Killing Our Children With Love

(Loving our Children to Death) small logo

Love is wonderful. Without love, the world we live in would be nothing but a harsh and cold dessert of indifference and hatred. But used improperly or inappropriately, love could also be harmful and negative, and even be deadly.

We, parents, love our children so much we would not hesitate, at any moment, to give up our life for them, metaphorically and literally. Our children are our life, our pride and joy, our inspiration and hope.

However, seemingly oblivious of the dichotomy of our actions and inactions, or perhaps simply influenced by the overpowering parental instinct in us, we often do things, or allow things to happen, that will, with certainty, hurt or even shorten the life of our children. We do love our children and yet we, by default, continue to cause them harm, albeit unintentionally and without malice.

The contradiction in our behavior lies in the fact that while we love our children very much and want them to be healthy (among other desires, dreams and hopes we have for them), we nonetheless "teach" them to live an unhealthy lifestyle starting from the crib. Often times, when our baby cries, the first thing we hurriedly do is to give our baby the bottle, disregarding the proper feeding schedule. All because we love our child and we do not want him/her to cry or be unhappy, not realizing that some crying is a form of exercise activity that is good for the baby. So long as the child is not hungry or uncomfortable (from wet or soiled diaper, or in need of burping, or is ill), allowing the baby to yell his/her lungs out every now and then is healthy.

The other thing many of us are guilty of is holding and carrying the baby the whole day through, which is not a good habit for the baby to form and get used to. While body contact and bonding are excellent to a growing child, providing them love, comfort and security, excessive holding (more than half an hour or so, every 3 to 4 hours during feeding and later burping, etc.), only spoils infant and deprives him/her of the opportunity to learn how to be independent, secure and comfortable in the crib alone. There has to be a healthy balance here for the baby to grow up with self-confidence, a good degree of independence and security.

Parents should start their children on a healthy diet as early as during their infancy. Many of us adults hate fish and vegetables with a passion, and some of us do not even bother to eat fruits, the great natural antioxidants. Most of us crave for red meat and eggs and other high cholesterol food items three meals a day, the known poisons that kill 45% of the world population through hypertension (high blood pressure), heart attack and stroke. Somehow, in spite of current scientific evidences that prove beyond doubt that red meat, eggs and other cholesterol-rich foods are "the greatest killers of man," we continue to impose our own personal biases and unhealthy choices down on to our own children, from the crib to their adulthood. We buy foods containing mostly red meat and eggs, and do not even encourage them to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits and fish, which we know are best for them. Our children then grow up hating veggies and fish and loving red meat, eggs and other fatty and junk foods, because of the bad eating habit we had unwittingly initiated and helped them develop.

It is no wonder that our kids become "addicted" to, and habitually demand, junk foods, like hamburger, sausages, eggs, pizza, ice cream, chips, cookies and crackers, candies and chocolates, etc., when meal and snack time comes around, which, incidentally, comes around all too often. We, parents, seem to have lost the important word "no" in our vocabulary, and accede to all the desires our children, without seriously thinking of their health and future.

Review of autopsies on children, ages 4 and older, who were victims of accidents, revealed that at those tender ages, their arteries were already lined with a thin layer of cholesterol plaques. So arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) obviously does not start when we get to age 50 or older; it starts before we even get to kindergarten. This fact is a clear indictment of the unhealthy lifestyle we, parents and even medical experts, teach and provide our children from the day they are born. Obviously, nutrition experts and Pediatricians have to drastically modify their current official recommendation for our infants and children based on available scientific data today, and come up with a low-fat/low-cholesterol, high-fiber diet that is healthier for them.

Vegetarians, and those who eat only fish, vegetables and fruits, do not have as much cardiovascular illnesses as red-meat-and-egg-eaters do. Fish, for one thing, contains Omega-3 fatty acid that is cardio-protective, hence it is good for our cardiovascular system. But, by default, we have basically neglected to feed our children this healthy diet, as we regularly devour "killer foods" ourselves, like what our parents and their parents had done before. Our parents, and theirs, did not have the sophisticated scientific evidences we now have about the deadly effects of fats and cholesterol (and of smoking and inactivity), so they had an "excuse." But, we, today's parents, as well-informed as we are, do not have any reason whatsoever to subject our helpless and innocent infants and children to this dreaded health dilemma that will maim them and shorten their life span.

Many of us also smoke and lead a sedentary (couch-potato) life, besides being on a time-bomb diet of high-fat, high-cholesterol, low-fiber diet. And since our children learn by our examples and copy what we parents do, they inevitably fall victims to our bad habits, and soon become our clones. Unfortunately for them, this translates to a higher incidence and an earlier onset of coronary heart disease, hypertension, stroke, emphysema, lung cancer, other malignancies, and, of course, premature death.

About 9 persons die every minute in the world from cardiovascular diseases brought on by arteriosclerosis, resulting from daily intake of high fat/high cholesterol foods, lack of exercise, and smoking. There is no question that hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol serum level) plays a major role in hardening of the arteries. Medical science shows that while genetic factor is important, only one out of 500 people has the genetic predisposition to develop familial hypercholesterolemia. That one unfortunate individual has the alibi to have hypercholesterolemia, but the 499 of us simply have no excuse whatsoever to have this problem. And yet, we do --- all because of self-abuse. This is nothing but an act of slow suicide on our part!

New studies have shown that hypertension and diabetes mellitus are cholesterol-dependent risk factors, meaning to say, if the cholesterol level is normal, hypertension and diabetes do not accelerate hardening of the arteries, compared to a person with high cholesterol level, where these two co-morbidities become severely aggravating conditions that lead to a rapid build up of cholesterol deposits on the inner wall of the arteries (in the heart, brain, abdomen, legs, etc) causing blockages, resulting in heart attack, stroke, aneurysm and leg gangrene. Therefore, maintaining a normal level of cholesterol in our body by eating a healthy diet, exercising and abstaining from tobacco are most essential in preventing cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, and cancers. This also minimizes the ill effects of hypertension and diabetes on our body.

Just like many illnesses, heart attack and stroke are best prevented. The best time to start these preventive measures is during infancy, way before hardening of the arteries begins. We have to stop killing our children with love and start to instill discipline in them while they are in the crib, if we want them to lead a long, healthy, happy and productive life. We must learn to say "no" to our children, where and when appropriate. The power is in our hands. Let us not allow them to slip through, especially not in the name of love. And if we truly love them, we will do what's best for them, even if it hurts.

©2003Raoul R. Diez, M.A.O.D.