If the child is fairly young, a diagnostic evaluation is done, including seeing medical specialists when needed. If there are physical problems or inherited disorders of the urinary tract then these should be treated right away.
In most cases, however, a child with bedwetting has no physical problems and often parents are told to just wait it out.
While this approach is understandable, I believe it does not give us the whole picture.
By using the very valuable information readily obtained through evaluating your child with a Chinese medicine or energy medicine perspective, we can find those contributing factors that may not be obvious and the treatment or focusing measures that will help accelerate the resolution of the bedwetting.
In many cases it is true that if you wait long enough, the child will “outgrow” bedwetting. However, I have yet to find a child or a parent who is willing to accept that approach without trying anything and everything to alleviate this persistent problem.
In my experience, some of the most common precursors to bedwetting are a history of having had immune system challenges like serious infections or severe allergies. These conditions require energy from your child’s kidney and bladder energy circuits, both when they are actively occurring and in some cases for years afterwards.
Other situations that can take up more of a child’s kidney and bladder energy are fearful or traumatic events like suffering from a bike or car accident, head injury, or even just having elective surgery for things like ear tubes and having tonsils taken out.
It is not that these events are causative in and of themselves, but it is the redistribution of the energy that is required by the child’s system to deal with them in the moment and in the aftermath that can lead to an imbalance in the kidney and bladder energy circuit.
This is such a common situation in kids that I have incorporated asking these specific questions with every new patient I see in my practice. In this way, we are able to get a more holistic picture of what’s going on with the child from the very beginning.
The usefulness of this information and the fact that it can be correlated and given back to the child and family as part of a coherent energy explanation for bedwetting, makes this a key component of my strategy with kids and parents.
The energy medicine way of looking at your child’s kidney and bladder energy evaluates the historical experiences that may be related to current symptoms, and recognizes that the body as a system is called upon to make energy distribution decisions based on priority and the need to maintain vital functions.
In addition, the ability to prevent or anticipate the possibility of new symptoms appearing in the future is something I want all parents to know is possible using this type of energy medicine approach.
You can read more about the energy medicine and Chinese medicine approaches that I use in my practice on my website, where I delve into more discussions on this and many other topics and concepts.
In addition, if you are the type of parent that likes all the details, you may be interested in my book called Energy Medicine Principles for Parents which is available in softcover, ebook and audio formats.
Constipation is another common digestive system condition that affects many children. As parents, your job is to try and alleviate this frustrating situation and I want to help you to accomplish this. I have a different perspective on childhood problems compared to other practitioners. This comes from my clinical experience as a pediatrician and from my current private practice in alternative/energy medicine.
I rely heavily on the Chinese medicine system to help explain conditions and particularly the timing of when and under what circumstances symptoms develop. In the case of constipation occurring in childhood, parents often ask why is this happening to my child? I think this is a very valid question, especially because most kids have had normal bowel movement habits at some time in their lives.
For example, babies whether they are breast fed or bottle fed, generally have multiple stools per day. The question should be asked then, as to why constipation develops in a child who previously had no problems with bowel regularity. I have learned that the Chinese medicine system of organ and meridian energy pathways can explain much of these changes that happen, using energy as the term used to describe what is going on.
The large intestine or colon is the organ responsible for passing stools and eliminating wastes from the digestive process. If we only focus on the physical organ itself, we will miss a significant proportion of the causative factors at play in the child with constipation. There are very few cases which are attributable to physical problems like blockage, abnormal formation of the digestive tract, or inherited disorders like Cystic Fibrosis or Hirschprung’s Disease. These conditions generally present early in life and fortunately can be diagnosed and treated when found. However, in the vast majority of cases, children develop constipation with no known obvious cause and then we are left to recommend symptomatic care.
There is nothing wrong with treating the symptoms of constipation to provide relief, but we should not mistake the temporary alleviation of symptoms with actual resolution of the problem. It goes without saying, that prune juice or mineral oil is not the “cure” for constipation, although they can be helpful along with other measures like keeping well hydrated with fluids or avoiding too much dairy products. My point is that no child is “destined” to have constipation as part of their natural pattern of existence. We must be much more diligent in looking for and uncovering the cause, not limiting ourselves to a few diagnosable conditions only.
I have found that in the Chinese medicine system there are multiple correspondences with the large intestine energy circuit that can readily explain many of these cases of constipation in children. For example, if your child has had any respiratory illness in the past like a pneumonia, bronchitis, upper respiratory infections, ear infections, etc., this will predispose them to preferentially send more of their available energy to the lung circuit instead of the large intestine. You can ask yourself the question, which do you think your child’s system deems as more important to take care of, the lungs and breathing or the large intestine and regularity of bowel habits?
As they say, this is a “no brainer”. There would be no problem with this energy redistribution if it was just temporary. However, in young children especially, these energy changes can become a set pattern which is difficult to unwind. Fortunately, kids are very amenable to energy inputs like the BodyTalk system which I use extensively in my clinical practice. Often it only takes gentle energetic encouragement, focus and awareness to help your child’s system to revert back to its more normal and balanced settings.
You can read more about the large intestine energy circuit on my website and more general information about how I use the Chinese medicine system and the energy medicine paradigm as part of my practice. As always, I encourage you to find the approach and modalities that fit with your child’s individual needs, not some ready-made formula. And finally, be open to new ideas and new information. This strategy has worked well for me as a doctor and I’m sure it can work for you, too.
Stomachaches occur in children quite commonly and over the years I have seen many kids with this condition. I have a different perspective on the causative factors that need to be taken into account and I feel this is an important topic to discuss with parents.
In my practice I like to use the saying, “The more information, the better”. What I mean is that we can gain a lot more ground by being open to different systems, interpretations, and models of explanation, rather than just relying on one single description.
If we are evaluating a child with stomachaches, we must address the symptom and condition and try to elucidate the likely causes. However, often there is no discernible cause from a physiologic or anatomic standpoint. Then what do we do? I have stated in other places how I am in agreement with doing testing to make sure there are no obvious or hidden physical problems, like blockages, ulcers, growths, appendicitis, inflammatory bowel disease, etc. In the vast majority of cases, however, none of these are identified as the cause and we are left with no answers.
This is the situation where I believe a broader more holistic and energy derived description and evaluation comes in very handy. On my website I have given more information about the Chinese medicine system and how it addresses conditions found commonly in kids. There are specific groupings which bring together body organs and energy pathways in a coherent and clinically significant way, which I find extremely useful as a physician and I think can be very insightful information for parents to know.
In the Chinese medicine system, the stomach organ and channel are grouped with the large intestine, the lungs and the spleen. These four organs and channels essentially work together on the same circuit, and your child’s energy system must distribute or parcel out its energy in the most efficient and beneficial manner that it can in the context of your child’s daily life and experience.
I have found that when we open up the breadth and scope of our questioning and increase the potential topics of inquiry, our chances of finding the right causative explanation for something like stomachaches goes up dramatically.
So, the bottom line is this: Get an evaluation done to look for treatable and serious problems that could be going on with your child. But don’t stop there if those lab tests and procedures don’t reveal anything. It is important to keep looking for the causes, even if it takes you beyond the physical realm and into the arena where energy becomes the more useful explanation.
In my practice, I use a consciousness based system called BodyTalk which allows us to have access to those things which are only accessible through the energy medicine or consciousness based paradigm. I discuss these concepts in more detail in my ebook called Energy Medicine Principles for Parents and you can read more about the Chinese medicine system and your child on my website called Principles for Parents.
As a pediatrician with a holistic medicine practice, I see kids of all age groups for various reasons and at various stages of development. Seeing kids with excessive worry or anxiety has become commonplace and I’d like to explore the possible reasons why.
Back in the 1990′s, I recall seeing children in my practice who had nervousness or anxiety in certain situations, or who would worry about their parents or other family members seemingly over and above what would be considered “normal”. Over the last 5 to 10 years the picture has changed to where now it is extremely common for kids to show up in my office with all sorts of symptoms related to undue worry and anxiety. Is it just the times we are living in or are kids just under more stress nowadays?
The answer to these questions requires an attention to individual details and the circumstances relevant to each child and family. If we as doctors are willing to look, using a broad energy medicine based approach, I believe we can get much closer to uncovering the causative factors and defining the solutions to overcome childhood worry.
As I have mentioned in several other places, I rely on the Chinese medicine approach quite a bit in my evaluations with kids and their parents. It turns out that the spleen energy circuit is often responsible for the excessive worry, thinking, rumination and obsessive thought formation which affects many children without an obvious external cause. By carefully going through proper questioning and history taking, we are often able to see where and when the pattern started which resulted in the symptoms being brought to our attention.
Another very important contributing factor which deserves mentioning is the degree of sensitivity that many kids exhibit both outwardly in how they respond to environmental influences and triggers like noise levels, and internally in so far as their emotions, mood and self esteem are reflected and perceived by themselves.
Things make more sense when we see that the spleen energy circuit in the Chinese medicine system is responsible for the digestive system, clarity of thinking, food cravings especially sweets, and the emotional component of worry, among many other functions. The common concurrent finding of stomachaches, nausea, decreased appetite and other problems related to eating come as no surprise when excessive worry is dominating the clinical picture. Obtaining this added information is crucial to differentiate the individual child’s pattern from what may be expected or assumed.
Further details that might be obtained from the child’s history are the timing of events and related historical features. For example, a child who develops anxiety and worry after the family moves to a new house or a new town will need to be differentiated from an energy perspective from another child who might be in a stable home situation but who may have experienced pneumonia or some other lung related illness in the recent or distant past. The spleen and the lung circuits are very closely aligned in the Chinese medicine system. If this relationship remains unknown, the connection between them will not come to light and the energy distribution implications will not receive proper attention.
By far and away, I find the most useful aspect of this whole exercise is informing parents of the relationship between worry as an emotional state that requires energy, and the demands and needs of the child’s system as a whole. Of course, there needs to be balance maintained and a sense of order and priority, which fortunately a child’s system takes care of automatically through the function of the nervous system (brain and spinal cord) which includes the autonomic part of the nervous system.
One last bit of information I’d like to share is that the spleen energy circuit is very closely associated with the parent’s role of “nourishing” the child, both physically providing food, as well as other forms of nourishment like encouragement, positive reinforcement, security, a stable home life, etc. If you’d like to learn more about how this topic is important to your child and how I use this strategy to evaluate kids in my practice, you may read more details on this page on my Principles for Parents website called spleen energy and your child.
I have seen many kids over the course of my career who have this combination of asthma, allergies, and eczema occurring at the same time or at different time periods in the child’s life. Any one of these conditions is enough to cause frustration and concern for parents, but the additive effect of all three can be overwhelming and a challenge to the child’s system and energy threshold.
Asking the Question Why?
One of the strategies I like to use in the evaluation of kids, is to stretch out the framework of investigation to include not just what is happening now, but what has come before. Essentially, I think it is important to ask the question “why?”. Why this child, at this time, in this family, in this environment? Because this is such a difficult question to answer, it is almost never raised in the context of a practitioner’s office evaluation. The emphasis tends to be on treatment and management with medications, which is appropriate but in my opinion, incomplete. I am quite certain that every parent wants to know the answer to this “why” question for their own child, but it never reaches the point where it is possible to answer it because it is so nebulous and unclear, not to mention the fact that the possible contributing variables are too numerous to count.
I have learned to tackle this from an energy medicine perspective, which means we focus on the energetics of your child’s system which includes factors both inside and outside of their physical body, as well as time frames going all the way back to birth, prenatal and family history influences. When this is done, the reasons for the common scenario where asthma, allergies and eczema are coexisting in the same child have the chance to come to light. This awareness on your part as a parent is key to helping your child as I have mentioned previously in another post.
Your Child’s Lung Energy
In the Chinese medicine system, the lung energy, as a subdivision of your child’s overall energy allotment, is in charge of the process of breathing, the immune system especially on the surface of the body and on mucous membranes like the nose, mouth, respiratory and digestive tract, and finally the health of the skin (the largest organ of the body). By noting that this one sub-system is energetically in charge of all three of these categories (among many others), it is readily apparent that this triad of involvement in a child is likely to be caused by a weakness or imbalance on this one sub-circuit.
It is not that simple, however, because your child’s life experiences, events, environmental influences, inherited predispositions, and emotional contributing factors all can have a large or small impact on how your child’s system responds and seeks to balance itself. Therefore, the reasons and the answer to the question of why my child, why now, and so forth will always be individual to the child, there can never be a set answer that will cover every child with this triad of conditions.
It took me a long time to recognize this because this is not the way our current scientific investigation model works. Studies are done to look for the one explanation that tries to explain all, like a causative organism, an allergen, a toxin or a food or environmental sensitivity. I am not saying this is wrong, all I am saying is that it represents too narrow a view.
When every child with asthma, allergies and eczema has a different set of reasons for having those three conditions together, it is a problem trying to reduce the answer to the why question to a one size fits all response. I think we all know this intuitively, and certainly parents know that their own child has unique characteristics that differentiate them from everyone else in the world. To me, this is the main reason to use a more holistic approach to childhood issues and in my opinion, an energy based evaluation must be a part of the overall strategy.
Reality Based Approach
My final point to make is that your child does have a reason as to why they have or have had this triad of asthma, allergies and eczema but the answer will not be found in some textbook, or by a specialist, or on the next drug commercial. It will be found by the investigation of your child’s own history, predisposing factors, timing of events and experiences, and the awareness of their own energy based system functioning in real time.
My proposal to parents is to take a reality based approach which takes into account the necessity of medications if that is required, but not to the exclusion of all other investigations. Your child’s system is way too complex for us to logically reduce things to one answer only. Be open to all possibilities and systems of reasoning. Your child already does this naturally. I think we should do the same.
I believe one of the most important topics that parents can teach their kids about is how to handle emotional states like anger. As youngsters, we have a lack of experience and little where-with-all to handle powerful and unpredictable emotions.
Learning how to manage emotions like anger in constructive, natural and acceptable ways is one of the ongoing processes of childhood and beyond.
Here is a site and a book I came across which specifically deals with anger in children and gives some great alternatives to medication and the conventional approach, while respecting the individual variations that children inherently have across the spectrum of the population.
The following is a quote from the author:
“Thanks to recent research on brain neuroplasticity, exercise-induced brain stimulation, psychoenergetic science, the power of intention and attention, we knew we could help our grandson manage his anger without relying on drugs or institutional care. And that’s what we did–helped him manage his anger–with love, patience, belief and brain-building exercises. This website is the result of our encounter with anger. We decided to turn what we learned from it into anger management tips and resources that can help others like us.”
- Bianca Tora
In Chinese medicine, anger is under the functional category of the liver and gall bladder sub-system. What this means is from an energy perspective, children (and all of us) must use some of their allotted liver gall bladder energy to deal with anger as an emotion, either in the expression of it or the inhibition of it. Both outward expression and inward repression require energy from the liver and gall bladder system.
Not surprisingly, this same sub-circuit is in charge of dealing with stress (both internal and external) in addition to many other categories. It is no wonder then, that stress can increase the chances of a child having anger episodes more frequently or more pronounced as a result of stress provoking events and experiences.
In my practice, I have learned that I must look for additional pieces of information when investigating the causes of anger and the Chinese medicine system is a very useful framework in this regard. At the same time, it allows us to look for individual differences in order to come up with a strategy that will work for your child, not anyone else’s and not based solely on statistics and numbers.
Here is a short video that highlights this site called Help-Your-Child-With-Anger.com.
If you have a child who is having difficulty with anger as an emotional state, go to this website and read more about the many techniques available to address it. You may also leave a comment on this post or submit a question through my contact form.
I’m a big believer in allowing for individual differences among kids as they grow, learn and develop. I think all parents want to understand and nurture their kids in the most individualized way possible. But how does one do that?
I came across a word on Twitter, of all places, and the word was “conation”. I must admit, I had never heard of it before. With my curiosity peaked, I followed the link and found out it has something to do with how the brain works. I’m always interested in the nervous system so I continued on.
There is a series of assessment indexes created by a fascinating woman named Kathy Kolbe. These are scientifically validated tools to assess an individual’s 3 main brain functions: thinking, feeling and doing. The doing or action part is what is referred to as conation. According to the Kolbe website:
“The conative, or doing, part contains the striving instincts that drive a person’s natural way of taking action, or modus operandi (MO). This is the unique set of innate strengths and talents every person has which remains unchanged from birth. Everyone has an equal amount of conative energy for engaging the thinking (cognitive) and feeling (affective) parts of the mind to produce purposeful action.”
I find it really exciting that parents can now discover how their own child uses this conative ability in their own unique way. It is even more pronounced when a parent can discern and respect the differences they may have with their own child. This was pointed out beautifully by Martha Beck in an article she wrote in 2006. In it she describes how she found out how different she was compared to her own daughter with regards to school performance, and how this really changed their relationship. She learned to play to her daughter’s strengths by enhancing the innate conative ability her daughter had been trying to use all along. You can read the full article which appeared in O, the Oprah Magazine in January 2006.
The main take home point here is that these assessment tools give parents a way to gain clarity on how their child is functioning and how they can encourage this natural way of being for their specific child, not in comparison to anyone else. As a pediatrician, this is very appealing to me and just makes a lot of sense.
If you are interested in getting an assessment done for your child of any age older than 2 years old, explore the different options available on the Kolbe Assessments page. The Kolbe IF for Kids Index is for ages 2 thru 8, and the Kolbe Y Index if for older kids thru age 17. In addition, there are reading materials and research links as well.
A special thanks to Kathy Kolbe for her outstanding work on behalf of children and parents.
I’d be interested in hearing what other parents have found out by exploring and nurturing their child’s conative ability. If any of you have had experience with this technique or have had your child’s assessment done, share your views and feedback with others below.
I am a big fan of Dr T Berry Brazelton and his Touchpoints philosophy. As a fellow pediatrician I have had similar feelings as Dr Brazelton with regards to the changes that have taken place in our medical system. As physicians, we have all experienced changes in the way we practice medicine in the last couple of decades.
I like the short video embedded below which details the Touchpoints philosophy. Dr Brazelton and the other providers on the video stress the importance of parents as partners in the process which I whole-heartedly agree with. As parents, you are by far the most influential people in your children’s lives so it makes sense to support your role with as much encouragement and knowledge we can give you.
The common scenario where a child is about to make developmental gains often brings with it some regression in other areas. I have seen this time and again in my practice, and Dr Brazelton reinforces the need for balance and understanding while this is happening. Once you as parents realize this is part of the overall process it can really take the pressure off of you and provide an opportunity for growth and understanding for all members of your family.
The team approach discussed in the video includes all those involved in your child’s development, not just the parents and the doctor. This is also very much in line with my way of thinking and I would add that the decision of who is included in this partnership should be up to the family and their practitioners, not any outside agencies (like insurance companies).
Finally, I really like the way Dr Brazelton emphasizes the need for a paradigm shift, wherein we go from looking at failures and problem areas that a child might have (which inevitably leads to diagnoses, tests, medications, etc.) and rather looking at the positive gains the child has made and seeing the good aspects through the child’s own experience.
In my practice I use a framework that is very similar in philosophy with Touchpoints. I highly recommend that you watch this short video now and then explore Dr Brazelton’s Touchpoints site. If you have any comments or questions, use the form below.
I’ve started to put up pages on my website Principles for Parents that address the different age ranges that your child is likely to be in right now.
One of the things I have learned in my practice is just how important your child’s age is as far as how they view the world, themselves, and their life experiences. I’ve started with the prenatal time period and I’m now moving into the toddler age range.
The most important concept I want to convey to you is that we have to take into account your child’s age both currently and historically. What I mean is: the age your child was when some significant event or experience took place has a tremendous influence on how they have stored the memory of that event. An even more crucial point is that their brain is likely to associate many varied factors along with the event or experience and this can lead to misconceptions and beliefs about the world that may not be true. This in turn can cause energy expenditures on your child’s part that will interfere with how their body and system functions as a whole.
Here’s an example. Let’s say your child was in the car when you had a minor car accident. Everyone was fine afterward but it left you and your child pretty shaken up. If your child is less than 5 years old, it is very likely they will interpret this event as kind of a surprise or shock to their system. However, the end result may be to associate being in the car with ongoing or imminent danger. This can lead to inordinate amounts of energy being expended by your child whenever they are in the car. Since this kind of experience is equated with survival, you can see how difficult it can be for them to resolve or reconcile the need to expend energy on this versus other needs of their energy system.
I think it is well worth the time to explore this with you as the parent because you are the one who can most help and influence your child. As with many other things, the earlier one intervenes and corrects an energy imbalance the sooner and more complete the resolution will be for your child.
You can read more about this topic of how I relate the importance of your child’s age in the context of their overall evaluation on the age ranges page on my website.
In an article called “The Overbooked Child” published in Psychology Today a few years ago, David Elkins described what has been happening to kids who are over-scheduled and pushed too hard by well meaning parents to be successful and involved in too many activities. As in all areas of pediatrics, there is wide variation in parenting styles.
However, I believe that given the high stress nature of our environment and society, children could really use more free time and a relaxed schedule. Parents can help even more by modeling the need for relaxation and non-goal oriented activity, like puttering around in the yard, going for a walk, spending time playing sports or wandering on the beach or in the woods.
If children grow up thinking it’s their job to be busy every minute of the day, this will surely take a toll on their health and wellbeing in the long run.
Let me know what you think about this topic by leaving a comment.
To read the original article on overscheduled kids, follow this link to the Psychology Today reprint called “Are We Pushing Our Kids Too Hard?”