The Dreaded Temper Tantrum

I imagine most parents have had the pleasure of experiencing an all out, unhinged, ear-piercing case of hysteria (aka temper tantrum) from their little Angel. In public, with all eyes on the situation, it it becomes incredibly embarrassing!

I had such such a situation recently. At our local supermarket, my 3 year old went from calm and helpful to deranged, and incommunicable in 3 seconds flat! My usual approach is to ignore said tantrum, thus not fanning the flames so as to let it fizzle out. In this particular case however, he had planted himself in front of my buggy and with food isles surrounding me I was well and truly trapped. I’m proud to say I kept my cool!

Soon enough, a small crowd of well meaning old dears encircled me. They congratulated me on my calm demeanour (skin deep I assure you) and offered anecdotes of their own grandchildren, who were also “nightmares”! Finally as one woman had Santa Clause’s phone number, I thankfully gained enough leverage to leave the store! On an emotional walk home, the real root of the problem began to surface….. Hurt feelings from an unkind comment at play school. My heart broke in that instance, and I suddenly realised that this is going to be a more and more commonplace predicament of parenthood. We can never truly protect our children from a cruel and uncaring ( for the most part) world….

I diverge….. Back to temper tantrums!

Parents and indeed onlookers often view temper tantrums as intentional and manipulative. In the past, the term “brat ” was bandied around fairly frequently. Recent research however, has shown that it is much less voluntary than previously realized. However, that is not to say that there isn’t an element of learned behavior to it!

Children struggling with serious temper problems aren’t consciously calculating throwing tantrums, but they may have learned, through reinforcement from adults, that tantrums will get results!

“There’s no question that children who haven’t outgrown tantrums do have lagging skills in emotional regulation,” says Dr. Lopes, “but then I think that weakness is maintained and exacerbated by conditioned learning.”

Hia explanation highlights the fact that when a child encounters a problem and doesn’t know how else to handle it, they may resorts to tantrums. The child may well learn that, over time, this helps them get their way. “It becomes a vicious cycle,” says Dr. Lopes, “because instead of honing and practicing the adaptive skills that kids normally learn to solve problems collaboratively, these kids are learning maladaptive responses when they get frustrated. And by continuing to practice those skills, they are strengthening these behaviors over time and using them in a greater number of situations.”

WHAT CAN I DO?

Patience, patience and more patience. When a child looses control, it is actually a very frightening experience for them. If a parent or caregiver then looses control and shouts or threatens, it just exacerbates the situation. I certainly wouldn’t give into the child’s demands, thus enforcing the idea that tantrums get positive results. As there is no reasoning with them either I think it is best to calmly wait it out, and follow up with a little chat and lots of snuggles!

As adults, we are not immune to loss of control and angry outbursts. Some are more prone then others and although it is normal enough, it is rarely considered acceptable.

Interestingly, in the case of a child, tantrums are somehow seen as ‘red flag’ behaviour, in spite of the fact their brains aren’t yet wired or programmed  in the same  way that an adult’s is.

“There are two types of tantrum,” says psychologist Anna Hamer.

1. The most common tantrum for toddlers and pre-schoolers, is about power and control (eg. It has started raining and you try to leave the playground much to your child’s despair!)

2. In older children, they usually have a meltdown because they are overcome with emotion – anger, frustration, sadness – and do not yet have the biological or psychological tools to deal with it yet.
When a child becomes emotionally overloaded, they go into what’s known as the limbic brain, also known as the ‘hot’ brain because it’s the part that deals with emotions,” continues Anna. “It’s impossible to think logically when this happens – they’re literally out of their minds, by which we mean the ‘thinking’ prefrontal cortex, or rational brain. This is why it’s absolutely impossible to reason with a child who is in the grip of a tantrum. And if your child is hungry or tired, it exacerbates the situation – think about how you react to potential trigger situations in a low blood sugar moment or after several nights of broken sleep.”

WHEN SHOULD I WORRY?

It is important to note that temper tantrums may also the early signal of mental health problems. Here is a list of the key warning signs:

  1. Aggression toward caregivers, objects, or both. If this happened more than half the time in the last 10 to 20 tantrums, it may signal disruptive disorders. …
  2. Self-injury. …
  3. Frequent tantrums. …
  4. Very long tantrums. …
  5. Inability to calm oneself after a tantrum.

Always talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your little one. From talking with friends and acquaintances who have struggled with a wide variety of everything from anxiety to a whole spectrum of levels on the autistic scale. The earlier that children are diagnosed, the better their long term prognosis.

Let me reiterate by saying that most temper tantrums are stressful but completely normal! I’m just covering all the bases here!

As always , I would love if people could share their thoughts and experiences below! I’d be delighted to hear from you

Thanks for reading, Sara X

WEEK 1: THE PLAN AND THE RESULTS! SLEEP TRAINING WITH 3 KIDS, 3 AND UNDER!

Let me begin with some reassurance and scientific proof as to the merrits of sleep training. ..

A common misconception of sleep training is, that a child will be put under intense stress or will create anxiety or behavioural problems. This has been proven to be the exact opposite. The American Academy of Pediatrics set out to discover the truth behind this assertion. Note: sleep training is not recommended before 4 months. This is the papers goals :

“OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effects of behavioral interventions on the sleep/wakefulness of infants, parent and infant stress,p and later child emotional/behavioral problems, and parent-child attachment.

The study is very thorough and detailed. In a nutshell these are the findings:

Stress levels:

This was measured by testing cortisol (stress hormone) in saliva. A teeny increase was detected initially with a huge decrease over time.

Babies were found to sleep longer with out any night time disturbances.

Children were more settled and happy with zero negative side effects such a parent-child attachment.

Parents themselves reported drastically decreased stress levels, once sleep training and a routine had been established !

It is important to note that, in a large percentage of infantaside, (mothers killing their own babies) sleep problems have been found to be a major contributing factor!

The results of this study are based in 3 types of sleep training.

1. Graduated extinction: leaving baby for specific and increasing periods of time. They learn that they are safe and that you are nearby, but nap/bed time is not up for debate! Many of my friends and I have successfully used this approach.

The other 2 types of training in this study were bedtime fading and sleep education control.

MY PLAN FOR SETTLING 2 TODDLERS:

I concluded that sleep training both at once would be twice as hard as when one baby cries, the other reciprocates.

I bagan by sleep training Amelie (the baby that I babysit) first. As my home is a new environment for her, I could establish a routine without an all out rebellion! She just knows that nap time goes a certain way in my home and she accepts that. She was literally cool as a cumber on DAY 2!!!!! Straight to sleep with no resistance! !!…I know right!????? Wow!

For Logan (My 1 year old) I have a 2 part problem!

1. Night training (with frequent wakings for a bottle and the likes!)

2. Nap training

We are going to begin the night training tonight….. Then… And as I only have my own baby next week, I thought I could enforce a proper nap training then when he wouldn’t disturb Amelie! Also Jaymie, my 3 year old will have to sleep with us until Logan settles!

I’m hopeful and exhausted and can’t wait to sleep through the night myself! It has been soooo long!

I wil keep u posted as to my progress!

You:

I would love to hear any stories or opinions about your experiences with sleep training . Please leave a comment below the article if you have any thing to say in this regard!

As always, thanks for reading!

Sara x

Three Kids, Three and Under : SLEEP TRAINING

Having a couple boys, age 3 and almost 1 I feel I’ve got it down! ie…the sharing of time and attention and with a routine that works! (most days!!!) It was so much easier then I thought it would be (AGAIN… MOST DAYS!)… So, when a friend asked me to take care of her 1 year old a couple of days a week I said YES! Surely 3 isn’t that much different then 2? Let me tell you, its full on but it CAN be easy! If I could give any advice, it is that a steady routine is paramount!!! Children crave routine and familiarity. It lets them feel secure in a world in which they have little control!

There are a few hurdles on the way to and even during the right routine for you. For me, the first hurdle was naptime! A well rested baby is a happy baby!

Naptime:

This was my main worry and first problem to solve! Both babies were used to getting rocked to sleep! The very first nap on day one I held a baby in each arm and rock them to sleep!!!!! It worked but suffering with a bad back already, I immediately realised that this was not a sound plan day to day!

Having sleep trained my own eldest with immense success, I determined that this was the only sustainable method by which this was all going to work! I spoke to a few people running and working in crèches to get some tips. I mean, do you ever wonder how crèches manage to sleep a group of babies in one room? Even babies used to being rocked at home will lay down and go straight to sleep in crèche!!!!! What kind of wizardry is this!!!????

Its all about having a solid routine. Baby knows where they are and what is going to happen next. I was advised that when dealing with multiple children, there will be regular testing of boundaries and that it is so important to be consistent and kind but firm. I have detailed my method but it can be adjusted to meet the needs of other families.

The method:

1. Ensure baby is fed, warm enough but not too hot, has a dry clean nappy.

2. Medicine for teething, baby vicks/ snuffle baby for cold etc.. should be given if necessary, to ensure baby is comfortable as possible.

3. Make sure room is dark and warm. I also have a lullaby-music projector which automatically stops playing after half an hour.

4. Establish a calm pre-nap and bedtime routine. This can involve maybe a bottle, nappy change and story.

5. Put baby down sleepy BUT AWAKE!

6. After 3 minutes, check baby. Just pat their back gently and walk out. DO NOT PICK UP!

7. Repeat at 5, 7, 10, 15, 20 minutes

These times are what I use but can be adjusted. A lot of parents just do every 10 minutes. The idea is that the baby knows that they are in bed for duration of sleep time but they are reassured that there is always someone is nearby, so they feel safe and secure.

Some parents find that they upset the baby further by doing checks and opt for the full “cry it out” method. A lot of parents feel uncomfortable with this but often it yields very quick results. There is another method where the parent sits on a chair in the room and day by day moves it slowly out of the room.

Each family should choose what works for them.

Regardless of the method, lots of cuddles before and after are highly recommended !!!!

The benefits of sleep training:

Learning the skill of self soothing is incredibly important for a child.

So what is it?….

Self-soothing is the process of a child learning how to calm themselves down when they are put into their cot or when they wake up in the middle of the night. They learn how to fall back sleep which means more sleep for everyone involved . It is known as “self”-soothing because it is achieved by the child themselves, without the help of parents.

Self soothing is a life skill which will bring unbelievable comfort and confidence to the growing child. Studies have in fact linked this skill with lower anxiety and depression levels throughout life.

Sleep deprivation has negative impacts on childhood development. It also has a severe impact on a parents ability to cope and has a devastating impact on parents with postnatal depression!

During the day, the benefits to both the child and adult in charge are numerous.

The baby will have a nap of far superior length and quality when the routine is in place. And parent/carer can catch up on housework or even write a Blog!!!!!

For older children, a different approach is required. I found a lovely article here that I would recommend reading.

Tips from wise mothers:

Make different (different room, a small amount of daylight during day) for nap time and bed time so that baby will know that if they wake after an hour at night, it’s not time to get up!

It’s important that you stick to your guns! Now obviously, there will be time when baby will nap in buggy or car or someone else’s home. That is OK! BUT, when in the home they know where they will sleep. As I said, children and babies crave routine. When they know what is going to happen next and they get comfortable with a routine, anxiety and stress for baby is much lower!

Just a little side note:

This blog is simply detailing the way that I have found, that is most suited to our needs. I’ve given some background as to why I feel confident in my decisions. I am aware however, that every family is different and what works for one child may not be the solution for another. There are multiple ways of doing things and I respect for any loving parents prerogative to do what they deem best for their precious child!

As I go along I will update how things are going. What works, what doesn’t and any tricks I pick up!

Thanks for reading,

Sara X

HPV Vaccination Saves Lives

In a terrifying turn of events, many parents have been convinced not to take the ‘free’ opportunity to protect their daughters from the insidious disease that is cervical cancer. This year in Ireland alone, 280 young women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer, of which 90 will die. The idea of chemotherapy, radiation, invasive surgery, infertility and death have somehow become overshadowed by the completely unfounded links to alleged side-effects such as chronic lethargy. Every health incident occurring any time near the immunisation (including things like car crashes) are documented. This information can be skewed and misrepresented to support a wide array of misguided claims!

WHAT IS HPV?

HPV or Human Papilloma Virus is an extremely common family viruses that are passed on during sex. Most people will get HPV infection in their lifetime and it usually clears up by itself. Some forms of the virus can also cause genital warts.

For women, ongoing HPV infections can cause abnormal changes in the lining of the cervix. These changes, if left untreated, can lead to cervical cancer. Most cervical cancers are caused by the HPV Virus. HPV has also been strongly linked to a number of other cancers in men and women including cancers of the anus, mouth and throat, vulva, vagina and penis.

HPV-caused cancers broken down by gender and cancer type

MY STORY:

Each year in Ireland, 6,500 women will need hospital treatment to remove pre-cancerous growths from their cervix! Having been through this treatment myself, let me tell you that it is invasive and horrendous. I didn’t have the luxury of prevention as the vaccine wasn’t introduced to schools until after I had left.

After ever worsening degrees of cell abnormality which likely have resulted in cervical cancer and death, I had a LLETZ procedure. This comprised of having a large part of my cervix burnt away in an effort to annihilate the precancerous cells and hopefully encouraging healthy cells grow in their place. This is often done under general aesthetic, but in my case, it was done under local. The internal injections beforehand actually being the most painful part and the overall experience which was very uncomfortable and undignified. The staff at The Coombes Colposcopy unit were incredible, with one nurse even holding my hand during the ordeal! I was reassured by their professionalism and kindness, but it is still not an experience that I would wish on anyone! Everything from the anxiety building up over the progressively worsening cells infiltrating my body, to the haemorrhage which saw me back in hospital 2 days after the procedure were abhorrent!

I’ve had abnormal smear tests since then and biopsies which are pretty unpleasant I’m their own right. The prognosis of cancer is something that deeply terrifies me, and, I’ll have to be extra vigilant for the rest of my life, but so far have been luckier then the women who find out too late and lose their lives.

VACCINE SIDE EFFECTS:

Social media is the unfortunate breeding ground for pseudoscientific opinions and fictitious nonsense to be laid out as fact. Real medical advice and hard scientific proof is too often ignored in favour of erroneous gossip, spread by those completely ignorant to the fields of medicine or science!

The vaccine is administered using a needle. As common sense might suggest, a little soreness and redness at the injection sight is quite common and short lived.

Another relatively common reaction is fainting. This is true of any vaccination and is due to the process rather then the vaccine itself! Fainting (syncope) is usually caused by stress or pain. Regardless of how calm a person seems externally, even subconscious fear can lead to changes in breathing leading to decreases in carbon dioxide and fainting. I would argue that the increased numbers of girls fainting post vaccination is in fact CAUSED BY the fear mongering of anti-vaxxer groups!

There is the a very small (approximately 3 in 1 million) chance of a serious anaphylactic response to this immunisation. Bear in mind though that a great number of inconspicuous things such as nuts are responsible for anaphylaxis, but this does not negate their health benefits for the general population. In fact, as some people unfortunately cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons, herd immunity is all the more important to protect the general population.

There are many ambiguous links between the HPV vaccine and everything from premature menopausal side effects to lethargy. The alleged “side effects” logged, are no doubt true and hard for the girls and their families. HOWEVER, these are things which have occurred before the vaccine was ever offered and continue to occur whether the vaccine is administered or not. The only link is an unfortunate series of events occurring coincidently in a similar time frame.

THE REAL RISK:

I’ve read so many harrowing stories of cervical cancer victims. So often young mothers are given the prognosis. I’ve read of the horrific side-effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Young children forced to watch their mothers deteriorate into a skeletal ghost of their former selves. These mothers who are unsure whether they will even be around to watch their children grow up! Children loosing their mothers, husbands their wives, parents their daughters to cervical cancer… THIS CAN BE PREVENTED!!!

If you are the parent of a young girl, you have an opportunity to save her from such a fate! You don’t need to take my word for it. We all owe it to our children educate ourselves with the facts and to protect them. The real FACTS! Don’t succumb to rumour! If you are unsure, you can email factcheck@thejournal.ie or other reliable sources.

We live in an age where we can protect our children in more and more ingenious ways! I am so thankful for the advances in medicine which allow me protect my children in so many ways.

Thank you for reading,

Sara

The Truth About Vaccines

Imagine your precious child wakes in the night coughing and burning up… hot tears filling their crimson, gooey eyes. A couple of days later, a ghastly rash spreads from the hairline, all over your child’s delicate body, even the vulnerable skin in their little mouth! Neither tiny hands nor feet escape the now overlapping lesions, leaving nowhere untainted !

As your dearest child burns with ever increasing fever new symtoms keep appearing, including diarrhoea, middle ear infection and pneumonia. Your child may look forward to  blindness, acute brain inflammation known as encephalitis and even death.

Your child has measles.

A completely preventable disease!

You would do anything to protect your child from an agonising death, wouldn’t you? I totally understand that anti-vaxxers are scared about the “dangers” of vaccines. These are based on nothing more then pseudoscientific rumours. In my last blog I talked about my own experiences with preventable diseases. In my next couple of blogs (because there are SO MANY silly rumours), I aim to dispel some of the nonsense shrouding vaccination.

Let me begin with one of the very first myths from 1796 when Edward Jenner observed that milkmaids who had previously contracted cowpox did not contract smallpox (They had been inoculated… lightbulb moment!!!). The first successful vaccine was soon developed! ….. And with it the first round of fearmongering nonsense… That the small pox vaccine would turn children into…. wait for it…. COWS!!! As hilarious as this idea seems, bear in mind that some of the tripe going around today is not much better!

In 1998 The Lancet  published a FRAUDULENT article which linked the MMR to autism spectrum disorders. The phony claims spread like wild fire, leading to a drastic drop in vaccination rates in the UK and Ireland. The author Andrew Wakefield, was found to have manipulated evidence to support his outrageous claims. In my opinion, he was therefore directly responsible therefore for the increased incidence of measles and mumps, resulting in deaths and serious permanent injuries. Following the initial claims in 1998, multiple large epidemiological studies were undertaken in UK, USA, Sweden and Denmark which concluded that there was no link between autism and vaccines. Reviews of the evidence by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the UK National Health Service, The Cochrane Library, The American Academy Of Pediatrics,  the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences all found no link between the MMR vaccine and autism.  LITERALLY NOBODY could find the imaginary link and the devastation to this very day is inexcusable!!! There is currently an outbreak of measles in Ireland and I am terrified for my little baby who still has 3 months to go before he is eligible for the MMR.

The claim of one study, is that Aluminium (found in vaccines) causes autism. Obviously when there is a “scientific” publication, it is especially scary and convincing. This is why, in the world of science and medicine, everybody’s work must be pier reviewed to have real standing and conviction. Mold et al. Aluminium in brain tissue in autism is an example of some of the nonsense passing for scientific research nowadays with no controls and results even being PHOTOSHOPPED!!!! Please read this enlightening blog which discusses this paper in detail.

The MMR vaccine is usually administered after a child turns 1. Autism usually becomes apparent between 12 and 18 months (regardless of whether the child has had a shot or not). I would argue that the child had autism already but it naturally becomes apparent at around the same time as the vaccine is administered. This is just an unlucky coincidence. If I died my hair the same day I broke my leg… the hair dye didn’t break my leg. It is a completely unrelated coincidence!

In a blog soon,  I will talk about some more vaccination myths and fables. No the flu jab does not cause the flu! I am also going to discuss the relatively new HPV vaccine. Here in Ireland, I have many friends and family members who have been bombarded with terrifying Anti-HPV vaccine campaigns void of any scientific or medical evidence!!!

Let me leave you with a nice little quote about autism: “Negative words carry negative vibration. Positive words carry positive vibration. What do you want your child to reflect back to you, the label of disordered or the label of gifted in a new way?” Suzy Miller, Awesomism

Thanks for reading! X

Anti-Vaxxers Are Playing Russian Roulette With Our Children’s Lives

There is a growing subculture of parents deciding not to vaccinate their children. The discredited claim by Andrew Wakefield that vaccines cause autism has been described as “perhaps, the most damaging medical hoax of the last 100 years”. He has been charged with abuse of developmentally challenged children and his link between autism and vaccines are described to be utterly false and quite literally MADE UP!!!!! He is responsible for the spread of serious illness and death. Surely he should be tried for murder!

I decided to write this blog a couple of months ago when I encountered an anti-vaxxer pharmacist, who attempted to undermine my decision to vaccinate my children. As a member of the scientific community, I feel completely confident in my decision to vaccinate my kids. I have thoroughly investigated pier reviewed scientific papers, in an effort to make an informed decision. I was absolutely furious that someone in a position of giving medical advice, could be spreading fear and harmful nonsense to parents! Needless to say, he no longer works at that pharmacy.

A doctor has just informed me that my 9 month old baby has rubella (aka German measles). In the developed world, in this day and age, where prevalence of rubella had dropped to almost 0, I am shocked! Thank you anti-vaxxers! Despite being  decidedly miserable, the risk of this disease to him is minimal. However, if he comes in contact with a pregnant woman lacking immunity, the risk to her unborn baby is substantial, causing birth defects and death. I am doing my best to keep my baby away from crowds, and keeping him in a ‘ bubble’ of sorts with his rain cover up when I must go out.  I feel that it is my duty to be a responsible member of society and not to put others at an unnecessary risk! Vaccination not only protects our own families. It protects our vulnerable members of society; our babies who are waiting for vaccination, our unborn babies, those for whom the vaccine doesn’t work (the mechanism of which is not yes fully understood)! and for the small group of those, who are allergic to some component of certain vaccines. I am not suggesting of course that you would put your children at risk for the greater good or any such nonsense. I would argue that you are saving your child from intense suffering and from a great number of potentially fatal diseases! Society at large also benefits however and many lives are saved.

One argument in the anti-vaxxer literature,  is that many of these are common childhood diseases and sure it’ll only strengthen their immune systems! I am a parent, who is far from perfect and fell into this way of thinking in the past. Its a widely held belief that chickenpox is a sort of rite of passage for children. Being on that learning curve of parenthood, I blindly believed this and  purposely exposed my eldest son to this disease! Chickenpox is a serious childhood disease! I cannot express enough the guilt I felt as my helpless little one  cried all night burning with a fever! His little body squirming, trying to scratch at the endless coat of blisters that even covered his tiny eyelids! My baby boy was suffering for a decision I had made for him! I will be vaccinating my baby Logan as soon as is allowed (age 1)!

As regards exposing children to bugs in order to develop their immune system……. This idea is valid and a child is exposed to millions of different bacteria constantly! There is no need to expose kids to serious and life threatening diseases thus playing Russian roulette with children’s lives.

I have done a lot of research before writing this blog, being careful to fairly assess both sides of the argument. I am aware that many anti-vaxxer parents are trying to do what they believe to be right for their children. Its terrifying to hold the life of another human being in your hands and I doubt any anti-vaxxer parent has set out to risk their child’s life. Quite the opposite, in fact. There is a cascade of anti-vaxxer literature out there which often seems quite convincing. I believe it is the responsibility of those with a public voice to study the fact before making outrageous claims!!!

The idiotic words of president Trump as he aims to rub shoulders with the anti-vaccine community, can only be intentional ignorance without any regard for public safety:  “You take this little beautiful baby and you pump—I mean, it looks like just it’s meant for a horse and not for a child,” he said last year about the vaccine schedule. “We had so many instances, people that work for me, just the other day, 2 years old, a beautiful child, went to have the vaccine and came back and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.”  In August, Trump met with British researcher Andrew Wakefield, who concocted the vaccine-autism connection in 1998 and whose work has been widely discredited as fraudulent. Among those leading the charge against vaccines is Jenny McCarthy, the Playboy Bunny-turned-pseudoscience advocate. McCarthy began speaking out against vaccines in 2007, as she believed they caused her son’s autism. Based on her son’s symptoms, some believe the boy actually has Landau-Kleffner syndrome.

“Anti-vaccine beliefs track closely with lack of confidence in the government,” Arthur Allen, the author of Vaccine: The controversial story of medicine’s greatest lifesaver, told Politico’s Pulse Check podcast recently. “We’re in the middle of the perfect situation for [anti-vaccine beliefs] to rise.” This will only result in the needless pain, suffering and death.

Please click HERE to take a look at the worldwide spread of preventable, serious diseases caused by the anti-vaccination movement.

Vaccines are probably one of the most important medical discoveries in human history. I personally am unbelievably thankful to be provided with such an extensive method with which to protect my precious family!

In my next blog, I will use scientific proof to dispel commonly spread myths about vaccinations!

Thanks for reading!