Originally posted on eSchool News on November 26th, 2020.
Using the right approach, along with an SEL program, could help teenagers become more transparent with their mental health
Despite what kids believe, their main support system is not within their friendships. As a parent or counselor, you can allow them to believe their friends are their support providers. However, their fellow 14-year-old friends are not equipped with the maturity and understanding to help them with the big problems. Kids need a sounding board–a connection with their family to help them with feelings of depression, anxiety, fear of failure, and other related concerns.
In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week our CEO, Robin Glenn shares her own, personal, observations of remote learning during the time of COVID-19. Very few of us are untouched by current events and we all have stories just like hers.
This is my 20th year writing pieces in recognition of Mental Health Awareness. Each year I write about the harsh statistics, I raise awareness, and I try in perpetuity to validate the feelings and concerns of all humans.
This year is different. This year is different in a million macro and micro ways…for all people.
Originally posted on Thrive Global.
The issues affecting kids are not just COVID-19 and remote learning, but political unrest, social media, financial duress, and other interrelated issues.
Whether you’re starting the year in the classroom or remotely, here are some tips for engaging your students as they complete social and emotional curriculum. Knowing exactly what to say can be tough – we’ve been there!
Here are our Do’s/Asks/Do not’s built upon 25+ years of real-world experience working with teens.
- Praise their efforts
- Use specifics from their writing to support them
- Encourage them to spend time on themselves
- Let them know that they are worth it, they are worth their own time.
- Let them know they are brave
- Tell them you appreciate their stories
- Tell them you value their perspective
- Tell them you learned new things about them
- Use empathy
- Keep in mind that many of your students have never had conversations like this and this may be uncomfortable for them
- Keep in mind cultural differences and respect the boundaries of their beliefs and family practices
- Understand they are doing the best they can- every student makes decisions because of the things they are going through, many of these things we cannot begin to understand
- Ask them how the module went for them
- Ask them what they enjoyed
- Ask them what they learned about themselves
- Ask them to select the highlights of the course that made the biggest impact
- Ask them for their ideas beyond the courses’ completion
- Ask them if they learned something new about someone they care for
- Ask them if something surprised them
- Ask them if they need support
- Use BASE Education as a punishment – it is a tool to learn
- Criticize their responses- this is hard stuff for many of them
- Give suggestions for their answers
- Judge their answers
- Challenge their truth
- Make them take a module if they do not want to
SEL, or social and emotional learning, is essential, but its definition may not be easy to pinpoint. In the past, education centered around academic achievement – give students information and expect them to remember it. But times have changed. Our understanding of human beings has changed. And as a result, what we teach in school has, and still needs to, change. Enter Social Emotional Learning.
Friends mean a lot to the teens in your school. In fact, peer relationships are so important they are often referred to as the second family. And yet peer relationships can often be harmful in the life of a teen. Poor or dangerous relationships can lead to risky behavior, substance abuse, truancy, and worse. For teens, having the right friends can have a huge impact on where life leads. Continue Reading
Tylor blamed herself for everything wrong in her life and saw no hope for her future. She’d never been in trouble before, but she’d just gotten caught bringing marijuana to school and was suspended. As a result, she felt like everyone was disappointed in her, and she felt like she had irrevocably ruined all her dreams and plans for the future. She sat in suspension alone in her pain, seeing no way to recover. She blamed herself for everything wrong in her life. When she left school that day, she went into her basement and took her life. Protective factors could have made a difference in her story, and they can make a difference in your teens’ too.
Tylor’s story is not unique. Every day teenagers across the nation die by suicide, teens who should have lived and prospered, teens who deserved to be happy. Their deaths, these tragedies, impact families and communities forever. And whether anyone in your school has taken their life or not, you can be sure that suicide has had some impact on your teens one way or another. Continue Reading
On July 9, 2017, a group of five Florida teens, aged fourteen to nineteen, watched a man drown. They did not call for help. They did not try and assist him. In fact, the teens recorded the man’s final moments, taunted and mocked him as he struggled to stay afloat, and then posted the video of his death on YouTube. (CNN reported on the story.) And though this story speaks to many issues, one thing is certain. These teens lacked empathy. Continue Reading