Counselor's Corner

East Wilkes Middle School

Dear Families,

In this day and time, we can often feel stressed and overwhelmed. We are all dealing with COVID-19 and its effects differently. For most of us, our lives have changed in some way over the past 2 years. Social interaction is a normal and needed part of life, especially for children and adolescents. Please read on below to find some useful tips on how to effectively manage stress during these times. If you or your child need additional support or resources, please contact me anytime.


Thanks,

Shannon Cox, School Counselor

Support For Teens

Managing Stress

Being in middle school is a time of great change. It's often filled with a rollercoaster of emotions where students begin their journey in finding who they are. Stress is a normal part of life. Add in COVID-19 and students can start to feel too stressed and overwhelmed. Learning how to effectively manage stress can not only help you cope now, but will also give you the tools to successfully navigate stressful events in the future.


Some sources of stress that adolescents often face are:

  • School demands
  • Negative self-image
  • Peer relationship issues
  • Unsafe/unstable home life
  • Changes in family dynamics
  • Death of loved one
  • Moving or changing schools
  • Too many demands/desire to "do it all"


When adolescents are overwhelmed with stress, that can lead to anxiety, depression, aggression, or poor coping skills and decision making. As parents, you can help your child successfully navigate stress in the following ways:


  • Monitor your child's behavior and notice any major changes
  • Listen carefully, talk less :)
  • Learn and model stress management techniques
  • Limit their social media time; monitor online activities (learn about their technology!)
  • Support involvement in pro-social activities while considering COVID precautions


Here are some healthy ways students can cope with stress. It's important to have conversations with your child about these techniques and practice them together.


  • Exercise & eat health snacks & meals
  • Get enough sleep; have consistent bedtime (free from technology)
  • Avoid too much caffeine
  • Practice deep breathing or muscle relaxation techniques
  • Learn practical coping skills (i.e. taking a large task and breaking it down to smaller, more achievable tasks)
  • Decrease negative self-talk. Practice turning negative thoughts into positive ones- write them down in visible place.
  • Listen to music, draw, write, chat with a friend
  • Get outside
  • Take a break from social media


Practicing these techniques on a regular basis can help teens reduce and manage stress. Take time to discuss with your child what makes them feel stressed and practice a skill together.


Source: https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Helping-Teenagers-With-Stress-066.aspx

Resiliency

What have you heard about resiliency? In the education world, it's a hot topic right now. Resiliency is key in helping adolescents overcome the challenges of life. Do you know what the number 1 factor is when it comes to producing resilient kids? Having at least one consistent, caring adult in a child's life is the number 1 indicator that a child will be able to manage and successfully cope with stress. That positive, consistent caring adult is typically you, the parent or guardian! Don't underestimate your role in your child's life and teach them to be resilient by being a listening ear and an encouraging role model.


Click the following link to a helpful article on children and resiliency. Start a conversation in your household about this. What do you think about children being resilient? How can you help your child be resilient?


https://www.weareteachers.com/are-children-resilient/

Contact Me

If you are concerned about your child, click the link below to refer them to me. I am happy to help anyway I can.

East Wilkes Middle School

Shannon Cox, MA, LCMHC

School Counselor