Scribit Veritas

Protecting the Child, Preserving the Family, and Honoring Life

Welcome to the Blog page of the American College of Pediatricians.  Each issue of the Blog is intended to assist parents, encourage children, and enrich the family.  Read our most recent issue below, and scroll to the bottom of this page to read earlier issues.

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Overpopulation: Too Many Kids, or Not Enough?

Many scientists and concerned citizens around the globe are worried about the economy, the environment, and more. While they all seem to have different ideas about solutions, a lot of people point to what they feel is the problem: too many kids.

Overpopulation

This worry about overpopulation was kickstarted back in 1968 with Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb. But he didn’t come up with this concern on his own! Way back in 1798, Thomas Malthus wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population, proposing the idea that limited resources can only sustain so much. And Ehrlich said we were getting dangerously close to maxing out those limited resources.  

While overpopulation was a big concern back in the day, according to the Pew Research Center, Americans are even more worried about it now than they were then. Today, 59% of Americans and even more scientists think that the growing population is going to “strain the planet’s natural resources.”1

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Holiday Resources for Needy Families

In 2016 there were 40.6 million people in poverty, and 15 million of those people were children.

Most of these children have parents who work, but low wages and unstable employment leave their families struggling to make ends meet throughout the year, and especially during the holiday season. Thankfully, there are many government and non-profit agencies and programs across the United States that offer special assistance to low-income families desiring to celebrate this special time of year. If you are a parent who lacks the financial resources to celebrate properly with your children, or you know someone who is, please take a look at the resources below.

  • Toys for Tots: Run by the Marine Corps, Toys for Tots is a program that helps low income and poverty stricken families by providing children with free toys. You can email, mtftf@toysfortots.org for more information.
  • Salvation Army
    • They sometimes provide needy families with groceries and sometimes even Christmas dinner.
    • They also operate a program called Angel Tree, a donation program in which new, wrapped presents are provided to children from families living in poverty as well as those in a financial crisis.
    • Coats for Kids is another Salvation Army program that can provide free coats for children whose family can’t afford them.
  • SNAP, commonly referred to as Food Stamps, is a government program for low income families. The application for SNAP also includes an application for Medicaid, cell phone assistance, Temporary (Cash) Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and LIHEAP.
  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a government program which helps low-income households with their home energy bills.
  • WIC is a program for women, infants and children with little to no income and thus are found to be at nutritional risk. It helps with groceries and infant formula. Working moms can even be provided with breast pumps at certain locations.
  • Volunteers of America’s “Adopt A Family” program is a holiday giving program designed to help low-income families, seniors and veterans celebrate the holiday season by connecting them with local businesses, organization and individuals who “adopt” them and personally deliver Christmas gifts.

By no means is this an exhaustive list of all the resources out there, locally or nationally, for needy children and families. If you need help, don’t be afraid or ashamed to reach out to organizations in your community. Check local thrift stores and clothing closets as they sometimes offer free vouchers for families in need or at least offer clothes and toys at discount prices. Even if they don’t have the resources or the funds to help you, they can possibly connect you with an organization that does.

For more information on getting the help you need this holiday season (or throughout the year), please take a look at the resources below.

Image source: http://www.dallasisd.org/Page/37820

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Getting Enough Sleep for You and Your Child

Have you ever heard the saying, “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”? It is well established through research that much of our family’s well-being and success depends on getting a decent amount of shut-eye every night.

How much Sleep Do We Need?

From the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASP):

  • Infants age 4 to 12 month need 12-16 hours a day, including naps
  • Toddlers age 1-2 …………………….11-14 hours of sleep a day, including naps
  • Children age 3-5 …………………….10-13 hours a day, including naps
  • Children age 6-12…………………… 9-10 hours
  • Teenagers 13-18 ……………………. 8-10 hours a day,
  • Adults ……………………………….7 or more hours a day, varying upon the individual

According to the AASP, 25-50% of preschool children do not get enough sleep and lack of regular bedtime and insufficient sleep in young children leads to problems with cognitive function, behavior, hyperactivity, being overweight or obese, and increases the likelihood of needing special education.

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3 Ways to Help Your Kids Give Back on #GivingTuesday

As a young child, I loved Thanksgiving and Christmas. To me, both these holidays meant lots of getting: getting yummy food and getting presents. But over time, my focus shifted from getting to giving.

How can you help your kids learn the importance of giving during this holiday season? Here are a few ideas to help you celebrate the National Day of Giving (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) and teach your kids to give back.

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Giving Thanks This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving really is a wonderful time of year, full of family and feasting and fun. From the turkey to the homemade rolls to the pumpkin pie, my stomach always comes away happy!

While I love having an excuse to eat my fill of delicious food, Thanksgiving should be about more than just turkey and pie. It can serve as a beautiful reminder of the importance of gratitude, both for us individually and for our families.

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3 Ways to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes for You and Your Kids

Checking blood sugar, counting carbs, injecting shots of insulin — all this and more are just another part of living with diabetes.

And it’s not just a few people who have to constantly worry about keeping their blood sugar levels just right. In fact, over 30 million people in the US have diabetes, or about 1 in 10 Americans. Not only this, but “another 84 million adults in the United States are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.” (1)

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes both have genetic factors involved, but type 2 diabetes can actually be prevented. This November is National Diabetes Month, the perfect time to learn how you and your kids can minimize your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Here are a few places to start.

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4 Easy Steps to Survive the Transition to Parenthood

For many couples, becoming a parent is a dream come true! But some aspects of parenthood may seem like a nightmare, especially at first.

With the birth of a new baby, it’s not just other children that struggle. Devoting so much time and attention to a new little one can leave a husband or wife thinking, “But what about me?” In fact, in one study, ⅔ of couples showed a significant decrease in marital satisfaction and an increase in conflict after their first baby was born. (1)

Unfortunately, when your marriage suffers, it affects much more than just you and your spouse. Research shows that an unhappy marriage harms your baby too! (2) So as marriage expert Dr. John Gottman puts it, “The greatest gift you can give your baby is a happy and strong relationship between the two of you.” (2)

How can you keep your marriage healthy and strong during the transition to parenthood, for you and your little one? Here are a few simple steps that may help.

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The Power of Saying “Yes” to Your Child

Ever feel like sometimes you find yourself telling your children “no” a lot?

The habit of making “no” your automatic response sometimes just seems easier, because a child’s requests might seem likely to cause more of a mess, stress, or complications to deal with.

A clarifying new outlook can be found from taking the challenge to try to say “yes” to your children whenever possible.

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Stressed and Depressed (pt. 2): What Parents can do to Reverse the Teen Trend

Research shows that teens are now more stressed than adults and are overdosing on drugs and committing suicide at higher rates. In Part 1: How American Teens are Hurting Themselves, we saw from a pediatrician’s perspective how stressed and depressed teens are abusing drugs and alcohol, committing suicide and even finding new ways–like extreme “fad” diets and “salt and ice” burns–to intentionally hurt themselves, to somehow dull the pain.

By teaching our teens healthy living and what to do when they feel overwhelmed, tired, angry, depressed or anxious, parents can help prevent teen depression, mitigate symptoms and empower their teens to better manage stress and their emotions.

If your teen is stressed or depressed, here are some practical things you can do to help:

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Stressed and Depressed (pt. 1): How American Teens are Hurting Themselves

American teens are stressed and depressed. As a pediatrician, I see the suicide attempts, the overdoses, and all the new methods that teens are finding to intentionally hurt themselves—to somehow dull the pain.

It’s getting worse. According to recent results from the Stress in America Study, teens are now more stressed out than adults:

  • 40% feel irritable or angry
  • 36% feel nervous or anxious
  • 31% felt overwhelmed due to stress in the past month
  • 36% feel fatigued or tired, and
  • Almost 30% feel depressed or sad

I’m not surprised. Here’s what teen stress and depression look like in my ER, and what parents can do to help:

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