Oops….Sorry about our earlier email blast which sent out a post of ours that we’re working on but which is still decidedly under construction. To make up for that, hopefully, these pictures of us celebrating Back To The Future Day (October 21st, 2015) will allow us to go back in time, and take back our email (or at the very least show you that pediatric dentists know how to have fun).
Trending on the internet now is an article from ‘Mom News Daily’ headlined “Children are 800% Worse When Their Mothers Are In The Room.”
The study coming to us from the University of Washington Department of Psychology found that “…children as young as eight months-old could be playing happily but upon seeing their mother enter a room were 99.9% more likely to begin crying, release their bowels, and need her immediate attention.” The research goes on to say that if children are under the age of 10, the percentage of children who behave poorly doubles to 1,600%. Furthermore, the study also “…found that despite using the same disciplinary methods, 100% of the children were more responsive to instructions spoken at a normal voice level if the came from someone other than their mother.” (Click here for article)
Those are huge numbers and prove what most pediatric dentists have known for decades – children behave differently when their parents are around. Now I’m not one that believes that every child behaves poorly when their parents are around, and there are times when parental presence can be helpful for an anxious child. However, there are just as many times when children who have had a hard time calming down with mom or dad, in the room, suddenly do extraordinarily well when his/her parents leave. Giving children an opportunity to have a successful appointment without tears or anxiety, and without the need for their parents to help them, is a win-win for all.
So finally – I thought – here is a scientific research paper (we’re all about evidence based dentistry here) which we could show to parents (especially mothers) and explain that research suggests that it best that they not be in the operatory with their child. Without parental presence, their child would behave, listen and have an appointment without tears, drama or anxiety.
Well, here’s the problem. The research paper is a sham. Fake. Bogus. Not real.
I must admit, I was so intrigued by this article that I decided to read the actual scientific paper. Turns out there is no Dr. K.P. Leibowitz at the University of Washington. I also discovered that the Mom News Daily website churns out other noteworthy studies such as “Researchers announce anti-whining vaccine”, “Democratic and Republican Parents Unite On Need For 12-hour Toddler Sleep Aid” and “Toddlers Who Wake Up Before 5.30am Are Smarter Than Their Peers.” In other words, the website is a site for Mommy satire, similar to The Onion which also features satirical news articles made to seem real.
The fascinating thing about this article, and proof that nobody reads anything but the headlines these days, is that the article got a lot of play on a number of other mommy websites and it seems that most of the people posting the article actually believe it to be legitimate and real. And to show that pediatric dentists aren’t above being duped, a number of my dentist friends who are on Facebook, posted links to this ‘research’ and got a lot of comments celebrating the fact that science has proved what pediatric dentists know – that children behave better when parents are not in the room with them.
If only it were true.