Parenting Responsibilities

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Parenting is not an easy task that anybody can accomplish with ease. Parenting demands a lot of commitment, sense of responsibility and perseverance during the process of upbringing a child. Roles of parents change according to the stage of child’s development.

Infants: Parents enjoy this part of child’s life the most. It is a memorable experience to witness all the first activities of a child including his first smile, his first words and his first steps. Parents have to just hug, play, laugh and love their children at this age. Infants tend to register in their minds all the affections of the parents including their touch, hug and even voice.

Toddlers: This is the age when children tend to learn anything that they see and listen. Toddlers tend to carefully analyze every behavioral pattern of the parent and try to imitate those emotions and actions. It is the responsibility of the parents to provide guidance about right behavior from the beginning. Parents have to hug, play, laugh, love and teach their children.

Pre-teens: This is the most fragile period of life. Children tend to get influenced by their surroundings including friends, relatives and even televisions. Parents should be careful while guiding children at this age.

Teenage: Best results of parenting can be obtained if the parents stop behaving with a teenager as a parent. This is time where priorities of the teenager change. Friends occupy the top importance. It would be easier if the parent can become the parent. Teenagers should be provided with space to grow. Their individuality should be respected and freedom. Parents have to hug, laugh, and love, teach, discipline and listen to the child.

Resource: www.TerrificParenting.com

Why Kids Eat What They Do or Don’t – A Parent’s Role

By Beth Bader

There are several sources of influence on our children’s eating behaviors. Genetics play a small role, parent and family influence, social relationships, neighborhood, community, institutional (schools), as well as large-scale influences like culture, food systems, economics and marketing.

Let’s start with the same source of primary influence that a child’s experience begins with: the parents. Genetically and physiologically, our children inherit a few food-related traits such as the ability to sense hunger, appetite and fullness. Children also possess the ability to sense smell, sight, and taste of food items, and for our systems to respond to the chemical signals from compounds like insulin, glucose and peptides.

Inheritable “taste” preferences are limited, with the most common trait being an aversion to bitterness that is displayed by less tolerance for vegetables such as broccoli, and a stronger affinity for sweet and fatty foods. So, you can blame your spouse for producing a child less likely to eat broccoli. Now, room-cleaning, math skills, athletic ability, I will leave those to you parents to debate. Back to food.

Children seem to inherently possess a preference for sweet foods, fat and salty tastes while avoiding bitter or irritating tastes. They are likely to be neophobic, or afraid of new foods instinctively. In many cases this trait endures through adulthood. Parental response to this particular set of preferences, such as only serving foods children immediately “like” or foods that appeal to just these preferences can foster some very unhealthy food and intake preferences in the long run, re: Happy Meal Mongers.

The interesting thing is that all of these signals, even the inherent food preferences, can be altered or overridden by environmental and psychological influence. In fact, research has shown that of all the factors that influence diet preferences, it is these genetic preferences that are the weakest.

The strongest influence on food preferences? Exposure to a given food. Simply put, children can and will learn to like healthy foods if parents are persistent. Conversely, if served a limited and unhealthy diet, this will become a child’s preference.

Nutrition studies show that repeated exposure will overcome even the strongest of food preferences, the desire for sweet. New research (Menella et. Al.) also suggests that a fetus’ experiences with food flavors in the amniotic fluid can help encourage acceptance and enjoyment for similar foods later on. This is encouraging news since pregnancy is the only period of our parental experience where we do have full control over our child’s diet. This new finding gives women all the more reason to maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy.

Early childhood marks the foundation years for a child’s food preferences. In fact, many of these preferences and food-related behaviors are set as early as age two, with few of these preferences changing even after the next five years. Indeed, the number of foods a child will like at age eight can be predicted from the number of foods they eat at age four. Even at age four, however, some of a child’s preferences are for foods not introduced by parents. Beyond age two (and those parents going through “terrible two’s” would say during) external influences enter the picture. As I am coming to realize, It’s a narrow window for us parents, a very narrow window.

For the first year, feeding time is a central component of the parent-child relationship, a shared experience that not only nourishes, but establishes trust and a sense of security. As table foods are introduced, and as children ages 1-5 experience rapid intellectual and physical development, food behaviors and preferences move away from this complete dependence to a need for more control. We parents have all heard it; yes, it’s the dreaded phrase: “I do it!” This particular phase can be the backdrop to a table side power struggle that is all about control and nothing to do with food.

This newfound independence has an associated set of food behaviors. There is the fear of anything new known as neophobia, Better known to parents as Vegaphobia, or, in my case, The Battle of Orange Foods. Next, there is the tendency to favor only certain foods as exemplified by the week-long Mac-n-Cheese strike many of us parents encounter.

And, perhaps the strangest of all, the odd anxiety created by having foods on the same plate touch. For this last one, the answer is as simple as a $1.99 melamine “lunch tray” available at Target. For the other two, well, those are only solved by endurance and perseverance. Whoever said parenting is for the weak? Those of you prepared for battle, read on.

It is a battle of inches, and a few inches forward one day only to fall back the next. The goal is a finish line way off in the distance, and in between all we can do is try and have a balanced diet in them over the course of a week. The reasons kids do not like a certain vegetable often has nothing to do with the vegetable itself. Among these reasons are the inherited sensitivity to bitter tastes, bland preparation, or negative conditioning attached to the food as in the parental classic, “If you don’t eat your vegetables, you can’t have dessert.”

In the latter context, the target food becomes an obstacle in the path of a desire, not a good context. At this point, you, the parent, are conditioning your child to dislike that vegetable even more. Healthy encouragement to try new foods without punishment or a controlling context, and a positive eating environment are key ingredients for raising a healthy eater.

Other key ingredients to the resolving the situation are persistence and a well-stocked pantry. In one study, children were given ten exposures a day to the taste of a new vegetable, red pepper. The study showed that frequency of exposure led to increased liking and consumption of the vegetable. Similar results were seen when the same vegetable was presented to a group of kids once a day for fourteen consecutive days. Fourteen. Seems like it would be a challenge to figure out fourteen dishes, or even ten different ways to get red pepper on a plate without including it in every dish plus a couple desserts. Suddenly, it all sounds more like an episode of Iron Chef than a family dinner.

While you don’t have to be an Iron Chef, creativity and a bit of research on all the ways to prepare a given food item can certainly make things easier, and even an enjoyable cooking challenge for parents — if they like cooking.

Finally, the most important ingredient is you. In fact, the strongest predictor of fruit and vegetable consumption by children ages 2-6 is the amount of these foods that are consumed by the parents. It makes a lot of sense. Why would a child want to eat a food that no one else wants to eat? You, yes, you have to eat your vegetables, too. This role modeling is important, both for direct learning, “this is what we eat,” and indirect role modeling, “new foods are a fun adventure, it is healthy to eat well, and these foods are enjoyable.”

Of course in order to model good food behavior, you also have to eat with your children. Family dinners are important both for nutrition and social reasons. Significant numbers of separate studies have found that regular family meals at home are associated with a healthier diet and a tendency for kids to make better grades and be less likely to try drugs and alcohol.

Importantly, if parents are maintaining a healthy diet, it means that the foods available in the home include healthy choices. Children are pretty much a captive audience, at least for the first few years. They will learn to eat what is in the home — even if it is not their favorite.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/774145

See Also Parenting Articles by Dr. Randy Cale at www.TerrificParenting.com

Partner to Share Parenting Responsibilities

By Tommy T Page

How to Get Your Partner to Share Parenting Responsibilities

Many fathers who are no longer young parents say: “My biggest regret is that I did not spend enough time with my children when they were little. I see now that both my children and I missed out.”

It’s doubly difficult if you and your partner work long work hours for both of you to be involved in parenting. Many mothers tell me how angry they feel because they expected their husband to share in the raising of their children but they find themselves doing at least 75 percent of the work. Says one mother who works as a teacher: “My husband passes three grocery stores on the way home. But does he ever buy milk? No. In fact it never seems to enter his mind. He just expects home life to run smoothly even though I work as much as he does.”

What’s so difficult about anger between parents is that not only does it make marriages miserable, but it also floats down to the children. Being the center of the universe, as all toddlers think they are, they may think that their bad thoughts and actions caused their parents to be angry. When resentments get very intense in families, a toddler can feel that she has to spend her day by her mother’s side trying to get her to be a happy mommy again.

However, if you can manage to put aside your anger, which isn’t always easy, some basic communication may nip your fury in the bud and rescue your toddler. Even though it might seem obvious to you that your partner should know he is not doing his fair share, he needs to hear it from you. Gather your thoughts and verbalize.

Be reasonable and talk specifically about what you want him to do, for example, fix breakfast for the children because you aren’t a morning person, or take your toddler to a Saturday playgroup, you may save yourself a lot of emotional wear and tear over the years.

Setting up specific sessions to renegotiate who does what with your toddler can also help cut down on angry feelings. Some mothers consider who gets paid more and who works harder in order to decide whether they have the right to demand. But I’ve never known any parent who can successfully cut off anger long term by this type of reasoning.

One of the most crucial rules to follow if you really want your partner to share parenting is to let him have his own relationship with your toddler. While it can be hard for the parent who does most of the child care not to interfere, your partner should be able to do things his way.

One mother explains: “I was really angry that my husband did not seem to be spending much time with our two-year-old. But on the other hand, when he finally was with our son I couldn’t restrain myself from saying: ‘Don’t say that. It is not good for him. Do this.’ I basically felt that I was the good and more knowledgeable parent because I spent more time with our child. My husband eventually exploded and said he didn’t like spending time with me or our child when I was so critical.”

What you expect from your partner as a partner and as a father is going to make a big difference in how he responds. Over the years I’ve noticed three styles in working mothers. There is the mother who essentially gives up on having her needs met and is constantly rationalizing: “What can I do? There is no way I can change him.” Then there is the mother who is very confrontational but doesn’t know how to get her needs met: “I’m so angry that you never do anything with our daughter. I am totally exhausted.” The third kind of mother for the most part feels she is supported by her husband and accepts him for what he is. This couple have come to agree on certain rules. Consider this mother: “My husband and I have decided that the whole family is going to eat dinner together every night at eight o’clock. This is not always easy, since we work long hours at pressured jobs, but we rarely break the arrangement.”

It is very important for partners to recognize the feelings they have toward each other, because bad feelings can pollute the atmosphere of an entire family. For example, if you find that when the whole family is finally together on weekends you and your partner aren’t enjoying each other, figure out why. (Many parents say it helps to get as many chores done as possible on the weekdays. Any human being gets irritable when most of the day is spent running back and forth between the laundry and the grocery store with a toddler in tow.)

Remember, everything between you and your partner may not be resolved by trying to talk on your own. Consider going to a couples counsellor if it feels as though tensions aren’t easing up.

I know you care about your children. I’m a parent too. I’ve more tips about parenting smart kids to share with you. Start guiding your children to success!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7949293

See Also Parenting Articles by Dr. Randy Cale at www.TerrificParenting.com