To Vaccinate or Not To Vaccinate

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The Debate

To vaccinate or not to vaccinate; that is the question. As the flu season falls upon us once again, the topic of discussion once again turns to vaccination. But flu vaccines aren’t the only ones up for debate. Many parents these days are choosing not to vaccinate their children from infectious diseases including measles, mumps, rubella, polio, pertussis, diphtheria, and small pox.

The Facts

These, among other infectious diseases, are preventable through vaccination, and according to statistics provided by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the presence of these diseases has dropped between 74% and 100% since the pre-vaccination era. Simply said, because of vaccinations, several infectious diseases have been nearly eradicated in our modern society. Those numbers alone should be reason enough to persuade parents to vaccinate their children, yet some parents still argue against it. They claim that vaccines can cause Autism and other problems for children; however, there has been no scientific evidence to support their theories.

The Choice

Because of the accusations made by these anti-vaccinators, more and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate in fear of what it will do to their child. However, they need to start thinking more globally. Since this anti-vaccination “movement” has begun, cases of the previously mentioned infectious diseases have begun to rise. If you ask me, that is not good for us. It seems as if people are intentionally trying to reverse all the good vaccines have done for our society.

All I ask is that before you make your decision whether or not to vaccinate your children you do your research because, yes, there are some slight risks that come along with vaccines. However, the spread of infectious diseases in America is much worse. So check into credible sources, and think about the welfare of those around you as well. J.J. Keith tells the truth when she said, “Vaccines are different from every other parenting issue in that the choices that parents make affect everyone else as well. Vaccines are everyone’s business.”

Mindfulness Over Matter

childParents.com has a great little article entitled “A Calm Approach to Discipline”. It discusses using a method called Mindfulness when your child is having a hard time facing an emotionally difficult situation. According to the article, “Mindfulness teaches kids to pay attention to themselves and the world around them.”

Mindfulness is a tool to be used.

Essentially, it is a calm way to diffuse a situation before your child can get into full-blown tantrum mode. The article does a great job of staging several real-life situations, and then providing examples of how to mindfully handle them. By directing your child’s attention to a physical depiction of how they are feeling, or making them taking notice of the things around them, children can take a step back and regain control of their emotions before dealing with the situation at hand. I feel that the best part of using this method is that over time, your child will learn to use this calming approach themselves when they face challenges.

Kids and adults of all ages should learn and practice mindfulness.

It’s no secret that, as human beings, we tend to make better choices when we approach challenges with a clear mind and a calm self. Unfortunately, this is a lesson that many of us don’t learn until we are into adult hood. But why not teach our young children to calm themselves, and to think before they react to a situation? It seems to me that it can do nothing but help them become more rational adults. Isn’t that one thing we all want for our kids? And if we practice what we preach, this method can help bring a little more calm into our own lives as well.  Check out our books for hands-on examples of how to incorporate mindfulness into your parenting.

Revive Your Parenting- C.P.R. for Parents

Change Your Perspective, Improve Your Parenting

Why the Early Years Matter

Children Are Born Learning

imagesCA43I5VDOur knowledge of human growth and development in the earliest years has taught us that children are learning from the moment they are born. Brain growth, approaches to life and learning, language skills are shaped by what does or does not happen in a child’s first day, months, and years.

Infancy and Toddlerhood

Brain architecture develop, early experiences that are nurturing, active and challenging actually thicken the cortex of an infant’s brain, creating a brain with more extensive and sophisticated neuron structures that determines intelligence and behavior. Having good experiences help the brain develop, poor experiences can literally cause a genetically normal child to have a lower IQ. Children who are exposed to fewer colors, less touch, little interaction with adults, fewer sights and sounds, and less language actually have smaller brains.

Children Learn How to Learn

Responsive and nurturing relationships early in life build not only synapse rich brains, but also the social and emotional foundations that support lifelong learning. Today, young children are expected to enter kindergarten being able to count, recite the alphabet, and write their names. Equally important, on their first day of kindergarten, teachers also expect children to be able to listen, follow directions, able to dress and undress, be interested in toys and tasks, star and finish small projects, express their needs, be able to wait, and know when they need help.

We now know a child must develop these skills long before the first day of school, the key ingredients of successful learners: *confidence and self-control *curiosity *self-reliance *persistence *ability to communicate *cooperativeness

These are difficult skills that must be nurtured through responsive relationships with adults during a child’s earliest years. Warm, nurturing relationships with parents and teachers provide infants and toddlers the emotional nourishment they need to succeed.

Children Build Language and Literacy Skills That Last a Lifetime

Basic language and communication skills are essential building blocks of reading readiness in the first three years of life. Scientific evidence confirms that how much parents and teachers talk to their babies is critically important to early language development.

Children who hear fewer words or are engaged in less conversation with their caregivers before age three have dramatically smaller vocabularies than children who have richer early language experiences. During the first two years language development improves when an adult puts into words what an infant/toddler is looking at or listening to.

For more about the early learning years visit www.ounceofprevention.org/news

Back to School With Peace of Mind

download (5)Back to school season has come upon us once again, and one of the main concerns on everyone’s mind is school safety. We know many schools added additional security or put in locked doors to keep our children safe.

While school shootings are infrequent, they get nation-wide media attention, and tend to stick in the memories of parents and students alike. If you, or your child, are feeling anxious about what might happen, have a talk with your school’s administration and ask about the safety precautions the school has taken to help prevent the unthinkable. Most schools have locked doors that can be opened by a buzzer in the main office, security cameras at main entrance ways, and visitor check-in’s to keep track of who enters the building. Some schools have a police officer who is in the school at all times, and others have shatterproof glass, particularly on first floor windows and entry ways. Also, some schools have implemented lock-down drills so teachers and students know how to respond in case of crisis. Much like tornado and fire drills, the idea is that if teachers and students know what to do and where to go, lives can be saved.

You can also talk to your children about what they can do to help aid in crisis prevention. Make sure they know that if they see a suspicious person hanging around school grounds, or if one of their peers begins acting strangely or aggressively, they need to tell a teacher or administrator right away. If they see something, say something. But while open discussions are a good way to teach and prepare your children, make sure you are calm in your approach because you want them informed, not scared.

Stairway to Awesomeness!

1173761_525274937543424_65570806_nToday, I would like to share the story of a truly awesome woman who turned her life around. She is now sharing her stories with the world through her book, Stairway to Awesomeness.

Are You Being an Awesome Person?

Life is hard and it isn’t always fair. And sometimes… life isn’t just hard, it’s downright INSANE! Being a parent presents a whole new set of challenges, responsibilities and insanity. Sometimes trying to cope with all of the stresses of parenthood can really wear you down and it can seriously affect your mental health and well being. Especially if you are struggling as a person to begin with. This is something that I experienced for many years.

“I experienced many of life’s seemingly insurmountable blows.”

Throughout the challenges of my life, I experienced many of life’s seemingly insurmountable blows. For many years I lived a dark, disturbing, depressing, miserable and reckless existence as a result, even as a parent. I was an angry, negative person that kept blaming and justifying my self-destructive words, actions and behavior on the crappy hand that life dealt me instead of accepting accountability. Then… I hit rock bottom, took a life time-out, figured out what I had to do to get back to good and reinvented myself into a strong, happy, positive and “awesome” person, parent and role model.

What’s in the book:

My book, Stairway to Awesomeness, is my tragedy-to-triumph life story that I wrote in an effort to inspire people to live a life of “awesomeness”. The 30 fundamental steps that I write and illustrate about are all about:

  • Teaching people how to embrace the insanity of life and focus on the positive lessons, the blessings and the humor…even in the face of adversity.
  • Learning how to think before you speak/react and living with an accepting open mind.
  • Discovering how and why you should change your way of thinking about many things we have been conditioned to believe so you stop setting yourself up for emotional failure.
  • Understanding how to communicate and release anger, negativity and toxic drama in a positive way.
  • Learning how to ultimately being an awesome role model and encouraging others to do the same.

So it’s not a book about parenthood. However, it will teach you about how to be an awesome person in life, which in turn will certainly and ultimately help you be a better parent. You can check out the book trailer HERE.

“Just because you are a parent, it doens’t mean you forget about your own happiness.”

I often hear parents say that they don’t take time for themselves, take care of themselves and/or reward themselves. Yes, children are a great priority. But just because you are a parent, it doesn’t mean that you forget about your own happiness and living life to the fullest. Taking time for yourself, taking care of yourself and rewarding yourself is not selfish. It is important and necessary. It is essential for your mental health. This is something else that I focus on in the book a great deal.

Cynthia Sue LarsonMBA, best-selling author and intuitive life coach advanced reviewed my book and said: “”This is the perfect book for every parent to keep in their own time-out room…Highly recommended!” So if you aren’t living life to the fullest, and you are struggling with some of the things I have mention above, please do take a time-out to read my book. Discover your own awesomeness so you can ultimately be an awesome parent! =)

Enter the Comic Strip Mama™ Blog Tour of AWESOMENESS Extravaganza Giveaway for your chance to win some AWESOME prizes!

The Power of Touch

download (5)I recently read an article about an Australian woman who prematurely gave birth to twins, and while one of the twins was fine, the other was pronounced dead after the doctors worked on him for twenty minutes. The mother unwrapped her lifeless baby from his blanket and held him against her skin, cuddling, kissing and talking to him. Miraculously, after two hours of skin-to-skin contact from his mother, the baby began to breathe and open his eyes. There is a lot of talk about the importance and benefits that come from skin-to-skin contact between mothers and newborns, but this instance of healing power is simply astonishing!

According to www.unicef.org, skin- to-skin contact between newborns and their mothers can have the following, and other additional benefits:
• Calm and relax both mother and baby
• Regulates heart rate and breathing in the baby
• Stimulates digestion
• Regulates temperature
• [Provides] protection against infection

And I have a feeling that the importance of a loving touch never fades as your child grows up. For example, what does your child need when he scrapes his knee? A band-aid and a kiss on the boo-boo usually can wipe away the tears. And as adults, even we find comfort and a slight release of stress after being held in a good, long embrace. There is definitely something to be said about the power of touch.

Holding and snuggling your little ones is easy when they are babies, but as they become older, it may be challenging. Try setting aside special snuggle time each night before bed; a time when the two of you can cuddle up and read, sing or talk about your day. This may be a great routine for a few years, but older kids, aka “young adults”, may present even more of a challenge. However, you can sneak around their “too cool” exterior and make it a point to give them a hug when they come home from school each day, and before they go to bed each night. As long as their friends don’t know about it, you should be fine. In short, just remember to hug and kiss your kids as much as possible, no matter how old they are, because it just may be good for their health.

Article: http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/06/mother-brings-baby-back-to-life-with-two-hours-of-loving-cuddles-after-doctors-pronounce-him-dead.html?m=1

Reference: http://www.unicef.org.uk/BabyFriendly/Resources/Guidance-for-Health-Professionals/Learning-about-breastfeeding/Skin-to-skin-contact/

Cut the Chord, But Don’t Lose Sight

Kids-walkingWhile walking around the zoo, or anywhere in public for that matter, you can’t help but take notice of the people around you, how their kids behave, and how they respond. You tend to secretly judge the parents who are too busy gossiping to notice that their kids are running amuck, and pangs of envy hit you when a family of perfect angels walks by as your child decides to throw a fit. You see some parents who opt to put their kids on leashes rather than chase them, or teach them to stay near. Then other parents struggle to push their eight-year-old in a stroller which had been outgrown years ago. Unfortunately, those situations are probably just glimpses into how these parents deal with their kids on a daily basis, and the thought of what kind of adults those kids will turn into makes me shudder. The good news is that there’s a solution; find the middle ground.

Children should be encouraged to be independent, but you can’t just let them go, and you can’t hover over them either. Kids need to be given guidelines and boundaries, and to be taught right from wrong. Maybe more importantly, they need the opportunity to try things out, make mistakes, and then learn from those mistakes. As a parent, it is your job to A) know that your kids aren’t getting into harmful sorts of things, B) support and applaud their good choices, and C) be there when they make wrong choices and teach them why they were wrong. In short, independent, well-adjusted kids are raised by parents who are actively involved in their lives, but who also allow them to explore life in their own way. If we do our best to raise our children to rationally think, and appropriately act on their own accord, then they actually may make this world a better place.

The Fence

580329_501216786604196_979449597_nI came across this on the web and wanted to share. Sometimes our kids need to physically get their frustrations out and sometimes they need a visual to truly understand what they have done. The sooner we teach our children respect, control, and compassion, the sooner we heal and change our world.

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.Over the next few weeks as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily, gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.


Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said “you have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.” You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound is still there. Make sure you control your temper the next time you are tempted to say something you will regret later. ~Author Unknown

The Golden Rule

People seem to have an opinion on everything these days.  Our Facebook feeds are littered with political coverage, and people are not shy about sharing their opinions. Strangers are quick to pass judgement on the way others parent.  But the problem is that their opinions are usually attacks. The annonymity of the internet makes people forget about the Golden Rule. Treat others as you would like to be treated… with respect.

Social media gets flooded with comments.

When the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) ruling went public in 2013, social media was flooded with comments of support and praise, but also with hatred and condemnation. What bothered me the most was that the comments against the ruling were not political in nature, they were ugly, hate-filled, ignorant comments aimed towards the people this ruling affects. The same type of hateful comments can be seen when the topic of immigration laws come up. Where does all this hate come from, and why do people want to spread it? The fact of the matter is that hate, ugliness, and rudeness is taught in the home. However, it maybe not always taught directly. Kids tend to pick up on and imitate the words used, and actions taken by the adults around them. Luckily, the same is true for love, acceptance, politeness, and basic human decency.

We need to be better people to make our kids better people.

If we want our world to be a better place for our kids, we need to make them better people. We need to teach them that please, thank you, and general politeness go a long way. Teach them that they can be strong without being violent, opinionated without being hurtful.  And that being kind and caring do not make them weak. We need to teach them that everyone is different, and that’s okay. And although we may look, act, speak or love differently than one another, we are all people and deserve respect.

So even though you may have had a rough day at work, take the time and make a conscious effort to be polite at home. Give your child a hand cleaning up his toys. Say please and thank you rather than barking out orders to your kids. While you are out you can offer your seats on the bus to an elderly person or pregnant woman. Take a few extra seconds to hold the door for someone you don’t know. These seem like small actions, but they will go a long way in teaching your children how to be decent human beings.

Dinner and Memories

Large Hispanic family in kitchen preparing foodWhile driving home from my in-law’s house, I thought about the best parts of the day, and they all circled around the kitchen table. Wherever we went the most vibrant conversations, the most laughter, the most connections, and the most memories were shared and made while everyone was sitting together at the table. What is it about sitting down to a meal that just opens up the floor for good conversation? Is it the food? The drink? The people? Maybe it’s the fact that you are able to see everyone, and no one can get away. Whatever power it possesses, the kitchen table always seems to bring us together, and help us create memories.

The magic of the table isn’t just for special holidays; it should be used as often as possible. Having meals together is an important part of your family’s health and happiness; and it is important to your child’s development. Meal time is a time to talk, learn, love and listen to one another. It’s a time to bond as a family, and open the lines of communication so your children know they can talk to you about anything. And with all the issues that children have to deal with these days, open communication with them is key to helping them stay safe and make the right choices in life. Busy schedules, for everyone in the family, make it hard to sit down together. Sometimes it just seems easier to grab some food on your way to or from activities, but you can start small. Just set aside at least one meal time a week, every week, when you will all be present, and see what kind of memories you can make.~Jamie, WWP