#InternetChallenges and Trends

#InternetChallenges and Trends - Children's Medical Group

Today, most parents have had to adapt to and learn about today’s technologies, but for the younger generation, they were born into it. Children practically eat, sleep, and breathe video games, social media and the Internet. Though it is great to see all of the educational and learning opportunities on the Internet, the “web” does have its downsides, too.

What are “Internet Challenges”

Trends and #InternetChallenges have taken over social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. While some of the challenges and trends were created to support causes and organizations, others are just for pure entertainment, and can actually be dangerous to your child.

What Makes Them Dangerous

Teenagers want to fit in and tend to be more impulsive than other age groups, which is why they are the demographic most commonly participating in these challenges and trends. Their brains are still developing, leading to decisions that aren’t always rational. Trends in the past such as the cinnamon challenge, the salt and ice challenge and the Tide Pod challenge can all have negative, dangerous impacts on your teen’s health.

Social media just adds more pressure to your teen’s social life, often making them not think twice about doing something idiotic. They are not thinking about how their hands can get burned from the salt and ice or how the Tide laundry detergent can be poisonous, causing damage to their throats and airways. Instead, they are focused on how many views, likes and comments they will receive on their post.

Stepping In

As parent, you have a responsibly to engage with your teens and keep an open line of communication about what occurs in their social life. Though you don’t have to be a helicopter parent and know every detail, keeping up with their group of friends and what they are up to is always a good idea. Starting a conversation about a current trend or challenge is a great start to learning about your teen’s opinion of it. When they are young, it’s important to keep a close eye on how they use social media and the dangers of posting things they may regret later on.

Should You “Ghost Follow” Your Teen?

Being a “ghost” follower on your teen’s social profiles is a tactic some parents use. This means that you do follow their pages, but you aren’t engaging and commenting on their posts, kind of like the saying, “look but don’t touch.” Kids can find it embarrassing if their parent leaves comments on their posts, which can break a sense of trust. Remember, teens are going to experiment and make mistakes, and as the parent you just have to try your best to lead them in the right direction.


Healthy Children

Proactively Preventing Opioid Abuse

Prescription opioids

The opioid epidemic is a serious problem nationwide. In fact, the leading cause of accidental death in this country is due to drug overdoses. Opioids are highly addictive narcotics that can range from prescription pain medications like oxycodone, morphine and codeine to illegal street drugs like heroin. In 2017, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported more than 72,000 overdose deaths.

What Are Opioids?

Addiction and opioid abuse can happen anywhere and at any time. Prescription opioid drugs create artificial endorphins that the body also normally produces to help with pain. This gives the user the feeling of being “high” temporarily. As the user begins to abuse opioids, the brain stops producing the natural endorphins and begins to build a tolerance to the opioids. This results in the user increasing their dosages and shortens the time frame in between them, eventually taking such high amounts so frequently that overdoses occur. Large amounts of opioids greatly decrease the heart rate and can cause permanent damage after long-term opioid use. During an overdose, a person’s breathing is slowed, and their pulse slows, which can lead to irreparable brain damage.

Opioid Abuse Prevention

Proactively preventing opioid abuse in your home and around your children is important. Keeping an open line of communication with your children and educating them on the deadly consequences of opioids can decrease the risk of opioid abuse. The law prohibits distribution of opioids to anyone other than who is on the prescription, and if caught, jail time is a real possibility. If prescription pain medicine has to be in the house, store it in safe place where it is not easily accessible to other members in the house. Another good idea is to stay on top of the number of pills available and make sure none go missing. If and when the pills expire or there are leftovers, simply return them to the doctor, pharmacy or local police station to be safely disposed of.

Lastly, if you are wary of the risks opioid-based medications could pose to yourself or your family, consult with your doctor to seek out alternative medications. Asking for help is the first step in overcoming opioid abuse and can turn out to be lifesaving. Never hesitate to ask for help; there is nothing to be ashamed of.


Healthy Children

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Developing Good Homework Habits

latina girl doing homework on her computer

Developing good homework habits in your child while they are young is important. Doing so will teach your child that homework is a necessity, and the sooner they start, the sooner they will have more time for fun and games later. For some kids, doing homework isn’t a problem and for others, it is like a chore. Creating a routine of coming home from school and jumping right into the homework after a 10 to 15-minute break is a great strategy.

What Not to Do

Forcing your children to sit down and do their homework does not always work. In fact, doing so will make them resent not only you, but the homework too, prolonging the process. Try not to hover while they complete their assignments. Teaching your children that doing homework is their own responsibility is a must. As a parent, you can set up a quiet study area and encourage them to do their homework but ultimately, it will be up to them.

Be Supportive

The best way to go about developing homework habits is to make it seem natural. Provide support and encouragement to your child along the way but make it known, the child is responsible for the completion of the assignment. Helping your child develop organizational skills and focus early on will help her in the long run. It may take some time, but you and your child will find a routine that works best for everyone.

Once the homework is completed, praise your children for their hard work and reward them with play time. Doing so will allow your children to feel accomplished and proud of their homework. It will also give your children something to look forward to and will give them that little extra push when needed. It’s always good to take some time to sit down and relax with your child whether that being having a little snack, reading a book or watching a favorite television show together. This is another great way to reward your child for completing her homework.

Growing Independence: Tips for Parents of Young Children

young child learns how to brush his teeth with his mother

Young children can be a handful, as every parent knows. As your youngster has developed from an infant to a toddler and now to a young child, it seems he is slipping out of your hands and is ready to take on the world. Though this step, in both your life and his, can seem scary, it is also exciting, and there are things you can do to make the best of it. As a parent, we all wish to raise pleasant, polite and, eventually, independent kids. This all starts when the child is young, as some of the most important life lessons and teachings stem from parenting.


Preparing your child to be independent is a full-time job – from teaching them how to walk, feed themselves and talk, and then teaching them how to bathe, dress and function as a little human on their own. When teaching your children to be independent and care for themselves, patience and practice is absolutely necessary. Starting off simple is usually the best way to go, as all of this is new to your children. Guiding them through the steps of taking a bath and dressing themselves at night or in the morning has to be done consistently on a regular basis and eventually they will want to do it alone.


Having a daily routine is key to children becoming independent and functioning on their own. Routines help your child know what to expect, and help to prepare her to have a productive day. A morning routine might consist of brushing teeth, getting dressed and eating breakfast, maintaining the order daily. Keeping the nightly routine similar to their morning routine may be helpful as it will come more naturally to them to know steps are expected to be done.

Simple Rules

Your child’s safety is important. Though we want children to be friendly and respectful to others, teaching them to be cautious and careful is crucial. To ensure safety, discourage your child from talking to strangers. Be sure to discuss who they should turn to if they get lost, like a store employee with a uniform and nametag on, or a police officer. Other simple rules that should be taught are personal space (keep their hands to themselves) and having manners (saying please and thank you).

Children can sometimes experience phases of separation anxiety, which is normal as they grow up. If the separation anxiety becomes a problem, talk to their pediatrician about your concerns.

Building Up Your Child’s Self-Esteem in a Healthy Way

Building Up Your Child's Self Esteem - Hudson Valley, NY

Self-esteem is about expectations and perceptions that we have, not only about ourselves, but also how others think of us. Most people will struggle with self-esteem issues at some point in their life, and it often happens during childhood. Children have an idea of what type of person they want to be and the closer they feel to those expectations, the higher their self-esteem tends to be. There are many different factors that play a role in developing healthy, positive self-esteem in your child.


A major factor that plays a role in your child’s self-esteem is a familial bond. A sense of pride to be a part of a group of people, like family, is a good way to help your child build self-esteem. Spending quality time together, supporting each other and having trust in your family members helps to build and nourish each individual’s self-esteem.


Nobody is perfect and that is what makes us human. Teaching your children that they will make mistakes and fail at times, but that this is normal, is important. Your child should see mistakes and failures as an opportunity to learn and move forward. Setbacks like these are common and a child should never be put down or develop a sense of shame or guilt because of the mistake. Encourage your child to do better next time. Often, there is room for feedback to see how she can benefit from the mistake.


Feeling lonely or not accepted is never a good feeling and will not benefit your child’s self-esteem. The easiest way to make sure your children always feels loved is make sure you show them you care. With a sense of belonging, they can more easily understand that they may experience feeling lonely out in the world but will always know they have you.


Encouraging your children to set goals and have purpose will help build their self-esteem. They will feel a sense of accomplishment when achieving a goal and this will also give them things look forward to. Setting goals also makes a child more responsible and builds up his pride. For example, a constructive goal one could do is establishing a set number of books to read by the end of the month. The reward could be a fun day out at their favorite place.

A sense of security is needed for your child to know they have a bright future ahead. Being a present, active listener sets a strong foundation to build up their self-esteem.

Being The “New Kid” at School

tips for being the new kid at school

Being the “new kid” at school can sound frightening for both the child and parent combined. A new school means having new experiences, meeting new friends and being in a new environment. Although moving can be a stressful process, it is often helpful to encourage your child to be excited about the new town. The appearance of nerves and butterflies are common as the first day of school approaches, but don’t let them become overwhelming feelings for your child.

Before the School Year

Before the school year begins, a terrific way to introduce your child to the district is by scheduling a tour. Often, schools are open to giving a tour of the grounds and facilities to the new family in town, typically about a week or two before school officially opens. Becoming familiar with the surroundings and environment can help ease the nerves and apprehension your child might have in attending a new school.

Overcoming Labels

Although being labeled the “new kid” might sound bad, it doesn’t always have to be, and there are ways to avoid the stigma that’s sometimes attached to that label. For some children, it is easy to make friends and introduce themselves to new people and for others, it isn’t. One way to avoid being labeled the new kid is by being the first one to introduce yourself, so the other children build a sense of familiarity. Usually, the new kid gets a lot of attention because everyone is curious about him or her, so encourage your child to take advantage of that to meet as many new kids as they can. Over time, they will build relationships with kids who have similar interests.

Get Outside

Becoming familiar with your neighborhood is another great way to ease your child’s nerves about their new surroundings. Find out if there are any other kids on the block for your child to play with outside before the school year starts. Don’t force your child to play with kids – allow them to feel it out and choose who they want to play with. Setting up play dates for shy kids in the beginning is encouraged.

Always encourage your child to keep a positive attitude about their new school, and try not to let them see your nerves about the situation. It may take some time to completely adjust, and that is okay. Building friendships is an ongoing process.


Unruly, Unpredictable Kids & Child Temperament

unpredictable kids and child temperament

Some kids are easygoing, adaptable, and generally have predictable reactions to everyday situations. For others, going to the supermarket can either be a calm, quiet experience, or a torturous excursion – with very little in between. These children’s behaviors are unpredictable, with their temperament constantly in flux. While this can be challenging as a parent, understanding general characteristics of temperament can be helpful in diagnosing reactions and coming to solutions. Here they are summarized:

Activity & Regularity: Kids have a threshold for the amount of activity they can handle in a day and how irregular, or off schedule, their day can be before they become overwhelmed. This can affect them both mentally and physically, especially at mealtime.

Approach to Stimuli: This describes the type of reaction your child gives to a new stimulus –with confidence versus hesitancy.

Adaptability: This is the ease with which your child adjusts to changes and whether your child’s feelings can be modified through learning.
Intensity of Response: This has to do with the energy level with which your child has a reaction, be it negative or positive.

Mood: The degree of agreeableness or hostility with which your child communicates.

Attention Span & Distractibility: The degree to which your child can concentrate on a specific task without distraction, and how easily distraction can occur.

Sensory Threshold: Some children respond immediately to stimuli, while others require higher amounts to cause a reaction.

By understanding and being able to identify your child’s characteristics, you could begin to predict the unpredictable in certain situations. As your children grow, their behavior patterns may shift. Talking through characteristics with your pediatrician can help them give you parenting techniques to support your child.

Source: Healthy Children

What Causes Shyness in Children

Shyness in Children

Shyness is one of the most common traits in young children. The world is scary to some kids, and if mom or dad are not around, relating and trusting others in daycare or school can be difficult. Still, shyness comes in varying degrees, and more severe shyness could be a sign they are on the autism spectrum. Regardless of how your child relates to others, their antisocial behavior can be influenced and changed with a bit of support and learning.

Adjustment Period

As a parent, you know how many phases your child has gone through. Think back to the inevitable phase of wanting to wear similar things for extended periods of time, like insisting on wearing only pajamas or a sweatshirt that acts as a security blanket. Those phases pass as they are adapting to their world, and shyness is a phase for some. This is especially noticeable when children face an environmental change. Starting in a new school, moving to a new neighborhood, or even losing a family member, among many other situations, can cause shifts in personality. Being withdrawn during these times is common, though your child should begin to get back to their normal selves over time.


Your child may be an extrovert, but their shyness stems from peers viewing them as an “other.” Physical differences, antisocial personality traits like aggression or impulsivity, and other factors can cause some kids to bully other children, while the rest are bystanders without stepping up in defense of your child. In these cases of rejection, adult intervention is often required to show the kids why it’s important to celebrate differences and always be friendly and kind.


Sometimes kids are naturally shy and prefer to be alone or gravitate more toward family or animals. This may simply be part of their personality, but it could also be a symptom of Asperger Syndrome. Asperger Syndrome is a developmental condition that causes children to have difficulty with relationships.

If shyness begins to impact your child’s experiences negatively in school or other social situations with children, or if you are worried about your child’s shyness, talk to your pediatrician. Childhood should be a happy time where kids freely make friends and learn about bonding and friendships. Some kids just need a bit more hand holding than others.

115 People Die Every Day from Opioid Abuse

The abuse, misuse, and dependency of opioids continue to represent a significant problem in the United States. Every day, approximately 115 people die from opioid overdose, and the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that overdoses rose 30 percent between July 2016 and September 2017.  The FDA is seeking to address this epidemic by reviewing their policies, particularly around pediatric opioid labeling.

The FDA approved OxyContin for use in children 11 years of age and older in 2015. While this gives physicians additional options in chronic pain management, it may also provide additional opportunities for teens who wish to experiment with pain medication.  Parents should maintain possession of the drugs to prevent misuse and should not adjust their child’s dosage without consulting their doctor.


Though the prescription of opioids for children can cause issues such as dependency and ultimately addiction, parents should also be aware of what’s in their own medicine cabinet. Children and teens often find unused pills that seem harmless to experiment with. According to the CDC, 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused opioid medication.

The epidemic is worsening and becoming more fatal as time passes even though prescriptions for painkillers are becoming more infrequent. Opioid addiction affects our families, neighbors, coworkers and friends. In the United States today, 2 million people are addicted to opioids. In 2017, 49,068 people died as the result of an opioid overdose.

What Drugs Are Abused?

  • Oxycodone is the active pain-relieving ingredient in drugs like OxyContin and Percocet. This drug is typically taken in pill form.
  • Hydrocodone is the active pain-relieving ingredient in drugs like Vicodin and Zohydro. This drug is typically taken in pill form.
  • Codeine is prescribed to relieve cough and pain symptoms. This drug is typically taken in syrup form.
  • Morphine is taken intravenously to relieve pain.
  • Fentanyl (pronounced fent-an-all) is used in drugs like Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora and Sublimaze. Fentanyl is 100 times stronger than morphine, and drugs like heroin are sometimes laced with fentanyl powder. Fentanyl can be absorbed through the skin which makes it incredibly dangerous.
  • Heroin is a highly dangerous recreational drug that is typically injected but can also be smoked or snorted.


An overdose is a life-threatening situation. Someone who is overdosing has a low pulse, shallow, slow breathing, and their skin is either cool and sweaty or hot and dry. The person is either unconscious or losing consciousness and vomiting. Check the scene for hypodermic needles or pill cases nearby. If you see someone who you believe is having an overdose as a result of opioids, the overdose can be reversed with the medication naloxone, otherwise known by its brand name Narcan. This medicine is not dangerous if administered to someone who is not actually having an overdose, so having it on hand could be lifesaving. Contact your local police department about naloxone trainings and how you can obtain this medicine.

Important notes on naloxone:

  • If you believe someone is having an overdose, first call 9-1-1.
  • Administer the nasal spray – if you believe the nasal spray is ineffective, administering another dose will not hurt them.
  • Be aware that someone coming out of an overdose may be aggressive. Naloxone causes immediate withdrawal, so it is important to ensure your own safety as you monitor theirs, until paramedics arrive.


Local resources:

Preventing Substance Abuse in Dutchess County

Substance Use Prevention and Recovery in Ulster County

Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Council of Orange County



Healthy Children

Opioid Overdose Crisis

Overdose Death Rates