Dr. Larry Mitnaul

Dr. Mitnaul is a double board certified child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist and father of five. He specializes in helping individuals and families cope with anxiety and stress, improve relationship satisfaction and communication, and manage work-life pressures. Dr. Mitnaul has an expertise in parenting, mental health and child development. His online school Be Well Academy equips parents with tools to strengthen parent-child relationships, decrease problematic behavior patterns and build more peaceful homes. 

Dr. Mitnaul completed his Bachelors in Biology from the University of Dallas. After several years managing a pediatric oncology research lab, he went on for a Masters in Biomedical Science Policy and Advocacy from Georgetown University while managing a diabetes research lab. He then attended the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio where he completed a dual MD and Masters of Public Health degree. Dr. Mitnaul then completed Adult Psychiatry residency training followed by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at Dartmouth, where he was named Chief Resident. Dr. Mitnaul is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (Psychiatry) as well as the American Board of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 

When he’s not at the clinic or consulting for organizations he’s meeting parents, teens and medical school students “where they are” via TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Youtube or his PBS Show, “Cause for Hope”. For fun, Dr. Mitnaul loves playing all percussion instruments (especially the drumset), writing music, most outdoor activities and doing anything that involves his family. He and his wife, Katie, are also foster parents.

Session Description: 

Each generation claims that parenting is the hardest it has ever been. I believe it is most true today. Our children and teens have more of the world at their fingertips than ever before. Yet, most parents will admit to feeling isolated and unsure of the 

degree to which virtual friendships, gaming groups, or the desire for technology-laden diversions are undermining their child’s desire for closer connection to the family unit. In my clinical practice, I encounter an increasing number of well-meaning parents who struggle with walking the balance of setting appropriate screen-time limits AND helping their child(ren) develop into great citizens in the real world and online.

My experiences as a parent, social media content creator on multiple platforms (including TikTok which hosts my most popular video to date at around 4 million views), and psychiatrist offer me a unique view into the ways in which social media holds the attention of our children. By helping you to better understand this, we can empower parents to feel more confident in setting limits and help parents to use those insights to regain the attention of their child. 

This talk will equip you with a better understanding of the current research for gaming and internet-use disorders. We will review trends in social media consumption for children/adolescents and its profound effects within the family system. Finally, we will reflect on the attachment parenting lens to bring together practical tips and insights for helping families to find a balance and ultimately, come closer to the family life they desire to have. 

Learning Objectives:

1. Understand how families are using social media and gaming
2. Understand Internet Gaming Disorder
3. Better differentiate between Dysfunctional Gaming/Internet Use and Obsessive Compulsive-like behaviors
4. Understand how social media interact with family systems
5. Gain practical ideas for conversation and guiding parents using attachment theory

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