Allen Support Staff Parent News

November 2021 Connecting to Your Teenager

25 Ways to Ask "How Was Your Day?"

1) Tell me about a moment today when you felt proud of yourself.

2) Tell me about something that made you laugh today.

3) How did you help someone today? How did someone help you today?

4) How would you rate your day on a scale of 1-10 and why?

5) If you could plan tomorrow’s lesson, what would you teach your classmates about?

6) What 3 words would you use to describe your best friend at school?

7) What are you looking forward to tomorrow?

8) When were you the happiest today?

9) Tell me about a moment today when you felt excited about what you were learning in class.

10) Tell me about a moment in class when you felt confused.

11) What was the best thing that happened at school today?

12) What was challenging about your day?

13) What are 3 words you would use to describe your day?

14) If you could be the teacher tomorrow, what would you do differently?

15) Who would you like to play with at recess that you have never played with before?

16) Tell me about something new you learned about a friend.

17) Is there anything you would like to talk about that I might be able to help you figure out?

18) Is there anything you are worried about?

19) What was the most frustrating part of your day?

20) If you could do any moment from today over again, what would you do differently?

21) Which assignment did you feel most confident about today?

22) If you could change one thing about your day today, what would it be?

23) If you had $1,000 to buy something for your school, what would you buy?

24) If you could do anything with 1 classmate, who would you choose and what would you do?

25) Is there a question you wish I would ask you about your day? © EduKate and Inspire

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Here are 10 ways you can improve parent-teen relationships starting today

1. Remember that you are the parent. Your job is to prepare your child to become an independent, fully functioning adult. Being a clear-sighted, compassionate mentor is way more important than being your teen's friend. They don't need your friendship, anyway. What they need is your moral leadership.

2. Remain calm in the winds of change. Nothing gets resolved when you're too stressed to think. if you can't respond rationally to something your teen did, take a break until you can.

3. Talk less and listen more. Just like us fully-formed humans, teens want to be listened to with respect. Always be a "safe" and available person for your child to talk to. That doesn't mean you have to accept or agree with everything, but letting your teen talk openly (without interrupting), gives them a chance to hear their own ideas played out loud. It also provides a window into their problem-solving strengths and limitations. You can use that to help them.

4. Respect boundaries. It's often a challenge for parents to grant their teens increasingly more privacy and autonomy. But in order to develop good judgment, they need lots of opportunities to make mistakes and learn from them. Encourage their learning.

5. They're always watching. You want your child to be trustworthy, responsible, honest, resilient and good-hearted. Make sure you're modeling those values in your own life. And while you're at it, talk about the walk as you're walking it.

6. Make your expectations clear. When kids know your core values, have bought into the family rules and are aware of the consequences for breaking them, they're more likely to make healthier choices online and off. No guarantees, but your voice will be in the mix.

7. Catch your child in the act of doing something right. Teens struggle with self-confidence. When they aren't dumping on themselves, their peers may do it for them. Don't add your voice to the chorus of negativity. Actively look for things your kids are doing right. Your praise shows you notice more than their faults. It will also increase their feelings of competency.

8. Be real. Father/mother do not always know best. Admit your own confusion and mistakes. Apologize when appropriate. Show your kids that just like them, you too are also "a work in progress." That's all any of us can expect from ourselves and others... progress, not perfection.

9. Schedule regular unplugged time to enjoy being a family. Cook. Eat. Walk. Bike. Bowl. Whatever. The point is: Relaxing together without screens in the way is a gift with long-lasting benefits.

10. Lighten up! Humor is a great de-stressor. Remember, no one stays a teen (or the parent of one) forever!

Why Should You Talk Early to your Child About Alcohol and Other Drugs






Parents Have a Significant Influence in Their Children’s Decisions to Experiment With Alcohol and Other Drugs. One of the most influential factors during a child’s adolescence is maintaining a strong, open relationship with a parent. When parents create supportive and nurturing environments, children make better decisions. Though it may not always seem like it, children really hear their parents’ concerns, which is why it’s important that parents discuss the risks of using alcohol and other drugs.

It’s Better to Talk Before Children Are Exposed to Alcohol and Other Drugs If you talk to your kids directly and honestly, they are more likely to respect your rules and advice about alcohol and drug use. When parents talk with their children early and often about alcohol and other drugs, they can protect their children from many of the high-risk behaviors associated with using these drugs.

Some Children May Try Alcohol or Other Drugs at a Very Young Age It is never too early to talk to your children about alcohol and other drugs. Children as young as nine years old already start viewing alcohol in a more positive way, and approximately 3,300 kids as young as 12 try marijuana each day. Additionally, about five in 10 kids as young as 12 obtain prescription pain relievers for nonmedical purposes. The earlier you start talking, the better.

The Older Kids Get, the More Likely They’ll Try Alcohol or Other Drugs About 10 percent of 12-year-olds say they have tried alcohol, but by age 15, that number jumps to 50 percent. Additionally, by the time they are seniors, almost 70 percent of high school students will have tried alcohol, half will have taken an illegal drug, and more than 20 percent will have used a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose. The sooner you talk to your children about alcohol and other drugs, the greater chance you have of influencing their decisions about drinking and substance use.

Not Talking About Alcohol and Other Drugs Still Sends Kids a Message Kids don’t always have all the facts when it comes to alcohol and other drugs. If parents don’t talk about the risks of underage drinking and substance use, their kids might not see any harm in trying alcohol and other substances. Having a conversation allows parents to set clear rules about what they expect from their kids when it comes to alcohol and other drugs.

SAMHSA's "Talk. They Hear You." By-Your-Side PSA-60 Seconds

2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey

The CDC began releasing its findings from the 2021 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Results reveal that 2 million students reported current (past 30 day use) of e-cigarettes. Use of disposable devices has increased (as opposed to pre-filled, pod based devices) and approximately 85% of students used flavored products. Click the link below for the full article.

What to do when you don't know what to do...

1. Reach out to YOUR support system

2. Contact your child's school counselor

3. Ask your pediatrician for help.

How to Stop Arguing With Your Teen

Realize that your teen is struggling. The argument is her way of dealing with something that is bothering her. Think of this as though she were a 3-year-old who is tired and melting down in Wal-Mart about checkout candy. You wouldn't go ballistic; you'd know that it is about her—she is tired. So when she ramps up, tell yourself this is not about me but her. She is struggling. Be compassionate.


Realize that she can't win. This where parents have trouble. They feel that by not pushing back when their teen gets upset, the teen is winning. She can't. After all is said and done, you still have the power and the larger community will back you up (about going to school, not staying out late, etc.).


Stop and listen. As soon as you can tell that this is turning into a power struggle, that you are getting too out-of-control, that the conversation is going off-course, shut up. The problem is no longer what you are talking about but rather the emotion in the room. You need to put out the emotional fire, and you can do that by being quiet and listening.


Your teen will ramp up. This is to be expected. If you suddenly start arguing and get quiet, nod your head, say, "It seems you're upset," you are changing the pattern and your teen will invariably do something to pull you back in the fight: get more angry, say something disrespectful, bring up something from the past. Resist the challenge.


Continue to actively listen. I know, you are upset. This is not the time for lectures, ultimatums, attempts to solve the problem—the rational brain has shut down and it's all about emotion. Stick to putting out the fire. If you don't feed the fire, your teen will begin to settle down.

Mop up. Problem solved. Once your teen is emotionally flat-lined, go back and talk. "Let's try this again: What are you so upset about? I know you're upset that you can't go out Saturday night." Stay calm. Solve the problem, restate your request and your intention behind it. If it ramps up again go back to listening.

Realize that your teen is struggling. The argument is her way of dealing with something that is bothering her. Think of this as though she were a 3-year-old who is tired and melting down in Wal-Mart about checkout candy. You wouldn't go ballistic; you'd know that it is about her—she is tired. So when she ramps up, tell yourself this is not about me but her. She is struggling. Be compassionate.


Realize that she can't win. This where parents have trouble. They feel that by not pushing back when their teen gets upset, the teen is winning. She can't. After all is said and done, you still have the power and the larger community will back you up (about going to school, not staying out late, etc.).


Stop and listen. As soon as you can tell that this is turning into a power struggle, that you are getting too out-of-control, that the conversation is going off-course, shut up. The problem is no longer what you are talking about but rather the emotion in the room. You need to put out the emotional fire, and you can do that by being quiet and listening.


Your teen will ramp up. This is to be expected. If you suddenly start arguing and get quiet, nod your head, say, "It seems you're upset," you are changing the pattern and your teen will invariably do something to pull you back in the fight: get more angry, say something disrespectful, bring up something from the past. Resist the challenge.


Continue to actively listen. I know, you are upset. This is not the time for lectures, ultimatums, attempts to solve the problem—the rational brain has shut down and it's all about emotion. Stick to putting out the fire. If you don't feed the fire, your teen will begin to settle down.

Mop up. Problem solved. Once your teen is emotionally flat-lined, go back and talk. "Let's try this again: What are you so upset about? I know you're upset that you can't go out Saturday night." Stay calm. Solve the problem, restate your request and your intention behind it. If it ramps up again go back to listening.

Allen Middle Support Staff

6th Grade Counselor Ms. Weyant weyantj@gcsnc.com

7th Grade Counselor Mr. Flowers flowersd@gcsnc.com

8th Grade Counselor Ms. Preston prestos@gcsnc.com

School Social Worker Ms. Smith smithj5@gcsnc.com

School Psychologist Ms. Crawley crawlea@gcsnc.com

Mental Health Coordinator Ms. Phillips phillim2@gcsnc.com

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