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FOR RELEASE: February 13, 2001
CONTACT: Dick Gunn
405/271-5601

Early Childhood Challenging for Parents

Normal – but frustrating – stressors that are a part of a child's development can sometimes overshadow the joys and rewards of parenting. To help ease that bumpy ride many parents have during their child's infancy and toddlerhood, the Oklahoma State Department of Health has developed a yearlong parent education campaign on the seven greatest challenges of early childhood.

Beginning this month, child development specialists in local county health departments around the state will offer parent workshops featuring these “parenting perils”: picky eaters, toilet learning, normal exploratory behavior, toddler negativism, separation anxiety, colic, and night crying.

“We know these stressors occur when dealing with young children and they can be extremely frustrating for parents,” said Dr. Linda Passmark, coordinator of the Early Childhood Development and Parent Education at the Oklahoma State Department of Health. “The good news is that these behaviors are normal and become less troublesome as a child matures and has better self control. Transitions through these rough spots can be eased when parents are informed and know how to help the child master these challenges.”

Dr. Passmark said the free workshops provide parents with the information they need on the different stages of “readiness” their child may have to try new experiences, tips for minimizing stress in the family, and suggestions for dealing with difficult early childhood behaviors. The workshops also teach parents what to expect at these various stages, and give parents support during stressful times, suggesting for example, ways to maintain patience as their child works toward becoming more independent while using that ever present word, “NO!”

For more information about the workshops, contact the child guidance program at your county health department.

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