Q: We are the parents of two teens and we have Internet filters for our home computers. My concern is that our teenagers are now using iPods to access the Internet. Is there anything we can do to protect them from the things they should not be accessing on these types of devices?
Jim: With technology advancing so rapidly, it's tough to keep tabs on your kids' online activity. And you're right -- most kids consume online content through their mobile devices now. The idea of using the home computer to go online is so 2005!
Focus on the Family has partnered with Net Nanny to provide Internet filtering options for parents. In addition to offering filtering software for Windows and Mac users, Net Nanny offers filtering software for Android devices, including the Kindle Fire. Filtering software for iOS devices (such as the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, etc.) is currently in development, as well. For more information, go to www.focusonthefamily.com/netnanny. You can also find additional information on our Family Safety Resources page at www.focusonthefamily.com/safety. Best wishes to you as you endeavor to keep your kids safe on the digital frontier!
Q: We just found out that our 10-year-old daughter has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She started taking medication after being evaluated by her doctor. I have noticed she is more focused on her work and is doing better in school, but her attitude is more negative and she isn't as happy as before. How can we help her have a more positive attitude and be happier?
Leon Wirth, executive director of Parenting and Youth: It's possible that her mood swings are the result of the medication. If the behavior continues, you should consult with your doctor and ask whether your daughter's prescription might be the issue and what the best course of action would be.
There are also some practical steps you can take to help your daughter deal with the emotional challenges of her ADHD. Here are a few, adapted from Dr. Domeena C. Renshaw's book "The Hyperactive Child:"
-- Be consistent in rules and discipline.
-- Keep your own voice quiet and slow. Anger is normal. Anger can be controlled. Anger does not mean you do not love your child.
-- Try to keep your emotions cool by bracing for expected turmoil. Recognize and respond to any positive behavior, however small.
-- Avoid using ceaselessly negative words like "stop," "don't" and "no."
-- Do one thing at a time. Multiple stimuli will prevent her from focusing on her primary task.
-- If angry outbursts are a problem, learn to read her pre-explosive warning signals. Quietly intervene to avoid explosions by distracting her or discussing the conflict calmly.
-- Share your successful tips with her teacher. Strategies for helping your hyperactive child are as important to her as diet and insulin are to a diabetic child.
As you have undoubtedly discovered, successful management of ADHD involves a range of options. So first and foremost, after the diagnosis, you must have education. People living with ADHD are usually greatly relieved to learn that they have an identifiable, treatable condition. They are gratified (as are their parents) to learn that they've done nothing wrong. This condition is not caused; you are born with it. It's part of your design and makeup.
For additional guidance, you may want to contact Children and Adults With Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or CHADD (www.chadd.org), an organization that provides a wealth of evidence-based and trustworthy information for families in your situation. Also, you may want to look for two books: "The Hyperactive Child" by Renshaw (mentioned above) and "Why A.D.H.D. Doesn't Mean Disaster" by Dennis Swanberg, Diane Passno and Walter L. Larimore, M.D. (Both are out of print, but should be easily found on the secondary market.)
Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.