Early Adolescent Stressors: From Books to Bullying

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Learn about the development of middle school-aged children and how it affects identity formation, peer relationships, and the need for independence. Nancy Moran, LCSW, will highlight and offer recommendations for managing social difficulties, and other stressors that influence early adolescence, including increasing demands for academic organization, how to promote academic independence, and the ill effects of bullying.

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Early Adolescent Stressors: From Books to Bullying

  1. 1. Early Adolescent Stressors: From Books to Bullying Presented by: Nancy Moran, LCSW August 21, 2013
  2. 2. Major Question in Adolescence: Who Am I? • Social relationships are key • Experimentation with different roles -activities -behaviors • Goal is to form a strong identity • Determine one’s sense of direction
  3. 3. Possible Outcomes? • A strong sense of self • Feelings of competence VS. • Insecurity • Confusion
  4. 4. Tremendous Growth • Emotional • Physical • Mental Ability
  5. 5. Physical Changes • Anxiety » Vs. • Pride
  6. 6. Social Relationships • Group is paramount • Seek sameness to affirm self • Express criticism of self and others
  7. 7. What if it’s not working? • May be due to social immaturity. • Provide structured opportunities to socialize • Be creative and think of different settings • Involve your child in the brainstorming
  8. 8. The Cognitive Model Situation Thought Body Response Behavior Feeling
  9. 9. Check In • What am I imagining my child is feeling? How accurate is this? • Is this temporary or permanent? • What are other kids doing? • Can my child manage this? • Are my thoughts extreme or exaggerated?
  10. 10. Changing Moods Cognitive Distortions are common thinking errors -Fortune telling -Mind reading -All or nothing thinking
  11. 11. The Cognitive Model Situation Thought Body Response Behavior Feeling
  12. 12. Changes to the Frontal Lobe • Responsible for the ability to reason • Key in decision making
  13. 13. Internal Changes • Burst of electrical and physiological development • Number of brain cells doubles in one year • Neural networks are radically reorganized
  14. 14. Cognitive and Intellectual Development • Strong inward focus • Concentrates on self • Very concerned about others’ perceptions • Idea that others are scrutinizing “Imaginary Audience”
  15. 15. What’s the evidence? • Is there another possible explanation? • Mind reading • Are you ignoring the positive? • If it is true, how can you manage it?
  16. 16. Boys start later and take longer • Can mean impulsivity - Concrete/ uncritical in their thinking • Difficulty with hypothetical thinking
  17. 17. What can I expect? • Dramatic decline in time spent with family (50%) - Girls spend time alone or with friends - Boys spend time alone
  18. 18. Challenges of Middle School • Multiple teachers (transitions) • New peers • Larger setting
  19. 19. Common Fears • What if I get lost?? • What if my locker won’t open?? • What if all my friends are in the other pod??
  20. 20. Evaluate and Plan • How likely is it? • Has this ever happened before? • Were others OK? • Problem solve • Will you be able to manage it?
  21. 21. Mistakes are part of the process! • Put it in perspective • Underscore the lesson • Provide encouragement • Express confidence
  22. 22. Then vs Now Then • Manage backpack • Assist with homework • Check work and provide feedback • Close contact with teacher Now • Provide organizational tools • Encourage time management • Discourage distractions • Provide input when asked or for big projects • Limit Power School
  23. 23. Step away from the computer!! Plan to check your child’s grades once per week.
  24. 24. Your Changing Parental Role • Promote self-advocacy skills • Instill a sense of confidence • Allow opportunities for problem solving
  25. 25. In the Trenches • Teacher relationships • Peer conflicts • Relationships with other parents • Academic struggles
  26. 26. Parents: How can I help? • Provide proper encouragement • Reinforce exploration • Promote self-advocacy skills • Allow opportunities for problem solving • Instill a sense of competence and confidence
  27. 27. Skill Building • Organization • Time management • Making new friends
  28. 28. Golden Rule: Afford autonomy within the limits of safety.

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