Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Mothergoosemouse posted about the changes that come with motherhood, anticipated or not.

She describes watching a shaken baby prevention video in hospital....

Before I had children of my own, I reacted to news of tragedies concerning children much differently. I was saddened, disturbed, sorry for the family - but it didn’t prey on my subconscious like it does now.

I can’t read the articles or listen to the news reports. I struggle with the blog posts,which are mercifully few and far between. Before being discharged from the
hospital with CJ, I was required to watch a video about shaken baby syndrome. I burst into tears afterward, and the visuals from the video stay with me even now. The “Never Shake a Baby” radio and TV ads cause me to change the channel. Even typing these words makes me well up.

This was my response....

I’m curious to know whether you think the hospital could have “framed” the
info in a way that would have changed your response.
We advocate for hospital based prevention education and encourage the nurses to present the information not as an obligation (”you should never shake your baby”) but as an opportunity (”this will help you learn about the causes of shaking injuries
so you can help protect your baby against injuries”).
It’s easier for the parents and for the educators. It’s easier for hospitals too: everyone benefits.
And it’s very important for parents to be able to educate - not just tell - all the other caregivers around their child (not just child care, but baby sitters, sibling, the neighbor who’s an emergency backup): shaking is dangerous to young children (up to 5 years old) and frustration is normal, so even good caregivers need to recognize when that response is getting out of hand and have a simple coping plan ready.
It can be as simple as putting the child in a safe place, catching your breathe and calling someone to vent for a few minutes. The first step can be hardest, especially for a parent: you have to acknowledge the stress…
And the best thing is that once a parent understands the importance of positively educating other caregivers, and accepts the role of educator, they reinforce their own knowledge and behavior.
It’s certainly scary to learn about something that could hurt your child which you
have no control over: it’s much better to learn about the danger and what
you can do to protect your child.
Eduation is effective. Hospitals in the Buffalo area of New York have been doing education since 1998: since they started, the rate of inflicted infant head injury has dropped by 50%.
So you may not be able to avoid thinking about the tragedies - there are more than most people realize - but I hope you will also take advantage of your opportunity to
share knowledge about preventing those injuries.

Monday, September 01, 2008

This summary of Australian research on parenting education prompts three thoughts:

- why did they create a parenting program (the "first"), rather than adapt and evaluate one that has been shown effective, such as the home-visiting program developed by David Olds?;
- as research seems to show that birth is the "teachable moment", why did they wait until 8 months to implement it?; and
- doesn't it seem that a reduction in harsh or abusive parenting behavior is a worthwhile result?

Parenting Program Does Not Prevent Toddler Behavior Problems, Study Shows
ScienceDaily (Feb. 3, 2008) — A study of the first universal parenting programme, designed to prevent early child behaviour problems, shows that it has little impact on toddler behaviour.
Behaviour problems affect up to 20 per cent of children and have major personal, societal and economic ramifications. Left untreated, up to half of behaviour problems in preschool children develop into later mental health problems.
Prevention targeted to high-risk families can be effective, but has limited reach and may stigmatise. Universal programmes offered to all families could address these concerns, but their effectiveness is uncertain.
The study, conducted at the Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH) in Melbourne, Australia, is published by the British Medical Journal.
Researchers from the CCCH and the Parenting Research Centre, with input from maternal and child health nurses, designed a programme suitable for all parents to be delivered by trained health professionals in primary care. The programme aimed to prevent child behaviour problems, such as defiance and aggression, and improve parenting and maternal mental health.
Over 700 mothers of 8 month-old infants participated in the study and were randomised to either the programme (three sessions at age 8-15 months) or usual care from their local Maternal and Child Health centre. Mothers were surveyed throughout the study and their mental health was assessed when their children reached 18 and 24 months.
At 18 months, child behaviour and parenting scores were similar between the two groups. By age 24 months, parents on the programme were less likely to report harsh or abusive parenting and unreasonable expectations of child development, but there was no improvement in maternal distress or toddler behaviour.
This was the first trial to evaluate a universal parenting programme involving families from all social backgrounds, say the authors.
They conclude that the outcomes are insufficient to support widespread introduction of this programme to prevent toddler behaviour problems.

BMJ-British Medical Journal (2008, February 3). Parenting Program Does Not Prevent Toddler Behavior Problems, Study Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2008, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/ /releases/2008/01/080131214534.htm