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Thursday, October 22, 2009

What Methods Do You Use In Your Parenting Skills?

This morning the little boy I watch came over with a blanket the size of a wash rag. It reminded me of the story I'd heard about an ex-son-in-law who was so attached to his blanket, his father devised a way to rid him of the embarrassing (for dad) habit.

Every few nights, when little Wes went to sleep, his father snipped off around 2 inches of his blanket, first from one side, then from another. He left two satiny sides for his son to hold onto. Eventually little Wes dragged around a 2-inch-square rag of a blanket.

That story still cracks me up when I think of this poor little baby walking around with a tiny rag. And I can't help but wonder what went through that baby's mind as he saw his blanket disappearing inch by inch.

When my oldest daughter, Keeley refused to give up her pacifier, I tried to reason with my 2-year old. "Big girls don't use pacifiers."

We walked through the mall without the pacifier and she was perfectly fine UNTIL we came across a little boy who looked to be around 4 years old sucking away on a pacifier. I wondered if that was her first clue that boys were the preferred sex in our world, even when it came to the right to suck on a pacifier.

As my children grew, I watched how other people raised their children and tried to adopt methods I thought would work for me in my parenting. So many things factor into how a child responds to different parenting methods – what works for one child might not necessarily work for another. But when we see other children behaving well, we want to know what they are doing that is different from what we are doing.

One thing I know for certain that works is consistency. If a child knows what to expect, he or she acts according to expectations and consistent action. If mom or dad insists the child go to bed at 8:30 and the child continues to get up with excuse after excuse (getting water, going to the bathroom), parents should address those issues BEFORE bedtime.

While some children are relentless and will make requests, night after night – more water, more food, read another book – if parents consistently refuse to give in to the demanding child, and if parents provide the kind of consistent loving care in every other area of the child's life, eventually the child will give in.

Consistency is tiring work. And some children can so exhaust a parent that some parents cave.

So whatever you do, do it with love and do it consistently. And don't cave in. The rewards are amazing!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

What Matters To Your Child

As my son-in-law was sorting socks with my nearly five-year-old granddaughter this morning, I remembered a time when my son was in kindergarten. He came home from school one day incensed that I had sent him to school with two different colored socks.

In my defense, I have never been good with dark colors. Unless I am sitting in direct sunlight, forest green, brown, black, navy blue, and purple look the same to me. So on the day my son came home in utter humiliation that I had embarrassed him by dressing him with two different colored socks (I wonder why he didn't notice them when I put them on him), I devised a plan.

On laundry days when I washed socks, we played the Sock Sort game where all socks got laid out on the couch and everybody pitched in to see how many matches we could find. It didn't take everybody too long a time to figure out that the Sock Sort game was actually work, so when they tired of "the game," I threw the socks in separate drawers and allowed everybody to find his or her own matching socks.

Appearance, even at an early age, is very important to children. I would find the girls draping themselves in necklaces, earrings, bracelets, hats, and crowns while my son labored over his hair cut. I loved is curly locks. He hated them. Though he was only 5 years old, I allowed him to choose his own hair style. Apparently even then he was grooming himself to be a Marine.

So while they sometimes choose mismatched clothes, or they sometimes look like Madonna in her early years, children define who they are by the choices they make. And if we allow them to pursue their own goals, we find unique individuals who discover who they are through their choices.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Positive Emotions of Children With Cancer

As I experience my own bout of breast cancer, I can't help but think back to a time when a little boy I watched had ALL (Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia). He was in kindergarten when his mother discovered bruises all over his body and took him to the doctor to find out what had caused them.

I can't remember if his condition required chemotherapy or radiation, but I do remember his mother calling me one Saturday morning and asking me to come to their home. She opened the door to his bedroom, and asked me what I smelled.

The odor of death was obvious, and she knew, because I had previously worked in a hospital, that I would recognize the smell. Because computers were not around back then, I called the hospital to ask why we would be smelling that odor. According to the emergency room nurse, when cancer cells die due to radiation or chemotherapy, healthy cells die as well. The dying cells emit an odor. His room smelled like a morgue.

I bought Bradley a child's Bible and read him the story of David and Goliath. I told him to imagine that he was David and that the cancer was Goliath. And every time he thought about it I wanted him to sling rocks at Goliath until the giant disappeared into little pebbles that could easily be pounded into powder and blown away. He loved the imagery and participated in killing his own cancer. Bradley eventually went into remission. And while I've lost touch with his family after all these years, I pray he is still well.

I believe prayers are positive energy forces that contribute to a person's well being, and I thank God for all the people praying for me. As hard as it is for my family and friends to watch me go through cancer, though, I am grateful for the health of my own children and grandchildren.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Is Asthma Related To Colic or Acid Reflux

After I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I started researching the relationships between asthma and my other problems. I recently came across something I want to relate to you. And the reason I want to relate it to you is that I know many parents deal with colic or acid reflux.

As a baby I was what my mother termed, "colicky" which accounted for lots of sleepless nights for her. The term most people use today is acid reflux and I can't begin to count the number of people whose babies have suffered from this problem. One in particular had a grandchild who suffered so severely from acid reflux that he had to be hospitalized on numerous occasions.

Because babies who suffer from reflux (also known as GER or Gastro Esophageal Reflux) experience a myriad problems which include respiratory, wheezing, or pneumonia, does the possibility exist that they may also develop asthma? My asthma didn't begin until I was five years old. I still have it. I also continue to have gastrointestinal problems. Coincidence?

During my research I came across a website that offers an all-natural product called Colic Calm. If you click the link you can read more about the product. While I no longer have babies of my own living in my home, I would probably order a caseload of it for people like my mother who had to endure my endless hour-upon-hour cry-fests. My personal preference for any medication is to use an all-natural product, and this one would have been my choice in dealing with reflux.

This natural acid reflux remedy appears on a site that offers information about the causes and treatment of acid reflux. So if this problem applies to you, please read more about infant reflux and GER in babies and newborns by clicking any of the links posted in this blog.

My own personal opinion about the relationship between colic (or acid reflux) and asthma is that they are related. Had Colic Calm been available when I was an infant, I wonder if I would have ever developed asthma. I wish somebody would do a study on it (I wonder if it works on adults).

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