By Kathryn Howard, LMFT, PPS/CWA, High School Therapist
It is important to recognize that during high school years the adolescent brain and hormones are in full sprint! What does that mean for you as a parent? It is a reminder that they feel emotions more deeply and more strongly than at any other time in their life. Being confined in a quarantine may increase mood fluctuations, especially if they stuck at home! Here are ways you can help your student during this challenging time:
Model the 4 C’s: Calm, Caring, and Compassionate Communication:
Please understand that your teen has not had the life experiences to deal with a situation like this. At this age, most are naturally social, and this is going to be extremely difficult for them. Be patient with the possible mood swings – being cooped up is especially hard for teenagers. They may become cranky and argumentative, and it’s important for you to know that this is natural! Try not to let that bother you.
No one wins when you argue with a teen. If you find yourself constantly arguing, step away and discuss matters when you are both calm. Don’t forget to listen with your heart during these challenging times.
Start collaborative parenting:
Try not to give too much advice.Being on the receiving end of a lot of advice makes your teen feel like they don’t have control. As teens transition into adulthood, parents need to allow them to feel like they have the ability to handle certain situations on their own.
If your teen is complaining about something, do your best to listen and empathize/validate. Complaints from your teen doesn’t mean you need to give them advice. Ask if your teen wants your suggestion before you give it. If they say “no” let them know that you believe they can handle what’s bothering them, but willing to help when they need support. Understand your teen may just be letting off steam, which is good for both of you!
While you are home, it might be easy to treat your teen like they are in elementary school again. Waking them up, making their meals and catering to them. Remember that they are emerging into adulthood, and it is best to let them keep their schedule and continue to be independent.
Practice good self-care during stay-at-home orders:
Don’t forget to take the time for humor – Laughter is so important for improving mental health. If you are finding it hard to smile or laugh-watch your favorite comedian, funny movie or cute kittens. It is a good distraction from the news.
Find time for yourself – Everyone needs a little space right now. Find a quiet space (maybe with earbuds) and let your family know you are not available. Good time to practice prayer, meditation or something you enjoy.
Manage your stress – If you feel you are getting annoyed or frustrated, take a break, step away from the situation and breathe deep. You are going to need to negotiate with your teen during this time together.
Communicate – If you are worried about your child’s academics, contact their counselor. You can set an appointment to discuss your concerns. They are there for you.
Chaminade’s counseling department is excited to offer the Pacific Northwest College Tour, March 31-April 3. A follow-up to their successful east coast tour in October, students in grades 9-11 are invited to travel to Oregon and Washington, where they will visit the University of Oregon, University of Washington, Oregon State University, Lewis and Clark College, Seattle University, Willamette University, and others! The tours offered on each campus provide students with valuable insight and perspective wherever they are in their college process.
Taking advantage of visiting a college campus helps students form their own feelings and opinions about a school. How did they feel being on campus? Were the students friendly? Did it seem like someplace they could see themselves? How did they feel walking into the Student Union Building or sitting in the university library? Students are choosing a ‘home away from home’ when they are exploring colleges. Nothing tells them more about a school, its opportunities and what they can expect, than being there themselves. Tours enable students to gather information directly from the source as they continue to learn about themselves and their needs and wants.
The benefit of touring colleges becomes evident when students begin applying to schools in the fall of their senior year. They will be well-informed about the kind of school they wish to attend and can see for themselves what sets one school apart from another.
Click here for more information about the Pacific Northwest College Tour, or contact the Director of Counseling, Laura Cuneo, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
AP Psych students during Mental Health Awareness Week helped classmates alleviate stress with smoothies and dancing. (photo by: High School Counseling)
Today’s students feel immense amounts of pressure and stress. Since 2013, teens have reported stress levels which exceed those of adults.
61% of teens say stress and anxiety have a large impact on their lives.
42% of teens say they are not doing enough to manage their stress.
22% of teens actively seek support to reduce, manage, and eliminate stress.
Chaminade College Preparatory wants to help alleviate the stress, and during Chaminade Gala in March, Heather Eaton and Juliana Gallant, heads of the middle school and high school counseling departments, announced the creation of a Wellness Program.
It is a priority of the school to help students achieve school/life balance, manage stress, and prepare students for success, and is directly addressed in Chaminade’s new strategic plan. The idea of making emotional health and overall well-being a priority is not a new concept for Chaminade. This is an expansion of the school’s vision to develop resilient young women and young men who are adaptable self-advocates who successfully balance school and life.
To make this important initiative a reality, Chaminade parents, alumni faculty, staff, and friends were asked to invest in the newly created Wellness Program during the fund-a-need portion of the gala. Together they raised more than $111,000 to jump-start the program. Additional gifts are needed, and will help sustain and grow the Wellness Program, and give Chaminade the tools it needs to fulfill its promise to its students. Contributions can be given online; and any questions can be answered by the Advancement Office at (818) 360-0615.