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Protecting the Child, Preserving the Family, and Honoring Life

Welcome to the Blog page of the American College of Pediatricians, which we call Scribit Veritas.  Each issue of the Blog is intended to assist parents, encourage children, and enrich the family.  Read our most recent issue below, and scroll to the bottom of this page to read earlier issues.

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Averting Crisis: Handling Your Child’s Temper Tantrums

Humans vs. Objects

I recently read a book by The Arbinger Institute, called The Anatomy of Peace. In this book, parents bring their “troubled” children to the institute to be “fixed”, only to find that they each needed some fixing themselves. The parents needed to learn how to appropriately deal with conflict. They were told how often we view our children as objects, rather than humans. What does that mean? And how do we do it?

Let’s look at one phrase that is often said among nearly every parent: My child is giving me a hard time. How often do parents find themselves, especially with small children, struggling to get out the door, or to get their children to bed? They’re simple, mundane activities that really shouldn’t be accompanied by as much crying, fighting and hassle that it tends to. 

Now, let’s think about a time when we were trying to do something simple and mundane, and just weren’t having it. Whether it be having to cook dinner, only to realize that you didn’t know what to cook, or simply didn’t WANT to cook…or needing to get out of the bed in the early morning to go to the gym or head to work, fully knowing that it was necessary and important, but throwing an internal fit because we want that extra hour or two of shut eye. 

When we’re in those moments, are we thinking about disappointing our family by not cooking dinner….or giving our boss a hard time by not showing up? No! We’re simply having a hard time ourselves (which we’re fully entitled to do now and then as human beings). We must remember that our children are not objects that are keeping us from making it to school or bed on time.  They are not making bad decisions or doing things wrong simply to inconvenience usThey are not items that can be molded or turned on and off at our convenience. 

So, the best way to change your mindset during those crazy moments of fit-throwing and hassle-giving  is to remember that your child is a human being with its own thoughts and feelings. They are not the same as yours, and they are entitled to have hard times. Whether it seem silly to you or not, it is real and valid to them. 

Empathy is Key

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How to Talk to Kids About Visiting the Doctor

For most children, experience with a doctor starts at day one. It’s probably a good thing babies can’t remember their birth. No baby, child, or adult would want to go back to the doctor if they associate the doctor or hospital with pain and discomfort.  One bad experience can set a person against it forever. But going to the doctor is essential for a person’s health.

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Answering Your Child’s Questions About Sex

The “talk” is one that many avoid, and many others hope will only require a quick fill-in of information they do not already know. For many, the “talk” that we have with our children about sexual development can be very intimidating. According to the Department of Health & Human Services (2016), many parents assume that we must talk to our children about EVERY aspect of sexual development all in one sitting. Parents hope that their children will hear everything and that any curiosity they have will dissipate. In order to more fully understand this difficult step, we must ask ourselves the basic questions that give us a clearer picture as to WHY our children are turning to sexual intercourse or inappropriate media. According to the government-funded study referenced above, anxiety almost always precedes inappropriate behavior. This anxiety is often manifested in questions linked to sexual development. These questions include the following:

  • Why is my best friend getting attention from boys?
  • What is this feeling that I feel when I see inappropriate images?

The “talk” isn’t meant to be one perfectly worded explanation of anything and everything pertaining to sex.

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Why Breastfeeding is Best and Should be Encouraged by Society

Many mothers today differ in their opinions on what’s better for their newborn: breastfeeding or bottle-feeding? Nutrition is especially crucial for development in the first two years of the baby’s life because it’s brain and body are growing so rapidly. 

Babies need both enough food and the right kind of food. In early infancy, breastfeeding is ideally suited to their needs, and bottled formulas try to imitate it. 

Today, 79% of American mothers begin breastfeeding after birth, about half stop by 6 months (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014a). The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2011) advises exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months and including breast milk in the baby’s diet until at least 1 year. 

Here are seven reasons to breastfeed, according to its nutritional and health advantages:

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Benefits of the Mother-Father Family Unit

 

Going from being the child in my family, to now taking on the role of motherhood has changed the way I view the importance of families in society. Creating a family grows and passes on our lineage. “The family, based on marriage between a man and a woman, is the fundamental unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and government” (Policy Positions). There is no other way to pass on our genetic components than to procreate as man and woman.

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Communicating Confidence

 

Growing up I didn’t have a very close relationship with either of my parents. To this day we don’t have very many conversations that include many words of affection, unless it’s me communicating to them. I’ve learned throughout my life the importance of having loving communication with those around me, especially with children.

Our children will remember the things we do, but more than that, they’ll remember the things we tell them, teach them, and help them to believe. As we communicate with love, we can help them to believe in themselves and gain self-confidence.

Carl Pickhardt, a psychologist and author of 15 parenting books, says a kid who lacks confidence will be reluctant to try new or challenging things because they’re scared of failing or disappointing others.

This can end up holding them back later in life and prevent them from having a successful career.

So, as parents, it’s our job to help them to love themselves while they’re young, thus securing their self-confidence in the future. This can seem like a hard task, but we can start by simply communicating confidence, or incorporating phrases that help them recognize their value and potential, thus coming to believe it. Here are a three phrases that you can start using today to begin communicating confidence:

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Benefits of Skin-to-Skin Contact During Infancy

 

When my first child was born, they immediately placed her on my bare chest for an hour of uninterrupted skin-to-skin time. At that particular hospital, they call it the “Sacred Hour”. The doctor informed my husband and me that the sacred hour meant keeping the room quiet for the baby to hear only our voices. She would be placed on my chest with no testing, cleaning, or interruptions for a whole hour. It allowed us to promptly begin bonding with our baby. “Skin-to-skin contact helps your baby stay warm, relax, transition, breathe easier, as well as promote breastfeeding” (Labor & Delivery). For us, this was a wonderful start to our bonding experience with our daughter. However, bonding does not stop after that hour ends. It is an ongoing process that happens every day you are caring for your child. “You may not even know it’s happening until you observe your baby’s first smile and suddenly realize that you’re filled with love and joy” (Ben-Joseph, 2018).

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Why We Shouldn’t Yell at Our Children and How to Stop

It is easy to become frustrated with our children when they are misbehaving, or when we have had to instruct them multiple times to do something. It’s tempting to raise our voices to let them know that we’re serious about obedience. However, the issue with yelling is that it leads to obedience due to fear.

Why is staying calm as a parent so important? For starters, we shouldn’t want our children to do something we tell them to do because they are afraid us. While this technique may work for a while when they are little, as they get older they may rebel. The care effect will begin to wear off, and the dynamic of the relationship will change. Yelling can be addictive since it can yield results. However it is not the best way to encourage good behavior because yelling comes from a place of manipulation and force.

Yelling is an easy way to gain power over a situation, by turning to anger, rather than identifying the true struggle.

Of course, refraining from ever showing anger isn’t going to be easy. Sometimes anger gets the best of everyone. However, if we want respect, respect must be given. Respect is not earned through force and fear.

To help you refrain from yelling at your children, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind as you begin new approaches to enforcing good behavior:

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How to Raise Grateful Children

Everyone loves to feel appreciated. So we should try to instill gratitude within our children. Happy people are grateful people. Raising happy kids has both immediate and long term benefits.

Gratitude takes time to develop. While we can teach our children to say “please” and “thank you” when appropriate, true gratitude goes deeper.

Here are some helpful tips to help your child understand and practice gratitude:

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3 Ways to Improve Your Health Literacy

It was 9 pm on a Sunday night when my friend *Alex called. “Can you take me to the emergency room?” she asked. Wanting to be a helpful and supportive friend, I of course agreed.

As we drove there, I found out that this was the fifth time she’d been to the emergency room that month — and the second time that day. While Alex certainly has severe health challenges, several of those emergency room trips could have been addressed by a doctor during regular office hours. But because of Alex’s lack of knowledge about her own health and the healthcare system, whenever something went wrong, the emergency room was her go-to solution. Not only this, but not knowing some health basics exaggerated the health problems she did have, sometimes making the emergency room necessary when it could have been prevented.

It’s easy to see why Alex has a hard time understanding health and healthcare. With complicated health terminology and rapidly progressing medical knowledge, Alex isn’t the only one who struggles to understand!

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