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Doing Life Together

childWe hear so much about Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) affecting more and more kids. Do you think it is being over diagnosed? The school just asked us to get our son evaluated and we are hesitant because he is so much younger than most of the boys in his class. We think it is more of a maturity issue.

In terms of the rising numbers of ADHD children, positives explanations include better awareness of the condition and better access to care. Decades ago, we did not do a good job of identifying children with this disorder. Now, more children are benefiting from early detection and treatment.

On the negative side, there is evidence to suggest that frequent misdiagnosis does occur. A study by Michigan State researcher, Todd Elder, suggests that almost a million children have been misdiagnosed.[1] Of the many variables Elder and other researchers studied, child age when entering school was a factor when looking at misdiagnosis.

When a child enters kindergarten at a younger age than his or her peers, teachers may confuse immaturity for ADHD. Elder found that the younger the child is compared to peers, the more likely the diagnosis. Holding back a child one year, decreased the likelihood of a diagnosis significantly.

Because teachers play a vital role in referring children for mental health services, children who are young for their grade may be more at risk for misdiagnosis.[2] I saw this happen at my own child’s school. The age range of kindergartner boys was from four-years of age to seven-years of age. You can imagine how this age spread impacted maturity levels in the classroom. I noticed the teacher had more concerns about the younger boys in terms of their behavior and ability to stay on task. She repeatedly talked to parents, suggesting they might want their child evaluated for ADHD.

Elder also noted that the oldest child in the classroom could be at risk for under diagnosis because he or she is compared to younger counterparts who are likely more immature. Thus, assessing children by using within grade standards can be a problem when it comes to ADHD diagnoses.[3] So my advice, get another opinion and talk to the teacher about this study and the age differences.

 

[1] Elder, Todd E. 2010. ―The Importance of Relative Standards in ADHD Diagnoses: Evidence Based on Exact Birth Dates.‖ Journal of Health Economics 29(5):641-656.

[2] Evans, W., Morill, M., Parente, S., 2010. Measuring inappropriate medical diagnosis and treatment in survey data: the case of ADHD among school-age children. Working paper, Department of Economics, North Carolina State University.

[3] Elder, Todd E. 2010. ―The Importance of Relative Standards in ADHD Diagnoses: Evidence Based on Exact Birth Dates.‖ Journal of Health Economics 29(5):641-656.

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family  tug of warJill and Dave are about to celebrate their first wedding anniversary as a couple. This is the second marriage for both spouses and blending their families has been more of an issue than initially anticipated. A year into the marriage, several of their children are still not on board with the new family. “We really thought things would gel much more quickly than they have. A year into this and we are only becoming aware of the issues, much less figuring them out!”

Navigating blended family dynamics is tougher than most couples realize. The time it takes to really consolidate a new family takes years and can’t be rushed. Kids feel threatened, grief at the loss of the original family, resentful, and uncomfortable with a new set of relatives. And the new couple is trying to figure out why their love for each other doesn’t translate to more peace and love in the home. So here are a few tips to help:

1) Each parent should take the lead with their own child. Don’t have the step parent step into your role. Instead, allow the step parent to be more of the nurturer in order to build positive relationships with the new kids in their household.

2) Do on-going planning. Both parents should discuss how holidays and special days will be handled, as there are now 2 different ways of doing things that need to be blended or accommodated. Also, how will meals, dishes, schoolwork, activities and routines be worked in to the newly restructured family? This requires lots of talking about former habits and routines, and requires discussing current expectations.

3) The step parent should not act as if the original parent is unimportant now. Just because the spouses have moved on, doesn’t mean the children have. Instead, offer to listen if the child wants to talk about the other parent or spend time with that parent.  Encourage communication and staying connected. This helps the child see that you are not trying to end their relationship with their original parent and that you are not threatened by the former spouse.

4) Pay attention to your reactions to your spouse’s children. If you are honest, you may be less tolerant or forgiving of their behavior because you don’t know them well and do not want them to create problems in your new relationship. So check your reactions and be patient. Regulate your emotions.

5) Don’t complain about your spouse’s children. Instead try to understand them and ask for advice as to how to handle problems. Work with your spouse so he/she doesn’t have to be dividing their loyalties. If you are not sure how to react to something, ask the parent of that child. The parent knows the child well and can help you understand how their particular child may react to something you want to do. Listen to your spouse if they are saying, “That won’t be received well with that child.”

Finally, give the process time. As mentioned, restructuring and consolidating a new family can take years.

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ID-100191645What if I told you that a special type of socks could help you lose weight? Because of the way the socks are designed, they actually suck out the body fat from your sweating feet.

Say goodbye to unwanted weight! All you have to do is put on the socks and sweat away! Then wash them and the fat away!

Here is how it works. As a person’s body heat rises, blood vessels dilate and the “excess lipid from the body through the sweat” draws out the fat! Bingo, a little less fat!

APRIL FOOLS!

This was a hoax reported in the Daily Mail on April 1, 2000! Would you have believed it? The story said that Esporta Health Clubs launched the FatSox by American inventor, Professor Frank Ellis Elgood. Crazy, if you really think about it, but those of us desperate to loose weight may try anything!  We try all kinds of fad diets and devices aimed at sucking away that unwanted fat! Most of the quick weight loss products are April Fools!

My apologies if I annoyed you this April Fools day. I have actually had fun trying to pull off a prank or two on April Fools Day! Humor is good for the soul. We need to laugh once in a while and so a day dedicated to a little fun isn’t a bad idea.

Laughter relaxes you, boosts your immune system, releases feel-good chemicals in the body and protects your heart. It is a great stress reducer and mood booster. It is also important in building resiliency.

And that is truth!

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Sometimes when I turn on the news, I feel a bit defeated. It seems our culture is taking so many wrong turns in terms of values and civility. Add to this the personal issues that creep into our lives when people attack us, challenge our views or treat us in unfair ways. The result can be discouragement. Sometimes we feel, what is the point. We might as well give up because so much seems to working against us.

But this week, in Daniel 6, I am reminded of the power of standing firm in difficult times. Daniel knew this first hand. He was framed and about to be thrown to the lions, literally. Prior to this, Daniel had favor with the king and was given power in his kingdom. For whatever reason (e.g., jealousy, competition, etc.), those under Daniel’s rule plotted a way to entrap Daniel so that the king would have to get rid of him.

The way they entrapped Daniel was to find him doing the thing they could not stop him from doing-praying. Prayer was what centered Daniel, kept him connected to God and trusting in God. Prayer helped Daniel confront a dangerous culture and stand in the midst of opposition. In prayer, Daniel could hold on to God and His promises. He could withstand the attacks on his life.

Daniel teaches us to trust God in a dangerous world, to pray God’s promises even when we are in the pit and want to give up. We look for signs of his mercy even when things look bleak. That’s what Spring does for me. It reminds me that in the winter of my soul, new life is about to bloom.

God is faithful even when we have no idea how things will turn out. God is in the pit with us. Daniel’s faith had legs. Facing the lions, he chose to trust God. Literally in the pit, he believed God was with Him whether he delivered him or not. Daniel chose to leave the results to God. Good or bad, God was not his genie on a string. God was in control and would be faithful to Daniel until the end.

This is the kind of faith we must have in difficult times. We look around and things don’t make sense. But God is in present and controls our future. When we face our lion’s den, God is perfectly capable of shutting the mouths of our accusers (the lions) or taking us home to be with Him. Blessed be the name of Lord, who gives and takes away. Can we say this in troubled times? Do we bless the Lord and trust Him for our future? Faith says we do despite what pit we find ourselves in.

 

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