Notes on Parenting

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

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bedwetting, how parents and caregivers can help a child

Before I get too into this subject, I need to apologize to my son, who I am sure at some point in his life will see this and be embarrassed that I am sharing this experience with the public.

I had a dream once that I was playing and splashing around in warm water, and then suddenly a storm came in and dumped cold rain, leaving me feeling chilled and damp. When I awoke, I was indeed damp and chilled. My four year old son had come into my room for cuddles and wet the bed.

He’s been day-time potty trained for some time now, but is still adjusting to waking up and going to the bathroom. Since he wakes up knowing something isn’t right, he comes and seeks comfort. Many times he is so sneaky coming into my room that I have no idea he is there until I awake, which sometimes is too late to avoid his bedwetting accident.

I have found though that there are preventative tips can help a child who is struggling with bed wetting.
  • First and foremost, do not embarrass or shame your child. The experience is uncomfortable enough with having to change pajamas and sheets, that pointing it out more with anger will just add to the discomfort. Simply acknowledge with empathy that accidents happen. If you as a child struggled with bedwetting, be brave and share.
  • Limit, not eliminate, fluids after dinner. Eliminating fluids is trying to avoid the problem; as with all things, avoiding the problem does not fix the problem. Limiting fluid intake is risk reduction.
  • Take your child to the bathroom at the beginning of their bedtime routine and at the end of it, just before hopping into bed.
  • When you go to bed, if you haven’t already fallen asleep putting your child to sleep, take your child to the bathroom.
  • If there seems to be a consistent time when your child is waking up after wetting the bed, take them to the bathroom prior to that time. For example say there is a theme of a 3 a.m. bedwetting, wake them up at 2 a.m. to go to the bathroom.
These are all preventative measures. If these problems persist with your child for a prolonged period of time, consider taking them to the doctor to rule out anything medical.

As for me in my house, it has been about two weeks since I have had a cold dump of rain alter my dreams.

By Josh Lockhart, MC, CCC, PHEc
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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Am I addicted to my phone?

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Thursday, January 15, 2015

What do you Want for your Child?

by: Dyan Eybergen RN

Parents need to decide what they want for their child and develop a parenting plan accordingly.
If you want your children to give and have respect, you have to give it them in order to earn it. Respect begets respect; it does not emerge from fear. There is no other way to know respect, or how to show it if it is not modeled to you first.
If you want your children to have healthy relationships, model what that looks like for them. Treat people with respect and kindness and set a known standard that you expect to be treated in the same way. Every interaction you have with your child should preserve their integrity. Instill in them a sense of worthiness so they too will only surround themselves with people who are kind and respectful.
If you want your children to be honest and kind, then appeal to your children’s sense of fairness and sensitivity. Help them to understand the impact of their actions on their environment. Teach empathy for how others are feeling and have them make amends to those they have offended. Teach tolerance for diversity and acceptance for other people’s opinions and beliefs even if they are different from their own.

If you want your children to succeed tap into their natural strengths and find ways to manage their weaknesses. Give merit to their honest attempts to do well, and offer support and guidance when your child is struggling to achieve. Boost their confidence through honouring their natural abilities and celebrating their accomplishments. Offer them opportunities to be with like-minded people who share common interests and goals where they can nurture their talents.
If you want your children to know right from wrong give life to that learning. Teach them what they CAN do instead of just chastising them for what they have done wrong. Children need alternative behaviours to misbehavior and will only learn this by parents giving them suggestions for what they can do to replace the misbehaviour. Simply telling a child DON’T, STOP, QUIT, ENOUGH doesn’t teach them what to do instead the next time. Positively reinforce the behaviour you want to see.

Technoference: How Technology Impacts Your Relationships

Have you ever sat down to dinner with your partner or spouse and his/her phone keeps beeping for a text message or other notification?

Have you ever been trying to talk to your partner/spouse and he/she can't seem to keep his/her eyes off the phone?

If these scenarios have ever happened to you, you are probably not alone. As technology has expanded into almost every part of our lives, it has begun to affect our personal relationships as well. New research into this topic is just beginning, but it is telling us what we were probably already feeling---how our loved ones interact with technology may influence our relationships and feelings.

This scenario describes what researchers call "technoference." This term includes any interruption due to technology in personal relationships (couples in this case). Technoference can occur in the context of various forms of technology---cellphones, smartphones, TV, computers, or tablets.

Of course, we know that technology does not always play a negative role in relationships. Many couples call or text one another during the day to stay "connected" to each other. Others may use technology to video chat across long distances when one person is traveling. On the other end of the spectrum, some individuals are so hooked on their technological devices that it has become an outright addiction. What this new study considers is the more typical situation in which technology sometimes interrupts personal relationships, but not to the level of addiction.

Let's take a look at this new study to understand how technoference may influence personal relationships and feelings. The study examines a multi-stage theory of technoference.
  • The authors hypothesize that greater levels of technoference in a romantic relationship will be associated with more conflict over technology within the relationship.
  • This conflict over technology, they believe, will predict less happiness in the relationship (i.e., lower relationship quality)
  • This unhappiness in the relationship will influence lower feelings of life satisfaction and higher levels of depressive symptoms

When you think this through, it all makes a lot of sense. If technology is interfering with your relationship, then you are probably having more conflict which makes you overall less happy and satisfied with life.

Before moving on to the major results of the study, here are a few striking statistics:

- around 70% of individuals in the study said that technology (e.g., cellphone, TV, computer) interfered with their relationship at least sometimes 

- 62% of couples said that technology interfered with their couple leisure time at least once a day

Ok, so it is clear that technoference is not a rare occurrence.

Overall, the results showed substantial support for the idea that technoference is related to unhappy outcomes. Individuals who reported more technoference were less satisfied with their relationships and were more likely to show depressive symptoms and overall lower life satisfaction.

Although we cannot presume too much from one study, this work does shed light on the role of technoference in our everyday lives. It seems those brief interruptions due to technology may end up having a substantial impact on our personal well-being.

This study focused on adult relationships, but you can see how some of the same issues could affect parent-child relationships. Something to ponder as we interact with our kids on a daily basis.  I'm sure research in this area is not far away in the future.

ResearchBlogging.orgMcDaniel, B., & Coyne, S. (2014). “Technoference”: The Interference of Technology in Couple Relationships and Implications for Women’s Personal and Relational Well-Being. Psychology of Popular Media Culture DOI: 10.1037/ppm0000065
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Sunday, January 11, 2015


New Year Resolutions

Now that the holidays and New Year's celebrations are behind us, we go back to business as usual. We pick up our lives where we left off, before the hectic holiday season took hold of our agendas - but with one huge difference: our New Year resolutions. By setting new intentions we express the hope that things will turn out better for us and our families in the year to come. 

Hope Opens Possibilities

Hope is lovely, it opens new doors and shines new light onto new paths that beckon us to explore. Hope is the antidote to negativity, the launching pad that lets you spring higher than you ever thought possible. How does hope work, psychologically and spiritually speaking?

The Present Moment

Hope happens now, in this moment. You can't have hope in the past, nor can you decide to have hope in the future. That makes no sense. It's a device of the present moment and it changes your mood in an instant. Hope dismisses the past and it opens the doors to new ways in which the future may appear. Even though there may be a cart-full of proof from past happenings that shows that hope has no basis in reality, and even though there may be a wagon-load of projections into the future that indicate things cannot possibly improve - when a person is seized by hope in the present moment their outlook changes completely and with that their mood and attitude. 

     And now comes the interesting part: that very changed mood or attitude is the lever that allows a new reality to come into being; hope invites it in.

The Proof Is in the Eating

Wouldn't it be wonderful to know for sure that a postive mood invites a new reality into your life? Some say it's how the world operates: "What goes around, comes around", others call it the Law of Attraction. Whatever it is called, the only way to witness it in operation is to give it a try. Just as the proof of the pudding is in the eating, so is the confirmtation of this principle a matter of doing and thereby demonstrating it:

     At a moment when you feel gloomy or despondent, see if you can find a glimmer of hope somewhere in a far corner in your mind. Rather than dismissing it on the basis of the reality of the past or the unlikelihood of change in the future, embrace it and enlarge it, hum it and sing it. Don't argue with so called solid evidence - you'll lose the argument. It's a matter of letting hope take you to a new register, a whole new range, And watch your mood improve. 

     By finding a sliver of hope and building on it, you can change your stumbling block into a stepping stone.

Changed Outlook

Even though there may be countless valid arguments against hope, there is no argument against an improved attitude in bleak or negative circumstances. What can possibly be wrong with an improved perpective? In fact, any person in their right mind would quickly choose a happy mood over a sombre mood, a uplifting outlook over a grim one. And with hope you have the mechanism at your disposal, now, to make the difference. Hope, just like a lovely piece of music or a telephone call from a friend, is a present moment device that you can employ to improve your mood and thereby invite  a new reality into your life.

Kids and Hope

As parents we are in a most fortunate position: we can model this technique to our children and help them embrace hope in their lives. The future isn't set - it is wide open en those who have hope have the widest range of choices available to them.

This post was published on the author's blog simultaneously.
Images courtesy of photostock at; top-picture adjusted by author.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

Choosing Practical Baby Items

As a new parent, it's hard to know what to buy for your baby as stores are filled with things that look useful or cute.  Not every baby is the same and you might find that you wasted money.

First, try borrowing items from a friend.  Before you invest in bottles for when you go on a date, you might want to make sure your baby will even take a bottle or a certain kind of bottle.  The same goes for pacifiers.  Maybe buy one at first.  None of my children have taken them except for maybe a minute, but they eventually make them gag.  So far my 4-week-old hates being in the Moby wrap.  I'm hoping that will change, but also really glad I borrowed it.  I just tried out a nursing pillow at the lactation consultant's and I love it, so I'm asking for it for Christmas.  I will definitely use it because it is so much easier on my back.

Second, ask yourself, "Is it pastel?"  You have no idea how easily baby poop stains the most adorable, expensive things you purchased.  Pastel clothes are hard to avoid.  Buy secondhand.  Pastel baby chairs?  No.  Don't do it.  It only gets worse when they start eating carrot baby food.  My daughter had a blow out today (on a dark brown swing) and even though I immediately ran her outfit under water, I couldn't get the poo out.  If I were to develop a line of baby clothing, nothing would be pastel.

Third, ask yourself, "Is it worth the money?"  I have friends who love things like squeezable baby food or disposable bibs.  One of my friends squeezes the baby food onto a spoon, which kind of defeats the purpose of using them. You might as well buy cheaper jarred types or even better - make your own.  If you're buying cheaper diapers, but you find you have to change them more often or they don't work well, you're probably not saving money. 

Fourth, "How long am I going to use it for?"  If you can get by without it during the couple months you might use it, your money might be better spent elsewhere.  I got a baby robe because it was cute, but it didn't fit for long and I usually just ended up wrapping them up in a towel anyway.  I think I wanted a photo op more than I wanted my baby to have a robe.  Also, baby towels aren't a need.  Your average towel works just fine, plus baby towels tend to be pastel.

Fifth, ask your friends what they found useless and what they could do without.  New products keep coming out, so it's even better to ask friends who are recent parents.  I discovered tiny burp cloths were pointless.  Think hand towel or even bigger.  Our wipe warmer ended up drying out the wipes and after a while, you change your baby wherever instead of putting them on the perfect changing station next to their matching crib.

Sixth, "Will my older children break this?"  Yes, they will.  My friend loaned a baby swing to us and I found my 6-year-old daughter sitting in it not once, but three times so far.  It's still working, but the bar that goes over the baby bouncy seat broke off.  None of my kids will admit to who did it.  We also had a swing years ago that played music, which was optional, but my toddler at the time wouldn't stop turning it on.  It's a pointless, annoying feature and I'm capable of playing my own music. We had a brand new portable crib in great condition, but my boys leaned on it and cracked parts until it was unstable.

Seventh, "Will I use this again?"  As cute as some baby products are, you might want to go gender neutral unless you don't care if your future little boy is being carried around in a pink car seat.

As a parent, what products were the most or least useful to you?

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Parenting in a Materialistic World

With the holidays quickly approaching, you may be spending a lot of your time thinking about and buying presents. If you are like many parents, you wonder if all this focus on material gifts might tend to make kids have a more materialistic mindset as adults. New research can shed some light on these questions.

A recent study examined 700 adults and asked them about how their parents used material goods in their parenting practices. In sum, three parenting practices were found to be associated with greater materialism:

- rewarding children with gifts

- giving gifts as a way of showing affection

- punishing children by taking away possessions

In the study materialism was defined as believing that success in life is defined by the number of material goods they owned. Interestingly, the authors also found a link between parental rejection and materialism. Individuals who said they felt their parents did not have time for them or were disappointed in them were more likely to rate higher on measures of materialism. This link is particularly interesting as it hints at the notion (although the research did not address this) that parents who were rejecting may have used material items as a substitute for spending time and establishing a warm relationship with their children.

This study, while informative, raises more questions than it answers. While most of us want to raise children who are not overly materialistic, I would imagine that many of us use material goods as rewards from time to time. The overall message I take away from this study is that material goods should not be the main "currency" in your relationship with your child. If much of your interaction is based on what the child needs to do to receive his/her next material reward, that could be problematic. Establishing a relationship with your child based on warmth, caring, and empathy seems to be the more effective way of approaching parenting.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

5 Ways to Keep the Holidays Stress Free

By Dyan Eybergen

For most children, Christmas time is filled with excitement and anticipation. They delight in the tradition of Santa Claus, decorations, the making of gingerbread houses and writing out their Christmas wish lists. For parents, this time of year can prove to be stressful with all the obligations to attend parties, the hustle and bustle of shopping malls and financial strain, cooking and cleaning and meeting the never ending demands of family and friends. 

Here are 5 ways you can slow down this holiday season so you can relax and enjoy the wonder of it through your children's eyes. 
  1. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. Set realistic expectations with yourself and your family. Your children will learn the importance of balance.
  2. Set a budget. Knowing how much you can spend on gifts and food ahead of time can help you stay on track; use cash whenever possible so you aren't dealing with paying off credit cards in the months that follow – which will only contribute to more stress.
  3. Simplify: Know when buying a pie instead of the stress of baking it yourself is a better idea. Decorate where your family spends most of its time and forget about decking the halls of every room. Use gift bags instead of wrapping every present. Partake in outdoor  activities – sunshine, fresh air and physical activity are natural mood enhancers, not to mention how much fun you and the kids can have.
  4. Remember the spirit of the holiday. Enjoy the little things, like taking the time to relive the joy through the excitement of your children. 
  5. Acknowledge your feelings and reach out for support. If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings and allow your children to do the same. 
Now relax, enjoy, and Merry Christmas. 



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