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05/13/2010
IconWhen I was a child in school, my parents were called in each and every year to have a conference with the principal about my inattention, underachievement, and disruption of the class because I talked too much - all the things that would have me doused in Ritalin today.I get way too many calls from mothers that their local school is threatening to drug their child (usually a son) with Ritalin to cure his ADHD, and thereby control his behavior.' I always tell them:' NO.' There are numerous reasons why children (and especially boys) won't sit still and won't pay attention.' Sometimes they're bored, sometimes there is so much turmoil at home that they're acting out, and sometimes they just have so much energy that they can't sit still.' Schools have virtually thrown out recess breaks and physical education.' Sometimes, too, they're just the sort of kids who need more one-on-one attention in order to keep focused.' Of course, there's also the possibility that there are other problems.There's an important (and not surprising to me) piece of news published online in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry :' that stimulant drugs like Ritalin that are used to treat ADHD do not improve children's symptoms in the long term.The latest report tracked almost 500 children for eight years, and found that those still taking stimulant medication fared no better in the reduction of symptoms such as inattention and hyperactivity or in social functioning than those who had not taken medication.' The difference was clear in less than two years.Behavioral treatments are going to have a much bigger benefit in the long term.' It's easy to find a doctor who will prescribe Ritalin.' However, it takes some time to find a doctor experienced in behavioral intervention, and for many "too busy" folks, popping a pill seems easier and more expedient than ongoing behavioral techniques that will require their time and energies to learn and utilize at home.Here in Los Angeles, we have The Drake Institute , which is expert in this area.' These ongoing interventions are costly, and not all insurance will cover them, which is, indeed, a problem.I remember reading on the air an email from a grandfather whose grandson was the child of a two-career household.' The grandfather was retired.' He found out they were going to "Ritalin-ize" his grandson, and immediately took over.' He homeschooled this child and spent the entire day combining school work with structured play and discipline'' The child blossomed.' He wrote: "I sometimes think that it is not the child who has attention-deficit problems, but the parents who give the child a deficit of attention." While that may be true in a lot of cases, there are still those children whose impulse control and thinking processes need special attention.' Find a good behavioral therapist with the experience to make a difference, and realize that you, as a parent, will have to spend the time to understand, learn and help your child mature in a healthy and productive way.' Stop with the popping of potent pills as a first and last resort.....please. More >>

Tags: ChildrenFamilyFamily/Relationships - ChildrenFamily/Relationships - FamilyHealthParentingRelationshipsRelatives
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Tags: Family/Relationships - TeensHealthMother's DayMotherhood-FatherhoodSexSexualitySocial IssuesTeensValues
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05/13/2010
IconWhen I was in my first year of college, I ate and ate and ate...especially at breakfast.' There was an unlimited supply of raisin toast, and that was the trough at which I fed.' I gained a good ten pounds.' This was a rebound from my anorexic last year of high school, when all sorts of stresses led me to find an answer to no sense of control in self-starvation.' The "plumpy" time was short-lived; however, as I became very active, and the rebelliousness was no longer necessary, as I was out of the home and on my own.Since then, I've always been thin, but thin is neither healthy nor particularly womanly.' I've been working out six ways from Sunday, and I am a petite hardbody at 62, and proud of it, even if the discipline sometimes annoys me.I do not watch reality shows.' I know of them, but I just can't imagine how any rational person can consider these highly-produced dramas, with people pushed to bring out the worst in themselves as entertainment.' Yuck.I just read that FOX has yet another so-called reality program in the works.' FOX is teaming up with "The Bachelor" producer for a new dating-competition series that casts fat people.' The series, titled "More to Love," is billed as "the first dating show for the rest of us," versus the sexy babes and good-looking bachelors that we usually see on these shows.' The show is considered "controversial," because there is some argument the viewers don't want to watch anyone other than "pretty people" do anything.The producer says, "We want to send the message that you can be the size you are and still be lovable.' We aren't going to 'thin' these girls down so they can find love - that's a backwards message." I have my concerns.' This is the network that aired such shows as "My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance." I worry that, in order to get attention, overweight types might be exploited for the "freak" attraction element.' I worry that emotions are going to run higher and deeper, because these folks already have sensitivities and have likely experienced rejection in public, and public display (even though it's voluntary and in pursuit of their '15 minutes of fame') could hurt people.' The "pretty people" shows have contestants used to acceptance and calls from agents for other "pretty people" opportunities.'I'm hoping this doesn't get set up as a circus sideshow, which I think these shows are, even for the thin types.' Viewers are not looking for true love to occur - they're waiting for the train wreck, the car crash, the suicide jump, as embarrassed and hurt people display their pain, and potentially, their rage.I know some of you might say, "It's about time that the typical American man and woman (who are, by the way, overweight and out-of-shape) get to be treated on TV like anyone else." Okay.' I get it, but, my friends, this is ENTERTAINMENT, not a psychotherapeutically romantic venture.First, we saw on TV the pain and hurt of "pretty" types.' Now we'll get pain and embarrassment for overweight types.' Frankly, I find that reality programming is there because it is inexpensive to do, and because the population seems to have an inexhaustible appetite for watching people get emotionally and/or physically splattered.'I thought those days in the Roman Colosseum were over, but I guess base nature doesn't change. More >>

Tags: HealthInternet-MediaInternet/MediaReality TVStop Whining Start LivingStop Whining, Start Living
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05/13/2010
IconWhen I brought our one child into the universe, I pushed hard for 12 hours, but he must have been holding on for dear life, because I ended up having a C-section.' I was a bit bummed that I couldn't just pop him out in 20 minutes like the 22 year old down the hall - humphff!They had to give me morphine so, of course, I was out like a light until morning.' The first minute my eyes were open, there was the nurse with my little miracle.' She reminded me that I had signed up for breastfeeding, and...well, here she was and he was hungry.In my sad little stupor, I mumbled "I haven't been able to do anything right yet...I don't know if I can do this." She said it was easy, and then showed me how to hold him.' The side of his cheek touched my breast, his eyes perked up (typical guy!), and he went right on, and all the pain of the night before just evaporated and I fell in love.' Imagine - my own body feeding my own child.' Seriously cool!All of this is not idle reminiscing on my part.' It is a lead-in to the story that there is a new Rhode Island law that allows a woman to breastfeed or bottle-feed her child in any place open to the public.' This new law permits a woman to allege a violation of her civil rights if she is prevented from breastfeeding in public.Now, breastfeeding is very important, not only for the mommy/child bond, but to pass on the mother's immune factors to the child for the first 6 months, saving everybody time, money, and discomfort with infants getting sick.' One might also suggest that it is the responsibility of the mommy to breastfeed for the health of her child, but there is more to the story.Dr. Laura Viehmann, a Breastfeeding Coordinator for the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics said "Too often, mothers are asked to stop breastfeeding, to move to a private location, or to cover themselves up when they breastfeed at a playground, at the airport, in a restaurant, or in other public places." This is where the typical separation of rights vs. responsibilities occurs.' I breastfed my son whenever he was hungry, wherever I was...but I never imposed this lovely experience on strangers at another restaurant table, or passers-by in the mall, or a pew in a house of worship.' I would either go to a private place for the peaceful setting, or I would take a thin diaper and cover us both up...kind of like "tenting" us.'While at that time, my breast was a source of life fluids for my son, as modestly endowed as I am, the breast is still a source of sexual stimulation to half the population.' Perhaps women who breastfeed uncovered in public with men around should be charged with sexual harassment?' While I'm kidding, of course, I don't think my point is a minor one.People are always "crumbing" about their privacy, and' yet they're willing to show their underwear with pants that barely stay up, or skirts that barely stay down.' My point is that while breastfeeding is a sacred, wonderful, natural part of mothering, it deserves respect, and we hardly show respect for something by parading it in front of strangers.I was a breastfeeding woman, and I always showed respect for the situational expectations of others.' I also never brought our son to a fancy, adult restaurant when he was an unpredictably screaming baby.' To me, breastfeeding is a sacred bonding moment between mother and child - like the passionate act that brought that child into being is between husband and wife.' These sacred moments are private, and should be kept that way with a simple draped cloth.Exposing yourself in full view of potentially unwilling onlookers is less about bonding and feeding, and more about exhibitionism or disrespect for others, or an attitude that nobody else in the world matters - like that Sixties mantra of "if you don't like it, it's YOUR problem."' No matter how you look at it, special things are put on pedestals and treated as special. More >>

Tags: HealthMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal Responsibility
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05/13/2010
IconDuring his recent African trip, Pope Benedict XVI said that the distribution of condoms would not resolve the AIDS problem.' The Pope has made it clear that abstinence is going to be the best way to fight AIDS.Google "Pope" and "condoms," and you'll never run out of reading material excoriating the man for his observation and opinion.' Many health advocates have gone ballistic in their criticism of his comments.' They feel it is one thing to promote abstinence as part of the Catholic religion, but that it is an entirely different thing to preach it to the world.On a person-by-person basis, wearing a condom does, of course, offer some protection against contracting various venereal diseases and (of course) unwanted pregnancy.' It is also true that condoms sometimes break, slip, or are put on incorrectly (taut to the very end).' Everything has its limitations...except abstinence.I remember listening to a rabbi describing a situation that occurred to his kosher family.' His 7 year old child was invited to a birthday party for a classmate at one of those fast-food hamburger establishments.' When he came to pick up his child at the end of the party, one of the mothers - clearly annoyed - chastised him for the pain he caused his son.' "All the children had hamburgers, chicken nuggets, french fries and dessert, and your little boy had to sit there and eat none of it.' Imagine how terrible your son must have felt?' How could you do this to him?' Food is food.' There is nothing sinful about food.' What you are doing to him is just cruel."' Just about at the end of her tirade, his son bounded up to him, gave him a huge hug around the waist, and said "I had a great time.' This was a fun party."The woman blanched and walked away.' The rabbi followed her and gently told her the following:' animals will eat whatever is around, even if it will make them unhealthy.' Humans are to rise above animals and become masters of their urges.' Imagine my son in a dorm room where harmful illicit drugs are being passed about.' We already know that peer pressure and urges will not force him to relent and give in to the impulse.' Learning at his early age to control impulse and desire is not a harmful trait - many times, it might be a life-saving one.' Look at him.' He enjoyed the company of your son and the rest of the children without giving up his values.' He looks happy and satisfied.' We really need to bring up our children to be masters of their instincts, not slaves to them, don't you think?The woman scowled, but listened to him.Yes, in any one instance, a condom could protect, but in the overall scheme of humanity, why do so many people wish to push away the enormous protective power of moral values?When the Pope suggests that human beings are best off saving their sexual passion for the stability of a covenant of marriage, he is making a statement that the act of sexuality is elevated by the context, and ultimately protects both man and woman from a myriad of hurtful consequences from venereal diseases to unwanted pregnancies (complete with abortions, abandonment, single-parenthood, and homelessness to name a few).The naysayers all have one thing in common:' they refuse to want, believe or accept that human beings can commit to a higher spiritual state of thought and behavior.' The Pope believes in us more than that.I am not Catholic, so this is no knee-jerk defense of my spiritual leader.' The truth is that he is simply correct and too many people don't want to hear it, because they want to live lives unfettered by rules.' It is sad that they don't realize that this makes them a slave to animal impulse versus a master of human potential. More >>

Tags: CharacterCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-Consciencechoose wisely - treat kindlyChoose Wisely-Treat KindlyDatingHealthMoralsMorals, Ethics, ValuesPersonal ResponsibilityReligionSexSexualityValues
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05/13/2010

Tags: HealthQuote of the WeekRegarding Dr. Laura
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Tags: FriendshipsHealthRelationships
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05/13/2010
IconThe Health section of The New York Times on March 2 debated the usefulness of bribing school children with money, toys, candy and electronic gizmos to have them attain better grades.When I was in school, it was cute stickers and the pride of getting a good grade that you could brag about that made your parents all sorts of happy.' The good grade was the proximate award for all the hard work.' Getting the reputation as being smart was a good thing, and becoming valedictorian was great, as was qualifying for scholarships of all sizes for college.' Spending a lifetime knowing you worked hard and earned what you had the hard way was the long-term reward.Now, some geniuses want to rob children of all of that.' These greater minds than ours want children to fight for things of substance (money) rather than for things of glory (purpose).' Not all endeavors have a high rate of financial return:' a hospice worker helps the dying and their families face their fears of death; a fireman runs into burning buildings to save complete strangers from a horrible death; kindergarten teachers introduce our children to the world of budding independence, self-confidence, social maneuvering and the alphabet...and that's only a few examples.Frankly, we need more kind and compassionate people than we do more "A" students in this world, as it turns out that the greatest thieves (many CEOs, crooked politicians and Ponzi scheme giants), terrorist masterminds, and general sociopaths all have very high IQ levels and got great grades.How about us giving financial rewards, candy and electronic gizmos to kids who go out of their way not to bully, tease, steal, lie, sexually harass, or sexually act-out?' Or to those who won't drink or take drugs or steal or backtalk their elders?'Would that work, I wonder? More >>

Tags: AttitudeCharacter, Courage, ConscienceCharacter-Courage-ConscienceChildrenCommitmentEducationFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesParentingPersonal ResponsibilityPurposeSchoolValues
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05/13/2010
IconI was enthralled when on a vacation trip with my husband and then adolescent son, we visited the actual homes of the Anasazi Indians.' The drive through Arizona was amazing, but climbing the sheer cliffs of the Anasazi dwellings was astonishing.' They actually lived, with newborns and toddlers, in completely open 5-6 foot indentations in the rock with some six feet between where they slept and ate and played....from a drop of at least 1000 feet.' I honestly don't know how many kids fell to their untimely deaths - but I guess that was a very rare occurrence as these folks lived there successfully for centuries.Contrast this to some irresponsible and outrageous parents living upstairs in a duplex in Oregon.' A toddler fell out of the window and injured her head.' Never mind that the mother had left this child alone with an open window...she sued the landlord.' To add stupid to absurd, the jury found for...the mother... to the tune of $560,000!The company plans to appeal...I sure hope they succeed.' The jurors actually held the landlord responsible for not telling the parents about the danger of open windows....DUH?I guess a primitive tribe of Indians has better sense than an educated, middle class woman living in a duplex with indoor plumbing.But what is with that silly jury?' I'll tell you: it is part of the growing infantilization of American culture: be responsible for nothing...make somebody else responsible!' This is a moral decline which will have more and more negative impact on America, which is no longer a "bootstraps" kinda culture...it has become a "bailout" kinda culture.Then again...remember Flip Wilson's famous signature line:' "The devil made me do it!"'' Which is why I'm not responsible for these comments if you're offended. More >>

Tags: dietEat Less-Move MoreHealthParentingPersonal ResponsibilityQuote of the Week
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05/13/2010
IconI am writing this blog on Nadya Suleman, octuplet mom, under duress.' I was told that a significant number of you wished for my point of view or comments on this occurrence.' My answer was, "Do I really have to comment on the obvious?"'I am disgusted with this woman for being educated in child developmental psychology and still intentionally robbing children of a dad (she had in-vitro fertilization with embryos from sperm donor) and the opportunity to get the kind of attention one out of fourteen children clearly won't get.I'm disgusted with the clinic and physicians who, knowing she already had six children and no husband or reasonable means of support (except for workman's comp lawsuits), and frankly, must be somewhat emotionally troubled, still impregnated her with multiple embryos -- more than the recommended number for a woman under the age of 35.I'm disgusted with the media for making a big deal about these freak situations without proper judgment and criticism and for starting programs for "freebee" bailouts with charitable support.I'm disgusted with Child Protective Services which I don't think has even considered taking these children away from this self-avowed baby-mill and placing them up for adoption into two-parent households, with a married mom and dad.Every Mother's Day my psyche is assaulted with front page stories coast-to-coast about unwed mothers' joy and glee and Mother-of-the-Year Awards to celebrity moms who clearly put their careers before their children (bless those who are "nannied!").So - this blog is in honor of and directed to the women who do it right: get married to good man who can support a family; wait until they're settled and have the emotional where-with-all to sacrifice in order to receive the huge rewards of mothering their own children.I'm sorry the media doesn't care about you...but your husband, your children, Dr. Laura, and a society grateful for the wonderful human beings you raise do care about you. More >>

Tags: DepressionEthicsFamily/Relationships - ChildrenHealthMental HealthMorals, Ethics, ValuesMotherhoodMotherhood-FatherhoodParentingPersonal Responsibility
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