Archive for the ‘
Behavior ’ Category
Friday, November 8th, 2013
Have you seen Bethenny Frankel’s new talk show? The SkinnyGirl entrepreneur tackles some serious issues on Bethenny, her new daytime show. Parents attended a taping that covered everything from fashion advice to a discipline debate to a discussion on body image. After the taping, Parents sat in on a blogger Q&A with Bethenny as she talked about spanking, healthy eating, and spending quality time with her 3-year-old daughter, Bryn.
What’s your best advice for single moms?
BF: Prioritize. You don’t really have a lot of free time so, you have to be organized and efficient. Quality time is the most important thing with your child. You have to sleep. I don’t have a nanny, so the minute I get up it’s game time until 8 o’clock when it’s bedtime. I try to get sleep so I feel good all day and we can do great things together. I work really intensely and hard and do two shows a day, which is really difficult, but I cram it all in so that the other time is free time, but there’s no manicures, there’s no me time. I just go right to pick her up from school to make it great for the both of us.
During the discipline debate segment during this morning’s taping there was a lot of discussion about spanking and about the new trend of shaming. What are your thoughts on disciplining this way?
BF: Just to be clear, I didn’t have that much of a problem with the woman telling her daughter to hold the sign [on her Facebook saying she had used the site inappropriately], but I would never do that. It’s not even in the realm of possibility, nor is hitting. [The Facebook photo] just didn’t create such a visceral reaction in me, but hitting does. Although, I remember when a teacher told me I looked like I’d gone through an egg-beater because my hair was messy and I do remember that being traumatizing. I still remember that and it was third grade. I think you can reason with children. They feel your energy. You have to be calm and direct. My daughter is young, until you get older you don’t know, but I just wouldn’t lay my hands on anyone.
So what is your tactic for disciplining, since you’re not a spanker or a shamer?
BF: Just consequences. If I say “no” and my daughter disobeys me or she cries [because I say “no”], it’s okay, you can cry. People cry when they get sad. You can cry. Let her go through it, but I think you can’t take the path of least resistance. A lot of times when a kid is crying a parent just wants it to stop so they give them a toy or a treat. I’m willing to sit through it, even at a restaurant, even if there are other people there. Not a crazy tantrum because I’m not going to ruin someone else’s meal, but I’ll let it go for a second. It does end. You have to be patient about it.
With a daughter and the show, how do you still prioritize healthy eating for yourself and Bryn with such little time?
BF: It’s just ingrained in you, but it’s not always perfect. Yesterday I was with her in the morning and I hadn’t eaten breakfast and I had half of one of those big sprinkle cookies because it was her snack time. I had part of that for breakfast which isn’t the ideal breakfast, but I don’t really get overly caught up in it. Then for lunch I had sushi and then at dinner I had a veggie burger. It’s kind of all balanced out. I’m not always healthy, I had French fries last night, but I had French fries with a veggie burger. It’s all in moderation. You want to be the person who’s here and drinking green juices every day or like Ellen [DeGeneres] where it’s all raw and organic and vegan, but that’s not going to happen.
As the face of the SkinnyGirl empire, and after the discussion of body image duing the taping today, how do you plan to teach your daughter to have a positive body image amidst all the noise?
BF: I don’t think it’s a teaching thing, I think it’s a living breathing thing. I hear moms saying “I look fat in these jeans” or “I was bad” or “I’m going on a diet” and all of those are cues that children hear from a young age. There is none of that in my house at all. There is no noise about exercise or working out. She just eats what she wants. I do see other kids that are very focused on food and they want to eat it all and they want more and vice versa, kids that won’t eat at all, but she’s pretty balanced. I happen to be lucky that my daughter isn’t someone who is obsessed with food. It’s about not having all of that stuff in your house. If you have chicken nuggets and processed food and they get used to that, that’s the slippery slope. I’m proud of the fact that she likes healthy food. And then I don’t mind, have ice cream, or pizza, or chips, but there’s a base that’s healthy. She just likes brown rice, or pea soup, and greens, but of course she can have ice cream. There are no “no’s.” I think that’s another problem is that parents are big on restricting. I was the house with cut up fruit and sliced turkey and other people had Cap’n Crunch and you were so excited. Or Twinkies! I don’t have that stuff in my house, but if you’re somewhere and you want to: have it.
When you do have down time, what do you like to do for you time and what do you like to do with your daughter?
BF: Oh my G-d when am I by myself? When I’m by myself, yoga or talk a walk with my dog, just go somewhere in the city. I’ll take a walk along the river or get a coffee somewhere. Sometimes it just feels free to be alone. I’m a person that likes to be alone and I’m not alone that much. … Just walk and wander. Do nothing, mindless nothing. When I’m with my daughter anything. The playground, biking, the park. Just fun things that I think are an adventure. It’s so nice, it’s so fun together.
Do you have any plans of how you two will spend the holidays?
BF: The traditional traditions. I love doing the Christmas tree with her and taking her to see the windows and to Central Park and Rockefeller Center. I’m very big on activities, whether it’s pumpkin-picking or carving pumpkins or apple-picking and making apple pie out of it, cooking, we’ll definitely do Christmas cookies, we’ll definitely do the tree-decorating and the house-decorating. That’s the best thing about kids, they make you young again. You have somebody to do all these great activities with that as an adult we sleep, we workout, when you’re single you didn’t do all these fun interesting activities. Life’s pretty active with her. There’s not really a moment that’s not filled.
A lot of times I’m exhausted, but I’m not a sit-in-front-of-the-TV mom. I want to do great, interesting things with her. It doesn’t mean we have to go to Europe to the Eiffel Tower, it just means sit on the playground or have a picnic. You feel good about yourself. What you put into your kid you get out.
To watch the discipline debate on Bethenny, tune in Monday, November 18. Check your local listings.
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Tuesday, September 24th, 2013
Whether it’s poor manners, slacking on chores, or forgetting to feed the dog, most kids dodge responsibility from time to time. If you can catch your kid in the act on camera, we can help! Share short videos—2 minutes or less in length—of your child’s biggest behavior challenges with Parents, and selected submissions will received personalized expert advice. Send your video to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with your child’s name and age and your daytime phone number, to enter.
Here are some best video practices to get you started:
- It’s fine to film on your phone—in fact, it’s encouraged!
- Set up your shot as if you were taking a photo.
- Make sure there is plenty of light. Turn on several lights, if you are inside.
- If you shoot handheld, use two hands to steady the phone. Or, use a table or a book to prop your phone up, to have a completely steady shot.
- Audio is key. Make sure the phone is close enough to your kid so that you can hear him. And don’t be afraid to have your child repeat something he’s said.
Submission of your material constitutes permission for Meredith Corporation to allow its use in all media.
Image: Mom video taping child via Shutterstock.
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Thursday, September 19th, 2013
Yesterday we had the pleasure of hanging out with Elmo and Murray, who dropped by to help spread the word about Sesame Street‘s 44th season, which kicked off Monday. (That’s me and Michael Kress, executive editor of Parents.com, proudly posing with the muppets.) The theme of the season is self-regulation, otherwise known as that thing most of our kids haven’t quite mastered. The shows will focus on helping children master skills like managing emotions, making transitions, being flexible, screening out distractions, and remembering rules–all of which will help them in school, or help them get ready for school.
We asked Elmo and Murray all kinds of questions: Do you ever get so frustrated that you want to push or hit someone? What happens when your mom and dad serve you a meal that you really don’t like? Do you fight with your siblings? (They don’t have any, but they still had a good answer about getting along with others.) You’ll see what they had to say in a fun video series we’ll show you soon–and you can show your own children as a way to get them on board with good behaviors. (I know I’ll be showing my girls what Murray had to say about trying foods he doesn’t think he’s going to like.) In the meantime, have your children check out the new season of “Sesame Street”–though I’ll bet they are already–which includes a new segment called “Cookie’s Crumby Pictures,” movie spoofs that show Cookie encountering all kinds of opportunities to show off his self-regulation skills.
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Thursday, May 9th, 2013
It’s been said that “a mother is only as happy as her least happy child,” and it’s so true that children’s mental health affects the whole family. If your child suffers from anxiety or depression or ADHD, you want to get her the best treatment just like you would if she had diabetes or asthma or cancer. And yet, stigma still does exist, and can get in the way of addressing a child’s problem. In our recent survey of more than 1,600 parents conducted in partnership with the Child Mind Institute, 48% said they think parents are to blame for children who exhibit disruptive behavior.
In the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, there has been a call for improved mental health care—and mental health advocates are seizing this opportunity to talk about the importance of effective diagnosis and treatment. Indeed, our survey found that 60% of parents are concerned that kids who have a mental illness like Asperger’s Syndrome or depression are more likely to hurt themselves or others, and 61% of parents said that parents of children with mental health problems should not be allowed to have a gun in their home. However, the truth is that most violent crimes are not actually committed by people who are mentally ill, and kids with mental health issues can grow up to lead happy, productive lives when they get proper care.
“The Newtown shooting has lead to a national conversation about mental health—not just to prevent potential violence, which is very rare, but to prevent suffering, which is very common and often very treatable,” says Parents advisor Harold Koplewicz, M.D., president of the Child Mind Institute. “What we hope will come from the tragedy is openness that starts in each family and community, when we acknowledge our worries about our own children, and help make other parents feel safe enough to speak up about their worries, too.”
One piece of good news from our survey: 66% of respondents do believe that parents are now more likely to seek help if their child’s behavior worries them. We’ve also been encouraged to learn that an increasing number of pediatricians now have mental-health professionals working right in their office. Not only does that make access to care easier, but it sends a message that mental heath is just as important as physical health.
You can participate in the Speak Up For Kids campaign and learn more from the online events being hosted by the Child Mind Institute in honor of National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month.
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Tuesday, March 12th, 2013
Having grown up with a sibling with disabilities, I’ve seen firsthand what it’s like for a child to struggle making friends. My younger brother, Jimmy, suffered from a seizure disorder and learning disabilities, displayed violent-aggressive behavior, and had trouble regulating his emotions– all stemming from a benign brain tumor he was born with. It was clear from his earliest years that, despite my parents’ greatest efforts to give him a normal life, he was going to have challenges most kids don’t face – and creating friendships was one of them. We watched as Jimmy grew into a little boy who was kind, clever, and humorous (to say the very least), but his outbursts, impulsivity, and delayed brain development made it difficult for him to interact with kids his age.
Recently, I attended an event for The Meeting House, an afterschool program in New York City for children who lack “normal” social skills – a resource I wish we could have had during Jimmy’s growing up years. Through activities such as sports, music, dance, and homework help, the program helps school-age kids build their social skills and self-esteem in a fun environment where they can interact with others like themselves. Two fantastic experts, Fadi Haddad, M.D., the director of Child Psychiatric Emergency Services at Bellevue Hospital here in New York City and Sima Gerber, Ph.D., a professor of speech-language pathology at Queens College, spoke about developing social skills to a packed room that included parents of children with developmental delays and social difficulties, as well as educators and psychologists. Here are some points that jumped out at me, and that I hope can be helpful to parents who are in similar situations as mine were:
Know what’s normal. Be aware of the skills your child should be developing for his age group and look for any abnormalities (see red flags below). That said, if he’s behind or not interacting with others the way you’d expect him to, that doesn’t necessarily mean he has social difficulties. Dr. Haddad mentioned that it’s not unusual for over-anxious parents to bring kids to his office who are perfectly fine socially, just a little quirky.
Look for red flags. If your child is oppositional, angry/aggressive, awkward (to the point that it impacts his social interactions), or if he doesn’t show emotion, it’s worth getting a professional opinion.
Early intervention is key. The sooner the issue is identified and treated, the better chance your child has of reaching his next developmental milestones. Also, since it can affect your child’s overall happiness if he has trouble making friends, you’ll want to work on the problem right away.
There’s not always a pill. A child may have a hard time interacting with others because he is shy, or there could be a bigger issue going on, such as autism, abuse, ADHD, learning disabilities, or bullying. In those cases, once the primary cause is identified and treated, there’s a greater chance things will improve. Dr. Haddad stressed that it’s important for parents to understand there isn’t always medication that can help, and that other options like therapy, can be more effective than a pill.
Good social skills start at home. It’s just as important for children to interact well with adults as it is for them to interact with other children. Kids who have positive relationships with their parents tend to do better socially – since unhealthy parent-child relationships can create distorted judgments with friendships.
Find the right resources. While parents can make sure they’re providing their kids with positive child-adult interactions at home, it’s much more difficult for them to encourage healthy child-to-child interactions during class or playtime. Programs such as The Meeting House are so helpful because they give these kids the chance to bond with others like themselves, and ultimately build their social skills.
Image: Kids via Shutterstock
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Thursday, January 24th, 2013
I don’t know how we’d get through bathtime in my house without bath toys. What’s funny is that the gender lines are never so apparent as they are when my kids take turns getting clean. When my son takes a bath, he entertains himself with toys that squirt, whether its a duck that spits or a water pump he can aim at the ceiling. My daughter, on the other hand, acts out complicated stories with her Barbies.
When this Little Mommy Bubbly Bathtime doll hit my desk this week, I had a total flashback to playing with a doll in the tub when I was a child. My “baby” was a pretty basic plastic blob, nothing like this new Little Mommy. She has purple pretend paint on her belly that magically washes clean when you get her wet (thanks to color-change technology). She also comes with a tub that has a working pump (fill it with bubble bath) and a crazy-bird hooded towel to wear when it’s time to dry off. And she smells like vanilla. (Check her out below, on my windowsill!)
Little Mommy is age-graded for 2 and up. And although I keep referring to the doll as “she,” the hair is short enough to pass for a boy or girl (because some kids want to be a parent to a boy baby). And by the way, my son loves to be a daddy once he’s out of the tub…though to a vast collection of stuffed penguins who are all his “babies.”
Want to win one of these? Mattel will give away five Little Mommy Bubbly Bathtime dolls, worth $19-$22 each. For your chance, just leave a comment below; tell me how your child plays at being a parent, or your own memory of parenting toys when you were little. You can leave up to one comment a day between now and the end of the day on Wednesday, January 30th. Read the official rules here. Goody luck!
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Monday, October 8th, 2012
My friend’s sister has four children, ages 14, 13, 7, and 3. This woman’s 13-year-old son has a severe form of autism and a mood disorder with psychotic episodes; doctors have told his parents that their son is a very unusual case. As a result, life is extremely challenging for the entire family. Because their son is prone to frequent and uncontrollable outbursts, they’re all having a particularly difficult time in the condo complex where they moved last year for his mother’s job as a biotech scientist. Her heartbreaking Facebook post, which she allowed me to share, strikes me as the kind of thing every parent should read, particularly if he or she doesn’t have a child with autism–or any other disability or mental illness.
“I would like to say something to those people in our community who look at my husband, myself, and our disabled son in disgust or shout out your windows for us to just keep him quiet. He is a minor inconvenience to you. You get to go back to your lives, travel as you please, eat what you please, and go about your merry way. Imagine what it is like for us, constantly struggling to keep our son safe. Imagine what it is like for our other three children, whose friends’ parents won’t allow them to come over while our son is home, who are constantly told they can’t go places because it’s too difficult, and who often can’t make their needs heard above his yelling. But most of all, imagine what it is like for our son, whose level of anxiety is so great, whose suffering is so enormous, that he is driven to cry, driven to scream, driven to bang his head and bite his arms and legs. Have you ever in your life felt so much pain that you were driven to that? Be grateful for what you have, for being born with a normal functioning brain, and maybe you would consider being helpful instead. We could always use a home-cooked dinner, an offer to take one of our other children to a movie, or just a smile of support.”
Image: autism symbol design isolated on white background via Shutterstock.
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anxiety, autism, compassion, developmental disability, empathy, mental illness, schizophrenia | Categories:
Behavior, GoodyBlog, Health & Safety, Must Read, Your Child, Your Life
Friday, September 7th, 2012
This is a guest post from Mary Hynes-Berry, Ph.D., a senior instructor at Erikson Institute in Chicago. Erikson is a leading graduate school in childhood development, working to improve the care and education of children up to age 8.
Last week, a University of Virginia press release announced “Pretend Play May Not Be as Crucial to Child Development as Believed, New Study Shows.” Angeline Lillard, Ph.D., the lead investigator, reported that, in a review of 150 prior studies, “We found no good evidence that pretend play contributes to creativity, intelligence or problem-solving. However, we did find evidence that it just might be a factor contributing to language, storytelling, social development and self-regulation.”
Early childhood experts see those statements as contradictory. The last decade’s explosion of brain research firmly establishes that, in early childhood, development is very much intertwined; cognitive, social-emotional, and motor skills all affect one another. Developing language, storytelling, social development, and self-regulation will contribute to developing intelligence, creativity, and problem-solving skills—meaning pretend play is an active ingredient in all of them.
What’s more, while we can identify different kinds of play, it is difficult to isolate just one form—and that’s what this study does. The study concludes that constructive play is a crucial factor in developing creativity and problem-solving skills, but rules out pretend play. That doesn’t make sense. Think about how your own children play: When they’re imagining, they’re also usually physically moving about and constructing props or settings, such as turning a box or a few blankets into a castle or a rocket-ship, right?
The danger of this study is that it could fuel the current obsession with testing, which pressures teachers to drill numbers and letters into children, leaving no time for play-based learning. In fact, Dr. Lillard recognizes the same point in the conclusion of her academic article. Her final sentence should have been the lead for the press release: “The hands-on, child- driven educational methods sometimes referred to as ‘playful learning’ are the most positive means yet known to help young children’s development.”
Image: Barefoot baby girl “shopping” via Shutterstock.
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