How to Cope with Bedwetting

Bedwetting that continues beyond the age of 5 can impact a child’s self esteem and create a sense of isolation, according to Christopher Link, post-doctoral fellow in CHOC Pediatric Psychology Department. Chris recently sat down with CHOC Radio host Bryan Mundia to talk about what parents can do to help their children cope with bedwetting.

First, it’s important to see a physician to rule out any medical causes for bedwetting occurring in older children. After medical issues have been addressed, there are some things parents can do, including limiting their child’s fluid intake before bedtime, making sure their child goes to the bathroom before getting under the covers, and avoiding caffeine.

Chris says parents need to understand that bedwetting is not a child’s fault; it’s not intentional. Instead of punishing children, parents need to reassure their children that they will grow out of it. For more helpful tips on this subject, tune into the show.

Enjoy the show!

Tips to handle teens’ bad attitudes

A poor attitude is a hallmark of teenagers, a CHOC pediatric psychologist tells CHOC Radio.

Dr. Mery Taylor recently stopped by Seacrest Studios to talk about why teens often have bad attitudes, and what parents can do to mitigate the effects of a dour disposition.

A teen’s bad attitude can be a product of self-absorption and egocentricity, Dr. Taylor explains. Teenagers are working to determine who they are and what they want to be. Thus, they are often uninterested in performing tasks and duties that will not directly benefit them.

Parents should talk to children about the importance of responsibility, and establish existing privileges as rewards for performing chores and duties, Dr. Taylor says.

Listen to the podcast to learn more.

Click here for more CHOC Radio episodes.

Teach Your Child to be More Than a Bystander

October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. While much has been shared about what to do if your child is being bullied, or what to do if your child is the bully, there is also a lot to be said on how not to become a bystander of this harmful behavior. Kids see bullying all the time. They may want to help but don’t always know how. Here are a few helpful tips, recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ website StopBullying.gov, to teach your kids what they can do:  Teenager consoling her friend

Don’t give bullying an audience — If one of your child’s friends or peers begins to bully someone, they shouldn’t encourage the behavior by giving it an audience. Instead of laughing or supporting it, they can let the bully know that such behavior isn’t entertaining.

Moreover, children can help by keeping their distance from the situation. If they ignore it, it may stop. If the bullying doesn’t stop, the bystander should follow other tips, such as telling a trusted adult.

Set a good example — If a child knows not to bully others, then other students will follow their example. To help even more, children can actively participate in anti-bullying activities and projects.

Help them get away — There are a few simple, safe ways children can help the person being bullied get away from the situation. As an example, they can create a distraction. If no one is rewarding the child who is bullying by paying attention, the behavior may stop.

A bystander can offer a way for the person being bullied to leave the scene by saying something like, “Mr. Smith needs to see you right now,” or “Come on, we need you for our game.” Remind children to intervene only if it feels safe to do so, and never use violence in order to help the person get away.

Tell a trusted adult or leave them a note — An adult can help stop bullying by intervening while it’s in progress, stopping it from occurring or simply giving the person being bullied a shoulder to lean on. Remind children who witness bullying not to get discouraged if they’ve already talked to an adult and nothing has happened. They can ask a family member if they will help, and make sure the adult knows that it is repeated behavior.

Be a friend — Children can help someone who’s been bullied by simply being nice to them at another time. Being friendly can go a long way toward letting them know that they’re not alone.

For more useful tips, please visit the following links:
http://www.stopbullying.gov/

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Overscheduled Kids

TIME OUTpost_kidschess

“There are a number of studies that suggest kids actually do need some unstructured time,” says Dr. Huszti. Kids need moments when they can use their imagination, daydream and even goof off a little bit, she says. And no, this doesn’t mean parents should allow kids to play video games all day.  Instead, try other unstructured-time activities:

  • Going outside to play
  • Playing a board game

FAMILY BONDING

“Kids need some family time,” says Dr. Huszti. “If we find ourselves being overscheduled, we really don’t have that time to bond as a family and develop a strong foundation. Look at what’s important to your family, such as dinners or bedtime reading and carve out time for that,” she says. Make room for family activities at least once per week. Here are some family-fun ideas:

  • Start a family book club
  • Replace organized team sports with family sports

WRITE IT DOWN
To get a handle on how to balance your child’s social and academic calendars, sit down as a family and  create a schedule. “If you look at the schedule and realize we’re really cutting into homework time, or there’s no unstructured or family time, you may be doing too much,” says Dr. Huszti. To keep a good pace, have your child pick two activities per week that they really want to do, and you pick two. If something else comes up, take one away.

What Else Can You Do To Trim Your Child’s Schedule?
Approach the schedule with a “moderation” mentality. If you notice a decline in your child’s grades, or an increase in irritability or sickness, try taking them out of some activities and see what happens, says Dr. Huszti.

FAST FACTS

  • The percent of kids who wish they had more free time: 61%
  • Number of hours of unstructured time recommended per week: 2
  • The percentage of kids who said they felt too busy all the time: 24%

View the full feature on Kids and Overscheduling

Dr. Heather Huszti Psychology
Dr. Heather Huszti
Psychology

PHYSICIAN FOCUS:
DR. HEATHER HUSZTI

Dr. Huszti is a licensed psychologist and has been with CHOC since 2002. She is a member of the American Psychological Association and the Society of Pediatric Psychology. Dr. Huszti served her internship and post-doctorate fellowship at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

Dr. Huszti’s philosophy of care: “I want to help kids and families function as optimally as possible. I believe that involves working with the whole family.”

EDUCATION:
University of California, Irvine (B.A., Psychology)
Texas Tech University (Ph.D., Clinical Psychology)
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (internship and fellowship)

More about Dr. Huszti

This article was featured in the Orange County Register on September 23, 2013 and was written by Shaleek Wilson.

Helping Children Cope with Tragedy

It’s hard for grownups to make sense of a tragedy, so consider how difficult it must be for children.

Depending on their age and media exposure, children may know more than grownups think. And even if unaware, children still might sense tension and anxiety from adults around them.

Mental Health America has offered these ways that parents can help their children cope with tragedy-related anxiety:Dad comforting child

Quick tips for parents

  • Children need comforting and frequent reassurance of their safety.
  • Be honest and open about the tragedy or disaster.
  • Encourage children to express their feelings through talking, drawing or playing.
  • Try to maintain your daily routines as much as possible.

Preschool-aged children

  • Reassure young children that they’re safe. Provide extra comfort and contact by discussing the child’s fears at night, telephoning during the day, and providing extra physical comfort.
  • Get a better understanding of a child’s feelings about the tragedy. Discuss the events with them and find out their fears and concerns. Answer all questions they may ask and provide them loving comfort and care.
  • Structure children’s play so that it remains constructive, serving as an outlet for them to express fear or anger.

Grade school-aged children

  • Answer questions in clear and simple language.
  • False reassurance does not help this age group. Don’t say that tragedies will never happen again; children know this isn’t true. Instead, remind children that tragedies are rare, and say “You’re safe now, and I’ll always try to protect you,” or “Adults are working very hard to make things safe.”
  • Children’s fears often worsen around bedtime, so stay until the child falls asleep so he or she feels protected.
  • Monitor children’s media viewing. Images of the tragedy are extremely frightening to children, so consider limiting the amount of media coverage they see.
  • Allow children to express themselves through play or drawing, and then talk to them about it. This gives you the chance to “retell” the ending of the game or the story they have expressed in pictures with an emphasis on personal safety.
  • Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.” Part of keeping discussion of the tragedy open and honest is not being afraid to say you don’t know how to answer a child’s question. When such an occasion arises, explain to your child that tragedies cause feelings that even adults have trouble dealing with. Temper this by explaining that adults will still always work hard to keep children safe and secure.

MomComfortGirl  Adolescents

  •  Adolescents may try to downplay their worries, so encourage them to work out their concerns about the tragedy.
  • Children with existing emotional problems such as depression may require careful supervision and additional support.
  • Monitor their media exposure to the event and information they receive on the Internet.
  • Adolescents may turn to their friends for support. Encourage friends and families to get together and discuss the event to allay fears.

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