COPING WITH LOSS

NEW YORK TIMES COLUMN: FAMILIES TODAY:
COPING WITH LOSS
By: T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., and Joshua Sparrow, M.D.

Q. Since her great-grandfather died a few weeks ago, my 4-year-old daughter asks constantly about death. She asks why and how my mother died (which happened before my daughter was born). She wants to know if we parents will die at the same time, and who will look after her. It’s hard to be honest without scaring her.

We aren’t religious, so a lot of my answers are, “I don’t know.” What is best to say? Or not to say? My mother died from smoking. Is it too early for that information?

A. Clear, simple information is the key to helping your daughter cope with frightening things that are hard for any of us to understand. You needn’t explain more than what’s required for her age – just tell her enough so she can trust you to guide her through these challenges.

Sometimes language that is meant to be reassuring confuses and worries children. “He died in his sleep,” for example, makes many children scared to go to bed. A little reliable information makes the world seems less frightening to a child. Maria Trozzi, author of “Talking with Children about Loss,” suggests saying, “Most people do not die until they are very, very, very old.”

If your daughter asks why, you might reply, “After living for a very, very, very long time, great-grandpa’s body wore out. When people grow very, very, very old, their bodies just stop working.”

You can add, convincingly, that you and your parents are not very, very, very old, and that your bodies are working fine. It’s not critical for your daughter to know now about your mother’s smoking. Since people are likelier to die younger if they smoke, your child might wonder why anybody would ever do such a thing. It’s not dishonest to save this explanation for later.

Most important is that your daughter knows you are always ready to listen and that you will do your best to answer her questions.


Responses to questions are not intended to constitute or to take the place of medical or psychiatric evaluation, diagnosis or treatment. If you have a question about your child’s health or well-being, consult your child’s health-care provider.

Dr. Brazelton, prior to his passing, was the founder and head of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, which promotes and supports community initiatives that are collaborative, strength-based, prevention-focused sources of support for families raising children in our increasingly stressful world. Dr. Sparrow, a child psychiatrist, is currently the Director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center.  Learn more about the Center at www.touchpoints.org.

Reprinted with permission from the authors.

 

 

WHEN A CHILD LACKS DEXTERITY

NEW YORK TIMES COLUMN: FAMILIES TODAY:
WHEN A CHILD LACKS DEXTERITY
By: T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., and Joshua Sparrow, M.D.

Q. My 4-year-old son is within the chart for normal growth and development. He speaks well for his age and is fine at preschool.

But I have this nagging observation about his lack of dexterity and confidence in motor skills such as broad jumping, catching a ball or climbing. He sometimes still holds the pen with the wrong grip and finds it challenging to tear a piece of paper along a straight line.

His 20-month-old brother has shown dexterity and motor skills ahead of his age.

A. A child’s feelings can be a first tipoff to a delay. Is your son frustrated by a lack of dexterity, or does he avoid physical activities? Frustration or lack of confidence may hamper the child more than the delay itself. Comparison with a sibling is hard, too. Even the impact of a minor delay on a child’s self-esteem can be aggravated by the growing pressure on children to perform in ways that, until recently, weren’t expected so young.

You might start by talking to your pediatrician, who can check for illness and help to sort out whether it’s an issue of muscle strength, tone or coordination.

If needed, the pediatrician can refer your son to an occupational therapist for assessment. Often a minor delay shows no root cause, but treatment and time for developmental catch-up can make a big difference.

Specific exercises and activities to solve the issue can be similar to play, making a child want to join wholeheartedly. If the treatment is made to seem like it’s for a problem, a child could resist help.

Often parents, and even professionals, forget to talk with young children about the reasons for tests and treatments. Talking about problems and solutions helps children to feel less alone and afraid, and more hopeful.

The discussion can focus on issues that bother a child: “You know how sometimes you get mad at yourself when you can’t jump as far as some of the other kids?” Or a parent might ask, “What are the things you can do that you are really proud of?” Then: “What would you like to improve?”

Some children may not be able to answer, but if they’ve already noticed their delay, it’s reassuring to know you want to help.

Once a challenge has been acknowledged, put it in perspective: “It’s not a big problem, but it bothers you – and that’s a good reason to work on it, especially since it can improve.”

Progress comes when children are motivated. They may have their own reasons to hold back, such as feeling self-conscious or fearing that other children will know what’s up (though they needn’t).

Or a child may feel so badly about the delay he denies it altogether. Such a child may accept help if he is offered chances to succeed in other areas, and recognized for his strengths.

When he agrees to treatment, let the successes be his. Someday he’ll understand that even if he remains less dexterous, he deserves far more recognition for the courage to face his challenges and the tenacity to overcome them.


Responses to questions are not intended to constitute or to take the place of medical or psychiatric evaluation, diagnosis or treatment. If you have a question about your child’s health or well-being, consult your child’s health-care provider.

Dr. Brazelton, prior to his passing, was the founder and head of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, which promotes and supports community initiatives that are collaborative, strength-based, prevention-focused sources of support for families raising children in our increasingly stressful world. Dr. Sparrow, a child psychiatrist, is currently the Director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center. Learn more about the Center at www.touchpoints.org.

Reprinted with permission from the authors.

 

ENCOURAGING OUR CHILDREN TO EAT HEALTHY

NEW YORK TIMES COLUMN: FAMILIES TODAY:
ENCOURAGING OUR CHILDREN TO EAT HEALTHY
By: T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., and Joshua Sparrow, M.D.

Q. I’m saddened by the increase in childhood obesity. But I find it difficult to be the parent of a thin, healthy child bombarded with low-fat advertising. Is it right to limit fats and other caloric nutrients in healthy children?

A. The U.S. childhood obesity rate is staggering, with all the associated risks for diabetes, heart disease, cancer and other health problems.

Often we blame the victims. It is assumed that people who are obese just need to change their behavior – which they would if only they had the right information about food.

But many studies have shown that information alone can’t affect some of the factors that influence what we eat. For example, childhood obesity disproportionately hits people living in poverty, and hits them harder.

The food industry skillfully produces unhealthy, filling “foods” that cost much less than healthy kinds. Fresh produce is much more expensive, calorie for calorie, than junk food.

Information can’t change the fundamental inequality of access to healthy foods that is driving our obesity epidemic. A generation is at risk, and part of the cost will be a new spiral of health care expenses.

Nutrient labels only go so far. Science is still debating how much protein, fat and carbohydrates are needed, and what balance is healthy.

Not all fats are bad and some are critical to health. For example, the fat in whole milk is needed in the first years of life for brain development.

We share your concern about overemphasis on nutritional constituents and their potential for distorting healthy eating habits – ours and our children’s. Many of us have been victimized by the flip-flopping fads of high-carb/low-fat and low-carb/high-fat diets.

Healthy eating isn’t simply this much protein or that much fat. We need to research what kinds of protein and fat and carbohydrates, in what proportions, eaten at what times of day, in combination with what other foods, and perhaps even in what order.

How do these factors interact for good health?

We may even learn that physical activities and their timing – such as preparing food before eating it, or relaxing and chatting after meals – play a role in how our bodies make use of what we eat. Here are a few things to rely on:

First, stick to what nature offers us, like more leafy vegetables than fatty animals. Trust traditional ethnic diets. Refined over the generations, they generally produce healthier outcomes than the diets put together by the food industry in our time. Also, in many traditional cultures, eating takes place only at meals (rather than “grazing” throughout the day) and is a relaxed social event that makes less food and healthier food seem more satisfying.

Give up the sweet, fat and salty excesses of junk food. Be guided by your taste buds and your own sensations of hunger, fullness and satisfaction. Heeding these important signals helps us respond healthily.

We need to start children on this path from the very beginning of life.


Responses to questions are not intended to constitute or to take the place of medical or psychiatric evaluation, diagnosis or treatment. If you have a question about your child’s health or well-being, consult your child’s health-care provider.

Dr. Brazelton, prior to his passing, was the founder and head of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, which promotes and supports community initiatives that are collaborative, strength-based, prevention-focused sources of support for families raising children in our increasingly stressful world. Dr. Sparrow, a child psychiatrist, is currently the Director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center. Learn more about the Center at www.touchpoints.org.

Reprinted with permission from the authors.

A TODDLER BACKTRACKS ON TOILET TRAINING

NEW YORK TIMES COLUMN: FAMILIES TODAY:
A TODDLER BACKTRACKS ON TOILET TRAINING
By: T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., and Joshua Sparrow, M.D.

Q. Our 3-and-1/2-year-old girl finally used the toilet for pooping, after several months of comfortably urinating by herself.

It happened after a weekend away with a 4-year-old who she watched, and was evidently encouraged to try it at home. She pooped again the next day. We showed her a lot of praise and joy at her accomplishment.

She had previously showed little interest in giving up her diapers to go poop, and admitted she was scared of making a poop in the toilet.

Then she stopped, and we are back where we were. She runs and gets her own diaper when it’s time. Sometimes she will “try,” which means sitting on the toilet for a few minutes, then getting up to find a diaper.

She has said things like, “I really like making poo in the potty!” and “Maybe later I will make poo in the potty,” but never really pushes herself to do it again.

We are just a little confused that she started, then stopped. We don’t want to push her, but we do feel like she likes the ease of grabbing a diaper, going, then having dad and mom quickly take it off and clean her up. We (and she) know she is capable, but she has a routine which works for her and she obviously doesn’t feel like pushing herself.

Should we nudge her along? Go “cold turkey” with all diapers gone from the house? Not say a thing about tit?

A. No wonder you are confused. Your daughter does demonstrate many of the signs of readiness.

She can feel her readiness to “poo” coming on, she can tell you, and can hold on long enough to get herself to where she needs to go, or get herself a diaper. She even showed you that she could “poo” in the toilet.

But she isn’t fully ready, since she hasn’t mastered her fears, and perhaps doesn’t fully feel that this achievement is her own.

Perhaps all the praise when she imitated her 4-year-old friend was a little too much – too much excitement, and perhaps too much of your sense of victory interfering with her sense that this was her own.

Do you know what she is afraid of? Some children are afraid of the noise that a flushing toilet makes. Or that they’ll fall in. And many are quite troubled by the fact that once their b.m.’s are flushed down the toilet they disappear for ever. What happens to them? Where do they go? Where does she think they go? These are important questions for young children since they think of their b.m.’s as a part of their own bodies, as a precious product of themselves.

Pushing her isn’t likely to help. She seems quite motivated to imitate and be like older children and is bound to tire of diapers, which distinguish her from them.

Once a child who is developing healthily in all respects has had a chance to fully explore her questions, conquer her fears and feel that pooping in the toilet is her own achievement, rather than one that has been taken away from her, she’ll be fully ready to show herself that she can be successful.

Should she give up her diaper? I wouldn’t recommend it. Instead, tell her that it is up to her to decide when and where she will use it. You will be ready to help her when she asks for it. Let her know that you know that when she’s ready to “poo” in the toilet, she will, and that there’s no need for her to reassure you about “later” or “really liking it.”


Responses to questions are not intended to constitute or to take the place of medical or psychiatric evaluation, diagnosis or treatment. If you have a question about your child’s health or well-being, consult your child’s health-care provider.

Dr. Brazelton, prior to his passing, was the founder and head of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, which promotes and supports community initiatives that are collaborative, strength-based, prevention-focused sources of support for families raising children in our increasingly stressful world. Dr. Sparrow, a child psychiatrist, is currently the Director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center. Learn more about the Center at www.touchpoints.org.

Reprinted with permission from the authors.

OUR CHILDEN’S MENTAL HEALTH

NEW YORK TIMES COLUMN: FAMILIES TODAY:
OUR CHILDEN’S MENTAL HEALTH
By: T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., and Joshua Sparrow, M.D.

Q. Given the explosion of ADHD and autism diagnoses, are our children at greater risk for mental and cognitive problems than previous generations? If so, what steps should we take in research, treatment and environmental cleanup?

A. Many parents, teachers and health-care professionals suspect that our society’s decreasing respect for active, physical work is one reason for the increasing numbers of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Most high-paying jobs go to people who are good with words or numbers, and who can sit still for hours, rather than to those who are good with their hands and bodies.

This shift in values shows up in schools, where budgets for physical education and time for recess have been slashed. Young children spend more time on language-based and mathematical learning, often with little or no physical activity. As a result, some very active children may be misdiagnosed as “hyperactive” because they can’t comply with these new stationary demands.

Misunderstandings of the “new” brain science are also part of the problem. Children’s brains develop more dramatically in their first years than at any other time. But this does not mean that schools should start teaching this material to younger and younger children.

Reading and arithmetic skills once expected of first graders are now being demanded of preschoolers. Young children are being made to sit in their seats for longer periods than many can handle. Of course it is critical for them to be exposed to words and language, but this exposure should come in ways they can accept. Abundant evidence shows that young children develop important skills through play that set them up as lifelong learners: tolerance, persistence, and a readiness to take risks.

Still, some children whose hyperactivity and inattention go way beyond the broad range of “normal” can be protected from school failure if they can be treated early. The same goes for children with learning disabilities. All too often, their frustration turns into behavior problems that get all the attention while the learning disability itself goes unrecognized and untreated.

As your question suggests, other changes also have an impact. For example: Researchers at the University of Washington have correlated the number of hours spent watching TV in the first three years of life with attention difficulties at age 7.

Numerous studies have shown that significant stress, depression and anxiety on a woman during pregnancy also increase the stress hormone levels of newborns. These newborns can be more irritable, more difficult to console, and less able to maintain the “quiet alert” states newborns use to learn about their world. Such children are likelier to have behavioral problems and learning disabilities.

Environmental pollutants may also affect babies’ brain development, even before birth. A study just published by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health has linked exposure to high levels of airborne pollutants during pregnancy and early childhood with a greater risk of behavioral and attention problems.

We now know that the explosion of behavioral and learning problems in children goes beyond over-diagnosis and inappropriate expectations. Even before life begins, developing brains are highly vulnerable to our toxic environment. As each toxin is identified – too much stress during pregnancy, too much pressure too soon in school, too much television, specific pollutants – it is our duty as parents and citizens to protect our children from them.


Responses to questions are not intended to constitute or to take the place of medical or psychiatric evaluation, diagnosis or treatment. If you have a question about your child’s health or well-being, consult your child’s health-care provider.

Dr. Brazelton, prior to his passing, was the founder and head of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, which promotes and supports community initiatives that are collaborative, strength-based, prevention-focused sources of support for families raising children in our increasingly stressful world. Dr. Sparrow, a child psychiatrist, is currently the Director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center. Learn more about the Center at www.touchpoints.org.

Reprinted with permission from the authors.

INTERPRETING A NEWBORN’S CRIES

NEW YORK TIMES COLUMN: FAMILIES TODAY:
INTERPRETING A NEWBORN’S CRIES
By: T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., and Joshua Sparrow, M.D.

Q. I am the grandfather of a 4-week-old girl, the first child of our daughter and her husband. How accurately can a newborn’s cries be interpreted?

A. Like all families, you wonder what your new addition is “saying.” Mothers, fathers and grandparents jockey over interpreting the new baby:. Does she want to be held? Or has she been held too much? Is she hungry or wet or weary? And who knows best?

Scientists have analyzed infants’ cries by pitch, tone, volume and rhythm. Infants indeed make cries that correlate to hunger, fatigue, discomfort, pain, a bid for interaction – or to letting off steam at the end of the day.

Feed a baby crying in one way, and she will guzzle appreciatively. A baby crying in another way will just turn her head and keep crying.

Parents may interpret their baby’s cries too narrowly. For example, they may think she is asking to be fed with each cry. Overfeeding, though, may confuse a baby into believing that feeding helps with other discomforts, like boredom or loneliness. Parents need a few weeks to learn to distinguish their baby’s cries. They may not be right each time, but they can narrow the possibilities.

A baby whose cry says “pick me up and love me” will quiet simply by being held. If she keeps crying, she may be asking for something else – to have a diaper changed, or to be swaddled more firmly for sleep.

As parents ponder a baby’s cries, she too is learning to distinguish different sensations, and to soothe herself when distressed. These will become skills of great importance.

If a baby is crying, it’s best for parents to go to her – but usually they needn’t rush to resolve the issue in seconds. Unless the baby is ill, in danger, or too fragile to tolerate her distress – as can happen for pre-term infants – you have time to prepare a feeding, check a diaper, cuddle and coo together, or help the baby soothe herself with a thumb to suck or a piece of soft cloth to touch.

Parents respond more sensitively to a baby’s cries as they learn more about her. Some babies are clearer than others in their communications.

Ultimately, all parents learn by trial and error, encouraged by family members and other parental cheerleaders who help them to feel OK about not always getting it right the first time.


Responses to questions are not intended to constitute or to take the place of medical or psychiatric evaluation, diagnosis or treatment. If you have a question about your child’s health or well-being, consult your child’s health-care provider.

Dr. Brazelton, prior to his passing, was the founder and head of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, which promotes and supports community initiatives that are collaborative, strength-based, prevention-focused sources of support for families raising children in our increasingly stressful world. Dr. Sparrow, a child psychiatrist, is currently the Director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center. Learn more about the Center at www.touchpoints.org.

Reprinted with permission from the authors.

COMMUNITY BUILDING AMONG FAMILIES

NEW YORK TIMES COLUMN: FAMILIES TODAY:
COMMUNITY BUILDING AMONG FAMILIES
By: T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., and Joshua Sparrow, M.D.

Q. I’ve seen parents benefit from the exchange of advice on the sidelines at a soccer game, and by volunteering together for a parent-teacher association. But not every parent can participate.

How can we help restore and strengthen social networks that nourish parents? Networking reduces not only parents’ anxieties but also overuse of the medical system.

A. Being a parent can be a lonely job. More than half of all children in the U.S. spend part of their childhood raised by single parents. Single or not, working parents are often so busy juggling jobs and family that it’s hard for them to connect with relatives,

friends and other parents. Yet when parents compare notes, they are often relieved to discover that they are not alone, that they share mutual concerns about bedtime battles, homework overload, fears about how their children will fare in a world of vanishing resources, to name a few. They realize they aren’t the only ones who sometimes feel like they don’t know how to help their child – that they’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work.

Exchanges with other parents provide more solutions and more resources, along with confidence and hope. When parents speak their fears out loud and know that they have been understood by others who care, they are likelier to find a fresh perspective.

Parents often feel that they must be perfect, that they should instinctively know what to do with their children. Of course that’s not realistic. Parenting is a process of trial and error where mistakes themselves can be teachers. But parents will only learn from their mistakes if they can face them, and that takes an underlying sense of security. It helps to have a safety net of reassuring relationships with other parents who share their challenges and cheer them on. The sidelines of their children’s soccer games are a fine setting for that back-and-forth.

Perhaps every generation has to learn that it takes a village to raise a child. When communities strengthen themselves, children get supported not only by their own parents but also by all the other parents and adults in their universe.

Pediatricians, teachers and other professionals can help develop opportunities for parents to connect – formal ones such as parent-teacher associations and parent groups, and informal ones, too.

I used to schedule pediatric appointments during the same block of time for children of the same age so their parents could compare notes in the waiting room. Public libraries and children’s museums also have become interested in helping parents get to know each other.

But the job of strengthening communities cannot be accomplished by child- oriented professionals and institutions alone. Internet social-networking sites can be helpful tools to share community information. Communities become places where children and families thrive when a critical mass of people and institutions share their commitment to everyone’s well-being.


Responses to questions are not intended to constitute or to take the place of medical or psychiatric evaluation, diagnosis or treatment. If you have a question about your child’s health or well-being, consult your child’s health-care provider.

Dr. Brazelton, prior to his passing, was the founder and head of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, which promotes and supports community initiatives that are collaborative, strength-based, prevention-focused sources of support for families raising children in our increasingly stressful world. Dr. Sparrow, a child psychiatrist, is currently the Director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center. Learn more about the Center at www.touchpoints.org.

Reprinted with permission from the authors.

A FAIR SHAKE IN DISCIPLINING SIBLINGS

NEW YORK TIMES COLUMN: FAMILIES TODAY:
A FAIR SHAKE IN DISCIPLINING SIBLINGS
By: T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., and Joshua Sparrow, M.D.

This article is adapted from “Understanding Sibling Rivalry,” by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., and Joshua D. Sparrow, M.D., published by Da Capo Press, a member of The Perseus Books Group.

Can discipline be the same for different children in the same family? Not always. Is it fair to treat them differently? They won’t think so, and they’ll be playing close attention. But of course it may be, because they are different. Differences in discipline depend on age differences, differences in ability, sensitivity and temperament.

Siblings will reproach parents: “You’re always so much easier on her than you are on me.” I would advise parents to lay out their reasons openly so that differences in discipline won’t be seen as playing favorites: “Do you really think it would be fair to treat you alike? You’re three years older.”

Parents may also find that they discipline their boys and girls differently, or they may do so without realizing it. Many will naturally soften to speak to a girl, and are more likely to be tougher with a boy. Will boys see this as unfair? Probably. Parents will need to stop and consider whether their different responses to a boy and a girl really fit the child or, instead, are based on a stereotype.

Fair discipline does not necessarily mean the same discipline for all. If different children really need different kinds of discipline to be contained and to learn from it, all the children can be helped to understand and accept this.

What happens when two or more siblings are involved? When they gang up to make a ruckus that you must stop? An older child may set up a younger one to do his dirty work because he’s more likely to “get off easy.” Sometimes, parents may know that the mischief goes beyond the younger child’s abilities. Sometimes they won’t.

What should you do?

  • First of all, parents will need to get themselves under control.
  • Then, address both children together. This is their chance to learn that they’re all in it together as a family.
  • Afterward, separate each child for individual discipline, in private.
  • Finally, bring the children back together again. Remind them that they are all responsible for each other, even when only one is guilty. Then, plan for a family time – a meal, reading together, a walk, or anything else that allows everyone to feel close again.

Separation from each other has the powerful effect of getting each child to listen to the teaching that goes with discipline, and defuses the excitement of ganging up on a parent. It also makes them realize how much they want to be together, no matter how upset they’ve been with each other.

When children keep misbehaving, over and over, either they’ve not yet learned from your discipline or the motive to misbehave is stronger. It is essential to help children discover their own motivation to get along with each other and to comply with the family’s rules and expectations. Then they can begin to assume some responsibility for self-discipline.

If this doesn’t happen, siblings are likely to find it far more rewarding to gang up against parents and to goad each other to test parents’ patience and resolve. When you can, turn it back to them and make the misbehavior their problem, not yours.

Another possibility is that your response has not been consistent. If you respond on some occasions, and not on others, children are bound to keep on testing. They need to find out whether or not you’ll respond next time. If you mean business, show them by responding the same way, every time. But don’t get worked up about it. That may make the misbehavior even more exciting, and hard to resist.

FAIR AND APPROPRIATE DISCIPLINE

  1. Make the punishment fit the crime.
  2. When you find yourself spending a lot of time disciplining your children for fights and rivalry, stop and consider how much to leave to them. They’ll be more likely to listen if they haven’t heard you nagging for a while.
  3. Balance positives with the negatives. When your children are quietly getting along or working on their own projects, surprise them with a word of praise.
  4. When problem behavior happens too often, ask the children what would help them behave. Let them plan solutions together.
  5. Don’t compare one child to another.
  6. Don’t talk about one child to the others.
  7. Don’t humiliate one child in front of the others.
  8. Discipline is best absorbed by a child when it can be done in private. But it often happens that two or more children need it at the same time. You can remind them as a group of expectations and consequences that apply to all of them, without singling anyone out.
  9. Match the discipline to the child. A parent who knows each child’s temperament, stage of development, learning style, and thresholds has a better chance. Watch her face and body movements for evidence that you are reaching her.

Responses to questions are not intended to constitute or to take the place of medical or psychiatric evaluation, diagnosis or treatment. If you have a question about your child’s health or well-being, consult your child’s health-care provider.

Dr. Brazelton, prior to his passing, was the founder and head of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center, which promotes and supports community initiatives that are collaborative, strength-based, prevention-focused sources of support for families raising children in our increasingly stressful world. Dr. Sparrow, a child psychiatrist, is currently the Director of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center. Learn more about the Center at www.touchpoints.org.

Reprinted with permission from the authors.