Health Tips: Keys to Raising Healthy Kids – Prioritize Emotional Health

November 22, 2011

The fourth and final tip for these series of articles, which is key in raising healthy kids, is about Prioritizing Emotional Health. Tip #4: Prioritize Emotional Health. ‘’Emotional health is central to what we do as paediatricians’’ says Dr Kenneth Ginsburg, who specializes in adolescent medicine at the Children’s hospital of Philadelphia. ‘’It affects all other areas of the child’s health’’.

All kids experience worry, sadness and anger. The problem is when these emotions become chronic. Untreated, depression and anxiety can lead to a host of self-destructive behaviours and childhood trauma can increase one’s risk for conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure later in life.

The usual course of treatment is to help kids become aware of strong emotions and develop strategies to behave in healthy ways even when under emotional stress. What about oft-prescribed medications for anxiety and depressions?

‘’The vast majority of problems I see are not amenable for medication’’ says Dr Katherine Murray, a developmental and behavorial paediatrician at the Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital. ‘’if it is used, the important point is to administer medication on the context of ongoing counselling, education and monitoring’’.

Ginsburg says that medications can help stabilize a child so that he or she is receptive to nonmedical therapies, but his own first line of treatment is to insist on healthy habits. ‘’I don’t prescribe anything until the patient is eating well, sleeping well and exercising regularly’’ he says.

‘’Kids really want to be healthy and happy’’ Murray says. ‘’They’ll do what it takes to get there’’.

We have to make sure that teens have someone in their lives they can talk openly and privately. Don’t take it personally if that person is not you and if your child withdraws or becomes chronically disinterested in family, friends and activities they used to enjoy see a specialist.

When you are raising kids and you want them to be healthy, remember that fitness and diet lead to health.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: