Children and Teens Articles

Suicidal Ideation & Cyberbullying

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Suicidal Ideation and CyberbullyingBullying probably is as old as mankind. However, being a longstanding part of human behavior does not make it acceptable.

Studies have shown many problems associated with being a victim of bullying, including delayed growth and development; mental health problems; medical issues; poor academic performance; and more. Many of the problems caused by bullying can last into adulthood.

It is estimated that between 5 and 20 percent of children worldwide are victims of physical, verbal and exclusionary bullying. Suicide also is a significant problem, with almost 20 percent of adolescents in America having suicidal thoughts and five to eight percent attempting it.

The Mother Who Never Was

Saturday, March 15th, 2014

The Mother Who Never WasI don’t write about my mother often. Of all my dysfunctional childhood relationships, my experience with my mother is the most painful.

I believe that small children have a disproportionate need for the feminine nurturing energy. When it’s not available, I think the pain runs deeper.

I am not suggesting that fathers are not needed. They are desperately needed. And their interactions with their children are critical to shaping that child’s future belief systems and relationships.

But for me, the lack of nurturing maternal energy seemed to leave a deeper mark.

What Role do Sibling Struggles Play in Adult Relationships?

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

What Role do Sibling Struggles Play in Adult Relationships?Were you the winner or the loser in your sibling dynamic?

Many parents believe that sibling rivalry is healthy, natural and unavoidable. There are many causes of sibling rivalry (age, developmental stage, personality), but a main cause is the need for power, attention or protection from parents.

Children, as young as infants, find comfort in routine and predictability. The family dynamic is a source of familiarity and certainty, including the ways in which parents react to each child during sibling struggles.

When one sibling picks a fight, he usually knows what type of reaction it will trigger from the parents. In that moment, the aggressor is seeking the feeling that reaction provides — negative attention if he is punished or power that he succeeded as the dominator if the parents take a hands-off approach.

Giving Your Child Some Power

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

Giving Your Child Some PowerI am reading The Three P’s of Parenting by Jennifer Jones, Ph.D. Are you thinking patience, potty training or poop?

Those elusive P’s are: power, protection and prediction. Jones explains that the P’s correspond with the chief insecurities that plague children.

She states that “when a child lacks power, he feels helpless, so he will assert himself or try to control others. [...] When a child cannot predict what will happen or what those around him will do, he will focus his energy on controlling the behavior and responses of others so that his world feels more certain.”

Sounds like common sense, right? How come, as parents, we don’t follow these models? Why do only formally trained mental health professionals and doctors look deep into our children’s behaviors when the reasons behind the behavior seem so simplistic?

4 Tips on How Parents Can Help Their Child Heal After Trauma

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

4 Tips on How Parents Can Help Their Child Heal After TraumaWhen children, teens, and young adults experience trauma, life feels different for them. Seeing someone get injured, or being the target of violence, can be a life-altering experience, even for adults.

It’s no wonder then that a threatening event or overwhelming experience may greatly affect how a child perceives the world around them. It may also impact their development and personality.

There are several ways parents can learn to help children heal after trauma. Here are four tips parents can try that should help.

Parents: Helping Your Child with ADHD

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Parents: Helping Your Child with ADHDSome hype in the media has been made about an “over-diagnosis” of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But parents with children who actually have ADHD are left scratching their heads — why are some people demonizing their child’s disorder? Would a journalist go after pediatric cancer with the same gusto?

I don’t have the answer to those kinds of questions, but I do have some tips to share with parents of children with ADHD. Raising a child with ADHD presents unique opportunities and challenges. But it’s the challenges that can sometimes throw parents for a loop.

A Saliva Test to Detect Risk of Future Depression? Not Yet

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

A Saliva Test to Detect Risk of Future Depression? Not Yet

New research, published earlier this week in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, purported to identify the first biomarker for clinical depression.

What most media outlets failed to note was that this was not the first study to look at cortisol levels and their relationship to depression. In fact, it’s an area of research that has quite a few studies.

And what has the vast majority of the research in this area found? That a saliva biomarker test for depression is still a long ways away from becoming a reality.

How to Use a Thought Diary

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

How to Use a Thought DiaryMany psychologists and therapists use cognitive behavioral therapy to treat a variety of mental illnesses, including bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and depression. It can be used with teens who struggle with addiction and other risky behavior, such as cutting.

Essentially, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) aims to change behavior by identifying negative and distorted thinking patterns (or thoughts). This successful form of therapy emphasizes the link among thoughts, feelings, and behavior.

More importantly, it attempts to identify the way that certain thoughts contribute to the unique problems of a teen’s life. By changing the thought pattern and by replacing it with thoughts that are aimed toward a specific therapeutic goal, a teen’s life can slowly begin to change.

Go Cry to Mom: It May Calm You Down

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Go Cry to Mom: It Calms You DownWhen it comes to internal pain, I have not evolved a whole lot from when I was in fourth grade: I still go running to mom with my tears. Even as I know something in our conversation could very well trigger more anxiety or I question the advice she doles out, I am still comforted by her voice.

There is no real logic — it’s somewhat instinctual.

Facebook Helps Ease Loneliness in Teens

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Facebook Helps Ease Loneliness in Teens

More than a few studies have examined the impact of social media on teenagers and children today. All too often, media turn such studies’ findings into alarm bells about how Facebook is making teenagers more lonely.

Which is bunk, because we largely know that lonely teens simply like to communicate more online.

A new study confirms this, demonstrating that teenagers who are lonely turn to social media sites like Facebook to feel less lonely and more connected with their friends. But the new research also throw us an interesting new wrinkle…

Treating Teen Bipolar Disorder with Medication

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Treating Teen Bipolar Disorder with MedicationIf your child has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, you might have already had a discussion with his or her psychiatrist about medication. However, using psychotropic medication, although growing as a choice for treating psychological disorders, continues to carry a stigma. Often, those who take medication for their mental health are judged or looked down upon.

Despite this, research shows that the combination of medication and individual therapy are quite effective for treating most mood disorders. For bipolar disorder, specifically, medication can manage the wide swing of changing moods from depression to mania. This article will address the various forms of medication that might be used in teen bipolar disorder treatment.

Depressed Teens Like to Use the Internet, Play Video Games

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

Depressed Teens Like to Use the Internet, Play Video Games

When you show a correlation between two things, you can’t say which way the relationship goes. Do people carrying umbrellas on a city street cause it to rain? Or does the rain cause people to carry their umbrellas?

We know the answer to this question, only because we know the relationship between rain and umbrellas — the rain came first, and then someone invented the umbrella.

So it is surprising to read that an NPR news story recently noted, “More Time Online Raise Risk For Teen Depression.” The only problem with that headline?

It’s not true.

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