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Lollipops and Colored Pencils of Death?

Perhaps parents know what they're talking about after all.

by
Helen Smith

Bio

January 24, 2013 - 2:21 pm

I was traveling today on a plane and picked up the US Airways magazine where I read an interesting article by Ken Jennings on his book Because I Said So!: The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales, and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids.

The gist of the article was that many of the things parents tell kids are not necessarily true (though some are). One example he gave was when parents tell kids not to run with a lollipop in their mouth. It turns out that few kids ever get injured by running with a lollipop in his or her mouth. It was so interesting that I looked up the author’s website to find out more and found the following things that parents tell kids:

“Don’t cross your eyes or they’ll stay like that!”

“Feed a cold, starve a fever!”

“Don’t touch your Halloween candy until we get it checked out!”

“Never run with scissors.”

“Don’t look in the microwave while it’s running!”

“This will go down on your permanent record.”

Is any of it true? If so, how true?

I felt very comforted to know that kids running with lollipops was not a terribly dangerous act but then I had the misfortune to see this headline at MSNBC: “Girl survives pencil through eye and into brain.” It turns out a 20 month old was running with a colored pencil and fell on it and it went through her eye. It’s easy to think that a lot of the things parents tell their kid are just myths to keep kids from doing dumb things, but maybe there is a reason for it! Kids do a lot of dumb things.

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What to Expect When You’re Expecting (Your College Kid Home for Christmas)

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.
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