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The last straw... withholding heat in a cold winter - Page 3

post #41 of 61

 nm...hadn't finished my coffee yet


Edited by AbbyGrant - 4/14/12 at 10:52am
post #42 of 61

I don't find anything odd about not using central heating in AZ in the winter.  I mean, AZ isn't that cold.  Sure, it may get down to 35 at night (which isn't that cold..it's not even freezing), but it gets warmer during the day and I assume the house holds heat in.   As long as the indoor temp is at least 55-65 degrees (which I would think it could be easily in AZ even w/o heat) then it is not anywhere close to being dangerously cold and is probably healthier than keeping the house warmer (as central heating elements are breeding grounds for germs and there is some research showing that cold adaptation is extremely beneficial and healthy).  Plus, the use of space heaters allows the kids to get warmer if they feel the need.
 

Cold feelings are all pretty relative....I currently live in the SE and people seriously walk around in winter coats and hats when it's 60 degrees outside, whereas where I grew up (in the NE) that was sweatshirt weather.  Just because people *feel* cold at warmer temperatures down here, doesn't mean that they actually need winter hats at 60 degrees or are in any danger at those temperatures

 

Lack of heat in a place where the *coldest* it gets is 35 at night is quite different than lack of heat in a climate where the *warmest* it gets is 35 during the day.  In a climate like that, yes...I would be concerned about a lack of heat, but not in someplace like AZ.

 

As far as the food thing goes..my kids get fascinated by any new foods I buy or bring into the house, even if they aren't "junky"...just that they are "different."  For example. I went through a long period of making my own yogurt, so when I got busy and stopped doing that and started buying yogurt, they were fascinated and ate a ton of it.  After awhile, the novelty wore off and they stopped eating it at such a rapid pace.   The same thing happens even with things like grapes or oranges...when those go on sale (due to being in season) and I buy them, they eat them at a very rapid pace for the first few weeks and then the pace tapers off and they don't eat them so fast. The same thing could easily happen at other people's houses where everything is "new" and different, even if the types of foods aren't all that different.  If we have only had apples and bananas and oranges for a couple of weeks, my kids go crazy over grapes, but if we have grapes and apples and bananas, then they go crazy over oranges. 

 

So, unless you know the mom is actually really restricting food, you can't make that assumption based on the fact that that kids are thin (some just are) and that they eat a lot of a friend's house.


Edited by ameliabedelia - 4/14/12 at 6:20am
post #43 of 61
Quote:

Originally Posted by BroodyWoodsgal View Post

 

MamaInTheDesert: Please see the post I've quoted above to better understand why this is all so crazy to me. HYPOTHERMIA? Come ON. I realize some people are being reasonable...but there are some people here who are definitely not.


Okay okay. I concede. I totally missed that post that came about the hypothermia. I mean, why are we even talking about hypothermia in Arizona, where in the winter time you're lucky if it gets below freezing at night? These new posts are a bit alarmist as well. I think people are now overreacting about the food. The OP didn't say anything about this mom restricting food, just that the kids seemed to eat a lot when they came over.

post #44 of 61

I will say that when other kids come to my house they clean me out like they haven't eatin in years.  I've been to their homes I see what they're fed.  They eat well.  But everyone is different by what they're comfortable with. 

post #45 of 61

OP, I think you should limit your time with this family if they make you uncomfortable. Their behavior is outside of what is the American norm, not that this is bad. I am mildly crunchy and I know there are people who are uncomfortable with some of our parenting choices. 

 

But, I have to say that some of the things in your post remind me of my children. We don't eat a TF diet, we have plenty of food but my kids will eat and eat, especially (as others have said) in non-home situations. And my DS1 is very thin, but very healthy.

 

As for the heat, we live in a cold climate and I keep our home pretty warm by some standards (70-72) because I HATE to be cold. My kids spend their time at home in undies/diapers. They both strip as soon as we walk in the door. DS1 will refuse any clothes.He knows where his clean clothes are and can get himself dressed. I've stopped asking him if he wants to be dressed.  But whenever the heater kicks on, he sits on the heater vents and plays. I can see if someone walked into my house, they would be aghast that my thin (you can count his ribs!) DS was naked and had to play on the heater vent on the cold kitchen tile floor. And all he had to eat was plain crackers! That's his choice and it's his choice to make. BTW, this is the exact situation as I write this post (he also has grapes on his table in the other room). 

post #46 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

The kids were never, ever, ever allowed a meal.  Even if the parents ate a meal, the children were "grazers".  So, they had fruits, vegies, and cheeses in muffin tins on the counter, and were not allowed to eat from each other's tin, but were also not allowed to fill up at one time.  At my house, she gorged because they were so hungry.  The only starchy food they were allowed (even at my house) was rice.  

 

The four year old would be sent out to stand on rocks in her bare feet, or on the hot patio almost every day because she was expected to learn to handle pain without complaints.  She could only come in when she stopped crying.  (our neighbor does this exact same thing with her grandson too, so it's possibly a cultural thing)


Not about the OP but this really concerns me. Cultural or not, these things would be red flags to me. Forcing a child to endure pain is abuse. Purposely making children go hungry while you eat in front of them is neglect/abuse.
post #47 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaInTheDesert View Post



Quote:

Originally Posted by BroodyWoodsgal View Post

 

MamaInTheDesert: Please see the post I've quoted above to better understand why this is all so crazy to me. HYPOTHERMIA? Come ON. I realize some people are being reasonable...but there are some people here who are definitely not.


Okay okay. I concede. I totally missed that post that came about the hypothermia. I mean, why are we even talking about hypothermia in Arizona, where in the winter time you're lucky if it gets below freezing at night? These new posts are a bit alarmist as well. I think people are now overreacting about the food. The OP didn't say anything about this mom restricting food, just that the kids seemed to eat a lot when they came over.


A few people die of hypothermia in AZ each winter. In the phoenix and Tucson metro areas, not just in the higher elevations where you are lucky if it gets above freezing at high noon. Arizona is a big state - small parts of it have permafrost and a large chunk of it is under a foot of snow right now. But it doesn't matter where you are. It doesn't have to be below freezing for people to lose the ability to control their body temperature. It just has to be cold. I agree it's unlikely if a kid has a space heater to huddle near. At least, their condition won't deteriorate to the freezing to death point. But they could still be suffering quite a bit, especially if their nutritional status is poor, and even when it's not fatal, hypothermia can make you feel pretty horrible.
post #48 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post


A few people die of hypothermia in AZ each winter. In the phoenix and Tucson metro areas, not just in the higher elevations where you are lucky if it gets above freezing at high noon. Arizona is a big state - small parts of it have permafrost and a large chunk of it is under a foot of snow right now. But it doesn't matter where you are. It doesn't have to be below freezing for people to lose the ability to control their body temperature. It just has to be cold. I agree it's unlikely if a kid has a space heater to huddle near. At least, their condition won't deteriorate to the freezing to death point. But they could still be suffering quite a bit, especially if their nutritional status is poor, and even when it's not fatal, hypothermia can make you feel pretty horrible.


Oh I'm more than certain that a few people a year die in Arizona from hypothermia..I have NO doubt about that. But those people die because they get lost in the wilderness and aren't prepared because they think "Hey, it's Arizona, how cold could it get" - which is dumb, because even the desert that is sweltering hot in the day time can become absolutely freezing(or below freezing) in the night.

The people who die of hypothermia there every year are NOT dying in their homes, certainly not in front of space heaters. I refuse to sit here and believe that this mother is letting her child get dangerously cold, like, to the point where hypothermia is edging nearer every minute. I'm sorry, I just think that it is completely over the top to even mention hypothermia. 

Some people keep their homes a toasty temperature all the time. Some people buy sweaters and ask their children to wear them. I don't think either way is always wrong or always right...but I think that there is a LOT of room between "this house is kept chillier than I would keep my house" and "I think your kid needs medical attention because she is going to die of hypothermia if you don't act quickly" - a LOT of room.

post #49 of 61

Some of the people who die of hypothermia in AZ each year are idiots who go into the wilderness unprepared.  But most of the people who die of hypothermia in the major metro areas of AZ die in their homes.  They die because they are poor and can't afford heat.  

 

I agree that a kid with a space heater is not facing death from hypothermia.  However, a kid with poor nutritional status and parents unwilling to turn on the heat could still suffer from hypothermia, which has a number of consequences short of death.  The energy consumed recovering from hypothermia is energy not being used for other important things.  Stunted growth and immuno-suppression are possible consequences.  

 

I don't know what is going on with this family, but the OP is concerned, and I think some of her concerns have a rational basis.  The heat was on that day that the OP saw the girl huddled by the heater, but if the parents are waiting to heat the house until THEY feel cold, they may be forcing the kids into a situation that is at best uncomfortable and at worst a cause of long term issues with health and development.  

post #50 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarineWife View Post


Not about the OP but this really concerns me. Cultural or not, these things would be red flags to me. Forcing a child to endure pain is abuse. Purposely making children go hungry while you eat in front of them is neglect/abuse.


I thought so too.  I did make a report, but it was unfounded. ( CPS told me that it was cultural)

 

However, they did lose custody a few years later for another complaint.  When that incident was investigated, the home was considered uninhabitable for children.

 

post #51 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post


A few people die of hypothermia in AZ each winter. In the phoenix and Tucson metro areas, not just in the higher elevations where you are lucky if it gets above freezing at high noon. 

I live in the desert.  I have a newer home, and we very rarely turn on the heater, and then, only for an hour or so in the morning to take the chill off.  Never during the day or while we sleep.  Our house never goes below 69 (which is horribly cold to me)

 

I would imagine though, that an older home, or a poorly insulated home would get much colder than mine.  

 

Although, even then, I can't imagine it's cold enough for a child, or healthy adult  to die.  The summers here are a completely different situation, and can be very dangerous.
 

 

post #52 of 61

I just moved out of AZ this summer after living there for 12 years.  The summers are way more dangerous than the winters, at least in the largest cities, but there are a few hypothermia deaths each year - generally older people or people who are really malnourished in older housing with poor insulation who don't turn on the heat for financial reasons or who have had their electricity cut off.  There are more cases among the homeless population, as you would expect, but people in homes get it too.

 

You can get hypothermia at 50-60 degrees.  You don't get it from being in a super-cold environment, you get it from being unable to maintain a normal body temperature.  Hypothermia doesn't just kill people, it can also have non-fatal negative impacts on their health, especially if they are growing children and they are cold for weeks or months at a time.  

 

I'm not trying to argue that the kids are at risk of freezing to death here.  I'm just trying to point out that a skinny kid could be suffering a lot in the cold, especially if their parents are stubborn about turning on the heat, and the OP's concern may be reasonable.

post #53 of 61

For me the real question is:

 

Is this simply a mother who's a lot more controlling about what her kids say, eat and play with than I'm comfortable with or whether there's signs of her withholding food and warmth.

 

If it's the former, it's just a friendship that will never take off. If it's the latter, it's a sign of abuse. Nothing in the OP says "abuse" to me, but I'm not there and I don't have all the info.

post #54 of 61

OP, nothing you say sounds scary to me.  I am not living it, though.

 

 

post #55 of 61


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BroodyWoodsgal View Post





The people who die of hypothermia there every year are NOT dying in their homes, certainly not in front of space heaters. I refuse to sit here and believe that this mother is letting her child get dangerously cold, like, to the point where hypothermia is edging nearer every minute. I'm sorry, I just think that it is completely over the top to even mention hypothermia. 

Some people keep their homes a toasty temperature all the time. Some people buy sweaters and ask their children to wear them. I don't think either way is always wrong or always right...but I think that there is a LOT of room between "this house is kept chillier than I would keep my house" and "I think your kid needs medical attention because she is going to die of hypothermia if you don't act quickly" - a LOT of room.


I completely agree.  I do think you need to more careful of temperature if you have an infant or elderly person in the house, but this does not sound like it is the case in the OP's scenario.  

 

I live in Canada.  I do not think I have ever heard of someone getting hypothermia in their house unless the power is off.    I am not saying it never happens, but it seems pretty rare.  

 

In 2 days time, the daytime high is going to be about 60 and the night is going to fall to about 40, and it is extremely unlikely I will feel the need to turn on the heat.  Houses do retain some heat from the day, and warm blankets exist for a reason.  Heck, I may even crack the window overnight at that temperature.  

 

post #56 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by stik View Post
 I'm just trying to point out that a skinny kid could be suffering a lot in the cold, especially if their parents are stubborn about turning on the heat, and the OP's concern may be reasonable.


We've lived all over -- from Arizona to Canada. The same temp. can feel very different depending on what the other temps you experienced in the last year were. What feels "warm" to a Canadian is VERY different than some one living on the desert floor in southern Arizona. If you've just gone through a Canadian winter, 70 is really warm -- lovely, barefoot weather. If you just went through a Yuma summer, you might find yourself wanting a sweatshirt because your body has adjusted to hellish heat.

 

Yes -- I've seen both children and adults wearing sweatshirts when it's 70.

 

(And I've also listened to Canadians complain about how blistering hot 85 degrees is. )

 

I'd also like to point out that Arizona is a state a tremendous diversity. It snowed so much in parts of Arizona yesterday that roads were closed. One of those roads was just outside Tucson, near the US's southern most ski resorts.

 

 

 

post #57 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


We've lived all over -- from Arizona to Canada. The same temp. can feel very different depending on what the other temps you experienced in the last year were. What feels "warm" to a Canadian is VERY different than some one living on the desert floor in southern Arizona. If you've just gone through a Canadian winter, 70 is really warm -- lovely, barefoot weather. If you just went through a Yuma summer, you might find yourself wanting a sweatshirt because your body has adjusted to hellish heat.

 

Yes -- I've seen both children and adults wearing sweatshirts when it's 70.

 

(And I've also listened to Canadians complain about how blistering hot 85 degrees is. )

 

I'd also like to point out that Arizona is a state a tremendous diversity. It snowed so much in parts of Arizona yesterday that roads were closed. One of those roads was just outside Tucson, near the US's southern most ski resorts.

 

 

 


I will say, I agree with this! Toward the tail end of winter, when the days start warming up to 30 degrees or so around here...I do all my outside chores with no coat on sometimes because it feels so warm to me! A tshirt or long sleeve shirt feels pretty comfortable when I'm moving around a lot. I'm only outside for 20-30 min stretches...still, 30 degrees is pretty chilly...but it feels warm as hell after a brutal, bitterly cold winter.

 

post #58 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 


(And I've also listened to Canadians complain about how blistering hot 85 degrees is. )

 

 

That's about 30 Celsius...yeah - I'm complaining at that heat. It's hot enough to make me feel sick. DH loves it, but I can't stand it. OTOH, most everyone else I know loves it. I seem to be a lover of cold weather. And, yes - whether the temperature is hot or cold is at least somewhat subjective. I can frequently be found in  t-shirt when everyone around me is wearing at least long sleeves and a sweatshirt or hoodie...and they're saying "I'm cold", while I'm quite comfortable.

post #59 of 61

I think any parent who is putting their needs above their kids needs to re-think what is most important to them.  If warm clothing and heat is provided, then let it go.  If the kids don't have anything warm enough to wear and mom refuses to turn the central heating on and it's under 65 in the house or something, then I think mom is wrong.

 

The whole food thing is bizarre.  I think if the OP is accurate and the children aren't allowed to sit down for a meal, that is a huge red flag.  And I'm not saying the OP is lying but that just seems strange and doesn't makes sense.  

 

It's a personal pet peeve of mine when siblings are always made to be together.  My boys did many things as a unit when they were very little.  They were 15 months apart and their activities were similar.  But I have had friend who wouldn't allow their child to come over to watch a movie because the younger sibling couldn't.  I didn't think that was fair.  I also know a mom who always asks that her younger daughter be included in birthday parties that the older is invited to.  She asked at my dd's party.  My dd had never even met the younger girl but when the mom called to "ask" (more like tell), mom told me the little one had already made the card and she didn't have the heart to tell her she wasn't invited.  This was about an hour before the party.

post #60 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post

I think any parent who is putting their needs above their kids needs to re-think what is most important to them.  If warm clothing and heat is provided, then let it go.  If the kids don't have anything warm enough to wear and mom refuses to turn the central heating on and it's under 65 in the house or something, then I think mom is wrong.

 

The whole food thing is bizarre.  I think if the OP is accurate and the children aren't allowed to sit down for a meal, that is a huge red flag.  And I'm not saying the OP is lying but that just seems strange and doesn't makes sense.  

 

It's a personal pet peeve of mine when siblings are always made to be together.  My boys did many things as a unit when they were very little.  They were 15 months apart and their activities were similar.  But I have had friend who wouldn't allow their child to come over to watch a movie because the younger sibling couldn't.  I didn't think that was fair.  I also know a mom who always asks that her younger daughter be included in birthday parties that the older is invited to.  She asked at my dd's party.  My dd had never even met the younger girl but when the mom called to "ask" (more like tell), mom told me the little one had already made the card and she didn't have the heart to tell her she wasn't invited.  This was about an hour before the party.


See that's all just really bizarre and unhealthy sounding stuff!  Not to mention rude! (The birthday party thing!)

 

 

I think the story about the kids who were not allowed to sit for a meal was a different family...but I may be wrong? I thought that was about someone else.

 

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