Parenting is a learned skill. No one is born knowing how to be a good parent. Many parents may not want to use their own childhoods as the basis for their own parenting. Other parents may just be looking for new strategies for parenting their children. The good news is that our community and the internet have many resources for parents to expand their skills and become better at nurturing and caring for their children.
Successful grieving after the death of a loved one is an extremely difficult task for anyone. For children, all deaths are untimely. The bereaved child’s comprehension of events is dependent upon their developmental level. Their emotions are varied and unique, and not as neatly characterized as what occurs in adults.
Parent educators at Parenting Now! are often asked, “What can I do about my child’s behavior?” Our philosophy is that there are many approaches to discipline, but every approach should be a thoughtful way to pass on parental values and rules.
Discipline is an opportunity for the child to learn. Sometimes, parents believe discipline is the same as punishment; in fact, the root of the word is disciple, or “to learn.” Children have much to learn, and it is a parent’s job to be their loving teacher.
In addition to benefits for the brain and for behavior, having regular bedtime routines and getting adequate sleep has positive impacts on children’s health, including regulation of blood sugars and a decreased risk for childhood obesity.
Often, bedtime routines are cited by parents as one of the most challenging parenting experiences. However, learning routines is like learning any other skill for a young child – through repetition and practice, they can master the routine and benefit from a consistent sleep schedule.
The findings from a recent 90by30 pilot survey suggested that 75 percent of Lane County residents are willing to be active in reducing child abuse and neglect, and yet less than half reported knowing what to do or how to go about helping. 90by30 is in the process of creating the structure to implement the plan that will make it possible for each of us to play our part.
While consistent routines, good nutrition and quality parent-child interaction time are important, the value of outdoor motor play should be noted, as it leads to positive outcomes. While it may seem counterintuitive, children’s brains are in a better state to focus and pay attention when they engage in running, jumping, bouncing, swinging, climbing, spinning and other movement activities. Physical activity leads to greater learning opportunities.
With our children facing obesity rates of 24 percent – higher than the national average – it is critical that families have places for kids to be physically active, and our regional recreation sites offer great ways to keep our kids moving.
Start a conversation. “Did you suffer from postpartum depression? Or know someone who did?” Break the silence. Talk about it. Reach out to new parents, share your experiences and let them know they are not alone. By starting the conversation, you will also reach a new level of healing.
Volunteer. We are fortunate to live in a community with access to resources for new parents, particularly those struggling with prenatal and postpartum depression and anxiety. In Lane County, we have WellMama, a nonprofit organization offering free support services. WellMama, and other organizations like it, can only thrive with help from volunteers. Even if you have just five minutes to give this month, you can post flyers, write a thank-you card to a donor or participate in a focus group.
Donate. Funding for maternal mental health services is scarce and inadequate. Nonprofit organizations rely on donations to sustain basic services that support men and women in our community.
Join us. Participate in community events throughout the year to raise awareness about maternal mental health.
Much data shows that parenting education works:
Readiness for kindergarten is enhanced when parents learn how they can support their child’s healthy development.
Parenting education helps prevent child abuse and neglect, and associated concerns like teen pregnancy, delinquency and substance abuse.
Prolonged activation of the stress response in children can have damaging effects on the development of the brain. The stress hormones that flood the brain during prolonged stressful periods can affect the development of brain cells and connections between them, the size of certain brain areas and, ultimately, development of healthy brain architecture. Because these brain areas are important for learning, memory, and emotional processing, prolonged exposure to stress can lead to problems with thinking, memory, and emotional processing as well as increased risk for later health problems.