Memories of father can be saved for young children

Parent Q&A

November 15, 1998|By T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. | T. Berry Brazelton, M.D.,NEW YORK TIMES SPECIAL FEATURES

Q. You recently printed a letter from a widow who was concerned about her daughters' means of coping with their father's death. Since they were so young when he died, they have few memories of him.

Why doesn't the mother ask friends, neighbors and family members to write letters telling stories about the things they did with him and describing the kind of man he was? These letters could be put into a scrapbook for the girls, along with pictures and other mementos.

A. What a wonderful suggestion! Thank you for the idea.

In the same vein, this mother could tell her children stories about their father as part of the bedtime routine. Particularly if her own grieving will allow it, she could tell stories about happy times with their father. She could talk about positive things he did, both as a boy their ages and as a father to them. This could be therapeutic for all of them.

Q. My grandson is 14 months old, and I am concerned because my daughter and her husband are always holding him. When he is at home or visiting other people, he's always in their arms.

I believe that a child needs love and to be held, but it seems that they hold him all the time and don't leave him much time on his own to learn.

My daughter says that her husband wants to hold his son because he works and does not see him that much. Can this hold my grandson back on his development?

A. Are your daughter and her husband worried about their son for some reason you don't understand? If not, it is probably as your daughter says: Working parents feel separated from their child and want to make up for it when-ever they can.

I agree with you that they are treating your grandson as a much younger and more vulnerable "baby." He will probably soon demand independence.

Is he walking yet? He should be - and that would be a crucial "step" toward independence.

Questions or comments should be addressed to Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, care of the New York Times Syndication Sales Corp., 122 E. 42nd St., New York, N.Y. 10168. Questions of general interest will be answered in this column; unpublished letters cannot be answered individually.

Pub Date: 11/15/98

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