Parents’ Yelling Is as Harmful as Hitting, Study Finds

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Parents who yell at their adolescent children for misbehaving can cause some of the same problems as hitting them would, including increased risk of depression and aggressive behavior, a study found.

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

This is another in a line of studies that look at the effect of adult responses to children and adolescents on their future mental health and behavior.  Previous studies published this year have found that physical punishment of children led to increased aggressiveness of the children, which is the opposite of what the adults intended.

Basically all the studies point to the fact that in developing brains a sense of loss of love, acceptance, and respect changes the social and emotional trajectory from one of productivity and self worth to one of a belief in self failure and lack of worth.  This results in self-fulfilling prophecies of underachievement, juvenile deliquency, and for some suicide attempts.

Let’s begin to approach children and teens for what they are, individuals who are looking for mentoring, teaching, and support as they try to become competent, productive members of society.

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Nice Kids Get Treated Nicely: Study

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

Reputation matters among kindergarteners, Japanese researchers found

Dr. Pat McGuire‘s insight:

This is an important study not just for children but for parents and teachers when working with children.  In my practice I will frequently hear parents complain about their children not respecting them.  I ask if they model respect to their children and their reply is “I will show my child respect when he starts showing me respect.”  How do they know how to “do respect” if they have not seen it or experienced it?  Remember, our children learn from watching us – just think about swear words for example.

Let’s focus on being the models and providers of respect to children so they can learn how to do it. Then when they do it, let them know immediately that you appreciate their respect.

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Trust: Top Down or Bottom Up?

different yet beautiful

different yet beautiful

I have a belief (my mantra) that all children are born wanting to be loved, accepted, and respected. The rest we have to teach them.
Trust is an important component of teaching children, especially ones with developmental and behavioral challenges.
I have worked with hundreds of parents and schools who misunderstand trust, where they are failing at modeling it, and where they are mislabeling competence as trustworthiness.
Competence is the ability to do something without supports. Trustworthiness is everyone (including the child) knowing that they can do it (are competent) and that they follow through.
One child in 6 has a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects how they learn, interpret the world, and interact with others.
Expecting competence and trustworthiness without taking these struggles into consideration leads to anger, frustration, and confusion by everyone involved.
Let’s begin by trusting that the child isn’t alive just to make your life worse. Let’s trust that they would rather be seen as a welcome addition to your life. Let’s trust that with continual help, they will be able to become competent and therefore more trustworthy in a variety of areas. Be aware, however, that this is on their timeline, not necessarily a chronologic (age) timeline or an academic (grade) timeline.

Top DownIn an organization, trust is generated from the top down rather than the bottom up. Sure, it is important for employees as well as leaders to be trustworthy, but the culture that allows trust to kindle and flourish is usually created by the leaders of the organization rather than the workers.

It is astonishing for me to see the blind spots that many leaders have about how pivotal their behaviors are to how trust is manifest in their entire organization. If the top leader or leaders do not act with integrity and consistency, it creates loops of “work around” activity in all of the other layers. There gets to be a kind of pseudo-trust where people look the part and act the part on the surface, but it is only skin deep. Under the surface, the ability to hold onto trust is as leaky as a bucket that has been…

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Walking in their shoes

different yet beautiful

different yet beautiful

Have you ever broken an arm or leg?  Have you considered that this is what a person with a disability feels like every day?

Two weeks ago, while trying to put sand on my front steps, the ice decided to fight back and grabbed me by my boots, throwing me face first down the steps.  Can you see that battle in your minds?  It was not pretty.

Maybe it’s all my padding, but despite all the bruising on my left palm (thumb side), I didn’t break any bones in my hand or the shaft of the radial bone, which would have been called a Colle’s fracture.  I actually thought I had gotten off free.  That is until I was at Target 15 minutes later and realized that my left elbow was getting more and more swollen and sore to move.

Fast forward to three hours later, where I am leaving the ER with an ace wrap and sling with a radial head fracture of my left elbow. I avoided the fiberglass splint since I was heading out on an airplane in two days, but was concerned that I would end up with a cast when I got back and saw the orthopedist.  Driving home with my left arm in a sling and my elbow immobilized was definitely an experience – and not one I would wish on others.

I survived the out-of-town trip and didn’t end up with a cast, thank heavens.  But I have definitely gained even more respect for individuals with disorders and disabilities.  I am very left hand/leg dominant.  God only provided me with a right arm/hand to balance out my body. Trying to limit the use of my left hand and arm has been extremely hard – and messy!  I have known for decades to not try to pour or carry liquids with my right hand.  Trying now to train it has not been pretty.  Many paper towel sheets have lost their lives cleaning up my messes.  Handwriting while trying not to turn my arm up (like asking for money) has led to a very unusual pen grip.  Even typing is more awkward – I never knew how many parts of my left forearm were used in typing and writing.  Oh, did I tell you I also had a bleed into the tendon on my forearm  which created a great deal of swelling and pain with movement?

Now imagine that I had to do this for the rest of my life?  I am already very irritable at my limitations and somewhat jealous of the more able-bodied.  But I know that I will get better over time (I can ditch the sling in 2-3 weeks).  Individuals who have a neurologic reason for their incoordination need intense therapy to try to develop more coordination.  But most people don’t recognize it as a neurologic/developmental issue.  They think the child is being lazy, manipulative, or not smart.  No wonder they blow up at times!

So the next time you see someone being uncoordinated or having poor handwriting, find a reason to compliment them, to help them, and just appreciate that you were lucky enough to have this skill.

Watch Out – Your Kids Are Watching You More Than You Think

This is a must see!


When my youngest was 18 months old my older 2 children came to me declaring that I had to stop swearing because I was teaching my youngest to swear.  Now I didn’t think I was swearing, but they  told me that “Oh my God!” was swearing.  Okay, different perspectives on what is swearing but I respected their beliefs (after all I was the one who was trying to teach them their belief systems) so I embarked on a journey of change.  Over the next several weeks I was able to move from “Oh my God!” through “Oh my God – gosh!” to finally “Oh my gosh!”  And along the way, my youngest came with me.

Well now she is 22 and I am back to “Oh my God!” but my youngest has moved on too much worse from the models of her teen years. But in the interim, she did use the society based approved language.  More importantly, she has held on to the more important belief systems that I worked to instill in my children.

We are our children’s/students’ models, mentors, and coaches.  They are always looking to us to understand.  We need to say what we mean and mean what we say.   Because “they are watching!”

See on Scoop.itDevelopmental & Behavioral Challenges in Children

That’s right, kids are really good at imitation. Even a 13-month-old child can remember an event a week after a single exposure. Even when you don’t realize it, your kids are watching the world around you. What you allow into your child’s brain influences their expectations about the world, which in turn influences not only what they are capable of perceiving, but their very behavior.

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When you need to understand instead of fighting

As parents and adults who take on the charge of helping children, I feel that this article is an important read. Please share this with others to reinforce the need to communicate effectively, not defensively.

On a daily basis, we experience situations where we are at odds with the actions or words of other people. It is human nature to disagree with other people at times. How we handle ourselves when this happens determines our quality of life, because it will establish how the rest of the world reacts to us.

John Wooden, the iconic basketball coach of UCLA, used to challenge his teams to learn to “disagree without being disagreeable.” We need to find the words to signal a disconnect without short-circuiting relationships. If you listen to people as they interface about their differences, you will hear all kinds of phrases that cause an increase in heat within the conversation. Here is a small set of examples you will recognize:

• What makes you think that…
• How could you possibly believe that…
• Who died and made you the queen of…
• You…

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Remembering Mentors

I recently learned of two fellow developmental behavioral pediatricians who had passed away.  Both, at different points in my life had been teachers and then mentors to me. They taught me to look beyond the surface of what a child was doing to the underlying reasons, which frequently came from confusion, anxiety, and then anger.  They were not that old, or so I feel as I get closer to being eligible for Medicare, and I feel still had much to offer the children they cared for and the students and fellow practitioners that they taught.

A hug is always welcome

The mentor I miss the most, however, is my father.  He truly understood that being a  parent was much more than being the genetic source, the supplier of food, clothing, and housing.  He had a deep sense of loyalty to all to whom he was related to, and to his friends and employees.  As a father, he spent many evenings sitting with me at the round table  in our living room, or on warm nights like this Memorial Day weekend, on the front steps, sharing the story of his life.  He would discuss choices and fate, and his belief in how God had a plan for all of us.  He would listen to my fears, dreams, and plans, understanding the true meaning of being a sounding board. He also died too young, at about the same age as my other mentors.  I guess the saying is right, the good do die young.

We always felt that we had received love, acceptance, and most of all respect from our father.  This then became the mantra when working with families and professionals.  I try to teach everyone that children are born wanting love, acceptance and respect.  The rest we have to teach them.

This weekend we are celebrating our freedoms, given to us by our armed forces.  One of the freedoms they gave us was the time to give love, acceptance, and respect to each of our children.  They need us to be teachers, coaches, and most of all mentors.  We need to spend the time to get to know them, how they process what is around them, how it makes them feel, and then we will understand why they do things the way they do. We can then provide them with the needed guidance, modeling, and constructive feedback (not criticism) to grow into the competent, confident adults that we imagined when we first met them, at birth, or in the classroom.

Take time to live the life as a mentor.  It will make you a more fulfilled person.