Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Teen Mischief

Teen shoplifting....
As the holidays are approaching, there will be many teens off from school - many staying at home looking for something to do.

It is important to keep your kids busy in constructive and positive ways.  Bored teens can sometimes lead to trouble.  Teen Shoplifting, vandelism and more may haunt your homes – be an educated parent, take the time to create activities for the entire family.

For many kids, adolescence is a trying phase of life. Body changes, school pressures, and personality changes can be very overwhelming to your teen when occurring all at once. Because of these pressures, adolescents can be more susceptible to things like peer pressure. Whether it’s out of a desire to fit in or stand out, your normally levelheaded teen can be easily pressured into committing dangerous and illegal acts they might never otherwise consider.

Sometimes, these activities are relatively harmless, and can include things like dying their hair a bold color, or cutting a class or two. But often, many teens find the desire to fit in so strong they are willing to compromise their own morals to be part of the ‘in’ crowd. They may be more likely to experiment with drugs or alcohol, or commit other criminal activities, all for the sake of ‘fitting in’.
Though there are many dangers your teen may encounter, this site deals specifically with teenagers and criminal activity, like shoplifting, vandalism, and violent crime. Teens can partake in these activities for many reasons- peer pressure  being just one of a long list of possibilities.

Click here for my website on Teen Mischief.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Does Your Teenage Boy or Girl Show Weight Loss, Increased Body Hair, Acne? How to Spot the Signs of an Eating Disorder

Is your teen losing weight, suffering from severe acne, hiding food, or fasting? Could it be Anorexia or Bulimia? Causes, symptoms and treatment discussed.

Is your teen losing weight, suffering skin problems like severe acne, hiding food, binging, vomiting or fasting? He or she might have an eating disorder. 

Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia are serious eating disorders that have severe health impacts, sometimes even causing death in teens as young as eleven or twelve.

Weight loss, over-excercising, teenage acne,counting calories, depression and distorted body image, binging or uncontrolled eating, vomiting, and hiding food.  These are just some of the symptoms.  There are many others.

Symptoms of Anorexia:

  • Weight loss-15% below the ideal weight for her age and height.
  • Being obsessive about counting calories and eating fat-free foods.   
  • A fear of gaining weight.
  • Being cagey about eating habits.
  • Obsessive and compulsive or excessive exercising.
  • Abusing laxatives or diuretics.
  • Mood and emotional problems like depression or anxiety.
  • A severely distorted self and body image.
  • Loss of bone mass.
  • Absence of menstrual periods.
  • Low body temperature.
  • Death-from dehydration, heart failure or other causes.

The main symptom of Anorexia Nervosa is a marked fear of being fat and obsessions about being and becoming thin.  This usually translates into intense and secretive efforts to avoid food.  No matter how thin an anorexic girl or by becomes they will still see themselves as fat.  Ultimately the person will starve themselves, and use exercise and laxatives to aid this process.

Unfortunately attempting to force an anorexic teen to eat will likely end in failure and might even make the problem worse.  This is because the disorder isn’t really about food or weight.  Some patients become obsessed with other health concerns like teenage acne, hair care, or how they dress and behave.

Anorexia is more than just a desire to look good or be accepted.  Teens with these diseases are looking for more than just a perfect body.  Anorexia is a complex psychological disorder that is linked to severe depression and low self-esteem.

Symptoms of Bulimia:

  • Uncontrollable eating (binge eating).
  • Dieting, fasting and vomiting as weight control measures.  
  • Visiting the bathroom often after eating –usually to purge.
  • Heartburn, indigestion or sore throat.
  • Being obsessive about body weight.
  • Mood changes and depression.
  • Hoarding or hiding food.
  • Dental changes such as loss of enamel, cavities and abrasions –due to frequent vomiting.
  • Dehydration and electrolyte loss.
  • Bowel, kidney and liver damage.
  • Irregular heartbeat and possible cardiac arrest.

Teens with bulimia eat very large amounts of food and then induce vomiting to remove the food from their bodies.  They are not comfortable or happy with their self and body image. 

Most appear to be of normal weight, which can make the disorder difficult to spot, but some are underweight or overweight.  Some sufferers also abuse drugs and alcohol.  Bear in mind that many obese people have binge eating disorder but this is not the same as Bulimia.

Who gets Anorexia and Bulimia?

Around 75% of girls are not happy about their weight or feel they are too fat.  Anorexia occurs only in 1% of girls worldwide.  Do bear in mind that while eating disorders are more common in girls they also affect teen boys. 

About 90% of sufferers are girls between 12 and 25 (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill). Fewer than 10% are boys or men.  It is more prevalent in groups that value slim physiques such as athletes, dancers or models. As already mentioned eating disorders may be masked in seeking treatment for teenage acne, skin problems, tooth decay etc. just as an adult might.
What causes eating disorders?

It is not known exactly why one person will develop an eating disorder and another won’t.  In two thirds of cases dieting can trigger the disease, but this is not the only important trigger mechanism.  Most girls and boys with eating disorders have low self and body image or co-existing emotional disorders like anxiety and depression.

How dangerous are eating disorders?

The effects of both Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia can be very damaging to the general health.  They can even cause death.  Diuretics (water pills), laxatives, and weight loss pills can be very damaging to the body’s organs.  Syrup of ipecac is often used to induce vomiting and is also deadly if used in excess. Very low body weight on its own offers some life-threatening complications. 

Some effects are minor such as skin, hair problems and back acne, for which treatment might be sought. Most teenagers do not need any type of diet, except a healthy one.  If your teen is overweight good eating habits and exercise is usually all that is needed to bring the problem under control.   

The body mass index (BMI) of a teen is more important than calorie and pound counting.  A body mass index below the 5th percentile for the child’s age and sex can be considered underweight.  Consult BMI tables for more information. 

How to help your teen cope with an eating disorder:

Teens can be helped to avoid falling prey to unhealthy obsessions with food or weight by learning early on to associate healthy eating with good health and self-love.  Avoid excessive focus on weight within the family and place the emphasis on lifestyle changes not dieting. 

If you suspect that your teen has an eating disorder, use “I” statements and make sure he or she understands that you are concerned not judging.  It is important to LISTEN.  The average teen finds it hard to share emotions, and these teens are especially blocked or sensitive.

In Anorexia nervosa it is very important that some weight is regained as soon as possible so this should be an important goal of treatment.  To do this, teens will need to overcome fears and perceptions in a therapeutic setting.  In most cases any eating disorder is best dealt with at a clinic or facility especially tailored for this. 

Concerned parents can call the National Eating Disorders Association’s Toll-Free Information and Referral HelpLine at 1-800-931-2237.

If you uncover that your child does have an eating disorder he or she needs to be evaluated as soon as possible. Eating disorders need to be properly diagnosed by medical and psychiatric professionals. They always need medical attention.

The National Institute of Mental Health has an online brochure on eating disorders that discusses current research. 

Eating Disorders  by KidsHealth will also provide parents with information. 

Guest post by Joanna Curtis

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Bullying: 10 Ways Technology Has Made It Worse

It is National Bullying Prevention Month.

When we were growing up there were bullies. Nobody liked to be bullied, but it was a fact of life that you had to deal with kids that weren’t very nice. Now, schools are so anti-bullying that anything that even slightly seems like bullying is taken very seriously. At least when we were growing up they didn’t have Facebook to upload embarrassing videos to that would ruin a person’s life. 

Check out 10 ways technology makes bullying worse.
  1. Facebook: Embarrassing pictures and videos can be uploaded to Facebook in a matter of a few seconds and ruin someone’s life forever. Kids do not understand the damage that something like that can do to a person. People have actually committed suicide because of events like these.
  2. Cell phones: Growing up we did not have cell phones. Kids these days have the ability to take pictures at a moment’s notice and sometimes not in the most appropriate places. Nude pictures of students in the shower or in the locker room have also caused suicides.
  3. Texting: Kids can bully by texting now. They can text everyone else at the same time something bad or embarrassing about someone else. They can also send pictures over their phone to everyone on their contact list. Bullying like this can make someone’s life miserable.
  4. Flip cameras: These cameras are used to shoot quick videos at close range and can be uploaded to the Internet. Kids that want to bully just have to take embarrassing videos of a student and share them with everyone. Or a video can be sent to a parent as well that would get them grounded or in trouble.
  5. You Tube: A lot of good things have happened to people by posting a video on You Tube, but a lot of bad stuff has happened too. People love to be the first one to dish the dirt on someone else. They witness a fight they grab their cell phone and upload it to You Tube. Or they set someone up and post what they think is a funny video to You Tube, but it’s actually very embarrassing. People don’t think they are bullying when they do this stuff, but they really are.
  6. Gaming systems: Many online gaming systems allow conversations between the players. Teens have reported that someone pretending to be them said mean things or embarrassing things to another person. This kind of bullying is hard to stop and hard to track. It does however cause a lot of problems for today’s teens.
  7. Blogs: There are teens that create blogs that post the latest gossip about people and will say nasty things about people. Teens feel that they are anonymous and that no one can tell who is doing the bullying, but there are ways to track down who’s doing it and there are some big consequences. If the bullying leads to a suicide the teen who is behind the bullying can be brought up on charges and sent to jail. Lesser sentences are losing privileges to use a computer for 2 years. Try doing your homework without a computer these days.
  8. Chat sites: Other sites online have chat rooms where teens can go and chat with their friends online. People can go into these chat rooms and make up a user name and start saying bad things about kids in that chat room. Many times there is a chat room that the students frequent because all their friends go there so when someone bullies in a chat room a lot of that kid’s peer group could be reading it.
  9. E-mail: Bullies steal identities and will sign into an e-mail account and send damaging e-mails pretending to be that teen. Inappropriate messages to a female teacher or a nasty message to the principal are all things that can really get that child in trouble and they didn’t do anything. Remind your child to keep passwords absolutely private.
  10. Instant messaging: Bullies will try to send nasty instant messages threatening to do something to a teen when they see them next. Or tell them that they are going to make sure that they don’t get something they want at school like a part in the play or a solo in choir. Bullying can take many forms even if it’s just telling someone that they did a terrible job on their audition or they overheard someone important say that they did a terrible job. Anything like that is going to put undue stress on that child. Make sure that your child is aware and being safe.
Source:  Full Time Nanny

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