In this episode of Real Talk, KJK Student Defense Attorneys Susan Stone and Kristina Supler are joined by Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri, a Board-Certified Pediatrician at Senders Pediatrics for over 21 years. They discuss parenting at different stages. The conversation includes detecting developmental issues, the ideal course of action to manage developmental issues and effective means to make parenting easier.
Links Mentioned In the Show:
- How to spot developmental issues in your child early on (02:21)
- Crawling: Is it really a milestone? (04:07)
- When should your child be able to say their first words? (05:33)
- The organization which provides free infant & toddler screening for any developmental, physical issues, etc. (06:31)
- The best type of play for your child according to a pediatrician (07:01)
- Why how a child plays alone is not an indicator of a developmental issue (08:39)
- The age at which parents need to start observing for signs of developmental issues in their kids (10:14)
- Why early intervention is key to helping your child manage developmental issues (10:35)
- Early recognition of attention deficit disorder (ADD) and oppositional defiant disorder in children (12:16)
- Why spanking is a form of discipline that actually does more harm than good (15:50)
- The most effective way to discipline kids Dr. Bucchieri has found to be (17:11)
- When you know you need to seek professional help for your child (19:13)
- Why the parent of caregiver’s perspective is essential in diagnosis (21:56)
- Social warning signs that can potentially be indicators of autism spectrum disorder (23:00)
- How to foster independence in kids (25:26)
- Why parents should allow their kids to be more autonomous when it comes to homework (27:48)
- Family meetings and their significance in intervention (29:30)
- Distinguishing the fine line between over-parenting and regular support for your children (31:04)
- Why Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri recommends teaching money management to teens before college (32:51)
- Sleep and its role in your child’s development (33:26)
- Factors to consider when discerning whether or not to allow your teen to get their license (36:15)
- Why every parent should follow Senders Pediatrics (38:43)
Susan Stone: Welcome back to Real Talk with Susan Stone and Kristina Supler. We’re full-time moms and attorneys bringing our student defense legal practice to life with real candid conversations. Today’s topic is understanding normal child development from birth to college. From the perspective of our guest speaker, Dr. Elizabeth Bucchieri affectionately known to us as our friend Zizzy.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Hi, thank you so much for having me
Kristina Supler: Zizzy, we’re so pleased to have you with us today. For our listeners out there, Zizzy has been a pediatrician for the last 21 years at Senders Pediatrics. She’s she’s one smart cookie. She went to Princeton university and then Columbia college of physicians and surgeons.
Kristina Supler: She completed her residency at Johns Hopkins. She has two grown children and she’s an, I have really had the pleasure of getting to nosy better through a women’s retreat weekend that we participated on at, in, at a camp in New Hampshire, it was a blast and we spent time hiking and doing fun outdoor activities and got to knows Izzy better.
Kristina Supler: So we’re so pleased to have you join us today in your capacity as a pediatrician. Thanks for joining us.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Thank you for having me.
Susan Stone: I’m going to start with an age group that I haven’t had the privilege of being with now that my kids are old, it’s birth through toddler, the toddler years, those cute little people.
Susan Stone: Can you tell us? It’s so hard to know, and I hate using this word, but what is considered and I’m quote, unquote, normal childhood development from birth through the toddler years and what are signs of what might be a developmental issue?
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Sure. So like you said, there’s, you don’t want to pin people too much into normal and abnormal.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And I do think a lot of parents these days really look at these trackers and milestone sheets and get nervous sometimes if their kids aren’t doing exactly what said. So given that there’s a big range of normal there are some good guides. You can go on, like the CDC has a milestone guide that you can go on.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: But basically, babies around six weeks of age, start to do a little bit of a social smile back at you, which is very nice and some cooing. And then around six months of age, they started to include some consonants like Baba, dada, Gaga. And then their language starts to sound like a foreign language that you can’t understand.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Like they say. But they’re definitely telling you something and it’s cute. And then you can go back and forth and say, oh really? I like that too. And then they chat back and forth with you. And then around a year, you start to get the sense that they understand you pretty well. So you could say something about their shoe and they look at their shoe or the dog, and they look at the dog. Or you say it’s time to eat and they get excited.
Susan Stone: So the receptive language needs to come in. Does it need to come in or does come in before the expressive language?
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Always the receptive language comes before the expressive. And also if they’re receptive language, is there. I have parents quiz their kids a little bit. If they’re reading a book to the kid and they say, where’s the dog ear, where’s the tree.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Or, you know, on their own body, where’s your head, where’s your tummy, where’s your toes. Then they know those words. They know head tummy, toes, even if they can’t say the words. And if they know the words, then you don’t have to worry so much if they’re late talkers.
Susan Stone: Before we move on, I just would have a question because I’ve heard a controversy about this. Crawling: is it a milestone or not? Do you have to crawl before you walk? Or can you skip it and scoot, and then walk because I’ve been hearing that it actually is important for that child’s brain development to have that cross lateral motion.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Yeah. I mean, I think you’re right, that there is some controversy about it.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And most kids do crawl before they walk. But there are some, I’ve definitely had some patients who do this thing I call the sit in, scoot and they sit and they do this funny thing with their legs and their knees and they get themselves around. A lot of times, I think it’s kids who have older siblings and they don’t see the older siblings crawling, but they see the older siblings walking.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: So they are, and they don’t see the, so they see the older kids sitting and they see the older kid walking and they just kind of sit and zoom around. And then they are dying to stand up and walk. But I do think probably if you talk to a physical therapist, they would say what you said about it’s important to have the cross lateral motion, et cetera, et cetera.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: But I, the kids I’ve had who sit in, scoot and stand and run seem to be doing fine. But most kids do crawl before. Yeah. So in terms of the gross motor development, they, they roll route between four and six months and sit on their own around six months. Then they get from sitting into the crawling position around seven to eight months and pulling to stand at nine months and then usually taking some independent steps between 12 months and 15 months.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And then look out. They’re running and climbing and getting into everything.
Kristina Supler: Zizzy, one last question on this discussion of, basically birth to early toddler, developmental milestones. What about speech? At what age should your child articulate their first word?
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Right? So that’s, that’s usually between 12 and 15 months that they’re saying, and they, they call it a w sometimes a word approximation.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: So like, they’ll say ‘ba’ that means bottle or bubble or baby or ball. But you see them looking at the ball and they say BA, and you’re like, yes, that’s your ball. And it is good to fill it out as cute as this stuff is that they say try to say the real word that they’re trying to say. Cause then that’ll help them say the real word.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And then usually by 15, 18 months, they start to really pile up the vocabulary. And that’s right around when like 15 to 18 months, if they’re not hitting those milestones, the pediatric there’s usually a 15 month visit and an 18 month visit the pediatrician. If there’s any concerns that the child is not first of all understanding. Cause that’s the most important thing that they’re, that they’re not understanding language or they’re not trying to communicate. Then the pediatrician would probably recommend some more evaluation.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And one good first step is something called Help Me Grow, which is a free service through the county that sends a team of people, usually one person to start, but to your house and can do an assessment. And if the child needs any extra help, they can do speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy. They’re amazing.
Susan Stone: Talk about what is normal play because, who said “Play is the work of a child”? The founder of the movement.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Yeah. I mean that, that’s their job, right. Their job is to play. And I do think that’s important for parents to remember. Because especially nowadays everything is, am I giving my kid enough stimulation? Are they doing enough classes? Are they in enough things? Gonna teach them their foreign language? But really they just sort of need a Tupperware and a spoon and a paper towel tube, and they’d be happy.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: You know, you remember like the example of, you know, on the holidays when the kids are unwrapping the presents. They like the wrapping paper better than the presents half the time. So a lot of open-ended play. I am a big fan of, things where the toy can be played with many different ways. My favorite present for a toddler is, is, a set of blocks that are in multiple shapes, like the squares and rectangles and the triangles and circles.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And there is some good studies to show that for girls, if they play with more blocks and puzzles, they’re going to be better at math in the end. Because it will help them with sort of geometry down the road and they can, the kids can play with it very open-ended.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Like my, I had two daughters and they love to build houses for their stuffed animals with the blocks. And then we’d have boys over and they’d build ramps for cars with the blocks. And, you can do a lot of different things with them, but you don’t have to do what the package says. Cause they’re, open-ended.
Susan Stone: What’s abnormal play? Yeah. What would be assigned if you look at a child, do you agree that if you see the child, let’s say lining the blocks up in a line, should you be freaking out what grade?
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Yeah. That I would say no. You know, that, that alone a lot of kids like to line stuff up. No, certainly there are some kids on the autistic spectrum that can get very, into certain, certain toys and having them in a certain way. But that, that wouldn’t be like the major red flag. Usually it’s a little bit more of in terms of autism that they’re not understanding you. They’re not wanting to communicate. There’s poor eye contact. There’s sort of more to it than that.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And then they may have some like hand flapping motions, but, uh, but that can also be in the neuro-typical range too. Like the kids get excited. So it, for autism it’s tricky because it’s, there’s a lot of things that, that can be normal or can be on the spectrum and you have to kind of put the whole package together.
Kristina Supler: Zizzy, many of our clients, our students on the spectrum of all different ages, and it’s not unusual for students to come to us families, I should say. And, and there’s some challenges the students experiencing. And, after some more digging and evaluation and meeting with various professionals, the child is diagnosed as having, autism being on the autism spectrum.
Kristina Supler: So you’ve, you’ve mentioned some red flags or signs or behaviors for parents to look for. Is there a certain age when this issue of autism should really be on the radar of parents or a certain age when a child can really be evaluated for autism?
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Yeah, I mean, I guess I would say 15 months, you can, I’ll sometimes start to get a little wondering about it. But then I usually try to give them til 18 months to pull everything together. But around 18 months, if they’re not pointing at things, if they’re not understanding you, if they’re not, if they’re not trying to communicate, then I would, I would start the evaluation at that age. Because number one, early intervention is huge.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And, and can really help a child out. And then unfortunately there’s waiting lists for a lot of these things. If you have any concerns, it’s much better to get referred to a, to a development. For mean, you usually start with a speech therapist, but then if there’s more concerns to get referred, we’ll talk to your pediatrician, but then get referred to a developmental pediatrician.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And that could sometimes take several months to get in. And I’d love to have that done by two. So that then if the child was eligible for some early intervention preschool there’s, as you guys know, there’s some finances involved in it. And so it’s good to get that. I would say try to get it done, or at least started by two.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And then by three, for sure. Cause that’s a lot of times when the preschool start is at three and everything just takes times.
Susan Stone: Everything takes time. That’s great advice. Well, we’re going to leave the baby years and get to elementary school, which I kind of consider the golden years of having children because second graders.
Susan Stone: It was Kristina and I, this year got certified in positive discipline. Because frankly we wanted to be able to talk to our clients because we have a lot of meltdowns from students that we represent because they’re under so much pressure. And we kind of want to focus early on what is considered normal acting out though versus early signs of ADD or oppositional defiant disorder.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Well, what I would say is in those, in that three to five year age group, There, they talk about like two-year-olds and temper tantrums, you know, you sort of expect some temper tantrums from two year olds and even three-year-olds are pretty, you may have heard of the term threenager. So two year olds, they’re not always able to communicate so well, but they do have their needs.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And often if they’re hungry and tired, they just completely fall on the ground crying. And one of your guests, like, I can’t remember. I think it was the the positive episode on positive discipline. They talked about how the, some of the main reasons why children’s misbehave or being hungry and tired. And I really do believe that’s the case.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: So I am a big fan of getting them enough sleep and then trying to make sure they’re eating food with protein and fat. Because if they just eat their carbs, which they love. And the crackers and the noodles.
Susan Stone: I love goldfish
Kristina Supler: is smiling because you’re saying the main reason for misbehavior among children is being hungry and tired.
Kristina Supler: And I think the same is probably true for adults as well. Of course, excluding present company.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Yeah, of course. I remember. I remember one time literally. Yelling full volume yelling at my daughter. And I said, “You’re acting like a child.”
Kristina Supler: No, mom, you are.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: She actually was a child.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: I
Susan Stone: see the signs of ADD and ODD. Because we deal with those issues and when they become difficult issues.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Sure. Yeah. Technically speaking, you’re not even supposed to diagnose ADD until six years old. Just from the criteria, but there definitely are families where the one parent has it, a sibling has it. And the kid is just running around the room, just tearing the place up.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Where you kind of know they’re going down that path. But typically I don’t recommend diagnosing until six. But occupational therapy is actually the first step in helping children with ADHD bef you know, before you get, even get into medication. So I would definitely refer a kid who’s in the, the three to five range who can not sit still and having a hard time paying attention to occupational therapy as a first step, towards either helping them mature and helping them, get things together. Or if not a first step in kind of treatment. And then oppositional defiant disorder is probably a little out of my realm of diagnosis.
Kristina Supler: What about this hypothetical? You have a family, uh, with a child who’s five or six. You, the family doesn’t go to restaurants because the child just restaurants, it’s like sensory overload. For whatever reason, the child can’t handle the restaurant. Struggled to have play dates. The child just doesn’t listen.
Kristina Supler: Boundaries. Parents just struggled to have boundaries and in parents sort of get to that breaking point where, oh my gosh, I’m at my wit’s end. You know, the mother or father, what do I do? My child doesn’t listen. I have to make my child listen. I’m going to spank them. Cause that’s the only thing my child responds to.
Kristina Supler: What is your in of course, recognize that spanking is controversial. I mean, do you have thoughts on that for discipline?
Susan Stone: My parents deny it, but I was spanked. They’ll deny it, guys..
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Although, luckily, luckily I do feel like that doesn’t come up that much anymore. I do feel like people have just kind of started to realize that spanking just doesn’t work. Because then the children will just start hitting either you or their siblings.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: But I just don’t feel like in the last 10 years that has really come up that much, or maybe people are just not admitting it. But I feel like, I feel like that message has kind of gotten to people that’s that hitting a child doesn’t in the end make anything better besides the short term, you know, they’ll be scared.
Susan Stone: Time Outs don’t work either. I got to tell you, they did not today when everybody has such a great bedroom or just. It never worked on my kids time out.
Susan Stone: Or they stood on the stairs. Okay.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: I tried to do it a little bit, like for the young kids, the kids that are, pre-verbal like, kind of in the one to two year range where they’re hitting. I just try to do timeouts, usually just for hitting and biting.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: The two big baddies, I call it like a sports analogy, like the flagrant foul, if they really are doing something. Cause you know, there’s kind of like the, the noodling and the poking and the pestering. But like if they walk up to the brother and just whack them on the head, that has to be addressed.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And I try to tell people that you just pick up the child. You say don’t use the word. No, because they love to say no. And you just say. You’re hitting hurts. Your biting hurts. You’re having a timeout. You hold them in your lap, facing out, close your eyes and count just to have read many seconds they are old. You know, 60 seconds for a year, 120 for two years.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And that’s it. And then it’s done. There’s no lecture. There’s no sermon. There’s no step. There’s no chasing them. There’s no sending them to the room. It’s that quick.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And if you can kind of stick with that for a couple of weeks and have all the caregivers do it, which is tough, the babysitter, the grandparents, then they usually don’t they, then they usually phase out that, that behavior.
Kristina Supler: Well, we, we so often, you know, you hear this idea of like, it, it, it all starts at home. And it’s so true. There’s of course exceptions and, and unique challenges and circumstances that influence child development. But more often than not, if you spank, you might get a kid who hits. You yell at your kids, you’re going to, you know, foster that behavior and your child’s gonna yell at others.
Kristina Supler: And so I think it’s, it’s really good for parents to think about that. Of how their behavior, you know, is a model for, for children and of course we all have room improvement.
Susan Stone: Right. I want to, I want to challenge you. I think that’s all well and good. But I have Dean, especially in my special education practice, a real uptick and kids who just can’t calm down. We have been fighting for placements that were never thought of such as wilderness therapy never thought of in the elementary school ages.
Susan Stone: I think since COVID, the behaviors are getting much worse. I think parents are on edge. And I think all parents are doing what they can do. And I think in the past that might’ve been right, Kristina. But I’m going to challenge both of you on that. What do you do when you have a really out of control kid and you yourself are on your last piece of gas in your tank?
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Right. Well, that was even where Kristina started out, you know, the child who can’t go to the restaurant, can’t do play dates, having a hard time. I mean, that’s definitely outside the normal realm. And then you, I think you really do need help, you know, and I usually have people start with getting a pediatric psychologist involved. Sometimes even just to work with the parent and then coach the parent through how to manage things or what is, you know, a lot of times children with anxiety show up as being oppositional. You know, they’re, they’re stubborn. Beyond belief, but it turns out it’s stemming from anxiety and they’re so afraid or frightened that they just don’t want to do whatever it is.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: So, so if, if you are feeling that you’re at the end of your rope, it’s time to call out for help. So check with your pediatrician. Try to get in with the child psychologist to help. And then sometimes they do need, a special education situation, like pep, like the positive education program for we’ve had, I’ve had some patients there where the children couldn’t handle themselves in a regular school setting and they went into something like that. And then did and did really well.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: But right. I mean, there certainly are some kids who are not managing with the typical advice. And so if, if the typical advice isn’t working that is often a sign that maybe there is something more going on now.
Susan Stone: I think I want to do a shout out to our readers. It, I love what you said, Zizzy. If you feel that normal intervention is not working.
Susan Stone: Don’t blame yourself. Get help.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Right. Right. Cause probably there’s something more going on with that kid. When the regular advice, I did have one parent and she tries every last thing and the kid was so bright that it took a while to diagnose. At first they thought it was anxiety. Then they thought it was ADHD, but then it turned out it was autism as well.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: But the child is so bright that he kind of. Kind of tricked to everybody.
Kristina Supler: It seems so often it’s really important for parents to listen to their gut instincts. And when being told, you know, oh, your child is tired, moody, whatever. There’s, there’s nothing wrong. Cause. She gets great grades. He’s thriving on the standardized testing. But you feel like something is not right.
Kristina Supler: Something is not right. It just, in our experience, it’s so essential for parents to, to hold onto their gut instinct and keep digging and not settle, or rest, even when there’s schools or maybe even a pediatrician and people saying, no, it’s fine. It’s fine. You’re, you’re a hypersensitive helicopter parents. But you know, those parenting instincts often serve as well.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Right. I, I, a hundred percent agree with that. My best teacher in residency told me that, you can do all the blood tests and MRIs and everything, but basically listen to the parent. Because if the parent has a concern for the most part, your job is to really dig into that concern and figure out what’s going on. Because no parent really wants there to be a problem with their kid.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: So if they’re saying that they’re worried, usually there’s something to it now. I mean, certainly there can be exceptions and there can be some people that worry about things that are really fine and reassurance. There’s a, there’s a rule for reassurance, but I do agree. Most of the time really do have a great sense of their own kid.
Susan Stone: So what is the, I have a really interesting question that we all sort of led down this path. And then with those high functioning, autistic children, they’re verbal early. They can really trick the system and they need early intervention. What would be the early signs to prepare us and that more high functioning level.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: So that’s, that’s true. I mean, they’re T they’re tricky. That, that may be a little bit past me, but there, I think it’s, I think it’s, again, maybe the social piece. Are they interacting with peers? Are they, are they doing reciprocal play? Cause the kids go from the parallel play around two to between three and five they do the, the communal play where they’re pretending to cook together or are they’re pretending to be on a boat and on a trip. And, and they’re having to communicate with each other in order to play.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And so if the kid really can’t do that and some kids on the spectrum want to do things their own way with their own script, and they only want to talk about a certain toy or movie or something like that, but won’t listen to what the other kid wants to do.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: So I guess, especially with they’re really verbal kid, but they’re just not listening to the other kid. They’re not taking the other kids’ ideas and going with it. That I think that could be one of the big red flags for the very intelligent, very verbal kid who turns out to be on the spectrum. Okay.
Susan Stone: So Kristina, why don’t you, uh, launch our next topic.
Kristina Supler: No pun intended. So let’s fast forward. Now we we’ve talked about the early years. Let’s move down the line and talk about teenagers. Okay. So students, perhaps college kids. Zizzy, I believe you’ve indicated that, you listened to our episode with Dr. Mark McConville author of “Failure to Launch” who is such a pleasure to have on as a guest. And he’s just so respected and knowledgeable and offered such good wisdom and insight and in guidance.
Kristina Supler: For those parents sort of wrestling with the issue of how to foster independence and responsibility and they’re high school students, they’re teens. So that come time to head off to college in the fall.
Kristina Supler: It’s not a total disaster where the kids sleeping in late; spending too much money partying and all of a sudden the straight A student is getting F’s. So what can parents do? What tips or, or strategies could you offer to help parents, began to foster those, important skills of independence and responsibility very early on to avoid the failure to launch situation.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And I did think that was a great episode. I highly recommend it for your listeners who haven’t heard it. One thing that I sort of wish I had started a little earlier with my kids. So I’ll say it for everybody else, but it is probably a good idea to start chores early on, like in the three to five-year-old range.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And it doesn’t have three, doesn’t have to be something huge, but it could be, you know, helping clean up toys, helping sort the laundry, set the table, they love to clean. So giving them a rag and clean. Yeah. And the Swiffers, you know, and the little even they make these funny little vacuum cleaners that kids can run that actually do pick up dirt and they love.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: So they like that. And then in elementary school they can help take care of animals. They can help with the garbage, they can clean bathrooms. And then like in Montessori, the kids all make their own snack. And they can with a knife that you get from takeout, like a plastic knife, they can cut cucumbers and they can help make the salad.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: They do like to help with meal prep. And then I have a lot of patients whose kids pack their lunch for school. And they have a little algorithm. You know, you need a protein, you need a grain, you need a fruit and veggie. And they have them kind of set up in the fridge and little zones in the fridge. And the kids pack their lunch and they fill each little, you know, section of their lunch.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And they’re, so they’re starting with good nutrition and they’re starting with meal meal responsibility too. And then the
Kristina Supler: whole notion of just the simple task of pet, well, simple for an adult packing, a lunch involving school-aged child in that there’s so many lessons in there. Executive function, planning, nutrition, all of that, just personal responsibility.
Kristina Supler: That’s a really great tip for our listeners.
Susan Stone: I’ve always had my children help with Friday night dinner.
Kristina Supler: And that’s another example. .
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Right. Like helping with cooking so that then when they get, when they get older, they can, be cooking some for themselves.
Susan Stone: My daughter, when she went to college was shocked to learn that she was the only person who really could not only cook, but she’s an excellent cook.
Susan Stone: And I take for granted the time I spend with my children, teaching them to be good cooks.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Yeah, so that’s a good one. And then I’m, I’m also a huge advocate of parents getting out of the homework business. I really feel like starting in middle school, it should be, it should be between the child and the teacher, and it is not your job to know what the homework is and to check the homework and all of that and let the teacher do it and let the teacher know what’s happening before they get to high school. Because the grades in middle school are so important.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: So if they mess up a few things, it’s okay. And, but then they’re in charge of their own homework. Now I know it’s easier said than done, and it’s obviously easier with the more motivated kid. And if your kid isn’t that motivated, you may have to be involved a little bit. But I would try to take some step back steps back in middle school with regard to homework.
Susan Stone: I have questions on that.
Susan Stone: One is though for my younger child. Now, if they go to school, There’s an app and they alert you and it’s like, I turned it off. I don’t want to know my daughter’s not turning in her homework. I agree. But Kristina and I work with a lot of students and sometimes we see it in adults who have serious executive function issues.
Susan Stone: Right. So what is normal? I forgot my homework. The dog ate my homework. And allowing them to have consequences versus seeing a child that might need some good intervention in their executive function skills. Now I will say, and I want to know if you agree with this again, it’s not good to get involved because you want the teachers to see it and get the help and tease it out.
Susan Stone: But how do we know the difference between it just being, oh, this is so boring versus a, I just can’t get organized.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Yeah. I mean, I’m a huge fan of the family meeting. Which I think, I think one of your guests talk about that too.
Kristina Supler: That’s a big, positive discipline, right?
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Right. So the family meeting is a great one, and I was just reviewing some of the recommendations for that. And then this one, I thing I read said, you know, the agenda should start with compliments which is great. Cause then everyone’s looking all week for things that other people did well, that they could, list as their compliment and then challenges.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And then that’s where you try to brainstorm some solutions. And that’s where maybe this executive functioning thing could come in. So if there’d been challenges with homework, not getting turned in or the books from school not making it home from school or whatever that could be addressed at the meeting and talk about strategies to do better.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: But then if those methods are putting up something on the whiteboard in the kitchen, or, you know, Saying, would you like me to check that your backpack is loaded in at the night? You know, kind of coming up with some dual strategies that the kids involved with the parents involved with. If those things aren’t working, then I do think you need to get the school involved, the school counselor involved.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: To see if they feel like the child needs some more executive functioning support at school at, or even is there an ADHD element going on that needs further diagnosis? So I am a big fan of that.
Kristina Supler: It might be a tricky question, but what’s the difference between over-parenting in your mind versus normal support for your child?
Susan Stone: Great question.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Yeah. Well, and that kind of gets back to this failure to launch things. So let me actually go back to the failure to launch, and then we’ll get back into that. So after the getting out of the homework business for high schoolers, I do think, like we said, there, they should be in charge of their, their work.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And then I do think considering a paid job for your high schooler is not a bad idea. Because paid work does teach a ton of responsibility and getting there on time. And doing some maybe menial tasks that you don’t really like to do, but you do them anyway. And then I did clothing allowance with my kids and I thought it was fantastic.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: So they got a certain amount of money every quarter that was to be spent on clothes. And, and we had it all worked out. Like if I was going to buy like the winter coats and the boots or whatever, but this was just for regular clothes. And they got that amount of money and they each had a bank account with a debit card and I put the money in there and then every time they went to the store or nowadays I’m sure kids are just buying it online, they could buy it or not. But they wouldn’t get more money until the next quarter.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And I think that’s a great way to teach them, like when their kids go to college a lot of kids overspend. And then they don’t know cause they can door dash stuff, they can take an Uber, they have this and they have that. So like it’s kind of a nice way to sort of start teaching them if there is a set amount of money and you can decide how you want to spend it, but there’s not going to be any more for three months.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Or you get your job and you make more money and you can spend it that way. So I do think some money management, a lot of my, one of my daughters college freshmen friends had no clue about money and the parents were so mad because they were asking for more money all the time. That like, what all this?
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: So I do think doing some money management in high school is a good idea before they get to, before they get to college.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: But then back to your other question about the helicopter parent versus the supportive parent, I mean, obviously that’s sort of a style point and there are some cultural differences.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: But I guess I would say, you’d like the kid to have some, just some motivation on their own, that they’re interested in something and they want to do it. And then maybe your job as the parent is to sort of provide, a good place to do your work.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Or, you know, maybe we didn’t talk about sleep, but I’m a huge sleep advocate. And I do think, I think parents should be pretty involved in how, and when the kid goes to bed. Because if they don’t get enough sleep, then everything falls apart. And I mean, the age, the amount of sleep children are supposed to get is, is much more than most kids are getting. And adults. Exactly. And I was reading you probably, you guys probably know Lisa DeMar, she’s an amazing local psychologist.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And she wrote a really neat article on sleep. And, for the kind of the middle schoolers, she wants them all to get 10 hours of sleep and said, You have to get your homework done. You need to do 30 minutes of chores and you need 10 hours of sleep. And then if you can, if you have time for other activities, you can fit them in around that.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: But you know, the sleep is sort of the non-negotiable. So I think parents do need to be, and nowadays with teenagers, I get a lot of teenager checkups and I asked them what time they go to the bed? And the mother said, well, I don’t know, because I go to bed at 10 and I don’t know what they’re doing after 10.
Susan Stone: I have to tell you. That is so true when your kids are little, you have a tuck-in routine, but I will say good night and sort of check in on my high schooler. But I don’t know what she’s doing. I’m hoping she’s going to sleep. But I’m going to be more mindful of this.
Susan Stone: I just want to ask for a recent observation that I find so interesting. When I was 16 and Kristina chime in getting your license was like the most important thing you could do. But I’m noticing from my friends and their kids and this generation driving is not a big deal and they don’t care if they drive. They’re happy to Uber.
Kristina Supler: I agree at growing up and when I was a teen, it was unthinkable that you wouldn’t get your license the minute you possibly could.
Kristina Supler: And it is this really interesting shift now, uh, we’re seeing a lot of teens who just don’t think it’s necessary because friends around them or you have Uber or driving is just too stressful. Don’t want it. Don’t need it. Have you seen that in your medical practice or do you know what’s, what’s fueling this?
Kristina Supler: Or why
Susan Stone: does, and should you just say no, you’re getting your license. This is not a choice because I am not your chauffeur.
Kristina Supler: Or do you have to really listen to what your child’s expressing. I think the driving one, great question Susan, and that’s a tough issue because you want to foster independence, but yet, you know, it’s like, well, if my kid doesn’t want to drive, maybe I have I’m in what’s going on.
Kristina Supler: And I think that’s a complicated issue for parents. Well,
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Yeah, it’s pretty dark for us, Zizzy. The whole driving issue.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: It is funny because I do think it does sort of depend on girl, boy. I mean, I tend to see that the girls are getting their licenses on time. Cause they’re just a little at that age, a little more organized. You know, you have to do the thing and take the test and they’re just, and they just seem to be a little, social and they want to get out and about. And so I tend to see the girls getting their licenses pretty close to 16 and the boys not being as concerned because, you know, they’re there, they can play their video games with their friends, from their couch and they don’t need to get over there.
Susan Stone: That’s so true. Where are they going? They’re staying home.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: In terms of, from a parent’s perspective, if you need them to drive cause they have other, you have other kids or you have other opportunities, then I think got like a job that you could say, look, you’re able to get your license.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: So it would really make life easier. If you decide not to do it, then you’re on your own to find your way to where your practice or wherever you’re going. You know, I think you can kind of try to put it on them a little bit, but I mean, honestly, teenagers are not the best drivers. So for me waiting a little longer, a little more mature, a little more friend to low, that’s fine with me, a kid who doesn’t really want to drive.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: It doesn’t want to drive. I wouldn’t push it because it’s distressed, they can get distracted and they can, it’s a huge responsibility driving a car. And so I’d really want them to be motivated and know, you know, that it’s a big responsibility. They need to take it very seriously.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: I do. I do tell kids around this time, each year, you know, sadly there’s often a car load of teenage boys that gets into a very serious possibly even fatal accident. And usually, usually they’re not drinking. They’re usually just goofing around. Just being funny, silly, goofy people, and it ends very badly.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: So I want them all paying attention while they’re driving. And if they’re not into it, I’d rather them in an Uber.
Susan Stone: Yeah. You know, that’s really interesting. Well, Zizzy, I think we’re going to have to invite you back. Not even get halfway through what we wanted to talk to you back about.
Susan Stone: Wow. There’s just so much to us stuff to talk to the pediatrician about. I think you need your own podcast.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: Yeah. I will just put in one plug for my boss. I work for a Senders Pediatrics. And my boss is Shelly Senders. Our website is amazing and he writes, uh, it used to be weekly, but now it’s a twice monthly newsletter that has incredible topics. Like two weeks ago, he had tick-tock brain on there and how to get more sleep.
Dr. Zizzy Bucchieri: And this, this week’s has some good information on what’s going on with COVID. So if anyone has more general pediatric questions, take look at our website. But it was great talking with you ladies.
Susan Stone: We got to get together soon.
Kristina Supler: We’re so pleased. You’re able to join us today and our listeners check out Senders Pediatrics. Thanks to everyone for listening to Real Talk with Susan and Kristina. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe to our show so that you never miss an episode. And leave us a review so that other people couldn’t find the content we share as well.
Kristina Supler: You can follow us on Instagram, just search our handle at Stone Supler and for more resources, visit us online at studentdefense. Kjk.com. Thank you so much for being a part of our Real Talk community and we will see you next time.