This is fraud

As a brittle, childless spinster, I don’t have child-rearing experiences of my own to draw on. Yet every day in clinic, I make reassuring eye contact with haggard looking, applesauce-spattered people, and explain to them how to raise their children. I have no data to back me up–only snippets I’ve overheard from people who actually know what they’re doing.

This is not evidence-based medicine. This is fraud. As someone who has never had the pleasure of ignoring a breath-holding spell or a tantrum, I feel like a total jackass telling parents to do it. But what’s odd is that when I speak as if I have a clue what I’m talking about, they obediently bob their heads at me and hang on every word that comes out of my mouth. It is completely absurd.

More on this at a later date.

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4 Comments on “This is fraud”

  1. EGM Says:

    I hear ya! The worst combination by far is first time mothers and first time doctors:

    Mother of a 4-day old: “Am I mixing the formula correctly?”
    Intern: “How are you mixing it?”
    Mother: “One scoop of powder with 2 ounces of water.”
    Intern: “That’s great.”
    Mother: “Oh, thank you. I was worried that I wasn’t doing it correctly.”

    [note: the preceeding conversation actually happened. I am a fraud.]

    I did check with my preceptor who said the mother was mixing the formula correctly, so no babies were harmed in the making of this fraudulant episode.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    As a mother of a 4 year old, I can say that fraud or not, you are being helpful (in most cases). Most of us sleep-deprived, haggard moms know exactly what we need to do for our children, but we need an objective pep talk from someone who’s not as sleep-deprived as we are (which may be up for debate based on previous blog entries). Also, I must mention that I get extreme pleasure from the fact that our pediatrician (who is incredibly competent and we absolutely adore her) is about to birth her first child. These past 5 years that she’s been in practice are about to come flying in her face. I’m sure she’ll be proud of most of the advice she’s given and cringe at some of it. But parenting is a humbling experience after all…

  3. Carrie & Sophia Says:

    The truth is for most new parents they don’t have a clue except what they have read or been told. You are just repeating this to them and offering common-sense advice. Believe me – I know!!! Hang in there. Plus you can still become a mother.

  4. K2 Says:

    As a psychologist specializing in children, I really work hard to get parents to understand what is “right” and “best” for their children based on research. I now have a wonderful little girl (almost 2 now), and I am just as dependent in some ways on the books that other parents read. Therefore, I was horrified when reading one of the “What to Expect… ” books that really botched the dx of ADHD. YIKES!

    Also, I got really upset when my pediatrician told me that my daughter was delayed in some area, and yet all the research I knew said that she was fine.

    What I learned from this is that layperson materials aren’t the best source of knowledge and professionals who don’t read research (regardless of if they have children or not) are not good practioners.

    The gist… you don’t have to have a kid to know about children, but make sure you know what you are saying before you tell a family that there is something “wrong” with a child if you don’t know what research really says.

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