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V O L U M E 1         I S S U E 2

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March 2017                           Gentle Steps Foundation                    Strengthening Families

Twelve Alternatives to Lashing Out at Your Child

1. Take a deep breath…and another. Then remember you are the adult.

2. Close your eyes and imagine you’re hearing what your child is about to hear.

3. Press your lips together and count to 10…or better yet, to 20.

4. Put your child in a time-out chair (remember this rule: one time-out minute for each year of age).

5. Put yourself in a time-out chair. Think about why you are angry: is it your child, or is your child simply a convenient target for your anger?

6. Phone a friend.

7. If someone can watch the children, go outside and take a walk.

8. Take a hot bath or splash cold water on your face.

9. Hug a pillow.

10. Tum on some music. Maybe even sing along.

11. Pick up a pencil and write down as many helpful words as you can think of. Save the list.

12. Call for prevention information: 1-800-CHILDREN

Courtesy of Prevent Child Abuse America

Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) is a preventable, severe form of physical child abuse resulting from violently shaking an infant by the shoulders, arms, or legs. SBS may result from both shaking alone or from shaking with impact.

The bottom line is that vigorously shaking a baby can be fatal or result in a permanent disability. Shaking most often occurs in response to a baby crying, or other factors that can lead the person caring for a baby to become frustrated or angry. All babies cry and do things that can frustrate caregivers; however, not all caregivers are prepared to care for a baby.

Everyone, from caregivers to bystanders, can do something to help.

If you are a friend, family member or other caregiver:

■ be aware of new parents in your family or community who may need help or support.

■ provide support by offering to give them a break, sharing a parent helpline number, or simply being a friend.

■ let the parent know that the crying can be very frustrating, especially when they’re tired and stressed. Reinforce that crying is normal and that it will get better.

■ tell the parent how to leave his or her baby in a safe place while he or she takes a break.

■ be sensitive and supportive in situations when parents are trying to calm a crying baby.

■ think about policies or services that could be resources for new parents in your community—advocate for those that don’t exist.

Nurture Your Child's Self-Esteem

As early as infancy, children begin to develop a sense of self. The way your eyes twinkle as you hold your baby; your smile and other facial expressions and the tone of your voice are absorbed by your baby. The way you behave, the things you say and what your baby is exposed to, all matters. You will have a huge impact on your child’s self-esteem.

The praises you give your child as they grow matter as well. Your approval of what they are doing gives them a sense of pride. They begin to realize they can do things for their own self and still have you to turn to if they need help. They are learning to trust and to be independent and learning that they are capable and strong.

The opposite is true also. When children are belittled and constantly compared to siblings or others they begin to feel unworthy and hopeless. Loaded statements, like: “You are stupid. Look what you did now!” hurt much like a physical blow.

As parents we all need to choose our words carefully and show compassion. All of us make mistakes. Let us all try to have empathy for all the people we encounter, both children and adults.  

5 Tools to Successful Positive Parenting:

  • Responding to your child in an appropriate manner.
  • Preventing risky behavior or problems before they arise.
  • Monitoring your child’s contact with his or her surrounding world.
  • Mentoring your child to support and encourage desired behaviors.
  • Modeling your own behavior to provide a consistent, positive example for your child.

4 Key Points to Positive Parenting Success: 

1. An Effective Parent

Your words and actions influence your child the way you want them to.

2. A Consistent Parent

You follow similar principles or practices in your words and actions.

3. An Active Parent

You participate in your child’s life.

4. An Attentive Parent

You pay attention to your child’s life and observe what goes on.