Posts Tagged ‘Fits’

            About three letters from reader-parents come to my email each week. Over the last ten years I have accumulated over 600 letters—almost half are about tantrums.

            Successes and failures have taught me to look first at diet and sleeping habits and then at the child’s social environment, particularly at what happens next—right after the first sign of a tantrum.

            The diet connection. Emotional problems are not always related to how a child is treated. Even adults have come to recognize occasional emotional irritations from coffee or lack of it, certain foods, headaches, medications, delay of meals or even missing water for too long.

Children hardly ever get the connection between these sources and their blues and grumps. It’s up to the parents to find the diet-sleep-behavior connections. Even serious problems such as bipolar disorders or ADHD can be aggravated by allergic and food sensitivities. These sensitivities may show up as behavioral irritations—sometimes as the result of diet-related restless sleep—rather than as dramatic events such as hives or stomach aches.

Parents may need records of moods and diet to see that a child’s mood swings are related to certain foods. Most doctors won’t ask you to keep such records, but the information can be very useful whether or not a medication is required.

A good way to start is with the most likely culprits: caffeine, sugar, chocolate, eggs, and milk products. Draw up a chart with the days marked down the side and hours across the top. Tape it on the refrigerator.


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