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:

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 -

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)
At one time, CASAA had the foremost experts in treating FAS, they may still have.

College Drinking, Changing the Culture

Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and the BRAIN

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Fetal Alcohol Effects

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

What is Down Syndrome? What Causes It?
Down Syndrome (Mayo Clinic)

Downs Syndrome Medical Issues

Down syndrome: Medline Plus

What are the Medical Problems Associated with Down Syndrome?

Benefits to Down's syndrome children through training their mothers.
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

Effectiveness of early intervention for children with Down syndrome;2-V/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
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.

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.
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