Sunday, 6 November 2011

Best Natural ADHD Supplement – Can This Really Help With Behavior?

As regards medication for ADHD with psychostimulants, there is now growing concern that they cannot really help very much with child behavior problems. The reason is very simple in that the meds can certainly calm a hyperactive child down but that is where it stops. It also may make a child less impulsive. But as regards helping with behavior?  They will not teach the child the coping skills he needs – period! 

The second problem associated with these meds is that the side effects may make a child so miserable that he cannot sleep, eat or even develop normally and these add to the behavior problems, rather than solving them!

This is where the best natural ADHD supplement comes in because studies show that children’s behavior can improve and there are no side effects. The most popular one is the Omega 3 fish oils because these are the essential fatty acids (EFAs) which are severely lacking in the Standard American Diet (SAD!). Also children with ADHD had an even lower count for the EFAs.  These were children who had behavior problems and were much more likely to have outbursts and sleep badly than the children who had higher levels.

But of course there will also have to be some ADHD behavior therapy as good old fish oils cannot really solve the behavior problems either.

But the great advantage though is that we are treating this condition naturally and we will never have to worry about any side effects.

Omega 3 or Krill Oil?                              

There is now a great debate as to whether we should be giving Omega 3 or krill oil supplements. The latter are said to be a much more powerful antioxidant but there are no convincing arguments which will put this at the top of the list.

The first argument that the supporters of krill oil use is that it is more sustainable for the fishing industry but these fish have to be caught anyway, whether we are using them to eat, or just extracting the oil from them.

The krill fish may be less contaminated but to make a sweeping statement to say that all krill oil is purer than the omega 3 fish such as tuna and salmon is really going too far.

The important point to bear in mind is to opt for Omega 3 capsules which use the hoki fish which is caught off the New Zealand coasts. Now this fish has very low levels of contamination so it really is one of the best choices out there.

As regards using Omega 3 oils as the best natural ADHD supplement, we are encouraged to note that many children do seem to benefit and their behavior is calmer and they are more reasonable.
University of Oxford studies led by Dr.Richardson found some evidence that the kids were better behaved after taking the EPA and DHA fish oils which are normally found in this supplement. There were also some results which showed improved academic performance.

 If Omega 3 is used as the best natural ADHD supplement, it can be integrated with other strategies to give ADHD kids a better chance of coping. We have mentioned ADHD behavior therapy and should include green time activities and an ADHD friendly home. In addition, if there is sufficient support both at home and at school then your child really does have a better chance of coping with ADHD successfully

Sunday, 9 October 2011

British Kids In Consumerist Trap

Why do many British parents try to solve their kids behavior problems by buying them designer clothes toys and electronic gadgetry? The answer is that they  feel under enormous pressure from the advertising heaped on them daily through every medium and that they want to make up for the lost prime time with them by buying them these goods. They are the perfect bait for the advertisers and publicity campaigners who must be laughing all the way to the bank.

The UNICEF has cast a rather a cold eye on British parenting when they did a survey on the happiness of their children about three years ago.  The fact is that British children are not happy at all and they come in at the bottom of the league table when compared to kids in about 20 other industrialized countries.

One of the problems which is closely related to kids behavior problems is the fact that the British parents seem to be working longer hours than their European counterparts and that means spending less prime time with their kids. Secondly the household tasks and parenting duties are not shared so equally as say in Scandinavia.

The kids themselves were in no doubt as to what would make up their happiness and well being. They ranked prime time with their parents and friends in the number one slot while green time activities and plenty of activities to go with them were second on the list. The did not mention material consumer goods which is interesting.

In Spain, the use of the extended family in parenting duties seems to solve many of the kids behavior problems there and there is also less consumerist pressure there too, like in Scandinavia.

Sweden has taken an important step in limiting advertising on all TV programs which are suitable for under twelves. That is a constructive step they have taken in trying to solve kids behavior problems.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Can You Spot Your Child's Triggers?

If you are a parent and cannot fathom how come your child flies into a tirade of abuse, gets agressive or starts to become violent with you or his siblings, then it is time to take a step back and ask yourself this question. There must be something that is triggering child behavior problems. There must be a pattern. Far too often, parents do not go there because they cannot be bothered or they are too tired.  But actually it is welll worth the effort because with some time and persistence you will soon see results.

We can sum up the action plan into three parts :-

1. Observe
2. Talk about it afterwards
3. Plan an alternative strategy with your child or teen

1.In the first part we have to try and establish what triggered off the outburst or the aggression. This is just a matter of quietly observing and also asking help from relatives, siblings and teachers. Was there a particular incident just before it happened? Could it have been that?  Soon, we should see that a pattern emerges and we can start to understand that there is a problem reaction to something which really gets at the child. This could be a feeling of injustice at some wrong or slight or it could be something to do with school.

2. When we want to talk about it afterwards in a calmer moment, we can approach it and say ' I notice when you do not get your way, you start insulting me'.  This can start the whole process of communication about the problem and hopefully let the teen open up and talk about why he did that, how he felt,his reactions, his emotions and feelings, not forgetting his sense of injustice!

3. Then we discuss ways of reacting DIFFERENTLY. Suggest other methods which might be far more effective, less hurtful and less noisy too. Insults, aggression and violence are no nos and you have to give your child other alternatives. Tell him he can try a verbal response and think twice before throwing a book a someone,.

This is planning for the future so that the next time the incident happens, the child is much more aware of the triggers and might see it coming. He is also aware of some alternatives and with any luck he might try them.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Is A Military School Right For Your Teen?

Parents are often tempted by the idea that their acting out adolescent or defiant teenager could really benefit from a military school or a wilderness camp. The idea is attractive for many reasons :-

·          parents are removed from the battle scene
·          other experts can deal with the issues
·          teenagers sometimes respond better to natural consequences of their behaviour
·          behavioural therapy, if applied successfully, can and does work wonders.

Some research by the National Institute of Justice shows that cognitive behavioural therapy can actually teach behavior skills and redress the balance of faulty thinking, when applied correctly.  But the fact of the matter is that there is no independent research which shows how effective these programs are. That is really the crux of the matter. No doubt each school or camp will have its flagship success stories and these testimonials will be used in the publicity. But how many failures have there been? We will never know the truth on  that one !

Precautions to take:-

There are plenty of horror stories to keep us going for many a dinner party. The allegations of abuse, mistreatment, cruelty and downright mismanagement should make us think twice before we embark on any such adventure.

The first thing we should check out is to see that the college or camp is actually accredited to be such an institution. This is not a 100% guarantee at all but it does give you a comeback if anything does go wrong. You are protected by their charter. The two most respected accreditation institutions are the Joint Commission (JACHO) and the Council of Accreditation (COA).

Check the programs offered and see whether they are suitable for your child’s or teenager’s needs. Finding out their needs with the help of a counsellor is often salutary experience and on fact may be half the battle because that is when we realize what parenting mistakes we may have  been making all along.

Check out references too and find out as much as from parents who have gained benefits for their troubled teens through the use of such programs.

Ask for support  so that when your teen gets back, there is a transition period which you can confidently manage.  Without that, the whole experience may turn negative and you may find that you are back to square one.  If the school or camp cannot offer that, it probably means that they are not really capable of running a program with parents’ involvement. The fact that the home runs on completely different lines to a camp or college is something  which should never be forgotten.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Teaching Our Kids To Be Good Digital Citizens.

The good news is that we may be far too worried about the dangers posed to our kids using Facebook, cell phones, smart phones and the Web in general. Perhaps media coverage and the recent film called ‘Trust’ has made us very wary of what is going on and what dangers our kids are exposed to. In this film, a teenage age is raped by a paedophile who she had met on the Internet.

But none of statistics show that online dangers are more insidious or even more frequent than the offline risks. That does not mean that we should be blasé but just teach our kids to be good digital citizens.

Let me give you some examples. Some research done at The Florida Atlantic University suggests that up to 20% of teenagers may have experienced cyberbullying.  But this figure is about the same as that of the more traditional bullying which happens offline. The interesting part of this research shows that the majority of the cyberbullies are not anonymous and the majority of victims actually know who the bullies are.

As regards soliciting for sex online, it is fascinating to read ‘The Culture of Fear’ which was updated last year.  Studies from The University of New Hampshire show that one in seven teenagers have been approached online but actually only about 10% of these were between adults and teenagers. That figure puts the situation into  perspective.  About 50% of  all cases anyway were between teens themselves which is just as risky as if they were doing it offline.

Lots of parents are worried about the so called ‘Facebook Depression’. Look at the figures released by the Digital Youth Project which surveyed about 800 kids while they were social networking online for a total of 5,000 hours over three years.  

Figures reveal that although there is some time wasted, more than 50% of teens are actually using it for charity purposes by supporting a cause.  There is also the fact that many teenagers benefit socially, are more aware of social injustice, are more in touch with the world and even can become very computer savvy as well.  About 33% had actually volunteered for an online charity and for connecting with the world for perfectly valid and worthy causes.  

Many teenagers were actively involved in the ‘It Gets Better Project’ which helps to establish the rights of gays and lesbians to feel secure and happy in their learning and social environments.

So, what is the best  approach to take with teenage behaviour which relies far to much on electronic media?  The best way is prevention and education by raising awareness of the e risks rather than draconian grounding, confiscation and other punitive measures which will be circumvented anyway.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Smoking Pregnant Mothers More Likely To Have Problem Kids!

Did you know that there are over four thousand toxins in cigarette smoke? Now imagine a pregnant mother who smokes. Well, the chances are that quite a few of these chemicals will affect the fetus and will certainly have a negative impact on the child’s developing brain.  

Research at 3 Universities, Illinois (USA) and Hull and York in the UK, shows that problem kids are much more likely to be born to these smoking mothers. The problems could arise even as early as three years of age!

The survey was quite a large one as it involved about 14,000 mothers on both sides of the Atlantic.
They were all asked to fill in  questionnaires whereby they gave an assessment on their children’s behaviors.   

Mothers were divided into light and heavy smokers. The results were quite shocking.

The mothers who were merely smoking a few cigarettes a day were still more than 44% likely to have boys who had behavioral or conduct disorders.

For the heavy smokers, that figure almost doubled to 80%!

The number of boys with ADHD and hyperactivity disorders were much more likely overall to have had mothers who smoked during their pregnancy. Who would have thought that this was a cause of ADHD!

The girls who were diagnosed as having conduct disorders were hardly affected by ADHD or hyperactivity. This seems to follow the patterns whereby girls are much more likely to have the inattentive type of ADHD anyway.

Apart from the general health issues, it seems that smoking mothers are laying up trouble for themselves and their families if they smoke during pregnancy.

This post is a brief summary of a report  first published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health

Friday, 29 April 2011

5 Tips On Dealing With Teenager Attitude After A Row.

Usually a teenager attitude after a row, which is fairly typical is that of sulking or just being downright uncooperative in the home. There is tension and this attitude does nothing to help.

As a parent, you are feeling hurt and maybe also resentful and so the tension is at an all time high.

What can you do to get back to a type of semi normality again? Don't ignore the feelings and tension and above all do not go over the row or argument again. That will just make things even worse.

The main objective here must be to move on. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the parent and the teenager have different priorities and this can be the reason for underlying tensions,even when things are going fairly normally.

The parent sees things from the viewpoint of getting on in life, maturing, taking responsibility and being successful.

The teenager sees things in a completely different light. There may be peer pressure and he or she wants to fit in and not be a square peg in a round hole. That means buying the latest jeans and the parent may think that he or she has more jeans than necessary.

Here are some ways to reduce the tension and try to move on :-

1. Acknowledge that an immediate truce is out but that does not mean you cannot put the unpleasant argument behind you.

2. Acknowledge that feelings and tension is naturally high- they will not fade away like melting snow. There is a need to recognize the feelings of reesntment and anger on your part  and the sense of feeling aggrieved and uncooperative on the part of your teen.

3. Talk about these feelings. When we talk about them, it is important to offer NO JUSTIFICATION for what you did. OK, you lost your temper but there is no need to say that your teen was the cause of all that. Tell that you were hurt and that you are feeling bad. Why not say that you lost control and leave it at that? Otherwise the old wounds will be opened and the whole row is likely to start again.

4.  Assigning blame at this point is disastrous. If your teen is sulking just remark that it seems as if the time isn't right yet for communicating and move on. There is no need to go on about this.

5. Don't dismiss your teen's feelings out of hand or think that you can talk them out of it. It takes time. If you are so dismissive, that could worsen your teenager attitude. It is even worse when you act as if nothing at all had happened. Moving on does not mean ignoring the feelings and the tension. But you can do a lot by just recognizing them and talking about them in a very matter of fact way.

If you have teenager attitude problems, why not let a child consultant help you out with some very good suggestions and practical advice.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Kids Attitude- How To Stop This Becoming A Problem

A lot of kids attitude problems stem from the fact that there is no structure, rules or established routine in the home. This means that a lot of chaos can develop and sometimes, kids end up hitting each other, doing what they like and generally causing mayhem.

 What is happening here or what is not happening is that the kids have no idea at all of what is expected of them in the home, as they grow up or indeed what is expected from them by the big bad world out there.

That means basically establishing the ground rules and making sure there is no favoritism. Then we have to ensure that each parent has the same take on all the issues. Otherwise good cop bad cop parenting will start and there is no end to it.

Teaching kids responsibility and accountability will ease the running of the home and will also prepare them for what society expects of them when they actually grow up which is usually just a few years away. That is frightening especially when we realize that a fourteen year old, in four years time will be officially an adult and will be able to get a drivers’ licence, among other things. 

The second thing of course is to parent effectively as the kids mature.  Here we have to tread carefully because we still have to retain our credibility as an authority while at the same time encouraging some independence.

The problems arise here with  when the parent starts to let up altogether and wants to become the teen’s best friend. That means basically that the word ‘no’ flies out the window and that indulgence is craved and often given.

The main problem here is that the teen is not nearly mature enough to act responsibly and situations may arise where risky behavior as regards driving, drink, sex and drugs rear their ugly heads.

Usually, when the ground rules which are based on safety, security and accountability are let go, then peer pressure builds up and the parents lose control over the situation . Wanting to become the teen’s best friend usually does not work.

Treading the fine line between being over protective, over critical and and a control freak with being far too indulgent and letting go of the reins is the key to successful parenting.

Once we get this right, the problems of kids attitude and other behavior problems become manageable. But we have to start early on!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Dealing With Kids’ Anger Effectively

Many parents have actually admitted defeat when they are confronted with a screaming child or when kids’ anger is just out of control. We are in the screaming, yelling and explosive anger which seems impossible to deal with. About 50% of parents have admitted that they have lost control and started shouting back and have lost their cool. 

Parents cannot help reacting whether they are being abused, threatened or insulted. How do you deal with kids’ anger effectively and how do you keep control? Here are some ideas which have worked for many parents in this situation.
  1. De-escalate the situation. That means not reacting at all although that can be really difficult.
  2. If you can, just take time out yourself and say that you cannot handle this right now. This is the truth. You want to be calmer and confront the problem later.
  3. You will not give in to the child’s demands. This establishes a dangerous precedent especially if the meltdown is about a request for an object or permission to do something. This could teach the child that this sort of reaction gets results!
  4. Children imitate behavior so a calm reaction each and every time will eventually start producing results.
  5. Talk later to the child or teen about what happened.
  6. Ask what happened and does he know the cause
  7. Suggest other ways of reacting when anger and frustration build up and are explosive. Give examples from your own life and situation.
  8. Mention voluntary time out- you yourself may have used this. It is perfectly acceptable if your child wants to distance himself from the scene of the crime, so to speak.
After the whole incident is over, you will have to deal out some consequences of there was damage to the home or another sibling was hurt in the episode. There is no need at all to worry about consequences if a child was just giving vent to his frustration and rage. Just talk about the ways we can deal with that the next time.

Dealing with kids’anger is never easy. If you follow some of the suggestions above, it will help to keep you on track.  If you feel you need more help, look at the programs recommended in this blog.


Monday, 28 March 2011

Learning The Truth About Problems With Psychostimulants.

Ask any medical authority or pediatric association about the limitations and side effects of stimulants for ADHD and they will all agree that they are not the complete answer to the ADHD problem. The reality, though, is very different. Doctors are still prescribing these stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall as if they were the only answer to the problem. In effect, they are really only a very partial answer and they should be used sparingly, if at all.

The problems with psychostimulants are many and varied. It is estimated that about 30% of children will be unable to tolerate the side effects. These include :-
  • weight loss due to loss of appetite
  • stunted growth
  • heart problems
  • sleep challenges
  • mood swings
  • irritability
As these medications are stimulants, the whole nervous system, heart and brain are all very artificially stimulated and the effects are sometimes very far reaching. It is not surprising really but the strange thing is that the paradoxical effect they have on the child’s attention span and hyperactivity.

Although they are stimulating the brain, the effects are a calming down and hyperactivity is certainly less noticeable.  The alarming fact is that they may alleviate the effects of this mental condition but they never really cure or even treat it in any permanent way. The other factor is that their effects over the long term on a child’s brain are simply unknown. There is also another disturbing fact in that the effects of the drugs tend to wear off after three years.

It is at this point that many parents realize that the really effective treatment has escaped them or that they were not told. The answer to all their problems with psychostimulants can be solved by simply using behavior modification, green time and exercise plus watching diet carefully. More and more research is now pointing to the fact that ADHD alternative therapy such as ADHD homeopathic remedies are just so much safer, more effective and create no problems at all.

Thr Truth About ADHD Medication

A recent report in an Irish newspaper pointed up parents’ worries about ADHD medication and how widespread it was.  That worry is echoed by parents elsewhere such as the UK, America and Australia.

Given the small population of Ireland, less than 4 million, the figures for stimulant medication such as Ritalin is alarming in that it accounts for more than 40,000 prescriptions. Costs for the State in providing this type of medication on the National Health Service is an astonishing £3 million.   

About a third of all the cases seen in just one month at the CAMHS (child and adolescent mental health services) were connected with ADHD.

Parents are worried about the fact that there is far too much reliance on these drugs and that natural ADHD remedies are neither sought out nor are they given much thought.
The fact is that there is far too little emphasis given to a comprehensive type of treatment and that the ADHD alternative therapy is often scorned either out of ignorance or sheer prejudice. This fact is not helped by the false personas who stalk the social networking sites claiming that the medicines are perfectly safe and that there is no need to worry about the side effects. These people are in the pay of the pharmaceutical companies and they have obviously not underestimated the power of social networking.

The fact is that ADHD natural remedies such as herbal remedies and homeopathic remedies have had no powerful lobbies supporting them and that is why they are shoved into the background.

As regards homeopathic remedies,the fact is that there are no side effects at all and that no health risks have ever been documented, let alone any reports of deaths!

Once parents can establish a multipronged approach works best, then they are definitely on the right  track. Once the proper emphasis has been given to and that parenting skills or behavior modification, plus an ADHD friendly home, green time and diet, then there is a much better chance of successful treatment.
Why not find out more how ADHD natural remedies can work for your child and why more and more parents are turning to them now.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Spoiled Children – Where Do YOU Draw The Line ?

Too often, it seems, parents are far too indulgent with their children. I do not just mean how many presents and treats they buy them. I am referring here to the overuse of praise for every little thing they do which of course will result in spoiled children. If these rewards and prizes are not linked at all to real merit, well, they are not much use.  This is not the way to bring up responsible well adjusted adults for the real world out there!

But we have to balance that with being over critical and destroying our children’s sense of confidence and self esteem. If we spoil them they are not prepared or equipped with the right life skills.  If we are too critical and severe, we may ruin their self confidence. It seems that we have to walk the tightrope here and try to find the right balance- no pun intended!

We have to be really careful about reinforcing any messages which could lead to our kids getting too hung up about a negative self image and being too critical of how they look, how confident they feel and whether they feel successful or not.

There are other parents who just praise their kids so much that they grow up feeling as if thy own the world. They have an exaggerated sense of their own abilities and they may well be in for a downfall.  This is another aspect of spoiled children which is often overlooked.

The secret of positive parenting when dealing with potentially spoiled children is to keep a realistic perspective. The best way they can do that is to stop their children trying out tactics and new behaviors just to get what they want. These behaviors, tricks or tactics or whatever you want to call them need to be redirected. A consultant child psychologist devised a program to help you do just that so that spoiled children will never again be a problem in your family.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Dealing With An Angry Teenager

Usually, an angry teenager sets up a barrier by displaying negative behaviors which makes it very hard to know what to do.  The defiance, aggression and hostility plus the angry outbursts and the slamming of doors makes you wonder whether your home will ever be a quiet peaceful one again.
If we never get round to asking our angry teenager just what is the problem, we are never going to make the progress we  need to make. We have to find out and the best way to do is to TALK to them rather than trying to figure out by spying on them

There may be issues over the actual house rules and there may be peer pressure too to rebel against these and go with the crowd.

Here are some quick guidelines :-
1.      Make sure you are giving support and that your comments are never seen as criticism of his or her lifestyle/choice of friends and so on.
2.      Talk about how you yourself react to anger/frustration/dislike and boredom and how you control your anger.
3.      Talk about limits and the law. Talk about issues of safety and health.
4.      Talk about how physical aggression/hostility and defiance rarely works in the adult world.
5.      Discuss how resorting to alcohol and drugs may give temporary relief but brings a whole host of other problems and is neither a valid nor permanent solution.
6.      We can discuss how using time management and how taking time out and counting to ten are all ways that we can control our anger.
7.      Discuss ways of physically getting rid of the anger without doing damage to people or property. Sport and physical exercise are great ways and enhance good mood as well.

These are just a few of the techniques I learnt from a behavior modification program which was a great help in dealing with behavior problems in my angry teenager. There are a lot more which deal with dealing with defiance, aggressiveness and also how to talk to your teen and get through to him when there seems to be an unbreakable wall.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Children Lying ?- Strategies For Coping With This

 We all lie and we do it sometimes without thinking.We are determined not to go to that boring dinner party so we tell a lie that we have something else on! It happens all the time and we do it in front of our kids too. The major parenting experts tell us that a fib here or there will not harm anybody.

But hold on a sec ! What if your child is lying all the time and it is becoming pathological?  What if you cannot trust him or her to tell you what happened at school or other issues which have to do with health and safety and what he is doing when you are not at home ?

We can dish out consequences. But first we have to chat to him about mutual trust and tell him that of we cannot trust each other to tell the truth, then mistrust builds up on both sides.  We can give examples.

This is the first of a few strategies we can adopt when we have to deal with children lying. I have written an article on this as well.


Friday, 14 January 2011

Tough Love Children Do Better In Life

 Here is the introduction to an article I wrote recently on tough love. Time to polish up your parenting skills?

 What kind of parent are you? Strict? Let them be? I have news for you. If you believe in 'tough love ' parenting, and apply it, then your defiant children or problem kids have a much better chance of growing to be well-adjusted adults. Isn't that every parent's dream?

How do we know that 'tough love' is right? The Millennium Cohort Study, which analysed over 9,000 households in the UK found that with the right mix of 'tough love' (warmth, affection and discipline), that these kids were twice as likely to form better a better character by the age of five, than those kids whose parents were in the unmotivated or 'couldn't care less' category.