As an adult, we want to look after our youth. We find it our duty to keep them safe and out of harms way. When that harm is not from an outside source, it’s hard to know when you need to reach out. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness,1 “one in five young people ages 13-18 have, or will have, a serious mental illness in their life. Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness start by age 14.” 2
Dealing with negative emotions is a learned exercise, one that needs to be practiced. The video “I had a black dog, his name was depression” allows children to learn about mental illness in an easy and low-stress setting. “Just like a real dog, it needs to be embraced, understood, taught new tricks, and ultimately brought to heel.”3 The video opens up the world of mental health for them in a way that is accessible. It can be a visual aid in understanding that they are not alone in feeling this way, and that it does get better with help.
Bringing a new member into the family, whether through foster care or adoption, can be an adjustment for your children. Your child is most likely used to having his or her parents all to themselves. To help your child adapt to having a new family member, you can discuss their concerns and involve them in the foster/adoption process. Here are some tips to begin preparing your child for the transition.
Children live in a new age of technology. Communication is mostly done through texting, Facebook messaging, and Snapchat. Cyberbullying can and does exist through each and every one of these platforms. Whether it’s a rumor, mean or degrading comments, embarrassing pictures, or fake profiles, children are experiencing the brunt of this bullying on their cellphones, computers, and tablets. With the Internet, sometimes it’s hard to tell who the source is, making it even harder to shut down the bullying.
When a child struggles with socializing, branching out into their school community, stress, and anxiety, it can be hard to know what can help. Recent studies show that a furry friend may be just the right thing. Whether they walk on four legs with a silky coat, fly around on colorful wings, or run on a wheel with tiny feet, welcoming a new friend to the family can make a child come out of their shell.
Anxiety can be present in your child’s life in a multitude of ways: preparing for a test, learning to drive, etc. , so it can be difficult to distinguish whether your child’s anxiety is normal part of growing up and having more responsibilities, or if it’s becoming a serious struggle.
It’s safe to say that adolescents experience a wide range of emotions and behaviors. So how do you know when those emotions or behaviors have strayed beyond the range of “normal”? Just what is considered “normal” behavior? And, more importantly, how can a parent know when a child’s emotions or behaviors require attention by a mental health professional?
Mental health issues in youth and teens often present themselves as difficulties in school, and, if left untreated, can result in school drop out. The U.S. Department of Education reports that approximately 50% of students, ages 14 and older, with mental health problems eventually drop out of high school.
You've probably seen failed exams and missed curfews, yelling and tears, tickets and fines, community service and jail time. But you've also likely seen the sideways looks of accusatory blame, sighs of exhaustion, curled lips of exasperation, and backs – lots and lots of turned backs.
All humans experience anger, and your child is no different. A child's brain often cannot process their emotions, especially during a stressful time. That can result in an emotional or behavioral outburst. Parents typically resort to one of two reactions when their child is acting out. A parent might “bring down the hammer” as Kim Abraham, LMSW and Marney Studaker-Cordner, LMSW, puts it, trying to stop the anger/outburst through intimidation and punishment. Or, a parent may do everything in their power to change the situation and get rid of the child's adverse behavior.
Do you suspect your child is abusing drugs or alcohol, but don't know how to address the topic? Maybe you've noticed a rapid weight change, odd sleeping patterns, falling grades, or a change in the group of friends he/she hangs out with. Maybe your child's mood or energy level has changed. Perhaps your child has become secretive, or just seems off.