While many studies have shown the advantages and health benefits of being married or in a long-term committed relationship (e.g., lowering risk of cardiovascular disease), new research indicates that these same relationships may contribute to acquiring poor health habits from one’s partner.
The researcher describes three ways that these unhealthy habits are promoted.
A partner can be a bad influence because of his or her own unhealthy habits. In straight relationships, men were unanimously seen as the culprit.
The partner who observes unhealthy habits in the other may not take personal responsibility to try to help the other change.
Synchronicity may be operating. That is, even though one partner might have the desire for an unhealthy habit, he or she may not engage in it . . . but, if the other partner also demonstrates a desire for it, then they both are likely to endorse it for each other. Thus, both wind up backsliding. This synchronicity is particularly exclusive to gay and lesbian couples.
Should a spouse or partner try to shape the other’s behavior if that behavior is believed to be detrimental to the second partner’s health? For example, if she smokes, should you urge her to quit? If he is overweight, should you suggest an exercise routine for the two of you and then accompany him to the gym several times a week? Or should we just let our partner make the decisions concerning his or her own health and fitness?
Do you think that, by trying to change health-related bad habits in your partner, you might hurt his/her feelings, damage the trust relationship you already have, or even push your partner away? Some people feel that any small improved health status in the partner may not be worth risking a positive, long-term, intimate relationship. What do you think?
How would you, if you so desired, try to modify unhealthy habits of your partner?
Do you agree that men are usually seen as the bad influence? And, if so, do you feel they deserve that recognition?
How many of us were a matter of concern to our parents because we failed to exhibit what was considered normal verbal ability or behavior according to the pediatricians’ charts? If this doesn’t describe you, have you known others who were regarded as “late talkers?” The experience of being a parent of a late talker can be an emotional one, especially if the child’s speech is significantly delayed and family members or friends frequently bring it to your attention. Many parents become concerned that their child might be developmentally challenged in language skills. When they compare their own child to those of their friends (who might be constantly jabbering), these parents may even fear that their toddler is mentally challenged.
Results of a new study, if it can be replicated, could certainly lower anxiety and stress levels of parents who face these challenges. Investigators found that 70-80% of children exhibiting speech delays catch up with their peers in language skills after age two. Also, any early emotional or behavioral problems associated with delayed language development do not generally continue after this time. It is believed that these problems were probably due to frustration (at not being able to communicate)–and not to some underlying genetic cause.
Since some children do have language impairments, it is wise to have early diagnosis and intervention. Isn’t this what we’ve always been told? Have you known parents whose response to this situation probably made matters worse? What specific behaviors of parents and older siblings do you think would have a negative effect on the slow-to-talk toddler? What are some things you would or could do that would have the opposite effect (that is, a proactive one)?
Bottle-Toting Toddlers: Are They Prone to Obesity?
by New York Behavioral Health Staff Member
A study just reported in the Journal of Pediatrics suggests that children who are still drinking from a baby bottle at age 2 and beyond are more likely to be overweight at 5 years of age and in adulthood than those who “give up” the bottle by one year.
Reactions to these results (in the popular press) are slightly mixed, with the majority of readers pointing to later consumption of fast foods, junk food, etc. as the chief influence on obesity. Here are some findings of the study, however, funded by the U.S Dept. of Agriculture. Of the children who still sipped from a bottle at age two, nearly 30% could be considered obese by the age of 5½, while only 16% of those drinking out of cups (going into their third year) were obese by that age.
Dissenters should take note that the study did, in fact, control for mother’s weight, birth weight of the baby, and feeding practices. Even so, the researchers caution that the findings do not prove that prolonged bottle use causes obesity; there may be other important factors influencing both. But it’s still something for young parents to consider in providing nutrition and comfort to their little ones.