Myth 1 – My kids seem happy so their mental health must be fine. The truth is, sometimes the kids that appear the happiest on the outside are the ones struggling the most on the inside. There are also other mental health issues besides depression that happiness has nothing to do with, such as anxiety disorders, ADHD, eating disorders and more.
Myth #2 – An obese child isn’t in danger. He has years to change. This is false and more so, dangerous on so many levels. The fact is most kids carry their childhood eating, drinking and exercise habits right into adulthood. Furthermore, an obese child will remain at greater risk for Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), acid reflux and more.
Myth #3 – We need to wait to get a dog to avoid childhood allergies. The opposite is actually true. There is good evidence that mom’s exposure to a dog during pregnancy, and baby’s exposure during early life decreases allergies and eczema by 30%, and asthma by 20%. Let Fluffy be part of the family early on.
Myth #4 – Raising my baby with a pacifier is a good idea. No it’s not! In fact, it can be downright detrimental for oral-facial growth and development. First, they influence a high arched palate and small nasal space. (Remember the roof of the mouth is also the floor of the nose.). Next, the guard of the pacifier pushes the bones (and teeth buds) back in the face with every suck. That means the tongue box gets smaller and the tongue loses its healthy resting posture (flat and suctioned to the roof of the mouth). If you feel compelled to introduce a pacifier, the sooner you can discontinue it the better.
Myth #5 – Kids don’t like rules and limits. False. Kids thrive when they’re given limits, daily structure, and clear expectations. They want to be held accountable to a structure, even when they complain about it. Consistently living within the reasonable boundaries you set forth teaches children how to be better citizens and how not to lie, cheat, steal or bully one another.
Myth #6—Kids need ultra clean living conditions and a frequent spirt of hand sanitizer. Wrong again. There is plenty of research showing that over-sanitizing our environment is significantly decreasing the diversity of your many families of gut bugs, and in turn, increasing your child’s risk of allergies, autoimmune diseases, and asthma. Instead, encourage outdoor play, increase the diversity of whole foods (especially produce) you serve, stay away from ultra-processed foods and rely on soap and water for hand-sanitizing, not alcohol- or antimicrobial-based sanitizers.