Posts Tagged ‘ Red-Hot Parenting ’

Red-Hot Parenting Recap March 2013: Mental Health In Kids

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

This month a primary focus was on mental health. Three broad themes were examined:

Getting Mental Health Services

Many parents ask me for advice on how to get their kids mental health services. I related 4 key tips that make a difference in terms of finding and receiving good treatment.

ADHD: Outcomes and Treatments

Two issues were in the air. First, new data were published showing that nearly 30% of kids with ADHD go on to still have ADHD as adults. Second, although ADHD is being diagnosed in preschoolers, a new study suggests that traditional treatments – primarily drug therapies – are not effective over time. I suggest a heightened need for more intensive psychosocial interventions in the early years.

Autism: On the Rise Again?

Each new estimate of autism suggests the rate is higher than ever – the newest figure is 1 in 50. I discuss some key issues in interpreting the new study. I also geared up for Autism Awareness Month by asking readers to ask me questions about autism that I can answer in blog posts during April.

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Red-Hot Parenting Recap February 2013: Child-Haters, Genes, Parenting, and Barriers To Services

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

February 2013 was a busy month in the world of parenting – lots of things going on. Here’s a snapshot: 


The news that an adult male slapped a stranger’s toddler on a plane led to a conversation about how our culture may be breeding, at a minimum, a lack of respect for our youngsters – and at worst, provide a context in which child-hating is tolerated.


Speaking of conversations, we had many about if we should use what we are learning about genetics to support genetic engineering, including targeting childhood psychiatric disorders. Then came news that new research suggests some genes might predispose to a number of forms of mental illness – but it’s not at all clear that this will move us closer to genetic solutions.


We always include applications of current research to help guide us decide on good parenting strategies. One study suggest how important it is to let your toddler – and not you – be the “boss” when you are playing. And compelling research showed how the simple act of turning off violent shows and replacing them with educational content – without limiting the amount of TV watched – is beneficial for kids.


We took on some key barriers to getting kids mental health services and broke them down in understandable turns. Now we all wait to see if sequestration is going to provide the biggest barrier of all.

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Red-Hot Parenting Recap: November 2012

Friday, November 30th, 2012

One big theme stands out from this month’s blog posts:

How Parents Expose Kids To Different Types Of Risks

When we parents make choices about our own behavior, we are also making choices about what our kids are exposed to. This month I focused on how some of our daily habits can end up exposing kids to junk food, smoking, and excessive TV viewing – all risk factors for compromised health (either directly or indirectly):

I also took on more controversial studies about how pregnant women have to weigh pros and cons when considering use of antidepressants, getting a flu shot, and eating fish. These studies are new, exploratory, and may raise more questions than they answer:

Time For Review via

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Red-Hot Parenting Recap: October 2012

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Each month, I’m stepping back and reflecting on themes that stand out. This past month, three themes continue to grab my attention: 


The large public fall from grace of Lance Armstrong this month prompted me to reflect upon how important it is that we emphasize character as a goal of development, and not just success:


Play often makes the list these days. And this month, I shared practical guidelines for just how much play —especially vigorous play—toddlers should be getting, both at home and at child-care settings:


The phrase doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but the fact is that your kid not only selects friends as they get older—they also indirectly select other parents that may influence them. In fact, they might be a strong influence on whether or not your kid uses drugs:

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Red-Hot Parenting Recap (Sept 2012): Play, DNA, And Sleep

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Three big themes in the world of parenting stimulated discussion this past month. Here’s a recap of these along with links to posts that take them on. 

(1) The critical role of pretend play – long cherished in the academic literature and embedded in childhood education – was, to a degree, challenged by a somewhat provocative review paper. To some, it seemed like the article’s primary goal was to suggest that pretend play may be overrated as a promoter of cognitive development in general and creativity in particular, and hence should be reconsidered in a school’s curriculum. My take was a little different.  I thought the paper did a good job of highlighting the aspects of development that are positively influenced by pretend play – especially social skills – while suggesting that the cognitive aspects may in fact not be the primary benefit:

“Is Pretend Play Overrated?: The Take-Home Messages From The New Provocative Review”

The big thing for me was that, contrary to what you might have read about this paper, there was support for different types of play in the educational (and home) lives of young children (rather than suggesting to eliminate play). To wit, I also discussed a new study which revealed how drawing (particularly copying shapes) in toddlerhood predicts reading achievement in kindergarten even after accounting for traditional indicators of cognitive maturity:

Try This With Your Toddler: How A Particular Type of Drawing Is Associated With Reading Achievement In Kindergarten” 

(2) DNA was in the news in a number of ways. There was lots of interest in the recent link made between paternal age and risk for autism in offspring. Much was made of the idea that men, as well as women, have a biological clock. In response, I described what that may mean biologically, and how men (like women) may have to factor in rather inconclusive probabilities when making complex choices about having children at different ages:

Dads, DNA, And Choices

DNA and moms was also a hot topic. A study was characterized in the media as identifying “the mom gene” – implying that a woman either has, or hasn’t, a gene which would make her want to be a mom. I pointed out that genetics doesn’t typically work like this in humans, along with the, um, difficulties in making the jump from a study about female mice who had the function of a gene experimentally disabled to the human female:

Is There A Mom Gene?

(3) Sleep was also a big topic. While you may have read that a new study showed that it’s okay to let your baby “cry-it-out” the actual take-home messages were more fine-grained. In particular, the study was really about 2 types of sleep training methods, their utility in reducing infant sleep problems, and their lack of effects – positive or negative – 5 years later:

That “Cry-It-Out” Study: 5 Important Take-Home Messages You Should Know

I especially encourage you to check this out because we are finally seeing actual scientific studies on sleep training, rather than just debate. And the implications for parents are quite reasonable and, to my way of thinking, very important to know, given that all parents wrestle with figuring out how to get their babies to sleep.


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