Lisa Tedrick Prejean - Parents can learn from each other

April 21, 2001

Parents can learn from each other


Raising a child is a daunting task.

I approached parenthood with fervor months before our first child was born six years ago, practically memorizing "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and "What to Expect the First Year."

Confidence was mine until my son was born crying, a sound that didn't cease for three months. My husband and I tried several things to soothe and calm our first-born.

Some worked. Some didn't.

At times we felt sure. At times we felt incompetent.

As we talked with other parents, we learned this is perfectly normal.

And the more I learned from my experiences over the years, from what other people shared and from what experts had to say, the more I wanted to know.


That's why I approached then-executive editor Gloria George about writing a weekly column for parents, grandparents and others involved in the lives of children in our community. We decided to call the column "Teaching Your Child." It runs every Friday on the Family page.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the column. Sometimes I bring ideas from home. Sometimes co-workers ask me to explore a topic. About a quarter of the ideas come from readers.

To find answers, I've talked to teachers, counselors, pastors, authors, health-care professionals and others who work with children on a regular basis.

I've learned a lot from the parents who have called, e-mailed, faxed and mailed questions.

Finding the answers has helped me grow as a journalist.

Via an Internet search, I tracked down Joae Graham Brooks, author of "I'm a Big Kid Now - A Book About Toilet Training." A retired Harvard Medical School professor, she's living in Florida. She graciously granted my request for an interview.

Most people who work with children want to share what they've learned. It makes their jobs easier.

A newspaper ought to be viewed as an information resource. This column is one way we serve our readers. And it isn't just lip service.

Here are some of the topics, suggested by readers, that I've explored. If you missed them, go to on our Web site:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> A single mom asked if children of single parents are forced to grow up sooner than those who have both parents in the home.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> A Hagerstown mother wanted to know how parents can prepare toddlers for reading.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> A Pecktonville mother asked about kindergarten registration.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> A Big Pool mother with chronic neck and back pain wanted suggestions on caring for her 2-year-old son.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> A Warfordsburg, Pa., mother wanted to know how to help her 7-year-old daughter remember to bring homework assignments home.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> A Sharpsburg mother wanted to know how to get her 3-year-old daughter to sit quietly in church and at the dinner table.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> A Hagerstown mother requested time management tips for her sons, ages 9 and 5.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> A Hagerstown woman asked for advice on toilet training her 2-year-old grandson.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* "> A Halfway mother e-mailed and asked for a column on teaching kids about people with disabilities.

Have a question you'd like to ask a teacher? Is there a parenting author you'd like to bounce ideas off? Do you have questions about your child's health?

I'll try to help. You may not use all the ideas presented in the column, and that's a good thing.

Children are unique, and our approach to parenting them should be tailored the same way. We can learn from each other, and our children will benefit.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean is Lifestyle editor for The Herald-Mail. You can contact her at 301-733-5131, ext. 2340, or send e-mail to

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