If you are raising a child aged 4 months to 5 years old, get thee to the "Preventive Ounce" website. I'll let their blurb do the talking ...
"No child is average.
Unfortunately, most parenting advice is written for the average child.
This interactive web site lets you see more clearly your child's temperament, and find parenting tactics that work for your child.
Developed by the Preventive Ounce over the past ten years, this program has been used by more than 20,000 parents in health maintenance organizations in the Western United States.
Outcome studies show that parents who use this service avoid the anxiety, frustration and guilt that comes when they can't understand why their child acts "that way". They also avoid escalations into behavioral problems, conflicts with spouses and relatives, and unnecessary doctor visits.
As a community service, we now offer this preventive program free to all parents. To start using this program, click on Image Of Your Child. You can then:
- Complete a short, temperament questionnaire and see immediately on-line a profile of your child's temperament.
- Learn general strategies for managing the highs or lows of your child's temperament.
- Discover what specific behavioral issues are normal for your child's temperament.
- See when and how often these issues are likely to occur in the next year.
- Get information, tailored to your child's temperament, for managing each issue you are likely to encounter. See what other parents of similar children say works well, and what doesn't."
What more can I say? It works as advertised, and it's free [er, it was. now it's $10]. You'll learn where your child is on scales of Sensitivity, Movement, Reactivity, Frustration Tolerance, Adaptability, Regularity, and Soothability. Make sure you click on the scale/subscale links first to learn what these scales mean. Then check out a wealth of sound, temperament specific parenting advice on issues that your child is likely to encounter in the next year. Some of the advice is mildly out-of-date (1990s, so not that ancient, but playpens are less common these days, for example), so use your parental "sniff test" for what's right for you and your kids, as always.