Parenting

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    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Please don't make the mistake of thinking that happiness means that the child always gets his way and always gets rewarded for good behavior with a new Hot Wheels. Why? Because with that approach, you create an environment where desires are always gratified, which we know is not the case in life. True satisfaction comes from successfully meeting appropriate challenges in a nonpressurized setting -- when a child feels confident that he will be loved for being himself, whether he's playing, working on a project, or simply exploring life. It's when a win is a real achievement that he has earned, not one that is engineered by his parents. While saying "no" may not always result in the most cheerful child, setting limits communicates to your child that you care about him, and there's a lot of happiness created (subconsciously, perhaps) when children know that their parents are there to protect them.
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    AMichele Borba, Psychology, answered
    Internet dangers are real: From exposure to inappropriate content like hate sites and pornography, cyberbullying and online predators, the Internet does pose real and present dangers. One in 5 kids receive sexual solicitations online. Eleven percent of young people report that they have formed a relationship with someone they met online. Thirty-three percent of youth have been exposed to unwanted sexual material online. More than 30% of kids online have experienced some kind of online harassment. Of those students reported being bullied 35% kept it to themselves.
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    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered

    No matter what level of intellect your child has, we recommend that you be careful in how you label him. Kids who are told they are smart often don't take risks because they're afraid to fail. Kids who are celebrated for being willing to try -- regardless of their intellectual ability -- continue growing even if they fail periodically, without taking it personally. We see this in research circles when we look at children who are asked to solve extremely hard puzzles. Some kids get frustrated and quit when they can't figure them out, while others enjoy the process and challenge and ask for another, even if they failed to complete the previous puzzle.

    By labeling your child, you actually take away a little bit of his control -- and, really, his destiny too. Another reason that it's as important for parents to praise a swing and a miss ("Good swing! Focus on the ball!") as it is to praise a home run.

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    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Children who are adopted both internationally and from within the United States are two to three times as likely to have developmental problems as nonadopted children. Adopted children are also more likely to have behavior problems and attachment issues. Internationally adopted children often do not come with completely accurate records including date of birth and often have infectious disease issues like intestinal parasites or nutritional issues like anemia. They need careful, thoughtful evaluation and monitoring. There are pediatricians who specialize in international adoptions and who are knowledgeable about specific health issues; it's worth seeking one out in your area.
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    Firstborn children are more advanced in vocabulary and grammatical development, a difference that appears to correlate with the fact that mothers tend to speak more to their first children. On the other hand, conversational skills are more developed in subsequent children -- a finding perhaps related to the greater practice of conversation in larger households with multiple opportunities to interact.
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    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    First and foremost, visit the school and see if you can imagine your child fitting right in. Look around. What's on the walls? If it's "No This" and "Don't Do That," it may be a stifling place for your child's brain. If you see evidence of creativity at play, it may be a great place for your child's brain. Are there just girl toys or boy toys? Is there a focus on right-brain activities (puzzles, spatial toys) as well as on left-brain activities (words, books, writing)? Do the teachers look grumpy? What about the other parents at drop-off and pickup? Do you see families that appeal to you, with children who might appeal to your child? We're talking future playdates and playmates here.
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    There are plenty of people who disagree with the Montessori method of teaching. Those who believe in more traditional approaches feel that Montessori children have fewer social skills because they work on their own at an individual pace and therefore may not transition well to a more traditional and less individualistic program. Some also take issue with the lack of imaginative play in many Montessori programs, which can vary from strict to modified. Indeed, Montessori may not be the best environment for a child who is extremely social or who can't sit still and focus independently on a task. The point is that you should consider all kinds of educational options when your child is ready to go to school. Don't just pick the same path that you went down. Despite the similarities that you may have with your child, each of us responds differently to different environments, so it's worth really taking the time to explore all of your options when it's time for your child to expand her educational horizons.
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    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    It's interesting to see how language works in bilingual families. If Mom speaks Spanish, say, and Dad speaks English, a child will answer his father in English and his mother in Spanish, even when those particular parents are speaking different languages than they normally do. Some bilingual kids mix the languages early on, and sometimes expressive language (what they say) is slightly delayed. But very quickly, those delays work themselves out, and when a child starts speaking in both languages, he will do so in full sentences that are contextually accurate and age appropriate.
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    AMichael Roizen, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Chances are, even if you are a full-time mom, you’ll want to go out to a movie or run an errand sometime in the next five years and will have to hire a babysitter. Or you may find you want someone else to watch Junior for a couple of hours while you clean out your closets in peace. In these cases, babysitters and mother’s helpers are ideal. They’re not expensive, they don’t require a big commitment, and they usually have tons of energy and think it’s really fun to take care of kids. Mother’s helpers are traditionally preteens who provide an extra pair of hands while you’re still in the house. Babysitters are slightly older and more experienced, either from having been mother’s helpers themselves, having babysat other children, or having cared for younger siblings.
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology, answered
    The most important thing is to find a day care center that reflects your philosophies and values in terms of the level of structure, the approach of the providers, and the policies on nutrition, sleep, discipline, and TV. While all day care facilities must be licensed (if it’s not, don’t even consider it), requirements vary from state to state. In addition, check to see if the facility you’re interested in has been accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children or the National Early Childhood Accreditation Program, or if it has won any local award or recognition.