Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Concerned Women for America - Nothing Can Replace Mom’s Care

Concerned Women for America - Nothing Can Replace Mom’s Care

BYU study: Good parenting all about the right 'dad-itude' | Deseret News

BYU study: Good parenting all about the right 'dad-itude' Deseret News: "Good parenting all about the right 'dad-itude'By Sara Israelsen-Hartley
Deseret News
Published: Saturday, June 19, 2010 10:56 p.m. MDT
Your 6-year-old son comes down the stairs wearing a striped shirt, plaid pants and bright orange socks. Do you: A) march him back upstairs and require a change of clothes? B) ignore his outfit choice? Or C) compliment him on the initiative to get dressed on his own?
Dads who choose C exhibit more of a 'child-oriented' parenting attitude, and will end up with healthier parent-child relationships than adults who pick the authoritarian, adult-oriented parenting style of choice A, says a new BYU study."

BEGINNINGS Chapter 5 Child Care


Child care is an extremely important and sometimes complicated issue. We know that if it's a safe, healthy, nurturing, environment and relationship, mommy and/or daddy care are almost always best. Second best under the same conditions is close family or kinship care, next best is paid child care. (Kinship care is simply defined as close friends who are “like family.”)

Sometimes even a parent who would love to stay home with their child; has to go to work. Hopefully this is to meet needs and not just wants. No matter what you do, you will never do anything more important than raising your child(ren). One of the complications that sometimes arises is the decision of whether a parent should stay home and receive public assistance or go to work and place the child in child care. This can be a difficult decision. Attachment during the first couple years of life is especially important, and it is also very important for children to understand that money comes from working. Another issue that sometimes may arise is that some adults do not have the temperament to spend a full day every day with children. There are many ways parents can be involved in outside activities, sharing child care while one parent is involved in another activity, such as part time employment, service, or recreation, and trading off watching each others children. No matter who is watching the children there are some things that are always paramount in importance. Safety is always first, (and close behind are all the basic needs of food, shelter, warmth, and sanitation), second is consistent relationships. All children, young or old, need consistent child care. They need to develop especially deep relationships with just a few adults. Next is a healthy, nurturing, enriching environment which includes a good child to adult ratio. 

Most adults need a break from their children, and most children need a break from their primary caregiver from time to time, whether it’s a parent, grandparent or other provider. When a child is securely attached and when the child knows that s/he can trust the caregiver these relatively short breaks are good for the child.

As the baby becomes a toddler, at least some socialization becomes more and more important. By the time a child is a preschooler it is especially important to understand how to get along with other children. This can be accomplished in many ways such as play groups, nursery at church, joint family activities, and when the child becomes a preschooler, part time preschool.

Key Words

Google Scholar below: Child Care Disease; Child Care Children Health; Children Social Skills; Mommy Care’ Daddy Care; Kinship Care; Quality Child Care

Google parenting search engine below: Child Care Disease; Child Care Children Health; Children Social Skills; Mommy Care’ Daddy Care; Kinship Care; Quality Child Care

Supplemental Material:

BYU study: Good parenting all about the right 'dad-itude'

Concerned Women for America - Nothing Can Replace Mom’s Care

Ways Parents Can Help Infant Development: Child Care & Development

CDC TV - Baby Steps: Learn the Signs. Act Early

CDC TV - Baby Steps: Learn the Signs. Act Early: "Baby Steps: Learn the Signs. Act Early."

Animated Brain Samples: Embryonic Development

Animated Brain Samples: Embryonic Development: "Animation summarizing changes in brain development between 4th & 12th week. Note disappearance of cervical flexure."

Bausch + Lomb: Understanding your Baby’s Vision Development

Bausch + Lomb: Understanding your Baby’s Vision Development: "Understanding your Baby’s Vision Development
Learn More
How the Eye Works
Even in the womb babies can tell the difference between light and dark. At birth, they see shapes by following the lines where light and dark meet. Yet, they are several weeks old before they can see their first primary color: red. No wonder they prefer highly contrasted patterns to plain surfaces."

Got Smarts? Mother's Milk May Pump Up Baby's IQ: Scientific American

Got Smarts? Mother's Milk May Pump Up Baby's IQ: Scientific American: "Got Smarts? Mother's Milk May Pump Up Baby's IQ"

Can You Boost Your Child’s IQ?

Can You Boost Your Child’s IQ?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

BYU study finds relationships help you live longer | Deseret News

BYU study finds relationships help you live longer | Deseret News: "Researchers have discovered that people with greater social relationships are 50 percent more likely to live longer than their socially reclusive counterparts.
In fact, a lack of friends is as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day or being an alcoholic. It's also twice as damaging as obesity and more harmful than not exercising, according to the study."

BEGINNINGS Chapter 4: Brain Development


One thing that we know about the human brain and brain development is how little we really know. Our knowledge of the human brain is in its infancy. In-spite of this, we have learned incredible things over the past 20 years.

During the first three years of life a typical healthy brain in a typical healthy environment makes hundreds, perhaps thousands of, synaptic connections per second. This means children typically learn at an amazing rate. At around age three the process slows down significantly; though we continue to learn and synaptic connections continue to be formed. At about age ten, the typical brain will begin to purge (prune) unused connections. This is sort-of like cleaning out and organizing your house, removing the unimportant and less important items, making everything else easier to find. Some times the brain does not perform this function very well, creating an ever increasingly cluttered and disorganized mind where it is difficult to find and access information. Fortunately most of us are able to continue to learn and discard useless information and connections through most if not all of our lives.

These first few years of life are extremely important to our development in many areas including attachments, relationships, and language.
Brain development is dependant on a number of different factors: genetics, prenatal care, factors that affect the mother during pregnancy, other influences we bring with us from before birth, environment, nutrition, interactions, music etc. Some early brain development is so essential that if missed during the early years, there may never be an opportunity to fully recover.

One more important fact about early brain development. Nursing a child helps develop the myelin sheath around neurons in the brain, which makes your child’s brain run just a little faster which makes him or her just a little more intelligent.


Years ago I had a friend and co/worker who was born deaf. As an adult she was able to get a cochlear implant. I had not known this when I first new her. We had a chat system in the office to facilitate communication and one day when I learned she had the implant I asked her if she could hear anything. Her response was ‘yes, I hear everything.’ This really surprised me; but as I continued to ask questions I learned that she could hear everything, she just couldn’t process language and she could not hear the subtle nuances of the sounds of language.  She could hear sounds as people spoke; but the spoken word, without her ability to read lips, was completely unintelligible. A few years after knowing her I viewed a video on the importance of detecting early hearing loss. Three sister were presented. Each had a complete hearing loss and each had a cochlear implant at about the same age. Unfortunately this meant that the oldest sister had it when she was a young girl, the next when she was a preschooler and the youngest when she was a toddler. The speech of the oldest was and will always be somewhat difficult; however the youngest was absolutely typical for a child of her age.


You often hear people say, ‘oh, don’t worry about it, s/he will grow out of it.’ While this may be the case in some situations, in many if not most, it is not. Problems and issues are usually more easily remedied while a child is young. Research is absolutely clear on this issue. Communication, motor, behavioral, and many other deficits are most easily improved or completely remedied during the first years of life. The same first years of life are crucial to helping children get a good start in life.

Key Words:

Google Parenting Search Engine and/or the Google Scholar Search Engine Below: "Early Childhood Development"; "Early Childhood Intervention"; "Early Years".

Supplemental Material:

HUG Stories 1

Early Learning Brain Development and Lifelong Outcomes

BBC Baby Synapse Connection

Early Learning and the Brain

Can You Boost Your Child’s IQ?

Got Smarts? Mother's Milk May Pump Up Baby's IQ: Scientific American

Bausch + Lomb: Understanding your Baby’s Vision Development

Animated Brain Samples: Embryonic Development

Baby Steps: Learn the Signs. Act Early

Breast-feeding benefits academic performance 10 years later

Vitamin D in Pregnancy May Be Key for Baby's Brain

Vitamin C Deficiency in Pregnant Mothers may affect Baby’s Brain Development

The Effects of Early Life Adversity on Brain and Behavioral Development - Dana Foundation


Mother's Care Determines Child's Brain Size: Study : Health : Counsel & Heal



Prenatal Exposure to Fish Beneficial to Child Development



Baby basics: Does how you parent hinder your child's brain development? | Deseret News



Those early piano lessons boosted your brain, study says - JSOnline

BEGINNINGS Chapter 3 Boundaries and Expections: Subsection: Curfews

Discussion: Curfews are another area where appropriate boundaries and expectations need to be set. You need to know where your children are, know they are safe, know what kinds of activities they are involved in and with whom and who is supervising. In some situations it really is worse now than it was when you were a kid.

As fatigue or stress sets in, most of us tend to loose some or much of our ability to think through situations and make decisions based on good judgement, principals, and values.  We are more apt to succumb to emotions, hormones, addictions, and pressure.  Part of the reason for this is that when we are tired and/or under stress the more primitive part of our brain tends to gain more influence over our decisions, limiting our ability to make and follow through with decisions based on our best judgement.  For someone who has not developed solid self-discipline, it is even more difficult.


There’s an old, almost humorous example called the stress diet. In the morning the dieter is eating half a grapefruit and by the late evening the “dieter” is consuming a carton of ice cream. Of course starting the morning with only a half a grapefruit is usually a lousy breakfast for anyone; however, the main theme is that we tend to have better control, judgment, and will power in the morning than we do in the late evening. It’s the same for kids.


There is a great deal of research regarding the benefit of a curfew for children and teens. You will find some articles which contradict this position; however, the preponderance of the research demonstrates the benefit from a number of positions such as motor vehicle safety and additional time with the family. Hopefully that additional time is quality time.

Key Words:

Google Scholar and Google Parenting below: "Benefit Children Curfew"; "Benefit Teen Curfew"; "Addiction Brain Control"

BEGINNINGS Chapter 3: Boundaries and Expectations

We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aid, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn.
Henry David Thoreau

"The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.

Don't lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations. Expect the best of yourself, and then do what is necessary to make it a reality.
Ralph Marston

"Sometimes it is more important to discover what one cannot do than what one can do."
Lin Yutang

While the above quotes may seem somewhat at odds with the last quote, they really do go together well.  Recently I heard someone say that the worst thing you could tell a child was that s/he could do or be anything.  That simply is not true.  We must learn appropriate but real boundaries and do all we can within those boundaries.  Overtime those boundaries change.  I'm 5'7" and have always been at the very least legally blind in one eye.  Today that eye has in fact been removed because of additional problems.  Playing in the NBA was never an option for me no matter how much I may have wanted it (which luckily I never did).  There is a balance between lowering our expectations of the possible and believing you can achieve the impossible.  Sometimes as in the Serenity Prayer, the real wisdom is in knowing the difference.


Everyone, not just children need boundaries and expectations. Healthy responsible adults and even teens have self-imposed internalized boundaries and expectations. It is your responsibility as a parent to help your children develop and eventually internalize their own boundaries and expectations as well as those required by society in order to help your children remain safe, and be happy, productive members of their community.

This is one of those situations where the extreme on either end is not the best answer. Expectations should not be so high that it is beyond the child’s reasonably ability or so low that they become dependant, incapable, and without any belief in their own abilities. Boundaries should not be so strict that children don’t have an opportunity to learn, explore, and make some mistakes, nor should they be so loose that the child is unsafe, learns that anything goes, or that s/he deserves to get what ever s/he wants.

This becomes even more difficult for the parent when you consider that not all children are the same, and the changing nature of boundaries and expectations as a child matures. If you consider boundaries and expectation as a line with a third of the line on the left being the one extreme and the third on the right being the other extreme, then you really have a third in the middle to safely work within.
One of the most important elements of boundaries and expectations is consistency and staying on message. If a toddler crawls on top of a table. It needs to be clear every time that that is not appropriate and unsafe. S/he needs to be removed from the table every time. The environment needs to be adjusted to make it impossible or at least more difficult to get on the table. Opportunities need to be removed to allow him or her to get on the table, and when s/he is on the table, a clear and discernible, gentle but firm “no” needs to be heard. (Remember, children need to hear “yes” and praise a lot more than they hear no.)

Children love to climb. Provide other ways they can climb safely, see out the window, or fill some of the same needs which are being met by climbing on the table.

Use Child Developmental information to help you better understand what appropriate boundaries and expectations are for children of various ages. Many children’s and young adult programs help provide reasonable expectations for children. Scouting and 4 H are two great examples.


My youngest son was born in late August. This made him one of the youngest children in his classes at school. He also had difficulty with speech and at times was made fun of because of his impediment (something which can be almost as difficult for a parent as the child.) For a time he received speech therapy. He struggled in school and was behind. One teacher even told my wife not to expect as much from him. While he was in scouting he was to memorize something rather short. I worked with him and encouraged him; but he just wasn’t getting it done. I remember speaking with him many years ago and as I write this I glanced at the doorway just a few feet from where I’m typing because that was where the conversation occurred. I told him that I knew he was capable. His response startled me. He asked; ‘why do you say I’m capable, mom doesn’t think I’m capable.’ As soon as I could I had a conversation with my wife, who then had a conversation with our son. Soon after that he completed the memorization. We worked hard with him and all of our children, especially in the area of reading; but also in other academic areas. When this son graduated from high school he had already completed many college courses. At this time he is just about to complete his second semester of actual college and will be within about five credits of being a college junior. He is almost a straight A student. Yes, a lot of that is because of the type of kid he is. He is hard working, gifted and talented. Part of it though is that we believed in him, had high; but not unreasonable expectations of him and we put in the extra effort to help him while demonstrating that we and many others believed he was worth the investment of time.

It’s one thing to say you have expectations and tell someone about boundaries, it is another to invest the time and effort to demonstrate you really believe what you have said.
Here's another great story: Kerrying On - Just a Child


There are many examples of research demonstrating the power of expectations: Teachers told that all the children in a class were given a test and that certain children would bloom and demonstrate higher academic achievement, workers who’s only expectation was that they could be janitors, becoming computer operators and trainers simply because of a different set of expectations and additional training and assistance, children and adults receiving an investment of time, education, and opportunity because someone believed in them.

The key is matching the expectation with the investment of your time, energy and assistance.

Key Words:

Google parenting search engine below, and any major search engine: Child Development; Developmental Milestones; Typical Child Development; Pygmalion Effect; Self-fulfilling Prophecy

Google Scholar below: Children Expectations; Children Boundaries

Supplemental Material:
Children First-40 Developmental Assets: A community project for youth development

Supported Play Date Interactions Between Children With Autism and Typically Developing Peers

Difficulties with social interaction are characteristic of
autism. This study presents data illustrating the use of
motivational strategies in play dates to improve the quality
of social interactions between children with autism
and their typically developing peers. Specifically, a multiple
baseline design across participants shows how a
contextual support package implemented during play
dates can promote reciprocal interactions and improve
affect. These results support the use of intervention strategies
that target the pivotal area of motivation and provide
evidence for using play dates as a context for intervention.
The findings are discussed in terms of promoting
quality interactions and encouraging friendship

BEGINNINGS Chapter 2. Association vs. Isolation

Association includes associating with positive supports outside the home as well as amongst the family within the home.
Play together, eat together, read together, learn together, work together, and talk together. If you believe in God, pray together.
This will be discussed in greater detail under Supports and Resilience.


Sometimes very simple solutions can have a profound impact. Decades ago a research study was published which stated that one visit a month from someone outside the family reduced the occurrence or likelihood of child abuse by 50%. I will add that the person needs to be a mentally healthy positive role model. Since that time there has been a great deal of research to corroborate those findings; however, it’s not just child abuse. Depression, general mental health, and healthy child development are assisted and supported by positive involvement from individuals and organizations outside the home and immediate family.  This includes involvement with these individuals through school, church, and outside activities, as well as inviting these people into your home.

Key Words:

Through Google Scholar below, use the key words: "Isolation Child Abuse"; "Isolation Depression"; Isolation Domestic Violence

Supplemental Material:

Supported Play Date Interactions Between Children With Autism and Typically Developing Peers

BYU study finds relationships help you live longer

BEGINNINGS Chapter 1. Adoption:


Adoption can be a wonderful gift of life, hope, and happiness for both the child(ren) and parents. I know many children and adults who were adopted. Some as infants, some as older children, and some as children with special needs. There are many loving adults who have the capacity to bring additional children to their home and raise them as their own, creating a bond as sure as anything biological. For those who can and who have the desire, it is absolutely commendable and can be a wonderful loving experience for everyone involved.

As mentioned, I’ve known parents who have adopted children with special needs. Wonderful people who stepped into a situation with eyes wide open and who, on an ongoing basis “stepped up to the plate” to meet the sometimes extensive unrelenting needs of these children. There are many parents who are able to find great reward through the love they share, they service they provide, and which continues through the life of the child.

Sometimes parents adopt children with special needs which were either unknown or for which they were unprepared. Sometimes this occurs when an older grandparent adopts one of their own grandchildren who as s/he grows older becomes more than the grandparent can handle. Sometimes it occurs when a parent adopts a child about whom they know very little or of whom they have little understanding of the potential needs. Recently there was a great deal of media attention about a foreign adoption gone bad. It is a horrible thing to adopt then reject a child; however, my goal is not to place blame on what has happened. My goal is to encourage people who adopt, to adopt with their eyes open and prepare to stay the course. I do not want to discourage people from adopting. I do want to encourage adoptive parents who are willing and able to be prepared and determined to do whatever it takes for children with special needs.

There are seven issues you should be especially concerned about, and potentially prepared for the effect it may have for the children and you: 1. Mental health (of both parents and their family members); 2. Physical health (of both parents and their family members); 3. Drug (including tobacco) and alcohol consumption of the mother during pregnancy: 4. Attachment (especially for children who either were not adopted as newborns); 5. Physical Health of the child. 6. Your ability to continue to parent and care for the child(ren) as you grow older. and 7. If an open adoption or an adoption of related children, what is the ongoing relationship going to be with birth parents and extended family.

If you are thinking about adopting, don’t just trust the agency, find out everything you can about the child, consult with an independent professional you can trust and make sure you are willing and able to stay the course. After you have adopted is not the time to decide that this child was more than you could handle.


I won’t give any specifically identifying information; however, I have personally known adoptive parents and/or adopted children who have overcome all of the above successfully. Sometimes it is extremely difficult and in some cases it takes more skill and patience than most parents possess. If you are both determined and prepared almost any adoptive situation can work; however, some situations are more than many parents can handle.

Key Words:

Google Parenting Search Engine below, type in: "Things to consider when adopting a child", and/or "reputable adoption agencies", and/or "special needs adoptions", and/or "Wednesday's Child"

Remember, just because you find it on the internet, doesn't mean that it is or is not reputable.  Do your homework.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Safety First

Safety First

When our oldest daughter was old enough to start watching her siblings for short periods of time I would always tell her that her first responsibility was safety, her second responsibility was peace and her third responsibility was any chores that needed to be done.

As a parent you have a similar hierarchy. Safety is always your first responsibility and even though most of the time you can place peace next in your hierarchy of importance, sometimes teaching has to come before peace; but safety always comes first.

Be careful not to sacrifice peace by trying to do everything at once or by putting wants before needs. It can be easy to neglect what’s most important while trying to do everything. For some it can even become and excuse, “see, I’ve done all these things…and it’s still not better.” Activity alone never replaces doing the right, sometimes hard, thing.

While this book is about raising healthy, happy, self-reliant, responsible, productive children, it is also about peace in the home and family.

Critical Thinking: How can I tell the difference between good research and garbage?

There’s an old joke about a company that wanted to hire a statistician. The first candidate entered the room and asked a number of questions from a panel of three interviewers. At the end of the interview one of the interviewers stood and walked to a black board and wrote 2 + 2 = and asked the candidate to answer the question. The first person went to the black board and wrote the number 4, was thanked by the panel and escorted to the door. This continued through the day. At the end of the day with the final candidate the interviewer wrote the same problem on the black board, except this time the candidate looked around, walked to the windows and pulled the shades, walked to the door, opened it a crack to see if anyone was close by then closing the door walked to the panel and leaning close, whispered, what would you like the answer to be?

Whether you found the joke humorous or not, it raises an important point with research and data. Often the data you hear about in advertising, politics, and even science is biased. Sometimes this is on purpose and is done with the intention to either deceive or convince you of one thing or another. Sometimes it is not on purpose; but is simply sloppy research that allows bias to slip in.
Even what appears to be the best research may have it's flaws.  For example Piaget's research on the topic of "conservation."  I theorized when my oldest daughter was about three years old that if it was important enough for her, she would understand the concept.  (When a liquid in one glass is poured into another glass of a different shape and size, she would still understand which glass had more.)  I tried it with chocolate milk and or Kool-Aid and she got it every time.  A similar experiment is sometimes duplicated with pennies.  What does a little kid care about pennies.  Try it with Skittles or M & Ms and see if they don't know the difference.  More younger children will retain the concept of which is more with a higher motivation.

So, how can you tell the difference?

The first thing is to not simply believe what someone reports as the results of research; but to look at the actual research. At the bottom of this blog you will find the Google Scholar Search Engine. This is a place where you can search for actual research articles. In many cases you will only be able to see the abstract, which is a type of summary. If it looks like you want to read the whole article you will need to either pay for the article or go to a local university library and find the actual journal (some larger city libraries also carry journals).

Once you find the article you want to look at the research design. This will almost always be a section within the article. There you will want to especially look for two things; randomized subjects (randomized controlled samples) and blind assessment. I remember one article I read a few years ago where they said they randomized; however all of the children from one group lived in the city and received the extra services being research and all of the “control” subjects (children not receiving the extra service) lived out in the country. The reason they gave for this was that the children outside of the city lived too far away to receive the extra services. Unfortunately there are many other differences in the environment for the children. So many differences or “variables” that it would be impossible to say that the difference in results was the result of the additional services which were being researched. Another big problem is the natural bias of the researchers themselves. If you have a lot of work and effort in a research project, you may have an interest in seeing it successful or in getting the desired results. For this reason you want to look for “double blind” studies. These are studies where the researcher doing the assessments on the children do not know which children were involved in the “treatment,” or extra service, or whatever is being researched.

Learn to be a good critical thinker when looking at research, advertising, text books, or listening to politicians. Additional resources can be found here.

Who I AM...at least a little of who I am.


State Employment

► Subject Matter Expert: Developmental Disabilities

► Expert/Instructor: Plan, Goal, and Objective writing

► Expert/Instructor: Community Collaboration

► Early Intervention Specialist

► Appointed: Governor’s Coordinating Council for Families and Children. Member Executive Committee

► Program Manager

► Child Protection supervisor

► Children’s Mental Health supervisor

► Children's Developmental Disabilities Supervisor

Counseling Center: (Feb. 1991-June 1993)

► Psychotherapist: Children and Families

► Director: Children’s Crisis Team

► MANDT (crisis intervention) instructor

State of Utah: Self-Sufficiency Counselor (for adults with disabilities)

(There were a number of articles written in the Deseret News and a national publication on my work and program.)

Additional Experience

► Chair: North West Regional Summit on Youth

► Chair: Madison County Community Council

► Chair: Lewis Clark Coalition for Families and Youth

► Chair: Upper Valley Center for Domestic Violence


Brigham Young University: M.Ed. Educational Psychology, (Aug. 1990)

Additional Education

Ricks College

Seattle Pacific University

Eastern Washington University