of my parenting rules: (I try to stick to them as much as possible)

-If she gets dramatic/emotional to manipulate me into doing something, a) do not do it for her; b) call her out on it (with humour).
-No yelling or "spanking." There's no lesson that needs to be bullied into a kid in order to reach them.
-Say no but say it when it matters so it's not a pointless word that just starts battles.
-Think about her as a person. Empathize. Remember her age, remember her brain's limits. Don't just expect her not to be who she is because it's inconvenient or makes it hard for me to have control. Cut ego OUT as much as possible.
-Wrestle/playfight often. Don't go easy on her the whole time. Let her have some wins but mix in some moments of high challenge (build self confidence, teach her to overcome obstacles and stay persistent, increased physical strength and capabilities, exercise, bonding).
-Share jokes, and ask her opinion on things.
-Have fun
-Do things outside. Be in nature. Explore.
-Don't say no to things just because I, as an adult, no longer enjoy them. She's a kid, not an adult. If she wants to jump in a puddle, LET HER. Her shoes get wet, oh no! They'll dry, and she'll have a great childhood moment. Or, just have her take her shoes off. Think outside the box
-Like I said, think outside the box
-Question things, and have her do the same
-Try to show more than tell
-Share my love of learning and my awe of (and passion for knowing) the universe
-Engage her in things.
-Challenge her. Mentally and physically
-If she asks me to get her something for no reason other than laziness, decline. She can do it herself.
-If she tries to get something making sexy poses, point it out to her, and then ask her if perhaps there might be a better way. Never indulge it, but never shame her either. She did not choose her animal nature, so don't make her pay for it.
-If she falls, know the difference between real hurt and not so real. Attend to the first, handle the second with amusement and try to bring her into that frame. End result: hopefully she laughs off the not so bad ones instead of sits there vying for attention. (By the way, it worked. She "walks it off" and we talk/laugh about it or just keep playing. If she is really hurt I immediately know the difference and giver her the hugs and soothing that she needs.)
-TV isn't the end of the world, but don't have her in front of it for hours and hours either

That's good for now.

My goal is to have a confident, open minded, critical thinking daughter who isn't ashamed of her sexuality but doesn't wield it like a weapon. Ditto her emotions. It would be nice if she worked through problems, had some measure of self reliance and autonomy, and didn't just cry on facebook when something mild goes wrong. Nice, caring and empathetic but not a pushover and physically capable. Just an all around cool chick. Possible? I dunno. Signs are promising. She's a badass five year old. Then again she's only five. Grade one starts next month and along with it a year's worth of other kids and their influences. And those influences only grow with each passing year. For now I just do what I can.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Thinking Obesity is a Disease Makes You Eat More

On June 18, 2013, the American Medical Association officially recognized obesity as a disease. The nation’s largest physician organization said the new classification would help turn more medical attention toward obesity, as well as increase reimbursement for obesity-related drugs, surgery, and counseling.
“Recognizing obesity as a disease will help change the way the medical community tackles this complex issue that affects approximately one in three Americans,” said AMA board member Patrice Harris, M.D. “The AMA is committed to improving health outcomes and is working to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, which are often linked to obesity.”

But new psychology research suggests the “obesity is a disease” message actually undermines important weight-loss efforts.

“The term disease suggests that bodies, physiology, and genes are malfunctioning. By invoking physiological explanations for obesity, the disease label encourages the perception that weight is unchangeable,” Crystal L. Hoyt of the University of Richmond and her colleagues wrote in their study, which was published in the April issue ofPsychological Science.

In three separate studies with more than 700 participants, the researchers found that obese participants who read aNew York Times article about the AMA declaring obesity to be a disease were subsequently less likely to be concerned about their weight and more likely to choose to eat higher-calorie foods.

The “obesity is a disease” message did, however, have a positive impact on body image. Obese participants reported greater body satisfaction after reading the New York Times article. This greater body satisfaction predicted higher-calorie food choices.

“This research illuminates the potential benefits and hidden costs associated with the message that ‘obesity is a disease’ by showing that this message cultivates increased body satisfaction but also undermines beneficial self-regulatory processes in obese individuals,” Hoyt and her colleagues wrote.

The researchers do not dispute that obesity should be classified as a disease. The goal of the study was to better understand how public-health messages can have unintended consequences.

“We are not advocating that the ‘thin’ ideal that pervades Western culture is an admirable goal, nor that internalizing these unhealthy standards is a worthwhile strategy,” they explained. “In addition, we agree that the acceptance of diverse body sizes is laudable, as is the goal to increase medical treatment for obese individuals—themes that emerge in the argument in support of obesity as a disease.”

Saturday, August 2, 2014

I Attempt To Answer The Age Old Question "Why Am I Me?"

(If I wrote for some big site they would have made me title this "Why Are You You? Here's Why" but thankfully I do not (thankfully in this instance, not in general; let's not get crazy here) and as such it was titled something more appropriate/honest)

Have you ever asked yourself "why am I me?" "Why am I not someone else?" I certainly have. Many times in my youth and adolescence (and once or twice in adulthood) I have wondered to myself this very thing. At 32 years of age I found myelf pondering this once again but this time an anwer came, almost immediately actually. It's that immediacy that makes me think I might have it, but each time I get close to accepting that, I's like an eel escaping a predator's grasp- one second it's there and the next it's gone. I am just about to emotionally connect to the idea that I am right when suddenly I don't feel so sure and I start saying things like "wait, what?" and "No, wh- hmmmm....wait, what?"

Well, I am writing down my thoughts in the hopes that I can finally figure this out and maybe have a good discussion with somebody online.  I will do this as though I were responding to someone.

"Why am I me?"

Well, I think each "us" may ask why am I 'me' (as I have many times in my life) and I think the only real answer is you are "you" because when your parents procreated, your consciousness developed as a necessary result of that process. Each one of us is a 'me' and it's only after we came to be that we would even think to ask this question but the question itself is kind of pointless because rather than a consciousness being dropped into a body consciousness is the result of the biological entity processing information. If you weren't you there wouldn't be a you. In order for you to ask about yourself there must have been a you in the first place. If any conditions had changed, you would not have existed. Therefore, you are you because the conditions that made you were what they were. If your parents hadn't conceived you when they did you wouldn't be, well, you. So to say "why am I not someone else" is to essentially say "why am I, a thing that came to be as the result of my parents being together exactly when they were, not that other thing who is a result of totally different circumstances?"

I think the anthropic principle might be applicable here- the idea being that when one is examining the universe the universe MUST be congruent with that beings' existence and this congruence cannot be used as evidence for something in an argument as it would apply in ALL cases. So for example, if someone wants to point to the remarkable number of conditions that must have come to be exactly the way they are for life to be as we experience it now and use this as evidence for a god the only correct response to that is to point out that in order for life to be here things had to be a certain way, and would be so regardless of HOW it came to be, so you cannot point to this congruence between life and the universe and say "see, god!" If humans came to be 100% without any gods, things.....would be exactly the same, otherwise there wouldn't be an us.

This topic makes my head hurt.