Parenting

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    A , Psychology, answered
    Awareness is the first step to stopping mean-girl cruelty against your daughter, and turning this troubling trend around. Simply put: you must get educated about the Mean Girl Scene, what it looks like by age and stage, and the most common types of relational aggression. Relational aggression begins in earnest around third and fourth grade and is at its peak around those middle school years. The latest research shows that girls, as young as four, are bullying, threatening, and shunning out other girls from playgroups.

    Knowing the signs of mean-girl cruelty is the next step. The signs of relational aggression are often tougher for parents and teachers to spot than traditional bullying. One reason is because there are usually no physical scrapes, bruises, torn clothing, or lost items that are typical with physical or sexual-type bullying. And then there’s another reason: your daughter may not tell you that she is a victim of the mean girl set which is exactly why you must learn the warnings.

    The final step is for parents and educators to squelch this mean girl scene. Yes, cliques have always existed. And you’re right, girls have always been a bit catty (hmmm), but this goes way beyond cattiness: this is cold-blooded cruelty. Don’t expect overnight success, and do try different approaches. The goal is to raise strong, confident, and respectful young women. So open up the dialogue: Talk to your daughter. Get on board with other moms. Hold discussions at your school. Bring in speakers. Do what it takes, but start talking about the mean girl scene.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    Not only do middle kids pick up on which sibling is the parental favorite, but researchers after watching videos of parent interaction confirm that sixty-five percent of mothers and 70 percent of dads exhibited a preference for one child–in most cases, the older one. The middle kid pays the price. So, though we may think we treat our kids equally, research shows otherwise. Be honest. Do your eyes light up with the same intensity for each of your children? That’s your test.
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    A , Psychology, answered

    Breaking the habit of negative self-talk can be done. Children with poor self-beliefs often have bombarded themselves for so long with a steady stream of derogatory messages. Their potential for success is greatly limited, because they don’t believe in their capabilities. Self-talk is a critical part of how children acquire beliefs about themselves. One of the most powerful ways to help your youngster develop a firm belief in himself is to teach him to practice positive self-talk. What if you have a child who is a pessimistic thinker or has gotten into the habit of saying negative self-statements?

    Helping a child break the habit of using negative self-talk is not easy. Like trying to break any habit, you’ll need to be consistent in your efforts to help change your child’s behavior usually for a minimum of three weeks. Here are ideas I suggest to help develop a more positive self-picture and reduce negative self-talk.

    Develop a Family “I Can” Slogan. Whenever someone in the family said, “I can’t,” they learn to say to that person: “Success comes in cans, not in cannots.” The simple little slogan became an effective way of encouraging family members to think more positively.

    Point Out Stinkin’ Thinkin’.  Create a private signal like pulling on your ear whenever you hear your child say a negative comment in public.

    Confront Negative Voices.  Gently encourage your child  to talk back to his or her negative voice. Explain how he or she can confront their inner negative talk. Use examples like “I remember when I was in school. Sometimes right before I’d take a test I’d hear a voice inside me say, ‘This stuff is hard. You’re not going to do well on this test.” I used to hate that voice, because it would take my confidence away.  I learned to talk back to it, so I’d just say, ‘I’m a good learner. I’m going to try my best. If I try my best, I’ll do okay.’”

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    A , Psychology, answered
    Many students are on activity overload, which may contribute to stress and cut into energy and time needed to devote to school-work.

    Assess if your child's weekly activity schedule is balanced and allows downtime to relax or be with friends. Are you noticing that your child is having trouble this semester concentrating or focusing? If the schedule is on overload, sit down with your child and cut one thing to free up time and give him a chance to decompress. Cutting just one thing can make a difference.
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    A , Health Education, answered

    One approach is to be a good role model. For example, if you role model kind-hearted behavior such as altruism and philanthropy, and your child sees this behavior, he/she might model it. Ideas include taking your child with you when you drop off used clothes at a thrift shop; offer your child the opportunity to help you bake bread for your neighbor who is sick; grow a garden with your child and the two of you take the harvest to your local food bank.

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    A Pediatrics, answered on behalf of
    Bringing a new baby into the house is a big adjustment, both for parents and your other child, or children. Your first indication that your older child is unhappy about his new sibling will likely be his behavior. He may throw more tantrums, become angry very easily, or regress to behavior that you thought he had outgrown. It's important to nip acting out in the bud before it turns into full-blown sibling rivalry.

    During pregnancy, keep your child informed of what to expect after the new baby arrives. After you bring the new baby home, be sure to make special time for your older child so he doesn't feel left out, especially since the new sibling will be getting lots of extra attention from family and friends. The baby will probably receive lots of gifts, too, so treat your older child to something special as well.

    Most important is to keep the lines of communication open. Encourage your child to talk about his feelings, both good and bad. Giving him the freedom to express resentment will help head off negative behavior in the future.
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    A , Psychology, answered
    No parent wants their child to suffer disappointments, and often our first adult instinct is to try and solve their dilemmas for them. But watch out: doing so robs kids of the opportunity to find their own solutions. Problem solving is exactly the skill kids need when they’re on their own.

    Avoid that temptation of rescuing your kid and solving his problems. Instead, step in only when really needed. Children need to build self-beliefs that say, “I can figure things out for myself.” Then do let your child know you believe he can.
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    A Marriage & Family Therapy, answered on behalf of
    When you lose your cool and yell at a young child, the result is both some good news and some bad news.

    The bad news is that these kinds of outbursts create wounds that can take time to heal. Sometimes those wounds make getting closer a little more difficult because of the fear of additional pain -- much like someone coming close to your bad sunburn. Our natural reaction is to flinch and pull away even if we don’t consciously believe the other person intends to hurt us.

    But there is good news as well. Our bodies and minds and spirits are designed to heal and grow. What’s more is that we actually grow through struggle. It gives you an opportunity to shift from a head-to-head battle against each other to a shoulder-to-shoulder unified effort towards a mutually beneficial goal: connection. This is an opportunity for you to listen, to empathize with her emotion, and to work together to find alternative ways to get what you both want. It is about shifting away from a battle of wills and shifting toward ways you both can live out a family standard while maintaining relational connection.

    As I mentioned earlier, the wounds of this interaction may make your relationship difficult for a while, but it is far from over. The emotion you described only occurs because you both care. People who do not care do not cry in their room. They disengage. They become cold and distant. Leaning in and being authentic with your daughter about your desire for her help may just achieve the common goal of connection.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    It may seem like Mario and his brothers are as healthy as coconut-cream smoothies, but video games aren't just good for your child's digital dexterity. For one, video games have social benefits, as long as you're making sure they're swapping their laser fire with wholesome playmates. And your child may even be developing motor skills that could come in handy when they're robotically operating on hearts in a couple of decades.

    Most importantly, though, those controllers serve this valuable purpose: They're going to help keep your child thin. How? With two hands on buttons, there are no hands in the chip bags and cheese dips. Many studies show that watching TV is associated with obesity, while playing video games is not.

    Just make sure that your child gets at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, or that they play a game like Dance Dance Revolution, which has foot controls and will keep them moving. That way, they'll get the best of both worlds.
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    A , Psychology, answered

    Here are appropriate household chores to assign your kids age by age.

    Chores for Toddlers: It’s never too early to begin, but let’s be realistic about what this age can do. Do not expect a toddler to do any “chore” on his own and if they do it’s no more than a minute or two. The point at this age is just to model you and pretend to help. Here’s how:

    Toddlers love to help and learn best by copying and working next to you. So purchase a pint-size broom, rake, or vacuum (that looks like Mommy’s). Your little one can grab his broom and copy you.
    Set out a special box, bin or basket for your toddler to help you put her toys away.

    Chores for Preschoolers: If you want your preschooler to succeed, first show them exactly how to do the task so they succeed. Here are a few appropriate chores:

    Set and clear the table and fold napkins: Be on the lookout for placemats that provide inked-in outlines of a fork, knife, spoon and plate.
    Sponge off tables and counters: Hand your kid a damp sponge and a squirt bottle filled with water and let him go to town cleaning away.
    Pick up toys: Provide a box, basket, or bin for your child to put away her toys.

    Chores for School-Age Kids: School-age kids are ready to help out in the household as well as some simple yard work. Go through each new chore step by step with your child so that she clearly knows how to do it. Then observe her doing it at least once to make sure she can handle it. Gradually increase your expectations based on success.

    Routine household chores: Set and clear table, put dishes in dishwasher, put clean ones away, vacuum, dust, and sweep.
    Meals: Make their lunch and be responsible for cooking one simple part of evening meal which does not have to involve a stove.
    Pet care: Feeding, taking the dog on a walk, brushing, bathing, cleaning out cage or just petting and playing with the animal.

    Chores for Preteens and Teens
    : In a few short years this same kid is probably will be living on her own. So think of assigning chores to help prepare your son or daughter for independent living. Here are items to consider:

    Cooking: Learning a few basic cooking recipes to cook alone.
    Laundry: Completely doing their own laundry.
    Bathroom: Cleaning their shower, toilet, tub.
    Car care: When she gets that license make her responsible for maintaining car appearance, filling it with gas, even taking in for service.