Are You Doing Too Much For Your Child?

by Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D

lazy-teenOne of my clients, Katherine, came in yesterday and told me that she was feeling frustrated with her son’s behavior. “Today I asked Evan repeatedly to take out the garbage and he just kept saying, ‘Later, Mom.’ I finally did it myself, but I was so angry and resentful,” she explained. “And it’s not only the trash – it’s more important things, like finishing schoolwork. I do virtually everything for Evan – to the point where sometimes I’m exhausted – and he never seems to take any responsibility himself.”

When I asked Katherine why she continued in this way, she said, “I suppose it’s because I felt my parents never did anything for me…and I don’t want Evan to ever feel that way.”

I replied, “I can see this is hurting you – but do you realize you may be hurting Evan, too?”

Katherine’s overprotective parenting style stems from her own sense of neglect, but there are other reasons parents may overcompensate and feel they must do everything for their child.

Fear of dire consequences can cause a parent to step in, e.g., “If I don’t finish the science project for her, she’ll fail the class and never get into college,” or “If I don’t remind him to get to soccer practice on time every day, he’ll get cut from the team.”

Feelings of anxiety about the world in general can drive parents to take control or indulge their children excessively, in the belief that they can keep their child from ever being hurt or disappointed. For instance, “If I let him walk to his friend’s house alone, he may be kidnapped,” or “If I don’t buy her those expensive jeans, she says she just has to have, the other girls will make fun of her and ostracize her from their crowd.”

Although “do-everything” parents have good intentions, they can actually instill their own anxiety in their child. Parents who hover over and micro-manage their children at school functions or during play dates, because they themselves are uncomfortable in social situations, may create children who will mirror that same unease and apprehension.

Studies have shown that an overprotective parent can harm a child by engendering a lack of self-agency, the feeling that they are the agents that can produce a desired outcome, not the parent. Similarly, overprotective parents impede the development of self-efficacy, the sense that one has the capacity to take effective actions. Individuals with diminished self-efficacy are less resilient to stress and underestimate their own resources.

Children who have everything done for them lose the chance to develop valuable coping skills, to gain self-confidence and to learn to bounce back from failure when necessary.

So, if you catch yourself doing too much for your child, step back and give him or her a chance to learn to be more independent –– perhaps at first with a struggle, but later with ease.  Chances are you’ll both feel better about yourselves.

Carolyn Daitch, Ph.D has been a psychologist in private practice for 30 years. She is the director of the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Farmington Hills, near Detroit. www.anxiety-treatment.com

5 Tips To A Dry Bed

By Renee Mercer, RN, MSN, CPNP & Founder of BedwettingStore.com

 

kid-in-bedThe development of urinary control is a maturational process. Everyone is born wetting the bed. As children grow and develop, so does their ability to control their bladder. Between the ages of 1 and 2, they have a gradual enlargement of bladder capacity and begin to sense when their bladder is full.  When they are 3 and 4, they learn to void, or inhibit voiding, voluntarily.  By the age of 5, the majority of children have an adult pattern of urinary control and the maturation of the bladder is complete.  However, about 20% of children have not  developed  this pattern and are still having bedwetting episodes. As your bedwetting child grows older, chances increase that intervention will stop the nighttime wetting in a few weeks rather than waiting years for bedwetting to just disappear.

 

Although only 3% of children who wet the bed have a medical reason for doing so, it’s important to make sure medical problems aren’t contributing to the wet nights. If your child develops a bedwetting problem, talk to her healthcare provider to rule out medical issues.

 

There are many steps that you can take to stop your child’s bedwetting problem. Here’s a list of some common  methods of eliminating bedwetting, some of which are effective and some that should be avoided:

 

  1. Restricting fluids: This is only effective for about 15% of bedwetting children, since fluid consumption is usually not the cause of the problem. You also run the risk of dehydrating your child. A better way to maintain adequate hydration  is to move overall fluid intake to earlier in the day. Make sure your child avoids caffeinated beverages, milk, and juice before bedtime and encourage him to empty his bladder before retiring. Also, encourage him to double void before bedtime. This means that he should urinate, wait several seconds (about 15), and then urinate again.

 

  1. Punishment: Bedwetting is something that your child doesn’t have control over. Punishing her will most likely lead to poor self-esteem, increased anxiety, and a subsequent continuation of the problem.

 

  1. Waking child or setting alarm clock: This is according to the parent’s schedule and does little to help your child develop the ability to wake up to a full bladder.

 

  1. Drug therapy: DDAVP is a synthetic version of vasopressin (a natural hormone) and is administered as a small pill. DDAVP decreases the amount of urine produced at night and stops wetting in about half of the children who take it. The dosage varies between 1-3 tablets per night. Oxybutinin (Ditropan) is a medication used to treat overactive bladder. This can be helpful in children who experience urgency or frequency in the daytime as well as nighttime wetting. While medications may provide a temporary solution to bedwetting, most children begin wetting once they stop taking them.

 

  1. Bedwetting alarms: Over time, these moisture-sensing alarms can improve your child’s sensitivity to the feeling of a full bladder. Because these devices train your child to recognize a full bladder, their effects will last long after treatment. The alarms’ success rate is higher and relapse rate lower than any other type of therapy. Choose from wearable alarms, pad-type alarms, and  wireless alarm kits at www.BedwettingStore.com. One of the advantages of bedwetting alarm treatment is that, after the first couple of weeks of the parent responding to the alarm and waking the child up, the child should then be better able to recognize the sound of the alarm and the feeling of bladder fullness. When you think he’s ready, encourage him to get up on his own to use the bathroom at the sound of the alarm. If you’re not using moisture-sensing alarms, have your child wear protective undergarments to bed. Disposable pull-ups can be disposed of easily and conveniently, and reusable absorbent undergarments are machine washable and dryable.

 

More About Renee Mercer, RN, MSN, CPNP: Renee Mercer has spent 13 years as a pediatric nurse practitioner in Maryland specializing in helping children achieve overnight dryness. Mercer knows how stressful bedwetting can be for families and how this problem can negatively impact a child’s self-esteem. She founded The Bedwetting Store www.BedwettingStore.com  to share her knowledge and to advise parents on effective treatments to help children stop wetting the bed. She is also the author of Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness.  In this easy-to-read book, she answers common questions such as “Did I do something to cause this problem?”, “How long until my child outgrows bedwetting?”, “Will my child ever be able to go to a sleepover without worrying?”, and “What can I do to speed up this process?” This book is a must-read for any parent with a child who is struggling with bedwetting.

Who Runs Your House – the kids or you?

by Karen Phillip

Taken from chapter 12 of “Who Runs Your House – the kids or you?”

 

kid-helps-raking-the-leavesHow many parents do you know that complain their child does nothing around the house or that they are so lazy or hopeless. Who is the smart one here? The child, of course.

 

Perhaps they were not given the opportunity of learning how to do independent things. Perhaps they had everything always done for them. Suddenly, asking them to now do it is like a red flag to a bull.

 

Little children love to help, love to do and learn new things, and love to be ‘big enough’ to help. Learning these things when they are little enables them to carry them on as a normal function when older. So stop doing everything for your little children. Allow them the opportunity to learn to do things independently for themselves. This way you are teaching, and they are learning the vital things for life. If started early, it is just so easy to have your children do their jobs. No problem and no complaints, they just do it as it is expected. It becomes a normal part of their life, like using the toilet and eating and washing hands. It is just what you do, doesn’t everyone?

 

A two-year-old child can learn to pack away their toys and items (with help), maybe not brilliantly yet with some assistance they can. They can find their shoes and socks, attempt to put them on, place dirty clothes into the hamper, and use a dustpan and brush (a bit).

A three-year-old child can do all the above better plus much more. They pack all toys and items away correctly, they can fold and place clothes into correct drawers, toilet themselves, organise boxes of toys, sort their shelves, start using utensils correctly, dress themselves, place items in correct places, and wipe over benches or tables. They love cleaning up with you.

A four-year-old child can also set the table, collect dirty utensils, plates, cups, and place them in the sink. They can wash basic items at the sink, maybe standing on a small stool, tidy up better, manage their own self-cleaning, dressing themselves, pour a drink, make a basic sandwich, learn how to use a knife and fork correctly, use their DS and the TV, and start learning to make their bed.

A five-year-old is a little person and should be fairly independent doing all the above, including make their own bed such as pulling up their sheets and quilt. They can start placing spreads, cheese, meats on to sandwiches or plates, setting the table, then clearing away the salt, pepper, sauce, and so forth, after dinner, putting placemats into the draw, and so on.

By six to eight years, they can assist cutting up vegetables or salad—under supervision. They love helping in the kitchen or shed and they can do a lot outside too.

 

Children love to wipe clean and polish, they can sweep or vacuum, pack items up outside. They can do it. Just look at the Junior Master Chef shows on TV, my goodness, those ten-year-olds are cooking like superb chefs. They can only learn that by doing, from instruction, by being allowed. Children can be so very clever. Honestly, who would have thought a ten-year-old can make a Welsh pie or Pavlova the way these kids can? It’s amazing. Just shows if they can do that sort of complicated thing, they sure can pack away toys, pick up their wet towels, fold their clothes and place them into the drawer, put stuff on or off the table, and help mix, cut, and prepare things in the kitchen. Let them try.

 

Raise the bar, and you will be surprised how well they can rise to the challenge. Set the bar low, then it is low you will receive, set the bar higher and higher is what they should strive towards.

And think about the older eight-year sibling in third world countries, raising their younger siblings, comforting them, collecting food and water, preparing meals. Scary thought in our world, but they do all this because they have to and because they can.

 

Children, therefore, can start looking after their belongings and doing basic little jobs from two years. The older they are, the more competent they become. Allow and expect them to, and they will.

 

So many parents complain because their child will not do anything or help out at home. If you encourage and show your child these jobs from the start, it will become a matter of course in their day, an expected behaviour like brushing their teeth. While it can be tricky to have them start from the age of eight to ten, it can certainly be managed and mainly by exchanging their required jobs for their sport or friends visits. Start, therefore, as young as you can and as soon as you can. Teach them how to do things properly, and they can learn this fast. If they object, then take something they want away; whatever they may want that you provide them. It may be a cooked meal so dish up perhaps a raw vegetable meal because you couldn’t be bothered actually cooking it. They will not like a raw meal as much as you do not like them refusing to do their required tasks. A compromise can be then be reached. I will when you will. Just like rewards, they work very well.

 

If your child starts to go to the big toilet you give them a stamp, no wee, no stamp. Is this not exactly the same?; yes it is. They need to do something in order to get something. We all do. If I did not want to go to work, I would not get paid. If I refused to do my assignment, I would not pass. If I didn’t pack away my toys, Mum would take them away from me. If I refused to do my jobs, I would not receive a nice hot dinner. For littler children, even keeping the bubbles or toys out of the bath for one night can give them the message.

Never, however, take away or remove your love, kisses, or cuddles. These are as unconditional as your love to them. Just because their behaviour may be difficult they remain the same gorgeous child as always.

The child is not the behavior; the behavior is the behavior.

 

Enable your child to become independent and self-reliant. They will be that way forever. They will be independent at school, at their friends place, at sport training, and everywhere. Your child will learn to rely on themselves through your guidance and opportunity.

Child Safety Tips

By the Lost and Found Experts at FinderCodes

playgroundFinderCodes, an asset recovery system based on QR code technology, has gathered some of the most common places kids get hurt and provided easy prevention measures to make sure your kids stay safe no matter where they are!

Walking to School

If your children walk to school, make sure they’re getting there as safely as possible. Choose a route that avoids busy streets and construction and walk the route with your kids before sending them alone. Along the way, point out “safe houses” where your kids can stop in case of an emergency. Team up with a buddy to walk to school or give them a phone to use in case of an emergency or even if they just need to talk to you along the way.

At a Playground

Have a parent or caregiver prepared with a First Aid kit watching your kids at the playground at all times. It’s terrible to think about, but children can easily get hurt or abducted at playgrounds if you’re not careful. Always keep track of what they’re doing, where they are and who they’re playing with. Make sure your children know the rules – don’t talk to strangers and always stay within your sight. To prevent your kids from getting hurt on playground equipment, only let them play on safe, age-appropriate equipment.

Playing Sports

The most important safety tips to teach your little athletes are to wear the right equipment and to play by the rules. If they’re riding a bike or horse, wear a helmet. Protect your hockey or volleyball player with the right padding. Football players need a helmet and secure padding, and soccer players need to wear shin guards. Playing by the rules ensures no one gets hurt because of foul play.

In any situation where kids are carrying things they’re likely to lose (sports equipment, backpacks, jackets, etc.), it’s important to mark them so that if they get lost, they can be returned easily. FinderCodes Lost & Found Kits are perfect for that. As an added bonus, our smart tags keep personal information like names, addresses and phone numbers private. That means your child’s information will not be on display to strangers, and their safety will not be compromised.

At a Pool

Always have a CPR-trained lifeguard or adult nearby when your children are swimming. Make sure your kids know not to eat, drink or run near the water. If your children want to play in the pool but don’t know how to swim yet, give them a life jacket or floatie to stay safe.

In the Car

Keep a bag in the car ready to go with snacks, water, a First Aid kid and sunscreen. Use proper car seats – use these guidelines. Pull over if you need to help your kids with something in the backseat or need to answer your phone. Never leave your kids alone in the car and always remember to take your keys with you when you get out.

In Case of Fire

According to www.safekids.org, about 488 children (ages 14 and under) die every year because of residential fires, and another 116,600 children are injured by fire. Prevent fires at home by making sure your electrical appliances, cords and outlets are safe and not overloaded. Unplug appliances that are not in use, and keep your smoke detector batteries fresh. Teach your children to stay low to the ground if they smell smoke, and to get outside. Of course, a lesson in “stop, drop, and roll” is very important, too.

Your Child’s Posture

Stand Taller for Back to School

by Dr. Steven Weiniger

Before back-to-school slumps your child back into the “backpack hunch”, build their posture awareness and benchmark their growing body with a posture picture. Annual posture pictures are a great idea to systematically keep an ongoing record of how kids look and stand. While kids ignore a parent’s nagging to “straighten up”, when they see an image of their own body hunched over…it makes an impression.

Taking your Child’s Posture Picture

Get a camera (the one on your phone is fine) and have your child stand in front of a wall facing you. When you are ready to take the picture, say these words to your child:

-Stand normally.

-Look straight ahead.

-Relax, take a deep breathe in and let it out

-Now, SHOW ME YOUR BEST POSTURE.

Using these words makes your child form a mental note of their “best” posture. Kids (and adults) often experience a moment of uncertainty as they try to find exactly how their “best posture” feels…and that is part of the goal of this exercise. After you’ve taken a picture from the front, repeat the process for a back and side view picture. Print out the pictures, one to a sheet, and note how their posture looks.

Upon seeing their posture picture, the first question people usually ask is “How’s my posture?” It always amazes me how completely unaware people are of what their posture looks like! I have heard thousands of people say they know they have poor posture, but nevertheless maintain that they can stand straight “when they want to”. From kids to adults, people are surprised to see a picture showing them standing with obviously distorted posture, despite their best efforts to stand up straight. Plus, the posture distortions of today’s kids, who spend hours slumped in front of TVs, crouched over Xbox and Playstations and folded over computer keyboards, are likely to be worse than their parents as they get older.

Use a pen and ruler to perform a basic assessment of your child’s postural alignment. On the front and back view pictures, simply draw a line from the middle of their head to the middle of the space between their feet. If you child has good posture alignment it should be absolutely vertical. On the side view picture, draw a line from the ear to the ankle. This line should also be vertical if they have good alignment. If the pictures look significantly out of balance or uneven from left to right, consult a Certified Posture Exercise Professional (CPEP), chiropractor, therapist or other clinician for an in depth evaluation.

Making kids aware of their posture is the first step to encouraging them to maintain strong posture. If nothing else, from a teen’s point of view stronger posture equates to looking more attractive and performing better at sports. They may still ignore your advice, but they will remember how they look now, and next year when it’s time for their annual posture picture.

Author Bio: Dr. Steven Weiniger, internationally recognized expert on posture and anti-aging, is author of Stand Taller~Live Longer. He is also senior editor of BodyZone.com, an online wellness resource which offers a national directory of CPEPs (Certified Posture Exercise Professional) and other posture professionals.