A new study has discovered a link between mother-toddler bonding and teenage obesity. Apparently, if you moms don't connect emotionally with your tykes well enough, it could raise Junior's risk for obesity by the time they're 15. No pressure or anything, but you could make your kid fat.
Okay, two things: First, obviously bonding emotionally with your toddler is an important thing to do for a million reasons. And honestly, I think the vast majority of us get the job done just fine, thank you. I guess I'm not surprised that kids who don't get properly attached to their parents at a young age would grow up to "eat their feelings," which is what appears to be happening. But something irks me about this study: why didn't they study toddlers' relationships with their DADS, too?
It's like there's another study every other day about ways Moms Are Doing It Wrong -- I think I see about 200 studies about moms for every study I see about dads, or at the very least parents in general. It's disappointing that researchers still haven't caught on to the impact both parents can have on children's development. Dads take on more of the childcare than they have in the past -- and that needs to be represented in these child development studies. And if they're not taking on more childcare, doesn't that matter, too?!?
I swear, I scanned the whole article for mention of "dads" or "parents." (The study was published in a print version of the journal, Pediatrics.) All I found was a line saying that this study reinforces other studies about how "toddlers who didn't have close emotional ties with their parents were more likely to be obese by the time they were 4.5 years old." So why didn't this study focus on both parents, too?
I'm not saying this isn't still useful information. It is! I just wish more researchers would start paying more attention to dads. Studies like this one can lend themselves easily to "blame the mom" games. (MY FAVORITE!) Dads don't get off the hook in real life. But when I read stories like these I picture dads off peacefully fly-fishing while moms do all the work and take all the responsibility.
Does it bother you when parenting studies only look at moms?
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