Children and teens are spending more and more time playing video games online with their friends. For most, this is a positive experience, allowing them to communicate with others even when they are unable to physically be with them. This is particularly true for people with difficulty spending time with others in-person, like those with major depressive disorder, autism spectrum disorder and social anxiety disorder.
This unconventional method of communication is helpful in fostering connections while building the skills and confidence necessary to interact face-to-face. Although steps should be taken to ensure children’s safety online, online video games are a large part of the lives of young people and should be recognized as a source of social support.
A teenager balks when his mom asks what time he’ll be home.Another groans when asked about their homework status.Another teen puts on make-up at school, out of their parents’ sight and judgement.And another stays in his room, a lot. These youth are negotiating one of the most common developmental concerns for teenagers:Gaining a sense of independence as they move slowly toward adulthood.
If you grew up in an environment where you received unhealthy messages around eating, body image, and weight, it can be difficult to break the cycle and avoid passing these ideas on to your own kids. But it’s not impossible! A good first step is to listen to the way you (intentionally or unintentionally) talk about eating and body image in your child’s presence. If you find yourself saying any of the things below, try to shift to healthier, happier talk. This will not only benefit your child, but it can lead to your own gradual internalization of more positive thoughts and beliefs.
Here’s a rundown of some of the most popular terms that teens use to describe modern romance, from the tamest to the riskiest. Just to be clear: We’re definitely not suggesting that you violate your child’s privacy, but if you hear or come across any of these terms, there might be more going on than meets the eye. Don’t see the term you’re looking for? Try this comprehensive list of acronyms or this guide to teen slang.
Congratulations to Debra Mier, Kelly Grover, Ellie Molise and the staff of Response’s Operation Snowball program, who are recipients of a $5,000 grant from the Highland Park Community Foundation (HPCF). Response is among 35 agencies that were awarded HPCF grants for 2017. This year’s grant will allow Response to serve 40-50 students from District 113 in the 2018 Operation Snowball Program.
In honor of National Coming Out Day (October 11), we celebrate those who bravely choose to live openly as LGBTQ. Coming out is always emotionally charged—not only for the person doing it, but for those they’re telling. For LGBTQ teens, who are often reliant on the adults around them for support and protection, the decision to come out can be extra-emotional and filled with uncertainty. They may be deeply scared of suffering rejection (or worse) at the hands of loved ones.
True confession… I binge-watched the entire Netflix series titled “13 Reasons Why!” My initial reaction was that it was a show that covered truisms that many adolescents face in today’s world (bullying, sexual assault, sexual harassment, isolation, drunk driving, parent-teen communication issues). The characters were well developed and, while often graphic and painful to watch, I thought it did a good job of addressing some pretty dicey subject matter. But after processing the series more with colleagues, I began to have concerns about some of the missed opportunities to more transparently shed light on the theme of mental illness; something that impacts one in five teens in our society today. While we occasionally see Hannah and Clay (two of the main characters), sitting alone in the lunchroom or apparently feeling invisible in classroom scenes, the only references to mental illness are within Clay’s family scenes, when mom identifies that perhaps he might want to return to therapy or re-start some medication; she’s concerned about him.
by Amy Rubin, Senior Director of Community Services
Shorter days, cooler temperatures, football and and the sweetness of apples dipped in honey. All signs that we are in the midst of transitioning to a new season and a New Year.
Several of our programs at JCFS Chicago are also transitioning to better serve the community. It's clear that the months ahead will be filled with energy! Shanah Tovah - may this New Year be filled with health, happiness and peace.
by Alexander Friedman, M. A., Psychological Services Therapy Extern
The Social Networking Parent
Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr…. These are just a few of the many social media platforms that children and teens use to communicate today. While there are many benefits to being digitally interconnected, there are also many dangers. No parent can possibly keep tabs on everything their children do on social media. However, there are certain measures you can take to help your children use social media more responsibly. But before diving into this subject, let us first briefly review the pros and cons of online social networks.
Do you ever have those days when life is just overwhelming? When the meal preparation and clean-up, and the laundry, and the homework all need to get done, and your boss, and your kids, and your sister all need your time and attention? When you are sure there will never be enough of you to go around?
When I have those days, I used to say to myself “I hate my life.” And when I thought “I hate my life,” everything would feel dark and heavy and endless. That heavy dark feeling led to my yelling at my kids, eating food that isn’t good for me and putting off doing the basic things that are needed to keep our lives going.