I was appalled at the condition of a three year old child’s dentition. Instead of white teeth, there were merely black nubbins – rotten teeth that will be extracted – uncomfortable dental surgery was needed. This condition is called baby bottle tooth decay – an avoidable condition that pediatricians routinely discuss with parents. The family had attended the 2 month visit and at that visit our office routinely discusses the importance of never letting a baby take a bottle (or later, cup) to bed. Likewise, they attended the nine month appointment and at that appointment we discussed weaning (this child was still taking a bottle to bed). In fact they still had the handouts from those visits and remembered the discussions. So, I asked the parents why this young child was still taking a bottle to bed.
The mother’s response? “Well he still wants it and he won’t go to sleep without it.” It appears that this child is in charge at home, not the parents.
One job we parents have is to give appropriate rules and guidance based on superior knowledge and experience. In fact, it seems to me children love and respect parents more if those parents care enough to enforce rules designed to help them. People need to learn that families work best when parents lead and children follow. The other way around doesn’t work out well at all…..