We cannot know what 2015 will bring for our kids but there are two things I can safely predict. The first is that the stress and pressure facing kids of all ages, socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically is highly unlikely to decrease. On the contrary, chances are that kids will find 2015 to be as stressful as ever, if not more so. The second prediction I have is that conventional medicine will continue to fail in helping children overcome learning and behavior problems.
If I am correct with these two predictions, then this means that the current staggering statistics on learning and behavior problems are likely to grow even worse. We already have numbers of epidemic proportions so I wonder how much worse this can actually get. Just a few startling examples:
- 16 million children are now diagnosed with attention, behavior and learning problems.
- 2013 CDC estimated 6.4 million children, ages 4-16 have received an ADHD diagnosis – a 53% rise in past decade. Each day thousands more children being diagnosed.
- One out of five children entering school will be diagnosed with some learning, behavior or social condition. The trend is expected to get worse.
- ADHD is the leading disorder in the world.
- The use of Ritalin increased 800% in the last 10 years – with children as young as three taking the powerful medication.
- There has been a 46 .9% increase in kids in special education classes in last 10 years.
- 1 in 5 teens will experience depression before adulthood.
- 500,000 young adults will attempt suicide this year.
- 8000 teens drop out of school each day
The Story behind these Stats
What these figures don’t reveal is how many of these children and teens may be walking around with high levels of systemic inflammation caused by stress and pressure. These figures also don’t reveal that because of the stress and the inflammation many children and teens may also be walking around with undiagnosed chronic intestinal fungal infections or other parasites or bacteria in the gut; undiagnosed leaky gut; undiagnosed heavy metal toxicity; undiagnosed food insensitivities or vitamin and mineral deficiencies, to name just a few possible hidden problems.
Most mainstream healthcare practitioners do not associate these conditions with the child’s learning, behavior or mood challenges and, therefore, it does not enter their minds to test for these. Millions of kids of all ages may be suffering with chronic stress that has created physical complaints, such as those above, all of which affects the brain’s ability to focus, attend, remember, learn, behave positively and feel good. And many doctors are only treating the inattention, the learning problems, the behavioral issues, the temper tantrums, the anxieties, the perfectionism and the depression without asking, ‘Why is this particular symptom happening to this particular child/teen, in this particular way?’
Those readers who follow my work know that I function from the basic principle that all learning, behavior and health conditions are originally triggered by stress. Certainly, as a Mom and Dad, you will need to treat any symptoms the stress has created in your child. But it is critically important that you recognize that these symptoms are the result of the stress your child is feeling. If you treat the symptoms, without at the same time reducing and removing stress from your child’s life, the symptoms will not go away or different symptoms will pop up. You will then take your child to different healthcare specialists on different occasions for different symptoms. This means that your child is forever grappling with something that takes away the joy of life for them.
It also means that your child will continue to suffer from chronic stress and the emotional, intellectual and health consequences of this.
Make 2015 a Stress-Less time for you and your Family.
4 Steps to Take Today!
Mom and Dad, create a quiet time where together you can reflect on these four questions below. Be sure to give each other honest and loving feedback and then courageously commit to making REAL change happen. Remember your children’s health and wellbeing are at stake.
The 4 Questions for a Stress-Less Life
- What can I (Mom; Dad) do to reduce my own stress so that my child experiences me as a calm, centered and joy-filled person? Remember your child is picking up on your stress. Write at least 3 things you each can and will do to significantly reduce your stress. Discuss and brainstorm what could happen if you don’t make these changes.
- Ask yourselves, when we listen to our child, what is he or she telling us about their stress? Make a list of what stresses your child. Some of these may seem ‘silly’ or trivial to you. Some things that stress them may even be imagined and not real, but if your child finds something stressful, remember it is real to them and is causing him/her physical and emotional harm. So take it seriously.
- Brainstorm what can we as parents change that will reduce or remove this stress from our child’s life. If it is a school issue then you will need to be your child’s advocate and ensure that you and the school find ways to address this stress. If it is a home issue then you, as Mom and Dad, will need to make lifestyle or relationship changes that will reduce or remove the child’s stress. If your child has irrational or imagined fears then find a skilled functional psychologist that can help you with tools to deal with this.
- Look around your home. Is it a calming place? Are the colors of the walls and furnishings warm, gentle and calming? Is it organized yet free enough to be safe and relaxing? Is there enough natural light? Is it a place that is peaceful and serene? Is it an environment that stimulates tranquil brain waves? If not, agree on changes that you will make.
Small changes can have a major effect on reducing stress. But if bigger, more challenging changes are required, and if you realize this, but prefer to remain in denial, or are afraid of making these changes, or you find excuses not to change something, your child can remain in an unsafe state of chronic stress and their learning, mood and behavior problems will not go away.
Remember that your child’s spirit, body and brain are depending on you to have the courage to do whatever it takes to take the stress away.
May 2015 be a year of health, joy, calm and inspiration for you all!
(For important research on stress in teens click here)