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Archive for January 2014


It’s not fair!!!

One Facebook fan asked: I was wondering if you had any strategies on how to address a child who struggles with the need for everything to be “fair”. My 11 year old has trouble getting past situations that he deems as unfair (another child not following rules in a contest, equal screen time at home, etc). Any thoughts? I’m trying to find a way for him to accept that it’s not “fair” but that’s the way it is sometimes. He doesn’t let anything go…

Redefine what “fair” is at home. Fair isn’t that everyone gets the same thing. Fair is that people get what we need at certain times. Older kids get more screen time or go to bed later or can have a cell phone, for example – they’ve earned the right. Likewise, younger kids gets get more attention because they need it. Many kids use the “fair” argument as a way to get what they want. And it works sometimes, so keep an eye on that. Don’t hesitate to tell your kids that they are just trying to work the system and guilt you (or others) into getting what they want. Tell them, “look, you know better than this… what’s fair isn’t that everyone gets the same – you know that… you’re disappointed, fine, but things aren’t unfair.”

Please contact Dr. Rao about reproducing any material found on these pages.

Food Dyes – why you should care!

You may have seen the recent news about one mom’s fight to get M&Ms and other food manufacturers to take a serious look at the use of artificial ingredients like food dye. I could not agree more: It’s worth considering a change in what candy, and other heavily processed foods, your kids are eating. Studies show evidence of higher activity levels tied to artificial ingredients like food dyes. Preservatives may also have a role. In my experience that’s all it takes to get an ADHD diagnosis rolling, a teacher complaining about a a fidgety kid struggling to sit all day in his or her seat.

We also need more research dollars spent on these important nutrition questions instead of the types of research pharmaceutical giants heavily fund – which is using stimulants more widely and exploring more pills for children. What about more studies on nutrition and sleep and the other basics that keep young developing brains healthy, including getting reasonable outdoor time and exposure to natural light, regular exercise, and movement breaks during sedentary school time? Where are the research dollars for those? We need them now.

Meanwhile, don’t wait. Start thinking about – and changing – the foods you buy for your kids. Stay clear from things that were never intended to be eaten, things that don’t occur naturally. After all, you spent countless hours reminding them as toddlers not to put anything bad in there mouths. Take your own good advice and stick to it!”

Please contact Dr. Rao about reproducing any material found on these pages.