Thursday, June 11, 2009

Baby Whisperer: Mindful Parenting

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In The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems, Tracy Hogg discusses several different points that parents need to be mindful of.

  • Watch Your Reactions (page 53): You need to be mindful of your reactions to situations. Hogg states that the way you react to whining and other feelings will affect your baby, on through toddlerhood. Consider the influence of a reaction when a child falls down. When Brayden (now 4) was a baby, when he fell and/or got hurt somehow, I showed a lot of concern and empathy for the situation. Before long, I started to see the problem I was causing. To this day (at least as I write this), if he gets slightly hurt in my presence, he usually reacts with a need for extreme consolation from me. If I am not around, he is fine. With Kaitlyn (now 2), I did things differently. I would say, "Whoops-a-daisy!" and smile at her. No concern on my face at all. She takes even painful-looking spills and bumps without complaint. She kind of giggles, says "Whoops-a-daisy," and moves on.
  • Nurture Affects Your Child: For better or worse, you affect your child (page 61). Your child comes with a temperament, but you can affect that. I think all Babywise parents would agree with this. If not, why would we put the time and effort into sleep training and early discipline (meaning training, not punishment)? If you find your self wondering why your baby who was an angel baby at birth is now acting more like a grumpy baby, think of what you have done to change that. "Temperament is not a life sentence" (page 61). See this post for more on the 5 types: Baby Whisperer: Know Your Baby
  • See Your Actual Child (page 65): Hogg points out that parents have preconceived notions of what their baby will be like before baby is born. Parents will also look at their baby and see what they want to see. Perhaps you wanted an athletic child. Whether or not your child really does have a capacity to be athletic, you might see an athlete in your baby because that is what you are looking for. Hogg urges parents to "Look at the child you have, rather than at the fantasy of the one you wanted to have" (page 66). When you consider that your nurture can affect your child, this makes so much sense. If there are personality traits your child does not naturally posses that you think are important, you can help him to develop those more if you look at who he is. Also, if you look at who he is, you can recognize the incredible talents he has on his own and nurture those. Every child has their own special talents and abilities.
  • Recognize Your Own Strengths and Weaknesses (page 68): You have your own strengths and weaknesses as a person. Hogg discusses 5 different types of parents, stating that most parents are a bit of several types. Some are confident and easygoing. They trust their intuition and are usually quite patient. They are quick to recognize when they are contributing to a problem. Others are quite by-the-book. They follow parenting advice books to the "T" and stress out when the baby is not as the book says he should be. They look for "X+Y=Z" statements in their parenting advice books when things go wrong. These parents are good researchers and are usually very open to suggestions. You also have high-strung parents who are sensitive. They don't have a lot of confidence in their own abilities in the beginning. They also take the moods of their baby quite personally, saying things like, "He hates me." These parents are very tuned in to their children because of their sensitivity. Go-getter parents tend to always be on the move and resist advice from others. When they ask for and receive advice, they tend to negate that advice. They tend to be rigid and see things very black and white. They are creative, and encourage their children to try new things and take risks. Headstrong parents think they know it all and get upset when baby doesn't respond as he should. They usually complain no matter how good their baby is. These parents are willing to follow through and work hard to solve problems. There is much more in the book. The point is to recognize your own strengths and weaknesses, so you can work with them and compensate for them.

The above is some good advice for parents to keep in mind as they raise their children. Parenting isn't just about teaching and improving your children; you must do the same for yourself.

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2 comments:

Rachel Stella said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one that still says "whoops-a-daisy" :)

Plowmanators said...

lol Rachel. Whoops-a-daisy isn't something I will mind hearing come out of my kid's mouths, unlike "oh crap!"

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