Tag Archives: children

The Journey To Beauty

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Have you ever typed “beauty” into Google search? Just that one word. The results that come up are, surprisingly, not exactly diverse. As a society, we put such a huge emphasis on beauty and physical perfection. On sex. On having a knock ’em dead body and an attitude to match. But is this really what we should be teaching our kids?? The answer is no! 

Beauty goes far beyond the skin. 

 

“We are beautiful, in every single way, and words can’t keep us down”. -Christina Aguilera, Beautiful 

 

Beauty is an attitude. It is a sense of morality, of values. It is heart. It is soul. Beauty is the child who keeps on smiling, while inside she weathers the storm. Beauty is the boy who holds his head up against bullying. Beauty is the love we feel for our children. 

Isn’t it time we moved beyond the skin-deep value of beauty? Placing such a huge value on physical appearance can’t possibly be healthy to our children whatsoever. And yet we continue to provide them with toys and media that express a need for physical perfection. At what point do we start to focus inwardly? At what point do we teach our kids to stop looking in the mirror, and start looking in their hearts? 

The journey to beauty is a long one, one that I myself am still struggling with. But if you never take the first step, you’ll never reach the finish. 

Readers: In what ways do YOU nurture the inner beauty of yourself and your children?  

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Sleep Training Is Bad News For Babies

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I doubt that any of my readers question my negative feelings towards sleep training and Crying It Out (CIO) for babies and toddlers. As a new year dawns and new parenting books hit the shelves, the question of whether or not to CIO is on the minds of every new parent. The question goes far beyond whether or not you have the heart to let your baby cry. It must also be pointed out that CIO can cause serious developmental and social problems not only during babyhood, but also during adult life.

As Heather Turgeon said on her webpage,

Ignoring baby cries during sleep training is linked to all kinds of problems later in life — ADHD, antisocial behavior, lower IQ. At the root of these claims is the idea that the stress of crying and the absence of a responsive parent release intense levels of chemicals that alter a child’s brain development. But is there scientific evidence to back this up?

She also went on to say,

…stress hormones like cortisol, released during intense crying, damage nerve cells in the brain, leading to unhealthy attachments and psychological disorders. …a repeated pattern of unmet needs disrupts a child’s stress-regulating systems and can alter the way her limbic structures process emotion.

There is more than enough evidence in recent studies to show that, yes, extensive crying is bad for babies. And while the Cry It Out method may suggest that mothers pop into the baby’s room regularly to let the infant know that their provider is still nearby, this presence is not constant enough to reduce stress and provide the relaxation that is necessary for inducing a gentle sleep. Heather Turgeon went on to say,

infants who cry excessively have a higher incidence of ADHD, antisocial behavior, and poor school performance.

The full article can be read here.

Many of the cases cited in anti-CIO articles are extreme and do not fit the norm of most parenting methods. It is important to note that most parents who choose to practice a Cry It Out method of sleep training are responsive to their baby’s needs, within limits, and do not allow the child to cry to the point of physical harm. However, there are some books which encourage allowing an infant or toddler to vomit and continue to cry, as a way to ‘show the child who’s boss’.

It is my opinion- and it is only that, opinion! -that sleep training is dangerous for babies and toddlers. As a mother of two, I have faced many a sleepless night. But as I began to understand that my expectations for a full night’s sleep were unreal, I began to find what works for Baby, not just what works for me. Like many mothers in this country and even more international mothers, I cosleep. We are a bedsharing family who provide warmth, love, and nurturing to our children at all hours of the day and night. As a result, we have been sleeping better than ever! I strongly believe that practicing CIO can lead to lifelong physical, psychological, and psychosocial problems for your child, and that a more natural, attached method to ‘sleep training’ is preferred.

Parents, instead of trying to conform Baby to your schedule, why not see what ways you can adjust YOUR schedule to Baby’s? The rule of thumb is compromise. We as parents must meet our children in the middle to encourage happy, healthy development and a peaceful home for all.

 

 

Who Disciplines Parents..?

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Lately, in my frequent use of the internet, I’ve found a lot of questionable content from other mothers and fathers. Comments like women leaving their children home alone, disciplining their children in ways that can only be described as inhumane, and engaging in a variety of other inappropriate behaviors.

I come from a long history of familial craziness, and have seen much of the “what not to do” of parenting first hand. My mother was no class act! Recently, I graduated with my Associates in Psychology and have just started coursework towards a Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Psychology. All of these experiences have allowed me to see much about raising children, but also much about mental disorders and the inner workings of the human mind. What’s often frightening is when those two overlap.

Who disciplines the parents? The obvious answer is CPS- once (and if!) a complaint has been made. But CPS’ failure to work has caused many a child to suffer needlessly at the hands of their parents. What is it that determines the right or wrong way to raise a child? And to those parents who do not raise their child “correctly”, who do they answer to?

In my personal experience, there are many ‘right’ ways to raise a child. As long as you fill their lives with love, safety, health, and happiness, it’s kind of a give or take on what’s right or wrong about parenting methods. But what disturbs me is when I see these women posting on the internet about things they have done to their kids, either inadvertently or intentionally.

From the mother who left her newborn in the car for 20 minutes before realizing she wasn’t with her, to the mother who performed sexual acts on herself with food and then fed that food to her children, I stare in awe of what the world has come to. Clearly, we need change. We need a disciplinary system for the parents who do wrong, and we need education for the parents who don’t know what it is they’re doing. And, unconstitutional though it may be, I honestly believe some people just shouldn’t be allowed to breed.

What do you think, Reader? Would the world be a better place if there was a psychological evaluation required before conception was allowed? How would you discipline or educate the parents of America?

Thoughts On Attachment Parenting

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Way back before I had babies, I thought I would be the “typical” mother. You know the one. Setting up a nursery, putting baby in its own crib right out of the hospital, circumcising, vaccinating, Gerber-baby food feeding… the works. What surprised me was how rapidly my ideals changed as I gave birth to my daughter.

Moose was not in a bassinet in the hospital. She was born 5 weeks premature with a Congenital Heart Defect, and was perfect in every way. But she needed that closeness to me to regulate the uneven beating of her heart, just as I needed it to erase the pain of her delivery. When we came home, she shared our bed and our hearts.

As my second child was born, I witnessed my parenting style change and develop even more. I became a co-sleeping, anti-circumcising, delayed vaccinating, homemade food making, ‘crunchy’ mom. Something I never thought I’d be. Which brings me to my point.

Attachment parents seem to raise the best children. From my experience, babies who are raised in a loving, nurturing, warm environment turn out the best. They have that innate understanding that mom or dad will answer every one of their cries, and that someone’s arms will always be available to hold them close. They grow up warm, secure, and confident in their support systems- something that every child should have the right to experience. And according to Dr. Sears, attachment babies cry less and develop quicker. The act of a baby and mother being close together, ‘attached’ or most of the day is beneficial to the health of both mom and baby.

I remember when my son was born, I asked my husband (while crying, watching Little Bear fuss in his crib) how I was supposed to embrace the separation between mother and baby. I said to him, “We were attached, literally, for 10 months. He was connected to me, inside of me, but at birth I’m expected to be so separate from him?” I remember how my heart hurt as I watched him turn towards me, the bars of his crib imprisoning him and banning him from my arms. Soon after, co-sleeping began (or rather, resumed). I honestly cannot fathom how we, as mothers, are expected to go from a state of complete connection with our children to a state of complete separation. It seems that attachment parenting allows for children to be independent while confident in the closeness of their mothers. It’s a wonderful thing, knowing that your baby will always find you when he looks for you, that he will always know where to turn when he is afraid, or lonely, or in need of comfort. That he will turn to you, knowing where he can share his joy, his delight, his excitement.

Is there any better way to watch your baby grow than from a position of complete closeness and warmth? I think not.

Dr. Sears has this to say about attachment parenting:

“The single most important influence on a child’s intellectual development was the responsiveness of the mother to the cues of her baby. In caring for your baby, keep in mind that relationships, not things, make brighter babies.

BENEFITS OF ATTACHMENT PARENTING – A SUMMARY
BABY
  • is more trusting
  • feels more competent
  • grows better
  • feels right, acts right
  • is better organized
  • learns language more easily
  • establishes healthy independence
  • learns intimacy
  • learns to give and receive love
PARENTS
  • become more confident
  • are more sensitive
  • can read baby’s cues
  • respond intuitively
  • flow with baby’s temperament
  • find discipline easier
  • become keen observers
  • know baby’s competencies and preferences
  • know which advice to take and which to disregard
RELATIONSHIP

Parents and baby experience:

  • mutual sensitivity
  • mutual giving
  • mutual shaping of behavior
  • mutual trust
  • feelings of connectedness
  • more flexibility
  • more lively interactions
  • brings out the best in each other”

Really. Need I say more?