Blogging with Dr. Susan


Blogging with Dr. Susan

Future Trends: Raising Children in 2010

I assume blog readers are child-minders, child-providers and parental child-raisers.  This blog topic is also on the minds of researchers who study parenting trends!  Contemporary families are cruising so fast with so much pace and busy-ness that the norm is negatively affecting children and youth from infants in child care to teenagers in action!  Here’s what I learned from Jim Garbarino, Mel Levine, Robert Brooks, Dr. James Comer, to name prestigious researchers!

Fast–paced adaptable, high stress family life is in style.  Families wake up to school, jobs, car rides, buses and snacks as if each day is a instantaneous “fresh start.”  Families  live according to a daily schedule that changes every day, that is somewhat the same but often different and “new.”  Children react physically and emotionally to routine inconsistency  and stress, shifting from high energy to sleepy states, compliance to defiance, kindness to meanness and adopting the same merry-go-round lifestyle for themselves…..

Researchers find there is an upside and some hope in this decade of a fast-paced life!  If families take five minutes a day to start a quick, but attentive conversation about each day’s activities and follow up with contact by cell phone or notes, problems loom small less often. Kids quickly feel included, are more helpful at home, and have higher expectations about cooperation day to day!

Researcher, Dr. Robert Brooks, concerned with a “hot topic”: “resiliency in children,” recently told an audience in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, that mothers and dads need to modify their own behavior to model resiliency as a skill for their young children on a daily basis.  As he describes it, young children, even 18 month-olds, are more than ready to learn adaptation and cooperation as well as compliance with adult requests and commands.

On the negative side, Dr. Brooks insists, if parents do not help children  consistently, they do not naturally “use” their resilient and resourceful abilities and can become “behavior problems” in school and at home, ignoring parents or teachers and  refusing to follow directions and family rules!  What is ultimately most dangerous for children who do not have consistent parents and general family rules is that they acquire social behaviors such as empathy, kindness or compassion toward others much later in life when it can become a problem forming relationships.

According to my research (Turben, 1998) studying kindergarten age children who were observed initially at 18-36 months of age, personality traits were consistent after five years.  This supports the notion that toddlers who were more resilient and cooperative maintained those skills and behaviors five years later.

T.Berry Brazelton, pediatrician and advocate of the capacity of infants, also notes that at the moment of birth, parents literally fall in love with their infants, adding that the immediacy of the sensation of love becomes the basis of social and intellectual abilities in infancy.  Falling in love extends to loving care, allowing parents to teach their babies social skills and values and ways of living.

Many are surprised by the competency of infants and the resiliency they possess. If you are one of those, let us know how smart your child is, and how he or she got that way!   Dr. Susan

How A Baby Learns to Love

Dr. T.Berry Brazelton, BOATON Children’s Hospital, speaks on LOVE……… Redbook, May ’71 (this is not only a timeless but a timely piece today for parents and families!  We, families-on-the-run, are not paying attention to the lessons of infancy (comments by Dr. Turben, blog 6/30/2010)

How a Baby Learns to Love

During the past decades a number of child-development specialists have started a new trend in the scientific study of babies. They began to sneak off one by one from their consulting rooms and their laboratories and camped out in homes where new babies had just arrived. I was one of them. We took along pencils and paper, cameras and tape recorders and said to baffled mothers, “Don’t mind us. Just do everything you ordinarily do in the course of the day. We want the baby to teach us a few things.”

The mothers quite frankly thought we had lost our minds. But if the doctors wanted to learn how to diaper an infant or how to get a spoonful of mashed peas into a baby with a mind of his own, the mothers felt, well, just go ahead. Actually there are no benefits to the parents; but sometimes if a mother needs an hour of emergency baby sitting, it was a comfort to know that a Harvard professor was available who could entertain the baby with the kidubon bird whistle he kept in his kit.

Among the many things we scientists wanted to learn in this camp-out was one very exclusive question: How does the baby learn to love? Since no infant has ever been known to say to his mother, “I love you,” the scientific work had to attack the problem by inference. What are the signs of love and attachment during the first eighteen months of life?  Over a period of years many of the scientists found agreement about certain signs.

If we follow the growth of the infant’s human attachments from the first day of his life to the end of his first year, we find the he responds to his mother and his father in ways that show increasing preference. And finally we see that he values his parents above all other persons in his small world. And because the mother is the primary figure during the first year of life, the selective responses to the mother became a sound guide for all the scientists engaged in this work.

What are the signs?  During the first six months the baby has the rudiments of a love language; there is the language of the smile, the language of vocal sound-making, and the language of the embrace. It’s the essential vocabulary of love before we can yet speak of love. (In 18 years, when the baby is grown and “falls in love” for the first time, he will woo his partner through the language of the smile, through the utterance of endearments and the joy of the embrace.)

How does the smile become part of the vocabulary of love? The smile is innate, the universal greeting sign of our species. Already in the early weeks of life it appears in deep sleep; then gradually it is elicited more and more frequently by external stimuli. At three months of age the one stimulus that will automatically produce a smile is the human face. At this age any human face will elicit a smile, which seems a poor reward for maternal devotion, but between three months and six months the smile becomes a smile of preference – for the mother.  The baby smiles more frequently for his mother than for others and his smiles for her are bigger and more joyful. During the same period he “talks” more, jabbers more fluently, with his mother than with a stranger. And if he is frightened or has taken a bad bump, he cannot be comforted by “just anyone” any longer; he seeks the comfort of his mother’s arms. His mother’s arms and her lap, the closeness of her body, have a magical quality in soothing him and creating the feeling that all is well.

At this stage, then, the baby has discriminated his mother from others, shows preference for her and associates her with the satisfaction of his hunger and body needs. But, we ask ourselves doubtfully, is this “love”? Or yet, perhaps are these signs of selection, of intimate exchange and partnership that will lead him to love

Between six and twelve months something new begins to emerge. The baby now begins to show us another way in which he places special value upon his mother. While he has always been sociable and smiled for the uncle who wiggles his ears or for the lady in the red dress, he now begins to become downright unsociable. In place of a smile they may get a look of cold scrutiny, or a frown, or regrettably a howl of indignation.

The infant’s parents are quick to offer apologies. “I don’t know-what’s got into him! He used to be so friendly.” What’s-got-into-him is something the baby specialists called strange reaction, perfectly normal behavior between six and fifteen months. It means, very simply, that his mother for the time being is the center of his world and the “stranger” is somehow an intruder, someone who unsettles the intimacy and safety of the private world. Typically, after the baby produces a negative reaction to the stranger his eyes will begin to search the room for his mother, and when he finds her face he bestows a big smile upon her and then may make overtures to be picked up.

Odd as it may sound, this behavior toward strangers is one the signs of the baby’s increasing affection for his mother. All love, even in later life, begins with a feeling of exclusiveness. “You are the one who matters – only you.” It’s the magic circle of love that in infancy includes the father and a few other choice people but not yet the stranger. In a few months, by the way, the baby will receive strangers quite hospitably again, but that’s because he is secure enough to feel that the magic circle is no longer threatened by outsiders.

At around the same time, about eight months of age, the baby shows his growing love for his mother in still another way. He complains when he is separated from her. He may not object if she leaves him to go to the kitchen, but his face is very likely now to pucker up when he sees her in her hat and coat. And his baby sitters may report that he complains loudly for a time after she leaves.

“Do you think he’s spoiled?” some mothers and fathers will ask. But he’s not spoiled. At this time his mother is still the most important person in his world. And he behaves the way all of us behave when a loved person is absent for a while: “I can’t bear to be without you. I am lost..I am not myself when you’re gone…You are my world, and without you the world is empty.”   If all this seems too extravagant to put into the minds of babies, we need only watch an infant of this age whose mother has been called away on an emergency for several days or a baby who has been isolated from his mother in a hospital. The face of grief is no different at eight months from that as 30 years of age. Loss of appetite, sleeplessness, refusal of comfort from someone else – for both ages the symptoms are the same.

From this short sketch we can see that by the end of the first year the baby has gone through a sequence of phases in his human attachments-from simple recognition of the mother to recognition of her as a special person to the discovery that she is the source of joy, the satisfier of body hungers, the comforter, the protector, the indispensable person of his world. In short, he has learned to love.  This is what we learned from scientific camping out in the homes of babies.

Another group of scientists chose to study babies who had been reared from birth in institutions as well as babies reared in their own families. And they emerged with a different story.  In the institutions – even the best ones – no baby has a mother or a mother substitute. There may be 12 or 30 babies in a ward with two or four nurses or aides for each of three shifts.

No one person, no matter how much she loves babies, can serve as mother substitute under these circumstances. The infant is fed, bathed and changed by a rotating staff. In many institutions it saves staff time to feed the baby by means of a propped-up bottle. A good part of his time is spent in a crib during the first year of life.  At three months of age, when our home-grown babies smiled in response to the human face, the babies in institutions smiled too.

The smiles were not frequent, some of the scientists noted, but they were there. The babbling sounds that babies make at three months were made by the institutional babies also – but their vocalizations were less frequent than those of family-reared babies and seemed to have more limited range of sounds.

Then between three months and 12 months of age something that should happen to the smile and something that should happen to vocalizations did not appear in the institutional babies. At a time when the home-reared baby showed preference with huge smiles from mother and father, the institutional baby smiled differently at everyone he saw.

And around six to 12 months, the time when the family baby reserved his smile for the members of the magic circle and showed negative reactions toward strangers, the institutional baby behaved no differently toward the daily nurses and attendants and casual visitors to the nursery whom he had never seen before.  Everyone had equal value in his eyes because no one had special value. Anyone created a diversion in the monotony of the nursery day could get a smile.

During a period when the family-reared infant began to carry on “conversations” in gibberish with his mother and later when he began to imitate sound (around eight months of age), the institutional baby had a restricted range of sounds. He was not imitating sounds; and the melodies of speech, which emerge at this time like an absurd parody of English, were not present at all.  How odd! We think. These institutional babies were exposed to all the ordinary conversational exchanges of nurses and aides; they were not being reared in isolation. But findings such as these are very common among institutional babies. From this we learn that while the brain is “programmed so that a full range of articulations are available to every normal infant” the organization of these sounds into patterns and the use of these sounds from communication is entirely dependent upon the existence of human partners.

We can confirm this very simply as adults. It is possible to live in a foreign country for months, exposed to the native language day after day, and not acquire ever the rudiments of discourse in that language if there is not relationship with a native who speaks the language, some that provides the condition for dialogue.  The institutional babies had heard the sounds of English all around them, but because there are no partners to provide the intimate exchange that is vital to that acquisition of language, they were slow to acquire the sounds and the cadences of that language.

And if they remained in the institution for the early years of life, speech became one the areas of severe retardation in their development.  How did the institutional infants react to separation from the nurses and aides who were the only representatives of a human world?

We know that babies reared in their own homes show distress at a mother’s absence, and if absences are prolonged, there is terrible grief. We understand that pain at separation is another measure of the child’s love of his mother. But the institutional baby showed no signs that the absence of one or another of the people who cared for him had any meaning to him.

If the red-haired nurse took a two-week vacation, there were five other nurses who performed identical duties and were interchangeable parts in the human machine that fed, bathed and changed him.  In many of the institutions, babies were placed in foster homes in the second and third years, and the possibilities of human bonds were opened up to them. But some of the babies spent their early years in the institution without human partners, without intimacy. And these children offered science the most chilling testimony for the power of love.

At the age of three and four they were already different from other children. They continued to show by their behavior that one adult was interchangeable with any other adult, and they were measurably retarded in speech and abstract thinking.  In follow-up studies in later childhood and in adult life the scientists found many of them in social agencies, in clinics and in courts.

Their life problems were in all cases different, of course, but they all suffered from the most extreme effects of love-starved infancy. They had one thing in common – they were unable to form stable human bonds, unable to love. They were rootless and unbound, without partners or often, with casual and sifting partners, since no one partner was valued.  Of the children who had spent their early years in institutions, some managed to become relatively well adjusted adults, able to make meaningful, if limited, human associations. But many of the children who had never known physical closeness or the certainty of satisfaction of body hungers between man and women, who seemed to have no pleasure in body intimacy and whose sexual appetites were impoverished or bizarre.

Aggression, which is normally modified in the early years often through the agency love, appeared in these loveless men and women in erratic forms, sometimes fused with eccentric sexual practices. The human capacity for empathy, for feeling oneself into another personality, was simply absent. And because there can be no conscience without the capacity to feel for another, there was a vacant space in personality where conscience would have been.

Once again the scientific question led back to the first years of life. What was it, we asked ourselves, that transpired between an ordinary baby and his parents that usually guaranteed the capacity for love in later life? Surely since the dawn of mankind and in every society the human family had produced and nurtured babies who grew into men and women capable of experiencing enduring love and physical joy. In contemporary “primitive” societies, simple and illiterate parents achieve this miracle by simply doing what their ancestors have been doing for thousands of years.

It appears that the “program” for infant-mother attachment was laid down in our biological ancestry. It has much in common with the infant-rearing practices of all mammals and has close resemblance to infant rearing among the high primates.  In the biological program we inherit, an infant leaves intrauterine life and comes into a radically changed environment.

He is cushioned against the shock of the journey:  From the water world to the land world, from enclosed space to unclosed space – but he brings little instinctive baggage into the world to ensure his adaptation or his survival.

As a specimen of our genus, he is “unfinished” by comparison with the newborn of other species.  At the end of his journey there are provisions in the program that the woman who sheltered and nourished him in intrauterine life should be the woman to shelter and nourish outside the womb. Body intricacy, the shelter of enclosing arms and nourishment are all marvelously contrived in the program to center around the mother’s breast.

Parenting...Susan Shows Parents the Way Back Home


This blog is inspired by a phone call!  Susan was called by a police officer who wants to know why todays’ parents seem to be raised without values and moral responsibility for themselves and others….


Okay…..My biggest concern is that families are increasingly giving up their first parental responsibility which is to teach their own children rather than let teachers do it for them! Parents need to stop complaining about their children’s schools, neighbors, community, and do something positive about each situation, including taking back their authority at home, where teaching begins at home!  As a parent trainer, I work every day to reassure parents that they can make a difference by using language that respects everyone, that teaches children to “do to others as you would have them do unto you” …let’s hear it for the golden rule. 

            This is a big motivating force for kids to develop good habits!  Parenthood is a job that never ends and begins before birth, and that means parents wherever you are responsible for closely supervising vulnerable infants, children and adolescents.   The difficult challenge news is that this type of monitoring, including visual sighting of what children are doing with their time, is not happening!”   

            Families seem addicted to over-scheduling and overworking out of the home environment, at the obvious risk of causing children to believe that since adults can’t read their minds, they won’t find out exactly what they are doing with their time. 

            Cell phone calls from parents are a great quick fix, but no solution!  Parents are guilty (there are good reasons once in a while) of increasing children’s privileges regardless of behavior and inappropriate actions, and worse, they are not starting an educational process early enough at home.  Sadly, the average household fails to give a child responsibilities early enough.  

            Parents, too quick to criticize and too slow to offer compliments and encouragement, are raising children who lack confidence and do not value good choices or good behavior.  They are the loud, rude and non-compliant kids you know! 

Is your child’s behavior a problem in your house?

Is your child out of control? It is a difficult time for everyone so here are some tips. Show your child what out of control looks like. As a parent you must set the example and clearly state what is out of control and what is not. Demonstrate what it looks like and do it quietly even if the behavior involves yelling or running away. Sometimes it is silly but always it should be private and not public so the child sees for himself what he is doing. Find something good to say about your child and say it. Positive reinforcement helps to achieve a happier sense of home. First though, parents should be an example and model family rules. If there are no family rules, sit down and reasonably set the rules. This may severely change the way you as parents behave. No yelling no hitting no strap. What are your strengths and weaknesses as a parent? If you need to change your behavior, then do it and tell your child why. The way you change your way of parenting will help your child even if it does not appear that way for several weeks. If you have changed then you have made yourself into a role model and with professional help you can improve your family’s home life.

The Truth About Bullying


Welcome to my blog.

This is the truth about cyber bullying, this is time to talk to parents and confront the uneasy truth about adult, parental, familial and useful responsibility for child behavior and on line habits!  Believe me, it is your parental duty as a parent to stop the insanity of children hurting children, teens hurting teens, adults thinking cyber-shots are funny, cute or clever. …Parents and caring adults are in charge…not children, not teens, not aunt Mary, parents are in charge …… parents are the solution and the problem, and need to take a stand, taking simple steps and interfere in the lives your children …because if you don’t, you are contributing to the rage expressed on line by kids and youth.  You say nothing, you are as guilty as they are! The words and deeds out or your mouths are the words and deeds in printed smack on the warheads of those children you nurture.

If you see even one word or violent verbal expression created by your child or youth,  then you are hereby notified that  you as a family have failed your responsibility and you may want to read Jim Barbarino and Claire Bedard’s book, Parents’ Under Siege!  If you are a mother or father or caring adult or whether or not you are a parent at all, you are responsible for your kids,  their actions and especially how they treat other people.  You steer the ship, so plan for the families future and do it early in the lives of your offspring …

Start at the latest around the ages of  three or four,  that’s right three or four and have a family meeting!  Treat your kids as mini-grownups and let them tell you what they think.   Establish with your children  your parental house rules.   Be sure to include words like helping, not doing chores, and cooperating by  being a family that looks out for each other! 

The earlier this simple family meeting step is accomplished the better chance you have that that your kids make it to adult hood as decent and civil people …

To stop cyber-antics , parents or family members older and more experienced, must become...... family rule-makers,  organizers,  ritual-makers, personal examples of decent and kind behavior.  Oh, you don't think kids notice?  Too busy with their own lives?  Not at all!  They watch and talk behind your back and downgrade parental leadership, but what they see is what they do!   What kids see every day and since sponges are a good example of a teen’s brain, you are on stage 24-7 in the early years of childhood, middle childhood, early adulthood or teenage years.

Anybody who gets to be fifteen and can’t tell me the house rules, the personalities of family members, the way they function as a  household, I know am in for long-term difficult learning process ….Any responsible adult-parent that spends less than an hour every day in the sight or  proximity of their kids doesn’t know what is going on and needs to find out. 

Hire a body guard if you feel you are too busy to take care of your own kids, any age, and hope to heaven that person has ideas and values worth dying for!  What do you think the army,  navy, air force or marines have camps for?  To see how each and every young adult has been raised..that’s what!  When recruits  show up, they have to find out fast the personalities and temperaments,  home-based skills they are bringing to the military.  All they have to do is observe the soldier’s reaction to taking orders to know who his equipped to listen and take orders and who isn’t.   Loud-mMore to finish but this is a start…what does it need? 

An audio from Dr. Susan's Friend of the Family Radio Show on bullying. Sticks-and-Stones-Can-Break-Your-Bones-But-Bullying-Always-Hurts-You---Butch-Losey

More articles on bullying below:



Wouldn’t you like to know how your child learns to think during infancy?


Do you remember when or how you started to think?

This brief rendition of intentional thought and the emergence of language gives parents an inside peek at sensory activity in the womb, complete with actions and reactions that indicate how thinking and learning is a process that evolves normally to produce thought and language in the brains minds of newborns, infants and later stages! 

Infant bodies and brains are connected to sensory systems designed as cells to build and develop in every tiny part of the body and brain ….from the top of the head to the bottom of feet, from fingers to toes to brain cells, millions of them, galore! 

Each baby’s complexity of cells knows what to do, where to go, in just the right numbers, to develop a personal (unique) sensory system. Each baby comes born with our own traits and personality, talents and skills, and varying abilities to communicate!  We have our own bones, eyelashes, skin and organs.

Pre-born infants are literally producing their own development as they progress through stages of growth relentlessly!   No wonder infants make a lot of noise when they have to leave the womb.  Now you know how babies think!    It is not hard to read a child’s mind if you are impressed at how early growth includes newborn sounds, millions of crying and shrieking styles, undiagnosable noises (even hiccups in the womb), immediate newborn eye contact, smiling, staring, looking, listening, closing eyes, opening them, jerking and shuttering, rolling and defecating. 

Instant facial expressions, smiling, cooing and crying.  Parents need to know crying is just as important as any other type of communication as much as early sensory experiences are the way babies think, so let your infant or young child “experience” everything. Don’t say “don’t,” say “try this instead.” Use substitutes and distractions as your only discipline, in addition to please and thank you. Why? Because they are words that direct an infant or toddler to give you the behavior you want. Here’s how babies think.

They think with all the senses:

Seeing and looking
Hearing and listening
touching and handling
Smelling and tasting

By realizing how babies think you can enhance your relationship with your child.

Teach kindness among neighbors, among friends, among kids.....



            Here are a few obvious facts about U.S. families, jobs, money and time!  The economy is not recovering as expected ....terrible news for modest career and low income families, all families in need.  Do we really expect families to carry on, take the pain of foreclosure, tiny budgets, sickness, emotional depression and illness?

            How do most families suffer or acclimate through this time of skimpy resources?  They are playing a life struggle waiting game that deserves our support, kindness and help----all of them need “things” like food and funds, clothes and heat.  Let’s use this time to teach our kids kindness! 

            This time is an opportunity to teach a lesson in life if we reach out and offer families help so they need not feel inadequate and self-loathing.  Be a good example to your kids with kindness, thoughtfulness and give them ways to help others! Teach toddlers as well as teens to be kind and generous!   The mere verbalizing of showing kindness leads to a passionate willingness to give whatever is needed. Kids will react that way from watching parents! 

            Volunteer with your kids and teens through a church (you don’t have to go to a church to give to a church!)  food or clothes and if you hear about anyone who is on the streets and not being helped by an agency, a family, or neighborhood friends, take offerings, without delay. Pare down clothes and games and extras kids do not need or want, give items away with kindness and show the pleasure that comes from giving rather than getting....get going!  

            There is no time better spent by a family than jsut playing a game or watching a movie together.  Play is good!  Visiting a down-and-out friend or a nursing facility is good.  It is also time to appreciate the place where you live if you are lucky enough to have one!              Get going!  Round up clothes and games, go to Good Will, shelters, Red Cross donation centers, volunteer with your kids at the food bank for half a day, take the bus, not the car, talk to each other and feel good about setting a great example! 

            Times will change; will your children change attitudes and behavior?   What will they remember of these days fof economic struggle for so many?   Will your children be more tolerant and less aggressive?  Will they be kinder and gentler teens and adults? Will they give support to family’s living in the streets, sleeping in cars with their children at their feet!?  Will you join others in teaching kindness?  Thanks

Dr. Susan Turben

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Testing yourself as a sensible and committed parent Are you home long enough to eat with your kids most days Do you compliment kids for helping out at school and at home Do you decide what consequences for unruly behavior you will use and do you walk away when they argue about those consequences

Kids – Developing helpful habits at home

“Providing children with responsibilities around the home are a necessity that sets the foundation for further personal development.  And good habits, such as cleaning and picking up around the home, have an even greater benefit on overall health and prevention of illness.”

“A clean environment acts as a stimulus for better intellectual and social development. And by having real responsibilities, children gain a sense of self-confidence, self-assurance and self-competence,” added Turben.

“If children are entrusted to work with useful and special equipment, such as household vacuums and certain small appliances, they learn to complete each task successfully and nurture their own pride and confidence.  This self-learning is called multi-sensory learning allowing children to develop their own unique sense of competence, using motor functions and intellectual and social skills, all at the same.

“Good habits require a lot of training, yet most of the children’s habits, values and beliefs tend to stem from those of their parents, “ commented Turben. “Children incorporate these habits by imitating and repeating what their parents do, including the tools and equipment they use. In fact, objects that toddlers see their parents using regularly, often become their chosen play toys.”

Understanding the needs of families today, such as the overall importance of having lightweight, easy-to-use household tools around the home, have become key elements of consideration in the design and development of new products at many top manufacturers. “Family time today is more limited than ever before,” comments Rick Farone, Dirt Devil’s Vice President of Product Development. “And while cleaning is a necessity in every home, people do not want to spend a lot of time on housework. That’s why Dirt Devil is so focused on developing upright vacuums and specialty home care products that are powerful, yet easy enough for anyone in the home to use, even children.

“By popular demand from parents and child care providers alike, Dirt Devil also manufactures toy-sized working replicas of our most popular products. This way kids of all ages can work side-by-side with mom or Dad and learn to ‘help out’ with the housework, while also acquiring valuable skills associated with role-playing and responsibility,” continued Farone.

In addition, children also develop a sense of value by being given various responsibilities. For example, if a child helps with the vacuuming of carpets and dusting of furniture, he or she will assign a greater value to those items. This generally applies to specific play areas when they’re young and transcends to other practical applications around the home or yard as they become young adults.

Girls Gone Wild - Girls Fighting Girls

Recently on NBC's Today Show the topic came up about prosecutors everywhere getting more and more cases of girls fighting other girls.  One young girl actually was killed recently. Most are videotaped and dozens of bystanders egg these girls on.  After watching this link come back to my blog and tell me what you think? Click Here.

Kids do what they are taught and moms of  high school agers have developed critical ways of speaking to each other and their kids..... for example one mom told me yesterday that she argues with her daughter as a way of communicating and because she and her husband argue as a form of affection...she wasn't kidding!  I remind moms that this is a common way for girls and women to engage in a  sexual competition for the attention of males in their families and men friends...girls are catty and favor put-downs at most ages from 10 to 20 is far easier to criticize another member of your gender than to compliment someone but I guess it is time for moms of girls to give compliments and when it is necessary to criticize do it it with respect and if a mom doesn't respect herself she will not be very good at complimenting others anyway!  Teach your daughters to praise and compliment their friends and their lives will improve big time.

I'm Dr. Susan signing off...    

Raising Children in 2011


Trends in Parenting and Infant Thinking Skills


What is on the minds of moms and dads these days?   Contemporary families are cruising so fast that parents are giving their children heart murmurs, fast food bellies and pills!  What’s on the minds of Jim Garbarino, Mel Levine, Robert Brooks, and Dr. James Comer, to name my favorite and very prestigious researchers! 

Families wake up early to go on early morning car rides, buses, eating snacks in cars enroute.  Daily schedules are routine one day but in the dark the next!  Some days are the same and somedays “new.”  Children shift from high energy late evening play to weekend sleep states, and over tired, they alternate between kindness and meanness, copying their parents, adjusting to changes just like the grownups …..

There is an upside benefit to fast-paced living, which at least five minutes a day start a quick, but attentive conversation about activities and follow up with contact by cell phones notes in lunch boxes, and parental reminders.  Kids like this, as they feel included, apt to be slightly helpful at home, and have higher expectations about family schedules and a spirit of cooperation day to day! 

Dr. Robert Brooks, author of Raising Resilient talks about the strengths of resiliency in children at early ages.   He points out that resiliency for children as young as six or seven, is a skill that is positive and tested on a daily basis.  As he describes it, even 18 month-olds are more that ready to learn adaptation and cooperation as well as compliance with adult requests and commands.

On the negative side, if parents do not return the favor and model resiliencies at home, kids do not “use” their resilient skills, slipping back into old behaviors, ignoring authority, and refusing to follow school and family rules! 

Brooks says that ultimately the most dangerous outcome for children who do not have consistent parenting, is that children and youth actually forget family rules, communication skills and basic manners learned in infancy and childhood, disregarding social norms and behaviors, such as empathy, kindness or compassion toward others.

This is a bigger problem than what is currently understood concerning family dysfunction among teens and young adults who will be soon establishing long-term relationships, selecting spouses and entering into domestic responsibilities.  

Dr. James Comer, who is a founding father of Head Start, and Professor at the Edward Ziegler Yale Child Study Center, has spent forty years designing and testing curriculum in New York City schools, comments that home/ family and school must be integrated or there are negative learning effects on children, in spite of carefully constructed curricula. His educational vision is that family groups are the lifeblood of schools in neighborhoods, even as these schools are deteriorating and disappearing.

By James Garbarino’s count, (2001, The Families of Columbine,) younger and younger children are violent, less self-assured or compliant; few are able to do exceptional academic work either at school or at home.  Youth increasingly have lost respect for adult authority at home…. So much so, that public schools are adapting behavior and economic standards associated with private school educational strategies, where is it more likely that students adopt sportsmanship-like behaviors under supervision, adhere to adult guidance, value decades of a set school philosophy, uplifting mottos and generations of previous attendees that adhere to school traditions. 

According to Dr. James Garbarino, classroom team-building, discipline and dedicated leadership in a particular school, is now likely to be an accepted responsibility, but also a burden placed on teachers and school administrators.  He and his researchers at The Erikson Research Institute, Chicago, Illinois, now say that scheduling, transportation and the prolific number of working parents are dominate factors affecting how families manage daily life.

Trends in work and family paint a distraught picture of working adults who lack the confidence to control and supervise their children.  Garbarino notes parents often confront administrators, teachers, other students, and school personnel, defending their children and demanding special treatment for their children.  Overprotective adult defiance is forcing educators to take measures never before imagined. Traditional counseling methods do not seem to help. 

Teachers endure verbal abuse and students fabricate truths to their parents.  I describe a syndrome/ synonym for families when they deal with school issues as “over protective anxious and reflexive reactivity.”  But there is a bright side!  

Work and job opportunities are more compatible with exercise, food options and healthier life styles.  There is a hint that healthy financial security will improve at a more aggressive rate, as families act and think in terms of basic needs and less materialistic behavior.  Home and family environments will reflect togetherness, not unlike the frontier days.  Will the new version of frontier days be the new 21st Century of sharing and community?  Will families, neighborhood by neighborhood, be ready to travel and learn by going beyond their boundaries of home?   

High school and College students are already showing us the way….performing good deeds to disaster victims’ across the country and the globe!  Even better news is that

Today’s parents see no reason to repeat the parental habits of their own upbringing. 

One generation may follow another, but not in the same footprint.  Children may incorporate the values and beliefs of their parents at early ages, but there is so much information via media that the likelihood of copy-cat children is remote!  Do you really want your children turn out like you (#1), or do you feel every generation adapts to its times?  If you picked #2 you have the right idea! 

There is no one way, no right way to raise a child, who is unlike any other!

All children have unlocked potential.  Find the gifts your children possess and do it early in their lives!   How?  The gifts of children are found in the developmental genius of personality and temperament.   

Thanks for listening.

Dr. Susan Turben

Robots and an MIT/Harvard study of toddlers


            Toddlers are loaded with intelligence and thinking power---here’s a Harvard and MIT study from the Robotics laboratory that tries to duplicate toddler thinking in reply to voce commands--- Students demonstrated how a robot toddler follows an age-appropriate voice command.  Using an artificial “toddler,” that has a Charlie-McCarthy- puppet head, a student sat at the computer tapping a voice command: “pick up the ball.”             

            The robot head and two hands are appealing- a nice smile is on the robot face and there are fists and fingers with knuckles, complete with a life-like skin color.  The robot has no other body parts, sitting in a typical toddler high chair with a tray.  There are dials, switches, lights, connected to no less than eleven computers bundled with tiny filaments and paraphernalia.

            A student taps in “Pick up the ball.”  Slowly, robot hands move across the tray and touch the ball with a cup-like motion.  Again, the student types the voice message, but the robot fails to perform and after the voice commands, “pick up the ball’ again, the robot hands slowly move. After a slow sweeping motion, the robot touches with the cuplike motion.   

            This is, for all you parents out there, what real flesh and blood toddlers do…they hear, react,  take a swipe, miss, as their brains change thinking patterns,  MIT’s robot toddler is a bit like the human toddler … who comes with voice activated information already listened to and stored in the both the body and brain.  Nice work kids! 

Baby Colic



There is new hope and help solving the infant colic or irritable baby syndrome problem; now that parents are helping each other come to sensible conclusions!  Here are the thoughts of a small sample of families on-line and their willingness to say what they think about infant colic and the early stages of waking and sleeping, crying and moving… both infants and parents have learned a lot and there is more research to come!

The big idea parents want to share is …….that carrying and colic are natural and compelling companions! 

            So they suggest and so do I, that soothing an infant is accomplished by carrying, humming (singing) and tightly holding touching the infant in arms, but not in swings or automatic motor-driven devices.   Carrying pouches, in front of the mother or father’s body where smells are strongest, is comforting.  The infant body and brain adapt within hours to strong vibrations transmitted through parent’s breath and sounds.  

            Startles, blinks, smiles, sucks, hiccups and involuntary body jerks are means of infant communication and are considered vital arousal patterns in newborn babies.  In this way, infants react positively to changes of air, light, temperature, touch, smells and sounds that arouse adults to their needs. 

Nice job parents ….I guess their remarks show that above all …Infants are demanding consumers! 

Children Are Born To Love


 Recently,  I have enjoyed a 1960’S website hit on my hands!   It is a photo of a family and me taken in the mid-sixties with whom I worked as a home trainer and teacher making home visits during the first decade of Head Start, when services for families whose lives were depressed by poverty, was at the top of the list of national legislative priorities!  (Go to my site and see)

                The family home and health  were compromised by asbestos poisoning , peeling paint, little heat, mice and rats, gas leaks, mom’s asthma, and extremely poor sleeping and eating conditions.  They had 6 living children, a son who had recently drowned, and a ten block area perimeter outside of which they rarely ventured.  They were isolated by disability, frustration and depression.  Then Head Start came along! 

                I was a home Head Start teacher.  It  was my job to help the family learn how to teach the children and improve conditions, through cleaning and playing teaching games and helping parents believe in their ability to teach their own kids. 

                Children, I showed them,  are born to love their caring parents,  to learn to love, move, think, talk and play!  Adults/parents/ caregivers/ friends and supporters love and play and are motivated to respond!  This is the language of love!   

                Do you think of your children this way?  Are you thinking of discipline as teaching your children how to love you and everybody else?  Are you popular with yours and other peoples kids and do you feel as if “parents are always the best teachers? ”    

Turn Taking


Does this sound familiar: “Johnny, you share that toy with your friend” … or “Give your sister some of that – be a nice girl and share.” I hear these words, but if the child is under 3, I don’t believe a word of it! Children, in the first three years of life, do learn to give objects away briefly, to hang on and let go, to grasp objects and release them, but this is not social sharing.

            Whatever toddlers have in “hand” is viewed by them as being actually part of themselves. If a 20-month old does give up a toy, he is intensely watching where it goes, and in his mind, he is expecting an immediate (if not before) return. His arm goes out toward the object, his eyes follow every movement, he is alarmed if any delay occurs. This happens because children under 3 are egocentric, and focused on themselves as the center of every situation and event.

            The understanding parent should start to play give-and-take games, hide-and-seek games, and passing and receiving games, in order to give toddlers as young as one-year old experience in watching some person or some object go away and come back. Try this. “You take a ball and I’ll take a ball, and you give me yours and I’ll give you mine.” This is a good practice for voluntarily releasing objects and then getting them back without causing the toddler to panic!

            The important point is that children in the early years need to develop trust in adults and peers, and to feel secure, before they can learn to “take turns” and share.   In time and with secure attachment and understanding parents, family, and friends,  3- and 4-year-olds can learn to share. 

            Remember, I said “can learn to share.”   It takes parental patience to accomplish this valuable lesson, but it is worth it to see young children hand off toys, pass and receive toys or snacks or give up something they value, even for a few minutes!     Moms and Dads and teachers need to set a consistent example and be willing to give and take themselves….Children 3-6 years of age are copycats!   So be the kind of parent who shows empathy and gives up something they like, for another person! 

                                    Empathy and sharing are two of life’s most important                                                                          lessons! 

Sibling Rivalry


Your kids are constantly bickering, it’s increasing in its intensity, you are worried it may come to physical blows…..Well stop right there and take a stand.  It’s normal for kids of different ages to become jealous over their siblings but if it is starting to stress your family out it’s time to make a change. I’ve come up with some ideas you can try:

  1. You can set up an area where the kids can air their grievances.  Make a time each night for them to get it out.  You’ll be surprised how little they actually do have to fight over. 
  2. Have each child switch jobs for a week and see how the other child does.  It will give them a different perspective.
  3. Remember they way you and our spouse resolve issues is a role model for your children.  Use kind words and respect your partner.
  4. Never compare your children to each other.
  5. Let children settle their own disputes if possible.
  6. Identify with your children’s anger.  Understanding their frustration.
  7. Try not to take sides.
  8. Separate the children if it becomes violent.

Teaching your children to get along with each other sets them up for better relationships later in life. Susan says have family meetings and please and thank you are only a drop in the bucket.  You can take or leave my advice but it’s all about making children take responsibility for their actions and avoid rescuing children and work as a tem a responsible team. Always remember no, hitting, no yelling just move away.

Thanks Dr. Susan

Good Manners Can Lead to Good Self-Esteem


Teaching children good manners is essential to building self-esteem.

Here are some ideas you can use:

Being kind to others.  Show with example.

Have your children write thank you notes after every birthday and holiday.  Write your child a thank you note and see how they react to it. It’s a warm feeling to be recognized by someone, no matter how small the gift.

Things that come from the heart mean so much. When you make a batch of cookies, send some home with your kids friends or anyone who walks through your door. Always use the word please when asking your child to do something and thanking them when they are done. If your children see you doing these things, it becomes second nature to them. Use positive reinforcements by praising your child when they do say please and thank you. 

Respecting adults by using Mrs. and Mr. in front of their names, unless asked to be called by first names. Eye contact is an important thing for children to be taught as well as a firm handshake. 

Expose your child to empathy.  When someone your child knows is picked on, raise your child’s awareness on what it feels like to be laughed at or pointed at.  How would they feel if it were them.

Remind your children they need to have good listening skills.  They need to wait until the person speaking is done before speaking. This is one skill that can help you your whole life long.

A healthy self-esteem will help your children be more successful as adults. To encourage self-esteem in youngsters you should appreciate your child. Thank your children when they have done what you asked. Treat your children with respect.  They want to be treated like an intelligent human being. They want to feel valued. Give them jobs to do and compliment them on a job well done. 

Make sure your children feel loved.  Unconditional love is a gift that never ends…

Spiritual Needs During the Holidays


 What do you do to make life easier for the many families you see every day who are in poverty or close to it?

Doing Spiritual/school based or hospice is the answer………… at this time of the year, and if you do make sure your kids are involved… give as much as you get by becoming a Big Brothers Big sisters partner.

The longer you do this work the better …….the community flourishes ….the job opps for older kids increases

Help a family now. …call Big Brothers and Big sisters

The holidays are a time of forgiveness and giving. This is a time when families get together and participate in neighborhood activities that help other people.

Show your children at holiday time that material things mean nothing when others have so little.  We do not want to be seekers of materialistic things. 

How do we do this?  We pack up goods and unwanted children’s toys and give them to charity.  Take your children to the food pantry and hand out food to those less fortunate.     Take an angel from the Christmas tree at a local church or store and buy clothes for that family or something they need. 

Call any church and ask how you can help.  Donate your time to someone you know who may be struggling to get sitters while working….  Offer to watch kids for an afternoon.    Take cookies to elderly persons.

Let your children feel the feelings of sadness and loneliness that some live with every day.  Be an inspiration to your family, volunteer at school, at church through the city for the Salvation Army.  The opportunities are endless.  Get started today.  Make a pact with your children that you spend less on them and more on those who need it.  You’ll be glad you did.

As a home based teacher, I am on the road!  I know first hand what a great feeling I have when I give to someone in need.  Sometimes it’s just a helping hand and sometimes it’s driving someone to the doctor, but whatever the need, looking into the eyes of  someone’s face when  worries are gone, if even for a moment, are priceless.  Share the love this season with someone else and watch your heart swell with pride.  Get busy now. …

One last idea!  Give money or a lay-away gift to the men and women who work behind the counters of stores and shops, especially pharmacies in  your neighborhoods………..

Susan Turben 

Teaching children good manners is essential to building self-esteem.


Here are some ideas you can use:

Being kind to others.  Show with example.

Have your children write thank you notes after every birthday and holiday.  Write your child a thank you note and see how they react to it. It’s a warm feeling to be recognized by someone, no matter how small the gift.

Things that come from the heart mean so much. When you make a batch of cookies, send some home with your kids friends or anyone who walks through your door. Always use the word please when asking your child to do something and thanking them when they are done. If your children see you doing these things, it becomes second nature to them. Use positive reinforcements by praising your child when they do say please and thank you. 

Respecting adults by using Mrs. and Mr. in front of their names, unless asked to be called by first names. Eye contact is an important thing for children to be taught as well as a firm handshake. 

Expose your child to empathy.  When someone your child knows is picked on, raise your child’s awareness on what it feels like to be laughed at or pointed at.  How would they feel if it were them.

Remind your children they need to have good listening skills.  They need to wait until the person speaking is done before speaking. This is one skill that can help you your whole life long.

A healthy self-esteem will help your children be more successful as adults. To encourage self-esteem in youngsters you should appreciate your child. Thank your children when they have done what you asked. Treat your children with respect.  They want to be treated like an intelligent human being. They want to feel valued. Give them jobs to do and compliment them on a job well done. 

Make sure your children feel loved.  Unconditional love is a gift that never ends…



New mothers and fathers, emotional beings, say hello to their infant, saying her name, congratulating each other; they are owners of a baby, who, previously was content in the womb and has been thrust into a chilly nest.

Sensing a rush of love, the baby's owners circle around, holding and cooing, as the infant's gaze fades, eyes close, and all three breathe and shudder.

New mothers and fathers, lost in love, hear a ring and open their door, admitting family members into the circle, who click potots on cell phones, sniff as they already know all about babies, but, mercifully, returning to their homes and apartments, cars and houses where their children wait for supper.

The departed guests walk away, stare at their cell phone photos, and, thinking of mother and father, smile at thoughts of the night ahead.

The Moment of Birth

Babies are born with 206 skeletal muscles and 300 billion brain cells so they have a lot of competency built right into them from the moment of birth. They develop from top to bottom head to toe. Their head comes into voluntary control first followed by the neck then the trunk of the body followed by the upper extremities and the lower extremities. Babies are truly amazing. Infants and toddlers are born ready to learn. I think I'll give this baby something to paly with.


What to do About Tantrums

Your child is a smart, normal child need attention, but also a good talking to...sheis not the boss of the family you are!

Toddlers cannot get enought of their own sense of power and if they do not get their way, they resort to hysterics and bouts of sulking, screaming, yelling and other successful habits that parents buy into!

Use the stairway in your house as a simple and close area to sit your child down and giver ther the chance to calm down. Do not yell or hit...just talk and look at the wall and not at your child's face!....Tell her you are in charge and you will sit on the stair with her as long as it takes to get her to get control.

The stairs are closed off and narrow and safe at the bottom and you are the boss remember?

Singing or talking to the wall or looking away are all successful parenting tools to end the tantrum quickly but don't give in even for a minute and do not leave her alone! All that happens in that scenario is that she gets up and has to be given attention, causing more of a scene!

Sit down until she takes a quieter breath or deep breath then compliment her for stopping the tantrum, get up, say no more and end it then and there!

How to Make Children Feel Love & Support at Home & School


As families struggle to organize their complicated lives, Susan wants to leave you with several ideas of how to make children feel supported both at home and at school.

  1. Find ways to compliment your children each day
  2. Have family meetings when children don't do what they know is expected of them and talk it over
  3. Offer your free time to play or do an activity, as a privilege that reminds them you love them
  4. And, importantly, train (force) yourself to stay home an hour more each week, realizing that free time to "hang out" and just be together sets the academic and developmental goals for your children higher, by virtue of the fact they can do whatever they want, ask questions, or just be alone or with friends. Let them decide. Avoid over programming your children. You will all be happier for it!

There is a Better Way to Communicate


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It’s a process (not really steps at all) that teaches people (teachers, children and parents) how to get things done with respect, self-control and some semblance of democracy.

First – Teach Yourself how to be genuinely cooperative in your own life, in your own circle of family and among your own friends. Make yourself use specific cooperative actions, such as asking for help, or saying out loud that there is no one way to do anything. Asking for assistance is a vital skill all people need to learn, in order to feel good about themselves and to feel competent. Cooperative actions must be practiced. Show other people what you consider good cooperative behavior. Show your family how to ask for help, how to give compliments, how to ask for time to have talks, meetings and conversations. The hope that when there are differences, everyone will recall how to behave.

Practice asking permission to discuss or converse
Practice cooperation and helping each other
Give family members plenty of reminders about cooperating
Reward brainstorming and cooperation
Have family meetings

Next – Make a resolution to depersonalize your words when there is a problem, say “what’s going on here?” or “What is the situation?” rather than calling people you or she-names, using accusing or threatening words. STOP saying “you didn’t take out the trash the way I told you”…Start saying, “I noticed that the garbage is still here…your room isn’t cleaned up”…” I wonder if this IFSP would sound better if…”

Practice listening then talking
Give complements, as a way of getting people to listen
Practice ways that help you to keep your cool

Last – take the time to write down what you are experiencing, what is happening in your life, your family situation. Keep notes and records, so that you have information which you can use when communications and negotiations break down.

Take the time on a regular basis to write (or make an audio tape) of your opinions, of options and choices you think of. This skill allows you to act rationally and calmly when you need to deliver strong messages. Learn to document your actions, beliefs and needs in ways that facilitate conversational problem-solving.

Consequences of Divorce


In a perfect world, every baby would be welcomed with open, loving arms and cherished so completely that a happy and healthy childhood was guaranteed.  In this imperfect world, however, many babies are born into less than ideal circumstances.  As a result of divorce, babies may experience a disruption in their growth progression.  Overnight visitation became the scapegoat blamed for the development difficulties.  Although overnight visitation became the focus of the legal and parental battles, the more critical problems were the conflict, hostility, anxiety and nature of the divorce processes that became competition for their parents’ attention and the sensitive and responsive caregiving they deserved.


Every child and family must be considered on an individual basis when developing custody and visitation plans for infants and toddlers.  Factors to consider include not only the child’s attachments and developing relationships but also the child’s physical health, growth and development, resiliency and ability to adapt to changes, and temperament.  The quality of the relationships between family members is also critical.  How much conflict is present?  Can these parents talk to one another in a calm manner?  Can they make eye contact with one another?  Most importantly, do the adults who have been charged with nurturing, protecting, and caring for this infant have the ability to search out, identify, and honor the child’s responses and cues?  Can they respond to these cues and understand the infant’s individual needs, which are often not in synchrony with their own?


Layered on top of these considerations are issues related to custody and visitation.  Primary custody often goes to the mother of the infant with the father receiving some level of visitation, especially during the early years.  A great deal of controversy surrounds what type of visitation plan is appropriate and can meet the needs of the infant as well as the needs of the noncustodial parent.  Although visitation wit the father is desirable, separation from the mother is seen as undesirable.  The infant is positioned between these two concerns, and a plan must be made to reconcile them.  Further burdening this decision is the inflexibility of the legal system.  Once a plan has been established for the infant, even if problems later develop they can become difficult to prove, time consuming to bring to the table for discussion, and costly to resolve if parents cannot agree without court intervention.


Overnight visitation is frequently the main focus of visitation discussions and court battles.  At what age can the child begin overnights?  How often?  How many hours can it involve?  Can the child tolerate two different sleeping environments?  Can the baby be comforted with a bottle from her father when she may have awakened searching for the comfort of her mother’s breast? 

Its time for bed!



All that is needed is patience and time.  Toddlers and babies are designed with a natural tendency to cry to get what they want and move constantly and I do mean infants move every muscle every day every time every way!  


This is a good thing, so take advantage of it and do lots of floor play, cuddling and walking and talking and carrying on as if this was the only infant in the world… every minute of every day…and night too!    Happy babies want attention!  


Fretful babies are no different than we are as adults!  They want to be in charge and they want attention, so give it to them!   Expose them to the sights and sounds around them…they make their own sounds and they react to those changes of air and temperature, sounds and sights! 


And, OH YES, babies need to be put to bed and aroused ON PURPOSE AND ON TIME so that there is consistence and constancy and WELL YOU GET THE POINT!  Routinely and generally with lots of language and singing and humming whenever the infant is fussy or wants a change of position! 


CARRY Infants FROM Place TO PLACE SO THEY SEE AND HEAR AND FEEL the differences in air and light and temperature…    Every day sit on the floor and play ….the floor is important with the infant and rock and talk and talk and rock and talk that it is possible s atrarterin a t three month think in and out of the womb.  Every muscle and every nerve endow babies and toddlers with lots of energy and nothing but time on their hands!  


Walking around with a baby in your arms is a necessity! Vary the play and change the play and exercises and activities of constant movement ………it is hard to get parents to learn to move consonantly and exercise their infants




For your information and for the health of those around you, you need to know….


Susan says children are not suited for guns. Children (youth and adults) are impulsive and risk-takers. They do not listen. Guns are not needed to teach children responsibility.  If you have a gun, get rid of it.  If you don’t, good for you.


The NRA and other pro-gun establishments are pouring millions of dollars into games and contests to younger and younger children in an effort to ensure their futures.


In 2010 the NRA’s grants to youth groups grew to nearly $21 milllion – double what it gave out five years before. The industry has poured semi-automatic weapons into youth groups including Boy Scouts and National Guard camps. Websites are offering coupons for kids to support and encourage junior shooters.


Many psychiatrists agree putting a gun in the hands of a child is risky. 



What would you do if your neighbors 12 year old had a gun and a target in his backyard?


What would you do if your neighbor’s teen was diagnosed with a mental illness? They have guns in their home and you know it.


What would you do if your friends promote gun use and brag about it to you constantly?


What would you do if you went on a date and the man was carrying a concealed weapon?


What would you do if your neighbors were heavy drinkers and were constantly fighting for all the neighbors to hear (you know they own several guns)?                                   


Guns are for………………………………………………what do you think?


Rules for the Use of Technology in the Lives of Young Children and Their Parents


Who among parents and teachers will admit they know way less than their kids know about technology?   How important is it to have access to their kid’s computers  (some kids have Iphones as well as more than one laptop or access to a family computer).   Do you want to be a person who gives in or gives up?? 

OR do you want to be a caring and vigilant parent who has control of his or her own household?

  Teachers and parents are afraid of their own children! 

How recently have you as a parent shown your children that you allow them to use the computer and cell phones? Be more aware of this defect of character!  After all, who wants to admit they need help in setting rules and being in charge?  

Try to be strong…try to be smart and, in my opinion, be very firm about asking children daily who are they talking to and what are they doing online. This means a routine twice a day that consists of monitoring the content of all interactions every single day.

This includes whom they talk to and for how long.  This means a sheet of paper sits by the child alongside a tweet, a blog, and comments about friends and more!  That’s why home monitoring and teaching family social and educational skills are necessary for kids to have rules    in becoming computer savvy? …And classrooms are filled with technology.  If technology is used in the right way as a game-changer and a communication system…. Great! 

Otherwise, do you know how to say “no”?    

Lay down the law, the minimum age for computer use in the classroom is the teacher’s call and at home your call!  You need to correlate with home chores and games and family activities, how helpful and organized the child in question may be! Most children by age five have interacted with some sort of technology. 

By 7 or 8 years old your child may be using the computer at home as well as using school computers and other audio/visual aids.  Do you ask and watch what they play?  NO way do you allow young or emotionally immature tweens to have cellphones or post messages or use computers unsupervised!  They have to be taught that posting extremely private information about them at a young age can come back to haunt them several years later.

Vulnerable young children do not understand or have the capacity to realize the embarrassment and damage created by their posts that can last forever. Research says that teen’s text and average of 3,500 texts a month- don’t let them even think about it until age 12!    

Technology is sapping the creativity out of our children.  When a child uses technological devices, he is not using his own sensory information. Technology is not creative in the sense that the child plays by the rules of the device, not by his own thoughts or actions.

As a parent ask yourselves a few questions:

Are parents using technology to distract their kids when they don’t want to deal with a situation? 

Are your kids missing the opportunity to discuss with you, to feel anger or sadness, to be listened too?

Does using Twitter and knowing embarrassing personal things about someone instantly make children grow up with little empathy for others? Learning to read facial expressions is how children learn to empathize.

Are the use of screens and electronic devices contributing to the diabetes epidemic in children?

Parents Are In Charge

Parents are “in charge” of their own households for at least 20 years while their children are growing up.  Blame is not accepted as appropriate in most cultures because there is never one reason why children act or behave the way they do.  Schools, churches, community life, television, books, etc. all impact how children feel and behave.  Parents are the most appropriate teachers for their children, and children incorporate the values and beliefs into peer thinking, but age-mates and peers deeply influence child behavior.  The best practices for parents include:  close supervision of their children’s activities and choice of friends, and good communication between parents and children, so they can talk about most everything.  Parents are responsible for their children learning values, morals and beliefs.

The Self-Absorbed Parent

This is a generation of parents who are self-absorbed by adult activities of daily living. They are not inclined to instruct their children on the family traditions and values that matter to them. Family life is not the top priority. The research proves that many parents hated school, and will admit that their kids are taking after them- learning that school is not the fun or important place to be. They reject the reality that school is every kid's "job."

How to turn that trend around:

Volunteer once in a while, even if you're working. Tutor some friend of your kid's on a Saturday morning. Every family has a different life style, which, according to one mom, needs to be understood by the teacher. Tell the teacher any or all the facts about your family, and get to be friends with the teacher.

Teach yourself, says one California mom, to have conversations, not pity parties, when your child is asked to redo homework or other tasks. Don't excuse your kids. Back up the teacher. When parents feel wronged or angry, nobody gets his way or solves her problem. Susan interviewed a number of moms and dads who always make it a point to get a copy of their school curriculum. They study what academics are required, then they check work daily, but they do not do the work for the child-ever!

"All children need to feel secure and know where to turn for help. It is not a hard job for parents unless they are afraid of their own children. Some parents are absent from the household so much of the time they are literally letting their children raise themselves and do what they want- even young three and four year-olds can act as if the household is under their control. The household must always be under the control of adults. No exceptions! Parents need to be in charge."

Conflict Resolution


Conflict Resolution is a term that schools use more and more, usually as a way of resolving discipline issues in classrooms and on playgrounds, but that is only part of the story! 

Families benefit big time by using conflict resolution at home, in the yard, on the street, playing games and establishing friendships.  In the comfort of home, families let their hair down,” throw their shoes off, and literally, throw books on the table (or the floor), pet the dog, find a snack, talk on the phone, or computer games all to reduce stress and little help to relax the body and brain!!  

Home is the place to “vent”, sit in silence or listen to music, be silly, throw books on the floor, be mad or glad, but always, at home, you should feel safe!  Go ahead…. Be mad and confront frustration.  Irritations at work and school, in stores work out differences at home; feel secure, share hope, share fear and express yourselves in ways they cannot do in public places!  Learn how to be helpful, resourceful and protective of one another,  hopeful, comforted and safe!

 Home is a safe haven, a secure environment and and that is the key to good parenting…. knowing your family will be there family as a way to learn social skills, emotional control, patience and helpfulness, and even learn to control kindness and anger.

Home is where families can release emotions, settle conflicts and test their behaviors, practice skills, and feel the strength of support from other members of the family!   Conflict resolution is the process of learning fair practices from out of control behavior and learning what kind of personality each person in the family has!

When I work with children I spend time with them in their home…. home is where parents should teach their children well!   I help teach them tricks of the trade!  How to behave at home and at school and I stress personality development!

Parents need to pay attention to their own triggers as well as the people around them.  What upsets people and what upsets you?  The goal of any conflict resolution is to remain calm.  Negative behaviors and anger will only contribute to the conflict. 

If you find yourself really upset then takes Dr. Susan’s words to heart:


If you are boiling over, don’t take it out on someone else! Try any or all of these simple alternatives – whatever works for you.


            Take a deep breath. And another.

            Close your eyes and imagine you are hearing what that person is about to hear.

            Press your lips together and count to ten. Or better yet, to 20.

            Exercise to release tension.

            Phone a friend.

            Go outside and take a walk.

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

            Turn on some music, maybe even sing a song.

            Drink a glass of cold water.

            Rethink about what you want to say and what you want to do.

            Empathize and try to understand the point of view of the person who is making you angry.

            If you do lash out, apologize.

Encourage everyone to practice these techniques also. Empower them by setting the example for how to deal with anger.

For children in school there is a valuable tool that can be used.  It is called the “I” statement.  The child fills in the blanks of the following statement or something similar.

“I feel _____________when you ____________ because ______________.  I would like you to ______________________________.”

The child fills out the statement.  The two children are brought together for a meeting.  The first child reads her “I” statement and the second child listens.  The second child acknowledges her statement and what the first child would like to happen.  Then the second child may present his or her own “I” statement.  They should both come to a resolution and shake hands at the end.  This lets children express their feelings in an appropriate way and helps them to resolve conflict.  This is a great way for children to learn how to handle issues throughout their life.

It is important for the teacher or parent to listen to the child’s “I” statement first to make sure it really is an appropriate conflict. 

Myths about Infants


Common Myths About Infants


·      My baby is spoiled.

Not True.  Infants have needs and the only way they can express their needs are to cry or make noises.  “But my baby quits crying when I pick him/her up”.  Then you have met his/her need for that moment.  The infant may need comfort and that is what you are giving them by picking them up or talking to them and by the touch of your hand.  Spoiling a child occurs later when you do not set boundaries or you over indulge.


·      Babies need water when it's hot.

Not true.   According Live Science, babies, like children and adults, need to stay hydrated. In some instances, a pediatrician may recommend giving a baby an oral rehydration solution. But most of the time, a baby's fluids should come from breast milk or formula.

Since a baby doesn't yet have fully functioning kidneys, her body isn't prepared to excrete water. As a result, it can cause an imbalance of electrolytes and sodium. A baby can start sipping water occasionally around six months, but check with the doctor first. After age 1, she can sip it more regularly.


·      Infants and toddlers need a diet high in fat.

True.   Earlier generations were spot on with the use of whole milk for babies.  Fat is an essential part of an infant’s brain development.   Until age two, babies should be eating and drinking “full fat” products such as whole milk and regular yogurt not low fat or reduced fat like their adult caregivers.  Some pediatricians even feel you should go with the higher fat diet until age three.  Avocados are a food you may not think to feed your infant but they are high in “good fat” and fiber with out a strong flavor.  Many babies enjoy their creamy taste and smooth texture.  

·      You do not need to practice language communication with your baby until age two when they can repeat back what you’re teaching them.

Not True.   Your child’s first experience with the spoken language began in the womb. Although your child may not understand the actual words you are speaking it can most certainly understand tone and inflection.   It is a well know fact that early speech and communication skills can be linked to success in interpersonal skills in childhood and later in life. Begin from day one talking to your baby and start reading early in their first year.  It is never too early to start teaching communication

Test your parenting knowledge on (infancy)



                   Test your Parenting I.Q.


1.  Your newborn/infant should always sleep on their stomach.


2.  How many ounces of water should your infant drink a day?

            A.  2 oz.                    C. 0 oz.

            B.  4 oz.                    D.  As much as they want


3.  My three-month-old child is spoiled.  She cries until I pick her up.


4.  If I put my baby to sleep later, she’ll sleep later in the morning.


5.  My baby’s nutritional needs, up to age four months, can be met solely through breast milk or formula. 


6.  Baby bottles and nipples should be sterilized?


7.  Babies only need bathed two or three times per week.






1.     FALSE. Your infant should never be put on their stomach to sleep.  Studies have linked stomach sleeping to S.I.D.S.  Always put your infant on their back to go to sleep.

2.     C. 0 oz..  An infant’s source of hydration should come from breast milk or formula until after six months of age and only in limited quantities until age one.

3.    FALSE.  Infants often cry to have their needs met.  When the infant stops crying it is an indication that their need has been bet. 

4.     FALSE.  That is only wishful thinking on part of parents.  Letting your infant get ‘over tired’ only makes the routine of bedtime more stressful.  Some  babies do best with a bedtime as early as 7pm. 

5.     TRUE.  Babies develop at different times but the general rule of thumb is between four to six months they are ready to be introduced to solid foods. 

6.     FALSE.  Bottles that are washed and dried correctly or washed in the dishwasher are sufficiently clean for baby. 

7.     TRUE.  Babies do not sweet the way adults do therefore every two to three days is a schedule and will ensure your baby’s skin does not dry out.