Parenting

Parents don’t always realize that their teen is suicidal

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The life of a teenager can be filled with drama, real or imagined. But while parents may think their teen overreacts too much, parents themselves might under-react to indications that a teen could be contemplating suicide.

Tackling parent-teacher conferences: The early years

Steve Calechman

Contributor

Getting ready for a parent-teacher conference? Keep in mind time constraints and prepare by thinking about the questions you most want answered.

4 things everyone needs to know about measles

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The number of measles cases in the US in 2018 more than tripled over those in 2017, and early numbers for this year suggest a continued surge. It’s important for everyone, but especially parents, to know about the virus, its potential complications, and the facts about the vaccine.

What to do if you think your child has the flu

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

We are in the midst of an active flu season, so if you think your child may have the flu, following this advice will help you and your family get through it a little more easily.

Couch potatoes start early: How to get kids moving

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A European study found that children became less active starting as early as 6, and activity declined sharply after age 8. More scheduled lives and more time spent using phones and devices are key reasons for this decline, but there are ways parents can encourage activity.

Younger kindergarteners more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

A study found that kindergarteners born in August are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, and treated for it, than children born in September—but only if the school has a September 1 cutoff for enrollment. This raises the concern that teachers and doctors are misjudging normal behavior for a child’s age as ADHD.

The better way to discipline children

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises against the use of aversive discipline techniques, such as spanking or repeatedly yelling at a child, as they can lead to problems later in the child’s life. A more positive and proactive approach to discipline that sets clear limits and has consistent, predictable consequences can work.

Holiday toys for kids: “Back to basics” is best

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

As you are shopping for the children on your gift list this year, it may be tempting to choose the latest shiny gadget, but consider choosing toys for them that encourage learning and development, creativity, imagination, language skills, and physical activity.

Giving babies and toddlers antibiotics can increase the risk of obesity

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Antibiotics are crucial tools in fighting illnesses, but over-reliance on them can have serious consequences. A new study found that babies who were given antibiotics in their first two years were significantly more likely to become obese.

Getting your baby to sleep through the night: The good (and maybe not-so-good) news

Claire McCarthy, MD

Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Parents of newborns may be disappointed to learn the results of a Canadian study: even at one year, nearly half of the babies in the study did not sleep a full eight hours. However, the babies did not experience any adverse developmental effects, and parents should remember that children will eventually sleep through the night.