ugly kids … ugly parents!

April 12, 2006

that damnable netscape popup actually contained something interesting today – who knew?…

kids, parents, and an interaction effect, oh my!
the write up:

You’re in the grocery store, mindlessly stocking your cart. You notice a child–all alone and wandering down the aisle. Get a good look at that kid’s parents and chances are they’re ugly. At least that’s the controversial conclusion reached by social scientist Andrew Harrell, director of the Population Research Laboratory at the University of Alberta. He started a media storm a year ago with his study that showed parents neglect unattractive kids more than attractive ones. Now he’s targeting their mommies and daddies.

“Unattractive parents are less likely than attractive parents to supervise their children closely,” Harrell told The Edmonton Journal. “They have their own personal concerns and they have less time to be attentive to their children…Their mind is elsewhere.” Although he doesn’t know for sure because his research did not involve personal interviews, Harrell suspects unattractive parents may be ugly because they have economic difficulties, health problems, diabetes, poor eyesight, psychological and physical hardships that distract them. He says this explains why a child might drown in a swimming pool even though a parent is close by and supposedly watching, reports the Journal. “They are in such physical and psychological misery they are not there,” Harrell said.

The study: The team watched 861 single parents with one child between the ages of 1 and 7 in 14 grocery stores in Edmonton to determine if their behavior and supervision of their children contributed to accidents involving shopping carts in which kids were hurt.

The results: They found that 16 percent of unattractive parents lost sight of their children at least once, compared with 10 percent of the attractive parents. “That may not seem big, but people, for the most part, don’t lose sight of kids,” Harrell told the Journal. “So that’s pretty strong.” The neglect was even stronger among homely parents with ugly kids with 36 percent of them losing track of their children. “They don’t see the kids in distress, and this is when accidents happen,” Harrell explained. “I’m appalled. We’ve always believed it was a failure of shopping carts, but it’s the parents, crappy parenting (that plays a part).”

I used to think it was just neuroses, but I am one of those parents who always keeps a hand on the cart, who hissed at my husband “people steal babies” when we took our first, as a newborn, to the grocery store, and who reminds my children incessentaly that falls from grocery carts are the second leading cause of head injuries to children their age as though they understand what I’m talking about.

Damm, I am HOT.