October 29, 2018

1) Children's behavior linked to parent's excessive screen time use. Dr. McDaniel and colleagues looked at the amount of time parents spent on screens and the associated children's behavior.

 "Our results suggest bidirectional dynamics in which (a) parents, stressed by their child's difficult behavior, may then withdraw from parent-child interactions with technology and (b) this higher technology use during parent-child interactions may influence externalizing and withdrawal behaviors over time."

 This study used a very cherry picked population at 94% married, 91% white and highly educated making it poorly useful for the general population at large. That being said, the results are a question of which is the chicken and which is the egg? Is it that the children are behaviorally challenged causing the parents to withdraw to technology or is it the parents natural desire to withdraw into technology that causes the associated behavior. I think the answer is truly both.

 I have noted in clinic over the years a constant and painful rise in the use of technology by parents in the office. They are often not paying attention to the child or the provider of care. I have even had parents try to take phone calls mid discussion with the parent, myself and the child. What a message sent! Neither the child nor my time is valuable.

 Children can often be difficult to parent and at times tolerate. However, I have never seen a neurotypical child lose behaviorally over the long run with parents that are dialed in, loving and motivated for the health of self and the child. This study seems to just prove the obvious. Poor quality parenting will lead to poorly behaved children and the cycle of negativity that follows. Check your and your child's screen time use and associated behaviors. I find that children are much more even tempered when they are not allowed to be babysat by a screen.

 2) Breastfeeding is the best. Statistics are woefully low for our children's optimal health. Latest statistics from the CDC from 2014 to 2015: Among infants born in 2015 in the United States, 4 out of 5 (83.2%) started to breastfeed, over half (57.6%) were breastfeeding at 6 months, and over one-third (35.9%) were breastfeeding at 12 months. However, when we look at exclusive breastfeeding rates, the predictor of best health, the numbers are less encouraging with only 47% at 3 months and 25% at 6 months of age.

Remembering that breastmilk is free, best and bonding, we need to do a better job of promoting and helping mothers initiate and maintain breastfeeding exclusively until at a minimum 6 months of age.


Breast is best,

Dr. M

McDaniel Pediatric Research Article
CDC Breastfeeding Reports Article