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Home » #1 Foundation to Raising Mentally Strong Kids: Dr. Daniel Amen (Transcript)

#1 Foundation to Raising Mentally Strong Kids: Dr. Daniel Amen (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of child psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen’s talk titled “#1 Foundation to Raising Mentally Strong Kids” at AmenClinics.

Listen to the audio version here:


Core Conversations for Mentally Strong Kids

Raising mentally strong kids requires seven core conversations which apply to all kids, including young adults and those struggling with ADHD, anxiety, depression, or even autism. Let’s start with core conversations. Number one, brain health is foundational to mental strength. When your brain works right, you work right.

This applies to kids and adults of all ages. At Amen Clinics, we’ve been using a brain imaging study called SPECT that looks at blood flow and activity for the last 33 years to assess and treat our patients, including kids and teenagers. We’ve looked at over 250,000 scans on patients from 155 countries. The scans taught us that most psychiatric illnesses are not mental health issues at all, but rather they are brain health issues that steal people’s minds.

And this one idea changes everything. Get your brain healthy and your mind will follow. Here is a healthy SPECT scan compared to scans of young people affected by head trauma, infections, marijuana, and alcohol. The brain is an organ, just like your heart is an organ.

The Impact of a Healthy Brain

If you want your children to be mentally strong, if you want them to be responsible, confident, happy, kind, and resilient, if you want them to make good decisions and be focused and motivated and have great relationships, it starts by talking to them about having a healthy brain. When kids struggle, too often we blame the parents or parents blame themselves. Take Chris. I met him when he was 12.

He was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 6. He was hyperactive, restless, impulsive, conflict-seeking, and aggressive. His doctor prescribed Ritalin, but unfortunately it made him more aggressive and he started to hallucinate on it, which is a very rare side effect. When he was 8, Chris attacked a boy at school and he was placed in a psychiatric hospital.

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