What Confines Us in Misery?

That's the question that Deborah Jiang Stein addresses in this unusual book--a non-sensationalized memoir called Prison Baby, about a daughter born in prison, then removed to loving (but flawed) foster families before being adopted by the loving and flawed family in which she was raised. 

If you've read any of my books, you know the emphasis I place on self-examination and self-growth in our parenting. We don't parent our children in isolation from our past, our struggles, our joys, or our selves. 

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One Daughter's Love for Dad

A few years ago, a young daughter from Missouri named Jessica wrote me with a powerful story of love for her dad.

“A father’s love will never change. But you don’t know how much you love him until something happens to him. Then you’re scared and don’t know how he is.

As you try to think, the only thing running through your head is heart attack, hospital, Daddy.”

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Dad & Post-Partum Depression

Both moms and dads can have the “baby blues” from time to time after a new baby arrives. However, Mom may be more likely to struggle with this, thanks to hormones and the ordeal of childbirth.

She may have mood swings and feel sad, anxious, or overwhelmed. She might lose her appetite, have crying jags, or have trouble sleeping.

The difference between baby blues and postpartum depression is time and severity.

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Burp Daddy

Every baby needs burping.

But, despite what you've seen on TV and in the movies, vigorous whacks on the baby’s back are ineffective, and they hurt.

Successful burping techniques all use gentle touch, either through rubbing or patting. Experiment with one or more of these positions:

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Read to Her (Part 3)

Here are 4 more tips to promote father-daughter relationships through reading:

Power down. Too much time at a screen--TV, computer, video game, cell phone, etc,--inhibits your daughter’s interest in reading, as well as her ability to read well. Turn off screens, limit screen time, and cut back on the electronic toys.

Simple toys (like blocks, crayons, or the cardboard boxes other toys come in) stimulate creative play, social and mental development, and lay a good foundation for reading.

Make time to read yourself. A big chunk of our fatherly influence comes from the example we set for our daughters. Get into reading yourself, and be eclectic—comic books are OK for you, too! Your enjoyment is infectious and triggers her interest.

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