Blog Posts

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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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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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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Bonding With Your Newborn

 

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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Children’s Mental Health

When it comes to mental health, children are often not at the forefront of the conversation. There are many reasons this is true. For example, children have not yet mastered coping strategies, so when they are expressing how they feel, they can sometimes exaggerate and over-dramatize. To an extent, this is true, but does not mean that a child’s responses and behaviors should not be addressed with utmost thoughtfulness. As a parent, it is important to know what certain behaviors could be indicating and the impact on children whose mental health has not been managed well.

Common mental health disorders include anxiety, depression, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

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Teaching Children To Wash Their Hands

Hand-washing is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to prevent illness and the spread of infections.

It is crucially important for children to wash their hands during every season of the year, but especially when the common cold, flu, and other viruses are being passed around more frequently in the environment. Flu activity increases beginning in October and usually peaks between the months of December through February.

It’s a good idea to teach children fun ways that encourage them to wash their hands so that they can create a habit of hand-washing early, having established the habit already once they are older. Children should also be taught times when it is especially important to wash their hands and know the hand washing procedures that best benefit one’s health.

Peak times when hand-washing is critically important according to the CDC:

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Don’t Let the Media Control the Stage for Teaching Your Children

We are entering an era in which our children may spend more time with the fictional or real people on the TV or tablet than they do with us.

“In 1970, children began watching TV regularly at about 4 years of age, whereas today, children begin interacting with digital media as young as 4 months of age.” By the time children are approaching adolescence, they are viewing various kinds of digital media around 8-10 hours a day on average, often using two or three electronic media devices at once (Radesky, J.).

It is very unlikely that the high amount of media use will go away. It is a fundamental way of interacting and finding entertainment for most children and teens in our society. Children need parents to teach them how to use the media as a tool to achieve positive goals, interactions, and learning.

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