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Archive for March, 2010

Are doctors performing too many C-sections?

Sunday, March 28th, 2010 by:

I want to have a third child but I’m afraid. Sure, I wonder if I will have the time to devote to yet one more child, but my biggest fear is giving birth again.

I’ve written about my troubled delivery with my second son Beckett. Although everything turned out, I don’t know if I can withstand the trauma of another possible ordeal in the NICU.

I also wonder if I would have had to go through my experience at all if Beckett had been born vaginally.

My first son Bode was a Frank Breach baby, making a C-section a necessity. Beckett came along 21 short months later and a second C-section was strongly recommended by my OB-GYN. In fact, many hospitals refuse to perform VBAC’s (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). I was lucky that my doctor gave me a choice, and the decision to have a second Cesarean was a choice we arrived at together.

Our decision to opt for a second Cesarean was a popular one. Fewer than 10 percent of women who had Cesarean births have a successful VBAC. Could this number be higher?

Unfortunately after two Cesarean section births, my options for a third birth are limited. A C-section would be imminent should I get pregnant again.

Ultimately, my fears of having another child with respiratory distress will likely lose out to my desire to have another child.

In my case, at least the first C-section was a necessity, but I wonder if countless other mothers are being subjected to Cesarean births when natural would have been a viable option. The Cesarean section rate is at an all-time high with almost one in three North American women having a C-section to give birth. In other countries, the rates are even higher. C-section rates in China and Puerto Rico are close to 50 percent and a recent study published in The Lancet suggests that some hospitals in China are doing unnecessary operations for profit. Are doctors performing too many C-section births? And, if so why?

Would you drug test your child?

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 by:

A rising parenting trend is causing more parents to submit their children to random drug testing. What are your thoughts?

How to avoid “helicopter parenting”

Friday, March 12th, 2010 by:

There has been much media coverage lately about helicopter parenting and its effect on the development of our children. The CBC aired a great documentary a few weeks ago called “Hyper Parents and Coddled Kids.” It revealed how a generation of kids parented this way are faring—and it’s not well.

One might think kids who have been protected, chauffeured, tutored and celebrated more than any generation before would be confident, secure and happy. What research shows, however, is that they are anxious, stressed out, and more emotionally fragile than any generation before them. I would go so far as to call it “tip toe parenting” with many parents worried about upsetting their kids and going to great lengths to work around their children’s moods and going out of their way to accommodate their children needs and wishes. This has left many parents afraid of their child’s next meltdown and utterly exhausted.

So what do we do? How can we tell the difference between helicopter parenting and strong healthy attachment? We don’t want to go backwards to a time when kids were seen and not heard, but what’s happening now isn’t really working for parents, or for kids. We have to find a way, as parents, to balance attachment and nurturing with limit setting and exposure to natural consequences. In our well-meaning attempts to give our children positive experiences and in our striving for fairness, we have missed out on the value of a little adversity. Life is so good for many children in our part of the world that they are losing the gift of perspective.

The brain organizes our experiences often in terms of good and bad. If all experiences are positive, then the less positive ones begin to feel negative–it’s all relative. We want our children to be happy and successful, but being overly protective can give children a false sense of reality and may hinder their achievements later in life. They begin to lack the emotional hardware to handle adversity and may become anxious, overwhelmed and struggle to cope with their emotions.

We don’t need to go the other way and create negative situations for our children so they can toughen up, nor do we want to remove our empathy and support, but we do want to give them messages of competence and let them know they can, and will, get through negative experiences. Negative experiences are inevitable and no matter how hard we try to shield our children from them, we can’t. It’s much better to teach them how to handle these experiences and how to learn from them.

Constantly advocating for our children every time there is trouble, running to school with forgotten gym clothes or lunches, staying up late at night helping kids finish assignments in the long run is not helpful at all. We must let children try, fail, and then cope with the natural consequences of their failures. Listening, being empathic and helping children understand and learn from these experiences is vital, so is giving them the message that you believe they will be okay. When we enable children to fully experience the winning and the losing sides of life, we give them the gift of balance that will last a lifetime.

Here are some tips to help you with this balancing act.

1. Love them well
Strong family connections, with tons of unconditional love and consistent nurturing, will create positive attitudes and resilience. Listen to their feelings and empathize and problem-solve with them, then let them know that you believe they can get through any negative experiences.

2. Show yourself and encourage emotional ownership
Let your child see that you also make mistakes and that you feel sad or frustrated sometimes. He will connect with you and recognize his own power to overcome adversity.

3. Praise effort, not results
Compliment your child on her efforts and encourage her to measure herself against her own achievements.

4. Don’t be a fixer: allow mistakes
If your child is upset or angry, do not rush to fix the situation. Listen as he expresses his feelings and then calmly demonstrate that it’s okay to feel that way sometimes. Then you can work on problem-solving. If your child procrastinates and leaves an assignment to the last minute and loses marks for lateness, do not interfere. The negative result is a natural consequence of his choices, and will help him concretely understand cause and effect.

5. Stay neutral and avoid punishment
When your child does something wrong, make sure you listen to her point of view before you discipline–then choose natural consequences. Yelling and punishing will lead the child to focus more on your behavior than her own.

Jennifer Kolari is a child and parent therapist, and found of Connected Parenting. For more information you can contact jennifer at info@connectedparenting.com or visit www.connectedparenting.com.