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Kids’ Health, Understood.

Where parents share hard-fought lessons and specific data about kids’ health.

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Read parents’ top responses to more than 400 symptoms and conditions. Built with 50,000 parents’ contributions.

dad 4780

Parent of 13 years & 3 months

Parenting: Soothing, relaxing, or calming down

When my children verbally or emotionally push back against me, when told or asked to do something, I used to react by firming up and repeating whatever the request was in a more serious tone. Sometimes, that is the opposite of what my child needs, if she's already in a state of internal panic and anxiety, and I'm not quite aware of it yet. Instead of reacting to the pushback, I now pause and then respond by simply sitting down next to her and asking her if she needs my help with anything. It has been very helpful for relieving her anxiety in those situations and more: she has learned to use the technique for herself when away from me and our home.

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mom 9932

Parent of 14 years & 7 months

Parenting: Creating routines and structure

We wrote down my girl's tasks and went through them one at a time. Otherwise, she would start one thing and get distracted and start another thing. We also added in time that we called “wander.” We let her move around and get some of her energy out before she completed her next task. Also, we let her walk around while reading or doing homework. In school, she has trouble sitting still, so with the teachers’ permission, she is allowed to quietly get up and walk around picking up trash or something while also listening. Her grades got much better and she was less disruptive both at home and school.

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mom 5077

Parent of 20 years & 2 months

Adderall (generic: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine)

My son saw a psychologist and was diagnosed ADHD. Then, we went to his primary doctor and she prescribed him Adderall. He was fine the first day. The 2nd day he was inconsolable crying (and he never cries). I took him home, and on the way he tried to jump out of my car. He said he felt like he wanted to jump out of his body. I had him take a long bath with music, which helped. After that, I didn't give him any more Adderall, and he hasn't been on medication since he refuses to take it.

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dad 2015

Parent of 15 years & 5 months

Mental health days

Mental health days (one day per month) have helped my son tremendously. After the first few visits, his psychiatrist brought it to our attention that this would be a possibility. I was extremely skeptical that the school system would allow him to miss one day a month for mental health. It wasn't ever spoken of his entire school career until middle school. At first, I thought he would abuse the privilege of trying to take a mental health day on a test day perhaps or a project that he had to turn in. But the school counselor, his mother, and I made it clear to him that would not be the case. If I start noticing his lack of energy, or wanting to be around family, or communication, and he hasn't had his one day of the month, I ask him if he'd like to take the next school day as his mental health day.

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mom 3337

Parent of 4 years & 5 months

Parenting: Communication methods

My son is obsessed with Buzz Lightyear and Nemo. He continuously liked to watch both movies. His therapist would tell us to limit screen time but I actually feel that screen time helped him. When we would watch these movies, he started to learn every single word or try to say every single word. It got to the point where he would say little lines from the movie while we were in the car or playing. I would say the phrase back to him, really slow, and enunciate the words so he could try to say them more clearly. I would also buy toys featuring the characters in the movie, for example, a ball with Buzz Lightyear and teach him the words for items like that.

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mom 5159

Parent of 7 years & 1 month

Parenting: Writing exercises

We work together to discuss what he is having anxiety about in “journal” entries. Then we talk about whether the anxiety is logical. I prompt him to write out his thoughts, so that we can deconstruct each one, as well as think of evidence that proves the anxiety-invoking thoughts to be wrong or illogical. This has also helped him change his thought process from focusing on negative thoughts to focusing on more positive thoughts.

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mom 7753

Parent of 10 years & 10 months

Parenting: Communication methods

She gets very overwhelmed by her daily experiences and her emotional responses to those experiences. I started helping her when I would see her become overwhelmed by having her express what she was feeling and experiencing. It helps her quite a bit, so I started trying to have her talk through what she was dealing with before she would get to the meltdown point. And trying to teach her to check in with herself multiple times a day, so she could learn to self-regulate and let all the negative emotions out. This has helped reduce the amount of total meltdowns she has, and reduced her overall frustration, anger, and sadness.

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mom 2256

Parent of 6 years

Parenting: Redirection

My son is very competitive and beating mom at something is exciting to him. I have many puzzles from 20 pieces to 100 pieces from years ago. He wants to be able to do them, but can’t. It doesn’t frustrate him trying but keeps him still and thinking. When he gets rowdy, I’ll say, “Hey T, guess what mommy did today? Mommy put half of that puzzle together in 30 minutes today.” I already know he’s gonna say, “Mommy, I can beat you.” So I give the puzzle to him, and set my timer for about 30 minutes (long enough for him to calm down and forget about what else he was getting into). And when the timer goes off, most of the time he has fallen asleep lol. If he sticks with it, he has a bunch of unfitting pieces together and just knows he got it right and beat me, and is more exhausted, and wants to eat.

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