In It For Health

Where health and psychology intersect

Archive for July, 2007

Lindsay Lohan–another lost teen with not a parent in sight

Posted by Dr. Susan on July 25, 2007

Yesterday I was on FOXNEWS talking To Trace Gallagher on Studio B (who was subbing for Shepard Smith) about Lindsay Lohan’s latest run-in with the law. Trace is a smart guy and he asked me if I thought that Lindsay is addicted to drugs or just to partying. Actually, unlike Paris, I think that Lindsay may actually be addicted to alcohol and/or drugs. There’s really no other reason why she’d be destroying her entire truly legitimate and wonderful career the way she seems to be. Her behavior is erratic and she can’t seem to stick with the rehab. What she and Paris do seem to have in common is a complete lack of parental support or guidance. Both girls are lost souls who’s parents have emotionally abandoned them–traded them in for for money–Paris’s for their own and Lindsay’s for hers (her mother seems more focused on Lindsay’s success than on her health). It’s sad, tragic really.

Unfortunately it’s not unusual for parents to emotionally abandon their teens, sometimes without even realizing it-even without lots of money involved. They do it because they’re too busy, because they don’t feel like making the effort or because they’d rather have their own Friday or Saturday nights free to socialize rather than driving their kids around.

But this is when your teen needs you the most, even if it’s just as a chauffer. Your presence is crucial–the boundaries are vital. Take heed from Lindsay and Paris and be a present parent–the sacrifice is well worth it.  

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Parents of kids with ADHD not to be mislead

Posted by Dr. Susan on July 21, 2007

A new study published in August’s Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, indicates that the symptoms of ADHD diminish as kids get older–regardless of treament. Since so many parents are resistent to give their children medication for ADHD, this research may seem to indicate that it is therefore not necessary to medicate your child if the symptoms are going to improve anyway.

 I’d like to caution you NOT to misinterpret the results in this way!

While some kids’ ADHDsymptoms (hyperactivity, attentional problems, impulsivity etc) may improve, not giving your child the proper medical or behavioral interventions could result in years of school and social failure. The potential depression, poor self-worth, anxiety, family stress and difficulty adjusting caused by these issues, whill not magically disappear even if the ADHD symptoms do.

It is therefor critical to offer kids treatments if they need them. Make sure you see reputable clinicians–ones that make an accurate diagnosis and are not likely over prescribe medication. This way you can be sure that you are offering your child the best possible chance at a bright future.

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‘Psychology Today’ magazine demeans women

Posted by Dr. Susan on July 6, 2007

I was asked to appear on FOXNEWS today to comment on an article in Psychology Today Magazine called “10 politically incorrect truths about human nature”. Let me begin by saying that declaring something ‘politically incorrect and the truth’, doesn’t actually make it factual. The article, written of course, by two men, whittles down  just about every single disappointing behavior of men into some kind of sexual drive that is outside of their control. For good measure, women are blamed for men’s midlife crises; for being sexually harrassed in the workplace (according to the authors, men aren’t sexually harrassing women, they’re just expressing normal drives of competiveness and sexuality). If women had only stayed home baking cookies, this never would have happened! In addition, we are told that male politicians have a natural drive to cheat on their wives–it’s not their fault! The authors feel that humans are naturally polygamous–if this was the case what would account for all the successful internet dating websites that promise the perfect mate. Even after divorce, people seek the next perfect relationship. In addition they believe that women benefit from the polygyny more than men (did I mention that the authors are men!) Of course there is the mandatory, yet cliche, “men prefer blondes”–regardless of all the artwork through the ages that belies this. Perhaps these authors haven’t considered that it’s the MEDIA that prefers blondes and that this is informing the choices of some closed minded men (like themselves). But just about most outrageous “truth” in this article is the one that says that suicde bombers are muslim because they can’t get a wife (they’re not high enough up on the hierarchy), so they’re sexually frustrated. This frustration is being expressed as violence and then the HUGE leap to terrorism. Okay, I think you need to read the article and feel your own outrage!

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Is divorce to blame for kids depression–No!

Posted by Dr. Susan on July 3, 2007

Many parents walk around feeling guilty about getting divorced because they believe that it will cause long term psycholgical damage to their children. And for years in my work with divorcing and divorced parents I have explained that it is not the divorce itself that can be damaging, but how you and your ex-partner choose to handle the divorce relative to your kids–particularly if you have sensitive children.

Now, a new study, published in the July issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, demonstrated that identical twins were equally likely to develop depression, whether or not their parents divorced–genetics is more powerful than the divorce.

The study suggests–and I strongly agree, as I’ve seen it clinically time and time again, that it is not the divorce that causes kids to become poorly behaved, alcoholic or troublemakers as so many other studies have suggested. But rather, living with parents who have these traits, modeled them and sometimes genetically passed down the gene for them, that causes these as well as the ultimate divorce.

The take home message–when you divorce, put your child first every single time. Don’t fight in front of your kids, don’t use your kids and always take the high road not matter what your ex is doing. That’s being a good parent.

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Mattel’s new website for parents of girls

Posted by Dr. Susan on July 1, 2007

Mattel, the creater of Barbie has a fledging website for parents called We Believe in Girls, designed to give parents a voice about raising girls in our complex, pressured world. And who better to raise awareness about girls and to support the parents of girls, than Mattel and of course, Barbie! Through the years Barbie has been the girl and the woman that has endgendered each of our daughters (and even ourselves) whether she was wishing she was a model, a mom, a doctor, a best friend, a girlfriend or a veterinarian, Barbie has allowed our daughters to express the full range of who they could possibly be. It is exciting to see Mattel supporting our daughters’ emotional growth through this new website. Parents need many places to voice their concerns and to find support in raising daughters, perhaps this will become a good resource for both of these.

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