This column contains sponsored ads from Amazon.com and other sources
Effective program endorsed by the AYCNP. Comes with 14 day free trial period.
from the Campaign
for a Commercial Free Childhood
Sharing Nature With Children
by Joseph Bharat Cornell
Children benefit from time spent enjoying nature. This book is recommended by American Camping Association and the National Audubon Society, as well as other organizations. Sharing Nature With Children is "..an effective tool for creating a greater awareness and enthusiasm for the beauty of nature." -- Today's Librarian
Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking: Powerful, Practical Strategies to Build a Lifetime of Resilience, Flexibility, and Happiness by Tamar E. Chansky
This is written by a leading clinical expert in child cognitive behavior therapy and anxiety disorders. Dr. Tamar Chansky provides guidance for parents and caregivers in changing negative thinking into positive, especially as it relates to raising children.
Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Kids Roots and Wings
by Kenneth R. Ginsburg MD MSEd FAAP
There are sometimes overwhelming stresses on children today. A child who develops resilience is more likely to bounce back from highly stressful situations or life's problems, present and future. This book helps children and teens to build resilience and learn coping strategies for life.
Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child: Eliminating Conflict by Establishing Clear, Firm, and Respectful Boundaries, by Robert J. MacKenzie Ed.D.
One of the cries of teachers and some school psychologists is that parents need to set firm boundaries for their children on many different fronts. This book helps parents to discern how they can set firm but loving boundaries for their children.
Parenting With Love and Logic, by Foster Cline, Jim Fay, Eugene H. Peterson
"Love and Logic" parents teach their children responsibility and the logic of life by solving their own problems, providing skills for coping in the real world. After laying out the principles of "Love and Logic," the authors provide "parenting pearls," which are strategies for applying the method to actual situations such as back-seat battles in the car, homework, and keeping bedrooms clean. The book is clear, energetic, upbeat and sensible.
Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture by journalist Peggy Orenstein
From an author featured in New York Times Magazine, someone who has an issue with Cinderella syndrome for her daughter. Comical, passionate writer who went to great lengths to get to the heart of today's pop-culture for tweens.
How to Unspoil Your Child Fast: A Speedy, Complete Guide to Contented Children and Happy Parents, by Richard Bromfield
This concise read offers quick and easy info for parents struggling with their self-focused (aka spoiled) child, and describes helpful, pertinent and loving ways to correct spoiled behavior before it becomes a serious problem. A must-read for today's overindulgent parents -- Ashley Haugen, ParentWorld.com
From the Author: I aspired to take what parents and children had taught me for 30 years of practice and put it into a quick and doable plan that can quickly turn a home around.
365 TV Free Activities, by Steven J. Bennett and Ruth Bennett
First saw this book in a first grade classroom. Great ideas for parents and kids. Great concept!
Fake, Fact, and Fantasy: Children's Interpretations of Television Reality
(Routledge Communication Series)
by Maire Messenger Davies
Routledge psychology and sociology books are excellent, insightful and generally well-developed, highly professional. Based on a study examining the meaning of the term "media literacy" in children, this volume concentrates on audiovisual narratives of television and film and their effects. It closely examines children's concepts of real and unreal and how they learn to make distinctions between the two. It also explores the idea that children are protected from the harmful effects of violence on television by the knowledge that what they see is not real.
So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids, by Diane E. Levin Ph.D., Jean Kilbourne Ed.D.
The media accentuates and hastens the sexuality of young girls. Dianne Levin, Ph.D., notes how everything from the Disney Channel, Barbie, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and Bratz, is affecting children.
Overcoming ADHD Without Medication: A Guidebook for Parents and Teachers, by the AYCNP
This 128 page book gives practical ideas on how parents and educators can help children to overcome symptoms associated with ADHD, without a prescription. Proven methods, many references, footnotes, bibliography, index, recommended reading and agencies.
Please Don't Label My Child: Break the Doctor-Diagnosis-Drug Cycle and Discover Safe, Effective Choices for Your Child's Emotional Health, by noted child psychiatrist Scott Shannon, MD
A wonderfully insightful book on child psychology/psychiatry. This book should be in every parent's library.
Your Child's Health, by Barton Schmidt
A complete medical reference for parents and well read book by medical doctor Barton Schmidt. He describes, also, the effects that violent movies can have on a child and cautions parents.
Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky (Six Stages of Parenthood; Ask the Children)
What works and what doesn't, hints and tips, and over a hundred suggestions (games and family activities) for involving kids in the pursuit of learning.
Mommy I'm Scared
by Joanne Cantor, PhD
A wonderful book for parents, teachers and principals, to help them to realize the tremendous impact "scary" TV and movies can have on a child's emotions and psychological profile. R-rated movies and G-rated movies, as well as everything in between, can leave a deep emotional footprint on a child. What should parents do? Dr. Cantor discusses these thoughts simply and insightfully.
What to Do When You're Scared and Worried - for children by James J. Crist
"An easy-to-follow and well organized self-help tool that will be invaluable for kids who struggle with fears or worries."—School Library Journal
Soothing and beautiful music for babies and prenatal
Sampled / tested and recommended by the AYCNP
Teach a child to play the piano! This helps them learn to enjoy beautiful music, to have self respect, and to have wholesome recreation.
Royal & Langnickel Painting by Numbers Junior Small Art Activity Kit, Dolphins, by Royal & Langnickel
If you want to get a child, whether it be your child or your relative or friend's child, a gift they will LOVE! paint by numbers is the gift. Children spend hours without getting bored. From 4 years old through young teen, kids love paint by numbers. This is one sample among many. Both girls and boys love it. This is written from experience with children, art, and giving children this excellent gift---paint by numbers! ---Advice from the AYCNP.
Photo of family Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Boy Reading - Image: Arvind Balaraman / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Concert and wrestling photos public domain images under Creative Commons license.
Child artist - Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Child Health Online
Non-sponsored link for good info on children's safety, health.
20 Faces - Fun Grade School Activities - Free Printable Worksheets (on-site)
|Page updated: January 6, 2016
|Parenting Advice and Tips |
24 Steps in Positive Parenting
"Parenting Advice and Tips - 24 Steps in Positive Parenting" has been edited and reviewed by psychologist R. Y. Langham, M.M.F.T., Ph.D.
Parenting Advice and Tips, 24 Steps in Positive Parenting
takes an in-depth look at child psychology and the mental health of children. You will learn helpful tips on how to model good parenting techniques, offer guidance and support, set reasonable limits, control what your child watches on television (i.e. protecting your child from violent and/or sexually suggestive television shows and movies), entertain him/her with fun, educational activities, and shower your child with unconditional love, time, attention, and affection.
- Facing the Screen Dilemma: Young Children, Technology, and Early Education by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood
(Free eBook courtesy of the CCFC - on-site).
Monitor what your child watches
(both television and movies)
1. A positive parenting step consists of monitoring what your child watches on television and what movies he/she watches. For many children, reduce the amount of time your child watches television shows and/or movies, and restrict his/her video game activities.
2. Do not place video game consoles (i.e. PlayStation 3 or 4, Xbox, Wii, etc.) and/or a television/DVR in your child's bedroom because it will distract him/her and contribute to a sedentary lifestyle. In other words, if your child spends the majority of his/her time watching television after school or playing video games in his/her room, there is a good chance his/her academic progress, physical condition, and social and emotional development will be negatively affected.
It is also important to note that adolescents (children and teens) that have game consoles and televisions in their bedrooms tend to stay up late at night or even most of the night watching TV, movies and/or music videos, or playing video games. Many times these children are too tired to concentrate in class the next day, which can cause their grades to decline. To encourage healthy emotional, mental, and physical development, remove the television and other electronics from your child's bedroom, and set a designated time that he/she can partake in these activities (i.e. after homework has been completed or once chores have been performed).
A prime example of why it is important to keep electronics (i.e. televisions, computers, iPods, game consoles, radios, etc.) out of your child's bedroom is: a pre-teen who attends special education classes in a North Newark, NJ elementary school spent the majority of his night watching television. As a result, he did not fall asleep until around 1:00 a.m. each night. After a discussion with the child’s teacher, his mother removed the television from his bedroom. The boy started to fall asleep by 10:00 p.m. each night. Going to bed earlier helped him to concentrate and focus at school, his behavior noticeably improved, as did his grades (Samuels, J. 2013). Approximately 67% of adolescents (children and teens) have televisions in their bedroom, which provides them with unlimited access to their favorite cable and/or satellite programs. Many child-watch organizations express concern about this ongoing trend.
To learn more on children, parenting, and media influences, check out "TRUCE." This website offers helpful suggestions on how to monitor and balance the media's (i.e. television, Internet, media violence, and sex, etc.) presence in your child's life (off-site link). See also Positive Parenting
3. Place computers in a central location in your home, and keep an eye on how much time your child is spending on the computer/Internet and what sites are being accessed. Talk to your child about Internet safety, and put restrictions on the computer so that he/she cannot access inappropriate websites (i.e. gambling, pornography, violent video games, or movies).
4. Encourage your child to play outside, develop a hobby, and/or pick up a book and read.
Although parental Internet control software may not be 100% foolproof, it can protect your child from opening inappropriate and/or damaging websites. This type of software also allows you to monitor what sites your child has accessed, and exercise a measure of control as to when they can use the Internet. Educational, governmental, and parenting organizations agree that Internet control software is one part of protecting children and teens from potential damaging influences on the Internet. Educating a child or teen is of equal or even greater importance, and is primarily the parent's responsibility.
Education and Professional Academic Assistance
5. For struggling students, you can foster your child's growth and development by signing him/her up for academic tutoring and/or coaching (if he/she needs it). In addition, personal assistants are available to assist children with special needs at school. If you are interested in learning more, contact your city or state's Board of Education.
6. Look into one-on-one academic enhancement programs (i.e. reading tutoring) offered at public schools and/or libraries.
It is important to note that children, whose time watching television shows/movies and playing video games is limited, have higher reading ability on average than those with unlimited access. Recent studies have indicated that children who watch R-rated movies have consistently poorer grades than children who do not.
7. Communicate with your child's teachers on a regular basis, and attend and participate in all school-related meetings and parent-teacher conferences.
Children's Mental Health Checklist for Parents and Educators
Healthy Recreational Activities, Music, and Art
8. Provide healthy recreational activities for your child after school and on weekends.
9. If your child expresses an interest in art, then enroll him/her in art lessons. Or, if your child likes to dance and/or sing, enroll him/her in dancing and/or singing lessons.
Suggestions that can spark your child’s interest in art - Drawing Flowers is a valuable website that teaches children and teens how to draw flowers. Off-site link
10. A good way to model positive parenting is to purchase a variety of educational and entertaining art books and supplies for your child and asking him/her to help you decorate your home.
11. Remove comic books, music CDs, and/or games that have violent, occult, and/or spiritualistic overtones from your home. Suggest that your child listen to happier and/or mellower music rather than alternative, gothic, heavy metal, grunge, hard core, and/or hard rock music. Most importantly, keep tabs on how much time your child spends listening to music, watching television, and playing video games.
Although many little girls dream of one day becoming one of the Disney Princesses, that these fantasies not only contain hidden acts of violence and stereotyping, but also promote unrealistic romantic expectations.
If you are interested in finding out more about the myths and hidden meanings in Disney Princess (and Barbie) stories, check out Blogging Archetypes and Stereotypes Project: Modern Princess by Julia Shin & Jung Eun Chung (off-site link).
Critics have suggested that Disney movies are "horror movies for children" made with the "highest illustrative art." Disney Princess movies, while projecting an image of a wholesome fantasy for children, also contain scenes of violence and terror. Because the Disney characters are so well-developed, it is easy for a child to become emotionally attached to them.
For some sensitive children, especially girls, a preoccupation with Disney characters and stories can contribute to the development and progression of mental health disorders, which is especially true when the preoccupation is combined with other powerful media influences, or when real emotional attachments are lacking in the child’s life (Neubauer).
Moreover, stereotypes of extremes (i.e. truly evil characters versus portraits of light and heroism), can contribute to a child's “all or nothing" mentality. In other words, these stereotypes can significantly influence a child's perception of himself/herself, other people, and the world around him/her. Some researchers have expressed concerns over how mentally ill individuals are stereotypically portrayed in Disney films. Many times the mentally ill are referred and/or portrayed as "nuts," "crazy," and/or "evil".
Negative stereotypes can lead to a prejudiced, discriminatory, and/or judgmental view of the mentally ill, a fear of mentally ill individuals and/or a negative self-image that if by chance, the child later in life, develops some form of mental illness, can be harmful. It is important to consider that approximately 50% of Americans have or will be diagnosed with a mental illness.
A preoccupation and/or unlimited access to violent or sexual movies, music, and/or video games during childhood can lead to depression and/or ADHD, especially if the adolescent (i.e. child, preteen, or teenager) has a genetic pre-disposition towards mental illness.
Parenting Tips: Do not overindulge your child with Disney princess paraphernalia, memorabilia, and/or products.
Gregory Fouts, Ph.D. (off-site link) -
Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, provides excellent data on the relationship between media influences and the thought processes and behaviors of adults, teens, and children. Fouts also provides valuable information on the relationship between Disney fantasies and the development and/or progression of eating disorders in adolescents.
Many children enjoy learning how to play a musical instrument. In fact, learning how to play the piano and/or the violin can foster emotional and social intelligence in a child. Research suggests that most children can learn to play simple pieces on a violin in as little as two or three months.
Discipline and Support
12. Provide your child with love, structure, and guidance. Be consistent. Positive parenting means never disciplining in anger. Children, especially as they get older, need to understand what they did wrong and why they are being disciplined. Explain to your child why a certain action/behavior is "good" or "harmful" for him/her rather than just laying down rules and expecting him/her to follow them without question. Taking time to explain to children why something is "good" or "bad" and why they are being disciplined will not only help them from making the same mistakes in the future, it will also show them that you really care about their well-being and happiness.
13. Make sure your child is spending time with positive and motivating people. Meet your child's friends, and get to know the people your child spends time with.
14. Always know your child's activities, especially when he/she visits other children. Communicate with the parents of your child’s friends about his/her special needs.
15. Plan day trips to art museums, aquariums, zoos, and/or places of historical interest.
Provide Healthy Recreational Outdoor Activities
16. Encourage your child to exercise (i.e. walk, hike, swim, jog, go the gym, golf, skate, play sports, etc.) and/or exercise with your child. Exercising will not only keep your child healthy, it will also increase the time you spend together. Also visit local parks or lakes with your child for recreation.
17. If you want to provide healthy recreational activities for your child, adopt a pet or purchase fish from a pet store. Caring for a pet will teach your child how to be nurturing, loving, giving, compassionate, and responsible.
Children Need a Good Night's Sleep
18. Make sure your child is getting an adequate amount of sleep each night. It is also important that your child has scheduled bedtimes. In other words, your child needs to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Do not give your child medicine to help him/her to sleep because this may interfere with his/her ability to fall asleep naturally (i.e. dependence on medications to sleep).
Parenting Tips: Keep the TV and other electronics out of the bedroom. Calm your child down (i.e. reduce activities) an hour or two before bedtime. Playing video games or watching movies before bed will most likely interfere with your child’s ability to fall asleep. Practice positive parenting by placing parental controls on the television and computer (i.e. shut-off times and rating labels) so that you can monitor what your child does when you are not around.
Current research studies indicate that toddlers who watch too much television exhibit a significant increase in social regression and marked decreases in language development.
Positive Parenting: Time and Love
19. Spend quantity-quality time with your child. Show your child how much you love and accept him/her on a regular basis. More importantly, be patient with your child. Allow your child to develop at his/her own pace. Do not expect to be the "perfect" parent. Rather, just be there for your child, and do your best to be a good role model for him/her.
20. Be accountable. Take responsibility for your decisions and actions. This will teach your child how important it is to always be honest.
21. Excessive time listening to music in many forms can affect your child or teen's mental health.
Some children spend the majority of their free time downloading and listening to music and/or watching music videos on their iPods, iPhones, computers, etc. Listening to music and/or watching music videos for hours and hours each day can affect the way a child processes information. Chemical changes in the brain, as a result of overstimulation, can significantly affect a child's thought processes and behaviors. Positive parenting involves setting boundaries (i.e. balance and moderation) when it comes to music. See: The Relationship Between Teens, Listening to Popular Music and Major Depression
Reading strengthens the mind while television commercials defragment it, therefore heightening the risk of depression in children.
22. Stay well-informed when it comes to your child. Know what your child is reading, playing, listening to, and watching. If you would like more information on these topics, check out Parents and Awake! magazines (non-commercial). Be selective when it comes to choosing parenting books. Psychologists, educators, physicians, psychiatrists, etc. may have different opinions on this topic, so only take into consideration the advice that best suits your parenting style.
23. Although this area is often ignored, dismissed, or overlooked, it is essential that you care for your family's spiritual needs. Read the Bible and pray with your child every day. If your child is very young, teach him/her how to pray. Pray for your child, and teach him/her values, morals, and ethics. Do not let TV teach your child valuable life lessons. The Bible has good instructions on how to effectively raise productive, positive, healthy, and successful children.
24. Always hope and never give up. Your positive attitude will not only reflect in your thoughts and behaviors, it will also foster positivity in your child.
Infants who watch too much television showed a marked increase in social regression and a decrease in language development.
Music and concerts can affect a child's mental health.
Some children are on their iPods, or watching music videos, Internet videos, and concerts almost 24/7. For some, the long hours of stimulation are more than their minds can handle, and this can contribute to chemical changes in the mind that can be overwhelming. Balance and moderation are needed.
See: Major depression teens and music time
Reading strengthens the mind, while commercial television defragments it, which can contribute to depression in children.
Avoid Exposing your Child to Violence in the Media
Making wise choices about what your child is exposed to in the media and modeling positive behaviors can help your child grow into a healthy, well-rounded individual. As mentioned previously, know what your child is watching on television and playing on the game consoles at home, after school, and when he/she is with friends.
In a highly visual world art is a great way for children to satisfy their need for visual stimulation. Art projects not only build self-esteem, they also contribute to your child’s mental and emotional health, well-being, and resilience.
Pro-Wrestling and Violent Movies
Violence on television does affect the psychological profile of children.
Children are constantly exposed to media-related violence. For instance, Transformers movies, along with most superhero films and pro-wrestling events on cable television demonstrate some form of violence, which can influence a child’s thoughts and behaviors. Violent video games also influence a child's perception of what is "right" and "wrong."
Watching violence on television significantly affects the emotional and psychological health and well-being of children.
Violence in the media (i.e. pro-wrestling) affects the way a child sees himself/herself, others, and the world around him/her. Violent and sadistic movie scenes (although most children realize that the scenes are staged) tend to leave long-lasting impressions (i.e. deep emotional scars and callousness towards harming others) on pre-teen children.
Children often do not fully grasp the concept between fantasy and reality until 9 or 10 years old. Spiderman and Superman are as real as life for many 7 year old boys.
Parenting Advice - Art is not only a Positive, mind-strengthening activity for children, it also protects them from media violence
Children need to experience positive visual images on a regular basis, especially if they are constantly exposed to sexual and violent pictures.
Art helps children build a reservoir of positive visual images. It is important that you foster your child's creative aspirations. Art projects help your child learn self-control, to concentrate in school, and to focus on positive ideas. It can also help your child manage and/or overcome ADHD symptoms. See: The Art of Embracing ADHD by Dr. Daniella Barroqueiro.
Free coloring book websites for children
| This page Tigers (off-site link)
101 Absolutely Free Kids' Activities
About.com newsletter (off-site link)
Children and Parenting Advice References:
1. Corliss, R., Poniewozik, J. (2005). 5 DVDs Worth Your Time. Time Magazine.
2. Ornstein, P. (2006). What's Wrong With Cinderella? New York Times Magazine.
- One mother’s concern with the Disney Princess culture for little girls.
3. Nigg, J. (2006). What Causes ADHD? Understanding What Goes Wrong and Why. New York: Guilford.
4. Olfman, S. (2009). The Sexualization of Childhood. New York: Praeger.
5. Schmidt, B. (1991). Your Child's Health. New York: Bantam
Child Safety On Info Highway
Off site link
NetSmartz. Internet education for parents and children
K9 - Free parental internet filtering - blocking software (on-site - K9 is not a sponsor, but a free program for parents)
The program does not have all the "bells and whistles" of some subscription-based Internet monitoring/filtering software programs, but it works well and is suitable for most households.
Psychiatry and children - Off-site
Sparks, J. A. & Duncan, B. (2004, Spring). The Ethics and Science of Medicating Children. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry, 6(1). The University of Rhode Island.
Pages Related to Parenting and Raising Children (on-site)
24 Positive Steps for Effective Parenting - Children's Mental Health
Autism in Children
Children & Television
Walt Disney Biography
Children & Movies
Best Children's Books
Hundreds of positive books for children and teens