The National Parenting Center

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Old Wives’ Tales





I’ve heard a lot of “Old Wives’ Tales” about kids, and here are some:

1. “A child who is not toilet trained on time is emotionally insecure, or just nasty and stubborn.” Neither is true. There is no relationship between the time a child toilet trains and his emotional security or personality.

2. “Fever convulsions, common in the one- to three-year-old, cause brain damage.” This is simply not so. Simple fever convulsions do not cause any permanent problems.

3 “It’s not healthy for a toddler to play in dirt.” Ridiculous. I believe it’s perfectly acceptable. There is no health hazard in dirt, unless your child eats it in large quantities. All that’s needed after a hard day’s play in the dirt is a good bath.

4. “A toddler who masturbates has some deep-seated emotional problem, or maybe is oversexed.” Both are untrue. It’s normal for a toddler to masturbate and shouldn’t cause you any concern. It will stop in time.

Dr. Alvin Eden is chairman of the department of pediatrics at Wyckoff Heights Hospital in Brooklyn and associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Cornell University Medical Center. Dr. Eden has authored several books including “Positive Parenting” and “Healthy Kids”.

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