Parenting trends: 5 Parenting Facts Your Child’s Grandparent Should Know

“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” -Franklin P. Jones

Grandparents often find themselves frustrated by the constantly changing nature of parenting, the ever-evolving supplies parents and children need and the contradictory recommendations offered by “experts” of each generation. So much of parenting advice is based around fashion and fad that it can be difficult to determine what information your child’s grandparent really needs to be a competent caregiver. Here are the 5 biggest changes in parenting over the past few generations that can affect your child’s safety:

Nutrition and Allergies
Allergies are increasing at an alarming rate, and most pediatricians believe that early exposure to some foods can increase children’s susceptibility to allergies. Peanuts and honey are especially dangerous to children under two, so talk to your child’s grandparent and ensure that your child does not eat these foods.

Doctors used to think that infant formula was just as healthy as breastmilk and in fact advised new mothers not to breastfeed. We now know that breastfeeding is the best nutritional source for babies. If you are breastfeeding, remind your child’s grand parent to give your child pumped breastmilk rather than baby formula.

Head Injuries
Head injuries are among the top causes of early death and brain damage in children. Several generations ago, it might have been safe for children to ride their bikes in a neighborhood cul-de-sac without a helmet. Today, however, there are more cars, more potholes and more risks to children. We also now know that even a simple concussion can have long-term effects.

Ensure that your child’s grandparent understands the importance of helmets. She should also carefully supervise your child when she engages in activities such as trampoline jumping, diving and gymnastics. Young children should also be supervised when they climb. While bunk beds such as twin captain’s beds might seem like great presents, very young children under 2 should not sleep in them.

Carseats and Seatbelts
The widespread use of carseats and seatbelts has dramatically reduced the number of children injured in automobile accidents every year. Older generations might not have used these protective items or might not be aware of their importance. Ensure that your child’s grandparents have a carseat in their car. To be sure that it’s installed properly, suggest they take it to a fire station for help or allow you to install it.

Environmental Risks
Children in older generations frequently grew up surrounded by cigarette smoke and lots of television. We now know that secondhand smoke increases a child’s risk of allergy, asthma, sudden death and other health problems, so if your child’s grandparents smoke, ensure they only do so outside when your child is visiting.

Similarly, television can stunt children’s brain development, and long-term exposure to violent television can harm children’s emotional development. Encourage your child’s grandparents to limit your child’s television exposure.

Until recently, most parents believed that sparing the rod meant spoiling the child. Discipline centered around restrictive rules and punishment was often of the corporal form. We now know that this parenting style–which psychologists refer to as authoritarian parenting–actually increases behavioral problems and limits a child’s ability to control her own behavior.

Regardless of your own beliefs about child discipline, talk to your parents or in-laws about the sorts of discipline you feel are appropriate. If you do not want your child to be spanked or yelled at, you need to make this explicitly clear.

About the Author:
Christobel Edwards became a grandmother two years ago for the first time. She feels this is not only the next step in life but a time when you often have to learn to keep your mouth shut. She loves buying things such as bunk beds for kids and recently bought her grandchild a wooden bunkbed. You can find her on the web at

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