In It For Health

Where health and psychology intersect

Archive for February, 2008

Leap Day

Posted by Dr. Susan on February 29, 2008

Today is February 29, leap day. In reality it’s no different than any other day–and will come and go just the same. But perhaps you can make something special of your leap day–if not for yourself then at least for the child in your life. Kids love Special, they thrive on it. My 10-year old got her braces off first thing this morning. It was a surprise–we didn’t know they were going to be taken off! I told her it was her leap-day gift. She couldn’t have been more thrilled. The orthodontist was tickled as well to have given her the gift. She went off to school with a big smile on her face. A big braceless smile.  

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Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Posted by Dr. Susan on February 27, 2008

February 24-March 1 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. It is a time for those who struggle with ED’s to take stock of their struggles and renew their efforts towards physical and emotional health, recognizing that every success in such a war, no matter how small is hard won and one of which to be proud.

It is also a time for observers to recognize that ED’s are not a choice–a wishful desire to be thin. I hear girls, women and even men comment “I wish I could catch Anorexia for a little while so I could lose some weight”. ED’s are a disease of body image distortion, of loss of control and of an inability to nurture your body against even the knowledge that you may be killilng yourself.

Awareness is just the beginning. We need more research, more support and more high quality treatment for those with eating disorders. Not just for girls and women. For boys and men too.

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The Choking Game–more like a lethal drug than a game

Posted by Dr. Susan on February 25, 2008

A new government survey is offering much needed attentionto ‘The Choking Game”, an activity during which children and teens strangle themselves just short of death in order to achieve a ‘high’. Some however deprive themselves of oxygen enough to cause brain damage. Some die. All types of children try the Choking Game, none is immune–not even your child. And although it isn’t as prevalent as alcohol or drug use, it can be lethal the first time tried. The Choking Game is NOT a suicide attempt. Look for warning signs including talk about the game, bloodshot eyes, headaches, marks on the neck, ropes, belts, bungee cords and other unexplained strings around and tied to furniture, doorknobs. For more information go to GASP (Games Adolescents Shouldn’t Play).

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mixed messages

Posted by Dr. Susan on February 20, 2008

President’s week in the northeast U.S. is a time to flee if you can–it’s freezing! So this week I’m happy to say, my husband, kids and I have headed south to a warmer climate, blue skies and even bluer waters. One of my favorite parts of vacation is people watching. How about the father, meticulously spraying his, let’s say 10-year old, with #50 sunscreen, right down to the toes, while simultaneously blowing secondhand smoke in the child’s face from the big ‘ole cigar that he was clutching in his free hand–the new spray sunblock makes it conveniently easy to do both at once! How’s that for a mixed message…I’ll make sure you avoid getting one type of cancer while giving you another. Parenting can be complicated…

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Posted by Dr. Susan on February 13, 2008

Valentine’s can be a beautiful day. But if it didn’t turn out exactly the way you wanted it to last year, you might not be looking forward to it this time around! So here’s the deal. As with everything in your life, don’t leave it to chance. If you have something specific in mind, plan it, ask for it and make it happen. Your life and each day in it will only turn out the way you want it to if you make it happen that way! So don’t be shy. And it doesn’t even matter if you have a partner in your life. V-Day is about love, which you can define in any way you like–child love, pet love, family love, friendship love. Make this a day that works for you and for those in your life that you love! You’ll feel great and so will those around you. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Women’s Leadership

Posted by Dr. Susan on February 11, 2008

This weekend I was a speaker at an incredibly powerful leadership conference for women called Womensphere. It was held in NYC and brought women in all stages of their careers together, from those in business school to those at the pinnacle of incredibly powerful and impressive careers. I learned about the conference from Robin Daas, the co-creater of Heart of Gold Girls, an inspiring and empowering new website for teenage girls, for which I serve as an expert advisor.  The panel on which I sat concerned personal leadership and work-life balance. I spoke with a group of bright, accomplished and motivated women, to a crowd of about 100 of the same! The rest of the day was just as inspirational and intellectually stimulating. Although, I was a decided minority as a non-banker, non lawyer, it didn’t matter. Each woman their learned from and taught and supported each other. All in all it was a wonderful day.

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Computer time

Posted by Dr. Susan on February 4, 2008

I was recently asked to review Jumpstart World–learning software for the early elementary set. My kids are all to old for Jumpstart World now, but they grew up on Jumpstart software–they and we loved it for what all that it taught them and that it was so much fun. So I jumped (pun intended!) at the opportunity to take a look at this software.

In addition to reviewing it myself through the eyes of a mom and a child psychologist, I also gave it to my favorite six-year old to use.

Neither of us were disappointed! Knowledge Adventure (the creators of Jumpstart World) continue to please–both cognitively and just as important, with fun, fun, fun!

Through my psychologist-mom eyes, what I am particularly impressed with is the ability for World to challenge kids and really stretch their brains to learn new skills while at the same time make them feel that they are having fun.

Sit with your child and see for yourself! And remember, even the best computer games are no subsitute for spending real time with you, with friends, or outside.

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