Supporting the College Transition

Photo by  Nathan Dumlao  on  Unsplash

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

The college admissions scandal has certainly peaked the nation’s interest and it has definitely peaked mine, as my son just recently went through the entire search, application, and response process. It’s a huge challenge and we all want to support our kids through it. The very fact that some parents feel the need to cheat their kids out of the application process leads us to conclude that we are not putting our full faith in our kids.

And then, once we are through the process - whatever it was like, it seems we assume our kids are simply ready for college. But there is a missing piece to that puzzle. We are seeing record numbers of kids dropping out and an increase in anxiety and depression in college students.

Photo by  Alexis Brown  on  Unsplash

Photo by Alexis Brown on Unsplash

In addition to the idea of sending them off to live on their own and worrying about the big decisions like whether or not they will be safe, if they will be homesick, if they will make the most of the opportunity, we also need to consider if they are ready to manage their own time, get their work done, and figure out the social scene.

Sarah Cody and I were lucky enough to sit down with Marc Lehman, a marriage and family therapist and Co-Founder of Dorm Room Counseling. Marc he talked to us about preparing kids and supporting them through this huge transition.

Supporting LGBTQ Youth

Photo by  Steve Johnson  on  Unsplash

In 2016 we saw the introduction of a law that mandated people to use bathrooms that matched their birth gender. Since then we’ve seen lawsuits on both sides of the issue. Recently the US military stated that you must identify with your biological sex to serve. Connecticut banned conversion therapy a year ago and Puerto Rico did the same just this spring.

Research suggests that LGBTQ youth are at a higher risk for depression, anxiety, suicide ideation and attempts, substance abuse, and sexual health risks - not because of their innate identity but because of how we message and support them as a society. So what does this mean to our youth who are still figuring out who they are and how they fit in the world? And how do we support them?

My colleague, Sarah Cody, and I had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Laura M. I. Saunders, Licensed Psychologist, Assistant Director of Psychology and Clinical Coordinator of The Right Track/LGBTQ Young Adult Services at the Institute of Living, Hartford Hospital. She walked us first through some of the terminology to help us have conversations with our families about these and other related issues. And she leaves us with practical strategies to help support all of our youth.

Please subscribe to our podcast to hear more topics. And, if you know of someone who might enjoy, feel free to forward us along.

Talking About Specializing and Parent Involvement in Sports

Photo by  rawpixel  on  Unsplash

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

We are seeing kids’ sports taken to a new level. We often sign our kids up for sports to teach them some new physical and social skills, and I know I assume it’s good for them to be moving. Kids have a lot of pressure on them and this is one more thing - and perhaps not a healthy thing to add into the mix. An article in Hartford Courant questions when a child should - and if a child should - specialize in sports? And, a in a recent article, Science Daily suggests that “Rushing kids to specialize in one sport may not be best path to success.”

And while we’re on the subject, I have recently been shocked by the parent conversations and engagement during kids’ games. What do you do when you hear something inappropriate? Are you guilty of getting a little too excited?

In our podcast, Parenting Beyond the Headlines, Sarah Cody and I talked with Peter Vint, an internationally recognized expert in sport science, performance technology, and sport analytics about the topic. He offers great advice on how to think about our approach to sports as parents and how to encourage kids to think about their own goals.

Managing Stress and Anxiety in Kids and Teens

We are seeing a major increase in depression and anxiety in kids relative to even just ten years ago. We know technology changes how we interact with one another to some degree. But news articles are also citing pressure about grades, getting into college, parents, romantic relationships, body image, family finances. On top of this there is stigma around getting help for mental healthcare.

“The APA’s Stress in America survey found that 30 percent of teens reported feeling sad or depressed because of stress and 31 percent felt overwhelmed. Another 35 percent of teens reported that stress caused them to lie awake at night and 26 percent said that they are overeating or eating unhealthy foods in the past month.”

In our podcast, Parenting Beyond the Headlines, Sarah Cody and I talked with Dr. Kristine Schlichting (my co-author of The Parenting Project) about What she is seeing in her practice as some of the main stressors for tweens and teens these days? She also offers some good advice on modeling and teaching coping strategies.

Talking About Vaping

Vaping is all over the news and sadly, all over our kids’ schools. It is increasingly embraced by teens and tweens even though it can be dangerous. They can purchase the devices easily, even though some of them contain nicotine and can be addictive. It’s important for parents to work with the school systems to address this growing problem.

CT Congresswoman DeLaura is introducing a Youth Vaping Prevention Act to help curb marketing to young people. My colleague, Sarah Cody, and I talked with Jim Maffuid, Executive Director of Child Guidance Clinic for Central Connecticut to get some tips for parents in response to the Surgeon General’s warning about vaping becoming an epidemic.

Talking About Gaming Disorder

Here is the third episode of my new adventure, Parenting Beyond the Headlines - a podcast I am hosting with my colleague and friend, Sarah Cody. We are going deep into the headlines and talking with experts about current events, how they affect our families, and how to talk about them in a meaningful and family-friendly ways.

In this episode, we talk to special guest, Michael Robb, Senior Director of Research at Common Sense Media about the recent classification by the World Health Organization of “gaming disorder.” What is the disorder, how likely are kids to develop it, and what should we be looking for? Michael shares some great strategies.

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