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Issues - Da-Dz

[Dating]   [Day Care Centers]   [Discipline in 1 to 5 Year Olds]   [Discipline in 6 to 12 Year Olds]   [Discipline in Your Teenager]   [Divorce: It's Effect on Children]   [Drug Abuse]  

DATING

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Dating is one of the important transitions to adulthood for your teenager. Because of its importance, your child and you, are likely to have many anxieties about dating. You are also likely to have concerns about the possibility of your son or daughter becoming sexually active and the possible consequences of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

It is very important that the parents make it clear to their son or daughter what their expectations are concerning their child's behavior in the dating process. Studies show that parents who teach their children to wait on sexual activity have children who are more likely to delay sexual activity and less likely to have a pregnant daughter or a son who is a father.  The following are guidelines for fun and safe dating by your teenager:

Guidelines for Dating

  1. Never let her date before the age of 15 or 16. Studies show that the earlier your daughter dates, the more likely she will become a teenage mother.
  2. Always insist that your teenager double dates for the first year or so. Not only will this protect him from doing something he will regret later, it is usually more fun since he is probably anxious.
  3. Never allow her to date someone who is significantly older than she is.  While this rule is true for both sons and daughters, the biggest problem occurs when an older boy (or young adult) wants to date a mid-teen girl. Seldom does an older boy date a younger girl except for the desire to take advantage of her sexually.  This abuse by older males has been made worse by the lack of  enforcement of statutory rape or child support laws.
  4. Always keep him away from any gathering where alcohol or drugs will be available or where there is no responsible adult supervision.
  5. Teach sons and daughters to avoid going into any closed room, apartment, dorm room, or bedroom where temptations will be high to either have consensual intercourse or date rape.
  6. Teach your daughter to dress in a nonsuggestive fashion. The manner in which she dresses may be misunderstood by her date as an "invitation" for sexual advances.
  7. Teach your son to behave responsibly toward the girls he dates.  It is time that parents and society revolt against the old stereotype of sexually aggressive males being the norm. Rather such behavior should be viewed as oafish, selfish, and destructive to the individuals involved and to the children that often result from such unions.
  8. Teach your children by your example. If you are cohabiting with your boyfriend or  girlfriend, get married. If you are being sexually active with persons outside of marriage, then stop. Studies show that your children will likely act in the same manner that you are.
  9. Always meet your daughter's date in a friendly fashion. It is important not to embarrass her, but it is equally important to show her date that you are involved in her life and that she is important to you.
  10. Mothers need to teach their daughters some of the seductive lines or approaches that males may use to try to seduce them. The mother can give her daughter examples for gracefully exiting from the situation, if possible, and if not how to protect herself by raising a fuss.  Fathers need to instruct their sons concerning similar circumstances. Many teenage girls have become more sexually aggressive and your son needs to be prepared for that reality of modern times.

DAY CARE CENTERS

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In many families, both parents need to work and some form of childcare is necessary. To reduce infections, have your child stay with a relative or in a small home care center where there are only a few children, assuming this is available.

Even in the best of circumstances when the workers in the day care center wash their hands frequently and exclude children who are contagious, many different contagious diseases are common. This occurs because with most illnesses, children are contagious even before they are showing signs of being ill. Also some children have infections without ever becoming ill outwardly (subclinical infections).

When dozens of children are under one roof, it is inevitable that several of them are contagious with some diseases. Even when infants are separately kept in one room, infections are transferred from older siblings to younger siblings in another part of the day care center. Dozens of illnesses are more common in day care centers as oppose to a home care situation. These can be divided into 4 categories (viral, parasitic, fungal, and bacterial). Some of these illnesses are mild and some of them aresevere. Examples include:

Viral: Cold sores (herpes), colds, chickenpox, croup, diarrhea, hepatitis, meningitis, pneumonia, pink eye, roseola, sore throats, vomiting

Parasitic: Giardiasis (diarrhea), head lice, pin worms, scabies

Fungal: Diaper rash, ringworm, scalp infections, thrush

Bacterial: Abscesses (MRSA infections), adenitis (glands), blood infections (sepsis), ear infections, meningitis, pink eye, pneumonia, salmonellosis (diarrhea), shigellosis (diarrhea), skin infections (impetigo), sinusitis, strep throat, tuberculosis

DISCIPLINE IN 1- to 5-YEAR-OLDS

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All children need discipline in their lives. Discipline sets boundaries on behavior, shows that parents are the source of authority, and clarifies the difference between right and wrong. Discipline needs to begin at a young age because it is easier to encourage appropriate behavior then. Discipline and punishment are not the same. Discipline is an act of love, a form of instruction, and encourages "growing up." Mere punishment is none of these and children understand the difference.

Discipline takes time and effort because your child will consistently test your limits. He needs to clearly understand what is OK and what is not. Never discipline for accidents (such as spilling milk at your table), but he should be asked to help clean up. Discipline begins around 1 year of age and continues into his late teens. Discipline should be followed by lots of affection to show him that he is still loved.

Forms of Discipline:

Rewards for Proper Behavior - Merit systems can be set up using stars or points for good behavior with rewards (snow cone, etc.) to be given to your child when she has gained a certain number of points. The younger your child, the fewer points she needs to gain for a reward, because her attention span is short. A very effective system is to take a washable green marker and put a mark on the back of her hand every time she obeys or responds positively to a behavior your are trying to improve. This has the advantage of being a touch from the parent, dramatic in appearance, and self-reinforcing because she can see all the green marks that she has and can show the other parent what a good girl she has been. The more marks, the better (even dozens). Wash them off the next morning and start with new marks.

Removal of Privileges - Due to his poor behavior, you can take away privileges such as dessert, staying up late, or outings with his friends. Try not to remove your child from interaction with other family members, because he needs the opportunity to behave well and heal the hurts he has caused.

Removal of privileges should match the "crime" whenever possible. So if your young child gets into your cookie jar, then she should have no dessert for a day. If your child steals money from a sibling, then she should receive no allowance the next time and pay back money that she has stolen.

Adding Chores - Giving your child additional chores, can be more effective for some children than other discipline. All children older than 4 years of age should have daily chores. Chores for discipline should be written down and have a set time limit for their completion or additional chores will be added.

Timeout - Placing your child in a boring spot can be very effective for slowing him down and helping him think about his bad behavior. For each year of life, give 1 minute of timeout  (thus 5-year-olds get 5 minutes). If this does not work after 3 times, then place him in his room for 30 minutes.

Spanking - About 70% of parents spank at times, although many organizations suggest that this is bad. The research is limited on spanking. If you choose to spank, here are the Don'ts: Don't spank a child older than 10 years. Don't spank in anger. Don't use an object (switch or wooden spoon); use your hand since you can tell how hard you are swatting your child. Don't spank without warning your child first.  Don't spank anywhere except on the buttocks.  Only spank as a last resort. Don't spank in front of other children; take your child to a private area so as not to embarrass him. Give lots of attention and affection after the spanking.

 

DISCIPLINE IN 6- to 12-YEAR-OLDS

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Discipline continues to be very important as children age, but the way it is administered changes somewhat. Discipline sets boundaries on behavior, shows that parents are the source of authority, and clarifies the difference between right and wrong. Discipline and punishment are not the same. Discipline is an act of love, a form of instruction, and encourages "growing up." Mere punishment is none of these and children understand the difference.

Forms of Discipline in Preteens:

  1. General Information - You can reason with your preteen. She understands that her behavior needs to be good and so fair discipline will usually be accepted fairly well. This means that the discipline is to instruct, not embarrass. She needs to know clearly what your rules are (It is a good idea to write these down). It is never productive to yell at your child because it brings you down to her level. If she starts to argue with you, turn and walk away and talk later when she is being more reasonable. On the other hand, it is fair to quietly discuss with her the reasons that she has received a given discipline. Hearing her complaints shows her that she is important to you as a person and that you respect her.
  2. Spanking - This form of discipline is not recommended for 10-years and older. Research shows that spanking in older children will tend to humiliate your child and lead to distancing from you.
  3. Rewards for Proper Behavior - Whenever possible try to compliment specific behavior by name, not just say that she is behaving well.  For example, tell her that she was really a good girl when she shared with her brother, talked quietly in the library, or cleaned up her room. Children in the preteen period usually want to please their parents and giving verbal encouragement will tend to have very positive results. As she ages, you can ask more of her but with a bigger reward at the end. Since at this age she will still enjoy doing activities with her parents, rewards might include you taking her to breakfast, the movies, the zoo, or other activities that she is interested in.
  4. Removal of Privileges - Due to his poor behavior, you can take away his privileges such as dessert, staying up late, or outings with his friends. Try not to remove him from interaction with other family members, because he needs the opportunity to behave well and heal the hurts he has caused.
  5. Removal of his privileges should match the "crime" whenever possible. So if he steals money from a sibling, then no allowance for him for a period of time. If he misuses the telephone, then phone use should be taken from him temporarily. If he lies about where he is outside the home, then he should be "grounded" to his home for a set amount of time.
  6. Adding Chores - Giving her additional chores, can be more effective for some children than other discipline. Your preteen child should be doing daily chores already, but adding the less desirable work (weeding flower beds, cleaning toilets, vacuuming rooms, etc.) can be very effective in curbing her bad behavior. Chores for discipline should be written down and have a time limit for their completion or she should have additional chores added.

 

DISCIPLINE IN YOUR TEENAGER

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Discipline continues to be very important in teenagers, but the way it is administered changes somewhat. Discipline sets boundaries on behavior, shows that parents are the source of authority, and clarifies the difference between right and wrong. Discipline and punishment are not the same. Discipline is an act of love, a form of instruction, and encourages "growing up." Mere punishment is none of these and your teen will understand the difference.

orms of Discipline in Teens:

  1. General Information - You can reason with your teen (although she may act unreasonable). She understands (deep down) that her behavior needs to be good.  Despite this, discipline may not be well accepted. It needs to be done anyway, for her sake.  Never embarrass her. She needs to know clearly what your rules are (It is a good idea to write these down). It is never productive to yell at her because it brings you down to her level. If she starts to argue with you, turn and walk away and talk later when she is being more reasonable. On the other hand, it is fair to quietly discuss the reasons that she has received a given discipline. Hearing her complaints shows her that she is important to you and that you respect her.
  2. Corporal Punishment - This form of discipline is not recommended for your teenager  ever because it humiliates him and will make him feel more distant from you.
  3. Rewards for Proper Behavior - Compliment her for specific good behavior. For example, tell her "Thanks, for picking up your room," "It was good to see you talk nicely to your brother," or "It makes me proud when you share your CDs with other friends." While she is probably becoming more independent from you, verbal compliments will be appreciated although she may not tell you so. At this age, you can ask more of her but with a bigger reward at the end. Since at this age she will not enjoy activities with you as much as before, ask her what sort of activities she might want to be involved in for good behavior. Taking a group of her friends to breakfast, the movies, the zoo, or other activities that she is interested in (and sitting far away from her and her friends are good rewards for her behaving well).
  4. Removal of Privileges -  Due to his poor behavior, you can take away his privileges such as  outings with his friends or car use. It is amazing how much teenagers love to drive and how this can curb their unruly behavior for those who have their restricted or permanent license.
  5. Removal of his privileges should match the "crime" whenever possible. So if he steals money from a sibling, then no allowance for him for a period of time. If he misuses the telephone, then phone use should be taken from him temporarily. If he lies about where he is outside the home, then he should be "grounded" to his home for a set amount of time.  If he misuses the car, then take away that period for a prolonged period of time especially when his misuse is potentially dangerous such as speeding or using the car while drinking.
  6. Adding Chores - Giving her additional chores, can be effective for some teens than other discipline. She should be doing chores already, but adding the less desirable work (weeding flower beds, cleaning toilets, vacuuming rooms, etc.) can be very effective in curbing her bad behavior. Chores for discipline should be written down and have a time limit for their completion or she should have additional chores added.

  

DIVORCE: ITS EFFECTS ON CHILDREN

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In the last 30 years as our society has observed a large increase in the number of divorces, scientific studies have also demonstrated many problems in children who are from divorced families. While in some instances divorce is a necessity because of child or spouse abuse, many divorces could be avoided and should be avoided for the children's sake.

The following are consistent scientific findings about the effects of divorce on children:

  1. More behavioral problems as young children.
  2. Children tend to see their parent who is not in the home (usually fathers ) less often.
  3. Children have a poorer relationship with their parent not in the home.
  4. Tougher financial circumstances (only about 1/3 receive full financial support).
  5. Children have poorer nutrition, health care, and homes related to poorer finances.
  6. Lowered educational results in the children.
  7. Children drop out of school at a higher rate.
  8. Daughters are about 6 times as likely to be sexually abused compared to intact families.
  9. Sons are about 2 to 3 times as likely to be sexually abused.
  10. Daughters are about 3 times as likely to become pregnant as teenagers.
  11. Sons are more likely to get someone pregnant.
  12. Sons are more likely to become juvenile delinquents.
  13. Teenagers are more likely to drink while driving.
  14. Teenagers are more likely to use illegal drugs.
  15. Teenagers are more likely to become alcoholic.
  16. Teenagers are more likely to have multiple sex partners.
  17. Children are more likely to be depressed as teenagers or adults.
  18. Children are more likely to consider suicide or attempt suicide as teenagers or adults.
  19. Teenagers are more likely to take "risk-taking" behaviors that increase injury or death.
  20. Children tend to have less contact with their grandparents.
  21. Daughters are more likely to be victims of "date" rape.
  22. Sons are more likely to join a gang.
  23. Children are less likely to be involved in church or other spiritual activities.
  24. As adults they tend not to advance as far in employment nor attain as high an income.
  25. Children of divorce are more likely to divorce when adults, perpetuating the problem.

It is now thought that the consequences of divorce tend to be lasting. Children never quite adjust to their world being turned upside down during a divorce. Even as adults they tend to be less trusting, more cynical, and less happy compared to children from intact families. While remarriage does afford some advantages, especially improvement in finances and assistance in childcare from the new spouse, the advantages are matched by new problems such as difficulties between step-siblings and relational difficulties between children and stepparents. Remarriage does not restore what was lost in most cases.

DRUG ABUSE

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Drug use is one of the severe problems for teenagers in modern America. While drugs were occasionally used by adults during most of the 20th century, drug use skyrocketed in the 1960's and 1970's. The increase in divorce, the reduction of faith, and the loss of a sense of purpose or direction in one's life have strongly contributed to the use of drugs.

For each teenager drugs have a different meaning. For some, drugs are something to be avoided because of its tendency to decrease health. For others, it is a method to feel good temporarily in a life that might be full of sadness. For some, it is the way to feel like you are part of the "in" crowd. For a few, it might be the thrill of doing something forbidden that provides a lift to their spirits. And finally, some use drugs only because of peer pressure on occasions when at a party or gathering of poorly supervised teenagers. Addressing your teenager's problems with drugs will depend upon the reason he uses or is drawn to drugs.

Ways to Keep Your Teenager from Using Drugs

  1. Do not abuse alcohol or other drugs yourself. Your teenager learns from her role models.
  2. Keep your marriage solid. Teenagers from divorced parents are more likely to use drugs.
  3. Become involved in a good church or synagogue, especially one which has a strong high school program. Religious teenagers are much less likely to have drug problems.
  4. Spend time with him by entering his world. In other words, plan events with him that he wants to do about twice a month.
  5. Talk honestly with her about the health (hepatitis, sudden death), mental health (addiction disorder, depression), and social problems (divorce, lost jobs) associated with drug use.
  6. Teach him that marijuana is not a harmless drug. Teenagers and young adults who smoke marijuana do more poorly in school, make less money in their jobs, and may go on to "harder" drugs.
  7. Her evening and weekend parties must always be chaperoned by a responsible adult.
  8. Junior and senior high schools should have dances and other parties for their students to reduce the temptation for unsupervised dances and off-campus parties.
  9. If you have a problem with drug use, get help immediately. You will not be able to hide such a problem from your son or daughter, regardless of how much you try.
  10. Make it very clear to him that drugs are illegal. Probation and even jail time may result from teenage drug use.
  11. Remind her that teen pregnancy often results when inhibitions are lowered during the time a girl is using drugs. 
  12. Encourage your son or daughter in areas that he or she has had some success such as athletics, music, hunting, writing, or computers. Such success helps them resist temptation by giving  them self-confidence and reasons to keep a clear mind and avoid trouble.

 

 

The information contained within this website is no substitution for timely medical care.

Feel free to copy the information on this web site and give to friends and family. Contact Dr. Glenn Wood at
Carousel Pediatrics (512) 744-6000 We are located at 7112 Ed Bluestein Blvd., #100 - Austin, TX 78723

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