On courage and self acceptance – from a child’s face to the world’s eyes, please see

MoveOn.org has a page of resources that included these two videos about two individuals a little distance in years and age but not in shared pain and understanding. Growing up with ears full of negatives can leave self worth in the bucket. Add bullying and crushing shame can lead to believing the negative messages.Rewriting the bad names that are engraved on the inner workings of the mind can take time and maybe even 10,000 hours of practice to master new messages of believing in self and others. (10,000 hour research was summarized in the book, Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell, the mastery part was summarized, not the bad name part).

A problem with bad names is the self doubt that they can turn into. Regularly being told to believe certain things that disagree with more internal messages, can make those instincts and preferences that arrive with growing up even more confusing than they are for “normal” teenagers. A hormonal cyclone – a whether condition, whether surviving teen years with fewer or more emotional trauma triggers may be the question. Storm conditions turbulent, expect a little weather and consider packing an umbrella when traveling with teens, tots or any of the rest of us.

On Facebook
  • [a video response to the second video link- I saw the response first – very powerful – it helped to handle the second one.  Bullying by others can be painful but self bullying can bite deeper yet. Thanks to all courageous survivors and especially to the ones who share the message of change. The bully is fear and doubt and worry and hunger too – magnesium deficiency = irritable and stubborn and impatient  http://front.moveon.org/a-powerful-response-to-jonahs-extremely-viral-video/]
  •  [powerful video jonah, http://front.moveon.org/what-if-this-were-your-child/]
  • Regarding self injury which was an issue for the young adult in the previous link by Jonah, moveon.org, since he was in Second Grade, I’ve since learned of a biological reason that might underlie the urge to self injure in some cases. Hyperparathyroidism can be caused by low calcium levels or by low vitamin D levels. An endocrinologist would likely be the specialist involved in diagnosing the condition but any medical professional able to order lab tests could order a screening lab test for the parathyroid hormone level. A low PTH level may cause feelings of jitteriness, racing thoughts and an internal explosive feeling with an urge to ‘pop’ it open – really weird and scary – in my personal experience with the condition. Bullying is bad and difficult to cope with but add hyperparathyroidism and racing uncontrolled thoughts that include an urge to self injure and the potential for suicide can be hard to control. In my case I needed only add more calcium, as I have a tendency towards excess vitamin D. Vitamin D can affect calcium and magnesium balance and both minerals can affect mood. Magnesium is more relaxing and calcium can cause anger/rage. Having both in balance is important. I discuss the condition and my experience further in this post: http://transcendingsquare.com/2016/04/23/self-injurious-behavior-in-autism-patients-with-low-calcium-levels/
  • TheTrevorProject.org 

Transgender issues are not about choice but about estrogen like chemicals polluting nature and our food and water supply. Transgender is an issue for many species of wildlife these days – not just humans. The issue has appeared in history in societies that were at a stressed and maximal population level.

Bullying, name calling and discrimination are all related issues and are not about making choices or about denying self.   Love one another every day.

MayChy28‘s Youtube Channel: Merry Christmas Africa – I don’t know what the text says but the piano music is lovely and the photos speak volumes, I’ll hope that the text matches. link
Louis Armstrong singing “What a Wonderful World” with photo montage  link

/Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Still not easy being a kid -but especially hard being an over-weight kid-

Sad news story of the day – 8 year old boy in foster care because of “medical neglect“: “A spokeswoman says the county removed the child because caseworkers saw his mother’s inability to reduce his weight as medical neglect.

Now if we put all children over a certain size in foster care, then . . . .  it is impossible my mind can’t even take that sentence anywhere.

Home is a family, even a struggling one.

We can’t put all overweight children – even really overweight children in foster care – we can’t force parents to reduce their child’s weight . . . . because we can’t do that. We could chop off the child’s foot or hand or trim the little chubby body with liposuction . . . but that wouldn’t work either. Liposuction has been found to create little floating clots of death (rare and I need to fact check that but there are some complications with fat globs going places they ought not go.)

So are gastric bypass surgeries that far off if we “have to do something” to help those poor parents reduce their child’s weight? Obviously diet and exercise aren’t working. This summer it was decided that a nutrition appointment would be classified as a C recommendation because studies hadn’t found that much effectiveness for one physician office appointment on nutrition. A series of nutrition appointments with a nutrition professional had been found more effective but the two types of activities were lumped together under the C recommendation – or “we didn’t find this very effective and therefore don’t bother to recommend it” category. Well I don’t recommend a nutrition appointment with a physician either so I guess I do agree with the government health care recommendation after all.

If I had forgotten to mention Iodine lately, I will again – iodine and selenium and magnesium and zinc and too much calcium and vitamin D all add to obesity problems due to the metabolic imbalance and lack of enzymes that are essential to start repairing and rebuilding crucial building blocks.

We can only grow healthy brain and heart cells in petri dishes if the petri dishes are well fed.

The poor child in foster care may very well be better off (but I am highly suspicious)- stories in the news are gossip until pictures and video and eye witness accounts can be shared.

My first question with any overweight child or parent was “What types of beverages are being consumed regularly?” One three month cycle later and the parent often responded to the “how is the picky eating problem? with a slightly confused “No problem any more, thanks for asking.” Juice and milk were frequently either filling the kids up enough that they weren’t eating other stuff well and were too skinny or they were also eating the other stuff and were too “chunky”. I really don’t use the word fat – generally. This current news story about an”obese” 200 pound child is just so sad. That child is not alone, the weight might be excessive but there are many obese children now. Four year old’s that weigh 80 pounds, and two year old’s that weigh 40 pounds are becoming much more common. (I might expect a four year old to weigh 40-50 pounds and a 2 year old to weigh 25ish). [Growth chart post]

If we can’t “make” our adults the “right” weight, then how can we expect parents to be able to force their children into the “right” weight. Circumstances vary and this child may be in a bad situation but then let us label the variety of bad or neglectful factors. If pop and junk food and television shows are the only thing available and the child is overweight, then why is that family much different than any other family with junky diets and television habits.

Do we have any proof that the child was being force fed or fattened up on purpose. What constitutes medical neglect?

  1. Is the child filthy with yeast growing behind his ears and in other flesh folds?
  2. Is there diaper rash (eight year old version).
  3. Is the child somewhat muscular with reasonable respiratory fitness – aka does the child get to play physically and is healthy enough to run and jump (ponderously but,  hey, strength comes from hauling that weight around all day).
  4. Other usual indicators of health and a healthy family home are eyes that are curious and moist – sparkling; skin that is moist and elastic without eczema, easy bruising or frequent skin infections; hair that is strong rather than brittle and not thinning or sparse.

Health can occur at a variety of sizes and healthy family relationships can also occur at a variety of sizes …
I ask again what is “medical neglect” . . . really what is medical neglect . . .  neglect of health perhaps.

200 is just a number. A sad number for an eight year old, but really just a number that tells me very little except that prejudice is alive and well in America.

Got Civil Rights? trade up – ditch the milk – I hear it might reduce magnesium absorption and may lead to obesity and osteoporosis and cancer and exacerbate liver cirrhosis.    I like Civil Rights.

(Take home point – give the child less milk and juice and see if that helps whether in foster care or back home.)

Junk food and beverages that are not water are designed to appeal to the taste receptors. When someone is born with a limited ability to recognize full as well as other people and may also have less impulse control (the Great Dane of an appetite instead of a toy poodle), then weight gain piles up. A home with the quick easy, tasty foods and limited physical play time – is pretty common actually. Children can not be “reasoned” with, their brains aren’t developed fully yet, particularly when under age seven. Young children do not understand abstract / non-real explanations (milk makes strong bones -how- it’s a liquid – seems confusing/ turns out is confusing).

Kids do best with physical hard facts or consistent rules and boundaries. Sometimes because I said so is the best answer and I hadn’t realized that with just my own two – it took my mistakes plus observing others’ successes and mistakes (and reading a lot of Alice Miller and other authors). Joking – because I said so would be handy in a pinch to enforce the family rules that had been more mildly laid out over time. Authoritarian control and spineless wishy-washiness are not the best parenting tactics to promote independent thinkers. Positive loving discipline means reasonable rules about helping each other and keeping one’s stuff out of the shared spaces and expected lines of communication / when to expect someone home.

Little kids and medium and old kids may resist boundaries but some reasonable rules are necessary to promote health. “Medical neglect” seems like an unreasonable term to use about body size. Is the plan to strap the child to a treadmill in the doctor’s office on fortified gruel and just run, run, run until the excess weight is lost? I hope not – not just for the obvious reasons (that would be wrong, um ‘kay), but also because control and deprivation of food for a child can simply compound the weight problem into a hoarding, controlling, binging problem – overweight child stealing and hiding food from foster parents – foster parents with locks on every food supply in the house – PICA cravings leading to eating of non-food items – lead poisoning and more acute toxicity – possibilities of problems just are like a jack pot – cascading glittering jewels of medical blunder or is that wonder (wonder why a child is in foster care when so many children are hurting.)

*** top one is the one with the actual story. –
This does not seem like a neglect case after all, but just a question of whether Foster Care will be considered an effective, albeit, untried weight loss strategy – a diet plan – that Ohio courts want to promote in a precedent setting way.

So a boy on the Honor Roll with a caring mother is now sleeping in a Foster Home and she can only see him for two hours once a week. Let me repeat an eight year old boy, on the honor roll at his school, has been removed from his mother’s custody because he may be at risk for diabetes and hypertension. He doesn’t have either of those conditions and he is being treated for sleep apnea (poor breathing at night which is obesity related and magnesium deficiency related by the by). Being treated – not being neglected.

Some important nutrients and healthy foods: iodine -selenium – B6 – magnesium rich vegetables, nuts, beans, seeds, and cocoa – buckwheat and oats – fenugreek – cinnamon – oregano -ginger


Tax dollars are paying for that Foster Care and now for the sleep apnea treatment as well. Foster kids get Medicaid and usually messed up heads for the rest of their lives but that hardly counts, in America – we aren’t crazy – we are well medicated.

/Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and  the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes./

Talking about trauma with kids; PTSD, neural mapping, EMDR and reframing

/This article was originally posted on March 21, 2011. It is still important to have open conversations with children about traumatic events or other information they may find confusing, troubling or frightening. EMDR therapy can be helpful for adults with PTSD./
We all need comfort and we gain it from sharing our burdens, talking about troubles and letting out worries. Listening is more important than talking – let kids talk to you about trauma – we don’t know what they are thinking or are worried about until we let them talk it out. Don’t worry too much about “how to talk about it“, pause, listen, and accept – “yes, there are worries but we’ll stick together and work through it“, is a strong message for all of us to hear.
Children and all of us have “hot” emotional memories centered in the amygdala and milder long term factual memories stored more generally throughout the neocortex. Electrical activity of the brain can be recorded and associated with the topic being considered. The amygdala centered emotional memory can be tied to smells, sounds, places or people and can be unexpectedly triggered leaving the person with panic attack type symptoms unique to the individual’s memories of the early traumatic event.

Neural connections in the brain can be flexible or can be linked together in behavior patterns that might be described as being a bit like playing with a line of toy dominoes. The designers spend hours placing the dominoes in line, each the perfect distance and angle from the last, carefully balanced on end and poised for any slight shock to send the entire chain tumbling down. Emotional memories may be triggered by something like a car door slamming shut. A toddler memory may be submerged regarding something as trivial as mom and dad fighting over who has to carry in the groceries and the car doors were slammed shut violently. To a toddler the words may not mean as much as the tone and the violent sounds. A description of brain cell connections without the dominoes analogy is available on ScienceDaily: Brain pattern flexibility and behavior, (ScienceDaily)


After the event, immediately, and maybe later that day, the next day, the next week – the toddler may pester with questions of what is wrong and what did I do to cause that fight? The child’s world is centered around themselves – natural while young but prone to self blame. The memory can be stored with feelings of “I caused that arguement – I am a bad person – I don’t deserve attention or explanation” and so on. If their worries are left unanswered or are denied as real then the hot memory is ignored and is left unprocessed, instead it is pushed down and forgotten at the daily level. A car door slamming with a combination of shouting voices might trigger a panic attack though.


The hot memory can be toned down and moved to long term storage if time is allowed to discuss the event – and more than once. It might pop up in the toddler’s chit chat daily, and then weekly, monthly, and maybe even over the years if it was bad enough triggering event. Once the connection is made though, (negative event associated with a negative symptom) and discussed, usually the power of the slamming/shouting sound is reduced and similar events in the future may not trigger a panic attack or it might  be a milder reaction.


Children are absorbing knowledge and building their neural pathways – good habits and bad habits are learned by watching the people they love and trust. Spending a few minutes whenever possible to listen to children share their worries allows them to move the memories from the ‘hot’ button zone of the amygdala, to the mellower long-term storage of the neocortex.


Symptoms of PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, can be effectively reframed  and reduced using cognitive therapy techniques like EMDR. A problem or trigger event is visualized and then a state of deep relaxation is reached and the memory is discussed or pondered with guidance from the therapist. New insights from the perspective of the adult framing of the situation can be considered and then the relaxation method is repeated using the new perspective.  The neural maps of the traumatic events can be reached  from a deeply relaxed state of theta waves. EMDR, attempts to help the patient reach the theta state with rapid stimulation of the right side then left side of the brain, either visually with a moving hand or object, or with sound or a vibration buzz in the palm of the hand. Children under seven are already living in this more meditative level of consciousness. In the zone – flow time – playing like a child – we could all use a little relaxed theta time these days and a chance to free a little worry from the hot zone of the amygdala.


The world is changing but denying reality never solves problems it only pushes them down to a submerged hot zone. When we talk about our troubles then we can look for solutions and change. Denying problems, denies a chance for change.


Art therapy can be a useful way to give children and anyone freedom to explore feelings – color to feel not to produce. Playdough and other free form play can help reach a relaxed state where gentle talk about hot topics can be released  as they surface. Picking at the problem with needling questions may not be as quick as open ended play time. Adults may find a walk or bike ride their ticket to free flow brain time.


Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes.

  1. Terrorism, and talking to kids about catastrophic mass violence, guidance sheets from The National Child Tramatic Stress Network [nctsnet.org/trauma-types/terrorism]
  2. by Carol Boulware, MFT, PhD, “EMDR Therapy, EMDR Therapists, EMDR information, PTSD,” [emdr-therapy.com/].
  3. by Carol Boulware, MFT, PhD, “EMDR-Breakthrough Therapy for Overcoming Anxiety, Stress,Trauma and Self-Sabotage,” [emdr-therapy.com].
  4. by Carol Boulware, MFT, PhD, “Do I Have Anxiety Needing Therapy?” a discussion about anxiety and PTSD focused on adults [emdr-therapy]
  5. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network [nctsnet.org/]
  6. Trauma and Your Family – a guidance factsheet from The National Child Traumatic Stress Network pdf: [nctsn.org]
  7. by Tanya Anderson, PTSD in Children and Adolescents, Great Cities Institute, GCP-05-04, November, 2005  pdf: [uic.edu]
  8. This website is a non-profit 12 step based program for the Adult Children Of Alcoholic (or Dysfunctional) Families. PTSD and neural mapping aren’t discussed but the symptom list includes similar problems: The Laundry List – 14 Traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic (or Dysfunctional Family) ,  [adultchildren.org]