Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How Grandparents Feel About Second-Time-Around Parenting

Grandparents have been widely assumed to live apart from grandchildren, and to play the doting grandparent role, such as giving gifts, telling family stories or providing temporary child care. However, in recent years more grandparents are serving as surrogate parents when adult children experience physical abuse, drug abuse, divorce, mental illness and incarceration.

Research from Virginia Tech recently examined how grandparents compared parenting their grandchildren to raising their own children. When parenting their grandchildren, grandparents reported that they looked at their grandkids the same as they did their own children. They felt they were wiser the second time around and while incorporating most of the same parenting strategies, they were not as serious and strict as they were when parenting their own children.

Parenting the second time around also provided challenges for grandparents. Grandparents may be experiencing health problem and limited energy, making it difficult to keep up with grandchildren. Additionally, the social environment today is different from decades ago, when grandparents raised their own children.  Grandparents (like many parents) worry that today’s media, drugs, alcohol, violence and liberal attitudes about sex will impact their grandchildren’s well-being.

However, family cohesion and community services available to grandparents, such as Kinship Care programs, can reduce the stress of raising grandchildren.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Parenting Impacts on Academic Achievement

Billy keeps coming home with C’s and D’s in every subject and Stephanie is having trouble taking tests. Before you give another speech about them not doing what they should be doing, consider the following. Up until age 18, children spend less than 15% of their waking hours at school. Most of the remaining time is spend under the educational guidance of their parents.

Are you spending your time with your children wisely? Research shows that when parents are personally involved in education, their children get better grades and test scores, are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to higher education, and are better behaved and have a more positive attitude.
The following are a few steps that several sources recommend to improve your children’s education. First, read together. Children who read at home with their parents perform better in school.
Next, use television wisely. Academic achievement drop sharply for children who watch more than ten hours of television a week, or an average of more than two hours a day.
Last, establish a daily routine. Studies show that successful students have parents who create and maintain family routines, including a regular time for homework as well as a quiet place to study. Parents, don’t forget that it take two major institutions, the home and the school, to successfully educate a child.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Parent Question #4

How would you respond to this question?

The most effective way to keep a teenager safe is to:
A.      Monitor the places they go and whom they are with
B.   Keep them at home
C.   Put off letting them get their driver’s license.

Although we may want to keep them at home all the time where we can watch them, this isn’t a good way for a child to grow up. Not allowing them to get their driver’s license is not going to work, because eventually they are going to have to become independent and having a driver’s license is a big step towards independence.

Instead, research says that the strongest protector for teens is for parents to know who their teens are with and to know the families and the friends they are with.

Meet the parents of your teen’s friends. Communicate with them on a regular basis about your children’s activities and where-a-bouts.  Ask your teen’s friends question to get to know them so they will also know and trust you. Keep snacks in your home that your teen and his or her friends are welcome to eat.

Monitoring is about knowing where your child is and who he/she is with, and what he is doing. Using your heart when monitoring your teen is the key to connecting with and protecting your child.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Routines and Rules to Help Parents

Most parents realize that the most effective way to discipline children is to set rules and limits and then back them up with effective consequences. The key is to provide consistency in the rules and consequences.

Consistency is the hard part, right? We sometimes remove a child’s privilege for breaking a rule, such as “No television for three nights,” only to forget about it completely after the first night. We also know that a child tests our limits by trying to watch TV with the other parent or a sibling, hoping we won’t see him or we won’t remember the punishment.

Our ambivalence about sticking to the rules and consequences is that we think we’ll lose the love of our children when we don’t let them have their way.
With the demands of everyday life, parents today are concerned that they don’t have much time with their children, and they don’t want to spend the time they do have fighting over rules. It may seem easier to give in. However, that’s a short-term solution and will back-fire!

Children need consistency in order to learn to follow the rules of the household. If you want them to follow the rules of society when they’re adults, they need the structure of following the rules of the home.

One key is to make sure you are establishing reasonable rules and consequences. Stay firm and keep the “long-term” in mind. And go ahead – post that sticky note on the television for three days. All you have to do is point the note to help your child (and you) remember.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Fragile X Syndrome

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common known cause of intellectual disability (formerly referred to as mental retardation) that can be inherited. It is estimated that FXS affects about 1 in 4,000 boys and 1 in 6,000to 8,000 girls. Both boys and girls can have FXS, but girls usually are more mildly affected.

The cause of FXS is genetic. FXS occurs when there is a change in a gene on the X chromosome called FMR1. This gene makes a protein needed for normal brain development. In FXS, the FMR1 gene does not work properly. The protein is not made, and the brain does not develop as it should. The lack of this protein causes FXS.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers this list of signs that children with FXS might:
·         Sit up, crawl, or walk later than other children
·         Have trouble with learning and solving problems
·         Learn to talk late, or have trouble speaking
·         Become very anxious is crowds and new situations
·         Be sensitive about someone touching them
·         Bite or flap their hands
·         Have trouble making eye contact
·         Have a short attention span
·         Be in constant motion and unable to sit still
·         Have seizures

Some children with FXS have certain physical features such as:
·         A large head
·         A long face
·         Prominent ears, chin, and forehead
·         Flexile joints
·         Flat feet
·         Macroorchidism (enlarged testicle in males; more obvious after puberty)

Children with FXA might also have behavioral problem such as ADHD and anxiety. Some males can develop aggressive behavior. Depression can also occur. Boys with FXS usually have a mild to severe intellectual disability, while many girls with FXS have normal intelligence. Autism spectrum disorders occur more often among children with FXS.

For more information contact the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities at or call the CDC at 1-800-232-4636.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Preteen Children May Not Be Getting Enough Sleep

If your child is having problems in school, especially behavior or attention problems, one thing you should ask yourself is if your child is getting enough sleep.  In a study published by the American Psychological Association, children in the sixth-grade may have increased difficulty learning and suffer from behavioral and emotional problems because they may be chronically sleep deprived. Results show that second graders go to sleep more than one hour earlier than sixth graders and that the older children reported increased morning drowsiness compared with the younger children.  According to sleep specialist Stanley Coren, sleep deprivation can also lead to temporary loss in IQ levels, reasoning and memory, and even makes children hyperactive. 
Part of the reason for the older children delaying sleep may be due to physiological and hormonal changes, but changes in their social lives may also be involved. For example, school or homework demands, a more active nightlife and the lure of late-evening or late-night television and internet activity may be keeping them up. 
According to the authors, however, the best predictors of sleep quality were the parent’s education and stress.  Increased stress and the anxiety associated with it are likely to activate an alarm response that triggers alertness. 
Children today live by their parents’ schedule, meaning they are getting to bed late, rising early and averaging about eight hours of sleep a night.  Eight hours may be enough sleep for adults, but it is not enough sleep for kids. 
Study Suggests Older, Preteen Children May Not be Getting Enough Sleep to Meet Their Daily Physical and Mental Needs.  American Psychological Association.
“Sleep Patterns and Sleep Disruptions in School-Age Children,” Avi Sahed, Amiram Raviv and Reut Gruber; Developmental Psychology, Vol. 36, No. 3