Benjamin Spock discusses baby and child care

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Dr. Benjamin Spock discusses caring for babies and children. He also talks on geo-political issues. Dr. Spock also answer listener questions. Dr. Spock is author of numerous books, including “The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care.”

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(00:00:00) Who is in the Twin Cities to participate in an event this Saturday sponsored by physicians for social responsibility and event that occurs at noon tomorrow at Harriet Island Park in st. Paul. Dr. Spock of course is perhaps best known as the author of baby and child care which came out in the 1940s. It has been translated into 28 languages and sold twenty eight million copies. Dr. Spock has written or collaborated on a number of other books as well. And of course, he's very well known for his anti-war activities. He was in fact convicted on draft resistance charges during the Vietnam war charges that were subsequently overturned and he now tours the country on behalf of the various peace groups. Dr. Spock was also the People's Party presidential candidate in 1972 and ran for vice president on that ticket for years later. Dr. Spock. Welcome a pleasure to have you here. Thanks fun to be back. Nice to be back in the Minnesota area. I guess we'll Open the phone lines in just a second, (00:01:01) but maybe before we do that you might comment on just one or two of (00:01:05) the most significant changes that have occurred in the thinking about raising children, since you first published your book in the mid 1940s end today. The first thing that comes into my head is how rigid infant feeding schedules were that time babies was not to be fed one minute early or one minute late, but on the dot of every four hours six ten to six ten some babies were able to adjust to this right from the beginning of but others had a very miserable time babies who got hungry often ER or on an irregular schedule. It was very hard on parents to particularly mothers who that time were usually the ones who are at home taking care of the baby because the mother had to sit there biting our nails and almost crying to hear the baby crying sometimes for an hour even more from hunger and she wasn't permitted by the rules of those days to feed the baby. It's a good example of how crazy supposed scientists not that pediatricians are scientist, but they're meant to be guided by scientific principles that pediatricians up to that time had been kitted themselves wasn't a joking matter that it would ruin not only the digestion of a baby but it would ruin the baby's character to be fed as often as the baby cried cost of the whole human race and all other species have been that are nursed been fed, whenever they're hungry from the beginning of the species now fortunately, we've gotten back to a more sensible view. It's about three minutes past the hour to two seven six thousand is the phone number in the Twin Cities for those of you with a question for dr. Spock outside the Minneapolis st. Paul area. Our phone number is 1-800-695-1418. We're within the state of Minnesota. And if you're listening in one of the surrounding states or in Ontario, you're welcome to call us directly in the Twin Cities at area codes 612 2276 thousand critics of your approach. Dr. Spock of often linked you with permissiveness saying that your your technique for raising children in your suggestions resulted in a whole generation of permissive Behavior. Now, what would your elements to be my response always this to bristle up and down my spine because I don't think that I I know that I never intended to be permissive likes it the accusation arose out of a political situation people who used my book who stopped me in the street of a city or in an airport say your book helped me to raise Two Fine children and they often add and I don't see that. It's permissive actually. It's always people who haven't used the book and a proud of not having used it who are sure that it's corrupted the Youth of America the typical hate letter that I used to get more often than now says thank God I never used your horrible book. That's why my children take baths wear clean clothes and get good grades in school. The reason that I think that it wasn't that I wasn't called permissive for 22 years is because I wasn't permitted. But the reason that the accusation came in 1968 was that I'd been indicted to two weeks earlier for my opposition to the war in Vietnam and Norman Vincent Peale a clergyman in New York preached a sermon saying that all the irresponsibility of lack of and lack of discipline and young people by which he meant their the refusal of many of them to fight in a war that they considered totally wrong from every point of view. He said was because when they were babies I told their parents Give them instant gratification. Certainly those two words instant gratification prove to me that people never bother to look at the book, but that he was looking for a scapegoat. He was bothered like all conservatives by what he considered the unpatriotic behavior of Youth and wanted a scapegoat and he put the finger on me. It met a great tourist spots within a few weeks. I got a bushel basket full of clippings from editorials and columns and newspapers all over the United States saying that's right. It's Spock who's ruined these kids on his rigid feeding schedule of every four hours whether the kid wants it or not. That's right. All right, let's let's take some questions from listeners if you like. Dr. Six minutes past the hour, we're all set with our first caller. Go ahead, please you're on the air (00:05:47) groaning from failure is part. I wanted to tell dr. Spock we use his Then his kids and 50s and 60s raising our own and I'm a grandfather now and I think even my granddaughter is getting some other tool but there is one thing we like the book in every respect except we had to extend control and discipline. I don't mean beating up kids (00:06:15) and I'm glad you don't mean that (00:06:20) is needed and if I had any criticism it would be that it did seem to be somewhat weak in that respect. (00:06:27) Well, the book says ask your children to be cooperative. Ask them to be polite. Ask them to show you respect. It certainly does speak out at least in a wishy-washy way against hitting kids, which I think is a particularly American custom at least 80% of American parents think they have to hit kids. I've known so many children who never were punished physically And who were as children and turned out as adults to be very Cooperative polite people that I really don't think it's necessary. I think that's it's something it's a tradition left over from the olden days, but I certainly think that children should be polite and Cooperative. Okay. It's eight minutes past and here's another listener with a question. Go ahead, please. (00:07:13) All right, Ben. (00:07:16) Hi Herb good to hear (00:07:18) you. (00:07:43) It's one of the tough things about presenting alternative views in the United States to have state legislators passed laws that really discriminate The quite strongly against third party and because I think the feeling of most independent parties and candidates is that there's not that much difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. The may be a difference in the kind of candidates. They put up but their programs end up very much the same way interfering in other nations around the world and not tending to the needs of the American people. So when I was a presidential candidate of the People's Party in 72, we were only able to get on the ballot in ten States. That's that's not right most countries most other countries around the world make room for various points of view. All right, we'll take another questioner for dr. Spock. Go ahead please you're on the air. (00:08:39) Yes. I'm calling from st. Cloud. I'd like to ask dr. Spock about those persons who may have been brought up in a way on a rigid schedules as intense. I think this may be true of my own case. The question would be two things two parts one. What are the symptoms in people such people in adult life is he aware of what was the damage that he and as he observed such damage and adults from people who argue that when secondly what can those of us do about who were brought up on the rigid feeding schedule as infants. (00:09:10) I don't know of any studies particularly focusing down on the difference. Of course, it was rigidity was the rule from about 1900 and until 1950 and then there was a rather rapid swing around to the opposite. But if you were trying to compare people who are brought up in one period with people brought up in another there's so many other factors that were different that would be hard to single out rigidity. I think that the main damage that it did was to parents that it was very hard for parents to have to harden their hearts while their babies cried. And that it may have also misled those parents into feeling that all through childhood. The parent has to lay down rigid laws and you have to make the baby or the small child that can form. I think the evidence is very strong that not only babies know when they're hungry though not all crying is crying from Hunger. It's also a very clear that children themselves their strongest drive all through childhood is to grow up to be more mature to be more responsible because they can't come to all of that by themselves. It's a species where there's meant to be a parent. Who knows what is good for the baby and what's acceptable behavior and the parent has to do a lot of guiding but I think that what we've learned in the 20th century is that babies and children have the drive to grow up. They want to be more responsible. This is in contrast to the view in previous centuries that children are born more inclined to be bad than good. And the only way that you can make them turn out right as to watch them suspiciously be ready to scold and pounce and punished if necessary. I think it's a great Advance. Let me ask you a question. One of the great changes its occurred in the past 40 years. It changes in families the traditional two-parent household where Dad goes off and earns a living in mom stays home with the kids is really more fantasy than reality today. At least for an awful lot of people we have couples where both work we have single parent households headed by women. How do you think children fare under under this change in family structure? I think first of all children can put up where the absence of a working mother and incidentally I think mothers have just as much right to work as father's if they want to I think children can put up with it if the family finds kindly but sensible people to take care of their children. It's especially important when the baby is in the first year or two that it that the not be too many babies that the old-fashioned Arrangement where a lot of working mothers left their babies and what got to be called Baby Farms where one woman or two women were trying to take care of 20 babies that that is very bad babies can't grow up properly with that dilute a care. You've got to have people who love children you've got to have people who know how to control them in a sensible way, but most important for the first week or two the shouldn't be more than three children under the age of three or four being taken care of by one adult and this is relatively expensive. The single parent family situation of course usually comes from divorce. We have a shocking amount of a divorce in the United States. I'm not against divorce I've divorced myself but there's something wrong when half the marriages end up in divorce divorce is hard on all the children for at least a couple of years and the divorce is hard on the mother of them, especially if the mother is the one awarded custody divorces studies show divorce is hard on Father's it used to be assumed the father goes out scot-free. You can lead the gay old life actually fathers are just miserable also for at least a couple of years majority of people remarry, but first the second and the third marriages don't necessarily turn out any better than the first and that's the problem of the step relationship when I remarried eight years ago, I quit A stepdaughter 11 years of age and this was the most difficult relationship that I've ever had to solve. My stepdaughter wouldn't look at me or speak to me for three or four years and this is painful to be living in the same house with somebody who ignores your presence. It's about 14 minutes past 12:00 o'clock. Dr. Benjamin Spock in the Studio's today and we have more listeners with questions. Go ahead please you're (00:14:03) next. I have to premature twins. They were two months early. And one thing I'm concerned with is in their long-term development. If those several months in the hospital will affect them way down the line or if there's any studies that you've read in talking with a neonatologist. They didn't believe there were but there's very little work that's been done in that area there anything you're familiar (00:14:24) with. Well, I think a majority of babies turn into normal healthy children. It is true that some of the very smallest ones the ones under three pounds for instance. There's more chance of interference with normal development in them. I think it's those those physical disturbances that are more apt in the very small babies to leave the residues then the lack of attention during that very early period after all if those babies were in the womb where they belong they wouldn't be getting any parental type of attention during that time too. So I think we have to assume that until nine months of gestational age baby doesn't expect isn't built to expect a too much kindly attention and that even with full term babies the only gradually become more aware of the people in their surrounding so I wouldn't worry about the personality deficit as a result of being in the hospital that long it is a Way to start being a parent to have premature children because it's very unnatural the up to worry about whether the baby or babies Will Survive. It's very difficult to get rid of that anxiety afterwards probably harder on the parents. Then I'm not infants item. All right another caller with a question for dr. Spock. Hi, you're on the air. (00:16:01) Dr. Spock. I have a wonderful child. We enjoyed her delightful tools. I did not do what your book says though. I did pick up the baby and tended to her needs. (00:16:11) Oh, I'm all for that. Excuse me. I didn't want anybody even for a minute to think that I don't say pick them up. I only said that was the situation. That was the teaching when I first started practice in 1933, but my book was one of the first ones that said it isn't necessary to be rigid. If you think the baby is hungry feed the baby. (00:16:31) Well it almost got me into our divorce and I still can't make friends with my mother-in-law and I had to change. Attrition. So what I was going to ask you is if you can please make this public because six years ago, it was still in your book. (00:16:46) Oh Madam, you must have been using somebody else's book. Okay. All right. Thank you for calling 17 minutes past 12:00 o'clock. Another listener is waiting and you're on the AR. Go ahead, please. (00:17:13) Hi. I'm calling from Minneapolis. I have a four-year-old and a two-and-a-half-year-old. Well first I guess I'd like to thank dr. Spock for his wonderful social conscience. And and I have a question about my my kids. They have Tantrums. I mean grand mal Tantrums they and sometimes push me to the Limit and I was wondering if that's it doesn't We have some friends that have kids that have similar Tantrums. So it doesn't seem like it's all that unusual to me. And the other thing is more or less a theory and I was wondering if dr. Spock thought it was correct. I seem to be most effective when all I do is provide information. If I die it seems like when I force the information on my kids, they're not listening. But if if I just listen closely you can hear questions. (00:18:01) Yeah, that's true relationship between adults to I I've noticed that when I've tried to persuade my wife to read a book and she thinks I'm pressing it too much. No sure way of keeping her from ever reading it now the trouble is when people ask me two questions the second one always pushes the first out of my mind all the first one was on tantrum Tantrums, right? Well that's pretty normal for kids between one and three years of age to have but a tantrum so when they're frustrated But that only means relatively few Tantrums that the help the handling of Tantrums. I think depends on what works some children. It's better to walk out of the room as if you hardly notice and let them cool off by themselves out is to say as long as the offending parent is on the scene. They feel they have to keep up the yelling other kids definitely need and I think this is the majority they need a little reassurance. It's nice to hug them and tell them I know you're feeling all upset and I'm sorry about that and see if that will calm them down. I certainly don't think that the answer is to a given to the tantrum that is of the child is wanting to play with something that can't be played with or otherwise get into a dangerous situation. You can't let the child do that because then the child learns to use the Tantrums now, I think it but if a four-year-old is having quite a few Tantrums, that's Means something's a little bit wrong in the feelings of the four-year-old. The parents haven't got the right. Knack for handling this particular child and certainly all children are different and I would go to a family social agency and discuss the problem with them. How would you recommend that parents not lose their own temper in the face of a tantrum or repeated things? I think I think it's a great temptation to begin yelling back at the child. All I can say is it's good to try to keep your shirt on but don't feel too badly. If you lose your shirt in that particular situation. Okay, it's 21 past and here's another listener with a question for dr. Spock. Hello. You're on the air. (00:20:19) Yes. I'm from Hopkins and I called asked about what do you think about children being born close together? Do you think it's really hard on them or doesn't make no difference. (00:20:30) Well, I think this every variation, you know when children are born. a two years apart a majority of the two-year-olds adapt well to that but minority it's a it's a burr under their saddle to use the horsey term children born 10 years apart and the majority of cases. The adjustment is eventually perfectly. All right, but some of them never got over it. So I feel that it's like trying to play God for a pediatrician to advise parents. What kind of an interval I think that parents should decide that for themselves and then take what precautions they can to keep from the child getting jealous excessively jealous certainly is true that the first child having had the Parents full attention for a couple of years is lap to have its nose put out of joint by a new the arrival of a new baby and specially if the parents are so delighted with the new baby that talking about the new baby and Relatives come to visit to see the baby and bring presents for the baby. This is disturbing to a child who's been in Center Stage up to that point. I do think you have to be you have to be tactful you have to say to the grandparents. Remember to bring a present for the older child. That's the one who will care of the baby doesn't care whether it gets a present or Not Another listener with a question for dr. Spock. Hi, you're on the air (00:22:03) dr. Spot. Would you comment on how early you feel discipline of any kind should begin with children and what kinds of discipline you suggest maybe even beginning with the correction of a child with the word know? (00:22:22) well, I think there's Baby, like questions of discipline. When a cranky baby at the age of 8 months 10 months. Let's say teething and tired at the end of the day feels mean and tries to take a bite out of the mother's arm while the mother is feeding the baby or grabs the mother's hair and Yanks on it. I think it's important for the mother not to get angry or to slap the baby back but to recognize quickly. The baby is feeling kind of mean and to indicate by her actions. She doesn't want to be the victim. I mean, you don't have to get Fierce. All you have to do is when you begin to recognize that mean look is to just pull back or you can say to the child afterwards the baby even I don't like to be bitten then I think by a year of age you don't let a child throw the food on the floor and that again is not by getting furious. But say well, I guess you're not hungry anymore and quickly removing the child from the highchair aware of it is that the baby is being fed. And now you've said earlier that you're not you don't favor slapping kids. Is there any particular harm that comes from that so I mean if a two-year-old or something is just misbehaving terribly and just Swan them on the bottom. And I mean a lot of a lot of parents do that and didn't seem to cause any harm. Well, I think it's certainly on the one hand that if a parent is a feeling mean all the time angry resentful and is whacking the kid because the parent is unhappy about the parents own life. Certainly that has a bad cumulatively Blair bad effect. I think if it's a loving parent certainly a slap or to occasionally isn't going to wreck the child's personality, but I do think that it's teaching the child that because I'm bigger and stronger I can hit you. This is one of the ways you give children permission as they get a little bit older to hit other children who are smaller than themselves in other words might makes right and I think that kind of world we live in we ought to teach children the very opposite of that it should be a matter of But what's right, I think that it's it's not only at an American tradition. That's not shared in many other countries many other countries. They don't hit children and they bring up children who are very cooperative and polite. I think it's also like the American belief that if if prisoners criminals aren't reformed by two years in jail, give him six years in jail and why we're moving back to Capital Punishment always this there's this tendency to feel more severity is the way to solve things and I think that all of psychology and Psychiatry teaches us that this is not how you solve problems that what we have to encourage is more love more reasonableness more understanding I'm still no you understand not saying that you should turn your head the other cheek when a child is Being rude or being mean I think the parents should say immediately that makes me very unhappy. I don't want you to do that. But that you don't have to drive the message home by giving the child a whack. It's one way of looking at this is to say in an office or in the shop when the supervising person is dissatisfied with somebody's work. They don't come roaring into the office and whack the secretary on the rump law slap her in the face. I assume the secretary wants to do the right thing and have a talk and then if that doesn't work then have another talk and maybe after three or four stalks you may decide this is the wrong isn't it but this job but it really isn't necessary to drive that message home. You can do it in milder weighs 27 minutes past 12:00 o'clock. Dr. Benjamin Spock in the Studio's today. The telephone number in the Twin Cities is 2276. Thousand, you know the parts of Minnesota. The toll-free line is 1-800-695-1418 is appear to be pretty full right at the moment. But if you get a busy signal don't give up try again. You may very well be able to get on with a question. You're next for dr. Spock. Go ahead please (00:27:00) I'm into your last comments. Dr. Spock and I think probably a whole program could be done on the issue of punishment. It certainly could I'm delighted at the chance after all these years to say. Thank you. My children were born in the mid 50's and between you and Rudolph draggers. We had a wonderful time. I think that a better word to use than permissive. Well, I think that's a terrible word to use for your philosophy to me. It was sensible and it was confidence instilling you did. If you did nothing else you made us feel that whatever we did. It was probably okay in the kid would survive and it took away a lot of the the intense anxiety. (00:27:41) Yeah. I'm So delighted you make this point because that really was what the book was written for is to reassure parents and I leaned up a backwoods not to criticize them previous books intended to take a somewhat condescending or strongly disapproving attitude. Look out stupid. If you don't do just what I say you want to ruin your kid and I knew that that doesn't help parents that it hurts them. So I I wrote it to be reassuring I'm delighted that you heard that Here's another listener with a question for dr. Spock. Go ahead please. (00:28:19) Yes. I've often been appalled at your various during the Vietnam war anti-draft activities and now some of your statements concerning nuclear weapons and would take disagreement with you on almost everything you seem to say or believe except for the one fact that I like you would like to see nuclear weapons eliminated, but my background is four years in nuclear strike planning in the military and I've continued to with the proper international relations schooling read and study on the subject and specifically nuclear weapons. Definitely have to let's say use is the first is a non used used. In other words. They are a constant state of a threat against let's face it you and I and everyone else and the second is the potentiality of their actual use in a military situation, but I find your statements in the Press recently. Talking about school children and the inevitability of nuclear war rather damaging because they heighten and increase that feeling of Terror and I know from documents and books that I've read including some translated things from Russian and I used to have some friend who was in the CIA and showed me his field reports. He spoke fluent Russian, but Soviet aim is basically right now two things. The first is to create a feeling of nuclear war is inevitable. The second would be a feeling of hopelessness. The third is a feeling of that Soviet power is in intransigence is so great that there's very little that we can do in the fourth thing, which is most damaging is to drive a wedge between the people and the leaders so that the people feel that the leaders of the country in their negotiations to eliminate and control these weapons are not sincere sir. I don't want to cut you off exception given an awful lot of things for dr. Spock to chew on (00:30:13) here. So let's get his response on just a little of First of all, I recognize that nearly half the American people believe that we've got to count on nuclear weapons. I and a slight majority American people say they're so dangerous not only in the sense of coming to nuclear war through brinkmanship, but through accident or through terrorism or through Insanity perhaps some of these other other routes may be more likely I just think that something that's capable of destroying all life on Earth is much too dangerous for us to have around and that we've got to negotiate with the Soviet Union. I believe the Soviet Union is interested genuinely interested in negotiating disarmament. And I think that we ought to take them very seriously and at least listen, I'm impatient with our government that tends to a brush aside all proposals like the Soviet Union says, let's at least come to agreement about not carrying nuclear arms out into space which is one thing that our president is talking about now, it will be much harder to control much harder to get around to disarmament much harder to control have any surveillance if we both countries are getting their arms out into space, but our government says no no and brushes that aside anyway, I still feel and I think a majority of Americans feel that we ought to get first to freeze and then gradually disarmament is trust is built between the two countries. It's about 20 minutes before one o'clock. Another listener with a question for dr. Spock. Go ahead (00:31:58) please yeah, if two questions in a row are too much will do them one at a time. That's right. First one is office girl who had three boys and I discovered that to learn something about individuals personality. It helps to find out where they stand in the line up among their siblings, right? All right, dr. Spock and you comment on that (00:32:27) one. Yeah, I all kinds of studies show that the pressures and the Delights of different places in the family are quite different that the older child assumes. He's the center of the universe for some time is much more likely to be smitten with severe jealousy when a second comes along then the second is likely to be jealous with the third because the second from the beginning is known that there's children's level and there's the Dr. Level and no child has a monopoly on the parents attention. First one tends to be in many cases a better student and be a more serious minded sort of a person and studies of occupation show that first children are more likely to get into what I call the helping professions like nursing medicine teaching social work. The first one doesn't really feel like a child nearly as much as the second or the third one does first child is less likely to have an easy time of it socially whereas second third children just take sociability for granted. All right, sir. Did you have part two to a question (00:33:35) when I was an intern in 1950 locally. It was commonplace that most infant boys were circumcised - yes the conversations that I've had and those years since I've left general practice. People say Well it the sensitivity is increased and such and then the arguments on the other side are cleanliness and lack of later possible difficulties. And where do you stand in 1984 on the issue of circumcision? (00:34:17) I've come around to the view very strongly to urge parents not to have their child circumsized if that thing of it Frank cleanliness reasons, of course for religious reasons is something entirely different. I think that the two bases for circumcision in terms of cleanliness and prevention of disease. Those are both been proved wrong. So I I think there's no point in going after poor little boys this it's a strong religious conviction. All right. Here's another caller with a question for dr. Spock. Go ahead, (00:34:51) please. Hello. I'm from stirred. Lake and I'm nursing my 15 month old son and would starting to do some weeding and it's not going very well and I'm curious how off how do you follow their lead or do you just say I'm going to do this too bad for you (00:35:11) now, I think that in general it makes too much misery if the child still is very dependent on the nursing. I don't think that she should force it on the other hand. I think you should encourage it by 15 months. Some people would say don't encourage it till the two years some of the Lamaze I mean, Can't remember the name of the group who are strongly for breastfeeding but some of them feel that it's a baby's right to be breastfed till two years of age. I think that weaning is relatively easy at two years of age and I think if you want as a parent to do it before too it's good to keep prolonging the space between feedings and to offer more from the cup. But if the baby is refusing the cup and yearning for the breast, I don't think there's anything you can do from my point of view, but wait. All right, we'll move on to another listener with a question for dr. Spock. Hello. Go ahead, please. (00:36:09) I'm calling from Newport. I'm sure you've been eagerly waiting doctor for the first question about toilet training. (00:36:16) I knew it would (00:36:17) come. I guess my question also has to do with the Cuyler couple collars ago about the differences between first and second children. I have a girl who was almost five and a girl who was two and a half and it's time for the two and a half to be thinking about toilet training. We've had a few successes with her but she's just adamant. We not interested. Now, you know what (00:36:43) you think she's when you say adamantly not interested adamant suggested great determination when disinterest means I don't really think about our care about the situation. I imagine that the adamant is the more important thing that this child is refusing to give up the movement of that right into the toilet are the (00:37:02) party. Yes. We asked her if she would like to sit on the potty and she's not interested in sitting anymore and I was wondering what what is the wisdom in the 1980s do we let her continue until she shows an interest or is something we can do to (00:37:22) well, I think that it is relatively easy to say you shouldn't try to force the issue. You shouldn't say damn it. Don't you sit down there and you stay there until you produce something because all that does the baby after all the child has more control over those sphincters than you do in the baby can always outwit you I think this is a general rule don't insist on things that you can't carry out like you've got to eat this particular food. So I think you shouldn't force it. I think that if you're starting from scratch from the beginning, I would follow the advice of dr. T Berry Brazelton who found that by just giving the kid around the age of two a toy 80-seat to be the child's possession just to sit in for fun and then a few weeks later to mention to the child to by the way, you can use this also for poo poo or whatever you were it is and you can do a poo poo here the way Then father do it on the toilet, but still Berry Brazelton who I think has the most successful method says still don't press it. Don't urge it. Don't let it get into a tug-of-war between you and the child and he says if you leave it to the child somewhere between in most cases between two and a quarter and two and a half years of age. The child will come to using it for the bowel movement. And for urine now I think that by the time you've gotten into arguments with a child the child knows exactly how he was standing the child is saying my stand is the opposite of your stand. It's not nearly as simple. I would encourage the child my own inclination would be this stage two and a half to say. Well, let's not worry about it. I know that sooner or later you will want to be a big girl and use the toilet that you use your little tardy like we use the big seat and take the pressure off for the time being but it may well be that she goes on To somewhere near a three years of age before she really believes you that you're not going to pressure her into it. It's 20 minutes before one o'clock. Dr. Benjamin Spock in the Studio's today. Lots of people with questions. We move ahead to our next caller. Go ahead, please (00:39:37) hello doctor. Hello are one and a half year old son has been difficult about going to bed at night. You'll stand in his crib and cry anywheres from 15 to 45 minutes and then he'll either collapse and fall asleep or we'll break down and go in and bring them back to bed with us. It did. He was good about going to bed until our summer vacation when he had to sleep with us frequently because of lack of room in that sort of thing. Yeah. It's that's when the problem started and it's gotten progressively worse. He wakes up several times a night especially now in the early morning and we don't know if he's having nightmares or if he's upset about overhearing us say have an occasional argument or if it's just very stubborn about going to bed with us. Yeah. Can you help us get it? (00:40:25) Well, it's one of the reasons that I say in the book better never let a child sleep in your bed. Now. I've changed my advice about letting the child or the children into the bed with the parents in the morning for a cozy family get-together. But I think I'm going to bed. It's about another letter child in your bed at the child succeeds in climbing out of the crib and climbing into your bed that it's better even in winter when it's hard for the parent to do to immediately pick the child up and go back to the child's crib. And then if the child seems to be scared as crying still the parent can say I'll sit here with you until you go to sleep. I think a lot of parents who have let a child into the bed get away with it and the child will outgrow it but as a physician, of course you hear the cases that don't outgrow it and I've heard of children 12 years of age still sleeping in the Ed with the mother and father and the child is most unwelcome but the dependence has gotten too great. Well, anyway, I think that even the child who hasn't had this experience of having to sleeping with the parent during a vacation a period Fair number of babies in the last part of the first year all the early part of the second year begin to be begin to wake and fret and cry and I think it's quite possible that they have bad dreams and other cases it seems easiest to blame teething if they're very miserable lowered their teething anyway, I would my own preference would be certainly not let the child not take the child into your bed because it might the whole problem might get to progressively worse, but to rely on sitting beside the child's crib and saying they are there. It's bedtime go to sleep. Mommy will stay here now. It may take some time at first, but after after a while the length of the crying and wakeful period should decrease. I think these last two calls suggest dr. Spock that times may change, but the problems remain just the same. That's right babies of the basically the same parents of the same will take another listener with a question for dr. Spa. Go ahead, (00:42:45) please. Hello. I'm calling from st. Paul. I'm interested in dr. Spock's opinions on some New research that stressing that there are very many positive aspect to having only one child as opposed to all the negatives that you yeah. (00:43:00) Well I think to be an only child can be a happy experience or it can be an unhappy experience. It can lead to a good adjustment or it could lead to a not such good adjustment and to be one of two there are good outcomes and not-so-happy outcomes and I was one of a family of 699 as a pediatrician. I've been in on a few families with six and you find there to some of the six are happy and one or two of the six may feel alive should have been easier than this. So sort of all depends on circumstances all depends on circumstances there the Readiness of the parents and the particular inborn temperament of the child and what kind of childhood what kind of competition the child feels So I think it's better for nobody to try to advise somebody about it. I think. You just as in all family life you hope for the best and do the best you can and don't reproach yourself if there are difficulties. Another thing to remember is that the difficulties that children go through sometimes lead to strengths in the end that's often often turned out to be true that the child and trying to compensate for a difficulty becomes a particularly strong or creative person and in certain area. It's about 15 minutes before one o'clock. Our next caller has been waiting and dr. Spock is listening. Go ahead, please. (00:44:31) Yes, I'm calling from Brainerd Minnesota. And first I want to say that the breastfeeding organization is called the lecce. Right right. I don't want you to forget that name. (00:44:42) Yeah, it's a very important group very important group. But I'm I'm absent-minded and if I suddenly am confronted with the need to fish out a name that's enough to panic me and I can't get it. Go ahead. (00:44:54) I also want to respond to the woman was trying to wean her child and stay that for so many reasons a child is not breastfeed only for the milk but also for comfort and reassurance and that if it were only for practical reasons, she is trying to do this. She should wait until the child is ready because the milk is not of primary utmost concern at the age of 15 months. It's more comfort for the breast just like a blanket or a bye-bye or a bottle. All (00:45:23) right. Are you you put it very well and at that point, we'll move on to our next listener with a question for dr. Spock. Hi, you're on the (00:45:29) air. Yes. Calling first of all to thank dr. Spock for explaining all of these my Peterson said quickly in the office in his book. And also my greatest concern about child rearing at this point is fear of my children being molested or you hear so much about it in the media and I was wondering, you know, not just North it or kidnapped or whatever all of those kinds of fears and I was wondering if there's a way to convey to the child that you are concerned for her safety and ways to for them to be safe without making them fearful and I'm going to hang up because my four children are all around. (00:46:06) This is very much in the news these days people are more alert and when they're more alert, they find things find Miss mishap misfortunes that they were not aware of before I think it's a highly controversial subject and I wrote an article about it for Redbook magazine. I don't remember whether it's come out or not. I know that the Lease for instance of wanting to give talks to children in school about the danger of molesters and kidnappers and there's a movement to get all children fingerprinted. I think when you analyze these things they're not as helpful as you first might get the impression. I think that kidnapping for instance 9 out of 10 times. It's the parent in a divorce situation who comes and kidnaps the child. There's no way that the police can advise children about how to put off a father who comes and invites the child to Come Away with him to his home because he feels that the visitation situation is unsatisfactory. And another thing you have to keep in mind is that molestation in a great majority of cases is not done by a stranger but is by done by some member of the family or by a friend of the family so that by telling children look out for strangers don't go with anybody now, I think There is more point and saying, you know, if somebody wants to do something with you a kid that doesn't feel right to you or it's an adult, you know, you don't have to in general. I'm against a police alerting children in school because I think children's morbid imaginations will conjure up dangers that are much more pervasive than is the true situation. I myself wouldn't don't think that it's good for all the children of America to be told look out. There are molesters and look out there are kidnappers because I think that what you'll end up with is hundreds of thousands of children who are unnecessarily scared now, I think if some of these procedures were to be effective in preventing tragedies the might be some point in these but I don't think that as they're presented to me they are Well intentioned but they don't seem to me to cover the situation. I would rather not have somebody specially a policeman scaring my child in school. If the child raises a question from something he or she is heard on television or another child has told her about I would in a more reassuring way. Tell the child. Well, there are some queer people around up. There are relatively few of them. Certainly. It's a good rule not to get any any strangers car but to give it in a reassuring way rather than an official warning from the police in about ten minutes to 1:00 o'clock. Another listener is waiting with a question. Go ahead (00:49:16) please hello. Dr. Spock. Hello. I have a three and a half year old son who has recently developed some behavior that worries me a little bit. It's sort of a violent Fantasy Life of shooting and cutting up and Don't have guns. My husband and I are religious pacifist. We don't have guns. We don't have television either. So he hasn't seen this on TV. He's gotten it from his Playmates sure and he he kind of no I at first it really bothered me. Then I kind of adjusted to it because I got to thinking well, it's a it's a power thing for him. He's a little a little child who's surrounded by large people and we enforce our will on him at times and he's sort of fighting back by saying well I can cut you up. So when I think of it that way, it doesn't bother me so much, but sometimes it gets to a point where it's just constant all day long and he's cutting up his animals and his dolls and yeah, and (00:50:08) I think I think you're right that with a culture that gives guns to kids and we're all the boys at least are talking about mowing each other down you can't get too upset. But I think that if a child is talking about cutting people up a good part of the day, I think that I would Salta child, I mean a child children's agency or family social agency to go into it a little bit more and see what the child's adjustment is. In other areas of life how easily the parents get along with the child. How does the child three and a half? Of course, it doesn't come into the question of how the child gets along in school doesn't come into it but I think that if it's a if it's a monotonous thing, I think it needs looking into Child Guidance Clinic would be first choice, but it's very often hard to get an appointment and their only child going to clinics in big cities. So you can turn in a smaller City to a family social agency. And if they think Child Guidance treatment is necessary. They may be able to help you get referred. We have more listeners waiting not a lot of time it will take as many calls as we can till one o'clock. Go ahead, please you're (00:51:24) next. Hi. I'm calling from Bemidji Minnesota. My child has had recurring His six months old and they now think that he may be lactose intolerant when I read the ingredients on the soy protein formulas. I'm not real impressed with them and I was wondering what you think of goat's milk compared to the soy protein formulas. (00:51:49) Well, that's a highly technical situation problem. The treatments have been changing as more as diagnosis of gotten more accurate. And in many cases you have to wear try out one thing and try out another so I'd have to refer you back to your own doctor. All right, seven minutes before one another listener with a question. Dr. Spock is listening. Go ahead, please. (00:52:16) Yeah. Hi. I'm calling from Bloomington and I have a three-year-old son who he doesn't listen to most of anything that I say and it's gotten to the point. Where are did get to the point I guess where I finally took him into a child psychologist. I mean, I mean, I tried everything I tried distracting them from things. I tried, you know, even the spankings and now my his child psychologist has suggested that I'm working with him in the way that I had to give them choices like either you sit here or you can sit there, you know, and it doesn't always in fact, it doesn't work very well at all. I guess. I'm just at a loss. I mean, yeah, I need to gain control again. And I and he he also has a scene where he likes to hit everybody not just little kids but everybody dr. Spock any advice I'd this (00:53:15) call. Well, I think it sounds if this more than average amount of tension in the parent-child situation here and that again, you need counseling over a period of time somebody get to know you and get to know the child. And either the psychologist as long as you have reasonable confidence in the psychologist or a family social agency or a Child Guidance Clinic. Anyway, I think it if it's this much of a problem. I think it needs working with over a period of time. No glib advice from somebody over for the radio over the radio can really help out when you say a period of time you'd be talking about more than a couple of weeks. Yes. Well, I think more than months. It's a matter of months to try to find out where the tensions obviously this is not a very serious problem, but it's enough of a problem that it could get worse as time goes on unless you get back on the right track. All right, we have five minutes left and three or four more callers. Let's see how many we can help go ahead. You're (00:54:18) next. Yes. Dr. Spock. I wanted to thank you for all your help that you've given. I was raising my children. Thanks. I have a 12 year old now, and she she occasion lies and has also stolen not much, but she's doing like yeah Pennies from Pockets, what do I do about that? I'll hang up and listen. (00:54:43) Well, I think the first thing you should do with a child who's snitching lying is indicate right away that you understand that this is going on that it makes you somewhat unhappy but that most important thing is that you realize that the child must be unhappy dissatisfied with something this a child usually who is lying or stealing can't tell you exactly what's wrong. You can't expect the child to say well mother is a matter of fact my problem. Is this all that but I think it gets a good run better relationship established to say, I know that something is bothering you and I'd like to help you with it one of the situation one of the situations that I think leads to stealing both at the seven-year-old period and the 12 and 13 year old period is the child who doesn't feel popular enough. For with friends at school and it seems as if to take money away I take trading cards some other precious possession away from that child is a way of saying I would like your friendship. I would like your love that would be one thing to look into and the teacher would be able to help you in school to know. How is that what's this child's relationship, but with other children anyway in the case of stealing of the very important to say we must bring this back to the store or we must bring it back to the child that you shouldn't allow yourself to be misled by the child's bogus excuses because that encourages the child to go on or try to pull the wool over the parents eyes some more we have time for maybe one more question. Go ahead, please you're on the air. (00:56:26) Yes. I have a six-year-old who started wetting her. From the last week. She once it's cool and it doesn't seem to bother her a whole lot but it's just new and recurrent (00:56:36) Behavior. Yeah, when did she stop but wedding in the daytime before (00:56:42) many years ago? Yes, (00:56:53) tremendous problem for many children, especially those who haven't had a lot of other children to play with and it's the or being in a big group and having a teacher in charge. So I think you can make allowances. Certainly. I don't think you want to scold the child you want to assume that the child is feeling a tense about things good to be sympathetic. Ask her how she feels about school. Does she like the teacher does the teacher scare her and all of these are way of showing your recognition and your sympathy if it goes on and on you get other Hands of a difficult adjustment than it's worth while talking to the teacher or talking to the principal of the school to see whether it's some teacher who's particularly without meaning to his intimidating the child. Well, dr. Spock. Thank you very much. I'm afraid we've run out of time. Yeah, we had a lot of questions directly it in an awful lot of questions for dr. Benjamin Spock who of course is the author of the worldwide best-selling book baby and child care and who is in the Twin Cities specifically for an event that takes place tomorrow. It's called a medical March for survival. Dr. Spock will be appearing tomorrow at noon at Harriet Island Park in st. Paul at this event, which is sponsored by physicians for social responsibility and the nurses Alliance for prevention of nuclear war again, dr. Spock. Thank you for coming in. Thanks for inviting me in the state of Minnesota. There's a possibility of some showers today temperatures will range from the low 60s in the Northeast to the low 80s in the There's also a slight possibility of some rain and sections of the state tonight. And tomorrow I is tomorrow from the 60s to the 80s also, that's our midday broadcast for today. Thanks to linear Schultz for answering the phones and engineer Randy Johnson. This is Bob Potter. In the Twin Cities, it'll be mostly sunny with a high of around 80 this afternoon. Also rather windy in the metropolitan area tonight. There's a 20% chance of a shower with a low in the upper 50s tomorrow. Mostly sunny again with a high in the 70s and 80s. This is ksjn in Minneapolis. And st. Paul. It's one o'clock.


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