Parenting Style Influences the way a child eats

Have you ever wondered why certain children are overweight? Well according to experts a child’s weight has a lot to do with not only their genes, and what they eat, but HOW they eat, and the way their parent raises them. Read below to find out more:

“A child’s development is influenced in a number of ways. The same is true for eating behaviors.

Among these, research has suggested a connection between parenting styles and children’s eating behaviors, attitude toward food, and body weight. At about age 2, children move away from eating solely for reasons of hunger, to eating that is influenced by their environment and parental influences.

Although there are numerous ways to describe parenting, a body of research has proposed four general categories of parenting styles. These patterns of parenting are defined based on degrees of demandingness/behavioral control or responsiveness/warmth/supportiveness. They include authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved, and authoritative.

Authoritarian style, parents are extremely strict and controlling when it comes to behavioral issues, such as eating. They tend to be less sensitive to their child’s emotions and instead stress authority and obedience. There is little to no discussion between parent and child. Parents are more directive and demanding. They do not expect their child to disagree with them.

When it comes to feeding, authoritarian parents may focus on food restriction, or pressure the child to eat. They make decisions about the type and amounts of food the child eats. The child has little room for self-expression. Punishment may be involved if the child does not comply with the parent’s wishes. Interestingly, authoritarian parents are often not good role models when it comes to healthy eating and body weight.

Numerous studies suggest that this style of parenting results in a greater risk of the child being over- or underweight. The thought is that children raised in this fashion do not learn how to self-regulate eating. They have more trouble recognizing internal hunger and fullness cues. They may also demonstrate more food obsessions and cravings. Additionally, the stress of this parenting style can promote emotional eating.

The permissive style of parenting involves few rules. Parents tend to be more indulgent, accepting, and warm, while imposing little control and minimal limits. There are few demands on behavior by the parents. Children establish their own rules and schedules.

When it comes to eating, children with permissive parents have trouble with impulse control. They tend to be more immature and less likely to accept responsibility. In general, permissive parents also tend to be poor models of healthy eating. Their children are also at risk for being overweight or obese.

Uninvolved or disengaged parents are not demanding and respond minimally to their children. Healthy foods may not be as available in the home and mealtimes may not be planned. Extreme cases may include neglect and rejection of the child. Children raised in his manner may feel insecure about food/eating and may become overly focused on food. Such parents often have other issues taking up their time and focus besides attention to the quality and quantity of their child’s eating.

The authoritative or moderate style of parenting tends to be the most effective for promoting healthy eating behaviors and body sizes in children. Parents using this style set limits but take into consideration the feelings of the child even if they do not agree. They usually take the time to explain the reasons behind their rules around eating. They are firm with kindness and warmth. There are expected, age-appropriate standards and some structure around meal and snack times.

In this style, food intake is monitored and guided through reasonable limit-setting. There is consistency in reinforcement of known guidelines — meaning the rules do not change — so the child behaves accordingly. For the child, this promotes independent thinking and self-regulation. Parents are more likely to model healthy eating behaviors, consistent with their beliefs and expectations for their child.

So what are some guidelines for parents that increase the chance of raising a child with healthier eating behaviors and body weight? Setting clear, reasonable rules around eating that are consistently enforced helps the child learn self-control. It is important to listen to the child, respect his or her ideas, and share the reasons behind the rules. Parents should also model healthy eating behaviors.

It is the parent’s role to provide an inventory of healthy foods in the home. It is the child’s role to decide if, how much, and which foods he or she will eat at the designated meal and snack times. This allows the child to practice decision making within the boundaries of healthy eating choices. The child then feels independent and empowered.

A child’s body weight should not be compared to another’s, or the child demeaned because of body size. A parent should try to avoid making rules that are allowed to be broken at times — such as when the parent is tired, stressed, or falls prey to a child’s pleading — because the child receives mixed messages. This may also occur if healthy eating is promoted, but less healthy foods are used as a reward. Additionally, there may be confusion if there are multiple caregivers or if the parents have different parenting styles.

Obviously, parents are human and may exhibit each of the above parenting styles at one time or another. Based on the majority of research to date, however, the more closely they follow the authoritative style of parenting, the more likely they are to have children with healthier diets, a better body weight, and a more positive attitude toward food.”

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13 ways To Build Parent Involvement

PTO Today is an awesome website for fundraising tips and advice. I frequent the site, for tips and “expert” advice for PFG’s fundraising clients. The following list (taken from PTO TODAY) is 26 ways that a Booster Club/PTO/PTA can build Parent involvement:

A is for Asking. If you want people to participate, you must ask. The number one reason people cite for not volunteering: “Nobody asked.”

B is for Black Hole. People are afraid that if they volunteer, they’ll be sucked into a black hole of time commitment from which they can’t escape. Let them know up front that your group is not a black hole. Then, make sure you honor their time constraints.

C is for Communication. Use a variety of communication tools to make sure your message gets through. Flyers and e-mails are good for communicating a date and time. Use your newsletter and Web site to let people know about your accomplishments. Invite local media to activities involving kids.

D is for Diversity. Reach out to all parents in your school, not just the ones who are easy to reach. Sponsor multicultural events. Translate parent group materials, if necessary. Organize transportation for those who need it. Your school, your group, and the kids all will benefit tremendously from broad-based parent involvement.

E is for Examine. Look closely at your activities to decide what’s working and what isn’t. Don’t just do something because “that’s what we’ve always done.” New ideas can create new excitement for your group.

F is for Fun—don’t forget about it! Some special people will dedicate their time and energy to a group because it’s the right thing to do. Many, many more will participate if it’s fun. Make sure your group has fun. You’ll build involvement and fight burnout, too.

G is for Gradual. Introduce parents to participation in the PTO gradually. Parents who participate in family events are the most likely to become volunteers. Those who volunteer occasionally are the most likely to take on more responsibility, such as organizing an event. And those organizers are the most likely to become interested in serving as board members. Moving people from step to step takes the stress out of finding future leaders.

H is for Hour, the length to which you should limit meetings. People worry about time commitments. You have better ways for them to spend their volunteer time than at meetings, so don’t hold meetings that go on all night. Use your committees to do the detail work. Limit general meetings to one hour, and limit business to finalizing the work of the committees.

I is for Invitation. The best way to get parents involved is to extend a personal invitation. People are most likely to take part in any group when they know someone who already does. Don’t just send flyers home, then wonder why nobody “signed up.” Create situations in which you can communicate with people one on one.

J is for Just. Don’t use this word to describe your group. You are doing important work. You should know it, and others should, too. So don’t think of your organization as “just a PTO.” If you do, you’ll have a much harder time getting others involved.

K is for Kudos. Awards, compliments, a simple thank-you. Always let people know that you appreciate their help, whether they just organized a smashing fundraiser or spent an hour selling tickets at the carnival.

L is for Leadership. Being a leader means looking beyond today. Does your group have long-term goals? How will you get there? If you want to get parents excited, share your vision and give them something to work toward.

M is for Marketing. Sing the praises of your parent group. Make sure people know what you do. When you donate an item to the school, put a plaque or sticker on it that gives you credit. When you raise money, make sure people know what it was able to buy for their kids. A little basic marketing goes a long way toward building your reputation with parents—and encouraging parent involvement.

View the other 13 ways to build involvement here.

Parents involvement in fundraisers

For children there is always some sort of “incentive” in a school fundraiser. Whether it’s the goal of getting the top prize or the goal of beating a classmate or friend in “sales”.  Children, most often, will feel the “excitement” within a fundraiser before a parent will. This isn’t to say that parents don’t enjoy fundraising or “lack” the incentive to help fundraise for their child, but for the most part, parents often describe fundraising as an “unpleasant” event. This is especially true for PTO MOMS and Booster club members. So how can PTO’s make  fundraisers more exciting for parents? By creating meaning, incentives, and ease.

When I use the word “meaning” I’m describing the “importance” or “significance” in a fundraiser.  Parents need to know why the fundraiser is important for THEIR child. Most importantly a parent wants to know what is in “it” for them.  So prior to fundraising season, it’s important that PTO and Booster members send out “informational packets” about upcoming fundraisers. In the packet address WHY the school needs the fundraiser–is it for uniforms, for a new computer lab, etc.  Explain how raising that money will impact each and every child. Finally explain WHY it’s important that the parent commit a certain amount of time in helping sell the product for the fundraiser. All of this will paint a clear and “urgent” meaning for the parent.  At Paper For Good we’ve found that parents are much more likely to be involved in a fundraiser if there is meaning.

Incentives for parents are truly no different from creating incentives for the children. Incentives motivate us to “want” to get to a certain goal.  Without an incentive there isn’t much of a “drive” or even a point for that matter–in reaching that outcome. For children it’s much more measurable when we creative incentives–kids know that if they sell X, the school raises Y, and they get Z. With parents of children the incentive isn’t as “visible”. Obviously from an outsider perspective the incentive is that if parents help sell X, and the school raises Y, then their children will get Z as a result. But to a parent the “Z” can be “lost” in the scheme of things. So at PFG we propose that PTO and Booster members “Spell” out what “Z” is.  If parents know that the “meaning” of the fundraiser is that the students raising Y amount of money to get a new computer lab, then obviously the “Z” is the computer lab. That should be easy to define, right? Well–it’s easy once you define why the computer lab is an incentive for the parent. It can be a long the lines, of MORE computers for each child–which means their child can go to the library and do research in ways they weren’t before. It could be that children get certain “benefits” from updated computers that impact learning in a positive manner.  It’s “painting” the incentive in a way that directly BENEFITS the child, without the parent having to shell out his or her own cash, which really helps a parent WANT to be involved in the process.

Finally when a fundraiser is simple and easy for a parent to navigate a parent will be more open to involvement in the fundraiser.  What do I mean by simple and easy? I mean a fundraiser where parents can help sell the items in a flexible manner. Where the parents aren’t “worried” for time. Where parents understand the catalogue or can pass it off to colleagues and family members. For instance with the PFG fundraiser we’ve set it up so that orders can be made online. So that “door-to-door” sells are avoidable. We have samples that we give out to our fundraiser members, which make it that much easier for the parent to understand what they are selling. Furthermore we offer plenty of resources that help the parent and the child in selling our product. This makes it easy, flexible, and completely simple for the average parent to understand and sell.

It’s these type of qualities that make a fundraiser parent-friendly and in turn creates parental involvement.

Fundraisers Teach Life Skills

Any parent(s) with children probably have participated in fundraising in some point in their lives. And if, as a parent, you’ve had the pleasure of participating in fundraising then you probably understand how difficult and rewarding fundraising can be. Whether it’s for a cheerleading tournament, basketball uniforms, new computers in the school library, or funding for a new program–fundraising has a small meaning somewhere in our child’s life. But more importantly a good fundraiser teaches our children important life skills.

*Being a part of a team. When a child fundraises he/she works with: the parent, the teacher, the PTO moms’, children that are apart of the same initiative(peers and classmates), and his/her best friend.  This helps teach our children how to work with people in a variety of respects–from the people we love, to the people in charge, to friends, to acquaintances–all of course with the knowledge that by working with the variety of people we are “helping” reach that goal.

*Making a difference. Every time your child goes door-to-door, or hands dad that catalogue to give to his work colleagues, that child is making a contribution toward the larger fundraising goal. As the saying goes “Every one counts”. The fact that even selling 3 items gets us one step closer to buying uniforms teaches our children that we all contribute toward a bigger meaning, even if our contributions seem small.

*Meeting a goal. We all have goals we aim to meet in our lifetimes. Fundraisers  create some of our FIRST opportunities in meeting a targeted or measurable goal. Fundraisers motivate us not only for the prizes and rewards we receive–we also are motivated by our desire to sell X amount because it makes us feel proud. Working to meet a goal creates a competitive spirit in us and teaches us the value of accomplishing milestones.

*Sales. Fundraisers teach our children how to “sell” themselves. How to sell the “product” and “service”. And how to demonstrate “value”.  Sales also teaches our children to continue to pump forward no matter how many people, say “No thanks” or “Not today.”  Learning to be confident, to “sell”, to overcome rejection, and to persist is a great skill that we can carry on in many pursuits.

Of course there are other large life skills that come with fundraising, but as a child these are the main life lessons I took from fundraising.

Teaching your kids about savings and finances

For parents that are interested in teaching their children about finances, savings, and how to avoid a terrible economic position, the information below should be very helpful.  I found this information on the Alliance for Investors Education website. It’s title: “Teaching Your Kids About Saving and Investing: A Guide for Parents“. The section features the following 10 web resources as a financial “savings” guide for parents:

  1. Investing ABCs: Teaching Your Children About Stocks –, AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy.
  2. Gen I Revolution –, Council for Economic Education.
  3. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Planning for College Expenses –, CFA Institute.
  4. Choose to Save: Savingsman Episode 5: Saving Early –, Employee Benefit Research Institute.
  5. Tips for Teaching Students about Saving and Investing –, Securities and Exchange Commission.
  6. Teach Your Children – –- Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.
  7. The Basics of Saving and Investing –, Investor Protection Trust.
  8. Cover the Basics Before Your Child Leaves the Nest –, National Endowment for Financial Education.
  9. Great Minds Think: A Kid’s Guide to Money –, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.
  10. Fraud Scene Investigator –-, North American Securities Administrators Association.

Beating the Bully.

This morning while browsing google news(as I usually do in the morning) I came across a series of articles dedicated to “bullying”.  Just to get a good idea of what I mean, when I say a series of articles, these are just SOME of the articles I came across this morning:

Obviously bullying has become a HUGE issue in this country, and amongst our children. Bullying happens in schools, on playgrounds, in sports/activities, in college, in our homes, and even in the “viral” world. It affects most age groups(even those who are over age 18) and it affects both genders.  It’s become an unavoidable issue–and one that many experts are still trying to understand. If you happen to read any of the above articles they provide great perspectives on the issue, possible solutions, and what it’s like to be a bully and to be bullied.

I did know a girl who was bullied when I was in elementary school.  Girls picked on her, because she was sort of an “oddball”. It wasn’t anything like “I’ll take your lunch money”. It was more like: “Your ugly” or purposely leaving this particular girl out of activities  and events, and whispering about her in front of her face.

Obviously you can imagine the emotional damage that can do to a child. So how does a child in that situation “beat the bully”?  That’s where it’s get complex. Because as parents we don’t want a violent child, we don’t want a disrespectful child, but at the same time we don’t want our child to be bullied, and we certainly don’t want people to pick on our child because of a perceived weakness.  So what do we do? Well for starters, before our children even start school we make sure to have a “talk” with them. We go over with them: how to identify a bully, how to stop ourselves from being targeted and how if need be to defend ourselves if we are bullied.

A bully typically has a variety of roles–a bully is the popular boy or girl, the bully can be the “big” kid(bigger than most in the grade), the bully can be the kid that “fights” a lot or comes from a chaotic background. So obviously there is no “certain” description for a bully, but there are certain “traits” that bullies exhibit–such as popularity, strength, a “no-nonsense” personality, or an indifference to authority. Like anything, bullies will pick on what they perceive to be the “weak” or “fearful” child. The bully often can sense which child fits that description. They often test their classmates out, to see who stands up for himself/herself and who doesn’t. Those who don’t or those who seem fearful are the ones that become the “bullied”. So right away it’s important that we teach our child how to stand up for himself/herself. What to do in a situation where he/she was being bullied and how to “fight” back. And more importantly we instill in our children confidence, integrity, and the “strength” to not be afraid to fight back if a situation calls for it.  Enrolling children in self-defense courses, and other physical sports instills confidence within them. And teaching our children what to do in “bully” type of environments, teaches our children how to react.

Of course this doesn’t mean that they won’t be a target. It just means that they will be prepared for circumstances to which they are in a position of being bullied.

It’s equally important that parents pay attention to their children, and look for “signs” of bullying. Typically these include: not wanting to go to school, coming home emotionally withdrawn, grades dropping, a sudden change in behavior, and of course our child telling us directly what is happening. The moment you know your child is being bullied don’t be afraid to talk with school administrators to address the problem.

Progress Denied: Women in Management Left Behind (Minding the Kids)

Found this article below at the Huffington Post,

“The U.S. Government Accountability Office’s new glass ceiling report on women in management was just released by the Joint Economic Committee, and the news is bad. In a comparison of the years 2000 and 2007, women comprised 49% of non-managerial workers in both years, but their representation in management rose slightly from 39% to 40%.

Although the report does not say why things are still so bad, the numbers hint that marriage and children are part of the problem – but only for women. In 2007, 74% of the men in management were married, while that only held true for 59% of the women. While 57% of the men had no dependent children, 63% of the women had no children. Further, 27% of the men had at least two children, but only 20% of the women did.

These differences reflect what we call “bias avoidance strategies.” Here’s how it works. If you think your co-workers or bosses view care-giving commitments as a negative, then you will either avoid those commitments entirely or hide them when you have them. When men take on care-giving responsibilities, that’s fine. It is automatically assumed that family will not interfere with work. On the other hand, when women take on care-giving roles, they are no longer taken seriously; instead, they are “just moms.” Bias avoidance behaviors are rooted in the harsh reality that women still perform more housework and provide more childcare than men. However, young men are doing more housework and are more involved in childcare today than ever, yet the outdated workplace expectations that induce bias avoidance remain… No wonder women in management often avoid marriage and children.

The GAO report also highlights the economic incentives for bias avoidance. Among women in management without children, average pay rose from 81 cents to 83 cents for every dollar earned by males between 2000 and 2007. The story for women in management with children? Their earnings stayed flat at 79 cents on every dollar earned by male managers (and that is male managers with children).

Fortunately, many of our leading employers have recognized the economic danger inherent in forcing employees, and particularly women, to engage in bias avoidance strategies: we lose the productivity of many of our most talented citizens when they “choose” to make family commitments. Those employers, spotlighted annually by Working Mother magazine, strive to be family-responsive, and are much better at holding onto talented women (and men), regardless of care-giving commitments.

Unfortunately, our national response has been anemic, with around half of the workforce receiving unpaid time off for care-giving under the Family and Medical Leave Act. We can and should do more, including ensuring the provision of paid sick days with the proposed Healthy Families Act. The proposed act provides sick days both for one’s own illness and to care for ill family members. Congress should also pass the Working Families Flexibility Act, which would promote the negotiation of work schedules that are win-win for both employers and families. Finally, because the wage gap exists for both mothers and non-mothers, we need to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, to help equalize wage disparities between women and men.

We can do better, and if we do, those dismal numbers for women in management will improve.”