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What Causes ADHD?

April 10, 2021

What is ADHD?

ADHD is a set of symptoms diagnosed into three categories.

  • Inattentive Type: Includes symptoms such as trouble sustaining attention, being easily distracted, trouble organizing and following through on tasks, making careless mistakes, being forgetful, misplacing things, and procrastinating and avoiding tasks that require focus and attention.
  • Hyperactive Type: Includes symptoms such as being fidgety, talking excessively, interrupting and intruding, always being on the go, restlessness, trouble sitting and engaging in activities quietly, and blurting out answers before questions are completed.
  • Combined Type: Includes symptoms of both the inattentive and hyperactive types.

What Causes ADHD?

In the nature (genetics, physiology, and chemistry) and nurture (environmental events, stressors, or rearing habits) debate that surrounds many of the mental health conditions, most research supports that ADHD is caused more by nature.

  • Genetics: seems to be one of the biggest contributing factors in the development of ADHD.
  • Prenatal issues: can include trouble pregnancy and delivery, prenatal exposure to alcohol, tobacco, or drugs, premature delivery, and low birth weight.
  • Environmental f

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March 27, 2021

People with ADHD struggle with issues of attention, hyperactivity, or both. These symptoms are usually present and evident from the time they are toddlers to grade school age. ADHD is not something people develop later in life. Because ADHD is present from childhood, it can start impacting development early on.

Impact in Childhood

Some children, as young as infants, see an impact from ADHD in having mild delays in picking up language skills or motor skills. Many kids struggle with gaining independence and sometimes behave younger and more immature than fellow peers. Probably the greatest impact is on social skills and development. Kids with ADHD are often impulsive, hyperactive, are more emotionally reactive and moody, and due to distractibility and inattention miss the social cues and reactions of their peers. These symptoms and behaviors can be very off-putting to peers even at very young ages. Many times, kids with ADHD, especially hyperactive symptoms, end up being socially outcasted or rejected. This can fuel anxiety, depression, or anger which can increase acting out behavior and can create a negative feedback loop of increasing ostracization. It is not uncommon for them to develop the oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) or conduct disorder later on in adolescence. Academically, kids with read more

February 27, 2021

Most parents struggle with getting their children to comply with directions, get chores done, and simply being cooperative. There is a technique called a token economy system that has been around for a very long time and works quite well with most children. It is based on positive reinforcement and a reward system so that if you are a parent who is reluctant to punish and give consequences, this tool should work wonders.

Token Economy System

A token economy system can work with children as young as two and still be effective with kids up to 13-14 years old depending on their maturity level. The principle is fairly simple. The parents select 2-5 targeted behaviors that they would like to see improve, for example putting dishes in the dishwasher or not hitting a sibling. With young children (2-8 years old) we recommend getting a notebook and listing the goals (dishes and not hitting) at the top. Get a supply of various stickers from any craft store; preferably ones your child thinks are cool. Then sit your child down and let them know that you have created a new system where they have a chance to earn stic read more

January 3, 2021

Divorce Facts and Findings

Choosing to get a divorce is one of the biggest and most personal decisions a person can make. It’s a decision that has sweeping implications for everyone involved. It is almost always an upsetting event that leaves people feeling great disappointment and grieving the loss of hopes and dreams. Compounding these losses are people left trying to adjust and cope with the stressors that affect us legally, financially, emotionally, socially, as a parent, all the way down to logistically in terms of living space. For many this is perceived as the lesser of two evils as relationships have become too acrimonious, painful, and toxic. Most Americans believe that it is better to get a divorce than be in an unhappy and unproductive marriage. Overall, the divorce rate is declining, having gone from 50% of all marriages ending in divorce to only 39% recently. Millennials between the ages of 25-39, now comprise 60% of all divorces. Although age 30 is still the average age of divorce, the divorce rate in people over 50 has doubled since 1990 likely giving way to changes in former conservative beliefs in an era that has become more accepting of divorce. Next, let us look at the primary factors that cause divorce.

Causes of Divorce

There are countless reasons and cau read more

December 13, 2020

As an adult, we all grew up experiencing parenting from our caregivers. Undoubtedly, you have your own opinions about the aspects of the parenting you received and which parts were good and which parts were less than desirable. Many of us decide to go on and have children of our own and find ourselves faced with the daunting task of now being in the parenting role. Most of us yearn to do as good or better than what we received as children but realize we may only have a single frame of reference with which to draw upon. In this article, we will discuss the different parenting styles that exist, what they look like, and the potential impact on the child. In the 1960’s an imminent psychologist Diana Baumrind through years of research delineated three distinct parenting styles. In 1983 Maccoby and Martin expanding Baumrind model to include a fourth parenting style. Overarching these different parenting styles are two stylistic attributes that are quite important to discuss. The first is demandingness or discipline. This refers to a spectrum upon which the parent falls in terms of the degree to which they control their child’s behavior and expect them to behave maturely. The other stylistic attribute is responsiveness which refers to the extent to which a parent is nurturing and accepting of a child’s emotional and developmental needs. Some feel it encompasses the degree of lo read more

September 19, 2020

In the 1950s two notable pieces of research, John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, worked together to study babies, attachment, and separation. They worked with countless parents and caregivers and their infant children. They studied the bond between parent and child but were most fascinated by the child’s bond, or attachment, to the parent. This emotional bond also represents the manner and way in which the infant gets its needs met from the parent. What is most interesting about their studies is the use of separation. In the studies, the infant was left alone briefly and they monitored both the reaction of the infant when the parent left, but also the reaction when the parent returned. This was the most telling indicator of the type of attachment style the infant had with its caregiver. They concluded there are 4 main attachments styles that can develop out of these early interactions. In fact, much of their research suggested that the particular type of attachment was pretty well-formed by the end of the first year of life and was quite enduring thereafter and impact our relationships as adults. Let take a look at the four attachment styles.

Secure Attachment

Nearly 55-60% of children have a secure attachment with their parents. These children are eager to see their parents, are readily comforted by the parent and tend to play and interact regularly with their parents. read more

April 25, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has affected life as we all know it. The entire world is hunkering down to do their best to slow the spread and impact of COVID-19. As a result of these extreme measures, everyone’s world and sense of normalcy has evaporated. Everyone is struggling to stay informed, engage in safe practices, figures out logistics of work and schedules, remain calm, and still try to be a good parent. Parenting is a difficult job under the best of circumstances, with these added stressors many parents are finding themselves with very little fuel left in the tank for parenting demands. Children and adolescents, just like adults, thrive on routine and schedules. Just as our lives have been upended, so has our kids. They are struggling to adapt as best they can, and some are doing it with more grace than others. Many parents are finding that they are at a loss for words when it comes to trying to explain this crisis to their children. It might not be quite as bad as talking to your kids about sex and drugs, but it is not much easier. What follows are some tips and suggestions for handling and talking to your kids about the COVID crisis.

  • Normalize Feelings: It’s important to have our feelings validated by others. We all seek this out and it holds true for your children as well. Regardless of age, your children need to hear that it is normal and

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January 29, 2020

What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?

Parental Alienation Syndrome is the process by which one parent uses a set of strategies intended to foster the child’s rejection of the other parent. In time the child comes to fear and hate the one parent and reject any contact with them. This most often occurs during a divorce situation but can happen with intact families too. The prototypical scenario is a bitter ex-wife who turns the children against the father, but the process is not exclusive to mothers. Often the alienating parent is less emotionally stable and is often motivated by anger and revenge.

There are several signs that a child may have been subjected to parental alienation syndrome. These children often deny any positive past experiences with the alienated parent and reject all contact and communication. These kids also have vague or unclear rationales for the intense dislike. Conversely, the other parent is idealized and perceived as perfect, and the child often insists that the rejection of the targeted parent was solely their own idea. When children do interact with the alienated parent, they are cold, rude, disrespectful and appear to have no guilt whatsoever for their harsh treatment toward the targeted parent. Sadly, the rejection often spreads to the alienated parent’s whole s

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May 20, 2019

For most parents the only thing worse than talking to their teens about alcohol and drugs, is the sex talk. Comparatively, this should be a lot easier and we will try to help give you some tips and pointers. Nonetheless, having this talk is vitally important. Substance use is at its peak between 15 and 25 years old and this is the time when youth are most susceptible to developing lasting patterns for their use and at the highest risk for developing an addiction. Chemical use during these formative years also has a serious impact on their developing brains and bodies.

The dangers of chemical use in teens is well document and drives home the importance of talking with them. It is natural and appropriate for teens to want to begin to experiment and try out the roles of adulthood. This often includes the use of alcohol and drugs. Because adolescents is a time of great change, it is also a time of great stress. Just as many adults use chemicals to cope with stress, teens are at risk for using substances to cope with their stress. Here are some startling facts about the impact of chemicals on teen development. Alcohol abuse slows bone and muscle growth, can impair nonverbal abstract reasoning, perceptual motor skills, and reduce the ability to learn new information. Regular marijuana use can affect attentio

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January 29, 2019

There are hundreds of books on parenting and nearly as many philosophies and outlooks on how best to parent. Across many of these books are a couple of critical parenting characteristics to make sure to utilize: consistency and follow through. Let’s take a look at each of these.

Consistency is about doing things the same over time. Kids of all ages thrive on predictability. Life is less stressful for children and teens if they know what to expect and what is expected of them. One area where consistency is important is with rules and expectations. If curfew is 10pm on weekends, then keep it consistently at 10pm. If you allow an hour of TV or electronics before bed, then try to watch the clock and keep it to one hour. Being consistent reduces the arguing and limit testing that all kids do. It’s hard to try to justify, explain, and enforce rules when your kids say, “How come last week I got 2 hours, and now I only get one hour?” Even when kids inevitably challenge the rules with, “How come I only get one hour”; being consistent makes it easy to reply, “Because that the rule.”

Another important area to be consistent with is consequences. If you do a 10 minute time out on the stairs with your six year old, then it should remain 10 minutes e

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