Tag Archives: supporting your teen

Thinking Outside the Box for School-Resistant Kids
Frustrated Teen

My proposed solution is simple: don’t waste a lot of time and money pushing kids in directions they don’t want to go. Instead find out what weirdness they excel at and encourage them to do that. Then get out of the way. ~ Seth Godin

Q. What is the best way to respond to my 12 yo son who refuses to go to school? It started after he had 2 teachers who focused on the things he couldn’t do. We eventually pulled him and put him in private school but that only worked for about a year. We pulled him altogether last year on the advice of his therapist. Virtual school was a nightmare, and we were taking care of my dying father in the house too. It was too much. He really hates school. He is super smart but has dysgraphia, ADHD and anxiety so he really struggles.

A. I imagine there are a lot of kids this pandemic has pushed to the surface who were falling through the cracks pre-Covid. The silver lining of this struggle may be that you have come up against a dead end with traditional school before serious problems arise for your son in high school. This is a tough problem but one that needs solving sooner rather than later.

read more
Helping Teens Cope with Stress
stressed teenager

So many parents are concerned about how stressed out their teens are. Helping them cope with stress can be tricky when it seems like they don’t want our help or interference. I asked Jennifer Salerno to write a blog for you based on her book, Teen Speak, an essential guide in communicating with your teen. Teenagers seem like they don’t want us around, but when we connect in ways they can hear, we provide the support they both need and want.

Dr. Jennifer Salerno, founder and CEO of Possibilities for Change and author of Teen Speak writes:

During my career working with adolescents in a variety of settings, a surprisingly common theme among teens is their intense levels of stress. Unfortunately, many adults tend to blow off the seriousness or validity of teen stress, often considering their problems insignificant. It may be surprising to think that teens often experience higher levels of stress than adults. A study of more than 1,000 teens revealed an average stress score of 5.8 on a 10-point scale—with 3.9 being a healthy level of stress. The research by my team at Possibilities for Change continues to validate stress as a major issue among teens, as 13 percent of nearly 4,000 teens surveyed indicated they had serious problems or worries at home or school. Additionally, 1 in every 5 teens indicated they often feel sad and had nothing to look forward to during the past month.

read more
When Your Child Feels Worry or Despair
Worry, Despair

Don’t go underground when you see worry or despair in your child.

What do I say to my kids when they seem consumed with worry or despair for their futures and when tragedy cuts down innocent lives? When leaders demonstrate behaviors that I work hard to steer my children away from and demonstrate intolerance where I want to teach them tolerance? And in their day-to-day lives when they complain of teachers and kids treating them unfairly or feeling pressured to do what doesn’t interest them? I feel helpless when I can’t answer their questions.

More and more I hear parents describe their children as anxious and angry, who see no reason to strive in school, who seem engulfed in worry and despair. The worry may not be voiced but shows up when they drop out of activities, lose friends and spend more time alone in their rooms gaming and on social media. Is this what’s happening to kids now because we are not tough enough on them or is this a reflection of the world we live in?

When schools focus on competency on standardized tests, children’s education gets boxed in. Few are getting what they need to excel in today’s world. Less and less feel inspired by what is out there. College degrees no longer guarantee jobs. Our political system is teaching that bullies win and minorities lose.

read more