22 March 2012

The Right Parenting Style for my Little Headbanger

A few days after Julia's first birthday, she started banging her head and it's not because she likes rock music.  Every time she sits on her high chair or car seat, she bangs her head against the headrest.  Worse, she sometimes uses her hands to hit her head.  Our standard responses -- "No, don't do that!" or "Please don't hurt yourself, Julia" -- do not seem to be effective.  I remember just staring at her, helpless, praying that she stops banging her head.

I needed help so I researched about this behavior.  Though most of the articles say it's normal and is just a phase in child development, I was worried about a particular article that believes that this behavior is a symptom of a clinical disorder.  

This is not the first time I sought help from different references for answers or explanations. Though maternal instincts are often reliable, I read articles about parenting and child development in various websites and blogs.  I learn from various experts -- pediatricians, psychologists, professors, and of course, moms.  Their knowledge and learning experiences have broaden my perspective as a parent.  However, parenting is more complicated nowadays, don't you agree?  Google the word parenting and its going to recommend about 227,000,000 sites.  For me, the overwhelming number of references available for mothers has made parenting more complex and confusing. 

Our parenting style 

Amidst the various schools of thought, Don and I do not strictly follow a particular parenting style.   All the parenting principles we apply are based on a simple checklist: 
  •  Will it promote good health and simple lifestyle to Julia?
  •  Will it help build, develop and strengthen Julia's character as a child of God?
  •  Is the concept guided by Christian values and principles?

 As a first time mom, I quiver at the thought that Julia's future is dependent on how I will raise her as a parent.  Our responsibility as parents is overwhelming.  It's not like a task at work where I can just do the task again or pay a penalty for when I make a mistake.  It is building a solid foundation that will define my daughter's life.  That is why, for parenting references, we must only rely on credible sources. 

Here's our simple criteria for checking reliable parenting sources:
  1. All answers to the questions in the checklist above MUST be "yes."
  2. Know the source of the article.  It's easy to claim to be an expert on parenting. Use the power of technology in conducting background checking.  Once you have identified a roster of credible authors and websites, bookmark their sites for convenience or subscribe through email to automatically receive updates.
  3. Be flexible, be quick to adjust.  No style is engraved in stone.
  4. Do not limit your reading to a particular concept.  Check other parenting styles and find out what will work best for you and most importantly, your child. 
What are your favorite parenting references or resources?  What sites and websites do you recommend?

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