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Cartoon Characters Prod Kids to Nag for Unhealthy Foods
Date:8/17/2011

your child are walking down the street, and everything your child wants is on the other side of the fence. Your child is going to push on every board to see if one gives. If one of those boards is loose, you just bought yourself six more months of the child pushing on the fence. And, some children are very motivated," she said.

If you give in at the grocery store after having repeatedly said no, this "reinforces some very unfortunate behavior, and your child will do this in every setting, not just at the store," explained Briggs.

She recommends, "offering a choice in the absence of real choice. If Johnny wants the character cereal, but can't have that, offer him a choice between two healthier cereals. This allows him to exercise his free will and choice, but within the parameters you've set."

"If you can stand firm and follow through and stay consistent, the amount your child nags will decrease for all but the single-most persistent child. Children are smart. They stop doing things that don't work, and they'll adapt their behavior," she said.

More information

To learn more about healthy family media habits, visit the Nemours Foundation KidsHealth Web site.

SOURCES: Dina L.G. Borzekowski, Ed.D., associate professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Md.; Rahil D. Briggs, Psy.D., director, Healthy Steps program, Montefiore Medical Center, and assistant professor of pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; August 2011 Journal of Children and Media


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