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What is ADHD?

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Health, Child Development , Tags: add, adhd, attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, behaviour

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So many people claim that children's unruly behaviour is down to them having 'ADHD' but can bad behaviour in a child be simply explained away by labeling them with such a tag?  For some children the diagnosis of 'Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder' is accurate, but for so many it's just not the case.

What is it? ADHD is a medical term which originally comes from the North American Psychiatric Association.

  • ADD means Attention Deficit Disorder.
  • ADHD means Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder.

It is said that ADHD effects up to three percent of the population. It is usually associated with boys rather than girls.

A child has ADHD if:

  • they have difficulty concentrating and can't ignore distracting sounds or they get lost in their own daydream and its hard to get them to listen.
  • they do not have their own ideas to begin games or activities alone
  • they forget or lose things often or can't remember instructions
  • they continue to fiddle or fidget when everyone else sits still
  • they shout out answers and talk a lot and they act without thinking - so do things without caring about the consequences
  • they have trouble waiting their turn or sharing
  • they won't follow rules

But even children who demonstrate all or some of these things are not necessarily suffering from ADHD.  It needs to be repeated, unintentional behaviour and diagnosed by a professional.  If you think your child might be suffering have a chat to the teacher, doctor or health professional for advice and help.

Why Do Children Bully?

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Parenting, Child Development , Tags: adhd, angry, behaviour, bullying, inherent behaviour, learned behaviour, selfish, sibling

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There is obviously no single answer to the question of why children bully one another, but usually it comes down to being someone who is blind to the needs of others and overly sensitive to their own needs. Bullying is a type of behavior and with that in mind, it can be either inherent or learned. Inherent behavior is what a child is born with. Learned behavior is something that the child has learned from others.

If your child is a bully, you need to think about whether he or she is a born bully or has learned this behavior. It may be a mix of both.

Born Bully - A born bully starts bullying when he or she is a toddler. It can be only occasional and only mild bullying, but nonetheless, if there is evidence of bullying from an early age, and there is no apparent case of learned bullying from other sources, it can be concluded the bullying is inherent.   The solution is to seek guidance from a therapist, child psychologist or psychiatrist.

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) manifests itself through impatient, impulsive, energetic and aggressive behaviour. This may take the form of bullying but is slightly different.

Learned Bully - A calm child may turn into a bully once he or she learns bullying from another source and copies.

  • Families with a tense or angry atmosphere, where family members are insensitive or aggressive may lead to children learning how to bully to get their own way.
  • Parents of bullies are often noted as being inconsistent with their discipline and punishments.
  • They are often unaware of their children's behaviour and tend not to monitor their children's behaviour.
  • Parent-child bonds are not close and getting angry over little things is commonplace.
  • The child learns this behavior and after a while becomes a bully even without realising it, because he has little to compare with the angry behaviour.

Non Permanent Bully

Some children bully occasionally: they may have recently suffered a trauma such as a death of a parent, a divorce, the birth of a new sibling or being under pressure.

Long Term Bullies: why do they do it?

  1. To be powerful or popular: bullies are generally bigger and stronger than their victims and they use intimidation to get what they want. They like the feeling of being powerful and think that violence is the only way to get their own way.
  2. Spoiled bullies: Some parents spoil their children and do not teach them the correct way to behave towards others. The children think they do what they like to get their own way even if it means bullying.
  3. Reaction to bad experiences: Some children are literally victims themselves whether it be of abuse or bullying at home, school or playground, and they take out their anger and humiliation on other children. So many people who are bullied as children go on to bully in later life.
  4. Unaware bully: Some bullies don't even know that their behavior is hurting others and how it makes others feel.
  5. Having Fun: Some bullies enjoy annoying other people, and hurting them, just for fun! They just like seeing others in distress or crying.

ADHD - Some Facts

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Parenting, Health, Child Development, Childminders and Childminding , Tags: adhd, behaviour, behavioural disorder

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Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is a neurobehavioural condition affecting up to 3% children and is more common in boys. The symptoms of ADHD can be highly disruptive and have a severe impact on early development, they fall into three main areas:

  1. hyperactivity
  2. impulsivity
  3. inattention

To get a diagnosis of ADHD symptoms must

  • be present for six months or more
  • be greater than the expected levels for the age and intelligence of the child
  • have a negative impact on two settings (home, school, playgroup)
  • have developed before age 7
  • not be caused by mood, personality or another similar disorder.


1. Hyperactivity:

This is where a child:

  • fidgets with hands or feet the whole time
  • gets up when told to sit down
  • runs about in an inappropriate manner
  • can't play quietly
  • talks all the time
  • damages other's toys or spoils games
  • plays too roughly
  • has poor motor skills (cannot throw or catch a ball)


Low self-esteem as children don't want to play with them

Isolation because friends seem not to be accommodating and lose interest/patience

Educational success can be impacted as they don't hear lessons or understand instructions


2. Impulsivity

The child often:

  • blurts out answers
  • can't wait for his turn
  • interrupts


socially clumsy as they speak without thinking

barge into games so spoils other peole's fun

have mood swings and be volatile

lash out when frustrated

embarrass parents or hurt them with their words and actions especially in company

underachieve at school because they rush or don't listen to the whole question


3. Inattention

The child often:

  • has poor attention to detail
  • has difficulty sustaining attention
  • doesn't seem to listen
  • can't follow instructions
  • can't organise tasks or activities
  • avoids tasks that sustain mental effort
  • is easily distracted
  • is forgetful


Forgets rules of a game and makes silly mistakes so other children avoid them

Exasperates parents when they do not do as told

Inattention at school could lead to inability to grasp handwriting or doing structured work


However, there is evidence to suggest that early diagnosis and management of the condition may help avoid long term consequences.  The main challenge for professionals is to diagnose, treat and support the children and families.

Do your Children Eat Lots of E Numbers?

Permalink by Tikal, Categories: Health, Food, Drink and Eating , Tags: additives, adhd, colourings, e numbers, food, preservatives

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We all want our little ones to grow up fit and healthy, and diet plays an important role in making sure our children develop well.  Go back a decade and the indgredients listed on many manufactured foods were littered with E numbers, thankfully there are fewer in most foods now, and many children's foods have no E numbers listed at all.  Does that mean we are avoiding E numbers in our diet?  ...and are E numbers necessarily a bad thing?

What are E Numbers?

E numbers are codes assigned to food additives.  E numbers are assigned their number when they have passed safety tests and are deemed safe to include in food, so an E number is actually a mark of safety.  The numbers are assigned within the European Union and only apply to foodstuffs within the EU.

What do E Numbers do to our Food?

Additives designated with E numbers are there to preserve or improve the perceived quality and shelf life of the food.  They serve various purposes:-

  • Flavour Enhancers are added to food to improve how they taste, they are designed to trigger our taste sensation.  Mono sodium glutemate is designated E621 and is closely related to salt, which also enhances flavour.
  • Sweeteners often replace sugar as they are deemed to be healthier - lower in calories and kinder on our teeth.  Some intense sweeteners are thousands of times sweeter than sugar and used in tiny quantities (eg. aspartame (E951) and saccharin (E954)) whilst others replace sugar because they are cheaper (eg. sorbitol (E420)).
  • Colourings improve the look of foods, either replacing colours washed out during processing of the food or adding an artificial vibrancy to make the food more visually appealing.  Common colours include caramel (E150a), curcurmin (E100), sunset yellow (E110), quinoline yellow (E104) and tartrazine (E102).
  • Antioxidants help to prevent oxygen from the air combining with fats, oils and vitamins in the food making them lose colour, go rancid and smell 'off'.  One of the most widely used antioxidants is Vitamin C, usually listed as ascorbic acid (E300).
  • Presevatives help to prevent food going off, extending their shelf life.  Foods are often treated with gases to make them last longer, such as sulphur dioxide (E220), nitrite (E249) and nitrate (E252).  Sugar, vinegar and salt are natural foods that also act as preservatives and may be used in foods.
  • Emulsifiers (eg. Lecithins E322) help to combine ingredients that nomally separate, such as oil and water.
  • Stabilisers (eg. locust bean gum, extracted from carob beans, E41) help prevent foods mixed with emulsifiers from separating again.
  • Gelling Agents (eg. Pectin, E440) boost the consistency of foods, making them thicker to give them more body.

Are E  Numbers Safe?

The designation of an E number is a statement that the substance has passed safety tests and is deemed safe to eat.  However, the Food Standards Agency concedes that additives in certain combinations have been linked to negative effects on children's behaviour.  Although single foodstuffs won't have such combinations in them, consuming a variety of foods with the different additives may lead to hyperactivity and even the condition Attention Deficity Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Some additives can cause allergic reactions, inducing asthma or nettle rash.  Benzoates (E210 - E219), Sulphites (E220 - E228) and Tartrazine (E102) all carry higher risk and foods must be labelled if they contain these above a certain level.


Whilst parents will want to avoid over exposure to E numbers, it is impossible to avoid them completely.  Additives are not always listed with their E number, largely because consumers became quite anti them during the 1990's, but they do have to be listed in the ingredients by name.  Many E numbers are assigned to completely natural products, such as ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), sulphur dioxide (produced naturally during fermentation of beers and wine) and indeed many food colourings.  However, just because these compounds are natural, it does not mean they are necessarily fit for human consumption in large quantities!  Parents are right to minimise the consumption of E numbers as best as possible, but complete avoidance is almost impossible in this day and age.


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