There were many other topics covered in the show including those introduced by callers and the ones that came over drclaudia.net's Ask Me button. Listen to the podcast for the show. You can find them on drclaudia.net and on Facebook at Dr. Claudia McCulloch.
The Boy Scouts Plan to include girls:
Now, it took a lot of time to find and read about 10 different articles to learn all of the elements of the plan to offer girls the path to Eagle Scout and to participate in the kind of activities that may not be offered through the Girl Scouts.
Let's take a look as to what is going on already.
- Girls have been participating in Cub Scouts for years, unofficially. Girls have been participating in 4 programs: Venturing and Sea Scouting which are geared toward outdoor activities, Exploring which is a career-oriented mentoring program and STEM which offers opportunities for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. This is not a path toward Eagle Scout.
- Moms have been Den mothers for decades.
- The Boy Scouts leadership took the results of two nationwide surveys, listened to the lobbying of parents and direct pleas from girls to include them before they made the decision to go forward with the plan.
- Unlike comments made by some media personalities, this is not a decision based on "creeping political correctness". The girls want it, that's all. The board of the Boy Scouts is described as being "conservative traditionalists".
- Boy Scouts began to include gay members in 2013, gay leaders in 2015 and are now allowing members to "self-identify" as male and can join in.
Here's how the Plan will work:
In 2018, the girls will be allowed to join the Cub Scouts. On a den-by-den basis, it will be decided if the individual dens will be male only, female only or co-ed.
In 2019, older girls will have access to the path for Eagle Scouts.
There will be no co-ed Boy Scouts troops for girls 11 to 18 years.
There will be no overnight co-ed camp-outs.
The bottom line is "local control and parallel programs". That's it.
Why are teen experiencing such crippling levels of anxiety?
The levels of anxiety and hospitalizations for teens with anxiety and depression have more than doubled in 30 years. What is going on?
These issues have hit the "privileged" kids of America especially hard. By far, they are the most distressed. They cannot get to a point where they can rest. They can't convince themselves that they've don'e enough. The striving for perfection is driving them over the edge.
Parents, by their very lifestyle and values, "broadcast" to their kids what their expectations are of them and their future lives. Silently and with our words, we drive kids. Even if we stop talking and make a complete 180, our words still "talk" to them.
Plus, plus, plus, social media is always in their ears and faces. Smartphones are exacerbating anxiety and depression at every level of their lives. Social media creates a hypervigilance resulting in them being extremely self-critical and self-conscious. They know everything that everyone is thinking and doing at all times.
They know "who" is at an event and "what" is happening. When they move out of the high school environment into one that is less manageable (college and life), they become highly anxious because life has been so predictable for them.
"Safe spaces" in college do not give kids the opportunity to develop resilience and grit. It doesn't help them to develop coping skills in situations that make them feel uncomfortable. This is a critical life skill.
What can you, as a parent do?
- Assess "how" your kids is "wired". Are they "wound too tight"? Frantic? Can't sleep? Aren't eating well? Don't take time to go out and play?
- Teach them how their brains work. Let them know that, for their protection, their "ancient" brain makes them super aware of everything that's negative. It's call the "negativity bias".
- Teach them that their brains are trained by their thoughts. Help them to put their thoughts/expectations/fears into perspective.
- Let them know that this "transitional" period in their lives results in intense feelings of anxiety, tension, worry and anger and that the feelings will pass.
- Have them check in on their "alarmist" thoughts and "catastrophic" thinking. Catastrophic thinking is that "Oh no, everything's wrong, It's a disaster. I'm a failure" stuff.
- Connect their current fears to past successes.
- Help them to develop mindfulness. The "here-and-now" are all that matter.
- Help them to be less rigid and more flexible. Go with the flow...
Model the behavior you want them to internalize and share, on a daily basis, the challenges you face and how you think about them and work it out. Don't put your wisdom, experience and knowledge in the shadows. Share.
If you see signs that worry you, do something. Talk with a therapist to learn strategies that will help them get through this period. Don't be afraid of treating their extreme anxiety and fear with medications to give their brains a break. (see the article below about this).
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder and Empathy...what's the connection?
The architecture of the ADHD brain is such that is has less dopamine and less serotonin. Dopamine is critical to motivation, love, sex, addiction, risk-taking, lust, reward, sleep, mood, learning and memory and is the core "fluid" in our reward systems. Dopamine motivates us to initiate some kind of action to get the rewards we seek.
If your kid is not empathic and it worries you, know this. Empathy is the ability to understand others' experiences. It is not about being nice, kind, sympathetic, helpful, generous or be able to show forgiveness. It's about being able to take others' perspective and identify the emotions that go with their perspective. These are the reasons "why" empathy is not obvious in those on the autistic spectrum.
Those with ADHD have lives that are chaotic. They need every emotional resource they can get just to cope. They have none left over to spend on anyone or any situation. The chaos causes so much adrenaline to flow (fight or flight) that they over-react to situations and are overwhelmed by their own feelings.
Because they don't adequately evaluate the social landscape and because they process information slowly and need more time to plan their response, their "timing" is off. Their social peers don't understand this timing problem and they may be put off and avoid them, thereby reducing the chances for socializing that may actually improve social functioning.
Those with ADHD also have problems with memory and self-monitoring, and they don't remember what they've said and done and don't adjust their behavior based on feedback.
When the chaos is unrelenting and the adrenaline flows continuously and at high levels, cortisol is triggered which is very damaging to the immune system. As well, when adrenaline flows non-stop, the serotonin raphe stops releasing serotonin (made in the gut) into the brain and depression can take hold.
Now that I've explained this, understand that medically treating ADHD releases dopamine into the brain which gives those with the condition a chance to use their social skills and regulate their emotional state.
See you next week! Claudia
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