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Archive for Empathy – Page 2

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. ūüôā

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‚ÄĒ50% 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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 (freedigitalphotos.com)

Wednesday Links: Bullying (What Every Parent Should Know)

bullying

Bullying 101

What is bullying? Here stopbullying.gov 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

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: 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.

Wednesday Links

Some new links and resources for your intentional Catholic parenting journey!

BREASTFEEDING

Extended breastfeeding linked to higher adult i.q. and earning ability.¬† A 30 year study following 3500¬†newborns found that “longer duration of breastfeeding is linked with increased intelligence in adulthood, longer schooling, and higher adult earnings, a study following a group of almost 3,500 newborns for 30 years.”

SLEEP ISSUES:

Bedtime problems in children: solutions for science-minded parents.¬† Gwen Dewar, PhD, updated this page with new resources for parents looking for answers to their child’s sleep issues.¬† Tons of tips.¬† Understand your child’s sleep problems, separation anxiety and nighttime fears, the wrong or irregular bedtimes, allergies, poor-timed naps, plus more.

Darcy Narvaez at Psychology Today offers parents this informative series on toddler sleep:

Why Your Toddler Isn’t Sleeping

The Signs of Tiredness in Your Toddler

Helping Your Toddler Prepare for Sleep

DISCIPLINE

Parental warmth does not remove anxiety following corporal punishment.¬†¬† From Duke¬†University, research reveals that “a¬†loving mom can’t overcome the anxiety and aggression caused by corporal punishment, and her otherwise warm demeanor may make it worse . . . It’s far more effective and less risky to use nonphysical discipline . . . Discipline means ‘to teach,’ not ‘punishment.’ “