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Why Can’t My Child Behave?

This is not your usual book on parenting. It does not look at psychological factors; instead, it looks in your grocery cart.

Review - Why Can't My Child Behave?

Parents of hard-­to-­raise children are often at a loss to understand why their best efforts at parenting don’t seem to be working. Love, consistency, empathy, time-out, natural consequences and all of the approaches that work well for most children seem to have no effect on these youngsters.

It’s even more puzzling when a child behaves appropriately some of the time and is out-­of-­control at other times. If he is afflicted with some sort of disorder, why would it appear only on occasion? Can a child be mentally disturbed on Monday and normal on Tuesday? Teachers don’t understand why they can’t get through to the student who is failing despite a high IQ.

Not many years ago, youngsters with behavior problems, learning problems, and chronic health issues were the exception, but today they are becoming the norm. “Hyperactivity” was once a footnote in medical textbooks but it has morphed into what is now the well­-known “ADHD.” Childhood asthma used to be rare, as was childhood diabetes. Another formerly rare health issue – ear infections – are now seen by many as a normal part of growing up.


Why Can't My Child Behave?Why Can't My Child Behave?These issues, which appear to be very different, might have a common denominator – the proliferation of untested chemicals that seem to be all around us. Take a close look at the products in a typical shopping cart and see how many of these things could be contributing to Johnny’s behavior problems, ADHD, dyslexia, asthma, or ear infections: Kool-Aid, Jello, Sunny Delight, Flintstone’s Vitamins, Froot Loops, Campbell’s Soup, Diet Coke, Kraft Mac & Cheese Mix, Skittles, Tylenol liquid, Colgate Total Toothpaste, Glade Plug­In, Gain scented laundry detergent, Bounce Fabric Softening Strips.

The correct answer is: all of them. What do these items have in common? Most contain chemicals that have been synthesized from petroleum – this includes dyes, artificial flavors and some preservatives. And the products with fragrance rely on petroleum as a low­cost additive. The fake sweeteners and hidden MSG are not petrochemicals but have a long history of problems. One researcher found that food dyes, aspartame and MSG all cause damage to the nerves and interfere with the ability of the nerves to send signals – in other words, the ability to think. (Karen Lau, 2005)


Why Can’t My Child Behave?: The Feingold Diet updated for today’s busy families looks into our nation’s shopping carts and shows how to make simple changes that will eliminate the unwanted additives. Shoppers can find all the foods they enjoy, but in a better tasting and healthier version – often at a lower cost! This book guides the reader through the supermarket jungle and shows how to enjoy better food, better health and happier families.

Read more of Jane’s articles and find more information on the effect of food additives – dyes and chemicals – in Can Food Impact…?

jane herseyJane Hersey has been helping families of hard-­to-­raise children ever since she discovered that certain food additives were causing her daughter’s puzzling behaviors. She became a volunteer with the non-­profit Feingold Association of the United States in 1976 and has served as its President and Director, testifying before the National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Agriculture and Congress and giving seminars.  Appearing on radio and TV, she is also the author of Healthier Food for Busy People: 20 Little Rules to Help You Navigate the Supermarket.

The fifth edition of Why Can’t My Child Behave?:The Feingold Diet updated for today’s busy families includes the newest information on how to successfully use diet to improve behavior.


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Pat is a Yankee city-girl who has been adopted by the sleepy, sunny south. Married for 30 years and the mother of 5, she woke up one day recently to discover she reached the stage of life where she is the “older woman” described in Titus 2:3-5. A coffee lover, the purchase of a coffee shop a few years ago was her personal foray into the small, family-owned business arena.Today, PatAndCandy.com is her outlet for packaging up and sharing the nuggets of wisdom God and life experiences have taught her.
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4 Responses to Why Can’t My Child Behave?

  1. Adrian September 15, 2014 at 9:53 pm #

    My son used to behave horribly after he drank anything with red food dye in it, especially Hawaiian Fruit Punch:( I too believe that the things we eat determine how we act and feel. Thanks for sharing this with us at the Teach Me Tuesday Linky Party last week. I hope you can join us again this week!

  2. Sarah Ann September 13, 2014 at 10:42 pm #

    My daughter has Autism and does a gluten- free, casein- free diet. We try to be very conscious of what she eats and have noticed improvements since she began the diet a year ago. My son, two, is having a lot of behavior problems now and I am going to seriously look into his diet. While we are already pretty aware of the harmful nature of some chemicals in products we consume. I was surprised to see a few products we use on that list. Yikes! I will have to investigate further! Thanks for sharing with the Saturday Soiree Blog Party!

    • Candy September 14, 2014 at 7:55 am #

      The Feingold (FG) helped our daughter with behavioral & emotional issues, sensory processing issues, and completely eliminated a tic disorder. We not only made dietary changes, we also “cleaned up” hygiene and household products. HUGE difference. I’ll be praying for you, Sarah Ann, as you seek to find the answers needed for your little guy. Feel free to email me. 🙂

  3. Serena @ Simple Holistic Girl September 12, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

    Dropping by from Thriving Thursdays! I truly do believe that the food and products available today on the store shelves are responsible for our kids health today. The health problems we even have today started out in us as children, perhaps due to the same things. I hope more parents realize that just because it has a big brand name attached to it, it doesn’t mean a thing. Everyone needs to look at the ingredients – ingredients, ingredients, ingredients!

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