Principle: Respond with Sensitivity

Frequently Asked Questions

How can a parent respond sensitively to a teenager?

Most teenagers display a lot of "normal" transitioning behavior. Some call it "the process of individuation." The main issue with being a mother of a teenager is to realize that we have moved from a manager's role to a consultant's role. The greatest influence we have is helping our teens trust us, and our judgments, and encouraging them to come to us for advice.

Our son frequently hits other children. We have tried to teach him to use "gentle touches" and to share, but he continues to hit. Should we hit him back?

First, understand that it is completely normal and developmentally appropriate for a two-year-old to hit. Your son isn't old enough to really understand "sharing" and, even though he can talk, he likely doesn't yet have the developmental capability to put his feelings into words.

What does API think of families using "lovies"?

Certainly we need to stress that a parent or other attached caregiver would be the best "lovie" a child could have. There is no substitute for the warm, loving arms of a caregiver and the security that they provide for the child. However, we realize that sometimes a lovie (such as a stuffed animal or blanket) can be an appropriate tool, and as long as it is not overused, it can be comforting to some children. Some high-needs children require almost constant contact with a parent or caregiver. Sometimes this level of contact is not possible, especially in a household with multiple children.

I became pregnant shortly after my daughter weaned. She was two years old, and I am afraid that she will want to nurse again. What can I do to help her understand that she won't be able to, as I don't wish to nurse both children?

Before the baby is born, make it a priority to give your daughter as much focused attention as possible so your relationship is strengthened and fortified. Help her feel like an active participant in your pregnancy. Remind her of how you felt when she was growing inside of you, how much you loved her, and how excited you were about her birth. Talk about all the sweet memories after her birth while looking at pictures. Encourage your daughter to talk to her soon-to-be-born sibling to help her begin to feel attached to her or him.

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