The Good Housekeeping Book Of Child Care: Including Parenting Advice, Health Care, and Child Development for Newborns to Preteens

The Good Housekeeping Book Of Child Care: Including Parenting Advice, Health Care, and Child Development for Newborns to Preteens

by Good Housekeeping (Editor)

Paperback(1 PBK ED)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780688175474
Publisher: Hearst
Publication date: 12/31/2001
Edition description: 1 PBK ED
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 8.25(w) x 10.50(h) x 0.56(d)

Read an Excerpt



The healthy child is one who feels good about himself, his family, and his place in the world. While there's no overstating your importance to his physical growth and development, what he also needs from you is infinitely more incalculable. You're his mainstay during these vulnerable years; from you he'll derive his belief in his own worth and his faith in life's myriad possibilities.


From the moment you discover that you're going to become a parent, you'll be caught up in a lifelong effort to be the best parent you can be. Over the years, you'll likely find that the process taps into your every known strength and weakness—-and several you didn't know you possessed. Sometimes, caring for your child will come naturally; at other times, you'll have to think long and hard about what to do next. You may feel confused at the outset because you don't have all the answers, only to discover as you muddle through that no one else has them either. Parenting is something we all learn by experience, through trial and error. As such, it is likely to be the most consuming and rewarding role you will ever play in your life.


Good parenting evolves from a curious alchemy of intuition, instinct, and intelligent awareness. Take time to step back occasionally and examine your approach. It helps to know why you react to certain situations the way you do. A little self-knowledge can help you become a better parent—-and to be a bit more forgiving of your imperfections. Parenting Expectations
If you are like most expectant parents, you'll start out with a preconceived notionof what becoming a parent is all about. Depending on your personal history, your expectations may get in the way of good parenting. Many parents feel inadequate at first. They want so much to be perfect and to raise the perfect child that reality comes as a crushing blow. Give yourself the freedom to make mistakes; it's perfectly normal to get frustrated, angry, or feel at a loss—-and not only when raising your first child. Each child is different and will go through a multitude of phases before reaching the age of independence. And while it's up to you to tailor your techniques to the child and to her stage of development, your child is remarkably resilient. The loving spirit of your actions will help temper occasional mistakes in your parenting.

Parenting Styles
It is hardly surprising that today's parents worry about what tack to take in raising their children. Many children live in homes with either one parent or two working parents. And children are exposed to a bewildering—-even frightening—-array of risks and challenges at an early age. Although by no means a guaranteed formula, a child-centered approach that is loving and nurturing creates an all-embracing context. Treating your child with dignity should be your guiding principle. When you set clearly defined limits and high, yet reasonable, standards of behavior, your child will grow to understand what you expect, will learn self-control, and will absorb your family's moral values. Convey your respect and trust by giving her the freedom to take initiative within those limits. And by making punishment a logical, reasonable consequence of deliberate wrongdoing, you are likely to gain compliance based on understanding and respect. If you come to a point where intuition and common sense don't seem to be enough, remember that you are not the first parent to have reached this point. Libraries have books on parenting and child development, community centers, schools, and churches offer parenting workshops, and your pediatrician has had a wide range of experiences; don't hesitate to make the most of the help available.


Most experts agree that the key to good parenting lies in being able to see the world through a child's eyes. Of course, you should learn all you can about each stage of child development, but it's just as vital to remember how you once perceived the world and your own parents. As long as you keep in mind your child's perspective, you're more likely to develop a greater sensitivity to what may sometimes seem like unreasonable demands and needs.

A Shifting Perspective

Each time you put yourself in your child's shoes, you'll gain a fresh look at her needs. When she's an infant, you can see how she craves your warmth and touch as you feed, change, wash, and lull her to sleep. As a toddler, she needs your reassuring presence and the routines you set to give an essential structure to her life and to enable her to assert her independence. When she's a preschooler, she looks to you, her first teacher, to learn the social skills that will enable her to form meaningful relationships as she grows. And when she reaches school age, her world broadening, her relationships becoming increasingly complex, she needs you to guide her as she reaches outward and to console her when she stumbles. At each stage, your child will need to know where she stands. Clear, firm, and fair limits help a child develop self-control and pave the way for a gradual internalizing of moral values. Your support nourishes her sense of confidence, allowing her to move closer to autonomy. One of the built-in ironies of parenting is that the better you do your job, the less your child needs you. One thing remains constant, however, despite all the changes in your child's perspective over the years: She's always going to need to know that there's at least one person who will be forever passionately committed to her well-being.

Copyright © 1995 by Hearst Communications, Inc.

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