Articles — Parenting

Parenting - Knowing What to Expect in Your Child's Development (Part One)

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Parenting - Knowing What to Expect in Your Child's Development (Part One)

There are many theorists in the field of psychology who use their ideas to help explain why people think, feel and behave as they do. Erik Erikson is one of those who has outlined eight specific developmental stages that each person experiences as they grow and mature. They are based on the chronological age of the individual and identify two outcomes that can result from the struggles within the stage. Infancy: Birth to 18 months (Trust vs Mistrust) is also referred to the Oral Sensory Stage. The most significant relationship is with the maternal parent or most significant and constant caregiver. Emphasis...

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Parenting - Knowing What to Expect in Your Child's Development Starting With Adolescence

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Parenting - Knowing What to Expect in Your Child's Development Starting With Adolescence

Last time we studied Erik Erikson's four stages for adolescents and adults. Adolescence: 12 to 18 Years (Identity vs Role Confusion) is confusing in that the person is neither a child nor an adult. Rather than "what is done to us" it is primarily about "what we do". Life is more complex as the child attempts to find identity, struggles with social interactions and grapples with moral issues. The task is to discover who the person is in wider society, separate from family of origin. Success results in devotion and fidelity whereas problem in this stage can result in role confusion...

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Who's the Parent?

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Who's the Parent?

I just watched another episode of the popular television program "Nanny 911" and again was surprised by how difficult it is for some individuals to parent their children. It seems that many don't have the skills required while others seem to think that they would rather be a friend than a parent for the child. A "good parent" is one who does everything possible to meet the needs and the wants of the child even if it is not in the child's best interest. This person tends to let the "tail wag the dog". Curfews, rules and responsibilities are non-existent...

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Parental Alienation - Hurting Your Child Instead of Your "Ex"

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Parental Alienation - Hurting Your Child Instead of Your "Ex"

When a couple goes through separation or divorce, there is frequently a tendency for one or both parents to "bad mouth" the other parent to the children. Dr. Richard Gardner, an American child therapist and forensic psychiatrist developed two terms that he believed described this situation. The words "Parental Alienation" involve behaviours of a parent in his/her attempts to discredit the other parent and influence the child not to be with that parent. "Parental Alienation Syndrome" is a term that was used by Dr. Gardner to describe the resulting behaviours and attitudes in the child after Parental Alienation had occurred....

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Leaving a Legacy For Your Children

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Leaving a Legacy For Your Children

Anyone who enjoys genealogy realizes that four basic things are required when preparing a family tree: a person's name, place of birth, date of birth and position in the lineage. An historian may expand this search to include specific titles or accomplishments as well as personality factors which were unique to those being studied. For many years I have been gathering information about my grandparents and other ancestors. I have taken pictures of tombstones, interviewed nursing home residents and spent hours on the internet searching for details from the past. It is so interesting to realize that some interests and...

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Who is Your Child's Hero?

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Who is Your Child's Hero?

When I grew up it was easy. We knew that in the western movie the cowboy with the white hat was the "good guy" and the one with the black hat was "the bad guy". We looked up to figures like Ann Frank or Jack and Bobby Kennedy who died for their beliefs. We heard stories of valour from our parents and their friends who had sacrificed through the World War. We watched Terry Fox run rather than rest so that the next generation might not have to suffer as he did. Yes, it was easy to identify the heroes...

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Dear Parents

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Dear Parents

Please note that the following column is a compilation of situations that I have heard about over the years and is NOT to be confused with any one family. Dear Parents: We always thought that you were good parents but now we're confused and hurt and angry. We thought that you should have told us that you weren't going to be married anymore and we didn't believe it when other people were talking about it. Then you lied. You said you were "here for us". How can you be "here for us" when you live in two different places? We...

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I Don't Want My Baby to Have a Baby!

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

I Don't Want My Baby to Have a Baby!

The news announcement concerning a "pregnancy pact" by seventeen teenagers in Massachusetts has caused concern for media and parents alike. The reports include stories of the girls, some who are younger than sixteen years of age, who repeatedly took pregnancy tests and showed disappointment if they didn't get the results they were wanting. Apparently the group had decided to all have babies at the same time so that they could raise them together. Television interviews have focussed on identifying targets to "blame" for this situation. Some of the professionals who were interviewed state that children have babies when they want...

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Three Bite Rule

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Three Bite Rule

I have six grandchildren and each of them is a unique individual. There are, however, similarities in their attitudes and behaviours based on the way they were raised. One of them is a good eater, two are what I would call "excellent" eaters and three are "horrible" when it comes to food. I have watched what goes on at mealtimes and discreetly asked questions that have provided insight into the behaviours. Because of this, I have been able to work with the children and also provide strategies to help the parents of "picky eaters". My 3 ½ year old, who...

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Adult Children

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Adult Children

Lately I have been working with a number of individuals who referred themselves because they don't know how to deal with their adult children. Some are concerned about relationship problems and others with financial dealings. Still others are worried about choices that the adult child has or is making. Several couples have boundary and respect difficulties. Dealing with family members can be difficult at times. Some parents want to be "just like my parents" and others want to be "nothing like my parents". Some view children as a gift, others as a burden. There are parents who want to be...

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Troubled Teens

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Troubled Teens

It is sad to think about the young celebrities who have recently been making headlines because of their drug and alcohol abuse, law-breaking antics and disrespect for society. They tend to blame those around them and the justice system because they are facing jail terms or ordered into rehabilitation. It seems pretty obvious that these individuals have not been held accountable for their actions for so long that they have begun to believe that they have the right to do as they please. I have been part of discussions where some people blame the teen or young adult for their...

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Best Interests of the Child - Separation and Divorce

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Best Interests of the Child - Separation and Divorce

Because I have had the privilege of working in Child Welfare, three school systems, Mental Health and private practice I have learned a great deal about how people think. Frequently I hear the term "best interests of the child" and am surprised to learn that the parent believes that this situation is ONLY possible if the child lives with him or her. In fact, I am constantly amazed that couples like each other well enough to make a child but not well enough to work together in order to parent the child or ensure that a healthy environment exists for...

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Let's Table It! - Communications Around the Family Table

Posted by Dr. Linda Hancock on

Let's Table It! - Communications Around the Family Table

When I grew up we had several tables in the house. The picnic table helped us to appreciate nature (and the neighbours). The card table taught us about laughter and being a good sport. The dining table was for special holidays and for entertaining guests. Our kitchen table was the most used. We always had breakfast together. Often dad would start the coffee and the rest of us worked together to set and clear items. At noon (which everyone enjoyed from 12 o'clock to 1:30 p.m.) was usually a lighter meal whereas dinner (always around 6 p.m.) was meat, potatoes...

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