The Child Mind BlogBrainstorm
Not About Charlie Sheen
March 4, 2011 New York Times
The Motherlode discusses how to help children living in unstable homes. Kids thrive on routine, and being taken away from a parent, even a bad parent, can be intensely upsetting. Children can become anxious or fearful, or develop behavioral problems. "We can't take away the pain, but we can help them manage it," says Dr. Alan Hilfer, the director of psychology at Maimonides Medical Center. "We can help them understand it, we can help with the coping skills, we can help them understand what has happened and what is likely to happen next so things aren't quite as out of control."
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Genetic Ties to PTSD
March 3, 2011 Psych Central
New research indicates that there may be a genetic link to post-traumatic stress disorder. This study has great potential to help victims of trauma, since there is evidence that treating people without PTSD actually interferes with their normal recovery process. Knowing of a genetic predisposition to PTSD could help doctors match people with the treatment that is most effective for them.
Click here to learn more about how children experience traumatic events.View Comments | Add Comment
Moderate Sleep Loss Impairs Children With ADHD
March 2, 2011 Science Daily
Loosing sleep significantly impairs the ability of kids with ADHD to remain attentive, according to new research. Children in the study were asked to stay up one hour later than usual each night for a week and then take a neurobehavioral test. Researchers found that neurobehavioral functioning deteriorated for most children, but it was only the kids with ADHD who reached a clinical level of inattention. The study's author, Reut Gruber, says the results show how important sleep is for children, and recommends that the educational system begin to prioritize sleep.
Click here to learn more about ADHD and neurobehavioral functioning.View Comments | Add Comment
Data Shows Many Parents Let Kids Drink at Home
March 1, 2011 Time
A new survey shows that nearly 30% of teens aged 12 to 14 who drink alcohol are given booze by their parents or other adult relatives. Time magazine reports on this statistic, and asks whether kids are harmed or helped by an early initiation to alcohol.
Click here for signs of substance abuse in teens.View Comments | Add Comment
Duerson's Suicide Renews Concussion Debate
March 1, 2011 ABC
The recent tragic suicide of Super Bowl veteran Dave Duerson has many wondering if he was another victim of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the trauma-induced degenerative disease that has affected many football players. Duerson himself apparently shared this suspicion, and requested to have his brain studied at the Boston University brain bank for NFL players. Doctors first discovered CTE through brain research, and they hope to one day diagnose the disease before it's full blown.
The article is accompanied by a video describing a recent study that found families tend to minimize the seriousness of childhood concussions.
Click here for CMI's primer on concussions.View Comments | Add Comment
Preschool Wardrobe Wars
Feb. 28, 2011 New York Times
Right around preschool many kids start wanting to dress themselves, and most parents enjoy it—at first. But many kids (and adults) have strong feelings about what they wear, and explaining why a tutu isn't appropriate for school can be surprisingly difficult. Here the Motherlode takes on the issue of picky dressers. Dr. Jim Taylor, a psychologist, explains that shapes, patterns and colors are fascinating to young children, and clothing obsessions are a natural part of learning about the world. Fortunately, the Motherlode has advice for struggling (or just plain embarrassed) parents: To avoid fighting, establish the "two outfit rule" and lay out two outfits in the morning for your child choose from.
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The Case for Letting Kids Play
Feb. 28, 2011 Chronicle of Higher Education
Researchers are up in arms over the loss of playtime in children's lives, arguing that there's a lot more at stake in unstructured downtime than reducing stress and building social competence. Too much instruction and too little fantasy play, they claim, also impedes development of both cognitive skills and the kind of self regulation psychologists call executive functions. The Chronicle of Higher Education explores the research in four major books on the subject.
Click here to learn more about the development of executive functioning in children.View Comments | Add Comment
Police to Send Warnings to Bullies—and Parents
Feb. 28, 2011 The Telegraph
Police in the Thames Valley region of Britain are taking a novel new approach to combatting cyberbullying: they are now personally intervening by sending Facebook messages to bullies—and letters to their parents. The messages will warn bullies that they are breaking the law and could face prosecution. Parents will be notified that their children may face serious consequences for their behavior online. By intervening the detectives hope to demonstrate the seriousness of cyberbullying, and prevent problem behavior from escalating.
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