Relax That Kid

Published on March 3, 2018 by

ADHD child therapy

All kids are amazing. However, some kids deal with more hurdles than others. A lot of kids these days are suffering from hyperactivity, restlessness, frustration or anger issues and parents are caught in the middle of this storm, looking for ways of helping to relieve symptoms that can be mistaken as ADHD (attention hyperactivity deficit disorder) in their children. We see these kids on a regular basis at An Optimal Brain, a wellness partner of An Optimal You. Parents seek us out because Brainwave Optimization (BWO) helps to relax the child. After a series of BWO sessions they typically experience calmness, peace of mind, and clarity and therefore are now in a better place to deal with their life challenges. Like all aspects of health and well-being, there are also other things to address in order to achieve balance. Before we begin BWO, we investigate the lifestyle of the child.

We start with diet. Each cell in our body, including our brain cells, require the right fuel in order to function properly. The big three food products that adversely affect our children’s activity levels are Sugar, Caffeine and Processed Foods. These big three either are a stimulant or can contain additives that are toxic. Avoiding these foods are important for all children, but if a child is already hyperactive or experiencing other types of emotional outbursts, it is imperative that parents take the time to review the child’s diet and reduce as many of the big threes as possible. Adjusting the diet ensures optimal benefit from the Brainwave Optimization. Balancing your child’s brain takes a multifactorial approach.

The next area to address is visual stimulation. The excessive exposure to electronic screens is adversely affecting the brains of our children. Douglas Gentile, an associate professor of psychology at Iowa State; and Edward Swing says U.S. children currently average more than six hours of screen time per day[1]. This is causing an excessive amount of visual stimulation and the developing brain of a child simply can not handle it. We are seeing the effects of this in negative behavior patterns seen in children all over the world.

ADHD in Children

Our children have “over sensory stimulation” or sensory overload. The result is lack of restorative sleep, and a hyper-aroused nervous system. These children are impulsive, moody, and can’t pay attention. According to Victoria L. Dunckley, MD multiple studies have shown atrophy (shrinkage or loss of tissue volume) in gray matter areas (where “processing” occurs) in internet/gaming addiction. Areas affected included the important frontal lobe, which governs executive functions, such as planning, planning, prioritizing, organizing, and impulse control (“getting stuff done”). Volume loss was also seen in the brain which is involved in reward pathways and the suppression of socially unacceptable impulses. Damage was also found in the insula (located deep within the brain) which is involved in our capacity to develop empathy and compassion for others and our ability to integrate physical signals with emotion.

Aside from the obvious link to violent behavior, these skills dictate the depth and quality of personal relationships.[2] If you want your children to avoid these issues, aside from undergoing Brainwave Optimization and adjusting your child’s diet, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends these guidelines for screen time:[3]

Babies and toddlers up to 18 months old:

  • No screen time, with the exception of video-chatting with family and friends.

18 months to 24 months:

  • Some screen time with a parent or caregiver.

Preschoolers:

  • No more than 1 hour a day of educational programming, together with a parent or other caregiver who can help them understand what they’re seeing.

5 to 18 years:

  • One hour per day of total media screen time (including TV, DVDs, video games, Internet, iPad, etc.) for children in elementary school, and two hours for children in secondary school. Parents should place consistent limits on screen time, which includes TV, social media, and video games. Media should not take the place of getting enough sleep and being physically active. We at An Optimal Brain recommend that all media viewing, be stopped at least 2 hours before bedtime. In place of visual media, have a conversation. Read to your child or play a board game.

The third area that must be addressed in order to achieve an optimal brain balance are boundaries and lifestyle management. Brain development within childhood will determine how your child will function in the future. In the modern age of technology, Pandora’s box has been opened to a whole new set of challenges for our children. As parents we need to be mindful of the environment and lifestyle we have created for ourselves and our children. We need to set healthy boundaries to enable our children to achieve their fullest potential. In her book “Should You Medicate Your Child’s Mind? A Child Psychiatrist Makes Sense of Whether or Not to Give Kids Meds” (May 2006) Dr. Elizabeth Roberts explains the risks and benefits of medicating and not medicating children and demystifies and simplifies the process of separating psychiatric illness, for example ADHD, from the other more common behavioral patterns in children, particularly defiance, or willfulness.

Are we really doing the best we can to help to relieve symptoms that can be misdiagnosis as ADHD in our children? Instead of setting healthy boundaries for behavior, medication is used to quiet the child. Isn’t it safer for the child for parents to take the time and patience that is required to set appropriate boundaries and use our time rather than technology to raise our children? Technology is a great tool that can make our lives better. It can help our children excel in so many areas but it is not a baby sitting tool. You don’t need to be perfect, just be present in the life of your child.

If you desire for your children to function optimally-with good focus, healthy sleep, a positive mood, and overall healthy behavior patterns take the time to evaluate your child’s lifestyle: Diet, Screen Time and Parental Boundaries. It is well worth the time this takes. Brainwave Optimization is also available here in Murrieta to you and your children if you need additional help in optimizing brain activity; helping to achieve calmness and focus.

[1] Douglas Gentile, Psychology Iowa State University. February 23,2012 “Video game playing can compound kids’ existing attention problems says ISU study” https://archive.news.iastate.edu/news/2012/feb/VGattention

[2] Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D. Psychology Today. February 27, 2014, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201402/gray-matters-too-much-screen-time-damages-the-brain)

[3] Douglas Gentile, Psychology Iowa State University. February 23,2012 “Video game playing can compound kids’ existing attention problems says ISU study” https://archive.news.iastate.edu/news/2012/feb/VGattention


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