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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Summer Fun: Limit Screen Time to Get Kids Outdoors

You may have noticed that childhood nowadays looks a little different than it used to. In a world full of technology, TV, and video games, it can be easy for kids to get wrapped up in screen time and forget about the outside world. And in fact, research shows that kids of this generation spend less time playing outdoors than their parents did, largely because of technology (1).

This commercial from Nature Valley highlights some of the differences between kids back in the day and kids now (2). 

Obviously, times are changing. But what are some of the downsides of children spending too much time with technology?

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Tips for Stepfamily Success

Approximately 40% of families with married parents and children in the United States are stepfamilies. These blended families are often formed in hope of new beginnings after a divorce or the death of a spouse. As 4 out of 10 of the marriages in the US are remarriages and about 75% of divorced people in the US will remarry, many children will live in stepfamilies before they reach adulthood.

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The Importance of Attachment

A large body of research has consistently supported the links between early security and insecurity in the child’s early relationships and future adaptive and maladaptive developmental outcomes (1).

Some of the key research findings on attachment are listed below:

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Keep Your Children Cool, Safe, and Hydrated this Summer!

Summer time is such an exciting time of year for most children. School is out, winter clothes are put away, and time can be spent exploring, having outdoor adventures, and building relationships with family and friends. If you want your children to learn to treasure the outdoors and gain all the benefits of nature-based play, it is important to plan for how to make these adventures as safe as possible for your kids. With the toasty temperatures outdoors, children, especially infants and toddlers under age 4, are at the highest risk for heat-related illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms of heat-related illness include dizziness, nausea, confusion, a fast pulse, fainting, headache, and either very hot or cold and clammy skin.

Tips for Preventing Heat-related Illness in Kids:

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Teaching Children the Importance of Sacrifice

In an article about helping children learn to sacrifice, author Duane E. Hiatt wrote begins by stating how infants are “self-absorbed, uninhibited, spontaneous, [and] sit in the center of their own universe surrounded by mirrors that reflect their cuteness.” While these characteristics are expected and even necessary for survival in an infant, these are not desirable attitudes to deal with in teenagers. What does Hiatt suggest to turn this attitude around when it is no longer necessary or helpful to you or your child?  He suggests that parents should actively help their children turn the “mirrors of self-importance, self-concern, and plain selfishness into windows to look out on and respond to the needs of others.” To assist our efforts as parents to encourage our children to look beyond themselves, Hiatt goes on to offer the following principles:

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The Why and How of Tummy Time

 

As you try your best to raise your little ones right, you’ve probably come across the phrase “tummy time.” While it sounds like just a cute catch phrase, tummy time is much more than that! In fact, research shows that babies need tummy time starting at day one (1).

While putting your baby to sleep on his back can help reduce the risk of SIDS, your baby needs to spend supervised time on his tummy every day in order to develop healthily (2). Current recommendations encourage playing with your baby on his or her tummy 2 to 3 times a day for short periods of time around 3-5 minutes at first (3). As your baby gets used to tummy time, you can gradually make those periods longer.

These recommendations are all fine and good, but with all the things you should do to help your child, why should tummy time be a priority?

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Abortion: A Woman’s Rights vs. Responsibilities

Throughout the past 100 years, women have gained an amazing amount of freedom. Women can now vote, be elected to public office, and get almost any job they can qualify for! These freedoms open up amazing opportunity for women all over the country.

But with the 1973 Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade, a new kind of freedom was given: the choice to abort a child.

And this choice is fairly common in the US today. According to research by the Guttmacher Institute, about 1 in 4 women will have an abortion by the age of 45 (1).

While women’s rights are hugely important, we must consider not just rights, but also responsibilities.

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Adjusting to Divorce

Though research has established the married mother-father family unit as the gold standard for insuring optimal outcomes in a child’s development, the percentage of married-parent families has significantly declined over the past 50+ years, while the proportion of divorced, cohabiting, and single-parent families has risen. While divorce affects many families in the US, the individuals most at risk for harm are children.  There are so many people around us experiencing divorce and marital separation so please take a look at these guidelines so that you can help your children (or help other divorcing parents help their children) adjust as healthily and as positively as they can to the divorce.

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Postpartum Depression in Moms and Dads

The birth of a baby can be a stressful time for both mom and dads, both physically and emotionally. Life is turned upside down it seems and there are so many new issues to deal with. Depression and other emotional struggles around pregnancy is a serious issue of health and can occur during pregnancy or after the baby is born. “Perinatal depression” is the term for emotional illness that happens sometime around pregnancy. Baby Blues is a term for the temporary feelings of stress, sadness, worry, and tiredness that many mothers and fathers feel after childbirth.

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

 

According to the Child Mind Institute, “mental health disorders are the most common diseases of childhood.”

 

However, all too often, the signs of mental illness are easily overlooked and misinterpreted. When parents don’t know what to look for, a mental disorder can go undiagnosed for years. 

Research shows that “of the 74.5 million children in the United States, an estimated 17.1 million [or 23%] have or have had a psychiatric disorder — more than the number of children with cancer, diabetes, and AIDS combined.” In honor of the month of May as Mental Health Awareness Month, here are a few signs that, when observed often, may be evidence that a child has a mental health condition.   

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