WTF is a Mom to do….

There were assignments that had to be done.

There was a long weekend at the beach.

There was a family day when the GF food options just weren’t the most tempting.

That’s where my life as a Mom begins…. over and over and over and fucking over again! (sigh)

Welcome to the world of WHAT. THE. FUCK. IS. A. MOM. TO. DO? I know… the language, but… unless you live it… um…just don’t even… K? 😉

I have always believed that you have to accomplish your chores, tasks and responsibilities before you get your privileges. It just makes sense.

But, when you have a child that is controlled by the foods that are most of what society eats… and those foods are everywhere…. and those foods completely deteriorate his brilliant cognitive process….

YOU GET A LITTLE PISSED OFF THAT THERE IS NOT MORE AWARENESS! Welcome to my world.

Maybe you know about gluten (and casein) sensitivity, maybe you don’t, but let me tell you, not knowing will be the downfall of our society. I know I sound like a drama queen… But, I’m as serious as I can possibly be. ANYONE that works with kids NEEDS TO KNOW THIS INFO!!

Gluten sensitive people (40% of our population) will feel sick when they eat too much gluten. Period. Symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • brain fog (lack of focus and cognitive functioning)
  • spaced out… think “walking dead”
  • unable to accomplish ADLs (activities of daily living)
  • headaches
  • stomach aches
  • constipation
  • rashes
  • aggression
  • anger
  • frustration
  • lethargy, fatigue
  • obesity, edema/swelling
  • joint pain
  • anxious, depressed
  • IS THAT ENOUGH?!?
  • Sound like ADHD?
  • It’s also ANXIETY!!!!!
  • WE NEED TO WAKE UP!!

We need to scream it from the rooftops! I NEED TO SCREAM IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS!! I’ve lived it in the disastrous, whirlwind of gluten life for over a decade with my son. I was absorbed in the world of pediatrics, and I didn’t know, the awareness IS NOT THERE. The knowledge has not been shared with those that need to know. When I think back, it’s been about 3.2 decades for me and how long I’ve been affected by my personal struggles and symptoms. And, I see it in the majority of the pediatric patients I see (I only see kids). I won’t even go there in this post.

This is the primary reason I care…

inflammation leads to

WE ALL NEED TO CARE! WE ALL NEED TO KNOW!!! BE EDUCATED!!! IT MATTERS!!!!!!!

If it was your 14 year old, and you’d been living it for over a decade, and you were finally getting answers, and you started seeing all the things our society was ignoring… and that lack of knowledge and ignorance is the reason your kid is getting “toxed”… You’d be fed up too! Try to detox… yup, it’s really like detox, wanna know more about the addiction and cravings, read this.  IT’S REAL!!!!! BELIEVE IT! I BEG OF YOU! PLEASE! Just start paying attention.

This part of the journey needs to be more understood… it’s the least enjoyable part in our family, honestly it sucks… especially when you know how to fix the problem. The disheartening and discouraging part is the blatant ignorance and denial of nutrition and it’s effects on our society, the problem is being ignored.

I’m ready to SCREAM!!!! I’m ready to share! I’m ready to spread the awareness of what is happening to our kids! I figured it out, and I know I can help others! Interested in funding my Awareness Campaign? Let me know… I’VE FUCKING HAD IT!!!!

 

*Disclaimer: I’m not against gluten, wheat per se, I am against TOO MUCH and OVER CONSUMPTION of wheat and processed foods. As long as you tolerate wheat and gluten products, make them 20-30% of your diet, if not, 0%, yes ZERO PERCENT of your diet! Period!

This journey is hard, but can be fun, but we ALL need to work together for the awareness of our fellow man, woman, child and for a better tomorrow for our communities.

Peace. kp.

 

Getting ‘Glutened’ is Drugging My Kid! I’ve had it!! (Digestive Health Series, Part 3)

 

So, What does getting ‘glutened’ look like?

A. Laziness, fatigue

B. Anxious, depressed, irritable, angry

C. Disoriented, unaware, spaced out, Cognitive dysfunction

D. Stomach ache, migraine, joint pain

E. All of the above and then some!!!

Anyone that has talked with me knows this is a hot topic for me. What angers me the most is the total disregard of our society for the people that have true dietary issues that are ignored by the general population, including much of the medical population. As a nurse practitioner, I don’t like to say we’re missing things in medicine, but… WE ARE MISSING THINGS!!!!

As a mom, I knew there was more to it, and I knew I needed to keep searching for answers. Never. Give. Up. That’s going to be the name of my book. I’m not really a very good writer, avoided it like the plague in school. I have no idea where to start with a book, but it’s a goal of mine, and I need to share our story with other families. Moms need to know that it is worth every bit of energy you use figuring out how to help your child. 

He is so bright, it puts him on a different level. Friends started noticing it before I did, he put concepts together that 2 year olds just didn’t put together. He was smarter than some of the adults in his world and it caused problems. Problems that gradually got worse as the years went on. There were jokes about Einstein being thrown out of school, he even has a hat with Al on it. But, seriously, it took a decade of lots of struggles and difficulties to realize he wasn’t going to get better with prescriptions or school accommodation or anything else traditionally done for bright, ADHD kids. We’d been trying for years, and things were just getting worse… WHY???  Continue reading

Write his teacher a letter… A lesson I wish I learned sooner

writing_letter_12071260152646It was so well received, I knew I should have done it sooner…. Oh, well… We all live and learn.

Letting your child’s teacher know what to expect when you have a child with challenges like ADHD, Anxiety, learning disabilities, Depression, etc. can make such a difference in your child’s school year. Don’t hesitate to write a letter and tell your child’s teacher about your child’s strengths, challenges, and any other pertinent information that is important to help your child succeed.

All teachers want to help our children, that’s why they became teachers. What most parents don’t know is that teachers are given absolutely no resources about ADHD. Can you believe that? The environment where children spend the majority of their time is housed with educators that are never given the opportunity to learn about ADHD (~10% of kids), unless they find time outside of their work schedule to pursue further education on the topic. Not fair… not to the kids, not to the teachers, and not to the rest of the school population. It is up to us as parents to bring information about our child’s challenges to the school and the teachers. Don’t assume they know. If you want someone to have information about your child or their challenges, tell them directly, don’t assume the information gets shared.

I was taught very early on in my professional training that it is important NOT to label kids, so I certainly didn’t want to do it to my own child. In most of my professional situations this is an absolute, but as a parent of an ADHD child, I WAS WRONG! SO WRONG! If your child’s teacher doesn’t know his strengths and weaknesses, how can she help him grow. Yes, most good teachers figure it out, but why waste those months, there are only 9 to get the job done.

If you’ve read any of my posts about ADHD, you know that my son, Joshua has trouble sitting still and staying on task. I have found that talking to his teachers at the beginning of the school year helps Josh and his teachers be much better prepared. For years, it took the first 3-4 months for his teacher to “get to know him” all because I didn’t want to label him. You know, the whole “clean slate” philosophy. I think part of me was trying to test the teacher to see if she also thought that Joshua had ADHD. There was part of me that would doubt it on occasion, although professionally, I knew he was classic.

After writing or asking for a conference with your child’s teacher(s), there should be a plan. Joshua is given specific expectations, as all ADHD kids should. He is also given tools and accommodations to help him succeed, which all ADHD kids deserve. All of his teachers stay in frequent communication with Josh to help him stay on top of assignments that are due, projects that have deadlines coming up, homework that needs to be done, etc. Throughout elementary and most of middle school, Josh has succeeded with the help of some pretty great teachers. We chose private school during 3rd grade for Josh, and haven’t looked back since. I was a public school advocate for a long time, but that debacle is for another post.

If people do not understand how the neurological challenges alter kids behavior, it is crucial for the child’s educational and emotional well-being that they learn. I just read a post on ADDitude.org today with quotes from parents that “wish they knew…” There is always something more we wish we knew.

So, as you prepare for the school year, don’t forget to prep your child’s teacher. You don’t want months to go by this school year, and then have a conversation about what your teacher wished she had known in September. It’s as easy as writing a quick (and, sometimes, not so quick) email. ADDitude.org has a short article and sample letter with great ideas for accommodations, click here to check it out.

So, as you embark on another year of your child’s education, be sure to keep everyone on your journey informed. You’ll be glad you did. I promise! It will make your life easier and most of all make your child’s educational experience more rewarding and successful. Then, you can say, “I’m glad I wrote that letter!” instead of “I wish I had…”.  😉

As always, I hope you are Enjoying the Journey! 🙂 

letter-writing-anymore

Small Dose #11 – Just 10-15 minutes a day…

SPENDING TIME WITH YOUR CHILD IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO AS A PARENT!!

The one thing I keep seeing in my practice is children that aren’t getting enough time with Mom and/or Dad.  It is so obvious that kids just want to spend time with their parents. These children are sad and looking for attention, or are uncommunicative and withdrawn. I had a 10 year old come to her annual physical without a parent and ask me if I would like to go to her Talent Show. I almost cried. A 7 year old patient with behavior issues told Mom the one thing he would like the most as his reward for good behavior is time with Dad. Again, I had to hold back the tears….

When I see children that are happy, it correlates to time spent with Mom and/or Dad. When I come across kids that are not doing well, it seems to go back to no  1 on 1 time or not enough 1 on 1 time with their parents.

It is absolutely essential that kids get Mom and Dad’s time and attention every day.

Time spent together makes kids happier, healthier, more able to cope and builds self esteem. It takes as little as 10-15 minutes a day to make an impact on your child’s world. Time together decreases the chances of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse.

Sure, there are many things that parents have to get done in a day, but time with children and family MUST be a priority! It doesn’t matter if you play a game, toss a ball around, go for a walk, or just sit down and talk. For ideas about what to do when you are together check out Being Together is Most Important

So, make time to be together every day! This will ensure that you and your children enjoy the journey! 🙂

There is no such thing as INNOCENT VIOLENCE!

After seeing today’s news about yet ANOTHER high school shooting, I felt compelled to share some information on children and violence.  The future of our children and the society we are creating weighs heavily on my mind.

Children that do not get the needed love, support and guidance during the first few years of life will constantly be seeking attention for the remainder of their life. This can lead to many issues for the child, as they do whatever it takes (good or bad) to feel valued. This feeling of worthlessness leads to inappropriate and high-risk behavior (see below).

I found some information online at the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry that I wanted to share. This is serious stuff, so I’m not going to have any funny jokes or stories today, just feel the need to share some info….

The following information is copied directly from www.aacap.org:

1. “Hundreds of studies of the effects of TV violence on children and teenagers have found that children may:

Children with emotional, behavioral, learning or impulse control problems may be more easily influenced by TV violence.”
(if you click on the above writing in red, you can view the website directly)
2. “Factors Which Increase Risk of Violent Behavior: Numerous research studies have concluded that a complex interaction or combination of factors leads to an increased risk of violent behavior in children and adolescents.  These factors include:
  • Previous aggressive or violent behavior
  • Being the victim of physical abuse and/or sexual abuse
  • Exposure to violence in the home and/or community
  • Genetic (family heredity) factors
  • Exposure to violence in media (TV, movies, etc.)
  • Use of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Presence of firearms in home
  • Combination of stressful family socioeconomic factors (poverty, severe deprivation,    marital breakup, single parenting, unemployment, loss of support from extended family)
  • Brain damage from head injury”

3. “What are the “warning signs” for violent behavior in children? Children who have several risk factors and show the following behaviors should be carefully evaluated:

  • Intense anger
  • Frequent loss of temper or blow-ups
  • Extreme irritability
  • Extreme impulsiveness
  • Becoming easily frustrated

Parents and teachers should be careful not to minimize these behaviors in children.”

4. “Can anything prevent violent behavior in children?

Research studies have shown that much violent behavior can be decreased or even prevented if the above risk factors are significantly reduced or eliminated.  Most importantly, efforts should be directed at dramatically decreasing the exposure of children and adolescents to violence in the home, community, and through the media.  Clearly, violence leads to violence.  In addition, the following strategies can lessen or prevent violent behavior:

  • Prevention of child abuse (use of programs such as parent training, family support programs, etc.)
  • Sex education and parenting programs for adolescents
  • Early intervention programs for violent youngsters
  • Monitoring child’s viewing of violence on TV/videos/movie”
Pretty heavy info, I know, but so important to share. The well being of our children and the future of our society are at risk.  The one thing we can do to make a difference is try our best to raise mentally and emotionally healthy children.  What a difficult, but important journey we are on friends! I hope some of my advice helps you along your journey!

Find some “creative time”…don’t let Life’s stressors get to your kids!!

Childhood is a time of creativity, free thinking, and discovering oneself in this great big world.   As parents it is our responsibility to provide an environment for our children to have fun, smile, laugh and run around just being kids. Kids should have the opportunity to explore and play with smiles on their faces while laughing with friends.  This is the beautiful mental image of childhood, but not everyone’s childhood….

Creating an environment that allows for exploration and creativity allows children to learn by maneuvering and managing through their world.  Children discover new things about the world just by exploring  every day situations.  As a child grows older and their world expands, they are exposed to more of the “real world”.  Children depend on their parents to protect them from the stressors life in this “real world” has to offer.

Recently, I have been seeing children that have stomach aches, headaches, are acting out in school, having anger issues, suffering from bullying, and/or are dealing with dysfunctional family issues.  Most of these children have one thing in common, they don’t know how to cope with the hurdles that life is putting in front of them.  Parents have a  responsibility to help their children learn how to navigate and cope with the world they live in.  

Did you know that 5% of all children and adolescents suffer from depression or anxiety problems, that’s 1 out of every 20 children.  That is one child out of every classroom! WOW!  Another unfortunate statistic I’m going to share with you is that only 25% of these children get help for their mood disorder. This is sad, and leads to problems not only for the child, but for his family and possibly others.

So, what causes mood disorders like depression and anxiety??  Chemical (neurotransmitter) imbalances in the brain are the organic cause of depression and anxiety.  These chemical imbalances can be caused by genetics, environment, and negative thought processes.  A child that is constantly surrounded by negative will have a negative thinking pattern.  A child that is surrounded by positive feelings and actions will grow up with a more positive outlook.  Children at risk for mood disorders are children that are in high stress environments.  Children worry about  peer acceptance, pressure to try drugs/drinking/sex, bullying, parental expectations, family dysfunction (arguing, divorce, etc.), normal development, school/grades, acne, and future plans, just to name a few. This is an awful lot for children to deal with while they are still learning who they are.  Teaching children to cope helps them deal with all of the stressors that they encounter.  Children that are unable to cope with stressors may act out, feel anxious, depressed, worried, down, hopeless, angry, irritable, overwhelmed, burnt out, causing  difficulty thinking, problems sleeping, headaches, and stomach aches.  This unhappiness frequently leads to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, anger issues, violence, obesity and other health problems. So, how do we teach kids to cope??  It doesn’t happen overnight.

Coping skill for you to share with your children:

  • talk about what is going on in their world and about their thoughts and feelings
  • developing a support network of family and friends
  • live a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep
  • write in a journal
  • change negative thoughts to positive
  • approach obstacles with small steps
  • help your child anticipate events that may cause anxiety, discuss ways to help your child feel better during these times before they happen

Helping your child build good coping skills will help to build self-confidence and increase self-esteem. Allowing children time for free thinking is important. I’ve started calling this “creative time” in our house, as this unstructured time allows creativity.  When left to explore their environment, they imagine something, and they create it. Job accomplished! It’s all about baby steps…. My kids get 30-90 minutes of free time before bed most nights.  They play in their room and do whatever they want.  Joshua is expected to find time to practice his guitar and drums, and likes to find time to read as well.  My kids love their free “creative time”.

Setting goals, formulating a plan to meet those goals, and accomplishing those goals is one of the best self esteem building experience for anyone. Accomplishment feels great!  It provides feelings of capability and confidence, and it is motivating as well.

If you have concerns that a child or teen close to you is depressed or having trouble coping, please help them get help. Sometimes listening and helping lead someone in the right direction is the most important step to helping them see a brighter future.

As you continue on this parenting journey, create goals, follow through, enjoy the feeling of accomplishment, and be an example for your children!

Remember, to succeed, you must first have a plan…

I will explore more issues with child and teen depression and anxiety in future posts.  Please click on the FOLLOW button on the right side of my page to receive updates.