Stories about: parenting

Teens and discipline: Too old for time-out

Mother disciplines teen boy on couch

When we think of discipline, we tend to think of young children. We tend to think about tantrums, about teaching them to be polite and tell the truth and not fight with their siblings and other children. We don’t think as much about teens.

But teens need discipline too, just as much. In some ways, they need it more: not only do they need to learn how to behave responsibly as adults, but the stakes are higher. It’s one thing when you fall off a jungle gym, and quite another when you drink and drive.

The kind of discipline teens need is similar to the discipline you’ve (hopefully) used since they were small, but needs to take into account that they are on the cusp of independence. Here are four tips for disciplining teens:

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Retro parenting: Three things we should go back to doing

Children playing in the mud

The world is a different place than it was when I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s. Mostly, that’s a good thing. There are so many ways that technology has made life easier and better, the internet has brought knowledge to our fingertips and connections that span the world — and as a physician, I am grateful for all the life-saving discoveries of the past few decades.

However, when it comes to parenting, not all the changes have been good.

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Laundry pods pose serious harm to young children, study finds

Laundry packetBright colors and interesting shapes make some cleaners appealing to children. But these products can be deadly if swallowed.

A recent study, published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, says childhood exposure to the brightly colored packets jumped 17 percent from 2013 to 2014.

Researchers analyzed data from the National Poison Data System for children under age 6 and found 62,254 reported pediatric exposures to dishwasher or laundry detergents, of which over 21,00 (35.4 percent) were laundry detergent packets and approximately 15,000 (24.2 percent) were dishwasher detergent packets.

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), a laundry pods soft and colorful exterior can easily be mistaken by a child as candy, toys, or a teething product and once mixed with saliva, the packets dissolve quickly and release the highly concentrated toxic liquid. If a child ingests a highly concentrated single-load liquid laundry packets, she will experience excessive vomiting, wheezing, gasping, sleepiness and difficulties breathing.

Dr. Lois Lee,  of Boston Children’s Hospital’s Emergency Department Injury Prevention Program, shares suggestions for preventing accidental poisoning.

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‘It’s our job to create a safe environment’: Mark Schuster on the bullying of gay youth

Mark Schuster, MD, PhD, chief of General Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, led a first-of-its-kind longitudinal study on the bullying of gay, lesbian and bisexual young people.

Fourteen-year-old Kenneth Weishuhn, 15-year-old Jadin Bell and 18-year-old Tyler Clementi were all teenagers who committed suicide after being bullied for being gay. There have been many similar stories reported around the country, but until now, little research has existed to help understand the backdrop to tragic outcomes like these.

A new study, published today in the New England Journal of Medicine and led by Mark Schuster, MD, PhD, chief of General Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital, who is also the William Berenberg Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, sheds light on the bullying and victimization experiences of sexual minority youth (that is, youth who are lesbian, gay or bisexual) from elementary school to high school. Bullying is generally defined as the intentional and repeated perpetration of aggression over time by a more powerful person against a less powerful person. The study, the only one on this topic to follow a representative sample of young people in the United States over several years, surveyed 4,268 students in Birmingham, Houston and Los Angeles in fifth grade and again in seventh and tenth grades.

Schuster and his colleagues found that girls and boys who were identified in tenth grade as sexual minorities were more likely than their peers to be bullied or victimized as early as fifth grade, and this pattern continued into high school.

We sat down with Dr. Schuster to discuss this important study and its implications.

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