Friday, December 24, 2010

The top 10 parenting tips of 2010 | Mormon Times

The top 10 parenting tips of 2010 | Mormon Times: "As a special Christmas gift to you loyal readers, here are the top 10 parenting tips of the year — the 10 best ideas we have come across to strengthen your family, 'happify' your kids and 'peace out' your own busy life. You may not want to try them all at once, but pick the ones that you think you need most and include them in your New Year's resolutions."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Breast-feeding benefits academic performance 10 years later - latimes.com

Breast-feeding benefits academic performance 10 years later - latimes.com: "Breast-feeding infants for at least six months appears to give kids' an advantage in school, according to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

Many other studies have also found a small effect on school performance from breast-feeding. This study, however, was unique in that boys appeared to benefit the most."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Story time — 10 questions and answers that can unlock the secrets to successful storytelling | Mormon Times

Story time — 10 questions and answers that can unlock the secrets to successful storytelling Mormon Times: "Are there times in your house devoid of monster noises, blaring televisions and Xbox background music? Times when the only sound you hear is your own quiet voice?"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

edpsy10natural

edpsy10natural: "Reinforcement can conveniently be divided into artificial (contrived) and natural (logical) reinforcement. This division applies to all three types of reinforcement. A reinforcer is artificial (contrived) to the extent that the recipient sees it as logically unrelated to the task which must be performed in order to obtain it. A reinforcer is natural (logical) to the extent that the recipient perceives it as logically related to the task he has to perform to obtain it. Few reinforcers are purely natural or artificial. Rather, reinforcers can be graded along a continuum, with some reinforcers being more natural than others.6 For example, reading a book because it is a good book is at the natural end of the curriculum. Reading a book when I hate the book but my parents will pay me five dollars for reading it is at the artificial end. Reading a book when I would rather watch television because I know my parents would be proud of me would be somewhere in the middle of the continuum. Likewise, reading a difficult book because I want to become a photographer and I know I can get a better job as a photographer if I get a college degree is somewhere in the middle."

PINNACLE - Behavior Problems of Children With Autism, Parental Self-Efficacy, and Mental Health

PINNACLE - Behavior Problems of Children With Autism, Parental Self-Efficacy, and Mental Health: "Self-efficacy has been identified in the general parenting literature as an important variable affecting parent outcomes. In the present study, 26 mothers and 20 fathers of children with autism reported on their self-efficacy, anxiety, and depression. Teachers rated the behavior problems of the children. Regression analyses showed that self-efficacy mediated the effect of child behavior problems on mothers' anxiety and depression, but there was no evidence that it functioned as a mediator for fathers. However, there was evidence that self-efficacy moderated the effect of child behavior problems on fathers' anxiety. No evidence for the moderating effect of self-efficacy was apparent for mothers. Methodological issues and the theoretical and practical implications of these results are discussed."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Holidays and Traditions: A Pile of Junk do not Great Memories Make

This morning as I watched and listened to Christmas programs with music and narration my thoughts reverted to my childhood Christmases. We never had much that could be called excess and yet there were always presents under the tree; however I have no recollection of any of my presents with the exception of a truck when I was very young. What I do remember are the times with family. I remember the trees and the German tradition from my mother’s side of the family of going to the homes of aunts and my dear grandmother on Christmas eve to open presents. While I don’t remember any presents but the one, I remember the homes, the music, and the warm relationships. I remember Christmas dinner at my aunt Virgina’s home every Christmas day. Those are the things I remember from my childhood Christmases.


As I grew, married, and started a family of my own, we too did not usually have much excess; however I have wonderful warm memories and cherished photo’s from those times.

One Christmas I especially remember was in Rexburg Idaho. We had decided to forgo a Christmas tree that year (much to the scorn of some of my co-workers). Instead, we went around to large appliance stores and retrieved empty and broken down boxes and brought them home. From these we created a stable, animals, Joseph, Mary, and Shepherds. I don‘t remember what we made the manager from but child‘s doll played the part of the baby Jesus. The children with my wife and I colored the people, stable, and animals. In the end we did put up a small tree in the basement; however the nativity and the time spent with our children is what I remember most from that Christmas. I also cherish the many memories of making treats and delivering them to friends and neighbors. One of my favorite gifts was a hand made warm ear band given to my by a Carmel, a childhood friend, which I still appreciate and wear on cold winter days. We no longer practice the German tradition of opening presents on Christmas eve; but have resorted to the standard Christmas morning; however, every year our children have become used to and expect to sit and read the story of the birth of Christ and share our family prayer before any presents are opened. My hope is that they always remember that He really is the reason for the season.

I love Christmas, it is my favorite holiday, closely followed by Thanksgiving, with the family games and movies we shared (and when we lived in Rexburg the choral music in the old Tabernacle).

I’m not a big fan of Halloween; though my wife is. Over the years we have had many students live in our home. This year we have a wonderful young man from Ulsan Korea. We invited many of his friends over for a pre-Halloween party and carved pumpkins with Koreans, Chinese, and one student from Kuwait. We took great pictures and had a wonderful time that we will and I hope they will always remember.

Most gifts purchased from a store decay and are eventually forgotten; however, there are common threads in all of my best memories from any holiday. They involve creating something (for little or no money) together, they involved building relationships, and they involved giving to and including others. Those are the threads that make fond memories.

Friday, November 26, 2010

What is Autism? Why is it on the rise? What can we do about it?

What is Autism?


Autism is a complicated neurological disorder which affects the brain and results in a developmental disability. It is characterized by: 1) Unusual and repetitive behaviors and/or narrow obsessive interests; 2) Poor Communication; and 3) Poor social skills to include: a) lack of or difficulty with joint attention (the ability to focus on the same item, person, animal, or thing “jointly” with another person, and/or b) significantly to extremely guarded interactions.

When people talk about Autism, they may mean the entire spectrum that would include: Autism, PDD NOS, or Aspergers.

Why is it on the rise?

There has been a great deal of conflictual information regarding soaring autism rates. Some have postulated that it is caused by childhood vaccinations. This theory has been tested and rebutted multiple times. However; there is still a possibility that while perhaps not causal there may be some environmental factor(s) in the rise in autism.

Others believe that the rising rate is simply due to our better ability to recognize autism and the current interest in focusing on this particular disability. Surly there is some truth to this. We are better able to recognize autism today than twenty years ago; however, that does not explain the numbers.

Some believe that in our changing society people with milder forms of autism are having more children. This is probably the case as today there are many very successful people with some form of autism and for some, we know there is a genetic component. However; this again cannot account for all the rise in diagnoses.

Another fairly recent finding has linked the age of the parents, either the mother or the father, and the rise in autism. Some research has made a connection with older parents and an increased incidence of autism.

The bottom line is, we don’t entirely know. There may be a combination of multiple factors and/or a cause yet unknown.

What can we do about it?

Fortunately there is reason to hope. There may be medical treatments on the horizon which can significantly improve symptoms for some children. There is some promising research that may even bring about a cure or prevention for some. While it may be years before we know, some good first steps have been taken.

We also know a great deal more today about treatment, what works and for whom. Treatment is so prescriptive now that there are solid options for many according age, diagnosis, and severity. We also know that best practice includes early intervention in the child’s natural environment within the child’s natural routines and involves the parents. This type of intervention in consultation with experts in the field is relatively inexpensive, in many cases saves money over the lifetime of the child, and dramatically enhances the quality of life for both child and family. In some cases, with the right intervention and higher functioning children, it has even eliminated enough of the symptoms for the child to lose the diagnosis of autism.


Supplemental material:

Best Practice Intervention Descriptions


http://www.autismspeaks.org/whatisit/index.php

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/autism/

http://www.bestoutcomes.blogspot.com/

http://currentautismresearchhopeforautism.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Natural Reinforcement and Natural Consequences: Parenting that Lasts

Most parents want to teach their children skills, behaviors, and character traits which will last and even be improved upon well into adulthood. One of the keys to teaching that lasts is using natural reinforcement and natural consequences.


Too often we use contrived reinforcements and limit or eliminate the consequences. While it is appropriate to, with love and mercy, limit some consequences in some situations, it is essential for children to learn, understand, and incorporate the law of natural consequences into their lives. Children who do not learn this at a young age, will either become a sever annoyance to family, teachers, and would be friends, or will experience much more painful lessons at the hand of society.

Natural consequences can be taught in a very natural and common sense manner without getting upset or causing the child to become upset. When a young child spills a glass of milk, if s/he is able, have the child clean it up, and help if necessary. If the glass was spilled because it was too full, the consequence is less milk in the glass at one time. If the child drops the container of milk because it was too large, then the child needs to wait until s/he is a little older and bigger to try it again (and if you told the child to get the container, the cleaning up consequence may be yours).

Natural reinforcement is similarly simple. Sometimes we use contrived reinforcement to teach a child to do something and sometimes this is appropriate because it is more immediate. For example: you MAY need to use pennies or small candies to initially teach your child to put clothes or toys away; but a better reinforcer is praise from you and others, and eventually the good feeling that comes from a clean room. Another example of a contrived reinforcement is something we did with our children for a time when they were young. We had a large bag we called the “gobble monster.” Once a week, at a preset time, either my wife or I would go through the house and pick all the clothing, books, toys, and other personal items left lying around the house by our children. We would then call all the children together and give them their allowance (one of the rare times we used allowances). The children would then have to purchase everything that was theirs and that they still wanted from the “gobble monster.” (The price was the same on a per item basis.) Anything they didn’t want went to the local thrift store or we would put it into storage. Because people are not usually paid to pick up their own items around their own house, money is a contrived or artificial reinforcement. Today, all of my children are fairly tidy and prefer a clean house. Natural reinforcers have taken over from the more contrived reinforcers of their childhood.

Another example of natural reinforcement is when you are trying to teach a child to say please and the child says “please may I have a drink of milk.” Wouldn’t it be silly to say to the child “good job saying please” and give them an M & M? Unfortunately this kind of upside down contrived reinforcement, when a natural reinforcement is logical, possible, and best, occurs far too often. In this case, if possible and appropriate, give the child or tell the child that s/he can have the glass of milk. If not possible, briefly explain why not and either explain to them when they can have a glass of milk or what might be a possible alternative and thank the child for saying “please.”

Supplemental information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reinforcement#Natural_and_artificial_reinforcement

For additional information references and resources click on the link below.
Natural Reinforcement: Parenting that Lasts

Monday, November 22, 2010

Teaching Your Child To Work

One of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child is the ability and the tenacity to work. There is an old saying that “it’s a lazy parent who does everything for their child.” This includes all but the youngest babies, the most seriously disabled or ill. Work is one of the ways children learn efficacy. Efficacy is an important component of resilience and is an important factor in overcoming stress.

When children are young, they are often anxious to help their parents. Unfortunately many see this as too much bother; however, there are many things even young children can do in moderation as long as it is safe.

My oldest son was fascinated by the vacuum. We didn’t take advantage of this by making him vacuum the whole house; but we did let him, from a young age vacuum small parts of the house (even if someone had to go over the same area again at a later time when he wasn’t around).

Children also need to be taught to do things on their own and for themselves even when they do not want to. Even fairly young children can learn to put away their toys and even some of their clothes. Work can be fun and it can be done cooperatively with other family members to increase family unity and responsibility.

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.
Thomas A. Edison

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
Theodore Roosevelt

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all.
Sam Ewing

Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.
Anne Frank

Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work.
Booker T. Washington

Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them.
Ann Landers

Plans are only good intentions unless they immediately degenerate into hard work.
Peter Drucker

The harder I work, the luckier I get.
Samuel Goldwyn

The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.
Harry Golden

"All true Work is sacred; in all true Work, were it but but hand-labour, there is something of divineness.  Labor, wide as the Earth, has it's summit in Heaven."
Thomas Carlyle

Supplemental Material:
Teach Your Child to Work Hard Without Complaining

Teaching Children To Work without Complaining!!!

Teach Your Kids Work Ethic

Bad Parenting -- Why Americans Need To Toughen Up

Saturday, November 20, 2010

NEVERTHELESS: One of the magic words of parenting

One of the mistakes parents often make not only with their teenage children; but with younger children as well is to get into arguments. While it is important to explain things to children and to have open dialogue, it is equally important to avoid arguments. If your objective it to help your children become responsible efficacious adults with good social skills, high morals and strong work ethics, every time you get into an argument, you loose and ultimately, so do they.

Before you get into the argument, you will want to teach your children and explain boundaries and expectations. If you have already done that on multiple occasions where the child/teen has already had many honest and safe opportunities to truly express themselves and ask questions and where possible you have found the ability to compromise or find appropriate ways and times to say “yes” then it is much easier when potential arguments ensue. When the appropriate groundwork has been laid and you are genuinely open to the possibility to alter SOME rules in some situations where it may be appropriate, and your child/teen has leaned to trust you and the relationship; it is much easier when necessary to simply divert the argument by simply saying: “nevertheless”…

For example: after pleading to stay out until 1:A.M. or 2:A.M., your response can simply be: “nevertheless, your curfew on Friday nights is midnight.” Or after your teen has stayed out until after midnight and returned late and starts to explain that the movie wasn’t over or whatever: “nevertheless your curfew on Friday nights is midnight and now your consequence is”…

There is no reason for you to be angry or for your teen to be surprised if you are consistent. In the long term scheme of things, it is a win/win scenario.

There is another, almost opposite use for the magic word “nevertheless” in parenting.

As your children grown and mature, they need to learn to be responsible for developmentally appropriate decisions and the consequences of those decisions.

After explaining your thoughts, beliefs, and feelings on a matter, turn the question back to the child and say “nevertheless” you are free to choose.

Obviously there are limits to the decisions where your child is free to choose, according to the child’s age and maturity as stated previously (with some dangerous and illegal options remaining off limits); however, children and teens need to learn to make choices and also accept the responsibility of those choices if you hope for them to be able to make good responsible choices as adults.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Power of Yes in Parenting

The Power of Yes in parenting does not mean that you are an overly permissive parent or one who can not set boundaries. Effectively using the power of yes can really be a matter of timing and perspective. Many children hear “no” over and over again; but a “yes” is infinitely more powerful, hopeful, and efficacy building, than a “no.”

For example: when a child asks to go play and you know they have homework or a chore to do, instead of saying “no,” you need to do….. try saying “yes” as soon as you have done …

If it’s something that will require additional skills or maturity, talk with them about what needs to occur in their life before the answer will be “yes” then tell them, when those things have occurred, “yes” they can.

Again, this does not mean that there is a “yes” to everything.

For example to the question, “can I go over to my friend’s and do meth?” The answer is always a resounding “no” with an explanation of the dangers (and perhaps a conversation with law enforcement and/or the friend’s parent if you have reason to believe the friend is in possession of and/or providing meth to others). You will also want to have a discussion of the underlying reasons why s/he wants to go over to a friends to do meth, what alternative appropriate activity might provide the same or similar results (for the underlying appropriate need ie friendship) and a “yes” to the alternative activity. Sometimes the underlying need may require some additional skills, resources and assistance. If you need help, get help. For example: if the underlying need is to feel accepted and have friends. Help your child become involved in more appropriate activities and develop relationships with more appropriate friends. Sometimes this may require some social skill training. Your school counselor or a religious leader may be able to help.





Supplemental Materials:

Just Say Yes: The Power of Positive Parenting

http://www.babyzone.com/toddler/toddler_development/discipline/article/positive-parenting-power



Reed Galin: The Power of 'Yes'

http://www.beliefnet.com/Video/Parenting/Reed-Galin-The-Power-Of-Yes.aspx

Color Think Tank - the psychology of color

Color Think Tank - the psychology of color: "Our personal and cultural associations affect our experience of color. Colors are seen as warm or cool mainly because of long-held (and often universal) associations. Yellow, orange and red are associated with the heat of sun and fire; blue, green and violet with the coolness of leaves, sea and the sky. Warm colors seem closer to the viewer than cool colors, but vivid cool colors can overwhelm light and subtle warm colors. Using warm colors for foreground and cool colors for background enhances the perception of depth."

Color psychology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Color psychology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Inherent difficulties in properly controlling trials of color's effect on humans mean that a subject's expectations and cultural bias cannot be ruled out. Moreover, much evidence is anecdotal (e.g. the blue street lighting case) or based on data that includes confounders (e.g. the shirt-color correlation). Chromotherapy, a form of alternative medicine, is based on the hypothesis that distinct colors have health effects[10] unrelated to the aforementioned placebo effect. Such profound claims are the subject of skepticism and are often regarded as pseudoscience."

Colors and Moods

Colors and Moods: "Color, without our realizing it, can have a profound effect on how we feel both mentally and physically. Dr. Morton Walker, in his book The Power of Color, suggested that the ancient Egyptians as well as the Native American Indians used color and colored light to heal. Below are some emotional associations that humans tend to have with certain colors. These are important to keep in mind in order to create the mood you are seeking."

Color: Meaning, Symbolism and Psychology

Color: Meaning, Symbolism and Psychology: "Our reaction to color is instantaneous and this lens is a quick look at general responses based on research, historical significance of color and word association studies.

I have also included links to color personality tests that may give you some insight into your own color associations as well as how you react to different colors."

Color Psychology - The Psychology of Color

Color Psychology - The Psychology of Color: "Color Psychology as Therapy
Several ancient cultures, including the Egyptians and Chinese, practiced chromotherapy, or using colors to heal. Chromotherapy is sometimes referred to as light therapy or colourology and is still used today as a holistic or alternative treatment.
In this treatment:
Red was used to stimulate the body and mind and to increase circulation.


Yellow was thought to stimulate the nerves and purify the body.


Orange was used to heal the lungs and to increase energy levels.


Blue was believed to soothe illnesses and treat pain.


Indigo shades were thought to alleviate skin problems."

Psychology Of Color

Psychology Of Color: "Color is a meaningful constant for sighted people and it's a powerful psychological tool. By using color psychology, you can send a positive or negative message, encourage sales, calm a crowd, or make an athlete pump iron harder.
Employ the latest color psychology in all facets of marketing and particularly in logo design, web site design, the cover of a book, or the package of a product.
The field of industrial psychology has a sub-field that studies only the psychology of color. It is no accident that Campbell's soup has used the same four colors on their labels for years and years. When I mentioned that product, I'll bet an image of that label popped into your head."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Working Paper #9: Persistent Fear and Anxiety Can Affect Young Children’s Learning and Development

Working Paper #9: Persistent Fear and Anxiety Can Affect Young Children’s Learning and Development: "Ensuring that young children have safe, secure environments in which to grow, learn, and develop healthy brains and bodies is not only good for the children themselves but also builds a strong foundation for a thriving, prosperous society. Science shows that early exposure to circumstances that produce persistent fear and chronic anxiety can have lifelong consequences by disrupting the developing architecture of the brain. Unfortunately, many young children are exposed to such circumstances. This report from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child summarizes in clear language why, while some of these experiences are one-time events and others may reoccur or persist over time, all of them have the potential to affect how children learn, solve problems, and relate to others."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Nightmares: Causes and help for children with nightmares

You have to know who you are, if you don't you have nightmares.
Stephen Rea

Some nightmares are fairly normal for young children and often originate from fears, anxiety, and misunderstanding. Usually these are fairly typical and are sometimes caused by immature and inadequate processing and understanding of what is and has gone on in the child’s life. Sometimes nightmares arise from trauma or more significant anxiety or stressors. In these cases, responsible adults need to do what they can to reduce the turmoil causing this, and likely other problems for the child. Sometimes the nightmares arise from the viewing of inappropriate entertainment. This viewing, even on an occasional basis can cause behavioral and psychological problems beyond the nightmare or even night terror. Terminate the viewing or even hearing of these types of entertainment completely. That usually means that when the child is in the house, you don’t watch it either because you don’t know what the child may hear or if the child may get up for some reason and you certainly don’t want to be punitive of your child for getting up in the night on an irregular basis for brief periods of time because they feel they need you.

When there is trauma in the life of the child, even if only witnessed, eliminating the trauma and processing through play therapy can be very beneficial.
For simple, common nightmares, helping your child to reframe the nightmare into an empowering process through lucid dreaming can be very helpful.
As soon as the child has the nightmare, have them tell you about it and then ask them if they could change something about the dream to make it more pleasant, such as imagining the scary wolf to be a small friendly puppy. When my oldest was about five, she was having bad dreams about dark shadowy ghosts. We talked about it and since she had seen cartoons of Casper the Friendly Ghost, I asked if she could imagine the ghosts in her dream looked like Casper. She matter of factly responded and said “no” they are pink. That was the end of the problem.

Supplemental material:
Sleep Hygiene


Nightmares and Night Terrors in Children

Nightmares: Children’s WebMD

How to stop nightmares in children

Nightmare Remedies: Helping Your Child Tame the Demons of the Night

Stress HELPING YOUR CHILDREN (and you) THROUGH TIMES OF STRESS

Autism, Anxiety and Nightmares

LDS Parent: Taming Nightmares

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Decisions Determine Destiny

Have you ever watched someone do something really stupid or really bad on television or in the theatre and thought to yourself or said to a friend ‘that was really stupid, or I would never do that!’

Have you ever seen or heard about a co-worker, friend, or family member doing something similar and had a similar response?
Do you ever wonder how someone could ever get themselves ‘in that situation?’ Then say or think to yourself, it would never happen to me.
Sometimes people find themselves in absolutely horrible situations for absolutely no fault of their own; but sometimes, even often, it is an incremental step by step process. It’s not usually the major decisions or mistakes that get us into a lot of trouble; but the little day by day even hour by hour decisions we make. It’s the small decisions that provide practice and direction for the big ones. It’s the decisions we make before the big ones have to be made that to a great extent, determine our destiny.
It is the small day to day decisions that determine, for the most part, who your associates will be, what kind of environments you will be in, what kind of opportunities you will have, and if you will be able to make the most of the opportunities which occur. It is the same for your children. When we come to understand this, and make the best small decisions possible, the really tough decisions become easier and we find ourselves in fewer situations beyond our control.
Remember, oftentimes, the little, sometimes just a little rebellious or just a little naughty, decisions we make now to demonstrate how free we are, diminish our freedoms and choices in the future.
On the other hand, decisions to: study hard, take responsibility, learn and follow the rules, act with dignity and respect and treat everyone the same way, even when no one else notices, usually creates more opportunities and greater freedom in the future.
For example, NASA astronauts have had very strict guidelines for learning, health, and behavior. They have had to do things which some might consider confining and restrictive, and yet many have had the freedom to do things, literally out of this world.

Sometimes parents rescue their children from the consequences of their little mistakes.  I'm not suggesting overly harsh punishments for slight infractions; but the simple lessons which come from the natural consequences of little mistakes.  For example: a five year old spills their milk, there's no need to make a big deal cry or yell about it,  just simply had them a wash cloth and lovingly ask them to clean it up.  Give them instructions if necessary and be patient to make sure they get it done.  These simple lessons, even though they may take you a little longer than it would take for you to clean it up yourself, means everything in the long run and will probably save you and your child a enormous amount of time and heartache in the future.

EVERYONE, except perhaps the most severely intellectually disabled, have opportunities to make little decisions and it’s the little decisions that make all the difference.

For additional information, type in:  Decisions Determine Destiny in either of the search engines below.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hiding

Hiding is a behavior sometimes associated with an anxiety disorder and past or recurring trauma. Hiding is more than just exhibiting shyness. It is the ability to disappear in plain sight and in a group, even a small group in a small room. It is sometimes learned as a coping mechanism used to disappear in the face of trauma when escape is impossible or at the least extremely difficult.

It is not the same as learned helplessness where a person simply gives up and gives in. It is a purposeful coping mechanism.
This is not just the typical child playing hide and go seek or just hiding for fun. That is very typical behavior. This is the child who seems to be able to just disappear and be forgotten.
This MAY be a behavior to be concerned with and talk with your physician or a mental health professional about.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Study: ‘Hyper-Texting’ Teens More Likely to Have Had Sex, Tried Drugs – TIME Healthland

Study: ‘Hyper-Texting’ Teens More Likely to Have Had Sex, Tried Drugs – TIME Healthland: "Teens who send more than 120 texts a day are more likely to have had sex or used alcohol or illegal drugs than peers who text less, according to a study conducted at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. These 'hyper-texters' were also more likely to get into physical fights, binge drink and misuse prescription drugs.
Despite the suggestive findings, researchers are quick to stress that they do not show that texting causes risky behavior, the Associated Press reports. Rather it may have more to do with peer pressure and lack of parental oversight."

Monday, November 8, 2010

Better and more effective intervention for much less money, commonly as little as 20% of what is often currently being spent.

Evidence Based Family Centered Practice, sometimes called Coaching and sometimes provided through P.L.A.Y.; but which comes in many effective and proven forms and models, which include contextualized routine based intervention is very often the most effective and cost efficient intervention for children with developmental disabilities and/or mental health concerns. All of these variations require extensive family involvement and responsibility; but generally speaking only minor alterations in environment and schedule, especially for parents who normally wish to spend both quality and quantity time with their children. The biggest difference isn’t so much of what you do; but how you do it, and how you interact to enhance your child’s best behavior, functional skills, and relationships.




Frequently the best intervention to accomplish these outcomes is through consultation and education with limited direct interaction between the therapist and the child and more interaction between the parent and child with some observation, consultation, and even demonstration on the part of the therapist.

CDC - Frequently Asked Questions - Alcohol

CDC - Frequently Asked Questions - Alcohol: "Alcohol affects every organ in the body. It is a central nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver by enzymes; however, the liver can only metabolize a small amount of alcohol at a time, leaving the excess alcohol to circulate throughout the body. The intensity of the effect of alcohol on the body is directly related to the amount consumed."

Alcohol: MedlinePlus

Alcohol: MedlinePlus: "Anything more than moderate drinking can be risky. Binge drinking - drinking five or more drinks at one time - can damage your health and increase your risk for accidents, injuries and assault. Years of heavy drinking can lead to liver disease, heart disease, cancer and pancreatitis. It can also cause problems at home, at work and with friends."

President of UCC issues alcohol warning | Irish Examiner

President of UCC issues alcohol warning Irish Examiner: "It is estimated that one person dies in Ireland every seven hours from alcohol- related illness, drink is a factor in almost one-third of emergency department visits and 2,000 hospital beds are occupied by patients with drink-related illnesses.

The UCC boss said attitudes might be different if people were more aware that alcohol is more damaging to society than smoking or any other drug, which was highlighted in the Lancet journal this week."

Monday, November 1, 2010

Parenting a Child with Depression

Depression is a complicated illness/disorder.

Sometimes it is characterized by huge mood swings such as for someone with Bi-Polar or Manic Depression
Sometimes it can be a so called low grade chronic depression which is called Dysthymia, or a chronic Major Depression.
Sometimes it can be caused primarily by a chemical imbalance and sometime by stress and more often a combination of the two. In most cases it is partly biological, partly environmental, and partly behavioral. It can manifest itself in withdrawal, fatigue, loss of interest, and difficulty in concentration (among other symptoms) or it can manifest itself in anger and aggression.
Depression often co-occurs with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and disease, substance abuse, and/or mental health disorders.
Fortunately, in most cases, when diagnosed and treated correctly, depression is easily treatable. There was a time, not so very long ago when it was believed young children could not suffer from depression. That time has past; young children can suffer from depression.

One of the most significant predictors of depressions in an infant is maternal depression. There is appropriate treatment for both the parent and the child. As with most mood or behavioral disorders in children, there is a logical sequence of treatment, with direct treatment for the child being the last option unless the child is in a life threatening situation.  When possible, setting events, environmental issues, attachment, nutrition, sleep, hygene, and relationships should be evaluated and ameliorated as needed first, before directly treating or at least as, the child is being directly treated.

Supplemental Materials:

DYSTHYMIC DISORDER
http://www.mentalhealth.com/dis/p20-md04.html

Dysthymic Disorder
http://www.allaboutdepression.com/dia_04.html

Depression in children
http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=141&id=1920

When Parents Are Depressed
http://www.healthyplace.com/depression/children/when-parents-are-depressed/menu-id-68/

Parenting a Child with Depression
http://www.healthyplace.com/parenting/depression/parenting-child-with-depression/menu-id-61/

Depression (major depression) Definition by Mayo Clinic Staff
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/depression/DS00175

For additional information please use the Google Parenting and Scholar search engines below.

The behavior we allow is the behavior we get - Corrections News

The behavior we allow is the behavior we get - Corrections News: "What do libraries and museums have that prisons and bars don't?
Why are some schools, jails, and emergency rooms more violent than others? Why are some sections of a prison more violent than others, even though the conditions are identical? It may have something to do with social contracts.
No one would be shocked to see a fight in a tavern, at a major league baseball game, or even in an emergency room. But is there anything that could be done to lower the levels of violence in these places? Most likely the answer is yes.
Have you ever seen a fight in a library? I spend a lot of time in libraries and I’ve never seen one. In fact, I’ve never heard so much as a heated argument in a library. I have, however, witnessed loud arguments, loud offensive cursing, and even fist fights in gas stations, grocery stores, department stores, fast food joints, doctor’s offices, hospitals, and taverns. But I’ve never seen such behavior at a museum, a church or a library."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Parenting, Behaviors, and Sleep. Sleep: a common setting event for inappropriate behaviors.

Inconsistent sleep patterns, restless sleep, or other problems related to sleep can be the or one of the root causes of many problems.  Sleep problems are one of many common setting events which can cause or worsen inappropriate or poor behavior.  Sleep is also one possible contributor of depression, stress, and aggression.

For more about getting a good nights sleep, for both you and your child, click here.

Sleep Hygiene: How to get a good night’s sleep.

Most of this information is for adults; however, some is applicable to children.  Information more specific to children is linked below.

Reduce stress as much as possible

* Set a sleep schedule and keep it within ½ hour every night of the week, with the exception of one or two nights when you may stay up later. If you have to work a rotating shift schedule, then keep a schedule according to your shift. (Rotating work schedules have their problems and should be avoided when possible.) Do not nap. Keeping a regular schedule helps to condition your body to expect sleep at certain times. Young children can have naps, Infants must have frequent naps and Toddlers should have naps. Children should stick with the same schedule, within a ½ hour variance as much as possible seven days a week.

* Early to bed early to rise. There is a lot of wisdom in the old adage. Even though some people are just not morning people, for some, this can help their sleep patterns.

* Avoid sleeping too much or too little. At least a couple of times a week you should stay in bed until you wake up without an alarm, and then don’t just lie in bed. Again you want to condition your body that bed is for sleeping, not just lying around.

* Bed is for sleeping and for adults certain pleasurable activities, nothing else.

* Do not watch TV in your bedroom or use it as an office or for a computer room. This is also part of conditioning your mind and body.

* Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine. Remember chocolate and many soda pops have caffeine. (If you must eat or drink chocolate, do not do it within 4 hours of going to bed.)

* Keep refined sugar to a minimum and do not consume refined sugar within 4 hours of going to bed.

* Avoid alcohol, while it may help you to get to sleep, it will make it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

* Seep in a cool (not cold) room and warm (not hot) comfortable bed. Try wearing socks to bed (unless your feet are too hot) and in extreme situations where you have chronically cold hands, try mittens. Your body needs to regulate your temperature before you can get to sleep.

* Keep up a good exercise routine, but not within four hours of bed time. Stretching, yoga, deep breathing, are good right before bed.

* Create a relaxing bedtime routine and stick with it. This can last from 30 minutes to an hour. It can include stretching, yoga, warm bath, deep breathing, relaxing music, and reading. Avoid stressful activities and conversations right before going to bed or in bed.

* Do not eat a large meal before 4 hours of going to bed. Light snack right before bed, i.e.., warm milk, banana, just a little turkey (no preservatives). Avoid spicy food right before bed and possibly discontinue altogether if you continue to have problems.

* Make sure you get good exposure to natural light. People who do not get outside often, are helped by getting the sunlight though the window. Natural light helps to maintain a healthy sleep cycle.

* Eliminate light, and distracting noise as much as possible. Sometimes quiet relaxing music or nature sounds can be helpful. Sometimes a comforting sound from the past can also be helpful. I find the light sound of a distant train very relaxing. If you enjoy it, baroque music is very conducive to a good night’s sleep.  (Specific music suggestions can be found on the stress reduction page)

* Do not ruminate (obsess) over issues that cause you stress right before or at bedtime.

* If you do everything or most of the things mentioned here and do not fall asleep within 20 to 25 minutes, get up and do something relaxing for 30 to 45 minutes and then try again. If you wake up in the night and do not fall back to sleep within 20 to 25 minutes, get up and do something relaxing for 30 to 45 minutes then try again.

* Consult with your physician if you have chronic sleeping problems (either too much or too little sleep, 8 hours is average for adults) or chronic pain that keeps you awake. If you are taking medications, speak with your physician about possible side effects that may cause sleep problems. Ask your physician if the medication can be switched to a different time of the day and if that might help.

* Avoid sleeping pills if possible. If necessary, consult your physician.

* Even if you do not get a good nights sleep, get up at your scheduled time. If you get less than 4 hours of sleep for three nights in a row or less than 2 hours of sleep for two nights in a row, consult your physician. If you sleep but do not feel rested on a chronic basis, even after you have tried these adjustments, consult your physician. You may have a serious sleep disorder such as apnea.

Additional techniques: Consult your physician before doing these (this is not just an idle disclaimer; you really must consult your physician before doing these). These can be used in bed to help you to train yourself to go to sleep.

* Deep breathing and simple counting. Try taking in a very deep breath in (through your nose), expanding your stomach, and then breathing out through your mouth. Count as you do this, perhaps to the beat of your heart, try to get to the point where you have three or four heart beats as you breath in and three or four as you breath out.

* Muscle tightening/relaxing and deep breathing. Start at your toes, curl them and tighten them while breathing in deeply. Relax your toes and breathe out. Flex your foot while breathing in deeply, then relax and breathe out. Push the heals of your feed into your bed while breathing in deeply, then relax and breathe out. Continue to do the same while tightening your calf muscles, then your thigh muscles, then your buttocks then while pushing your hands down, then tightening your shoulders then pushing your head down into your pillow. Do all of these on your back.

* Walking down stairs. Imagine yourself starting at the top of a beautiful bluff, overlooking a gorgeous ocean beach. Imagine there is a gentle and safe decline with stairs and a railing on both sides. Perhaps a gentle warm breeze. Imagine what it looks like and what it sounds and smells and feels like. Now imagine that the top step is number 200. One at a time walk down the stairs, stopping at each stair to say (in your mind) the next number, 199, 198 etc. Imagine how the smells, sights and sounds and feel changes at each step. See if you can make it all the way to the bottom while staying awake.

* Nightmares. If you can just let it go and forget about the dream, do so. If you can not, imagine how you could be empowered to make everything well. What could happen in the dream to make everything better. When my oldest daughter was young she used to have bad dreams about ghosts that would wake her up and then she would wake us up. They were menacing shadows. I asked her if she could imagine that the ghost was friendly and white like Casper. She said “no, pink Ghost” and that was the end of it. It rarely works this easily but you can take control of your dreams to create a more relaxing and pleasant ending.

* Do not worry about doing all these suggestions perfectly. Just do your best and do better the next time.

Allow a month of consistent effort and practice for significant improvement.

Supplemental materials (Much of this information is more specific to children):
Regardless of what may be written on the websites, avoid caffeine, sugar, and simple carbohydrates (most breads, crackers, etc.) within four hours of bedtime.  Be careful with herbs, it is possible to overdose on some, be especially careful with children.  Check with your physician before giving herbs to a child.

Melatonin: Natural food and non-food sources of melatonin

Foods for sleep

Child Sleep: Recommended hours for every age

All about sleep

Sleep problems

Saturday, October 30, 2010

TEACHING/EDUCATION A few of the things you need to teach your children: Overview.

"Consider the spiritual needs of your children. How much time is necessary to be certain you are being close to them? It is your responsibility as fathers and mothers to provide adequate time to teach them, for the most important instruction children will ever receive should come from their parents."

L. Tom Perry

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Eating Disorders (Bulimia)

Eating Disorders (Bulimia): "Eating Disorders
What is an eating disorder?
An eating disorder can be bulimia or anorexia nervosa, and those are the two most common ones. It's basically where food rules your life, and rather than you eat because you're hungry. It takes on an unhealthy importance in your life."

Eating Disorders Part 1

eating disorders

Parenting a Child with an Eating Disorder

Eating disorders can be very serious.  I have a family member who had an eating disorder which was very dangerous and which caused a great deal of concern.  Eating issues have been a significant problem in my family for at least half a century.

Eat healthy, provide healthy foods for your children.  Engage in healthy exercise and recreational activities.  Do not provide or allow a lot of junk food in your home.  Do not call your children fat; but emphasis healthy eating and a healthy body, which is not ultra thin.

If you or someone you know, may have an eating disorder, seek help.  I would recommend seeking professional advice for more than one source; but do it quickly.  It can be life threatening and doing the right thing is as important as doing something.  What ever you do, do not wait.  Talk with your doctor.  Talk with the person's doctor.  Speak with a mental health professional; but do it quickly.  It may be more sever that you believe.
A great deal of additional information is provided through supplemental materials below.

For additional information; please use the Google Parenting and Scholar search engines at the bottom of this page.  You can also find a treatment/therapy search engine at the bottom of: http://www.bestoutcomes.blogspot.com/


Supplemental Material:
Parenting a Child with an addiction.
Beauty Is Only Skin Deep
Health and Nutrition for the Family
Healthy Eating For Children Without Breaking The Bank!
Building a Healthy Body Image in Children
Healthy body image: Tips for guiding girls
Perfect Illusions . A Healthy Body Image
eating disorders This video is pretty raw, may be offensive for some; however it has a powerful message.
Eating Disorders Part 1
Eating Disorders What is an eating disorder?
An eating disorder can be bulimia or anorexia nervosa, and those are the two most common ones. It's basically where food rules your life, and rather than you eat because you're hungry. It takes on an unhealthy importance in your life.  Click on the link, then the link within the link to view the video or read the information.
Eating Disorder Treatment 
Eating Disorder Treatment and Recovery: Help for Anorexia and Bulimia
Eating disorders - MayoClinic.com








Beauty Is Only Skin Deep

LDS Church News - From fear to hope, overcoming pornography addiction is possible

LDS Church News - From fear to hope, overcoming pornography addiction is possible: "Steven Croshaw was 36 when he determined he could no longer live a double life.
He had hidden his addiction to pornography from his wife, Rhyll, and their family for years. Now he had made up his mind; he was determined to come forward. It was the hardest thing he had ever done"

Friday, October 22, 2010

Parenting a Child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is neither clearly a developmental disability or a mental health issue; but a physical disability with typical attributes of both mental health and developmental disability.


One of the frequently direct results of FAS is poor impulse control. Currently there are societies in this world where it is estimated at as much as 10% of the children have FAS. Can you imagine what it would be like to have a society with 10% of its population with poor impulse control?

While there are typical facial features of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, other aspects of the syndrome, including the poor impulse control can be present without the facial features.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is causes by a mother drinking alcohol while she is pregnant. The damage to the new baby depends on the amount of alcohol the mother drinks and the developmental stage of her unborn baby. A larger amount of alcohol consumed one week, may cause less damage than a small amount just a few weeks later. Any alcohol consumption by a pregnant mother is like playing Russian roulette with her baby.

Like with many disorders, there are varying degrees of severity with a less sever form sometimes being called Fetal Alcohol Effect. While this disorder, especially in its most severe forms is very difficult to treat, it is not entirely impossible to at least ameliorate some of the symptoms.

Supplemental Materials:

Center on Alcoholism, Substance Abuse & Addictions (CASAA)
http://casaa.unm.edu/index.html
At one time, CASAA had the foremost experts in treating FAS, they may still have.

College Drinking, Changing the Culture
http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and the BRAIN
http://www.come-over.to/FAS/FASbrain.htm

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
http://www.fasdcenter.samhsa.gov/

Fetal Alcohol Effects
http://specialchildren.about.com/od/gettingadiagnosis/g/FAE.htm

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Downs Syndrome

I won’t rewrite the basic information about Downs Syndrome here, there are others who have done it better than I can and I am linking to them.


What you will find here are links to information and best practice treatment. A couple of the links are written specifically for Autism; however, I have included them because the basic principles are very similar. Currently there is more information about the behavioral treatment of Autism than Downs; however, there is some information specific to Downs and there is a great deal of medical information available.
Unfortunately there are a number of medical conditions which are frequently concurrent with Downs Syndrome. You will also find medical information linked from this posting.

Supplemental Materials:

National Down Syndrome Society
http://www.ndss.org/

What is Down Syndrome? What Causes It?
http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/genetic/down_syndrome.html
Down Syndrome (Mayo Clinic)
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/down-syndrome/DS00182

Downs Syndrome Medical Issues
http://www.ds-health.com/

Down syndrome: Medline Plus
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000997.htm

What are the Medical Problems Associated with Down Syndrome?
http://www.downsyn.com/whatmed.php

Benefits to Down's syndrome children through training their mothers.
http://adc.bmj.com/content/50/5/383.abstract
Abstract
This study investigated the hypothesis that training of mothers with Down's syndrome children would be beneficial both to the child and parents. The mothers were taught behaviour modification techniques based on learning theory and were given group discussions on dealing with their family or personal problems. The subjects were 16 mothers with a Down's syndrome child, divided into two groups on the basis of their child's sex and chronological and mental ages. The Griffiths Scale was used for assessment. The mothers in the treatment group received 12 sessions of training and group counseling over a 6-month period, whereas the control mothers received no additional attention except the usual routine from the general practitioner and health visitor. The result show clear gains to both the child and mother in the treatment group. The child improved, especially in language development as well as in the other areas, and the mother-gained more confidence and competence in her daily management of the child.

A Longitudinal Study of Children with Down Syndrome Who Experienced Early Intervention Programming
http://physicaltherapyjournal.com/content/73/3/170.short

Effectiveness of early intervention for children with Down syndrome
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/(SICI)1098-2779(1996)2:2%3C96::AID-MRDD7%3E3.0.CO;2-V/abstract
Abstract
This article reviews studies evaluating the effectiveness of early intervention for children with Down syndrome. Evaluation of early intervention programs is difficult and challenging, given the wide variety of experimental designs and the limitations of research studies. Overall, however, positive changes were seen in the development of children who were exposed to early intervention programs. Children with Down syndrome and their families are likely to benefit from early intervention.

Family Stress and Adjustment as Perceived by Parents of Children with Autism or Down Syndrome: Implications for Intervention
http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a903869522
Abstract
This study examined stress and adjustment in parents of three groups of families: those with an autistic child, those with a Down syndrome child, and those with only developmentally normal children. A total of 54 families participated, with 18 representing each group. Parents of autistic children generally reported more family stress and adjustment problems than parents of children with Down Syndrome who, in turn, reported more stress and adjustment problems than parents of developmentally normal children. Although parents of disabled children reported more stress associated with caring for their child, they generally showed resilience in adjusting to the presence of a severely disabled family member. Implications for family intervention are discussed.

THE RECOGNITION OF AUTISM IN CHILDREN WITH DOWN SYNDROME-IMPLICATIONS FOR INTERVENTION AND SOME SPECULATIONS ABOUT PATHOLOGY
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-8749.1995.tb12024.x/abstract
SUMMARY
Although autism can occur in conjunction with a range of other conditions, the association with Down syndrome is generally considered to be relatively rare. Four young boys with Down syndrome are described who were also autistic. All children clearly fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for autism required by the ICD-10 or DSM-IM-R, but in each case the parents had faced considerable difficulties in obtaining this diagnosis. Instead, the children's problems had been attributed to their cognitive delays, despite the fact that their behaviour and general progress differed from other children with Down syndrome in many important aspects. The implications, for both families and children, of the failure to diagnose autism when it co-occurs with other conditions such as Down syndrome are discussed. Some speculations about possible pathological associations are also presented.

Vocabulary Intervention for Children with Down Syndrome: Parent Training Using Focused Stimulation.
http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ568724&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ568724
Abstract
This study explored effects of training six mothers to use focused stimulation to teach specific target words to their toddlers with Down syndrome. Following treatment, trained mothers used the focused stimulation technique more often than mothers in the control group. Concomitantly, their children used target words more often, as reported by parents and observation of free play. (Author/DB)

Best Practice, Better Outcomes: How to write Measurable Behavioral Objectives, Goals, &, Plans
http://www.bestoutcomes.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is it Funny Now? Will it be Funny When?

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is when they laugh and give extra attention to inappropriate behavior from their children.  Some times this comes in the form of a two year old learning to flip someone off or calling their mother or father an obscene name.
Will it still be funny as they grow older and do it in school, work, or it's directed towards you?
Remember: what we focus on increases.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Conveying Meaning Through Language and Metaphor

There are two primary reasons for this posting. 
1. As mentioned previously, there are both significant differences and slight nuances between cultures, including the seemingly slight cultural differences found in almost any community in the industrialized world.
2. Communicating with even your own children, may not be as simple as some might believe.  In a real sense, children often, if not usually, have a culture unique from their parents.

Many years ago while supervision child protection, I learned to communicate with parents in words and metaphor familiar to them.  For example: I remember working with a family who many would consider backwards; but who were familiar with animals and the difficulties of raising and even keeping certain kinds of animals alive.  When I really needed to communicate an important point, I made special effort to use words which they were familiar with and used examples which they could most easily relate to. 
Another family I worked with had a son who had done some very inappropriate things.  At first there was a lack of understanding of the severity; but because they were the same religion as I, without mentioning religion, I was able to use vocabulary which would convey the powerful and urgent message I needed them to understand.
In contrast, there was a worker on the team who would commonly use vocabulary with children that children did not understand.

When communicating with your children, or your spouse, use words and metaphors which they will easily understand; however before you do this, you must listen to them and know them well enough to know and understand their language, their interests and passions, and their culture.

"Real listening shows respect. It creates trust. As we listen, we not only gain understanding, we also create the environment to be understood. And when both people understand both perspectives, instead of being on opposite sides of the table looking across at each other, we find ourselves on the same side looking at solutions together". Stephen R. Covey

This does not mean we should never use words which stretch our children's vocabulary.  We need to educate and help our children understand the world; however in times when we need to communicate important principles or meaning, we must do it in a way they will best understand.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

New initiative sheds light on pornography's impact on families | Deseret News

New initiative sheds light on pornography's impact on families Deseret News: "Today, 47 percent of families in the United States report that pornography is a problem in their home, according to the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families, an Ohio-based nonprofit organization working to promote Christian values."

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sleep Hygiene: How to get a good night’s sleep.

Reduce and manage stress as much as possible

* Set a sleep schedule and keep it within ½ hour every night of the week, with the exception of one or two nights when you may stay up later. If you have to work a rotating shift schedule, then keep a schedule according to your shift. (Rotating work schedules have their problems and should be avoided when possible.) Do not nap. Keeping a regular schedule helps to condition your body to expect sleep at certain times. Young children can have naps, Infants must have frequent naps and Toddlers should have naps. Children should stick with the same schedule, within a ½ hour variance as much as possible seven days a week.

* Early to bed early to rise. There is a lot of wisdom in the old adage. Even though some people are just not morning people, for some, this can help their sleep patterns.

* Avoid sleeping too much or too little. At least a couple of times a week you should stay in bed until you wake up without an alarm, and then don’t just lie in bed. Again you want to condition your body that bed is for sleeping, not just lying around.

* Bed is for sleeping and for married adults, certain pleasurable activities, nothing else.

* Do not watch TV in your bedroom or use it as an office or for a computer room. This is also part of conditioning your mind and body.

* Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine. Remember chocolate and many soda pops have caffeine. (If you must eat or drink chocolate, do not do it within 4 hours of going to bed.)

* Keep refined sugar to a minimum and do not consume refined sugar within 4 hours of going to bed.

* Avoid alcohol, while it may help you to get to sleep, it will make it more difficult to get a good night’s sleep.

* Sleep in a cool (not cold) room and warm (not hot) comfortable bed. Try wearing socks to bed (unless your feet are too hot) and in extreme situations where you have chronically cold hands, try mittens. Your body needs to regulate your temperature before you can get to sleep.

* Keep up a good exercise routine, but not within four hours of bed time. Stretching, yoga, deep breathing, are good right before bed.

* Create a relaxing bedtime routine and stick with it. This can last from 30 minutes to an hour. It can include stretching, yoga, warm bath, deep breathing, and reading. Avoid stressful activities and conversations right before going to bed or in bed.

* Do not eat a large meal before 4 hours of going to bed. Light snack right before bed, i.e.., warm milk, banana, just a little turkey (no preservatives). Avoid spicy food right before bed and possibly discontinue altogether if you continue to have problems.  Avoid drinking very much right before bed as it may cause you to have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

* Make sure you get good exposure to natural light. People who do not get outside often, are helped by getting the sunlight though the window. Natural light helps to maintain a healthy sleep cycle.

* Eliminate light, and distracting noise as much as possible. Sometimes quiet relaxing music or nature sounds can be helpful. Sometimes a comforting sound from the past can also be helpful. I find the light sound of a distant train very relaxing. If you enjoy it, baroque music is very conducive to a good night’s sleep.  (See music suggestions in the stress management posting)

* Do not ruminate over issues that cause you stress right before or at bedtime.

* Do not watch or let your children watch scary movies right before bed if it causes sleep disturbances.

* There are differing opinions about children sleeping with their parents.  When they are young and if it is for short periods of time it is usually not a problem.  If it becomes a problem, try taking your child back to their bed and lying there with them until they fall asleep then returning to their bed.  Try and find out if there is anything frightening them and if so remediate the problem.  If they are just missing you, cuddle with them for a while before bed.  Read stories as a part of the bedtime routine; but be firm and consistent about bedtime.

* If you do everything or most of the things mentioned here and do not fall asleep within 20 to 25 minutes, get up and do something relaxing for 30 to 45 minutes and then try again. If you wake up in the night and do not fall back to sleep within 20 to 25 minutes, get up and do something relaxing for 30 to 45 minutes.

* Consult with your physician if you have chronic sleeping problems (either too much or too little sleep, 8 hours is average for adults) or chronic pain that keeps you awake. If you are taking medications, speak with your physician about possible side effects that may cause sleep problems. Ask your physician if the medication can be switched to a different time of the day and if that might help.

* Avoid sleeping pills if possible. If necessary, consult your physician.

* Even if you do not get a good nights sleep, get up at your scheduled time. If you get less than 4 hours of sleep for three nights in a row or less than 2 hours of sleep for two nights in a row, consult your physician. If you sleep but do not feel rested on a chronic basis, even after you have tried these adjustments, consult your physician. If you stop breathing while sleeping, consult your physician.  You may have a serious sleep disorder such as apnea.

Additional techniques: Consult your physician before doing these (this is not just an idle disclaimer; you really must consult your physician before doing these). These can be used in bed to help you to train yourself to go to sleep.

* Deep breathing and simple counting. Try taking in a very deep breath in (through your nose), expanding your stomach, and then breathing out through your mouth. Count as you do this, perhaps to the beat of your heart, try to get to the point where you have three or four heart beats as you breath in and three or four as you breath out.

* Muscle tightening/relaxing and deep breathing. Start at your toes, curl them and tighten them while breathing in deeply. Relax your toes and breathe out. Flex your foot while breathing in deeply, then relax and breathe out. Push the heals of your feed into your bed while breathing in deeply, then relax and breathe out. Continue to do the same while tightening your calf muscles, then your thigh muscles, then your buttocks then while pushing your hands down, then tightening your shoulders then pushing your head down into your pillow. Do all of these on your back.

* Walking down stairs. Imagine yourself starting at the top of a beautiful bluff, overlooking a gorgeous ocean beach. Imagine there is a gentle and safe decline with stairs and a railing on both sides. Perhaps a gentle warm breeze. Imagine what it looks like and what it sounds and smells and feels like. Now imagine that the top step is number 200. One at a time walk down the stairs, stopping at each stair to say (in your mind) the next number, 199, 198 etc. Imagine how the smells, sights and sounds and feel changes at each step. See if you can make it all the way to the bottom while staying awake.

* Nightmares. If you can just let it go and forget about the dream, do so. If you can not, imagine how you could be empowered to make everything well. What could happen in the dream to make everything better. When my oldest daughter was young she used to have bad dreams about ghosts that would wake her up and then she would wake us up. They were menacing shadows. I asked her if she could imagine that the ghost was friendly and white like Casper. She said “no, pink Ghost” and that was the end of it. It rarely works this easily but you can take control of your dreams to create a more relaxing and pleasant ending.

* Do not worry about doing all these suggestions perfectly. Just do your best and do better the next time.

Allow a month of consistent effort and practice for significant improvement.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Psychological Resiliency After Katrina

Department of Human Services | Risk and Protective Factors

Department of Human Services Risk and Protective Factors: "Risk factors include those individual or social factors associated with an increased likelihood of a negative outcome. Risk Factors can be related to biological, behavioral, and social/environmental characteristics. They include characteristics such as family history, depression or residence in neighborhoods where substance abuse is tolerated. Research supports the idea that the more factors that place the child at risk for substance abuse, the more likely it is she or he will experience substance use."

The protective influence of spiritual--religious lifestyle profiles on tobacco use, alcohol use, and gambling. | Goliath Business News

The protective influence of spiritual--religious lifestyle profiles on tobacco use, alcohol use, and gambling. Goliath Business News: "The costs associated with the use of addictive substances and practices underscore the need for research on protective factors that inhibit use. In this study, the protective influences of various spiritual-religious lifestyle profiles on tobacco smoking, alcohol use, and gambling frequency and expenditures are examined. Among the predominantly Hispanic sample used in the study (N = 249), cluster analysis produced three lifestyle profiles: neither spiritual nor religious, spiritual and religious, and spiritual but not religious. Of these three, the spiritual and religious lifestyle profile exhibited the strongest protective influence across all four dependent measures. Although the exploratory nature of the study precludes definitive recommendations, a number of tentative implications from the findings are drawn."

Protective Factors in Individuals, Families, and Schools | SparkAction

Protective Factors in Individuals, Families, and Schools SparkAction
"The Add Health study clearly underscores theimportance of connectedness and caring relationships.How can adults be assisted intheir efforts to create caring connections withyouth? Caring relationships and the ability toencourage high expectations and meaningfulopportunities for youth participation are naturalby-products of an adult who is himself orherself healthy. Where can systems and organizationsturn to enhance the health of thehelper the key adults the Add Health studyimpact young people s lives?"

Substance use, religiosity, and other protective factors among Hungarian adolescents

Abstract



A number of risk factors have emerged as important correlates of adolescent substance use. In addition, research continues to focus on which factors act as mediators protecting adolescents from negative outcomes. One of these protective factors is religiosity, and the focus of this paper is to examine its role in the life of adolescents in postsocialist Hungary, where active religious participation was highly discouraged until a decade ago. The sample of adolescents (N=1240) consists of middle and high school students living in Szeged, Hungary. The calculated odds ratios for the relationship between religiosity, and other protective factors, and substance use revealed that smoking, drinking, and marijuana use among boys and marijuana use only among girls were related to religiosity. Group membership, for example, participation in school clubs, sports clubs, or religious groups, seems to be more important for boys compared with girls. A more careful examination of the protective role of religion in postsocialist Hungary could be extremely important in a country where both adult and adolescent smoking and alcohol use is among the highest in Europe.

Youth Materials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Youth Materials of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: "For the Strength of Youth summarizes standards from scripture and from the writings and teachings of Church leaders. The information in this section was reviewed, accepted, and endorsed by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is available here and also as a printed pamphlet for the guidance and blessing of the youth of the Church."

New Studies Find Religious Involvement Strengthens Protective Factors | CADCA

New Studies Find Religious Involvement Strengthens Protective Factors CADCA: "Addressing a recent conference hosted by The Heritage Foundation, Dr. Byron Johnson, Co-Director of the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion, and Dr. Joon Jang, Associate Professor of Sociology, Baylor University, addressed 'The Long-Term Effects of Religious Involvement on Drug Use.'

Presenting at the conference Religious Practice and Civic Life: What the Research Says, held earlier this month in Arlington, VA, Drs. Johnson, and Jang reported findings from a study funded by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention on the role religion plays in prosocial youth behavior. The findings indicate that religiosity during adolescence and early adulthood strengthens protective factors and weakens risk factors that promote drug use."

IV. Risk and Protective Factors for Sexual Health -- The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior -- NCBI Bookshelf

IV. Risk and Protective Factors for Sexual Health -- The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Promote Sexual Health and Responsible Sexual Behavior -- NCBI Bookshelf: "Human beings are sexual beings throughout their lives and human sexual development involves many other aspects of development- physical, behavioral, intellectual, emotional, and interpersonal. Human sexual development follows a progression that, within certain ranges, applies to most persons. The challenge of achieving sexual health begins early in life and continues throughout the lifespan. The actions communities and health care professionals must take to support healthy sexual development vary from one stage of development to the next. Children need stable environments, parenting that promotes healthy social and emotional development, and protection from abuse. Adolescents need education, skills training, self-esteem promoting experiences, and appropriate services related to sexuality, along with positive expectations and sound preparation for their future roles as partners in committed relationships and as parents. Adults need continuing education as they achieve sexual maturity--to learn to communicate effectively with their children and partners and to accept continued responsibility for their sexuality, as well as necessary sexual and reproductive health care services."

Parenting a Gifted Child

Parenting a Gifted Child: "Gifted and talented children confront parents with distinct questions and challenges. How do parents keep gifted youth motivated, advocate for gifted education, and find rigorous programs supporting gifted student interests? When is gifted assessment necessary? What are talent search benefits? Which summer camps are fun and challenging? How do parents help a gifted kid deal with academic competition, perfectionism, and social pressures?"

Friday, September 10, 2010

Alcoholics Anonymous : INFORMATION ON A.A.

Alcoholics Anonymous : INFORMATION ON A.A.: "Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety"

Welcome to Al-Anon and Alateen

Welcome to Al-Anon and Alateen: "For over 55 years, Al-Anon (which includes Alateen for younger members) has been offering strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers. It is estimated that each alcoholic affects the lives of at least four other people... alcoholism is truly a family disease. No matter what relationship you have with an alcoholic, whether they are still drinking or not, all who have been affected by someone else’s drinking can find solutions that lead to serenity in the Al-Anon/Alateen fellowship."

NREPP | Home

NREPP Home: "NREPP is a searchable online registry of more than 160 interventions supporting mental health promotion, substance abuse prevention, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. We connect members of the public to intervention developers so they can learn how to implement these approaches in their communities."

Office of National Drug Control Policy - About

Office of National Drug Control Policy - About: "The principal purpose of ONDCP is to establish policies, priorities, and objectives for the Nation's drug control program. The goals of the program are to reduce illicit drug use, manufacturing, and trafficking, drug-related crime and violence, and drug-related health consequences. To achieve these goals, the Director of ONDCP is charged with producing the National Drug Control Strategy. The Strategy directs the Nation's anti-drug efforts and establishes a program, a budget, and guidelines for cooperation among Federal, State, and local entities."

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and the Brain

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and the Brain: "Alcohol is a teratogen (substance that is toxic to the baby's developing brain). Damage can occur in various regions of the brain. The areas that might be affected by alcohol exposure depend on which areas are developing at the time the alcohol is consumed. Since the brain and the central nervous system are developing throughout the entire pregnancy, the baby's brain is always vulnerable to damage from alcohol exposure."

Research about Alcohol and College Drinking Prevention

Research about Alcohol and College Drinking Prevention: "Welcome to College Drinking: Changing the Culture, created by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). CollegeDrinkingPrevention.gov is your one-stop resource for comprehensive research-based information on issues related to alcohol abuse and binge drinking among college students."

CASAA Vision

CASAA Vision: "At CASAA our first priority is to reduce suffering caused by substance use and other addictive behaviors. We do this by generating high quality prevention and treatment research. We settle for nothing less than the highest standards of scientific integrity in our research and applied programs. Attention to human diversity strengthens our science and makes it relevant to our larger society. We do our best work by collaborating with colleagues and working across disciplines, which helps us answer more important questions about substance abuse than we otherwise could. At CASAA we are committed to sharing our knowledge with fellow scientists, practitioners and individuals who are directly impacted by substance use. It matters to us that our work makes an impact both here in our state and in our larger community."

Close to Home - Science: Animations

Close to Home - Science: Animations: "Animations: How Drugs Work"

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Idaho officials take aim at pot substitute 'Spice' | Treasure Valley Crime | Idaho Statesman

Idaho officials take aim at pot substitute 'Spice' Treasure Valley Crime Idaho Statesman: "The merchants who sell 'Spice' in the Treasure Valley say it is meant to be burned as incense - not smoked as a substitute for marijuana. Each jar or package sold has a disclaimer that reads 'not for human consumption.'
One store owner told the Idaho Statesman 'It's aromatherapy, dude!' before hanging up the phone without further comment last week."

NIMH · Treatment Options

NIMH · Treatment Options: "There is no single best treatment package for all children with ASD. One point that most professionals agree on is that early intervention is important; another is that most individuals with ASD respond well to highly structured, specialized programs.
Before you make decisions on your child's treatment, you will want to gather information about the various options available. Learn as much as you can, look at all the options, and make your decision on your child's treatment based on your child's needs. You may want to visit public schools in your area to see the type of program they offer to special needs children.
Guidelines used by the Autism Society of America include the following questions parents can ask about potential treatments:"

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Coupons and Free Stuff for Parents and Kids - Please share

Be careful of and steer clear of sites that require a lot of information or want you to click multiple pages.  Do not disclose anything confidential and if you have to click more than two or three pages, it probably isn't worth it.

The links will take you to a specialized search engine with multiple links.  This keeps the best options on top and there will be no dead links.

Extreme Coupons

Free things for babies

Free things for college students

Free things for kids

Free things for parents

Free things for senior citizens

Free things for new moms