Parenting

Brain Matters
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Enhancing Early Childhood Development

Adverse childhood experiences such as exposure to trauma or violence, even during the prenatal period when the brain is first developing, mold how the brain is organized, and have major impact on how our genes are expressed. Brain imaging studies show that traumatized children or children raised in poverty have different interconnections in their brain regions. If you’ve been exposed to violence, you’re at an increased risk of being re-victimized.

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Advice for Parents on Caring for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar illness was once referred to as “manic-depressive” illness. It’s usually a lifelong disorder, characterized by episodes of abnormal, often persistent, highs, and abnormal, often persistent, lows. The highs are characterized by a “too good” mood, irritability, increased energy, increased interest in activities, decreased need for sleep, and sometimes, delusions— some people who are manic actually believe they can fly or believe they have super powers.

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Parents of Children with Anxiety Disorders

There are three things that we usually look at to tell the difference between abnormal anxiety that is part of an anxiety disorder, and the anxiety that children, or really anybody, experiences as a normal part of life. The first and probably the most important thing we look at is whether there is impairment—anxiety that interferes with a person’s ability to function and leads to avoidance.

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Advice for Parents on Suicide and Suicidal Behavior in Young People

Suicidal ideation doesn’t carry an awful lot of weight at a very young age. And suicidal behavior––as distinguished from talking about it––is very, very rare in young children. You rarely see suicide attempts before puberty. The nature of most attempts in the young child are basically doing things that one’s parents say are dangerous.

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Advice for Parents of Children with Behavioral and Psychiatric Disorders

You want to ask who at the school or hospital, or within its department of psychiatry, sees children. Find out who in particular specializes in the kind of problem your child may be facing. Once you are presented with the name of a doctor or therapist, it’s smart to ask how much experience that person has had with other children like yours, and what approaches to treatment he or she might take.

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