Parenting

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Learn the basic principles of healthy parenting, avoid mealtime battles, and encourage physical fitness.

Introduction to healthy parenting

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Raising a happy, healthy child is one of the most challenging jobs a parent can have -- and also one of the most rewarding. Yet many of us don't approach parenting with the same focus we would use for a job. We may act on our gut reactions or just use the same parenting techniques our own parents used, whether or not these were effective parenting skills.

Parenting is one of the most researched areas in the field of social science. No matter what your parenting style or what your parenting questions or concerns may be, from helping your child avoid becoming part of America's child obesity epidemic to dealing with behavior problems, experts can help.

In his book, The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting, Laurence Steinberg, PhD, provides tips and guidelines based on some 75 years of social science research. Follow them and you can avert all sorts of child behavior problems, he says.

Good parenting helps foster empathy, honesty, self-reliance, self-control, kindness, cooperation, and cheerfulness, says Steinberg, a distinguished professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia. It also promotes intellectual curiosity, motivation, and encourages a desire to achieve. Good parenting also helps protect children from developing anxiety, depression, eating disorders, antisocial behavior, and alcohol and drug abuse.


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Parenting - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with healthy parenting.
Parenting - Mistakes and Successes Question: Briefly, share some of your parenting mistakes and successes while striving to be a good parent.
Parenting - Dinnertime Battles Question: It's a challenge to get your child to eat, much less eat the right stuff. Share your mealtime struggles and successes.
Parenting - Family Fitness Question: Exercise can be a family affair. What are your family's favorite forms of fitness?
Learn about the Love and Logic parenting style.

Parenting with Love and Logic™

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

There are many effective parentingstyles. Training children to develop responsibility while putting the fun back into parenting are the goals of a parenting method known as Love and Logic™ parenting. The Love and Logic™ system has been described and advanced by Jim Fay, a former school principal and renowned educational consultant, Charles Fay, PhD, a child psychologist, and child psychiatristFoster Cline, MD.

The idea behind the Love and Logic™ theory is this: Parents should provide an atmosphere of love, acceptance, and empathy while allowing the natural consequences of a child's behavior and actions to do the teaching. This should happen in the early years, when the consequences of the inevitable less-than-perfect choices are not too severe or damaging. By the time the child reaches adulthood, he or she is equipped with the decision-making skills needed for adult life. The method also teaches insight into parenting styles and how our own parenting styles can, inadvertently, sometimes rob a child of the ability to grow up making good decisions for him- or herself. It's applicable to all children from toddlers to teens.

The Love and Logic™ method advocates offering choices that are acceptable to the parent, so it isn't about letting 3-year-olds choose whether they want to play in the street or the fenced yard and letting them suffer the dire consequences of a poor decision. Instead, the parent is encouraged to offer children a range of age-appropriate and acceptable choices in order to experience the teaching value of their decisions.