Archive | Adolescence

How to Effectively Deal with Hyperactive Children

To be with someone who is hyperactive as an adult is already difficult, what more if it were in the case of precious angels who are not exactly aware of their conditions. Primarily, effectively dealing with hyperactive children entails a good dose of patience, a great amount of love, enthusiasm and reading. As it is no joke, taking in as much information and applying the techniques in real life setting is difficult but in the end, very rewarding.

Hyperactivity, foremost, refers to a varied number of symptoms ranging from extreme emotional reactions to relatively short attention span. For children, common diagnosis include the most commonly known ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Syndrome. Nonetheless, as the disorder is in truth, not common, the child concerned should be assessed and evaluated by an expert in the field. It is unfair to brand a child as such if the real causes are not explored.

The reasons for hyperactivity which are not psychological in nature include thyroid problems, lead poisoning and even sleep deprivation. A remarkable effect though is that some can be very gifted. Unfortunately,  some could also have learning disabilities.

Nonetheless, what remains to be done is to take care of the precious angels that speak of nothing but a world that is difficult to understand and where they continue to thrive an strive.

Hyperactivity can be dealt with by establishing a routine to be followed as a structured and consistent environment facilitates the learning and behavioral processing of the child. This could actually be employed in the waking and sleeping hours of the child as well as when one is allowed to take a nap or watch the television. Clearly express that rules are rules.

It will however help that these limitations also be receptive to slight changes. You can break the rules at the time you see fit but make sure that you remind the child that there are conditions that were earlier discussed to be followed at a later time. Remember that being harsh to the child would result to more problems especially if he is at the point of asserting his self-worth. This is especially true for toddlers.

It is just as important though to facilitate a relaxing environment; that is avoiding over-stimulation. If it is possible to have a big space for the child, then, why not? De-cluttering the life, if at all possible means to keep things to a minimum, the loud noise from the TV or the radio can be very distracting so as talking simultaneously with several unknown visitors. And when things do get messy, try to avoid the use of negative reinforcement. As always, recognizing the good things or the accomplishments of the child is far better than punishing every single wrongdoing made.

Always look at the brighter things in what the hyperactive child does. Your desperation to understand is easily picked on by their sensitive disposition. If you sense that you may reflect someone giving up, both of you could take a walk or transfer your energy somewhere else. It is very difficult for someone hyperactive to just relax and sit around, make use of the energy and translate it to something productive and creative.

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Is Homeschooling for You?

Some kids learn better when they are taught one on one by their parents or tutors at home. Thus homeschooling is increasingly becoming a popular method of teaching kids. Parents choose homeschooling for many reasons, one may be that their child is physically incapable of attending regular school such as in cases of a debilitating disease or because of economic reasons that they cannot afford to send their child to a good school. For some parents, homeschooling is better than traditional school as children can be given enough attention that their weaknesses and challenges in their academic studies can be best addressed.

Homeschooling can be done by the parent or a tutor. Most parents acquire a homeschooling curriculum from various institutions that specializes in home schooling. Others would argue against homeschooling as it is not a common practice but homeschooling is legal and every parent has a right to choose their kid’s education. In some states homeschooling are monitored to ensure that the kids receive the necessary subjects and curriculum they would need to substantiate what a regular kid gets from traditional school.

The advantage of homeschooling is that you won’t need to leave the house in order to learn. The pace of studying a certain subject is also based on a child’s ability to comprehend thus a more effective approach in ensuring that no child is left behind unlike in a class where children who are slow to absorb the lesson often gets unnoticed. It is basically learning at one’s own pace. Homeschooling is not always confined in the house, one can learn by going to museums, zoos, parks and other places that can foster learning.

Although many have accepted the concept of homeschooling there are still those who see it as unorthodox. Some question the parent’s ability to teach unless they have formal education to do so. Not all parents specialize in all subjects they will be teaching to their kids in home school and this may be a disadvantage in the quality of education a child can get. For example, a mom can be very good at science but can lack the proper knowledge to teach English to her child. Furthermore a child who is homeschooled may not have the luxury to enjoy school facilities like gyms, libraries, laboratories and auditoriums. Homeschooled children may have their kitchen table as their classroom and their sink as their experiment table.

Another concern for homeschooled children is lack of social interaction with other kids which is deemed important in building self esteem and effective communication skills. Homeschooled kids are feared to become isolated and shy if brought into the real world, although parents of homeschooled kids make it a point to expose their children socially by scheduling group activities with other homeschooled children their age in their community. This way children can still nurture social skills needed as they grow up.

Homeschooled children are not less competent compared to students who attend regular school. Homeschooling is best for children who are likely to achieve and gain more by one on one teaching rather than in a classroom setting and the best person to know if homeschooling is right for their child is the parent. Parents should observe their child’s pace in learning and talk with them to provide them the option of learning at home.

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When Your Child Sleepwalks

Some children can be found at a different room at the wee hours of the morning as if walking aimlessly around and eventually goes back to their bed after a while. If you have experience seeing this phenomenon then it is most likely that your child is sleepwalking.

Sleepwalking is a condition wherein a person walks or does any other activity while asleep. People who are sleepwalking may actually look like they are awake but they are not. When we sleep we experiences different stages of sleep wherein our brain is still active. Sleepwalking usually happens in the first hours of sleep where they are in a stage of deep sleep. Not all sleepwalkers walk as the name suggests, they may just sit up in their beds and appear to be awake only to lie back to bed after a few minutes. Most people who sleepwalk however move around for minutes to as long as half an hour.

What Causes Sleepwalking?

Sleepwalking happens mostly to identical twins and to individuals who have a familial history of the condition. Sleepwalking runs in families and children who have both parents with a history of sleepwalking is at risk of experiencing the same thing by 60 percent. Factors such as sleep deprivation, alcohol intoxication, fever and stress can cause a child or teen to sleepwalk. Children are most commonly affected due to the greater length of their slow wave or deep sleep compared to adults. While some theorists say that sleepwalking in children is a sign of delay in maturation. The peak age in children sleepwalking is within 4 to 8 years of age.

Is it harmful to wake a sleepwalker?

This is a common belief that waking a person who is sleepwalking is detrimental and may produce a psychological imbalance. Research has yet to prove this misconception and most experts say that waking up sleepwalker will not cause harm but will only disorient them. It is therefore needed to put away sharp objects that can be harmful and lock all windows and doors before going to bed when you have a sleepwalker in the house to promote safety.

How can you tell that a person is sleepwalking?

Symptoms of sleepwalking can vary for every individual. Some may actually appear awake with their eyes open and walks from room to room. Some may even run around looking agitated and anxious as if trying to run away from something. The eyes of a sleepwalker appear glassy and can be described as if in a state of trance or blank stare. When a sleepwalker gets back to bed and wakes up the next morning they usually have no account of what happened the previous night.

When should we consult a physician?

Generally sleepwalking is not a very serious problem and can be addressed by maintaining a safe environment to prevent injury and harm to the person who sleepwalks. There is no known cure for sleepwalking but there are ways on how to prevent its occurrence. One way is to get ample rest and sleep and avoid over exhaustion as this is one factor for sleepwalking. Keeping a regular sleep schedule will also help establish a pattern of sleep that can normalize and eradicate sleepwalking. When you see a sleepwalker gently guide them back to bed promoting safety by keeping the way clear of obstacles and other things.

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Absent Fathers Linked to Advanced Pubertal Maturation in Daughters

The Journal of Adolescent Health has published a study relating the absence of a biological father and the earlier pubertal advancement of young girls. According to researchers based in California, girls who grew up in homes without their fathers had a tendency toward maturing earlier than their counterparts. Although overweight and obesity has been linked to earlier puberty, it was ruled out because the study’s findings were constant despite the girls’ weight.

 Earlier female puberty onset not just about weight-related  

According to the author of the study Julianna Deardorff, girls are hitting puberty earlier and earlier in the recent years. However, body weight has always been considered a primary focus as to the causative factor. The researcher, who is based in the University of California – Berkeley, agrees that overweight and obesity make girls’ puberty earlier than others, but these are not the only factors that could explain the phenomenon and the difference in pubertal maturation entirely.

Previous studies have also looked into earlier female puberty and paternal absence, but these researches were more centered on menarche, or a girl’s first period. Other relevant studies evaluated how parental income, ethnicity and body mass index contributed to faster and earlier puberty in females. 

This new research, however, was a fresh contradiction to the old expectation that absence of a father was irrelevant to the earlier development of secondary sex characteristics in female. The scientists found that young girls who grew up without their biological fathers experienced earlier breast budding and development, particularly in families with high-end income (read: household income of more than $50,000 annually). Furthermore, the early development of pubic hair was more apparent in African American families with high income.

 Theories to explain the link between paternal absence and earlier female puberty   

The reason for this link and these circumstances may not be entirely black and white at the moment, and have yet to be discovered. Biologists who study evolution have created a hypothesis stating that girls left in families without a biological father grow up within an unstable and dysfunctional environment, pushing them to enter into puberty sooner than other girls their age who live with their biologically related fathers. 

Some researchers try to explain the phenomenon by using the idea that girls without biological fathers grow up around adult males who are not related to them by blood. Because these males are not genetically related to them, they release pheromones that stimulate young girls to enter puberty earlier.

Another probable causative factor behind earlier puberty onset among females, particularly African American girls who grow up within high income family, is early exposure to beautifying products and treatments, such as make-up and hair straighteners or perming instruments. These may stimulate estrogen production which could advance the timing at which girls mature.

Another study showed evidence that girls in the United States experience puberty earlier and earlier, which breast development becoming more apparent at the age of seven. Deardorff team is concerned and believes that their study should be a springboard to more studies to determine why this is happening. The team suggests that obesity and weight issues should no longer be the only consideration behind earlier puberty among fatherless females.


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Adolescents and Sexual Attraction

As childhood ends and adolescence begins, it is normal to develop sexual attractions to other people. These sexual attractions continuously develop and change throughout the person’s adult life. For most people, adolescence is the time when sexual feelings start to develop and change erratically. Young boys might find girls yucky and disgusting but at the age of 13, this opinion is completely changed. Sexual feelings are awakened during puberty because of the body’s hormonal and physical changes. Hormonal change affects the body, mind and feelings of every teenager. These sexual feelings are new to them and for that reason alone, they do not know how to act on them.

Sexual feelings and attractions in teens can be mild, moderate or intense. Teenagers can get easily confused with what they’re feeling. These teens need time to realize and understand the kind of feelings that they’re experiencing. Once they’ve realized that, they would know how process these feelings. Part of growing up is having frequent sexual thoughts, these thought may be directed to someone from the opposite sex or to someone from the same sex. The type of sexual attraction a teenager feels doesn’t determine his or her sexual orientation. Sexual orientation refers to the gender the individual is attracted to. Teenagers who are sexually attracted to the opposite sex are called heterosexuals. Those who find the same sex, attractive are called homosexuals and teens who find both genders sexually attractive are called bisexuals. Teenagers are very volatile and erratic when it comes to sex. They are at a stage wherein they experiment a lot in order to determine who they are and what they’re sexual identity really is. Some teenagers engage in various sexual activities and experiment with different types of people to explore their own sexuality. As mentioned, experimenting doesn’t determine the teen’s sexual identity and orientation.

According to the American Psychological Association, an organization supported by the National Institutes of Health, sexual orientation is not a choice people make but instead it is the result of a complex mixture of psychological, biological, hormonal, genetic and environmental factors. Sexual orientation is one of the most controversial topics known to man. A large number of experts believe that sexual orientation is not a choice but a collection contributing factors, but there are those who still refuse to accept such finding. They believe that people actively choose to be straight, gay or bisexual. Making teens talk about their sexual feelings and attractions can be quite difficult. Most teens prefer keeping these feelings to themselves or sharing it with the peers or friends only. The key to make teens open up is to make them feel comfortable, un-judged and respected. In most cases, teens are embarrassed about how they feel. They are also afraid about what other people might think of them. Teens are very particular about how others see them. Sexual feelings and behaviors are important to everyone. Human sexuality like life itself is a series of constant change and development. Sexuality is one of the things that make life beautiful.

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Divorce and Its Negative Effects On Children

Divorce has seemingly become very common these days.  It has become very prevalent in today’s young couples.  Majority of parents who get divorced usually either search for unrealistic relationships in their marriages or simply do not believe that it can bring negative effects on their children.

According to research, children who belonged to parents who experienced repeat divorces acquired lower grades and more likely to experience difficulty fitting in.   The lost of either parent to divorce usually causes the lack of emotional support the child needs from either parent.

Around forty percent of children in America grow up without their fathers.  It is very critical that in the event parents get divorced, the father of the child should continue to provide good parenting such as helping with homework, spending quality time, and being emotionally available to the child.  Unfortunately, a lot of parents lose these practices immediately after divorce.

Conflict amongst parents during or after the divorce is also a major contributor to the child’s well-being.  Often times, parents who decide to divorce believe that if they would be happier being divorced, their kids will be happier compared to when both parents are miserable staying together.  Divorce is a change that most adults find very difficult to get adjusted to.  Can you imagine what the situation is like for your children?

As parents, it’s perfectly understandable that you feel uncertainty on how exactly you can provide the right and needed support to your children.  You may have gone through a divorce for the first time, but there’s always something you can do to help your kids always feel loved, to never allow your circumstances affect their self-confidence and personality.

You can provide constant reassurance, making them feel that they can always rely and count on you.  Try not to let your child see and feel your conflict with your spouse.  Just bear in mind that their well-being is your topmost priority.

They key thing here is to make them feel that the divorce is not their fault.  You need to commit to listening to their feelings without falling into the trap of being defensive.  Reassure them by letting them feel that there is nothing they should be afraid of and making them understand the situation.  Your unconditional love for them will strongly be felt, and highly necessary.

Cooperating with your ex plays a very important role in ensuring that your children grow stable and strong even after the divorce.  Putting aside your conflicts with your ex may be complex and stressful.  Trying to control strong feelings of resentment, anger, and any kind of conflict with your ex may be the most difficult part.  However, it is very possible to agree on an affable working relationship.  Sure enough, any parent should do this for their children’s sake.

You and your ex should consider this as a new relationship with one another.  Again, this has to be agreed with the common understanding that your children’s needs come first.  Remember that just because your marriage is over doesn’t mean your family is too.

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Why You Should Educate Your Children about Sex

Many parents would argue against sexual education to children for fear that they may be exposed too soon and this could lead to an early sexual experience out of curiosity of what they learned in school. But children do not have the sexual desire yet to become fully sexual active at that age.

Sexual education is encouraged in some schools to prevent children acquiring false information from inexperienced individuals such as their friends and peers. By learning it in school children will be able to acquire factual information without the pressure of experiencing it personally. Some argue that giving the school the go signal of teaching kids about sex is robbing their parents of their responsibility to teach such life important values to their children.

Family is the basic unit of society which molds every individual into becoming a responsible citizen as they become adults. Parents play a significant role in raising children with values essential to become a good citizen of society. These values instilled by parents and other members of the family will guide a person into making many important decisions in life that will lead to a person’s path to success, fulfillment and personal achievements.

The right approach

It is not easy to talk about sex to children because it is deemed a taboo for some families especially those conservative types of families wherein they view sexual intercourse as a sacred act enjoyed only by married couples. Although this is the ideal set up, sex after marriage does not always happen especially in western countries where young people are exposed to sex in media, internet and society. Liberal thinking towards sexual acts and sexual preferences has opened a window that leads to promiscuity and immorality.

How would parents bring up a topic such as sex to their children? Here are some tips on how to start the discussion.

  • Explain the biological process that takes place and try to use common medical terms such penis, vagina, and semen. Some parents may replace organ names with cute connotations such as “weenie” or “mommy’s daisy” but it is better to name them as they are to remove malice in the words and present it to them as a biological process that is natural between married couples.
  • Answer your child’s questions and don’t leave them wondering. Keep your answers straight to the point and factual to give your children the correct information to avoid having them ask their friends or peers and reduce the risk of false information being passed on.
  • Though the goal of sexual intercourse is for making babies, make it clear to your children that it is also a form of intimacy between married partners just like moms and dads. Seeing that sex is not just a biological process to proliferate, children will value sex as something that should be shared with the person you love and will commit to in marriage.
  • Make sure that when you make time for the “sex talk” your children’s focus is on your discussion. Set aside an appropriate time and remove all distractions so that there is enough interaction and understanding between the two of you.
  • Reinforce sexual education to your children, it should not be a one time discussion as children will eventually have a lot of questions as they grow up and personally experience the changes in their body that makes them feel uncomfortable. It will be a relief for them to know that these changes happening are of a normal occurrence. If parents and growing children continue to have an open communication about sexual education, it will form a trusting relationship wherein children and adolescents will not feel embarrassed or ashamed in telling their parents of their personal life regarding relationships, sexual identity and experiences.

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Early Menarche Linked With Obesity

Have you ever wondered why girls of today start their menses early as compared to the girls of the previous generations? Today’s girls are less active as compared before. More have become couch potatoes and just spend their leisure times at home either watching television or playing their favorite computer games. While doing these activities, they eat junk foods, sodas, chocolates, and other unhealthy foods which make these girls to weigh more than they should.   

Childhood obesity has become so rampant now a days. This is not a good thing because obesity makes these children prone to acquire diseases  like hypertension, diabetes, and even cancer. With girls, obesity leads to menstruate earlier than they should. This is because when a girl is obese; her secondary sex characteristics develop earlier like budding of the breasts, growth of body hairs, and widening of the hips. These factors all lead to the girl starting menstruation as early as eight years old which is way earlier than what is expected. A girl normally menstruates at the age of 11- 12 years old.

Early menstruation is not good for a girl’s health. It makes her prone to have diseases such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and cervical cancer. Those girls who menstruate early may also suffer from emotional problems. They will feel different from their classmates and playmates because they already have bigger and appear mature than their peers. This can make them feel depressed and turn into substance abuse to cope with the emotional turmoil they are feeling. Girls who menstruate early tend to engage in premarital sex especially if they are already starting to use harmful substances like alcohol and drugs. Of course, since your daughter is already menstruating, she can also get pregnant at this time and become a mother at a very young age.

As parents it is your primary responsibility to help your kids have the best health possible. If you have daughters, see to it that they are eating healthy and are physically active so that being overweight and obese can be prevented. This is not just because being obese is not good to look at, but mainly because you want her to be healthy and avoid the consequences of weighing too much, early menstruation included. It is also important that your daughter knows the importance of having a healthy weight and why is it essential in preventing the occurrence of some conditions. In this way your daughter will understand and cooperate in promoting a healthier lifestyle for herself.

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