Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Guest Post: Raising a Hyper Child

How I Turned My Hyper Stepson into a Totally Relaxed and Respectful Kid
When I met my stepson, he was nine years old and out of control. To say he had trouble behaving would be an understatement. He was a hyper kid, but not just the usual “fidgety” kind of hyper. It was beyond that, as though he was purposely being defiant with both household and school rules. I eventually realized that it wasn’t simply that he wouldn’t sit still at dinner or in the classroom. The fact was that he couldn’t.
I remember playing a board game with him one night and watching him uncontrollably jump up and down, yelling random phrases of songs he liked while waiting for his turn. His school work was abysmal, he was always being disciplined for “acting out,” and he couldn’t concentrate on one thing for longer than it took to flip a TV channel.
Three months later, he was as calm a kid as I have ever seen. His behavior improved tremendously, he no longer argued with his mother, and his grades began a slow but steady improvement. What happened? Drugs? Behavioral therapy? Punishment? None of the above.
How Diet Changes Altered His Behavior
Here is what I did that caused this dramatic change without medication and without losing my mind.
When it came to his diet, this is what his day looked like:
·    Sugary cereal or some kind of toaster pastry for breakfast.
·    Then he went to school where he got another snack, usually a doughnut.
·    For lunch, it was the standard school fare void of any real nutrition.
·    After school, another snack to “hold him over” until dinner.
·    For dinner, usually something healthy, like fish, vegetables, and the like.
·    Then, another snack.
·    To drink, soda was the standard and he got almost no water.
No wonder he couldn’t sit still! He was being drowned in sugar and processed foods.
The first thing I did was only allow him snacks and sugar if he ate something healthy first. If he wanted a cookie, he had to first eat an apple. If he wanted a soda, he had to drink 8 ounces of water. Many times he ended up opting for nothing at all, but when he really wanted ice cream, the banana got eaten first.
After a while I starting reducing the size of the snacks slowly, giving him smaller and smaller portions over time.  In a few months, he wasn’t giving me any trouble about eating anything healthy. He got used to it. His entire diet was changed little by little and he didn’t even notice it. Now, he opts for the fruits and veggies instead of candy and chips. He still eats them, but much less often.
How Stress Affects Behavior and Attitude
Be aware that stress is a huge part of a child’s life these days and can affect their behavior.
·    Peer pressure.
·    Hours of homework.
·    Parents struggling in today’s economy.
·    Most kids have two homes they are constantly bouncing between.
·    Report cards.
·    Coaches and parents demanding their best.
When a kid is under any kind of stress, whether mental, physical, or chemical (from drugs, toxic food, etc), the body will dump stress hormones like adrenalin into the bloodstream as part of the “fight or flight” response. Stress hormones inhibit factual learning, memory, and the ability to focus (sound like ADHD?).
If stress becomes chronic, this will be an ongoing problem.
To offset his stress levels, we made sure he was getting enough sleep, had time to be a kid and have fun, got him on some good supplements, and got him involved in some active hobbies.
These simple changes eliminated my stepson’s hyperactivity and behavioral problems completely. It wasn’t necessarily easy, and he resisted the changes as you would expect, but I was persistent knowing that his diet and stress levels were an obvious problem.
Incorporate these things into your child’s life and you’ll see amazing changes.
Dr. Mark is a chiropractor and wellness expert educating parents on how to raise healthy families. His most popular eBook, Curing Type 2 Diabetes, is being sold nationwide. You can visit his blog at The Innate Truth.

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