Children and teens around the nation are heading back to school. The beginning of the year brings a range of emotions – from excitement to anxiety – that they are trying to cope with. To help facilitate the process, Mental Health America has put together a toolkit of information for parents, teachers and students.
Back to School
Kids and teens today are dealing with some heavy stuff — cyber-bullying, body shaming, community violence, abuse, neglect, unstable home lives, drug exposure, sexual orientation, immigration issues and more. Some young people may not have the tools that they need to effectively handle emotions like fear, sadness, and anger, which are often at the root of misbehavior. All too often youth who misbehave aren’t given a great deal of attention until they get into trouble at school. Getting in trouble at school usually means adults implement disciplinary measures like time-out, detention, suspension, expulsion, or even arrest. Oftentimes, those who are disciplined are almost always left feeling that they are labeled as a “bad kid” and end up being excluded from their peers in the process.
Yet, before behavior problems surface, there are emotions that young people are unable to deal with. These emotions come about from the environment and situations that kids and teens are exposed to.
While we can’t completely shield young people from all the stressful or traumatic situations they may be facing, we can help them learn to manage their emotions and reactions in ways that cultivate resilience. Equipping young people with appropriate coping skills for when they are struggling with emotions leads to better mental and physical health in adulthood.
MHA’s 2017 Back to School Toolkit aims to increase emotional intelligence and self-regulation through materials for parents, school personnel, and young people.
If you have a child or teen struggling with mental health issues and believe they need additional help, call Tamara Ancona, MA, LPC, at (678) 297-0708 for an evaluation, and to discuss potential solutions.