Teens Tips with Alicia Drummond teen-tips-so-every-child-can-thrive 2 The Mews,
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Resources
for schools & parents

Understanding ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitits) CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) by Alicia Drummond, Parenting Expert & Therapist

ME/CFS is a long-term condition with a multitude of symptoms, the most common of which is extreme tiredness.  ME/CFS is more common in women aged 20-40, but it can be experienced by anyone, of any age.

We do not currently know exactly what causes ME/CFS, but it often appears to be triggered by an infection such as glandular fever or pneumonia.  People with compromised immune systems can be more vulnerable, and there seems to be a genetic element to it as it is more common in some families.

There is no specific test for ME/CFS, so diagnosis will be done by your doctor based on your symptoms.  The trouble is that many of the symptoms (see below) can be attributed to other illnesses which must be ruled out, and the symptoms must have been present for three months or more, so it can take time to diagnose ME/CFS.

Typical symptoms include:

  • Feeling tired all the time – this is not like the tired you feel after a poor night’s sleep, it is an overwhelming tiredness which isn’t alleviated by sleep or rest.
  • Feeling unwell all the time
  • Problems sleeping
  • Problems thinking clearly, concentrating, and remembering things
  • Slow recovery after exercise
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Headaches, eye pain
  • Feeling dizzy or sick and unable to tolerate some foods, drinks and chemicals
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Heart palpitations

These symptoms can change rapidly, and feel better or worse day by day, even hour by hour.

There is currently no specific treatment for ME/CFS, but doctors can prescribe medicines to treat individual symptoms such as poor sleep.  Doctors should refer young people to a Paediatric Specialist ME/CFS team where they are likely to be seen by a range of specialists including physiotherapists, exercise physiologists, occupational therapists, dieticians, and counsellors.

It is hard living with ME/CFS, patients feel really unwell and miss out on day-to-day life because they simply don’t have the energy to participate.  Because it is a disease which is not fully understood by the medical profession it can take time to get a diagnosis.  Friends and family often don’t understand quite how debilitating the illness can be and become frustrated.  Patients with ME/CFS often have to make major lifestyle changes to manage their illness, and all of this can make patients more susceptible to developing mental health issues, such as depression.

If you have a child suffering from ME/CFS, here are a few tips that might help:

  1. Encourage them to stay connected to friends even if only online.
  2. Encourage them to be part of the healing process, i.e. make sure they understand what the experts are saying during a consultation, and encourage them to experiment and find foods and practices that help them feel a little better.
  3. Help them manage the hard emotions through activities like journaling, meditation and counselling. If they’re unsure at first, perhaps you could start the activity with them.
  4. Help them feel confident about themselves and their ability to get better.
  5. Never underestimate the power of touch – a gentle foot/hand massage. Your physical presence will give comfort.

If you, or someone you know, has been diagnosed with ME/CFS we recommend you get in touch with the ME Association which offers information, advice, and support.

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Parenting After Parting: Advice For Parents Wishing To Take Their Children On Holiday by Annabel Andreou, Solicitor In The Family & Divorce Team at Debenhams Ottaway

While many families will be looking forward to their first holiday abroad in three years, parents who are recently separated or divorced might be feeling anxious about holidaying as a single parent. Parents who are divorced or separated must take certain steps to ensure that their trip is in line with the law. Annabel Andreou shares her advice for recently separated parents and carers wishing to take their child on holiday.

Using Screens For Good This Summer by Alicia Drummond, Therapist & Founder of The Wellbeing Hub

School is done, but some of us are still working, and the prospect of six weeks trying to entertain your offspring all summer may already be causing you nightmares. We share our tips on how to encourage your teen to balance their screen time and use their time online for good.

Prospective Memory & Decision Making by Alicia Drummond, Therapist & Founder of The Wellbeing Hub

Prospective memory develops during childhood and adolescence through to our mid-twenties, but during the teenage years other factors come into play which make it less reliable in certain circumstances. Teenagers need to become increasingly independent in preparation for leaving home and prospective memory plays an important role in helping them achieve this goal. Alicia explains the relationship between prospective memory, alcohol and decision making, and shares tips on how to prevent lapses of prospective memory.

How To Counter Eco-Anxiety by Katrina Judge, Founder & Director of Young Climate Warriors

We are delighted to share this blog written by Katrina Judge from Young Climate Warriors on how to counter eco-anxiety and support your child/ren. This resource is also available in The Wellbeing Hub for parents, pupils and staff.

Managing Negative Thought Patterns by Clare Nicholas, School Counsellor at Pipers Corner

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2022, we thought we’d share this blog written by Clare Nicholas on negative thought patterns. Clare shares her advice on how to manage negative thought patterns, practise self-care, and notice your positive attributes. This is a great one to share with your child/pupils.

Supporting young people in an uncertain world following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by Alicia Drummond, Therapist & Founder of The Wellbeing Hub

The past two years have taken their toll on the wellbeing of so many people and the last thing we all needed was more uncertainty and drama, but here we are, Russia has invaded Ukraine, and none of us knows how this war will play out. Amongst children and young people anxiety levels are high, and many are feeling frightened as they grapple, perhaps for the first time, with the possibility of war in Europe, and nuclear threat. We share our top tips on how to support young people through these uncertain times.

Eating Disorders with Alicia Drummond, Therapist & Founder of The Wellbeing Hub

This week is Eating Disorder Awareness Week and with an estimated 1.25 million people living with an eating disorder in the UK it is helpful to know what we can do in terms of prevention and support. We discuss what an eating disorder is, how to spot the signs, and how to prevent your child from suffering with an eating disorder.

Revision & Mocks: Advice for Parents by Lizzie Mitchell, University Lecturer & Tutor

January will have been a busy time for those sitting mocks in preparation for the summer.  Some will have been reassured when they received their results, while others may have felt disappointed. As parents it can be difficult to know how best to help.  So, what can we do? Lizzie Mitchell, an experienced tutor and university lecturer, shares her top tips and advice for parents.

Understanding Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with Alicia Drummond

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a mental health problem which affects two in every one hundred people.   It is a complex disorder which can be difficult to understand for both the sufferer and their family and friends.  You often hear people joking about being a bit OCD when you see their immaculate laundry cupboard or categorised book collection, but those who suffer from OCD know it is absolutely no joke. So what is it?

The Importance Of Hugs For Self-Esteem & Wellbeing In Adolescents with Alicia Drummond

As our children enter adolescence, they will start to reject things which seem childish to them, and that may include our gestures of affection.  As parents we generally accept their rejection of childhood toys and interests but struggle when we are in the firing line. It is a sad day when a previously affectionate child pulls away from a hug or shuts down your expressions of love. For parents, the loss of intimacy can feel devastating, but what we sometimes fail to appreciate is that even though they are the ones doing the rejecting, they will experience a sense of loss too. In celebration of National Hugging Day, we discuss the importance of hugs for the self-esteem and wellbeing of young people.

Coping with Omicron Uncertainty with Alicia Drummond

The past twenty months have taken their toll on the wellbeing of so many people and the last thing we all needed was more uncertainty and drama, but here we are, Omicron is with us, and life has become unpredictable once more. We share our tips on how to support your children and cope with the uncertainty of life with the new Omicron variant.

How To Support Your Child’s Mental Health During Lockdown

We are starting to see an increase in Covid restrictions again and the cracks are showing. Parents are telling us that they are not ok and many are concerned about the mental health of their children, both young ones and teenagers.  We are in a period of collective mourning with many of us grieving our loss of certainty, of social interaction, of familiar habits and routines.  We want our old lives back and we want it now. We share our tips on how to support your child’s mental health during these uncertain times.

In conversation with Emma-Jane Taylor On Teens & Mental Health

Alicia went onto the Emma-Jane Show’s podcast to discuss all things teens and mental health. This is a very open and honest conversation about recovery, resilience and Alicia’s journey to where she is today. 

Family Meals

In this blog, we consider the advantages of eating together as a family – something we have all apparently been managing to do more often since lockdown.

Talking About Race And Ethnicity With Children & Teens

Following the horrific death of George Floyd and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, we have been asked for advice on how to talk to children and teenagers about racism. 

Online Grooming & Radicalisation [how to spot the signs and what to do]

With young people online more than ever, those who would seek to influence, radicalise or groom them via social media and gaming will be busy. Find out how to support your child and help them stay safe.

Free Listening Sessions For Teens In Particular Need Of Support

We are working with some wonderful therapists across the country and some are offering two free, half hour emergency sessions to teenagers who might be particularly struggling.

How To Talk To Your Child About Coronavirus

A pandemic can be a scary time for parents and children alike. So here are some pointers for keeping young people calm and holding a panic-free conversation about Coronavirus.