It’s a beautiful cold day in Charlotte, and that fact has undoubtedly raised my mood. I must say, I’m constantly reminded of what geniuses mothers and fathers are. Just this week, observing parents with their children has reminded me of this fact.
Take a mother who came with her 10 year old this week, for instance. During the talking part of this boy’s checkup, the conversation turned to his bedroom and his bedtime activities. This child’s mother was quick to pipe into the conversation how important sleep was to his brain function… and she is right! Recent research shows that just an hour less sleep each night reduces the intellectual functioning of a school age child by 2 full grades! That’s like a 6th grader functioning on a 4th grade level. This mom hadn’t read this research but instinctively knew this. Amazing. During that same conversation, the mother reiterated why her son could not have a TV in his room or screens of any sort in his bedroom! This lady is on top of the latest research without even reading it. Research shows that, on average, children with screens and TVs in their room do less well in school.
I am also reminded of the mom who chimed in during my conversation with her son about bike helmets, reinforcing my message of how absolutely essential it is to wear a helmet, not just on a bike, but anything that rolls. The child started negotiating…”What about my skateboard, what about my scooter. Do I need to wear my helmet riding these as well”? Mom took over at this point and came out with this statement, “The point is, Johnny, if you fall and hit your head rolling on anything, we want your helmet to break, not your head. You’ll wear the helmet when you ride on anything that rolls or you will lose that toy.” Right on, Mom.
Dad’s aren’t too shabby when it comes to intelligence either. While I was discussing a young boy’s respiratory illness with him and his Dad earlier this week, the young man interrupted me with a comment before I had finished with my thought. Dad was quick to correct his interruption with some wisdom of his own: “Son, you only have one mouth but two ears, which means you should listen twice as much as you talk!” What wisdom. We should all remember that one.
And finally, let’s not forget the teaching of social graces that parents are constantly doing. Just because their children are at the doctor’s office doesn’t mean that these genius parents don’t stop demanding that their children learn to talk to and respect older individuals. I can’t tell you how often I hear parents correct their children to address me as sir, look me in the eye when talking to me, prompting their children to answer my questions without the parent’s help, or show gratitude when I show concern for their well being or give them something. Personally, I take comfort when I hear these things. These parents are grooming their children for success, teaching social skills that they will undoubtedly need when they are captains of industry, civic leaders, professionals, or productive, responsible adults.
Parents never cease to amaze me. That’s why I always do my best to listen carefully when they talk. They usually are very insightful and wise about one of their favorite topics: their children. If you enjoyed this pedcast, take a minute to write a review on iTunes or leave a comment on my blog, www.docsmo.com. You are the reason I make these podcasts. This is Dr. Paul Smolen, hoping you get in sync, with your great parental instincts. Until next time.