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October 2011 Volume 6 Issue 10

Sleep expert Lisa Shives M.D. says teenagers need 9 1/2 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period in order to feel alert throughout the day. According to Dr. Shives most school districts in the United States schedule their start times for elementary, middle and high school students according to notions that are contrary to established principles of sleep. Meaning the districts have the teens going to school the earliest and the elementary kids starting the latest, whereas the opposite should be the case if we are to acknowledge that at different ages, children have different circadian tendencies. (see Circadian below) Elementary school children are usually early to bed and early to rise. Then, around the time of puberty, teens start staying up later. There is a biological change at this time, a circadian shift that occurs in most teens and makes it nearly impossible for them to go to sleep before 10 pm. In fact, many teens cant get to sleep before midnight and some dont feel sleepy until 2 am or later. Circadian Rhythm-is the technical term for our internal body clock. It regulates the 24 hour daily cycle of our biological processes. The brain hormone melatonin is produced later at night for teens than it is produced for kids and adults. This can make it harder for teens to fall asleep early. Sleep deficit impacts everything from a persons ability to pay attention in class to his/her mood. Lost sleep can be tied to poorer grades, can affect athletic ability, can affect driving, can contribute to feelings of sadness and depression, and may contribute to the tendency to use drugs.

A small study reported in Alcohol & Research indicates that drinking interferes with the restorative functions of sleep by increasing a persons heart rate. Children who live with smokers miss one or two more days of school due to illness than children who do not live with smokers. One third of children in the United States live with a smoker. 25% to 40% of all patients in U.S. general hospital beds (not maternity or intensive care) are being treated for complications of alcohol-related problems. Untreated alcohol problems waste an estimated $184.6 billion dollars per year in health care, business and criminal justice costs, and cause more than 100,000 deaths. A Journal of Addiction report says that Smokers who take multivitamins appear to be lulled into a false sense that they are protecting their health, and end up smoking more than smokers who dont take vitamins.


(from Positive Discipline)

Rudolf Dreikurs taught the importance of being both kind and firm in our relations with children. Kindness is important in order to show respect for the child. Firmness is important in order to show respect for ourselves and for the needs of the situation. Authoritarian ( strict, severe, demanding dictatorial) methods usually lack kindness. Permissive methods lack firmness. Kindness and firmness are essential for Positive Discipline. Many parents and teachers struggle with this concept for many reasons. One is that they often dont feel like being kind when a child has pushed their buttons. Again I want to ask, If adults want children to control their behavior, is it too much to ask that adults learn to control their own behavior? Another reason adults have difficulty being kind and firm at the same time is that they dont know what kind and firm look like. They may be stuck in the vicious cycle of being too firm when upset or because they dont know what else to do, and then being too kind to make up for being too firm. One of the biggest mistakes some parents and teachers make is becoming too permissive because they dont want to be punitive. Some mistakenly believe they are being kind when they please their children, or when they rescue them and protect them from all disappointment. This is not being kind; it is being permissive. Being kind means to be respectful of the child and of yourself. It is not respectful to pamper children. It is not respectful to rescue them from every disappointment so they dont have the opportunity to develop their disappointment muscles. It is respectful to validate their feelings. (ex. I can see that you are disappointed or angry, or upset, etc.) Then it is respectful to have faith in children that they can survive disappointment and develop a sense of capability in the process.

Cigarette company R. J. Reynolds has been test marketing dissolvable tobacco products supposedly for adults. However these products are attractive to youth for many reasons: some are mint flavored strips similar to breath strips. Also, the products are cheap and easy to conceal. Although health problems are not as serious as cigarette smoking, smokeless tobacco products increase the risk of heart disease and gum disease, as well as oral, esophageal and pancreatic cancers. Dissolvables deliver about as much of the addictive drug nicotine as cigarettes do. The American Cancer Society describes smokeless products as less lethal, but notes that users set themselves up for new health problems by using them as a crutch instead of quitting tobacco altogether. According to a 2010 report by the international company Research and Markets, the use of smokeless products is increasing 7% per year. http://

Residents of Seymour and Shelton can now discard unwanted medications by taking them to their police stations. In Seymour and Shelton locked boxes are located in the lobby of each PD. Unused and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter meds can be placed in these boxes at any time. The Departments will be responsible for disposing of the drugs in an environmentally safe way.