Archive | Parenting

Parenting skills: Tips for raising teens

Posted on 20 February 2013 by admin

Adolescence can be a confusing time of change for teens and parents alike. But while these years can be difficult, there’s plenty you can do to nurture your teen and encourage responsible behavior. Use these parenting skills to deal with the challenges of raising a teen.

Show your love

One of the most important parenting skills needed for raising healthy teens involves positive attention. Spend time with your teen to remind him or her that you care. Listen to your teen when he or she talks, and respect your teen’s feelings. Also, keep in mind that only reprimanding your teen and never giving him or her any justified praise can prove demoralizing. For every time you discipline or correct your teen, try to compliment him or her twice.

If your teen doesn’t seem interested in bonding, keep trying. Regularly eating meals together may be a good way to stay connected to your teen. Better yet, invite your teen to prepare the meal with you. On days when you’re having trouble connecting with your teen, consider each doing your own thing in the same space. Being near each other could lead to the start of a conversation. You might also encourage your teen to talk to other supportive adults, such as an uncle or older cousin, for guidance.

Minimize pressure

Don’t pressure your teen to be like you were or wish you had been at his or her age. Give your teen some leeway when it comes to clothing and hairstyles. It’s natural for teens to rebel and express themselves in ways that differ from their parents.

If your teen shows an interest in body art — such as tattoos and piercings — make sure he or she understands the health risks, such as skin infections, allergic reactions, and hepatitis B and C. Also talk about potential permanence or scarring.

As you allow your teen some degree of self-expression, remember that you can still maintain high expectations for your teen and the kind of person he or she will become.

Encourage cyber safety

Get to know the technology your teen is using and the websites he or she visits. If possible, keep the computer in a common area in your home. Remind your teen to practice these basic safety rules:

  • Don’t share personal information online.
  • Don’t share passwords.
  • Don’t get together with someone you meet online.
  • Don’t send anything in a message you wouldn’t say face to face.
  • Don’t text or chat on the phone while driving.
  • Don’t plagiarize.
  • Talk to a parent or trusted adult if an interaction or message makes you uncomfortable.

 What is Teen Depression?

Teen depression is a serious medical problem that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. It affects how your teen thinks, feels and behaves, and it can cause emotional, functional and physical problems. Although mood disorders, such as depression, can occur at any time in life, symptoms may be different between teens and adults.

Issues such as peer pressure, academic expectations and changing bodies can bring a lot of ups and downs for teens. But for some teens, the lows are more than just temporary feelings — they’re a symptom of depression.

Teen depression isn’t a weakness or something that can be overcome with willpower — it can have serious consequences and requires long-term treatment. For most teens, depression symptoms ease with treatment such as medication and psychological counselling.

(http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/parenting-tips-for-teens/MY00481)

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Should You Spank Your Child?

Posted on 23 January 2013 by admin

Dr. Laura Markham

Were you spanked as a child? Then you may think it’s a good way to guide a child. Or maybe you don’t want to spank, but you find yourself doing it because you don’t know how else to get through to your child. Interestingly, adults who were not spanked as children don’t spank their kids. It just feels wrong to them. And you know what? They find other ways to get through to their kids. And their children turn out fine.

In fact, the last thirty years of research is clear. Kids who are spanked are less emotionally healthy than kids who aren’t. What’s more, kids who are spanked behave worse over time.

So if you were spanked and think you came out alright, it wasn’t because of the spanking. You’d be even better if you hadn’t been spanked!

A 2012 study reviewed the previous two decades of research and confirmed that children who are spanked have less gray matter in their brains, and are more likely to exhibit depression, anxiety, drug use, and aggression as they get older. The only positive outcome that’s ever been shown from corporal punishment is immediate compliance; however, corporal punishment is associated with less long-term compliance. Corporal punishment has repeatedly been linked with nine other negative outcomes, including increased rates of aggression, delinquency, mental health problems, and problems in relationships with their parents.

Large, peer-reviewed studies repeatedly show that the more children are hit, the more likely they are to hit others, including peers and siblings. As adults, they are more likely to hit their spouses. The more parents spank children for antisocial behavior, the more the antisocial behavior increases. All of the peer reviewed studies being published continue to confirm these findings. A major study at Tulane University, published in Pediatrics, controlled for other factors that have been found to contribute to aggressiveness in children, including the mother’s depression, alcohol and drug use, spousal abuse and even whether the mother considered abortion while pregnant with the child. Spanking remained a strong predictor of violent behavior in the child. As five-year-olds, the children who had been spanked were more likely than the non-spanked to be defiant, demand immediate satisfaction of their wants and needs, become frustrated easily, have temper tantrums and lash out physically against other people or animals.

Quite simply, spanking produces WORSE behavior, not better behavior. It also begets more violence, because hitting children teaches them that it is acceptable to hit others who are smaller and weaker. “I’m going to hit you because you hit your sister” is a hypocrisy not lost on children. As every parent knows, kids do what we do, not what we say.

I strongly believe that permissiveness without limits creates children who are unhappy and impossible to live with. But discipline means “to teach.” If we’re serious about raising good kids, we need to use methods that teach kids to manage themselves. Spanking does not do that. Instead, it teaches kids to be afraid of us, which is no basis for love. It teaches them to be sneaky so they won’t be caught doing something wrong. It teaches kids that they are bad, so they are more likely to behave badly. It teaches kids to use violence when they want to solve a problem. And it keeps them from taking responsibility to improve their own behavior, because they “externalize the locus of control,” which means they only behave because an authority figure makes them, rather than behaving because they want to.

The secret is that spanking not only doesn’t work, it is totally unnecessary. When children are raised with age-appropriate expectations and limits accompanied by empathy, they tend to behave and cooperate. Those children don’t need much in the way of discipline at all, and they become self-disciplined adults.

So next time you get so angry you want to hit someone, tell your kids you’re taking a timeout and you’ll deal with them later. Then go into the bathroom, run the water, and calm yourself down. Use the time to get calm, not to justify your anger. When you come out, tell them you need to think hard about what they did, but right now you need to fix dinner (do the laundry, whatever.) Tell them you need them to be little angels, and you will talk when you are all calm later. Then follow through. Your discipline and teaching will be so much more effective. They’ll learn a lot better when they aren’t in the flush of flight or flight hormones. And you will be so grateful to see yourself becoming the kind of parent every child deserves.

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How to raise a reader

Posted on 12 December 2012 by admin

Children learn to love the sound of language before they ever notice the existence of printed words on a page. Reading aloud with children is an essential component to language development and is one of the most important activities for preparing them to succeed as readers. Here are some things you can do to raise a lifelong reader:

Talk, Sing, and Play

Babies delight in hearing language. Talk as you do simple everyday things together: recite nursery rhymes, and do finger plays, games and action songs.

Make Time to Read

Try to read with your child every day at a regularly scheduled time. If possible, choose a time when you can be relaxed and not rushed. If you have more than one child, spend time reading with each child separately, especially if they’re more than two years apart. On days that are particularly hectic, bring a few books when you take children along on errands. Taking time to read to children on a regular basis sends the message that reading is worthwhile.

One More Time…PLEASE?!

As every adult who cares for children knows, they often ask to hear the same story again and again. They delight in knowing what comes next and often learn a favorite book so well that they can "read" it on their own. That favorite story may speak to your child’s current interests and emotional needs, so it’s important for the adults in their lives to be patient during this phase. Young children are eventually ready for different stories if they are continuously exposed to a variety of books.

Slow Down

It’s not just what you read to children, but how you read that matters. If adults rush through stories or read without enthusiasm, children quickly lose interest. Try to read with expression and use different voices for the characters. Reading at a leisurely pace with occasional pauses gives children time to take in what they hear, mull it over, and imagine the people, places, and events. Pose a question or make a remark that will prompt the child to think, express himself, or relate the story to his own experiences. It’s also a good idea to follow children’s cues. Sometimes they are caught up in the story and don’t want stops and detours along the way.

Choose Books with Care

Reading together often, you learn a lot about the kinds of books your child likes and understands. Visit the local library and involve your child in deciding what to bring home. Selecting books that relate to what’s happening in the child’s life at that time is a good way to ease transitions and allay fears about upcoming events. Topics such as potty training, new siblings, adoption, or moving to a new home are covered in a variety of books that are written specifically for young children.

Surround Children with Reading Material

In addition to library books, children also like having some books of their own that they can read whenever the mood strikes them. Affordable used books can be found at yard sales, thrift stores, secondhand book stores, and public library book sales. Consider subscribing to a good children’s magazine–children love having something come in the mail just for them!

Don’t Pressure Children About What or When to Read

Nagging children about their reading habits may cause them to resist reading all-together. Some school-age children choose to read only comic books or fan magazines after their homework is completed. Try not to criticize–after all, they are reading. If a child makes a mistake when reading aloud, don’t interrupt. If the mistake doesn’t change the meaning, let it go.

Show That You Value Their Efforts

Nothing is more important for fostering readers than showing genuine enthusiasm. Ask your child to read to you, a younger child, or a special visitor. Talk with him about what he is reading and respond positively.

(http://www.kidsource.com/)

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Parenting style—what is it?

Posted on 06 December 2012 by admin

As all parents know all too well, parenting is complex, and there are no easy answers. The interaction of many specific actions and attitudes on the part of parents come together to affect a child’s development. Parenting style refers to thebroad overall pattern of parental actions, rather than to a single act.

Types of parenting style
Descriptions of parenting styles grew out of the work of Diana Baumrind and other researchers in child development. They looked at children who had the qualities most of us would want in our children: independence, maturity, self-reliance, self-control, curiosity, friendliness and achievement orientation. The researchers then interviewed the parents of these children to ascertain which elements of parenting fostered these qualities. They identified two important ingredients: a) responsiveness, or warmth and supportiveness, and b) demandingness or behavioral control. Four styles of parenting, as listed below, are based on these elements.

Authoritarian, or extremely strict, parents are highly controlling. They dictate how their children should behave. They stress obedience to authority and discourage discussion. They are demanding and directive. They expect their orders to be obeyed and do not encourage give-and-take. They have low levels of sensitivity and do not expect their children to disagree with their decisions.

Authoritative, or moderate, parents set limits and rely on natural consequences for children to learn from making their own mistakes. Authoritative parents explain why rules are important and why they must be followed. They reason with their children and consider the children’s point of view even though they might not agree. They are firm, with kindness, warmth and love. They set high standards and encourage children to be independent.

Permissive, or indulgent, parents are accepting and warm but exert little control. They do not set limits, and allow children to set their own rules and schedules and activities. They do not make demands about behavior as authoritarian or authoritative parents do.

Uninvolved parents demand little and respond minimally. In extreme cases, this parenting style might entail neglect and rejection.

How does parenting style affect children?

Research has found that the best adjusted children, particularly in terms of social competence, have parents with an authoritative, moderate parenting style. These parents are able to balance clearly stated, high demands with emotional responsiveness and respect for their child’s autonomy. Both authoritian and authoritative parents have high expectations of their children and use control, but the overly strict parent expects the child to unquestioningly accept parental judgments and allows the child little freedom of expression. Children of overly strict parents are apt to be reliant on the voice of authority and to be lacking in spontaneity. In contrast, the authoritative parent permits the child enough freedom of expression so that he or she can develop a sense of independence. Permissive parents make few demands and their children have been found to have difficulty controlling their impulses, and can be immature and reluctant to accept responsibility.

One example of the effect of parenting style on the development of children was published in the June 2006 issue of Pediatrics. A research team headed by Dr. Kyung E. Rhee, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center, analyzed data for 872 children collected by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. They assessed the relationship between child-rearing style, assessed when the children were 4 and a half years of age, and their weight status two years later.

By that time more than 11 percent of the children were overweight and an additional 13.4 percent were considered at risk. The children of authoritarian mothers were nearly five times as likely to be overweight as those of authoritative mothers, and children of permissive or uninvolved parents were at more than three times the risk. The researchers stated that an overly strict upbringing can have a negative impact on weight because the children may fail to learn to eat on the basis of hunger and satiety. In such families parents may use food as a reward, insist that children clean their plates, or restrict the kind or amount of food a child can eat.

Source: http://www.aboutourkids.org/

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