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Protecting the Child, Preserving the Family, and Honoring Life

Welcome to the Blog page of the American College of Pediatricians, which we call Scribit Veritas.  Each issue of the Blog is intended to assist parents, encourage children, and enrich the family.  Read our most recent issue below, and scroll to the bottom of this page to read earlier issues.


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Adoption: Teens Need Families, No Matter What


I have to admit that I didn’t fully appreciate my parents when I was a teen. It wasn’t until moving out of the house for the first time that I realized just how much I really needed them! When I burned French toast and set off the fire alarm, I called home. When I had roommate issues, I called home. When work or school seemed overwhelming, I called home. Suddenly, my parents were more valuable than ever.

But what I didn’t realize is how blessed I was to have them as a teenager. My parents supported me in school and extracurriculars. My mom stayed up talking with me about my emotional struggles. My dad helped me prep and practice debate cases. They were just there for me.

Unfortunately, so many teenagers today don’t have parents to rely on. They don’t have a place to call home, let alone someone they can call when times get tough.

Thousands of teenagers across the nation need homes, and maybe you can be the one to help!

Teens Need Families

According to data from the Children’s Bureau, in 2015, there were 671,000 kids in the foster care system. In that same year, only 53,500 of them were adopted (1). That means that just over 92% of kids in foster care didn’t get to end up with a permanent family that year (2).

Not having a place to call home, not having a mom and a dad, can be especially hard for teens. And unfortunately, adoptive families are often less likely to take on a teenager.

You may be thinking, “Well that’s really sad, but once they’re that old, hasn’t the damage already been done?” While many teens do have difficulties because of their backgrounds, they still benefit from having a permanent family. According to AdoptUsKids, “Older youth who are adopted from foster care are more likely to finish high school, go to college, and be more emotionally secure than their peers . . . without a permanent family” (3). The saying “better late than never” really is true!

If you think you may be able to open your homes and your hearts by adopting a teenager, here are some things to keep in mind.


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3 Keys to Success in Your Family Finances

As a young and single adult, I was pretty careful with my money. For the most part, I only bought things I needed, occasionally splurging for a frozen yogurt trip with the roommates. But I still took comfort in the fact that the money in my bank account was mine to use how I pleased.

But when I got engaged, I started to think about finances a little differently. All of a sudden, it wasn’t going to be my money anymore! My financial decisions didn’t just affect me, but they also affected my future spouse and children. And now I would have a partner, someone I needed to collaborate with for financial decisions.

It turns out that I wasn’t alone in the need to change my mindset. Finances can be stressful for a lot of couples! Among newlywed couples, debt brought into marriage is one of the biggest stressors they face (1). And one survey by SunTrust Banks found that money is the top cause of relationship stress for couples (2).

If couples aren’t careful, this stress can make a marriage fall apart. According to a survey by the Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts, money is the third leading cause of divorce, accounting for just over 20% of divorces (3).


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Do You Hug Your Child Enough?

As a kid, my family gave lots of hugs — hugs to say goodbye, hugs to say hello, hugs to give comfort, or hugs just because. One of my best friends, on the other hand, grew up in a family that rarely if ever gave hugs. They still loved each other, but they just weren’t “huggy.”

I’m not saying that one family culture is better than the other. We all have different family dynamics, and that’s okay! But whatever your family culture, research shows that every family can benefit from providing plenty of parental love and affection.

This is especially true when it comes to hugging. Here are just a few of the ways hugs can help your children.


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National Children’s Dental Health Month

Despite the fact that tooth decay is almost entirely preventable, it is the most common chronic disease in children.

Untreated dental disease can compromise a child’s ability to eat well, sleep well, and function well at home and at school. Of course, children need their teeth to eat properly, talk, smile, and feel good about themselves. However, a child with cavities may have difficulty eating, smiling, and may even have problems paying attention and learning at school because of the discomfort and insecurity associated with decaying teeth.

According to the American Dental Association,

  • 20% of children aged 5-11 have at least one untreated cavity, and
  • 13% of adolescents aged 12-19 have at least one untreated cavity.

Unless tooth decay is taken care of early on with appropriate treatment and preventative measures, tooth decay can become irreversible and even lead to infection of the teeth and gums and tooth loss. 


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Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month – Protecting our Teens

Much of this article is based on Dr. Jill Murray’s book, But I Love Him: Protecting Your Teen Daughter from Controlling, Abusive Dating Relationships. For more information,reference her book or the other resources listed at the end of the article.

Today’s romance novels and chick flicks are steamier than ever, making teen girls everywhere sigh over the perfect guy and the perfect relationship. Unfortunately, these relationships may not be the kind of thing we want our daughters to aim for.

In Stephanie Meyer’s popular novel Twilight (1), the main character Bella gets into an obsessive and strange relationship with a vampire named Edward. In one particular scene, for instance, he calmly explains: “I like watching you sleep” followed by “I can’t ever lose control of you”… as if that’s totally normal behavior for a man in love.

If this is the kind of thing that our teenage girls are drooling over, it’s no wonder that so many teens get caught up in abusive dating relationships. Thankfully, as parents there is much we can do to protect our daughters (and sons) from teen dating violence.


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3 Ways Over-scheduling Can Hurt Your Kids

In this day and age, parents get a lot of pressure. In order to do their job right, their kid has to end up at Harvard, become a famous scientist, and change the world — or at the very least be high school valedictorian! And all the while, parents are also supposed to somehow mix in the right amount of love and support while simultaneously pushing their kids to succeed.

But what if children today don’t need that extra push? What if they don’t need parents urging them to practice violin three hours a day, take all the AP classes available, and start a new club promoting community service?

While extracurricular involvement can have a lot of benefits, parents should avoid excessive pressure and time commitments in order to avoid a few unfortunate consequences.


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Why Kids Need the Chance to Choose


When kids are young (and even when they’re older!), it can seem like the best way to teach good behavior is by setting lots of rules and limits. And of course, children do need some limits set with love.

But as parenting expert Alfie Kohn explains in his book Unconditional Parenting, kids need “to be consulted rather than just constrained (1)”

Let’s take a look at what happens if we go overboard on limit-setting, as well as what benefits come from offering our kids the chance to choose.


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3 Ways Yelling Hurts Your Kids


Aaron! she yells out to her son.


No response.


“Aaaaaarooooooonnnn!” Her voice gets louder and angrier.


I try not to listen, but I can’t help but overhear as my neighbor’s shouts leak through our apparently too thin walls.

While I’ve seen some great moments of love and parenting from this woman, yelling is all too frequent at her house. One day when she was talking to me about it, she said, “Oh, the kids are really well-behaved for other people. But it seems like they just won’t listen to anything I say unless I yell!”

For many parents, yelling may seem like the only way to get kids to actually listen and do what they’re told. But how does yelling affect your kids? And is it really an effective way to help kids behave better?

Here are just a few of the effects yelling can have on children.


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Why Breastfeeding Your Baby Is Worth It


With cracked or sore nipples, engorged breasts, and all sorts of other challenges that come with nursing, new moms may be tempted to throw breastfeeding out the window. After all, it can’t make that much of a difference, right?

Well actually, it can! In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) and (UNICEF) recently published statements advocating that hospitals encourage and support breastfeeding for the first two years of a child’s life after birth because of the health benefits it provides (1). Here are just a few of the research-based benefits of breastfeeding your baby.


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Teaching Our Children to Appreciate Diversity

We live in the great American melting pot, full of people from different races, ethnicities, religions, and beliefs. And truly, part of what makes this country so great is that diversity!

But sometimes, all those differences can be hard to handle. It’s not always easy to accept people with different ideas and backgrounds. And yet accepting differences is vital if we are to have a healthy culture in our country.

So how can we help our children learn to appreciate the differences of others, no matter the background? Here are a few ideas to get you started.


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