Can a School Require My Child to Take Medication?
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Can a School Require My Child to Take Medication?

Dear Dr. Wes: I heard you on Up to Date with Steve Kraske talking about IEPs, 504s, and student improvement plans and medication management with psychotherapy. The school told us that if my child didn’t take medication, he’d be kicked out of elementary school. Can they do that? Dear Listener: The short answer is “no.” No school…

Teens, Young Adults and Substance Use
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Teens, Young Adults and Substance Use

There’s a thin line between love and hate. Usually that old saying refers to a relationship between people, but it also applies to our relationship with alcohol and other substances. Alcohol can be particularly tricky, since its consumption is so socially acceptable, and even encouraged. We also have the issue of marijuana, which is increasingly finding a place in our cultural fabric. The…

How Teens Use Selfies and Social Media to Enhance or Degrade Self-Esteem
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How Teens Use Selfies and Social Media to Enhance or Degrade Self-Esteem

Teens and young adults love to post moments from their daily lives on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat, and a few even still use Facebook, though for most that’s something us old folks like to tinker with. But parents and many family psychologists wonder whether posting a teen’s best, most glamorous moments, and most perfectly filtered portraits only serves to…

KCUR Up to Date: Thirteen Reasons Why...And Why Not
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KCUR Up to Date: Thirteen Reasons Why...And Why Not

We had a great on-air conversation about Thirteen Reasons Why on Kansas City Public Radio as the film and controversy continue to draw considerable attention.  While I remain convinced that this is an important, if imperfect, tool for discussing a broad array of teen issues, I’ve heard some very intelligent dissent. Very little of it…

Don't Get Played: Choosing Quality Play Therapy For Your Child
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Don't Get Played: Choosing Quality Play Therapy For Your Child

Play therapy. What is it?  Who needs it?  Who can provide it?  Play therapists are often questioned about the validity of their work, as the very idea of play therapy, or playing during therapy, seems of little relevance.  Surely, there can’t be any benefits or growth by “just playing,” right? In reality, play therapy can…

KCUR Up to Date: Having a Genuine Conversation with Your Teen
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KCUR Up to Date: Having a Genuine Conversation with Your Teen

We often think of parents and children as existing on opposite sides of a wide communication gap built of generational misunderstandings. Too often that gap leads both parents and kids to simply avoid what they both see as awkward conversations about sexuality, substance abuse, and even simple topics like school performance and peer relationships. When…

Thirteen Reasons Why: Fox 4 Morning Show Extended Facebook Interview
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Thirteen Reasons Why: Fox 4 Morning Show Extended Facebook Interview

The response to our broadcast interviews about the Netflix miniseries Thirteen Reasons Why was so strong during the 9:00am hour on April 27th, that Mark Alford and I decided to move the conversation on to Facebook, where we took questions from a number of viewers. Mark asked some great questions and we therefore didn’t get…

Fox 4 Morning Show: Thirteen Reasons Why
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Fox 4 Morning Show: Thirteen Reasons Why

On Thursday April 27, 2017 I joined Kim Nick Vasos and Kim Byrnes to discuss the Netflix original series Thirteen Reasons Why. TV is always an immediate format, and we only decided to do this show on Monday morning. My daughter and I had read the book by Jay Asher back in 2010 while working…

Question or Command: Which gains your kid's attention?
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Question or Command: Which gains your kid's attention?

Every parent feels like a broken record at some point. Having to ask your child or teen 15 times to get something accomplished is frustrating and builds resentment. Many parents find themselves managing a lot of “shoulds” i.e the kids “should” listen, they “shouldn’t” have to repeat themselves, the kids “shouldn’t” be ignoring what is…

The High School Senior's Scholarship Dilemma
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The High School Senior's Scholarship Dilemma

I’ve noticed a troubling trend in financial aid that has me questioning how young people make decisions about where to go to college. It goes like this: Billy takes the ACT, scores 32, applies to several colleges and then takes the best scholarship package offered. Nothing new there. The new trend—or perhaps I’m just now…