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Motherly Musings And Childhood Boundary Issues

“Anyone who will barge into the room while you are on the commode is the boss of you. And when you explain to them that you’re on the commode and that they should leave but they don’t? That’s a high-level boss.”

- Tina Fey from the new InStyle Magazine.

Sister Fey speaks the truth here. Children have no privacy boundaries. There is also something, perhaps related to the way going to bathroom disturbs the Earth’s magnetic fields, that makes a child need something urgently the second trou has been dropped.

That all said, the fact that a child has no understanding of his parent’s privacy does not mean that said child does not demand privacy for himself. Little Isis is going through a period where he is not to be seen doing the deed. Even the thought that someone might be observing him elicits a scream somewhere in the G6 range.

That kid has me in check.

*This blog post was originally published at On Becoming a Domestic and Laboratory Goddess*

Depression In Preschoolers?

Preschooler depressionThe New York Times Magazine recently featured an article on preschooler depression. Pamela Paul wrote:

Diagnosis of any mental disorder at this young age is subject to debate. No one wants to pathologize a typical preschooler’s tantrums, mood swings and torrent of developmental stages. Grandparents are highly suspicious; parents often don’t want to know. “How many times have you heard, ‘They’ll grow out of it’ or ‘That’s just how he is’?” says Melissa Nishawala, a child psychiatrist at the New York University Child Study Center.

And some in the field have reservations, too. Classifying preschool depression as a medical disorder carries a risk of disease-mongering. “Given the influence of Big Pharma, we have to be sure that every time a child’s ice cream falls off the cone and he cries, we don’t label him depressed,” cautions Rahil Briggs, an infant-toddler psychologist at Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York. Though research does not support the use of antidepressants in children this young, medication of preschoolers, often off label, is on the rise. One child psychologist told me about a conference he attended where he met frustrated drug-industry representatives. “They want to give these kids medicines, but we can’t figure out the diagnoses.” As Daniel Klein warns, “Right now the problem may be underdiagnosis, but these things can flip completely.”

Reference: “Can Preschoolers Be Depressed?” (The New York Times Magazine, August 25, 2010).

*This blog post was originally published at Shrink Rap*

FilmAid Gives Hope In Haiti

FilmAid in HaitiFilmAid International provides the children of Haiti what many doctors can’t bring earthquake survivors — a moment to forget about the pain and suffering the last six months has brought. Dr. Jon LaPook reports.

Click HERE to watch the CBS Evening News video.

Why A Good Childhood Isn’t About Good Grades

Spring and standardized school testing become synonymous in many areas of the country for many public school students, including for my own children attending schools in Massachusetts.

As this annual rite of passage rolls around, I’m reminded of how important it is to help our kids remember that they’re so much more than the sum of their grades, test scores, and project results. Think back on your childhood: What do you remember? Is it the grades, the teachers, the homework amount? Did you have standardized tests and, if so, do you remember the results?

I recall blips of taking tests and filling out scantron sheets for all sorts of tests throughout my educational life. I recall being in class when graded papers, projects and tests were handed back to us. But the moments I recall the most were the times I overcame a challenge or a hurdle that seemed insurmountable at the time — and grew from it in unimaginable ways. Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Gwenn Is In*

Raising A Child: A “How-Not-To” Book

Dr. Jon LaPook talks to author Lisa Grunwald and psychiatrist Bill Fisher about the history of childrearing as it relates to Grunwald’s new novel “The Irresistible Henry House.”


Watch CBS News Videos Online

Don’t Date This Guy!

The guy is Henry House, the title character of my friend Lisa Grunwald’s latest novel, “The Irresistible Henry House,” and in addition to the fact that he’s fictional, he’s not a good bet. Henry knows how to please women — how to talk to them, react to them, how and when to touch them.
 
The problem is that he is — or at any rate seems to be — utterly incapable of making a true connection with any of them.
 
Though pure fiction, Henry is based on pure fact: From the 1920s until the end of the 1960s, college home economic classes around the country borrowed infants from orphanages to be used as “practice babies.”  I kid you not.

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Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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