Over the years, my practice has had an increasing number of parents calling with concerns about their child refusing to where the clothes traditionally associated with a certain gender – little boys demanding pretty skirts, little girls refusing to wear dresses. Notably, most of these parents are not concerned about the sexual or gender diversity choices of their child. More, they are concerned about trying to bully proof them for fear that they may be harassed or maltreated by others because others cannot accept their preferences.
Identity formation is an important milestone in adolescence and sexual orientation is just one part of many things that an adolescent sort out about themselves in the lead up to the adult years…and sometimes even beyond that. An adolescent may take some time before they decide their sexual orientation. The average age of coming out is about 16, but that does not mean that young people have all of their gender identity issues sorted out by 16.
One of the most common concerns raised by parents, teachers and carers of teens is alcohol and substance use. The concerns are solid. Given that an adolescent brain is still growing and at a very rapid pace, any damage caused while it is still developing could have a big impact on future brain health.
Generally speaking, with the growth in teenage body and brain comes a growth in the desire to experience new things. Those new things need to be exciting and not the usual day to day hum of the family household. Changes to the pleasure centre of the brain during the teen years mean that the young person can become more dissatisfied with home and want to push boundaries, meet others, fit in with others, and spend more time with people outside of their family. This lure of a wider world can bring more exposure to things not experienced in the home and things for which young people have some information, but not necessarily wisdom.
Some children are picky eaters. They limit the amounts they will eat – some reject foods and some are unwilling to try new foods. Contrary to what many may think, picky eating is not linked to eating disorders late in life. However, picky eating and meal time behaviour problems are linked to other behavioural problems in children.
Picky eating usually has its basis in three areas: developmental stages, personal preferences and family practices.
A bio-psychosocial look at mental health during the adolescent years including:
“A framework for understanding what might be going on for her”
All children will have times when they disobey the adults who care for them – at home, at school, with relatives, or in the supermarket canned-goods aisle. The effects of a young child’s misbehaviour can range from mild embarrassment to broken goods, minor wounds and damaged friendships. How much naughtiness is normal and when does it become a problem that needs treatment or intervention?
In psychology, there are degrees of naughtiness that are defined somewhat by a child’s age, but more so by the number and types of “naughty” behaviours that they do:
There are times when most young children are reluctant to say goodbye to their mum or dad and head off to crèche/kindergarten/school/child care. Some children are quite spectacular in their protests, while others prefer the silent, cling-like-an-oyster-to-a-rock arrangement.
Some children will experience an intense anxiety experience that is excessive and developmentally inappropriate (not quite right for their age). Children with Separation Anxiety Disorder experience such intense anxiety that it interrupts their lives (and the lives of their family members) and causes an impairment in their education, their school and family relationships and thier social functioning.
It is great when we do a good job of something. There is a real sense of accomplishment when we set a goal and meet it. But…..there is a real difference between working hard to achieve a goal and perfectionism.
People who have a problem with perfectionism measure their self worth on their ability to achieve really high standards. If they do not meet these exceptional standards, then they berate themselves, feel unworthy and push themselves even harder to achieve further and higher goals. Perfectionism can drive people to a point where it is difficult for them to be happy and can be associated with excessive tension, stress, worry and depression.
Yes – it’s on! Mother’s day is upon us and so, too, the carefully crafted junk mail and television commercials – Images of blow-waved children bouncing onto a perfectly ruffled bed on a sun-streamed morning bringing breakfast on a delicately manicured tray while a handsome man with the just right amount of five o’clock shadow smiles on from the bedroom door. Ahhh! Motherhood!
We all know that motherhood is rarely perfect. But – how much leeway is there from “perfect” before it starts to have a detrimental effect on families?
Because of their age and their different little personalities, different children will react differently to the events in Indonesia. There’s no need to purposely expose your primary school age child to these incidents, but if they have questions or look concerned about watching or hearing about it on the news, then check in with them.
Explore what it is they know and how they are making sense of the information they have taken in. Do they know what has happened? Do they understand it? Do they want you to try to explain it? If so, you could try something along the lines of….
Military personnel are more likely to marry and start a family earlier than most others. They are employed in steady work, get on the job training and, these days, a number of additional supports while they work. So, it is not surprising that many military men and women are working parents. Parents may serve in different roles in the military. Some may work on a base and some may be deployed far from home.
When a person goes off to defend a nation, to “keep peace” or to help with aid and reconstruction after some war or force of nature, what happens back at home?