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Parenting Your Children with Loose or Tight Reins

As a parent, it might time to find the right parenting balance. However, using intuition and gut instinct often leads to finding that balance. Mike Linderman, author of The Teen Whisperer: How to Break Through the Silence and Secrecy of TeenageLife, wrote, “Parents’ gut instincts are right on the money.” Likely, you’ve been with your child for his or her entire life, and the bond you have with your child can facilitate finding the right amount of involvement.

Lisa Boesky, a child and adolescent psychologist from San Diego and author of the book, When to Worry, says of parents: “Either they’re too strict, which brings about more rebellion, or they’re too hands-off, and the child gets into trouble because of lack of supervision.” She continues to say that ideally parents need to find the balance between the two in order to monitor and supervise their child’s life without being overly involved.

Of course, children are going to need various levels of involvement at different ages. From infancy through middle school, children have significant needs that require parents to be close and deeply involved. However, once they become tweens and then later enter adolescence, children begin to pull away. However, even though teens are pulling away from parents and attempting to find a sense of self, they can often feel when parents are no longer providing a structure or foundation for their life.

Even as teens begin to pull away, being involved with in his or her life gives you a pulse on what they’re up to. And just by having that pulse, you can know whether the problems they are experiencing are worthy of deeper investigation.

Research indicates that if there are any real problems, if there were issues serious enough to present to aprofessional, then likely there would be interference in your child’s ability to function at school, at home, or at work. For instance, if grades begin to fall or if there are major conflicts at home, or if there are concerns about your child’s ability to maintain employment, then perhaps there might be reason to worry.

It’s common for parents to worry when they begin to see their children’s lives change. When children turn 13 or 14 years of age, for example, there might be new behavior you haven’t see in the past. Your daughter might become less talkative whereas before she would tell you every detail of her day at school. Your son might hide away in his room, gluing himself to the computer, whereas before he would help you with the yard work.

John Townsend, author of the book, Boundaries with Teens, wrote that having a connection to your teen is important. Although that might seem obvious, parenting styles differ from being heavily involved to being entirely hands off and everything in between. However, some level of connection is important. Knowing what your child is doing, being familiar with his or her overall sense of well being, and having a sense of your child’s functioning is important. Doing this doesn’t necessarily mean being overly involved but having no idea what is going on in their life can lead to problems.

If you’re concerned about your parenting style, or if you’re wondering whether you’re too involved or not involved enough in your child’s life, there is a wonderful local resource you can check out. The Center for Reflective Parenting, in Los Angeles provides a range of services and programs that work with the unique circumstances of parents. There are Reflective Parenting Programs as well as Mindful Parenting Groups, which are both meant to facilitate a relationship with your child or teen.

Ideally, parents would find a balance between being overly involved and not involved enough. It’s a process to find that ideal parenting style but when it happens it allows parents the ability to monitor and supervise their child’s life without needing to keep the reins pulled in too tight.


Parenting Autistic Children: How To Explain Autism to Your Autistic Child

It could be the hardest thing a parent of an autistic child has to do. There might be a moment of clarity when your child can really see who he or she is and wonder what’s going on. Your child or teen might ask, “Mommy, is there something wrong with me?” And how you respond to that child could have an effect on his or her self-esteem, your relationship, or his or her emotional well-being.

Depending on your child’s intellectual abilities, he or she may not even understand what autism is. Even educated adults can’t fully define autism. However, the approach to answering that question is important. You might find, for instance, your child might react or act out aggressively or appear sullen.

It goes without saying that Autism is a difficult disorder. As a neurological disease, it affects a teen’s ability to learn, communicate, and socialize. It is a disease that affects every aspect of a child’s life as well as the lives of his or her family.

When this happened recently to one parent, she wasn’t able to answer right away. And she wishes she were prepared on that day! But she wasn’t. Instead, she said, “We’ll talk about it when we get home.”

But if you think about it, that answer indicates that there is something wrong. Had she just said, “No, honey, there’s nothing wrong with you,” protecting his self esteem, respecting who he is, as he is, it might have been different. And that’s the answer she regretfully wishes she came back with.

Perhaps for parents of autistic children, it’s appropriate to have a prepared answer. Perhaps it’s best to have words ready so that you can answer without regrets. Depending on the severity of your teen’s autism, he or she may never have the lucidity to ask such a question. And then again, they might.

There’s no question that there are pains to being a parent of an autistic child that no other parent would experience. And this is one of them. Interestingly, the number of autistic cases has increased. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it was believed that in 2012 approximately 1 in 88 children were recognized as having ASD, which is 10 times more than 40 years ago. However, the CDC estimates that 1 in 68 children have been identified with ASD. This translates to approximately 14.7 per 1,000 eight year olds. This is a 30% increase over 2012.

Fortunately, increase in the rates of ASD among children is due primarily to an increase in awareness and the growing ability to identify early signs. Yet, despite this, there remains a growing need for educating the public and communicating that a concern about Autism still exists.

You may not ever have to answer the heart-wrenching question but if you’re a parent to an autistic child, there are many others out there who share your struggles. In fact, if you’re looking for local support, you might check out Beautiful Minds, A Center for Autism in Los Angeles as well as the Autism Society of Los Angeles.

Parenting an autistic child doesn’t have to be a lonely journey.


Four Styles of Parenting and How They Affect Your Children

There are a wide variety of parenting styles that adults can implement when raising their children. Most often, men and women don’t peruse the various forms of parenting styles; many simply do what’s right and act fairly whenever they can. However, there are four common styles of parenting and they each have a different influence on a child’s life.

Technically, a parenting style is a psychological construct representing strategies that parents use when raising their children. And the amount of parenting styles, tactics, theories, and parental investment can be overwhelming for a new parent learning how to walk the parenting journey well.

Developmental Psychologists have long been interested in how parents impact the lives and development of their children. They are professionals who focus on human development from birth to death as well as describe, measure, and explain age-related changes in behavior. However, for the most part, it has been difficult to find specific ways in which the particular actions of parents affect their children. For instance, children who were raised by the same parents under the same parenting style often turn out differently, with different personalities and traits.

Nonetheless, research has been able to provide a link between parenting styles and the general effects on children. For instance, in the early 1960’s, psychologist Diana Baumrind conducted a study in which she found two main aspects of parenting:

  • Parental responsiveness: the degree to which a parent responds to a child’s needs.
  • Parental demandingness: the degree to which a parent expects mature and responsible behavior from a child.

From these two main styles, she recognized three different parenting styles:

  • Authoritarian: This style is characterized by high demandingness with low responsiveness. The authoritarian parent is typically rigid, harsh, and demanding. Abusive parents can fall into this category. This style might be seen as too hard.
  • Permissive: This style is characterized by low demandingness and high responsiveness. A permissive parent is overly responsive to the child’s demands and rarely enforces rules. Often, it is a spoiled child that results from permissive parenting. This style is considered to be too soft.
  • Authoritative: This style is characterized by high demandingness with huge responsiveness. The authoritative parent is firm but not rigid and he or she is willing to make exceptions when the situation warrants it. This type of parent responses well to the child’s needs but is not overly indulgent. This parenting style might be seen as just right.

Later research done by other developmental psychologists recognized a fourth parenting style:

  • Uninvolved: This parenting style is characterized by few demands, low responsiveness and little communication. While these parents fulfill the child’s basic needs, they are detached from their children’s lives.

From research done by Baumrind and other psychologists, the following conclusions were made about how the four parenting styles listed above affected a child’s life:

  • The authoritarian parenting style generally lead to children who are obedient, responsible, and successful, but they tended to be unhappy with low levels of self-esteem and social confidence.
  • The authoritative parenting style resulted in children who were both responsible and happy. They were successful and well rounded.
  • The permissive parenting style resulted in children who ranked low in happiness and had little ability to regulate their own emotions. They were more likely to experience life problems with authority and tended to not do well in school.
  • The uninvolved parent resulted in children who ranked the lowest in all demands. These children lacked self-control, had low self-esteem, and were less capable than their peers.

If expecting parents learned of these results, why don’t more and more implement the most successful parenting style that leads to the healthiest development of children? There are various reasons why adults parent the way they do. These include culture, personality, family size, socioeconomic status, education level, religion, and other factors.

It’s clear that these parenting styles have similar effects on children on the whole. However, there are various factors that can contribute to a child’s upbringing and that may lead to different results.











Parents: Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles Ranked Best By U.S. News

As a parent, it’s the last thing you want to think about. Because if you’re taking your child to the emergency room, then often something is wrong. Whether it’s a psychological illness or a gastrointestinal disorder or a skin disorder, going to the hospital can be a stressful and even frightening experience.

Each year, there are approximately 25.5 million children under the age of 18 who are taken to the emergency room. Though these numbers can be frightening, hospitals are intended to provide intense, but brief care so that your child or teen can go home with you, as soon as possible.

Whether it’s a musculoskeletal disorder, an endocrine disorder, or even cancer, hospitals are meant to be a safe place to heal. Despite this, hospitalizations for children are frequently an unpleasant experience. However, it is a place that provides the kind of intense care necessary for medical stability and treatment of physical disorders.

Hopefully, you’re not one of many parents that may need to bring their child to the emergency room. But if you are, you can trust Los Angeles’ Children’s Hospital. It was recently named one of the top ten children’s hospitals in the country according to U.S. News. In fact, the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles has been ranked in the top ten list every year since it was established in 2009. This is a record that no other children’s medical facility in California can claim.

Other children’s hospitals in the list include Boston Children’s Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Aurora, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital, among others.

To acquire the top ten list for 2014-2015, U.S. News surveyed 183 pediatric centers. Clinical data was gathered from ten specialties and from 150 pediatric specialists in each of those specialties where they might send their sickest child. Eighty-one hospitals were ranked in at least one specialty while only ten hospitals were named as being a part of the Honor Roll. These hospitals had high scores in at least three specialties. Los Angeles’ Children’s Hospital ranked number 5 on the honor roll with high scores in six of its specialties.

So, although, you may have to take your child to the hospital for one reason or another, at least you know that you can trust the hospital in Los Angeles. At least you know that Los Angeles’ Children’s Hospital has been recognized across the country.

Enforcing and Breaking the Consistency is Key Rule

Well, parents, you’ve probably read all the parenting books, listened to the parenting experts, and implemented all the parenting tips, and if so, you’ve probably heard the phrase consistency is key. But there’s a way to enforce consistency with inconsistency.

That is, it’s important to be flexible, bendable, and allow for growth. It’s true that in order to establish a firm boundary at home, you’ve got to stay consistent in the messages you send to your children. You’ve got to stay steady in the way that you parent as well as keep consistent with your partner in parenting – your spouse.

So, it might feel like staying consistent means holding on to every rule you establish in your home – such as, no snacking after dinner, ever. No television before school, each and every weekday. No wavering from your spouse’s communication to the kids. Consistency might feel like trying to stay on track with each and every thing you say to your children.

But if you’re holding on to being consistent tightly, you might find that you’re failing at it time and again (and perhaps beating yourself up for it). Actually, it might be impossible to enforce every single law you lay down at home. For instance, perhaps you have a rule that says no eating in the bedrooms, but then one night you get a new television in your bedroom and the family decides to eat dinner in there while you watch a movie together. This doesn’t mean that you’ve broken the rule; it might instead mean that breaking the rules is fun once in awhile and that change is healthy.

So perhaps it’s time to let it go. Or at the very least, dig into a deeper meaning of the age-old parenting advice, consistency is key. For instance, consistency is needed in some cases. On subjects you know you’re not going to budge on, like drugs, consistency can be a very clear message to your children about what you’re willing to tolerate. And in fact, the deeper meaning to this rule is not so much that you stick to the laws and parent with an iron fist. Instead, consistency is that you say what you mean and you mean what you say.

In fact, it’s important that rules change as children do. As they develop and grow, different rules are going to apply. But what’s important in staying consistent is that children know what is expected of them. Having clear boundaries, clear expectations, and a clear message of what you’re wiling to tolerate is healthy for the psychological development of children. Staying consistent is being consistent in your boundaries and expectations. It’s important to have fun and break the rules every once in awhile.

When you’re consistent but flexible, perhaps you and your family will find new rules to live by, like Choose Love, Be Kind, and Have Fun.

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