Currently browsing Awareness

Our Super-Successful Kids Are Struggling! How to Help Them Thrive

Last updated on June 12th, 2021 at 01:06 pm

Worried child in front of graffitiWhat if I told you that 1 out of every 3 kids age 6 to 11 is afraid that the Earth won’t exist when they grow up???

WHO are these children??? What if I told you that little kid you just kissed goodnight,,, who got an A on his test…who practiced her cello for hours… what if I told you they were the ones who said it. What if instead I told you they believed it and told NO ONE??? How is it possible this is happening??

Parents, meet the “Running on Empty” Generation – smart and dearly loved, inclusive and open-minded, well-educated with high aspirations for college and their future. From the outside everything you want and more for your child. But take a second look. These kids are less happy, more stressed, lonely, depressed, and suicidal than ANY other generation… and that was BEFORE COVID!

“We are college and career ready, but sure aren’t ‘human’ ready.” Erin, 16 years old

We are raising a generation of “strivers” – kids that are wonderful at reaching for the brass ring, but never feel good enough. We haven’t given them basic survival tools so when the real challenges hit, they often quit because they don’t have the inner reserve that helps them get through it…

“My parents do everything for me. My biggest worry when I leave home is that I’m going to flunk life.” 17-year-old straight-A student, headed for Yale

Surprisingly, despite today’s kids living through the most stressed time in known history – terrorism, lockdown drills, daily pandemic death counts, insurrections, food insecurity, failing power grids, climate crises and racial violence – some kids are not only surviving, but they’re also thriving.

They are bouncing back despite adversity. WHY?

In her new book THRIVERS, Dr. Michele Borba, Ed. D. shares with us the answer.

In the end, these kids – the Thrivers –manage adversity, develop healthy relationships, and embrace change. They are ready and deal proactively with whatever the world throws at them – even in uncertain times, not because of genes, GPA, IQ or a special skill or talent, but through reliance on a few character strengths they learned along the way that helped them steer their lives in a positive direction – helped them PICK THEMSELVES UP whenever their worlds came crashing down.

It is these seven essential Character Strengths that set Thrivers apart and set them up for happiness and greater accomplishment later in life. Self-confidence, empathy, self-control, integrity, curiosity, perseverance, and optimism – each of these helps safeguard our kids against the depression and anxiety that threatens to derail them. And best of all, these strengths are not something we are born with: from toddler to teen, these can be taught!

But where should you start?? THRIVERS is organized into three parts allowing parent to focus on strengths by category. It’s helpful to understand your child’s “superpowers” – what they’re already good at and can nurture – as well as areas that could use further development.

Consider how you would rate your child on the following: 5 = always, 4 = frequently, 3 = sometimes, 2 = rarely, 1 = never

My Child:

  1. Speaks mostly positively about herself, rarely negatively.
  2. Displays concern and wants to help when someone is treated unfairly or unkindly.
  3. Can be trusted to do the right thing and keep his word even when no one is looking.
  4. Able to manage her own impulses and urges without adult help.
  5. Intrigued or easy to motivate about trying something new, different, or surprising.
  6. Does not become upset when something is difficult; rarely quits but keeps trying.
  7. Can find the silver lining in a hardship or challenge.

As I’m sure you guessed each of these questions represents one of the 7 Character Strengths and is part of a longer assessment that will help you evaluate where your child is right now so you can determine which traits are their natural strengths and which traits need to be encouraged.

Know that these traits are cumulative: each character strength improves a child’s thriving potential as well as academic performance but is always more powerful when combined with another because they create a Multiplier Effect.

Self-Confidence + Curiosity increases self-knowledge and builds self-assuredness and creativity.

Self-Control + Perseverance boosts the chance of reaching a goal and achieving success.

Empathy + Curiosity helps find common ground and strengthens relationships.

At this point some of you may be thinking…yes this all sounds good, but bottom line, I’ve got to give my child every advantage so they can get into the right school because everything depends on that.

But does it? According to Dr. Borba these amazing, brilliant, talented kids are checking out – the urgency in writing this book came from an email from a distraught mom looking for help from her community:

“We have forty dead kids in two-and-a-half years to suicide within a twenty-mile radius. Most are white, affluent, high achieving males who did not use drugs but hung themselves. Most look like your kids and mine. The last seven have been females – two with guns.”

“It’s like we’re being produced to be test takers. We’re missing the pieces on how to be people.” Aaron, 12 years old

The epidemic of unhappy Strivers is real, but it’s not inevitable. We can do something about it. As Dr. Borba says “all our energy has gone into stretching kids’ cognitive abilities and neglecting their human side – the source of energy, joy, inspiration and meaning. The good news: focusing on character can flip that equation and teach your kids how to find happiness, calm and wonder in the world.

But we NEED to pay attention… We SHOULD be worried… WE NEED to listen!!

“There’s an amazing amount of depression and anxiety. Seventy percent of my friends are in therapy; forty percent are on medication. We’re hurting but nobody does anything until another kid is suicidal.” Ava, 15 years old.

One last thought that I’d like to finish with. It is terrifying that our children – even the young ones – go to sleep worried about global warming, pandemics, racial violence, school shootings… the list goes on and on. It is even more terrifying that many of them don’t believe their generation will live to see the future. But there is something Dr. Borba’s book reminded me of that I’d like to share with you, and maybe you can share it with your kids.

Years ago a man named Fred Rogers brought optimism, love and hope to families across the country – and in these dark times we could all use a little of his outlook. With each new terror – each bombing, virus, terrorist attack, natural disaster, hate crime or mass shooting we wonder, “what shall we tell our children?” Fred Rogers had the perfect answer:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers, so many caring people in this world”.

My belief, and the reason I share this with all of you, is that this current generation of kids is in pain and they are struggling. Dr. Michele Borba (and THRIVERS) is one of the helpers.

Editors Note: all quotes included in this article, including those attributed to individual children and Fred Rogers can be found in THRIVERS: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine

****************************************************************************************************************************

Thrivers Book CoverAcross the nation, student mental health is plummeting, major depression rates among teens and young adults are rising faster than among the overall population, and younger children are being impacted. As a teacher, educational consultant, and parent for 40 years, Dr. Michele Borba has never been more worried than she is about this current generation of kids. In THRIVERS, Dr. Borba explains why the old markers of accomplishment (grades, test scores) are no longer reliable predictors of success in the 21st century – and offers 7 teachable traits that will safeguard our kids for the future. She offers practical, actionable ways to develop these Character Strengths (confidence, empathy, self-control, integrity, curiosity, perseverance, and optimism) in children from preschool through high school, showing how to teach kids how to cope today so they can thrive tomorrow. THRIVERS is now available at amazon.com.

This Saturday at AMC, FROZEN II is Sensory Friendly

Last updated on November 8th, 2020 at 03:00 pm

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. Saturday, Frozen II is Sensory Friendly at AMC.

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 Frozen II on Saturday, December 14th at 10am (local time). Tickets are typically $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).

Still to come in December: Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Tues. 12/24 & Sat. 12/28)

****************************************************************************************************************************

Editor’s note: Although Frozen II 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 by the Motion Picture Association of America for action/peril and some thematic elements. 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.

Child Health & Safety News 12/24: Teething Jewelry Safety Risks

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: How much difference can a later school start make for teens? As Seattle’s school district found out, it can help a lot! n.pr/2STRXo6

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.

  • How Does Sensory Play Help With a Child’s Development? bit.ly/2QPcEFs 2018-12-23
  • Institute of Child Health doctors perform life-saving open-heart surgery on infant bit.ly/2EHf6ql 2018-12-23
  • Celebrity nutrition expert Rujuta Diwekar tells parents How to care for their child’s health and gives tips on child health and the ideal diet for today’s children. bit.ly/2T4F9eJ 2018-12-21
  • Pets Help Prevent Allergies In Infants, Study Says cbsloc.al/2CuE5vl 2018-12-21

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week
FDA says teething jewelry poses safety risks after child injuries http://bit.ly/2T7DPry

  • Saturday Morning at AMC, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is Sensory Friendly bit.ly/2Luiki1 2018-12-21
  • Can pyruvate improve cardiac function among children with LCOS following surgery? American Heart Association is funding a study http://bit.ly/2V7zQx8 2018-12-20
  • Kids in hot cars: 8 safety tips (even in winter!) https://yhoo.it/2T7Kpyj 2018-12-20
  • Bringing joy to pediatric patients can start with an in-residence dog… a highly trained service dog that works in a healthcare setting to provide specialized tasks and create an emotional connection with peds patients http://bit.ly/2V9FjDC 2018-12-19
  • New child passenger safety law update to go into effect in Nebraska on January 1st http://bit.ly/2CwYMqm 2018-12-19
  • Pregnancy, breastfeeding and the common cold: What new and expectant moms need to know: 2018-12-18
  • Social Media Companies, Reporting, and Secondary Victimization – Cyberbullying Research Center bit.ly/2Ci7HMe 2018-12-18
  • Teen vaping continues to rise, survey finds cnn.it/2Erz08q 2018-12-17
  • Will Spanking Kids Really Scar Them for Life? bit.ly/2Bqlij0 2018-12-17
  • Sweets for Kids at the Holidays? What Dentist Approved That? bit.ly/2EqLMUB 2018-12-17

Sat. at AMC, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is Sensory Friendly

Last updated on December 27th, 2018 at 12:24 pm

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. Tomorrow, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is Sensory Friendly at AMC.

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: Into the Spider-Verse on Saturday, December 21st at 10am (local time). Tickets are typically $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 January: Bumblebee (Tues. 1/8); Mary Poppins Returns (Sat. 1/12); Glass (Tues. 1/22); A Dog’s Way Home (Sat. 1/26)

****************************************************************************************************************************

Editor’s note: Although Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 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 by the Motion Picture Association of America for frenetic sequences of animated action violence, thematic elements, and mild language. 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.

Child Health & Safety News 12/17: Sesame Street Muppet is Homeless

Last updated on December 27th, 2018 at 12:24 pm

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Health News: Parents and kids needed a better asthma test; thanks to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, it’s here bit.ly/2RZXb1J

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.

  • Recently, the National Institutes of Health researchers presented initial findings from the brain scans of 4,500 participants. Here’s what we know so far about kids and screens: yourteenmag.com/technology/kid… 2018-12-16
  • What’s Medicaid Got to Do With Early Childhood Development? bit.ly/2CftsMV 2018-12-16
  • Emotional Competency, Communication, And Bullying In Adolescent Technology Use bit.ly/2ULkOg6 2018-12-15
  • Childhood inflammatory brain disease linked to poorer health-related quality of life bit.ly/2RXDxTZ 2018-12-14
  • The Best 3 Holiday Gifts for Families with Allergies bit.ly/2EgYXrn 2018-12-14
  • How an Orlando school used telehealth to stop scabies outbreak bit.ly/2Qvnpwy 2018-12-14

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week

‘Sesame Street’ Muppet Lily is first to experience homelessness. The hope is that Lily’s story can not only reach kids who can identify with her, but also help others have greater empathy. cnn.it/2C7rZIz ~1 in 20 children < 6YO experienced homelessness in 2014-15

  • Pediatric Experts Help Families Navigate Difficult Conversations About Health and Illness During the Holidays bit.ly/2EgQ7K1 2018-12-12
  • Trouble With Self-Regulation: What You Need to Know u.org/2rueI6A 2018-12-12
  • 2018 CNN Hero of the Year cnn.it/2Qqf9O2 For Dr. Ricardo Pun-Chong, being a physician isn’t just about treating patients — it’s about how you care for their families 2018-12-11
  • Sex education needs to evolve to keep pace with trends like sexting, experts say ab.co/2G8jD7t Research published this year suggests one in seven teenagers have sent explicit texts and one in four have received them 2018-12-11
  • Parents urged to reconsider artificial sweetener for kids bit.ly/2RPxXTL The report found that artificial sweeteners—previously linked to weight gain in children—may actually be stimulating children’s appetites and leading to overconsumption 2018-12-11
  • In Remote Villages, Surprising New Measures – rapid diagnostic tests, a suppository drug and a bicycle ambulance – Save Children With Malaria nyti.ms/2QrPBjR 2018-12-10
  • How to Foster Empathy in Children nyti.ms/2B755PI 2018-12-10
  • No change to how Child Protective Services handles parent marijuana use bit.ly/2EcAxzj 2018-12-10
  • Why You Should Not Give Milk to a Child on an Antibiotic bit.ly/2LblgAc 2018-12-10

Child Health & Safety News 12/10: For Gifted Kids, Hands On or Off?

Last updated on December 27th, 2018 at 12:25 pm

twitter thumbIn this week’s Child Safety News: Trouble In Toyland – 33rd Annual Toy Safety Report bit.ly/2RNy7La

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.

  • Schools fight to dispel health misperceptions that it’s safer, ‘vaping epidemic’ bit.ly/2RNfZRA 2018-12-09
  • Sufficient sleep in childhood may lead to healthy BMI later bit.ly/2E9AAf2 2018-12-09
  • ‘Kids are falling off’: Why fewer children have health insurance now https://nbcnews.to/2EmtZis 2018-12-08
  • 7 Easy Ways to Boost Your Child’s Health | Times Square Chronicles http://bit.ly/2L7GoHn 2018-12-08
  • Ooredoo unveils new safety devices for children, pets http://bit.ly/2QoCjEO parents and pet owners in Qatar can now keep tabs on their children and their pets any time of the day or night 2018-12-07

PedSafe Child Health & Safety News Headline of the Week
For gifted kids, better to be hands-on or -off? https://cnn.it/2RPQuzj

  • Volunteer Projects Children Can Do to Help Those in Need bit.ly/2UejGBH 2018-12-06
  • Medical Experts Gather in Atlanta to Improve Clinical Care for Children with Chronic Kidney Disease prn.to/2BTWOQS 2018-12-06
  • Could My Child Have Hypothyroidism (and Will It Go Away)? cle.clinic/2KYgdmx: 2018-12-05
  • Regular bedtimes and sufficient sleep for children may lead to healthier teens http://bit.ly/2QnYBX6 2018-12-05
  • Universal Pre-K Became State Law In 2014 — But Vermont Is Losing Child Care Capacity http://bit.ly/2QpqT3D 2018-12-04
  • New Nebraska Child Car Seat / Booster Safety Restraint Law in effect Janurary 1st. http://bit.ly/2EauP0N 2018-12-04
  • Winter Safety Advice For Parents And Kids http://bit.ly/2EmhOlL 2018-12-03
  • The Techniques of a Predator: Part 2 – Bribery and Threats bit.ly/2AkWCIc 2018-12-03