Friday, November 9, 2018

Teen Stress & Drug Abuse… there is a strong link between stress and drug abuse in teens.

Tapping into the TEEN BRAIN right here and right now….  Youth Action Board Teens are talking about stress, pressure and anxiety.  Root causes and ways to cope.  They want you to know where it’s coming from, who’s contributing, who’s helping and HOW teens can help themselves in healthy and productive ways.

Youth may feel a lot of stress during their teenage years and this increases their risk for drug abuse. Teens and their parents can learn ways to reduce or manage stress, which improves a teen's overall health and well-being and makes them less likely to abuse drugs. The teenage years bring a lot of changes, and these changes be stressful.

Teens may worry about school, friends, family, extracurricular activities, and the future, as well as the many upheavals and disasters in the world. Teens who have been exposed to some sort of trauma, like abuse, disasters, accidents, or violence in their home or neighborhood, may even develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

Being under a lot of stress can increase the risk that a teen will use drugs. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, stress is one of the major factors leading to teen drug abuse and to relapse in recovering drug users.

While stress is a natural response to problems teens may face, and can be helpful in small doses, long-term stress causes a lot of negative mental and physical health problems in teens, such as:

             Insomnia, or trouble sleeping

             Headaches and unexplained aches and pains

             Frequent illnesses

             Tense muscles or jaw

             Upset stomach

             Eating too much or too little

             Feeling shaky

             Increased heartbeat

             Cold, sweaty hands

             Feeling out of it or disconnected

             Trouble concentrating or getting things done

             Irritability or anger

             Always feeling tired

             Depression or anxiety

When teens don't have healthy ways to cope with stress and its effects, they may turn to drug abuse to treat some of the symptoms. Of course, using drugs can actually increase stress and cause other mental and physical health problems. Teens can learn healthier ways to manage stress and reduce their chances of turning to drug abuse. Some methods that can help teens manage stress include:

·         Learn a relaxation technique for reducing feelings of stress, like deep breathing, visualizing a peaceful place, meditation, tai chi, or yoga.

·         Try to get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet.

·         Exercise, especially when you start to feel stressed. This can be as simple as taking a walk around the block, going on a bike ride, lifting weights, or doing some push ups.

·         Listen to calming music.

·         Watch or listen to something that makes you laugh.

·         Find a stress-free activity that you can enjoy like music, art, or writing.

·         Find a friend or family member to talk to about your concerns.

·         Try taking a break or having a change of scene. Sometimes doing something different for a while can make problems seem less overwhelming.

·         Learn to accept that you cannot control everything going on around you and that not everything is your responsibility, and then focus on the things you can control.

·         Set realistic expectations for yourself, even if those expectations are not the same as what friends, family members, teachers, or coaches have for you. This may include accepting that you don't have to try to be perfect and that it's okay to make mistakes or to fail sometimes.

·         Try not to put off important things that need to be done, like writing a paper that's due soon. Procrastination can increase stress.

·         Make time to do fun, safe activities with friends or family members.

·         Try not to be so busy that you don't have any time to relax. While it's great to be involved in a lot of good activities, it's also important to have some quiet time for yourself.

·         Try to keep time spent watching TV or using other media in balance with other activities in your life.

·         Focus on your accomplishments and on positive events rather than on setbacks and negative events.







Thursday, October 4, 2018

From the YAB table. Tap into the teen brain and find out what teens think is important for teens who feel stressed about school… & just what Schools and Parents need to know and do to support them.

What is the most important thing for freshman to do, not do, to remember in high school?

Establish yourself and how you want to be seen by others.  The first impressions you leave on others will follow you throughout high school.  Also, this is the year to set a standard for yourself in the coming years.

Focus on your classes and have fun.  Join clubs and participate in any sports if you can.

I think the most important thing is finding a good friend group.  It’s easy to get caught up with the wrong people and have bad influences.  You need to surround yourself with people who will push you to be the best version of yourself.

It is important that you start off your high school career strong.  Don’t slack off, work hard to do well in your classes.  Find some good friends with the same values as you.  And, DON’T get into drugs.

What do you wish you knew or were ready for as a freshman?

I wish I was ready for the change in course work and the amount of studying outside of school.  You need to be ready to study and work hard outside of school, which is an important skill for the rest of high school, for college and in life.

I wish I understood that once you get used to being in class with people from different grades, high school really isn’t that scary.  It really allows a lot more freedom to pursue classes you’re interested in.

I wish I knew/understood that there would be many different types of people and groups.  Not everyone is going to be like you.  Don’t make a hard push to “fit in” or be the most “popular” kid in school – you will end up walking over people and it won’t be fulfilling.

What is your best advice for Sophomores?

Explore your surroundings, join new clubs and organizations, and test yourself academically.  This is the year to explore things and test your limits. Discover who you are, who you want to be, and plot a course towards your destination, whatever that might be.

Enjoy your Sophomore year.  Go join clubs and be involved with school activities.  It’s pretty much the last year that you won’t have to worry about standardized tests or the pressure of college.

Continue to work hard and keep up your grades up… don’t slack off. 

Junior year – it’s a big year.  What would you tell Juniors to do? What would you want their Parents and School Administration/Counselors to know and do?

I would tell Juniors to focus on their classes and course work, but also begin actively studying and preparing for the ACT and SAT by taking practice tests, studying English and math.  This is the year to really focus on your academics.

Parents should continue to support their children, but don’t make them more stressed than they already are – because then they can make bad decisions in an attempt to deal with that stress.

My advice is to start making a list of colleges you’re interested in and do some tours to see if you like them and can see yourself there.

 I wish counselors would meet with their students more intentionally during junior year to help keep them on track.

Take at least one ACT/SAT class or get a tutor to help you study.  Take a lot of ACT/SAT practice tests.  Start your college essay and start looking at the colleges you’re interested in, take some tours.  Take a look at the Common App too.

So, for Seniors… another big year.  What should they remember? And then for their Parents, what would you ask them to remember and do to support their Senior students?

The important thing for Seniors to remember is that they will most likely be entering college next year and that this year can be great preparation for college.  Also, it is important to maintain your work-ethic and focus until the end of the year.  Don’t let “Senioritis” set in. J

Seniors should remember to really have fun and make the most of their Senior year.  Although college apps are stressful, they don’t shape the rest of your life.

Remember not to give up at the end of the year.  I would ask Parents to remember to help and guide their Student to maintains a good record so colleges don’t revoke their decisions.

Start your college applications and letters of recommendations early.  Keep working on your college essay.  Don’t get “Senioritis” to early – finish your GPA and all your hard work strong!

Anything else you think Students, Parents, Schools should think about for the school year?

Each year the difficulty steps up.  Be prepared for challenges that will come up.  Parents and Schools should help students cope with those challenges.

Let students have a bit of freedom and responsibility.

Understand that ANYONE can get involved in drinking and drug use – even if they don’t seem like they would – it can really be ANYONE.  And, a lot of kids are vaping – it is out of control.

Teens are really struggling with all the pressure that is put on them.  We need Parents and our Schools to be supportive and help us cope.

What’s your influence to be substance free in the midst of so much self/parent/school and peer pressure?
In this day and age, it’s no challenge to get your hands-on substance.  I am  inspired by my future to keep me away from those things.  I have dreams and goals.

I strive to make my family, my friends and myself proud J

My influence is school and my future.  I have seen too many of my peers give up good grades, college and their intelligence for drugs and alcohol.

#teamyab  #teambbcc


Thursday, July 5, 2018

From the YAB table dialogue. Tap into the teen brain right here right now!

YAB Teens are talking about what’s stressing our teens, what Schools and Parents NEED to know, AND what they SHOULD do.

What is causing you the most stress right now?

Right now, I find myself the most stressed about my future and the unknown.  With the school year over, it’s time to start focusing on AP testing and college applications now that I’m a junior.  But, I feel so lost.  I am not receiving the guidance that I need.  That’s what stresses me out the most.

SAT, ACT, college applications, and comparing myself with my classmates is causing me the most stress right now.  It’s hard to be told “just” worry about doing your “best” when you’re also told that life and college is a competition.

School, AP’s and standardized testing, summer plans, work and then the start of the next school year.

Mostly just thinking about college admissions and standardized testing.  It stresses me out to even think about it even though I know I’ll be able to get in somewhere.

Now that I am graduating more and more my stress is coming from my Parents and sometimes friends.  Now that I am out of school, there is pressure to keep up on lots of chores and a social life.

Each and every day I am surrounded by teens similar and different to me at school.  However, we all find common ground where we experience the most stress… school brings about the majority of stress and anxiety. Balancing homework, tests, sports, clubs and just the thought of the future puts a lot on teens shoulders.

 The main stressors for teens today are school and grades – students are constantly pushed to get good grades and do homework and what is lost is actually understanding and getting an education – this needs to change.

Are you able to talk to someone about your stress and anxiety and if so, who? Do you have a way to alleviate it?  If yes, what is that way?

Many times, I turn to friends to vent about my stress and anxiety.  They are the people I feel most comfortable confiding in.  However, with them having their own stresses and anxieties, it’s difficult for them to help me get through mine.  So, recently I’ve found sports to be the best way for the me alleviate my stress.

For the most part I talk to with my friends and sometimes my Mom.  I like driving or just getting out of the house when I’m stressed.

I can usually talk to my friends about it because they are also going through the same things. I sometimes can talk to my Parents but usually they just don’t understand.

I use a journal to cope, instead of talking to others.  I like to spend time alone to alleviate stress.

Yes, with my best friend.  Not all the time though because a lot of the time it’s me helping her out.  I usually alleviate stress by drawing.

What is your biggest concern going into Summer and Grad party season?

My biggest concern would have to be the pressure other kids put on their peers and friends to party.  Along with that, I am concerned that adults are letting kids get by without any consequences when choose to drink and do other illegal substances.

There is a big increase -- a lot of partying, drinking and drug use.

Nothing crazy.  I have a good group of friends and I feel that I’m a good fighter against peer pressure.

Mostly being able to say “no” when things are offered to me even thought it makes me look and feel “uncool”.

What are your schools doing to address the heightened partying?  What should they know?

I honestly do not see my school going out of its way to address the situation.  I wish the administration would make a bigger effort to stop drinking/drug use especially at school events instead of turning a blind eye.  And, if they suspect something or hear about something they  should speak up.

Teachers tend to say, “make good choices”.  It’s hard for schools to do anything besides provide information and warnings.

The schools don’t do much to address (summer) partying.  I think they should tell kids how to be safe in the summer and encourage them NOT to participate in “partying”.

They should know that alcohol and drugs will find a way in, so proper surveillance is very necessary.

I don’t know if they are doing anything that is truly effective.  I just know that kids get suspended but it’s more of a bonus for them not to go to school.

I have no clue what my school is doing.

What would you like to see or hear from Parents about this?  What do Parents need to do or know?

Above all, Parents need to learn to put their foot down.  You aren’t your kids friend.  You are there to keep them safe and guide them down the right path.  Be involved in your kids’ life and don’t allow them to do anything that isn’t okay with you.

Parents can push their kids and they can have high expectations BUT hey need to be supportive and show unconditional love.  Just having a parent who cares and is willing to help can be the greatest relief/de-stressor.

I think Parents should watch their kids and not support/accept any drinking.  I think Parents need to know that partying definitely increases over the summer break.

I would like them to spend more time and effort understanding mental illness because that’s where many problems stem from.

I think Parents need to know that most teens have either experimented or regularly use substances, even if they seem like a student who wouldn’t.

What’s your influence to be substance free in the midst of so much self/parent/school and peer pressure?

In this day and age, it’s no challenge to get your hands-on substance.  However, for me, I have always been inspired by my future to keep me away from those things.  I have dreams that I am determined to reach.

My influence is myself and my future to not succumb to peer pressure and just do what I want to do.

I care about my well-being and health as well as my future.  I strive to make my family, my friends and myself proud J

My main influence is my future.  I want to get into a good college and I don’t want anything to interfere with that.

My influence is school and my future.  I have seen so many of my peers give up good grades, college and their intelligence for drugs and alcohol.

What else is on your mind?

For any other kids out there, I want to remind you to find something that inspires you.  And when you  start to deviate from the right path, use that inspiration to give you the strength to get back on your way to your goals.

Don’t let event the closest to you control your energy.

Teens are really struggling with all the pressure that is put on them.  I hope that Parents can and will help them and not put more pressure on them.

Teens really need help! A lot of us say we are “fine”, but in reality, we may feel like we’re drowning.  Plus, it always seems like everyone around us is staying so strong, so we feel like we have to be strong too.

I wish Parents were more aware of the importance of mental health and would make sure that their kids are emotionally healthy.

I think it is extremely important to look at mental health as the root of the problem and should be treated as such.  Time and again peers have told me they use because of stress, anxiety or depression.





Friday, February 23, 2018

What Teens are talking about…. Stress, pressure, alcohol, drugs… and we really need to listen.

Q.  What do you think are the biggest things causing teens so much stress and anxiety right now?

A.  I would say that the biggest things causing teens stress and anxiety right now are school and the social atmosphere. Teens are told that getting into college and the importance of going to a good college is so important in todays’ job atmosphere. It feels as if our self-worth is tied to what schools will want you -- because of how good you are at testing or academics.  We are told that it's necessary to be well rounded, to be good at school, and load up on extra-curriculars while also maintaining healthy relationships with family and friends – all the while also taking care of ourselves. There have been many times where my friends have said they don’t feel I care about them because I don’t often make plans and many mornings where I have panic attacks because I only slept two hours a night. On top of all of this, the ever present social media gives students who are already struggling, the impression that you can indeed maintain a perfectly balanced social and academic life. This just causes students to try to work harder for that idealized life. It’s easy to believe that people aren’t struggling with their own stress and anxiety when only part of their story is shown.

A.  School. High School students especially are very stressed out with the next stage in their lives.  We are trying to accomplish perfection for the goal of college and thinking always about the future.

A.  The thought and prospect of college.  The competition for college is crazy leading to extreme stress and anxiety because the expectations are extremely high.

A.  I think that some of the main stressors for teens today is school and grades – students are constantly pushed to get good grades and do homework and what is lost is actually understanding and getting an education – this needs to change.

A.  Each and every day I am surrounded by teens similar and different to me at school.  However, we all find common ground where we experience our most stress… school brings about the majority of stress and anxiety. Balancing homework, tests, sports, clubs and just the thought of the future puts a lot on teens shoulders.

A. The pressure of college, grades and keeping up with an active social life.

A.  I definitely think that school is the biggest factor in teen stress and anxiety.  There’s a lot more competition academically so students are turning to unhealthy coping methods like drugs and alcohol.

A.  Social relationships and school work.

A.  School and expectations from Parents about school.

A.  School.  The endless amount of homework is just too much especially when it seems like the information learned or “memorized” is not really going to prepare us for the real world we are living in today.

Q.  What do you think are the signs and signals we should be looking for to alert us when teens are overly stressed?

A.  When teens are stressed I would say a good indicator is silence. Occasionally when I’m quiet my parents try to talk more/ask more questions to try to make me feel better, but I would just prefer for my parents to ask if I’d like to talk or if something is wrong. In addition, if I am being quiet, occasionally my parents will think I’m being rude or take my silence personally when in reality, I am thinking about everything I have going on. When we’re stressed, it’s unnecessary for parents to criticize their children for work undone, amount of sleep, etc. If parents are stressed about it, the child has most likely been stressing out about that same thing even more, and for a longer period of time. If I’m stressed, I do not need to be told that they could do things better, because parents don’t truly know what we their teens go through. If I am stressed I would rather have my parents ask me if somethings’ wrong, empathize with me, and even ask what they can do to help, because every teen needs something different. If you want to know how to truly help, sit down with your child and talk to him/her about what they need when they’re stressed.

A.  When a student can’t sleep, or there eating patterns change.  When a student who has typically been successful starts to fall behind.

A.  Personally, if I am overly stressed, I tend to keep to myself.  I don’t feel motivated to see people or talk to them.

A.  Staying up all night (lack of sleep) and not eating.

A.  Lack of enthusiasm or humor.  Constantly having an attitude and complaining all the time.

A.  Lots of sadness and crying.  And then another extreme is if we are always seeming to be “fine” and “on the go”, but we’re not really "fine" or "OK".

A.  When we are not acting like we usually act.  Clearly overly worried and/or irritated.

A.  Signs you should be looking for are us alone saying that we are stressed!  Our generation has no problem voicing our opinions, but not one listens, cares or puts anything into action.

Q.  What do you need or NOT need from your Parents when you are stressed?

A.  I really just need their love and support.

A.  I need comforting.  To say it will all work out and that they will be there to help sort out my life.

A.  I need them to understand where I stand. I would like them to try to put themselves in my shoes.

A.  Not to hover over me, but to help remind me of things to keep me on track.

A.  I need a little space every once in a while…. and understanding, not more pressure.

A.  I don’t need a lecture.  Teens need unconditional support.

A.  I need encouragement that everything will be OK.  And, to not yell at us for every little thing.

A.  Not believing or expecting that I can do it “all” Or that I will do everything you think I should do.

A.  Time and space... but also to talk and listen to me sometimes.

A.  I need my parents to understand that I can’t always do the things the way they want me to do right when they ask me to, because I’m either studying or doing homework.

Q.  What do you need or NOT need from your school OR community when you are stressed?

A.  I need less homework.

A.  In my school, I would like teachers to be more understanding. Sometimes it is hard to not assign so much work, but I would like teachers to some degree, to be understanding of the situations of their students. One way might be to offer out homework passes at the beginning of a quarter/trimester, when they don’t do their homework, they can turn in the pass and at the end of quarter/trimester if they have all their passes then maybe they get an extra credit point. One of my teachers had a 48-hour policy.  So, if a student didn’t want to take a test, all they needed to do was notify the teacher 48 hours in advance with no explanation required, and this was accepted at the teacher’s discretion.  In general, I think we need more guidance counselors who are more available to really talk to us and not just handle our scheduling needs.

A.  Mental health days.  Teachers understanding that sometimes we just need a second or more each day to get to be ourselves.

A.  I need them to provide leniency and to try to understand where I come from.  Sometimes extra time with homework is the biggest help.

A.  Better balancing of standardized tests and all that we have going on with school.

Q.  We know that vapes and marijuana use (especially with vapes) are getting out of control. Schools are trying to address it, but it’s still a big issue. Why do you think teens are engaging in this and just what can we do about it?

A.  Most teens don’t know or believe the problems and risks that come with vaping.

A.  I think teens are engaging in this because they think it is a consequence-less version of smoking. I think that most teens just don’t know that vapes and marijuana are dangerous. When I was in elementary school, a group from the local high school came to give a presentation about the dangers of smoking and made us promise we would never smoke. I still remember it and think about it all the time. I think that talking to kids at an even earlier age could be productive and educating people that vaping is marketed and promoted as un-harmful, when it is harmful. In addition, the “The truth” campaign is a respected, reputable and well-known campaign that ends smoking. I think that reaching out to them to address vaping couldn’t hurt. And, I think that parents need to talk to their children in an honest and open way about using vapes and marijuana.

A.  Teens are vaping because all of their friends are.  Also, it’s just a natural thing for teens to want to push their limits.

A.  Some kids think it won’t affect them.  It relieves stress and that it’s cool.  Some people who have started thinking it will be fine, are now extremely addicted and just can’t stop.

A.  It’s a way for teens to deal with stress.  But it has also become a trend that mostly everyone is doing at school and at parties.

A.  I think teens are trying to escape the pressure and stress. Many use vapes and marijuana because they want to be “cool”.  We really need to raise awareness of the dangers.

A.  They want some relief from the stress and pressure they feel every day.

A.  I think it’s mainly a social thing and people want to belong.

A.  Teens are doing this mainly due to stress.  I feel the only way to address this is through the education system.  We need to educate the educators and the public about prevention, the impact of drugs on youth and better ways to cope.

Q. What about underage drinking?  What are your thoughts on this?  Are you aware that it’s happening?  Is it prevalent?  What should we do about it?

A.  Yes, it definitely goes on.  People are drinking because they think it’s cool and they don’t know the consequences.

A.  A lot of people are drinking and vaping.  People don’t think any of this is wrong.

A.  Underage drinking is prevalent. I don’t drink simply because I’ve seen the harmful effects both short term and long term. I think that students see the short-term harms (hangover, poor decision making etc.) but think that the benefits of supposedly having fun outweigh those consequences. Students are warned about long term effects (MIP, DUI, alcoholism) but I don’t think they believe any of those things will happen to them because people tend to distance themselves from serious and especially gradual consequences. I think in order to do something about drinking, parenting styles and overall our culture surrounding drinking needs to change. Parents need to display responsible drinking habits in front of their kids and stress the importance of responsible drinking.  I think in our culture we have to portray drunkenness less as fun and more so as messy or socially unpleasant to deter people.

A.  I think that underage drinking is a pretty prevalent problem, but we are beginning to understand why it’s harmful.

A.  Underage drinking – yes, its prevalent, but should be taken at a different approach.  Show an impactful message because teens will tend to do the opposite of what they are told not to do.

Q. How do you cope with stress? And how do you handle the peer pressure?

A.  I read, watch movies with happy themes and endings. As far as peer pressure, I really think about the consequences.

A.  I use a planner to stay organized.  I drink tea.  I don’t suffer from peer pressure because I surround myself with people who make good choices.  I have my own values which guide me from what I know is right VS wrong.

A.  I cope with stress by writing in a journal. I also have an artistic outlet. I talk to my friends. But, my best advice to handle peer pressure is to be proactive by surrounding yourself with peers/friends who love you for being yourself. If someone is constantly worried about what their friends think, then it’s more likely that you’ll end up doing something to please them. By finding friends who you can be yourself around, you don’t have to pretend. Subsequently you’ll find that you don’t care much about the opinions of people who don’t appreciate you for being yourself.  You care only about the opinions of people who don’t want you to change and don’t pressure you to change, and don’t care about people who try to pressure you into situations you don’t feel comfortable with.

A.  I hang with my friends and surround myself with good people.

A.  I try not to get overly stressed and I remind myself that I am in control of myself, not my peers. 

A.  I just like to and try to relax; I watch Netflix and I exercise.

A.  I cope with stress by hanging with and ranting with my friends.

Q. What else is on your mind/concerning you/you’d like to see done/you wish was different/understood?

A.  I think more teens need to be encouraged and to know that there are safe people and places that they can turn to for help when they are struggling or are overly concerned about something.

A.  I think all teens should learn and understand the statistics and hard-core facts about drugs.  That school and the pressures today are so much harder and different than they were for our teachers and parents.  We need you to acknowledge that and to transform around it.

A.  I would like for bullying to stop.  And, I would like for people to actually listen and help you get through the situation.

A.  Please encourage teens to get help and to not deny what they are feeling or going through when they have a problem.  It’s not about being “cool” or fitting in the majority of the time, it’s more about our stress from school and academic pressure that is placed on us.






Saturday, November 25, 2017

YAB Teens are talking about teen substance use…. why, what, and how we can do better for our teens.

Q.  When it comes to substance use; drinking, weed, vapes… if teens know it’s wrong, illegal and their parents would disapprove, then why do you think they do it?

A.  I think teens are using because there is a lot of pressure on them about school and their grades from their parents and peers.

A.  I don't think teens really get that it’s wrong.

A. Peer pressure.  Stress and Anxiety.  The need for popularity.  To cope with their problems.

A.  Teens don’t care, they just want to be cool, show off to their friends, rebel against their parents and try to de-stress.

A.  I think teens do it despite knowing the consequences because of the “coolness” factor.  I do think it depends on your friend group though.

A.  There are a few reasons; to try to cover their problems or mask their emotions, or it could be they are trying to boost their social status.

A.  Kids are interested in conforming to the social norms of their friend group.  If someone’s friends are doing drugs, they are more likely to do so as well.

Q.  Do you think teens understand or are aware of the affects, the harm, the consequences of using these substances?


A.       Teens think vapes are a safe alternative to smoking.

A.       Teens don’t understand that vapes contain nicotine or harmful chemicals.  They think it’s just water.

A.      Most teens believe vapes have no harmful effects, but it is really building a foundation for addiction.


A.      I think teens think marijuana is safe because it is natural.

A.      Teens know you can’t OD on marijuana and that makes then believe there is no harm.

A.      Teens are very aware of marijuana, it’s very prevalent.  Unfortunately, it is also a very addictive substance.


A.      I think teens think that because alcohol is a legal substance it is safe for them.

A.      Many do know the risks, but just don’t care, because there is so much peer pressure.

A.      Many teens see their parents and other adults drinking so they think it’s okay.  And, it’s easier to get than other drugs.

A.      I don’t think teens are aware of the long-term effects on their brains and body.

Q.  What should schools and the community do to get a more direct and effective messages to teens?

A.  Have people talk to us about their experiences with drinking and drugs.

A.  Schools shouldn’t give students opportunities to use drugs.  Students are unsupervised a lot, and teaches are uninformed.

A.  We need better counseling at school.  Check-up with your students more regularly – some kids just fall through the cracks.

A.  Better security at school.  More PSA’s and assemblies addressing alcohol and drug use and the consequences.

Q.  What should Parents know OR do to better support their teens?

A.  Parents should let their teens know that there will be consequences, but they will be there for them when they do make a bad choice.

A.  Parents need to understand that teens are easily influenced by their friends, the media and society.

A.  Be more open and less judgmental of your kids.  Too many kids are not trusting of their parents with drug issues.

A.  Pay more attention to your teen -- know what they are doing, who they are with and what’s going on in their daily life.

A.  Show us more examples of real-life tragedies/consequences from people who use substances.

A.  Communicate more with your teen.  Try to really understand what is going on in their lives.

A.  Start talking to your kids about this when they are younger – middle school at least.

Q. What would you like to see addressed?  Do you have any thoughts on messaging or reaching teens better on this issue?

A.  I would like to see Parents be more informed about vaping.  How to recognize the signs, what to look for, and then how to handle it.

A.  The huge amount of stress and anxiety teens are trying to deal with today.  And, the consequences of substance use.

A.  I need everyone to understand that is it so hard to be a teenager today and I wish that they would all be more supportive.

A.  Parents need to be better informed about what’s happening with teen substance use.

A.  Helping teens find healthy ways to cope with stress and anxiety.





Saturday, October 14, 2017

YAB Teens are talking about the teen experience, Parent engagement and communication... Part 2.

A GREAT read for Parents, teachers, counselors... anyone interacting with teens today. The teen experience and how we can support them.  So compelling, if we can take the time to really listen to what our teens are going through.

Q.  If at times your Parents don’t really understand things and what you’re going through, what do you want them to know?
A.  I appreciate how much you care about me and I know that you want to be involved in my life.  I know how to behave and I would like more independence.
A. Please just try to listen and gain perspective instead of lecturing or telling me about how things were for you.  
A.  I’m trying my best to do everything to the best of my abilities… but sometimes I just can’t.
A.  I want you to know that I have bad social anxiety and its effecting my actions and what I do and don’t do.
A.  Sometimes your too strict about little things.  You don’t trust me even though I’ve never given you a reason not to.  Please be more understanding.
A.  Kids may experiment with drugs and alcohol and may become addicted, and you may not know it.
Q.  What is a good way for Parents to respond and/or start a conversation with you AND respond to you?
A.  “Hey… how’s it going?  If you ever need to talk I am here for you.”  If they would talk to me like this…. It makes me feel like they actually want to listen and hear what I have to say.
A.  “Hey, how was your day?  How are you feeling?”
A. “How is ____________ going?”  “How are you feeling about ________?”  “Is there anything I can do to help you with _____________?”
A.  “Did anything happen at school today?”
A.  “I know that you’re a good kid…..” 
A.  Just say “Hi.” When I get home not a whole lot of conversation.  Start that a little later after I’ve had some time to just be home.
A.  “I understand you are a teenager and a lot of things are happening around you right now.”
A.  “How do you feel today?”  “OK… I will get you help so you don’t feel like this anymore.”
Q.  What’s it like to be a teen today?  Describe your teen experience…the good, the bad, what it's like for you?  
A.  Being a teen today is hard.  But it can also be so much fun.  I’ve found that with all the drugs and alcohol going on around me, it’s a challenge to hold true to my morals and refrain from following the crowd.  And, I imagine that’s how many people my age feel.  But I also feel that being a teen can be fun, new and exciting when you find the right people to surround yourself with. 
A.  It is very hard with all the pressure to do the right thing and to prepare for your future.  It is also very stressful to do things for fun with all the school work we have.  Then there is the extreme social pressure to fit in with everyone.
A.  It’s rough.  People are not as nice or honest as they should.  School is hard.   People just need to be kinder to each other.  
A.  It’s a high-pressure roller coaster.  You can feel on top of the world.  The suddenly feel like you are in the pit.  The added stress of school, sports and extras make it that much harder. 
A.  If we’re involved in a bunch of activities it gets overwhelming and tough.  Sometimes the best way to avoid social pressures and anxiety it to just NOT go to some of the school/social events at all.
A.  Being a teenager today takes the courage to say no to our generations norms (vaping, sexting, drugs).
A.  There is a LOT of peer pressure for all sorts of things (drugs, alcohol, vapes).
A.  Peer pressure.  Very high expectations from everyone, and trying to be “cool”.
A. Being a teen today is awesome!  School, sports, and clubs are all demanding and thinking about my future is stressful, but fun is still fun!  Like when we’re just hanging out with friends, listening to music, going to the movies… just being with our friends J
Q. What do you need that you are not getting from someone, whether it’s your Parents, Peers/Friends, or the Schools/Community?
A.  Sometimes I need to talk to my Parents about things but I feel they won’t understand.  So, I just feel I need to try to be more open and understanding to what I’m going through and what I am sharing with them.
A.  Parents need to be more understanding of what their kids are going through.  I think they need to listen to their kids more and not just lecture and punish them.
A.  I need everyone to understand that is it so hard to be a teenager today and I wish that they would all be more supportive.
A.  What I think I need is for everyone else to be informed about the dangers of smoking, marijuana and vaping.   And, then to act on that knowledge.
A.  I want our schools to educate students about the harm of vape.  A vape assembly with scientific evidence would be effective in middle and high schools.
A.  More leadership advice on college preparation, college life and applications, testing, essays, etc.
A.  I would like to be listened to and for people to actually listen to my problems and then help me to resolve them. 
Q.  What do you think is the biggest teen issue today?  
A.  The biggest issue I believe would have to be the drugs and partying.  Teens fall into it because there is so much pressure but also many parents aren’t disciplining their kids.
A.  I think mental health issues, specifically the fear of failure on many levels.  And, substance abuse of vapes and drinking is also a big problem with teens right now. 
A.  Vaping.
A.  We are greatly influenced by the music we listen to and by the strong urge to fit in with our peers.
A.  Mental health and anxiety.  We have a LOT of pressure and too often kids turn to substances to “let loose”.  We can prevent that with better support. 
A.  Many teens today smoke weed and are using vapes and they think this it this is not harmful. 
A. Extreme stress from school. Parents and friends leads to drug and alcohol use. 
A.  I feel like mental health is an issue that people don’t talk much about.  I also feel that adults don’t understand how hard it is to go to school every day and then do everything else (work, sports, church, activities, etc.)
Q.  What is your primary influence to be drug-free?  How do you think you are able to stay true to that with so much pressure?
A.  I personally feel I don’t need that in my life because I want to stay healthy and in control.  I feel that I can have fun without drugs or alcohol and that I would regret doing it.  
A.  I think it’s really myself.  I want to do well in the future -- I don’t want my life to go down-hill.
A. My influence to be drug-free is to protect my body.
A.  I chose a friend group that doesn’t care what others think as much.  And, I stay away from drugs because I know that things would only get worse in my future.  
A.  My Parents showing me that I can have fun without substances.
A.  I care about my future.   
A.  I know that everything is temporary.  I want to make the most of my time and keep a clear mindset.
A.  I see other people my age making poor decisions and it influences me.
A.  My influence is knowing what it leads to.  And also seeing what the people I love went through.  
Q.  What is something that you will work towards or focus on?
A.  Learning to overcome academic challenges.
A.  A strong focus on the things that really matter in life. 
A.  Making my school a safer place.