4 Crazy Parenting Trends About to Take Off

Featured Article, Growth and Development, Parenting Styles

Yes, 2013 was the year of buying breast milk from the lactose-abundant and consuming placentas, be it in pill form or in a pie. Can it get any edgier? Are people still having babies? Of course it can! Here’s what to expect in parenting circles in 2014.

Intentional Germ Exposure
In a world of hand sanitizer and shopping cart covers, new parents typically take great pains to ensure their child’s world is both pure and germ-free. But a new survey of 17,000 moms of children younger than age 5 by the Global Hygiene Council (a group of leading international experts in the field of microbiology and virology) says facing germs head-on is becoming all the rage.

Despite the fact that exposure can make children ill, only 43 percent of U.S. moms reported being concerned or very concerned about their children coming into contact with germs. And 47 percent of moms find it acceptable for their children to share a straw/glass/eating utensil with a family member.

So why all the love for germs after years of an industry built around sanitized living?

Seventy seven percent of moms think that children need to be exposed to germs in order to help build their immune systems, with the common cold germ topping the list of germs that moms think might be beneficial to be exposed to.

John Oxford, a professor of virology at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry in the UK and chair of the Global Hygiene Council isn’t as convinced.

“I do not think there is any way that a child can be exposed safely to germs of any kind, be it bacteria, parasites or viruses. It is nearly impossible for moms to tell the difference between what might be a simple cold or a more serious strain of the flu. Therefore, putting a child in contact with any kind of illness could have serious consequences, particularly so if the child were asthmatic, as even a pervasive cold could develop into a possible life-threatening infection.” His suggestion? Rethink whether you should jump on this bandwagon.

Parenting Coaches
Wondering whether it’s colic or gas? How to care for your baby’s umbilical cord or strategies to help your toddler transition to a “big boy bed”?

Moms across the country are finding answers to those and a host of other parenting questions in 75 areas of expertise that fall under the larger umbrellas of food and nutrition, family and parenting, health and fitness and work and life in 30- or 60-minute video chat parent coaching sessions.

Online communities like MommyCoach let mothers around the country connect with thousands of therapists, life coaches and experts from the convenience and comfort of their own home. These coaches offer moms advice, support and answers to hard-to-crack questions in real time.

The live chat sessions, which start at $20, give moms access to the top therapists or experts in their area to connect and discuss personal experiences and get advice.

Sleep Whispering
Fran Walfish, Psy.D., a child, teen, parent and family psychotherapist and author in Beverly Hills, Calif., says parents are trending toward hiring sleep experts to come in at night to sleep train their children.

Sleep whisperers offer a variety of in-person, phone and/or online services ranging from helping you develop a sleep or nap plan to spending the night at your house to study your child’s sleep routine. You can even sign up for a year of help to take your child through various sleep development stages or consult if your child gets sick and can’t sleep.

But not everyone finds this notion dreamy.

“This is a bad idea,” says Walfish. “Parents need to implement the foundation and baseline for boundary setting. The first opportunity for parents to do this is in the area of sleep.”

Allowing a stranger to perform this necessary task bypasses a parent’s chance to tolerate their child’s protest and allow the child an opportunity to grow.

“This same type of coaching or support is happening in the area of toilet training and is an equally bad idea,” says Walfish.

Some things you just sign on for when you decide to welcome a new life into the world.

Webcam Childbirth Coaching
Labor coaches are great at helping moms (and dads, too!) get through labor and delivery. But what if your coach is on vacation when you go into labor or stuck in a snowstorm and unable to get to the hospital?

Latham Thomas, author of “MamaGlow” and birth coach to numerous celebrities including Alicia Keys and Tamera Mowery has a solution: technology.

Using the website PopExpert, Thomas connects moms with experts through one-on-one video childbirth coaching sessions. And Thomas says real-time video coaching during childbirth is about to be born.

“I have used webcam coaching in early labor to triage and understand what type of support is needed during delivery. I believe that technology is becoming so relevant for moms, we’re on the brink of offering webcam support sessions to moms during their delivery,” says Thomas. “That’s such a cool idea, and I think it is the direction things are headed where people these days have technology so seamlessly integrated into their lives.”

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