HAPPY PARENTING

Healthy Pregnancy

Pregnancy is more than just nine months; it is a lifelong project that requires adequate preparation to ensure better results.
The dos

Do physical checkup first for both you and your partner. (why: to resolve all health issues and problems, e.g. chronic diseases, such as asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, etc.).
Do blood tests to check your immunity to German measles (why: it can cause malformations in the baby) and chicken pox (why: immunization before conception if you have not had it before); to check your antibodies from toxoplasmosis (why: an infection that may affect conception and pregnancy).
Do discuss medical conditions with your doctor: previous pregnancy problems, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, premature baby; genetic disorders in family; current prescribed medications.
Do dental checkup (why: gum diseases may lead to premature birth), and dental work (why: avoiding filling or extraction during pregnancy).
Do weight management (why: overweight may lead to diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy; underweight may result in a small baby, problems during labor, and after birth).
Do find out your ideal weight: to determine that, you need to know your height, and weight, as well as your waist size (i.e. your waist circumference between your rib cage and above your belly button). A waistline of 35 inches or more for most women may indicate overweight.
Do find out your Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a measure of your body fat based on your weight and height. Your BMI is determined by this formula: BMI = (body weight in pounds) divided by (body height in inches x body height in inches) multiplied by (703). To illustrate, if you are 5’11” tall and you weigh 165 pounds, your BMI will be: (165/71x71) x 703 = 23   The BMI numbers have the following implications:

Any BMI that falls between 19 and 24.9 is considered ideal and healthy. 
Any BMI that is below 18.5 is considered underweight.
Any BMI that ranges from 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight; any BMI that is above 30 is considered obese.

You should be within 15 pounds of your ideal weight before pregnancy, and that also applies to your partner (why: an overweight partner may have decreased testosterone leading to depressed libido).
Do birth control until you are ready for pregnancy. Hormonal contraception may take months for fertility to return to normal. Natural family planning is the way to go.
Do boost nutrients for a healthy pregnancy. Important nutrients include the following:

Calcium (why: avoiding back and leg pain, insomnia, and irritability)-eat figs and raw leeks.
Folic acid (why: avoiding structural defects)-eat chives. Chives are a nutrient-dense food low in calories but high in nutrients. Always use a sharp knife to cut chives (why: avoid bruising the herb), and add chives to any dish near the end of cooking (why: avoid losing its flavor).
Iron (why: healthy growth of baby)-eat chives.
Magnesium (why: cellular development; over-coming early pregnancy discomfort, such as constipation)-eat chives.
Manganese (why: baby’s normal skeletal development)-eat raw leeks.
Vitamin B6 (why: avoiding nausea and morning sickness; metabolizing proteins, carbohydrates, and fats)-eat raw leeks.
Vitamin C (why: proper absorption of iron)-eat fresh fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin K (why: healthy bone growth and proper blood-clot formation)-eat raw leeks.

All the above nutrients and vitamins are especially important not only for pre-pregnancy but also for the first trimester of pregnancy

Do get sufficient sleep (why: research has shown that the more sleep you get,  the less time of labor may ensue; getting less than 5 hours of sleep may even increase the chance of having a C-section for delivery. Do set a schedule for your sleeping hours to help your body get on a set schedule of sleep. Do go to bed earlier.
Do take herbs to increase fertility (why: drink clover flower tea and nettle tea to increase female fertility).
Do avoid unpasteurized milk and blue-veined cheeses.
Do cook all your food thoroughly.
Do help your partner to enhance his fertility. According to a Danish study, overweight men have fewer sperms. According to State University of New York, placing laptop computers on laps may decrease sperms (why: due to accumulation of heat). Certain drugs on men’s hair loss, high blood pressure, and ulcers may also affect the quality of sperms. Do increase his intake of folic acid, vitamin C, and zinc to enhance the quality of sperms.
The don’ts

Don’t start a teenage pregnancy (why not: pregnancy between age 15 and 19 may result in many emotional traumas, such as difficulty in keeping up with peers, financial problems, and health and life challenges).
Don’t contact mold (why not: harmful to fetus, leading to birth defects, such as paralysis, developmental problems, and even miscarriage).
Don’t eat bacteria-harboring foods (why not: increasing the chance of developing food-borne infections during preconception stage and in a developing embryo).
Don’t stress out, develop anxiety or depression in pre-pregnancy stage.
Don’t eat raw, such as sushi, raw clams, and oysters.
Don’t eat undercooked meat and eggs (why not: avoiding bacteria growth; do refrigerate food below 40°F/4°C).
Don’t take certain herbs (why not: some herbs, such as echinacea, ginkgo biloba, and Saint-John’s wort may prevent conception).

Types of Parenting

Who are you as a parent?

First and foremost, best parents are not infallible; nobody is perfect, and you are no exception.

Look back at your own childhood. You may have been influenced by how your parents acted towards you. There might have been positive and negative experiences. Now, your goal as a parent is to emulate the positive aspects of your parents, and to avoid repeating their mistakes.

Parenting style generally falls into three types, although there may be overlaps and variations.

Authoritative parents

Authoritative parents often provide an environment of freedom and democracy. They set rules and regulations that their children must follow or obey. However, within these boundaries, children are encouraged to act, speak, and think independently without any restrain or restriction. Authoritative parents are always in control of their children, but they also encourage from their children’s verbal exchange and creative thinking based on different situations and circumstances.

Authoritative parents generally produce happy, smart, and self-reliant children.

Permissive parenting

Permissive parents are generally accepting and non-punitive regarding their children’s attitudes and behaviors. In many ways, their children’s actions and reactions, as well as their desires and impulses control and determine the parent-child relationships. The only drawbacks are that these children tend to become less self-reliant and initiating.

In general, authoritarian parents are always much in control of the behaviors of their children based on their own standards; they attempt to shape the growth and development of their children. Other than obedience, there is not much room for any compromise or even flexibility. Children under authoritarian parents are generally distrustful, discontented, and withdrawn. Worse, they often become rebellious in adolescence.

The style of parenting is based on the parents’ beliefs, values, personality, and upbringing. To make your baby smart, you need to give him an environment of safety, peace and harmony. Parenting, like marriage, is partnership; make sure that both of you are on the same page.

To make your smart baby super smart, make your home a classroom of learning and teaching. More importantly, make it safe and secure for your baby. You teach, and your baby learns; as you teach, you yourself also learn. Learning to teach and teaching to learn is a unique lifetime experience for both the parents and their children.

Your baby’s brain

At birth, a baby’s brain weighs approximately 25 percent of that of an adult. At six months, it may increase to 50 percent. At one year, a baby’s brain may develop to 70 percent or more of that of an adult. At around three years, a baby’s brain may become fully developed. As the baby’ brain develops, the baby learns; the more it learns, the faster the brain develops. Therefore, make the most out of the first three years to maximize your baby’s brain development for a smarter baby.
Through learning and teaching, you can enhance and accelerate the growth of your baby’s brain. A baby’s initial body movements are based on reflexes, which can be quickly replaced by voluntary, intentional movements as soon as its trillions of brain cells begin to develop and mature. As a result, the first few years are particularly vital to the development of brain cells, providing the groundwork for intelligence.

Learning and remembering

Learning is a process of perceiving and understanding information received by the brain. But information is useless and irrelevant unless it is easily and readily available and retrievable; in other words, information must be remembered and properly stored as memories in different compartments of the brain, which are like file cabinets in the human brain.

The different memory techniques

IIn order for information to be properly stored by the brain, it must be experienced through its five sensory organs. Most learning involves one of three primary techniques: visual memory involves seeing, such as studying a map or an illustration, and
is faster with greater confidence; auditory memory involves hearing, such as listening to a song or lecture, and enhances the compartmentalization of complex materials; kinesthetic memory involves doing, such as brushing teeth or swimming, and is more enduring because it is more automatic and spontaneous.

These memory techniques are critical to learning. Many of us are more efficient at one type of memory than another; for example, most of us learn best by using visual memory than by using auditory or kinesthetic memory. Having said that, if you wish your baby to have exceptional memories, develop his or her skills and proficiency in all memory techniques to make him or her a smart baby.

Raising Children

Raising children is more than just doing tedious daily chores, such as feeding and changing diapers. Even those daily chores shouldn’t be avoided or ignored because they’re the backgrounds for establishing the relationships with the children, as well as developing the personalities of the children.

Personality and growth

Every child has his or her own personality, which is just a reflection of the parent, but is not the personality of the parent. So, be only a role model: always showing your love and your care.

Spend more time with your children with many open-ended questions to develop their own thinking mind.

Try not to punish them for any misbehavior by denying or removing any privilege they think they’re rightly entitled to. Instead, demand an apology, either a spoken or a written one. Also, explain to them the truth that no one is perfect.

Praise them for their good deeds, but with no empty promises that will not be fulfilled.

Passion and creativity

Every child has his or her likes and dislikes that may ultimately become his or her own passion and creativity.

Passion is the intense desire of the child to do what he or she likes to do, based on the child’s inherent gifts and skills.

Creativity is the self-expression of a child to cope with his or her own inner feelings. It‘s also a mental growth giving the child the opportunity to try out new ideas, as well as new ways of thinking and solving problems.

Avoid being “over-parenting,” which is imposing on your children your own likes and dislikes.

Pay attention to your children’s daily interests and material activities. Create space for them to engage in them.

Observe their activities and show them how to solve the problems arising. It’s important to teach them “never give up."

Invent different scenarios for their current activities with different questions for them.

Give them arts and crafts to develop and pursue their creativity.

Let them spend more time in nature, which can inspire them with new ideas.

Create time for your own creativity, such as playing your music, doing some of your own artwork, working on the computer to write poetry or a book. Let your children also see and learn from you as a role model.

About money management

It’s your responsibility as the parent to teach your children money management and responsibility; you certainly don’t want them to learn it the hard way through their own life experiences.

So, teach your children the following starting at an early age:

Counting money

At age 4 to 5, teach your children to count coins. Kids love coins. Make them count and put them in their piggy banks. Also, teach them to recognize different dollar notes.

Money and daily chores

At age 6 to 7, give your children simple daily chores at home, and then reward them with money or allowance. Let them put their money in boxes labeled “saving”, “spending”, and “loving.”

If they want to buy something at a store, let them look at their money in the “spending” box to see if there’s sufficient money. If they wish to buy a gift for Mom’s or Dad’s birthday, let them go to the “loving” box to get the money.

You’re in fact teaching your children to earn, to save, to spend, as well as to love.

Different types of spending

Around age 10, introduce your children to different types of spending, such as buying goods or getting services done, buying due to needs versus wants, and buying with short-term goals versus long-term ones.

At age 15 to 18, prepare your teenagers for the real world of money. Teach them the concept of credit, including credit cards, credit score, as well as car loans, and student loans.

The reality

Growing up defines not only the kind of persons your children will become, but also shapes their destinies and steers them along their future life journeys.

Build a good foundation for financial literacy for your children, giving them the money wisdom to survive in a world of both abundance and lack. Teach them their own accountability to whatever they’re going to do with their money as they grow up.

About sex

Nowadays, the question on a high school student’s mind is: Not whether he or she is going to kiss each other on the first date, but whether he or she is going to have sex?

So, dating has now become only secondary. But dating has many benefits: developing self-confidence and social skills; finding out who you really are in relation to the opposite sex; having a better understanding of the differences in sex; learning how to assess character and integrity of an individual.

According to experts, sex drive initiates an emotional bonding that further enhances the sex drive in an individual. But, on the other hand, without much emotional attachment (often a result of casual sex), that individual’s sex drive will soon decrease, making that individual begin to seek his or her sex drive from others as well, and thus creating the vicious circle of casual sex without the emotional attachment. The truth of the matter is that promiscuity in sex is linked to low self-esteem, unhappiness in subsequent sexual intimacy, and even ultimate dissatisfaction in eventual marriages.

The bottom line

Too early and too much casual sex without a strong emotional attachment or relationship has long-term undesirable and unpleasant side effects on an individual. Just teach your children to beware! Remind them that sexual promiscuity isn’t sexual freedom, and the. The price to pay is exposure to many sexually transmitted diseases and emotional scars further down the road.

So, teens shouldn’t easily and readily succumb to peer group pressure to have early and casual sex. Pursue abstinence as a God-given human dignity to follow the moral law.

The truth of the matter is that casual sex has become more prevalent these days.  But, according to several studies on “sexually active teenagers,” casual sex has the propensity to make them more prone to depression and even suicide. According to one study, 72 percent of girls and 55 percent of boys not only expressed regret over their early casual sex, but also wished that they had waited longer to begin having sex.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau

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