Tag: Parents

‘Critical’ public health info slow to reach New Brunswick parents

FREDERICTON, N.B. — By John Chilibeck

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Daily Gleaner

New Brunswick’s acting chief medical health officer was so concerned with the rise of respiratory viruses earlier this month he held a news conference — the first he’d hosted in months.

At the Jan. 9 presser, Dr. Yves Léger stressed the importance of flu and COVID vaccinations and to follow safe hygiene practices given the rise of RSV and Strep-A infections.

That week alone, five people in the province died from influenza and COVID, and six preschool children needed hospital treatment for the viruses, according to the province.

In the period just before that, between Dec. 10 and 30, a total of 26 New Brunswickers died from respiratory viruses, including a child under five.

And yet, a Jan. 12 letter Léger addressed to families of school communities talking about the steps people could take to safeguard themselves and others didn’t immediately go out to all schools.

The provincial government sent the letter to the school districts, which were responsible for distributing them. Some schools didn’t send them to parents right away.

École Sainte-Anne in Fredericton, for instance, sent the letter to parents Jan. 18 – six days after Léger had issued it. The school is part of Francophone South School District.

Likewise, Anglophone South School District reported that four of its schools sent the notice out late, while Anglophone North School District told Brunswick News it inadvertently sent the notice out to all its parents on Jan. 18, due to a technical problem.

Brunswick News asked the Health Department last week why the notice did not go to all parents promptly and at the same time, given it was based on the advice of the chief medical health officer, who has a duty to

N.W.T. parents of transgender kids fear Alberta health care changes will make it hard to access care

Amanda St. Denis, right, and her husband, Stephen O'Brien, live in the Northwest Territories and have two kids who are both transgender. They are worried about how restrictions on gender-affirming care in Alberta might impact their kids' access to key transgender health services. (Sarah Krymalowski/CBC - image credit)

Amanda St. Denis, right, and her husband, Stephen O’Brien, live in the Northwest Territories and have two kids who are both transgender. They are worried about how restrictions on gender-affirming care in Alberta might impact their kids’ access to key transgender health services. (Sarah Krymalowski/CBC – image credit)

Parents of transgender children in the Northwest Territories say they are worried policy changes in Alberta will impact their kids’ access to gender-affirming care.

The Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority is responsible for providing health care for transgender, non-binary and gender nonconforming children and youth in the territory. However, most of its health care professionals have limited expertise in transgender health, so patients are often referred to specialists in Alberta.

In an announcement last week, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said her government will ban puberty blockers and hormone therapy for all children 15 and under, and require parental consent for 16-and 17-year-olds who want access to those therapies.

Smith told reporters last Thursday that her government will begin implementing those policies — along with other restrictions on how gender identity is expressed in schools, sporting competitions and sex education — in the fall.

Long wait lists

Yellowknife resident Amanda St. Denis has two transgender kids, aged 9 and 12. St. Denis said she had a “visceral” reaction to the Alberta announcement.

“It’s stressful — not only the uncertainty about what health care is going to look like, but the uncertainty about trans rights,” St. Denis said.

Her daughter, 12, is scheduled for an appointment with gender-affirming care specialists in Edmonton next month, to get more information on puberty blockers and other supports available.

St. Denis said she contacted the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority soon after Smith announced Alberta’s new polices, but as of Sunday afternoon, she still

Advice for Parents and Caregivers on Teens and Mental Health

Help Them Find Their Purpose

Helping young people understand the concept of life purpose, or what gives their life meaning, can be transformative, says Brzycki, who earned a master’s degree in education from Tufts Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a Ph.D. from The Pennsylvania State University. “It’s often a connection to a greater good or to other people’s wellbeing, and we’ve found that children as young as 10 can have a strong inner sense of what that is.”

Brzycki, who has 40 years of experience in education and psychology, says the idea of life purpose is used both as a prevention tool and an intervention tool, especially with young people who have eating disorders, substance use disorders, or suicidal thoughts. He says teens really want to be engaged and discuss these kinds of meaningful issues in their lives.

“It’s moving to see it work, too. When young people realize that they are important, and their parents recognize they have importance beyond doing chores or getting good grades, they see that they have a larger role to play in life and in society, and it lights their fire. It motivates them,” Brzycki says.

Address Social Anxiety and Bullying

Connors-Kellgren and Sharma report an increase in social anxiety among the teenagers they see after the COVID-19 pandemic. They also point out that social media has transformed teens’ lives, moving more of their interactions into the virtual realm and creating a new arena for harmful judgments and bullying. 

How can parents help teens with social anxiety navigate this reality? 

“The important thing to do is ask, why is the child shrinking in social situations? Why are they minimizing themselves? And it often has to do with their sense of self-worth or self-esteem,” says Brzycki. “They feel like they’re being judged, being

Navigating middle school is tough: How parents can help

Groups of middle school students standing near lockers and walking through school corridor

Middle school can be challenging for many students. It’s tougher academically than elementary school, with more work and higher expectations. Even just changing classes — which for most students starts in middle school — can be stressful. It can be challenging socially, as students try to find friends and community amidst what can be very tough peer pressure. It’s also when some students start to experiment with sexuality and substance use, which can be overwhelming — even when glimpsed secondhand through the experiences of friends.

So what can parents do? Here are some suggestions for helping your middle schooler navigate these new waters.

Support schoolwork and socializing

Help them stay organized and on task. Keeping assignments and tests straight with multiple classes is an adjustment. Encourage your child to use a daily or weekly planner (paper or online). Help them work out a schedule that makes sure they get their homework done while also still having time for exercise and other activities. Fight the urge to micromanage; the idea is to help your child gain skills — and any true gaining of skills involves making some mistakes.

Be mindful of the effects of screen time — and social media. Screen time has a way of eating into things like homework, sleep, and other important uses of time. And social media can not only be distracting but a source of anxiety for middle schoolers. Everything and everyone looks perfect on social media, whether or not they are. It’s easy to feel less than or left out. Have ground rules about device use, such as no use during meals or homework, and charging the phone outside of the bedroom at night.

Get to know their teachers and school culture. Go to the fall open house. Sign up for any conferences or other

Parents are Using ChatGPT for Medical Advice: Risks & Benefits- Motherly

The story of a mama who, after over three years of zero answers, solved her child’s mystery medical illness using OpenAI’s ChatGPT went viral last month. Despite countless doctor visits and tests, the cause remained elusive—until she entered a comprehensive history of her child’s symptoms into ChatGPT. To her surprise, she was given a probable diagnosis of tethered cord syndrome—a rare condition that her doctors had missed—and the medical mystery was solved.

This story underscores the growing allure of using ChatGPT for medical advice. It’s well documented that women experience medical gaslighting or feel dismissed by care providers, which may make it even more tempting to turn to AI for answers. And no one can blame an exhausted, desperate mama for trying to find answers after possibly facing months or even years of frustration and uncertainty. “When your child is suffering, you want to use every tool in your box to find answers,” Dr. Harvey Karp, pediatrician, author and creator of the Snoo Smart Sleeper, shares with Motherly.

Every parent can admit they’ve typed symptoms into Google at 2 a.m. to self-diagnose their child (or themselves). But is ChatGPT any better? “ChatGPT is like a super-duper Google search to give parents ideas to share with their physician, especially for a puzzling situation,” says Dr. Karp.

Still, red flags abound when considering using AI for medical diagnosis. “Where it gets tricky is when people start to use tools like ChatGPT instead of seeking a trained medical professional’s help,” Dr. Karp shares. “I think that’s important for families to understand.”

Using ChatGPT for medical advice lacks the human touch

AI may seem like it’s the easy answer, but it severely lacks the human element. “Practicing medicine is an art,” Dr. Flora Sinha, board-certified Cedars Sinai Medical Group internist, shares. “While

B.C. ministry overrules parents, orders surgery for boy’s rare condition

Surgery went ahead over their objections because doctors had applied to the Ministry of Children and Family Development for an interim custody order

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The parents of a baby boy born with a rare condition that affects multiple body systems have lost their last-minute bid to get an injunction against having a breathing tube inserted into his airway.

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Teens’ social media use should be monitored by parents, APA says : Shots

There’s growing evidence that social media use can contribute to mental health issues among teens. A new health advisory suggests ways to protect them.

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There’s growing evidence that social media use can contribute to mental health issues among teens. A new health advisory suggests ways to protect them.

martin-dm/Getty Images

For the first time, the American Psychological Association has issued recommendations for guiding teenager’s use of social media. The advisory, released Tuesday, is aimed at teens, parents, teachers and policy makers.

This comes at a time when teenagers are facing high rates of depression, anxiety and loneliness. And, as NPR has reported, there’s mounting evidence that social media can exacerbate and even cause these problems.

“Right now, I think the country is struggling with what we do around social media,” says Dr. Arthur Evans, CEO of the APA. The report, he says, marshals the latest science about social media to arm people “with the information that they need to be good parents and to be good policy makers in this area.”

The 10 recommendations in the report summarize recent scientific findings and advise actions, primarily by parents, such as monitoring teens’ feeds and training them in social media literacy, even before they begin using these platforms.

But some therapists and clinicians say the recommendations place too much of the burden on parents. To implement this guidance requires cooperation from the tech companies and possibly regulators.

“We’re in a crisis here and a family’s ability or a parent’s ability to manage this right now is very limited,” says Robert Keane, a therapist at Walden Behavioral Care, an inpatient facility that helps teens with eating disorders. “Families really need help.”

Screening, monitoring and training

While social media can provide opportunities for staying connected,

“You Won’t Go Blind”: Years Before Making $600,000,000 Wealth, Shaquille O’Neal Admits Parents’ Sham Health Advice Stalled His Fitness Understanding

Having a 7’1″ height in the NBA has its perks, but it is a tough task to maintain such a body. And who better than Shaquille O’Neal to know this fact, who always intimidated opposition defenders with his domination on the court during his laying days? However, The Big Diesel struggled to keep his body fit throughout his NBA career, despite his heroics on the court. And in his own words, Shaq’s parents’ health and dietary suggestions were not much of a help.

In a recent interview, the 4x NBA champion discussed growing comfortable in his own body and how he takes care of himself at age 51. Shaq also addressed how he turned around his fitness journey through self-education and motivation from different sources. But first, let’s see what Shaq has to say about his parents’ health and dietary suggestions!

Shaquille O’Neal on his humble upbringing and his parents’ lack of understanding on required diets

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While in a conversation with Kaitlin Reilly of Yahoo, Shaq revealed that growing up, he only knew about two vegetables, spinach, and carrot. He remembered his parents telling him, “If you eat your carrots, you won’t go blind, and if you eat your spinach, you’ll be as strong as Popeye.” However, in his quest to become a world-class athlete worth $600 million, Shaq had to educate himself. His parents obviously wanted the best for Shaq, but they didn’t have the necessary knowledge to arm the Big Fella in his fitness journey.

The Lakers legend said that the league today is very different from what it was back in the day. “Now guys are really conscious of their bodies and have nutritionists. There’s more understanding,” he added. The Big Diesel further stated that today the athletes have the

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