Would you have believed them if they had?
Parenting is challenging for everyone, and we all need information and
support during each stage of a child's growth to do the best job we can. So take a few
minutes and read about how to make the rewards of parenting equal to the demands.
Birth to One Year
Learn the basics. How do you bathe a baby? Change a diaper? You can learn. Read, ask your
doctor or another expert, talk to your parents and other parents.
Love your baby. Give all you've got! Talk to your baby, touch, hold, hug, kiss, smile, and
enjoy! It's impossible to spoil a baby! A baby is a tiny work in progress, and it's
important that your baby's early experiences are as positive as you can make them.
Discover what's what. Pay close attention to all the sounds (cooing, babbling, gurgling,
and crying) that your baby makes, as well as facial expressions and body movements. Each
one means something different. This is how your baby talks to you.
Always handle your baby with love and gentleness. The pressures of parenting are
tremendous. It's difficult to feel patient and loving when the baby wakes you up for the
third time in one night, and you have to go to work the next day. All parents need ways to
relax. Don't take out your stress on your baby. Your baby is too little to understand your
Take a deep breath. The assault on your house, your personal belongings . . . this, too,
shall pass. Everything is new and exciting to your toddler, and your toddler needs to
explore to learn.
Childproof your house. Pack away your treasures, and lock up any dangerous or poisonous
items. You'll breathe a lot easier, and you won't have to say "NO" so often.
Keep the rules simple and few. Kids this age can't grasp complicated rules. Your goal is
to keep your toddler safe. Table manners and potty training can wait!
Show your interest. Check homework, talk about what's happening at school, let your child
have friends over, and visit your child's teacher.
Talk and listen to your child.
Let kids help with age-appropriate tasks and chores.
Refuse to get confused. Part of growing up is acting like a two-year-old and an adult, all
in the same afternoon. Expect your teen to do this, and be prepared to comfort, reassure,
and on occasion, look the other way.
Face the facts. Your teen will probably say "I know that" when you talk about
the facts of life, but do it anyway. As the parent, you're the only one who can share the
values that go with the facts.
Let your affection show. Cool the physical demonstration (especially in front of their
friends), but make it loud and clear through your words and your actions that you care.
Cut those apron strings. Values that are taught from the cradle may fade away during the
teen years, but they'll come back--along with grown-up children you'll be proud to know.
Trust your teen to make it all the way.
Children need discipline.
Effective discipline teaches children how to avoid repeating misbehaviors and what to do
instead. Spanking is physical punishment, not discipline. There are many positive forms of
discipline that are more effective than spanking. A few examples of positive discipline
are: using time out, establishing rules and consequences for behavior, redirecting
inappropriate behavior, ignoring annoying behaviors that are not harmful to the child or
others, taking away privileges, and catching your child being good whenever possible.
Discipline techniques should
be appropriate to the age of the child. See the parenting section of your local book store
or public library for information on child development and age-appropriate positive
Babies are never candidates
for discipline or physical punishment. They're too little to understand and follow rules.
They are also easily injured; never shake or hit a baby.
Like adults, children respond
better to approval and affection than they do to punishment.
Children depend on you to
provide structure: regular meal times, play times, and bedtimes.
Examine your expectations for
your kids. There are no perfect children, just as there are no perfect parents. Parents
commonly have expectations for children that are beyond their capabilities at that age. If
your children consistently fail to meet your expectations, the expectations probably need
changing, not the children.
Shame, rejection, withdrawal
of affection, or preferential treatment of one child over another are inappropriate and
ineffective ways to discipline.
Learn more about
If you need help . . .
Asking for help is a sign of strength. Call Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina at
1-800-354-KIDS if you feel overwhelmed. We'll put you in touch with someone who can offer
support and help. Or contact your:
If you know a parent in need . . .
Give him or her a break. Offer to take care of the kids for a while.
Be a good listener. Make yourself available to listen without judging.
Encourage the parent to join a parenting support group to receive
support and information. Give the parent our number to call for a referral.
STRESS MANAGEMENT TIPS
With our nation at war and the events of Sept. 11th in mind, this
holiday season may be more stressful than those of the past.
Proof your home with this handy checklist
5 Ways to Stop Child Abuse in a Public
here for Parenting
Resources on the Internet
Warnings Cotton T-shirts for sleepwear
pose a burn hazard for children, and some toy cars in Kellogg cereal
boxes can pose a choking hazard for small children. Many of the Consumer
Produce Safety Commission's warnings and recalls, like these, refer to
children's products. Check their Web site regularly. http://www.cpsc.gov
Positive discipline techniques to help you and your child.
to Internet Resources for Parents
The baby center.
Discussion on tough issues around child birth and early childhood.
Bulletin Boards and chat rooms.
An online magazine covering thousands of parenting issues.
Resources and information on health issues.
Clearly written articles by physicians and psychologists.
Pediatricians and psychiatrists respond to e-mails.
Question and answer sessions on parenting.
Parent Time site.
Information and resources for parents.
Developmental information for parents.
On the Usenet