Monday, September 17, 2018

Motivation Monday

National Suicide Prevention Month

September is National Suicide Prevention & Awareness Month

Here are some helpful tips in supporting those affected by suicide:

Know the Warning Signs
  •           Aggressive behavior
  •           Social withdrawal from family or friends
  •           Dramatic mood swings
  •           Talking writing or thinking about death
  •           Impulsive or reckless behavior

Is There Intermittent Danger?
  •           Saying goodbye to friends and family
  •           Mood shifts from despair to calm
  •           Putting affairs away and giving away possessions

Can thoughts of suicide be prevented?
  •           Don’t be afraid to let your friends, family, or school know what you need
  •           Contact your local mental health professional
  •           National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Just a reminder about our "Upcoming Events" tab. Check regularly for updated information regarding upcoming events!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

10 Reasons Why Today's Teenagers Are So Anxious

Although a majority of our students fall under the "pre-teen" umbrella, there are a number of students who, by the time they are leaving our school, fall into the teenager heading.

While middle school tends to be a time in many people's lives that drums up anxious feelings for one reason or another, overall, we as a society are seeing more and more cases of adolescents dealing with anxiety at an earlier age. Below are ten reasons why today's teenagers are so anxious, taken from this article.

1. Electronics offer an unhealthy escape.  -- Electronics allows kids a way to "get away" from unhealthy emotions, such as anger, sadness, loneliness, and boredom. They have become a way for kids to become busy with a passive activity, which then takes away opportunities for them to develop mental strength/resilience in uncomfortable situations.

2. Happiness is all the rage. -- Our society has become one in which people are expected to be happy all.the.time. Have you ever been walking along and someone says "Smile! Cheer up!" when you are feeling down about something? It happens a lot. Kids are growing up thinking that they need to be happy or something is wrong... herego the struggle kids face with handling emotions that aren't happy... such as anger, frustration, sadness, and so on.

3. Parents are giving unrealistic praise. -- Unfortunately, when we try to encourage our kids and say things like "You're the fastest runner on the team," and "You're the best speller in your class," we may make them feel good in the moment but it also can set them up to unrealistic expectations. Kids who constantly hear they are the best can start to feel like they have to be the best, which can lead to a crippling fear of failure or rejection.

4. Parents are getting caught up in the rat race. -- In an effort to help our kids succeed, many parents have gotten caught up with basically becoming an assistant to kids' schedules. Hiring tutors to prep for SAT's, shuttling kids from one activity to another every day, helping kids build their high school resumes so they will be appealing to a good college... while all these things are good-intentioned, it can make some kids feel like they must excel at everything in order to obtain a spot at a good school.

5. Kids aren't learning emotional skills. -- Being a School Counselor, we deal with this a lot in our office. There is a great focus on ensuring our kids learn and master academic skills, but a lot of the time, emotional skills are left behind and it really starts to show in middle school. The inability to cope with stress, manage emotions, and manage their time pushes kids to feel anxious when handling everyday situations.

6. Parents view themselves as protectors rather than guides. -- With good intention, many parents today seem to have taken on the role of trying to prevent any harm from their child as possible. While no one wants kids to get hurt in any way, there are important lessons that kids must experience for themselves in order to build up resilience and be able to cope with situations later in life. When parents don't allow their kids to experience these difficult situations, it makes it difficult for kids to stand on their on and rely on their own abilities to cope further down the road of life.

7. Adults don't know how to help kids face their fears the right way. -- There is a spectrum when it comes to helping kids face their fears; some parents may push their kids too hard and fast and force them to do things that are terrifying, while others don't push hard enough and allow kids to not partake in anything that they feel is remotely scary. It's a balancing act, but an important one if we want kids to learn how to face uncomfortable and scary situations in the future. Parents can best help their kids build self-confidence through practice, gentle nudging, and guidance.

8. Parents are parenting out of guilt and fear. -- Parenting can stir up feelings of guilt and/or fear for some, and instead of handling those uncomfortable feelings, some parents changing their parenting habits as a result. Some parents don't let their kids out of sight due to fear or something happening to them, while others feel guilty for saying "no" to their kids so they end up backing down and giving in. Unfortunately, these habits can show kids that uncomfortable situations aren't tolerable.

9.  Kids aren't being given enough free time to play. -- Organized sports and activities teach many good skills, but it's important for kids to have time to play when there aren't distinct rules to follow. Unstructured play teaches vital skills such as how to manage disagreements with others, how to be alone with themselves, and more.

10. Family hierarchies are out of whack. -- Although kids like to give the impression that they are "in charge," they truly crave parents to lead them and have clear and consistent expectations for them. When adults don't take the reigns and instead have the kid make decisions in place of the adult making them, anxiety skyrockets as the hierarchy becomes flipped and the burden falls on the kids' shoulders.