Helping Your Child Cope with Conflict

Help Children Act Calm

  • Let them know that it takes more courage to walk away from a fight than to stay and fight.
  • Teach them that fights don’t solve problems—they make new ones.
  • Remind them that when they get mad but don’t fight, they have really won.

Sometimes, getting along with other kids is hard. Some kids:

  • Get into fights when they are angry.
  • Get teased a lot.
  • Encourage others to fight.

This can make your child feel bad or get in trouble. Teach your child how to deal with anger and stay out of trouble.

Everyone Gets Mad

Anger doesn’t usually last a long time, but it is a very strong feeling when it happens. Children get mad when:

  • Their feelings are hurt or they can’t do what they want.
  • Others don’t understand them or lie about them.
  • They feel left out or others don’t act the way they want.

When children are mad, their bodies react:

  • Their hearts beat faster and their faces feel hot and sweaty.
  • It might be hard to breathe and they can’t think clearly.
  • They have a lot of energy and want action.

When children are angry, it is:

  • Good to put their feelings into words.
  • Not good to hit someone, break things, or say things that hurt.

Teach Your Child to ACT CALM

When children get mad, they can ACT:

Acknowledge – Acknowledge angry  feelings.Notice changes in their bodies.

Calm down – Breathe deeply, count t o 10, or walk away.Punch a pillow, run, or play music.

Think and talk – Think about the problem and ways to fix it. If someone doesn’t know what children are trying to say or do, they need to explain themselves.Talk with someone about being mad and ways to fix  the problem without fighting. If there is nobody to talk to right away, stop and think, “This is why I’m mad and what I need to do is …”

If someone tries to start a fight, your child can be the one to stay CALM:

Calm down – Keep a safe distance from the other person. Take slow, deep breaths. Stay alert and stand tall.

Avoid – Avoid name-calling or returning insults. It only makes things worse. Avoid other kids who may want to fight. Try to talk in private with the kid who wants to fight.

Listen – Calmly listen to what the other kid says. Ask, “What does this person really want?”

Move on – Find ways to solve the problem without fighting. Use humor. “I wouldn’t want you to catch my cold.”Give a reason.  “We’ll both get thrown off the team if we fight.” Walk away. If nothing else works, it’s best to walk away.

Children do what they see others do. You are your child’s most important role model.

If your child is still having trouble getting along with other kids, talk with your pediatrician.


Source: Connected Kids: Safe, Strong, Secure (Copyright © 2006 American Academy of Pediatrics) The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


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A “Perfect” Parent

Is there such a thing as a “perfect” parent?

Many people believe in the myth of the perfect parents – the ideal mother and father who raise happy, well-adjusted problem-free children. In truth, there is no such person as a perfect parent – or a perfect child.

Problem behavior is common among school-age children and takes up a significant portion of a parent’s time. At any one time, on average, school-age children have about five or six traits or behaviors that their parents find difficult. These might include not complying with simple requests, avoiding chores, spending too much time watching TV or playing videos, engaging in sibling rivalry or having difficulty completing homework. Other common problems for parents are dealing with a temperamentally difficult child, or coping with a child who either wants too much independence or hasn’t achieved enough autonomy. Parents also sometimes encounter the dilemma of a child who prefers friends or activities not approved of by his mother or father.

Mistakes are OK

As a parent, you need to recognize that it is normal to feel worried, confused, angry, guilty, overwhelmed and inadequate because of your child’s behavior. That is part of being a parent. It is futile and self-defeating to try to be perfect or to raise perfect children.

Think back to how you behaved, or misbehaved, as a child, about how your parents dealt with your behavior, and how you felt about their disciplinary techniques. They were not perfect, but neither was anyone else. Do not try to overcompensate for their shortcomings by trying to be perfect yourself, and by getting caught up in statements like “I’m not going to make the same mistakes my parents made.”

All parents and all children make mistakes in their attempts to communicate and deal with one another and in trying to solve problems. Parents need to trust themselves and their instincts. Mothers and fathers tend to have good intuition and knowledge of their own children. They often know more than they think they do, and they should not be afraid of making mistakes. Children are resilient and forgiving and usually learn and grow through their mistakes. Parents tend to be just as resilient and forgiving.

Flexible Parenting

However, parents who “live for their children” are putting themselves in a very vulnerable position, setting themselves up for possible disappointment, frustration and resentment. They are also being unfair to their family. Parents should not expect to receive all their personal fulfillment from their children or from the parenting role. Parents need other activities to fulfill their self-images, and other sources of love and nurturing. They need time to be adults and time for themselves – and a break from children and parenting responsibilities.

As a parent, you need to develop your own philosophy – one with which you feel comfortable – within a flexible and adaptable framework. Take into account your own expectations, parenting style, and temperament, and how they fit with each of your children and your spouse, and their own unique preferences and temperaments. Your approach and philosophy will vary from youngster to youngster, mainly because of their own particular attributes.

Along the way, remember that professional help is available if problems ever become too intense, exceed your own coping capabilities, or cause secondary difficulties such as a decline in school performance, increased family stress or serious emotional problems.

You should take comfort in the fact that in the vast majority of cases, children do turn out well. But along the way, keep your sense of humor, trust your instincts and seek help and advice early rather than late. While parenting is a great challenge, it can also be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of your life.

Points To Keep In Mind

  • Even among children of the same age, there is a range of what is normal in the way they develop socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically.
  • A child’s maturity level may be different for the various qualities he is developing, including social skills, athletic abilities and learning capabilities. He might be strong in math but weak in writing (or vice versa), or good at basketball but not at golf.
  • The variations described above may be permanent, forming a child’s own unique profile; or they could be evolving and thus be subject to change.
  • The way a child develops can influence his behavior, and vice versa.
  • The particular parenting style of a mother and father, as well as the child’s environment, will affect the youngster’s behavior and development.

Source: Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


Brush, Book, Bed: How to Structure Your Child’s Nighttime Routine

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Brush, Book, Bed, a program of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), has a simple and clear message for parents:

  • Each night, help your children to brush their teeth.
  • Read a favorite book (or two)!
  • Get to bed at a regular time each night.

Having a predictable nighttime routine will help them understand and learn to expect what comes next. Additionally, routines may ease the stress that some families experience at nighttime. The resources below will help you get started with your child’s Brush, Book, Bed routine!

BRUSH!
All young children need help with brushing from an adult to make sure a good job is done. When possible, teach children to spit out extra toothpaste, but don’t rinse with water first. The little bit of toothpaste left behind is good for their teeth! Once teeth touch, they can also be flossed. Visit your dentist regularly starting with your child’s first birthday or sooner if there are concerns. Your pediatrician can answer questions about oral health, too. Remember, the last thing to touch the teeth before bed is the toothbrush!

  • As soon as baby is born, you can start good oral health practices. If possible, use a soft washcloth to wipe your baby’s gums after feedings. Remember not to put babies to bed with a bottle filled with milk. And, when it is time to introduce solids, choose healthy foods to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
  • For children under age 3: As soon as you see a tooth in your baby’s mouth you can start to BRUSH! Use a smear (grain of rice) of toothpaste with fluoride 2 times per day.
  • For children ages 3–6: Use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. It is OK to let them practice with the brush, but you get your turn too.

BOOK!
After toothbrushing and before bed, find a comfortable spot to sit and read with your child. Spending some time, even just 15 minutes each day, to read aloud together will help improve your child’s language development and social-emotional skills. Make up your own stories, use silly voices, sing songs, and just enjoy this special bonding time with your child. Visit your local library or bookstore, and give your child the opportunity to explore different kinds of books.

Remember, it is never too early to share books with your child. As your child ages, so will the kind of books he or she enjoys. Take a look at these tips for sharing books with your child at each stage of development!

BED!
Sleep is very important to your child’s health and well-being. In fact, good sleep habits start from birth. However, getting young children to sleep (and to stay asleep) is often one of the most daunting tasks of parenthood. Regardless of your child’s age, the key is to have a predictable series of steps that help him wind down from the day.

Set regular bedtimes (and, if appropriate, nap times) and stick to them. Do not wait for your child to start rubbing his eyes or yawning — that’s probably too late. Putting your child to bed even 15 to 20 minutes earlier can make a big difference and ensure everyone has a good night’s rest.


Source: American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2014). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.


5 Great Reasons to Cook with Your Kids

When it comes to raising an adventurous eater, it is not just about coaxing kids to eat their veggies. Bringing up a child who can enjoy a cantaloupe as much as a cupcake takes patience and persistence, but it does not have to feel like a chore.

Kids may need to have frequent joyful experiences involving food to overcome the anxiety they may have around tasting the unfamiliar. Over time, cooking with your children can help build that confidence—and provide rich sensory experiences.
Here are five ways to enjoy cooking with your children while raising an adventurous eater along the way.

  1. Engage other senses. For a hesitant eater, tasting an unfamiliar food can sometimes be intimidating. You can help your child explore foods when cooking using other senses besides taste. This helps to build positive associations with food. Kneading dough, rinsing vegetables, and tearing lettuce all involve touching food and being comfortable with texture. The complex flavors we experience when eating food come from both taste sensations from the tongue AND smelling with the nose. While cooking with new ingredients, some children may feel too overwhelmed to taste. If this happens, you can try suggesting smelling a food first; this may provide a bridge to tasting in the future.
  2. Use cooking to raise smart kids. There are so many lessons that can be taught while cooking. Math concepts like counting, measurement, and fractions naturally unfold when navigating a recipe with kids. Explaining how food changes with temperature or how certain foods can help our body be healthy provide great lessons in science. While cooking with your child, practice new vocabulary as you describe how food looks, feels, and tastes. Following a recipe from start to finish helps build the skills for planning and completing projects.
  3. Make cooking part of the family culture. The family meal can start in the kitchen as you cook together. Family meal preparation is an opportunity to celebrate your cultural heritage by passing down recipes. Help your kids find new, seasonal recipes to add to your repertoire and family cookbook. Cooking together and prioritizing health over the convenience of processed food are great ways to lead by example and help your children buy into a culture of wellness. Building daily and seasonal traditions around cooking together helps strengthen your family’s commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
  4. Keep it safe. Teach kids the importance of staying safe while cooking by showing them how to hold kitchen tools safely, how to use oven mitts to protect hands from heat, and how to turn appliances on and off safely. Always supervise children when cooking to ensure they are sticking with safe and age-appropriate tasks. The best way to keep cooking safe is to know your child’s abilities and his or her stage of development. A four-year-old child, for example, may not be ready to sauté vegetables over a hot pan, but may have the fine motor skills to rinse fruits or tear salad leaves. Keeping safety in mind, it is not difficult to get kids—even toddlers—involved in the kitchen.
  5. Ask for input. Children feel more included in mealtime when they are asked to be a part of meal preparation. Collaborate with your kids when selecting recipes for main dishes or sides. Let them help you make the shopping list and find groceries in the store or farmers market. When cooking together, let children offer a critique of the foods you are preparing. Together you can decide what ingredients you should add to enhance the flavor. Talk about how people enjoy different tastes, and share your preferences with each other. Letting children be “in charge” of details like how to set the table will help them feel invested in mealtime.

Over many years, cooking as a family will help develop a happy, adventurous eater with some pretty valuable life skills—and plenty of happy memories in the kitchen. With enough practice, your child will someday be able to cook YOU a delicious meal!


Written by Nimali Fernando, MD, MPH, FAAP. Last Updated 12/14/2016. Source: American Academy of Pediatrics (Copyright © 2016)


Stresses of Single Parenting

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WHAT ARE SOME WAYS TO AVOID THE STRESS OF BEING A SINGLE PARENT? Single parenthood can bring added pressure and stress to the job of raising children. With no one to share day-to-day responsibilities or decision-making, single parents must provide greater support for their children while they themselves may feel alone. The following suggestions may help reduce stress in your family:

Get A Handle On Finances. Learn how to budget your money. Know when your paycheck or other income will arrive, and keep track of household bills. Do what you can to improve your finances. If you need a job, contact employment and temporary agencies for help. If you need more education, consider getting your high school diploma, a college degree, or other special training.

Talk Early and Often. Let your children know about the changes in the family. Sit quietly with your children and allow them to talk about their feelings.

Find Support and Use It. Don’t try to handle everything by yourself. You will need the support that family and friends can give. Get to know other single parents through support groups. Your pediatrician can also be a great source of help and information.

Take Time For Family. Being a single parent can be overwhelming. Set aside some time each day to enjoy your children. Spend quiet time playing, reading, working on arts-and-crafts projects, or just listening to music together. Your time is one of the most important things you can give to your children.

Take Time For Yourself. Time spent away from your children is important for you and for them. Being a single parent doesn’t mean you can’t have an adult life. Get a babysitter and enjoy some time alone or with friends. Do things that you like. Go to a movie. Find a hobby.

Keep A Daily Routine. Schedule meals, chores, and bedtimes at regular times so that your children know what to expect each day. A routine will help them feel more secure.

Maintain Consistent Discipline. Divorced or separated parents should work together to discipline their children the same way. Check your local library for books on parenting. Local hospitals, the YMCA, and church groups often sponsor parenting classes. Learning good ways to handle your children’s behavior will reduce stress for all of you.

Treat Kids Like Kids. Though being a single parent can get lonely, try not to treat your children like substitutes for a partner. Try not to rely on them for comfort or sympathy.

Stay Positive. Be aware that your children will always be affected by your mood and attitude. They will need your praise and your love through hard times. It’s okay to be honest about your feelings of sadness and loss, but let them know better times lie ahead for all of you.

Take Care of Yourself. This is a difficult time for you, too. Exercise regularly, eat healthy, and get enough rest so you can better deal with stress. Visit your own doctor on a regular basis.

Find Good Child Care. Good child care is essential for your children’s well-being and your peace of mind. Finding quality child care may be one of the most difficult tasks you will face. Keep the following in mind:

  • Never leave your children home alone. Find someone you trust to take care of them while you are working.
  • Don’t rely on older brothers and sisters to babysit for younger siblings.
  • Be careful about asking new friends or partners to watch your children, even for a short time. They may not have the patience, especially if a child’s behavior becomes difficult.
  • Children need to be cared for by an adult with proven experience in child care. The best way to make sure your child is getting good care is to visit the child care center or watch your babysitter when he or she is with your children.

Your pediatrician can offer advice on finding the best child care for your family. Your local city or county government may also have a list of licensed child care centers or homes.


Source: Single Parenting (Copyright © 2007 American Academy of Pediatrics, Updated 5/2007). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.

Effective Parenting

Now that our children are getting older, how do we know if we are doing a good job as parents? There is a whole history to your parent-child relationship that began at the moment your youngster was born. To help you better understand the present, try to gain some insights into where you have been as a family. Think back on your experiences with your child when he was a baby, a toddler, and a preschooler. Ask yourself:

  • How active a parent were you in those early years? Did you play a major child-raising role in the family, or were there other demands (such as long hours at work) that kept you from being as involved as you would have liked?
  • What were your most enjoyable parenting and family experiences during those years?

Since those first years of your child’s life, your parenting techniques may have changed. Perhaps you were quite anxious as a new parent but gained confidence as the months and years passed. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What have you learned as a parent? What were the hardest skills to learn?
  • What were your best traits as a parent of a young child? What were the areas in which you had the most problems? For example, did you find it difficult to relate to your child before he started to talk? Was it difficult for you to set limits when he entered toddlerhood? How did he respond to you in your parenting role?
  • What did you want to change about yourself as a parent as your child grew? How successful have you been in making those changes? Keep in mind that as your child grows, you and the entire family need to change too. In essence, you are proceeding through your own development as a parent.

Even if you made mistakes during those early years, you can amend them now. If you missed out on certain family experiences because you were working too hard, you still have many years to enjoy your spouse and children. In general, children are understanding and forgive their parents for shortcomings and faults. And if you weren’t there when your child took his first steps or rode his tricycle for the first time, you can be there for other special events to come, like your child’s school play and his soccer games.

Your Current Parenting Experiences
Spend some time thinking about how you are doing as a parent during these middle years of your youngster’s childhood. This is a challenging time, in which your child is seeking more independence and is questioning the family’s rules. And, from time to time, you may have to help him with school-related problems. He will be developing more peer relationships, too, and his interactions with siblings may change.

How well are you parenting your child during this time in his life? In what areas are you doing well? Where do you think you need more help?

Your Current Life Issues
For many men and women, the stress in their lives interferes with their ability to parent. If they are unhappy on the job, for instance, they might return home preoccupied and tense at the end of the day and be unable to handle the tasks of running a family as effectively.

Take a moment to assess how you feel about these and other important aspects of your life.

  • Your career and occupation
  • Your relationships at work
  • Your living conditions, including your home and neighborhood
  • Your lifestyle, including time for yourself and leisure activities
  • Aging: growing older, slowing down and experiencing changes in your body
  • Your relationship with your spouse or partner
  • Your relationship with your parents and siblings
  • Your friendships

Evaluate problems in these areas, and how they might be influencing your family life. Whenever possible, find ways to deal with these difficulties in your life more effectively, so they will not interfere with your parent-child relationships.

For example, if you are like many parents, your day is so filled with job and family responsibilities that you have absolutely no “down time,” when you become a priority. Keep in mind, however, that most parents are happier people (and thus better parents) when they make time for things they find pleasurable. As your children move through their school years, they will develop interests and responsibilities (from friends to homework) that can provide you with more time for those activities that you find enriching. You do not need to devote every free moment to playing checkers or baseball with your children; in fact, as long as you are also setting aside some time for your youngsters, they will probably feel good knowing that you are pursuing interests that you really enjoy.


Source Caring for Your School-Age Child: Ages 5 to 12 (Copyright © 2004 American Academy of Pediatrics). The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.