Sunday, May 26, 2013

Teen Mental Health: Mental Health Awareness Month

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May is Mental Health Awareness month. The Child Mind Institute is having their 3rd annual Speak Up for Kids campaign. 
 
I was a teen who suffered from untreated mental illness.  As a young adult, the repercussions of the lack of help put me in the depths of depression, self-mutilation, and alcohol abuse.  I'd like to think that with counseling and proper medications, I would have been able to avoid lots of situations. 
 
The Child Mind Institute states children and teens don't get treatment because of the lack of mental health professionals that specialize in child/adolescent issues, expenses, uneducation of parents regarding the issue, and shame.

 
50% of serious psychiatric illness occurs before the age of 14, and 75% before the age of 24.*

Every year 5,000 young people between the ages of 14-24 commit suicide and 6000,000 end up in the emergency room from serious suicide attempts.*

The Child Mind Institute has a comprehensive guide on what parents need to know about mental illness in their children.

Here are some symptoms that your tween or teen may be experience issues with mental illness:
  • lack on interest in usual activities
  • spending time alone, isolated from family and friends
  • risky, defiant, or dangerous behavior
  • changes in eating patterns, amounts, or exercise
  • sleep disturbances
  • issues at school, home, or with friends
Then there is the coined "contagion of suicide" that proliferates teen life after experiencing a friend or family member that kills themselves. 
 
My treatment didn't begin until I was twenty-two years old.  By that point, my behaviors and thinking processes created by my Bipolar Type II disorder, anxiety, and chronic depression we completely engrained in my daily life for ten years.  That being said, I firmly believe that early interventions on mental illness in tweens and teenagers is imperative for healthy adult functioning. 
 
Go here to find out how you can take action to speak up for children.
 
You can find the campaign on Facebook or
on Twitter @ChildMindDotOrg or by using the hashtag #SpeakUpforKids  
 
  
 
Keep in touch with Why Does My Teen? on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great resources and related topics!
You can also follow me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Check out the Crayon Freckles site or Facebook page for learning activities, art, and parenting resources.
 
Disclaimer:
The information contained in this post is, by no means, a substitute for advice or treatment from a physician or licensed mental health provider.
 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Why Are Girls So Mean To Each Other?

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Have you seen the movie Mean Girls?  Or for some us of  who were teens in the 80s, the movie Heathers?
 
Hearing reports from about stuff that happens at junior highs and high schools around the country often raises my momma hackles.  Reading stories on the internet about the extremes that tween and teen girls go to just to taunt, criticize, bully, and threaten other girls is just beyond comprehension. 
 
I've just recently found out that there is an actual name for this behavior.  And no, it's not bitchiness...  It's called relational aggression... these are the behaviors that are meant to hurt other teens by "deliberate manipulation of their social standing and relationships." {source} 
 
But why? 
 
Why Are Girls So Mean To Each Other?
 
What Teens Say
Preteens might be mean to each other because in junior high, everything is changing.  Not only their surroundings and peers, but themselves as well.  So there's the need to be in control of the situation no matter what it is. Teenagers, though, can be mean just to challenge one another and have the need to feel power and feel better about themselves. --Piper {17 yrs}
 
Because they're allowed to. Everyone says, 'oh, girls are vicious!' Like that makes it ok, just a phase. But it's bullying and they don't treat that the same. If it's not allowed at home, at school, on the computer, then it will stop. But no one ever stops them. --P 12.5 yrs
 
To try to make themselves look better. -- M {12 yrs}
 
It has to do with power. Girls who feel powerless over their own lives will try to gain control by making others feel powerless as well. --Big Sis 14 yrs from Sense of Wonder

Preteens and teenage girls are so mean to each other because maybe someone is bullying them, so they bully a different girl to feel like they have control and power. --Cass {16 yrs}
 
Because they are bored or just don't have skills to make and keep friends and being nasty is way easier than being nice. --A 13 yrs
 
What Women Say
Because they have something that they are insecure about and if the direct attention to others then they won't be a target.  -Krys

I think girls do this because of jealousy of others. --April

I feel that girls are mean to other girls because they are insecure. By being mean, it gives them some kind of unfounded idea that others will think they are cool, and therefore like them. I can't imagine anything worse than being a teenage girl again. --Sheri

It can come from jealousy or wanting to break someone down. It makes them feel powerful. Kids need guidance because as we all know, as adults, we have more perspective. --Vicky
 
Girls bring 'weaker' girls down in order to build up their own confidence. --Holly

Kids are built up by their parents or teachers.  Then, as we all get older, kids are confronted by jealousy, insecurity, or scrutiny, and they don't know how to deal with it.  As a confused, hurt child, it's easiest to mimic the people they look up to, whether it is people in media, parents, or friends.  --Ash
 
I think its more than teen girls....and is girls and women in general.... --Christy

 
 
 
Keep in touch with Why Does My Teen? on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great resources and related topics! You can also follow me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Check out the Crayon Freckles site or Facebook page for learning activities, art, and parenting resources.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

best books for tweens

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sometimes good books for tweens are hard to find.  in new releases, finding ones that don't necessarily focus in the vampire/witch/lost soul category are few and far between.  here are the 25 best chapter books to keep your tweens reading.  here is a list that i shared at my preschool site CrayonFreckles.com.



  1. A Taste of Blackberries by Doris Buchanan Smith
  2. Because of Winn-dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  3. The Boxcar Children Series by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  4. Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
  5. The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
  6. The Complete Adventures of the Borrowers by Mary Norton
  7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  8. The Fledgling by Jane Langdon
  9. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  10. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  11. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  12. The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
  13. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson
  14. Jennifer, Hecate, MacBeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Konigsburg
  15. Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie by Julie Sternberg
  16. Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
  17. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
  18. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
  19. Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff
  20. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Mildred D. Taylor
  21. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  22. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
  23. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  24. Follow My Leader by James B. Garfield
  25. What book would you choose for the last spot?


 
 
Keep in touch with Why Does My Teen? on Facebook to get daily post previews and hear about other great resources and related topics!
You can also follow me on Pinterest and Twitter.

Check out the Crayon Freckles site or Facebook page for learning activities, art, and parenting resources.