4 Women Explain Why They NEVER Want To Have Children

“I am completely comfortable saying that I do not feel the need or desire to ever have children of my own.”

10 Ways Having Kids Changed Me Forever

Before having kids, I didn’t even like kids.

What It’s Like Being The Friend Who Doesn’t Want Kids

I’m quite content with my fur baby, thank you very much. 

Why I Ignored My Doctor’s Advice And Co-Slept With My Baby

I safely co-slept with both my babies and it strengthened our bond.

At 41, My Life Is Nothing Like I Expected, And I’m Okay With It

Life is unpredictable – we can’t be afraid to roll with the punches.

12 Super Cute Family Activities To Try This Christmas

Make this year the start of these fun annual festive traditions you can do as a family.

An Open Letter To Parents Whose Kids Are Growing Up Too Fast

My baby is going to ‘big school’ and I’m not ready…

How Accepting You’re A Bad Mother Can Set You Free

Because sometimes the worst labels are actually the best.

13 Parenting Hacks For Getting Your Child To Behave

Because it gets expensive to keep bribing them with candy.

Can Controlled Crying Affect A Baby’s Psychological Health?

Sleep is by far one of the biggest concerns of new parents, so if you’ve tried controlled crying it’s completely understandable. In a nutshell, this technique requires the baby or toddler to self-sooth. This is accomplished by placing them in a safe place like their cot or crib and allowing them to cry themselves to sleep. Of course, there’s a lot more to it, but that’s the general concept.

RELATED: The Ultimate Parenting Tip …Consistency

Despite controlled crying being a salvation to exhausted parents, I recently read a very different perspective about it in a new book called Becoming A Mother: A Journey of Uncertainty, Transformation and Falling in Love. The author, Leisa Stathis, talks about how controlled crying can be detrimental to child psychological development and how it can greatly effect parental-child bonding.

This made a lot of sense to me, having used controlled crying myself. This was twenty odd years ago when it was highly popular, however, and when no one considered the psychological effects on the infant. It was all about the parent getting some sleep – and boy did I really need some!

So, back to the book. Quite simply, Leisa wrote that we wouldn’t want an adult to cry themselves to sleep repeatedly. That would be cruel. So why on earth are parents encouraged to place their babies and toddlers in this situation? As a parent, this made me wince. What Leisa put so simply was 100 per cent correct.

She went on to say that babies and toddlers cry for a reason – and yes, some more so than others. My youngest had a very healthy set of lungs, but that was his only form of communication. With age he continues to have a lot to say, but obviously in being older he can now express it. What’s more is that when he does, I listen.

That made me think about what I had done by using controlled crying. As a young child, I would put him in his room and chose not to attend to his cry. Granted it wasn’t easy, many a tear was shed using the professional advice I was given, despite it going against my gut instinct as a mother.

After reading Leisa’s take on controlled crying, I realised I wasn’t alone. Many parents expressed they too felt this technique went against their maternal instinct. It really doesn’t feel natural to leave a crying infant alone for any period of time, let alone to allow them to cry themselves to sleep.

Over time controlled crying has been reported as being detrimental to infant development. Bruce Perry, a psychiatrist who specialises in this field and the impact trauma has on the brain, believes infants don’t learn how to self-sooth at all using this method. Instead, they develop a defeat response.

This occurs because they essentially give up on crying. They do this because their cries yield no response from their parent. Eventually they learn that their cries for comfort will go unanswered – this is why they cease to cry. It’s got nothing to do with learning to self-sooth, as was previously thought. Instead, they rapidly learn that they are very much alone in this world. So in turn, this impacts their ability to trust and does nothing to strengthen the maternal bond.

Thankfully, I have a wonderful relationship with my kids, but I can see first hand the detrimental effects it’s had, particularly on my youngest child. My eldest is far more capable of regulating his emotions, while my youngest has always struggled. In hindsight, I wish I could turn back the sands of time and try something else. If only we had a crystal ball to inform us of our mistakes as we make them!

So in closing, it just goes to show that your maternal instinct will always be your best point of reference. This is the message Leisa Stathis delivers in her book, Becoming A Mother: A Journey of Uncertainty, Transformation and Falling in Lovewhich I highly recommend.

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How To Combat The Return Of The Untouched Lunchbox

Are you spending value time and cash on school lunches only to have lunchboxes returned untouched? It’s a reality many parents face and we know that most kids would rather play around than eat – yet sometimes, it’s not about that.

RELATED: The Ultimate Morning Routine For Kids (And Parents)

In some cases, kids just can’t stomach the same lunchbox foods over and over again. It’s as simple as that. They might ask for peanut butter and jam sandwiches for a few days in a row, but when it’s what they receive every day for a week or longer, it gets monotonous. So what can you do to make them actually eat their lunch?

Coming up with a new appetising lunch every day can be a really tedious task. Especially when you get back full or half eaten lunches. That really doesn’t give you much incentive to put any more effort into it than you already are. However, if you want that lunch box returned empty that’s part of what you need to do.

Additionally, you need to involve the kids because after all, they’ll be the ones eating it. Don’t give them an entire menu, though. Your kitchen isn’t a restaurant and you really don’t want them to get used to ordering food like they do at a school tuck shop. Ideally, give them a choice from a few different options. Purchase the type of healthy foods you know they’ll eat, even if they cost you more. This will actually save you money in the long run because you won’t be throwing it out (hopefully).

If this doesn’t bring any joy and you continue to get back a full lunchbox, you might have to look at supplying on-the-go finger foods. Things like carrot or celery sticks with dip are great lunchbox alternatives. Plus they won’t take you too much time to organise in the morning if you pre-cut them, place them in water and leave them in the fridge.

This brings me to my next tip. PRE-PREPARE!!! Mornings are hectic, horrible times. So trying to get complicated foods in that dreaded lunchbox as well as get everything else done is a recipe for disaster. I’ve reduced the chaos by having a specific lunchbox container that the kids go to and select what they’d like to eat that day. It’s filled with a variety of fruits, nuts, veggies and a few treats. This not only encourages them to prepare their own lunch, but to also select what will actually get eaten.

Yes, it does cost a bit to fill a container with small packages of foods. I know I could pay less for the same foods in bulk, like yogurts, custards, tuna, crackers, etc. However, if it gets eaten rather than thrown out, I figure I’m saving money. In addition to on-the-go snack type foods, we also discuss what type of wrap or sandwich they’d prefer. I mix it up by having plastic containers filled with leftovers. These are great to take to school and once again, they can be easily prepared the night before.

Finally, getting kids to eat their lunch at school isn’t rocket science. Getting back empty lunchboxes is pretty simple just as long as your organised, supply a range of things they eat and most importantly get them involved.

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