Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A toddler’s sense of self

Your unconditional love, the intellectual and physical stimulation you provide, your focused attention and your responsiveness continue to be very important when your baby moves on to the toddler stage. But now the child becomes an even more active participant in the relationship, projecting his own needs for self expression and independence.
The two year old celebrated testing behavior, for example, is a tool for building self confidence. It is his way of saying that he now rejects infantile helplessness and wants to do some things on his own rejects infantile helplessness and wants to do some things on his own. He is looking for areas where you are willing to give little ground. Even though he cannot negotiate these issues well in words and he is not entirely sure what he is equipped to do, he stands ready to challenge all limits, old and new. Rather than battle over trivial issues just to show who is in charge, let him test himself on tasks or activities that he has a reasonable chance of mastering with a minimum of supervision

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Talking and Touching

Oral communication is an essential ingredient in a stimulation environment. From your child’s earliest days, make it a practice to talk to her while feeding, bathing and dressing her, for the sheer pleasure of it. Such interactions foster early language development, which in turn gives the child a powerful means of affecting her environment. The impersonal voices of television and radio do not create the same effect as your own; it is the direct, loving contact that encourages your youngster’s early play with words. You can also read to her. At first she will simply enjoy the sound of your voice. Later you can look at picture books with her, naming the objects shown, helping her points her finger at them and praising her when she makes the right connections.
Touch is another powerful form of communication. Hugging, holding and playing  pat a cake all express your loving acceptance while helping your child become familiar with the notion of her separate identity. But remember that whether you are talking to your bay eye to eye, showing her how something works or engaging in a family session or rough house play on the carpet, it is vital to have frequent encounters in which your attention is undivided, focused on her alone. However brief such episodes may be, your total concentration during this time underscores your for her, and tells her in a way she can understand how important and worthy a person she is.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Surrounding that stimulate

The physical environment you create for your infant is another tool in building his sense of self esteem. Expose your child early to a variety of sights and sounds, including him as an observer in family events even though he is too young to participate. Provide him with age appropriate play things, either homemade or store bought, that he can investigate through touch, taste smell and sound. Choose toys that challenge him but that he can master with a little persistence.
 When the baby is ready to crawl, give him a reasonable amount of freedom to explore physical space. If necessary, child proof one or more rooms where he can express his natural curiosity without your having  to rein him in constantly. For those occasions when you must be out of sight for a few minutes, the indoor playpen and the back yard corral may be necessary. They are, however, no substitute for the rich experiences of footloose exploration.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A sense of mastery

If bonds of unconditional love are essential to emotional security, so too is a responsive environment- one that will allow the child to explore and learn, to try and succeed, and, in the process, to develop a sense of personal competence. Once again, the evidence suggests that experiences even in the early months of life can play a critical role in determining which youngsters will grow into expressive, self assured, curious preschoolers and which ones will become timid, overcautious, and easily discouraged.
 Experiencing the world favorably, as a place where one can express a need and get action in return, begins with something as basic as what happens when a baby feels hungry and begins to cry. The infant whose parent responds readily not only finds herself comforted with satisfying nourishment, but she also  learns an important lesson; She has feelings that matter to others and can exercise some control over her circumstances. At the other extreme, the child who is left to cry and cry- perhaps because his parents fears that feeding him outside his normal un important and that he cannot change his situation. Such a lesson can become a self fulfilling prophecy, inclining the child as he grows older to passivity and reluctance to take responsibility for his behavior.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Baby’s first impressions

Child psychologists are convinced that baby stars forming attitudes about herself while still in the cradle, in the process of forging bonds of love and trust with the person who cares for her. One mother, for example, may consistently convey positive estimates of her daughter’s value- even in so mundane a situation as changing a diaper. As she makes the diaper switch, the mother gazes into her baby’s eyes, smiling and chatting steadily, though she knows the child is still months away from understanding what the words mean. At the end of baby’s legs in the air and touching her toes together until she giggles. During this brief but potent exchange, the mother is saying to her child,” I love you unconditionally, you make me feel happy. Everything about you is fine with me.”

Another mother, who cares no less about her child, goes about the same task in a more hurried, detached manner, viewing it as just an onerous job. There is tightness in her muscles that the baby can feel as she washes and changes him, keeping her eye on a television show all the while. No sooner has she made the bay dry again than she sets him in an infant seat and turns away to clean up – with wrinkled nose and pursed lips that he will someday recognize as an expression of disapproval. Though this mother would not consciously send negative messages to her son, her actions translate something like this;”Changing you is a demeaning, smelly job. I love you, but only conditionally. There are things about you and your body that I resent. “Her attitude inevitably colors the bay’s developing feelings about himself.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Building self Esteem

Most experts agree that a person’s self esteem – the measure of how he feels about himself- is the cornerstone of personal adjustment throughout life. A child begins early to seek answers to the fundamental questions “Am I lovable?” and “Am I worthwhile?” If the responses he receives from the people around him suggest that he is loved, wanted and capable, the chances are good that he will develop the same positive attitudes toward himself.
  This sense of his own worth will find quiet expression in all aspects of his behavior. A child armed with high self esteem will approach other people with trust, and view the world as a safe place where, most of the time his emotional and physical needs will be satisfied.  Like the “Little Engine that Could.” He will face challenges with optimism, propelled by self confidence to succeed as a winner in school, among his peers, and eventually in the countless contests of adult life. His opposite ,on the other hand- the youngster who has been told in a thousand subtle ways that he is not always loved, not entirely wanted, not clever enough to succeed on his own- will likelihood to be driven to take the low , slow road, risking little and gaining still less.
Not surprisingly, the child receives his first notions about his self worth from his parents: They are his chief link to the external world throughout his early years, the mirrors in which he sees himself and his efforts reflected. A caring mother and father should examine the ways they handle their child and make sure their manner communicates positive messages and images- reflections that will enhance rather than undermine the child’s sense of possibilities. It also important for parents to broadcast positive messages about their own self worth; a child learns best by example, and is far more likely to develop high self esteem if he has grown up models to follow.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

When parents overdo it

Probably the most important lesson for a parent to learn is the principle of moderation. Everything that good parents naturally do for their children can easily be overdone. A good father, for example, certainly protects his child from danger; but if he is overzealous in doing so, she will never learn to protect herself from danger.  A good mother wants to teach her child new skills, but there is a very fine line between teaching and interfering in a way that actually prevents the child from learning. Of course there will be times when you must override your youngster’s wishes. There are good reasons, for instance, for not letting her experiment with poking wires into electrical outlets. On the other hand if she is making mud pies or building a tower with blocks and she lets you know that she can do it perfectly well without your assistance that is a good time for you to practice being a non intrusive parent.
No one can set forth a pat formula that tells you how much guidance you should give your child in any particular case. But children are usually not shy about rejecting unwanted help, and yours will no doubt let you know when you have strayed over the line that separates “just enough” from “too much.”  In this matter, as in so many areas of parenting, you can learn a good deal about your effectiveness by simply watching and listening to your child.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Balancing needs

It is a common error of parents to think that they must sacrifice all their own needs and desire to satisfy those of their children. Although, at the very beginning of parenthood, there is no getting around the fact that having a new baby creates biological and psychological demands that take precedence over previous commitments to yourself, it soon becomes apparent that your continued sanity depends on giving yourself a proficiency as a parent is improved by a reasonable amount of self indulgence. The frantic, frazzled mother simply is not as effective as one who sets aside a portion of time and attention for her own use.
  There are some tricks for accomplishing this goal, despite the never ending demands of motherhood. Some mothers use nursing time for benefits both mother and baby. Some mothers, for instance, discover that as long as they are down on the rug at their baby’s level, he is content to let them read or sew while he crawls around exploring the room. The most obvious relief for the mother in a two parent family is the father, who is not only capable of doing his share, but is actually depriving himself of many parenting pleasures if he does not.

Meeting of personalities

Just every child is born with a personality all his own; each parent has a distinct personality that shapes her needs and preferences, her moods and reactions to every events. And it is just as important that you be aware, of your own temperament as it is for you to be aware of your child’s, since the two will be existing in an intimate partnership. If your behavior modes happen to mesh easily, then you can enjoy each other’s company without any particular effort on anybody’s part.
But if your personalities are the sort of opposites that do not exactly attract- your baby skittish and cautious by nature, for example, and you a lively individual who loves a good romp- then one of you will have to make some adjustments. Needless to say, that person is you. If you find that your stimulating manner seems to make your infant tense, it may be that quieter play and gentler handling is required
  Keep in mind, however, that your child’s personality can change with time. Do not make the mistake of assuming that you can never try enlivening his existence with your natural verve. Studies indicate, in fact, that children influence the way they are treated by their parents to a much greater extent than is commonly realized. Johnny appears to need a lot of protection. So his mother hovers over him extensively- even though her natural inclination might be to give him more freedom and even though, after a while, he may very well crave that freedom.
  Also bear in mind that you and your child may be so much alike that you need to make deliberate efforts to bring some balance into the picture. If you are both exceedingly placid, for instance, you and the baby might settle into a quiet mutually in stimulating pattern of existence un less you make a point of drawing him out.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Parental anger

  In fact, this last point is a source of much worry, because parents sometimes find themselves pushed into such rages by their youngster’s behavior that they feel the urge to strike the child. Occasional impulses of this kind are natural and of no great consequence, as long as they do not become persistent- and as long as they are not actually carried out. Because young children look to their parents for safety and security, the sight of a mother or father becoming utterly unstrung and threatening to harm them can be very frightening.

  The important rule to follow, therefore, is always to maintain control of yourself- both verbally and physically- in front of your child. Treat your violent reactions as a problem that is quiet different and separate from your little one’s behavior, and make sure to tackle the anger first, before you approach the child. The technique that worked best for many parents is simply leaving the room for the moment and focusing on a cooling down device, whether it is phoning a friend, splashing cold water on the face and wrists, or taking a brisk walk around the house.  Or you may find that punching a pillow will help you release tension harmlessly. Once you have a hold on your feelings, you can return and deal more rationally with the events that set them off in the first place.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Those demanding expectations

Your mother and father were not the only sources of input into your parenting persona. Since first you served a dollies’ tea party or watched a family situation comedy on television, the whole cultural apparatus of the society you inhabit has been shaping your expectations about your performance as a parent- as well as your expectation about your children. All these standards lay dormant within you until you had a baby of your own. Then, suddenly, they began a noisy clamor for satisfaction.

You are expected to be a wise and patient parent, ready with a smile and slow to anger. Your child may have fun faults, such us being an obnoxious bully. And naturally you expect to love your children without qualification, and to enjoy their unceasing love in return. As experience will soon are some common expectations that inspire fear in many new parents, who wonder how they or their children will ever be able to measure up:
“If I make one mistake in the way I bring up my child, I will ruin her for life.” Children are resilient. Consistent patterns of poor parenting can hurt them, but an occasional mistake does no harm.

“Having a baby should automatically ensure that my spouse and I improve our relationship.”  On the contrary, having a child frequently puts extra strain on a marriage, even a stable one.
“My friend’s baby already stands up”-or walks or talks or feeds himself-“and mine doesn’t, so my baby must be slow” Every child progress at his own speed, so comparisons is counterproductive.

As long as I am reasonable and logical in what I ask of my child, she will be compliant.” Do not count on it. Children sometimes follow their own scripts, which may not agree with yours at all.

 “If I get angry with my child, I am a bad parent.” All parents occasionally are angry with their children. The object is to try to limit the occasions for frustration and anger, and to deal with them as coolly as possible when they do arise.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The child with in every parent II

Some times these parental legacies can be a boon. Your ancestors, after all, did know a thing or two about bringing up children, and perhaps some of the things you do right as a parent are in your repertoire because your mother and father did them right when dealing with you, But occasionally the hang-over from the past cause problems. When a father is too critical and demanding, for example, it may well be that his own father was overly critical of him when he was a child. Parents may even recognize a problem and its source, and nonetheless have difficulty getting it under control. One mother who knew she was mistreating her daughter pleaded with her doctor of help: I am hitting her and yelling at her- the same way my mother did.”

In cases like this, when the problem is serious and not apt to go away on its own, owe it to themselves and their children to seek family linked traits are often able to deal with the issue directly through or demonstrating some other kind of erratic behavior, stop and ask relevant memory surfaces. It may even be worthwhile to make notes about what you recall of your own upbringing and the relationship you had with your parents.
Where they too stern? Too indulgent? Where they generally cheerful? Were you? Talking your concern over with your spouse or a friend who knows you well is another way of bringing some light to the problem. Your purpose in this exercise is not to fix blame of to find excuses for any faults you may perceive in yourself. It is to become aware of how your past affects the way you behave toward your own children, so that you can better control that behavior.

The child with in every parent I

If you are like most parents, sooner or later you are bound to experience something like the following: Your child does something that annoys you, such as tearfully refusing to put on the new overalls that seemed to delight her so much in the store.  Your normal, controlled response would be, perhaps, a reasoned explanation as to why we must wear the clothes that we buy, but instead you hear issuing forth from your mouth, in an eerily familiar tone and phrasing, statement along the lines of “Is this my reward for all the nice things I do for you?” Or “If you are going to cry, I might as will give you something to cry about.” These words should familiar because they echo those of your own parents- and perhaps of their parents, or even grandparents. Indeed, of all the baggage that men and women bring into parenthood, none is quiet so heavy as what they carry from their own childhood days.

Whether you are conscious of it or not, your way of handling certain child rearing challenges is apt to be strongly colored by the way your parents dealt with you in the same situations. Consider your reaction, for example, when your toddler talks back to you at the dinner table. If your parents were right disciplinarians who never let you get away With back talk, you might well consider it only natural to deal sternly with such behavior. Or you may react in the opposite fashion and be overly lenient with your youngster, as a kind of delayed protest against your own parent’s strictness.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The dream versus reality

 The influences can star working even before the baby gets here. Some couple, while declaring publicly that they would be equally happy with a child of either sex, secretly nurture a preference for a boy or a girl. And some of them are so disappointed if their wish is not realized that, despite their best efforts, they respond to the child less enthusiastically than they would have otherwise during the first few weeks, which are a crucial period in the baby’s emotional development.

An even more typical instance of expectations clashing with reality is that of the new mother who has just spent nine months picturing herself in idyllic communication with a cooing, chubby cheeked infant. Instead she is handed a howling creature whose ruddy, wizened face is not yet plumped out with baby fat, whose head has been squeezed into a strange, elongated shape by its passage through the birth canal, and who utterly ignores her attempts to comfort him. On e mother described her experience thus,” I was all prepared to love my son, but my good feelings were challenged from the start. He cried constantly, and no matter what I did to soothe him, nothing worked. I hate to say this, but I began to resent him and did not like him very much during the first month or so.”

 If a parent who has such feelings refuses to admit that they exist, she may unwittingly hold back some of the warmth and positive response that her baby needs. It is better for her to acknowledge her own emotions, so she can work consciously to compensate for them. Mothers often find relied in discussing such misgivings frankly with a close friend, family member or minister who can help put their feelings into a new perspective. The important thing to do is find ways to keep giving the infant the physical and verbal affection he needs, even if doing so requires a good deal of effort the child, who of course cannot control the way he looks or behaves, will in time repay these efforts a thousand fold.

The Challenges of Parenthood

The individual who will have the greatest influence on your child’s emotional development- the ones who are most likely to determine how happy she will be, how she feels about herself, how well she copes with problems- are those who child care authorities call the “primary care givers”. Naturally, you will want to know as much as possible about these people. You may feel you know all about them already, since one of them is you and the other is probably your spouse. But you should get acquainted with yourself a new, in your role as a parent, because becoming a parent changes you. If parenthood enriches your life, it also makes it more complex, evoking in you a confusing array of desires and expectations, fears and convictions.

  Some of these personal attributes- a belief that children should mind their elders, for instance- a parent may know well. Others, such as a deep seated fear of losing personal freedom, have a way of remaining hidden from view until some even inadvertently summons them fort.  Then the pop out unexpectedly, affection what ever the parent is doing or saying. When this happens, it can come as a big and often unwelcome surprise. They include beliefs your own parents passed on to you, other attitudes you embrace mainly because your parents rejected them, expectations instilled by the culture in which you live the opinions of friends, secret worries and fears that most new parents have but do not talk about, your individual temperament and, not least, the personality  of the child whose arrival turned you into a parent in the first place