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Antipsychotic Meds & Children

The New York Times published an article yesterday about the FDA’s recent criticism of the use of antipsychotic drugs in children.  (For example: Risperdal, Zyprexa, Seroquel, Abilify and Geodon.)  Prescriptions for the drugs (for kids) are increasing, and despite their designation as anti-psychotic meds, they are also being prescribed for non-psychotic problems like ADHD!  The side effects are serious and numerous–including fatalities (Risperdal alone has resulted in 31 child deaths since its introduction.)   John Grohol at said this about these “off-label” prescriptions:

The data don’t support such prescriptions, and the long-term data is
virtually non-existent. Docs (and parents pushing the docs) should stop
reaching for every possible new drug to help children when, especially
for a disorder like ADHD, there are powerful, fast non-drug treatments
available (such as psychotherapy).

I’m glad to see an increase in scrutiny in the use of these medications.  Behavioral, psychological, attentional problems–they aren’t just a chemical problem–and the further we can move away from the mindset of “pill=solution,” the better.

Read the original NYT article here.
Read John Grohol’s take on it here.

Talking with kids about Money

I’ve recently been invited to contribute tips on talking with your kids about money
(particularly around the holidays during this down economy) at a workshop called “How to spend, save and invest in a tight economy”.

The workshop is hosted by Megan Poore, a financial advisor in central Austin.  The workshop primarily focuses on adult issues, but one of her passions is helping families & teaching kids about money, so she’s asked me to help provide a little guidance on that issue from the perspective of a parent coach!  I’ll provide a handout at one workshop, and will attend the other in person.  More details below, and feel free to email me with any questions. 

Here’s the rest of the scoop on the workshop:

Megan Poore and Cass Grange have 20 years of experience helping families come up with a spending plan so that they can stay on task and invest to meet their goals. Join us for a fun lunch of helpful tips and handouts.

Two workshop dates – December 9th or 10th.   Arrive by 11:45am and we will have you out of here by 1pm.  $10 includes lunch and all materials.  We will include a tip sheet for budget discussions.  Katie Malinski, LCSW (Parenting Coach and Child & Family Therapist) will provide tips for talking to your children about money.

Each workshop is limited to 10 attendees.  Please RSVP to Megan and include which date you prefer – mpoore AT lsggroup DOT com or 458.2517.  Workshop location: Lucien, Stirling and Gray offices – 4005 Guadalupe.

Shyness and Your Child–Part 3

Do you worry about your child’s shyness?  Do other people label your child shy?  Do you wonder if shyness is a problem?

In part one of this series about shyness, I talked about times/situations where shyness is normal and not a problem at all.  In part two, I listed 5 (big) steps you can take to help your shy child.  But sometimes ya just really want some helpful tips… so that’s what today’s post is all about.

Some tricks for parents that can help with shyness in a pinch:

  • Daily agenda.  Sit down together at breakfast, and talk about the day.  What will you do, who will you see, what will be expected.  This will help your child prepare.
  • Arriving early & intros.  Wherever you go, get there a few minutes early.  Give your child 10 minutes to look around the room, see what/who is there.  Let them acclimate to the space.  If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of being late to an important meeting, you know how your brain takes a few minutes to start firing.  So the flip side of that is to show up early, so that your child gets additional time and space to feel centered, calm, and ready to take on their challenges.
  • Remembering transitions.  Transitions are hard for the vast majority of children.  We expect children to make dozens of transitions a day, from switching between caregivers, activities, toys, etc.  You’ll help your shy kid out by giving extra time, support, love, and warning before transitions.
  • New school: tours & interviews.  When your child starts a new school, visit it a few times in advance  (more visits for younger kids).  See their classroom, meet the teachers, find the bathroom and the lunchroom, the playground, the main office and the nurse’s office.  Meet as many people as possible–each of these experiences will make the BIG event of her first day an easier one.
  • When you talk with your child about shyness, try to use the phrase “You feel shy” as opposed to “You ARE shy.”  It’s a small difference, but it can be empowering to frame shyness as a temporary feeling as opposed to a character trait.
  • Along those lines, it can be very empowering to “reframe.”  If someone labels your child shy, perhaps you can substitute one of these descriptions instead:  reserved, a good listener, focused, peaceful, thoughtful, deep, discerning, calm.

If you’d like to watch a video I made on shyness–with the information here plus more–you can do so here.  My video about how to talk to your kids about sex is available here right now too… and for just another week or so they are both free!

Simplify the Season Workshop–this weekend, Nov 9th.

Do the holidays cause you stress?  Too much travel/spending/obligation, and not enough meaning, fun, and connection?  Do you ever feel let-down after the presents are opened?  Clarifying and refocusing on your values and priorities can make Christmas more memorable, rejuvenating, and rewarding. This workshop will cover:

  • What’s not working for you now
  • Identifying your true values and priorities
  • Christmas, aka your part-time job
  • Gift-giving, family issues, obligations, traveling, conflict and communication.
  • 3 steps towards fixing things

Two workshop times are offered: Both are this Sunday, November 9th.  Again, the workshops are totally free, but you must pre-register.  Childcare is available at both workshop locations.

1.  Nov 9th in the morning (9:45-10:45), Simplify the Season will be held at the First United Methodist Church downtown, with Paula Stiernberg as co-leader.  To register for the FUMC workshop, email: Laurie at fumcaustin dot org.

2.  November 9th in the afternoon, Simplify the Season will be sponsored by the Center for Inquiry, and held at the First Unitarian Universalist Church.  To register for the CFI workshop, click here.

Past workshop participants had this to say about Simplify the Season:
“It really helped me stop and be more conscious of what we really want from the holiday.” 
“Refreshing & enlightening!