Most U.S. kids not meeting sleep, exercise and screen time targets

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Most U.S. kids not meeting sleep, exercise and screen time targets

By Lisa Rapaport

Just one in 20 U.S. children and teens gets the amount of sleep, exercise and screen time that doctors recommend for optimal health, a new study suggests.

Children and teens are supposed to get at least one hour of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day and limit screen time to less than two hours. Kids ages 6 to 12 old also need 9 to 12 hours of sleep, while teens need 8 to 10 hours nightly.

Too little sleep or exercise, or too much screen time, can increase their risk of chronic health problems. These include obesity, mental health issues like anxiety and depression, poor academic achievement and unhealthy behaviors like smoking and drinking, the study team notes in JAMA Pediatrics.

For the full article check it out here.

If you would like help as a teenager or with your teenager(s), please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk to one of our licensed life coaches of clinical counselors.

12 Ways to Help a Teen Handle the Emotional Challenges of Moving

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12 Ways to Help a Teen Handle the Emotional Challenges of Moving

By Redfin.com

Relocation is tough for every member of a family, for example, as an adult you have to look into every little detail of the place that you are moving to. As an adult you might have spent ages looking at places to move to such as Essex homes Greenvile & Spartanburg. Some adults take ages deciding where they want to go to though, others fall in love with the first house they see. There’s other things though that adults need to consider when moving. This might be making sure that you have the cheapest energy provider (which you can do through a company like Simply Switch), or checking where the nearest school is for your kids. But moving is especially hard for the teenager that are leaving behind a school, friends, clubs and other commitments, as well as perhaps the only home he or she has ever known. Even if the move is for the good of the family, it can be difficult for a teen to imagine living anywhere else.

It’s normal for your teen to feel upset, and there are ways to make the process easier before and after the move. Let this guide lead the way to a healthy, fresh start for the entire family — without overlooking the genuine heartache of leaving a familiar home.

Before the Move: Helping Your Teen Say Goodbye

1. Give Them Notice

First, give your teen as much notice about the move as possible. It’s important to let him or her adjust to the idea — don’t put it off in an effort to make it quick and painless. The fact is, it’s going to be painful no matter what you do, and it’s important to respect the way your teen feels. Sit him or her down, explain that the best option for your family is to make this journey together, and then listen. Be receptive to any kind of response, whether it’s excitement, shock, sadness or anger. Let your teen know you understand it will be difficult to leave, and that you’ll do everything you can to make it a little easier.

2. Focus on the Positives

When you’re young, it’s easy to dwell on the negatives, so help direct the focus to the positives. Are you moving from a small town to a city where there will be more to see and do? Maybe you’re moving to a bigger house, or to a house with a real backyard. Maybe it can even be a fresh start for your teen. If he or she has had any academic woes — be it grades, friends or behavioral issues — a brand new school with new teachers and classmates could be a great way to move forward. Don’t minimize the loss, but help the silver linings shine through.

3. Get Them Involved in Househunting

Get your teen involved in the moving process as much as possible. Let him or her help you house hunt and check out potential neighborhoods. If you’re moving cross-country, have him or her help you look at homes for sale online and ask for feedback. Scope out neighborhoods via satellite cams; see what it would be like to make the walk from your new house to school! You may even consider asking your real estate agent to take and send some recent photos of local schools, malls, skate parks, and movie theaters to share with your teen: sometimes, it really helps to create a familiarity.

Keep in mind that your teen may develop early attachments to potential new homes, so remind him or her of the need to shop around. If they become upset over what you ultimately decide is best, let them vent. Explain that you understand how frustrating it must be to have so much changing so quickly, not to mention limited control over most of it. Focus on what he or she can control. For example, he or she will have a brand new bedroom to decorate any way they like.

4. Keep the Mood Light

As you gradually pack up your belongings, keep the mood as light and positive as possible. If packing is a struggle for you (e.g. you don’t have enough boxes), then make sure you go to a site like www.teacrate.com to help you keep your packing easy and efficient. Don’t start packing up his or her stuff without permission, but offer to help so you can make the process less overwhelming. Keep in mind you’ll need certain transcripts and medical records for the new school, so try to keep them handy but safe so you won’t scramble later.

5. Throw a Going Away Party

Help your teens say goodbye to friends and neighbors any way you can. A great idea is to throw a farewell party — maybe even a packing party if you could use the extra help! If you’re moving especially far, it may comfort him or her to devote a weekend afternoon to driving through your favorite parts of town. Reminisce about the past, but don’t overlook the excitement in making new memories in a great new place.

After the Move: Helping Your Teen Adapt and Move Forward

1. Stay Upbeat

It’s no secret that the moving process is incredibly stressful, and it’s OK to feel overwhelmed by it at times. But try your best to stay upbeat in general, especially around your teen. He or she will likely be feeling a rollercoaster of emotions: sadness over leaving home, excitement to see the new place, apprehension about a new school, and countless other anxieties. Your goal has to be to keep focusing on the positives, even amid the chaos.

2. Get His or Her Room Set up First

Give a little extra priority to getting your teen’s room organized. It’s important that with all the other changes, he or she can settle in surrounded by familiar objects. When it comes to the rest of the house, make unpacking a family activity and make it fun! If you have family in the area, recruit their help and order some pizza and play some music. Talk about which park you can’t wait to explore or which restaurant you’re eager to try. Ask for your teen’s opinion when you need an extra set of eyes. Find ways to laugh about the cabinet door that unexpectedly broke and the tacky wallpaper you’ll have to tear down. And don’t forget to take photos — you’re already creating new memories, so document them!

3. Find Your Teen a Peer Mentor

Try to network with your real estate agent and neighbors to see if you can find your teen an early peer mentor before starting school. It doesn’t have to be a student in the same grade level and it may actually help to meet someone a little older. Upperclassmen are likely to have advice about classes and teachers, know more people (and probably have a couple friends that are your teen’s age), and be able to look out for someone a grade or two younger. Your teen may feel unsure about the idea at first, so let him or her know that the door to met a potential new friend is open whenever he or she is ready. Offer to give the pair a lift to lunch some day. Give your teen the mentor’s contact information (whatever you’ve been given approval to offer, be it a phone number, Facebook page, or email) and encourage him or her to use it whenever they’re ready.

4. Register Him or Her For School Right Away

Get your teen signed up for school as soon as you can, though depending on the distance you traveled and when you arrive to your new home you may want to allow a long weekend to rest. If you move in the summer or during an extended break, don’t put off getting registration done — there could be assigned readings or other projects to consider, and you don’t want to risk your teen starting off immediately behind his or her new classmates. Find out what you can about the school’s dress code and any other major policies you’ll need to know ahead of time. You may even be able to take a tour of the school and meet some of the teachers. The more prepared your teen can feel about a brand new school, the better.

5. Find Local Activities

Look into local activities to get your teen involved in. Maybe he or she is eager to get back to a favorite sport, or interested in trying something totally new. Check with the new school for programs, as well as local youth, community, and religious centers. While you’re at it, sign yourself up for a group or class. It doesn’t have to be a major time commitment, but it sets the right example to your teen as well as gives you another opportunity to network within your new community.

6. Communicate Openly

Keep the lines of communication open throughout the settling in process. Check in to see how your teen is adjusting — especially if he or she has already started school — and continue to be receptive to however he or she feels. Allow time to vent, but help find the bright spots, especially on bad days. You want your teen to be able to feel comfortable coming to you to talk, but you also want to reassure him or her that things will get better. If he or she is shutting you out, don’t push for answers but don’t stop asking, either. Constantly remind him or her that you’re available to talk whenever they’re ready, and actively give the opportunity every day.

Encourage your teen to keep in touch with friends back home, but support efforts to spend time with new friends, as well. Offer to let classmates come over after school and to give him or her a lift to weekend activities. Social media will likely be playing a major role for your teen, and unfortunately, a new student can sometimes make for an easy target, so keep an eye out for signs of cyberbullying.

7. Watch for Signs of Depression

Also keep an eye out for signs of depression, and never hesitate to seek professional advice. If your teen just can’t seem to acclimate, going to therapy may help sort out his or her feelings on the move. Let your teen know therapy is an option if he or she wants it, but be careful not to put too much pressure on the issue. It’s important he or she knows it’s not that you think something is “wrong” with them, it’s that you want them to have additional support and guidance.

It’s going to take some time for your teen to adjust to his or her new life. The best thing you can do is continue to be an outlet of support and a listening ear. Soon, you’ll be able to move forward together and truly make the most of your new home.

If you would like help with your teen or moving, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

Helping Older Adolescents Evaluate a Love Relationship

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Helping Older Adolescents Evaluate a Love Relationship

By Carl E. Pickhardt

(For the full article go to Psychology Today)

Actual love relationships become more frequent in older adolescence, during the high school and college age years.

Before that, “love” is more frequently confused with crushes. These are idealized projections on another person that result in a romantic attraction, mostly of the fantasy kind, which is why most crushes fail the test of reality and do not last.

It’s when loving feelings for and from another person motivate the desire to continue and deepen this attachment that it can become increasingly challenging and confusing to navigate.

The more caring the relationship grows, the more complicated to manage it becomes. Intimacy is demanding that way. And because love is such a dominant emotion, it is easy to lose perspective on what is happening  and to lose judgment about what to do.

It is when a young person is feeling frustrated, uncertain, confused, injured, or ambivalent in her or his attachment that parents of the empathetic and non-judgmental kind can be of supportive use. They can give the young person some frameworks for considering the nature and conduct of a healthy and loving relationship to help inform understanding and to guide decision-making.

To that end, what follows are several aspects of such relationships to which parents might want to speak: Treatment, Sharing, and Mutuality.

 

If you would like help with your older adolescent, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk to a coach or counselor.

Teen Depression

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Teen Depression

By NIMH

You are not alone.

There are ways you can feel better.

If you have been feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable for what seems like a long time, you might have depression.

  • Depression is a real, treatable brain illness, or health problem.
  • Depression can be caused by big transitions in life, stress, or changes in your body’s chemicals that affect your thoughts and moods.
  • Even if you feel hopeless, depression gets better with treatment.
  • There are lots of people who understand and want to help you.
  • Ask for help as early as you can so you can get back to being yourself.

Regular sadness and depression are not the same

Regular sadness

Feeling moody, sad, or grouchy? Who doesn’t once in a while? It’s easy to have a couple of bad days. Your schoolwork, activities, and family and friend drama, all mixed with not enough sleep, can leave you feeling overwhelmed. On top of that, teen hormones can be all over the place and also make you moody or cry about the smallest thing. Regular moodiness and sadness usually go away quickly though, within a couple of days.

Depression

Untreated depression is a more intense feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and anger or frustration that lasts much longer, such as for weeks, months, or longer. These feelings make it hard for you to function as you normally would or participate in your usual activities. You may also have trouble focusing and feel like you have little to no motivation or energy. You may not even feel like seeing your best friends. Depression can make you feel like it is hard to enjoy life or even get through the day.

Know the signs and symptoms of depression

Most of the day or nearly every day you may feel one or all of the following:

  • Sad
  • Empty
  • Hopeless
  • Angry, cranky, or frustrated, even at minor things

You also may:

  • Not care about things or activities you used to enjoy.
  • Have weight loss when you are not dieting or weight gain from eating too much.
  • Have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, or sleep much more than usual.
  • Move or talk more slowly.
  • Feel restless or have trouble sitting still.
  • Feel very tired or like you have no energy.
  • Feel worthless or very guilty.
  • Have trouble concentrating, remembering information, or making decisions.
  • Think about dying or suicide or try suicide.

Not everyone experiences depression the same way. And depression can occur at the same time as other mental health problems, such as anxiety, an eating disorder, or substance abuse.

If you think you are depressed, ask for help as early as you can

1. Talk to:

  • Your parents or guardian
  • Your teacher or counselor
  • Your doctor
  • A helpline, such as 1-800-273-TALK (8255), free 24-hour help
  • Or call 911 if you are in a crisis or want to hurt yourself.

2. Ask your parent or guardian to make an appointment with your doctor for a checkup. Your doctor can make sure that you do not have another health problem that is causing your depression. If your doctor finds that you do not have another health problem, he or she can treat your depression or refer you to a mental health professional. A mental health professional can give you a thorough evaluation and also treat your depression.

3. Talk to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, counselor, psychologist, or other therapist. These mental health professionals can diagnose and treat depression and other mental health problems.

There are ways you can feel better

Effective treatments for depression include talk therapy or a combination of talk therapy and medicine.

Talk therapy

A therapist, such as a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a social worker, or counselor can help you understand and manage your moods and feelings. You can talk out your emotions to someone who understands and supports you. You can also learn how to stop thinking negatively and start to look at the positives in life. This will help you build confidence and feel better about yourself. Research has shown that certain types of talk therapy or psychotherapy can help teens deal with depression. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses on thoughts, behaviors, and feelings related to depression, and interpersonal psychotherapy, which focuses on working on relationships.

Read more about talk therapies at www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/psychotherapies.

Medicines

If your doctor thinks you need medicine to help your depression, he or she can prescribe an antidepressant. There are a few antidepressants that have been widely studied and proven to help teens. If your doctor recommends medicine, it is important to see your doctor regularly and tell your parents or guardian about your feelings, especially if you start feeling worse or have thoughts of hurting yourself.

Read more about medicines for depression at www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/mental-health-medications.

Be good to yourself

Besides seeing a doctor and a counselor, you can also help your depression by being patient with yourself and good to yourself. Don’t expect to get better immediately, but you will feel yourself improving gradually over time.

  • Daily exercise, getting enough sleep, spending time outside in nature and in the sun, or eating healthy foods can also help you feel better.
  • Your counselor may teach you how to be aware of your feelings and teach you relaxation techniques. Use these when you start feeling down or upset.
  • Try to spend time with supportive family members. Talking with your parents, guardian, or other family members who listen and care about you gives you support and they can make you laugh.
  • Try to get out with friends and try fun things that help you express yourself.

Depression can affect relationships

It’s understandable that you don’t want to tell other people that you have been struggling with depression. But know that depression can affect your relationships with family and friends, and how you perform at school. Maybe your grades have dropped because you find it hard to concentrate and stay on top of school. Teachers may think that you aren’t trying in class. Maybe because you’re feeling hopeless, peers think you are too negative and start giving you a hard time.

Know that their misunderstanding won’t last forever because you are getting better with treatment. Think about talking with people you trust to help them understand what you are going through.

Depression is not your fault or caused by something you did wrong

Depression is a real, treatable brain illness, or health problem. Depression can be caused by big transitions in life, stress, or changes in your body’s chemicals that affect your thoughts and moods. Depression can run in families. Maybe you haven’t realized that you have depression and have been blaming yourself for being negative. Remember that depression is not your fault!

Learn more

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): www.nimh.nih.gov.

NIDA for Teens, Drugs & Health: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), free 24-hour help


If you or your child is struggling with depression, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003.

A Suicide Prevention App

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This New App Is Unlike ANYTHING Else on Your iPhone

It’s literally designed to save lives.

By Brittney McNamara

Sad girlAsking for help is hard. But creators of a new app, Mind Me, are hoping to make it a little easier for people considering suicide. According to the World Health Organization, more than 800,000 people across the globe commit suicide each year, and many more attempt it. While suicide is often preventable through treatment, care, and awareness, people considering suicide don’t always have access to the help they need.

MindMe wants to change that, by putting those resources right on your phone. Because people can’t always get necessary care at the exact moments they need it, MindMe will aggregate coping strategies and recommendations from a person’s therapist in the app so the user can access them at any time. In its beta stages, the app is not meant to replace a therapist, but to be used alongside one to fill the gaps.

App researcher David Putrino, Ph.D, director of telemedicine and virtual rehabilitation at Burke Medical Research Institute, told BuzzFeed Health the in-person professionals will develop specific strategies for someone at-risk of attempting suicide. When feelings of suicide pop up, the person can look back at the strategies on their phone for an in-the-moment reminder of how to suppress them.

“We hear from therapists that no matter how carefully they explained strategies to their clients, if someone is inconsolably upset because a trigger occurs, they’re not going to remember what they’ve learned in therapy,” Putrino said.

When the trigger occurs, MindMe might show the user a video message from their therapist, give them emergency contact numbers, or suggest playing a phone game. Basically, the app might suggest anything that has been helpful to that specific person in the past. It also lets users log triggers and emotions to help their therapist track their progress.

Some similar apps exist, but MindMe researchers say they mostly provide generic tips, not ones tailored for the user. By using the app in tandem with a therapist and logging daily feelings, the researchers behind the app hope it will lead to fewer suicides and better mental health care. To get there, though, they need some money. MindMe has a crowd funding page hoping to raise $100,000 to take the app to a larger stage of clinical trials.

“We really can’t stress enough how rapidly we need to roll out this solution so it can start helping people immediately,” Putrino told BuzzFeed.

On Wednesday morning, the app had raised $16,785. For Anna Smeragliuolo, one of the minds behind the app, this isn’t about business, it’s personal.

“I want people to know [suicide] is not a problem you can foresee with any one particular type of behavior or personality. Mostly, I want people to know it’s real,” she told BuzzFeed. She recently lost her father to suicide.

“My father worked in mental health and behavioral services,” she says. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do or how happy you appear — no one person is immune to this kind of disease.”

If you or someone you know is in danger of harming themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1 (800) 273-8255.

*******

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to set up an appointment with one of our counselors. If the thoughts of suicide are current, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline or call 911 right away.

 

 

Are You the “Easy Mom?” How to Build Boundaries with Teens

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Are You the “Easy Mom?” How to Build Boundaries with Teens

By Dr. John Townsend

I (Dr. Townsend) remember overhearing my kids and their friends making plans to go to a movie. It was one of those last-minute decisions that teens often make. None of them were of driving age yet, so they were trying to solve that first obstacle.

boundaries teenOne boy, Ted, said, “How are we going to get there? The movie starts in fifteen minutes.” His friend said, “Call your mom; she’s easy.”

It was true. Ted’s mom, Andrea, is easy. She is a loving and easygoing person who also lets herself be taken advantage of by her teens. I have seen her interrupt plans that she has had in place for weeks in order to take her kids somewhere they decided to go at the last minute.

When I told Andrea that she was known as the “easy mom,” she realized that her kids needed to learn to plan ahead. Now when they ask her to do something for them at the last minute, she tells them, “Sorry, I wish you had told me earlier, but I’m doing something else. Good luck.”

Andrea does more than talk the talk; she walks the walk. She models the boundaries with teens that they need to develop, and she helps them experience the limits they need to face.

Andrea understands the bottom line of good parenting: teens will develop self-control and responsibility to the extent that their parents have healthy boundaries. When it comes to good parenting, who you are is more important than what you say.

All parents have at one time or another warned and threatened their teens with some consequence, only to let it go when they didn’t respond. But kids learn more from what they experience than from what they hear.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t teach and talk about boundaries with teens and house rules. They are very important. But those rules will hold little meaning unless you stand behind them and make them real. Your teen needs to internalize your boundaries. That is, she needs to make them part of her own internal world. She will learn a powerful lesson when she loses something she loves because of a choice she has made. The more teens experience the negative consequences of their poor choices, the more internal structure and self-control they will develop.

Every time your teen experiences your external structure, you are providing something for your teen that she cannot provide for herself. Each time you go through this process, she becomes a little more aware, a little less impulsive, a little more responsible, and a little more mindful that she will control what her future looks like.

 

Accepting Your Teen’s Need for Independence

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Teens have their own lessons to learn and their own unique personalities. As they test their independence, they will undoubtedly and unfortunately learn painful lessons…

Sometimes we attempt to govern our teens’ actions as we did when they were younger. Back then, we carefully cultivated our children’s environments, choosing everything from their snacks to their playmates. As parents of teens, we’ve got to start relinquishing control of these everyday decisions.

Sound interesting?  Read the full article, Accepting Your Teen’s Need for Independence, by Laury L. Davis at ThrivingFamily.com.

Have questions about raising a teen?  Are you a teenager struggling with life situations?  Come talk to a counselor or coach at CornerStone Family Services.  Call us at 614.459.3003.

 

Teens sharing a song.jpg
“Teens sharing a song” by SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget – Flickr: Teens sharing a song. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.