According to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General (1999), 1 in 5 will experience signs and symptoms of a psychiatric disorder during the course of the year. Some nine million children have serious emotional problems at any point in time. Yet, only 1 in 5 of these children are receiving appropriate treatment.
Grandparents are an important resource for both parents and children. They routinely provide child care, financial assistance and emotional support. Occasionally they are called upon to provide much more including temporary or full time care and responsibility for their grandchildren.
Most children can control their bowels and are toilet trained by the time they are four years of age. Problems controlling bowel movements can cause soiling which leads to frustration and anger on part of the child, parents, teachers and other people important in the child’s life.
Lead exposure is one of the most common preventable poisonings of childhood. It is estimated that one out of every six children in the United States, or a total of over three million children, have blood levels in the toxic range. Lead is a potent poison that can affect individuals at any age. Children with developing bodies are especially vulnerable because their rapidly developing nervous systems are particularly sensitive to the effects of lead.
It is estimated over 40% of children are left home at some time – though rarely overnight. In more extreme situations, some children spend so much time without their parent(s) that these children are labelled “latch key children” – referring to the house or apartment key strung visibly around their neck.
Even if parents don’t own a gun, they should check with parents at other places where their children play, to make sure safety precautions are followed. In a study of accidental handgun shootings of children under 16, nearly 40% of the shootings occurred in the homes of friends and relatives. The tragedies occurred most often when children were left unsupervised.
Many childhood sleep problems are related to irregular sleep habits or to anxiety about going to bed and falling asleep. Persistent sleep problems may also be symptoms of emotional difficulties. “Separation anxiety” is a developmental landmark for young children. For all young children, bedtime is a time of separation. Some children will do all they can to prevent separation at bedtime.
Talking to your children about love, intimacy, and sex is an important part of parenting. Parents can be very helpful by creating a comfortable atmosphere in which to talk to their children about these issues. However, many parents avoid or postpone the discussion. Each year about one million teenage girls become pregnant in the United States and three million teens get a sexually transmitted disease.