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Posture - Part of Effective Parenting

As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”

It’s possible that we are witnessing the beginning stages of a man made health epidemic that will sweep our culture in the decades ahead. It will affect the health of our youngest and brightest. It will produce depression and other mental health disorders. And it will prevent our children from living life to the full.

What is this threat?

Your child’s digital device.

Slumped over, head down, shoulders rounded and arms turned inward, your child’s screen is sowing the seeds for future health problems.

Symptoms Show Up Years Later

A recent research project documented the results of a postural screening conducted among children ages 6-7. All were considered “healthy” because they weren’t expressing any obvious symptoms.

Have Questions?

Yet 50% of the test subjects were suffering some type of postural distortion.

The most commonly observed problem was forward head posture.

Forward head posture is when the head juts out in front of the body. This is most visible from the side, revealing that the ear, which should be centered over the shoulder, is out in front of the body.

Forward head posture can be caused by:

  • Computer use
  • TV watching
  • Video games
  • Backpacks
  • Trauma

This postural distortion hyper-extends the upper cervical spine, flattens the lower cervical spine and leads to a rounding of the upper back.

Many children with this problem, because they are still highly adaptive, may not experience symptoms. But as they age they most certainly will.

Try This With a Bowling Ball

Imagine holding an 8-12 pound bowling ball with both hands against your chest.

No problem, right?

Now imagine holding it with your arms extended out in front of you.

In just moments your arms will begin to tire as your muscles fatigue.

This is what happens with forward head carriage. When you or your child’s head is out in front of the shoulders, the muscles of the neck and upper back have to work harder to hold it up.

Every inch forward effectively doubles the weight of the head.

This is one of the most common causes of upper back and neck pain. Yet, the chronic headaches, arthritis and degenerative changes can take years to develop. By then, correction is difficult.

But the research indicates there’s an even a greater problem resulting from this common postural distortion: mood shift and memory issues. It turns out that our body posture affects our mood—and our mood affects our body posture.

Consider the postural relationship with mood the next time you encounter a glum teenager suffering from depression or sadness.

What You Can Do Now

As a parent, become more mindful of your child’s posture. Notice how your newborn is carrying his head. Is it off to one side? Does she prefer to nurse on one side more than the other?

As your child gets older, notice how they sit, stand and walk. Are their shoulders back and ribcage forward?

Or are they slumping?

It’s easy to ignore these and other postural distortions because your child is symptom-free.

If you have the slightest doubt about what you’re seeing, arrange a professional evaluation. It would be a privilege to conduct a thorough examination. Especially if it helps your child avoid needless health challenges decades from now. Long after the fascination with Fortnite or Overwatch are long forgotten.

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