Killing kids with quackery


Homebirth kills babies; pressure to exclusively breastfeed injures and kills babies and mothers; anti-vaccine advocacy kills children of all ages. All three are part of the larger societal trend of killing kids with quackery.

Of course no parent intends to maim or kill her child by embracing quackery; in general “natural” parents are busily preening before their peers and may even believe (based on the nonsense they’ve absorbed) that they are making healthy choices. However, as the piece Gluten-free baby: When parents ignore science in Macleans makes clear, children are being harmed by their parents “natural” choices.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]Quackery kills kids with fad diets, foolish joint manipulations and ridiculous “natural remedies.”[/pullquote]


Nova had plans to her raise her son Zion on a vegan diet—and she had thousands of Instagram followers giving her plenty of love throughout her journey. But trouble struck when Zion’s teeth started to come in. One tooth, she recalls, had started to crumble apart by his first birthday. “It happened so fast,” Nova says. “His teeth are just really weak.”

But crumbling teeth are the least of it.

In Mississauga, Ont., in 2011, two-year-old Matinah Hosannah died of complications from asthma and severe malnutrition stemming from a vegan diet lacking in vitamin D and B12.


A similar tragic outcome occurred in 2012 with 19-month old Ezekiel Stephan of Cardston County, Alta. His parents diagnosed their toddler’s meningitis as croup and treated it with natural remedies … After Ezekiel arrived at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary with abnormal breathing, he was quickly put on life support, but died within two days.

As a nutritionist at Sick Kids Hospital explains, she has seen children in her clinic:

… with everything from cognitive delays to rickets, a softening of the bones due to lack of vitamin D or calcium. One family, she remembers, had a diet that encompassed basically fruit, nuts, seeds and homemade almond milk—and the child came in with vitamin D deficiency, vitamin B12 deficiency, and, well, “the list was endless.”

What’s going on here?

…[T]here is the trend toward vilifying or fetishizing components of food, be it sugar, fat, gluten, salt or protein. Consider the gluten-free boom: Despite the fact that only an estimated one per cent of Americans lives with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that would require a gluten-free diet, a 2015 survey found about one of every five Americans actively choose to eat gluten-free foods. Meanwhile the spike in protein consumption is so far-reaching that General Mills created a “Cheerios Protein.”

There is undoubtedly no “Cheerios Protein” in the wild and that reflects the conceit that natural parenting has anything to do with parenting in nature. It doesn’t.

If anyone wants to see what living on natural medicine looks like, [pediatrician] Michael Rieder suggests, they should go to Afghanistan. “Afghanistan is about as natural as you’re going to get in …” For every 10 children born in Afghanistan today, odds are one of them won’t see their fifth birthday. “Most of them die before they turn one and most of them die from infection,” Rieder says. “That’s what happens when you don’t have vaccination or antibiotics.”

Anyone with least bit of scientific knowledge would realize that but many “natural” parents are pretty limited when it comes to science.

We’re slipping into this ‘all knowledge is relative’ dark age,” says Caulfield [a professor of law and public health]. “You don’t see this in other areas of science. We don’t have alternative physics or people who believe there’s a natural healing force that can be utilized to build bridges. But in health, we have this huge tolerance for this alternative, non-scientific perspective.”

But all knowledge is not relative. There’s actual knowledge and pseudo-knowledge, the fake news equivalent of knowledge. Much of what passes for “knowledge” in the world of food fetishism, child chiropractic and naturopathy is is fake, entirely made up to boost the economic fortunes of quacks.

Sadly, a certain kind of parent is particularly gullible when it comes to this kind of fake knowledge. Not only do they fail to understand science; they fail to understand that parenting is not an opportunity to burnish your self-image vis a vis other parents. Those who eagerly purchase quackery imagine themselves to be smarter than other parents when the reality is that they are as dumb as rocks, at least when it comes to child health.

The truth is that children have never been healthier. Rather than dying in droves from infection, starvation and nutritional deficiencies, they have begun to suffer from diseases of excess like obesity and type 2 diabetes. The solution, of course, it to cut back on excess. It is not to embrace unrestrained infectious disease by refusing to vaccinate, nutritional deficiencies caused by food fetishism; or quackery like chiropractic and naturopathy.

Quackery kills kids and the only people who appear to be unaware of that are those parents torturing their children with fad diets, foolish joint manipulations and ridiculous “natural remedies.” They proudly imagine themselves to be educated but they are merely wallowing in their own ignorance while their children suffer.

313 Responses to “Killing kids with quackery”

  1. Ayr
    January 21, 2017 at 11:21 am #

    Baby Center is so annoying! They love you until you disagree with them or have a slightly differing point of view. I got so frustrated with the holier than thou attitudes of some of the moms that I left. The only time I enjoyed that site was when I was mocking or pointing out the stupidity of others.

  2. Cody
    January 21, 2017 at 3:13 am #

    Dr. Amy, correct me if I’m wrong but I think you spelled the magazine title Maclean’s wrong. You have a double c. I wouldn’t complain about a spelling error usually but you’ve used them as a source.

  3. Cyndi
    January 20, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

    And worse than the sad deaths of these children is the rush to make these parents into martyrs for parental “choice”. The Stephens are a good example. Rather than admit that they may have caused suffering and death, they’re placed the blame on the EMS crew, the hospital, the hospital staff. In the mind of this crowd it’s everyone else’s fault but their own.

    • corblimeybot
      January 20, 2017 at 5:01 pm #

      I’d hate to be a first responder to one of these people. The parents and the midwives area always ready to point the finger at them, when a first responder can’t magically clean up the tragic mess they’ve created.

      • mabelcruet
        January 21, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

        It’s awful, but this is the type of parents that doctors and nurses have to be extremely careful of, because they are far more likely to litigate or blame. Any advice, any discussion, anything at all, you need to make sure you have good, accurate, contemporaneous notes, preferably have a witness to everything you say and do. But that really shouldn’t have to be your first instinct, your first instinct is patient care, but parents like this are very threatening.

  4. Dr Kitty
    January 20, 2017 at 10:56 am #


    I have two sick 26 weekers born in my circle of family/friends in the last 2 weeks. It should have been three (one of a pair of twins didn’t make it).

    If you are into sending prayers or good thoughts, can you direct them to J&P please- their families would appreciate it. Both little boys are fighters and facing tough battles ahead.

    • Brix
      January 21, 2017 at 12:07 am #

      I’m so sorry. I’ll be praying.

      • Dr Kitty
        January 29, 2017 at 4:29 pm #


        Baby P is doing well.

        Sadly, Baby J didn’t make it. Given he had almost every complication of prematurity it is possible to have, it is probably a blessing that he and his parents were spared further pain and suffering.

        • Empress of the Iguana People
          January 29, 2017 at 7:52 pm #

          Poor little J and the twin and their parents.

        • January 29, 2017 at 9:58 pm #

          I’m glad that Baby P’s doing well. I’m so sorry to hear that Baby J passed.

        • Brix
          January 29, 2017 at 11:24 pm #

          Those poor parents. It’s a blessing to hear that Baby P is doing well, though. Thanks for the follow up.

    • Christy
      January 24, 2017 at 1:16 pm #


  5. Merrie
    January 20, 2017 at 12:39 am #

    Hope people don’t mind if I vent a little here. Long-time reader, occasional poster. I’m currently pregnant with baby #3 and joined a due date club on Facebook. Pretty promptly getting told that I’m being judgmental for commenting on a post on homebirth talking about how CPMs are underqualified. Smh.

    • Montserrat Blanco
      January 20, 2017 at 2:41 am #

      I did not say online that I was pregnant except here.

    • StephanieA
      January 20, 2017 at 6:32 am #

      I had to leave my due date clubs by the third trimester. I couldn’t handle the stupid and it probably wasn’t good for my blood pressure.

      • Merrie
        January 20, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

        I had an excellent experience with my DDC with my first child (on MDC, of all places), and still keep up with them on FB. I just tune out the woo. But we’ll just have to see if this group ends up being any good or not.

    • MayonnaiseJane
      January 20, 2017 at 7:07 am #

      Ugh. That’s awful. I’m sorry that’s happening to you.

    • CSN0116
      January 20, 2017 at 7:32 am #

      There’s this woo free pregnancy group on Facebook that’s awesome.

      • Merrie
        January 20, 2017 at 10:44 am #

        Thanks. I’ll look into that.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      January 20, 2017 at 9:15 am #

      I got scolded on WTE because I responded to a person who said that “Marijuana is illegal. Nuff said.” by pointing out that, in fact, medical marijuana is in fact legal in certain places in the US, and so just being illegal isn’t actually a good argument against it.

      I even said that I didn’t think enough was known about the effects of mj on pregnancy and therefore would advise against it, but that wasn’t good enough because I dared contradict someone who made a blatantly nonsensical statement.

      I realized then that it was a bunch of nonsense. My parting message was, this is all really boring. If you can’t disagree with anything and argue, what fun is it? (see the discussion below with Jane yesterday – heated, but interesting)

      How annoying are the threads “Should I vaccinate? NO DRAMA”?

      No drama? Sorry, you risk the health of others and insist that there be no drama? No, it doesn’t work that way.

      In the end, these groups turn into nothing but meaningless opinions. It’s about as exciting as a discussion of favorite color.

      “I like red.’
      “Cool, but I prefer blue.”
      “They are nice, but I like sunny colors, like yellow.”
      “Yellow is nice, but blue is more sky like.”
      “Bam! Can I kill myself now?”

      For example, come 20 weeks, every other thread is “It’s a boy!” after the US. And the followup are all, “Congratulations!”


      I also, apparently, didn’t follow the unwritten rules. The thread is, “I am having trouble coming up with a name? What should I do?”

      I respond and talk about the process that we used to find a name, searching through family trees and babyname websites to come up with ideas, making a list, etc. No, that’s not the answer. What we are supposed to say is, “I like the names X and Y, you should consider them.” I was like, excuse me? How pretentious is that, to think that others should like the same names you like? I never told anyone any name they should pick, just gave them suggestions about finding one they like. But no, I was a buzzkill.

      • Christy
        January 24, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

        I got really lucky that any anti-vax stuff was shut down on my group immediately. There were one or two woo-ey ladies but they learned pretty quick. Didn’t keep there from being a thread later about how great amber teething necklaces are, but you can only expect so much I guess.

    • Empress of the Iguana People
      January 20, 2017 at 9:48 am #

      Hoo boy. I feel ya, I’m in 2 groups on a major knitting site and the newer one is seriously woo filled. There’s *some* of that in the other group, but it’s not so serious.

    • corblimeybot
      January 20, 2017 at 11:50 am #

      Well, that’s typical of those fools. If you use your judgment to evaluate a situation, you’re wrong. Thinking and evaluating evidence is bad; there is no greater crime.

      • Merrie
        January 20, 2017 at 12:25 pm #

        Obviously I’m being mean to CPMs, you can’t judge them all by a few bad ones, some OBs are awful as well. Eyeroll. I’m probably not going to convince the people who are responding to me, but if any fencesitters are reading, maybe they will start to think it over. I remember reading comments by more than one homebirth loss mom that they wish they had known how big the difference between a CPM and a CNM was.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          January 20, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

          I remember reading comments by more than one homebirth loss mom that they wish they had known how big the difference between a CPM and a CNM was.

          Yeah, I remember when I first started coming here, and was shocked to learn about CNMs and CPMs.

          Certainly, going into the difference between CNMs and CPMs is the gentler way of arguing against things like homebirth, because they can’t accuse you of being anti-midwife. No, no, no, you say, CNMs are legit, but CPMs don’t meet the standards of any midwife anywhere in the world.

          Now, to be honest, I have in general little respect for CNMs that do homebirths, either, because in my experience, they tend to be as steeped in the woo as CPMs, and the fact they are willing to do homebirths is an indication of their mindset, but at least they have the medical training.

  6. Gæst
    January 19, 2017 at 10:51 pm #

    People used to force their children to eat everything on their plate. Now they force their children to limit what’s on their plate.

    I don’t recommend either approach.

    • Ayr
      January 21, 2017 at 11:26 am #

      My parents never forced me to clean plate, but they simply said eat five bites of whatever it was i refused to eat or didn’t like and we will call it done. It worked, and there were no temper tantrums, screaming, and no ‘I’m hungry.’ an hour later.

      But these days it’s sad that we have to limit the amount we eat of certain things because we are given to excess.

      • Kelly
        January 21, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

        I have tried the bites thing with my child and as my parents found out forcing my child to eat will result in her throwing up. In my house you either eat it or you go hungry. They never go more than one meal without eating so they won’t starve. My parents tried to force feed me and it ended up with me never eating what they wanted me to and to never try it again. I didn’t eat chicken until college because of it. My daughter has slowly started to eat things that she has previously refused and I know that as she gets older, she will continue to add more foods that she will eat.

        • Ayr
          January 21, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

          What ever works. I’m sure some people would be appalled but I was a nanny and I have had my fair share of dealing with kids not wanting to eat and trying all sorts of things.

          • Kelly
            January 23, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

            I like to hear from nannys because they always have a lot of experience and I have only does this once.

          • Ayr
            January 25, 2017 at 6:16 pm #

            I learned very quickly that each child is very different especially among siblings, what works for one does not necessarily work for the other. I looked after a brother and sister, both toddlers, the brother has a mild form of Asperger’s, the best way to get him to eat was to just leave him alone and let him eat, he would eventually clean his plate. But his sister, she was a handful, it usually took bargaining (bribery) to get her to eat. Thankfully by the time she finished eating she forgot that she was promised an extra cookie, but it always worked. It is mostly trial and error, thankfully my son eats anything you give him unless it has bananas, then he spits it out. Personally I don’t blame him.

  7. Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild
    January 19, 2017 at 9:41 pm #

    These people have eating disorders and they are inflicting them on their kids.

    • MayonnaiseJane
      January 20, 2017 at 7:07 am #

      THIS. ^^^^ I can’t upvote more than once… but THIS.

  8. sdsures
    January 19, 2017 at 6:55 pm #

    The stuff people have done to their kids in this post hurts my heart.

  9. Poogles
    January 19, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

    From the linked article: “It was pretty much exclusive breastfeeding for the first two years. My approach was to put the best nutrition in me so I could produce the best breast milk and feed it to my children.”
    WTF? How can you possibly think that pretty much nothing but breastmilk for the first TWO YEARS of your kid’s life is at all adequate, no matter how “perfect” you think your own diet is??

    • Heidi
      January 19, 2017 at 7:10 pm #

      They belong to the cult of breast milk. I’ve read that although breast milk has little iron, since it’s highly bioavailable, breastfed babies have much better iron levels than other babies. Totally not true! As if the formula manufacturers couldn’t figure out how much iron to put in their product based on bioavailibility. To say breast milk isn’t absolutely perfect is to somehow undermine breastfeeding. I’d think anemia and rickets would do more to discourage breastfeeding than saying, “Hey, you might want to give these drops.”

    • Elaine
      January 20, 2017 at 12:28 am #

      Not to mention, how they manage to keep their kids off of other food for 2 years. Perhaps what they mean is that they didn’t prioritize giving them food and mostly just nursed and let the food chips fall where they may… but still.

    • StephanieA
      January 20, 2017 at 6:34 am #

      Can’t kids run into problems actually being able to eat solids if they’re delayed too long? I thought I’d heard something about that.

      • Dr Kitty
        January 20, 2017 at 8:35 am #

        Yes. Kids can get oral aversions and end up tube fed.
        Typical for kids who are tube fed as infants, but kids who don’t get exposed to solids at the right developmental stage can find the experience overwhelming and unpleasant.

        Chewing and swallowing foods with different flavours and textures is a whole different ball game to just sucking and swallowing one type of fluid.

        Some will have no problems, of course, but others will struggle.

    • Christy
      January 24, 2017 at 1:23 pm #

      My baby would not put up with that.

  10. Empress of the Iguana People
    January 19, 2017 at 6:17 pm #

    WAY Off topic. How can the nurse practioner tell just by looking in my ears that i’ve a bacterial rather than a viral problem?

    • Nick Sanders
      January 19, 2017 at 9:14 pm #

      Perhaps the bacteria makes a visible by-product? Or, scary thought, had grown into a discernible colony?

      • Sue
        January 26, 2017 at 12:12 am #

        The infection is behind the eardrum, so the drum is dull (loses reflection of light) and may show a fluid level.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      January 19, 2017 at 9:53 pm #

      Wild-assed guess here:
      As I understand it, bacterial pinkeye is way goopier, producing massive amounts of green/yellow crap, than viral pinkeye. Is it possible that ear infections are similar?

    • Dr Kitty
      January 20, 2017 at 8:38 am #

      Viral earaches usually cause sore ears with clear fluid behind the eardrum and a normal looking drum and canal.

      Bacterial or fungal otitis externa causes an inflamed, flaky, red ear canal.

      Bacterial otitis media causes a red, swollen eardrum, sometimes with pus behind it, sometimes the ear drum bursts and the pus leaks through.

      Trust me- you can see the difference.

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        January 20, 2017 at 9:24 am #

        TY. I was just curious, but toddler wrangling at the time, so I couldn’t ask her.

      • Empress of the Iguana People
        January 20, 2017 at 9:27 am #

        I -really- hope it doesn’t burst; its in my good ear and if it blows i’ll be completely deaf until it heals. That’s not hyperbole.

        • Heidi_storage
          January 20, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

          Best wishes for a quick recovery!

        • Sue
          January 26, 2017 at 12:10 am #

          Bacterial otitis media often resolves by bursting through the drum, which drains the pus. Pain rapidly resolves, and perforation almost always heals, if it is an isolated episode. Happened to me only once – rupture was a relief to serious pain.

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            January 26, 2017 at 8:10 am #

            it’s not the pain i’m concerned about, its the fact that its the only ear i hear out of.

      • FormerPhysicist
        January 25, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

        TY. I’m saving this for reference.

  11. LibrarianSarah
    January 19, 2017 at 4:50 pm #

    Personally, I prefer to kill kids with kindness but to each their own I guess.

  12. EmbraceYourInnerCrone
    January 19, 2017 at 4:05 pm #

    Does a vegan mother breastfeeding her baby risk her child suffering from vitamin, calcium and fat deficiencies (if the baby doesn’t get supplements)? I know infants need more fat in their diet for proper brain development..What about a vegan pregnancy?

    • crazy grad mama
      January 19, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

      I would guess that if the mother is properly addressing her own nutritional needs (which can be done with a vegan diet, it just takes more care), then the baby will also be fine.

      • Roadstergal
        January 19, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

        Yeah, you can get plenty of fat, calcium, and vitamins on a vegan diet. It’s just that an adult is more likely to know how to do it, and the importance of eating certain amounts and combinations of foods. A kid only cares about what tastes good.

    • January 20, 2017 at 2:30 am #

      We were taught that, except in really severe famine in the mother, the nutritional content of breast milk stays pretty constant — to do so, nutrients are taken from the mother’s body. There used to be a saying “a tooth for every child” — that is, if a mother’s diet is deficient in calcium, breast milk will still have the normal quantity of calcium, it’s just leached from the mother’s teeth and bones, so that the mother’s teeth are weakened.

      • Who?
        January 20, 2017 at 4:32 am #

        Didn’t we have a delightful poster at one stage claiming that a woman breastfed at Auschwitz therefore all women could breastfeed?

        My friend’s mum, who had seven kids, has a mouth full of crowns and no discernable bones in her feet.

        Yay calcium.

        • Heidi
          January 20, 2017 at 8:16 am #

          That was Nikki Lee. That was also how she claimed breast milk doesn’t require calories.

          • Who?
            January 21, 2017 at 6:08 pm #

            Now I’m having flashbacks.

          • Amazed
            January 22, 2017 at 11:17 pm #

            Ah! Asked the question before I saw you have already answered. I remember it now.

            Auschwitz. And Leningrad. Though the second was an anecdote, she admitted.

        • Taysha
          January 20, 2017 at 9:05 am #

          My mom’s only cavities happened while she was pregnant with my sister.

        • Amazed
          January 22, 2017 at 11:17 pm #

          Gods, wasn’t that nikkilee in one of her earlier appearances here?

      • Deewhybaby
        January 22, 2017 at 7:50 pm #

        My granny grew up in war-time Germany in a large catholic family, with poor nutrition. She breastfed three children in her late twenties early thirties. She had to have all her teeth taken out and wore false teeth from the age of 36 and is suffering terribly from osteoporosis in old age.

    • January 22, 2017 at 9:07 pm #

      It can happen. It’s not common, but it’s something to look out for, since there have been situations where babies starved or had Vitamin K deficiencies and got bad bleeds.

  13. Emilie Bishop
    January 19, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

    Incidentally, if you read the full article Dr. Amy quotes from, you’ll see quotes from Britt Marie Hermes, a former naturopath who practiced in Washington State and Arizona before quitting to pursue a real science-based degree and career. She blogs at Naturopathic Diaries, where she shares her experiences and argues against treating naturopaths as doctors. I wrote a guest post for her awhile back because she was my naturopath for about a year. I didn’t have my son yet so she wasn’t treating him–she was seeing me to try to control my endo symptoms and possibly help me get pregnant (though pain management was my main goal). Basically, she is to naturopathy what Dr. Amy is to natural patenting. I can’t imagine trying to treat a small child with the same obsessive mental gymnastics required to employ naturopathy on adults, especially with the restrictive diets and expensive supplements. I make sure my son eats veggies and whole grains and limits sugar and fat, but getting obsessive does no one any good.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      January 19, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

      Thanks for the comment. I love Britt Hermes!

      I have said before and say it again: Amy, you have to get Naturopathic Diaries in the Blogroll to the right.

      My only complaint about Britt is that she doesn’t blog enough (I know, she is busy). She is aware of my complaint….

      • Emilie Bishop
        January 19, 2017 at 4:07 pm #

        I love her too. Finding Naturopathic Diaries was a breath of fresh air for me because I had wondered if my endo didn’t get better because I couldn’t go vegan or some other crap. It was so healing to hear Britt say, in public and to me privately, that she just didn’t know wtf she was doing. In other words, my illness WASN’T MY FAULT. Balm for my soul.

    • Sean Jungian
      January 19, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

      I check in on Naturopathic Diaries about once every couple of months and do a binge-read. Definitely worth following if you have any interest in combating woo (or even just being aware of it). The breakdown she did (last year, I think?) of her education at Bastyr was VERY eye-opening.

      • Emilie Bishop
        January 19, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

        Yeah, I was fascinated by that…especially since Bastyr is a mile from my house and my town’s largest employer. Sigh…

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        January 19, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

        Naturopaths hate Britt, just as cpms hate Dr Amy. However, with Britt, the problem is that they can’t dismiss her as being ignorant, because she knows it.

        Read her post about moonlighting in the pot clinics. It’s also eye-opening, in the “I didn’t realize this crap was going on” sense.

    • Allie
      January 19, 2017 at 11:44 pm #

      I make sure my daughter’s cookies say “oatmeal” on the box : )
      Then again, her teeth aren’t disintegrating.

    • Steph858
      January 20, 2017 at 11:35 am #

      If I lived somewhere where I had to pay for medical care either way, there is one reason why I might go to a Naturopath: if I had a mildly (as in ‘it might get better on its own’ mild) infected throat/ear/ingrown toenail. I don’t like taking antibiotics for anything short of a life-or-death situation; my GP has had to cajole me into taking them when she considered them necessary but I thought them overkill.

      In situations where it’s debatable whether I really need antibiotics or not, I’d prefer to go to a Naturopath for Phage Therapy. The way I see it, either:

      It works (or I happen to get better on my own as I’m taking the Phage Therapy): Great! Job Done.

      It doesn’t work: Fine, I’ll go take the damn antibiotics. But at least this way enough time will have passed while trying out the Phage Therapy that I’ll no longer be internally debating the likelihood that my ailment will spontaneously clear up on its own any day now, so I’ll feel less guilty about taking the antibiotics.

      Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be any large-scale trials of Phage Therapy here in the UK that I could ask my GP to sign me up to as a potential alternative to taking antibiotics. If there were, I wouldn’t hesitate to sign on: worst case scenario, my sore throat lasts a few days longer than it needed to and I then have to take the antibiotics anyway, but at least I’ll have contributed to medical research in the process.

      I know that Phage Therapy doesn’t always work and there are concerns about the potential for the phages to mutate into something more dangerous than the bacteria they were sent to destroy, but I’m far more worried about the dangers of antibiotic overuse.

      Nothing scares me more than the words “Post-Antibiotic Era”.

      • Sue
        January 26, 2017 at 12:16 am #

        The alternative is to take a watch-and-wait approach – ie no therapy – and just use antibiotics if the condition continues or worsens. Many good family doctors/GPs work in this way.

        • Steph858
          January 26, 2017 at 8:18 am #

          This is what I normally do for at least a week, if not a fortnight before I see my GP. Ideally I’d use Phage Therapy to extend the ‘wait-and-see’ period to a month or so; longer than I (and most GPs) would leave things be in the absence of any treatment at all, but not excessively so.

  14. Heidi
    January 19, 2017 at 3:42 pm # Speaking of quackery. At least some of these quacks are being held accountable, although far too many aren’t.

    He responded: “But I wasn’t selling her anything… I didn’t force her to come here, it was her decision.” I feel like I heard something similar from a certain homeopathic lactation consultant/baby craniosacral therapist.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      January 19, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

      Young’s “tumors are fungus” nonsense is pretty damn insulting on the whole if you have any appreciation for pathology at all.

      Pathologists, on the whole, are probably the smartest group of people I have ever met. To be honest, they scare the shit out of me (combination of scary smart and weird obsessions). To suggest that they can’t tell the difference between a tumor and fungus is as stupid as can be.

      • MayonnaiseJane
        January 19, 2017 at 5:27 pm #

        I work in hospital IT. Our system lets the managers put notes on certain users so that when we start a help ticket for them it tells us, for instance, that that person is a big deal surgeon and can have whatever he wants. Last week, I came upon one which read simply: “Pathologist: Handle with care.”

        • Dr Kitty
          January 20, 2017 at 8:50 am #

          We flag up all our patients who are medics.

          Partly because it means we give them information at an appropriate level (i.e. we don’t have to explain what to do with a suppository) and partly because if your patient is an orthopaedic surgeon complaining about shoulder pain it is sensible to ask them what they think the problem is and what they want you to do about it!

          Doctors usually diagnose themselves, make a management plan and just want someone else to rubber-stamp it. Sometimes that is appropriate…sometimes it really isn’t.

          Psychiatrists are tricky…some of them have been in the head-shrinking game so long that the only medicine they can remember dates from medical school and is 30 years out of date.

          Likewise elderly male gynaecologists- good at what they do, not so much outside their area of expertise, none of which applies to themselves.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 20, 2017 at 9:11 am #

            Hospitals probably should flag all of their own employees when they’re patients. I haven’t been a patient where I work since I started working here; my GP is elsewhere and I haven’t needed the high level services that they have here yet. But when I get pregnant, I’m planning to deliver here, and some part of me keeps mentally drifting to hypothetical scenarios where I’m destined to wind up telling the nurse to turn the WoW off and back on again or troubleshoot a wonky Citrix session in between contractions, or where I wind up threatening never to reset the anesthesiologist’s forgotten password again if I don’t get an epidural RIGHT NOW! Lol.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 20, 2017 at 9:17 am #

            What about veterinarians? They won’t bother diagnosing themselves, but you can talk to them at an informed level.

          • Cartwheel
            January 20, 2017 at 5:38 pm #

            I have occasionally diagnosed myself with minor things, but I only really treat myself if it’s something like closing a small wound. Mostly because I don’t know much about human physiology and pharmacology – it’s one thing to throw a staple in a laceration, everyone has skin and it’s all pretty similar, but I am not going to try to choose drugs for myself…

          • Dr Kitty
            January 20, 2017 at 6:21 pm #

            Have had to explain to a vet the difference between a human vasectomy and the small animal procedures he was more used to.


          • mabelcruet
            January 21, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

            In the UK, a veterinarian can legally treat humans as long as the person knows he’s a vet and isn’t a medical human person doctor. But it’s completely illegal for a doctor to operate on, or prescribe medication for an animal.

            When I was a medical student, we had tutorials from a rather elderly paediatrician, he said dealing with babies was basically like being a vet because your patient couldn’t tell you where it hurt or what it felt like and you had to use other pointers to the diagnosis. He said that the sickest kids were always the very quiet and very still ones-any kid running about screaming wasn’t unwell!

          • Azuran
            January 21, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

            That’s a weird thing. Where I live we don’t have that right.
            There is the usual protection for helping people in need. Like after an accident or if someone has a cardiac arrest or whatever, we have to help (like any other person, even without any medical training, would be expected to) But outside of an emergency setting, we don’t have the right to give medical advice, make human diagnosis or make prescription.
            (granted, most of us have taken care of the little boo-boos of close family members.) But basically, if we do or use anything that any not medically trained person couldn’t do or get themselves, we can be charged with practising medicine without a licence. And also possibly loose our own right of practice.
            And the opposite is also true. Doctors don’t have the right to treat pets (but usually they treat their own, so it’s not like they are going to sue or report themselves)
            Even with my own family, I’m very careful of doing stuff. I know more than enough about how every single specie can be different. I know that I know absolutely nothing about humans. And I’ve seen more than my share of Doctor/nurses/Pharmacist etc who hurt or killed their pets because they didn’t know.

          • mabelcruet
            January 22, 2017 at 2:02 pm #

            I think in uk law if a person is capacitous he can consent to treatment from anyone-the only criminal offence would be if you intentionally set out to mislead someone by pretending to be a medical doctor when you weren’t (impersonating a medical practitioner). That’s why chiropractic and the like have to be careful in the wording of their adverts, they aren’t supposed to make claims of cures.

            I always enjoy chatting to my vet-one of my cats was recently diagnosed with asthma so I’m there quite a bit at the moment. I did think vaguely about veterinary pathology a while back, but you can’t transfer from human pathology to vet pathology, I would have to go back to school and be a vet first which seems like awful hard work!

          • Azuran
            January 22, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

            I’m pretty sure there are limits. You can’t ask a nobody to amputate you or something like that. Even if they were 100% honest about not being a doctor. There are some acts that are reserved to medical professional.

            For example, We recently had some changes about caudectomy where I practice. It’s technically legal, as in the government hasn’t made any laws against it. BUT the professional order has decided that it’s no longer an acceptable medical practice and prohobited any vet from doing it.
            However, they were also extremely clear that caudectomy is a medical procedure that is reserved exclusively to veterinarian. So ANYONE who isn’t a vet, who is caught doing it will be accused of practicing veterinary medicine without a licence. Even if it’s your own dog or no matter if you where 100% informed that the person doing it was not a vet.

          • fiftyfifty1
            January 21, 2017 at 8:55 pm #

            Yes, I bet a vet would do much better with a human than a human doctor would do with a cat. If for no better reason than at least vets have experience being humans, while MDs have no experience being cats.

            As a game I sometimes imagine having to give birth after the apocalypse. Then I attempt to rank practitioners in order: OB, FP with CS training, vet,..after that I get nervous… I debate between CNM and FP with no extra OB training. I guess it would depend. A CNM would do better with most deliveries, but an FP might do a better job if I experienced any sort of non-obstetric medical issue. But then I think, how could I have forgotten general surgeons!?Especially if they live rural they are sure to be very handy…and then I go down the surgical subspecialist list debating their relative merits. Actually now that I think of it, I would rather have a urologist than a CNM or an inexperienced FP..then I turn to dentists….ooooh, but I’ve forgotten to mention a good scrub nurse, they should be higher…then the non-procedural MDs, especially the psychiatrists, or dear we are getting desperate here…

            strangely, I NEVER seem to get around to CPMs.

          • Azuran
            January 21, 2017 at 9:40 pm #

            Vet’s are generally considered pretty handy to have around during a Zombie apocalypse 😉

          • shay simmons
            January 22, 2017 at 12:40 am #

            Vet’s are generally considered pretty handy to have around during a Zombie apocalypse

            Yes… knowing about perimeter security, barrier plans, and interlocking fields of fire comes in handy.
            Oh…you meant veterinarians.

          • fiftyfifty1
            January 21, 2017 at 8:31 pm #

            Veterinarians are great patients in my experience.

          • Caylynn
            January 20, 2017 at 6:53 pm #

            As a member of an allied health profession (registered dietitian), I greatly appreciate it when my health care providers talk to me in an appropriate way – i.e. they understand I know something about physiology, a bit of anatomy, and a whole heck of a lot more about nutrition than they do. I appreciate being addressed as a fellow health care professional.

          • FallsAngel
            January 20, 2017 at 11:25 pm #

            I’m an RN. When I had my first child, an RN friend who was already a two-time (not two-timing!) mom said “You’re the baby’s mother, not her nurse”. It was the best piece of advice I ever got. I never told my peds I was a nurse. I wanted to be treated like all the other moms. I would ask questions based on my knowledge occasionally, but I don’t think any of them ever figured it out. I worked at a health department giving immunizations when my kids were little.

            My PCPs have all known I was an RN.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 21, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

            I would have expected at least someone to have tried to call you on it. I’m NOT a Nurse and I’ve been asked a few times if I was when I accidentally call something by it’s more “proper” name while sitting bedside for friends or family. (I have somehow managed to become the de-facto person everyone in my life calls for a ride to the urgent care…. why?)

          • FallsAngel
            January 21, 2017 at 4:22 pm #

            Maybe I just thought they didn’t know!

          • Merrie
            January 22, 2017 at 7:10 pm #

            I’m a pharmacist. Same general kind of thing. I didn’t need my midwife to explain the difference between Zofran and Phenergan but I still appreciated her explaining which she would recommend under what circumstances like she would to any other patient. After all, she’s the expert on pregnant ladies and has seen how they do on the meds; I can look up the data but I don’t get nearly as much direct followup.

          • mabelcruet
            January 21, 2017 at 6:40 pm #

            I haven’t laid hands on a living patient for 25 years! Every time I’m on a ferry or a plane I keep thinking ‘please don’t let there be a ‘is there a doctor in the house?’ call-a brownie guide with her first aid badge would be better than me. Of course, if the person on the plane dies, give me a scalpel and I’ll soon tell you what he died of….

      • mabelcruet
        January 19, 2017 at 6:09 pm #

        Thank you very much! But as a pathologist I’d like to say that most of us are nice and normal (well, maybe not entirely normal since I talk to my patients during an autopsy…). Half of my job is autopsies, but the other half is paediatric surgical biopsy reporting, including kids tumours. Whenever we have a child with a tumour, their diagnosis and management is discussed at a multidisciplinary meeting. There are the pathologists, the surgeons, the oncologists, the specialist nurses, the radiologists, the radiotherapist, the data collection and coordinators. There are usually about 12 consultants present, several specialist nurses and other experts, we are talking literally hundred plus years of accumulated expertise. Children’s cancers in the UK are managed through a national scheme run by CCLG, children’s cancer and leukaemia group. They run loads of multicentre trials and research, and this ensures that children are treated according to best practise, and that there is standardization throughout the country-it’s not just an individual doctors decision on how to treat the kid, the treatment given is the most up to date and evidence based approach, and we are continually refining diagnostics, imaging, and treatments.

        I’m glad that we have moved away from paternalism in medicine and to a more holistic patient centred partnership, but that doesn’t mean that parents know best-I’ve had a few cases where the parents decided that they wanted to try alternative treatments thinking that chemotherapy was too hard on their child. And in some parents there is a very worrying tendency to treat the doctors as the enemy, to be very combative and accuse us of colluding with Big Pharma and say that we deliberately not treating their child properly-we had one mum who took her child to a skeevy clinic in south America somewhere for a bone marrow transplant as she was convinced that would cure her kids tumour. We had another who took her dying child to USA-very sadly the child had had multiple metastases and it was inoperable. Instead of palliative care, the parents took the child out of the country for experimental treatment, then they ended up in ICU in the clinic, got medi-lifted back to UK and died the day after arrving. We aren’t the enemy-when recommendations are made about treatment, they are made in good faith and according to current best medical practise. We don’t want to see their children harmed any more than they do.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          January 19, 2017 at 6:21 pm #

          Oh, I never said you aren’t nice. Some of my best friends are pathologists! (literally, true). But that doesn’t mean they aren’t scary. And certainly not normal…

          But I love ’em

        • corblimeybot
          January 19, 2017 at 9:57 pm #

          When our kid was diagnosed with cancer, her surgeon delivered an obviously very well-rehearsed speech to us. Explaining the seriousness of the diagnosis, the consequences if we did not act, why surgery was the only solution to the problem, and so forth. We got the impression that he was used to having to convince the parents of his patients to even treat the cancer in the first place. A very sweet man, giving a super serious sermon about the necessary treatment.

          We told him that that we were going to do what he recommended for treatment. Then he confirmed our impression – he had indeed had patients whose parents had chosen nonsense treatment for their child’s cancer, resulting in serious (and even deadly) consequences for the kid.

          We certainly knew people like that existed, but it was something else that our daughter’s surgeon had dealt with so many of them.

        • Montserrat Blanco
          January 20, 2017 at 2:59 am #

          One of my best friends is a pathologist. She knows a lot of medicine. She loved medicine but not talking to patients so she decided on pathology. I think she made a great choice.

  15. Roadstergal
    January 19, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

    “While Mercola has been a guest on Dr. Oz’s TV show, he was presented as “the man your doctor doesn’t want you to listen to.””

    I mean… that’s _true_. I just don’t get how it’s a selling point.

  16. guest
    January 19, 2017 at 1:49 pm #

    I lost quite a bit of weight in my 20’s and was a big “health” nut. I was exercising quite extensively and had even switched to a vegetarian diet. My plan was to raise my kids in the same lifestyle. My husband and I had struggled with our weight our whole lives and I wanted to spare my kids. Then I got pregnant and was sick around the clock. I could only stomach eating crackers, noodles and ice cream. Forget about working out. The rapid weight gain in early pregnancy messed with my emotional well-being in a big way. My body felt out of my control. My first was born and the weight fell off but everything redistributed and I still had to buy a new wardrobe. I unintentionally starved my son his first week of life (no breast milk came in), so I could not get comfortable with experimenting with this small child’s diet by having him eat vegetarian, vegan or anything else. We had 2 separate diets in the house as I tried to get my body back to how it was pre pregnancy. After the second was born, I was diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis and my whole body hurt and getting through the day was enough. I ditched the “natural” route and embraced modern medicine and I’m grateful I can feed my kids food that is safe and they have enough to eat. When I look back on all the time I’ve wasted in my life fixated on how my body looked, it doesn’t seem worth it to me. Now, I only care if I can do the things that are important to me. I look at my 2 children who are perfectly healthy and very active and I can see already that they are going to take after my husband and I. So we eat lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole foods, but we also eat ice cream and candy and treats, because life is no fun when you deprive yourself. I am trying to figure out how to teach my kids not to be scared of food and to be happy with the bodies they have. I hope they will not waste their precious time trying to have the “perfect” body or “perfect” diet when that can never last.

  17. mostlyclueless
    January 19, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    Stupid CPM bingo happening in these reddit comments:

    • Heidi
      January 19, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

      “not harsh lights and weird noises and sterile, white things.”

      Harsh lights? Since I was able to do a vaginal delivery, the lights were far from harsh. Now if I needed a C-section, just saying, I’d personally be fine with harsh lighting so they could do their job correctly! I’m not sure about weird noises?! I was allowed to bring my own music if I wanted. I could have cared less. I thought I cared so I brought some music and speakers and they never got unpacked. And sterile white things – uh, do they prefer germ infested linens or something?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        January 19, 2017 at 1:43 pm #

        The L&D rooms at the hospital where we delivered had hard-wood floors and pretty soft lighting, except for the spot lights at the business end, of course.

        In fact, you would not have realized it was a hospital room (much less L&D) if not for the incubator in the corner. I’ve been in college dorms that were far less homey.

        • Sean Jungian
          January 19, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

          That’s the same kind of room I gave birth in. And they already had the sound system and video. There were also pull-out beds in the chairs and a sterile walk-in tub for me if I wanted it.

          And this was 15 years ago.

          To me sometimes these NCBers sound like a bunch of young FTMs sitting around the campfire telling horror stories…

          “And then, before she could even think, IN CAME THE CASCADING INTERVENTIONS! And then, when she was at her most vulnerable, the doctor got a call that his tee time was moved up and insisted on a CAESARIAN!! EEEEEEEEEK!”

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
            January 19, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

            I gave birth 22 years ago in an inner city Catholic hospital. The birthing room had a place to plug in a small CD or tape player and had small speakers. I think the LD ward also had a birthing stool/chair if you wanted it. The room was large, had a private bathroom and had chairs for my husband and my best friend. The patient rooms afterward had a private bathroom, chair that folded out to a bed for my husband and rooming in was the default. The birth was traumatic because my daughter got stuck. It was awesome because they got her out and she suffered no permanent damage. My doc was 70 and the way he talked he had seen everything that could go wrong in his years of practice.

        • Heidi
          January 19, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

          Ours had hardwood floors, too.

          My first college dorm had fluorescent lights, cinder blocks, old cheap carpet in the bedrooms but those white linoleum(?) tiles elsewhere. I will say, though, it didn’t seem very sterile. Our mattresses were definitely stained from previous tenants.

          • Sean Jungian
            January 19, 2017 at 5:33 pm #

            Hey, that was my dorm room, too – sans carpet, add in tile linoleum. Oh boy!

        • Bombshellrisa
          January 19, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

          Mine looked like an enormous hotel suite, complete with soaking tub in the corner (like those “spa suites” in Vegas) and tasteful art work. The hospital itself looks like a fancy lodge. The fact that there were free in demand channels for music, movies and tv shows and a menu you accessed via your tv that you could order meals and snacks on further reinforced the hotel vibe.

        • Roadstergal
          January 19, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

          I’ve seen pictures of L&D rooms that are way, way nicer than our house.

        • Empress of the Iguana People
          January 19, 2017 at 4:34 pm #

          my dorm room was about as homey as your average emergency department room. Ah, well, posters helped 🙂

        • Gæst
          January 19, 2017 at 11:04 pm #

          My L&D room was pretty swank, too. If anyone had asked me, though, I’d have chosen for the mother-baby ward rooms to be the swanky ones. I spent a lot more time there.

    • mostlyclueless
      January 19, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

      B: “a hospital to me is a place to go when you are sick, not when you and your baby are healthy!”

      I: “there is not much more a CNM could do that a CPM could not”

      N: “Reading ina may gaskins book”

      G: “I can’t wait to bring this person into the world surrounded by love and happiness, not harsh lights and weird noises and sterile, white things.”

      O: “the risks of hospital birth (cascade of intervention, high maternal death rate in the US, infection rate) greatly outweigh that of birthing a home”

      • Marylynn
        January 19, 2017 at 2:06 pm #

        “Sterile” being a terrible, terrible thing. Who wants sterile when you’re surrounded by bodily fluids!?

        • crazy grad mama
          January 19, 2017 at 3:25 pm #

          And ironically, the same people who decry “sterile” birth environments are the ones who, once their child is born, will expend enormous effort to keep their environment “toxin-free.”

          • Merrie
            January 20, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

            And the same people who won’t vaccinate their children are obsessed with keeping them rear-facing in the car as long as possible. I’m not opposed to this… my almost 3 yo is still rearfacing and I plan to keep him so for a while. I’m just entertained by the contrast. I always wanted to write up something about the toxins found in car seat covers and see if anyone bought into it, but I never did because if someone did believe me and stopped using a car seat, I couldn’t have that on my conscience.

      • Roadstergal
        January 19, 2017 at 2:36 pm #

        “there is not much more a CNM could do that a CPM could not”

        What they don’t say is that ‘not much’ includes “get an OB to your bedside in minutes.” It’s not the amount of things, it’s the impact. :p

        • Gæst
          January 19, 2017 at 11:02 pm #

          Things my CNMs did:
          * Send me to an MFM for regular monitoring, and use the reports to determine my care.
          * Prescribe medication.
          * Perform ultrasounds
          * Attend my hospital birth
          * Worked together with hospital staff when things went south (all charts in order, understood what information surgeon wanted and had it ready).
          * Accurately diagnosed pre-eclampsia and send to ER for confirmation and treatment.
          * Didn’t make me feel like shit for any of the “non-natural” things that happened.

          • corblimeybot
            January 21, 2017 at 12:02 am #

            Yep, it was a CNM in my obstetrics practice who realized I was preeclamptic. I had a friend with the same blood pressure that hospitalized me, whose OOH midwife had her take magnesium pills from the vitamin store.

      • lawyer jane
        January 19, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

        I feel like there should be one more:
        [after story about homebirth death]: “Do you know that birth is a risk no matter where you are, and that that is part of the informed consent you have to have with any provider?”

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          January 19, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

          Or the short version, “Babies die in hospitals, too”

      • Erin
        January 19, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

        Who knew that love and happiness were so dependent on the surroundings…

      • Gæst
        January 19, 2017 at 10:58 pm #

        Um…my CNM could prescribe meds. Show me a CPM that can do that.

        • Merrie
          January 20, 2017 at 12:48 am #

          Hey now. My CPMs sold me a booklet of outdated articles for $30, including one about how the germ theory of disease is just a theory. Can a CNM do that? Obviously not.

          (And thankfully, we didn’t deliver with these yahoos, and obviously I am being sarcastic.)

    • MayonnaiseJane
      January 20, 2017 at 7:09 am #

      Has anyone made cards yet? What’s the free space?

  18. Cartman36
    January 19, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    Dr. Amy, would you consider writing an article on the history of the phrase “breast is best”. I see lactivists post over and over that it was developed by formula companies but as far as I can tell it originated as the title of a 1978 book by Stanway and Stanway. I would love to have one of your well written articles to refer lactivists too that clearly outlines the history of this phrase and shows that it was not developed by formula companies.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      January 19, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

      Formula companies didn’t put “breast is best” on their products because they wanted to do so. They did it under pressure from lactivists.

  19. fiftyfifty1
    January 19, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

    “Dr.” Amy you are so meen. Quacks need to make a living too!

  20. crazy grad mama
    January 19, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

    I have nightmares about my teeth crumbling out. (They never have; it’s just a fear.) Poor baby.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      January 19, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

      Actually, “teeth falling out” is a pretty common dream trope. Along with being naked in an exam.

      One of mine is where my legs don’t work all that well and I have trouble walking.

      • crazy grad mama
        January 19, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

        Dream tropes fascinate me; I wish we knew more about where they come from.

        I don’t get the naked-exam one (instead I dream that I’ve forgotten low-stakes homework assignments, which probably says something about my perfectionistic personality). I get “car won’t stop no matter how hard I brake” quite a bit.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          January 19, 2017 at 1:37 pm #

          Go on stage and don’t know your lines is another one

        • Heidi
          January 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

          I always dream that I signed up for classes that I keep forgetting to attend until the end of the semester.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

            Yep, that’s another. It’s in the same vein as going on stage without knowing your lines.

          • Jo
            January 19, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

            Had that, and teeth falling out. Been years since I remembered a dream, though.

          • CSN0116
            January 19, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

            I’ve had this dream repeatedly. I’ve heard having that dream is “how you know you’re ready for graduate school” lol

      • Roadstergal
        January 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

        I have never had the naked in an exam dream, but I have had various flavors of ‘teeth crumbling’ and ‘teeth falling out’ that have TERRIFIED me.

        Also, ‘traveling and everything goes wrong.’

        Falling is a reasonably common one; that’s usually scary but also really, really exciting.

        (I have really vivid, long-running dreams.)

        • BeatriceC
          January 19, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

          A psych grad student could probably do an entire dissertation on my weird, repetitive dreams.

        • January 19, 2017 at 3:11 pm #

          Oh, I’ve had the “traveling gone wrong” dream but in real life. I was flying home from Tanzania once, and I couldn’t find my passport (and the bus that took me to the airport had already left). I was hysterically upset until another flier stopped me and had me start from the beginning. Turns out my passport was tucked behind my e-ticket, in the same exact place I always keep it.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 6:19 pm #

            That is, both literally and figuratively, my nightmare. (Sans the ‘finding it’ part.)

      • Tigger_the_Wing
        January 19, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

        I get the teeth one and the legs one. The latter is particularly frustrating, as it always happens just as I’m enjoying a walk, or a run, in my dream – and then I suddenly realise I can’t walk without aids, and fall over.

        I hate it when real life intervenes in a dream.

        Oddly, though, it never intervenes in my flying dreams. My rational brain never tells me I can’t defy gravity when I’m dreaming that I can float, or make me drop out of the sky when I dream I’m an owl. So why does it like to spoil any dream where I’m not disabled?

      • MayonnaiseJane
        January 19, 2017 at 5:30 pm #

        I get the teeth one… and one that no one else seems to get. I call it “too many rodents.” The crux of it is that I’m cleaning up around my childhood bedroom, and come across a hamster. I go to put it back in the cage and there’s already a hamster in the cage. Just then I see another one. Then maybe a mouse, or a rabbit. Maybe Guinea pigs. I spend the whole dream trying to find enough boxes/cages/containers for all of them, wondering how I forgot all of them, and being concerned that I don’t remember the last time I fed any of them… they just keep coming till I wake up.

        • myrewyn
          January 20, 2017 at 10:04 am #

          I have a similar dream of finding pets in a room I never go in, and Wondering when they’ve last been fed. I giggled at your “too many rodents” title 🙂

        • Kerlyssa
          January 20, 2017 at 10:05 am #

          i get that with kittens! i need to get them somewhere, and they just keep multiplying

        • Comrade X
          January 26, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

          I just read this comment and my heart just stopped. Until literally this second, I thought I was the only one.

          I get the Multiplying Hamsters dream semi-regularly. I’m calling it a dream, it would be more accurately termed a recurring nightmare.

          They keep multiplying and multiplying and multiplying…every time I turn around there are more hamsters. Soon I run out of room/cages for them and have to start improvising with cardboard boxes. As they continue to increase in number, it becomes more and more difficult to keep all of them appropriately housed, fed, watered and in clean bedding. In the end, it becomes impossible, and some of them start dying as I am unable to adequately care for them/meet their needs in time. Then the bodies of the deceased hamsters need to be removed from their cages/enclosures before they start decomposing and therefore causing disease to those still living.

          I keep trying and trying and trying, more and more desperately, to keep making it round the circuit of cages/habitats and making sure the needs of all the creatures are met, as it gets crazier and crazier, more and more impossible.

          I wake up in a cold sweat, my heart pounding, a profound sense of panic, guilt and inadequacy overwhelming me.

          Deeply deeply unpleasant.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 26, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

            I don’t have to worry about dead bodies or cage cleaning in mine… if I don’t get them separated into SEPARATE containers, then they start eating one another. I wind up resorting to shoeboxes, the bathtub, sink, buckets, anything to keep them SEPARATE. And yes… profound guilt and inadequacy, though thankfully not panic in my case. Instead it’s just eerie and unsettling… much like the teeth dream.

          • Comrade X
            January 26, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

            You are literally the first person I have ever come across who also has this nightmare. I can’t tell you the relief I feel that I’m not the only one.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 26, 2017 at 8:16 pm #

            I was never much concerned that I was the only one I knew, who had that dream, but I’m glad this brings you some relief. Actually for me it brings up more questions. If there are two of us… could there be MORE? Is it perhaps more common than we think but with a certain subset of people, i.e. people who had several hamsters growing up?

          • Comrade X
            January 27, 2017 at 7:51 am #

            My theory (now that I know there are two of us) is that this IS a recurring nightmare to which a certain subset of people are vulnerable. I don’t want to get too personal, but it is reasonably clear to me that the combination of my inherent personality (tendency to feel responsible for others) and circumstances of my upbringing (mentally unstable parent(s), great sense of responsibility for parents’ emotional welfare placed on my shoulders at very early age) are key to this nightmare. I don’t know if you have anything similar in your background. This is not the only anxiety-dream that I get, but it *is* the worst.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 27, 2017 at 10:24 am #

            Yeah… I do have that in my background… Emotional parentification as a precursor to multiplying unfed small pet dreams… interesting. More should be looked into about this one. We all know about no pants, forgot the lines to the play, unexpected test, being chased, falling, and teeth falling out. But no one talks about the infinite numbers of unfed small pets…

          • Guest
            January 27, 2017 at 9:05 am #

            I have this dream regularly except with lizards as I wasn’t allowed to have pet hamsters but did have a pet lizard. The lizards are often ill unfortunately or dying from me having forgotten to feed them because I didn’t know how many there were. It’s kind of like a combination of the forgot I signed up for a class and show up on the last day without having studied dream and the hamster dream. I have a very similar upbringing and personality to the one described below.

      • Kelly
        January 19, 2017 at 5:40 pm #

        I have one were I am running in slow motion. It is one of the most annoying one I have.

      • Sean Jungian
        January 19, 2017 at 7:26 pm #

        My recurrent dream themes revolve around trying to dial or type in a l-o-n-g phone number for an emergency or something and constantly messing up and having to restart.

        I chalk it up to my brain enjoying visual puns: “You have a hard time getting through (to people)”.

        • Mattie
          January 20, 2017 at 5:39 am #

          is it like the new emergency number from the IT crowd?

          • Sean Jungian
            January 20, 2017 at 7:57 am #

            I had never seen this omg did I laugh. Yes, it is EXACTLY like this lol. With a lot of stopping and starting over!

    • Clorinda
      January 19, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

      My kids have weak baby teeth enamel. It is genetic. I’ve seen teeth rot and crumble DESPITE all we can do. I can’t imagine just letting it happen.

      • Cody
        January 19, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

        If you read the full article, the mother changed her diet and her children’s diet after the issue with teeth presented itself.

      • Jo
        January 19, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

        My older one does – hoping her adult teeth are better. Got lucky with the younger and her teeth are perfect. But she was delivered in a hospital, while the older was in a freestanding birth center, so it must have been the florescent lights. Or the Pitocin. Or the epidural? /Sarcasm 🙂

    • Marylynn
      January 19, 2017 at 2:09 pm #

      Supposedly, that is a “lack of control” dream. I notice that I do indeed have it when I am having some sort of things that seem to be out of my control going on in my life.

      • StephanieA
        January 20, 2017 at 6:39 am #

        This would explain so much. My dreams usually involve my teeth being loose and about to fall out. I’m a major control freak.

    • Cody
      January 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

      I have had the same dreams. It’s really off-putting.

  21. Madtowngirl
    January 19, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

    The fetishising and demonizing of components of food is a trend that particularly disturbs me. I mean, it’s not anything new – I remember when cholesterol was the demon du jour – but the intensity at which it happening now is concerning. I mean, we’ve had these pushes to have young people, especially girls, love their bodies even though they aren’t models, but then people are screaming about GMOs, gluten, and whatever other ingredients they think are “bad.” How are we supposed to expect children to develop healthy eating habits, and indirectly, positive body image, when we scream that everything they eat is going to kill them (or “worse,” make them fat)?

    • crazy grad mama
      January 19, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

      I was about to post this same point – Even if a kid isn’t physically harmed by this kind of hyper-controlled diet, what does it do to their mental health?

    • MayonnaiseJane
      January 19, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

      These kids are going to wind up with anxiety disorders because their parents convince them that poison is basically everywhere. Put that together with the helicoptering that’s already prominent in the current school-age demographic and we’re going to have a generation who, THRU NO FAULT OF THEIR OWN, are unable to independently function, out of pure terror that the world is a completely hostile place and mommy is the only one who can save them. If people think we Millennials are a problem, just wait for the kids coming up after us. (BTW: We’re not ALL spoiled… a generation of “everyone gets a trophy” basically dunning-kruegered the hell out of us. Less competent millennials are confident and demand recognition like they got as kids, while more competent millenials feel like underachieving losers because ALL praise registers as meaningless placating bullshit.)

      • swbarnes2
        January 19, 2017 at 1:33 pm #

        Well, the “everyone gets a trophy” is probably okay in the context of “process praise”; that is, praising kids for effort, not accomplishment, seems to be very good for kids in the long run.

        • MayonnaiseJane
          January 19, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

          Ahhhh, but when EVERYONE gets a trophy, those who don’t try also get one, which makes the people who try wonder “why bother?” You’re right about the process praise thing tho. People who are praised for being smart when they get a good grade top out a lot faster than people who are praised for working hard when they get a good grade. 🙂

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

            As kids grow, you can up the expectations, but I have no problem with providing encouragement for young kids.

            Which do you think is better: have kids get participation medals at gymnastics meets, or having kids quit gymnastics because it’s not any fun when they never win?

            As someone with 2 boys in gymnastics, I can tell you they feel a lot better about doing gymnastics meets where they get participation medals, and are happy just to compete. Meets where they don’t get participation medals make gymnastics less fun.

            And it’s pretty damn insulting to suggest that they aren’t trying. My guys and all their friends are out there trying all the time. Some of them are just not as good as the others.

            You seem to think that they should just quit because they aren’t as good as everyone else. I, otoh, want them to continue to want to do it, and that means it has to be fun for them.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

            I’m gonna pause for a moment here, because it seems like you’re misreading my intentions and getting insulted over something I never said. I never said that your kids weren’t trying. I don’t know you. I don’t know your kids. You weren’t in this thread before just now. I couldn’t possibly pass judgement on your kids. All I said was that when 100% of participants in something get a trophy, then that 100% must nessicarily also include people who weren’t trying.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

            I never said that your kids weren’t trying.

            You accused kids of getting participation trophys by not even trying. If not my kids and their friends, then who exactly are you referring to? Someone else’s kids or their friends? That doesn’t make it any better.

            I don’t know your kids. You weren’t in this thread before just now. I couldn’t possibly pass judgement on your kids

            But you are, apparently, able to pass judgement on the kids of someone who is not participating in this thread, who you also don’t know?

            Passive-aggressive insults are no less insulting than direct ones.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

            I’m referring to people who don’t try. I do not and cannot know which people they are, but I know that they exist, because 100% of people do not do anything, so if 100% of people are given an award for doing something, then it necessarily and mathematically must include those who did not do the thing. Please stop trying to make this into something it’s not.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 2:34 pm #

            if 100% of people are given an award for doing something, then it necessarily and mathematically must include those who did not do the thing.

            Participation medals are given to those who don’t participate?

            No, you actually have to participate to get a medal.

            Participation medals are given to show appreciation for the effort it takes just to participate. Those who are giving the medals know what the kids are going through. It is the ones opposed to participation medals that complain about kids not trying hard enough (and note that “hard enough” is the key here – the kids are all trying at some level; they are going out on the mat and doing a routine; apparently, they have to do it with some satsfactory level of effort or it doesn’t count)

            But I noticed you never answered my question: is it better to give participation medals to promote participation, or not give participation medals and discourage the losers from continuing?

          • Cody
            January 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

            Keep in mind the complaints about “participation medals” really don’t have much of a basis in fact. It’s something people like to say when they believe that kids these days are a bigger problem than ever before, the world is going to hell, and things were better in the good ol’ days.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

            Oh, Cody, I know, and it pisses me off.

            Damnit, I LIKE participation medals. They promote participation.

            And having seen my kids and their friends in activities that have participation medals, I like them even more. I am proud of what they do. I’m happy they get recognized for it.

          • Cody
            January 19, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

            One of my children works their butt off in a really high cardio sport and puts in hours and hours each week, but due to physiology will likely never be one of the really high achievers in the sport. Some type of recognition for participation is necessary. I always tell this child that it’s not about winning. If it was, my child would have quit years ago.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

            Yeah, but that means that someone who doesn’t work as hard will also get a medal, so better to make your kid go without than to allow someone not deserving…

            Damn, now I understand my objection. That’s a very republican approach. Better to screw over those who deserve it than to let a single non-deserving person have some.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

            To me, the meanings of the participation trophies are internal. I bet Cody’s kid is reminded of all the hard work and accomplishment whenever s/he looks at the trophy. Someone who did less – feels less. I wouldn’t be surprised if it all works out…

          • Cody
            January 19, 2017 at 2:55 pm #

            Lol. This particular child is loved and hugged a lot and read to despite being too old for it. Coddled essentially, and is turning into a spectacular young person who makes me so proud. Top of the class in science too! Okay I’m done bragging.

          • Cody
            January 19, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

            My child has been doing this for years just like all the other kids in the class. There are definitely kids who put in more effort (my child being one of them). The other kids still show up 3 times a week and sometimes the practices are three hours. Good for all of them. That’s why they can run 5km without getting winded, unlike their parents. They also all know the difference between participation recognition and winning first. The recognition keeps them going when they don’t win.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

            Yep. Your comment made me smile just reading it, because i get exactly what you are saying. I’m proud of your child and the other kids, and I don’t even know them!

          • Sean Jungian
            January 19, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

            My dear son has wrestled for 7 years and has NEVER WON A SINGLE MATCH. In fact, I consider it progress that he can now go a full 30- to 45 seconds into a period. The only wins he has ever received have been byes because no one was available in his weight class. Since 7th grade (due to our rural location) he has had to wrestle on the Varsity team, facing juniors and seniors in top condition all over the state. Of course he gets his ass handed to him every time.

            And yet, he is completely committed and dedicated to the sport. For the past 3 years he has gotten up at 5:30 am all year round to go lift weights and work out at the school before classes. During the season he is up and at practice every day by 6:00 a.m. and then works out afterward.

            Yes, he got plenty of participation trophies when he was in Pee Wee wrestling.

          • Cody
            January 19, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

            I love this! I just read this to my child. How inspirational! You should be so proud of him.

          • Sean Jungian
            January 19, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

            I truly am. Honestly? I really admire him for sticking with it like he has. I would have quit LONG ago. I admire all of the students who go out for wrestling – it is incredibly tough. They all tell me that it makes football conditioning feel easy lol.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

            Our guy did wrestling camp last summer, and will probably go back this summer.

            Right now, he isn’t in pee wee, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets into it after he is done with gymnastics. The wrestling coaches don’t mind him doing gymnastics for now and picking up wrestling later; the skills overlap a lot.

            I actually regret not wrestling in school. Granted, I had braces, and that makes it hard when you get your face slammed in the mat, but I wish I could have. I had an advantage in that I understood physics and therefore could apply leverage.

          • Sean Jungian
            January 19, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

            I am not a super-sports-mom of any stripe – I like drawing and reading and sitting around staring into space.

            But wrestling, all of it – the coaches, the team members, the grueling schedule, the brutal workouts – have done more for my shy, sweet kid’s confidence than I could have ever imagined. He takes a great deal of personal pride in being able to even be there, to complete a conditioning practice without breaking down. His teammates have always been the most supportive, encouraging, polite and well-behaved young men I’ve known. When he has a hard time – because it IS hard to lose, match after match after match, his teammates rally around him and bring him back up.

            It’s not for everyone, I’m sure. But I’m so glad it’s something he decided to do. And he got into it because I made him try it way back when, and he got trophies and medals even when he came in 4th or last. The things he’s learned will serve him for a lifetime.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

            It’s better to encourage kids to have a mentality that it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. Games and sports are meant to be FUN. Kids should be encouraged to do what they love, trophy or no trophy.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

            But getting a participation trophy IS fun! It brings the experience together.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

            Kids should be encouraged to do what they love, trophy or no trophy.

            Kids are much more likely to have fun when they get trophies.

            So that means winning is fun. Not winning? Not so much fun. It leads to non-winners quitting.

            What’s the solution? Give everyone a trophy? Or don’t give anyone a trophy, win or lose. Just tell them they won.

            Which do you think is going to be more popular? it’s not even a question.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 2:55 pm #

            So that means winning is fun. Not winning? Not so much fun. It leads to non-winners quitting.

            That attitude right there is the problem. Kids don’t care if they win or lose till some adult makes a big deal about it. Participation trophies drive home the message that losing is a bad thing, and they need to be protected from it. And you know what the message we all got was (remember I’m FROM this cohort.) The message was “You cannot trust adults to tell you if you are doing well or not. They lie to make you feel better. They are all lying to make you feel better. All of your success is counterfeit.”

            It makes a person neurotic.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

            Kids don’t care if they win or lose till some adult makes a big deal about it.

            By, for example, only giving the winner a trophy.

            You agree that only giving winners trophies is a way to make a “big deal” out of winning?

            So as I said, the solution is clear. Give no one trophies, or give everyone trophies. Which is better at encouraging kids to participate?

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 3:36 pm #

            I’d be more in favor of no trophies, actually, kids sports should be for fun, not competition.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

            And you can try that. However, it doesn’t work as well as giving everyone trophies.

            You WANT participation. There are kids who will have fun regardless. You will have kids who have more fun with trophies. You won’t find many who will find it more fun without anything.

            As I said, if you want kids to want to participate, you make it worth it for them. If you don’t care, then don’t do anything.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 3:51 pm #

            If it’s not intrinsically worth it to them… why are we invested in MAKING them participate? Perhaps they would rather stay home and read a book, or play video games, and would be perfectly happy that way?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

            We aren’t “making” them participate. We are making it so they WANT to participate.

            My kids would rather be in gymnastics now. We could make it so that it sucks and they aren’t having fun and want to quit. Or we could keep it fun and keep them wanting to go.

            And who knows, maybe if it’s not as fun now as it could be, if they stick it out, it will be more fun next year?

            We have told them, once they quit, there is no going back. They can’t quit and then restart in two years. There are no opportunities for 10 yos in beginning gymnastics.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

            If a little kid tells me a joke, I laugh. They’re rarely funny, but I laugh anyway. Those rare times they’re funny, I laugh more loudly and harder.

            Am I ruining them with an overabundance of extrinsic recognition? Should I not laugh no matter what when they tell a joke, so I know they’ll only tell jokes if it’s intrinsically worthwhile to them?

            Kids love to write stories. If a kid presents me with a story, I will say something nice about it whether it’s Ulysses or just some scribble. I figure it’s nice to encourage kids to continue, since they’ll generally get better as they go along, and might really get into it in the future. Should I stop? Am I giving them too much extrinsic recognition?

            Interesting that you mention reading books, because lots of reading programs at schools and libraries give kids little prizes or ribbons for reading a certain number of books. I loved those when I was a kid. I was an avid reader of books then, and I still am, now. Why didn’t those extrinsic recognitions ruin my reading, and my pleasure in reading?

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            January 19, 2017 at 5:06 pm #

            Stamps! They’re just so very cool when you’re 3

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 7:05 pm #

            Yep, the young kids get stamps or stickers at the end of practice. Better stop that, it will teach them entitlement.

            Amazingly, the 8 you survive without them

          • Cody
            January 19, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

            My kids would love to stay home and play video games and eat cheesies all day. Not happening.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 7:01 pm #

            What about video games and celary sticks? I mean, junk food all day is bad for anyone, but what’s the problem with kids playing games for fun? I’m not saying they don’t also have to go to school, of course they have to go to school. But I mean if it’s their fun time why shouldn’t they have fun?

          • Cody
            January 19, 2017 at 8:09 pm #

            Where I live, the recommendation is that all children get at least one hour of athletic activity each day. Few children meet this but my kids sure do. As I mentioned earlier today, I think they get more out of athletic activity than fun and that is important to me as a parent. Sitting around in their spare time is not really compatible with our values. Do they have unstructured time to themselves? Absolutely. Especially in the summer when they go outside and play, and are only supervised from a distance. They spend time with friends as well, and sometimes they play video games too. But not in the place of their athletics. Most of the time they enjoy the athletic activity. They certainly enjoy the payoff, which includes the games/performances. They’re kids so they don’t always enjoy the practices but they do it anyway because that’s what it takes to be good at something.

            Also, my husband and I don’t consider time away from school “fun time”. We are very involved with our kids and our lives are extremely integrated with theirs. We do community work, homework, athletics, and family time. We are quite structured.

          • Sean Jungian
            January 19, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

            Because there is a lot that we learn from athletics, from participating as a team and as individuals; Cody did an excellent job of laying that out up above.

            Not to mention many of us work and there is no one home to supervise; my 15 year old is certainly OLD enough to stay home alone after school, but I want him to be busy and involved in the community and school.

            And it’s not like I’m some former sports all-star myself. I participated and I was never great at any of it – but it feels GOOD to move your body around! It helps a LOT with stress and anxiety. For my son, who has anxiety problems, we call working out and exercise/athletics his “medicine”; I can’t even tell you the difference it makes in his wellbeing and mood.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

            You can get that from a drama club, baking club, community service or any number of non-sports, non-competitive activities that they might prefer. Athletics are not the be all end all.

          • Sean Jungian
            January 19, 2017 at 5:46 pm #

            Now you’re just being contrary. I never said it was the be-all end-all. You asked why we might push our kids to try athletics, I answered.

            And, FYI, he is in Speech and Drama in the spring, when there isn’t a sport he enjoys.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 5:53 pm #

            Sorry. Didn’t mean to be contrary. I’m just trying to sus out why it’s so important to keep kids involved in an activity if they wouldn’t like it if it wasn’t for the trophies. Bofa was saying that we need to give them to the kids because otherwise they might not want to do the sports anymore, and I’m trying to figure out why one should be invested in keeping them in sports in particular when they could very well be happy quitting sports and getting those lessons elsewhere.

          • Sean Jungian
            January 19, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

            I don’t think anyone posited that we would push a child to stay in a sport if they didn’t like it, trophies or no trophies. I would make them finish out the season, because they made a commitment to that. But I wouldn’t make them take it again the next time.

            The entire argument here has mostly been that participation IS something worth rewarding, versus non-participation.

            Pushing our kids to try new things is not a bad thing, and participation trophies/medals/recognition just adds a little extra sugar.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 6:11 pm #

            Pretty much the first thing Bofa said, way back up, when I first said I didn’t like participation trophies, is that I must therefore want kids who aren’t the best at things to quit. This, to me at least, indicates an attitude that the trophies are make or break and without participation trophies the kids who don’t win would be justified in quitting. I honestly don’t think that’s the case. I think that if they like it they’ll keep playing with or without a trophy, and if they don’t like it they should be free to quit without repercussion or rebuke. Not only is losing ok, but so is choosing NOT to participate in a recreational activity that you don’t enjoy. It’s not math. No one NEEDS sports to be successful functioning adults. If it’s a desire to keep kids IN sports that’s driving this need to push trophies on them, then perhaps we should examine why we’re so invested in keeping them in sports that we’d start bribing them like that.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 6:17 pm #

            I have made it clear from the beginning that I like participation trophies because it makes kids WANT to participate. Lack of recognition makes them want to quit.

            I want them to want to participate in everything. Why shouldn’t we support making everything fun for them?

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 6:37 pm #

            Again if the trophy is the make or break point, then they probably didn’t REALLY want to do it. If not getting a trophy would make them quit, then let them pick a DIFFERENT activity, one they will enjoy regardless of reward. Not everything is fun for every person. Sometimes support means letting them choose a different path.

          • Box of Salt
            January 19, 2017 at 7:00 pm #

            I’ll admit I have not read every singe one of the comments you’ve spilled out on this topic, and even though it’s adding fuel to an off-topic fire:

            Here’s what the participation trophy means to the little kids: hey, cool, someone besides my mom and dad care that came out to compete.

            Older kids don’t care so much. But for the little ones, it’s a physical reminder of something they enjoyed doing, win or lose. It reminds them they enjoyed the activity, and does encourage them to come back out for it the next season.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

            Actually, Box of salt, that’s the best argument in favor of participation trophies that I’ve heard thus far. There is a value in a tangible reminder of enjoyment for any child too young to have the capability for clear episodic memory to retain that they enjoy something after the (to them unspeakably long) off season. So… for little little ones… I may be swayed.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 6:24 pm #

            Should you not applaud kids who do a play in drama club? Too much extrinsic motivation?

            Should you not congratulate someone who has baked something, or someone who has done community service? Too much extrinsic motivation?

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 6:50 pm #

            Do you not congratulate kids in competitive activities any way OTHER than trophies? I suppose if no one congratulates or cheers or notices them, then the trophies would serve that purpose, but the way I’ve seen it implemented is that they get cheered, and congratulated, and then also a trophy, a tangible object, to place on a shelf and venerate as a commemoration and constant assurance that they are winners, and then one day, all they get is a pat on the back and a “good job” and we’re back to the above dichotomy. Do they demand their tangible reward? Or break under the sudden realization that they’re not winners like they were told? Of course that assumes that their displaying their participation trophies, and not hiding them in the back of the closet as an embarrassment because they’ve got the kind of parents that think that 2nd place is the first loser. For them it just serves to rub in their failure. There’s no good to come of those things.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 7:16 pm #

            “Do you not congratulate kids in competitive activities any way OTHER than trophies?”

            Of course, they’re not mutually exclusive. Just like I might both clap and say something positive.

            “tangible object”

            Is that the objection? Telling someone ‘you did great’ is fine, but making a little card that says ‘great job’ is going to ruin them?

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 7:48 pm #

            See above. “Great Job” is hollow. Much like the participation trophy. “Thank you for always having a good attitude,” on the other hand, is valuable.

          • crazy grad mama
            January 19, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

            I disagree, both with this specific comment and with your general thesis here.

            I, as an adult, run regularly, and occasionally compete in races. Some of these races give a medal to everyone who finishes. Not all races do this; usually it’s the longer or funkier ones that do. I like those medals. I sure as heck earned a medal finishing a half marathon, even though I don’t come anywhere near winning. Medals are fun! But they don’t decrease my intrinsic motivation – for every race I run, I have done hundreds of runs by myself for no medal.

            As a kid, I played soccer. Despite being a Millennial, I only ever got a trophy that one year my team came in second in the league. But we always got *something* at the end of the season, even if it was just a pizza party. And yeah, that was part of what made it fun.

          • Cody
            January 19, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

            Except that we would t have the Olympics or professional sports if kids sports were just for fun.

            Kids and athletics are about fun, but they’re also about hard work, dedication, discipline, and work ethic. They are about striving and time management and sacrifice as well.

          • Sean Jungian
            January 19, 2017 at 4:55 pm #

            And about working as a team, depending on other people, encouraging each other, celebrating together when you succeed and commiserating when you fail.

          • RubyRed
            January 20, 2017 at 1:29 pm #

            So why do you need a trophy for that? I agree with you entirely. I was in team sports all through my childhood. I learned a lot about discipline, teamwork and good work ethic. In my experience, getting a ribbon for this kind of thing cheapened the experience. As a young kid (and still now) my mindset was/is to do the hard work to best prepare yourself, work together as a team, play/do your best. You may win, you may not. The team that wins gets a trophy/medal. If we lose we won’t, but we learned a lot from the experience, had fun and found new things to work on. Getting a participation trophy just cheapened all of that, in my mind.

            I should also note that I had/have a very stable home life with parents who were always proud of me and encouraged me in everything I did. I never felt I had to win to make them proud of me. They used to put up all of my participation ribbons/trophies and I used to take them all down. They made me feel like a fraud, they cheapened the experience, and they made me feel anxious when I looked at them.

          • Sean Jungian
            January 20, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

            “So why do you need a trophy for that?”

            Well, nobody anywhere on this thread said anything about anyone NEEDING a participation trophy. What many of us have said, repeatedly, is that participation trophies are in our opinion(s) a benign and useful way to keep children interested in an activity long enough to either grow to enjoy it for on it’s own merits or to move on to something. else.

            “As a young kid (and still now) my mindset was/is to do the hard work to best prepare yourself, work together as a team, play/do your best.”.

            Good for you! That’s definitely an important take-away from any sort of competitive activity. I don’t think anyone here would argue with you about that. And well done on learning it so early! Most children need a little practice at it before they internalize that concept.

            “Getting a participation trophy just cheapened all of that, in my mind”.

            Well that’s unfortunate. That makes 2 of you in this thread who have had that experience with participation trophies. For the majority of the kids I know, and the other respondents in this thread, this is a pretty extreme reaction to something kids care about for a day or two and then don’t really think about very much.

            I would only add that part of growing up, whether you have participation trophies or not, IS FEELING LIKE A FRAUD. It’s a human feeling and everyone has felt like that at some point or another. I’ve found I don’t feel that way as I’ve gotten older and more experienced, but when I was in college and then in my first few career jobs I often felt anxiously that “OMG they’re going to find out I don’t know what I’m doing!!”. I’m not saying that is necessarily part of what you and MJ are expressing, but it is something I know most of us have felt at different time.s

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 6:27 pm #

            Competition _is_ fun, for many. Those who don’t find it fun should find other outlets, but don’t take the joy away from those who do. Some sort of recognition of trying hard, be it a participation trophy or pizza, is a nice reward for the competitors who try hard, push themselves, better themselves in the process, and don’t win.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 6:41 pm #

            Look I’m all for the “we all go out to pizza after the game, win or lose,” philosophy. I think that’s great. It’s team building. It’s encouraging. It’s social. I just don’t put trophies in the same category.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 7:12 pm #

            Why not?

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 7:27 pm #

            You eat your pizza. It’s gone. You get a hug, a cheer, a “good job!” It’s in the past. It happened and then it was over. Participation trophies, on the other hand are everlasting plastic monuments to (depending on the kids interpretation) the fact that you are an undeniable winner (swell head,) or that time the adults patronized the crap out of you (neurosis.)

            Now… Box of Salt has put forth a decent argument in favor of them for kids too young to actually remember the events that preceded receiving them, and I have to defer to that in those cases, but also in those cases, the kids are presumably too young to realize the deceit and draw negative conclusions about their trophies. So I will concede that for the age set where they cannot clearly remember the events of the preceding year, the damage is likely minimal, and quite possibly less than the benefit of a tangible reminder that they enjoyed such and such activity in the distant past before they can remember.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 7:33 pm #

            The way you talk about participation trophies is really disturbing – like they are a big con that parents are pulling on kids, and the kids will therefore look back on them with regret and neurosis.

            If that’s the case for your parents, that’s really bad, and you should not let them off of the hook.

            But that is not the universal experience. That is not what Bofa, Cody, and Sean are doing, frex. It is possible to do remembrances that a kid looks at fondly from many years later, for the introduction to a cool and novel experience that made you healthier, made you excited, taught you that you can do something you weren’t sure you could, perhaps even became a hobby you kept for the rest of your life.

            It sounds like you have really internalized ‘second place is the first loser,’ and that participating isn’t enough, and that if you’re not the best in your local area, you shouldn’t even do it. That’s a really toxic message.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

            The second place is the first loser thing isn’t MY belief and I certainly have NOT internalized that. Ew. I actually know a lot of people like that though. They’re frozen by fear of failure. They never try anything new, or if they do and their not immediately competent at it, they assume they ever will be and stop. They fear the suckage. I on the other hand come in last at bowling every time and keep doing it, because I EMBRACE the suckage. The suckage is my wheelhouse.

          • Sean Jungian
            January 19, 2017 at 7:58 pm #

            I agree with Roadstergal. It’s quite a leap from “I got a trophy for participating YAY I’M THE BIG WINNER” to “I’m worthless because I don’t get trophies for everything, and the ones I did get were lying”, and it’s a leap most kids (most, obviously not ALL) don’t make without a lot of other factors going into it dealing with self image and self esteem.

            My son doesn’t have a shrine with his participation trophies and medals bathed in a baby spotlight, stroked nightly to reassure himself that he really IS a winner. He has much more self-worth and self-respect than that, and I think most kids probably do what he has done, which is to either develop a love and appreciation for the activity, or decide it isn’t for them and moved on to something that interested them more. In both cases the trophies are generally relegated to a drawer or closet and only seen when cleaning and the kid goes, hey! I remember that tournament, Mikey got a nosebleed (or the bus was late, or so-and-so did this). Its a tangible reminder not only of getting out and doing something, but of a social and community event.

            I’m just saying, your reaction seems very extreme for the subject matter. You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, and for all I know you might be right. I haven’t seen it myself, though, and I think participation awards serve a benign and useful purpose.

          • fiftyfifty1
            January 19, 2017 at 8:58 pm #

            “or that time the adults patronized the crap out of you ”

            I doubt kids find it patronizing when adults give them participation trophies. I bet they like it. After all, adults do the same thing among themselves and seem to like it. I know I do. I have a big gaudy participation medal from a ski race I did, some ribbons from 10K races I finished, and a very fancy looking fake parchment certificate that commemorates my participation in a language camp. I’ve won a number of real awards in my life, all for academic or career achievements, some of them pretty competitive. I’ve never kept any of these awards, nor do I think about them, except when I have to update my CV. But I’m rather fond of my participation awards, and when I look at them I smile.

          • RubyRed
            January 20, 2017 at 1:21 pm #

            As a child I found it incredibly patronizing when I got participation trophies/medals/ribbons. I used to throw them out or hide them, because looking at them made me feel like a fraud.

            Everyone is different, I guess!

          • January 19, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

            Hi. I’m from “that cohort” too. I’m not sure where the whole idea that “kids in the absence of adults don’t care about winning” came from but it is horse-shit.

            My twin and I were competing with each other before we could talk – and with parents who attempted to quash any competition between the two of us.

            My best friend, on the other hand, ignored all forms of competition.

            Kids – even us Millennials – have never been blank slates.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

            I should note that, even in this world of participation medals, you should see the number of kids who cry when they don’t win.

            Clearly, they are not settling for participation medals.

            Jeez, my kids burst into tears when they don’t win Monopoly, Jr when we play it home on game night.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

            Sibling rivalry is definitely a thing… but I’m not sure how it relates to competitiveness outside the family. One may breed the other, I’m not sure. I was never any competition for my brother. He was the clear favorite.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

            My friends and I would race each other down the block as soon as we figured out the ‘running’ thing. Not siblings, just competitive.

            I loved to compete. Doing it at a set-up race with finisher’s ribbons made it _more_ fun.

          • Sean Jungian
            January 19, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

            And I am very indifferent about competing! 😀 It takes all kinds of us.

            Not that I don’t want to do my best – I do. I just don’t care much if it’s better than everyone (or anyone) else.

          • Erin
            January 19, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

            I never got a participation trophies (I don’t think they were a thing when I was at school at least in the countries I grew up in). Instead I had a father telling me than anything less that the champion’s rosette was failure and that failure is ugly, stupid and by it’s very nature unlovable.

            Participation trophies seem pretty innocent in comparison to me.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

            That’s a huge problem too. Two sides of the same coin.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

            It seems to me that the two sides are “Teaching kids that they’re worthwhile and should be proud only if they win” and “Teaching kids they’re worthwhile and should be proud whether they win or not.” But you don’t like the latter?

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

            No those would be opposing sides, not sides of the same coin. Both berating a child who loses, and giving out trophies to everyone both impart the idea that you have to have an award, an extrinsic recognition, to be worthwhile.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

            Ah – so your issue is that recognition should not be given out at all? No winner medals? No celebrations? No laughter at a really good joke?

            I disagree. Extrinsic recognition is an essential part of being human. A more permanent memory – like a trophy, or a ribbon – is, IMO, simply more durable than laughter, verbal praise, or a hug, all of which are extrinsic recognitions.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

            Keep in mind, the kid can sit at home and play video games and not get a medal. And it’s a lot easier than participating in an activity.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 3:52 pm #

            Playing video games IS participating in an activity. The activity is video games.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 3:57 pm #

            Video games are not active, they are passive.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

            No TV is passive. Video Games are interactive.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 4:02 pm #


          • X
            January 19, 2017 at 6:07 pm #

            Don’t worry bofa you get a ribbon for participation

          • January 20, 2017 at 10:52 am #

            Video games may not be physically active most of the time, but they are most definitely not a passive activity. You build things, solve puzzles, duck and weave and aim, position yourself to avoid boss hits, execute to-the-second (actually, faster than that) rotations of key presses, work with a team, execute strategies, plan out builds … I spend more active brain time on my video games than I do at work, probably.


          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm #

            That would be our point of contention yes. I argue that an overabundance of extrinsic reward regardless of performance, teaches people that such external recognition is the be all and end all of their worth. Every action is then undertaken in anticipation of recognition, and when it eventually fails to materialize, as it will, the person, so trained, is left with two options. Lash out against the “unfairness” that they did not get the recognition they are accustomed to and demand said recognition, or introspect, and realize that the very extrinsic reward system on which they have based their own self worth, was all a lie conjured up to protect them from failure… and having now reclassified all such rewards as meaningless, cease to have any self worth at all.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 3:56 pm #

            “I argue that an overabundance of extrinsic reward regardless of performance, teaches people that such external recognition is the be all and end all of their worth”

            What is your evidence that a participation trophy does indeed cross ‘overabundance’ and lead to the living hell you describe?

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 4:05 pm #

            My evidence? Myself. My peers. We’re living it. We’re miserable. We’re neurotic. We’re depressed. We’re all in therapy. And the world keeps telling us we’re spoiled over some stinking plastic trophies that mean nothing to us. Nothing could be further from the truth.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 4:11 pm #

            And as we all know, correlation is causation.

            Why didn’t my awards for reading in school make me miserable and neurotic and turn me off of reading? Why do my finisher ribbons for runs and tris make me feel accomplished instead of desolate?

            You’re also reminding me, now that we’re discussing it, that we got participation trophies for flag football in middle school in the ’80s. I have pictures of myself as a little girl waving them triumphantly. Participation trophies aren’t new, not at all. Why didn’t _those_ make me miserable and neurotic?

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 4:16 pm #

            You realize your evidence… in fact ALL evidence, in this thread is just as anecdotal as mine? No one here has proffered a study, and all of this spun out of a comment I made about how NOT all millennials are spoiled, and everyone got bent out of shape because I mentioned participation trophies in the context of DEFENDING the people who got them, because people are always holding them up to bash us with? Actually that’s probably why you aren’t miserable and neurotic. No one’s lording them over your head all the time trying to gaslight you into thinking you’re worthless over something you never wanted, never asked for, and could have damn well done without.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

            You seem very bitter and unhappy about the trope of the spoiled millennial with the participation trophy.

            You don’t think it’s possible that you’re bitter and unhappy because of the way people have spun it to pigeonhole you, rather than the trophy itself?

            Note the stories from Sean and Cody below. While anecdotes, they are clear counterpoints to the notion that participation trophies are inherently bad. For some, they are life-changingly good. In fact, your story makes me think they’re only bad if they’re disparaged… in the way you’re disparaging them.

            I’ve come across people who think that kids are irreversibly spoiled by hugs, or by not being spanked. Is the solution to address whatever it is that they’re pointing at, rather than their misguided notions?

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 4:29 pm #

            Honestly the only thing I can say to that is that if you thin km I’m disparaging them in the same way that I’m complaining of, you are misreading me. The kids getting participation trophies aren’t the problem here. The kids are the victims. The adults giving them out are the problem. Maybe there is a way to do participation trophies right, but the way it’s being used right now, it just leads to imposter syndrome on a mass scale.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 4:35 pm #

            What imposter syndrome? My kids that get participation medals are under no delusion that they won.

            It’s not imposter syndrome, what it’s doing is dampening the attitude that winning is all that matters.

            I know that bothers some people, but certainly not me. It is putting the idea that “It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game” into action.

            That’s not making imposters. It’s making a generation who don’t place their self-worth on whether they have won or not.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 5:38 pm #

            Imposter Syndrome does not mean what you think it means. Imposter syndrome is a concept describing people who have an inability to internalize their accomplishments. They are convinced that their success is fake, that they are imposters and could be found out at any moment. It’s pretty common in millennials.

          • RubyRed
            January 20, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

            Imposter Syndrome is a huge issue in my class. I’m older (but still considered a Millennial) and am in vet school right now. On our first day, the dean of students came up to the front of the class and told us that every year he has at least a dozen students crying in his office because they feel that they’ve tricked everyone and that they’re not as smart as people think and they don’t belong in vet school. He took some time and walked us through the admission process and emphasized that the system is set up so that they can’t accidentally let the wrong person in, and that we actually all earned the right to be there.

            It’s such a huge problem we have seminars every year on it.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 20, 2017 at 1:23 pm #

            It really is quite pervasive in our cohort, and it sucks.

          • maidmarian555
            January 19, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

            I wonder if what you’re describing is as much a generational issue as it is anything else. I’ve heard people (mostly baby boomers like my mother if I’m honest) saying pretty horrible things about millennials and how ‘precious’ they are (whilst ignoring the fact that it was *their* generation and the one that followed that started giving participation trophies to their children- idk why they’re now cross with those children for receiving said trophies). I was born in 1980. I got to personally feel how harmful it is when you’re expected to succeed and are treated terribly when you achieve less than 100%. I don’t really ever remember getting rewarded for just trying hard. I would not want that for my son. No way. People my age don’t want to repeat that horror show and I can really see the benefits of praising kids for *doing* their best rather than *being* the best. I don’t doubt the first generation of kids that got those participation trophies are pretty tired of being denegrated by their grandparents and in the media too. Hopefully that’s not something that will continue with future generations.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

            Exactly. The problem isn’t the trophies, it’s the people being bitchy about them. Maybe because they would have liked an ‘atta boy’ for trying hard?

            You know, it comes back to the point of this blog. “I didn’t get an epidural in labor, so women today should have to suffer as much as I did!”

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

            And the world keeps telling us we’re spoiled over some stinking plastic trophies that mean nothing to us.

            If they meant nothing to you, why do you think they harmed you?

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

            Because once you do the math, which you inevitably will and know that the adults will dole out praise to 100% of the kids present, regardless of success OR effort, the natural conclusion is that they’re all “just being nice” and no one likes you, respects you, or actually thinks anything good of you at all. Any praise you MIGHT have actually earned goes right down the toilet with the stuff you didn’t.

          • Charybdis
            January 20, 2017 at 11:33 am #

            I understand what you are saying. I remember when DS was younger and I was FLOORED at the amount of overabundant praise heaped on the kids. Everything from “Great job sliding! Good job swinging! Awesome, possum! That was an AWESOME catch!” It is the hyperbole of praise that is heaped on children for Every. Little. Thing. They. Do. Constant, overabundant praise for stuff that doesn’t matter (really) devalues the genuine praise for mastering a difficult task, pushing through a difficult or unpleasant task, finishing the soccer season because you bloody well signed up for it even though you have discovered you dislike playing soccer, practicing for your piano recital even though you would rather be reading, that sort of thing.

            A range of praise is good to have. In the beginning, you celebrate every little success because you are building confidence and self-esteem as a skill/task is being learned and mastered. But over time, as the skill/task gets mastered and is becoming routine, the praise level and intensity drops off. Like toilet-training your toddler. In the beginning, you celebrate/reward every little step. Sitting on the potty, peeing on the potty, pooping on the potty, telling the adult that you have to go potty in time to get there, learning how to use toilet paper, how much to use, flushing the toilet, waking up dry, having no accidents, graduating to Big Kid Underwear are all steps/milestones to be praised, rewarded and celebrated. However, you don’t continue to praise, clap for, or otherwise reward your 4th grader or teenager for using the toilet,

            When DS was in Kindergarten, he played T-Ball. They did not keep score and every child was praised for their efforts on the field. They were learning the game and if the batter missed hitting the ball, they were still applauded/praised for trying (good swing, you’ll get it next time, nice hard swing, etc) as much as those who did hit the ball. Same with catching/throwing. The kids were learning the rudiments of the game and building their skills and were deserving of encouragement and praise. However, two fields over, the 4th-5th grade teams were playing baseball. There they kept score and not every kid/play was effusively praised/applauded. The winners were applauded/cheered and the losers were also. You acknowledge the effort and hard work of the losing team; they worked just as hard, sweated just as much as the winning team, but they just did not score as many points. This is where winning and losing with grace and some humility is learned. Shake hands with the opponent, say “good game” and move on.

            Participation awards are okay; I’m thinking things like a t-shirt, ribbon, certificate, etc for the 5K/half-marathon/marathon/fun run/walk/bike ride/whatever are okay. It is things like getting a trophy for 10th/12th/15th place in a tournament because “everyone’s a winner” are the issue here. Encouragement and pep-talks are one thing, as is finding something positive in every performance along with things that *could* be done better or things to work on to improve performance. But people/kids KNOW if they didn’t win the game/match/tournament/whatever and sometimes seem puzzled that they are being rewarded for NOT winning.

            Inflated praise rings hollow, I guess is what I’m trying to say.
            *ducks tomatoes and rotten fruit*

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 20, 2017 at 11:56 am #

            Diverging from the MAIN topic at hand, and on to the whole “you don’t congratulate your teenager for using the toilet” thing…

            I am 32. My MiL JUST LAST YEAR congratulated me for finishing all of my dinner, including vegetables at her house. Apparently I am “such a good eater.” No bullshit. This is a thing that happened. It is not an isolated incident either… just the weirdest example I can come up with off the top of my head. I’m honestly still not sure what the correct reply is to that kind of thing so I just have to go with “uh… thanks,” when really it’s… kinda insulting.

          • Cody
            January 19, 2017 at 4:37 pm #

            Ya but so were my parents and their parents, and they didn’t have participation trophies. They didn’t go to therapy, which would have helped.

            Past generations were just as messed up.

            “Times are bad. Children no longer obey their parents and everyone is writing a book”

            -Marcus Tullius Cicero

            That guy died in 43 BC BTW.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

            I think that Cicero quote is apocryphal.

          • Cody
            January 19, 2017 at 4:48 pm #

            True, but It’s pretty funny anyway.

            My grandparents thought my parents were spoiled brats and my parents thought we were. Meanwhile, they spoil my children sooooo badly.

          • swbarnes2
            January 19, 2017 at 5:08 pm #

            There’s a part from Aristophanes “The Clouds” which shoudl be genuine…which I I thinks shows that even in Classical Greece, “kids these days” was a suitable subject for satire back then.

          • Sean Jungian
            January 19, 2017 at 5:43 pm #

            That’s probably true, but there are literally hundreds and hundreds of references over the past millennia expressing the same point.

            The older generations always complain about the younger.

          • January 20, 2017 at 10:57 am #

            The world might blame the little plastic trophies, but they’re also wrong about that. Participation trophies are not the reason things are screwed up, and our generation is no more screwed up than previous generations. Less in some ways- overall, Millennials are less bigoted (sexist, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, etc.) than our parents, and we are far more interested in things like a living wage and universal health care.
            To me, blaming the participation rewards is a cop-out of older generations for why things are messed up, and it’s up to us not to let them get away with that BS.

          • swbarnes2
            January 19, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

            I don’t think there is any evidence for your claim. There is good evidence that praising kids for effort, and not performance, leads to kids wanting to challenge themselves more …good stuff like that. (Google “process praise”) That’s what people are trying to do with participation recognition. We wnat to encourage kids to try things. We want to encourage kids to keep at things even if they are not the best, and even if they will never be the best.

            The thing about praising kids for performance is…what happens when the kid is no longer the best performer? What happens to their self-esteem when they go from the big fish in the little pond to the small fish in the big pond? What happens when they realize that they will never be the best in their new big pond? A kid who is motivated to do their best regardless of outcome will not be fazed by that transition. The kid used to judging themselves based on being the best will struggle.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 4:03 pm #

            I dissagree with pretty much nothing you said swbarnes, except the part where the participation trophies are effort based praise rather than empty praise. I do not dispute at all that effort based praise is the best.

          • Cody
            January 19, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

            I have two kids that are the same age.

            One doesn’t try hard at much of anything. Althletic prowess and social recognition come easy to this child. Trophies for first place are all over this kid’s room.

            My other child has incredible work ethic and never comes first. This kid takes every task seriously and tries so hard. This kid deserves the participation trophies.

            Often the kid who comes first has been gifted with something that the other kids haven’t and hard work isn’t going help someone win first place if they don’t have the genes for it. Participation awards are for the kids who dare to show up anyway.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 4:40 pm #

            You know, this conversation has made me realize there’s an advantage to participation trophies that I haven’t thought of yet. It lets kids know that there are things other than the absolutes of success (win) and failure (might as well not show up). Participation and trying is a win, winning is an even bigger win.

            We clap for a performance (participation trophy), we give a standing ovation for an extraordinary performance (winning trophy). Is that bad?

            We get work celebrations a few times every year (participation trophy) and raises/bonuses if we do really well (winning trophy). Is that bad?

          • January 19, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

            I’m with Teddy Roosevelt:

            “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

          • January 19, 2017 at 3:52 pm #

            Or, in other words, you still have to earn a participation award. Participating is very different from not participating.

          • maidmarian555
            January 19, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

            Yeah this. I remember when I came home with my GCSE results (1 A*, 3 As, 2 Bs, 4 Cs and a D) I was told “Well, that’s not all A’s so you may as well not have bothered”. Incidentally, my 1 A* was the *only* A* in that subject in my entire school. Still not good enough though. Then they wondered why I ended up with an alcohol problem at 17 and needed therapy…….

          • Erin
            January 19, 2017 at 7:06 pm #

            We could have the same parents… my Father’s reaction to my 97% in an English exam went down in School history.

            He didn’t make my graduation because I “only” got a 2:1 ( considering the effects being raped had on my drug and alcohol consumption it was actually a miracle I got a degree at all) which was deemed not being worth taking time off work for.

            Philip Larkin hit the nail on the head really.

          • BeatriceC
            January 19, 2017 at 8:30 pm #

            Sounds like my parents. Even my 4.0GPA (Straight A’s in the US system) was never good enough, since they weren’t perfect scores. And then I really screwed up and got in a mountain climbing accident shortly after my Juilliard audition and did enough damage that I would never play the oboe again, and my parents told me how shameful that was when I got the acceptance letter. I mean, I was a neurotic high school musician at a boarding school for the performing arts, so maybe getting that acceptance letter knowing I’d just killed any chance I had at a professional music career was enough to drive me to seriously consider suicide, but they just had to keep harping on it.

            Sorry, 24 years later and it’s still a sore spot.

          • Nick Sanders
            January 19, 2017 at 8:56 pm #

            I’m sorry they treated you that way.

          • I
            January 19, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

            Good for you MC, don’t let Bofa bully you.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

            Ok, I’ve only been here for like a week… can someone clue me in who “I” is and if it’s a good or a bad sign that they’re backing me? I can’t read a comment history to see… or are they talking to someone else? I read MC as MJ for a moment… but I don’t seen an MC here…

          • Empress of the Iguana People
            January 19, 2017 at 6:08 pm #

            No idea. First time I’ve seen the ‘nym and I’ve been floating around here for a few years now

          • I
            January 19, 2017 at 6:13 pm #

            Sorry, I meant MJ. I am just visiting but had to comment about the way you were debating.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 19, 2017 at 6:17 pm #

            Uh… ok. Who are you tho?

          • RubyRed
            January 20, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

            I’m also considered to be a millennial (although just barely). I used to get participation ribbons and trophies and I absolutely DESPISED them. They would all go straight in the trash as soon as I got home, or put away in a drawer somewhere.

            I used to run cross country, and I was (and still am) a terribly slow runner. I ran because it was something to do and I liked being outside. Every time I got a participation ribbon it made me feel like crap. I knew I wasn’t a good runner, why are you pretending that I am? I didn’t feel that winning or being really good at running was important and those ribbons made me feel like I SHOULD care about winning.

            It also made me question every other ribbon or trophy I got afterwards. Maybe participation ribbons/trophies are helpful to come kids, but they were definitely not helpful to me.

            What would have been nice or helpful would have been praising my dedication to running, or focusing on the other benefits that it gave me.

          • MayonnaiseJane
            January 20, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

            This was where I was going with my original statement, before it got way off tracked and I wound up getting goaded into a nyquill fueled flame war. Thank you Red. You said it much better than me.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

            Hellz, so many of the adult races I do – run, tri, bike, etc – have finisher ribbons. Even a harescramble I once did – one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done – had a finisher ribbon. Whenever I see it, it makes me smile.

            (And I’m not a millennial.)

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            January 19, 2017 at 2:49 pm #

            Jeez, anyone who finishes a triathlon deserves a medal, IMO. Or to be locked up. It’s a fine line between achievement and insanity.

          • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
            January 19, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

            I guess the complaining about everyone getting a trophy bugs me because I suck at sports no matter how hard I try, I am very uncoordinated and a slow runner. To go through school having the teams for gym class sports picked by the 2 “best” athletes and always being picked last, to have a gym teacher that spent entire classes helping the kids who were great at gymnastics do complicated routines while the rest of us stood around and watched has made me permanently hate participating in any team sports for the rest of my life.

          • Roadstergal
            January 19, 2017 at 4:06 pm #

            And do you know what? Those ‘best’ gymnasts probably wouldn’t even be close to the front at a bigger competition that drew from a less local talent pool.

            It was a ‘participation trophy’ for them, too. All local awards are.

          • LibrarianSarah
            January 19, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

            Sometimes I think that I am the only Millennial that never saw a participation trophy. They just didn’t have them at any of the places I went to school, summer camp, etc.

            The whole trophy process is just to demonstrate how screwed up our culture’s priorities are to the next generation. Oh you can throw a ball well? Here is an award that you can put in your room an show all your friends. Congratulations! Oh you did really well in school? You get to make a speech in front of your family, your entire class, and the families of everyone in your class. Congratulations?

          • Kelly
            January 19, 2017 at 7:26 pm #

            I didn’t but my younger brothers did. I did get a few trophies but I did earn them.

          • January 20, 2017 at 10:34 am #

            Eh, well, my parents couldn’t praise high grades coming from effort, because my sisters and I didn’t exactly work very hard for our grades until we hit high school, and even then I didn’t exactly work hard, I just expended the minimal effort required to get the grades (A’s) that I desired.

      • Roadstergal
        January 19, 2017 at 7:21 pm #

        MJ, I appreciate you being so open with us in this thread. I also appreciate that you’re in therapy – it’s a very good and important thing (I did therapy for PTSD a while when my mom died suddenly of aggressive brain cancer when I was a preteen, and I stopped eating – did me no end of good). And I wonder if this particular topic is something more appropriately brought up there.

        It seems to me like you have a strong, negative, bitter reaction to being characterized as a ‘participation trophy’ millennial, and maybe some parental issues along with that, but I’m not your therapist and they are a professional who knows you.

        But overall, trophies for participation – be they a cute little figurine, or a card, or a Powerpoint slide printed out noting the advantages that each individual brought to the team (something we still do yearly in subteams, and have a lot of fun with) – aren’t inherently damaging, and I think your negative focus runs the risk of poisoning them for others.

        • MayonnaiseJane
          January 19, 2017 at 7:45 pm #

          Honestly, I didn’t think it would get this huge, it was part of a parenthetical FFS, but after Bofa came after me with a pitchfork, saying I was insulting his children, I’ve become pretty invested in it. I tried to smooth things over, explain that I wasn’t passing judgment on his kids, but people dogpiled at that point and I have never been one to walk away and let a dogpile win. I’m stubborn like that. I may have been a little TOO open, but I’m an ADHDer with strong autistic traits, ya’ll got my goat, and I’m on nyqill…. soooo…. that horse has left the gate. But rest assured that I’m not trying to use the forum for therapy. I do handle this shit with my shrink. I’m not trying to therapize in here… I just don’t want to see other kids go thru this shit in the future.

          And FWIW I don’t object to things like the Powerpoints, or the cards (assuming the cards, like the Powerpoint are individualized rather than identical.) Those I would put over in the class with things like sportsmanship or team spirit awards which I don’t object to.

          • XO
            January 19, 2017 at 11:38 pm #

            I think you handled things bloody well – I have watched people get shredded here and you held your ground with sound reasoning. Well done

    • Kelly
      January 19, 2017 at 5:46 pm #

      We just had someone who is like this who gave a lecture at my church. I didn’t go because I knew I would ruin my eyes by rolling them so hard and maybe make some enemies. She made everyone bring in their favorite junk food wrapper and made certain foods the enemy. I know I need to exercise more and eat more fruits and vegetables and that is as complicated as healthy eating should be. Someone also told me that aspartame gives you tumors on your spine. These kinds of things make me want to scream.

  22. January 19, 2017 at 11:47 am #

    Oh, this is a great example of “Don’t worry if you don’t see any actual results – the REAL results won’t be visible ever!”

    From a pediatric chiropractor:
    “In some instances, Wise adds, the results of her work can’t be seen for decades, if at all. “So you have a baby that’s born in a traumatic situation and as a result maybe the top two bones in their spine are slightly twisted,” she offers as an example. “As an infant or child, they don’t get any chiropractic care. They end up 35 years old in the workplace and have chronic migraines, sinus issues and allergies.”

    My husband had lots of sinus issues and migraines. Turns out that the fact that he had a third set of teeth caused a bunch of malformations in his sinuses, nasal passages and upper pharynx. I’m not seeing how having his first two cervical vertebrae messed with as a child would have fixed that at all – but I can see how it could have given him a whole host of other issues!

    • Amy M
      January 19, 2017 at 12:30 pm #

      I get migraines and have asthma, but as far as I know, my birth was not traumatic for my mom, though it was drug-free because epidurals were not widely available when I was born. According to the loonies, having been born “naturally” (albeit in a hospital), I shouldn’t have such health issues.
      Oddly enough, multiple members of my immediate family have asthma and migraines! (sarcasm) Maybe we should all have had our chakras adjusted or whatever chiroquackers do, huh?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      January 19, 2017 at 1:18 pm #

      This is just repressed memory syndrome revisited

    • Kelly
      January 19, 2017 at 7:32 pm #

      What! Three sets of teeth-that is crazy. So do you pull the second set and then let the third set come in? I swear you have the most intriguing stories.

      • January 20, 2017 at 7:59 pm #

        The third set doesn’t develop correctly so that’s the one that is pulled. Since the third set is above the adult teeth, this means oral surgery which my husband said absolutely sucked. He’s also got the family record for largest set since he had eight removed from the front of his mouth plus four extra wisdom teeth. (Even I did a double-take when he mentioned he got his eight wisdom teeth out at once….)

        On the positive side, he has absolute insane looking roots for his adult teeth. Hygenists and new dentists routinely ask him what the hell happened since the roots are going in all sorts of directions instead of straight upwards.

        Near as I can tell, it’s an autosomal dominant gene with variable penetration that came down his mom from her mom’s family.

        • Sean Jungian
          January 20, 2017 at 9:46 pm #

          And here I thought I was odd for only having 3 wisdom teeth!

        • Kelly
          January 21, 2017 at 2:08 pm #

          He not only had wisdom teeth but two sets? Dang. That does not sound like fun but I guess it makes for a good story now. Thanks for teaching us all something new again.

    • Sean Jungian
      January 19, 2017 at 8:00 pm #

      Does he have shark DNA???? Maybe he’s a superhero! 😀

      • January 20, 2017 at 7:53 pm #

        If Spawn has a third set, the nickname “Sharky” is on the table ” 🙂

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