Tag Archives: Discipline

Consider A Medication Vacation For Your Child

Summer’s here and the time is right for taking a vacation.

Whether it be a (and I can’t believe I’m about to use this word) stay cation at home or a vacation somewhere less-than exotic, most of us look forward to a few days off work so we can relax and enjoy ourselves.

But what about your ADHD child? Most school-age ADHD children take some form of medication to help them alleviate the symptoms of distraction or hyperactivity. These medications allow those taking them to sit still and think straight for long enough that they can actually learn something  in the classroom and during homework.

ADHD medication, whether it be stimulant-based or otherwise, is designed to do one thing: alter behavior. The medication is supposed to allow the child to behave in a more situationally correct manner and it achieves this by suppressing natural behaviors.

Taken out of context, that probably sounds like a horrible idea. It’s only when we begin considering that the natural behaviors are counter productive and disruptive both socially and academically that we understand changing the natural order is, in this case, a good thing.

However, change does not come without a cost. Consider the child who doesn’t take her medication one morning. More often than not, she will come home from school in a foul mood, cross and angry with the world. This is because her brain no longer has its expected pharmaceutical buffer supporting her cognitive processes.

It’s jagged and jarring and can make life difficult for both the ADHD child and anyone around him.

And yet, here I am suggesting that you might want to consider taking your child off her medications during the summer. While I might still be considered an idiot by some, I’m on the right track with this idea.

I will say, as a sort of fair warning, the pediatrician our young dudes still see does not believe in medication vacation for summer as a matter of course. However, there are certain circumstances under which she will give her go ahead.

You might consider a medication vacation as a way of assessing whether your child can do without medication for good. Because children are growing, the effect medication has on them will change over time. It could be that your child would do better on a different medication or no medication at all.

The only way to figure that out is to stop the current medication. ADHD isn’t something you age out of. However, some folks with the disorder can find ways to circumvent the disorder so they won’t need the medication.

A lot of that has to do with maturity. When younger, most kids don’t have the mental discipline necessary to do what needs to be done to help them overcome the hardships imposed by ADHD.

You might also want to consider a medication vacation if your child has been suffering from side effects, such as a loss of appetite. Within days, you’ll discover that most kids will begin eating more once they no longer are taking their medication. This could help them catch up on their necessary weight gain.

If you do give your little dudette a medication vacation, understand that it’s not on a whim. It’s a good idea to assess the success or failure of the vacation as summer winds to a close.

It could be that impulse-control issues without medication made it a difficult time. Or you might notice that your child is exhibiting more defiance when off the medications. Regardless, it’s a good idea to sit down with your child, your partner and the child’s doctor to discuss what you learned during the vacation.

This information can be invaluable as you begin to plan for the school year ahead.

The main thing I want you dudes to take away from this is that you should never stand pat when it comes to your child’s health and welfare. They’re growing and changing all the time, which means your approach must be constantly evaluated to see if it can be changed or should stay the same.

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Lower The Lung Power

Sometimes, yelling just feels sooooooo good.

It’s cathartic. Dudes, I’m telling you that, sometimes when I’m screaming, I can feel the tension rushing out my body, through the lungs and vanishing into the echoes.

Screaming my lungs out at a football game not only helps support my team (Go, Gators!), but also helps me to feel a part of something greater, something louder, something (slightly) more obnoxious than myself.

Yelling at my young dudes, though. . . Not so good.

I understand the attraction. I’ve given in to the desire to just release that anger and frustration through yelling at the young dudes. I’ve never thought well of myself after, though. Even as I was doing it, I knew it was wrong. Mostly I managed to stop, take a step back and grab a (not-so-metaphorical) breath.

Mostly.

Yelling at your young dudes never accomplishes anything. Well, anything worthwhile. It can certainly accomplish the not-so-arduous task of making you look like an idiot and making your child feel small, worthless and horrible.

I think we can all agree that this is not a desirable outcome.

In a recent post, Salynn Boyles, a contributing writer for the blog site MedPage Today, writes about how yelling at your children has a quantifiable bad result.

Parents who yell, insult, or swear in an effort to correct bad behavior may perpetuate the behavior and increase a child’s risk for depression, new research suggests.

Unfortunately, parents yelling at their children isn’t a rare thing. In the study, researchers reported that nearly half of all parents (45% to 46% of moms and 42% to 43% of dads) said they used what it euphemistically called verbal discipline with their 13- and 14-year-old children. Mostly, we’d just call it yelling at the kids.

Using a cross-lagged model, the research showed that higher exposure to harsh verbal discipline at age 13 predicted increased adolescent behavior problems between the ages of 13 and 14 (beta=0.12 and 0.11; P<0.001), lead researcher and behavioral psychologistMing-Te Wang, PhD, of the University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues, wrote in the Sept. 4 issue of the journal Child Development.

Higher exposure to parental yelling and other forms of harsh verbal discipline at age 13 predicted increased depressive symptoms between the ages of 13 and 14 (beta=0.16 and 0.14;P<0.001).

Well, sure. I mean, if you got yelled at by your mom or dad when you were that age, I’m pretty sure you would have been at least a little depressed. I mean, what is the young dude or dudette supposed to thing? Their parent is screaming at them over some behavior. . . Obviously the young one is a miserable excuse for a human being.

Remember, teenagers aren’t known for their ability to successfully think their way out of a wet paper bag. Add in a healthy dollop of emotional overreaction and you’ve got a recipe for feeling horrible. Which, unfortunately, is something that doesn’t go away as easily as it was brought on.

Psychologist Nadine Kaslow, PhD, who is president elect of the American Psychological Association and who was not involved in the study, said the findings highlight the futility and potential harms of reacting to adolescent behavioral issues with harsh verbal discipline.

Kaslow is the chief psychologist at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and a professor of psychiatry at Atlanta’s Emory University School of Medicine.

“It sends the message that when you are mad or upset or scared, yelling is the way to deal with it,” she told MedPage Today. “That is the opposite of the message parents should be sending. Also, shouting and yelling doesn’t really work. It may stop the behavior for a while, but the child will probably be exhibiting the same behavior within an hour or two.”

And, yet, there are those parents who choose yelling at their kids as a peaceful alternative to hitting the young dudes and dudettes. I’m not sure how either of these things could possibly be seen as a better scenario.

The big takeaway from this article, other than the idea that you shouldn’t scream at a misbehaving child since it doesn’t actually work to decrease non-desired behavior, is that it’s better to work with your child, rather than directly imposing your will on him or her.

“Our results support a transactional model of parent-child interaction and suggest that any intervention efforts to reduce both harsh verbal discipline and conduct problems will need to target both the parents and the child,” the researchers concluded.

The next time you feel like you’re about to let loose, try and swallow it, dudes. Save it for the stadium, where it’s a good thing. Instead, take that breath and talk to your teen. You won’t regret it.

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Arrrr! It Be Talk Like A Pirate Day 2013

To Hyper Lad’s horror, that most special day of the year has rolled ’round again at last. Welcome, dudes and dudettes, to the most celebrated internet holiday of all: International Talk Like A Pirate Day.

It’s time to be slobbing around the mizzenmast, to threaten misbehaving young dudes with keelhauling, to scream about the topsail and battening down the hatches. It’s time to find your new Pirate Name.

Talk Like A Pirate Day
Illustration by Ghergich & Co.

It’s time to embarrass your young dudes still at home by wandering around and speaking in pirate slang with a horrific pirate vocabulary and seeing things from a pirate point of view. It might even be time to listen to Jimmy Buffett sing “A Pirate Looks at 40.”

Okay, fine, I do this most every day of the year, but this is the day I’m actually supposed to do it.

Over the years, my young dudes have learned to love/hate this particular day. It was funny to them when I first began to celebrate this holiday, but, over the years, it became a bit of an embarrassment for them. I guess I probably shouldn’t have followed each of them into school, shouting like a pirate and forcing everyone to call me by my Pirate Name. And, yes, I might have gone a big overboard when I took to wearing full regalia and waving a cutlass at the approaching school safety officers. But, in my defense, it was fun.

Well, fun for me anyway.

Speaking of fun, I headed over to the International Talk Like A Pirate Day website and found loads of fun stuff to have fun with in a very fun way. See? I told you I was going to be speaking of fun.

I found The Official Talk Like A Pirate Personality Inventory, which sounds very official-like, don’t cha think. I found it to be an incisive look into the various matrices that mesh together to form the cogent bit of grog-drinking, sabre-wielding manliness you read before you.

I am: The Quartermaster (The ship’s disciplinarian).You, me hearty, are a man or woman of action! And what action it is! Gruesome, awful, delightful action. You mete out punishment to friend and foe alike – well, mostly to foe, because your burning inner rage isn’t likely to draw you a whole lot of the former. Still, though you may be what today is called “high maintenance” and in the past was called “bat-shit crazy,” the crew likes to have you around because in a pinch your maniacal combat prowess may be the only thing that saves them from Jack Ketch. When not in a pinch, the rest of the crew will goad you into berserker mode because it’s just kind of fun to watch. So you provide a double service – doling out discipline AND entertainment.

There’s also the wonderfully funny Pirate Name Generator, which I believe might, in fact, not care what name you put into it and will simply generate a random pirate name for you. Still, when I get the opportunity to be called Pirate Argus The Badly Burnt, well, I’m going to take that opportunity. If you’d like to be a bit more certain of the truthfulness of your name, you can always go here and take the Pirate Name Quiz, which will help you find the perfect pirate name for your personality.

I am, of course, Roger Kidd. I’ve no idea why it’s Roger Kidd, but I like what it has to say about me: Even though you’re not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. That is, um. . .Arr!

So get out there and grab some booty, terrorize the parrots, and kiss the cannon, dudes and dudettes. Have a little fun today.

And if you can embarrass your kids a little (or a lot) along the way? So much the better.

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