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Let's Talk Life - How do I raise my baby well?

Published:Saturday | June 30, 2012 | 12:00 AM
  • How do I raise my baby well?

Dear Counsellor,

I have a baby and would like some expert advice on child-rearing practices.

- Johanna

Dear Johanna,

Parenting can be a learned behaviour from our relatives and friends. One can do courses on parenting, or get information from doctors or teachers. The objectives of child-rearing are to have a productive adult who is happy with himself and others. It is important that infants are adequately stimulated and children are trained in the social, physical, educational, and emotional skills, which will enable them to function appropriately.

Emotional, intellectual, and social intelligence need to develop in our young ones. Most tests are dependent on a child's exposure and experiences.

You need to speak with your baby, even though it might seem like a chore, because the baby cannot yet speak. The baby needs to be exposed to words and their meanings as their ability to understand needs to be developed. Read picture books together and sing songs, especially soothing songs with her. A baby needs to learn to soothe herself and this skill is needed throughout life.


Your baby is looking to you to guide and direct her path. Parenting a baby is not just about feeding, bathing, or cleaning. Children are looking to parents to help them manage their emotions, especially anger. Teach your daughter the social skills of 'Please', 'Thank you', 'May I?'. Your child needs to practise rewarding herself for tasks done as she needs to build confidence, self-esteem, motivation, and happiness. We tend to focus on punishment, and this can result in damage to the child.

Many children are abused physically, emotionally, and psychologically, especially when they are being punished. Neglect and abandonment also occur and so some children are in institutions, some are adopted and some are in foster care. You must recognise that a mother or father cannot be replaced and many adults spend millions of dollars getting therapy for childhood problems that are interfering with adult life.

Parenting is a big responsibility and should not be entered into lightly. Spend plenty of time with your baby. In some cultures, the baby is carried around close to the mother daily. Cuddle, nurture, and be happy with the baby. If you are depressed, then you need to get treatment because the development of your baby will be affected.

  • Helping my hyperactive son

Dear Counsellor,

My son is very impulsive and hyperactive and I can't seem to control him. The teacher complains of him being disruptive and not focused.

- Monica

Dear Monica,

Young children tend to be hyperactive, but as they grow older, the behaviour lessens. Some children have allergies or reactions to sugars and dyes. Check out these things. Diet is important and you need to see that he is eating healthily. Look at your parenting skills and determine if you need to set boundaries and limits. Adequate sleep and exercise are important.

Get your son assessed as he may have attention deficit disorder, which can be treated. Be of good cheer as help is available.

Email questions and feedback for Dr Yvonnie Bailey-Davidson to or call 978-8602.