The Child Mind BlogBrainstorm

  • When Kids Aren't Ready for Romance
    April 11, 2011 Chicago Tribune

    Today kids face a lot of pressure to grow up fast. But the reality is that puberty doesn't happen over night, and not all girls become "boy crazy" at the same age.  So what to do if your daughter isn't in the throes of Bieber Fever like all her friends? Although many parents worry that a teen's (or tween's) delayed interest in romance can actually be harmful to social development, according to the experts disinterest is actually fairly common. "If your kids are wanting to play board games or build forts outside, those are healthy behaviors," says Roni Cohen-Sandler, a clinical psychologist. "You should never discourage your daughter's activities just because some other girls are poring over magazines and gossiping about boys. It's not a race."

    Know More:  Tips for raising healthy, confident teens

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  • Synthetic Drugs Sending Thousands to Emergency Room
    April 8, 2011 The Salt Lake Tribune

    Synthetic drugs imitating marijuana and cocaine are being sold legally in some head shops for as little as $10. It comes as no surprise that American teens are experimenting with these substances; what is a surprise is the increasingly high number of synthetic drug users who end up in the emergency room. With side effect complaints ranging from labored breathing and rapid heartbeats to extreme paranoia, delusions, and even suicidal behavior, many are wondering why these apparently dangerous substances are so widely available. Mike Rozga, whose son tragically committed suicide while under the influence of synthetic pot, says, "These kids weren't looking for anything bad to happen. The truth is, they didn't know what they had gotten themselves into."

    Know More:  The dangerous, legal drug that is becoming popular

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  • Telling the Story of the 10 Plagues, Without Scaring the Kids
    April 8, 2011 The Jewish Daily Forward

    Rivers of blood, infestations, boils—the 10 plagues were scary stuff, and they certainly add drama to the Passover Seder. But from a child's perspective, the plagues might be a little too dramatic. CMI psychologist Clark Goldstein, PhD, gives tips on how to share the story in a child-friendly way that is both age appropriate and informative. "We don't need to get into every aspect of every detail if we think that will be distressing," Goldstein says.  "Emphasize the miracle, God's kindness [to the Israelites]. Sometimes things are not clear, but we'll have trust that God is doing what God does with a purpose."

    Know More:  Advice from Dr. Goldstein on what to do when kids are anxious

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  • Long-Term Ecstasy Use May Damage the Brain
    April 7, 2011 Web MD

    Long-term use of the drug ecstasy may put users at an increased risk of structural brain damage. Researchers found that the brain's hippocampus was smaller in ecstasy users, as was the overall proportion of gray matter. These findings confirm previous studies indicating a relationship between ecstasy and acute swelling and atrophy of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for long-term memory. Atrophy of the hippocampus is a hallmark for cognitive impairment diseases affecting older people, such as Alzheimer's disease.

    Know More:  Tips to keep kids out of trouble.

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  • NYC Schools Chancellor Cathie Black Resigns
    April 7, 2011 New York TImes

    Cathleen Black, the former magazine executive who was appointed chancellor of New York City schools, will be leaving her post after serving just three months. Black had no experience in education or public agencies, and was surrounded by controversy from the moment she was appointed by Mayor Bloomberg.  Despite her tumultuous tenure as schools chief, many are still surprised by her early resignation, which officials say came at the mayor's urging. Bloomberg has announced that Deputy Mayor Dennis Walcott will be replacing Black.

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  • Autism Fears, Measles Spike Among Somalis in Minnesota
    April 6, 2011 The Ledger

    A measles outbreak is hitting Minneapolis' large Somali population. The community has already been marked by an apparent rise in autism, and a growing number of Somali American parents have refused to vaccinate their children against measles, fearing that the vaccination will lead to autism. Andrew Wakefield, the author of the now-discredited study linking early childhood vaccines to autism, has been meeting with the Somali community in Minneapolis, and many worry that he is inciting vaccination fears. Wakefield's paper was retracted last year from the journal it was published in, and his name has been erased from the UK medical register. There is no scientific evidence linking vaccines to autism.

    Know More:  Autism, Vaccines, and the Wakefield Fraud.

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  • Missing Boy Highlights Autism's Wandering Tendency
    April 6, 2011 The Autism News

    Rescue workers in Quebec are looking for a three-year-old boy with autism who has been missing since Sunday. Adam Benhamma was last seen playing hide-and-seek with his sister near the Mille-Iles River, and police are now redirecting their search efforts to the river itself. Efforts to find the boy have been further complicated by the communication challenges facing rescuers. According to Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association, "With a child who is non-verbal like many children with autism, they don't respond when their name is called. A lot of kids won't even turn and look at you if they hear their name being called."

    Adam's disappearance reflects the disturbing tendency shown in many people with autism to wander away from safe locations, an impulse that is currently being studied by the Interactive Autism Network. IAN recently announced the launch of a new landmark survey to study the prevalence of wandering in the autism population. All families in the US autism community are encouraged to participate in the survey. For more information visit IAN's Elopement and Wandering Questionnaire.

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  • Talking to Kids About Divorce
    April 5, 2011 New York Times

    How do you explain some one else's divorce to your kids? Is an explanation even necessary? Although it's tempting to ignore—or put off—discussing difficult concepts like divorce with your kids, New York Times parenting blogger Lisa Belkin makes a good case for why you shouldn't. "Over the years I have seen bad news as a way to 'inoculate' my children," Belkin writes. "There were going to be setbacks and blindsides in their lives, I reasoned. Isn't it better to face those moments armed with the knowledge that everyone has bad times, but they get through?"

    Know More:  Building your child's resilience.

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  • Studies Find Little Evidence for Effectiveness of Autism Treatments
    April 4, 2011 Los Angeles Times

    A review of 10 years worth of studies published today in Pediatrics finds that many of the treatments used for autism, and problematic behaviors in children with autism, are not supported by solid evidence. The review found that there is evidence of the value of intensive behavioral therapy for very young children, who have shown improvement in social communication and language, but that most of the medications used to mitigate hyperactive or repetitive behaviors have not been proven effective. The drug secretin, which is sometimes prescribed to children with autism who have digestive problems, has not been shown to be helpful to them.

    Read more: What is working in autism treatment?

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  • Mom's Relationship Influences Adolescent Happiness
    April 4, 2011 Psych Central

    A new study finds that a mother's overall happiness with her relationship is more important to a child's well being than that of the father's. Not surprisingly, the happiest children were found to have two parents (with no distinction between biological or otherwise), no younger siblings, a relatively calm relationship with their parents, at least three meals shared with the family a week, and a mother  happy in her own relationship. The study also found that the overall relationship an adolescent had with his parents had more impact on his happiness than his relationship with his siblings.

    Read More: Don't Let a Child's Disorder Destroy Your Marriage.

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