Children need a sense of security

February 23, 1993

Some child-rearing advice from Dr. Lawrence Kutner:

* In an environment where crime and other threats may loom, "Two things are critically important," Dr. Kutner says. "Have two safe havens for children, home and school."

While watching TV that deals with violence, or serious social issues with your child, don't just sit there. Question what's going on, Dr. Kutner says. "The goal is to help your child feel safe and gain that sense of perspective."

* Listen when "your child comes to you and says, 'Nobody likes me, [because my ears] stick out,' " or similar concerns. "It's so tempting as a parent to rush in.

Step back, the child is paying you quite a compliment. He's saying, 'I trust you. I will share this potentially damaging information.' First, you listen to him . . . you may find it's something completely different. It's a way of testing the waters. That's part of the craft of being a parent."

* In his new book, "Pregnancy and Your Baby's First Year," Dr. Kutner says the best way "to decrease the amount your baby cries is to respond quickly to those cries. Sometimes all the child needs is a few gentle words or a bottle. If the crying continues, you can expand your repertoire of baby-comforting techniques: holding, rocking, singing."

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