Book review: What’s eating your child?

By Anita Matthews

Published in Parenthots, The Star on June 25, 2012 as Behaviour problems that start with the diet

By Kelly Dorfman, MS, LND
Publisher: Workman Publishing

The adage “you are what you eat” is true and the more I thumbed through Kelly Dorfman’s book What’s Eating Your Child?, the more I agreed with it.

Dorfman is a nutritionist who has turned her career into a vocation as she guides picky eaters into proper diets, better behaviour and improved lifestyles. But take note that not all the stories that Dorfman tells have a fairytale ending.

What we, and our children, eat does have an impact on how we behave. Most of us are familiar with children who suffer from lactose intolerance or are allergic to nuts; but to realise that the common flour, rice or meats too impact behaviour is alarming. The sad news is the finding from the American Medical Association – chronic health conditions, obesity, asthma, behaviour and learning problems among children increased 14% between 1994 and 2006.

It is no secret that some form of flavouring, colouring or chemicals enters the food chain before it arrives at the dinner table. While it is widely perceived that the level of such inorganic content is minimal, its consumption over a period of time does affect the body. Regularly consuming snacks and fizzy drinks among toddlers are instances that have found links with obesity.

The situation is compounded as parents not only need to deal with obese children but also behavioural issues caused by artificial sweeteners, dairy and gluten content in food. Substitutes like soy milk do not provide the answers, either.

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Book review: Amazing Minds

Amazing Minds

By Anita Matthews

Published as Academic writing makes book tedious in ParenThots, The Star, Feb 20, 2012

Amazing Minds: The Science of Nurturing Your Child’s Developing Mind With Games, Activities and more
By Jan Faull, MEd with Jennifer McLean Oliver, PhD
Publisher: Berkley Books New York

This book held much promise and its foreword opened to an exciting read ahead. Unfortunately, after the 30th page, a slight irritation set in and by the time I hit the 50th page, I realised it would not get any better. So, I threw it aside and went on to re-read some fiction from my bookshelf.

A week later, I went back to Amazing Minds. Surely there must be something worthwhile to new parents who harbour a million dreams for their darling children. Is it possible for parents to shape their infants into perfect children? I found it in chapter four where Faull discussed imitation and memory of babies and how our actions shape their early journey from contentment and distress in babyhood to differentiating anger from joy in their interactions or within different environments. The author argued that babies who are disturbed by patterns in adult behaviour would avoid provoking similar behaviour even though they are curious to explore. This is useful as we, parents, often forget how observant babies are.
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