During our summer vacation, which happened to be overseas, I began to notice a recurring theme. Teenagers from around the world often behave in a similar way. That is, maybe it really is something in a teen's nature that affects behavior and attitudes....
I love talking to parents about behavior modification and that includes beginning to discipline their children. I really think this is one of the most important jobs for parents and it is hard to believe that your most precious, perfect child will at times misbehave. It happens to all of us!
I would recommend to start using time out as a means of behavior modification when a child is somewhere between 15-18 months of age. For those of you who watch Super Nanny, she coined the word the naughty step which is her version of time-out chair.
When you begin time out, pick a small chair in the house which you can use consistently for time-out. Never use a child's crib or bed, as you do not want them to think that bed is for misbehaving. After a child gets used to doing time out you can use all sorts of chairs and do time out anywhere. Like many things it just takes practice.
When putting your child in time out get down to their eye level, explain why they must sit in the chair, and hold them from behind (with your arms wrapped around them like you are a rope). I use a timer even at this young age so your child begins to understand how long they will be sitting in time out. Time out is typically one minute per year of age.
After time out is finished, get back to eye level and explain that the next time you ask them to mind you, they may choose to listen and they will not have to go to time out. These are such important words for a child's entire life, as they need to understand that they are making choices for their behavior. In other words, taking ownership of making a bad choice and knowing that there will be consequences. You will use these words over and over, you made a bad choice therefore....the consequence is....for a young child it is time out, for older children it may be no TV, or no going to a party, or even no driving. All versions of
I saw a young boy (this week) who was bitten by a dog. Very sad as I began to think this is the time of the year that I will start seeing more bites. Why? Warmer weather brings families outdoors and I've noticed more dog parks popping up. I have experience with dog bites as a pediatrician and mom.
We are a dog family and my husband and I had our first dog, Mrs. Brown, before our oldest son was born. She was the perfect dog, a mutt that my brother (who is a vet) had found and gave yo us.
When the boys came along she was wonderful and would follow them around the yard and to the closest neighbors, I would always know where the kids were as Mrs. Brown would be waiting on the porch for them.
Our next dog was a golden retriever, Maddie, that our middle son wanted, and she too was a member of our family for 12 years. Sweet (but a bit lazy), she was so sad as each of our sons left for college. She was suddenly the only child left at home. It broke our hearts when she died and the boys had not gotten a chance to get home to see her.
Thinking we didn't need a dog in a empty house was a mistake. The youngest son felt like he should have a dog (even though he was away at college) and I thought a little dog might be nice. No way, according to the youngest son, we are a big dog family, and so we now have 4 year old Maggie, a yellow lab. Sweet, smart and spoiled is all I can say.
Now, back to dog bites. I think it is important for children to be around dogs (and other pets as well) but to have a respect for them. Just like we teach children, stranger danger, the same goes for dogs. Teach your children not to approach strange dogs, or reach through a fence to pat a dog. Always ask the owner before trying to pet a dog.
I would not recommend buying your child a dog until they are around 4 years of age. But, if you
I see a lot of girls who are preoccupied with their weight. It seems that more and more girls, at younger and younger ages begin to ask, am I fat? or does this dress make me look fat? or even why do I have a fat on my stomach that I can pinch?
The world we live bombards young girls with images of being thin and of the perfect body. We all know that a Barbie doll is not a realistic image of a woman's body, just as the cover of People magazine or the cover of Teen Vogue is also not always real. Many models are 10-20% below their ideal weight, and movie stars often have their pictures photo-shopped to appear thinner. The obsession with being thin has only continued to contribute to the increasing incidence of eating disorders, in girls as young as 10 and 11.
Anorexia and bulimia are both examples of eating disorders. Anorexia is a syndrome in which there is insufficient caloric intake to maintain normal weight and growth, which is associated with a disturbed body perception, an intense fear of weight gain, and obsession of being thinner. Girls (who are more commonly affected) truly believe that they are fat, even when they are emaciated and they fail to be able to distinguish a healthy weight.
Anorexia occurs in about 1% of the adolescent population, and is most commonly seen in females (90%), who are Caucasian (95%). It is also seen more commonly in middle to upper middle class families.
Bulimia is defined as binge eating followed by compensatory behavior in order to prevent weight gain. These behaviors may include vomiting (purging), laxative abuse, diuretic usage, stimulan
Did you know that May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month? I really think that this should be a topic of interest to parents year round, but this is a good month to be reminded of the importance of educating our children about their sexuality.
The good news is that the teenage pregnancy rate is going DOWN! The bad news is that 750,000 teens in the United States experience a pregnancy each year and 400,000 will give birth. That means that 70 young women out of every thousand become pregnant. To continue to reduce these statistics requires improved education and continued dialogue about the risk of teen pregnancy.
Although some teens think that becoming pregnant is a way to escape their own situation, the reality is that teens who become pregnant are less likely to finish high school or enter college, and are more likely to experience poverty. Being a parent is a hard job for any one, but trying to be a teen parent is almost impossible, even with good support systems. The effects of teen pregnancy are far reaching for all of society.
Studies show that teenagers who receive comprehensive sex education are 50% less likely to experience teen pregnancy compared to those who were taught abstinence only sex education. Other studies have recently shown that the decline in teen pregnancy rates are due to increased contraception use. But, 39% of sexually active teens did not use condoms when they last had sex, and only 23% of teen reported that they or their partner used hormonal birth control.
Parental involvement in sex education should occur in every home. This begins with that first, birds and bees talk with your child. A comment from a recent young patient after reading Where Did I Come From with her parents DISTURBING ! (cue my laughter).
The conversation needs to continue during the tween years an
We are all saddened by the tragic event that occurred during the Boston Marathon. There are numerous tragic and traumatic events which occur across our country (and around the world) and at times, children may be witnesses to these events. With that being said, how do you discuss these tragedies with a child?
I think the most important thing to remember when talking to a child about a trauma or tragedy is to use words that are appropriate for the child's age and vocabulary and to acknowledge your own feelings as well. They need to know that you too were scared, sad, upset or anxious about the event. Ask them how they felt and listen to the words that they use as you may use those words again when talking to your child.
While every child is different you can often follow their cues as to how much and how detailed a discussion to have, and when and how to bring the topic up again. Some children are talkers and want to discuss things at length, while others may be quieter and take some time to absorb the information. Don't force the discussion. A parent knows their children and the discussion may/will be different for each child and will be further impacted by their ages.
For young children, it is also important to let them know that Mommy and Daddy are there and will take care of them and protect them, but at the same time bad things sometimes happen. That is why parents take precautions and are responsible (like holding hands when crossing the street, or wearing a helmet etc).But, if something does happen it is so important to validate your child's feelings while at the same time teaching your child coping skills and resilience.
A federal judge ruled last week that an over the counter emergency contraception, which helps prevent pregnancy if used within 72 hours after sexual intercourse, would be made available for all ages.
Plan B One Step, the pre-packaged emergency contraceptive has been available as an over the counter morning after pill since 2006 (although its sale has been restricted to those 17 years and older). Even though it is an over the counter medication you have to ask the pharmacist for the package which is behind the counter, and if you are under the age of 17, you need a prescription. Plenty of hoops to jump through.
What's the debate all about and why is a federal judge deciding this? In late 2011, the FDA voted to make Plan B One Step universally available as an over the counter medication. Soon thereafter Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary for HHS, disagreed with the FDAs decision and did not approve the FDAs recommendation. The judge in his ruling concluded the administration had not made its decisions based on scientific guidelines and that its refusal to lift restrictions on access to the pill was arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable.
Not only did the FDA recommend unrestricted access to the morning after pill but the American Medical Association (AMA), The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), agreed as well. All groups felt that the science showed the safety of the pill, and that restrictions for its sale kept teenagers from using the drug in a safe and timely way to prevent pregnancy.
I discuss the use of Plan B with my adolesc
You've probably had this experience before, I know I have. You decide it's a great night for eating out and choose a popular restaurant to go to. Or, perhaps it's a special night for you and your spouse and youve dressed up and are looking forward to going to your favorite eating establishment to spend a little quality time together. Once there, you're having a wonderful conversation and waiting on your dinner to arrive.
A family with small children arrives and is seated in the booth behind yours. You don't think much about it until suddenly a volcano of chaos erupts. You are now faced with a child (or children) who is screaming, kicking the back of the booth, jumping up and down, running around the restaurant tables, tossing food and has picked this moment for a category-5 meltdown.
Meanwhile the parents continue having their conversation, oblivious to the fact that their child is ruining everyone else's dining experience.
Sound somewhat familiar? Of course, this doesn't only happen in restaurants but also in stores, movie theaters and other places where people have to share space with one another.
I use the term parents only as an example. You can substitute grandparents, guardians, friends whoever should be in charge.
Let's face it, this can be a touchy topic. Many parents become quite defensive when this subject comes up and people who've had their dining experience interrupted by an out of control child can get very upset.
It's become such a problem for customers that some restaurants won't serve families with kids under 6.
A lot of parents get this. They don't want their kids acting up or causing anyone discomfort. But they also want to be able to eat out with their kids every once in a while.
So what is a parent to do?
Good behavior begins at home and teaching children table manners and social etiquette when they are small helps them learn self-control even in stimulating en
During an adolescent check up, I talk to each teen about smoking. While the rates of cigarette smoking in teens continues to drop, 20% of teens in the U.S. consider themselves to be regular smokers.
Added to that statistic is the fact that every day almost 3,900 adolescents under the age of 18 try their first cigarette. Little do they know how addicting nicotine is. 30% of those teen smokes will continue smoking into adulthood.
Smoking has many health hazards which we all know: it causes cancer, emphysema and heart disease. It also shortens a persons life span by 10-15 years. But teens know these facts and continue to smoke. What many teens need to be reminded of is that smoking also causes more immediate side effects such as bad-breath, yellow fingernails and teeth, smoke smell on their hair and clothes and premature aging of their skin!! These facts seem to be of more interest to many teens.
I just saw a study out of Australia in which teens tested a software program that showed them what they would look like in their 50s and 60s if they continued to smoke. There is a Canadian based company that has developed face-aging software called April. (the program is on the web at http://www.ageme.com).
The researchers conducted a randomized controlled study at eight pharmacy sites in Australia targeting young smokers. There were 160 participants (ages 18-30), 80 in control group and 80 in the intervention group. The study was conducted over a six month period.
Participants were asked to complete a baseline questionnaire. They all received a self-care guide on smoking. But for the intervention group, the researchers took a picture of each participant and downloaded it on a laptop to show them what they would like as a smoker or a non smoker at age 55. Those in the intervention group
A child's laughter and giggles are always delightful but what I recently realized is that laughter is a universal language. I was recently on a family trip and it seemed that many of the people staying at the same hotel spoke a myriad of languages. Whether we were on the beach, or in a restaurant or just wandering around I heard so many different languages. French, Spanish, Japanese, Mandarin and Dutch, just to name a few that I recognized.
But, what I did love watching was the children of so many nationalities. Although different in many ways, they were also very similar. In so many different situations they were giggling and laughing. Despite the fact that I had no idea what they had been talking about with their friends or family members, those precious laughs make everyone smile, no matter what the language.
Children were being thrown into the pool or wading into the ocean and all you heard were giggles. Those sounds of pure joy makes everyone smile. Just like a baby's first coos, the laughter of a child is something to always be remembered and with all of the electronics available it is now easy to capture those moments without having to pull out the video camera of days the olden days!
I wish I could have made a tape of just my children's laughs. Beginning with the first little gurgles and coos and then through those toddler years with silly giggling, followed by the laughter of the middle years and their later laughs of teens and young adults. These tapes could be replayed over and over and no need for pictures, just the mental image of what might have been occurring during those laughs would be enough. What fabulous auditory memories.
Sounds like a new project to me!