ADHD teenagers have twice as many problems as younger children with the disorder, especially if their ADHD has gone undiagnosed and untreated. Think about it: the teen years are already tough enough, add in the lack of impulse control, defiant behavior and inattentiveness common to ADHD and they only get harder.
Studies show that anti-social behaviors become much more common during the teen years. Because anti-social behavior can itself be a symptom of ADHD, it leaves ADHD teens that much more vulnerable to the many pitfalls which face their peers. Traffic accidents, teen pregnancy, committing arson and other crimes and running away from home are all more common among teens with ADHD.
And since ADHD teenagers are also prone to being inattentive, this can lead to increased tension within the home as conflicts between teens and their parents erupt. Basically, the lack of concentration, hyperactivity, distractibility and impulsiveness which characterize ADHD can become serious issues for children as they reach their teen years, when socialization becomes even more important.
In order to keep ADHD teens from falling prey to these increased stresses, it is vital that parents pay strict attention to their children’s behavior and have them examined by a doctor if there is even the slightest suspicion that something may be wrong. Proper diagnosis and treatment is the single best way to help ADHD kids function normally through every phase of their lives.
Fortunately, the same treatment methods which work for younger children can be applied to ADHD teenagers. While stimulant based medicines are often recommended, they can carry serious side effects and in most cases will not address the underlying cause of the disorder. Instead, many doctors and psychologists are suggesting alternative methods of treatment which are much gentler and offer more long term results.
Dietary changes, behavioral and educational therapy and homeopathic remedies have all been used to treat ADHD teens with positive results. Removing natural stimulants like sugar and caffeine from the diet can have a calming effect, as can the use of natural therapies like yoga and massage. Auditory or neurofeedback techniques can encourage kids to control their brain activity and sharpen focus.
Rather than relying on stimulant based meds for treating their ADHD teenagers, many parents are opting to use homeopathic remedies. Made with a specific blend of herbs and other plant based substances including Hyoscyamus, Arsen iod, and Tuberculinum, these natural products actually target the chemical and neurological imbalances which cause ADHD for more long term results without harmful side effects.
The teen years are hard enough as it is, kids don’t need to be dealing with the daily strain of ADHD as well. If you suspect your teen may have ADHD, don’t hesitate to get a proper diagnosis and start on a course of treatment. The sooner you can get your child some help, the better their chances of developing as a happy, well adjusted teen.
By: John Paduchak
About the Author:
John Paduchak is a health researcher and the webmaster of http://adhd-planner.com
, designed to help parents and those with ADD/ADHD find natural remedies & information to improve their lives. John has ADHD and is also a parent of 2 children with ADD/ADHD. One of his children’s ADHD symptoms were so severe it forced him to do continual research on the subject and share it with everyone who might benefit from the effort in his sites. For information regarding the natural treatment and homeopathic remedies for ADHD and ADD visit http://natural-adhd-remedies.com
Workers Comp Lawyers
“Whatever we put our attention to will grow stronger in our life.” ~ Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
Where does your lens look?
When you look at your child, what do you see? Do you see the innocent sweetness he exuded as a little one? Do you see a grumbling, grumpy adolescent? Does your attention go to your child’s latest success or her recent mistakes? What we attend to with our kids becomes the reality that we see, cultivate, and nurture.
Of course the way we see our children stems from countless factors: the kind of day we’re having, the kind of day they’re having, hormones (theirs and ours), life stage, stressors operating on and around us; one day we look at life in a kind of happy vacuum, and the next day we may feel desperate, dragged down, and demoralized.
The way we choose to see our children affects more than our own state of mind; it can affect their self-concepts. And their self-concepts influence all the “classrooms” of their lives: the playground, the sports team, the tests they take, and the goals they make (or negate) for themselves. These classrooms help establish their sense of what is personally possible. We can all attest to the significant influence of an important adult on what we imagined as possible for our lives, growing up.
The strengths-based perspective. In the past, psychological treatment protocols for families, adults, and children focused on pathology and deficits. But the strengths-based approach emphasizes assets, competencies, and abilities. There has been a substantive body of research conducted on strengths-building over the last 40 years through organizations like Gallup. Their research grew out of a movement to examine positive psychological/human potential. The Gallup Organization’s research on human performance targeted over 2 million people (globally) and set out to answer the question: could it be that the greatest gains in human development are based on investment in what people do best naturally? Their hypothesis was confirmed when they found that individuals gain more, building on their talents than when they make comparable efforts to improve their areas of weakness*.
Ask any school-aged child what his weaknesses are, and he is likely to have ready mental access to a list of deficits he has internalized about himself. But ask what his strengths are, and you may face an empty look coupled with a loud silence. In my experience, children and adults are reluctant to invoke their strengths when asked about them. Whether it’s lack of confidence, messages they’ve heard from their surroundings, or ignorance of what they do well, kids’ inability to identify and articulate their strengths is lamentable.
When children know their personal strengths, it not only helps them develop and grow, it empowers them to leverage their assets in learning new information, solving problems, and thinking in creative and innovate ways. I encourage all students to leverage their strengths in these self-promoting ways. Like using a muscle, the more a strength is exercised, the stronger and more integrated it becomes.
A strengths-based approach does not mean celebrating mediocrity, random praise for ordinary expectations met, or overlooking areas needing improvement. Child development experts will tell you that selective encouragement aimed at specific acts will benefit your child far greater than vague, constant reminders of his or her smartness or “greatness” as a person. This leads us to the importance of paying attention to the unique and outstanding gifts our kids possess individually. –Not showering praise superfluously. And as for weaknesses, it may be necessary to correct behavior that produces counter-productive outcomes. But how effective is our emphasis on them? Perhaps our focus has been myopic-focused primarily on deficits and remediation. I’m suggesting that we hone the focus: toward developing strengths and building on talents–while acknowledging, understanding, and managing weaknesses.
Kinds of Smart
What kinds of strength does your child possess? Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University, developed a theory of multiple intelligences over 20 years ago which grew out of his observation that our schools focus primarily on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. He posited that the conventional notion of intelligence, based mainly on I.Q. testing, was far too limited. Instead, Gardner proposed eight distinct intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in kids and adults.
1. Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”)
2. Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”)
3. Spatial intelligence (“picture/space smart”)
4. Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)
5. Musical intelligence (“music smart”)
6. Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)
7. Intrapersonal intelligence (“self smart”)
8. Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)
Our educational system rewards those who are highly articulate or logical, but is slower to highlight the accomplishments of students gifted in other intelligences: the artists, musicians, naturalists, designers, dancers, innovators, and the like–who enrich our world. Unfortunately, countless children exhibiting these gifts get little reinforcement for them. Many of these kids end up lumped together with problematic learning or behavioral labels or simply dubbed “underachievers”, when their ways of thinking or learning go unaddressed in heavily linguistic or logical-based classrooms.
“Fine and good,” you say, “But what can I do about it?” One answer is to pay attention to your child’s unique strengths. If your focus has been mostly on deficits and “fixing,” stop to notice and appreciate what is going well in your child’s learning, behavior, and development. Instead of considering standardized tests results as an omniscient predictor of your child’s success, stop to consider what your child knows that the tests do not measure; view your child with a larger lens. Shifting toward a more strengths-based perspective can be easy.
Assets in Action
o Make a list of your child’s best qualities-strengths, capacities, emerging abilities.
o Keep this list in your pocket or a place that’s easily accessible this week. Look for “proof” (or examples) of these assets in action, and write them down. Try to write down at least one example or proof for each trait. Some traits will have more than one instance.
o Notice aloud to your child instances of his or her strengths in action. You can also leave a post-it note on your child’s bedroom door, listing pluses you noticed during the week. For example:
o I noticed you taking the time to help your little sister with her jacket.
o I noticed you sitting down and starting your homework right after snack.
o I noticed you tackled a difficult math problem and didn’t give up when you were feeling stuck.
o I noticed you singing while you were getting dressed-what a voice you have!
o I noticed the way you negotiated a delicate situation with your friends. That took a lot of finesse.
o Share the list with a loved one who has regular contact with your child. Encourage that person to add to it.
o Continue expanding the list. You can even start a journal or notebook to give to your child when s/he is older.
You may find that you witness more of these strengths, or that they occur more frequently when you pay attention to and acknowledge them. Your mind may shift to noticing and nurturing your child’s abilities and emerging capacities (a.k.a. potential). This is a worthy and beneficial pursuit for both of you. In fact, I encourage you to make your own strengths-based list for yourself; noticing what we do well as parents and as people can empower us when we feel challenged or depleted.
Imagine learning a new language at your current age. How easy do you think it would be? How about if you had a teacher who scowled at your every mistake…tried to teach you in a way that didn’t make sense…barked at your incorrect answers? Now picture a teacher who notices what you do well, provides tools to gently correct your errors, and teaches you in a way that complements your unique ways of thinking and learning. Our children are constantly learning new “languages” or scripts about who and how they can be in the world. We can choose what kind of teacher we want to be in that process. Leveraging and nurturing strengths expands the possibilities for us and our children. Let’s join together in building on kids’ strengths, to develop their greatest areas of potential.
*(see http://gmj.gallup.com/, the Gallup Organization’s website and online journal, for more information)
By: Allison Meyers
About the Author:
Ali Zidel Meyers earned undergraduate degrees at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) and her Masters in Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. She has taught students with a wide range of learning strengths and challenges in classroom and individual settings for over 10 years. Ali has extensive experience teaching time management, study, and organizational skills to students, as well as writing, from elementary to high school levels and beyond. With her husband Adam, she owns a tutoring company–Meyers Learning Center–which specializes in these skills and offers subject specific-support to students in all grade levels. Ali is the mother of two children and lives in Cupertino, California. For more information about her work, visit: http://www.meyerslearningcenter.com
Fix Your Golf Swing
There is an ancient quote that says, “A sorrow shared is a sorrow halved.”
Parents can derive a lot of comfort from the universality of sibling rivalry. In fact, right at the beginning of time, the first two siblings on the planet, Cain and Abel, refused to get along with each other. The result was that Cain killed his brother! Fortunately, we can (hopefully!) rest assured that our children are not about to murder their sister or brother. However, this reassurance really provides little comfort in the face of near-constant fighting,, teasing, and arguing.
Is there anything we parents do in order to eliminate sibling rivalry?
In evaluating any human behavior it is useful to examine the emotions and thoughts that precede the behavior, which will enable us to fully understand and rectify the issue at hand.
What are the thoughts that are likely to be occupying the mind of a mother or father whose children are engaged in bickering? Oftentimes, the parent takes responsibility for the children’s misbehavior and subconsciously concludes that it is a personal failure in him or herself. The thought process travels along these lines: “If my child can behave in this manner, then it has to be my fault, and therefore I am a failure as a parent.”
As a result of the parent’s feelings of inadequacy, the parent will instinctively attempt to “fix” the child, who rarely responds positively, and his or her behavior generally deteriorates further. As the parent becomes more enraged, he or she often becomes angry at the perceived cause of the feelings of incompetence – the child!
When parents do allow themselves to correctly feel less personally and totally responsible for every aspect of their children’s behavior, much of the anger can be eliminated from the above scenario.
Once the negative emotions of anger and frustration have been removed from the picture, a parent can move towards the next productive step: Don’t get involved!
With the exception of serious physical damage, or youngsters under the age of 3 or 4, it is advisable for parents not to intervene in an argument in which they were not involved. When toddlers do require their parents to step in, it should be done simply to separate the combatants, and not to take sides in the fighting. Firmly removing the toy that has caused the conflict, or placing the children in different rooms to play will teach toddlers that they will not win any points in the competition for parental love by drawing their parents into their sibling rivalry. If Mom or Dad previously had a habit of attempting to settle each fight by playing umpire, it will take some time to unlearn those habits, yet it can be done and yield tremendously peaceful results.
Obviously, it is not advisable for parents to become indifferent to their children’s bickering. Just as parents do a myriad of other developmental learning skills, such as walking or riding a bicycle, the children can help their children best by rooting from the sidelines and not jumping into the field.
The common outcry and initial reaction of parents reading these words is, “Oh, no! The fighting will get worse if I don’t stop them!” Yes, perhaps it will. In the long term,, the sibling rivalry will diminish significantly.
The bottom line is that parents cannot always be there for their children during confrontations that occur during childhood or adulthood. Children must learn to deal effectively with their differences independent of their parents.
Your children will learn important social skills when they are forced to figure out how to negotiate their differences on their own. That is a priceless lesson that can only be taught by parents stepping back.
By: Ellen Braun
About the Author:
Ellen C. Braun is a mother of three children living in Baltimore, MD. She is the editor of RaisingSmallSouls.com, a unique resource of Parenting Tips and Advice
, where you can find more information regarding Sibling Rivalry
Many parents probably read the above title and are anxiously hoping against hope that we’ll finally get to see these two cartoonish creations go head to head in an ultimate fight to the death. An epic battle in which one (or with any luck, both) of these monstrosities would be reduced to rubbish and sent back to the land of make-believe from hence they came. There the Power Rangers could fight each other while Barney tries to intervene singing “I love you, you love me…” in the background, all without making your ears bleed in the process. But alas, no such luck. You’re just going to have to put up with the talking dinosaur and the obnoxious teens in pajamas until your kids grow tired of them. This article is actually about a classic experiment which illustrates how a child’s behavior can be impacted by what they watch and observe.
It’s called the Barney versus Power Rangers experiment because researchers arranged for a classroom of preschoolers to watch two different cartoon clips; one day an episode of the popular children’s television show Barney and Friends, another an episode of the always entertaining Power Rangers show. They then watched and observed the children’s behavior before, during, and after these episodes of fine children’s entertainment. The results were revealing, and perhaps a little worrisome. After watching Barney, the children were bouncing up and down, holding hands, singing, dancing, and playing amongst each other, just as they had seen on TV. (I know, scary isn’t it?)
After the Power Rangers episode, the same sort of thing happened. Only instead of dancing and playing games, they once again mimicked what they were exposed to. This time around that meant play-fighting with each other, kicking and punching one another, and fashioning swords out of blocks or creating other impromptu weapons from classroom supplies. For those who try to pretend that television has no effect on children, this experiment is about as blatant a rebuke to such ideas as one can come by. (1)
A child’s brain is built for mimicry. From the earliest days right after their birth, they begin to studiously observe others. As they watch others do something, an entire system of neurons in their brain (known as mirror neurons) “light up” in response, essentially practicing in the brain what they see and observe with their eyes and ears. Research using fMRI brain imaging technology has shown that watching television can play a person’s brain like a puppeteer. (2) As a person watches what is going on, the different areas of their brain associated with those moods or actions light up in response as if they were actually living the experience; so much so that there’s little discernible difference between what our brains do when we watch versus what we actually experience. And since a child’s primary mode of learning is mimicking what they observe, this makes television a social education device that broadcasts signals directly into your child’s brain.
To young children, television is little more than a mimicry machine; a screen bringing a variety of messages and behavior for them to emulate. So just as parents should avoid arguing in front of their children (for much the same reasons…your argument actually plays out inside your child’s brain and provides a model for them to emulate} parents need to be conscientious of what is being modeled for their child on television.
Sometimes the emphasis on television violence can be taken too far, however, and we don’t intend to hype up the fears beyond practicality. It’s not as though your 5-year-old is destined to be a serial killer should they watch one too many Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episodes. Nor is it necessary to keep them from their favorite television program just because it has fight scenes. That would just be mean, and television is but one of many social influences and proper parenting in other regards can overcome a half-hour of cartoon violence. Parents should, however, pay attention to the bulk of what their child is watching, because what they watch does influence them.
In terms of priming children for calm, prosocial behavior, I’m afraid the big purple dinosaur wins out. Even if he does make your ears bleed.
1. Eric Jensen, “No – Why kids of all ages need to hear it and ways parents can say it,” New York: Free Press, 2007, pp. 257-260
2. Uri Hasson et al., “Intersubject synchronization of cortical activity during natural vision.” Science 303, no. 5664, pp. 1634-40, 2004
By: Anne Stacy
About the Author:
, your source for information on parenting, preschool, child development, and early childhood education resources, as well as preschool curriculum, worksheets, activities, and lesson plans printables.
For many children, riding the school bus, taking a test, or even going to school can trigger some anxiety. Social activities, such as birthday parties, sleepovers, dances and dating, can also make kids feel anxious. Personally, I think severe anxiety is one of the worst feelings in the world. It can be disabling. Kids have described it to me as feeling like there’s a brick in their stomach, as if they’ve done something wrong or something bad is going to happen. Many adolescents describe it as feeling like something is eating at them and they can’t stop it and it scares them, or like they’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.
As a cautionary note, it needs to be stated that when dealing with severe anxiety, be sure to have your pediatrician rule out any medical issues that may cause anxiety to make sure it’s not a problem with physical origins.
That being said, anxiety is the emotion we experience in a wide variety of ways when we’re uncertain about what’s happening, or we feel like we can’t control the events that are about to happen. Fortunately, most adults learn to manage this anxiety in a way that allows them to function effectively and live successfully in society.
Anxiety is really the 21st Century word for fear, although people don’t always associate it that way. Survival is probably our strongest primary instinct. And our instincts produce energy in the form of feelings. One way to understand the feeling of anxiety is to think of survival as a “fight or flight” mechanism. Survival is the engine, anxiety is the gas-it gives you the energy to actually do the fighting or running. For people who have problems managing anxiety, it feels like their bodies are revving up, but there’s nowhere to go. That’s why they talk about feeling nervous, jumpy, uptight, or out of control.The problem is, most kids don’t know how to process their anxiety, so it goes unchecked. And many times, it ends up feeding on itself and building.
How Anxiety Shows up in Your Child’s Behavior
You can often see from children’s behavior the level of anxiety they’re experiencing and how effectively they’re dealing with it. Younger kids will basically say, “I don’t want to,” or “I don’t like that,” or, “No!” Sometimes, they’ll identify a source from their dreams, nightmares, fantasy life or cartoons. Picture the infamous “boogeyman.” Sometimes they’ll name something such as school, the bus, a person, or a room in the house, without being able to identify why. (It must be noted here that parents have to be very cautious when children show anxiety about a person, place or thing, and can’t verbalize why. Experience shows us that kids become very anxious, but emotionally shut down when confronted with the thought of being with an abusive person or going to a place where they’ve been physically or sexually abused.)
With many children who experience anxiety, you’ll also see a marked difficulty in their ability to sit still and pay attention. You might also see withdrawal: your child may become isolated as they see the world as an increasingly threatening place. Be alert to the fact that when you ask them what’s wrong, the reason they might give you will not always be the source of their anxiety. This is because they don’t know how to define or express it, and they haven’t developed the internal problem-solving skills to deal with it yet. Most kids don’t know how to say, “I’m really afraid and I don’t know why.” In fact, when kids and adults experience anxiety, they often don’t know what’s causing it and will find some person, place or thing to blame it upon.
I want you to understand, when I use the word “anxiety” here, I’m talking about problematic anxiety. So while anxiety has a whole spectrum of ways that it’s expressed, how do we know when it’s harmful or disabling? Make no bones about it: it’s harmful when it triggers inappropriate behaviors, or when your child becomes too anxious or afraid to attempt (or complete) an age-appropriate task, or participate in age-appropriate activities. So if your child is refusing to go to school, unwilling to take tests or do normal childhood activities, you need to rethink how you’re both dealing with the problem.
Here’s How to Understand Anxiety
Here’s a way of understanding how feelings of anxiety affect people differently and what range of behaviors you might see.
Let’s say there are four adults standing in a long supermarket line. All of them are behind schedule and are feeling anxious, which is leading to impatience and frustration. But they deal with it in very different ways. The first says to herself, “It looks like I can’t help being late. There’s nothing I can do about it. I guess I’ll just have to explain it when I get to the doctor’s office. They’ll understand.” The next person decides, “I better get back to work, I can shop later. It’s not worth being late.” The third person might turn to someone and say, “Is today a holiday? It seems awfully crowded.” But the fourth person shouts out, “What’s going on here? Move it along! I’m late for a doctor’s appointment. I can’t stand here all day!”
As you can see, all of these people are afraid of being late to something that’s important to them, but they manage their anxiety in very different ways, and their actions appear to have very different outcomes. One person leaves, one person decides it’s OK to be late, one person processes the situation with the man standing next to her, and the last person starts shouting and blaming others, which is the least effective way of dealing with the problem. It’s important to note that they probably all wound up being late, but three of them dealt with this situation in a way that didn’t trigger severe agitation or lead to inappropriate behavior.
Our goal for children is for them to learn the skills to manage their anxiety in a way that is effective. We measure effectiveness here by how much they let the anxiety disturb them and how much it affects their functioning.
Three Kids, Three Reactions to Anxiety
Now, let’s look at three kids who have to ride the bus to school. All have anxiety about riding the bus for different reasons.
Zachary, the first child in our scenario, resists getting out of bed and getting dressed. If you could listen in on his thoughts, you’d hear him saying, “I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to go to school today. I don’t want to ride the school bus. Will doesn’t like me. He teased me yesterday and my friends all laughed at me. They don’t like me anymore.”
When his parents come to wake him, the look on Zach’s face and tone of his voice communicate that there’s something wrong. But when they ask him what’s bothering him, he’s only able to say, “I don’t want to go to school!”
When his parents say, “But Zach, you’ve been doing so well. Yesterday you were saying how much you liked your teachers and friends. What’s wrong today?”
And he responds, “Can you drive me to school? If you drive me to school, I’ll be OK. I don’t like the school bus anymore.” At this point, he’s is probably saying to himself, “I can’t ride the school bus. Will is there. I don’t like the bus. I don’t like school.” He’s making the problem more severe by projecting how bad the situation will be before he even gets there. And he’s trying to solve the problem by controlling his environment externally-by getting his parents to behave differently. On some days, one of his parents may be able to drive Zach to school, and so he might proceed to get dressed, and he experiences that ride as the solution to his problem, although it’s only temporary and he hasn’t developed any skills to deal with the real problem.
The second child, Olivia, has the same thought, but her mother says angrily, “No, you have to ride the bus. Your dad and I both need to get to work, so we can’t take you to school today. I’m going to stand right here while you get dressed because I can’t be late for work.” What ensues is a passive power struggle in which Olivia is doing things slowly while her parents are becoming increasingly annoyed and frustrated.
All the while, the child may be saying things to herself like, “They don’t care about me. I can’t ride the school bus. Why don’t they just take me to school?” When the parent finally gets her into the kitchen for breakfast, she may refuse to eat or only want very sugary things, unconsciously sensing the sugar may give her more energy to deal with her feelings and the situation. She might be thinking, “If I’m slow enough, I won’t have to ride the bus because it won’t wait for me,” but she may not be conscious of that plan. To her, it just feels like the most natural thing to do is slow down, because she doesn’t want to go to school. In a sense, she’s digging her heels in.
When the school bus arrives, she goes to her room to get her sweater, but she doesn’t come out. Her parents yell, “Come on Olivia, the school bus is waiting.” The bus honks, and her dad goes out and holds up his hand, and then goes to look for Olivia. Her parents find her in her room lying on her bed. Imagine now that she’s saying things to herself like, “I can’t ride that school bus. They don’t understand. I’m not going today. They can’t make me.” Eventually the bus leaves. Her parents are frustrated and angry with Olivia and embarrassed by her behavior. They yell at her for behaving so poorly and punish her with no TV for a week. Her dad grudgingly takes her to school in the car, lecturing her all the way, while Olivia gives him the silent treatment. Inside, at this point she might be saying something to herself like, “I don’t care what they think. I didn’t have to ride the school bus, and I’m glad.”
In these two cases, neither child had the skills to identify the source of their anxiety and process the problem in a way that let them deal with their fear of riding the bus effectively. One avoided the problem by manipulating his parents into taking him, while the other one shut down and hid from the problem by not meeting her responsibility of getting on the bus, thereby invoking her parents’ anger, and getting a pretty severe consequence. In either case, the source of the fear is the same: They’re not going to be safe sitting in the back with Will. This fear is both real and valid, but in both cases, the kids managed their anxiety in a way that didn’t help them solve the actual problem. And that problem is that they have to ride the school bus to school and find a way to keep themselves safe from the bully. For many kids with anxiety issues, it’s passive resistance, not aggressive resistance. You’ll see them refuse to get dressed in the morning. Or the bus comes and they won’t get on. Believe me, it will manifest itself in a million different ways.
Now imagine a third child named Will. He has the same problem with anxiety and he says to himself, “Kids don’t like me. They think I’m fat and ugly. They don’t want to be my friend. I don’t want to ride the bus with them. They call me names and tease me.” Will fights with his parents and he pulls the covers over his head and refuses to get out of bed.
His parents, who have dealt with his high level of resistance in the morning for years, have learned that when they bribe him, he’ll respond. So his mother winds up saying, “I’ll give you those Pop Tarts you wanted, but you have to be in the kitchen by 7 a.m.” Even then it’s a challenge to get Will up. His siblings have learned to stay away from him. Finally, he eats the Pop Tarts and goes back to his room. His parents are really stressed out by his behavior now because it’s starting to affect their jobs. Their employers have made comments about them being late, so now they’re taking turns with Will and saying they’ll giving him an extra snack of cookies just to get him on the bus.
So Will finally gets on the bus and sits in the same back seat as usual. Although he’s also overwhelmed by anxiety, he deals with it by picking on the other kids. Will’s strategy is to get the other kids before they get him. He calls them names and says, “You’re fat, you’re stupid.” He kicks kids under the seat and pokes them. When they complain to the bus driver, Will’s response is “I was only playing, can’t you take a joke?” The bus driver has to intervene and say, “Calm down, Will.” Will has given the driver some lip and back talk. It’s not at crisis level yet, but the driver is wondering what he’ll do if Will hits someone or breaks the rule and gets out of his seat and comes toward the front of the bus.
Will’s method is yet another way of dealing with anxiety. He becomes the bully. He hides his fear by attacking others, and strikes out at other people to hide that fear. His reaction is part of the fight or flight mechanism we discussed earlier. The first two kids are using flight, by avoiding the source of their anxiety. This boy, Will, is using fight as his strategy. He tried flight, by attempting to stay in bed, but once he couldn’t resort to flight anymore, he started to fight. In the end the old saying seems to be true: Bullies, after all, are really just afraid.
In all of these cases, the parents were left to wonder why their children were upset, anxious or afraid.
So Why Do Kids Hide Their Anxiety from their Parents?
Why do kids often hide what’s bothering them?It’s important to remember that even at an early age, children are unconsciously afraid to let their parents down. And they’ve learned that when they don’t do what’s expected by their moms and dads, a look of anger, distress, disappointment, unhappiness or pain appears on their parents’ faces. Although kids may not know consciously what those looks mean, they learn from a very early age how to associate looks and words with feelings. For instance, if a child is with his mother and they both see a cockroach in the kitchen, a look of disgust might come over the mother’s face. She may make a sound that is filled with anger or disgust, or say something like, “Oh, no!” The child then associates that facial expression with something that is awful or painful. The next day, when he falls down and cuts his hand and it bleeds badly, he might again see that look on his mother’s face and hear her say, “Oh no!” And he may sense that his mother is angry or disgusted with him.
That’s why you’ll often hear kids say, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” when they’ve hurt themselves, because their parents’ facial expression and tones of voice communicates that they’ve done something really wrong. In the future, the child might see that look on his mother’s face when he won’t clean his room or when she’s arguing with his father. He then associates those looks and words with earlier experiences, and senses he’s really hurting her. This kind of learning is completely appropriate, normal and healthy. In fact, it is so powerful that adults, without knowing it, spend their whole lives reading people’s faces, tones of voice, and words. In fact, studies have shown that kids get more out of communication from the look on the person’s face and their tone of voice than from their words. Believe me, the numbers are astounding. In one significant study, kids got less than 10 percent of the meaning from the words that were used by the adults, while over 90 percent of the meaning came from the looks on the adults’ faces and their tones of voice. So what happens is, as kids develop, they try to hide their emotions or hide what’s going on unconsciously, because they realize that it will bring that look of distress back to their mom’s or dad’s face.One of the emotions they try to hide is anxiety, and this explains why children will often keep it from their parents.
By: James Lehman
About the Author:
For three decades, behavioral
therapist James Lehman, MSW, has worked with troubled teens
and children with behavior
problems. He has developed a practical, real-life approach to managing children and adolescents that teaches them how to solve social problems without hiding behind a facade of defiant, disrespectful, or obnoxious behavior
. He has taught his approach to parents, teachers, state agencies and treatment centers in private practice and now through The Total Transformation® Program.
The Total Transformation Program® is a comprehensive step-by-step, multi-media, child behavior modification program for child behavior problems like oppositional defiance disorder and child anger issues.
“I know we’ve come along way
We’re changin’ day to day
but where do the children play?”
Where do your children play, and why? Do they get to play in the clean fresh air, on the natural earth? If not, why not? We know that the surroundings in which we place the child shape’s the child’s developing personality. Do you place your child’s development in the mold of concrete coated earth, zooming cars, dirty air, poison streams and putrid ponds, and then expect her to behave well, to demonstrate respect and consideration for life, her own and others?
Some children grow up in more toxic environments than others. Some live in dilapidated dwellings, in squalor, surrounded by angry, unhappy, uneducated characters that seem broken at their core. Some receive the finest the planet has to offer, but the spiritual nature of the human beings around them does not demonstrate care and consideration for others – just selfishness and greed. Some grow up in the finest natural environments and their parents really care about everyone, about the world, about every living creature, about every glorious star.
You really do have a choice about where your child plays. The choice begins with how you express yourself. The power of your loving adoration empowers your child to overcome all obstacles. The deeply loving energy you pour into your child’s heart constitutes the spiritual beauty you give your child. There is no more beautiful expression of nature than the glimmering gaze of a mother’s or father’s loving eyes focused on the child.
When you relate lovingly with your child you provide your child with the finest natural and spiritual influence. Now, let’s look at the environment you create for your child to play in. How often do you give your child expressions of anger, unhappiness, irritation, impatience, frustration, disappointment, disapproval when your child is “playing around” instead of performing a given task? For instance, let’s say that your child jumps around making faces and monkey noises, pretending to be Curious George, when you tell him to put on his shoes because it’s time to go to school. How do you deal with that instance of child’s play? What environmental influence do you provide your child with in the hopes of improving your child’s behavior?
Think about it. How much of your frustrated reactions arise in response to your child’s play? Or think of it this way. What category of behavior does your child display that most frequently provokes your frustrated expressions of disapproval: work, rest or play? Obviously, play.
To an extent, then, you get to decide where your child plays. Your child can play in an environment of physical and spiritual ugliness or beauty. When you deal with your child’s play in a loving way, you provide your child with the most powerfully beautiful environmental influence. When you deliver to your child angry, unhappy forms of your self-expression you envelope your child in the ugly environmental embrace.
When we use expressions of anger and disapproval to control our children at play, then, we ensconce the child in an ugly environment of a psychologically toxic nature that represses, or oppresses, the child’s higher spiritual development, The simple solution that emerges here points to us improving how we relate with our children at play. We need to learn how to direct a child out of an unacceptable form or time of play in a way that provides the child with the beautiful, natural, spiritual context of our loving grace, a context that functions as a matrix for our fulfillment of her most splendid potential.
Think of yourself as central aspect of your child’s environment. You can provide your child with the beauty of a Mozart symphony by speaking with a loving sound or adoration and admiration, or the violent cacophony of a car crash by complaining with the screech of clashing disdain. It’s up to you. When you choose the latter, your attempt to improve your child’s behavior by providing an influence that directs your child’s personality development into more disturbing formation.
To improve our children’s behavior, let’s discipline ourselves to provide them with the most beautiful environmental influences possible. This means directing or redirecting them in a psychologically “green” nature, one free of psychological toxins like anger and other forms of emotional ugliness, to truly support rather than sabotages our real objective.
Let’s make it your deepest intention to develop our ability to direct our children’s behavior in a beautiful, loving way. We can begin by practicing being more aware of how we react to our child’s form of play. When we dislike the antics our child engages in, let’s focus on how we feel, on what we say and on what we do. Let us strive to remain anchored in our feeling of our adoration for our child. Let us strive to express more loving, tender compassion and appreciation and gratitude for our child, even while taking action to take control.
With practice, you will find that you can gradually develop your ability to direct and correct your child’s behavior without breaking your deeply loving connection with your child. As you do this, you take charge of your child’s environment. You improve where your child plays. As truly responsible parents, we need to be just as committed to saving our children from the psychologically toxic environment we place them in, as we are to saving them from the physically toxic environment adults have created out of the gift of glorious nature we were originally given.
By: Bob Lancer
About the Author:
Bob Lancer leads individuals, businesses, families, and associations to fulfill their greatest dreams. He does this through a wide variety of venues, including his WSB radio show, Bob Lancer’s Parenting Solutions, a show that focuses as much on the raising of ourselves and of our society as on the raising of children. The show has been on the air since 1995 and broadcasts to 35 states over the radio, and worldwide over the internet.
He is the author of numerous books and he has created dozens of motivational recordings on his themes.
Bob Lancer transforms audiences through his dynamic keynotes and seminars on parenting, marriage, and personal and professional development at live events, including conferences around the nation and overseas. He has been leading his audiences to greater personal and professional success as a public speaker, seminar leader, consultant and author for over 20 years and his work has been featured on CNN and other network television stations, in national magazines and in major newspapers.
Children’s Bedroom Ideas
So you want to be a full time writer. You have loved writing your entire life from elementary school to college and beyond. However, you never thought of it as a career until now. You could be a full time mom raising children with great insights on children’s behavior. What if you are that grandma who is full of information from the experience of successfully raising a family? Or, you are a teacher thinking of retirement or in retirement and with a wealth of inside information on what children really like to read.
Understanding what kids want in regards to stories and books is a large part of the process of searching for subject matter. Who do you write for? What genre do you love the most? Do you have a penchant for pre-teen kids or do you imagine connecting with a four year old and cuddling up with a fabulous picture book?
There is an audible groan from two mothers pushing their little children in strollers through the mall, as they are passed by a scantily clad group of teenage girls. “What parent would let her daughter leave the house like that?” she says referring to the group of girls in matching short shorts and tight, midriff baring shirts.
Girls dressing in “Ho” costumes on Halloween, little girl t-shirts with sexual innuendo emblazoned across the chests, reality television that shows little girls expertly utilizing a stripper pole, musical lyrics that are sexually explicit and degrading to women, the demise of dating and the rise of “hooking up” are all appalling topics to parents of underage children.
Books like Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!) and Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture discuss in detail the detrimental effect that the highly sexual content on television, in music lyrics, in books, and on the internet has on today’s youth. Sadly, girls are buying the false bill of goods that the media is selling them; that boys only want them for sex and their promiscuity leads to raised social status. They have also been led to believe that the only way to empowerment and equality is to be sexually aggressive like men (what men?). Their role models are “stars” like Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and porn star Jenna Jameson. Not exactly the women parents would hand pick to shape their innocent little girls.
Although the findings in the above mentioned books are disappointing and depressing it is probably not shocking to parents to learn that pornography has gone mainstream. One need just turn on the television to bare witness. Eighty three year old Hugh Hefner has a popular reality show glorifying his bizarre sexual relationship with three women, the youngest of whom celebrated her twenty first birthday while taping and wishes she were a pimp. MTV glorifies bawdy dress and behavior on shows like The Real World.
Lewd behavior and exposure to overtly sexual stuff is not what parents want for their kids. Parents know that objectifying little girls is not good for their moral, emotional, physical or spiritual welfare. Putting aside the frightening risk of pregnancy or catching an STD, moms and dads don’t want their girls getting used and degraded and they don’t want their boys to view the female half of the population as sexual objects begging them for sex.
A very loving and conservative mother recounts a story that horrified her. “I look hot!” her four year old said modeling a little two-piece bathing suit. “Over my dead body!” mumbled the mother to herself as she gently removed the suit from her little one and chucked it in the trash. “No way am I letting her go down that road!” the mother adamantly declared. She proudly continued, “I had the first of many talks that I will have with my daughter about dignity, self-respect and real power.”
Acts like this simple one the above mother displayed, exemplify the kind of guidance that parents must give to their children starting when the children are very young. As the many media outlets bombard kids with inappropriate sexual content it is important that parents stand strong, be positive role models and enforce the standards of conduct and dress that they know is correct.
Another simple act parents can take is to stop giving hard earned money over to stores that sell sexually explicit material and clothing targeted to children. On page 244, of her insightful book Prude, Carol Platt Liebau notes, “Every time anyone makes it clear that over-the-top sexual dialogue or images aren’t acceptable for public consumption, she strikes a small but meaningful blow for a cleaner, more wholesome culture.”
It is not only girls that are being affected by today’s highly charged sexual climate, boys suffer too. Boys shouldn’t be seen as sexual troglodytes incapable of being kind and caring and only out for their own selfish needs. Like girls they are complex, sensitive and loving and need to be taught that being a man means having honor and decency.
“Eliminate dating and replace it with ‘friends with benefits?’” scoffs a dedicated husband and father of two little boys. “I would never want to raise boys who treat girls like that. How are they going to learn to relate to the opposite sex if they use them like that?” He continues, “I want my boys to experience the kind of deep love and happiness that I have with my wife.”
For some reason it is difficult for some parents of underage children to fully embrace the role of parent. They are under the misconception that they can be buddies with their children, or “parenting partners”. It has become almost a clich
Every Christian parent wants their children to grow in Christlike character and learn and apply truths from God’s Word. Teach with more confidence and experience greater success success with this simplified approach to Biblical instruction and character training!
Parents’ Role in Biblical Instruction
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 tells us, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). No matter what our “approach” is with our children, first, God’s Word must first be in our hearts! It starts with us accepting and living out God’s precepts for ourselves, setting a good example for our children. They say apples don’t fall far from the tree. It’s true! We can’t honestly expect our children’s character and commitment to God
If you’re curious about your child’s development stages it’s time to look into the articles about atypical behaviors for 3-6 year olds (behaviorally).
Try to remember as you look for these atypical behavioral articles that no child is going to fit into any one category. You may see things that do apply to your child, which are justified, but you also may see things that your child doesn’t do.
Also, many people are starting to self diagnose themselves, and parents and children are no different. Try not to self diagnose your child with atypical articles concerning children’s behavior.
You can learn a lot by reading articles, but when it comes to your child you could be seeing things that are not really there. Make sure that if you have any questions concerning your child’s development that you speak to a qualified mental health professional.
Write a list of what you’re concerned about as you read the articles, write down what you see your child doing that fits into these articles, and then speak to your pediatrician. The qualified mental health professional is going to be your best diagnostician when it comes to atypical behavior.
Every child is different, and a perfectly healthy and normal child can still show atypical behaviors once in awhile. Don’t scare yourself with knowledge based articles concerning children’s behavior, just take it in, learn as much as you can, and then speak to someone who really knows what’s going on.
You’re going to find articles that deal with children with depression, children with special needs, ADHD, autism, and many other behavioral specialties.
Make sure before you self diagnose your child that you talk to your pediatrician and/or a qualified mental health professional. It’s great to be knowledgeable about special needs and behavioral problems with children, just make sure you’re seeing a professional before you begin treating your child.
Do you want to learn exactly how to eliminate your child’s out-of-control and defiant behavior without using Punishments, Time-Outs, Behavioral Plans, or Rewards?
By: Jason K Johnson
About the Author:
To Download and listen to my FREE audio recordings “Why Punishments, Time-Outs, Behavioral
Plans, and Rewards Don’t Work…But This Will” Visit: Free Audio Recordings
Jason Johnson (MSW) has worked with hundreds of toddlers through teenagers diagnosed with A.D.H.D, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Aspergers Syndrome, Bi-polar, and SEVERE emotional/behavioral issues.
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