- ADHD: 6.8 percent, or 1 in 14
- Behavioral or conduct problem: 3.5 percent, or 1 in 28
- Anxiety: 3.0 percent, or 1 in 33
- Depression: 2.1 percent, or 1 in 50
- Autism spectrum disorders: 1.1 percent, or 1 in 100
- Illicit drug use disorder: 4.7 percent, or 1 in 20
- Alcohol use disorder: 4.2 percent, or 1 in 25
- Cigarette dependence: 2.8 percent, or 1 in 36
I'm not big on spying on teens generally. I think that privacy is important. And by the time they are teens, in most cases we need to trust that at least some of the stuff we've said for years has stuck--and we need to let them learn to be independent and make choices without us.
- Exercise. With a third of US kids overweight or obese, we need to get more kids moving. Not only does exercise help kids now, it builds healthy habits for a lifetime.
- Friendships. Sports can be a great way to build relationships and social skills.
- Positive self-image. Feeling strong and learning skills can make a kid feel really good about herself.
- Involvement in positive activities. Sports are a way better way to spend your time than video games or hanging out on the streets; for many kids, sports are what keep them on a good life path.
- Time management skills. Athletes, especially high school athletes, need to learn to get homework and other things done around practice.
- Fun! With the right approach and attitude from the athlete and the coach, sports can be a lot of fun.
- Benzoyl peroxide. This comes in strengths from 2.5 percent to 10 percent, without a prescription (stronger isn't necessarily better--sometimes stronger can irritate the skin and make things worse) and should be the first thing you try.
- Retinoid cream or gel (tretinoin, adapalene or tazarotene). These are only available by prescription. The best way to use them is to spread a pea-sized amount over the area with pimples, rather than trying to get it on each pimple.
- Antibiotics. While antibiotics can sometimes be helpful when put on the skin (especially if combined with benzoyl peroxide or a retinoid), they are most helpful when taken by mouth. This, too, requires a prescription.
- oral contraceptives (for girls). There are a few types that can help make acne better. Oral contraceptives can have risks and side effects, so you should discuss this carefully with your doctor.
- Isotretinoin. This is a retinoid in a pill form, and it can make a big difference. However, teens who take it need to be monitored closely for side effects and need regular blood tests. It can cause birth defects if taken while pregnant, so girls who are taking it need regular pregnancy tests. There is also a possible risk of depression, so parents need to watch their teens closely for this (but given how depressed severe acne can make a teen, this risk may not seem so bad).
- Phone calls: 75 percent (20 percent every trip)
- Child care: 70 percent (25 percent every trip)
- Self-care: 70 percent (10 percent every trip)
- Directions: 50 percent (10 percent every trip)
- Entertainment: 50 percent (5 percent every trip)
- Texting: 15 percent (1 percent every trip)
We've been reading in the news about all the people who have had hearing loss from the bombs at the Boston Marathon. Some of them didn't go to the doctor until days later, when they realized that they just weren't hearing right.
The thing is, kids might not realize that.
That's what the ear specialists at Boston Children's Hospital, where I work, are worried about. Children, especially small children, may not understand what's going on when they lose hearing. And they may not be able to explain what it is they are experiencing.
So--if your child was within about 300 feet of either blast (especially if not shielded by a building), if your child was with you and either of you needed any medical care afterward or if your child has any signs of a hearing problem, talk to your doctor about getting an ear and hearing check.
Signs of a problem could include:
- Ear pain (and obviously any bleeding or fluid coming out of the ear)
- Ringing in the ears (a younger child may complain of hearing something)
- Not responding normally when spoken to
- Not paying attention
- Asking people to repeat what they say
- Turning up the volume on things like the TV
Really young children might be more clingy or irritable than usual, and be less interactive.
Some ear problems from the blast may get better by themselves--but some may need treatment, and if there is a permanent hearing loss, the sooner you know, the better--hearing loss can cause lots of problems for children. So talk to your doctor if you have any worries at all. The Audiology department at Boston Children's offers hearing tests in various locations in the Boston area--you can call 617-355-6461 for more information.
- Salicylic acid. This is the most common treatment, and it's widely available in different forms (liquid, discs or a solid stick like a glue stick) without a prescription. I suggest to parents that they rub the wart gently with a nail file before using the medication (soaking it in warm water can help too). It still can take weeks or months for them to go away--like I said, these things don't go away quickly.
- Freezing. Warts don't like being frozen, and this can help them go away a bit sooner (again, not quickly). There are freezing treatments you can buy without a prescription, and they are certainly worth a shot--but for more effective freezing treatments, you'll need to see your doctor or a dermatologist.
- Duct tape. If you stick the tape over the wart and change it every few days, it may help by taking off the top layer of the wart. The cool colors of duct tape now available may make this a more appealing option to kids--and not only does it cover it from view (although they may have to explain why they have duct tape on them), by covering it, you can help prevent the spread.
- Other home remedies. I've heard about people using all sorts of stuff on warts, like garlic, vitamin E, aloe and even carrots. I don't think there are any good studies to know if any of these actually work--I would try the other remedies first--but I don't think they can hurt.
- Does your child take an interest in other children?
- Does your child ever use his finger to point at or ask for something?
- Does your child ever bring objects over to you to show you something?
- Does your child imitate you?
- Does your child respond to his name when you call?
- If you point at a toy across the room, does your child look at it?
- Be watchful of, and patient with, your child's behavior. Stress could play out as worry and clinginess, but it could also show up as irritability or defiance. Children may seem sad for no reason, have difficulty concentrating, not want to be alone or even regress. This is all normal after a traumatic event--but it's not normal if it's really interfering with daily life, if you think your child may hurt himself, or if the changes last more than a week or two. Call your doctor if you have any concerns.
- Be more proactive about conversations. Just because your child hasn't told you that she heard something at school that upset her doesn't mean she hasn't. Ask questions. Make yourself available to your child--try to have some undivided attention time, some hanging out time, so that your child can talk to you. Answer your child's questions simply and honestly.
- Keep in touch with the school. If your child is having a tough time, let the teacher know. Even if your child seems okay, it's a good idea to talk to the teacher and principal about what is happening at school--in the classroom and on the playground. Working together is always best.
- Continue to reassure your child that you, and many other people, are working hard to keep them safe. The fact that the suspects were caught in four days is a good example. Talk about that, and about the firefighters and the police and other people whose job it is to help us be safe, as well as about all the people who care about them and watch out for them every single day.
- Keep hugging them. I just can't say that enough, I think.
"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers--so many caring people in this world."
Dear Mom and Dad, he wrote. I want an iPad. We can bring it on trips (not that we actually go on many trips, but whatever). I will pay the cents (and we will pay the dollars?). I will charge it. It can be at home, a othr houses, in the car and othr plases. I will take good care of it. Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeees.
Fifteen e's in please--clearly, he's serious.
It's easy to roll your eyes at this kind of thing. Kids these days--they just want the latest, coolest technology. They should go outside and play instead. Or read books.
But if you watch Liam play with my iPad, it's easy to see why he loves it. He bangs out songs on drums or piano keys, does puzzles, draws pictures, plays spelling games, flies airplanes...he moves in and out of the different apps, completely captivated.
Yeah, I want him to read books and play outside--which is why I make sure he does both. But I like that he has touchscreen time. It is giving him something that my older, non-touchscreen generation kids didn't have.
For Liam, everything is 3D. Content has depth; whether it's just links, or that it can be manipulated, picked up and looked at different way, he sees the page and the word and the world in a way that is fascinating to me. Nothing is just there; there is always more you can do with it, always a different way you can think about it. I think that it makes him more creative, more willing to look at things differently, more empowered.
And for Liam, every day (sometimes every moment) is full of questions that can and should be answered. He doesn't understand why anyone would let a question linger, when there is an iPad or a smartphone nearby. "Look it up!" he'll demand, and we do--and we read and look at pictures and videos. Which inevitably leads to more questions and things to look up--and then to trips to museums and battleships and ponds. For Liam, life is about exploring and learning.
These are the gifts of growing up with the Internet and touch screens. Yes, we need to be careful and thoughtful and monitor what our kids do (the Common Sense Media website is a great resource), as we should do with all aspects of our kids' lives, not just media. But these are tremendous tools for our children, with so many possibilities.
I don't know that Liam will get an iPad just yet, though. But maybe if he asks Santa Claus instead of the Easter Bunny...
- Make your plate look like the plate at choosemyplate.gov: half fruits and vegetables, a quarter whole grains, and a quarter protein (like meat, fish or eggs). Those are the proportions that make up the healthiest diet.
- Don't make kids finish everything on their plates. The Clean Plate Club (a phrase my parents used often) is a really bad idea. It's way better to let kids listen to their own hunger cues, and stop eating when they are full. Make sure they eat at least some of the fruits or vegetables on the plate (in our house, the rule is three bites), but if they leave food on their plate, that's fine. One big caveat, though: resist the temptation to let them raid the cupboard when they don't finish their meal. If you want to reinforce good eating habits, they should wait until the next scheduled (healthy) meal or snack.
- not talking, or saying very few words
- not responding to their name by 12 months
- not making eye contact
- preferring to be alone, not wanting to be held
- getting upset with any change in routine
- not playing "pretend" with toys by 18 months
- repetitive movements, like hand-flapping or rocking
- Your child shows an interest (follows people into the bathroom, takes off diaper, wants to sit on the potty, etc)
- Your child has words or some other way to communicate with you that he wants to use the potty
- Your child can pull his pants up and down and get on and off the potty (or toilet) by himself.
Why is it that 40 percent of mothers in a study gave solid foods to their baby before doctors say they should?
- "My baby was old enough." (88.9 percent)
- "My baby seemed hungry" (71.4 percent)
- "My baby wanted to eat the food I ate, or in other ways showed an interest in solid food" (66.8 percent)