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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Beware of Media

In today’s technology-obsessed age, the average American sees, hears about or uses some form of media every single day. The term media commonly refers to mass communication through the use of newspapers, books, magazines, television, radio, film, video games, and Internet-enabled devices like computers, tablets, and cell phones. And in recent years, the media, especially visual media, are playing an increasing role in the lives of children, adolescents, and families in the United States.

How Often our Children Use Media

According to some research, the average child spends about 7.5 hours each day using media. More specifically, on a typical day 8 – 18 year olds spend approximately 4.39 hours viewing television, 2.31 hours listening to music, 1.29 hours using computers, and 1.13 hours playing video games. While print media, such as books or magazines, and movies are also consumed on a daily basis, the least amount of time is spent with these media.

With these statistics, it’s more important than ever for parents to become media literate and begin to monitor and limit all media their children are exposed to.

Dangers of Overexposure to Media

Research shows that excessive exposure to screens (television, tablets, smartphones, computers, and video game consoles), especially at early ages, is associated with the following:

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“The Talk” for Parents (Part 2)

If, “go ask your mother/father,” and “we’ll tell you when you’re older,” sounds familiar to you, you aren’t alone.  If they still didn’t tell you when you were older, they were vague, or you had one awkward conversation about the “birds and the bees,” you still aren’t alone.  It’s estimated over 40 percent of parents don’t talk to their children about sex (1).  When children and teens can’t talk to their parents, they rely on other sources for information, and not all of it is right, or even remotely sound.   

When I was younger, a friend of mine thought if she kissed a boy, she would get pregnant.  Another childhood friend thought she could get pregnant just by holding hands with a boy; and yet another friend thought she was dying when she had her first menstrual cycle. With all of these misguided friends, can you imagine how I lost, confused and even paranoid I would have been as a child if my parents hadn’t taken the time to talk to me about sex?

Usually when you hear the phrase “The Talk”, you already know what it means. If you’re like many parents, just hearing the phrase might make you a little squeamish and want to change the subject. But why? Sex is a common and healthy aspect of every day life. After all, without sex, there’d be no you, no me and none of our children. Therefore it’s high time we get rid of the stigma about talking to our children about sex because without a doubt, it you are too squeamish to talk to your own children about sex, there are plenty of pop songs, TV shows, books, teachers, classmates and even strangers who jump at the opportunity to tell your child everything they know about not-so dirty deed.

So today parents, you are getting THE TALK about “the talk.”

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“The Talk” for Parents (Part 1)

 

I came home from school one day with a slip of paper for my mom or dad to sign.  I handed it to her and asked what it was for. Mom told me it wasn’t a bad thing, but I may want to talk about it after school that day.

The slip extended an invitation for a parent or guardian to attend.  Mom checked the date and told me she couldn’t make it, but grandma could.  I could tell it was important to my family because grandma lived over an hour away.

The day came.  I remember brief diagrams, the guest kept repeating new words, and a little box given to every girl.  After school, my mother and grandmother tentatively brought it up with me, but I wasn’t really curious about it.  By the time I was actually curious enough to ask, I was much older. The talks I had with my parents were bumpy as I tried to connect the dots, bit by bit, but they were there for me.

A Harvard study estimates over 40 percent of parents (1) don’t talk to their children about sex and in most cases, it’s after their children have already become sexually active.

If we aren’t talking to our children about sex, who is?

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Alcohol Awareness Month

April is a time of rebirth.  It’s a reminder that summer isn’t far away and that spring is still rejuvenating the world.  For high school students, it’s a month closer to another summer vacation, but for some it’s a step closer to an exciting time, graduating high school.

Senior students are excited about graduating and nervous about important homework.  As the end of the school year approaches, for many high school seniors this time of year is party season–a time for them to unwind and have fun with friends they may not see again for a long time after graduation.

Unfortunately at many of these parties, alcohol shows up and if not handled with respect and maturity, alcohol can turn an innocent get-together into a potentially dangerous situation very quickly.

Dangers of Alcohol Use

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When Children Lie

My son and a friend of his were playing in our backyard one day.  Suddenly, the two of them threw open the back door and came racing up to me, yelling at each other, “Did not!”  “Did too!”  My son’s friend, Michael, stated very adamantly, “Joey said the ‘s’ word!”  Joey looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “No I didn’t! I promise I didn’t!”  They continued to argue as I watched them and listened to them, trying to decide which of the two was lying.

Lying is something that almost every child will do, whether to get attention, gain power, or to get out of trouble. 

Very young children do not recognize that lying is wrong and will make up pretend stories and situations, often just for fun.  As they come to understand that lying is wrong, they will still lie, usually to avoid punishment for a wrongdoing.  This is understandable.  No one wants to be punished and even as adults it is difficult to tell the truth when we are caught doing something we shouldn’t.  There are a few important things to remember about lying and teaching our children to tell the truth:

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Down Syndrome: Understanding Differences #TrisomyAwarenessMonth

As a teenager, I was always self-conscious about my unusually hairy arms. To make matters worse, one day when I was babysitting, a little girl asked me, “Why are your arms so hairy?”

The question took me off guard at first. Most people my age knew better than to point out such differences. But this child simply wanted to know, “Why are you different?”

I tried to explain to her that my mom had hairy arms, her mom did too, and so forth. I’m not sure the answer satisfied her, but she didn’t ask again.

Children in particular can have a hard time understanding why some people are different from them. This is even more evident when those differences are physical. If someone looks or talks differently, your child may want to understand why.

In honor of Trisomy Awareness Month, we want to help you and your children understand some of the differences about those with Down syndrome, the most commonly known trisomy condition, Trisomy 21.

Then when your kids want to know, “Why are they so different?” you can help them understand that people with Down syndrome aren’t really that different after all.

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Marriage is a “Benefit to Society”

The establishment of marriage is no longer an unquestioned, fundamental part of society. Many regard marriage only as a temporary agreement for the satisfaction of adults; others question the value of marriage altogether. Still, in a study from Rutledge University called “The National Marriage Study,” polls of high school seniors from across the U.S. showed that a happy marriage was their top goal for the future (2009). In the realm of psychotherapy, marriage is a basic topic for study, because of its involvement in most patients’s lives. Sylvia R. Karasu, M.D., asserts that there are three general perspectives when it comes to marriage: psychodynamic, relational, and institutional. The psychodynamic approach examines the conscious and unconscious motives, fears, and ideas that influence a marriage. The relational approach focuses on maintaining marriage as a personal function. Thirdly, the institutional approach examines how marriage encircles public and private relationships that serves an irreplaceable function in human lives.

“Marriage as an institution then implies certain obligations and grants rights and privileges. It becomes something that is as much a benefit to society as it is to the individual, and this view raises the question of whether marriage as an institution is terminable,” says Karasu.

How Marriage is a “Benefit to Society”

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Helping Your Preschooler Love to Read

 

As parents and child educators, we understand that reading is important for children. Early reading and comprehension skills are linked to later success in adult life. Children who have plenty of experiences with books and reading before kindergarten are more likely to be successful readers. But even some of these children struggle with reading. One five-year-old I know is bright and a quick-learner, but he views reading as a chore that doesn’t seem fun at all.

If reading is so essential to our children’s success, what can we do as parents to help our children not only be successful readers but also to really enjoy reading?

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Discipline: Knowing the Facts

Discipline is never the fun part of parenting. In fact, many parents dread the moment when they’ll need to discipline their child in hopes of teaching him or her to behave in a better manner. Oftentimes, parents are influenced on discipline by their culture, society, friends and family. Parents look to who they know and what worked for others. However, it is very important that parents look to childlife experts who dedicate their lives, time and money to understanding children and how it is that we can all help them grow and succeed in life. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that not all childlife experts agree on the role of various disciplinary methods.

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Child Nutrition: Dividing the Responsibility between You and Your Child

Trying to keep your children eating a balanced and nutritious diet can start to feel like a battle sometimes! Around age 1 ½ they might learn the power of saying “no”, and especially enjoy practicing this new-found power at the dinner table. Sometimes it just seems easier to let them have another cookie instead of their apple to avoid a tantrum, right? Many parents find themselves continuously having to use bribes to get their children to eat some of their vegetables. Others attempt other bribing methods like not letting a child leave the table until their vegetables are eaten, which often ends up with everyone feeling exhausted and frustrated.

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