Saturday, November 12, 2011
10 Facts Every Parent Should Know
1. A study published in 2010 in Thymos: Journal of Boyhood Studies estimates that more than 100 baby boys die from circumcision complications each year, including from anesthesia reaction, stroke, hemorrhage, and infection. Because infant circumcision is elective, all of these deaths are avoidable.
2. Formula feeding carries risks. A study published in the journal Pediatrics, (May 2004), titled "Breastfeeding and the Risk of Postneonatal Death in the United States," reports a 21% reduction in infant death for having EVER breastfed, meaning 27% more infant deaths occur when no breastmilk is provided. The impact is underreported for two reasons. First, deaths in the first month, the greatest amount of deaths, were not counted. Second, the exclusiveness of breastfeeding is a huge factor and is not part of this measurement.
When they compare 3 months of any breastfeeding to less or no breastfeeding, the reported reduction is 36%. That translates actually to 56% more infant deaths for those receiving mostly formula!
3. Babies DO NOT learn to self-soothe by being left alone! Babies learn to self-soothe by being comforted, which teaches them not to panic, that their emotions are manageable. Being soothed when they cry actually changes the brain chemistry and neural connections so that babies learn to soothe themselves. Being left to cry changes brain chemistry and neural connections so that babies become more easily upset and less able to soothe themselves as time goes on. The amygdala actually becomes permanently enlarged. Being soothed when upset is just as important to your baby's development as being fed and diapered.
4. Co-sleeping (sleeping in close proximity to parent) is a safe choice and has benefits. Popular media has tried to discourage parents from sharing sleep with their babies, calling this worldwide practice unsafe. Medical science, however, doesn’t back this conclusion. In fact, research shows that co-sleeping is actually safer than sleeping alone. Here is what science says about sleeping with your baby: 1. Stable physiology. 2. Decreased risk of SIDS. 3. Long-term emotional health.
5. Allowing your child to CIO (cry it out) damages her brain. Research suggests that allowing a baby to "cry it out" can cause brain damage. Some experts warn that allowing a baby to "cry it out" causes extreme distress to the baby. And such extreme distress in a newborn has been found to block the full development of certain areas of the brain and causes the brain to produce extra amounts of cortisol, which can be harmful.
According to a University of Pittsburgh study by Dr. M. DeBellis and seven colleagues, published in Biological Psychiatry in 2004, children who suffer early trauma generally develop smaller brains.
A Harvard University study by Dr. M. Teicher and five colleagues, also published in Biological Psychiatry, claims that the brain areas affected by severe distress are the limbic system, the left hemisphere, and the corpus callosum. Additional areas that may be involved are the hippocampus and the orbitofrontal cortex.
6. Spanking has long-lasting, harmful effects. Children who are spanked have lower IQs worldwide, including in the United States, according to new groundbreaking research by University of New Hampshire professor Murray Straus.
Straus and Mallie Paschall, senior research scientist at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, studied nationally representative samples of 806 children ages 2 to 4, and 704 ages 5 to 9. Both groups were retested four years later.
IQs of children ages 2 to 4 who were not spanked were 5 points higher four years later than the IQs of those who were spanked. The IQs of children ages 5 to 9 years old who were not spanked were 2.8 points higher four years later than the IQs of children the same age who were spanked.
"How often parents spanked made a difference. The more spanking the, the slower the development of the child's mental ability. But even small amounts of spanking made a difference," Straus says.
Many of the harmful side effects of spanking do not show up for several years. In addition, only a small percentage of spanked children experience visually harmful effects. Even infrequent spanking can harm a child’s self-esteem. The most harmful effects include an increased risk of delinquency as a child. The long-term adult effects show up as higher frequencies of crime, spouse abuse, depression, and lower earnings.
7. Bullying has serious and lasting effects. Children who are bullied:
•Have higher risk of depression and anxiety.
•Have increased thoughts about suicide that may persist into adulthood.
•Are more likely to have health complaints. In one study, being bullied was associated with physical health status 3 years later.
•Have decreased academic achievement (GPA and standardized test scores) and school participation.
•Are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.
•Are more likely to retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.
Children who bully:
•Have a higher risk of abusing alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults.
•Are more likely to get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school.
•Are more likely to engage in early sexual activity.
•Are more likely to have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults. In one study, 60% of boys who bullied others in middle school had a criminal conviction by age 24.
•Are more likely to be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses or children as adults.
What can parents do? Get Izzy Kalman's How to Stop Being Teased and Bullied Without Really Trying here.
8. Punishment is NOT effective discipline. Whether corporal or not, punishment simply teaches children that if they break rules they will suffer negative consequences. Punishment does not necessarily teach children why the rules are in place, why the rules are important or how they can act in accordance of the rules. Punishment also does not teach children to be responsible or to take into account the thoughts, needs or experiences of others. Unfortunately, punishment is only effective at deterring inappropriate behaviours in so far as it provokes fear in children. Children come to fear for their possessions (that they may be taken away), privileges (that they may be revoked), preferences (that they may be used against them) and even safety and well being (if they are routinely caused pain or harm in the name of punishment). Children do not necessarily come to understand why their behaviour was wrong, or how their behaviour negatively impacted others. Here are 10 alternatives to punishment.
9. Your child's interactions with you and his caregivers affects how his brain develops. We know from 50 years of research in neuroscience that an infant’s experience can have permanent effects on the wiring of the brain,” said Eliot, author of the book What’s Going on in There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life. Neurosurgeons know there are truly critical periods—stages of development—in which the brain needs certain types of experience, or the circuits don’t get put together properly. There are some 100 billion brain cells in a human, a number that is reached by just five months gestation in the womb. So there are literally some quadrillion synapses or connections in a child’s brain, each of which can be altered by a child’s experiences. Synapses can be gained or lost, strengthened or weakened, as a result of their own electrical activity.
The key to raising a smarter, happier child is loving interaction with parents for a lifetime. Spend time together in positive ways, engaging in a variety of activities with the child. Most importantly, model the kind of responsible, intelligent, and moral behavior you want your child to emulate, since children learn most through the example we set, rather than the specific teaching we attempt.
10. EQ matters! Studies have shown that empathy is an essential life skill. Emotional intelligence or emotional quotient, or E.Q. -- being able to understand one's own feelings and the feelings of others as well as being able to control one's own emotions and exercise self control -- is thought to be more important for success in life than I.Q., or intelligence quotient. How do you teach EQ?
- Make sure your child's own emotional needs are met.
- Teach your child how to cope with negative emotions.
- Ask, "How would you feel?"
- Name that feeling.
- Talk about positive and negative behaviors around you.
- Set a good example.
What are the five elements of emotion coaching, according to leading researcher, John Gottman?
-Be aware of a child's emotions
-Recognize emotional expression as an opportunity for intimacy and teaching
-Listen empathetically and validate a child's feelings
-Label emotions in words a child can understand
-Help a child come up with an appropriate way to solve a problem or deal with an upsetting issue or situation
Watch this short video.
1. Circumcision Statistics.
2. Formula risks. Another good resource.
3. Self-soothing. Dr. Laura Markham trained as a Clinical Psychologist, earning her Ph.D. from Columbia University.
4. Co-sleeping. Dr. Bill Sears is an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. Dr. Bill received his pediatric training at Harvard Medical School's Children's Hospital in Boston and The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto -- the largest children’s hospital in the world, where he served as associate ward chief of the newborn nursery and associate professor of pediatrics. Dr. Sears is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and a fellow of the Royal College of Pediatricians (RCP)
5. Crying it out causes brain damage.
6. Spanking lowers IQ. Harmful effects.
7. Bullying Statistics.
9. Nuturing your child's brain. Your Child's Brain: The Crucial Early Years.
10. The Importance of Boosting Emotional Intelligence and Teaching Empathy to Kids Emotional Keys for Successful Parenting.
**Note from the author: As a new, uninformed mother, I, myself, circumcised and formula-fed my kids at the advice of my gynecologist and pediatrician. This is not meant to be judgmental in any way, but simply to provide information which I wish someone had provided to me. In addition, I have said before that, though I fully support co-sleeping and feel it is optimal for development, I realize it does not fit all families, and I have no desire to pass judgment. I know happy, healthy, emotionally stable kids who sleep alone.**
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Posted by Rebecca