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In this issue...
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Children & Parents

Dear Subscribers and First-Time Readers,

The NJPA E-Newsletter editorial staff is pleased to welcome you to Spring with an issue focused on children. Childhood is a time often full of educational and social milestones as youth enter the school systems and are exposed to increased peer interactions and learning opportunities. Parents are also faced with many new positive experiences and challenges as their children mature and increasingly interact with the rest of the world. To address current popular topics around parenting and childhood, we have included articles exploring the impact of racism on children, postpartum depression, struggles of modern parenting, and corporal punishment. To shed light on the relevance of childhood evaluations, our contributors have also covered assessments in early childhood and learning differences.  We welcome hearing from our readers. You can reach our Editor in Chief, Michelle Miller, PsyD, via email at [email protected]


Parenting in Busy, Modern Times
By Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD

With children signing up for organized activities most days, the demands on a parent’s time in our modern era can be overwhelmingly stressful. For many families, there are other circumstances that increase the stress even more, such as single parent homes and dual income families.  read more...


Smart but Struggling Students: 3 Steps to Set Every Child on the Path to Success
By Carla Andrews, PsyD

As a child and adolescent psychologist, I often hear kids and teens grumble about school, despite a true love of learning. More often than that, I hear parents say they’ve tried everything but don’t know how to help with school issues. Even the brightest kids can dislike school or start to drown under academic pressure. These three steps can help any parent (or educator) set their child on the right path.  read more...


Postpartum Depression: It’s not what you think!
By Deana Stevens, PsyD

Chances are you’ve heard of Postpartum Depression. But how do you know if you or your partner have it? Many women experience moodiness, feelings of sadness, worry, poor concentration and forgetfulness in the first few weeks following the arrival of a baby. This is commonly referred to as the Baby Blues and it is all perfectly normal. Having a baby is a major life event that includes rapid hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and lots of new responsibilities. It may take a while to find a new rhythm but it will happen. If you don’t start to feel right after a few weeks, let your partner, family or doctor know. You may be experiencing a Perinatal Mood or Anxiety Disorder (PMAD). PMADs can start anytime during pregnancy or the first year postpartum. It’s not just postpartum! Almost one-third of women who experience intense anxiety or mood changes after the birth of a child were already having a hard time before delivery. You might be reluctant to acknowledge any feelings other than excitement and curiosity about your growing baby. But, your emotional health is part of your overall well-being. Use your prenatal visits to keep an eye on your mental health, too! read more...


What is Infant and Toddler Mental Health?
By Michelle Pievsky, PhD

According to the World Association for Infant Mental Health, between seven and 16% of children three years old and younger suffer from a mental health disorder. These include trauma and violence, family disruption, and disturbances in caregiving. Moreover, about 25% of children are at risk for a developmental delay, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Because infancy is such a crucial developmental period, the effects of these disorders can have lifelong consequences. The good news is that early intervention can be extremely effective and can prevent the development of serious medical and psychological problems later in childhood and beyond. It can also support individual and family strengths and promote wellness.  read more...

For The Benefit Of Us And Our Children: Beginning To Challenge Racism Through Examining Our Part In Maintaining It 
By Eric Herschman, PsyD 

It is well known that racism exists in contemporary America and that it has severe consequences, including on our youth. One recent tragic example occurred on December 11, 2018 when a nine-year-old girl in Alabama took her own life after experiencing racist bullying in her elementary school (Andrew Arenge, 2018). It lives on in stereotypes, fear, prejudiced views, and white privilege. Beyond these interpersonal biases, it is present systemically in institutional, historical, and structural dynamics in our society, which perpetuate power and advantages of the dominant/white group. Members of this group engage in everyday acts of discrimination and disrespect, often with minimal insight and awareness. These microaggressions, subconscious actions, behaviors, and beliefs occur at all levels of socio-economic, educational, and professional status. Racism benefits those in power and as a result the concept of privilege should be recognized.

According to an NBC News|SurveyMonkey poll, a majority of Americans say racism remains a major problem, (Andrew Arenge, 2018). In that same poll, a majority believe white people benefit from societal advantages that people of color do not have. Complex, overt and subtle systems serve to keep racism active. However, people do not see themselves as racist and do not want to be perceived that way. Often, people are not aware that they grew up in a racist home or could unconsciously be transmitting racist views to their children.

What Everyone Should Know Regarding Corporal Punishment of Children
By Susan Cohen Esquilin, PhD ABPP-Clinical

Though spanking and other forms of corporal punishment continue to be widely used by American parents and are seen as effective methods of discipline, mental health professionals advocate against the use of physical forms of punishment. Physical punishment can be a risk factor for physical abuse. Parents can lose control of anger when using corporal punishment and injure children without intending to do so. When this occurs, infants and toddlers are most vulnerable. Corporal punishment is not considered to be physical abuse, unless there is physical injury to a child. Nonetheless, it is not considered an effective disciplinary technique.Physical punishment does not improve children’s behavior.

What research has told us:
• Many studies have found that spanking leads to increased behavioral and mental health problems, in particular depression and aggressive behaviors.
• Corporal punishment has been linked to deficits in cognitive performance.
• Corporal punishment can negatively impact the parent/child relationship.
• Many parents who were spanked as children believe spanking is harmless because parents believe they turned out to be "OK" as adults.
• “Good parenting” (see below) generally reduces the level of harm that corporal punishment may cause
read more... 

Editor in Chief:
Michelle Miller, PsyD
Staff Editors:
Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD
Susanne Breckwoldt, PhD
Janie Feldman, PsyD
Marianne Herzog, PhD
Michael, Zito, PhD

Find more information on our contributors here.

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