Month: May 2019

This is the Key to Calm Parenting

Calm parenting is easier said than done. In this episode of Mom Docs, Dr. Dehra Harris shares a few tips to help you stop escalating your punishments and start seeing results.

We’ve all been there – your consequences keep growing in intensity but you still feel like your child doesn’t care. The reason we’re usually escalating consequences in the first place is because we’re becoming more emotionally involved than we should be. If you find yourself in this situation, the best thing to do is get back to an emotionally neutral state before you ever hand out consequences for your child.

One way to accomplish this is writing down major and minor consequences before your child misbehaves. This simplifies calm parenting because you know exactly what consequence comes next, and there’s no room for your emotions to make the situation more unpleasant.

Effective consequences are not fun but also don’t last long. For example, hour-long consequences are better than consequences that span multiple days. In fact, long-lasting consequences only leave room for one game – your child beats you at caring less. This is where parents are emotionally affected, and things go bad quickly.

If your calm parenting efforts fail and your consequences keep escalating out of control after your child misbehaves, it might be time to seek help from your pediatrician or child psychiatrist.

This is an excerpt from A Calm Brain, a new book by Gayatri Devi, MD, a neurologist and the director of the New York Memory and Healthy Aging Services.

Calm is a sense of internal composure that lets us function to the best of our abilities. It is the ideal state of the brain, supported by a body completely allied with it, allowing us to harness our cognitive powers while maintaining a balance with our emotions. When you are calm, you are in your zone, unperturbed by distractions or distress.

The brain has complex systems for relaxation and calm to counteract its mechanisms for alertness and anxiety. These body-based visceral systems lie not within our frontal lobes, our rational higher brain, the seat of logic and thinking, but within our core brain, which controls our emotions and impulses, and the vast environmental sensor and receptacle that is our body.

A calm body is a calm mind. Not the other way around, as most people believe. When a mother says to her son, “Tony, would you please calm down,” she is using a top-down approach to calming her child—asking him to use a rational, conscious process to quiet down. On the other hand, if a mother says to a screaming child, “Time out!” and sits him in a chair facing a wall, that’s using a bottom-up approach—quieting his body in order to achieve a sense of calm.

Choice Vs. Structure

In a café recently, I observed a mother with her young son, who looked about five years old. They walked in for breakfast on a crowded Sunday morning and found a corner table set for four people.

“Where do you want to sit, honey?” asked the mother, pointing to the four chairs.

“I don’t know, Mom. Wherever,” replied the boy, his voice still heavy with sleep.

“You can sit up against the wall; you can sit in the corner. Or you can sit next to Mommy, right here,” said his mother, ignoring his indifference. “If you sit next to the wall, you can watch people come and go. What do you want to do?”

“Mom, I don’t care,” said the son, starting to whine now.

“Okay, but don’t cry about it after,” warned the mother.

“Didn’t you want to draw with your crayons?”

“Uh, okay. Here?” The son gestured toward the corner seat.

“Good,” said his mother, looking pleased that he had made a decision. “Now, what would you like for breakfast?”

And so it went. By the time they left the cafe, this five year-old had had to make so many decisions I was exhausted. I sometimes thought my mother was too strict, but watching this sad Sunday morning drama, I was glad she set down a plate in front of me for breakfast every morning and that I ate what was on it.

Overscheduling and Anxiety

In the increasingly overstimulated world that is the milieu of the modern urban child, there are too many toys, too much technology, and too many choices. The one thing that children don’t have enough of, in my opinion, is community. And this is what the core brain requires. Kids need the skills gained from living in communities to help them empathize and communicate effectively, which is particularly important for calm.

Over-scheduling children’s lives, in the race to Harvard that begins at conception, leaves little time for impromptu playtime with neighborhood kids and other core-brain delights that give rise not just to calm but to a productive and healthy adulthood. Researchers have in fact found that the more activities that are scheduled for children, the more likely they are to suffer from stress and anxiety.

Accompanying frenetic scheduling is the constant need for vigilance. A patient of mine told me about her ten-year old granddaughter who lives in a New York City apartment building. Although the building has a doorman who monitors all visitors, it is not uncommon for parents to monitor their child walking down the hallway to visit another child’s apartment. What danger might lurk in the hallway? This kind of anxiety about unseen dangers surely has an impact on the impressionable core brains of young children.

Whispered Fears

A childhood steeped in excessive vigilance, even at the hands of well-intentioned parents, may impair one’s ability to self-soothe, to self- protect. Walking down Madison Avenue in New York a few weeks ago I heard a mother say to her two-year-old child slouching in his stroller, “Aaron, close your eyes, it’s getting sunny!” And little Aaron obediently shut his eyes, to protect himself from a gloriously sunny day because his mother thought the sunshine would harm him.

This example is funny in its absurdity, but it’s no joke that many kids today are the unwitting victims of their parents’ germ phobia and over-sanitization—of children and of childhood. The truth is that exposure to a reasonable number of environmental pathogens at a young age is helpful in developing immunity to a host of illnesses in adulthood. Preventing this exposure can set the stage for later susceptibility to illness. And overprotection can stimulate those unnamed, unvoiced fears that resonate through the house, whispering into a child’s ear, “Be afraid!”

Related to over-vigilance and lack of community is the proliferation of technology, which further handicaps children in their quest for calm. Computer games, with their beeping and flashing and demand for tight electronic focus, further compromise community and core brain calm. As does children’s constant texting, which impairs the honing of core brain people skills. As a boy who flirts through texting with a girl he adoressaid to me in despair, “I don’t know if she likes me in real life!”

I make no claims to being an expert when it comes to children, and only my daughter can say how calm a mother I am. But it seems to me that understanding the neuroscience of a child’s brain will help guide parents in raising calm children. Chess and piano lessons are all very well. But a calm brain is the greatest gift.

Best Supplements For Moms To Be

During pregnancy, it is important that the mother and baby get the nutrients they need to maintain good health. The problem is that in many cases a good diet is not enough, that is why it is necessary to include mineral and vitamin supplements in the diet such as those presented below.

1. Oceans Mom with Omega-3

This multivitamin is formulated with purified fish oil, which provides the mother with a high level of DHA to benefit bone, visual and cardiovascular health and promote emotional well-being. It comes in strawberry-flavored softgels.

It also provides antioxidants and vitamins that help the healthy development of the fetus. It is recommended that two capsules per day be consumed with meals to extend the traditional benefits during gestation.


2. Prenatal Multi for increased energy

These prenatal multivitamin tablets contain iron, zinc and folic acid. Ideal ingredients to support a healthy pregnancy and the well-being of the mother. The package contains 250 tablets.

It is a rich source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can be consumed daily, as it regulates blood sugar, increases the body’s energy and achieves overall well-being.


3. Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin

Prenatal vitamins designed to help achieve a healthy pregnancy. They contain vitamins B, D3, C and Zinc, compounds necessary for red blood cell production, cardiac support and energy support of the body.

It is a product developed to care for mother and baby during gestation. There are 96 tablets composed with a mixture of herbs that help to solve the eating disorder.


4. Multivitamin with folic acid Rainbow Light


Formulated with iron and vitamins A, C and D2, active compounds that help strengthen bones and the immune health of the fetus and mother. It even increases the body’s energy levels.

It also contains folic acid, red raspberry and ginger a mixture that are combined with enzymes to improve digestion and helps the healthy development of the spine.


5. Multivitamin for Fatigue

Prenatal multivitamin composed of vitamins and natural nutrients. Also contains minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium to aid in healthy fetal development.

It is an essential product to reduce swelling of the hands and feet, reduce the risk of premature birth and infections. In addition, it relieves fatigue and depression, while increasing breast milk.

All of these will help you during your pregnancy, and make sure you are energized and strong for the upcoming delivery.