‘Child labour’ in the house
There’s apparently a new secret to get your child to behave at the dinner table - cut up their food and they’ll relax. This is according to a new study that found that when children had to bite foods with their front teeth - as opposed to eating food that had been cut - they were rowdier.
Researchers found the children were up to twice as aggressive when eating chicken on the bone.
The new Cornell University study was published in Eating Behaviors
It found that when 6-10 year old children ate foods they had to bite with their front teeth - such as drumsticks, whole apples, or corn on the cob - they were rowdier than when these foods had been cut.
‘They were twice as likely to disobey adults and twice as aggressive toward other kids,’ said Brian Wansink, Professor and Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.
During a 4-H summer camp, a youth organisation in the US, 12 elementary (primary school) children were observed for this twoday study.
On the first day, half of the children were seated at one picnic table and were given chicken on the bone that had to be bitten into with their front teeth
The other half were seated at a nearby picnic table and given chicken cut into bite-sized pieces.
On the second day, the conditions were reversed.
Each day, two camp counsellors instructed the children to stay inside a circle with a radius of nine feet (2.7 metres).
Both meal sessions were videotaped and evaluated by trained coders who indicated how aggressive or compliant the children were, and if they exhibited any atypical behaviors, such as jumping and standing on the picnic tables.
Results from both the counsellors and coders’ observations indicated that when children were served chicken on the bone, they acted twice as aggressively and were twice as likely to disobey adults than when they were served bite-sized pieces of chicken.
Caption: The study found that children who ate chicken on the bone were more rowdy and aggressive to other children
The study found that children who ate chicken on the bone were more rowdy and aggressive to other children
The children who were served chicken on the bone also left the circle without permission more frequently and were more likely to jump and stand on the picnic tables.
Along with Wansink, the research was conducted with Guido Camps, now at Wageningen University and Research Center; Francesca Zampollo, now at Auckland University of Technology; and Mitsuru Shimizu, now at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
In conclusion, the researchers note that when children need to bite into food with their front teeth, they are more likely to get rowdy.
‘If you want a nice quiet, relaxing meal with your kids, cut up their food,’ according to Wansink.
He had different bottom line advice for school lunchroom staff: ‘If drumsticks, apples, or corn on the cob is on the menu, duck!’
Culled from Mail Online
Child labour is often seen as making children do excessive work for payment but hardly associated with what happens within the family. The ‘child labour’ within the family is seen as a training, with the belief that when the children grow up they would not find it difficult to do what is required of them in terms of taking care of the house, doing laundry and so on.
Parents, especially mothers can definitely make their children to help with some chores in the house, what is however deplorable is where mothers make little children as young as five or six –yearold to do almost all the household chores.
Such little girls are made to sweep the house, do washing up, and wash their clothes or younger ones’ clothes. They do this while the mothers watch films or are just sitting down.
This happens in both rural and urban areas. Recently I saw one little girl from the rural areas who was very active in a friend’s house. She is about six year old, though she may be older, as people pointed out that the wahala such children suffer can stunt their growth.
Anyway, I learnt that in the village she did all the work at home. She would go very early to the stream, which is very far to fetch water, and then she would come and sweep the house, do some washing and take care of her younger ones, even bathing them. “What about the mother, what does she do?” I asked, perplexed. “The mother is around of course, but in villages such children are used to this work,” the woman answered.
I asked whether the girl used to attend Islamiyya School in the village, but she responded that the girl’s father said the girl had so much to do that by the time she finished, around 6.00 p.m. it would be the time the Islamiyya closes.
How could parents subject such small children to the hardship of working all day?
That is why such parents think nothing of sending these small children to work as house helps, after all, they too enslave them, so to speak.
If this ‘child labour’ is said to be the norm in the rural areas, what about in the urban areas? It is definitely not the norm, but many women do it, and if you draw their attention that the work is too much for young children, they would say they are ‘training’ them.
In those days, even in learning how to cook, small children were bought small pots and given money occasionally by parents or elder brothers to buy ingredients and cook. The food is not the household meal and it was ok.
But now you see very little children being made to cook meal for the household while the mother is around or may not be around.
In fact in some houses when girls are on holidays, especially those from boarding schools, they would be made to do every work in the house. In other words the mothers would handover the household chores to them, including cooking.
And I thought they were on holidays, when they are supposed to rest and enjoy staying at home. If I were treated like this by my parents I wonder if I would have looked forward to holidays, knowing the ordeal that awaited me.
One day I heard one Islamic cleric chiding parents, he said, “You have turned your daughters into your house girls.”
In places where children attend the traditional makarantar allo, that is not as formal as the Islamiyya one, children as young as six go to the school with their younger ones strapped to their backs.
How could a child learn while busy looking after the younger one? It is apparent that the mothers only want the children to look after the babies or toddlers for them, but not for them to learn.
There was one makarantar allo, where the mallam prevented children from going with babies or other small children that cannot learn anything, which is good. They should stay at home and be looked after by their mothers, instead of the mothers turning the school into child care centres.
In the fight against this ‘child labour’ by parents, I urge fathers and male guardians to do something about it.
Some may say, ‘is it not my child, so I will treat her as I like and nobody can tell me otherwise.’
It may be your child, but the child is not your slave and as a responsible adult you are supposed to take care of your own house, not turn it over to your small child.
Thereafter, the ‘child labour’ from within the house is something the society needs to tackle, seeing the anomaly is not only where the children are in paid labour.