Dr. Weissbluth's Wisdom on Temperament Anxiety

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In Sunday’s New York Times, there is an article discussing the links between temperament and anxiety. My discovery of the link between sleep duration and temperament originally published in 1981 was selected for re-publication in the Annual Progress in Child Psychiatry and Child Development by Chess and Thomas whose temperament research was referenced in the NYT piece. Basically, I discovered that 4- month-old infants with an easy temperament had long sleep durations and those with difficult temperaments had short sleep durations. The same group of 4-month-old infants were studied again at age 3 years and the same results were found for the three year olds! But there was very little individual stability of temperament traits between 4 months and three years. Some easy infants became difficult toddlers and some difficult infants became easy toddlers. Sleep durations exactly predicted which direction the infants would take! The more sleep the infants had…

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Best Bonding with Baby Basics

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The top five key factors that positively affect parent-infant bonding: 1. Skin to skin contact– Right out of the chute! In fact there is so much evidence supporting this that the World Health organization and UNICEF have implemented the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative all over the world and in the U.S. which sets policy and trains medical staff to encourage exclusive breastfeeding and immediate skin to skin contact within the first hour after a vaginal delivery, within two hours of a cesarean birth. This skin to skin between mother and child not only encourages better latch and breastfeeding success, but helps prevent a number of health risks for both mom and baby. I have witnessed that continued skin to skin cuddling and feedings with both parents throughout ‘the 4th trimester’ further connect the family on a most intimate level and dramatically decrease the potential for post-partum depression in women. 2….

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What influences you the most as a parent?

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There are two powerful types of influence for a parent. One is external and the other is internal. Some parents are influenced by what others say are the best workshops, child-rearing books, Mommy and Me classes, pop-culture parenting fads. These are external influences. They feel good about their parenting if they are doing all the things their friends are doing and are culturally popular in the moment. They tend to raise children who are externally influenced too. If their friend tells them they have to read Dr. So-in-so’s parenting book because it’s the best, that is all an externally influenced parent needs to hear to be convinced to read it and that it is. Parents who are internally influenced are much harder to convince of anything. They feel they just know what works, the proof comes from inside. They have an internal frame of reference and tend to contemplate and…

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The only 'top ten' parenting list that matters

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It seems, that with the best of intentions,  we parents sometimes focus too much on the outward compliance of our children and how they are viewed by others. The frightening result is that the heart of our child is completely missed as we aim to make our children our trophies, viewing them as a direct reflection of who we are. What we end up doing is losing the critical ability to influence them as we strive to gain outward conformity from them. The ability to raise kids who feel truly loved and accepted, regardless of their shortcomings, lack of maturity or shallow values, is therefore lost, because without knowing and capturing the heart of a child, you have no influence. It is no wonder so many good families with good values are not able to pass their values down to their children and find them rebelling and looking elsewhere for…

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INTERMITTENT REINFORCEMENT AND RESISTANCE TO EXTINCTION

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A lot of families call me to help them when intermittent reinforcement methods are not working. This study may shed light on the situation. One of the useful principles discovered by behavioral psychologists is that intermittent reinforcement increases resistance to extinction. The word intermittent means not every time. Intermittent reinforcement contrasts with continuous reinforcement. Under conditions of continuous reinforcement, the organism is reinforced every time it makes the required response. What effects do continuous and intermittent reinforcement have upon speed of extinction? Why? For example, under continuous reinforcement, every time the rat hits the bar, it receives a food pellet. Under intermittent reinforcement, the rat might be required to hit the bar 50 times to get the pellet, or the rat might be reinforced only once every five minutes, or the rat might be reinforced only when you are in the room, or in accordance with some other pattern, but…

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What is a sanctimommy?

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“The sanctimommy knows how you should raise your children. Specifically, she knows what foods they should eat, what toys they should be allowed to play with; heck, sanctimommy even knows how you should have given birth…”  (Source unknown) Do you have any of these in your life? It used to be that one only had to side step topics on politics and religion in certain conversations to keep peace. Today, there is so much sanctimonious judgment from parents and even maternity and parenting practitioners that we can probably add “parenting” to this list as well. New moms confide in me constantly how they feel overwhelming judgment from lactation consultants to doulas, and preschool teachers to other parents. My biggest concern with this is that it chips away at the one thing all parents need in a healthy society. Confidence. Without confidence we cannot safely lead our children. Nor can we…

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Self-check: Are you an overindulgent parent?

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Time for another Jenni June self-check!  I love and hate this one… I have to perform this self-evaluation more than I’d like to admit, and you may too, once we lift the veil on the causes and excuses of overindulgent parenting. We tend to think that overindulgence happens when we are overcome with love for our children and want to go above and beyond to put a smile on their face.  The truth is, the ‘spoiling’ comes as a result of fear, lack of understanding, parenting tools, or preoccupation with other areas of our fast-paced, demanding lives.  This is then where guilt plays its role and adds to the reasons we give in, ignore teachable moments, or do or buy anything to make ourselves and our kids feel better…temporarily. Here are some other reasons why we overindulge our children: 1.  Concern of negative effects on child’s self-esteem.  Bogus! If anything…

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Attention! Sleep Deprived Parents…

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The effects of sleep deprivation on adults is pretty sobering and if you are getting fragmented sleep at night, due to being woken by your sleep deprived baby or child, you will notice these symptoms taking their toll on your job and parenting performance. a)      Impaired decision making- logical/calculating b)      Impaired planning ability c)      Memory loss- short term (the kind that counts on the job!) d)      Lower stress tolerance/threshold (a big negative in parenting!) e)      Trouble concentrating f)       Decreased optimism and sociability g)      Impaired creativity and innovation h)      Increased food consumption and appetite i)        Anxiety j)        Higher resting blood pressure k)      Increased risk of pregnancy complications l)        Increased risk of premature delivery m)   Newborn health complications n)      Post partum depression Ask yourself this question… If this is what sleep deprivation does to the adult brain and its neurons, what does it do to a child’s, whose brain is still developing? …

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What Children Need From Parents: Beware the Extinction Burst!

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By Dr. Gerald Stein Popular culture gives us just enough information to be confused. Not surprisingly, many parents who have never taken a psychology course know that it is important to set limits on their children and to be consistent in enforcing those limits. Despite this, a good many parents don’t have the strength of will to withstand the repeated pleading of their kids, or the energy to do so. If your child wants you to buy him a candy bar or a toy while you are in the store, many parents believe that it is simply easier to give in than to listen to the endless entreaties of their offspring. In some cases it can be too exhausting or overwhelming to have to deal with a persistent child, in other instances the parent might fear losing the child’s affection if the desired treat isn’t forthcoming, and in still other…

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Mothers Are Losing Their Instincts

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The parent culture has changed dramatically in the last 15-20 years since raising my own four children. As a professional consultant, educator and coach, my job and my goal is to guide and support new parents. This business never would have made it fifteen years ago, but it’s thriving today. Why is this? In spite of all of the advances in care, baby gear, safety standards, and education resources for parents today, I think they (especially mothers) have it much more difficult than my mother, my grandmother, or I did. The new and greatest threat and challenge to new and expecting moms today is too much information. A mother can’t develop her own instincts for her child if every time she turns on the TV, computer, iPhone, or even heads out the door to her Mommy and Me group, she is frightened, confused, shamed, and bombarded with 200 different opinions…

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