Babywearing is the practice of carrying the baby in a sling or other baby carriers. Though babywearing primarily evolved as a convenient baby transport mechanism in the industrialized world, it also bears immense psychological benefits for both the mother and the baby.
Babywearing is a phase in both the infant and the parents’ lives that requires careful thought. Here’s why:
The mothers’ happy hormones or oxytocin levels increase through the physical contact with the infant resulting in better parental care, maternal bonding, easier breastfeeding and lower incidence of postpartum depression.
Fathers who indulge in babywearing are known to have better bonding with their babies.
Seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting, feeling motion along with the caregiver and constantly experiencing parental rhythms, calms down the infant providing a better environment for neural development, respiratory and gastrointestinal health and better muscle tone development.
We could measure our time by the number of days. Or we could create experiences, build memories. One of my absolute favourites on looking at Time with perspective is by Tim Urban, the co-founder ofWait But Why.
I am rephrasing him here, “If we break down the number of days you have left on this planet, and then go on to analyse the number of times you have the opportunity to do your favourite things, you could be left with just a handful of opportunities to do those things you love.”
I love tea time with my dad(one strong reason is that he thinks I am the best tea-maker in the world). Let’s say I have 30 years left on this planet, he perhaps has fewer. Considering that most of my afternoons are spent away from him at teatime, my opportunity to do this thing has already dwindled to about 10%. The remaining days, when I still have the opportunity to be with him, he is surrounded by other people and things demanding his attention. On other days, my attention is scattered among other people and things. Out of the remaining days left, there might be some days where we have just expressed differences on something and prefer our ‘space’. So no shared teatime. Out of this time left, some ‘urgent’ things come up every now and again. At the end of it, I am left with only a handful of opportunities to enjoy tea time with my dad.
Time is the only unrelenting warrior. We never get a second chance at the same moment ever again. Our lives are really only a series of things we do with this time, every moment.
Decades of research has shown that higher involvement from fathers in parenting is directly correlated with the child’s chances of being successful. Also, it also goes without saying that the child enjoys a more secure emotional environment and a better social life with a supportive dad around them.
The benefits of having a dad around start showing from very early on. A U.S. Department of Education study found that children who enjoy a close relationship with their fathers are 43% more likely to earn better grades (mostly ranging in As). Girls who grow up with involved fathers are seen to have higher self-esteem, less body image issues, and are much more confident. Also, they have a better chance at maintaining steady relationships because they have a good role model to look up to. Every girl sees their father as their first hero.
However, dads experience unique problems that could prevent them from being as involved as they would like in their children’s lives.
They have no role model
A dad who wants to be very involved in his kids’ parenting might not have the luxury of referring to role models from his own life. The present generation of fathers themselves have fathers who kept some emotional distance with them. This is not to say that the fathers did not love their kids, or that today’s dads have nothing to draw from their own fathers. It was simply an accepted norm to stay emotionally distant from your children if you are a dad.
They lack community support
Look up ‘parenting support groups’ in your local area or on Google and you will find that far more groups/blogs are funded, run, and backed up by mothers. It’s only recently that several dad bloggers have sprouted and speak openly about tending to their kids. Stay-at-home fathers and equal parental participation are beginning to be the hallmarks of millennial parenting, and yet, fathers lack the support of a community that mothers easily enjoy.
They do not get caretaker leave
Okay — before I get pelted, let me say this. I am aware that more and more companies have “parental leave” policies, and there is a vast encouragement to take advantage of it. However, there is a real problem with paternity leave. As this mom beautifully describes here, dads face very high pressure in terms of social expectations to be available at work all the time. In fact, the trend is that most men brag about not taking paternity leaves even though they were eligible for it.
Gender-stereotyping is a real thing
A lot of noise about women being boxed into certain roles and expectations can be seen in our society, some obvious and some not-so-obvious. Well, guess what? Men face the same thing. They are primarily seen as providers for the family, and everything else they want to do for the family is under-appreciated. In a study involving parents at San Francisco State University, fathers who saw themselves as role models were the ones who worked longer hours at the cost of being absent from their families. Most people(including themselves) saw that as the ideal way to be a father.
Their bodies give way
Experts say that the benefits will be passed on to kids when the dad is involved in everyday parenting. Playing little games with them, dressing them up, having dinner together, watching T.V, sharing jokes, and generally goofing around. A father’s stereotypical roughhousing style of interaction with kids is marked by excitement and unpredictability that channels their kids’ aggressive impulses.
However, most men during the middle age experience a depletion of energy due to various factors- stress, mid-life crisis, economic factors and career issues that tend to get vigorously snuffed out, as a result of the “Be-A-Man-Syndrome.”
This article first appeared on the Huffington Post.
Dealing with a special needs child is hard enough.
You are likely dealing with a shocking and life-changing revelation and trying hard to come to terms with it. There are times when you may be provoked into fiercely protecting your child’s dignity or dealing with strange glances at the supermarket – the rollercoaster is both physically and emotionally draining. What you don’t want on your plate is the added frustration of not being able to make sense of the endless paperwork, or miss out great opportunities for your child because you didn’t know they existed.
Katherine Kanaaneh, the author of the book, “Autism with HEART” has done a great service to all other parents, teachers, counselors, friends – basically, anyone who needs to understand an autistic person’s worldview. That makes it a book for well – everyone! We all know someone who needs that extra support. Her book is sensitive, honest, deeply empathetic and most importantly- extremely practical.
The book starts with her own struggles as a parent of an autistic child and unravels her learnings and she goes one step after another on her journey. She throws a fresh perspective on the many lives affected by autism in a family.
The book’s message is clear- Katherine urges you to refuse to be defeated by the condition and offers practical advice on things like –
1. How to organize your autism-related paperwork: She not only tells you what absolutely needs to be done, but adds a lot of information on the resources and agencies that you can reach out to for help with sorting it all out. She provides a ton of information on discounts on important services and apps, handouts and helpful checklists. (Personally, I think this bit makes the book really stand out and it’s no surprise that it’s already hit the Best Seller list on Amazon.)
2. Preventing Burnout: The book offers techniques for gaining mental and emotional strength, through support groups and mental discipline.
3. Leveraging the power of routines: The book walks us through a number of ideas for staying organised with everyday life, that can save us a lot of frustration.
4. Teaching life skills: The best gift that we can give a child is to teach him to fish instead of feeding him fish every day. Katherine has a ton of real-life examples on how to do just this for a special needs child.
5. Maintaining the quality of your own life: While the author never underestimates the value of support and empathy to an affected child, she gives clear guidelines on how to make time for other important things in your life – for example, quality time spent with your spouse. She emphasizes that these little but treasured family moments can go a long way in replenishing your energy for the challenges ahead.
The book will leave you feeling positive, hopeful, energized and a feeling that you can do it!
This review appeared first on the Huffington Post and is NOT a sponsored review.
About the author:
Devishobha Chandramouli is the founder of Kidskintha- a site dedicated to helping millennial parents raise happy kids. She believes that growing up well and happy is a function of growing up with well-informed adults. This site aims to deliver research-grounded and bite-sized pieces of information on two important facets of a child’s life- parenting and education. You can find her voice on the Huffington Post, Addicted2Success, TinyBuddha, Citizen Matters , Nectar and Lies About Parenting.