How To Have a Conversation With Your Teenager

Getting teenagers to talk openly about what’s bothering them can be hard. Follow these tips to help get them talking to you about their worries.

1. Ask, don’t judge

Start by assuming they have a good reason for doing what they do. Show them you respect their intelligence and are curious about the choices they’ve made.

If you don’t pre-judge their behaviour as “stupid” or “wrong”, they’re more likely to open up and explain why their actions made sense to them.

2. Ask, don’t assume or accuse

Don’t assume that you know what’s wrong. Rather than asking “Are you being bullied?”, try saying “I’ve been worried about you. You don’t seem your usual self, and I wondered what’s going on with you at the moment? Is there anything I can help with?”.

3. Be clear you want to help

If you suspect your child is using drugs or drinking excessively, be gentle but direct. Ask them, and let them know that you’ll help them through any of their difficulties.

4. Be honest yourself

Teenagers will criticise you if you don’t follow your own advice. If you drink too much alcohol yourself, for example, they’re likely to mention it (“You can’t talk!”). Make sure you’re acting responsibly yourself.

5. Help them think for themselves

Instead of trying to be the expert on your teenager’s life, try to help them think for themselves:

  • Discuss the potential implications of poor behaviour choices. For example, “How does smoking dope make you feel the next day? So, if you feel like that, how’s that going to affect you playing football?”
  • Help them think critically about what they see and hear. “So Paul said X: is that what you think?”
  • Help them feel that they can deal with life’s challenges. Remind them of what they’re good at and what you like about them. This will give them confidence in other areas of their lives.
  • Information is empowering. Point them towards websites that can give them information on drugs, sex and smoking so they can read the facts and make up their own minds.
  • Help them think of ways they can respond and cope. “So, when you feel like that, is there anything you can do to make yourself feel better?”
  • Encourage them to think through the pros and cons of their behaviour.

6. Pick your battles

If they only ever hear nagging from you, they’ll stop listening. Overlooking minor issues, such as the clothes they wear, may mean you’re still talking to each other when you need to negotiate – or stand firm – with them on bigger issues, such as drugs and sex.

7. If they get angry, try not to react

Teenagers often hit out at the people they most love and trust, not because they hate you, but because they feel confused.

Don’t think that they mean the bad things they say (“I hate you!”). They may just feel confused, angry, upset, lost or hormonal, and they don’t know how to express it.

8. Help them feel safe

Teenagers often worry that telling an adult will just make things worse. You need to be clear that you want to help them and won’t do anything they don’t want you to.

This may be particularly important with bullying. If your child opens up to you about bullying, explain that it isn’t acceptable. Listen to their fears and reassure them it’s not their fault.

Help build up their confidence by reassuring them that you’ll face the problem together.

9. Avoid asking questions they won’t answer

Sometimes you’ll find out more about your teenager if you ask open questions. If they have an eating disorder, for example, asking confrontational questions like “What did you eat for lunch?” or “Have you made yourself sick?” may mean you get a dishonest answer.

Sticking to open questions such as “How are you?” or “How has your day been?” helps your teenager talk to you about how they’re feeling.





Saturday, Spider-Man: Homecoming is Sensory Friendly at AMC

New sensory friendly logoSince 2007, AMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

Does it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view a sensory friendly screening of Spider-Man: Homecoming on Saturday, July 22nd at 10am (local time). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming in July:  War for the Planet of the Apes (Tues 7/25)

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Editor’s note: Although Spider-Man: Homecoming has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for sci-fi action violence, some language and brief suggestive comments.  As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your family.

Trampolines & Jump Centers: Fun but Risky, Parents Beware

By now I am pretty sure that all of us have either seen the ads for or been to one of the many trampoline centers popping up in a town near you.  Or you are one of the many homes in American that have a trampoline in the yard. While I personally have nothing against trampolines, being in the EMS field I am always aware of the dangers they pose and what kind of injuries they would present with.  While your own personal trampoline or the ones at the jumping center are a lot of fun there are some numbers I think you should have and recommendations you should be aware of before letting the kids bounce away.

The Statistics.

Nearly 100,000 people a year were sent to the ER with trampoline related injuries from 2010- 2014 and about a third of those were with broken bones and 92% of those were in children under 16.  Injuries of the head and spinal cord were also reported in that time and represent the smallest amount but the most severe.  In an American Academy of Pediatrics study they found that fractures were more common in younger children than adolescents and children under 6 years of age actually had the highest percentage of fractures with 47.8%. The study also revealed that while trampoline injures at home stayed around the same average per year, there is a growing and alarming number of injuries at trampoline parks with the national trend getting higher and higher.

The Recommendations.

The safety recommendations for trampolines are the same over a number of different studies.  The American Academy of Pediatrics went to far as to recommend against the recreational use of trampolines for children in 2012, But seeing as how people are jumping now more than ever, they have put together a list of things you can do to keep your children and yourself as safe as possible while jumping.  The recommendations are:

  • Adult supervision at ALL times.
  • Only 1 jumper on the trampoline at a time. Most injuries occur with multiple jumpers.
  • No Flipping. Safety rules may vary at trampoline centers. Please check the rules before jumping.
  • Adequate padding on the trampoline, all of its exposed parts. Frame, springs, poles.  As well as Padding on the floor around the trampoline.
  • Checking all equipment before jumping.
  • Having the trampoline at ground level if possible.
  • Having the trampoline clear of any overhead obstructions:  Trees, Lines, Poles, House.

What to do.

Should an injury occur on a trampoline what to do will depend on the severity of the injury, but as I always tell people, if the thought to call 911 crosses your mind, go ahead and do it.  Some injuries may be minor and require nothing more than some ice and elevation, but should the injury involve the head, neck, or spine, a loss of consciousness, or broken bones, then please let EMS handle it.  They are trained and prepared to deal with these types of injuries.

As, always I hope you have a fun and happy summer and above all be safe!

Child Health & Safety News: 7/17: Postpartum OCD -What to Know

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Safety News: Parents warned Pokemon Go Raids encourages kids to meet strangers bit.ly/2up3sf1

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use social media to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we overlook something, but overall we think we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed.  Still, quite a bit happens every day – so to make sure you don’t miss anything, we offer you a recap of this week’s top 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week:
It’s normal to worry about your baby, but how do you know if you’re going too far?  bit.ly/2tXg9e5  Postpartum OCD

  • Loli-O’s and Kids: Puts the Treat in Breathing Treatments zpr.io/Pe5xJ 2017-07-14
  • Kids Flying Alone: Make it Safe, Hassle-free and Fun – – Thurs Time Capsule 07/11 bit.ly/2u78o8k 2017-07-13
  • Raising Overcomers: How To Teach Your Kids To Do Hard Things bit.ly/2sOkJtO 2017-07-12
  • What You’ll Want to Have In Your Baby’s First Aid Kit zpr.io/PeyWL 2017-07-12
  • Bringing children cognitive calm 2017-07-11
  • Tobacco prevention & control strategies at various levels contribute to less high school  2017-07-10
  • Join MayoClinicKids video Q&A about chest wall deformities in children this Thursday at 10 a.m. CT. 2017-07-10
  • How to Include The Family Dog In Summer Trips & Activities zpr.io/PepfU 2017-07-10
  • Sensory Friendly Screening of THE HOUSE, Tuesday Night at AMC zpr.io/Pepnv 2017-07-10

Happy Birthday Pediatric Safety! 8 Years is Only The Beginning…

It’s hard to believe that Pediatric Safety is eight years old today…

On July 17, 2009 Pediatric Safety was born – a community for everyone who cares about the health and safety of kids. We created an Awareness section to communicate the latest news; a Community area where folks could get together, exchange stories and ask questions; an Innovations section where some very creative parents and caregivers could show off the inventions they created to keep kids healthy and safe… And so much more!

As we look back to compare where we’ve come over the past 8 years to where we are today, we continue to be amazed at the range of topics we’ve covered, new innovations we’ve kept you apprised of, and well-known experts who have written articles to keep you up-to-date on the status of current health and safety issues:

  • Since our launch, we’ve had the good fortune to meet and work with some wonderful folks from many different professions and vocations, all striving to give you their insights, ideas and recommendation. We are honored to include on our PedSafe Expert Team Dr Joseph Skoloff (pediatrics), Dr Michele Borba (character development and bullying prevention), Suzanne Hantke (kids and canines), Dr Bill Williams (family dentistry), paramedic Greg Atwood (emergency medicine), Dr Lynne Kenney (child psychology, learning and behavior), Rosie Reeves (special needs parenting), and Tracy Bush (food allergies)– all of whom volunteer their time to help make this site a community where you can find answers and hopefully give answers to others when they need them.
  • In 2013 were proud to announce the inclusion of NHS Choices articles on Pediatric Safety. NHS Choices is the UK’s biggest, most comprehensive health information website.  The articles we’ve shared with you spanned the full range of child health and safety issues from living with disabilities to surviving childhood bullying, from adoption and fostering to puberty and talking about sex; from asthma and allergies to health and fitness.
  • We now publish 4 days a week, plus we gather child health and safety news from around the world and share it across Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest 7 days a week.
  • We’ve seen our audience grow tremendously! Last year alone our readership grew to 20-25 thousand visits per month up from 15 thousand per month– with representation across the globe.
  • Together we’ve shared over fifteen hundred posts and fourteen thousand tweets about child health and safety.

At its heart, Pediatric Safety is a place where people can support each other – the village needed to raise a child.  If we’ve been able to help you, our followers, and accomplished even a little of that, then this has been 8 years well spent.

And all this was just the beginning!  

Over the next couple of months you’re going to see some wonderful changes here at PedSafe.  We are thrilled to announce that over the next couple of months Pediatric Safety will be getting a “makeover”.  We’ve been listening to what you – our readers – have been telling us you need, and we’re still listening.  Over the next couple of weeks we’re going to be asking you more questions about what you want to see in the next evolution of Pediatric Safety and our plan is for you to see your input as we roll out the next generation of Pediatric Safety.  (That said – if there’s something really important you’d like to see more (or less) of going forward, and we don’t ask about it, please drop us a note and let us know. Our goal is to make sure you know you’ve been heard)!

Thank you friends – for taking this journey with us!

We look forward to sharing many more birthdays ahead…….

With love and gratitude,

Stefanie, Audra and Jim

Loli-O’s and Kids: Puts the Treat in Breathing Treatments

Have you ever received a breathing treatment, either in an ambulance or in the hospital?  It can be uncomfortable and you might be a little hesitant if you haven’t done one before.  Now imagine you’re a child…

A lot of children in the pre-hospital setting as well as clinics, offices, homes and urgent care facilities tend to become very anxious and uneasy when you try and place a mask over their face or get them to hold a tasteless plastic mouthpiece in their mouth to receive breathing medications. Anxiety causes symptoms to increase and that is certainly where you do not want to go.  Loli-O’s helps children from the ages of 3+ receive breathing treatments while enjoying a sugar free and dental friendly lollipop. Using Loli-O’s allows the child to focus on something that is comforting and enjoyable other than “I’m getting medicine”.  And if used as directed, it delivers the medication at nearly the same equivalence as a mouthpiece nebulizer with ZERO anxiety and a happy kiddo in the process because let’s face it…… kids love lollipops!

I came up with the concept that is now Loli-O’s while transporting a 4 year old girl from a rural hospital to a metropolitan hospital in Nashville, TN.  I am a 23 year veteran paramedic and have run across this scenario many times in my career.  The child was ordered by the physician to receive continuous breathing medication during the over 1 hour transport.  The child was already very anxious because I was a stranger and she was scared not knowing what was going to happen.  During the transport, she would become more excited and upset during the treatment attempts, which in turn caused the shortness of breath to increase, her heart rate to increase and the oxygen level to decrease – the exact opposite of where we wanted to be. Despite many attempts to administer the treatments as ordered, I was unable to effectively give the treatment.

After arriving at the receiving hospital, care was released to the staff and the report was given.  The staff was attempting to give the breathing treatment as we were leaving but were having the same problems I had faced in the back of the ambulance.  After leaving the hospital we stopped at a convenience store to get a soft drink for the ride back home.  While standing in line to pay, I noticed an older gentleman with what I assumed was his grandson standing at the counter.  The little boy was about the same age as the little girl I had just transported.  While at the counter, the little boy grabbed a whole handful of lollipops and put them on the counter.  The grandfather asked him “so you want a lollipop huh?” The boy jumped up and down and said “yes yes yes!”  That was it!  Kids love candy, especially lollipops!  There is something comforting to a child about having a sweet treat that I knew could work with helping receive breathing treatments.

I jotted down some rough drawings and came up with a plan.  I bought a candy kit at Hobby Lobby and some cpvc fittings from Lowe’s and went to work.  In just a couple of hours I had a working prototype right there in my kitchen.  I shared this idea and prototype of mine with a long time physician friend and he was just as convinced as I that we had something worth pursuing here.  3 years later, our team consists of 4 top physicians as well as an accomplished ACNP (acute care nurse practitioner). Loli-O’s is ready to help children get that treatment they need with a little less anxiety and a whole lot more fun.  We like to say that with Loli-O’s we put the “treat” in treatment.  Loli-O’s uses lollipops that are sugar free, gluten free, dairy free, have no added dyes and are manufactured in a peanut free facility.  In fact, the lollipops are considered “dental friendly” and the best part is they taste amazing and come in 5 different flavors.

Until Loli-O’s, there have basically only been 2 delivery methods for breathing medications.  One being a mask that is strapped to the child’s face and the other is a plastic mouthpiece that the child has to hold in their mouth while they are breathing the medication. Loli-O’s is not trying to replace these devices because they are very effective for children who are already used to receiving treatments or are old enough to understand the reasoning behind that particular treatment device.  But for the child who has to have a breathing treatment for the first time, or who might be scared and anxious, or who is younger, or for any reason at all, Loli-O’s is here to help the child, the parent and the provider.  We have spoken with countless EMS professionals, ER physicians, pediatricians, nurses and respiratory therapists and have all concluded what we have thought from the beginning…….  Loli-O’s can help!

Loli-O’s is set to hit the consumer market in July 2017.  It already has commitments from EMS agencies and emergency departments in our area and will eventually make its way to ambulances, emergency departments, acute care clinics and pediatrician offices all over the US.  In time, our goal is to see Lolio’s become a go-to among the already established nebulizer options.  Another tool in the toolbox is always a good thing.

HEALTHFUL HINTS:

  • Anxiety with children during doctor visits is all too common. Children, especially at a younger age have certain “comforts”.  A parent/guardian is of course a big one but there are other comforts that can help make that trip to the doctor a little easier on the child as well as mom and dad.
    • First start off simple and if possible bring that stuffed animal or action figure that your child loves to play with. You would be surprised what a little “toy time” can do to alleviate some of that anxiety.
    • Next, let the child hold the stethoscope and let them hear their own breathing and heartbeat! I’ve seen more smiles from kids who hear their own ticker working than you could imagine.
    • Unfortunately, sometimes at the doctor the child has to get a treatment or injection that is either frightening or painful. In these circumstances, I’ve found that a little soft talking and explanation of why they are receiving it is very helpful.
  • There are many respiratory conditions that effect children. From simple occasional allergies, to bronchitis, to asthma, to cystic fibrosis and etc., not every child will have the same symptoms or the same diagnosis which only proves that just 1 treatment device/medication is not the answer. Pay attention to your doctor and more importantly your child.  Children have the ability to compensate very well when it comes to illness and injury but when their compensating mechanisms have run their course, children can and will become severely ill very quickly. When it comes to respiratory problems, there are a few tell-tale signs that let you know that your child is getting worse.
    • The first would be to watch your child’s posture. If you find your child setting uncharacteristically straight or in a position known as “tripod” where the hands are propped on the knees and leaning forward, then this would indicate a more severe respiratory distress.
    • Also watch for flaring of the nostrils. This indicates a forceful respiratory pattern that the child involuntarily does in order to move air in and out of the lungs.
    • You can also see what is referred to as “retractions”. This is where the child is having so much difficulty that the muscles between the ribs and other areas of the chest are sucking inward with inspiration.  This is usually a sign of severe respiratory distress.
  • As proactive parents and guardians, it’s a good idea to be prepared for health situations that could arise.
    • Have your child’s general and medical information written down on an index card and kept in a safe location.
    • Include your child’s name, date of birth, any allergies to medications, any current prescription medications they are taking and a thorough medical history. Having this card on hand will help so much if you should have to call an ambulance or if your child is being taken by someone other than yourself to receive medical treatment. When your child is severely ill is not the time you want to have to remember these important details.
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