Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dear Parents: Never Assume

Dear Parents,
I've had some very hard learning experiences in recent years and months.  I hope you can avoid some of them and the consequences that follow. 
First of all, don't assume your kids feel the same as you did when you were a kid.  My mom said when I was little, I was so obedient, she thought there might be something wrong with me.  I don't really identify with a lot of behaviors that kids exhibit.  There was one time I remember where my mom threw the gingerbread house in the trash can, declaring the candy was too old to eat.  It was sitting on top, so I ate some of it.  I had been drooling over that candy for weeks and to be told I couldn't have any?  Never!
What I don't understand is the latest situation with my daughter.  After our move last year, our dental visits were a little delayed and I was probably doing a terrible job nagging my kids about their teeth as we were packing and I was dealing with frequent contractions.  I was so heartbroken to learn that my daughter had a major cavity.  The dentist filled it and said we would need to watch it because it was pretty deep.  It could develop problems later.
One evening I asked my daughter if she brushed her teeth and she said she had.  I said, "Come here and let me smell your breath."  She said, "I was just joking."  Of course, I explained that a "joke" isn't when you lie to your mom to get out of doing something.  Apparently her filling wasn't traumatic enough an experience for her and I continued to tell her night and day to brush her teeth.
Just a couple months later, there was what appeared to be a blister on her gums right next to the tooth that had been filled.  As I suspected, it was infected.  The dentist said it would have to be pulled and a spacer put in its place to leave room for her adult tooth.  She was extremely nervous about having it extracted and silly me, I thought she would get serious about taking care of her teeth after this.
Now that we have a baby, it has made it harder to keep tabs on my other kids, especially with stairs in our new house.  When my daughter would run upstairs to "brush her teeth", I believed her.  The water was running and everything.  Then one morning I suddenly felt like I should say again, "Come here and let me smell your breath."  She frowned, acted like she went up to do it again, and sulked all the way to the bus stop.  She finally told me she hadn't seen her bubble gum toothpaste since she went to Grandma's house.  I said, "Are you telling me you haven't brushed your teeth since Grandma's house?!  That was two weeks ago!!!!"  Her silence was her answer.  Oh my gosh. 
I'm not just baffled by how she could lie to me, but how can she tolerate the feeling of her teeth not being clean?  I remember being about age 4 when I couldn't stand to go a day without brushing my teeth.
It doesn't matter that I've talked to her many, many times about losing teeth and that she actually had to have one removed.  Her bottom line is that she doesn't like brushing her teeth, so now no matter what I'm doing, I have to follow her upstairs and watch her do it or do it for her.
Last year one of my sons put on a pretty convincing act that he was getting his homework completed, but his grades showed otherwise.  It turned out he had never learned how to access his email at home that was needed in order to log in to Google Classroom where his assignments were.  Why didn't he tell me or his teacher?  I don't know, but I do know he cares about his grades.  He frequently cries about them.
Apply these things to many situations.  Have you talked to your kids about pornography until you are just sure they get it?  Think they would never look at it?  Think you can leave the house without logging off?  Think again.  Just because you explained doesn't mean they understand or that they won't be curious. 
Never assume, "My child would never do that."  I have been shocked quite a few times that one of my children has done something I didn't think they were capable of.  I'm sure we would all love to trust our children, but they are capable of more than we realize sometimes.  Thank goodness for baby teeth because my daughter might learn her lesson by the time her adult teeth come in, but what if I fail my children when it comes to more serious issues?
This isn't meant to be negative, but we all make mistakes and we need to remember that so will our children.  They will make the same mistakes repeatedly, just like us. 
Enjoy what you just read? Subscribe to our posts or become a follower.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Help your child build their self-esteem by understanding it's parts.

Frequently we hear people say that they have low self-esteem or low self-value or worth. These can mean many different things to different people.

This is the lens that I view self-esteem from that it is made up of three parts: self-concept, self-efficacy, self-worth. An individual’s Self-Concept is the answer to ‘who am I?’ Usually it comprises their past, present, and future traits, characteristics, performance and accomplishments. Self-efficacy is what you can do with who I am. An understanding of whether one can succeed in particular situations, which has an impact on motivation. Self-worth is the individual’s perceived value of what they contribute to their society, work, and/or family. Self-esteem is then the combination of concept, efficacy, and worth; plus the feeling how much control over one’s life. 

It is helpful to think of self-concept, efficacy and worth, each as sides of a triangle, and that self-esteem is the area of the triangle. Then it is possible to see that as someone’s concept, efficacy, and worth grow so does their self-esteem. As those three shrink, so does their self-esteem.

To help someone build their self-esteem, it is not just about helping them feel good about themselves or having confidence. It starts with the Johari Window principle. Helping them understand themselves. There are parts to a person that only they know about and that they and the people around them know. Then there are also blind spots, parts to a person that only people around them see. One of the first things I recommend is for a person to talk to a couple people that care about them (usually parents or extended family) and learn more about themselves, their family history, and what they think they will become.

Next after learning more about “who I am” – increasing self-concept, it is then important to understand what you can do with what you know about yourself. For me personally, I have learned in my family history that only three people have lived past the age of 80 – all female. So I know I have a limited time, almost an expiry date, which helps motivate me to do things and enjoy the present moment at home and at work.

After learning who one is, what you can do with it – and if that brings motivation, it is now interpreting the perceptions about the value you can contribute to society. Perception is influenced by feedback from family, friends, and society.

With all those parts combined, that makes up self-esteem.

While it is important to build self-esteem, it is even more vital to know what self-esteem is so that the smaller sections of the triangle can be built up.

Enjoy what you just read? Subscribe to our posts or become a follower.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Physical and Cognitive Development: Not as Distinct as Once Thought

When you consider some factors that might influence your child's cognitive development, you probably think of things like exposure to language or how many books that you have read to her. What you might not think of are factors like her ability to track you with her eyes or reach and stack up blocks. In the field of child development, we have long considered cognitive development as a separate area from physical or motor development. What new research is showing us, however, is that these areas of development are more linked that we might have thought.


If you are a parent of an infant, you know they use their whole bodies to learn about the world. As newborns, they use what limited sight they have to distinguish their mother's face. As they grow, they learn to explore with their hands, tongues and even toes. Consider, then, how much more a baby is learning about her world, if her motor skills are better? If she is allowed to lay on the floor and explore whatever she can reach, as opposed to spending hours a day in a carseat or stroller, she will gradually learn more about how her body moves. All this learning is really both motor and cognitive in nature.

Early Childhood

One of the main learning tasks of early childhood is learning to read. We have always considered this a mostly cognitive task. New research, however, is also showing some links to motor development as well. One group of researchers found that in predicting elementary reading, math, and science scores that in addition to (1) attention and (2) general knowledge, that (3) fine motor skills was the other significant predictive factor.

Further studies have also shown a link between academic performance and motor skills. In a Finnish study, children who performed worse on motor skills such as agility, speed and manual dexterity tended to have lower reading and math scores.

Moving and Learning

Interestingly, this link between cognition and motors skills is coming up in another line of research as well. More and more studies are finding that kids who are more physically active tend to do better academically as well. A recent Pediatrics study showed that kids (ages 7-9) who played physically (e.g., tag, jump rope, etc) for at least 70 minutes a day performed better on cognitive task such as multi-tasking.

Ultimately, what all this research seems to be indicating is that the physical and cognitive aspects of our development are not altogether distinct. It's really not surprising when you think about it: what your body is doing inherently affects how you are learning and how well your brain is functioning.

This line of research is coming more into the mainstream and an increasing number of schools and parents are beginning to see the mind-body connection. Although nationwide, we hear of a decline in the time spent in recess, there are many schools that are also incorporating movement programs into their regular curriculum, even within the classroom. It seems from the information we have now, that one one of the best things you can do for your child's overall development (both physical and cognitive) is to simply let them play and move.

Photo credit

Enjoy what you just read? Subscribe to our posts or become a follower.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Is Raging Mad Really So Bad?

There's no use denying it: Our kids may call forth the best in us, but there are times they simply drive us mad! Parents in all kinds of families get angry at their children all the time. One moment you're enjoying a harmonious gathering at the breakfast table and next thing you know you feel like you're going to explode. 

The Need For a Broader Perspective

Getting angry with people or situations outside the home is one thing - but to find yourself angered by your very own child, who is so dear to you and is so much a part of you, is an entirely different matter. It can leave you disconcerted and confused. Moreover, the intensity of the anger can be frightening. And if you're not careful anger can easily become an obstacle in the relationship between you and your child. That is why gaining a broader perspective on anger is so important. 

A Spice Called Anger 

Objectively speaking, anger is strongly felt displeasure that seems to befall us at more or less unpredictable intervals. Moreover, this feeling of strong displeasure seems to demand an immediate expression. 
   Anger is a feeling, a strong emotion and as such it is one of the fundamental aspects of your being. It cannot be labeled either bad or good. Just as the spices in a dish make it come to life, so do your emotions make you come alive. Too much salt and pepper or too little basil and thyme make for a dish that is out of balance. Salt or pepper in and of themselves are neither good nor bad. The amount in which they are used determines whether the end result is pleasing or unpalatable. 

   With human  emotions and personal qualities it works the same. An overdose of empathy harbors the danger of sentimentality, whereas the right amount allows you to feel compassion. Joy mixed with compassion leads to understanding and peace, while joy without any kind of empathy may lead to hilarity or cynicism. When joy is absent altogether, life is gray and dull. Love, balanced by wisdom and respect, leads to freedom. On the other hand, however, love easily leads to possessiveness if not thus balanced. 
   When we examine the emotion of anger it becomes clear that an uncontrolled measure of anger will lead to rage and madness – not a good thing. Just like too much chili powder will ruin a tasty salsa, too uncontrolled anger wreaks havoc in our relationships. On the other hand, by suppressing anger you deny yourself access to the creative energy that anger brings. In the right amount, and in harmony and balance with other ingredients, the spicy herb called anger can perfect an otherwise bland and uninteresting dish. This ingredient does not taste either good or bad. It is just an ingredient, to be used in measure. Anger just is. 

Using Anger's Creative Energy

There is only one source of energy in the universe; there is only one source from which everything originates. Anger comes from that very same source. Anger is just an aspect of the full array of qualities through which creation, through individuals, expresses itself. It is up to each individual to give anger its proper place and expression. You can deny it, let it propel you into a rage, or you can measure and control it, and use it as a motivator for creative action. Instead of reacting in anger you can learn to creatively act using the energy anger engenders . Then, instead of experiencing anger as the destructive force everyone is so familiar with, you will experience its creative power. Let’s look at an example:
   It’s Mike’s job today to give the baby his daily bath. So he takes the plastic tub and places it over the sink of the bathroom counter top to fill it with warm water. Next, he undresses the baby, and, holding the baby in one arm, he reaches for the soap. Enter four-year-old brother Evan. Evan is curious and wants to see what Dad is up to. To have a better look he pulls himself up on his toes grabbing the rim of the tub. But then the tub tips over and the water spills all over Dad, soaking the entire bathroom floor.
   A common assumption is that each person reacts to something like this in his or her own way. There is not much you can do about it. It’s just the way you are. Actually, there is something you can do about it, namely decide that you would prefer not to be “on automatic.” You can choose an alternative way to respond. Let’s examine possible reactions:
   a) Mike swears, throws the baby back in the crib, yells at Evan and anyone who comes close, and emphatically states that bathing babies is women’s work and he’s not going to do it again.

   b) Mike swallows his frustration. With a seemingly calm attitude he cleans up the mess, changes, and starts the whole routine over again. But the penned up energy is still there, waiting for the smallest provocation to burst into the open. His wife might call from another room asking if he has seen her keys, and Mike will vent his anger on his wife who is so maddeningly unorganized.

   c) Mike curses, walks over to the crib, tucks in the baby and changes his clothes. He uses the angry energy to clean up the bathroom fast. He walks over to the crib and dresses the baby, telling him that today he will have to go without his bath, because Daddy just doesn’t feel like doing it again. Thinking about the accident, Mike concludes that the counter top in the kitchen is a much more stable surface to hold the bath tub. Evan could not possibly pull it out of balance there. Next time, he decides, he'll bathe Junior in the kitchen.
   In the first two responses nothing really changes. Mike has only reacted, and the next day, should the tub tip over again, he will respond in similar fashion. In the third response, however, you can see that the anger aroused was used for change. Dad allowed the expression of a certain amount of anger, and then let the anger be an incentive to change things for the better. Instead of being on automatic and reacting in anger, Mike chose to creatively act using anger as his motor. 
   If anger aroused by such a minor occurrence as water spilled in the bathroom, can be focused in a creative way, imagine what focused anger can accomplish in areas that matter a lot more.

The Need to Focus Your Energy

Children, by virtue of being children, are vulnerable. Your words and deeds, including your anger, influence them more than you may be aware of. Adults can harness themselves against angry outbursts, but children, by their very nature, are not thus equipped. Angry arrows always hit their heart. 

   Once you are aware of the destructive potential of your uncontrolled angry actions you may want to think about ways to direct your anger differently. But how will you know the right direction in which to point anger and how do you point it that way? Before you try to determine a new focus for your anger, you will need to know more about what happens now when you are angry. Only when you are fully aware of your current behavior will you be able to change it in a new direction. 

   Think about a time when you felt angry with your child. Think it through in the most objective terms you are capable of. Write down what happened. What triggered the emotion? What did you feel?  It may have been powerlessness, frustration, irritation, indignation, etc. Just feel the color and the intensity. Get acquainted with the feeling. Analyze the way you responded. Did you try to be tolerant and push aside your feelings, or did you let your rage take over? Was it a reaction or an action?
   It is important to know the answers to these questions. Again, only when you are fully aware of your current behavior will you be able to change it in a new direction. Thinking about these questions will help you in gaining an understanding of yourself and of the amount of hot spice you like in the dish called life.
   Next, try to identify personal qualities that are part of who you are. You might think of yourself as friendly, decisive, innovative or creative and you know that you posses a generous sense of humor or are skilled in a number of ways. Any one of your personal qualities may very well lend itself to be linked up with anger's creative energy, in such a way that the result is a balanced change. An example will shed more light on this works.
   Mary's kids spend too much time on the computer. That is, according to Mary. The kids are fine with the amount of time spent in front of the screen. Time and time again, when Mary tries to set boundaries to their behavior, the kids disobey and she finds herself irritated and angry with them and with the computer. Each and every time she feels the anger well up inside of her and shouting at the kids doesn't feel right.
   One of her personal qualities she has been able to identify is that she has a deep appreciation for beauty. She decides to bring this quality to bear upon the computer issue. She decides to let beauty be the spice that gives anger a proper focus. How does she do that? Well, first she focuses on beauty, trying to identify all that is beautiful about this issue. Her kids are beautiful, for one. This thought helps her focus on loving her children unconditionally no matter how much time they spend on the computer. Next, she realizes that something about the computer games the kids play must really be of interest to them, just as beauty is of interest to her. This thought makes her decide to ask them about the games and teach her how to play them in order to find out what it is that appeals to them. 
   Now, instead of being an authoritarian figure who gives directives out of irritation and anger, she has become an ally, open for input and perspectives. The issue isn't solved - yet. But Mary has changed, and with this change new outcomes are possible.

   Of course Mary can't implement all this at the moment she has already become angry. At that point the only thing she can do is acknowledge the emotion and respond as well as she's able. But what she can do right after things have calmed down a bit, is think about the issue in lines of the above and work on herself. If she's able to blend her sense of beauty with the energy her anger aroused in this way she'll be able to put her anger to creative use.
   Likewise with any other personal quality. If kindness is a personal quality of yours, then consider the issue that causes you to become angry and look for aspects that you feel friendly towards. Then, focus on those aspects. Let those aspects lead you towards a helpful blend of kindness and anger that works for positive change. If joy or hope are personal qualities, again, look at the issue and focus on where you can apply your personal sense of joy or hope. Your personal qualities direct the energy caused by anger and together they create a new form. 

Angry Parents Are Role Models Too

Lastly, it is good to consider the fact that your children will model their behavior after the example you give. If you let your anger take over control and act impulsively, you cannot expect your children to behave differently. On the other hand, your own example of anger consciously focused towards constructive action becomes a powerful model. This, combined with your help in guiding your children to deal with their own anger in a creative way, is a powerful child rearing tool.
   But of course you cannot become a perfect example overnight. Even if you are able to focus your anger constructively most of the time, there will be occasions when you blow it. You will miss opportunities to hone your skills and to prove yourself to be a worthy example to your children. At moments like that your kids will come to the rescue. Children are very forgiving. They do not like to hold a grudge. Their urge to love you and to be loved by you is too strong. They will gladly wipe your slate clean. Where other people are not likely to give you another chance once you have blown it, your kids will. 
   So, is raging mad really so bad? Well, it depends. It depends on what you do with it. If you're able to focus the newly aroused energy in constructive ways using your personal qualities for direction, then raging mad may actually be quite good. It will lead to new ways to work on yourself and at the same time improve the relationship with your kids.

Images courtesy of stockimages at 

Enjoy what you just read? Subscribe to our posts or become a follower.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Dealing With "Mean Girls"

I've read that girls can be especially cruel to each other at school.  Boys can actually punch each other in the face and be best friends again the next day.  In fact, when my mom was a recess teacher, she broke up a fight between two boys, they got suspended, and then they ran away from home together (for a brief time).

I have three boys who are middle school aged and above, but I'm now navigating the waters with my daughter who just started 1st grade.  There was some mild drama in Kindergarten where I had to teach her why she didn't need to sit by the same girl on the bus every day.  I told her, "There are other kids who would like to be your friend too. "

They don't ride the same bus anymore, but my daughter wasn't aware that that would change things between them.  Today she saw her in the bathroom at school and she told my daughter, "I'm not going to be your friend anymore.  I have new friends now." 

I wanted to "fix" the problem. I wanted to call up the girl's mom and tell her what she said to her.  But what I ended up telling her is that sometimes girls are just mean.  As I told my oldest son, "I would rather have no friends than the wrong friends."  He's grown up to be a great kid who has had few close friends, which I think is hard sometimes, but he now sees what he passed up.  The boys he avoided at a younger age have gotten in trouble for stealing, throwing rocks at cars on busy streets, etc.  I went through a phase where I didn't hang out with anyone for a long period of time.  As many of my friends entered puberty, they started to rebel in many ways.  When I got a bit older, I made some friends for life in middle school and high school and I wouldn't trade them for the world.

I'm hoping I can teach my daughter to set boundaries while being kind.  I don't want her to be the type of girl who tries desperately to please everyone.  I don't want her sucking up to anyone for their "friendship".  For every mean girl, there are probably at least three girls who would be thrilled to be her friend.  I will have to help her prepare something to say when a girl has the nerve to tell her for no reason that she is no longer her friend.  I'm not sure what that would be.

I'm not going to tell my daughter yet that some girls don't outgrow it.  I've been observing the bus stop moms in our new neighborhood for the past year and it has been psychologically fascinating and borderline amusing to observe the dynamics of one group of women in particular.  They think they're pretty hot stuff and noticeably give the cold shoulder to others.  I think one woman was worried I was going to get my feelings hurt, but it was something I picked up on very quickly and I'm not sure what their supposed accomplishments are that make them better than everyone else.  I'm enjoying new friendships with the grown-ups!

Enjoy what you just read? Subscribe to our posts or become a follower.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Looking Beyond "Quality versus Quantity" Time with Kids

As a person trained in the methodology of family science, there is nothing that bothers me more than when the media misinterprets a research article. Researchers know this happens frequently and are often leery of publicizing their work (even interesting work) because of this issue. Case in point—the recent study that was all over the media concerning the amount time parents spent with their children.

You probably read the headlines—“Parents, give up the guilt, study says quality time matters more than quantity.” It is quite telling that almost every article that discusses this study includes the word “guilt.” This tells me that this is an emotionally charged issue, not just for the readers, but perhaps for the journalists writing the articles.

First, before I delve into this further, let’s look at the basics of the study:

  • the study examined children ages 3-11 and adolescents ages 12-18
  • the outcomes that were assessed in the children included emotional adjustment, academic achievement and behavior
  • the authors looked two types of time: (1) accessible time—time in presence of mother, but not engaged in an activity; (2) engaged time—basically any time engaged with the mother in an activity
  • the data came from time diaries from one weekday and one weekend day.  The authors “created” weekly sums by extrapolating 2 day sums to a full  week (they say this is a common practice)
  • they also looked at children and adolescents’ time spent with their father (alone) and both parents
  • as usual, the study include other structural factors—mothers’ education, family income, family structure (i.e., two-parent, single parent, step-family, etc)

 First, the main finding that prompted all the headlines was this one: the sheer amount of time mothers spent with their children was not associated with any of the child outcomes. It did not matter when the authors looked at engaged time or accessible time; the amount of time was not related to outcomes. This was for children only; there were some relevant findings concerning time spent with adolescents (I’ll save that for another post).

Okay, that is interesting but does it imply the headline that “quality trumps quality.” In contrast to virtually every media outlet around (except notably the Brookings Institute), I say “no.” This finding does not imply that quality trumps quantity when it comes to time spent with children. As the authors themselves point out, they did not specifically assess “quality” time.

“although we examined engaged time, in which children and mothers were interacting with each other, we did not focus on quality time – the amount of time in particular quality activities with children, such as reading or eating meals together versus watching TV or cleaning with them – neither did we assess the quality or tone of mothers interaction with children, such as warmth, sensitivity or focus.”

To adequately assess the question of quality time versus quantity of time, a study would have to specifically measure these two concepts distinctly and compare them. This study did not do that. Although this study did separate out engaged and accessible time, it did not define either of these as “quality time.” From this study alone, we have no better understanding of what “quality time” actually looks like or what types of activities might be more beneficial for children. This was not the goal of the study, yet the media has extrapolated from this study that “quality trumps quantity.” Yet another disappointing example of how the media often overlooks the details of a study to get a flashy headline.

As I mentioned, the word “guilt” was included in almost every story written about this article. What does this tell us about the state of parenting today? Apparently, we as parents (perhaps including the journalists) are dealing with a lot of guilt. I understand this. I am a stay-at-home parent so I spend a lot of time with my kids and I still feel guilty at times. Yes, I put my kids in front of the TV sometimes just so I can have a few moments of peace or time to cook dinner. Is the answer to this to believe whatever the media tells us to moderate the feelings of guilt? I believe not.

How about taking a different approach? How about we “own” these feelings of guilt and use it as an opportunity for self-reflection. How are our children doing? Are they misbehaving at school or acting particularly rebellious at home? If so, maybe this is a sign that we do need to spend more time with them. However, it’s not because we feel guilty; it’s because our children need us. If our children are overall adjusted and seem to be functioning well, then maybe our guilt it just societal-driven and not based on anything real.

We all face many pressures as parents in today’s culture. I think the key is to take some time to really look at your specific family and decide whether your choices to work or stay at home or work part-time are really meeting the needs of everyone involved. If so, then have confidence in your parenting and the idea that you are doing best you can. Please do not buy into this media-contrived idea of “quality vs. quantity.” This is not the answer; parenting and life are much more complicated than that. 

ResearchBlogging.orgMilkie, M., Nomaguchi, K., & Denny, K. (2015). Does the Amount of Time Mothers Spend With Children or Adolescents Matter? Journal of Marriage and Family, 77 (2), 355-372 DOI: 10.1111/jomf.12170

This post originally appeared on The Thoughtful Parent blog*****************************************************
Enjoy what you just read? Subscribe to our posts or become a follower.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Preparing for Back to School: Making this Year a Positive Experience for Your Children

By: Dyan Eybergen

Helping Kids to Feel Good About Their Learning Experience
Parents who encourage and model positive opinions about education can teach kids to manage school stress and enjoy the experience.
As curriculum requirements continue to increase in all levels of education, students are experiencing considerable amounts of school stress. Most of this stress is caused by having too much homework. Some of it may be attributable to a lack of organizational skills or the cognitive maturity to learn new and difficult concepts, causing the student to feel overwhelmed. Some students may not feel supported by the teacher or their parents. They may feel inadequate socially or ashamed and can't ask for help.
Whatever the reasons, school stress can lead to a general feeling of apathy toward school and anything associated with it. When a student hates school enough to not want to go anymore, parents will have a real challenge encouraging that student to stick with it. Parents need to take on a proactive approach of instilling a positive attitude in their children about school, before it's too late.

Use Words That Project a Positive Attitude
Education is vital to the development of every child. Its importance cannot be underrated. When referring to school, its administration or teachers, use positive language. When parents show respect toward those in the teaching profession they teach about the value of educators to their children. Remembering to thank teachers for their contribution to a child's education demonstrates a positive attitude about school and learning. Even when parents disagree with a teacher or school administrator, they should always use positive and respectful communication techniques to facilitate cooperation and resolution to a problem.
Take an Active Interest in the School
Parents can take an active interest in their child's school by first developing a working relationship with the child's teacher. The child feels supported through such relationships, which helps manage school stress. If a child knows that there is a team approach to his/her learning curriculum, he/she will feel less overwhelmed about learning challenging concepts.
Parents can further participate in the school community by joining the PTA, volunteering in the classroom or library or by donating their time to fundraising campaigns.

Inform Children of Expectations
Younger children should be introduced to the school environment in a visual way. Making introductions with teachers and the classroom milieu prior to the commencement of school will give children a sense of familiarity when they do start. Older children need to understand what they can expect from school rules and class instruction. They need to understand how they will be graded and the degree of effort they need to put forth to succeed. Parents also need to communicate their expectations for each of their children and base those on each the child's unique capabilities. When students understand what is expected from them they are more able to concentrate their efforts toward a known goal.
Model the Importance of Homework and Homework Routines
Parents who support the classroom's learning environment at home help students learn and expand their knowledge. It's essential that homework routines be established so as to teach organization, time management and problem solving skills. Solid homework strategies will also help students manage school stress, especially for those who experience anxiety in response to having to write a test or complete an assignment. Homework routines combat test anxiety by giving students confidence in their knowledge of test material. If the stress of homework and writing tests are managed effectively, students are less apt to have bad feelings about school.

Children who are taught respect for education and are supported in their efforts to succeed feel better about their school experience than children who are left to struggle on their own without parental involvement. When children are exposed to positive language about school and education and see their parents take an active interest in their school community, they will learn to appreciate school by that example. It's not to say that they will never have times of disliking school when its demands feel too much, but they will continue to have enough respect for the value of education to not give up on it.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Preparing For Emergencies With A Newborn

As a mom, it's not fun to think about awful things happening, but it's wise to prepare for the worst.  Consider teaching your newborn to take a bottle at least once in a while in case something unfortunate happens.

A friend of mine had the sudden inspiration to pump a lot of milk soon after her daughter was born.  Weeks later, she found herself in the hospital having an emergency gall bladder removal.  Her baby couldn't be with her and fortunately she had the milk for her family to give her, which ended up being exactly the right amount. 

Weeks ago, I had what I thought was painful acne on one side of my abdomen, side, and back.  I finally went to my doctor a few days later and he confirmed that it was shingles.  I would need to take anti-virals for a week to prevent problems that would last for months or years.  He suggested I not breastfeed during that time.  I was devastated and in pain, having no idea how I would get my daughter to take a bottle.  She took one months ago, but we haven't been able to get her to do it since then.  She won't go to sleep or stay asleep without nursing.  He also suggested I only nurse on the side that wasn't affected because shingles is the chicken pox virus and she could get it.  This was another thing I knew my daughter wouldn't accept without a long night of thrashing around.  If you've had shingles, now imagine a baby kicking you repeatedly and clawing at your skin.  When my doctor said, "It will be OK", I kind of wanted to smack him. 

I was lucky though. I called the pharmacist and asked, "Isn't there something I can take while breastfeeding?"  He said, "Yes, you can take Valtrex."  Upon further research, it wasn't recommended you stop breastfeeding just because you might give your baby chicken pox.  I took my chances and so far, so good.  No chicken pox.

It's upsetting to think that something worse could have happened and that my baby would be traumatized in the event of my sudden absence.  I think of my family and how upset they would be already, but also having to convince our inconsolable baby to eat in a different way.

There are also other events that could happen.  Imagine you're just leaving your baby with family while you run an errand and your car breaks down.  Does your baby have a way to eat at home?

Or Heaven forbid you have another child who is hospitalized and you need to be with them, but your baby isn't allowed to come with you.  There are many different scenarios.

I feel like a dodged a bullet.  She's now eating more solid foods, so I wouldn't have to worry about her starving, but I cringe to think that I wasn't prepared. 

Enjoy what you just read? Subscribe to our posts or become a follower.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | free samples without surveys