In It For Health

Where health and psychology intersect

Posts Tagged ‘mothers’

Online gaming is good for families…really?

Posted by Dr. Susan on May 9, 2011

This new study suggests that when families ‘game’ together, their relationships improve. Ok, I suppose that could be true. If you play online games with your kids, it’s definitely better than NOT playing online with them, and rather just leaving them to online game with total strangers.

But do you really think that parents are playing online games with their kids?? The answer is NO! Either the parents are gaming alone (I see this all the time) and the kids are nagging them to get off the computer to come and throw a ball outside, or the kids/teens are online and would be mortified if their mom or (more likely) dad joined in. And of course, this doesn’t even include all the time kids are online while parents are working, running the home or dealing with the other kids. So the chance that kids and parents are bonding online is…well…let’s just politely say…unlikely!

So, while this study is interesting in theory, it truly holds no really life application. So, instead of making it your goal to game online with your child, the better goal is found in the old and boring traditions…eat a meal together, chat while you’re driving somewhere, clean the car together (pay them if you have to!), or drag out a board game. You’d be surprised how many BIG kids love Apples to Apples!

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Child-Obesity ads gone wild

Posted by Dr. Susan on May 6, 2011

There is a furor about Georgia’s child-obesity campaign which portrays overweight kids, with seriously depressed facial expressions, talking about how bleak their present life is and how bad their future will be, unless they lose weight.

Now, I’m all for shock-value if it gets the job done, but this ad is a problem. To begin, it give ammunition to other kids who bully, or are considering bullying an overweight child. From a kid’s perspective: “If you’re talking about all the negatives that you experience, then why can’t I?” It’s not a taboo subject anymore.

Next, the parents and educators who are not already working on helping overweight children won’t really be impacted by this–they know that this is what the kids look like already–it’s live in front of them! What they really need to see is overweight adults in the ads talking about what it was like to be an overweight kid and still be overweight–and then remind the viewer of the ads to take responsibility for helping the kids.

Using vulnerable kids–those in the ads and the those who will inadvertently become associated with the ads–creates an unfair playing field. The adults need to take responsibility for the problem and of course, the solution.

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Workshop for Moms of Infants

Posted by Dr. Susan on February 4, 2011

I’m going to be conducting a workshop for moms of infants beginning March, 2011 on Long Island. If you are interested, please click on this link. Thanks!

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The grim reality of spring break

Posted by Dr. Susan on April 3, 2010

It’s too bad that it takes a 17-year old with the prospect for a glowing future to remind us how dangerous spring break can be for high schoolers. When Ohio high school senior Matt James (headed for Notre Dame on a football scholarship), fell from a balcony to his death after drinking too much during spring break in Florida, we all stopped for 5 minutes to shake our heads and those of us with high school students were grateful that it wasn’t our kid.

But the thing is that unless you make the choice to supervise your teen on spring, winter and every other break it could just as easily be your kid! There is no specific type…most kids drink; many get drunk–they just don’t tell their parents. In fact, one national study (conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention) found that nearly 75% of high school students have had one or more alcoholic drinks in their life. That’s any kid–your kid or my kid!

Every teen’s life is worth saving, every teen has a glowing future and should have a chance to make better choices when their brain has developed and along with it, their judgment. Until then, it is the job of the adults–parents, teachers, chaperones, even hotel owners, to make sure that teens are well supervised and kept safe: even from themselves.

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TV contributes to toddler violence

Posted by Dr. Susan on November 2, 2009

A new study finds that toddlers who watch TV are more likely to be violent! This study controlled for MANY other factors, such as mom’s depression, spanking, and living in an unsafe neighborhood. As a parent it is critical that you be aware that the TV and other media (movies, internet, video games) are not benign influences on your child–especially at young ages.

Limit exposure, and most of all pay attention to ratings. However, even during otherwise appropriate shows, the commercials may not be wholesome enough for younger viewers. For example, on Nick, during the most wholeome ‘Full House’, tantalizing ads for the super-racy ‘Degrassi’ are being shown to young kids who shouldn’t yet know about sex, sexting, drugs and other teen topics, let alone be having them role-modeled on TV. They’re already being primed to watch these shows as young as they can nag you into letting them, so be ready!

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Less Stress for Back to School Success

Posted by Dr. Susan on August 24, 2009

the transition of going back to school can cause anxiety and be a bit scary for kids…and parents. Parents and kids can have less stress for back to school success by following the tips in this article: http://bit.ly/POPTg. Have a great start to the school year!

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Movie ratings really do count

Posted by Dr. Susan on June 11, 2009

When you’re taking kids or teens to the movies this summer, pay attention to the ratings. Sexual and violent content, as well as messages about people smoking, drinking and using drugs can impact negatively on a child for years to come. Read more about the importance of picking movies carefully, in my nationally syndicated column this month, A Teachable Moment.

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TV time in teens linked to depression…interesting

Posted by Dr. Susan on February 9, 2009

Does your child watch a lot of TV? If so, here’s yes ANOTHER compelling reason to make a change! This new study finds that the more TV teens watch (especially boys), the more likely they are to become depressed as young adults. The researchers theorize that watching TV isolates kids, which makes them less likely to interact with peers–having a strong social network innoculates one against depression; or play sports–physical activity has been shown to be as effective as antidepressants for mild to moderate depression.

However, you can’t suddenly tell your teen to stop watching TV, you need to set the rules when your child is young and stick with them all the way through, beginning with no TV in bedrooms!

What’s more–if YOU are depressed, the same rules apply to you: TV isn’t helping you feel better. So turn it  off and get out…talk to your friends and go for a walk. Even better…go for a walk with your friends!

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Teens think they are perfect, even if no-one else does (except their parents, of course!)

Posted by Dr. Susan on November 13, 2008

For many years now, I (and many other mental health professionals) have been telling parents that it is important to balance praise with real life! Not every picture your child paints is perfect; not every poem she writes is unbelievable, and he doesn’t always play the best game of soccer ever. Sometimes your child is less than perfect and needs to know this–it is part of growing up. It will help him learn to grow as a person. Now, here is the research to prove it. This study demonstrates that teens today have self-esteems that are out of whack with reality! Basically they have become too self confidence and have lost touch with the real-life abilities. How unpleasant for the rest of us that have to deal with them in the real world. So, parents…there is still time: teach your child and teen that it’s fine to be confident, but it’s NOT cool to be bossy, self-important, smug and obnoxious. No-one other than you will put up with it in the real world!

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REALLY underage drinking…

Posted by Dr. Susan on October 25, 2008

Some parents have come to accept that their child will experiment with alcohol–and even perhaps drugs–in college, or even the upper high school grades. They hope that it won’t be serious, but they are realistic in recognizing that very few teens abstain completely.  However, this powerful and important study demonstrates that kids who drink or use drugs before they are fifteen-years old, are at much higher risk for substance dependence, sexually transmitted diseases, dropping out of school or acquiring criminal records in adulthood. Also, please note that a full fifty-percent of these kids had NO prior behavior problems!

The take home message: drinking or drugs and teens not a good combination. Be clear about your message of disapproval. Research clearly shows that parents who give their kids a clear message that they will not tolerate drinking or drugs are more likely to have kids that don’t use–especially at a younger age.

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