How to manage sibling rivalry

Advocate Children’s Hospital shared that for parents, there is no way around it. Having more than one child likely means one thing in your household; rivalry. And while all the bickering and competition may be irritating and stressful, rivalry is not such a bad thing when handled properly.

In fact, it can actually help build necessary lifelong skills and lead your kids to a healthier life.

No matter what the age difference, tension and conflicts tend to arise between siblings over a variety of things, ranging in severity.

“The way siblings handle these conflicts depends on several factors, but the most important is how they are taught by their parents to manage them,” says Dr. Joanna Lindell, a child and adolescent psychiatrist at Advocate Children’s Hospital. “If you can remember the acronym PEACE, these five tips may bring peace to your home, at least most of the time.”

P: Pick and choose which rivalries to leave alone and which ones to intervene on.

Typically, small squabbles should be left for siblings to try to resolve on their own. However, the second it starts to get emotionally abusive, like insulting remarks, and/or physically abusive, parents must quickly jump in and address the conflict.

E: Eliminate equality. While children think in terms of “fair” a lot, the world mostly does not. So the earlier kids are taught this concept, the more adaptable they can become.

Example: “Just because your older sister got a new back pack does not mean you have to have one.”

Explain reasons for things.

“She had hers for a long time and it is worn out, you just got a new one last year. But we can look at some new tennis shoes next week for you, since you’ve had yours for a while and they have holes in them.”

A: Alone one-on-one time with a parent is essential.

This “special” time (a lot of sources highly recommend using the word “special” a lot) will help build each parent-child relationship and decrease resentments.

The one thing every child wants more than anything is the attention of his/her parents and will tend to fight their sibling for it, unless it is given enough.

C: Comparisons; just don’t go there, especially in front of the other sibling.

This will only make one child feel worse about him or herself and the other one gloat. It’s not the best lesson to teach.

Additionally, if possible and appropriate, separate each sibling when intervening in these situations. This will allow you to listen to each child’s side, let them cool off, and deal with each at their developmental level.

E: Expectations; set them!

Kids do thrive on structure and rules, as much as they resist it. The clearer you can be on what is and is not appropriate, the better.

Practice the “hands-to-self” rule, encourage empathic behavior and responses and schedule family meetings to resolve disagreements, if necessary.

“Teaching your children PEACE is actually a good way to prepare them for life and for building relationships with others along the way,” adds Dr. Lindell.

• Children’s health is a continuing series. This week’s article is courtesy of Advocate Children’s Hospital. For more information, visit www. advocatechildrenshospital.com.

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Cyberbullying: Know the signs and how to keep your teen cyber-safe

Healthy Driven online suggests that it may be a common scene at your house: your teen has her head buried in her phone. Gone are the days when a teens’ social life existed only in school hallways, the mall and friends’ houses. But as their social lives have moved online, so did a new kind of bully. 
Cyberbullies use the internet, cell phones, video game systems, or other technology to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person. They do this by threatening, excluding, spreading rumors or tricking their victims. According to data from the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), 43 percent of teens have been victims of cyberbullying in the last year.In some ways, cyberbullying can be more damaging than physical bullying. It can be harsher. People tend to be crueler online than they are face-to-face. It can be far-reaching. With a few clicks, a bully’s message can reach the whole internet. What worse, cyberbullying has invaded the comfort and safety of our homes. And, your teen may not even know who the bully is. How do you know if your teen is being cyberbullied? The biggest red flag is a withdrawal from technology. If you notice a sudden change in your teen’s computer or phone usage, talk to her. Kids who are being cyberbullied often feel too embarrassed to speak up. Read more

Shining the Spotlight on Surging Elderly Mental Illness

ShieldMySenior.com is a new resource for senior citizens and their caregivers. They realized there was no central resource for aging adults who were seeking to stay independent as long as possible. Their goal is to fill that void by offers some helpful suggestions.  One of them is that  elderly mental health is extremely important to a senior’s overall well-being. Unfortunately, many of today’s seniors are struggling to get adequate help and support. Physicians, caregivers, and family members should have concern for geriatric mental health issues

Mental illness in the elderly often gets confused with symptoms of aging. But, there are important differences that can signal a more serious mental health condition. Caregivers should understand the symptoms of mental illness and learn how best to support senior mental health.

PREVALENCE OF MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES IN TODAY’S SENIORS

All ages can suffer from mental health issues. But, those 55 or older are more at risk for mental health concerns than the younger population. In fact, 20% of people in this age range suffer from some type of mental health concern. Anxiety or depression are among the most common.

Men over 85 are most at risk for suicide than younger generations or women. Additionally, about 45 out of every 100,000 elders commit suicide, which is most often the result of an elderly mental health issue.

The facts are scary, and it gets more concerning as our population ages. By 2050, it’s estimated that the world’s elderly population will double its current size. This leaves more seniors susceptible to mental health issues.

THE BIG PROBLEM

The biggest problem with mental illness in the elderly is, perhaps, the things we don’t understand about it. There are often stigmas associated with mental health. For example, portrayals we see on television or in movies make those with mental illness seem frightening. This leads to a lack of desire to talk about mental illness, and instead, it gets swept under the rug.

Seniors, additionally, have to confront ageism. People often dismiss concerning behaviors in seniors as effects of aging. In reality, there are important differences between aging and elderly mental health concerns. Not knowing the differences can seriously affect a senior’s well-being.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MENTAL ILLNESS AND AGING

It’s true that some symptoms of mental illness and aging can overlap. But, it’s important to be aware of differences between age and an elderly mental illness. If symptoms aren’t caught early enough, a senior is at high risk for severe anxiety, depression, or even suicide.

Many seniors don’t feel comfortable speaking with their primary care physicians about their concerns. Instead, they fear their doctors downplaying their symptoms. Of those who do speak up, about 50% of mental health disorders in the elderly still go diagnosed.

Anxiety and depression are common in seniors. But, doctors frequently pass symptoms off as nothing more than normal aging. Early detection of mental health issues in seniors is vital to receiving proper care and treatment. Read more

Promoting Mental Health at Home

Molly Anderson has seen how important it is to address mental health issues before they take control. She truly believes it’s lifesaving to nurture our innermost selves before mental health conditions become debilitating, whether it’s something as common as stress and anger or something as complex as depression or suicidal thoughts.

As part of her work with Recovery Hope, she sent this article in order to offer insight and support for those who may be struggling.

There are all kinds of benefits to meditation, both physical and psychological. From reduced chronic pain to better cognitive function, meditating every day or even a few times a week is a wonderful way to boost your overall well-being and happiness. Creating the ideal space for your quiet reflection isn’t difficult, but there are specific elements you’ll want to include and others you’ll want to avoid. Let this be your guide to designing the perfect meditation room in your own home, and reap the most benefits from your meditation time.

Pick the right location

Naturally the first step is to choose a room. Make sure it’s a space where you feel relaxed and comfortable from the moment you walk in. Avoid using a home office or workspace so that no worries of unpaid bills, lingering deadlines, or upcoming projects can invade your peaceful state. If possible, you should also avoid rooms that are sleep-focused, like your bedroom or even in the living room near your favorite napping couch.

Your meditation room should be somewhere away from the house’s general traffic flow so that no matter when you’re meditating, you won’t be disturbed by passersby. Make it somewhere as isolated as possible, and be sure your family or roommates know it will be a special, quiet place where you shouldn’t be disturbed. If you live in an urban setting and just about every room carries noise from the outside world, pick the one that’s most quiet — ways to drown out external distractions will be discussed later on.

If possible, choose a room that offers a view of nature, whether it’s your backyard, the lake just beyond your neighborhood, or mountains in the distance. If you find water particularly soothing, you could pick a place that has an unobscured view of your pool. It could even be a small window that overlooks the giant oak tree in your neighbor’s yard. Just be sure that your perspective won’t be invaded by traffic — be it automobiles or people — that could be distracting and prevent you from finding the focus and tranquility you’ll need to meditate. Read more

The Lasting Effects of Bullying

College of Dupage Nursing Student Joyce Koenig reports that recent research indicates that the effects from bullying during childhood or adolescence may have detrimental effects lasting into adulthood. The effects from bullying extend beyond issues of self-esteem and include self-harm and academic failure, lasting, oftentimes long after the bullying has stopped.

Reports from three longitudinal studies; the Epidemiologic Multicenter Child Psychiatric Study in Finland, the Great Smoky Mountains Study in the US, and the National Child Development Study in the UK, demonstrated that adults who were bullied during childhood have higher rates of agoraphobia, depression, anxiety, panic disorder and suicide in their 20’s, and these effects may last into the 50’s. In addition, individuals experienced an increased risk for psychiatric hospitalization and the use of psychiatric medications, at rates comparable to those in foster care or victims of childhood trauma. According to the World Psychiatric Association, these conclusions, cannot be ignored. The findings do not allow causal inferences, however, the population involved separate cohorts from three countries, thus, the consistency of the results is compelling. Childhood IQ, parental socio-economic status and gender were accounted for in the studies. The cohorts were controlled for mental health problems during childhood, indicating bullying contributed to the mental health problems in adulthood. Read more

Take A Moment to Reflect

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How to talk to a friend who has Alzheimer’s

Susan Berg  hared the following story in the Wall Street Journal:During a routine trip to my local grocery, I ran into an acquaintance I had not seen in more than a year. She looked great and was her typically upbeat, energetic self. We exchanged hellos. I was not prepared for what came next.”I was recently diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s,” she said.

This warm, accomplished, Berkeley-educated woman, a mother and grandmother who was my go-to person for local political goings-on, great books and recipes, then said, without skipping a beat, “I am doing OK right now, and I have signed up for a clinical trial.”

I hugged her and told her how sorry I was. Told her there are no words.

In a daze, I finished my shopping. Driving home, I burst into tears.

How to act?

It was many months later that our paths crossed again. I saw her across the room at our local synagogue. She was not close enough to say hello. In a way, I was relieved. Would she recognize me? And if not, what do I say?

As many as 5.4 million Americans have the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. For friends and relatives, there is the inevitable question of how to act.

“When we are friends with someone with Alzheimer’s and interacting in a variety of settings, we may do our best to do the right thing and say the right thing,” said Ruth Drew, director of family and information services at the Alzheimer’s Association. “But it may not always be the right thing.”

Drew said that Alzheimer’s disease progresses more rapidly in some people than in others. Many who are newly diagnosed stay in the early stage, retaining their personality and people skills, for quite a while, but for others, serious changes happen more quickly.

Christopher Marano, a geriatric psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins Medicine, said that the interval between the initial diagnosis and a significant downturn can range from five to 20 years, but that “people who are diagnosed at a younger age tend to progress faster.” Read more

Bullies use a small but powerful weapon to torment allergic kids: peanuts

7 Reasons Why Laughter Is Good for You

Con for Care located in Wheaton, IL,  www.comforcare.com/illinois/central-dupage, asks if you have had a good laugh lately? Laughter connects people, eases trouble and makes the day brighter. It releases stress, activates learning, burns calories and supports memory. In short, laughter is good for you.
Why is laughter so beneficial? Here are seven reasons:
  1. Laughter triggers feel-good chemicals. Bursting into laughter stimulates endorphins. This releases dopamine in the brain, which promotes feelings of pleasure and well-being. It even relieves pain.
  2. Laughter helps learning. According to research from the University College London, when people try to understand jokes, it activates parts of the brain important to learning and understanding.
  3. Laughter improves short-term memory. Research at Loma Linda University revealed older adults who watched 20 minutes of funny videos prior to memory recall tests did significantly better than adults who were asked to wait quietly. The researchers report laughter reduces stress levels, and when stress is lowered, memory improves. Making time to laugh may be especially helpful for older adults who are experiencing memory loss.
  4. Laughter engages the whole brain. Laughter sustains high-amplitude gamma waves throughout the entire brain. It provides the brain with a workout that promotes clear thinking, focus and thought integration. Brain MRI studies show laughter has brain effects similar to meditation.
  5. Laughter burns calories. While laughter alone isn’t an aerobic workout, it requires more energy than sitting still. A Vanderbilt University study
    reported episodes of laughter use 10 to 20 percent more energy than sitting in a reclining position. The duration and intensity of the laugh affect the amount of calories used. The energy expended laughing is comparable to sedentary activities such as light clerical work or playing a card game.
  6. Laughter makes exercise fun. Laughter both strengthens and relaxes muscles. According to a recent study, combining laughter with a physical activity program emphasizing strength, balance and flexibility improves older adults’ mental health, aerobic endurance, confidence and motivation. “The combination of laughter and exercise may influence older adults to begin exercising and to stick with the program,” Celeste Greene, lead author of the study, said.
  7. Laughter fosters relationships. Telling a joke might open the door to new relationships. An Oxford University study found when participants who did not know each other had good laugh together, they shared significantly more personal information. The research supports the premise laughter encourages relationship development.

A Landmark Study for Alzheimer’s Prevention

With more than 5 million people living with with Alzheimer’s disease in the US, chances are you know someone who is impacted. Researchers across the country are currently conducting clinical trials aimed at identifying new treatments, and they need your help. Without participants, the pace of new research discoveries is slowed.

The Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s Disease (A4) Study is currently recruiting healthy adults between the ages of 65 and 85 who have no cognitive impairment, to test an experimental medication that may prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia. If you fit these criteria or know someone else who does, please call 1-844-A4STUDY (1-844-247-8839) or click here to learn more about the A4 Study and how you can get involved in the fight.

To view a customized list of clinical trials for which you might be eligible, please visit TrialMatch, the Alzheimer’s Association’s free and easy to use clinical trial matching service.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s disease®.