Archives

Caring for Children With ADHD

ADHD better known amongst mental health professionals as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, has in recent decades become a label loosely attached to children that appear more fidgety and restless than the rest of the crew. The hallmark symptoms of ADHD are marked by hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness. Children diagnosed with ADHD commonly have predominate symptoms in one area, for example, inattentiveness. In some cases, children may have combined types inclusive of both symptoms of impulsivity and inattentiveness. Caring for children with ADHD requires a specialized and intentional care that treats the child in manner that addresses all of their unique needs. Ritalin and Adderall are some of the most common psychotropic medications used to treat the symptoms of ADHD. However, many psychotropic medications come with side effects and can have a long-term impact on the structure of the brain. Unfortunately, many parents and child care workers are not educated on the holistic ways to care for their children. This article will discuss some ways to care for children with ADHD in a manner that will help them thrive.

Diet

Diet is plays a major role in the manifestation of symptoms. Sugar and food coloring can be kryptonite ingredients that fuel symptoms of ADHD. Research has shown that children with ADHD are deficient of iron, magnesium, and zinc. Each of these vitamins and minerals have a significant impact on the balancing the brain chemistry. For example, low iron levels are correlated with cognitive declines and severe forms of ADHD. Moreover, zinc and magnesium deficiencies play a major role in inattentiveness and poor focus. Research has shown that a well-balanced diet, namely rich in omega-3 has been shown to alleviate symptoms by 50 percent. As if it’s not difficult enough for parent to encourage health diets,  stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall, commonly cause a reduced appetite leading to nutritional deficiencies. Parents and child care professionals should be intentional in creating a meal plan and vitamin regimen that help fortify he deficiencies commonly present in children diagnosed with ADHD.Home-Care-in-Washington-D.C.

Established Routine

Children with ADHD commonly struggle with forgetfulness and disorganization. Additionally, when they become interested in an activity they tend to hyper-focus, which makes transitions to new task a battle. In order to help alleviate these issues children must have a strictly followed schedule to provide structure to their disorganized world. Child Care professionals and parents should be trained to prepare children for transitions and offer frequent breaks to allow prevent agitation and “acting out” behaviors. It is essential that both parents and childcare workers maintain the same schedule and approach to maintain consistency. Lack of consistency often hinders the child’s ability to adjust and adopt the schedule. It is essential that child care professionals and parents incorporate activity and novel experiences into the child’s schedule.

Emotional Support

Many children diagnosed with ADHD, quickly pick-up on the social rejection from both peers and adults. Children with ADHD are often blamed and condemned for their uncontrollable impulses and high energy. Moreover, depending on their symptom severity, children diagnosed with ADHD commonly struggle academically which can lead to embarrassment and low self-esteem. It is essential that child care professionals maintain a supportive environment by highlighting the child’s unique strengths and providing verbal praises for their effort and even small achievements. Child care professionals should be trained to avoid negative reactions to disruptive and seemingly defiant behaviors. Parents and child care professionals should encourage guided playdates to prevent feelings of rejection from peers. ADHD can be a challenging enough for both the child and childcare workers. It is essential that parents choose professionals that know the unique needs of the child and ways to care for them holistically.

Sources

Arnold, L. E. (2001). Alternative Treatments for Adults with Attention‐Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences931(1), 310-341.

Pelsser, L. M., Frankena, K., Buitelaar, J. K., & Rommelse, N. N. (2010). Effects of food on physical and sleep complaints in children with ADHD: a randomised controlled pilot study. European journal of pediatrics169(9), 1129-1138.

 

Fathers Day

Importance of Father Involvement in Children     

An extensive amount of research has emphasized the pivotal role that mothers play in the lives of childhood development. Many studies highlight the valuable influence that mothers have on the cognitive, emotional and social development of the child. However, until recent years, there has been little research that highlights the benefits of father involvement on the well-being of the child. There has been an increasing body of research that emphasizes the differential outcomes between children that actively engage with fathers versus those that do not. According to a study published in Acta Pediatrica, active involvement of fathers has decreased oppositional behavioral, reduced psychological problems and enhances cognitive development. Additionally, active engagement of fathers can improve the overall efficacy of the family system. Consistent engagement of fathers reduces the responsibility and workload of mothers and decreases the likelihood of mothers burning out. When mothers burn out there is an increased risk of dysfunctional interactions with the family. These effects include tension, outburst of anger and unintended neglect. Unfortunately, mothers on average spend more time engaging with children than the fathers. Additionally, if parents are at work, often nannies end up spending a significant amount of time with children. Nannies serve as a buffer in the family unit and provide support during times parents are not present. Unfortunately, male nannies are less likely to be hired and are commonly discriminated against in the “nanny sector”. This is largely due to the underestimated value of the role that males and father figures play in the lives of children. Father’s and male figures play a crucial role in facilitating emotional and psychological well-being in children. In this article we will highlight some of the most valuable contributions fathers and male figures can make in children.

Gate Keeper

Historically, fathers have maintained the impression of the dominant figure in the home. Additionally, they have been viewed as the firm figure that maintains the rules. Although, women actively take on a dominant parental role in the family dynamic, studies have shown the mere presence of fathers in the home can reduce the frequency of defiant behavior. At various stages in development, it is typical for children to test the limits and boundaries of their parents. At each stage defiance can come in different forms ranging from refusal to do school work to staying out after curfew. Although “children will be children”, it is essential that children are provided with flexible boundaries and firm expectations to safely navigate these phases of their lives. Father’s can help play an important role in safeguarding children through those phases of “testing the limits”.

Coach Motivator

Growing up in a competitive culture can be difficult for children. Many children lack motivation and confidence in their abilities at each stage of their development. Girls typically struggle with self-esteem issues more than boys. Several studies find that an active and nurturing style of fathering is associated with better verbal skills, intellectual functioning, and academic achievement among adolescents. Fathers typically take on a coaching and solution-focused approach to helping their children build confidence and attain their personal goals. During early childhood through late adolescence, children are faced with more competitive situations through sports, arts, and education. These experiences may have a negative impact on a child’s self-esteem. Fathers play an important role in encouraging and motivating children to try their best and continue to strive for their goals.

Mental Health

Research has shown that father involvement is linked to better psychological adjustment. There is evidence that active and regular engagement of fathers reduced psychological problems in young women. Girls typically experience challenges with mental health at an earlier age. These mental health issues include; depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Although the experiences of mental health challenges are inevitable for some children, father involvement can provide children with reassurance and comfort throughout the process.  Additionally, challenges with mental health can be debilitating and hinder functioning in school and extracurricular activities. Active involvement of fathers can help children maintain optimal functioning through challenges with mental health.

Sources

Sarkadi, A., Kristiansson, R., Oberklaid, F., & Bremberg, S. (2008). Fathers’ involvement and children’s developmental outcomes: a systematic review of longitudinal studies. Acta paediatrica, 97(2), 153-158.