Have you seen Bethenny Frankel’s new talk show? The SkinnyGirl entrepreneur tackles some serious issues on Bethenny, her new daytime show. Parents attended a taping that covered everything from fashion advice to a discipline debate to a discussion on body image. After the taping, Parents sat in on a blogger Q&A with Bethenny as she talked about spanking, healthy eating, and spending quality time with her 3-year-old daughter, Bryn.
BF: Prioritize. You don’t really have a lot of free time so, you have to be organized and efficient. Quality time is the most important thing with your child. You have to sleep. I don’t have a nanny, so the minute I get up it’s game time until 8 o’clock when it’s bedtime. I try to get sleep so I feel good all day and we can do great things together. I work really intensely and hard and do two shows a day, which is really difficult, but I cram it all in so that the other time is free time, but there’s no manicures, there’s no me time. I just go right to pick her up from school to make it great for the both of us.
During the discipline debate segment during this morning’s taping there was a lot of discussion about spanking and about the new trend of shaming. What are your thoughts on disciplining this way?
BF: Just to be clear, I didn’t have that much of a problem with the woman telling her daughter to hold the sign [on her Facebook saying she had used the site inappropriately], but I would never do that. It’s not even in the realm of possibility, nor is hitting. [The Facebook photo] just didn’t create such a visceral reaction in me, but hitting does. Although, I remember when a teacher told me I looked like I’d gone through an egg-beater because my hair was messy and I do remember that being traumatizing. I still remember that and it was third grade. I think you can reason with children. They feel your energy. You have to be calm and direct. My daughter is young, until you get older you don’t know, but I just wouldn’t lay my hands on anyone.
So what is your tactic for disciplining, since you’re not a spanker or a shamer?
BF: Just consequences. If I say “no” and my daughter disobeys me or she cries [because I say “no”], it’s okay, you can cry. People cry when they get sad. You can cry. Let her go through it, but I think you can’t take the path of least resistance. A lot of times when a kid is crying a parent just wants it to stop so they give them a toy or a treat. I’m willing to sit through it, even at a restaurant, even if there are other people there. Not a crazy tantrum because I’m not going to ruin someone else’s meal, but I’ll let it go for a second. It does end. You have to be patient about it.
With a daughter and the show, how do you still prioritize healthy eating for yourself and Bryn with such little time?
BF: It’s just ingrained in you, but it’s not always perfect. Yesterday I was with her in the morning and I hadn’t eaten breakfast and I had half of one of those big sprinkle cookies because it was her snack time. I had part of that for breakfast which isn’t the ideal breakfast, but I don’t really get overly caught up in it. Then for lunch I had sushi and then at dinner I had a veggie burger. It’s kind of all balanced out. I’m not always healthy, I had French fries last night, but I had French fries with a veggie burger. It’s all in moderation. You want to be the person who’s here and drinking green juices every day or like Ellen [DeGeneres] where it’s all raw and organic and vegan, but that’s not going to happen.
As the face of the SkinnyGirl empire, and after the discussion of body image duing the taping today, how do you plan to teach your daughter to have a positive body image amidst all the noise?
BF: I don’t think it’s a teaching thing, I think it’s a living breathing thing. I hear moms saying “I look fat in these jeans” or “I was bad” or “I’m going on a diet” and all of those are cues that children hear from a young age. There is none of that in my house at all. There is no noise about exercise or working out. She just eats what she wants. I do see other kids that are very focused on food and they want to eat it all and they want more and vice versa, kids that won’t eat at all, but she’s pretty balanced. I happen to be lucky that my daughter isn’t someone who is obsessed with food. It’s about not having all of that stuff in your house. If you have chicken nuggets and processed food and they get used to that, that’s the slippery slope. I’m proud of the fact that she likes healthy food. And then I don’t mind, have ice cream, or pizza, or chips, but there’s a base that’s healthy. She just likes brown rice, or pea soup, and greens, but of course she can have ice cream. There are no “no’s.” I think that’s another problem is that parents are big on restricting. I was the house with cut up fruit and sliced turkey and other people had Cap’n Crunch and you were so excited. Or Twinkies! I don’t have that stuff in my house, but if you’re somewhere and you want to: have it.
When you do have down time, what do you like to do for you time and what do you like to do with your daughter?
BF: Oh my G-d when am I by myself? When I’m by myself, yoga or talk a walk with my dog, just go somewhere in the city. I’ll take a walk along the river or get a coffee somewhere. Sometimes it just feels free to be alone. I’m a person that likes to be alone and I’m not alone that much. … Just walk and wander. Do nothing, mindless nothing. When I’m with my daughter anything. The playground, biking, the park. Just fun things that I think are an adventure. It’s so nice, it’s so fun together.
Do you have any plans of how you two will spend the holidays?
BF: The traditional traditions. I love doing the Christmas tree with her and taking her to see the windows and to Central Park and Rockefeller Center. I’m very big on activities, whether it’s pumpkin-picking or carving pumpkins or apple-picking and making apple pie out of it, cooking, we’ll definitely do Christmas cookies, we’ll definitely do the tree-decorating and the house-decorating. That’s the best thing about kids, they make you young again. You have somebody to do all these great activities with that as an adult we sleep, we workout, when you’re single you didn’t do all these fun interesting activities. Life’s pretty active with her. There’s not really a moment that’s not filled.
A lot of times I’m exhausted, but I’m not a sit-in-front-of-the-TV mom. I want to do great, interesting things with her. It doesn’t mean we have to go to Europe to the Eiffel Tower, it just means sit on the playground or have a picnic. You feel good about yourself. What you put into your kid you get out.
To watch the discipline debate on Bethenny, tune in Monday, November 18. Check your local listings.
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Hitting Your Kids Increases their Risk of Mental Illness
A new study in Pediatrics finds that harsh physical punishment increases the risk of mental disorders — even when the punishment doesn’t stoop to the level of actual abuse. People who experienced physical punishment were more likely to experience nearly every type of mental illness examined. (via TIME)
California Bill Would Let Children Have More than Two Parents
When adults fight over parenthood, a judge must decide which two have that right and responsibility – but that could end soon. California State Sen. Mark Leno is pushing legislation to allow a child to have multiple parents. (via The Sacramento Bee)
The Nurse-In: Why Breast-Feeding Moms Are Mad at Target
Nursing mothers intend to turn out en masse from Maine to Oregon to breast-feed their babies while wandering through after-Christmas markdowns or sipping a latte in the in-house Starbucks — it’s a maternal twist on civil disobedience: the nurse-in.
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Citing 12 million crib recalls since 2007 and dozens of infant deaths related to crib accidents, Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced that “the toughest crib standards” in the world took effect this week. Faulty hardware, breaking slats and dangerous drop-side design flaws in baby cribs have spurred the recalls over the years. But Madigan says new standards will make the flaws a thing of the past. “It’s taken too long for this day to come. There are 32 infants who died in dangerous cribs that the Consumer Product Safety Commission confirmed died because of the flaws in these cribs. That is far too many deaths,” said Madigan. (CBS)
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Depressed Dads More Likely to Spank, Shortchange Kids: Study Depressed dads are more likely to shortchange their children and use physical punishment, even on tots who are still crawling, new research suggests.A study involving fathers of 1-year-olds found they were more likely to spank and less likely to read to their youngsters than mentally healthy fathers. The finding adds more weight to the emerging awareness of “postpartum depression” among new fathers. [Yahoo News]
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You know that new moms often experience depression and severe mood swings, but now new research confirms new dads feel the baby blues, too — and it may change how they parent.
Authors of a new study published in the April issue of Pediatrics interviewed more than 1,700 dads of 1-year-olds and found that 7 percent of those dads experienced depression. That said, depressed moms outnumber depressed dads…by a lot. About 80 percent of new moms experience the baby blues, and 10 percent suffer from full-blown postpartum depression (PPD) in the first year.
The interesting aspect of this study is that the University of Michigan researchers found that in some instances, depressed dads treated their kids differently. While all of the dads, regardless of their mood, were equally likely to engage in interactive play, singing, and rhymes with their kids, depressed dads were nearly 4 times as likely to spank their kids and 62 percent less likely to read to their kids. Previous research has shown that depressed moms are more likely to spank their kids, too, but in both cases many other factors may be involved in the increase of spanking.
So, whether you’re feeling the blues yourself, or if you partner is, be sure to talk to your doctor, or even your child’s pediatrician about your feelings. PPD and the baby blues are treatable.