Real Life Solutions: ADHD and Counseling

We are proud to have Dr. Linda Mintle in ParentLife each month answering questions submitted from readers. To submit a question for Dr. Mintle, e-mail it to parentlife@lifeway.com and include “? for Dr. Mintle” on the subject line. This month we have an extra Q&A from Dr. Mintle we wanted to share.

troy at desk
source: brookesb

Q: Our 10-year-old son has been diagnosed with ADHD. The school recommended he have counseling, but we really don’t know why. Our family seems to get along and we don’t have problems with our son other than his direction following and forgetfulness. Why would the school recommend counseling?

A: I would encourage you to ask the school directly as to why the recommendation for counseling was made. Without knowing your specific case, I can’t say exactly why, but I can tell you the purpose of counseling in most cases.

There is a saying, “Pills don’t teach skills.” Too often, parents medicate their children and don’t work on the management of ADHD. Counseling does not cure this disorder, but it does help kids figure out their strengths and weaknesses and how to help themselves, given their unique way of doing things. For example, counseling can help your son develop a reminder system or a tracking system for his homework.

Counseling might focus on relationship skills that help his social life at school—how to deal with frustration, impulsive behaviors, etc. Counseling reinforces a positive mindset and helps children understand that learning can take different forms and doesn’t mean they aren’t bright simply because they learn in less conventional ways.

Counseling is usually helpful when parents feel like they have tried things and need extra help with systems that work. Usually the counselor uses a cognitive behavioral approach in which the focus is on thoughts and behavior. This type of therapy teaches problem-solving, goal setting, new skills, and management of feelings. Finding a therapist who specializes in working with children with ADHD and understands the impact of the disorder is important.

Resource: Raising Boys with ADHD by Mary Anne Richey and James W. Forgan

Tangled Web: Internet Caution for Parents

Eee PC
source: Pete Prodoehl

Oh, what a tangled web was penned long before the Internet existed, but it’s an apt description for the lures and pitfalls that can trap preteens posting on social networks. We interviewed Detective Rich Wistocki, a veteran police investigator and parent educator, about online safety concerns.

PL: What should parents know about allowing preteens to use accounts on social networks?

Wistocki: Adults and children should not be connected to other online. You should be connected to your own children, but not others’. There is too much content on adult pages that should not be shared with kids.

PL: Why are kids under 13 restricted from social networks such as Facebook?

Wistocki: Many things can happen online that kids under 13 do not know how to handle. They typically include cyber bullying, predators, and exposure to adult content.

Predators have many tricks for connecting with kids online. Unsuspecting children want more friends, and they are more likely to accept anyone into their network.

PL: Preteens often post their school and activity schedules with captions like, “Check against your schedule and comment.” Dangerous?

Wistocki: Very dangerous! [Those posts] are alerting their entire network to where they are and when. Kids on average can have hundreds of connections and not all of them are trustworthy. Who knows who they are sharing that information with?

Parents should also note that if security settings aren’t set to “private,” kids are sharing that schedule with the World Wide Web.

PL: If parents suspect their preteens have created Facebook accounts without permission, how should they intervene?

Wistocki: I always recommend that parents [approach the subject] in a positive way prior to accusing them. You could say, “I opened a Facebook account. I don’t know anything about it. Can you show me?” Then, observe [kids’] behavior. Do they know all about it? Ask them how. Remember, you know your child best, so go with your gut. If [he] is too young, remind [him] of the rules and deactivate the account. If kids are old enough and you approve, discuss your rules and expectations for using social media.

A great family contract for social media is here:

http://www.truecare.com/sites/default/files/FamilySocialMediaAgreement.pdf

ggmathisG.G. Mathis is a mom, and preteen Bible study teacher. On days the Internet service is working, she writes and posts from Duenweg, Missouri—population 1,051.

MyGym Celebrates 30th Anniversary

Back in 1983, a Los Angeles couple and their close friends saw the need for a place where parents can bring their kids for a different kind of experience. A place where, instead of pinball machines and video games, they would be introduced to a world of fun – and fitness. Thirty years later, My Gym Children’s Fitness Centers are community cornerstones throughout North America and the world – and the millions of children who were early members are now parents with kids of their own discovering just how cool being active and healthy can be.

Featuring, a unique, innovative and ever-changing fitness program for kids, My Gym has been at the forefront of providing the best fun place for kids to remain active, while successfully combating statistics that estimate nearly 16% of children and adolescents aged 2-12 years are overweight – and even more are at risk of becoming overweight.

At My Gym, children keep fit, and families grow closer through introductory sports and gymnastics, games, original music and specially-crafted play and socialization activities led by caring and committed My Gym trainers. The result is good health, laughter and learning, and a lifelong love of fitness and activity.

Throughout 2013, My Gym locations across North America will celebrate thirty years of providing fitness and fun to families by offering money saving discounts on classes, conducting a search to crown My Gym’s Fit & Healthy Family, encouraging families committed to an active lifestyle to “show off’ and share their own fitness and health tips with the world and, in August, participating My Gym locations will be throwing themselves 30th Birthday Party Open House celebrations inviting all families to attend for free!

“This is an exciting year for My Gym, as we celebrate turning thirty years young. Thirty years have taught us how vital an active lifestyle truly is, and that there is no substitute for the rewards of keeping fit as a family. We look forward to expanding our message of fun and fitness to families throughout the world all year long, to sharing their great ideas on how to be healthy and active. Through our money saving offers and Birthday Party Open House Celebration, our goal is to introduce the magic of My Gym to new family members,” said Cory Bertisch, CEO of My Gym Children’s Fitness Center.

Have you ever been to a MyGym?

Early Autism Detection: What Do Parents Need to Know?

Most doctors believe that autism can’t be detected until around age two and a half or three when the obvious withdrawn or delayed symptoms are visible. However, researchers and experts are beginning to observe symptoms at an earlier age, and possibly even as early as six months of age. Autism expert and co-founder of the Brain Balance Achievement Centers, Dr. Robert Melillo, believes there is much that can be done to stop and correct the problem when spotted at an earlier age.

Researchers have found developmental milestones to be very critical to neurological disorders. “Milestones signal that the brain is developing normally. If an infant or toddler is having a problem with motor progression, then they most likely are developing other issues, including digestion problems and immune and hormone imbalances,” says Dr. Melillo. “The best and earliest way to spot if something might be amiss is by tracking your baby’s primitive reflexes.”

As the basic necessities a newborn needs for survival, primitive reflexes give babies the instinct to breathe, feed when hungry, and squirm and cry when uncomfortable. They pave the way for early development and milestones, including rolling over at three to five months. Primitive reflexes develop in the womb and if they are faulty may result in a difficult birth, in such cases, an early brain imbalance may be present.

In babies, muscle movement prompts genes to build the brain and grow the neurons and connections that advance a newborn from one milestone to the next. The new connections inhibit primitive reflexes and set the stage for more complex movements.

“If a child doesn’t stimulate genes to build the brain, primitive reflexes remain and the brain doesn’t develop in an orderly fashion,” continues Dr. Melillo. “Children cannot leapfrog milestones, it results in the missed construction of an important skill and you can’t activate it later on.” According to Dr. Melillo, depending on how the imbalance unfolds – if step after step is missed – it could result in autism or any other neurological condition.

In his newly available book Autism: The Scientific Truth About Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders and What Parents Can Do Now, Dr. Melillo discusses ways for parents to test for primitive reflexes in babies and how to monitor to make sure development is on track.

Do This Not That: How to Be There for the Family of a Seriously Ill Child

In 2006, Rich and Traci Maynard watched their daughter receive a heart transplant … and the transplant fail. Their 4-year-old daughter, Erika Kate, died that June. But since then, they’ve established the Erika Kate Foundation to help other families of seriously ill children like Erika financially, spiritually, and emotionally.

Here, the foundations offers some do’s and don’ts for helping families of ill children.

Everyone hears what you say.
Friends listen to what you say.
Best friends listen to what you don’t say.
Author Unknown

Don’t try to “fix” things.
DO offer solutions to small daily challenges: provide rides or entertainment for a sibling, bring a home-cooked meal, shovel snow, etc.
Don’t use cliches or try to compare your past experience to theirs.  Comparisons can minimize the pain they are experiencing.
DO be genuine in your responses and acknowledge that you don’t know what to say but want to listen and care.
Don’t attempt to cheer them up—just be there for them.  Be as supportive as you can.
DO be willing to just sit in silence. Show your support if they do want visitors.
Don’t scold, give advice, or lecture. There is no right or wrong way to experience this crisis.
DO listen and support them when they share feelings—even when feelings or behaviors seem extreme to you.
Don’t forget that their challenges may continue for weeks, months, or years past the initial crisis/diagnosis.  The experiences of families who are not in the hospital are often very challenging.
DO pray for your friend.  Prayer is a great source of encouragement and comfort.
Don’t avoid asking about the child because the answer might be difficult.  Yet, don’t probe for lots of specific information.
DO volunteer to make it possible for a parent to have alone time or date time with their spouse.
DO organize an activity in which the family can participate in order to have a break/smile.
DO give blood or become an organ donor in the child’s honor.
DO something.  Don’t wait for them to ask for a favor.

Dumb Things Kids Do with Smart Phones by G.G. Mathis

The term smart phone refers to the gadget—not necessarily the user! We interviewed Detective Rich Wistocki, a veteran police investigator and parent educator, about problematic preteen phone habits.

Alachia Does Droid 2
source: alachia

PL: What should parents do before they give their preteens a smart phone?

Wistocki: Understand one thing: Apple handheld devices cannot be monitored. Only Android phones can be monitored. I would start off by not getting my [child] an iPhone, first and foremost.

Parents must speak often and honestly to their children about the usage expectations. Don’t forget, you are the parent! You own this phone. You have the right to monitor activity on it [and] ensure everyone is behaving as agreed to.

PL: What are some dumb mistakes make using their smart phones?

Wistocki: Sending photos and uploading them to Facebook and other sites. Cameras are so easy to use … there is no time to double-think the decision [to post]. Geotagging—a picture can contain an exact location, so when it is sent or posted online, kids are (sometimes unknowingly) posting exactly where they are through the geotags. [Parents should] turn geotags off in the phone’s settings.

PL: Free phone apps are tempting to download. Which ones are unwise for preteens to use?

Wistocki: Apps where kids connect freely with strangers are the most dangerous—apps like Taproom and Words With Friends. These are fantastic vehicles for predators to find, groom, and then prey upon unsuspecting victims. Kids know all about “not friending people you don’t know online,” but I am not sure this mindset has expanded to apps.

PL: How can parents monitor phone use?

Wistocki: Talk about it with the cell phone providers when [the phones are purchased] . They can illustrate safe settings and options. Check out outside monitoring companies like TrueCare. Kids are more tech savvy than their parents around all these new technologies. Parents need to rely on monitoring services, software, and controls to ensure everything is okay online.

 

ggmathis  G.G. Mathis is a mom, preteen Bible study teacher, and writer from Duenweg, Missouri. She still needs help setting the ringtone on her phone.

 

Herbs and Breastfeeding

Sage
source: sporkist

Breastfeeding? Use caution with herbal supplements. Some herbs may lead to side effects in nursing babies. If you are breastfeeding, check with your pediatrician before using herbal supplements or teas.

While there is not much studied information on herbs and breastfeeding, here are some herbs that are known to lower milk supply in breastfeeding mothers:

  • Black Walnut
  • Chickweed
  • Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
  • Lemon Balm
  • Oregano
  • Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)/Menthol
  • Periwinkle Herb (Vinca minor)
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis)
  • Sorrel (Rumex acetosa)
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme
  • Yarrow

Normal amounts of herbs used in cooking will probably not affect your milk supply or baby; this list refers to herbs taken medicinally. As always, though, do check with your pediatrician for the most current information.

Source: KellyMom.com

Eye Exams for School-Age Children

Eye Chart
source: firemind

The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends that children receive an eye exam at age 6 and then every two years during the school-age years. Parents can look for signs of child’s vision becoming impaired. Contact an optometrist if your child experiences the following signs of having vision problems:

  • Frequent eye rubbing or repeated blinking
  • Short attention span
  • Avoiding reading
  • Recurrent headaches
  • Covering one eye
  • Tilting head to one side
  • Holding books close to face
  • An eye turning in or out
  • Seeing double
  • Losing place when reading
  • Difficulty remembering what is read

 If your child has vision problems, when did they start?

Taming a Preteen Coffee Fiend by G.G. Mathis

coffee
source: hundreds

Thick, velvety chocolate mocha agitated until it’s bubbly. A blob of fluffy whipped cream the size of a cupcake. Top it off with chocolate shavings, cinnamon, or party sprinkles … what’s not to like about a frothy latte, especially if you’re a preteen aching to look and sip like a grown-up?

If you’re a health-conscious parent, what’s not to like may be the caffeine content. One Starbucks® latte, at 150 mg of caffeine, is well past the expert-recommended daily maximum of 85 mg for kids ages 10-12. (It’s not just coffee-based drinks: a 64-ounce mini-mart Mountain Dew® maxes out the meter at 293 milligrams.) Caffeine, say pediatric medical experts, can be responsible for dehydration, anxiety, tension, headaches, and stomachaches.

Many preteens are choosing to check out coffee drinks for the caffeine rush, or the perceived coolness of striding into school sipping a frothy frappe. How can you balance your preteen’s caffeinated curiosity with parental prudence? Percolate on these points:

Monitor your own caffeine intake. Yep, your example matters! Keep an eye on what you ingest. (200-300 mg per day is considered moderate adult consumption.) If you need to dial it down, start small. Switch one caffeinated drink a day for milk, water, or juice.

Try some trade-offs. When you feel the occasion calls for a treat, provide your preteen with some lower-caffeine options, such as decaffeinated soda, flavored teas (significantly lower in caffeine than coffee counterparts), or homemade milkshakes flavored with a tiny bit of coffee or caramel syrup.

Encourage kitchen creativity. For the price of three or four expensive coffees, you can buy a blender and encourage your preteen to create sweet and healthy smoothies, shakes, and other caffeine-free drink treats. (Search on “drink recipes for kids” at www.allrecipes.com for a gallon of great ideas.) The together time as you taste and create together is well worth the investment in ingredients!

G.G. Mathis admits to needing a cup of strong tea to get each morning started. She’s a mom and writer from Southwest Missouri.

Mathis also writes for FLYTE, LifeWay’s new curriculum for preteens. 

Should Smoking Be Rated R? Trends & Truth Online with Mike Nappa

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If James Sargent, M.D., of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire, had his way, cigarette smoking in any movie would automatically earn an “R” rating. Same for films with cigars, pipes, and the like. Here’s why:

When young kids see people smoking onscreen, that becomes something of a “product placement” advertisement that’s repeated and reinforced through frequent viewings—and which might influence kids’ attitudes toward the habit. Dr. Sargent and his colleagues conducted a study of 6522 preteens and early teens, trying to measure scientifically the impact smoking in movies may or may not have on children. According to Everydayhealth.com, Sargent’s research suggests that, “Kids 10 to 14 years old were 49 percent more likely to have tried a cigarette for every 500 they saw smoked on the screen in PG-13 movies.”

“It is the movie smoking that prompts adolescents to smoke,” Sargent’s team emphasized in their report, “not other characteristics of R-rated movies or adolescents drawn to them.”

In response to these findings, the study’s originators have a simple recommendation: Give all movie smoking an “R” rating.

The thinking is that an “R” rating would make it harder for preteens and young teens to see repeated product placement of cigarettes in movies. In the researchers’ opinion, that would reduce underage smoking by at least 18%—a significant number in today’s American society.

According to the Surgeon General’s office, the smoking habit almost always begins in adolescence. About 2400 youth and young adults become regular smokers each day, with about 90% trying their first cigarette before the age of 18. What’s more, cigarette-sized cigars are so popular in youth culture today that one in five high school males smoke cigars.

A strategy that would help postpone the onset of adolescent smoking would drastically reduce adult smoking (and smoking-related illnesses) in years to come. Why? Because, according to the Surgeon General, “Almost no one starts smoking after age 25.”

This is why Dr. Sargent calls for an “R” rating on movies that contain smoking. Refusing a PG-13 (or less) rating for tobacco-fueled films would, in theory at least, keep anyone under 17 from being exposed (without parental consent) to the negative influence of onscreen smoking. If Dr. Sargent is correct, that in turn would measurably reduce the prevalence of underage smoking in America.

And so now the question is out there:

Should smoking be rated “R” in movies?

Or does that take social censorship too far, paving the way for “R” ratings for films that feature other bad health habits, such as eating fatty foods or drinking coffee and soda?

And how does an “R” rating criteria in cinema impact smoking and other bad habits displayed on television?

What do you think, ParentLife families? Take time to talk about it in your home this week.

 

Have a pop culture question for Trends & Truths? Email it to parentlife@lifeway.com!

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Mike Nappa is a bestselling author, a noted commentator on pop culture, and founder of the website for parents, FamilyFans.com.