Fostering Emotional Health In Our Children

Children and Emotional Health…how to foster emotional health in our children is, to me, one of the most misunderstood areas of child development.

children

I am the first to say, I wish I knew or I wish we knew more about child development while raising our own daughters.

While we are raising our children it is sometimes difficult to put aside the “ways” of  own parents. They sneak into our relationships with our kids, especially when the going gets rough and we are tired.

Crying craziness…

When children are crying and their emotions are running high it has a tendency to push our buttons… at that moment it is so hard to step back and gain control of ourselves much less our little one.

children

But that is just what is needed in order to recognize our children‘s emotions as valid and acceptable. Now, I am not talking about “no discipline”.

It is really all about discipline.

Parental or adult discipline of children should be designed to help children engage better with others and to modify or control their behavior. Providing appropriate discipline to children is one of the most essential responsibilities of a parent. And providing consistent and positive discipline helps children grow into responsible adults.

According to the Committee for Children (2004), the purpose of discipline is “to encourage moral, physical, and intellectual development and a sense of responsibility in children.

Ultimately, older children will do the right thing, not because they fear external reprisal, but because they have internalized a standard initially presented by parents and other caretakers. In learning to rely on their own resources rather than their parents, children gain self-confidence and a positive self-image.”

via Child Discipline.

Discipline is really about “teaching” and modeling behavior…in order to teach as a parent you have to be in control of yourself and your own emotions…this is not easy when our child is having “a moment”.

Allowing your child to express his feelings and accepting his feelings is a time for us as parents and grandparents to teach them that their feelings are real and acceptable unless they are behaving destructively or in an unsafe way.

Tantrums can be unsafe…first control the environment and then deal with the tantrum itself. It is sort of like a panic attack…until the panic subsides there can be no teaching.

In the beginning, fostering healthy emotional development for our children means listening and trying to decipher our babies’ cries rather than immediately suppressing or ignoring them.  It means that throughout childhood, anger, grief and sadness are acceptable feelings for our children to express anytime anywhere (although never in a destructive or unsafe manner).  Granting our children this freedom to be their whole selves — unconditional acceptance — will lead to far fewer enraged or depressed adults in the future.

via No Angry Kids – Fostering Emotional Literacy In Our Children | Janet Lansbury.

 

Fostering emotional health in your child and unconditionally accepting a child’s emotions within a healthy framework is essential to growth and development.

In order to accomplish this, a parent or caregiver has to first, recognize their own emotions and be able to model acceptable behavior for their children.

child

Learning Consequences in Childhood


happy consequences happy child

“Like many parents, ‘consequences’ is one of my buzzwords.

via Truths About Consequences | Janet Lansbury.

How does a child learn about consequences?

In some instances, it is literally a painful learning experience. For example, when a child accidentally touches something hot he will feel the pain or consequence of being burned.

Sometimes it seems, we as parents and grandparents  try to teach consequences by punishment.

Is this a good way for a child to learn consequences? I am thinking, not so much.

If you want your child to be in bed at a certain time and they enjoy story time before bed then they must learn to get ready for bed leaving enough time for a story or face the consequence of having no story.

Child  and his dad

It takes time to set up a ritual and a proper time frame…young children must learn the steps to get ready for bed within defined time frames. This takes effort, for me the “stick-to-it-ive-ness”  of this effort is the most difficult part.

I know that young children are comforted and feel secure with rituals, even if they balk at them. They actually want us, as parents and grandparents, to take charge, just as we want help when we are tired and feeling overwhelmed.

So, why not step up and help them? It will pay off with happiness on both sides of the equation.

happy child

If your little one does not stick to the bedtime ritual time frames then the outcome will be “lights out” and no story time . This is a consequence of the child’s own behavior. Your child can learn can learn that it is not a punishment yet it is a consequence of not getting ready for bed in a timely manner.

Of course,the time frames must be monitored by the grown-up and the child must be given enough guidance about how he is doing in achieving his goal of getting to bed with enough time for a story. Perhaps, you have to set an alarm on your phone to keep you and your child on the schedule.

It will be rewarding in the longterm to have a child that understands that a negative consequence is not a punishment for his “bad” behavior. However, it is a result of  not following directions and doing what he needs to do to get the things that he wants to have…like story-time before going to sleep.

 

“Playing” or “Fighting” with Baby…

This video shows a dad “fighting” with his baby. To me this borders on child abuse. I know that dad is trying to be funny but at the baby’s expense…therefore …NOT FUNNY.

Just like teasing this kind of “baby rough housing” seems over the top especially when you make a video of it and you are able to see the baby’s facial and physical reactions to the actions of his dad.

What do you think?

To me, making a You-tube video, “Fighting with Baby“, actually encourages other parents to rough house with the babies in their lives.

This is just not funny…

Babies are learning trust especially in their caregivers; here we see the baby’s father literally throwing him onto the bed…twisting him around his arm and tickling him silly. The baby then tries to defend himself by “hitting” dad in the face only to be thwarted in his self-defending efforts.

I love social media and baby/kid videos but this video makes me sick as I watch it. I would like to see it taken down and a statement from the dad apologizing for using his son to publicize his own career. I would also like him to say that this activity could be emotionally and physically harmful.

Some people think that baby’s are “things” and have very few needs since they seem to just eat, sleep and cry. This is simply not so.

baby

Babies are developing  emotionally and physically at a very fast rate during their first year of life…parents and caregivers have a major role in this development. “Fighting” with baby is something we should not ever consider during this time.

At the very least: This video should come with a disclaimer.

NICU: Then & Now, Children & Intense Emotions

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“Tree of Life”

NICU: Then & Now.

The March of Dimes Facebook page catches up with NICU babies in “Then and Now”. This past week, we celebrated National Prematurity Day…not too many years ago these fragile premature babies would not have survived. Here’s to all those that have made these miracle possible!

Helping children when they bite, hit and push – Genevieve Simperingham.

Biting and hitting can really pose a parenting challenge. There are so many reasons that a child resorts to this unpleasant behavior. For me, the most important way to manage behavior problems is through empathy. Empathy for your child and empathy for the victim of your child’s biting and hitting will guide your responses and help make them appropriate. Take a deep cleansing breath to retrieve your empathy and then respond quickly by removing your child from the situation and making sure the other child is okay. Show your child understanding with a sense of calmness, while he is acting this way… and then help him to express his anger and frustration in a more acceptable manner. Gradually, he will find other ways to express his frustrations and anger that do not involve lashing out and biting.

I Have a Daughter With Intense Emotions | Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids.

Keeping with the theme of children and their emotions…here is another post about how to “deal’ with children, who have intense feelings. It is a personal story, to which many of us can relate. Again, “empathy” plays a key role, I hope you visit this story…it is a sweet and endearing one.

Once again…have a wonderful weekend.

 

Teen Punished by North Andover MA High School For Giving Drunken Pal Ride Home

 2006-09-10 - United Kingdom - England - London - Trafalgar Square - Sign - Cutout - Yellow - Caution Teenagers

Teenagers and Alcohol  is a post I wrote a while back but it seems appropriate to share it again after what I read and saw on today’s television news.

via North Andover High Punishes Teen For Giving Drunken Pal Ride Home From Party « CBS Boston.

Today in the news a teenage athlete answered a call from her girlfriend, who asked her to pick her up from a party because she was drunk and needed a ride home. For this gesture the young athlete was punished by her school stating that she had violated the school’s “zero tolerance” policy.

I have many opinions about drinking teens. I am not in favor of alcohol at parties and underage drinking but I am also not in favor of zero tolerance policies that are misguided and enforced in such a way that they penalize a student for helping her friend get home safely.

Let’s try and teach something here…use this as a chance to address the very serious problem of underage alcohol abuse in high school and college.

It is not all about punishment, it is about education and the responsibility of parents, and schools to make kids aware of the consequences of drinking, drinking to excess and of course driving while drunk.

It is about teaching them to engage parents when faced with caring for friends who are drunk rather than bearing all the burden themselves.

I encourage you to voice your thoughts to the principal at North Andover High…an email longleyj@northandover.k12.ma.us was left in the comment section of the article posted

 

 

“Care Package” Wars at Sleep Away Camp

 camp

It used to be just “color war” but now it is “care package war” at sleep away camp.

Color war was a rite of passage but care packages were a comfort from home.

I am guilty of sending care packages to my kids, many years ago.

I also used a service that put together camp friendly packages…I admit this decision was a complete and total waste of money. But, I felt that I needed to compete with the other campers “care packages”… in hindsight…utterly ridiculous!

What I did not do was concoct elaborate ways to stash forbidden candy in my care packages but I did not discourage my kids from taking their own private contraband with them.

It seems that over the years camps have tried to get the upper hand when it comes to controlling care packages…some camps have banned them altogether.

For me, the jury is out on how I would deal with this if I were a parent with a child at sleep away camp this summer.

I would like to think that I would try to adhere to the camp rules.

But when my kids were at camp, I remember hating the lack of contact with them and the “care package” was something I felt I had control over.

I would probably still send one package during the 4 weeks and call it a day…and it would include contraband candy for sure!

Disclosure:

This discussion brought back memories of the difficulty of sending my kids to sleep away…it was a very emotional “letting go”both for myself and for my kids…I never went to sleep away… I am sure if my husband had not encouraged me to send our girls I would not have done so.

 

 

For as long as American children have attended summer camp (around 150 years), parents have sent them stuff. The term “care package” originated after World War II when the Cooperative for American Remittances to Europe (CARE) began sending food relief across the Atlantic. The group bought up surplus 10-in-1 food parcels from the American military, which had prepared them for an invasion of Japan.

Each package included a pound of steak and kidneys; 8 ounces of liver loaf; 12 ounces of luncheon loaf (Spam); 2 pounds of coffee; and a pound each of lard, honey, raisins and chocolate. In its first two decades, the organization delivered over 100 million packages.

Are Over-the-Top Parents Really the Rule at Summer Camp? – NYTimes.com.

Care-Package Wars – Parents Disregard Camp Bans.

How Do You Know If You and Your Child Need a Play Date Consultant?

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Have you ever heard the expression that “there is nothing new under the sun”…

I was a believer in that saying, until I read about this!

Experts said that kids may need the play-date tutoring because their young lives have become so regimented, with classes in subjects like Mandarin and violin, that they don’t know how to play with others.

via Rich parents hire play-date consultants to help kids play better for private-school admissions – NYPOST.com.

Since when do children need experts to tutor them in how to successfully negotiate a play date? Has childhood really become so regimented that kids don’t know how to be kids any longer?

Or is it that parents do not know how to let kids just be kids?

Play is childhood…it is how children learn about the world and how they develop skills that they will use in day to day life. It is how they first learn to problem solve.

Watching children play is absolutely fascinating…at least in my eyes.

As a grandmother of one…I am having the time of my life…I am getting to have another chance to interact on an almost daily basis with a child. I have learned from experience with my own children “not to sweat the small stuff” that children will figure it out if left to themselves to solve a problem.

Patience and time is what I have on my side. This was not always true and I realize that it is the same for this generation of parents. Like myself, they cannot wait for their children to grow…they want them to succeed…they want them not to have to deal with all the difficulties that they dealt with as children. They want “the best” for them.

In this quest for “the best”, today’s parents may just be denying their children what is best. That is just being a child and being allowed to grow and develop through play activities and imagination.

Can trust be said enough times? Trust should be our mantra. It is the secret to the most successful parenting and also the secret to enjoying it. Trust in our child, along with the magic word “wait”, help us to stay our course when friends, family, and unenlightened professionals imply that we’re not doing enough, and/or our child isn’t keeping up. Trust will remind us to let go of personal expectations for our child and to instead recognize and support the expectations she has for herself. Trust, trust, trust. It will never lead us astray. ~ Janet via Janet Lansbury/Elevating ChildCare

 

Parenting is definitely work and that has not changed.

In many ways, it is even more difficult in today’s world to unplug, wind down, and leave the calendar open to do whatever you fancy for a day now and then.

Just perhaps parents should schedule themselves to unschedule and let themselves and their children stop and learn to play.

 

 

What Real Power Looks Like

mother holding child

A beautiful letter…written by a mom, who realizes what “real” power means. I could not say it better than she has.

Please use the link to read her entire post it is lovely.

 

Dear Daughter,

I hold you close. Lithe little toddler body squirming against me as you try and settle. Small human child. One day you will be big and tall and strong. A grown woman, not the little girl I hold now in my arms as you try to relax and sleep. Not the little kid whose body is frantic to move and bursting with energy that even a whole day of play can’t consume.

I see many things in you.

via Being a Powerful Parent and Raising You With Empathy | Nurshable.

What You Need to Know About Baby Amber Teething Necklaces

baby amber necklace

Do you or anyone you know use amber necklaces to relieve teething pain?

As a mother-child nurse, I am always skeptical about such claims when it comes to putting a child at risk.

What do you think about product claims that have no scientific evidence when it comes to children and baby items?

I am very leery, especially if there is any possibility of harm when using these necklaces even if they do “work”.

 

Conclusion

This is an easy call.

 

The complete lack of any good evidence that amber necklaces relieve teething pain means that there is absolutely no benefit to offset the risk of wearing them.

 

Remember that in risk assessment, the size of the risk depends on two factors –

 

  • the likelihood of the event happening,

and

  • the severity of the consequences.

 

In this case, one consequence could be death by choking, and in my book, that rules them out completely. I’m disgusted that they are sold in some pharmacies (here).

 

via Amber necklaces and teething babies | Science or not?.