390 Lincoln Road
Sudbury, MA 01776
Tuesday, Dec. 19, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Sudbury Lincoln CRANE Newsletter
FEATURED TOPIC: MANAGING STRESS
Life for children and teenagers can seem much more carefree than the life of an adult. However, many children and young adults can feel sources of stress including school work and their social life. These stressors can feel overwhelming, especially to a child who doesn’t understand how to manage or cope with stress.
According to the 2016 MetroWest Adolescent Health Survey, the percentage of Sudbury middle school students who reported feeling that life was very stressful in the past 30 days has increased over the last two surveys, from 12-13 percent in 2006 to 16 percent in 2016. Stress related to school issues was most common, reported by 44 percent of youth, followed by stress related to social issues at 19 percent, and stress related to appearance issues at 18 percent.
Additionally, survey results revealed that the number of students at Lincoln Sudbury High School who reported feeling that life is very stressful in the past 30 days has increased from 38 percent in 2014 to 41 percent in 2016. Of those students, 75 percent reported school issues as being a source of stress, followed by 36 reporting social issues, and 31 percent appearance issues as causes of stress.
Among school issues, 76 percent of high school students reported that getting good grades was a source of school-related stress, 69 percent reported that the ability to finish school work and study enough and 38 percent said pressure from parents/guardians to do well in school.
To help your child develop healthy ways to deal with stress, Sudbury Lincoln CRANE would like to pass along some tips from KidsHealth.org:
- Notice out loud. Tell your child when you notice that something’s bothering him or her. If you can, name the feeling you think your child is experiencing. This shouldn’t sound like an accusation or put a child on the spot. It’s just a casual observation that you’re interested in hearing more about your child’s concern. Be sympathetic and show you care and want to understand.
- Listen to your child. Ask your child to tell you what’s wrong. Listen attentively and calmly — with interest, patience, openness, and caring. Avoid any urge to judge, blame, lecture, or say what you think your child should have done instead. The idea is to let your child’s concerns (and feelings) be heard. Try to get the whole story by asking questions like “And then what happened?” Take your time. And let your child take his or her time, too.
- Comment briefly on the feelings you think your child was experiencing. For example, you might say “That must have been upsetting,” “No wonder you felt mad when they wouldn’t let you in the game,” or “That must have seemed unfair to you.” Doing this shows that you understand what your child felt, why, and that you care. Feeling understood and listened to helps your child feel supported by you, and that is especially important in times of stress.
- Put a label on it. Many younger kids do not yet have words for their feelings. If your child seems angry or frustrated, use those words to help him or her learn to identify the emotions by name. Putting feelings into words helps kids communicate and develop emotional awareness — the ability to recognize their own emotional states. Kids who can do so are less likely to reach the behavioral boiling point where strong emotions come out through behaviors rather than communicated with words.
- Help your child think of things to do. If there’s a specific problem that’s causing stress, talk together about what to do. Encourage your child to think of a couple of ideas. You can start the brainstorming if necessary, but don’t do all the work. Your child’s active participation will build confidence. Support the good ideas and add to them as needed. Ask, “How do you think this will work?”
- Listen and move on. Sometimes talking and listening and feeling understood is all that’s needed to help a child’s frustrations begin to melt away. Afterward, try changing the subject and moving on to something more positive and relaxing. Help your child think of something to do to feel better. Don’t give the problem more attention than it deserves.
- Limit stress where possible. If certain situations are causing stress, see if there are ways to change things. For instance, if too many after-school activities consistently cause homework stress, it might be necessary to limit activities to leave time and energy for homework.
- Just be there. Kids don’t always feel like talking about what’s bothering them. Sometimes that’s OK. Let your kids know you’ll be there when they do feel like talking. Even when kids don’t want to talk, they usually don’t want parents to leave them alone. You can help your child feel better just by being there — keeping him or her company, spending time together. So if you notice that your child seems to be down in the dumps, stressed, or having a bad day — but doesn’t feel like talking — initiate something you can do together. Take a walk, watch a movie, shoot some hoops, or bake some cookies. Isn’t it nice to know that your presence really counts?
- Be patient. As a parent, it hurts to see your child unhappy or stressed. But try to resist the urge to fix every problem. Instead, focus on helping your child, slowly but surely, grow into a good problem-solver — a kid who knows how to roll with life’s ups and downs, put feelings into words, calm down when needed, and bounce back to try again.
While be able to help your child deal with stress is important, it is also important for parents and guardians to watch out for signs that their children are too busy. Over-scheduled kids may:
- feel tired, anxious, or depressed
- complain of headaches and stomachaches, which may be due to stress, missed meals, or lack of sleep
- fall behind on their schoolwork, causing their grades to drop
NAMI Basics is a 6 week education program for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents living with emotional and behavioral issues. NAMI Basics is taught by understanding teachers who are parents or caregivers of children with similar issues. Taking NAMI Basics will give you the tools you will need to help you make the best decisions possible for the care of your child. You will learn communication tips, how to problem-solve and the skills to help you cope with the emotional impact of caring for your challenging child. You will find out about the IEP process, insurance, benefits, diagnoses and treatment.
The course consists of six classes, each lasting for 2 ½ hours. Classes may be offered weekly for six consecutive weeks, or may be offered twice per week for three weeks to accommodate hectic schedules. All instruction materials are FREE to participants.
Please contact the teacher listed to get details. Preregistration is required since space is limited. If you’re interested in taking a class, and none are available in your area, please contact Director of Family Programs, Ilya Cherkasov at 617-580-8541.
Interested in becoming a NAMI Basics teacher? Please contact Ilya Cherkasov at 617-580-8541.
Schedule of Classes:
William James College INTERFACE Referral Service is a mental health and wellness referral line available to families in the Sudbury and Lincoln Communities as well as Boston families with children in the Sudbury and Lincoln schools. This free and confidential service is available to residents of all ages in member towns.
Callers will be asked to describe their need and provide insurance, appointment time and location preferences. INTERFACE staff will then use their extensive database to find a licensed therapist or provider match with the appropriate specialization. They are able to make referrals in the Sudbury, Lincoln and Boston areas. INTERFACE is available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 888-244-6843 (toll free).
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