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Constructive Conversations

Squid Game: 10 Things Parents Need to Know

Squid Game: 10 Things Parents Need to Know

Squid Game. The latest Netflix/internet obsession. After admittedly watching the series myself (spurred by patients asking about it), there are a few things parents should know. There is enough violence, ethical dilemmas, and other mature content to draw a hard line: your young children should absolutely not watch this show. Still, teachers and schools are reporting kids emulating Squid Game at recess and in the classroom. The show itself is rated mature (17+). Teens of all ages, however, are likely to watch it or hear about it. Keep these things in mind as you navigate their viewing:  Watch Squid Game, or at least one episode, before you allow your teens to view it. You should be prepared, minimally, to have conversations about the difficult topics and those are easier to navigate when you have seen the content as well. If you are a parent of younger kids, keep them in […]

Should You Talk to Teens About weight Gain?

Should You Talk to Teens About Weight Gain?

America, we have a problem. One in five American children and adolescents are obese. Obesity is highest among adolescents 12-19 years-old compared to younger children. How do you know if your teenager is obese? Your teen’s Primary Care Provider (PCP) measures Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters – yay for BMI calculators! Teenagers’ BMIs are expressed as percentiles: Underweight: below the 5th Healthy: between the 5th and 85th Overweight: above the 85th Obese: above the 95th Why do parents need to worry? Because facts are facts: obese children are more likely to become obese adults, and obesity increases the risk of problems including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Also, we live in a society where weight bias and discrimination, or “ fat shaming,” is rampant.  Fat shaming triggers physical and emotional and physiological changes and is linked to […]

Positive Conversations about Violence in the News

With the current social unrest over election results and violence at the Capitol Building, your children may ask questions about what they see on the news. Here are some tips on how to respond.

Rethink How you Think About Food

Positively Delicious: Having Healthy Conversations About Food

Melanie Franklin, PhD, Psychology Fellow, contributed to this blog post. It’s well recognized that childhood eating habits have a lasting impact on health, longevity, and disease prevention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that obesity affects approximately 42% of adults living in America, and obesity-related conditions (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer) are some of the leading causes of preventable death. Obesity affects nearly 20% of children and adolescents (13.7 million), which greatly increases the chances that obesity will carry forward into adulthood. While encouraging healthy food choices is important for preventing obesity and its related conditions, parents should be mindful of how they discuss diet and weight with and around their children. Encouraging kids to diet can have a lasting impact into adulthood, including: a higher risk of disordered eating, unhealthy weight control behaviors, lower body satisfaction, and higher risk of overweight […]

Talking to Kids About Teen Dating Violence, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Talking to Kids About Teen Dating Violence

Teen Dating Violence, also known as TDV, is a type of intimate partner violence that happens between two teens in a close relationship. But TDV doesn’t just affect teenagers, though; it impacts families, teachers, friends and whole communities. That’s why it’s essential that parents, educators and health professionals talk to young people about the risks and consequences of the issue. Teen Dating Violence Statistics Teen Dating Violence is probably more common than you think. It affects millions of teens in the U.S. each year. Data from CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey provide some alarming statistics: Youth age 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault. Nearly 1 in 11 female and approximately 1 in 15 male high school students have experienced physical dating violence in the last year. About 1 in 9 female and 1 in 36 […]

Talking to Kids About Death and Grief

Talking to Kids About Death and Grief

Almost every child will experience the death of a loved one at some point during their childhood. Whether it’s an immediate family member, a friend or a classmate, it’s important for parents to know how to talk to their kids about death and grief. Be Honest The key is to be honest and use age-appropriate language to make the concept as easy as possible to grasp. “Depending on your child’s age, you want to give them the right amount of information and be straightforward,” said Dr. Meghan Walls, a pediatric psychologist Nemours duPont Hospital for Children. “Some parents will say, ‘Grandma is in a better place,’ but that’s confusing to kids. What does that mean? Instead, they should say, ‘I have to tell you something. Grandma died last night.’ It’s better than saying she passed away. You want to be very clear.” Most elementary-age children don’t understand what death means. […]

How to Encourage Your Teen to Report a Concussion, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

How to Encourage Your Teen to Report a Concussion

For most of us, getting medical care right away for a possible brain injury, such as a concussion, is an easy decision. But teen athletes often have a tougher time identifying when they need to stop and get help. Research has shown that as many as 50% of concussions go under-reported in youth sports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that: 69% of high school athletes said they had played while having concussion symptoms 4 in 10 of these said their coach didn’t know they had a possible concussion These statistics are significant given the amount of children involved in organized youth sports. Why don’t youth athletes report concussions? They didn’t know they had one: While headache is often an easily recognized symptom, dizziness and nausea can be overlooked or linked to something else such as dehydration. Fear of loss of playing time. Not wanting to let […]

Talking With Kids About #MeToo, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Talking With Kids About #MeToo

With the flood of news available through social media on a daily basis, most kids and teens have probably had exposure to events surrounding the #MeToo movement and recent high profile sexual harassment cases. Parents can use this as an opportunity to talk to kids about these topics, in an age appropriate way. Understandably, this can be challenging and overwhelming, especially with tweens and young children. Parents can start by asking what their child has heard and help sort through their questions and ideas in a safe environment. This should not be a single conversation, but rather an ongoing dialogue that develops and can be revisited as kids get older. Below are tips on how to navigate the conversation. Keep it developmentally appropriate The foundation of appropriate and prosocial behavior can be taught at any age. Respect, empathy, and understanding are ideas that even young kids can start to grasp, […]

Tips for Talking to Teens About Tattoos and Piercings, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Tips for Talking to Teens About Tattoos and Piercings

“Body modifications” like tattoos, piercings other than in the ears, and scarification have become a mainstream trend. It has also become popular for many young people to get dental implants in Beverly Hills or somewhere similar in order to achieve that perfect Instagram smile. These procedures might be safe for adults, but adolescents do not always think about the long-term ramifications of changing their bodies. Skin is not done growing until adulthood, so tattoos can stretch, fade or even become lopsided over time. They are hard to modify and even harder to remove. Piercings can heal over, defeating the point of getting one in the first place, whilst the jaw undergoes changes until the mid-twenties, making it much safer to get teeth alterations done at an older age. A report in 2010 found that 38 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds had at least one tattoo, and we suspect that the […]

Talking to kids about the meaning of 'taking a knee,' Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Talking to Kids about the Meaning of “Taking a Knee”

With the popularity of NFL football and the current controversy over “taking a knee,” it’s likely this week your children may ask questions or have already expressed opinions about this form of protest. I often recommend that parents respond to tough questions from their kids with questions of their own. If your child asks, “What is ‘taking a knee’ all about?” I suggest you ask what he’s heard, what he thinks about it, or what his friends are saying. Rather than trying to explain the whole history of race relations and athletic activism in America, you want to provide the simplest answer or explanation at a level appropriate to the child’s development. Offer Facts Try to help your child understand the topic better or correct misconceptions by offering facts. For example, you might say:  “Normally, players stand for the playing of our national anthem at football games. These players are […]

Talking to Kids About the Election: Now and Later, by Meghan Tuohy Walls, PsyD, Promise, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Talking to Kids About the Election: Now and Later

It’s that time again: election season. With only weeks to go, you – and your children – may feel surrounded by media coverage, social media posts, and constant discussions at work and school. Even if they’ve never watched the news, it’s impossible to pretend that kids aren’t hearing about the political landscape with all of the constant buzz. And some (maybe a lot) of it may feature behaviors and speech you might have preferred your kids weren’t exposed to, especially if they heard about politics in Canada where Caylan Ford lied to constituents and was forced to resign as a result of her actions. Things like this can be hard to cover up, particularly during the build-up to the election. So, how can you start (and keep) talking to kids about the election, even long after it’s over? How can you help them make sense of it all, avoid getting […]

Promoting a Healthy Weight: What Can Parents Do?, by Danielle Haley, MPH, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Promoting a Healthy Weight: What Can Parents Do?

A recent survey by Nemours Children’s Health System, the Delaware Survey of Children’s Health (DSCH), showed that 36 percent of children in Delaware are overweight or obese. From the survey, we also learned that there’s a gap between how parents perceive their children’s weight and the reality of their actual weight. According to the DSCH findings, 80 percent of all overweight children and 53 percent of all obese children are considered by their parents to be “normal weight.” A key first step in helping children achieve and maintain a healthy weight is to understand exactly what that means and why it’s so important to their overall health. How Do I Know if My Child’s at a Healthy Weight? Calculate your child’s body mass index (BMI). BMI is a measure of your weight compared to your height. Calculating BMI on your own can be complicated, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created an easy […]

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