Nourished Minds is an online resource for individuals and families providing specialized family services, empowerment coaching, and self-help guides. Social worker Nikole Seals helps families manage and recover from challenging life events like a health crisis, mental health issues, addiction, and other common social issues.
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As a parent, it's normal to use medications to end your kid's suffering. But before you decide anything, take a deep breath and explore your options. The post What to Consider Before Putting Your Kid on Medication appeared first on Nourished Minds.
Know the Risk Before Putting Kid on Medication
Common Risk of Medicating Kids
Age, development, nutrition, stress, and toxins are all factors that can influence brain health and how drugs are broken down in a child’s body. These factors can determine what kinds of side effects your child may experience; whether it’s a mild allergic reaction and weight gain or a more serious side effects like insomnia, liver damage, or seizures.
Children can also become dependent on a drug and adopt the belief that they need the drug to function. That’s why psychoactive drugs are known as gateway drugs, meaning they often lead to the use or abuse of other prescription medications or illicit drugs.
Perhaps the biggest risk is that there are no guarantees that the medication will work. They may offer temporarily relief but most drugs lose effectiveness over long periods of use. Not to mention that medications only address the symptoms and don’t actually cure, fix, treat, or heal the underlying cause of symptoms.
What You Can Do
You are the parent and that title gives you the responsibility and the right to make decisions that are in your child’s best interest. To do that, you’ll need to get access to the right information. That means finding service providers who can educate you without judgment, intimidation, pressure, or monetary motives.
Ultimately, you want to create a team of trusted, supportive, knowledgeable professionals who understand the importance of taking an integrative, holistic approach to health care. I know that fear and frustration can push you to make impulsive or panicky decisions, but try not to rush to action without thoughtful consideration of all your options.
Your initial thought may be to seek treatment from your family doctor or general practitioner. I ask you to consider this—doctors specialize for a reason. You wouldn’t go to the dentist for that suspicious mole on your back. Something as important as your child’s mental health deserves specialized care. Review your insurance coverage and try to find a therapist or child psychologist for an assessment. You don’t need to start off seeing a psychiatrist. If you decide later to try drug therapy, your therapist or psychologist will refer you.
Focus your research on therapists who work exclusively or mainly with children.
Confirm their education and experience, but more importantly, watch how they engage your child. Is there chemistry? Are they empathetic and encouraging? Does your child feel comfortable with the therapist? Are they answering your questions?
Be confident and direct. Remember that you are the expert on your child. Your child needs you to be their advocate. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right and they are reaching for the prescription pad ten minutes into your visit, recognize that this is not who you need. Your child’s emotional well-being deserves the highest quality of treatment.
Join me in the conversation. Share your question or thoughts in the comment box below.
Get coaching on the Go…Subscribe to the Nourishing Bits Podcast on iTunes.
The post What to Consider Before Putting Your Kid on Medication appeared first on Nourished Minds.
Tweens and teens are constantly on the go. Sometimes it is necessary to supplement their diet with vitamins and minerals in order to prevent deficiencies. The post Important Vitamins for Tweens & Teens appeared first on Nourished Minds.
Teens ans tweens and teens are constantly on the go. Activities like sports, exercise, and play time help to facilitate the growth and development of bone and muscle tissue. Staying active also helps to promote healthy brain function and stabilize moods. All this work requires a considerable amount of energy and a regular supply of nutrients to nourish the body. Unfortunately, teens don’t always get the nutrients they need from food alone. Sometimes it is necessary to supplement their diet with vitamins and minerals in order to prevent deficiencies.
Teens and tweens are far less active then past generations thanks to TV programming, video games, and cuts to physical education programs in schools. This, along with the fact that adolescents tend to consume diets high in sugar, saturated fats and processed foods put them at high risk for deficiencies. Keep in mind that your teen has a higher likelihood of developing deficiencies if they routinely take medications or refuse to eat certain foods like fish and vegetables.
Today’s teens deal with tremendous pressures that can cause them to experience high levels of stress and anxiety. Too much of the stress hormone, cortisol, over sustained periods of time can deplete the body of vital nutrients.
Signs of deficiencies:
Although moods swings and irritability are natural responses to fluctuating hormonal changes, they can also be directly related to nutritional deficiencies. Irritability, fatigue, poor memory, or dry skin could be signs of vitamin B deficiencies.
Calcium deficiencies may show in the form of insomnia, irritability, frequent muscle cramps; while signs of low magnesium levels include constipation, muscle cramps, depression, irritability, nervousness, and hyperactivity.
Vitamin D deficiencies are common for kids and adults. Low levels of Vitamin D may cause symptoms of mood swings, dental problem, and can be a contributing factor in hormonal imbalances.
Poor skin and hair health, and slowed or delayed development could be signs of essential fatty acid deficiencies.
- Multi-vitamin – If your teen is a picky eater, consumes a diet high in processed foods, or refuses to eat vegetables, he/she could benefit from taking a multi-vitamin. This supplement will provide your teen with a spectrum of vital nutrients to include all the B vitamins; small complimentary amounts of vitamins A, C, and E; and trace amounts of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. These nutrients are important for brain functions, mood stabilization, immune system support, and cell growth and maintenance.
- Calcium and Magnesium – Good sources of calcium include green vegetables, organic yogurt, and tempeh. Good sources of magnesium include bananas, whole grains, almonds, cashews, and green vegetables. If your teen does not eat these foods regularly or if they are active in sports, they may need to supplement their diet. Unfortunately, most multi-vitamins don’t provide adequate amounts of these minerals. You will find these two minerals are often packaged together into one supplement because they work best when paired. Calcium and magnesium are needed for bone growth and density, healthy teeth, good cardiovascular health and the production of hormones.
- Vitamin D – Research has shown that most kids (and adults) are deficient in vitamin D, especially if you live in an area where there is limited sunlight. Vitamin D is important for bone and tooth health. It also helps to support the immune system and maintain blood sugar levels.
- Omega-3s – If your teen doesn’t eat fish or grains, then you should definitely supplement their diet. Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid and is essential for brain development and mood stabilization. Research shows that some learning disabilities can be linked to omega-3 deficiencies. Thankfully, you can find Omega-3 supplements in a variety of forms and an assortment of flavors.
- Probiotic – Regular use of antibiotics can kill off the healthy bacteria in your teen’s intestinal tract leaving them susceptible to infections and digestive issues. Be sure your teen always takes a probiotic after a round of antibiotics. Probiotics are also helpful in preventing yeast infections and good support for the immune system.
Getting kids to eat healthy during their first five years of life will help them to make good food choices in the future. The post Getting Kids to Eat Healthy appeared first on Nourished Minds.
I don’t want this to overwhelm you but the food choices you make for your children during their first five years of life will become the foundation for their future dietary habits. No pressure though.
You may not want to admit it but you have a powerful influence on your child’s palate and preferences. Children will eat what you eat and eat what you serve. On the flip side of this, children are less likely to eat the foods that you don’t like or expose them too. So if you don’t buy or cook fish in your home, it’s no coincidence that your children won’t eat fish.
When I work with parents to help them improve their child’s health, I always start by asking about the parent’s dietary habits because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. We know for a fact that kids learn far more from watching the actions and behaviors of parents than they do from listening. So if you don’t eat healthy, you can’t expect your children too. And if you are picky and don’t like eating fish, or meat off the bone, or foods with weird textures, or anything green; you must realize that your child will pick up on these same limiting thoughts. Failure to expose your child to an assortment of healthy foods because of your own personal preferences can result in your child missing out on a variety of important nutrients.
So bottom line: if you can your kids to eat healthy…show them how. A healthy team needs a healthy leader. Improving health should be a family goal and as the team leader, you must begin to teach and show your child how to make good choices.
With summer fun comes the unfortunate potential of being stung by a bee or eaten alive by mosquitoes, fleas, and spiders. Learns ways to treat both bites and stings with natural remedies. The post Treat Bee Sting & Bug Bites Naturally appeared first on Nourished...
This natural remedy is for kids and adults. I happen to know some adults who have fairly serious phobias and reaction to stings (you know who you are) so this is really for everybody.
With summer fun comes the unfortunate potential of being stung by a bee or eaten alive by mosquitoes, fleas, and spiders. Apparently we are their summer BBQ. Prevention is really the key here. There are many great natural repellents on the market that can work as a barrier on your skin like Burts Bee. But if you do happen to get bit, here are a few tips to help you or your child recover and get back to the summer fun.
Try to get yourself or your child to calm down. With kids this can be difficult because they are hurt and scared (again, this may also apply to grown folks). You may need to apply an ice pack to numb the pain before treatment.
For stings, you should first remove the stinger. Do not try to pull it out with your fingers or tweezers. This will cause the release of venom and more pain. Instead, try scraping it out with something that has a hard edge, like a thumbnail or credit card. Or try putting a piece of tape over it and gently lift it out.
Clean the affected area (after you’ve removed the stinger or if have a bug bite) with warm water and soap. Then make a paste of baking soda mixed with a little water and apply it. This will help to draw out the venom. Another little trick I learned is that papaya, which contains papain, is excellent at taking the sting out of mosquito and other insect bites. Which is maybe why papaya is so plentiful in the summer time, no? Simply cut a slice and rub it on the affected area.
Aloe Vera and calendula are also great for soothing pain and irritation for both bites and stings. They are all natural and inexpensive so you can apply as needed.
I always carry aloe on me because you just never know when you’ll need it. And I wouldn’t be doing right by my Native American grandmother if I didn’t mention that eating garlic acts as a natural repellent. It keeps away bugs and people.
There are many natural and holistic methods to relieve the symptoms of asthma. For every conventional approach to treatment, there is a natural method that won’t promote a child’s dependence on medications. Parents should seek consultation with practitioners that practice integrative medicine—use of both conventional and holistic treatments. The post Natural Ways to Reduce Asthma in Children appeared first on Nourished...
What You Need To Know About Asthma:
There are many natural and holistic methods to relieve the symptoms of asthma. For every conventional approach to treatment, there is a natural method that won’t promote a child’s dependence on medications. Parents should seek consultation with practitioners that practice integrative medicine—use of both conventional and holistic treatments.
First, “what not to do”. Asthma is often triggered by an allergen, stress, cold dry air or upper respiratory infections. So the best way to prevent attacks is to avoid exposure to allergens, especially food-based allergens. Some of the most common are dairy, nuts, wheat, seafood and artificial food coloring/additives. Take notice if your child seems to have attacks after eating certain foods. Children can have mild reactions to foods called “food sensitivities” and these sensitivities can easily go unnoticed. Also, read food labels and try to avoid buying any products with dyes, preservatives, or chemical additives. The rule of thumb is if it sounds like it was made in a lab—avoid it.
Prevention or reduction of attacks can be as simple as increasing your child’s nutrient intake. Vitamins won’t be helpful to your child in the midst of an asthma attack so you should always seek emergency medical intervention during an acute episode. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) can help to regulate inflammation as a preventative measure. Good sources of EFAs include fish (especially salmon), and leafy green vegetables. Try to serve fish in forms that promote fun for kids so they are more likely to eat it, like fish sticks made with fresh wild caught fish or fish tacos. If your child won’t eat fish or spinach then we suggest trying a supplement like Carlson’s DHA for Kids or Barlean’s Omega-3 Smoothies. Of all the nutrients, it is most critical for your child to have EFAs to reduce future attacks.
In general, children should take a multi-vitamin & mineral supplement if they are picky eaters or refuse to eat vegetables. Sadly, we can no longer rely on our foods to supply us with all the nutrients we need. Today’s produce is grown in soil that is depleted and stripped of minerals and tainted with pesticides. Plus produce loses many of its nutrients in the shipping process that can take several days. Since kids are constantly growing, they require high levels of nutrients to sustain all the body’s activity. A multi-vitamin can give them the added boost they need. Be sure to find one that contains magnesium, vitamin B5 and vitamin B12; all of which are necessary for preventing asthma attacks.
Teach your child deep breathing, especially if your child plays sports. Most children and most adults for that matter, take shallow breaths all day long. Getting into the habit of taking deep breaths is invaluable for those who suffer from asthma. It strengthens the respiratory system and replenishes the stores of oxygen in the body. It can also help to teach your child how to reduce stress and calm the body. Practice deep breathing with your child. If you’re not sure of the proper technique for slow deep breathing, I suggest watching YouTube videos on yoga.
Would you make a child abuse report if you had suspicions? What if your partner was abusive? Learn how and when to report and why this can save a child. The post How to Report Child Abuse & Be a Protective Parent Video appeared first on Nourished...
Child Abuse & Neglect Part II: Making a Report & Being a Protective Parent
Would you make a child abuse report if you had suspicions? Reporting child abuse can feel scary and intimidating. Adults often hesitant to report concerns out of fear of getting involved or retaliation.
It’s even scarier to make a report when you’re in a relationship with the person being abusive. It’s important to remember that parents who engage in abusive behaviors are often acting out of anger, fear, or their own unresolved pain.
In this special episode of the Nourishing Bits Podcast, Nikole explains how our emotions can stop us from helping a child or push a parent to the point of becoming abusive or neglectful.
For more information, download my guides If You Suspect Abuse & Child Abuse Investigations: Know the Process, Know Your Rights
Subscribe to the Nourishing Bits Podcast: http://nourishingbits.libsyn.com/rss
The post How to Report Child Abuse & Be a Protective Parent Video appeared first on Nourished Minds.
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