Intentional Links: I Remember When . . . Sharing Your Family History with Your Kids

fireplaceDo your kids love to hear you talk about your childhood? Do they ask you to repeat the tale of the moment you met your spouse? Here are a few links that explain why!

What Kids Learn from Family Stories:  Great points about why kids benefit from well-told detailed family stories: children actually learn to tell their own story, they understand other people’s thoughts and emotions better, and teenagers who know a lot about their family history have a “more robust identity.” Links to research.

What Kids Should Know about Their Family History: Consider this list of things every kid should know about their family history. Do your kids know where you and your spouse met? Where you were married? Any illnesses or injuries when you were little?

Moms and Personal Story Telling:  Compared to dad, this study finds that mom tells better, more emotional stories about her life and this helps kids develop their own emotional skills.

Traditions: A Pleasant Tie that Binds: This is an essay over on CAPC written by a mom who is very serious about recording family history for future generations. She focuses here on explaining to kids why we have the traditions we have in our families! With Thanksgiving next week, this might be a great time to share with your children where some family recipes came from or why we do certain things every year.

Intentional Links: infant crying and fussing: what parents need to know

crying babyI’m renaming my recurring links posts “intentional links” rather than “Wednesday links” so I can bless you with great links on any ol’ day. :)

In this edition: infant crying and fussing. Here I’m selecting links that help us understand unexplained crying (rather than cry-it-out sleep methods).

The Frenzied Cry: How to Calm Your Baby. A couple of interesting suggestions for reducing colicky crying when the usual stuff doesn’t work: eliminating foremilk in breastfeeding and adding pro-biotics to baby’s diet even when breastfed.

Infant Crying, Fussing, and Colic: A Thinking Parents Guide from Gwen Dewar has a great deal of insight about why babies cry and what you can do to calm them. She says babies are soothed by feeding (Shaw et al 2007), skin-to-skin contact (Gray et al 2000), and gentle touches that are combined with other forms of communication, like talk or eye contact (White-Traut et al 2009). Fascinating: in a study of 3 groups that included London parents, Copenhagen parents, and a group that practiced “proximal care” — holding baby 80 percent of the time, responding quickly to baby’s cries, and feeding frequently, “the London parents had the least amount of physical contact with their babies—50% less compared with the parents practicing proximal care. These parents also had the babies who cried the most.”

Simple Ways to Calm a Crying Baby by Darcia Narvaez.  This piece focuses on babies who fuss and cry a lot at night. Dr. Narvaez’s key points: 1) A parent’s presence helps to calm babies who awaken in an upset state, 2)  Calming infants helps infants learn to calm themselves.  She offers a list of methods for calming baby back to sleep including recreating the womb, relying on familiar sounds, and skin-to-skin contact.

Why Infant Carrying Soothes a Baby When Nothing Else Will from Dr. Greg.  Do you have a baby who fusses unless you are carrying him?  “It turns out that carrying an infant triggers a three-way mechanism in the brain that suppresses involuntary muscle movements & struggling while also dramatically reducing the infant’s heart rate.  These changes happen almost immediately.  In fact, this process is such an automatic response to being carried that it could almost be considered a previously undiscovered reflex.”

Image credit: Phaen Din (

Wednesday Links: Bullying (What Every Parent Should Know)


Bullying 101

What is bullying? Here defines bullying as “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.” This page also explains different types of bullying.

How to Bully-Proof Your Child. Why are some kids bullied while others aren’t?  In this article, I offer 3 tips for bully-proofing your child.

Is It Bullying or Ordinary Meanness? by Eileen Kennedy-Moore over at Psychology Today. What counts and doesn’t count as bullying and why it matters.


Cyberbullying basics. Ah, yes, there’s a whole new mean in town. Cyberbullying “includes mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.” Cyberbullying is becoming a huge problem especially among teenagers. This page gives parents basic information about how and why it happens and what they can do about it.

CDC “electronic aggression” tipsheet. A helpful pdf from the CDC explaining types of electronic aggression and what parents can do to prevent it or deal with it.

Sibling Bullying

5 Signs of Sibling Bullying.  Most siblings squabble, but generally this is pretty harmless when their is a tone of warmth in the relationship after these squabbles. Some behavior, though, rises to bullying and can lead to serious emotional harm to the weaker sibling. Here are 5 signs that sibling fighting might really be a bullying problem and 5 tips for addressing it.

Sibling Bullying Linked to Later Depression.  We don’t want to admit that one of our children might be bullying another, but it happens. In this study published by Pediatrics, children who were bullied by a sibling were far more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression in adulthood.  “Social learning and how to behave with peers starts at home, and when siblings are bullied it can have serious long-term consequences as we found in our study. It is important that parents set clear rules about what is allowed in conflicts and they should intervene consistently when their children maltreat each other repeatedly.”

Wednesday Links: Girls and Body Image

Today I have some great links for your about girls and the development of poor body image.

Tips to Encourage a Positive Body Image in Girls.  Body image shifts dramatically in early elementary school.  The author suggests that what moms say about their own bodies influences their daughters’ attitudes.

The Media and Body Image from WebMD. We all know the media perpetuates the “thin is beautiful” message. This article says we don’t have ban media, but suggests practical ways we can help our daughters look critically at media messages. The article, like the previous one, points out the impact on a daughter of her mother’s attitude toward her own body. This article also warns fathers about how they talk about women in front of girls.

Improving Your Body Image Through Catholic Teaching by Dr. John Acquiva.  A theology of the body approach to improving our perception of our bodies. This book might give parents some tools for talking to a daughter about poor body image.

Exercise Improves Body Image for Fit and Unfit Alike.  Research suggesting that regular exercise, and not the actual level of fitness, improves body image. This article is focused on adults, but it gives us yet another reason to put together a family-centered fitness routine.  AHA! That’s the topic of the Fall 2015 issue of Tender Tidings!

Image Credit: Eugene Seergev (

Tender Tidings Fall 2015 NOW AVAILABLE!

Free parenting magazine for gentle, intentional, and attachment-minded parents.


In this issue:

  • Family-centered fitness: body and soul
  • Dr. Greg explains how to answer your kids’ questions about gay “marriage”
  • Benedictine wisdom for your family
  • healthy, homemade snacks for busy kids


WEDNESDAY LINKS: Dealing with Disobedience


[Note from Kim: I apologize to my subscribers who are only today getting this post which was published on Wednesday, Aug. 19! I transitioned to a new RSS delivery service this week and we’ve been ironing out some wrinkles.  New posts should arrive in your email in-box with no problems in the future.]

The topic of obedience has come up recently in so many conversations I’ve had with friends that I decided to a Wednesday Links about it!  Most gentle parenting advocates focus on the quality of the connection between parent and child when addressing issues of obedience.  Yes, it’s very frustrating and not okay when your child is defiant.  Just remember: when your child says NO to you now when he’s little, he may have the power to say NO when he is a teen when somebody pressures him to do something immoral or illegal. Here are a few links to get you thinking about solutions:

Obedience as an Act of Love by Laurel at MuffinBlog.  LOVE THIS. It’s by a gentle Catholic mom who appreciates Dr. Greg and the Theology of the Body.  “The goal isn’t to instill obedience out of fear – of what might happen if they don’t obey, but rather instill obedience out of love – and what might happen if they DO. . . As parents (and in any other capacity where we expect obedience from others), we must first give example through loving service. We must give of ourselves in order to inspire others to do so in return. ”  YES!!

Obedience isn’t the goal; cooperation is from the Aha Parenting blog.  “Most parents feel embarrassed when their child doesn’t obey them. When we say jump, they’re supposed to jump, right? If they don’t, isn’t that evidence that we’re lousy parents? Actually, no. It would certainly be more convenient if our children would respond to our raised eyebrow by jumping to it. But it may even be dangerous to raise a child who obeys without question, who swallows his objections and does what he’s told.  Here’s why. Obedient children grow into obedient adults. They’re less likely to stand up for themselves, more likely to be taken advantage of. They’re also capable of simply following orders without question, without taking responsibility for their actions.” (Emphasis added.)

Are You Damaging Your Child by Demanding Obedience? by Ariadne Brill  “In our current culture, parents are praised when their children are obedient – it’s a mark of good parenting. The quieter and the more obedient the child, the better.  In truth, parents are doing a disservice to their children and to society when they demand that their children do exactly as they are told, no questions asked.  In other words, expecting children to dutifully comply with their parents commands, right away, is not such a great idea in the long run.”  The blogger gives 6 reasons demanding obedience is damaging.

But then she offers practical advice in another article: If Not Obedience, Then What? Ariadne suggests 5 ways we can use cooperation and mutual respect to ensure our children follow through on their responsibilities and other expectations.

Wednesday Links: PLAY

Some links about the importance of play for a child’s well-being and development:

Early Academic Training Produces Long-Term Harm:  this author cautions parents about academic pressure in preschool and kindergarten.

The effects of play on the learning brain: If you agree with the above author that children should not be pushed into academics too early, you will appreciate this article about the benefits of play on the learning brain. “Playful behavior appears to have positive effects on the brain and on a child’s ability to learn. In fact, play may function as an important, if not crucial, mode for learning.”

Will You Play with Me: a clear explanation of benefits of parents playing with their children, and in particular allowing their child to initiate play encounters.

“Mommy, You Are the Princess”: A new study published in the Journal of Infant and Child Development looked at the complexity of play in preschoolers when children play with their parents.  The most complex play occurs when the child initiates the play.

Children May Be Playing, but Their Brains Are Working:  types of play and what they do for kids’ cognitive development.

Wednesday Links: Strength-Based Parenting

Here’s a good one.  Intentional Catholic parents may be interested in this recent study (published in Psychology) about the benefits of “strength-based parenting”:

“Children are more likely to use their strengths to effectively cope with minor stress in their life if they have parents who adopt a strength-based approach to parenting.  Strength-based parenting is an approach where parents deliberately identify and cultivate positive states, processes and qualities in their children. . . This style of parenting adds a ‘positive filter’ to the way a child reacts to stress. It also limits the likelihood of children using avoidance or aggressive coping responses.” 

What is meant by a positive filter? I believe it’s a parent’s loving verbal intervention when a child is in the early stages of distress or confronted with a demand on their time, abilities, or emotions — a demand that stretches them in some way.  If the child is upset or worried, we can coach our child in responding in a healthy way to their concern, in a manner that draws on their strengths.

This approach contrasts with a parent’s inclination to “fix” their child as if he’s broken or defective, and sending that message to our child even if we don’t intend to do so.

If you’re interested in identifying your child’s strengths more clearly, perhaps you’d enjoy this book by Jenifer Fox: Your Child’s Strengths.  I don’t usually recommend books that I have not read myself, but this seems to be a useful and engaging book about how to think about our children’s strengths.

TENDER TIDINGS Summer 2015 Now Available!

The summer issue of our free parenting magazine is now available!

Click on flipbook to explore:

In this issue:

  • Natural Family Planning:  In Real Life
  • Navigating family road trips
  • Gentle discipline: the real root of misbehavior
  • Create a sacramental memory book
  • picnic recipes



Breastfeeding reduces risk of childhood leukemia.  A study from the JAMA Pediatrics concluded that breastfeeding for 6 months or longer reduces a child’s risk of leukemia by nearly 20 percent.  “The authors suggest several biological mechanisms of breast milk may explain their results, including that breast milk contains many immunologically active components and anti-inflammatory defense mechanisms that influence the development of an infant’s immune system.”

Raising Competent Children with Grit by Laura Markham.  12 tips for giving kids confidence and perseverance in the face of obstacles.


Free on-line parenting class.  The Center for Parenting Education is offering a free class on “The Right Attitude for Discipline that Works”.  June 16 8:30-9:30 p.m. EST.  “Yes!  It is possible to maintain a strong relationship with your children and build their self-esteem even as you discipline them.  Learn specific techniques and attitudes that will allow you to remain calm, clear and confident.”