Natural Mental Health Solutions for Children

The increasing prevalence of mental, emotional and behavioral health issues in children is not just a concern for pediatricians and child psychologists; it's an everyday reality for countless families. A child’s struggle with mental health can impact every corner of family life, turning routine activities into challenges, and joys into stressors. Around 1 in 5 children in the U.S. grapples with a diagnosable mental health disorder, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), anxiety, mood disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and autism (Perou et al., 2013). Behind these statistics are real families living with these conditions day in and day out, feeling overwhelmed, and often, desperate for natural mental health solutions.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Prevalence of Behavioral and Mental Health Issues in Children: Mental Health Statistics You Should Know

Chapter 2: Dysregulated Kids: Understanding Their Behaviors and Emotions

Chapter 3: The Role of the Nervous System in Children's Mental Health

Chapter 4: Why Calming the Brain is Key in Regulating the Brain and Behavior

Chapter 5: The Drawbacks of Medication for Managing Symptoms

Chapter 6: Diagnosis and Treatment Options for Children's Mental Health Conditions

Chapter 7: Brain Dysregulation Triggers

Chapter 8: Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Behavioral Problems in Children

Chapter 9: Treatments for ADHD

Chapter 10: Addressing Anxiety in Children Through Natural Solutions

Chapter 11: Nutrition, Diet, and Supplementation: Foundations for Optimal Mental Health

Chapter 12: The Power of the Anti-Inflammatory Brain Diet

Chapter 13: A Balanced Diet: Foods to Encourage and Limit

Chapter 14: 6 Tips for Implementing Dietary Changes

Chapter 15: Herbs and Supplements

Chapter 16: Herbs and Supplements for Stress, Mood, and Intrusive Thoughts

Chapter 17: Behavioral Techniques

Chapter 18: Strategies for Managing Impulsivity and Hyperactivity

Chapter 19: Children’s Mental Health Treatment

Chapter 20: Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF)

Chapter 21: Neurofeedback

Chapter 22: Emotional Regulation and Anxiety

Chapter 23: Neurofeedback Success Story: Toby's Journey to Academic Success

Chapter 24: The Importance of a Multi-Pronged Approach to Managing Children's Behavioral and Mental Health Issues

Parents of children dealing with a mental health condition or behavioral issues face a unique set of challenges. At home, the child's mood swings, emotional dysregulation, and avoidant behaviors can result in a volatile environment. Arguing, not listening, and general behavioral problems can turn every interaction into a potential conflict. The challenges are not confined to the home, though. School can present its own difficulties, from fluctuating grades and learning difficulties to school avoidance, social issues, and attention problems.

These issues can create an atmosphere of chronic stress and tension for the entire family. Parents often feel a mixture of worry, frustration, confusion, and exhaustion. Siblings can also be affected, as they may not fully understand what's happening, feel neglected or overshadowed, or have their own emotional reactions to the situation.

But there's more to this story than just struggle and stress. The resilience of these families – and of the children themselves – is often astounding. Many parents, although faced with daunting challenges, are determined to find ways to help their child thrive. They are willing to explore every avenue that might lead to improved well-being and better outcomes for their child.

As challenging as these experiences can be, it's important to remember that mental health conditions are not a life sentence. There is a wide range of effective interventions and strategies that can help improve these children's well-being and life quality. Among these, natural solutions are gaining attention, and for a good reason. These natural mental health treatments, such as nutritional interventions, supplementation, Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy, and neurofeedback, can make a significant difference in a child's mental health, helping to transform not just the child's life, but the whole family's experience.

This is why it's crucial to stay informed about the different treatments available and understand the role that factors like diet, screen time, stress levels, and the nervous system play in children's mental health. We know that children struggling with mental health conditions often have dysregulated brains, leading to dysregulated behaviors. The brain and the nervous system play a central role in how a child feels, behaves, and interacts with the world. Calming the brain and nervous system is key to managing and mitigating these behavioral and mental health issues.

While medication can help manage symptoms, it doesn't always address the underlying issues and can often come with side effects. However, research has shown promising benefits of natural solutions in addressing children's mental health issues, which can be as effective as traditional treatments without the risk of unwanted side effects (Nigg et al., 2017).

Natural solutions can support your child's mental health, offering not just temporary relief, but long-term strategies for improving their overall well-being.

Chapter 1

The Prevalence of Behavioral and Mental Health Issues in Children: Mental Health Statistics You Should Know

The extent of mental health issues among children is a pressing concern that affects not only the individuals involved but society as a whole. The prevalence rates of these conditions paint a compelling picture of the scope and urgency of the issue.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 1 in 6 children between the ages of 2 and 8 years (17.4%) in the United States has been diagnosed with a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. As they grow older, the rates only increase: data suggests that by the age of 18, nearly half of adolescents (46.4%) have had a mental disorder at some point in their lifetime (Merikangas et al., 2010).

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders in children. 

As per the American Psychiatric Association, about 5% of children have ADHD, but studies among older children put the rate higher, at over 8% (Danielson et al., 2018). ADHD tends to first appear when children are aged 3-6 years old and can continue through adolescence and adulthood.

Anxiety disorders are also among the most prevalent mental health conditions in children. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 31.9% of adolescents aged 13-18 in the U.S. experience an anxiety disorder. Of these, 8.3% have a severe impairment.

Depression is another significant concern. The CDC reports that 3.2% of children aged 3-17 years have diagnosed depression. It is important to note that these conditions often co-occur; for instance, about three-quarters of children aged 3-17 years with depression also have anxiety (73.8%), and nearly half have behavioral problems (47.2%).

The rise in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is another issue facing today's youth. Current estimates from the CDC state that about 1 in 54 children has been identified with ASD, marking a significant increase from previous decades (Maenner et al., 2020).

These figures underscore the pressing need for effective, accessible, and child-friendly interventions and treatment strategies. As we delve deeper into the realm of natural solutions for children's behavioral and mental health, it's essential to bear in mind the profound potential they hold for improving the lives of millions of children and their families.

Chapter 2

Dysregulated Kids: Understanding Their Behaviors and Emotions

 

If you're a parent of a child struggling with mental or behavioral health issues, you might be familiar with the term ‘dysregulation.' But what does it mean? Simply put, dysregulation means having trouble managing one's behavior, emotions, or thoughts.

Perhaps you've seen this in your child as they find it challenging to control their impulses, calm down after being upset, or follow regular routines. They may have emotional outbursts, aggressive behavior, or have difficulty adapting to changes. They can also be unfocused, inattentive and full of worry. These are all signs of dysregulation, and they can make day-to-day life challenging for your child and your family.

So, why do some children struggle with dysregulation? A lot of it has to do with the brain. Our brains control how we manage our thoughts, emotions, and behavior. For kids struggling with dysregulation, parts of their brains aren't communicating effectively. 

Imagine a seesaw; when balanced, both sides can function harmoniously. But when one side weighs more, the balance is disrupted, leading to a range of issues.

For children with conditions like ADHD, autism, or anxiety disorders, this brain imbalance can cause them to react excessively to stress or have difficulty controlling impulses. But here's the good news: our brains are incredibly adaptable. With the right natural mental health treatment, they can learn and change over time – a phenomenon called neuroplasticity.

Chapter 3

The Role of the Nervous System in Children's Mental Health

 

Imagine trying to run a complex machine without a proper control system. It would be chaotic, right? Our bodies are remarkably complex, and they depend on an intricate control system: the nervous system. This system, which includes the brain and all the nerves throughout our bodies, plays a crucial role in how our children think, feel, and behave.

Have you ever noticed how your child can't seem to concentrate after a night of poor sleep, or why they become more irritable when they're hungry? That's the nervous system at work. It's continually receiving and interpreting signals about our bodies and our environment, and it influences how we respond to those signals.

When the nervous system is functioning well, it helps children focus, regulate their emotions, and adapt to life's challenges. But when the nervous system is out of balance, it can contribute to a variety of issues, from trouble concentrating to heightened feelings of stress and anxiety.

You might have experienced this imbalance as you watch your child struggle to finish homework, react impulsively, or appear overly anxious about minor changes in their routine. These behaviors can be frustrating and confusing for parents, but understanding the role of the nervous system can offer a helpful perspective.

The key takeaway here is that your child's behavior isn't simply about choosing to act a certain way; it's also about how their nervous system is processing and responding to the world around them. And just like other parts of the body, the nervous system can be nurtured and supported to function more effectively.

By nourishing the nervous system and supporting its balance, these resilient remedies can help children feel more focused, calm, and in control, ultimately improving their mental health and well-being.

Chapter 4

Why Calming the Brain is Key in Regulating the Brain and Behavior

 

Ever tried to solve a problem while in a state of panic or distress? It's nearly impossible, right? The same applies to our children's brains. When their brain is in a heightened state – whether from stress, fear, or anger – it becomes much harder for them to control their behavior or process their emotions effectively. 

Calming the brain doesn't just help them feel better in the moment; it's a crucial step towards promoting balanced behavior and emotional health.

Chapter 5

The Drawbacks of Medication for Managing Symptoms

While medications can provide relief for children with mental health conditions, they are not without their drawbacks. These can include side effects such as sleep problems, appetite changes, mood swings, and even effects on growth. 

Medication typically manages the symptoms rather than addressing the root causes. It doesn't build natural resilience or coping skills.  

It's like putting a bandage on a wound without cleaning it first – it might hide the problem, but it doesn't truly fix it. Holistic mental health takes a deeper look at root causes so you can get to the right solutions. 

What Science Shows About the Benefits of Natural Solutions

What Science Shows About the Benefits of Natural Solutions

Natural solutions for mental health aren't just feel-good approaches; they're backed by science. For instance, research shows that dietary changes can improve ADHD symptoms, that certain herbs and supplements can support mood and cognitive function, and that techniques like neurofeedback can promote changes in the brain that lead to better self-regulation (Bercukova & Raine, 2019; Sarris et al., 2019; Steiner et al., 2014).

So when we talk about natural solutions, we're talking about effective, scientifically supported strategies that can make a real difference in your child's mental health.

Chapter 6

Diagnosis and Treatment Options for Children's Mental Health Conditions

 

When it comes to children's mental health, diagnosis is a crucial first step. If you suspect that your child may be experiencing a mental health condition, it's important to consult with a mental health professional, such as a therapist or child psychologist. They will assess your child's symptoms, behavior patterns, and any associated challenges to provide an accurate diagnosis. The right diagnosis is critical for finding an effective treatment to support your child’s behavior and get the right parent support. 

Once a diagnosis is established, various treatment options are available to support your child's mental health. These can include therapies and natural solutions. It's essential to get a comprehensive treatment plan that supports your child's mental health with science-backed natural remedies.

Chapter 7

Brain Dysregulation Triggers


Certain triggers can lead to 
dysregulation in children, including stress, fatigue, hunger, and overstimulation. Children may also struggle with dysregulation when faced with novel or overwhelming situations. Understanding a child's triggers can help parents and caregivers provide support and prevent dysregulation from occurring.

It's important to note that triggers for dysregulated behavior can be complex and multifaceted, and may require a holistic and individualized approach to support self-regulation and well-being.

Encourage children to recognize their triggers and use strategies proactively, before they become overwhelmed or dysregulated. Reinforcing positive behavior and practicing strategies consistently can also support the development of self-regulation skills over time. If dysregulated behavior persists or becomes severe, seeking professional support is always a good idea. 

Chapter 8

Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Behavioral Problems in Children

 

ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental health conditions in children. It is characterized by symptoms such as hyperactivity, impulsivity, and difficulty sustaining attention. Children with ADHD often struggle with academic performance, social interactions, and behavior management.

Behavioral problems can accompany ADHD and manifest as oppositional behavior, defiance, and difficulty following instructions. These challenges can be frustrating for both parents and children, but it's important to remember that ADHD is a neurodevelopmental condition, and with the right support, children can thrive.

Chapter 9

Treatments for ADHD

 

When it comes to treating Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, several approaches can be effective. Medication is often prescribed to manage symptoms and improve focus and impulse control. However, it's important to note that medication is not the only option and should be considered in conjunction with other treatments.

Behavioral therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), is commonly used to help children with ADHD develop coping strategies, organizational skills, and better impulse control. Parent training programs can also provide valuable tools and techniques to manage challenging behaviors at home.

In addition to traditional treatments, natural solutions can play a supportive role in managing ADHD symptoms and address behavioral problems.  Nutritional interventions, such as incorporating omega-3 fatty acids into the diet, have shown promising results in improving attention and reducing hyperactivity in some children with ADHD. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional or nutritionist before making any significant dietary changes.

Chapter 10

Addressing Anxiety in Children Through Natural Solutions

 

Addressing Anxiety in Children Through Natural Solutions

Anxiety is another common mental health condition in children, characterized by excessive worry, fear, and avoidance behaviors. It can significantly impact a child's daily life, school performance, and overall well-being.

Natural solutions for anxiety can complement traditional treatments for anxiety in children. Techniques such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness practices, and relaxation techniques can help children manage anxiety symptoms. Creating a calm and supportive environment at home, setting realistic expectations, and providing reassurance can also contribute to anxiety reduction.

It's important to note that while natural solutions can be beneficial, severe anxiety may require professional intervention. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is often recommended as a highly effective treatment for childhood anxiety, helping children develop coping strategies and challenge irrational thoughts.

Nutrition and Diet

What you eat has a huge impact on mental health and behavior. In our BrainBehaviorReset™ Program, nutrition is a huge part of how we change the brain. The right good can impact how neurotransmitters function, reduce inflammation, and support the gut-brain connection. 

Chapter 11

Nutrition, Diet, and Supplementation: Foundations for Optimal Mental Health

 

It's no secret that what we eat influences our physical health. But did you know that our nutritional choices can also significantly impact our mental well-being, and more so in children and teens? It is holistic therapy for mental health that everyone can access. Changes in diet and the introduction of certain supplements are a natural treatmet that can play a pivotal role in managing children's behavioral and mental health problems.

How Nutrition Influences Mental Health

The human brain, while constituting only about 2% of our body weight, consumes approximately 20% of our energy intake. This organ's optimal functioning thus heavily relies on a steady supply of nutrients. A child's diet, therefore, can considerably impact their mood, behavior, and overall mental health.

Certain nutrients directly contribute to the production of neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers in our brain. Neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine significantly influence our mood, attention, motivation, and stress response. Hence, deficiencies in specific nutrients can lead to imbalances in these neurotransmitters, potentially exacerbating symptoms associated with various mental health disorders (Rao et al., 2008).

Chapter 12

The Power of the Anti-Inflammatory Brain Diet

 

Inflammation has been linked to a myriad of health issues, including mental health disorders. An anti-inflammatory diet, rich in specific nutrients, can help curb inflammation and promote healthier brain function. This diet can be a crucial part of a child's mental health treatment plan, offering natural ways to improve their mental health.

Omega-3 fatty acids, notably EPA and DHA, play a crucial role in reducing inflammation and maintaining brain health. They are key components of neuronal cell membranes and contribute to neurotransmission and neurogenesis – the formation of new neurons. Foods rich in Omega-3s, like fatty fish, walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds, can help support brain function and improve symptoms of ADHD and mood disorders (Rao et al., 2008).

Similarly, antioxidants help to fight oxidative stress, a damaging process that contributes to brain inflammation and is linked to various mental health problems. You can increase your child's antioxidant intake by incorporating a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables into their meals. Dietary changes can be the most effective treatment in mental health.

Vitamins, especially B vitamins and vitamin D, also play a vital role in mental health. Vitamin B6, for instance, is necessary for the synthesis of dopamine and serotonin. And vitamin D receptors are widespread in brain areas associated with the development of depression, indicating its importance in mood regulation (Eyles et al., 2013).

Red Dye 40 and Food Additives and Chemicals: What to Avoid

The modern food environment is laden with additives and chemicals, some of which may negatively impact a child's behavior and mental health. For instance, Red Dye 40, a common food coloring, has been associated with hyperactivity in children (Stevens et al., 2013). 

Other additives, such as artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and monosodium glutamate (MSG), can also affect mood and behavior. Striving to provide your child with organic, unprocessed foods whenever possible can be a valuable step towards their mental health improvement.

Chapter 13

A Balanced Diet: Foods to Encourage and Limit

A Balanced Diet Foods to Encourage and Limit

Creating a balanced diet for your child can be one of the most beneficial strategies to improve their mental health. Aim to include lean proteins, whole grains, and a rainbow of fruits and vegetables in their meals. These foods not only supply essential nutrients but also help maintain balanced blood sugar levels, contributing to mood stability and improved focus.

Conversely, try to limit your child's intake of processed foods, sweets and candy, sugary beverages, and foods high in unhealthy fats. These can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, leading to mood swings and behavioral issues. Furthermore, caffeine can exacerbate symptoms of anxiety and disrupt sleep patterns, so it's best to minimize your child's caffeine intake.

Ensuring your child drinks plenty of water is also crucial. Hydration is key for optimal brain function and overall health.

Making dietary changes can be challenging, especially with fussy eaters. Even my most open families may face the battle of a child with sensory issues or ARFID that get in the way of eating a variety of healthy foods. 

Start with small changes, like introducing a new vegetable each week or swapping out processed snacks with healthier alternatives. Encourage your child's involvement in meal planning and preparation. Not only will this make them feel included, but it's also a great opportunity to educate them about nutrition.

Remember, every child is different, so it's essential to be patient and flexible. What works for one might not work for another. It's about finding a balance that works for your child and your family.

Chapter 14

6 Tips for Implementing Dietary Changes

 

As a parent, introducing new dietary habits to your child might seem daunting, especially if they’re already dealing with mental health issues. Here are some practical, manageable strategies to help you implement dietary changes smoothly:

  1. Start Small: Don’t attempt a complete diet overhaul all at once. Instead, make small changes over time. It could be as simple as swapping out white bread for whole grain, or introducing a new fruit or vegetable each week.
  2. Involve Your Child: Include your child in meal planning and preparation. This not only helps them understand the importance of healthy eating, but it also gives them a sense of control and encourages them to try new foods.
  3. Focus on the Positive: Instead of highlighting the foods they shouldn't eat, emphasize the foods they should. Teach your child about the benefits of these foods and how they support brain health and overall wellbeing.
  4. Be Consistent: It's important to maintain these changes regularly. Consistency is key in forming new habits. Remember, it's okay if progress is slow – what matters is moving in the right direction.
  5. Model Healthy Eating: Children learn by observing their parents. Make sure you’re modeling the dietary habits you want them to adopt.
  6. Maintain a Regular Eating Schedule: Regular meals and snacks can help maintain stable blood sugar levels, which can positively impact mood and energy.

Chapter 15

Herbs and Supplements

 

In the pursuit of nurturing our children's mental wellness, exploring the potential benefits of natural mental health supplements can be incredibly valuable. These natural remedies have gained recognition for their ability to reduce symptoms and behaviors associated with various mental health conditions. By incorporating herbs and supplements into your child's routine, you may discover additional support in alleviating challenges they may be facing.

Herbs and supplements have shown promise in addressing specific symptoms and behaviors commonly observed in children with mental health conditions. For example, certain herbs, such as lavender and chamomile, are known for their calming properties and can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Supplements like omega-3 fatty acids, derived from fish oil, have been linked to improved cognitive functioning and decreased symptoms of ADHD and other behavioral disorders.

Furthermore, herbs and supplements may support cognitive processing, focus, and attention. For instance, ginkgo biloba, known for its cognitive-enhancing properties, has been studied for its potential benefits in boosting memory and cognitive performance. Similarly, supplements like vitamin B12 and magnesium are believed to play a role in supporting brain health and optimizing cognitive function.

It's important to note that the effectiveness of herbs and supplements may vary from person to person, and individual responses can differ. What works for one child may not have the same impact on another. Additionally, while herbs and supplements can offer valuable support, they are not meant to replace traditional treatment approaches or professional guidance. They should be considered as part of a holistic and comprehensive approach to your child's mental health.

By exploring the potential benefits of herbs and supplements, you open up additional ways to address symptoms and behaviors that your child may be experiencing and without the harmful side effects of common psychiatric medications such as psychostimulants for ADHD and SSRI for mood and anxiety. 

Sadly, most parents aren’t aware of the dangers of psychiatric medication until their child has dangerous side effects. Every parent needs to be aware of the potential short and long-term side effects of psychiatric medication before they put their child on one. 

Herbs and Supplements for Focus and Cognitive Processing

 

Balancing your child's mood and helping them focus can be a challenge, especially when dealing with conditions like ADHD, anxiety, or other mood disorders. A natural way to assist in managing these symptoms and support overall mental health is through specific herbs and supplements. Below are some well-researched options that may help improve your child's focus, mood, and stress levels. 

Supporting your child's mental health doesn't stop at the dinner table. Certain herbs and supplements can provide extra support for cognitive function and focus. Let's explore a few:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Found naturally in fish, flax seeds, and chia seeds, omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain health. They can improve attention and reduce hyperactivity and impulsivity in children with ADHD (Bloch & Qawasmi, 2011).
  • B-Vitamins: Specifically, vitamins B6, B9 (folate), and B12 play a crucial role in brain health, supporting focus and cognitive processing. Methylated forms of these vitamins may be particularly beneficial for children with certain genetic variants.
  • Zinc: This essential mineral has been linked to improved attention and cognitive abilities. Some studies suggest it might be beneficial for children with ADHD (Akhondzadeh et al., 2004).

Chapter 16

Herbs and Supplements for Stress, Mood, and Intrusive Thoughts

 

Herbs and Supplements for Stress, Mood, and Intrusive Thoughts

Exploring natural remedies for managing stress, mood disorders, and intrusive thoughts in children has become increasingly popular. Herbs and supplements offer alternative or complementary approaches to support mental well-being. 

  • Inositol: This vitamin-like sugar may benefit those with OCD, depression, and anxiety, showing significant usefulness for panic disorder and easing OCD symptoms (Mukai et al., 2014).
  • Magnesium: This essential mineral helps in brain function and mood regulation, and supplementation may reduce depression and anxiety symptoms (Boyle et al., 2017).
  • L-Theanine: Found in tea leaves, it may reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality, especially in boys with ADHD (Lyon et al., 2011).
  • Vitamin D: Low levels of this “sunshine vitamin” are associated with mood disorders. Supplementing with Vitamin D may improve mood and cognitive function (Anglin et al., 2013).
  • Zinc: This essential mineral is critical for brain health and supplementation may improve ADHD and depression symptoms (Swardfager et al., 2013).
  • Probiotics: Beneficial bacteria for gut health, probiotics may improve mental health, showing promise in treating depression and anxiety (Wallace & Milev, 2017).

Research on Herbs and Supplements for Mental Health

 

Scientific research continues to shed light on the potential benefits of herbs and supplements in improving children's mental health, revealing promising results for several substances:

L-Theanine: This amino acid, typically found in tea leaves, has been linked to improved sleep quality and reduced anxiety. A study indicated that L-theanine significantly enhanced sleep percentage and sleep efficiency scores, while reducing instances of waking after sleep onset in boys diagnosed with ADHD (Lyon et al., 2011).

Magnesium: Magnesium plays a vital role in brain function and mood, and low levels are linked to an increased risk of depression. Research suggests that supplementing with this magnesium mineral may help reduce symptoms of depression — and in some cases, the results can be dramatic (Boyle et al., 2017).

Vitamin D: The “sunshine vitamin” is also crucial for brain health. Research has shown that low levels of vitamin D are associated with mood disorders and worsening cognitive function. Correcting vitamin D deficiencies may improve these conditions (Anglin et al., 2013).

Zinc: This essential mineral is critical for maintaining brain health, influencing several neurobiological processes. Studies suggest that zinc supplementation may help improve symptoms of ADHD and depression (Swardfager et al., 2013).

Probiotics: The concept of the ‘gut-brain axis' highlights the close link between gut health and mental health. Probiotics, beneficial bacteria that enhance gut health, may subsequently improve mental health. A systematic review suggests that probiotic supplementation holds promise for treating depression and anxiety (Wallace & Milev, 2017).

Essential Oils: Herbs can be found in the form of essential oils. For centuries, they have been used to support anxiety, pain, and more recently focus

While this research is promising, herbs and supplements should be part of a comprehensive treatment plan, not a standalone solution.

Chapter 17

Behavioral Techniques

 

The importance of behavioral techniques in managing children's mental health conditions cannot be overstated. These strategies, when consistently implemented, can lead to significant improvements in behavior and self-regulation—a key skill for dysregulated kids and brains.

When parents have the right tools to shape their children’s behavior, it is a win-win for parent and child. 

The Role of Behavioral Therapy

 

Behavioral therapy, a type of psychological treatment, is crucial for managing various mental health conditions in children. It works by helping children learn to identify and change potentially unhealthy behaviors. 

A significant benefit is that it equips children with coping strategies they can use long-term, enabling them to navigate their emotional and behavioral challenges successfully (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2019).

Positive Reinforcement and Behavior Modification Strategies

 

Positive reinforcement involves acknowledging and rewarding behaviors we want to see more of in our children. By consistently recognizing and praising desirable behaviors, such as sharing, listening, or completing tasks, we encourage these behaviors to persist and increase.

Behavior modification strategies work hand in hand with positive reinforcement. These techniques aim to replace unhealthy behaviors with healthier ones over time. For example, you might create a reward system to encourage your child to complete their homework on time or use calming strategies when they're upset instead of throwing a tantrum.

It is all about reinforcing those small steps toward the right behavior. I recently worked with a very impulsive boy named David and I taught his parents to reinforce the behaviors they wanted to see instead of saying, “Don’t do that!”  In a short time, they saw a dramatic improvement in his behavior and lowered stress at home.

Chapter 18

Strategies for Managing Impulsivity and Hyperactivity

 

Managing impulsivity and hyperactivity often involves creating structured routines and providing clear expectations for your child. These can include maintaining regular bedtimes and mealtimes, providing organized spaces for homework and play, and setting clear guidelines for acceptable behavior. 

Additionally, physical activities such as sports or other regular exercise can help channel hyperactive energy in a positive direction (Barkley, 2013).

Coping Mechanisms for Anxiety, OCD, and Depression

 

Children dealing with anxiety, OCD, or depression need extra support in gaining specific coping mechanisms. Cognitive-behavioral strategies, such as mindfulness and relaxation techniques, can help children manage these mental health conditions. 

These might involve teaching your child deep breathing exercises for anxiety or exposure and response prevention strategies for OCD. Gaining control of intrusive thoughts when you are anxious or have OCD is part of how to talk back to OCD. 

Self-Regulation Strategies to Address Behavior

 

Self-regulation is the ability to manage emotions, behaviors, and body movement in response to a situation. It's crucial for children, especially those with dysregulated behaviors. Teaching your child self regulation strategies, like self-soothing, emotion identification, problem-solving, and impulse control, can significantly enhance their ability to deal with challenging situations and reduce behavioral issues over time (Shanker, 2020).

Ultimately, consistently applying these behavioral techniques can empower your child, promoting their mental health and improving their quality of life.

Chapter 19

Children’s Mental Health Treatment

 

When addressing children's mental health concerns, it's crucial to equip them with a variety of effective tools that can be consistently applied. Kids need tools for managing big emotions and disappointment. Many children and teens that I work with simply don’t have a tolerance for frustration and lose that ability to think through a problem. It’s one of the main issues we see today and parents need self-regulation strategies.

This involves teaching and modeling healthy coping skills and mindfulness-based techniques, which contribute significantly to self-regulation. Seeking professional help through therapy is an important and valuable step when additional support is needed, and is a choice that parents often find immensely beneficial.

Coping Skills and their Importance in Self-Regulation

 

Coping skills are the strategies we use to manage stress, adversity, and the emotional ups and downs of everyday life. They are integral to self-regulation, the ability to manage one's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors in response to different situations. 

By teaching and modeling healthy coping skills, you can help your child build resilience and navigate their feelings more effectively. Examples of coping skills can include deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or even simple activities like reading or drawing that can help distract from a stressful situation (Gottman & DeClaire, 1998).

Mindfulness Techniques

 

Mindfulness techniques involve focusing on the present moment in a non-judgmental way. This practice has been shown to improve attention, reduce stress, and promote emotional regulation in children. Parents can encourage mindfulness through activities such as mindful eating, body scan exercises, or guided meditations designed for kids. Remember, consistency is key in cultivating mindfulness (Zoogman, Goldberg, Hoyt, & Miller, 2014).

Relaxation Techniques

 

Relaxation techniques, including progressive muscle relaxation and guided imagery, can be a natural cure for stress and anxiety. These techniques work by reducing physical tension and promoting a sense of calm. Implementing these practices as part of a bedtime routine can be particularly helpful in promoting better sleep, which is crucial for mental health (Lynch, Morse, Mendelson, & Robins, 2008).

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

 

Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT is an evidence-based treatment that helps children understand the connection between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It teaches them to identify and challenge unhelpful thought patterns, thereby improving their mood and behavior. While a trained therapist usually delivers CBT, parents can reinforce the principles at home by encouraging their children to recognize and challenge their negative thought patterns (Butler, Chapman, Forman, & Beck, 2006).

Psychotherapy for Addressing Underlying Emotional Issues

 

Psychotherapy, also referred to as talk therapy, involves working with a therapist to address emotional and behavioral challenges. It can help children uncover and address underlying emotional issues that may be contributing to their mental health concerns. Regular psychotherapy sessions can offer a safe and supportive environment for your child to express their feelings and learn healthier ways to cope with their emotions (Kendall et al., 2008).

By consistently implementing these techniques and seeking professional assistance when necessary, parents can effectively support their child's mental health and help them lead happier and healthier lives.

EFT Tapping: A Simple Way to Calm the Brain

 

EFT tapping, also known as Emotional Freedom Techniques, is a simple yet powerful technique that can help calm the nervous system and promote emotional well-being in children. By gently tapping on specific acupressure points on the body while focusing on specific emotions or issues, EFT tapping can release energy blockages and reduce the intensity of negative emotions and stress. This technique is easy to learn and can be practiced by parents and children together. 

EFT tapping provides a tangible and accessible tool for children to manage their emotions, reduce anxiety, and find a sense of calm. Incorporating EFT tapping into daily routines or during moments of stress can empower children to regulate their own emotions and promote a greater sense of emotional balance and resilience.

Chapter 20

Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF)

 

In the realm of natural therapies, Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapy stands out for its potential benefits to brain health and overall wellbeing. CALM PEMF™, in particular, is designed to create an environment conducive to calming the nervous system, supporting cellular health, enhancing detoxification processes, and reducing inflammation. By promoting these effects, it can be a powerful tool for managing stress and improving mental wellness.

What is PEMF Therapy and How Does CALM PEMF™ Work?

 

PEMF therapy utilizes low-frequency electromagnetic fields to stimulate cellular function, akin to “recharging” your body's cells. CALM PEMF™ takes this a step further by utilizing a specific frequency designed to create a calming effect, which may be especially beneficial for children with behavioral and mental health issues. 

The therapy works at the cellular level, supporting cell health, promoting detoxification, and reducing inflammation. These combined effects can result in a healthier and more resilient nervous system, and a calmer, more focused child (Funk et al., 2018).

Potential Benefits of PEMF for Children with ADHD, Anxiety, and Other Conditions

 

For children struggling with conditions like ADHD and anxiety, the calming effect of CALM PEMF™ can be particularly beneficial. By promoting cellular health and function, PEMF therapy may help reduce symptoms such as restlessness, impulsivity, and difficulty concentrating. Similarly, the anti-inflammatory effects of PEMF can be beneficial for children with neuroinflammatory conditions like PANS/PANDAS, potentially reducing symptoms and promoting better cognitive function (Pelka et al., 2001).

PEMF Research

 

Several research studies have highlighted the potential benefits of PEMF therapy for various health conditions. In particular, a review of studies suggested that PEMF therapy might be beneficial for improving symptoms in individuals with ADHD, with some studies showing improvements in inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity (Sandyk, 1999). Another study found that PEMF therapy could decrease anxiety levels, further supporting its potential use in improving mental health (Pall et al., 2013).

CALM PEMF™: Practical Tips for Using PEMF Therapy at Home

 

CALM PEMF™ can be easily incorporated into your child's daily routine at home. It's a non-invasive therapy that involves sitting or lying down while the PEMF device delivers therapeutic electromagnetic fields. This can be done during homework, reading, or relaxation time. As with any new therapy, it's essential to start slow and monitor your child's responses. Consult with a healthcare professional experienced in PEMF therapy for personalized guidance.

Remember, every child is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Regular and consistent use, along with a comprehensive approach involving diet, lifestyle, behavioral strategies, and professional guidance, is crucial for best results.

Chapter 21

Neurofeedback

 

Neurofeedback is a time-tested, science-backed therapy that has been used for over 50 years to treat various conditions, including anxiety, ADHD, concussions, Lyme disease, and autoimmune conditions. Neurofeedback offers safe and effective  benefits for children, helping them address underlying brain dysregulation and improve their mental health in a safe and effective way.

What is a QEEG Brain and Why Does it Get to the Root Causes?

 

QEEG Brain, or Quantitative Electroencephalogram brain map, is like a window into your child's brain. It measures the electrical activity of the brain and reveals patterns of dysregulation that may contribute to their symptoms. By understanding these root causes, neurofeedback practitioners can develop personalized treatment plans that directly target the areas in need of improvement.

What is Neurofeedback and How Does it Work?

 

Neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback, is a therapy that trains the brain to self-regulate and optimize its functioning. During a neurofeedback session, sensors are placed on your child's scalp to monitor their brainwave activity. This information is then displayed on a computer screen, allowing your child to see their brain in action. 

Through real-time feedback, they learn how to make subtle adjustments to their brainwave patterns, ultimately leading to more balanced and stable brain functioning, which results in symptom improvement. 

The Benefits of Neurofeedback for Children with ADHD, Anxiety, and Other Conditions

 

Neurofeedback has shown significant benefits for children dealing with ADHD, anxiety, and other behavioral and emotional challenges. By addressing the underlying dysregulation in the brain, neurofeedback can help improve your child's attention, focus, impulse control, emotional regulation, and overall cognitive functioning. The best part is that these improvements can be long-lasting, offering a drug-free and non-invasive approach to managing symptoms and supporting your child's well-being (Arns et al., 2014).

Neurofeedback Research

 

Extensive research supports the effectiveness of neurofeedback in treating various mental health conditions in children. Studies have consistently shown positive outcomes, including reductions in ADHD symptoms, improvements in cognitive performance, and decreased anxiety levels (Arns et al., 2009; Hammond, 2005). This growing body of research contributes to the recognition of neurofeedback as a valuable treatment option.

Neurofeedback at Home

 

Nowadays, there are home-based neurofeedback systems available for families to use under professional guidance. Just like the families in our BrainBehaviorReset™, you can do neurofeedback from the comfort of your home. 

It offers convenience and flexibility while still receiving expert support. However, it is essential to work closely with a qualified healthcare professional who can provide guidance, monitor progress, and make necessary adjustments throughout the process.

Neurofeedback is a proven and personalized approach that empowers children to address their brain dysregulation and improve their mental health. By targeting the root causes of their symptoms, neurofeedback opens the door to greater self-regulation and overall well-being.

Chapter 22

Emotional Regulation and Anxiety


Anxiety can impact a child's ability to regulate their emotions, leading to dysregulation. Anxious kids feel things strongly and they are often uncomfortable as a result, which makes them easily unravel.  Children with anxiety may have difficulty managing their emotions in response to triggers, leading to behavioral issues and social challenges. Identifying and learning strategies to tolerate uncomfortable sensations, calm the brain and gain coping skills is key. Teaching anxiety management strategies, such as mindfulness and positive self-talk, can help children with anxiety regulate their emotions and improve their well-being.

Chapter 23

Neurofeedback Success Story: Toby's Journey to Academic Success

 

In the realm of alternative treatments for ADHD and low motivation, the inspiring story of Toby stands out as a testament to the power of neurofeedback coupled with targeted supplements. Toby's parents had tirelessly sought solutions for their son's academic struggles, trying various approaches including medication and talk therapy, but with limited success. It was not until they discovered neurofeedback, combined with supplements such as magnesium and B12, that Toby's academic trajectory took a remarkable turn.

Toby's parents enrolled him in the BrainBehaviorReset TM program, which offered a comprehensive approach to support his brain health. The centerpiece of the program was neurofeedback training, a science-backed therapy that aims to retrain the brain and optimize its functioning. Toby's sessions focused on targeting specific areas of dysregulation related to his ADHD symptoms, enhancing his attention, focus, and motivation.

Complementing the neurofeedback sessions, Toby's parents introduced targeted supplements such as magnesium and B12 into his daily routine. These supplements are recognized for their potential benefits in supporting brain health and reducing ADHD symptoms. By combining these natural approaches, Toby's parents hoped to provide him with the best chance for academic success.

Over time, Toby's dedication and the support of his parents began to yield remarkable results. He experienced improvements in his ability to concentrate, complete assignments, and manage his time effectively. As the neurofeedback sessions continued, Toby's academic performance underwent a significant transformation. His grades, previously dominated by C's and D's, soared to A's and B's. This newfound motivation and focus not only elevated Toby's academic standing but also boosted his overall self-confidence and well-being.

Toby's success story extended beyond his improved academic performance. It opened doors to new opportunities, culminating in his acceptance to a prestigious college to study computer science—a field he had long been passionate about. Neurofeedback, along with the targeted supplements, played an instrumental role in Toby's journey toward achieving his dreams.  

Toby's remarkable progress exemplifies the potential of neurofeedback and a holistic approach in making a significant difference in a child's life. It underscores the importance of exploring alternative treatments when conventional methods prove insufficient. By addressing the root causes of Toby's challenges, his parents provided him with the tools to unlock his full potential and thrive academically and personally.

It is essential to note that each child's experience is unique, and results may vary. Consultation with metal health professionals experienced in neurofeedback and supplements is crucial to tailor the treatment to your child's specific needs.

Chapter 24

The Importance of a Multi-Pronged Approach to Managing Children's Behavioral and Mental Health Issues

The Importance of a Multi-Pronged Approach to Managing Children's Behavioral and Mental Health Issues

Managing children's behavioral and mental health issues requires a comprehensive and multi-pronged approach. No single solution fits all situations, and a combination of strategies often yields the best results. What natural approach may feel challenging but my podcast and resources may guide you to mental health treatment without medication for your child. By integrating various approaches, parents can address different aspects of their child's well-being and provide a more holistic support system.

A multi-pronged approach may include a combination of therapies, such as counseling, behavioral interventions, and medication when necessary. It can also involve lifestyle changes, such as implementing a balanced diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep. Additionally, incorporating natural solutions like neurofeedback, PEMF therapy, and supplements can enhance the overall treatment plan.

Recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics for Improving Children's Mental Health

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) provides valuable guidance on improving children's mental health. Some key recommendations include:

  1. Promoting positive parenting practices: Building a strong parent-child relationship based on trust, communication, and consistent discipline.
  2. Ensuring a safe and nurturing environment: Providing a supportive and secure environment that promotes healthy development and emotional well-being.
  3. Encouraging healthy media use: Setting limits on screen time, monitoring content, and promoting quality media that educates and fosters positive values.
  4. Supporting social-emotional learning: Encouraging the development of social and emotional skills through school programs and activities.
  5. Prioritizing mental health screenings: Regular mental health screenings to identify potential issues early on and facilitate timely intervention.

By following these recommendations, parents can create an environment that nurtures their child's mental health and supports their overall well-being.

Long-Term Strategies for Improving Children's Mental Health

 

Improving children's mental health requires long-term strategies that focus on building resilience and providing ongoing support. Kids need to be able to explore their world and make mistakes so they can develop healthy ways to problem-solve and cope with stress. 

Here are some key long-term strategies to consider:

  • Foster a positive and supportive family environment: Encourage open communication, express love and acceptance, and provide consistent emotional support.
  • Build a strong support network: Surround your child with positive influences, such as supportive family members, friends, and mentors. Seek professional help when needed and engage with mental health services that specialize in children's needs.
  • Promote self-care and stress management: Teach your child healthy coping skills and stress management techniques, such as mindfulness, deep breathing, or engaging in hobbies they enjoy. Model self-care behaviors and encourage them to prioritize their well-being.
  • Maintain regular check-ins: Regularly check in with your child about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Create a safe space for them to express themselves and address any concerns or issues that arise.
  • Emphasize the importance of a balanced lifestyle: Encourage regular physical activity, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep. These factors play a significant role in maintaining overall mental wellness.

Mental Health Services for Children and Their Families

 

Access to mental health services is crucial for children and their families. Professional support from mental health providers, such as psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and therapists, can provide tailored interventions and guidance based on your child's specific needs. These services may include individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and specialized programs for specific mental health conditions.

It is important to explore available resources in your community, including mental health clinics, community health centers, and school-based services. Collaborating with healthcare professionals who are experts in working with children can help you navigate the available options and find the best fit for your child's mental health needs.

Long-Term Benefits of Natural Solutions for Children's Mental Health

 

Natural solutions for children's mental health can offer long-term benefits that extend beyond symptom management. These solutions, such as neurofeedback, PEMF therapy, and incorporating natural supplements, address the root causes of mental health issues and promote self-regulation skills.

By focusing on the underlying dysregulation in the brain and supporting healthy brain functioning, these natural solutions have the potential to foster lasting improvements in attention, focus, emotional regulation, and overall well-being. They provide an alternative or complementary approach to conventional treatments, offering parents more options to support their child's mental health journey.

Moreover, natural solutions often come with fewer side effects compared to certain medications, making them appealing for parents seeking alternative treatments. However, it is important to work closely with healthcare professionals knowledgeable in these modalities to ensure proper guidance, supervision, and monitoring throughout the process.

In conclusion, a multi-pronged approach to managing children's behavioral and mental health issues is key. By following recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics, implementing long-term strategies, accessing mental health services, and considering natural solutions, parents can provide their children with comprehensive support that promotes their mental wellness and sets the stage for a brighter future.

Next Steps for Natural Solutions for Your Child

 

For parents who tirelessly seek the right help for their child's mental health or behavioral issues, it is normal to feel overwhelmed and concerned. However, there is hope, and a multi-pronged solutions for mental health approach that incorporates natural remedies can lead to positive outcomes. By considering the science-backed methods discussed throughout this cornerstone blog, parents can embark on a path towards improved mental wellness for their children.

It is essential to understand that managing children's behavioral and mental health issues requires a comprehensive approach. Incorporating natural solutions, as the families in our BrainBehaviorReset Program do, such as neurofeedback, PEMF therapy, dietary adjustments, and behavioral techniques, can significantly contribute to their well-being. These approaches address underlying dysregulation, promote self-regulation skills, and provide tools for navigating life's challenges.

Action Steps

 

✅ Explore reputable sources for information on natural solutions, such as herbs, supplements, and mindfulness techniques, to support your child's mental health.

✅ Seek guidance from professionals experienced in pediatric mental health to ensure the safety and appropriateness of natural solutions for your child.

✅ Implement one natural solution at a time, gradually introducing relaxation techniques, herbs, or supplements that have shown promise in supporting specific mental health conditions.

✅ Keep track of your child's symptoms, behaviors, and overall well-being to identify any improvements or changes when using natural solutions.

✅ Understand that natural solutions may take time and consistent usage before significant improvements occur. Stay committed and make adjustments as needed.

✅ Maintain open dialogue with your child, explaining the purpose and benefits of natural solutions, and involving them in decision-making when appropriate.

✅ Connect with other parents and join support groups or online communities to share experiences, gain insights, and find encouragement along the way.

You can learn more about Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge in the Media discussing natural solutions: 

Mind Body Green and Essential Oils: https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/are-essential-oils-safe-for-kids-your-questions-answered

FORBES and EFT Tapping: https://www.forbes.com/health/mind/eft-tapping/

Healthline: Exercise and Depression: https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/exercise

Parade Magazine: Weighted Blankets: https://parade.com/shopping/best-heated-weighted-blankets

Insider Mom and Neurofeedback: https://www.insidermom.com/dr-roseann-cappana-hodge/

WTNH8: How to Keep Your Child Focused in the Classroom: https://www.wtnh.com/news/health/how-to-keep-your-child-focused-in-the-classroom/

Always remember… “Calm Brain, Happy Family™”

Are you looking for SOLUTIONS for your struggling child or teen? 

Dr. Roseann and her team are all about science-backed solutions, so you are in the right place! 

 

Grab your complimentary copy of

147 Therapist-Endorsed Self-Regulation Strategies for Children: A Practical Guide for Parents

 

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Dr. Roseann is a Children’s Mental Health Expert and Licensed Therapist who has been featured in/on hundreds of media outlets including The Mel Robbins Show, CBS, NBC, PIX11 NYC, Today, FORBES, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Business Insider, Women’s Day, Healthline, CNET, Parade Magazine and PARENTS. FORBES called her, “A thought leader in children’s mental health.

Dr. Roseann - Brain Behavior Reset Parent Toolkit

She coined the terms, “Re-entry panic syndrome” and “eco-anxiety” and is a frequent contributor to media on mental health. 

Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge has three decades of experience in working with children, teens and their families with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, concussion, dyslexia and learning disability, anxiety, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), depression and mood disorder, Lyme Disease, and PANS/PANDAS using science-backed natural mental health solutions such as supplements, magnesium, nutrition, QEEG Brain maps, neurofeedback, PEMF, psychotherapy and other non-medication approaches. 

She is the author of three bestselling books, It’s Gonna Be OK!: Proven Ways to Improve Your Child's Mental Health, The Teletherapy Toolkit, and Brain Under Attack. Dr. Roseann is known for offering a message of hope through science-endorsed methods that promote a calm brain. 

Her trademarked BrainBehaviorResetⓇ Program and It’s Gonna be OK!Ⓡ Podcast has been a cornerstone for thousands of parents facing mental health, behavioral or neurodevelopmental challenges.

She is the founder and director of The Global Institute of Children’s Mental Health, Neurotastic™Brain Formulas and Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC. Dr. Roseann is a Board Certified Neurofeedback (BCN) Practitioner, a Board Member of the Northeast Region Biofeedback Society (NRBS), Certified Integrative Mental Health Professional (CIMHP) and an Amen Clinic Certified Brain Health Coach.  She is also a member of The International Lyme Disease and Associated Disease Society (ILADS), The American Psychological Association (APA), Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), International OCD Foundation (IOCDF).

© Roseann-Capanna-Hodge, LLC 2023

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give health advice and it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any new wellness regime. *The effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment vary by patient and condition. Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC does not guarantee certain results.

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147 Therapist-Endorsed

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147 therapist endorsed self-regulation strategies for children a practical guide for parents
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