The Patton Middle School Counselors invite you to read the Fall 2018 newsletter. The school counselors will be putting together quarterly newsletters covering topics such as anxiety, social media, communication, course selection, and more. We hope our newsletters will benefit you and your middle school students.
Understanding Anxiety in Children and Teens
Everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life. According to the Child Mind Institute, “regular anxiety becomes a disorder when young people have out-of-proportion responses to things most of us cope with easily” (2018). Today, approximately 30% of children and teens suffer from anxiety, with about 1% receiving treatment from doctors or therapists. If an anxiety disorder goes untreated, teens are more likely to develop depression, school failure, and substance abuse issues.
As a parent, it is important to recognize the signs that your child may be experiencing anxiety. Some signs include: frequent self-doubt or criticism, seeking constant reassurance from the teacher, late or incomplete assignments, difficulty transitioning between school and home, poor concentration, avoidance of academic and peer activities, and physical and verbal hyperactivity (Rogers Behavioral Health).
If you think your child may be experiencing anxiety, talk with them about it. Having anxiety is a normal part of life, but if the anxiety persists, there is risk that it could develop into a more serious disorder. Below are five tips from the Child Mind Institute for talking with your child about their feelings.
Start by being curious. Ask your teen how they are doing and be interested in the response — without judgment. You might start with, “I’ve noticed that...”
Show trust. Teens want to be taken seriously. Look for ways to show you trust them.
Don’t be a dictator. Offer ideas but don’t try to solve all your child’s problems. This is about collaboration.
Give praise. Parents praise younger children, but teens need the self-esteem boost, too.
Control your emotions. Teens are less able to think critically when they’re emotional. If you stay calm, they’re more likely to follow your lead.
If you have any questions about anxiety in children and teens, please do not hesitate to contact the counseling department. We are happy to help and answer any questions that we can.
Rogers Behavioral Health. (2018) Retrieved from https://rogersbh.org/
Understanding Anxiety in Children and Teens. (2018). Retrieved from https://childmind.org/our-impact/childrens-mental-health-report/2018report/
In middle and high schools across the country, educators are noticing an increase in students who have started to vape, or juul. According to the Center on Addiction, vaping is, “the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. The newest and most popular vaping product is the JUUL, which is a small, sleek device that resembles a computer USB flash drive. Its subtle design makes it easy to hide, which helps explain why it has become so popular among middle and high school students. It comes in several enticing flavors like crème brûlée, mango and fruit medley. Every JUUL product contains a high dose of nicotine, with one pod or flavor cartridge containing about the same amount of nicotine as a whole pack of cigarettes” (2018).
Due to the growth in vaping trends among middle school students, Patton has arranged for various activities to educate students, and parents, about the dangers of vaping. Students in grades 6-8 are being educated about the risks of vaping in their health classes. On Halloween, speakers from the Chester County Tobacco Free Coalition came to speak to our students about the growing epidemic. Additionally, on October 29th, Speakers from Holcomb Behavioral Health Systems, Caron Treatment Centers, and the Chester County Tobacco-Free Coalition presented on the dangers of vaping and provided resources and education to parents. The speakers will return to Patton on November 27th to share more information on prevention resources.
If you want to talk to your child about vaping, but don’t know how to start the conversation, here are a few tips for you to try.
Accept that facts don’t go far. Having good information, doesn’t mean that students will make good choices. We should make sure that students have the facts about the dangers of vaping, but we can’t assume that this is all it will take to prevent them from vaping.
Get their perspective. Consider starting the conversation by asking your child their opinion on vaping.
Ask why before suggesting why not. Try to find out why your child thinks students are vaping, or why or why not they would try vaping. Maybe they think it’s not dangerous, or they want to impress others.
Share your concerns. Tell your child why you think vaping is dangerous, and why you do not want them to vape. Share what you know and what you don’t know about vaping.
Concede the limits of your power. At the end of the day, your child will make your own choices. All you can do is try to educate your child, listen to them, set boundaries, and hope they make the right choices. You could consider saying something like, “Vaping isn’t harmless, so I hope you will steer clear of it. That said, I don’t have the power to make this choice for you. It’s something you’ll decide for yourself.”