Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Mothers-Daughter Talk About Sexual Activity

Research shows that family communication about sex, contraception and pregnancy can delay the start of teenagers’ sexual activity and reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancies. And while fathers often share their concerns about their daughter’s sexual activity, mothers are usually the main communicators about sex in most families.

Even though this communication is very important, mothers and adolescent daughters often find it difficult to talk about sexuality and reproduction. As a result, daughters may not get the health care they need.

Health care providers recommend confidential health care visits for adolescent girls for screening and information. But according to a recent study published in the Annals of Family Medicine, both mothers and daughters are often hesitant to use available services. The study found that mothers strongly want to be their daughter’s first source of information and to protect them from early sexual activity, pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

Mothers were very uncomfortable with confidential care, even though they felt that it was important that their daughters receive the health care they needed. The daughters, too, were sometimes quite uncomfortable talking about such private matters with a health care provider. Yet about half of the girls felt that confidential care was valuable, preferring to keep their sexual status from their mothers.

The results of this small study may not apply to all mothers and their teen daughters, but they do increase our awareness of the difficult transition for both mothers and daughters as they make decisions about needed health care.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren

Every child needs attention! This is especially true for children being raised by their grandparents. Often, these children have experienced significant trauma and loss in their lives. For some grandchildren, the only way to get attention is by misbehaving. It may be as simple as doing things to annoy their grandparents or disobeying the house rules.

Here are some suggestions we offer grandparents in our programs:

1. Do not give the grand-child attention by responding to misbehavior.

2. Ignore the misbehavior unless life, limb, or other safety issues are concerned.

3. Catch the grandchild displaying appropriate behavior and acknowledge this behavior intermittently with a simple smile, “thank-you,” “good job” or hug.

4. Spend quality one-on-one time with your grand-child as often as possible. Take time to talk and explain situations.

Grandchildren’s attention -seeking behaviors may have many root causes. There is no best way to respond. The fact that grandparents are concerned and are trying to meet their grandchildren’s needs is a good sign they are.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Helping Siblings to Get Along

All siblings argue now and then. But if your children have frequent, intense fights, you do not have to just stand by and let them treat each other badly. What can parents do about sibling rivalry?
·         Avoid comparing one child to another. Most parents are mindful of this tip, however, we may be comparing when we are not even aware of doing it.
·         Let children know you understand their feelings even though you don’t agree with them; “Yes, your brother needs more help getting dressed than you do because he’s younger. As he gets older, he will be able to dress on his own.”
·         Spend some time alone with each child doing something he or she really enjoys; riding bikes, playing catch, coloring, etc. Ten minutes a day can do wonders!
·         If one child says unkind things to you about another, remind him that “she’s still one of us no matter how annoying she is sometimes”. That response reassures the child that he would still belong to the family even if a sibling had ill feelings toward him.
·         Do not worry about treating all your children exactly alike. Children need comfort, help and encouragement at different times and in different ways. When a child questions the attention you give to his sibling, reassure him that when he needs help, you will provide it. “Your sister needs a little extra help with her spelling words this week; I will certainly give you extra time when you need it, too.”
·         Keep in mind that you don’t have to get involved in every sibling argument. Children can often work things out themselves.
·         Try walking out of the room when squabbles start. If siblings don’t have an audience, they may stop squabbling.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Ways to Keep Your Family Fit Indoors

When the summer heat keeps your family indoors, parents need to be creative in finding ways to keep kids active. Try these strategies to get your family moving all year-round.

Designate an indoor action spot. If you have room, set aside a portion of a room for active play. Put up an indoor basketball hoop, make a hopscotch outline to the floor, or make a track for ride-on toys.

Have family members act out animals (no sounds) and play a guessing game to see who can guess the animal first. Other subjects to act out include people working in jobs or professions, favorite singers, sports activities/athletes (such as down-hill skiing), machines, and things found in nature such as a flower growing and blooming or a waterfall.

Create an indoor obstacle course that includes crawling under, stepping over, bending, jumping, twisting, etc.

Move every day. Dancing, housework and climbing stairs all help you stay fit and don’t require extra room or gear.

Pump up dramatic play with themes props. Inspire energetic play and imaginations with extras like medals and trophies for sports games or music and costumes for dancing. Encourage your child to act out his story books or give a concert of her favorite songs.

Start young. The National Associate for Sport and Physical Education advises parents to get kids moving early in life, to foster healthy development and keep sedentary habits from taking hold. Even your toddler needs at least 30 minute of structured physical activity every day and should not sit still (for example, watching television) for more than an hour at a time.

Provide safe indoor gear. Encourage active play with balls for throwing and rolling (soft, lightweight ones are safe for indoors – try beanbags, foam balls, or beach balls) and scarves for dancing. Playing with these also supports hand-eye coordination.

Find community resources to stay active. Try bowling, ice skating, paint ball, swimming, or other indoor options.

Be a cheerleader. In one study of 200 students in grades 2 through 11, kids said they wanted their parents to help them stay active. So whether you join in the games or shout words of support from the sidelines, show your child that activity is a priority every day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Early Learning of Language and Thinking Skills

A baby’s early use of language includes crying, body movements and facial expressions. Around the age of 12 months, your baby will begin using words. By the time he or she is 3, he/she will be speaking in short sentenced of 3 to 5 words.

Your child is learning how the world works by playing and exploring. Through play, babies and toddlers learn about how things work and how to be good problem-solvers. You can support your child’s early learning and development of thinking skills through your everyday activities with baby:
·         Watch and listen to see how your baby communicates what he/she is thinking and feeling.
·         Repeat the sounds and words your child uses and have back-and-forth conversations.
·         Read, sing and tell stories. These are fun ways to help your child understand the meaning of new words and ideas.
·         Talk about what you do together – as you play, do errands, or visit friends and family.
·         As you carry your baby around the house, talk about what he/she sees, such as pictures on the walls and talk about what you are doing; “We are going to find your sweater in your room right now.”
·         Encourage your child to explore toys in different ways – by touching, banging, stacking and shaking.
·         Turn everyday routines into playful learning moments. For example bath time is a chance to learn about ideas like sinking/floating and wet/dry.
·         Follow your child’s interests. Children learn best through activities that excite them.
·         Ask your child questions that get him/her thinking as he/she near age 3. For example, when reading a book together, ask “Why do you think the girl is laughing?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Helping Children Develop Impulse Control

Excitement, joy, anger, frustration, and disappointment are all part of growing up. Learning how and when to show these emotions is known as impulse control. Impulse control helps children make and keep friends. Children who can control their anger and frustration, and use words to express their feelings, are likely to be able to make and keep friends. And making and keeping friends can boost self-esteem and school success.

Parents can encourage the development of impulse control during preschool years in the following ways:
·         Suggest words that your child can use to say how she feels. If your child gets mad while playing a game, encourage her to use words to show her anger, such as “That really makes me mad!” or “I don’t’ like it when that happens.”
·         Make it clear that hurting others is not allowed. When your child gets mad playing a game and pushes or hits another child, take him aside and remind him that hurting others is not allowed.
·         Help your child think of new ways to solve problems. When your child has a disagreement with another child, suggest solutions such as taking turns or sharing.
·         Respond to your child’s misbehavior with words. When you tell your child the reasons behind rules and explain the consequences for misbehavior, you help her develop inner controls on her behavior.
·         Model self-control when dealing with stress or frustration. Your child learns many behaviors from observing you. When you model self-discipline and self-control, your child will learn to follow your example.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nurturing Mothers

Did you grow up in a warm and nurturing home? Did your parents show they cared, listen and talk things over with you, teach you new things, and respect you? Recent research shows that positive parenting behaviors can be passed down from one generation to the next.

According to an international team of researchers reporting in the Journal of Child Development, mothers who were raised in a positive, nurturing home during childhood and adolescence are more likely to raise their own children that way. This study was based on interviews and observations of more than 200 New Zealanders followed over 20 years, beginning during childhood and as participants in the study became parents themselves.

Researchers found that mothers who were reared in supportive homes tended to support their own children in warm, sensitive and stimulating ways. Those who were raised in a low-conflict household and who had trusting and close relationships with their parents during their early teen years were more likely to engage in such positive parenting with their own young children.

This research suggests that a mother’s own experiences certainly shape her parenting style. We learn to parent from our own parents – good or bad. Parents who want to make a change in their parenting style are encouraged to attend parent education classes, where they learn to create a positive environment for their children. This can start a chain reaction that lasts across generations. For more information on parenting classes: http://hillsboroughfcs.ifas.ufl.edu/ParentingClasses.html

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Getting Organized: Getting Rid of Clutter

I have always been highly organized. My family often makes fun of my organizational skills and sometimes even my friends do, too. I think it’s done with love. I grew up in a  cluttered childhood home, and it always overwhelmed me. As an adult, being organized always offered some sanity in a chaotic, single-parent household. It’s what works for me.

Clutter is my enemy. It simply means there’s stuff that I haven’t taken care of and it mocks me. It’s a waste of my time to shuffle stacks of stuff and piles of things. If getting organized and getting rid of clutter could offer some sanity to your life, here are some suggestions:

·         Take action. Because clutter represents “decisions not made,” tell yourself that it’s time to make those decisions. Every time you pick up something (junk mail, out-grown clothing, etc) instantly decide whether to keep it, toss it, or give it to someone else. If you decide to keep it – this means you put it where it belongs without putting it down again where you found it.
·         Be stingy with storage. Ask yourself if you really need to save and store your children’s out-grown clothing, the crib that your children probably won’t want to use for your someday grandchildren, your wedding dress that your daughter wouldn’t be caught dead wearing, or the softball equipment that is getting moldy in the garage.
·         Start small. Take small steps. Start with one drawer, one foot of your closet, one shelf in the refrigerator, one corner of the garage or one shelf of the book case.
·         Find little chunks of time. Grab five or ten minutes whenever you can - while you’re waiting for the kids to get dressed, or when you’re ready for work a little early. You’d be amazed how fast a few minutes here and there whittle down a large job
·         Multi-task. Multi-tasking has gotten a bad reputation lately, but the truth is, busy parents need to do it – often. What can you accomplished while you’re watching TV, talking on the phone, fixing dinner,
·         Delegate. Many tasks can be turned over to someone else in the household. We just have to teach them how to do it. If you turn over the job of laundry to someone

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Children and Diets

The diet industry represents a multi-billion dollar industry today. New books and diet programs appear almost every week with offers to help us FINALLY figure out how to eat right and stay in shape. While these programs are typically targeted to adults, the adults who are dealing with their own nutrition issues are also raising the next generation... often with the same rules they learned as kids or imposing the new rules they are trying to follow as adults. In many cases, neither of these is appropriate.

For example, according to Ellyn Satter, low-fat food is neither nutritionally appropriate nor appealing to toddlers (much less adults!). Likewise, for all the Atkins followers out there, starches are not only good for children, but appealing. Satter recommends always having bread and a second starchy food on the table.

Another important shift in philosophy is over control. For all of you raised by the “yours is not to question why, yours is but to do or die” parenting style, consider this. Satter says you're too controlling if you make your child stay at the table to eat her vegetables; make your child clean his/her plate or eat everything else before he/she can have dessert; or if you make your child get by on only three meals a day.

However, she says you aren't providing your child enough structure and limits if you give your child a snack whenever he/she wants one; let your child behave badly at the table; short-order cook for him/her; or let your child have juice or milk whenever he/she wants it.

Want more information? Visit this website at http://www.familyalbumradio.org
Reference: Satter, Ellen. "Child of Mine". Bull Publishing, 2000 Boulder, CO.