Are Celebrities Good Role Models for your Kids?
Posted by: Sue Atkins
In this episode:
“Is he in his own room yet?” – Why the Western Way of Raising Kids Is Weird!
Bed Sharing and Baby Wearing – the best ways to raise happy, confident, resilient kids.
Let them be kids!’ Is ‘free-range’ parenting the key to healthier, happier children?
How To Survive Your First Christmas Alone After Divorce.
Sue In Conversation with Diana Graber Author of ‘Raising Humans in a Digital World’
Follow Diana Graber Here:
I was in BBC Hereford & Worcester talking about role models. Chat about are celebrities good role models for kids?
Female Doctor Who robs boys of role models, claims Tory MP
Is the Western way of raising kids weird?
From sleeping in separate beds to their children to transporting them in prams, Western parents have some unusual ideas about how to raise them.
“Is he in his own room yet?” is a question new parents often field once they emerge from the haze of life with a newborn. But sleeping apart from our babies is a relatively recent development – and not one that extends around the globe. In other cultures sharing a room, and sometimes a bed, with your baby is the norm.
This isn’t the only aspect of new parenthood that Westerners do differently. From napping on a schedule and sleep training to pushing our children around in strollers, what we might think of as standard parenting practices are often anything but.
Parents in the US and UK are advised to have their babies sleep in the same room as them for at least the first six months, but many view this as a brief stopover on their way to a dedicated nursery.
In most other societies around the world, babies stick with their parents longer. A 2016 review that looked at research on children sharing not just a room but a bed with one or more of their parents found a high prevalence in many Asian countries: over 70% in India and Indonesia, for example, and over 80% in Sri Lanka and Vietnam. Research on bedsharing rates in countries across Africa is patchy, but where it does exist suggests the practice is near-universal.
Debmita Dutta, a doctor and parenting consultant in Bangalore, India, says that despite Western influences, bedsharing remains a strong tradition in India – even in households where children have their own rooms. “A family of four has three bedrooms, one each for each child and for the parents, and then you would find both the children in the parent’s bed,” she says. “It’s that common.”
Bedsharing is one way to reduce the burden of babies waking up at night. Many parents have a rollout bed next to their parents’ that kids can sleep on for as long as they like – even up to seven years old or beyond.
Many parents in Western societies instead turn to sleep training methods, the most extreme version of which involves leaving a baby on their own to “cry it out”, in an effort to encourage their babies to sleep for longer stretches so their parents can get some much-needed rest. In Australia there are even state-funded residential sleep schools parents can check-into, to sleep train their children !!!!!!
Encouraging early independence aligns with a typical Western cultural focus on individualism. For that reason, bedsharing can seem to some like giving in to your child and encouraging them to stay dependent on their parents. But parents with a more collectivist mindset, usually don’t see it that way. You give them some self-confidence and some independence, they will separate from you on their own. They will not stick to you forever.
Rashmi Das, a professor in paediatrics at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and author of a review on bedsharing safety, says that a lack of high-quality research on the topic makes it difficult to say whether bedsharing itself increases the risk of SIDS in the absence of other risk factors like smoking and drinking. “We could not tell whether bedsharing is actually increasing the risk of SIDS,” says Das.
Studies on the topic mostly come from high-income countries, where bedsharing is less common. But low-income countries, where bedsharing is traditional, also have some of the lowest SIDS rates in the world.
Just as bedsharing keeps babies close during the night, babywearing provides a way to keep them close in the day while parents run errands or work around the house. Rather than a new trend, carrying children in a sling is something humans have done for as long as we’ve been around. It was only when prams became popular during the Victorian era that traditional baby carriers became less common among some sections of Western society. In the rest of the world, there are seemingly almost as many different ways to carry a baby as there are cultures in which babies are carried.
Even parents who don’t use a sling will probably have noticed the instant calming effect of picking up their baby and moving with them. “They intuitively know that this kind of rhythmic motion, between 1-2 hertz, has some power to calm down a baby,” says Kumi Kuroda at the Riken Centre for Brain Science in Japan.
Kuroda began looking into the physiological effects of carrying infants when she saw that previous research, which used parental diaries rather than real-time physiological measurements, didn’t find any correlation between the amount of time babies were carried and the amount they cried. “I couldn’t agree with that,” she says.
Her research found that carrying a baby reduced their heart rate and movement as well as how much they cried. She says subsequent research found that movement without holding, such as transporting a baby in a pram or car seat, as well as holding without moving, also calms a baby over time, but that they work faster in combination.
Close contact, day and night, is what babies expect, biologically-speaking. In their first months they need to be fed frequently around the clock. Even when a baby’s circadian rhythm develops and their sleep begins to consolidate during nighttime hours, waking during the night for at least their first year is normal.
Remember that babies are not out to manipulate you, no matter how tempting it might be to see it that way at 3am. They’re helpless little beings that have come into this world, and we must look at them with empathy and compassion, kindness and patience and give them our time, attention, and love so they grow up able to trust their care givers and ultimately the world, as they are bonded securely and haven’t suffered trauma by not having their basic needs met.
A great book in #TheSueAtkinsBookClub is:
Parenting Without Borders: Surprising Lessons Parents Around the World Can Teach Us by Christine Gross-Loh
Now more than ever, children are cooped up indoors and monitored 24/7. But how can they build confidence and social skills if adults never let them out of their sight?
Let them be kids!
Is ‘free-range’ parenting the key to healthier, happier children?
It’s really stressful facing your first Christmas alone. Add in living through a pandemic with a new variant and life is certainly uncertain and forever changing.
Perhaps, you like me, are finding that you have had 20 years of family Christmases with tinsel and turkey, kids unwrapping their pressies in pyjamas with the Carols singing out on the stereo, the log fire blazing and a full house brimming with family.
Then it all changes.
But your first Christmas alone doesn’t have to be terrible.
But it does need planning!
Make sure that you plan what you are going to do well in advance and that you arrange to keep busy over the holiday period.
Be organised and don’t leave any spare time when you might brood. Don’t worry about what your ex partner is doing or who they are spending it with; make sure that you are so busy having a good time that it doesn’t matter what they are doing. Don’t let any negative feelings (anger, jealousy) about your ex get in the way of enjoying yourself. ( Tough I know, first hand, but an important mindset to get into ! )
How To Survive Your First Christmas Alone
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The Creative Songwriting Journal by Sophie Garner
The ability of children to express themselves creatively is a vital part of growing up. Its benefits go far beyond having fun which is an added bonus for any child! creative expression provides an opportunity for self-learning, helping to develop social skills and resilience. Children have to navigate their way through many emotions, moods and experiences on a daily basis.
The Creative Songwriting Journal for 7-12-year-olds, was developed specifically to:
- Build confidence
- Encourage self-expression
- Celebrate creativity
Look Here 👇
Sue’s Picks on Cultural Diversity: Celebrating Muslim Children’s Books
Whether you’re from a Muslim family looking for more representation in children’s literature, or a teacher or parent of non-Muslim children wanting to better understand and celebrate Muslim culture, there are so many wonderful storytellers in the kids’ lit community who have contributed to essential, diverse narratives that pay homage to the rich history and vibrant present of this community.
The Brightly Editors have rounded up some of our favourite children’s books that feature Muslim protagonists, celebrate Muslim culture, and illustrate Islamic traditions – perfect for reading during Ramadan, Eid, and all year long.
Take a look here👇
What is a good work-life balance?
A healthy balance might look like: meeting your deadlines at work while still having time for friends and hobbies. having enough time to sleep properly and eat well. not worrying about work when you’re at home.
I give my top tips for managing time and to help stop manic mums and dazed dad burnout in this hybrid world of juggling!
How Do You Deal with Step Kids?
Becoming a step-parent can be challenging and rewarding.
When you become a step-parent, it’s normal to wonder whether you should act like a parent from the start, or take a wait-and-see approach. There’s no one right way to be a step-parent. Over time you’ll find a way of step-parenting that suits you and your family.
It’s important to talk openly with your partner about your expectations.
It can help to take things slowly so that everyone has time to adjust.
Over time, you can take on more of a parenting role if that’s what you, your partner and your stepchild want.
Helping step-parenting go smoothly:
Talk with your partner. Ask your partner questions like:
- What role do you want me to play with your child?
- What should I do? What shouldn’t I do?
- How will we know if it’s going well?
- How will we give each other feedback without taking it too personally?
You can also think about what level of involvement you want and what feels comfortable to you.
Get to know your stepchild. Get to know your stepchild before you live together if you can.
Focus on positives.
Take things slowly.
Think about former partners. Your partner’s former partner might need time to adjust to you as a step-parent. It can be easier if you don’t have much involvement with your partner’s ex, at least at first.
It usually works best if the two parents talk about child care and other issues with each other, especially in the early years. But if your partner’s ex is happy to discuss arrangements with you, it’s fine if you and your partner also feel OK with that.
Over time you might get to know and like your partner’s ex and feel comfortable enough to share events like children’s birthdays or graduation celebrations.
Look after yourself.
Don’t Stew – Ask Sue Parenting Q & A
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