As parents are we afraid to parent? There seems to be a continuing trend over the past few years, the trend being, parents are afraid to parent. Many parents come up to me after a parent session and thank me for confirming that they are doing a good job with their children. I still work in schools where students are calling home and telling, not asking, telling their parents to sign them out so they can be excused from the presentation because they don’t want to be there. And the parents make the call. In many cases staff will confirm that this is a student who really needed to be in the session. Parenting is not a democracy. Sometimes doing the right thing in not the easiest thing to do. The latest wrinkle in parenting is the barrage of outside issues due to the digital world. The digital world needs to be controlled and since the students can’t do it for themselves then it is up to the parents to do it for them. What I have learned is that many of the attitudes and behavioural issues parents are experiencing from their teens could be minimized if not eliminated by… Read More >
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CMHA’s Mental Health Week is an annual national event that takes place during the first week in May to encourage people from all walks of life to learn, talk, reflect and engage with others on all issues relating to mental health. Visit www.mentalhealthweek.ca for more information.
This is a question that was put forward in the February 2016 edition of “The Villager”. At that time I had just returned from spending three amazing days with Dr. Shelley Hymel from UBC, where we collectively finished developing five surveys aimed at student, staff and parent perspectives. This was created in order for me to evaluate the effectiveness of this program that I am so passionate about. The compilation of results was prepared for Life Synergy for Youth by Dr. Shelley Hymel and the Social Emotional and Educational Development (SEED) Lab of the University of British Columbia, 2016. The surveys were conducted in schools between February and May of 2016. I have had a few conversations with educators at all levels about programs they have had in their schools during their careers. One question I ask them is “what are the numbers they needed to see before they will look further into hosting a program in their schools or school districts?” Some indicated that if it was above 50% they would look further, the most common number I heard was 75% or above. Please keep that in mind as you read through this abbreviated version of the Survey Results.… Read More >
Penn State – Is “Life Synergy for Youth” powerful and impactful after Grade 12? Over the course of almost 20 years presenting to Canadian high schools, I have received e-mails of gratitude from several students that are now in university or in the workplace. Some have been e-mailed up to eight years after graduation, comments included mentions of “thumb switches”, senses of learned empathy, and overall, how our experience together had a lasting effect. During a recent trip to Pennsylvania, I was reminded of how important impactful experiences are, and wondered if my presentations would have an effect in a post-secondary environment in the U.S. I travelled to Pittsburgh, the last week of August to work at three different Penn State campuses. I had a nine hour layover in Dallas so rather than sit in the airport I decided to go into Dallas and visit some major attractions. The first was the Dallas Holocaust Museum which is one of several in the U.S. It was an overwhelming experience for me. I have heard people refer to Adolph Hitler as a bully and after going through the museum, I understand how people might draw that conclusion: A huge power figure surrounded… Read More >
Life is funny. No one gets a handbook upon turning 18, complete with all the rules they’ll need to memorize and competencies they’ll need to acquire. Somehow you’re just supposed to know that you should have more money coming in than going out, and you shouldn’t wear a fuzzy orange sweater to a job interview. Business Insider put together a handbook of sorts, which lists many skills you’ll need to survive as an adult in the modern world.
Even during the best of times, parents wonder whether their teens are developing all the skills they need to be successful in life. A problem in this “appraisal” process is that parents see their teens in some of their most regressed and infantile states—when they are at home with their families! Furthermore, new neuroscience research indicates that the human brain does not reach maturity until a person reaches their early twenties. So, how do parents of teens know what to look for in the development of life skills? Click the pic to read Laura Kastner, Ph.D. tell us her top 10.
Marijuana Legalization in Canada – Colorado and Washington: In November, 2015, I had the opportunity to travel to the state of Colorado, which has legalized marijuana. During this time I had the opportunity to talk to school officials and school resource officers (SRO) regarding the effects of this legalization. Come January I had another opportunity to visit the state of Washington, which has also legalized marijuana. I was curious to see how the legalization was interpreted between states. While in Washington I visited a few marijuana retail stores, which was extremely interesting considering my background. Here the marijuana is prepackaged for sale; in Colorado it is displayed in large jars and the amount you wish to purchase is weighed. The state of Colorado permits the sale of candy and drinks containing THC. This merchandise is not available for sale in Washington. One of the retail stores in Washington was similar to a fast food joint (excuse the pun). There were large, highly visible signs about the cash area with a list of the products available, the price and the THC levels. I noticed a product on the “menu” with a THC level of 79.4%, that is very strong. In another… Read More >
Does “Life Synergy for Youth” really work? Have you ever been focused on one thing and receive much more than you expected? Well this happened to me this January. You might remember from the December edition of The Villager, I mentioned that I was travelling to Vancouver to meet with Dr. Shelley Hymel from UBC, for the purpose of collecting data pertaining to the connection between self-harm and suicide. I ended up with so much more. Over the period of three intense days, Dr. Hymel consulted with me to develop five surveys that I plan to use to measure the effectiveness of “Life’s Challenges in Secondary School” – Part 1 & 2. The surveys that were developed are for; students after the assembly students following the small group session staff after the assembly staff following the small group session parents following the parent session My hope is that these surveys will not only show the immediate impact that this program has in schools and student lives, but also provide a basis for later funding for a more in-depth study of the impact of the Life Synergy for Youth Program. Dr. Shelley Hymel suggested that the cost attached to this type… Read More >
With Christmas just around the corner, many of us will take some time to reflect upon past years and the year that is about to become history. I had such an opportunity as I drove 17 hours to a conference in Denver, Colorado this November. In 2001, being the organizer of a conference, I had the opportunity to bring a teacher from Columbine High School, to share her story of the tragic events that occurred on April 20, 1999. Fast forward 14 years, I was able to connect with her again, this time in Denver, over supper with her and her husband. Two days later I visited the school, now a security check scanning a drivers licence at the main office is done, which provides an instant background check. Inside, the school was like any other high school, halls filled with the chatter and bustle of students. To my amazement, seven students that were present that day of terror, are now teachers at the school. Outside, behind the school and off school property, is a public memorial site where I took a moment to pay my respects to the victims of that tragic event. On large pieces of granite, that… Read More >