Back to the Basics

I recently read a question from a confused parent in an online forum — a question regarding an issue many parents face. It seems a child was suddenly acting extremely emotional, overreacting to any and every situation. Suggestions ranged from medication to counseling, but the most common recommendations were simple: evaluate diet, exercise, and schedule.

When it comes to kids and teens, the same ideas are being rediscovered by secular psychologists and Christian leaders alike. Before we take more extreme measures in dealing with misbehavior or emotional outbursts, we really need to check make sure our kids’ basic needs are being met.

Diet

We’re not talking about anything extreme, here. You don’t have to count calories or eliminate all “easy meals” to make sure your child is generally eating healthfully.

Too much caffeine or refined sugars can cause depression-like symptoms, as well as hyperactivity. Certain artificial food dyes can adversely affect behavior, as well. Regular consumption of processed foods can leave us dragging — physically and mentally.

While diet affects an adult’s mental well being, it can influence the behavior of children and teens even more.

Exercise

While some teens may prefer to hang out at the mall or play video games, some parents would rather have teens who study all the time. Whatever the reason, a sedentary lifestyle void of outdoor recreation and physical activity is not a good idea.

Exercise has been proven, again and again, to work as a natural anti-depressant, and outdoor activity can help squelch ADHD-like symptoms. When is the last time you sent your teen outside to play, or — better yet — went for a walk outside with them? For many teens, perhaps it really is that simple.

Rest

It’s no secret that most American adults over-schedule themselves and sleep far too little. And we’re passing that not-so-great legacy onto our kids. Many teenagers face sleep deprivation and other effects of over-scheduling. Depending on the research considered, teens need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night to be at their best. Many are getting far less.

Teens certainly need to learn how to work hard and fulfill basic responsibilities, but they need some R&R as well. Part of a healthy lifestyle is knowing when and how to unwind and relax, and that’s something we need to teach our kids.

Could your teen’s emotional or behavior issues be caused by something more serious or complicated than needing a nap, some outdoor exercise, or a healthier diet? Perhaps. But until you address those basic needs, you simply won’t know. Making sure your teenager is developing healthy habits certainly won’t hurt. Even if further intervention is required, the symptoms will likely be lessened when you address these basic needs.

Comments

  1. THE WORLD EVOLVES AROUND TECHNOLOGY, YOU CAN NOT EVEN WALK INTO A RESTAURANT OR STAND IN LINE TO PAY FOR YOUR GROCERIES WITHOUT SEEING OR HEARING A CHILD ACTING OUT. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE PARENT THEY ARE NOT CONCERNED, NOT PAYING ATTENTION THEIR NOSES BURIED SO DEEP INTO THEIR CELLULAR DEVICE THAT WHATEVER THEIR CHILD IS GOING THROUGH AT THAT MOMENT IS UNNOTICED. IT SEEMS THAT PARENTS ARE SO SELF INVOLVED WITHIN THEM SELVES THAT THEY DON’T REALIZE THEIR KIDS ARE OFF TRACK, OR DOING THINGS TO SEEK ATTENTION. THE PITIFUL THING IS THAT PARENTS DON’T KNOW HOW TO BE A PARENT OR DON’T WANT TO BOTHER PARENTING, AN THE MAJORITY OF THE TIME IF THEY HAD BEEN A PARENT IN THE BEGINNING THEY WOULDN’T HAVE TO PAY FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO TRY AN FIX THEIR MISTAKES. YOU CAN SAY YOU TRIED EVERYTHING, BUT WHAT YOU DIDN’T TRY WAS DOING IT IN THE FIRST PLACE AS A NEWBORN, TODDLER, CHILD, PRE-TEEN, TEEN AN NOW YOUR IN TROUBLE. CORRECTING EVERYTHING YOU DIDN’T DO WILL BE TEN TIMES HARDER, ANYBODY CAN ENFORCE CORRECTION, BUT ESTABLISHING A WHOLE NEW CHANGE IN AN INDIVIDUAL TAKES THAT PERSON WANTING IT.

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