Reading With Your Kids Starter Pack
Four Great Episodes Featuring Dr Raun Melmed & Caroline Bliss Larsen
The doctor is in the house! Dr. Raun Melmed is a developmental and behavioral pediatrician and director of the Melmed Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. Dr. Melmed is the author of a children’s series that helps address some big topics, like ADHD and anxiety. Dr. Melmed believes we should be including our children in these big conversations when they come up, allowing them to have a voice and have control over their bodies. His books teach kids how to monitor their feelings while supplying them with the tools to respond to stressful situations.
As a doctor, Melmed has learned it’s essential for children to understand what’s happening to them, that they should be included in the treatment. By giving kids who struggle with anxiety the facts and tools, they will be set up for success. In the first episode, Dr. Raun Melmed talks about his book, “Harriet’s Monster Diaries,” and introduces us to ST4. This stands for Stop! Take Time To Think. This technique means to take time and think about how you’re feeling. Melmed uses an example from “Harriet’s Monster Diary: Awfully Anxious” when Harriet gets nervous to present in front of the class. When your child starts to feel anxious they have to stop, recognize what they’re feeling, and then implement a coping mechanism. For example, counting to 10. Dr. Melmed goes on to state that research says younger children who are able to address anxiety effectively are less likely to have anxiety disorders as adults.
The ST4 technique also can be used for children with ADHD. Dr. Ron Melmed is joined by Caroline Bliss Larsen in the second episode to discuss “Marvin’s Monster Diary: 2 + Lyssa!” and how to best support our kids and help them be happy and successful in school. In this book you meet Marvin, a lovable monster with ADHD who shows kids it’s okay to be different. For children with ADHD, ST4 can help them be mindful of their environment and stay locked in on the task at hand. For neurodivergent children, school can be difficult as their behavior may be seen as unfocused or disruptive. In this book, Marvin’s lab partner, Lyssa, is struggling with her anger management. Dr. Melmed discusses how important vocabulary is in these situations, how we shouldn’t label a child as bad or lazy, but instead identify what the source of the problem is and give them the tools to help themselves. The book uses a “Fear-o-meter” in order to help gauge Lyssa’s anger level and give her tools to calm herself. This allows her to first recognize what she’s feeling and implement a calming strategy.
Dr. Ron Melmed and Caroline Bliss Larsen are back again in the third episode for their book “Marvin’s Monster Diary 3: Trouble with Friends.” In this book, Marvin is at summer camp and meets Joey, a loud monster who is having trouble making friends. It’s common for children with ADHD to struggle with socialization and this book gives kids who struggle at this some tools. Dr. Melmed believes that’s the beauty of the Marvin series, that kids can recognize they can do something and be incorporated into their own treatment process. While the book discusses ADHD, the overarching message is for everyone. We must slow down and take time to think before we react. This doesn’t mean to excuse bad behavior, but instead think beyond the action and ask why someone is acting that why. What might be happening in their lives? This is an important conversation to have as children go back to school after the pandemic. The upcoming school year will undoubtedly bring a load of stress for the children in our lives so it’s important for us all to exercise patience as we adjust.
In the final episode, Dr. Melmed and Caroline Bliss Larsen are putting children at the front of their treatment through bibliotherapy. Dr. Melmed says the spirit of this form of therapy is to ensure that the children feel they can accomplish anything. This episode focuses on “Monster Diary 4: Neighborhood Bully.” Dr. Melmed discusses the difference between bullying and conflict. Bullying is a behavior that is meant to intentionally hurt another child. It often comes from a power imbalance. On the other hand, a conflict is acceptable and will happen all the time. But when it’s not conflict, we have to examine the situation. In many cases a bully is lashing out due to issues at home and in their own lives. In this book, Marvin ends up talking to one of his bully’s friends and learning a little bit about what Drake, the bully, is dealing with at home. Again, Dr. Melmed and Caroline’s series is showing us just how important it is to stop and think. At the same time, the authors want to emphasize the fact that children can be empowered to change. Someone who feels victimized can be empowered to stand up for themselves, to learn assertiveness and how to deal with the situation.
It’s always such a pleasure having Dr. Melmed and Caroline Bliss Larsen on the show! You can learn more about these techniques and books at www.melmancenter.com where you can see how to practice and implement ST4. To find out more about Caroline’s work you can visit her website at https://carolineblisslarsen.com/. This fantastic series shows how important it is for children to be educated on topics like anxiety, ADHD, bullies and more, as they’re likely to encounter these things in their lives. Books like these empower children to take control of stressful situations and give them the tools to accurately respond. Thank you Dr. Melmed and Caroline for joining us on these episodes!
Harriet’s Monster Diary
ADHD Emotion Explosion
Skills Before Pills
Marvin Stands Up To Bullies