Adolescence: Multiple Madness?

BY: Elizabeth A. Pector, MD     Dr Pector is a board certified family physician in Naperville, IL and a member of the MOST Advisory Board. Her letters and articles have been published in medical journals and lay publications. She is married, and is the mother of David, born in 1991, and twins Jared and Bryan, delivered in 1997 the day after Bryan’s death from a cord accident. She has spoken on bereavement and special needs in multiples to local and national audiences, and remains interested in issues facing multiple-birth families including parent stress, prematurity, special needs, and cultural beliefs about multiple births.

Adolescence is a challenging time. Physical, mental and social development occurs at a whirlwind pace. Helping two or more children together through this transition to adulthood is both gratifying and mystifying to parents. Fortunately, most multiples have no greater trouble than singletons in navigating adolescence, and some find it easier. Twin studies in Finland revealed that twins smoked less, drank less alcohol and were more physically active than singletons, so teen twins may actually be healthier than their peers! (Ed. Note: It would be nice if this is true for higher-order multiples as well but such studies have not been done yet.)

Continue reading Adolescence: Multiple Madness?

Raising Multiples.....Our new name!

  Maureen Boyle has been with MOST since its start in 1987. She serves as the Executive Director and has talked to countless parents, many doctors and professionals, and has participated in     quite a few media events.  Maureen shares her thoughts about the new name and logo.

   Have you seen this?   What do you think?     I LOVE it!      MOST (Mothers of Supertwins) is updating, growing and changing to continue to meet the needs of families RAISING MULTIPLES.

Introducing our new name, Raising Multiples (a MOST Community); and our new logo, a quilted heart. Both represent a beautiful balance between ingenuity, hard work, skill and perseverance in light of obvious adversity which has grown into something solid, sustainable and still after almost 30 years simple and grassroots rich in tradition and able to adapt.

The quilt reminds me of the networking that is so important for expectant and all parents of multiples to do in order to learn how to better meet the unique needs of our families. This quilted heart we call a MOST community makes me think that; not just as an organization but also in each of our families, there is room enough for ALL. We are all so very, very different from each other and all still very much connected & a part of something so truly unique and beautiful and so much bigger than any one piece.  We each have something important, genuine and unique to offer each other and to share within our MOST community- RAISING MULTIPLES.

Often when we speak with expectant parents they are concerned that they will just not be able to love each of their children as much as each may need. I hear this especially from parents who have one older child. They know already the deep unconditional love they have for their firstborn and are so afraid that they will just not be able to bond as deeply with each of their unborn babies. Just like with this quilt, we see that there is truly room enough for all to grow. Each has something important, genuine and unique to share and it is our responsibility as parents to help them; and each of our family members, to discover what this may be and to cherish each other for this quality that only they can share. Each of our parts; the obviously beautiful, the perfect human flaws, the seemingly broken yet perfectly shaped piece. Each of which makes our own family quilt unique and perfect in its own way. The quilt is stronger and bigger and richer because of each of the pieces. Our love for each of our children is just as deep and interestingly so different from the other.  A parent’s heart has room enough for all. It grows exponentially as needed.

What may have looked like a mismatched, blemished, odd or worn out item when seen  as a single piece has been changed into something truly beautiful, albeit possibly too colorful for some but completely perfect for those who are able to see it as a whole.  Each family quilt is a work of art, a masterpiece and when joined together, through MOST we become something even more interesting, unusual and perfectly awesome. We are stronger because we are part of this patchwork and our connections run deep regardless of the different paths we may have taken to get to this place.

A quilt makes me think of something that is filled with so many, many stories each important and worth not only saving but also savoring and sharing. Each piece was once something else and has now become a part of something so much bigger. It is filled with tradition and longevity (much like MOST!) Our families are the heart of MOST and what they share in support of each other is what brings us together and so much bigger than any one person.

And now we are changing to Raising Multiples. This  community of families is here to advocate for quality prenatal care, promote healthy deliveries, and supply information to all multiple birth families in order to support successful parenting through every phase of their children’s development. 

Discipline Tips from Behavior Therapists

Many parents assume that “discipline” refers to ways to carry out effective punishment. However, teaching discipline really means teaching self-control. In most cases, you will find that you have 3 choices when confronted with a particular behavior in your child: you can praise the behavior, deliberately ignore it, or punish your child for it. Of course, it is not always easy to decide whether a behavior deserves to be ignored or punished, and it is not always obvious when and how to provide praise.

Many parents using behavior therapy techniques rely on the following simple rules when interacting with their children:

 

  • If you want to see a behavior continue, praise it.
  • If you do not like a behavior but it is not dangerous or intolerable, ignore it.
  • If you have to stop a behavior that is dangerous or intolerable (for instance, your child hitting a sibling to hurt her, not just to get your attention), punish it.

Consider how much more powerful and, in most cases, preferable positive reinforcement and ignoring are to punishment, even though in the heat of the moment this may go against your instincts or intuition. It may help to think about how much more likely you are to work hard when your supervisor at work recognizes and praises your efforts, and how poorly motivated and resentful you may feel if she frequently criticizes you. In the same way, your child is more likely to respond positively to your actions if you react positively to her, while a negative comment or response on your part is likely to lead to more negative behavior.

Giving Clear Commands

The first step in helping your child learn to follow rules, obey your commands, and otherwise manage her own behavior is to make sure that the commands you give her are clear. Adults are often accustomed to couching their commands in a variety of “softening” or ambiguous gestures and phrases. Many of us also tend to react too strongly or impulsively to behavior we consider unacceptable.

Establish good eye contact. You must fully engage your child’s attention by making good eye contact if she is going to hear and follow what you say. At first, you may find it helpful to touch a younger child’s arm or hold her hand before addressing her.

Clearly state the command. You can make commands clear to your child by first stating what behavior therapists call a terminating command—a simple, non-emotional statement of what you want your child to do (“You need to stop pushing your brother.”). If the behavior does not stop immediately, you can then follow up with a warning that includes the exact limit and the consequences (“If you push your brother one more time, you’ll be in time-out. If you stop immediately, the two of you can go on playing.”). When stating a command, keep your tone of voice firm and neutral. Refrain from yelling, or looking or sounding angry. It is especially important to monitor your body language because these nonverbal messages are so easy for parents to overlook. State the command as an instruction, not as a question (Not, “Would you please stop teasing your brother?” or “Stop teasing him, OK?” but “You need to stop teasing your brother.”).

If you are not sure your child heard the terminating command or warning, ask her to repeat it back to you. Then pay attention to whether she carries out your instructions and respond immediately to her behavior. If she responds as you have asked, respond positively with praise, thanks, a thumbs-up, a high five, or other acknowledgment that she has done well. If her response is not exactly what you had hoped for but is in the right direction, offer her immediate praise for the part of your command that she did carry out. If your child does not start to respond according to the limits you have set (“one more time” or “within the next two minutes”) invoke the consequences that you have already set, calmly narrating what is happening as you do so (“You did not stop pushing your brother, so you’ll have the five-minute time-out that we just talked about.”) Keep in mind that because you have given a warning and a terminating command and spelled out the consequences for complying or disobeying, if she does not follow your instructions you have not “put her in” the time-out—she has “chosen” the time-out for herself as an alternative to following your command. This is a key point. If you give your child a command, she doesn’t comply, and you immediately “put her” in time-out, you have skipped the step of her choosing whether to receive the positive or negative consequence. You have lost an opportunity to teach her self-control.

If you make a point of following through on the positive or negative consequences of each command, every time, you should soon find that you will not have to repeat your instructions over and over as you probably did before. Your ultimate goal will be to give a command only once for it to be obeyed. Parents often complain, “I have to say it eight times before she does it.” Children are thinking, “The first seven times are free! Then she gets angry and I finally have to do it.” Keep in mind that if you are going to try to follow up on each command you give, you will need to consider beforehand how important the command you are about to give is. Limiting the number of commands you give will make it easier for you to follow up on each and every one, thus increasing your chances of success.

Full article.

Do Active Moms = Active Kids?

Researchers at England’s University of Cambridge, School of Clinical Medicine, launched a study to build on other research into how the physical activity of mothers and their kids are connected.

Parents seem to affect their kids’ physical activities in three ways — by acting as role models, by helping kids be active (by taking them to the park, for instance), and by being active with them. “All three aspects are thought to be important,” Esther van Sluijs, group leader, said, “but it has generally been unclear how directly mother and child’s physical activity are related.”

In the study, the researchers used devices called accelerometers to track 554 children, all 4 years old, and their mothers for as many as seven days. “The more activity a mother did, the more active her child,” van Sluijs noted.

Specifically, for every single minute of moderate-to-vigorous activity that the mother did, her child was more likely to do 10 percent more of a similar level of activity. Those extra minutes add up over time, according to researchers.

“If activity in mothers and children can be encouraged or incorporated into daily activities so that more time is spent moving, activity levels are likely to increase in both,” van Sluijs said. “In return, this is likely to have long-term health benefits for both.”

Another expert focused on the issue of fathers and what role they might play.

“This is a big question not addressed here,” said Leann Birch, a professor at the University of Georgia’s department of foods and nutrition who studies children and obesity. But, she said, research on parenting suggests that fathers tend to engage in more rough-and-tumble and high-action play with kids than mothers.

Also, she said, “some of our own work showed that reported activity by dads was more important than by moms in predicting the activity of daughters, especially in organized sports during later childhood.”

Adapted from an article in Medline Plus.

Getting Out With Toddler Quadruplets

Going out of the house with multiples? Considering doing this? Read how Amber manages to get out of the house with her quadruplets.

When all four of our babies were finally discharged from the NICU, I wondered when and if we would ever take them all out anywhere.  They were so fragile that fears of returning to the NICU were painfully apparent, and hard to shake.  As the babies grew and thrived, we began itching to take them places.  Part of the fun of having a new baby is taking them out to explore the world, right?   Aside from adventures, there’s always the reality of what must be accomplished outside the home, say grocery shopping and doctor’s appointments to name a few.  Continue reading Getting Out With Toddler Multiples

10 Steps to Face the Tears & Fears Associated with Immunizations

Because it’s National Infant Immunization Week, we thought we’d share some tips from one of our members, the mother of 4 boys, including triplets.

In this article she provides a very detailed checklist of coping strategies to help young children handle the pain and fear associated with immunizations and other shots. You can gain a repertoire of techniques from dealing with the anticipation, distraction exercises, and even how to handle the aftermath.

We hope you find this and the other resources below helpful!

10 Steps to Face the Tears & Fears Associated with Immunizations

Study on Pain Reduction During Immunizations

Immunization Schedules from the CDC

Coping with a Diagnoses-Our Story

Jeanette, mom of triplets, shares her experience of having all three children diagnosed on the autism spectrum.  She shares her emotions and coping through those first few years. 

My husband Chris and I were lucky enough to have relatively healthy 30 week triplets Rachel, Kirsten, and Dylan. We went through the “normal” preemie problems, and thought that we were home free when they reached 1 year of age hitting most of their developmental milestones. Little did we know what we were in for!  Continue reading Coping with a Diagnoses-Our Story

Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Five Babies in a Tub

Thanks Rachelle Wilkinson for sharing this cute blog post. Orginally published on Wilkinson Quints + 2.  Ah, memories…..

With my mother-in-law here this week, we decided to be adventurous and give the babies their first bath in the big tub. It was quite a workout getting everyone undressed, weighed, bathed and dressed again—all while trying to prevent drowning and other life-threatening activities. The babies had a blast, and in the end, so did we!

Continue reading Rub-a-Dub-Dub, Five Babies in a Tub

MOST Wonderful Family Carnival June 2013

What a great day…perfect weather! A record number of families were able to attend and it was fun for everyone.

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It was wonderful to see everyone and to chat and visit.

Continue reading So much fun: MOST Wonderful Family Carnival June 2013

Tricks of the Trade: Potty Training Multiples

A compilation of tips from 20 years of advice from MOST families

Edited by Lauretta Shokler of TX, Mother to 2 singletons and triplets. Here are some tips, signs of readiness, and words of support from other HOM families.

Introduction: How do I potty train multiples? This common question for parents of triplets, quadruplets, quintuplets, and more is often asked with trepidation, desperation, or sometimes, just plain fear. While the process varies for each family, the first and most important facts to remember are 1) you are not alone and 2) it can be done without losing your mind. Continue reading Tricks of the Trade: Potty Training Multiples

Are Your Kids Getting Enough Sleep?

With Daylight Savings Time beginning again, we thought we’d ask MOST advisor Kelly Ross, MD, for some tips to get your children on the right track.*

Studies show that getting enough sleep reduces childhood injuries and obesity and improves school performance and social success. How much sleep do kids need? Use the chart below as a guide and follow the tips below.

Age Hours of Sleep Needed
1-4 Weeks Old 15 – 16
1-12  Months Old 14 – 15
1-3   Years Old 12 – 14
3-6   Years Old 10 – 12
7-12 Years Old 10 – 11
12-18 Years Old 8 – 9
Adults 7-8.5

1. Make a Bedtime Routine: Try the 4B’s: bath, book, breast/bottle, bed. Repeat nightly (or as much as possible) so your children’s minds and bodies can slow down and transition to sleep. Older kids can read in bed by themselves, or you can read aloud to them.

2. White Noise: Having a white noise machine or fan to create a sound barrier helps children fall asleep and stay asleep. Avoid a TV or radio because they keep the brain alert and lead to poor sleep.

3. Nighttime Tool Kit: Keeping kids in bed is important for sleeping! Children over age 3 can have a box of tissues, a flashlight that turns off when the handle is no longer squeezed, and a cup of water. This allows them to take care of their needs before falling asleep, or if they wake during the night, without getting out of bed to find you.

4. Limit Late Night Activities: Extracurricular activities that end around bedtime can derail good sleep habits. Advocate for activity times that end early enough to allow children sufficient time to transition to sleep.

*Adapted from Dr. Ross’s November 2012 article on ChildrensMD.org.

Your Opinion Needed for Education Survey!

Are you a parent of multiples that are 3 or older?

Many multiples families struggle with the school and/or class placement of their children. Every spring, the questions start popping up, “Should we home school, send to private school, or send to public school?” “Should I put the children in the same class or separate classes?” “How do you handle the logistics of school, homework, conferences, etc.?” There is little current research on multiples in educational journals.

Lisa Share, PhD, is a full time faculty member at Walden University and a mother of triplets.  She created a survey for MOST, approved by Walden University, to ask families the questions most frequently asked. She plans to share the research with multiple birth organizations. If you have multiples that are three and older who either attend school or are educated at home, please complete this survey on Survey Monkey. It will take no more than ten minutes and will help many other families who ask the same questions.

If you would share this link with any of your multiples friends or local multiples’ groups, that would be great. She would love to learn and share as much information as possible. If you have any questions, please email lisa.share@waldenu.edu.

The survey is open through October 2013.

Thanks for participating!

 

 


 

 

 

New Chapters

As 2012 draws to a close, we’re thinking about new chapters and new years. Maybe you’ve just joined the MOST family. Maybe you’re knee-deep in school issues. Maybe you are sending your children onto the next chapter of their lives, whether it be college, the military, or the working world.

For many multiples, it is the first time they will not see each other every day.

We asked some of our multiples “veterans” and their parents to tell us how they feel about being a multiple now that they’re older. Read their comments and celebrate MOST’s new chapter (25 years of service!) with a birthday gift.

Rebounding from a Disaster

There is much to do after experiencing a flood, fire, tornado or hurricane. It may feel overwhelming. Here are some practical tips from families that have experienced a disaster to help you get back on your (many) feet!

After taking care of your immediate needs: medical care, shelter, food and water it is time to look at recovery. How will you rebound? Continue reading Rebounding from a Disaster

Halloween Costume Ideas

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Are you looking for the perfect Halloween costume idea for your multiples?

Check out our Halloween Photo Gallery and these forum threads:

Photos: Halloween 2008
Birth & Infancy: Halloween Costume Ideas
Birth & Infancy: Halloween Costumes for Infants
Toddlers: Halloween Costume Tips
Toddlers: Halloween Costume Ideas
Double Digits: Halloween for Teens
QQS: Halloween Costumes for Quads or More
Special Needs: Halloween Costumes for Kids with Special Needs