(Grand)father Knows Best

By Scott LaFee

September 30, 2020 6 min read

A survey by the Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health finds that nearly half of parents describe arguments with one or more grandparent about their parenting, with 1 in 7 parents saying they limit time the child sees certain grandparents.

Most of the disputes involved discipline, meals and/or screen time on TV or computers. Other recurring issues were manners, safety and health, bedtime, treating some grandchildren differently than others and sharing photos or information on social media.

Among parents who reported disagreements, 40% said grandparents were too soft on the child, but 14% said they were too tough. Nearly half of parents said disagreements arose from both styles.

Solutions generally involved setting boundaries and finding common ground.

Body of Knowledge

Like fireflies and jellyfish, humans can be bioluminescent or glow, a byproduct of the metabolic process. The resulting light is imperceptible to the human eye (though Japanese researchers using a camera 1,000 times more sensitive say humans are brightest in later afternoons and specifically on the cheeks, forehead and neck).

Get Me That, Stat!

By and large, medical professionals think inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics is a contributor to superbug resistance. But in a survey from Pew and the American Medical Association, most doctors think the problem is not with them. Sixty percent of respondents said they believe they prescribe antibiotics more appropriately than peers.


45: percentage of teens who vape who say they want to quit

Source: JAMA Pediatrics

Stories for the Waiting Room

Suicide rates among children and adolescents have been rising in recent years. New research shows that a follow-up soon after patients are discharged from psychiatric hospitals can dramatically reduce risk. Scientists looked at data from nearly 140,000 children and adolescents who had been hospitalized related to suicide and found that 57% had a follow-up visit within one week of discharge, resulting in a nearly 55% lower risk of dying by suicide within the first six months of discharge.

Doc Talk

Pandiculation: generally refers to all of those things you do when you first wake up, such as stretching and yawning

Phobia of the Week

Aphenphosmphobia: fear of being touched

Food for Thought

Anything called 8-methyl-N-vannillyl-6-nonenamide can't possibly be good for you. Well, yes and no. Eight-methyl-etcetera is the chemical name for capsaicin, the active component in chili peppers, which gives them their gustatory bite and serves as a chemical irritant in general. It's added to spicy foods and, conversely, used as an analgesic since the irritation can also create temporary, diverting relief from minor aches and pains.


"Start every day with a smile and get it over with." — comedian and noted curmudgeon W.C. Fields (attributed)

Medical History

This week in 1846, a dentist named William Morton used an experimental anesthetic, ether, for the first time on one of his patients at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for a tooth extraction.

Ig Nobel Apprised

The Ig Nobel Prizes celebrate achievements that make people laugh and then think. They provide a look at real science that's hard to take seriously and even harder to ignore.

In 2007, the Ig Nobel Prize in Biology went to a Dutch researcher who conducted a census of all of the mites, insects, spiders, pseudoscorpions, crustaceans, bacteria, algae, ferns and fungi with whom we share our beds at night.

Observation: One never sleeps alone.

Med School

Q: Why do you blush?

A: The act of turning red in the face might be triggered by emotions like embarrassment or nervousness, but biologically speaking, it's a fight-or-flight response, triggered by a rush of adrenaline. Heightened levels of this hormone speed up the heart rate and dilate blood vessels to improve blood flow. In your face, that results in a conspicuous glow.

In 2013, Dutch researchers concluded that blushing is a conserved evolutionary trait. They said that people are more likely to forgive people who blush when admitting their transgressions, and people who blush are rated as more likable and trustworthy.

Curtain Calls

Saint Lawrence was a third-century deacon roasted alive on orders by the Roman Emperor Valerian. The poet Prudentius recounts his death, writing that at one point during the grilling, Saint Lawrence called out to his tormentors: "Turn me over. I'm done on this side."

Saint Lawrence is now the patron saint of chefs, cooks and comedians.

To find out more about Scott LaFee and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: geralt at Pixabay

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