Thursday, October 30, 2008
by ADDitude Editors
The problem: The student with attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD) interrupts the teacher and classmates by calling out answers or commenting while others are speaking.
The reason: Children with ADHD have difficulty controlling their impulses. Scientists believe that a problem with dopamine, a brain chemical, causes them to respond immediately and reflexively to their environment — whether the stimulus is a question, an idea, or a treat. That’s why they often seem to act or talk before thinking, and ADHD school behavior suffers as a result.
The obstacles: Children with ADHD may not be aware that they are interrupting.
Even if they are, they have difficulty understanding that their behavior is disturbing or disruptive to others.Simply telling them their behavior is wrong doesn’t help. Even though they know this, their impulsivity overrides their self-control. Many ADHD children can’t understand nonverbal reprimands, like frowning, either.
Read entire article here: http://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/1977.html
Thursday, October 23, 2008
– Erica Bryant, 18 years old
Everyday at school, Erica Bryant was harassed. “They’d call me a slut, call me a whore.”
The bullying became too much, so her parents decided to have her home schooled.
“So, sure, a huge part of the problem was resolved in that she didn’t have to face that trauma everyday, she didn’t have to sit in the lunchroom by herself,” explains her mom, Linda Perloff, “but what we didn’t expect was the power of the Internet …we didn’t expect the instant messaging.”
Erica explains her frustration: “I’d block them, but then they’d have another screen name and they’d be like ‘you’re a whore, you can’t get away from this. It would just bring me to tears and I would cry because I couldn’t get away from it, as much as I tried.”
Experts say cyber bullying can be even more painful and pervasive than face-to-face harassment.
“You can never really get away from it,” explains pediatrician Dr. Ken Haller, “because even if you’re not on the Internet checking out what people are saying about you, other people are.”
But, experts say, there are ways to minimize attacks online.
First, make sure your child doesn’t post anything revealing.
“If they’re thinking, I’m just putting this out there for my friends to read, they don’t realize that anyone can pick this up and someone who might be a potential bully would say, ‘Ah! I’m going to use this. This is great’,” says Haller.
Experts say if the cyber bullying doesn’t stop- print the messages out and show them to the bully’s parents. If the messages are threatening, go to the police.
“I always encourage parents to talk to your local law enforcement agency and run it by them,” says Judy Freeman, a school social worker. “Many times they say, ‘well, we really can’t do anything,’ but if it’s - if it borders onto harassment or if there’s some threat involved, they will become involved.”
Erica is now in a new school. The harassment has stopped- at least for her.
“If I see it happen to other girls I’m not going to sit by and watch,” she says. “I’m going to get involved and put an end to it.”
Tips for Parents
Bullying in America has become an epidemic. In fact, with the advent of the Internet, bullies don’t even have to have physical contact with your child to torment him/her. Thus, parents are faced with the monumental task of monitoring the activities of children in a world of virtually unlimited sources of information. Although many parents attempt to regulate the access of their children to the Internet, that access is, in fact, nearly ubiquitous. Consider these facts regarding children, technology and the Internet:
Children are increasingly using new technologies in school, at the library, at home and in after-school activities.
A recent study estimated that nearly 10 million children are online.
Over one quarter of U.S. classrooms have Internet access, and 78 percent of schools have some kind of access to the Internet.
Two out of three public libraries provide computers and Internet access for public use.
Because bullying – including online bullying – can be such an emotional issue, experts say it is extremely important to open the lines of communication with your kids. This can include …
Starting to talk with them early.
Creating an open environment.
Communicating your values.
Listening to your child.
Trying to be honest.
Sharing your experiences.
Also, watch for behavioral changes. Children who are suffering from teasing and bullying may try to hide the hurt. They become withdrawn from family and friends, lose interest in hobbies, and may turn to destructive habits like alcohol, drugs, and acts of violence.
While bullying, harassment and teasing are unfortunate aspects of childhood, you can help minimize these occurrences by raising non-violent children. The American Academy of Pediatrics cites the following tips for curbing hurtful behavior in your child:
Give your child consistent love and attention. Every child needs a strong, loving relationship with a parent or other adult to feel safe and secure and to develop a sense of trust. Without a steady bond to a caring adult, a child is at risk for becoming hostile, difficult and hard to manage.
Make sure your child is supervised. A child depends on his or her parents and family members for encouragement, protection and support as he or she learns to think for him or herself.
Monitor your child’s Internet use. If your child knows you are watching, he/she is less likely to take part in cyber-bullying. Also, encourage him/her to avoid using chat rooms with violent or derogatory conversations.
Show your child appropriate behaviors by the way you act. Children often learn by example. The behavior, values and attitudes of parents and siblings have a strong influence on them. Be firm with your child about the possible dangers of violent behavior and language. Also, remember to praise your child when he or she solves problems constructively without violence.
Be consistent about rules and discipline. When you make a rule, stick to it. Your child needs structure with clear expectations for his or her behavior. Setting rules and then not enforcing them is confusing and sets up your child to “see what he or she can get away with.”
Try to keep your child from seeing violence in the home or community. Violence in the home can be frightening and harmful to children. A child who has seen violence at home does not always become violent, but he or she may be more likely to try to resolve conflicts with violence.
Try to keep your child from seeing too much violence in the media. Watching a lot of violence on television, in the movies and in video games can lead children to behave aggressively. As a parent, you can control the amount of violence your child sees in the media by limiting television viewing and previewing games, movies, etc., before allowing access to them by your child.
Help your child stand up against violence. Support your child in standing up against violence.
Kaiser Family Foundation
Talking With Your Kids
British Medical Journal
American Academy of Pediatrics
University of California- Los Angeles
Saturday, October 11, 2008
'Wit's End' book offers advice to help out-of-control teens
By Liz Doup South Florida Sun-Sentinel
A decade ago, when her 14-year-old daughter spiraled out of control, Sue Scheff didn't know where to turn.
As a result, the Weston mom sent Ashlyn to a residential program that harmed rather than helped, she says. It was a drastic move after her daughter had temporarily run away and threatened violence.
In hindsight, Scheff wishes she had looked more closely at schools and asked more questions. To help parents avoid her mistakes, she started researching programs that offer professional treatment in a residential setting. She put what she learned in the recently published book, Wit's End: Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen (Health Communications Inc.; $14.95). She also created Parents' Universal Resource Experts Inc. (helpyourteens.com).
Read the entire article here: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/features/sfl-1008-troubled-teens-help,0,3889948.story
Friday, October 3, 2008
Defining "Gateway Drugs"
Kids today have much more societal pressure put upon them than their parents generation did, and the widespread availability of drugs like methamphetamines and the "huffing" trend (which uses common household chemicals as drugs) can turn recreational use of a relatively harmless gateway drug into a severe or fatal addiction without warning.
The danger of gateway drugs increases in combination with many prescription medications taken by teens today. These dangerous side effects may not be addressed by your child's pediatrician if your child is legally too young to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol. Drugs like Ritalin, Prozac, Adderrall, Strattera, Zoloft and Concerta can be very dangerous when mixed with recreational drugs and alcohol. Combining some prescription medications with other drugs can often negate the prescription drug's effectiveness, or severely increase the side effects of the drug being abused. For example, a 2004 study by Stanford University found that the active chemical in marijuana, THC, frequently acted as a mental depressant as well as a physical depressant. If your child is currently on an anti-depressant medication like Prozac or Zoloft, marijuana use can counterbalance their antidepressant effects.
Other prescription anti depressants and anti psychotics can also become severely dangerous when mixed with alcohol. This is why is imperative that you as a parent must familiarize yourself with any prescription medications your child is taking and educate your child of the dangers of mixing their prescription drugs with other harmful drugs- even if you don't believe your child abuses drugs or alcohol.
Marijuana - Why It is More Dangerous Than You Think
Parents who smoked marijuana as teenagers may see their child's drug use as a harmless rite of passage, but with so many new and dangerous designer drugs making their way into communities across the country, the potential for marijuana to become a gateway to more dangerous drugs for your child should not be taken lightly.
Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug by both teens and adults. The drug is more commonly smoked, but can also be added to baked goods like cookies or brownies. Marijuana which is ingested orally can be far more potent than marijuana that is smoked, but like smoking tobacco, smoking marijuana can cause lung cancer, emphysema, asthma and other chronic conditions of the lungs. Just because it is "all natural" does not make it any safer for your lungs.
Marijuana is also a depressant. This means the drug slows down the body's functions and the messages the body sends to the brain. This is why many people who are under the influence of marijuana (or "stoned") they are often sluggish or unmotivated.
Marijuana can also have psychological side effects, both temporary and permanent. Some common psychological side effects of marijuana are paranoia, confusion, restlessness, hallucinations, panic, anxiety, detachment from reality, and nausea. While these symptoms alone do not sound all that harmful, put in the wrong situation, a teen experiencing any of these feelings may act irrationally or dangerously and can potentially harm themselves or others. In more severe cases, patients who abuse marijuana can develop severe long-term mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.
Tobacco - Just Because It Is Legal Doesn't Mean It Is Safe
While cigarettes and tobacco are considered "legal", they are not legal for teens to posses or smoke until they are 18. Still, no matter the age of your child, smoking is a habit you should encourage them to avoid, whether they can smoke legally or not.
One of the main problems with cigarettes is their addictive properties. Chemicals like nicotine are added to tobacco to keep the smoker's body craving more, thus insuring customer loyalty. This is extremely dangerous to the smoker, however, as smoking has repeatedly proven to cause a host of ailments, including lung cancer, emphysema, chronic bronchitis or bronchial infection, asthma and mouth cancer- just to name a few.
In addition to nicotine, cigarettes contain over 4000 other chemicals, including formaldehyde (a poisonous compound used in some nail polishes and to preserve corpses), acetone (used in nail polish remover to dissolve paint) carbon monoxide (responsible for between 5000 to 6000 deaths annually in its "pure" form), arsenic (found in rat poison), tar (found on paved highways and roads), and hydrogen cyanide (used to kill prisoners sentenced to death in "gas chambers").
Cigarettes can also prematurely age you, causing wrinkles and dull skin, and can severely decay and stain teeth.
A new trend in cigarette smoke among young people are "bidi's", Indian cigarettes that are flavored to taste like chocolate, strawberry, mango and other sweets. Bidi's are extremely popular with teens as young as 12 and 13. Their sweet flavors and packaging may lead parents to believe that they aren't "real" cigarettes or as dangerous as brand-name cigarettes, but in many cases bidi's can be worse than brand name cigarettes, because teens become so enamored with the flavor they ingest more smoke than they might with a name brand cigarette.
Another tobacco trend is "hookah's" or hookah bars. A hookah is an ornate silver or glass water pipe with a fabric hoses or hoses used to ingest smoke. Hookahs are popular because many smokers can share one hookah at the same time. However, despite this indirect method of ingesting tobacco smoke through a hose, hookah smoking is just as dangerous as cigarette smoke.
The Sobering Effects of Alcohol on Your Teen
Alcohol is another substance many parents don't think they need to worry about. Many believe that because they don't have alcohol at home or kept their alcohol locked up, their teens have no access to it, and stores or bars will not sell to minors. Unfortunately, this is not true. A recent study showed that approximately two-thirds of all teens who admitted to drinking alcohol said they were able to purchase alcohol themselves.
Teens can also get alcohol from friends with parents who do not keep alcohol locked up or who may even provide alcohol to their children.
Alcohol is a substance that many parents also may feel conflicted about. Because purchasing and consuming alcohol is legal for most parents, some parents may not deem it harmful. Some parents believe that allowing their teen to drink while supervised by an adult is a safer alternative than "forcing" their teen to obtain alcohol illegally and drinking it unsupervised. In theory, this does sound logical, but even under adult supervision alcohol consumption is extremely dangerous for growing teens. Dr. John Nelson of the American Medical Association recently testified that even light alcohol consumption in late childhood and adolescence can cause permanent brain damage in teens. Alcohol use in teens is also linked with increased depression, ADD, reduced memory and poor academic performance.
In combination with some common anti-psychotics and anti-depressants, the effects of just one 4 oz glass of wine can be akin to that of multiple glasses, causing the user to become intoxicated much faster than someone not on anti depressants. Furthermore, because of the depressant nature of alcohol, alcohol consumption by patients treated with anti-depressants can actually counteract the anti-depressant effect and cause the patient sudden overwhelming depression while the alcohol is in their bloodstream. This low can continue to plague the patient long after the alcohol has left their system.
Because there are so many different types of alcoholic beverage with varying alcohol concentration, it is often difficult for even of-age drinkers to gauge how much is "too much". For an inexperienced teen, the consequences can be deadly. Binge drinking has made headlines recently due to cases of alcohol poisoning leading to the death of several college students across the nation. But binge drinking isn't restricted to college students. Recent studies have shown teens as young as 13 have begun binge drinking, which can cause both irreparable brain and liver damage.
It is a fact that most teenage deaths are associated with alcohol, and approximately 6000 teens die each year in alcohol related automobile accidents. Indirectly, alcohol consumption can severely alter teens' judgment, leaving them vulnerable to try riskier behaviors like reckless stunts, drugs, or violent behavior. Alcohol and other drugs also slow response time, leaving teenage girls especially in danger of sexual assault. The temporary feeling of being uninhibited can also have damaging future consequences.
With the popularity of internet sites like MySpace and Facebook, teens around the country are finding embarrassing and indecent photos of themselves surfacing online. Many of these pictures were taken while the subjects were just joking around, but some were taken while the subjects were drunk or under the influence of drugs. These photos are often incredibly difficult to remove, and can have life altering consequences. Many employers and colleges are now checking networking sites for any reference to potential employees and students, and using them as a basis to accept or decline applicants!