Do You Ever Assume?

When was the last time you sat back and simply watched your child/student as he was working or playing? Did you ask yourself why he did a step in his action the way he did? Or did you simply assume he did it for “X” reason because he was trying to make it harder, or make more of a mess?

As a society, we have spent a great deal of time “assuming” intentions which were not even on a child’s radar. Therapists have dealt with adults still suffering from those past “assumptions.”

Be the adult your child/student needs. Learn to Never Assume with my book,

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Never Assume: Getting To Know Children Before Labeling Them.

How can I help you?

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Periodically I reach out to my readers to find out what their concerns are and what they would like to have to help them.  I am now asking you to help me to share with you expertise that you are looking for.

To do that I am requesting that you fill out a short survey which will steer me toward creating products that do want. Also if you feel that your colleagues would like to share their views on needs and ways to access information.

How Can I Help You?

Thank you in advance for helping me to help you.


Pat McGuire

Did you know that parental obesity affects child development?

Overweight parents with her son walking together.

Everyone is aware that there is an obesity epidemic going on. But did you know that this epidemic, when present in parents of young children can and does affect child development. I would also state from experience, that it affects children behaviorally.

In over 30 years of experience I have noticed that overweight and obese parents refuse to get on the floor with their small children to interact and engage. This leads to a managerial style of interaction, rather than a mutual exploring and engaging time. Parents will tend to limit the exploration area available to their child so they don’t have to expend energy getting them away from things that may be dangerous. With the arrival of texting and and smartphone usage, there has been a significant decrease in communication negatively affecting a child’s language development. Being otherwise engaged away from their child, they don’t understand how mishaps occur, punishing their child when love, attention, and support is needed.

Now, I am not trying to shame obese people for their weight. I am, like the parents, obese. I am a product of the frozen food and fast food generation who looked for quick means of eating, rather spending the time creating healthy meals. With the start of 2017 I am working to turn that around, however. But this isn’t about my weight. It is about children and engagement. Despite being obese, I have always modeled and encouraged parents to get on the floor with me and their child. I have worked to show them activities that will encourage communication, motor skills, and thinking skills, all while sitting on the floor. I have also had them watch from the floor, with smartphones put away, as their child explores the room, the toys and anything else that is not dangerous. I ask the parents to notice the child manipulating objects, testing theories of balance with blocks, and imitating social interactions with stuffed toys like he has experienced.

Parents need a great deal of help and encouragement to understand the needs of their developing children. Modeling the behaviors, whether you are thin or not, is important since it is the modeling that shows them how to be a support to their child. If we can add in support for a change in eating lifestyle, that will also improve the life of the child.

Pediatrics just published a study on the effects of Parental Obesity and Child Development which you may find useful.

Preventing mental illness starts prenatally

Pregnant woman with apple, slice cake in hands on blue.

What if we could wipe out many forms of mental illness through the prenatal vitamins that a pregnant woman takes?  Sounds a little like science fiction, doesn’t it?  But, there are studies now showing that by adding the B vitamin, choline, the development of the fetal and child brain takes a more healthy growth trajectory than those who don’t get the supplementation. They did continue to give the choline supplementation after birth to the test group, which is also important to realize, since the brain does most of it’s growing in the first 3 years of life. This article on the results of a study of choline supplementation is an important read to understanding how maternal nutrition and subsequent childhood nutrition can affect mental health.

Some people say that we shouldn’t have to use supplements, preferring to have them receive the needed nutrients through food.  Unfortunately, it has been shown time and again that we don’t take in foods the way we should, with too much if it containing fats, sugars, and processed carbohydrates. This especially became the case by WW II when we began to have frozen dinners, and soon after began to have fast food chains. And yes, I remember how exciting it was when we first got a McDonald’s in our town in the 60’s.

When people ask why is there such an increase in mental health problems in adults, but especially in children, it is multifaceted, but nutrition definitely plays a part. We have to treat ourselves better in order to have fulfilling lives. Let’s start with nutrition.

Mindfulness Mini-Summit

There has been a great deal of buzz in the last few years about mindset and schools.  Of course it is also important in the business world but by helping our children it sets the stage for better working relationships in adulthood.
I recently had the opportunity to work with Mariam Herrmann, Achievement Coach, who has been an assistant principal, educational therapist, and learning strategist and coach over her career. She interviewed me for her Mindsets: Meet The Challenge mini summit which is now available online. You have the option of registering to view the content during the free access period of October 13th and 14th, 2016, or to purchase a pre-order packet that includes annotated videosvideo indexaudio recording, and transcripts. These are great for PD or future use with clients.
As Mariam says herself  “The way we think and the perspectives that we take can limit our success or drive us toward it. Mindsets: Meet the Challenge is an on-line mini-summit for education leaders, designed to broaden perspectives about mindset that support growth and learning. Speakers from a variety of professions share insights that support both individuals and groups. Throughout the interviews, we discuss specifics of the topic and practical uses for a school environment.”
Take advantage of Mariam’s expertise as well as the expertise of her special guests. I can assure you, you will not be disappointed.
Patricia McGuire MD FAAP
The Pediatric Profiler

50 Constructive Alternatives to Detention or Punishment — confident parents confident kids

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Children don’ have to be chronically anxious or depressed

This is a great article for parents and teachers to read which focuses on what I call the “whys” of behavior.  It is written by Confident Parents Confident Kids. We all would do better if we took time to understand the reasons for someone’s behavior before reacting. Let’s start doing this today.

Ideas for Parents and Educators “Are you okay, E?” I overheard a concerned classmate ask my son as he walked out of the school building yesterday at pick up time. “I’m okay.” he assured the friend. In my head, I was saying “Uh-oh!” bracing myself for the unknown challenge ahead. I ditched my errand-running plans […]

via 50 Constructive Alternatives to Detention or Punishment — confident parents confident kids

Seclusion rooms: yes or no?

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Where do you stand on the use of seclusion rooms?  What level of noncompliance should result in the use of seclusion rooms?  What are the federal and your state regulations on the use and when they should not be used?

These are questions being asked around the country, especially as we learn more about the ACE on future adults and the use without understanding the “whys” of the student’s behaviors.

I was recently interviewed by the Cedar Rapids (IA) Gazette about this topic after there were reports of seclusion rooms being misused in Iowa City.  Here is my LinkedIn article on it and the link to the original article in the Gazette.

Let me know your viewpoint after reading both of them.