December 13, 2017

Cuddling

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!

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.

In Home Parent Consulting

In home personal parenting consulting is offered to address a specific challenge that your family may be facing.  There is research that can guide each of us in our parenting journey.  However, there is not a “one size fits all” for child behavior.  Your family’s style and your child’s temperament both need to be taken into account when creating a solution that fits for you.  My goal is to empower you in your parenting!

As we navigate through the developmental stages of our children, we parents are constantly learning.  As soon as we get through one, our child moves on to another challenge or milestone.  And although there is a great amount of information available to parents today, it’s hard to weed through it all and decide what is best for our specific needs.  This can often leave us feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.  In these times, it can be helpful to have a third pair of eyes help you decide what the best strategy will be to tackle the challenge at hand.

Common Challenges

  • Sleeping Issues
  • Potty Training
  • Temper Tantrums
  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Socialization & Manners
  • Organization & Structure
  • Finding Ways to Manage it All

Consulting Includes

Initial Consultation – A time to gather information about your family and the challenge you are facing.

Assessment – Observations child and family within the environment where the challenges are taking place.

Collaboration – Discussion with parents to establish specific objectives.

Implementation – Working with you to implement strategies to meet the desired goals.

Follow-up – I will contact you a couple months after our consultation to evaluate how things have been going.