This summer has been very hot and dry in Delhi with temperatures crossing 40°C. Your health advisory on preventing heat strokes and heat-related ailments was very helpful and informative. Though we believe that by staying indoors in air-conditioned rooms we are safe, we forget that air-conditioning causes dry skin and dehydration. We also forget to drink enough water.
Dr. Gita Mathai’s expert advice on the elementary precautions parents must take to keep children safe and cool during summer was also very useful.
Thanks for focusing on the important issue of body image obsession among teens in your May issue (‘Teaching teens to avoid the super body trap’).
This is very relevant in the age of the Internet when teenagers are being bombarded by images of the perfect body through social media and online forums. Children as young as 12 and 13 are spending disproportionate amounts of time analysing their body shapes and physical attributes, with some resorting to extreme diets and exercise to achieve the perfect body.
As a parent of a child on the cusp of adolescence, this unhealthy focus on physical perfection in the media worries me. Recently my friend’s daughter, who is 13 and an avid Fashion TV viewer, decided to reduce her food intake almost starving herself because she feels she is “too fat”. She fainted in school. When she was referred to the school counsellor, she was asked, among other things, to draw an outline of her body. What she drew was far from reality. I believe parents need to be strongly observant of their children’s behaviour and food habits, and proactively support them to avoid the super body trap.
Encourage culinary skills
My daughters (12 and 14) love reading ParentsWorld. In fact, they end up giving me advice on parenting from the magazine! They particularly like the Recipes and Activity Zone sections. The ‘Cool summer treats’ featured in the May issue were particularly easy to follow — my daughters made the Gazpacho with a little help from me.
Cooking is a very important life and survival skill and all parents should encourage their children including boys, to learn this skill.
Ban junk food ads
The news story about how advertisements greatly influence children’s food choices is bang on (News Bytes, PW May). Recently, I had organised a play date for my daughter. In the afternoon, to beat the heat, they were watching television indoors. I noticed that every time an advertisement for a fizzy drink, chocolate or pizza came on the telly, they would ask if I was serving them a cola/pizza at tea time.
The government should ban junk food ads and products. Medical research has proven that they adversely affect the health and well-being of children. Many packaged snacks such as chips contain palm oil, vanaspati and other harmful chemicals and preservatives. Yet, because of heavy advertising our children are brainwashed into consuming them, and parents into buying them.
When I was pregnant, I enjoyed reading books like What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I also subscribed to online pregnancy calendars and newsletters, which guided me through pregnancy and childbirth. After my baby was born, I missed reading about child development — I know there are online parenting resources for mothers of toddlers and pre-schoolers, but somehow, these have never appealed to me.
Thanks for publishing ParentsWorld — it is an extremely informative publication and takes me back to the time when I savoured pregnancy books.
I particularly enjoy reading the early childhood and health sections. The last feature on helping young children beat the summer heat was very informative.