Returning to school can be a trigger for many children, teens and even parents. The flexibility of the summer gives way to the rigidity of the school year and with it comes an increase in anxiety, acute and chronic stress and depression. Whether your child struggles with a clinical diagnosis or not does not take away from the impact the beginning of an academic year can have on a child’s thoughts, feelings and behavior. Make sure your child gets off to a good start when the school bell rings. Try out my ideas below:
Sleep can elude the smallest of children. Many parents struggle to maintain calm evenings in an attempt to give their little ones a restful sleep. As a result, a time for relaxing and sweet dreams turns to nightmares for all involved. Dear parents, don’t give up! Developing a healthy sleep routine will help your child throughout his/her life. Knowing how to ease themselves from relaxation into a deep slumber is a necessary skill, which leads to a healthier body and mind.
Tired from a night of intense practice, I sat on the dance floor with my friends and we laughed as we unwound the ribbons that curled around our small ankles. As we pulled our feet from our broken pointe shoes and rolled back the thin layer of pink tights, our feet reflected our exhaustion. Swollen, slightly bloodied and aching, we hardly noticed the pain as we chattered in unison. Minutes before we were pushing our bodies to exceed their limits as we flew across the dance studio, whipping our legs into the air with precise instruction from the counts of the classical music and the snap of our ballet teacher’s fingers. 1…2…3…4…, “Again, girls!” 5…6…7…8, “Again!” And so the evening would progress by the count of 8.
What is the purpose of your blog? I am hoping to create a change in the conversation surrounding mental health especially for the sake of children. I grew tired of the public discourse: anti-depressants or not? I didn’t see anyone writing about nutrition. I didn’t see anyone discussing exercise. I didn’t see anyone taking a holistic angle to mental health for children and adolescents. There is so much more to add to the conversation. I wanted to open the discussion. We have to admit the medical model is not working. If it were, we wouldn’t have the statistics we have currently. A 400% increase in children using psychotropic medications since the 1980’s has not slowed the march of mental illness in America. A suicide rate that has doubled among teens in the last 10 years; a 30% increase in anxiety and depression among adolescents – these are horrifying trends. As a parent and as a therapist, I felt that we were missing some very basic connections and that is the purpose of my blog – to make the connections for people. And I want to help people. Ultimately, help as many people as I can.
ADHD is an interesting diagnosis. Interesting in the sense that so many of the symptoms reflect your average child. We have to be careful before we wade into the waters of diagnosis.
Please use caution before jumping to any conclusions about the mental health of your child, patient or student. Inadvertently telling parents their child is ADHD, without a proper clinical diagnosis, is dangerous.
Children could be exhibiting symptoms of anxiety or depression and NOT ADHD. Or a child could be exhibiting symptoms of all three diagnoses. ADHD, Anxiety, and Depression can express themselves similarly in children.