April 21, 2018

Study shows corporal punishment linked to aggression.

Study just out from the Feb 2011 issue of Development Psychopathology. Among a few other things they found that early corporal punishment was associated with increased levels of peer aggression across the transition from preschool to school.

So, what are we to do??

0-1 Meet all needs. When a baby cries, it’s his only way to communicate. When you respond, you are calming their little system. He doesn’t have an ability to regulate his emotions and your calming sets his little emotional template. It’s good to allow them to cry as well. Some of us don’t want them to cry at all, but it’s important to let them express the distress and then respond to help him calm. This will set his ability to regulate his emotions for years to come!

1-3 Meet all needs and set limits on his wants. It is imperative to set limits and when he has a fit, he needs you to help him calm. Continue to hold the line and it’s be empathetic and help his body calm. When you do this, you are clear that the rules are to be followed, and clear that you are a safe and loving parent that will help them in times of need. This also has longstanding effects on his ability to handle the stress of hearing “no” for years to come!

Corporal punishment is not recommended especially for young children.

The power of modeling

The discovery of mirror neurons has helped make clear why modeling is the most powerful form of teaching we have as a parent. When we want to teach our child how to be kind and respect others, the very best way to do this is to be kind and respect others, including our children. Iacoboni discovered that there are specific neurons in our brains with the sole purpose of mimicking social behavior.  With this understanding, we now know that the old saying of “do as I say, not as I do”, does not work.  So as a parent, we must do as we want our children to do and create the best chance of teaching those qualities we want them to develop.

This commercial called “Children See, Children Do”, It’s powerful.


If you are interested in a 50 minute lecture by Iacoboni, the one who discovered the mirror neurons, watch this wonderful video presented by google.


I LOVE to cuddle with my kids.  I think of how fast they are going to grow up and want to get all the cuddles in that I can.  One of my favorite times is cuddling when they wake up.  I’ll go into their room to wake them and lay down along-side them and rub their little backs.  We talk and cuddle….it’s so dear.

Turns out that research shows that the more we touch and cuddle our kids, the better.  And when they are infants the more they need.  New Directions Institute states that “Human contact and touch promotes a sense of security and encourages healthy brain development.” They even recommend infant massage, and state that, “When massaged, babies cry less, gain weight better, sleep more easily, make better eye contact, and have lower levels of stress hormones.”  Is this a surprise?

I wish I had read this research when my kids were babies.  I’m sure that I did a lot of touch and I wore my children, but I didn’t do a great deal of massage.  So, now I know, and at least I can pass this information along to you!

But, it’s never too late to cuddle!


Today I was wondering how well I’m caring for myself.  I know that I don’t function well unless I am.  I don’t care as well for my children, my husband or my friends if I am not caring for myself.  If I become too busy and have one too many things going on, then what goes first?  Those things that I need to do for me.  I wonder if it’s an ingrained thing that thinks it’s selfish, or do I just become too busy?

Those things that I find that work for me are:

Physical: Exercising, eating right, and drinking tea throughout the day.

Psychological: Journaling, meeting with a therapist.

Emotional: Being honest with myself and others (this is harder than it seems), being ok with my imperfections, and living in the present moment.

Spiritual: Waking early to have quiet time to pray, playing uplifting music, seeing the spiritual throughout my day and saying “thank you” for those special things.

Professional: Making time to work on the things that interest and stimulate my brain (like this website), and balancing the time with the other areas of my life.

And simply just being aware of how busy I am.  Do I need to slow down?  I find that if I am too over-obligated, than I become less available to the kids.  I am not able to hear them so well when they say, “Mommy, look at this!”  I then find that they are not being cherished as they deserve and I am not having the kind of parenting experience that I desire.

I am realistic and understand that we are all busy.  It’s just the society in which we live.  But when things get too hectic to be able to care for ourselves the way we need to, we may need to consider slowing down.

Self-care is not one more to-do list.  Rather, it’s a nurturing of oneself.  It’s a type of caring for and loving oneself in a way we extend it to those special others in our lives.  If I put my self-care as a priority, then, I find that things fall into place.  When I feel better, then I pleasantly affect those around me.  The world does not become a better place, but my ability to handle it and my perspective does.

What is Butt Dust?

My pregnant little sister forwarded this to me.  I had to post it!

JACK (age 3) was watching his Mom breast-feeding his new baby sister.
After a while he asked, “Mom why have you got two? Is one for hot and one for cold milk?”

MELANIE (age 5) asked her Granny how old she was. Granny replied she was so old she didn’t remember any more.
Melanie said, “If you don’t remember you must look in the back of your panties. Mine say five to six.”

STEVEN (age 3) hugged and kissed his Mom good night. “I love you so much that when you die I’m going to bury you outside my bedroom window.”

BRITTANY (age 4) had an earache and wanted a pain killer.
She tried in vain to take the lid off the bottle.  Seeing her frustration, her Mom explained it
was a child-proof cap and she’d have to open it for her.  Eyes wide with wonder, the little girl asked: “How does it know it’s me?”

SUSAN (age 4) was drinking juice when she got the hiccups. “Please don’t give me this juice again,” she said, “It makes my teeth cough.”

DJ (age 4) stepped onto the bathroom scale and asked, “How much do I cost?”

MARC (age 4) was engrossed in a young couple that were hugging and kissing in a restaurant.
Without taking his eyes off them, he asked his dad, “Why is he whispering in her mouth?”

CLINTON (age 5) was in his bedroom looking worried.
When his Mom asked what was troubling him, he replied, “I don’t know what’ll happen with this bed
when I get married.  How will my wife fit in?”

JAMES (age 4) was listening to a Bible story.  His dad read, “The man named
Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city, but his wife looked
back and was turned to salt.”  Concerned, James asked, “What happened to the flea?”

TAMMY (age 4) was with her mother when they met an elderly, rather wrinkled woman her Mom knew.
Tammy looked at her for a while and then asked, “Why doesn’t your skin fit your face?

AND FINALLY- One sermon will never forgotten by this man. “Dear Lord,” the minister began, with arms extended toward heaven and a rapturous look on his upturned face. “Without you, we are but dust.  “He would have continued but at that moment the man’s very obedient daughter who was listening leaned over and asked quite audibly in her shrill little four year old girl voice, “Dad, what is butt dust?”

Research shows that Supernanny does not produce better behavior and does not create less stress for moms

Research published by the British Medical Journal evaluated the parenting style advocated by British Supernanny, Jo Frost.  They found that Supernanny methods did NOT produce better behaved toddlers and parents were NOT less stressed.  They also showed that forcing disobedient toddlers to have “quiet time” to reflect on their bad behavior, a technique that has been widely adopted by British parents, made no difference to children’s behavior.

Researchers in Australia looked at the effects of disciplining 700 children from the age of one. The mothers of half the children were allowed to bring them up as they thought best.  The other half attended parenting classes and were taught how best to develop “a warm and sensitive relationship” with their toddler.  Advice included abandoning “smacking and yelling” in favor of ignoring or distracting a misbehaving child. The mothers were also encouraged to praise children when they did something right, rather than punishing them when they did something wrong.  Parents also attended two two-hour classes designed by experts at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Victoria which aimed to prevent defiance and aggression among toddlers, while reducing the stress felt by mothers.

By the age of two, youngsters whose mothers had attended the classes were no less naughty than the others. And the mothers who had attended the parenting classes were just as stressed as the other women. However, the program did reduce harsh parental discipline and lessen parents’ inappropriate developmental expectations of their children. The researchers said that while it was important to tackle bad behavior at an early age, there was no evidence to support introducing such disciplinary programs on a wide scale. “It did not lead to more nurturing parenting,” their report said. “We showed no significant impact on externalizing behavioral problems in two-year-olds or on maternal mental health.”

This is one of many parenting styles that are publicly promoted and widely accepted among the general population.  It shows that we MUST evaluate those things that we are told work in child-rearing.

My mistakes, self-doubt and why I do what I do

I’ve started this business, and find myself having moments of feeling like I need to “do it right”…. Well, I am giving parents information on how to parent successfully, right?  I catch myself feeling like people are watching me, wondering if this stuff really works.  I had to take a moment and evaluate what it is I am doing here and why.

What I need to remember, and what I want you to remember, is that kids MUST try things in order to learn them.  It’s not how they act that determines our success (or worth) as a parent.  Rather, it’s how we respond to them that will produce the results in them that are most beneficial.  Things seems to go great for a while and then, BAM!  My children begin to act out in a new and exciting way.  In the moments when my daughter throws a tantrum because she can’t be first, or when my little one is whining continually through the day and I’m too busy to slow down and try to listen to what she is saying or take the time to help her to do it differently……I have moments of self doubt.  Can I really do this?  Let’s remember this.  Our children will investigate, in various ways as they learn about their world around them, and try to make sense of it all.

Parenting is HARD!  I sometimes react the way I know is NOT the best for my kids.  And it’s painful when I do.  One of the reasons that I became so passionate about learning as much as I could about parenting is that I grew up with poor parenting.  I did not have confidence in parenting the way I was parented.  And, in fact, I learned that because of how I was wired, I often reacted in an unhealthy way.  I found myself as a new mom, wondering “what really is best?”.  The way I was raised was clearly not, but what is?  I need to know how to do this!  This question produced an intense desire to seek and find the answers.  And THIS is what I share with other parents.  It is not my opinions or value’s, it is simply the emperical data I’ve found in this quest.

There are many theories and books that tout people’s opinions about what the best type of parenting is.  Sometimes, these opinions contradict each other.  And sometimes these ideas are promoted because it’s what generations have passed down, so it must be right…..well we know that this isn’t true.  So, what I wanted to find is research.  For example, have there been studies on discipline? Yes.  There have been studies that show specific types of discipline styles produce specific types of kids.  So, this should be incorporated into the parenting style that I want to use.  And it is clear is that there are certain things that kids need developmentally to help their little brains, “wire-up” in a healthy way.  There is research that shows, physiologically, the detrimental effects that result due to a lack these things.  So, I want to incorporate this.  And, what about nutrition?  There is ton’s of research that shows the effect of poor nutrition on children’s behavior.  What if we learned all the best types of discipline to use and didn’t understand the importance of nutrition?  Well, we’d probably be wondering why it isn’t working!  So, I want to incorporate this too.

Let me say this.  Psychological research is not always easy to produce.  There are SO many extraneous variables.  We as human beings are not lab rats that can be manipulated to become what our parents want us to become.  Even if they do all of the same things.  The results look different for each and every one of us.  But we can take all of this information that shows statistically significant differences on what works best…..and this will up the chances that we are offering our children every possible advantage in their development in becoming a healthy human being.

I share all of this because I want to be open and real in this process of helping others in their parenting challenges.  I share information that has been researched and is shown to be beneficial and helpful when incorporating it into your own parenting style.  And I am in this right along with you.  In our mistakes and successes, we are all in this together….shaping our future generation.  As we incorporate those things that can help our children to become healthy, happy, responsible and enjoyable people and contributing members of our society, we are giving them the essential tools that they will need to be the best that they can be.

The importance of DHA

DHA has been well researched and is very critical for the development of the fetus as well as the first couple years of a child’s life (and throughout adulthood!).  The body, especially the brain, is growing rapidly during this time and this nutrient is essential!   The compilation of research about DHA listed below is from the Society for Women’s Health Research.  This website is a great resource for women’s health issues.  Be sure to read through their bullet points!

Importance of DHA in Infant Development

Copyright 2007 Society for Women’s Health Research

Docosahexaenoic acid, DHA, is a long chain omega-3 fatty acid that is found throughout the body. More specifically, DHA is an important structural fat in the brain and eyes and is a key component of the heart. DHA, a natural component of breast milk, is important for brain and eye development and function. Below are research highlights from studies examining the role of DHA in infant health and development. (Please refer to the list of references.)

>> DHA is the most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the brain and the retina of the eye, representing about 97% and 93% of all omega-3 fatty acids in the brain and eyes, respectively, and is important for healthy visual and mental development throughout infancy.1-4
>> The brain grows rapidly during the last months of gestation and throughout the first years of life. This growth spurt is a time of rapid DHA accumulation in the brain. 5-7
>> An infant’s ability to produce DHA may be inconsistent and inefficient. Infant blood DHA levels decrease significantly
following birth unless the infant receives DHA either through breast milk or supplemented infant formula. 8-15
>> Breast milk is the optimal method for infant feeding. Breast milk always contains the long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids, DHA and arachidonic acid (ARA*).16 Recommendations have been made by several expert groups for infant formulas containing DHA and ARA.17-22
>> Infants rapidly accumulate DHA from their mother during the last months of gestation. Infants born prematurely do not have time to accumulate DHA to the same level as their full-term counterparts. When fed formula supplemented with DHA and ARA, preterm infants achieved normal growth in terms of weight, length and head circumference,23-26 and showed improved visual and mental development compared to the infants fed formula not supplemented with DHA and ARA.26
>> Many studies have demonstrated improved mental development for infants fed DHA- and ARA-supplemented formula compared to those receiving unsupplemented formula. These benefits extend well beyond the period of supplementation and continue into childhood. 27-29
>> Term infants fed DHA(0.36%)- and ARA (0.72%)- supplemented formula scored 7 points higher on the Bayley Mental Development Index at 18 months than those fed unsupplemented formula.27 In a follow-up study of those same children at age 4, visual acuity and verbal IQ scores were higher in those children who had received supplemented formula compared with those who received formula lacking DHA and ARA. 29
>> Infants who were breastfed and then weaned to formula supplemented with DHA and ARA demonstrated more mature visual acuity than those breast-fed infants weaned to non-supplemented formula.30-31
>> Infants fed DHA-supplemented formula exhibited better visual acuity than that of the non-supplemented infants (equivalent to 1.5 lines on the eye chart), and similar to that of breast-fed infants.32-34
>> One study showed that infants fed formula supplemented with DHA (0.36%) and ARA (0.72%) had fewer episodes of bronchiolitis and bronchitis at age 5, 7, and 9 months compared to infants fed non-supplemented formula.35
>> Infants fed formula supplemented with DHA and ARA had significantly lower blood pressure compared to infants fed
non-supplemented formula, similar to that of breast-fed infants. Because blood pressure tends to track from childhood into adult life, it has been suggested that early intake of DHA and ARA may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease later in life.36

References: Importance of DHA in Infant Development

  1. Martinez M. Tissue levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids during early human development. Pediatr, 1992.120:S129-38.
  2. Lauritzen L, et al. The essentiality of long chain n-3 fatty acids in relation to development and function of the brain and retina. Prog Lipid Res, 2001. 40:1-94.
  3. Salem, N Jr, et al. Mechanisms of action of docosahexaenoic acid in the nervous system. Lipids, 2001. 36:945-59.
  4. Crawford MA. The role of essential fatty acids in neural development: implications for perinatal nutrition. Am J Clin Nutr, 1993. 57:703S-709S.
  5. Dobbing J and Sands J. 1973. Quantitative growth and development of the human brain. Arch Dis Child 48:757-67.
  6. Dutta-Roy AK. Transport mechanisms for long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in the human placenta. Am J Clin Nutr, 2000. 71:315S-22S.
  7. Clandinin MT, et al. Intrauterine fatty acid accretion rates in human brain: implications for fatty acid requirements. Early Hum Dev, 1980. 4:121-9.
  8. Makrides M, et al. Are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids essential nutrients in infancy? Lancet, 1995. 345 (8963):1463-8.
  9. Carlson SE, et al. Visual acuity and fatty acid status of term infants fed human milk and formulas with or without docosahexaenoate and arachidonate from egg yolk lecithin. Pediatr Res, 1996. 39:882-8.
  10. Innis SM, et al. Blood lipid docosahexaenoic and arachidonic acid in term gestation infants fed formulas with high docosahexaenoic acid, low eicosapentaenoic acid fish oil. Lipids, 1996. 31:617-25.
  11. Kohn G, et al. Diet and essential fatty acid status of term infants. Acta Paediatr Suppl, 1994. 402:69-74.
  12. Makrides M, et al. Fatty acid composition of brain, retina, and erythrocytes in breast-fed and formula-fed infants. Am J Clin Nutr, 1994. 60(2):189-94.
  13. Agostoni C, et al. Neurodevelopmental quotient of healthy term infants at 4 months and feeding practice: the role of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Pediatr Res, 1995. 38(2):262-6.
  14. Decsi T and Koletzko B. Growth, fatty acid composition of plasma lipid classes, and plasma retinol and alpha-tocopherol concentration in full-term infants fed formula enriched with omega-6 and omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Acta Paediatr, 1995. 84(7):725-32.
  15. Hoffman DR, et al. Docosahexaenoic acid in red blood cells of term infants receiving two levels of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2006;42:287-292.
  16. Yuhas R, et al. Human milk fatty acid composition from nine countries varies most in DHA. Lipids 2006;41:851-8.
  17. Simopoulos AP, et al. Workshop on the essentiality of and recommended dietary intakes for omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. J Am Coll Nutr, 1999. 18(5): 487-9.
  18. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and the World Health Organization. Lipids in early development. In: fats and Oils. Food and Nutrition Paper ISBN 92-5-103621-7 Chap. 7, pp. 49-55, 1993. http://www.fao.org/docrep/V4700E/V4700E00.htm
  19. Koletzko B, et al. Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) and perinatal development. Acta Paediatr, 2001. 90(4):460-4.
  20. Koletzko B, et al. Global standard for the composition of infant formula: recommendations of an ESPGHAN coordinated international expert group. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2005;41:584-99.
  21. The Commission of the European Communities. Commission Directive 2006/141/EC of 22 December 2006 on infant formulae and follow-on formulae and amending Directive 1999/21/EC. Off J EU, Dec. 30, 2006:L401/1-33.
  22. Aggett PJ, et al. Feeding preterm infants after hospital discharge: a commentary by the ESPGHAN Committee on Nutrition. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr 2006;42:596-603.
  23. O’Connor DL, et al. Growth and development in preterm infants fed long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids: a prospective, randomized controlled trial. Pediatrics, 2001. 108(2):359-71.
  24. Vanderhoof J, et al. Evaluation of a long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplemented formula on growth, tolerance, and plasma lipids in preterm infants up to 48 weeks postconceptual age. J Pediatr Gastroenterol, 1999. 29:318-26.
  25. Vanderhoof J, et al.for The Multicenter Study Group. A multicenter long-term safety and efficacy trial of preterm formula supplemented with long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr, 2000. 31(2):121-7.
  26. Clandinin MT, et al. Growth and development of preterm infants fed infant formulas containing docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid. J Pediatr 2005;146:461-8.
  27. Birch EE, et al. A randomized controlled trial of early dietary supply of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and mental development in term infants. Dev Med Child Neurol, 2000. 42(3):174-81.
  28. Willatts P, et al. Effect of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in infant formula on problem solving at 10 months of age. Lancet, 1998. 352(9129):688-91.
  29. Birch EE, et al. Visual acuity and cognitive outcomes at 4 years of age in a double-blind, randomized trial of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid-supplemented infant formula. Early Hum Dev 2007 (Epub).
  30. Hoffman DR, et al. Visual function in breast-fed term infants weaned to formula with or without long-chain polyunsaturates at 4 to 6 months: a randomized clinical trial. J Pediatr, 2003. 142: 669-77.
  31. Birch EE, et al. A randomized controlled trial of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation of formula in term infants after weaning at 6 weeks of age. Am J Clin Nutr, 2002. 75:570-80.
  32. Birch EE, et al. Visual acuity and the essentiality of docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid in the diet of term infants. Pediatr Res, 1998. 44(2):201-9.
  33. Birch EE, et al. Visual maturation of term infants fed long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid-supplemented or control formula for 12 mo. Am J Clin Nutr, 2005. 81:871-9.
  34. Morale SE, et al. Duration of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids availability in the diet and visual acuity. Early Hum Dev, 2005. 81(2):197-203.
  35. Pastor N, et al. Infants fed docosahexaenoic acid- and arachidonic acid-supplemented formula have decreased incidence of bronchiolitis/bronchitis the first year of life. Clin Pediatr (Phila), 2006. 45(9):850-5.
  36. Forsyth JS, et al. Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation in infant formula and blood pressure in later childhood: follow up of a randomised controlled trial. BMJ, 2003. 326(7396):953.

Copyright 2007 Society for Women’s Health Research