Mother’s Advocate is delighted to announce this week’s blog post and Facebook contest by Dr. Gerald Newmark and Laurie Haessley. Dr. Newmark’s work regarding the Five Emotional Needs of Children is receiving accolades everywhere – from breastfeeding support groups and new father groups to school systems and corporate America. He reminds families that when we treat one another with respect, acceptance and inclusion the world become a more peaceful and loving place. Laurie Haessley is a WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator in California. Read on to learn more about the connection between exclusive breastfeeding and emotionally happy children and how to enter to win a complimentary copy of Dr. Newmark’s book.
Laurie: As the WIC Breastfeeding Coordinator of a very large county in California, Riverside County, I am responsible for developing and managing our breastfeeding education, support and assistance program. The goal of everything we do is to increase the exclusive breastfeeding initiation and duration among mothers enrolled in the WIC program. I am always searching for ways to better serve our WIC families and making ‘course corrections’ in our program so we can best meet the needs of our mothers and babies. For many years WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselors have facilitated breastfeeding mothers groups where mothers come together to discuss breastfeeding issues. Approximately 6 years ago our Peer Counselors realized that mothers stopped breastfeeding because of life issues NOT because of breastfeeding issues. We determined we needed a social-emotional component for our breastfeeding program. At about the same time I met Dr. Newmark speaking at a conference and decided then that we needed a course correction for our breastfeeding mothers groups.
Dr. Newmark: At the conference, I spoke about how babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, parents and grandparents ALL have the same emotional needs. Meeting these needs in childhood provides the foundation for success in life. Being a relaxed, happy person who enjoys life is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give to a child and is one of the most important attributes a parent contributes to a child’s sense of security. This is vital to a child’s sense of security all the time, but especially during the breastfeeding period.
Laurie: We incorporated the concepts from Dr. Newmark’s Book How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children – Meeting the Five Critical Needs of Children… and Parents Too! into the mothers groups curriculum. The five critical emotional needs he speaks about are:
- Feeling Respected
- Feeling Important
- Feeling Accepted
- Feeling Included
- Feeling Secure
Our breastfeeding mothers groups are THE success for the high exclusive breastfeeding rates in Riverside County. The groups are successful because mothers’ emotional needs are met. Most women stop breastfeeding when they perceive life problems as insurmountable which leads to a lack of confidence as a mother. Breastfeeding requires self-confidence and mothers who lack self-confidence are not successful breastfeeding. Our mothers groups facilitated by our awesome peer counselors offer a safe place to discuss and resolve life problems. The groups are a comfortable place to make friends, be with the same moms each month and practice exclusive breastfeeding. Groups are safe places for mothers to open up and share their inner most feelings while respecting each others’ differences.
At each mothers group emotional needs are met through the concepts of How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children.
Dr. Newmark: Parenting is not something one learns once and masters for all time. Babies and children of different ages may have the five emotional needs to different degrees. They may need to be satisfied in slightly different ways. Parents must learn to adjust their interactions accordingly. The concepts and techniques taught in the book are easy to learn but the most important thing is that parents must be good learners and their children are their best teachers. Parents must learn to LISTEN to their children to best meet their needs.
Laurie: One critical emotional need of children and parents is explored during each mothers’ group meeting.
- Feeling Respected – What does respect look like to you? How do babies ‘talk’ to us? How can we show respect to our babies?
- Feeling Important – How can we make our babies and children feel important?
- Feeling Accepted – How can we make our babies and children feel accepted?
- Feeling Included – How can we make our babies and children feel included?
- Feeling Secure – How can we make our babies and children feel secure?
At the end of each mothers group session two questions are always asked: ‘What was a challenge for you this month?’ and ‘What makes motherhood good for you this month?’ Mothers are encouraged to go home and practice what they have learned. Each month confidence is gained by women in their new role as ‘mother’ leading to a successful breastfeeding experience.
Dr. Newmark: Laurie and the Riverside County WIC Peer to Peer program have been the pioneers in this emotional health movement. It is now incorporated in many WIC Peer to Peer programs throughout California and nationwide.
Enter our Facebook giveaway for a chance to win a copy of How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children: Meeting the Five Critical Emotional Needs of Children.. And Parents Too! log onto www.facebook.com and “Like” our Mother’s Advocate Facebook page! All “Likes” from August 8, 2011 to August 22, 2011 will be entered to win one of 12 copies!
Dr. Gerald Newmark has had experience at every level of education from elementary school to university as a teacher, consultant and researcher. He has lectured extensively on parent-child-teacher relations and on innovative methods of teaching and learning. He connects with diverse audiences using straight-forward language that is informative, interesting and entertaining. He has received a presidential citation for his pioneering work in education described in his book This School Belongs To You and Me. His most recent book How To Raise Emotionally Healthy Children has sold 400,000 copies. Translations have been published in Mexico, Israel, Hungary, Russia, Austria, Braille in United States and soon will be released in India and China. Dr. Newmark is a member of the American Association of Humanistic Psychology, the Charles F. Menninger Society and the National Association for The Mentally Ill. (For more information about Dr. Newmark’s work visit www.emotionallyhealthychildren.org)
Laurie Haessly is the Program Director for Lactation Services or Riverside County and the Operations Director of Best Fed Babies. She has a Master’s degree in Nutrition and is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Laurie has been assisting breastfeeding mothers for more than twenty-five years. She has helped thousands of mothers to successfully breastfeed their babies. She sits on both the National WIC Association and California WIC Association Breastfeeding Committees. Laurie developed and oversees the popular Breastfeeding Cafes, Moms2Moms Groups and Sistah Connection Groups based on the Raising Emotionally Healthy Children concepts in Riverside County, California. Laurie has received numerous “best practices” awards for the work she has conducted at the national, state, and local levels. Recognitions have included the Economic Research Service’s “Innovative Breastfeeding Practices” award; the Princeton Mathematica Institute’s “Best Breastfeeding Practices” award; and the Loma Linda University Perinatal Services Network’s “Most Innovative Breastfeeding Promotion” award.
This successful Breastfeeding Peer to Peer Program is not exclusive to WIC and can be adapted to other breastfeeding organizations. If you are interested in learning more please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Raise Emotionally Healthy Children, now in its second edition and 5th printing, has sold 400,000 books to date, and is often distributed free of charge to parents by many cities, educational systems, hospitals and other institutions. Individual copies of the book in English and Spanish can be purchased on amazon.com and is also available on Kindle. For special low pricing on large quantities, contact The Children’s Project: http://www.emotionallyhealthychildren.org