Child Abuse-Primary Prevention

A couple of weeks ago this newspaper headline  Miramonte School Closing For 2 Days Over Double Teacher Arrests; Parents Protest PHOTOS, VIDEO made me sick.

Children are not protected from predators even at school. How do parents deal with news like this? Does it make you more of a helicopter parent?

I do not have children in school any more but I do have a grandchild who will be in school soon enough….worrying…

When I start to worry…it is a signal for me to go to my computer and GOOGLE…to find out just what is being done to protect children from being abused.

An interesting but sad fact is this, in most cases of child abuse…the child is abused by someone he/she knows right in their own family…which is why it does not always get recognized immediately. A mother, sometimes, does not believe her child and inadvertently enables the abuser. Sadly, it can be a very complicated scenario even involving more than one child in a family.

In my google search, I came across a program developed through This program deals with ‘primary’ prevention and has learning modules that are thorough and user friendly. Child Help recognizes that abuse comes in many forms, sexual, emotional, physical and even bullying. Kathie Lee Gifford shares a video in which she explores the ‘primary’ prevention approach to child abuse. Kathie Lee has been a child advocate and worked with Child Help for many years.

Information is available for parents and caregivers on the developmental characteristics of the child; factors that create risk as well as those that help keep children safe; and how to handle a child’s disclosure of abuse should it occur. By providing parents and caregivers with the resources to be proactive and involved, we strengthen our mission to keep children safe!

Nightmares and Pre-schoolers



Recently we have been having problems with our resident pre-schooler…she is having nightmares, which are disturbing for her and for us. She has been an incredibly good sleeper since around 2 months old but now is having difficulty going back to sleep after waking from a nightmare in the middle of the night.

Being a good grandma and blogger…I did some research that I would like to share about children and nightmares.

Children around three years old begin to have fears …nightmares are sometimes the results of these fears and anxiety.Usually these ‘bad’ dreams wake them up during the last half of the night and sometimes it is difficult for them to return to a peaceful sleep.

“The child may dream about danger or a scary situation. Nightmares may involve disturbing themes, images, or figures such as monsters, ghosts, animals, or bad people. Loss of control and fear of injury are common themes”

Bedtime routines that are quieting without the stimulation of a scary story or television show are helpful to ward off scary dreams.

Reassurance is important…this is a time when a parent will wake with a crying child and will want to go and console him/her and listen to his/her story. Sometimes your child will want to frantically tell you about the nightmare in vivid detail but if they don’t …no need to press them.

In the morning they may want to talk again about their dream and this is a time when you can perhaps create a different ending for the story one that is not so scary…this may help ward off a recurrent dream theme.

Coping strategies can include checking around the child’s room with him /her so they know there is nothing lurking under their beds…monsters are real at this point in their young imaginations.

There are also things that you can do to help your child. Especially with younger children, a security object such as a favorite stuffed animal or a blanket can help a child feel relaxed and safe in bed. Other things that can help are leaving a low nightlight on in your child’s bedroom and teaching him relaxation techniques. Have your child imagine a relaxing scene, such as a being on the beach or watching a sunset, will help him relax after a scary dream. Children can also use their imagination to help them settle down and fall back to sleep. Have your child imagine a different ending to the nightmare, hang a dream catcher over your child’s bed which helps catch the “bad dreams,” or have your child draw pictures of his nightmare that he crumples up and throws away.

Our little one  has a magic wand that helps to ward off  ‘bad dreams’…some nights it works better than others…

Nightmares are real and scary…your presence and a big hug is above all the best reassurance for your little one that all is well especially in the middle of the night!

6 Tips On Being A Better Parent

 6 Ways to Parent Better…

Sounds simple….but we all know differently…

While breezing through some articles devoted to parenting tips I began looking for a common thread.I wanted to see if there were one or two or more things that appeared on all the lists.

Consistency seemed to be a common thread that held all the lists on parenting together.

  • Being consistent in showing love…praise…conseqences for behavior
  • Being consistent with routines like meal times…bedtimes…naptimes..this makes a child feel safe and stimulates good sleeping habits.
  • Being consistent in being organized…requiring chores…instilling a routine…like making their beds…picking up toys…helping with meals.
  • Being consistent with rules and expectations…keep the rules simple and concise and make sure other family members and caregivers are doing the same. Make a list of family rules so everyone is on the same page.
  • Be a consistent listener…put away your phone…and talk…listen in the car when they are with their friends…you will be surprised at what you learn.
  • Be consistent in taking care of yourselves…so important for parents and grandparents to exercise and enjoy themselves…be a role model for your kids so that they learn to take care of themselves too. Teach them how to balance their lives…what a gift.

All of the above done with love and respect can help make parenting easier and hopefully happier… being a parent may never be easy but it can be enjoyable.

French Parents sont le Meilleurs?



Raising our Children Properly…pour élever ses propres enfants

This week I have been fascinated by the reviews of a new book on parenting…it is reminiscent of how I felt when I read Amy Chua’s “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mom” last year.

Quite a few articles have been stimulated by this new book…”Bringing Up Bebe

Parenting styles differ so much in various cultures. I imagine it to be a fascinating experience being an American mom trying to raise a family overseas particularly in Paris.

The French do not agree with our American obsession with parenting. Unlike their American counterparts, they seem to manage to get their children to sit still through a meal which is hard to come by here in the United States. We seem to be raising a generation of wanderers who graze on their meals. Generally, we do not expose our children to multi-course meals that are paced for enjoyment and conversation as is typical in France. We seem to be a generation of eating on the run…running to activities from the beginning of the week sometimes through the weekends.

French parents have also learned the art of saying the word “NO”. We seem to spend an inordinate amount of time talking to our children explaining why we are saying no and discussing why a child should not be doing something that is clearly bad behavior….oh and we never say the word “bad”…we describe the behavior as not being nice or acceptable and something that we should not be doing. “French experts and parents believe that hearing ‘no’ rescues children from the tyranny of their own desires”. via New York Magazine

Another interesting comparison is how French babies learn to sleep throughout  the night at about 6 weeks of age. They practice “La Pause”.  ‘La Pause‘ is a period of about 5 minutes that a parent waits to attend to a crying infant. It is somewhat reminiscent of the “crying it out” method of sleep training which teaches a baby to self soothe and not  to expect instant gratification when he/she cries. I am totally not in favor of crying it out…a short cry perhaps…I also do not expect an infant to sleep through the night until at least 8 weeks of age for many good reasons. Co-sleeping is not something that is practiced with any regularity in France. For many families in the United States it is very typical for parents and kids to sleep in the same room, sometimes mom sleeps with one child and dad sleeps with another. Babies may sleep next to the parents or at least in the same room for an extended period of time.

French children are typically not the center of the universe, their parents are good parents but they do not hover over their children. They also do not feel guilty about their parenting practices. Weekends are not spent wrapped up in children’s activities…like the overwhelming, over done birthday parties, sports practices and games.

According to Pamela Druckerman, French parents are not as anxious as their American counterparts…they tend to be a little more relaxed and realize that learning to be parents is a process.

“The French are absolutely not draconian about their own rules,” Druckerman added. “They actually believe that children are more capable, in some ways, and believe in their autonomy. They just give a clear framework in which they can learn and see its a process — you dont suddenly arrive at being a brilliant parent.”

In doing some reading before writing this post I came across the following statement which adds a touch of humor to all parenting styles…I hope you have a laugh…

I think what the French do well is rely on common sense when bringing up their kids, and perhaps the support of mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers, rather than gimmicky books by childless gurus. Why British women are so attracted to bizarre methods of childrearing rather than relying on common sense and a sensible book of essential information is a mystery. But whatever the method chosen rest assured that a mothers place is in the wrong, and our parents fuck us up whatever their nationality.


They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do.They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra, just for you.

via St Bloggie de Riviere: French Parenting

related posts:

Why Caucasian Dads are Superior…REVISITED…

Noteworthy Wednesday!

This is my most read post in 2011…since “Tiger Mom” is now published in paperback and it is the one year anniversary of the commotion that it set off I am reposting this for you perusal.


Why Caucasian fathers are superior.

“So it should come as no surprise that I am better at parenting than most humans (and all animals, except bison and unicorns). The reason? I’m a Caucasian male.

The Caucasian culture does not accept mediocrity. You name it, we excel at it. Whether it’s playing hockey, or watching hockey, or dancing (the polka), or finishing last in 100-metre races, or suppressing the civil rights of minorities, Caucasian males do it best. We also raise the brightest children.”

Seriously, this is such an amusing piece that responds to the “Tiger Mom”  uproar. I thought we had read just about everything but apparently not so.

Given all the commotion that Tiger Mom has generated, I think that it is time to consider some balance. Parenting is something that is too important to actually laugh about.

It seems there are as many beliefs about the right way to parent as there are parents. It is my belief that anything taken to extremes is never really a good thing. There are exceptions to almost any “rule”. To be excessively rigid in your parenting style could pass this rigidity on to your child or create the opposite stance on your child’s part. Neither of these responses is what I personally would want.

There are many aspects of attachment parenting that I like and I probably was an attached parent and am an attached grandparent although I did not “co-sleep” nor did I breast feed.

My personal parenting guidelines came from Erik Erikson’s stages of development. I tried to parent so that my children successfully completed Erikson’s  stages of development.

I also tried to model behavior for my children. They experienced how important it was for both their grandmothers to die having completed their final stage of life at age 89. They both died with integrity and dignity.

Parenting never really ends.

For me, it is about teaching your children how to have love and empathy and be able to develop their own skills to live each stage of life.

With that said please read this “caucasian father’s” editorial reaction to “Tiger Mom” and laugh if you like…it is pretty humorous!

Penn State And Our Kids …

The news about the sex scandal at Penn State is truly disgusting.

No one went “the whole nine yards” to protect the children …this is not forgivable  …it is a lack of what is morally right.

We tell our children that “if a touch feels wrong it  is wrong”…I told this to my own kids. Even tickling can be wrong if it feels bad to a child.

Kids trust us as parents to protect them…when we fail they feel abandoned and confused as to why mom or dad did not rescue them.

In the case at Penn State…these kids trusted the coaches and teachers to be their parents when their own parents were not present and what did they do …well I don’t even want to repeat it here.

I think to really appreciate the significance of such an “injury” to a child you have to put yourself in that child’s place…it’s called empathy. You have to dig up your own childhood innocence. You have to remember your mom, your nana, your dad, your siblings, your teachers, anyone who you trusted.

Then you have to picture them violating you and taking away your innocence forever.

Teach your children to tell you if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable.

Teach them about their own bodies and answer their questions with age appropriate responses.

As a social worker, I have seen my share of child abuse…they are most times victims of people they trust.

So sadly, we have to be aware and sensitive to our children’s environment and we must take time to talk to our children and listen to them. Get off the phone, get away from media, and actually observe and listen to your kids.

Do not focus too much on “Stranger Danger” give kids the warnings associated with this.

Parents, keep your eyes wide-open around those you trust, teachers, babysitters, friends, boyfriends,  and even relatives.

Related articles;

Penn State Sex Scandal And Our Kids –

Tantrum Tamer: New Ways Parents Can Stop Bad Behavior –


Forget everything you may have read about coping with children‘s temper tantrums. Time-outs, sticker charts, television denial—for many, none of these measures will actually result in long-term behavior change, according to researchers at two academic institutions.

Whether a child has violent temper tantrums or is extremely clingy, their behaviors can be curbed, according to child psychologists at Yale University and King’s College London. Shirley Wang has details on Lunch Break.

Instead, a set of techniques known as “parent management training” is proving so helpful to families struggling with a child’s unmanageable behavior that clinicians in the U.S. and the U.K. are starting to adopt them.

via Tantrum Tamer: New Ways Parents Can Stop Bad Behavior –

Parents can control bad behavior if they are consistent with their approach to their child’s meltdowns.

This is not easy and many parents may become frustrated and revert to their “old” approaches before they actually see positive results.

My personal favorite book on the subject of children’s behavior especially that of toddlers is “The Happiest Toddler on the Block” by Dr. Harvey Karp. It is easy to read and follow…my copy is totally dog-eared. I absolutely endorse his “Fast Food Response” to the toddler’s demanding demons.

You see, he says…toddlers lack the maturity and sometimes I do as well, to express what they really want …so a tantrum is the best way to get it.

Dr. Karp tells us to verbally recognize what the child actually wants…this usually gets the toddler to respond by suddenly stopping in his tracks…this is the time to inject some choices (not too many) or an alternative.

Why this works?  Simple… it disarms the child…he gets his needs validated, understood and respected.

Really it works…I have tried it.

Dr. Karp makes a point here though, that is very important….if the toddler is doing something dangerous…you cannot use this approach…you must remove him from the unsafe situation and then move into the “FFR” (Fast Food Response)

So, there is hope for tantrums…remember “meltdowns are not pleasant for the child either.

Be patient and consistent and get help, you will probably need it…but trust me, it will be worth the effort in the end.

Kids and Allergies-“Allergy friendly party: How to host a kids party –”


Although only a small percentage of children in the U.S. have reported food allergies it can be deadly for that small number.

It is important for those of us who are not affected by this problem to remain empathic for those that do ….

… can mean life or death within minutes of exposure.

With that being said, if your child has friends with allergies or your child, herself, has allergies it means that childhood parties and holiday celebrations at school can be problematic.

There are many ways to host an allergy free event…it may not be all that easy but well worth the effort.

I would urge any parent or grandparent to become familiar with common food allergies and the signs of an allergic reaction so that they can respond appropriately if necessary.

When in doubt if it is an allergic reaction….call 911…better to be safe than sorry!

So…I came across this information in the LA Times which might be helpful.

The latest research shows that 8 percent of children in the United States have food allergies, which means that even if your kid can eat her weight in PB&J or egg salad, she’ll probably have a friend who can’t.

Here are some tips from Beasley on how to host an allergy-friendly kids party:

1. On party invitations, mention upfront if there will be a food-centric theme, such as decorating your own pizza or assembling gingerbread houses.

2. If the parent of a food-allergic child contacts you before the party, offer to put out a “safe” dish (prepared by the parent and dropped off with the child) amid buffet items.

3. Choose dishware that comes in a variety of colors instead of a uniform print. This will help an allergic child avoid accidentally using someone else’s tainted cup or fork.

4. If traditional cake is being served, don’t make a big production out of cutting and handing a slice to each guest. If ice cream is being served, have a nondairy fruit sorbet on hand that can be substituted without drawing attention to the milk-allergic child.

5. If crafts will be a focal point, beware of common allergens that might be ingredients in art supplies, such as glue (milk), modeling clay (wheat) and tempera paints (egg).

6. Giving out goody bags? Be sure any food you include is thoroughly wrapped. Crumbs from a cookie or chocolate’s oils can contaminate the toys bundled beside it. Or leave out food altogether.

Andrea Pyros writes for the coupon site

Distributed by MCT Information Services

via Allergy friendly party: How to host a kids party –



From: FB page of Phd in Parenting:

Do you find the articles posted here and the discussions on the page valuable? Consider suggesting the page to some of your friends who might like it too. The more the merrier!

via Do you find the….

From my FB page...Parenting in the Loop

This is a great blog and valuable discussions for anyone who is concerned about making the world a better place now and for the next generation…two thumbs up here!

9/11…10 Years Later…Lessons Learned


This past Sunday was the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

The horror of 9/11 will remain.

This year the surviving  families, children and spouses showed us all how life goes on and how they have managed to remember and honor their loved ones who perished on 9/11.

The surviving children that honored their parents at the memorial were inspirational…some knew their parent others did not  as they had not even born yet.

Children are remarkable and in their own way resilient.

Resilience is a word that is used often, but in my opinion it is a characteristic that is not well understood.

Each of us has the capacity for resilient behavior but it has to be nurtured in us.

Resiliency is the ability to spring back from and successfully adapt to adversity. An increasing body of research from the fields of psychology, psychiatry, and sociology is showing that most people–including young people–can bounce back from risks, stress, crises, and trauma and experience life success.

via Resiliency In Action.

It seems that some children function well after traumatic events and this is related to the way their parents’ have reacted to such events and the way they have been brought up to use adaptive coping responses.

It has been found:

When families and mothers ‘did well,’ so did their children. Conversely, families and mothers who showed negative posttraumatic reactions had children who showed similar negative outcomes.

An array of protective characteristics or factors has been identified in resilient children. They are present at the individual, family, and community level and contribute, together, to adaptation following trauma during childhood:

(1) trauma characteristics;

(2) the child’s own resources;

(3) the child’s family characteristics;

(4) the community support (i.e. from teachers, peers, friends, mentors); and

(5) developmental path.

via Children’s Resilience in the Face of Trauma |

So the remarkable children and spouses, we witnessed on the anniversary of 9/11 speaking of their lives now, are reflections of their surviving parents and those who perished in the attacks that day in 2001.

Let us all try to foster resilience in our children in this age of uncertainty so that they can call upon it when and if they need to do so.


1. Masten, AS (1994) Resilience in individual development: Successful adaptation despite risk and adversity. In MC Wang & EW Gordon (Eds.) Inner City Educational Resilience

2. Masten, AS, Best, KM & Garmezy,N. (1991) Resilience and development: contributions from the study of children who overcome adversity. Development and Psychopathology, 2, 425-444

3. Scheering, MS & Zeanah, CH (2001) A relational perspective on PTSD in early childhood. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 14 (4) 799-815

4. Hoven, CW, Duarte, CS, Lucas, CP et al (2002) Effects of the World Trade Center attack on NYC Public School Students: Initial Report of the New York City Board of Education. New York: Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York State Psychiatric Institute and Applied Research and Consulting, LLC

5. Ibid, p. 24

6. Terr, LC, Block, DA, Beat, MA et al (1997) Children’s thinking in the wake of Challenger. The American Journal of

Psychiatry, 154 (6)744-751

via Children’s Resilience in the Face of Trauma |