Stories about: Cutting

Talking to your kids about new developments in Demi Lovato’s hospitalization

Have you been following the story of teen pop sensation Demi Lovato? According to reports Lovato recently dropped off a world tour because of “physical and emotional issues,” but sources close to the singer say a recent break up caused her to engage in risky behavior like drinking, drug use, as well as previously reported instances of cutting and an eating disorder. At the moment all reports are speculation, but that doesn’t mean her legions of teen and tween fans won’t be exposed to the story and have to process the information that their child idol is dealing with some very adult issues.

Last week media expert Michael Rich, MD, MPH, answered questions about how to talk to young Demi fans about the media coverage surrounding her condition, but in light of new developments in her story it seems appropriate we re-run the piece. In addition to Rich’s commentary, please click on the following links for information parents can use when talking to their children about the challenges Demi is facing, as well as the type of treatment that’s available to her.

Eating disorders; cutting and self-harm; drinking; drug use

Michael Rich, MD, MPH

Q: My 6-year-old adores singer/actress Demi Lovato: She watches her Disney Channel show, “Sonny with a Chance” (with supervision), listens to her albums, and went to see Demi as her first concert this summer. But now the media are reporting that Demi just checked into rehab for “physical and emotional issues” that may involve an eating disorder and cutting issues. My daughter shares a playground and bus ride with older kids who are bound to be talking about this. There’s almost no way we can keep her away from the story, so how do I even begin explaining concepts like rehab, eating disorders and cutting to a 6-year-old?

Star-Struck-Down Dad in Boston, MA

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How do I talk to my child about Demi Lovato's emotional issues?

Michael Rich, MD, MPH

Michael Rich, MD, MPH, is Children’s Hospital Boston’s media expert and director of Children’s Center on Media and Child Health. Take a look at his blog archive or follow him on Twitter @CMCH_Boston.

Last week he talked about the subtleties of racial humor and if children picked up on them, or if they simply reinforced negative stereotypes. This week he advises a father on how to talk to his daughter about the recent emotional breakdown of her favorite pop star.

Q: My 6-year-old adores singer/actress Demi Lovato: She watches her Disney Channel show, “Sonny with a Chance” (with supervision), listens to her albums, and went to see Demi as her first concert this summer. But now the media are reporting that Demi just checked into rehab for “physical and emotional issues” that may involve an eating disorder and cutting issues. My daughter shares a playground and bus ride with older kids who are bound to be talking about this. There’s almost no way we can keep her away from the story, so how do I even begin explaining concepts like rehab, eating disorders and cutting to a 6-year-old?

Star-Struck-Down Dad in Boston, MA

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Study shows cutting prevalent among young teens

teenage girls are more likely to cut than boys
Teenage girls are more likely to cut than boys.

Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet— even Twilight’s Bella— all flirted with the concept. Throughout history (both real and fictional) many adolescents have felt so victimized by a world outside their control that they’ve harbored thoughts of self-harm. Though the causes tend to differ with age, sex and culture, it seems the stresses of teenage life—and some of their more troubling coping mechanisms— have been around for ages. But a study by a researcher from Cornell University shows that one reaction to stress and feelings of helplessness is more prevalent among young teens than many people may realize. According to the study, cutting, the act of marking one’s body through self-inflicted scratches and lacerations, is practiced by as many as 12 to 37 percent of kids during early adolescence.

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What parents need to know about proposed DSM changes

Depressed Teen in Therapyby Stuart Goldman, MD, Co-Director of Children’s Mood Disorder Program

The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is in the draft stages of revising their fifth edition. While the DSM has limitations and at times is a bit controversial in the psychiatry community, it is the official diagnostic guide. The new edition which is scheduled for 2013 has a few suggested changes that could have some impact on your child and family.

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