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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How to Talk to Your Kids about Tragedies in the World

Whether it’s the recent shootings in Las Vegas, Texas, or Florida, or natural disasters like the California wildfires and Hurricane Irma, there are some troubling things going on in the world today. These and other tragedies in the world can be really hard for a child to digest. In fact, they can even “cause short- and long-term effects on the psychological functioning, emotional adjustment, health, and developmental trajectory of children” if left unaddressed (1).

When these kinds of tragedies come up, how can we help our kids cope? Research provides the following recommendations (2)(3): (more…)

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Emotion Coaching

We often spend a lot of effort teaching our children about a myriad of life and behavior skills: how to dress properly, how to use appropriate manners, how to read, to be healthy, to be active, develop their talents, to get their homework done on time, etc. According to John Gottman, Ph.D., one of the most influential therapists in America, children also need to be taught to understand their emotions, and to accept and manage them appropriately. The parental strategy of emotion coaching that Gottman developed has been since backed up by years of research and the experience of hundreds of parents. Perhaps you have heard about emotion coaching before.

Some main ideas behind emotion coaching are: (more…)

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3 Ways to Calm a Fussy Baby

Your little baby is crying for the zillionth time today, and you’re not sure what to do. It seems like whatever you try just isn’t working!

While you won’t always be able to calm your fussy baby, it’s important to try. Research shows that responding to your infant’s cries is key to building a secure attachment (1).

Here are a few things you can try, along with their limitations. Ultimately, figure out what works best for you and your baby!

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3 Benefits of Family Routines and Rituals

I don’t know when it became a part of everyday life, but somehow it did. It happened one day, maybe on accident, but then it happened again. Soon it became a pattern.

At the end of each day when we both were home from work and school, my spouse and I walked to the mailbox together to check the mail.

It was a simple little thing, something that didn’t take much time or effort. But somehow I came to look forward to those little walks together, chatting casually about our days and hoping for something exciting in the mailbox. This little daily routine brought us closer together as a couple and gave us a sense of stability.

While you may not walk to the mailbox together, every family has their own set of routines and rituals. What do these family rituals and routines look like, and how can they help your family?

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Book Review: The Whole-Brain Child

 

It’s a familiar scene. A young child at the mall, tired and overwhelmed, begins to scream and throw a tantrum, much to their parents’ humiliation and frustration. When this occurs, there might seem to be no logical reason for the continued lashing-out of the emotionally-charged little one. A parent’s diligent efforts to calm their child down are often met with nothing else but further explosions.

Because a child’s brain will not completely develop until their early twenties, it is no wonder that he struggles to handle a situation like an adult. That is not to say, however, that there are not things parents can do to assist in the development of their child’s brain and self-control skills. One of the most influential books in understanding how to work with children through their problem behaviors is The Whole Brain Child, written by neuropsychiatrist, Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., and psychotherapist, Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. From their real experiences in raising their own children, Siegel and Bryson offer an entertaining, practical guide and relatable counsel on dealing with such tricky situations, all from a basis on brain science.

The following are three of the twelve guidelines given in The Whole Brain Child, Connect and Redirect”, “Name it to Tame it”, and “Engage Don’t Enrage”:  

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Adoption: Teens Need Families, No Matter What

 

I have to admit that I didn’t fully appreciate my parents when I was a teen. It wasn’t until moving out of the house for the first time that I realized just how much I really needed them! When I burned French toast and set off the fire alarm, I called home. When I had roommate issues, I called home. When work or school seemed overwhelming, I called home. Suddenly, my parents were more valuable than ever.

But what I didn’t realize is how blessed I was to have them as a teenager. My parents supported me in school and extracurriculars. My mom stayed up talking with me about my emotional struggles. My dad helped me prep and practice debate cases. They were just there for me.

Unfortunately, so many teenagers today don’t have parents to rely on. They don’t have a place to call home, let alone someone they can call when times get tough.

Thousands of teenagers across the nation need homes, and maybe you can be the one to help!

Teens Need Families

According to data from the Children’s Bureau, in 2015, there were 671,000 kids in the foster care system. In that same year, only 53,500 of them were adopted (1). That means that just over 92% of kids in foster care didn’t get to end up with a permanent family that year (2).

Not having a place to call home, not having a mom and a dad, can be especially hard for teens. And unfortunately, adoptive families are often less likely to take on a teenager.

You may be thinking, “Well that’s really sad, but once they’re that old, hasn’t the damage already been done?” While many teens do have difficulties because of their backgrounds, they still benefit from having a permanent family. According to AdoptUsKids, “Older youth who are adopted from foster care are more likely to finish high school, go to college, and be more emotionally secure than their peers . . . without a permanent family” (3). The saying “better late than never” really is true!

If you think you may be able to open your homes and your hearts by adopting a teenager, here are some things to keep in mind.

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3 Keys to Success in Your Family Finances

As a young and single adult, I was pretty careful with my money. For the most part, I only bought things I needed, occasionally splurging for a frozen yogurt trip with the roommates. But I still took comfort in the fact that the money in my bank account was mine to use how I pleased.

But when I got engaged, I started to think about finances a little differently. All of a sudden, it wasn’t going to be my money anymore! My financial decisions didn’t just affect me, but they also affected my future spouse and children. And now I would have a partner, someone I needed to collaborate with for financial decisions.

It turns out that I wasn’t alone in the need to change my mindset. Finances can be stressful for a lot of couples! Among newlywed couples, debt brought into marriage is one of the biggest stressors they face (1). And one survey by SunTrust Banks found that money is the top cause of relationship stress for couples (2).

If couples aren’t careful, this stress can make a marriage fall apart. According to a survey by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, money is the third leading cause of divorce, accounting for just over 20% of divorces (3).

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Do You Hug Your Child Enough?

As a kid, my family gave lots of hugs — hugs to say goodbye, hugs to say hello, hugs to give comfort, or hugs just because. One of my best friends, on the other hand, grew up in a family that rarely if ever gave hugs. They still loved each other, but they just weren’t “huggy.”

I’m not saying that one family culture is better than the other. We all have different family dynamics, and that’s okay! But whatever your family culture, research shows that every family can benefit from providing plenty of parental love and affection.

This is especially true when it comes to hugging. Here are just a few of the ways hugs can help your children.

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National Children’s Dental Health Month

Despite the fact that tooth decay is almost entirely preventable, it is the most common chronic disease in children.

Untreated dental disease can compromise a child’s ability to eat well, sleep well, and function well at home and at school. Of course, children need their teeth to eat properly, talk, smile, and feel good about themselves. However, a child with cavities may have difficulty eating, smiling, and may even have problems paying attention and learning at school because of the discomfort and insecurity associated with decaying teeth.

According to the American Dental Association,

  • 20% of children aged 5-11 have at least one untreated cavity, and
  • 13% of adolescents aged 12-19 have at least one untreated cavity.

Unless tooth decay is taken care of early on with appropriate treatment and preventative measures, tooth decay can become irreversible and even lead to infection of the teeth and gums and tooth loss. 

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Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month – Protecting our Teens

Much of this article is based on Dr. Jill Murray’s book, But I Love Him: Protecting Your Teen Daughter from Controlling, Abusive Dating Relationships. For more information,reference her book or the other resources listed at the end of the article.

Today’s romance novels and chick flicks are steamier than ever, making teen girls everywhere sigh over the perfect guy and the perfect relationship. Unfortunately, these relationships may not be the kind of thing we want our daughters to aim for.

In Stephanie Meyer’s popular novel Twilight (1), the main character Bella gets into an obsessive and strange relationship with a vampire named Edward. In one particular scene, for instance, he calmly explains: “I like watching you sleep” followed by “I can’t ever lose control of you”… as if that’s totally normal behavior for a man in love.

If this is the kind of thing that our teenage girls are drooling over, it’s no wonder that so many teens get caught up in abusive dating relationships. Thankfully, as parents there is much we can do to protect our daughters (and sons) from teen dating violence.

(more…)

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