Can you help me understand any complications of hypothyroidism found in two siblings at infancy?

Can you help me understand any complications of hypothyroidism found in two siblings at infancy?

There are some excellent web sources for congenital (congenital means from birth) hypothyroidism.  There is a trusted source, the National Institutes of Health in the USA, that I would recommend, it has lots of good links.

If left untreated congenital hypothyroidism can cause reductions in intelligence and growth problems. In Canada all newborns are tested for congenital hypothyroidism. Because treatment is begun early, these children usually develop normally.

If two siblings are affected it is probably genetic. The most common genetic cause is when both parents have a recessive gene for the disorder and don’t show any symptoms of the disease themselves. Occasionally, one parent may have a dominant gene that can trigger hypothyroidism.

The future for these children is bright.

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Is it possible my nystagmus was caused by the medication I was prescribed?

I was born with hydrocephalus and went to the hospital to have a shunt put in. I was also given phenobarb to control the hydrocephalic seizures. Shortly after that I was diagnosed with both nystagmus and stigmatism. I was just curious as to whether the hydrocephalus caused my to eye conditions or could it have been the phenobarb?

You should chat with your family doctor or your eye doctor about your health. Nystagmus is involuntary movement of the eyes that is often associated with visual problems. Phenobarb is very unlikely to have caused nystagmus. The Nystagmus Network is a good source of information about nystagmus.

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I think my son has a germ phobia but no one else agrees with me.

I think my son has a germ phobia, but he, his mother, his brother, and his sisters don’t agree with me. My son washes his hands about 20 times a day, he showers for over an hour. This is just part of the problem, please help.

Although keeping ones hands clean is a good idea, washing ones hands 20 times a day and showering for an hour is an indication of a significant problem that will get worse without treatment. He needs help. I would recommend you take him to his family doctor to discuss the problem, make sure you tell the doctor what is going on. The family doctor may try some medication and may make a referral to mental health.  Exposure and response prevention are the psychological therapies that have been shown effective in this type of problem. It is unfortunate that you are the only one in the family who sees that this is a problem.

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I feel like my daughter is making all the wrong decisions and I don’t know how to help her.

My husband and I are in need of help in regards to our daughter. She is 18 and has moved out with her partner. We allowed her partner to move in with us at first, she stayed for over a year. We got tired of her not paying us any rent and taking advantage of us, she is also extremely manipulative and controlling with our daughter. We told our daughter that it was time they moved out on their own if they wanted to continue to live together, because it was no longer an option in our house. We of course gave her the option to stay without her partner and made that very clear. They convinced us that they could afford it so we cosigned for them on their lease. Well, they have lived on their own for three months and have yet to pay any rent. She dropped out of university and they have received an eviction notice. When I spoke with my daughter and asked about her plan she said she plans to stay there until they kick her out. I tried to explain to her that she can’t do that and that she needs to seriously consider where she is going and what she is doing. Her girlfriend has her convinced that she is mentally ill and has a disability and that her father and I are bad for her mental health. She has disrespected us on many levels and on several different occasions, but the latest was when I sent an email to my daughter and her girlfriend responded for her, telling me that we are not being parents and that my daughter will never live with us again. I am scared for our daughter but I don’t know what to do. Do we leave it alone and watch her crash and burn? Incidentally, my husband bought her a car and we pay for her cell phone. Should we take those things away? If I do, I feel like I am cutting off all lines of communication and I want my daughter to always feel like she can come to us. I feel like I have lost my daughter. I feel like I need to let her figure it all out for herself by taking any and all financial support away (we refuse to give her rent money) but at the same time feel like we will be completely abandoning her. What do I do?

You are in a very difficult situation with three competing goals:

  1. You want to make her responsible for her own decisions.
  2. You want to protect her from the consequences of her decisions.
  3. You want to keep the communication open.

These three goals are not compatible. But you don’t have to go all the way with one and abandon the others. You have to make some decisions. Making clear decisions will help you feel a bit better. It will make her options clearer. Up to this point the message has been very mixed for her.

There is no right answer for everyone. You have to figure out the right answer for your family. You and your husband should sit down for 90 minutes or so and come out with a plan. Organize your plan around your goals. Recognize you will have to make compromises. You might develop a list for each goal:

Goal 1: Help your daughter become independent.


  1. Let her know that you love her no matter what she does and you will accept her decisions even if you disagree with them.
  2. Accept her partner by not making any negative comments and doing your best to be courteous to her.
  3. Give her a timeline, e.g., three months, at which point you will stop covering her cell phone bills and her car insurance (if you gave her the car, don’t take it back, but don’t fix it and cover insurance).

Goal 2. Protect her from the negative consequences of her behavior.


  1. Tell her she is welcome to come home (on her own) at any time, no questions asked.
  2. Make her, and her partner, welcome for specific activities.
  3. Tell her you will cover her tuition at college.

I am sure you get the idea. However, these are only examples. They might not be the right things for your family. Only you can figure out the right goals and the right activities for your family.

Once you have made it, stick to your plan. Change it only in response to another conference for a good length of time with your husband. It is important for you and your husband to support each other. You don’t have control over your daughter. She may have a rough time for a while.

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Is there a way to medicate my teenager without him knowing about it?

My 15-year-old son refuses to take concerta 54 mg prescribed to him by his doctor. Is there a way to put it in his system without him knowing about it?

No, I would not advise this at all. I would suggest that working with him, to help him overcome any problems, is a much wiser course than trying to trick him into taking the medication. If you trick him, he will likely find out and this will threaten the relationship you have with him and any trust that exists.

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I can’t get my toddler to eat without sitting her in front of the TV.

Lately I have only been able to get my toddler to eat her meals in the highchair if she is watching a TV show. I don’t want her in the habit of watching TV every time she eats, but when I turn it off she has a melt down. How do I break this cycle?

Television messes up the most important part of meals. The most important part of meals is having family time. Family meals are a great way to bind families together.  You are absolutely right to turn the TV off during meals.

She has trained you to have a TV on during meals.  She punishes you with a meltdown when you don’t allow it.

It might be easier if you move the TV out of the room. It will be easier if you never watch TV when you are eating. It will be easier if you make her favourite meal when you start the no TV rule at mealtime.

If you turn the TV off during meals, she may have a meltdown and may refuse to eat her meal. She will be hungry but she won’t be harmed. No need to give her a snack.  The next meal she will be more eager to eat.

Don’t start a “no TV during meals” approach unless you are sure you will stick with it.  It will be tough but you can succeed.

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My daughter-in-law won’t let me see my grandchildren and it is breaking my heart.

Five years ago, I moved across the country to be near my family after the birth of my first grandchild. I had asked my son if he would be amenable to me living nearby, and helping out with the grandchild. He responded very positively. I watched my grandchild 3-4 times a week for the first couple years of her life, and then 1-2 times a week after the birth of my 2nd grandchild, with whom I also spent time. I’ve always tried to cultivate a friendly, positive relationship with my daughter-in-law. We’ve socialized, and planned activities together without my son. Fast forward to the present. My son and daughter-in-law are divorcing. I’ve offered to help my daughter-in-law financially, I’ve offered to help with the children, offered to pay for ballet lessons, camps, etc. However, my daughter-in-law refuses to let me see the grandchildren, tells me not to call the house. My heart is literally breaking. Don’t know how to try to reconcile with someone who is so angry with my son that her anger toward him apparently flows downhill to me. She doesn’t respond to phone calls, emails, or texts for weeks at a time. Then, after I’ve repeatedly attempted to contact her without receiving a response, she tells my son that I am crazy. She is opposing joint custody, and my son has limited visitation. A week ago, I found myself trembling so badly, and my heart was fluttering. I want to be loving. I pointed out to my daughter-in-law that continuity of loving relationships in the children’s lives were very important. She coldly responded that I was criticizing her ability to do what was in the children’s best interests. My granddaughter has called me crying, asking to visit. My grandson is fairly young, and less bonded to me. Now the children aren’t allowed to call. Please help. Due to the move across country, and the fact that I work from home, I am somewhat socially isolated here. The priority has been the family, and now the family has suddenly fallen apart.

This is a very difficult situation and I can understand your distress. Your analysis is probably correct. Your daughter-in-law is so angry with your son that she regards you as the enemy. All of your positive efforts are interpreted as hostile and interfering.

You have to back off and limit yourself to contacting her only once a week and then only in a very positive way. Your repeated efforts, positively intended, are being interpreted as interference.

A short, cheery 2-3 sentence email that makes no demands to see the children, just that you are thinking of them and willing to be of help to her, would be what I would recommend. It will likely take many weeks or months of this approach before you get a positive response. I suggest something like:

Hi Mary. I hope you and the children are doing OK. If there is anything I can do to help with the kids please let me know. Take care.


Nice to see that Fall is soon upon us. I trust you and the children are enjoying it. Please let me know if there is something I can do to help you. Sincerely.

It is important that you find other social outlets. It will be impossible for you to stay healthy and not get depressed if you don’t develop friends and other activities.  For your own sake and the sake of your grand children, link up with others. Use your immense generosity to take time to support a neighbor or to volunteer at a local charity.

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My seven-year-old son is becoming very rude and angry toward me.

Our son just turned seven. He has been the light of my life: kind, well-mannered, very verbal. Recently, things have shifted away from mommy to daddy. I have found this a bit tough but try to see it as a necessary development for him. I do find that he seems to be getting very angry toward me. To me, he seems to be getting more rude and impatient, as well. I admit that I have been losing my patience and we seem to be stuck in some kind of ugly cycle. He seems to always be putting himself down. Seeing the negative in everything.

You are right to celebrate the increasing relationship with his dad. It is important. It is also important that he treat you with respect. There are several things that may help:

  1. His dad should make it clear to him that men treat all people with respect. He should talk to your son, tell him that he expects your son to be polite with you.
  2. You should focus on paying a lot of attention to him when he is polite to you. Notice when he is good. This will help build your relationship.
  3. Ignore, in a deliberate way, his rudeness. You can say once that in your family, you are all polite to each other. But don’t engage him, don’t give him what he wants, don’t argue with rudeness. Just walk away. When he is polite, respond positively to him.
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My 10-years-old grandson is 130 lbs. How can I make his parents understand this is a serious problem?

My grandson is 10 years old and weighs 130 lbs. What can I do to make his parents understand that this is a serious problem? They are separated and do not speak without fighting.

Try having a chat with whichever parent you have the best relationship with. Don’t criticize them.  Express your concern for his health.  You might also say you are worried he will be bullied.  Ask them to speak to your grandson’s doctor about his weight.

If you can, speak to both parents. Don’t criticize the other parent.

Offer to help if they wish to have help.

When your grandson visits you, serve healthy food in moderation.  Show him how to eat well.   Enjoy the food.  It is OK to have clear rules about food when he is with you. Don’t allow any soft drinks, fruit juices or candy.  Make servings reasonable.

Casually explain which foods are healthy and which are not.

Encourage activity that he is capable of.  When he is with you, make sure you go for a walk.
Don’t criticize him. Do these things “to be healthy” not to lose weight.

Learning by doing will be very helpful for him, show him about healthy food and the value of exercising. Even if one parent comes on board, that will give your grandson a much better chance.

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My husband and I disagree about screen time for our three-year-old.

My husband and I have different views on how often to let our three-year-old daughter play with our smartphones and our tablet at home. We have downloaded a few apps on our phones and we regularly let her draw and watch videos on our iPad instead of watching television.  My husband doesn’t see any harm in letting her play with these devices and, in fact, thinks that at least she’s interacting with them instead of zoning out in front of the TV. I can see that they’re convenient, especially on long journeys, but I’m also concerned that they could cause attention problems or delay her social skills down the road. What do you think?

The major reasons why screen time is harmful to children is that it detracts from social interaction and discourages activity. Interactive games are better than TV but they are not social nor are they active. If your daughter has many social opportunities, is active and engaged, there is likely no harm in her using a tablet for a limited amount of time.   You and her dad can decide together how much is OK each day.

The Canadian Pediatric Society has issued some helpful guidance for parents on this subject.

The other thing you can do is become engaged with her about what she is doing on the iPad. Monitor what she is doing and restrict violent games. Discuss the games she is playing. It is never to early to teach her how to think critically about TV and computer games. What values are they promoting?  What is she learning?  Make it a conversation. I am sure you will learn a lot about how she is thinking.

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