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ALSO

Marijuana’s Impacts on the Teenage Brain

JANUARY 2020

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EMPATHIZING WITH A BIGGER WORLD In Your Own Backyard » The Five Sources of Stress in Teens » What is Negative Peer Culture? » Occupational Therapy and the Parent/Child Connection BROUGHT TO YOU BY


2018 MIPHY


JANUARY 2020

FEATURES

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Empathizing with a Bigger World in Your Own Backyard

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The Five Sources of Stress in Teens

16 20

What is Negative Peer Culture?

Occupational Therapy and the Parent/Child Connection

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Impacts of Marijuana on the Teenage Brain IN EVERY ISSUE

2 From the Director 5 The Kitchen Table 10 Faces in the Crowd 11 40 Developmental Assets 12 Assets in Action 18 Q&A / By the Numbers BROUGHT TO YOU BY

PRODUCED IN CONJUNCTION WITH

TO ADVERTISE OR CONTRIBUTE, PLEASE CONTACT (248) 221-7101 admin@achcmi.org

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ABOUT THE ALLIANCE OF COALITIONS FOR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES The Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities (Alliance) formed as an extension of the successful Coalition of Healthy Communities (CHC) network. CHC was founded in 1993 by four local coalition groups seeking to strengthen their existing collaboration through the creation of an umbrella organization. In 2003, CHC members, with the support of Oakland County’s Office of Substance Abuse Services, launched the Alliance to begin the next phase in Oakland Prevention. Today, the Alliance has grown to include 20 community prevention coalitions serving over 55+ local communities, including recovery support and wellness interventions to increase supportive environments and decrease the stigma of addiction. Working together, and in a collaborative environment, the Alliance strives to bring quality, evidence-based prevention, wellness, support, and recovery programs to all community members.

MISSION Through substance abuse prevention, mental and physical wellness, and recovery support programs, the Alliance connects, strengthens, and mobilizes strategic partners to promote healthier communities.

VISION Will be nationally recognized as a leader of best practices in collaboration on substance abuse prevention initiatives that create and sustain healthy communities.

CORE VALUES As stewards of community trust, the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities believes in: Collaboration. Prevention. Results.

FOLLOW US

Website: www.achcmi.org

Director FROM THE

HAPPY 2020!

We have been very busy amplifying the benefits of prevention and recovery support that we are excited to share that we have added our 20th coalition, Healthy Farmington-Farmington Hills Coalition! Take a look at the full list on the back cover, and we encourage you to connect with your local coalition. They are such an important part of the JULIE Alliance network. BRENNER Along with the coalitions, we also have strong prevention and recovery support programs that we offer. Here are some highlights: • Free prevention programming to all Oakland County middle and high schools – Keep Them Safe, Keep Them Healthy is available. • Recovery support is greatly needed in our communities and through our Shatter the Stigma Family & Recovery Support Groups and Resolve, we are making headway and truly connecting the people we serve with support and resources. • Want to be trained on Narcan? We provide our free Save A Life harm reduction trainings to all community members, local businesses and organizations. This important training ensures that this life saving overdose reversal tool is accessible and properly administered. See all of our events on our calendar at www.achcmi.org/events. • Need help with healthy choices and ways to destress? Connect with our Wellness initiatives at many community events and within our local schools. Please save the date for our Shatter the Stigma Family Festival & 5K that is taking place June 6, 2020, in Clawson! Take a look at our website for more details. Family fun, food trucks, resources, and the Alliance all in one place. Hope you can join us. Prevention does work! Thank you for helping us strengthen prevention and please feel free to share this edition of Youth Connections with everyone you know! It can also be found online: www.achcmi.org/news. We wish you all a very happy and healthy 2020!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/allianceofcoalitions Twitter: @achcmichigan Instagram: allianceofcoalitions YouTube: Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities

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ALLIANCE OF COALITIONS FOR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES Julie Brenner, President and CEO (248) 221-7101 jbrenner@achcmi.org 895 N Opdyke Rd, Ste D Auburn Hills, MI 48326


PREVENTION & RECOVERY SUPPORT IN OAKLAND COUNTY RESOLW'" ;ii 6 iii" brld9in9 CII ne• l•9C110y

Recovery Support Life Skills Training

Free Community & Business Narcan Trainings

SHJ!TER THtSUliiiiA

Family & Recovery Support Groups

For class info, call (248) 221 7101 or email abogota@achcmi.org

In our efforts to shatter the stigma, we recognize that addiction is devastating to all members in a family as well as the communities that we live in. Please join us at any of our five monthly meetings listed on our calendar www.achcmi.org/events or follow us on Facebook. www.achcmi.org

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Welcome to the Alliance team! Phillip Hunter Board of Directors

Phillip Hunter, (MA, LLP, CAADC, CCS), has been with Meridian Health Services since 2016 and is the Clinical Manager of Residential Treatment. He has a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Detroit-Mercy. He is a welcome addition to the Board of Directors!

Amanda Choma Recovery Support Assistant

A graduate of Michigan State University, Amanda joins the team to work specifically on Save A Life Narcan Trainings, Resolve, and Shatter the Stigma programming needs. She is also a volunteer coach for Waterford Mott High School dance team and has led the team to grand champions three years in a row! She can be reached directly at achoma@achcmi.org

SAVE THE DATE Saturday June 6, 2020 Free Narcan Training Food Trucks Family Fun Optional Run/Walk Bounce Houses Resources Memorial Wall Join us for our 6th Oakland County

Shatter the Stigma Family Festival & 5K All proceeds directly benefit the Alliance's prevention, support and recovery services and educational programs.

For more info: www.achcmi.org/family-festival-5k/

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CONFESSIONS FROM THE KITCHEN TABLE Editor’s note: This is a continuation of a series from a family who struggled to keep their child mentally well. The first and second submissions can be read at: https://www.youthconnectionscoalition.org/archives in the June 2019 and September 2019 issues. am the child who struggled, whose family embarked on a difficult, but helpful journey to support me move beyond surviving to thriving. This journey has been very complex, very difficult and very rewarding all at the same time. My family, including my sisters, parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles engage in the journey with me, but others cannot even begin to understand the way in which returning to my same school and peer group have been the biggest hurdle I face on a daily basis. When I left my peer group, I was a different person, struggling to identify myself in a positive way and caught in a negative peer culture with other peers who were struggling. What people don’t realize is that I still deeply care about those peers and their struggle and that cutting them off was agonizing for me. It was like stealing my very breath because this is a group where I felt accepted. I may not have been making healthy choices and I may have not thought much of myself, but I often felt valued and loved. After doing my work away from home, I chose to return into my same home school. Entering that place makes me want the power of invisibility more than anything, while at the same time longing for people I once knew to embrace and welcome me

back. That is not the welcome I received. I feel shunned and judged, being blocked on social media and called names when I walk down the hall. It takes more energy to exist in the school which is like a city jammed into an itty-bitty city of only a few thousand square feet with people who are unable to see the different me I have become, instead hanging on to their previous version of me. I am exhausted and have felt more isolated than ever. Here I sit and walk alone, feeling too afraid to allow any openness because of the hurt it has caused me. Additionally, my teachers have no idea what kind of strength it takes just to get through the day, let alone focus on what I am supposed to learn. Nobody can hear or see the struggle inside of me, and nobody really reaches out to make sure I am getting all I need to support my education. My teachers do not know that when I make a mistake, because I have learned that all people make mistakes, calling me out in front of others only spikes my social anxiety, shame, and despair. I don’t mind critical feedback, but I would like it to be done in a respectful manner rather than one based on fear. I have learned to communicate while acknowledging my own emotions and

taking responsibility for my role in difficult interactions. I want the adults in my life to consider me as a valuable person who can learn from my mistakes. When I am confronted in a public, humiliating way, I learn to shut down and distance myself from those adults, not trusting them and not wanting to be in a relationship with them. Finally, I would not have chosen to go away from my family but it may have saved my life. I want people around me to show respect and learn to acknowledge their emotions without making decisions from these emotions. I have learned that, and will be supported in my attempts as a teenager to continue when adults can do the same for me. However, the distance I feel from people because of the emotional work I focused on for 10 solid months is as far as the east is from the west. A kid like me can appreciate her family and the support and growth offered within that family, but I want to have friends with whom I can be myself, including the me that has grown. I want to laugh, hang out, and experience the thrills of adventure. But I also want to share my feelings and thoughts with friends who can handle that and share theirs, as well. It is difficult to find that in my world, so still I feel very alone. ■

We would like to thank this family for sharing their journey with us and hope that providing a glimpse into what youth and their families have to endure to be mentally well encourages others to get help and seek support.

YOU CAN SUBMIT YOUR STORY TO: jbrenner@achcmi.org For many of us the kitchen table represents the typical family experience. We have laughed while having family game night. We have cried over our children’s choices. We have blown out the candles on many cakes. We have argued our way out of doing the dishes. We have struggled through those “three more bites.” We have learned hard lessons and celebrated many deserved successes. One thing is for sure though—if our kitchen tables could talk, there would be plenty of stories! So often it is in relating to others’ stories that we realize there isn’t always one answer, or even a right answer. Parenting is hard work! If you have a story of lessons learned, we invite you to share it with our readers. Sometimes, knowing we aren’t the only ones struggling to find the answer is all the help we need.

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EMPATHIZING A BIGGER

in your own ba

How Parents Can Support a Child’s Gro 6

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Isabella’s eleven-year-old son, James, walked in their door after school. He threw his backpack across the room and ran down the hallway to his bedroom clearly upset.

WITH WORLD

ackyard:

owing Social Awareness By JENNIFER S. MILLER, M.ED.

sabella waited until James finally emerged, hungry for a snack. As he searched the kitchen, she asked, “Are you okay?” James sat down with a bag of chips and explained that he was “sick of school,” or more accurately, the students he encountered. One of his long-time friends, Dakota, had been hurt by some of their supposed friends today, and he felt angry and helpless to do anything. James loved hanging out at Dakota’s house and getting to know his family – his father, a Native American of Crow ancestry and his mother, a Latina-American, both of whom grew up in Montana. Frequently he would catch his “friends” labeling Dakota. They had hung out with the same group since kindergarten, but now those “friends” were making fun of Dakota because his mother would speak to him in Spanish. He had attempted to befriend some others who labeled him “the Mexican,” when his family had no heritage from Mexico whatsoever. Today felt like the last straw for James when he had watched Dakota fight back tears at their lockers after the group had insultingly mimicked his mother’s Spanish. Not only was he mad at the others, but he felt sick about his own role. “I know I should have stopped them, but I just stood there; I didn’t do anything,” James told his mom. He was frustrated with himself. “Why didn’t I stop them?” he uttered to himself. Why couldn’t classmates just take Dakota for who he was, a devoted student and good friend? Clearly, the group of friends involved in labeling Dakota were struggling with social awareness and not accepting Dakota for who he was. And James, though feeling empathy for his friend, struggled to take action. He too was trying to figure out how to respond when others were treating a friend unfairly. From birth, our children are growing and exercising their social awareness, defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) as “the ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others, including those from diverse backgrounds and cultures and the ability to understand the social and ethical norms for behavior and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.” CASEL recently further defined social awareness through the lens of equity. Children continued on page 9

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and teens are more likely to learn to empathize when adults accept and value cultural differences and discuss power dynamics that disadvantage some and advantage others. If we don’t discuss these issues with our children, we can perpetuate old stereotypes and limit growing social awareness skills. Social awareness also includes recognizing shared interests and life circumstances. Dakota was a classmate, a friend, played on a sports team, and loved his pet dog just like nearly every other child in his class. His classmates’ mistaken interpretation of his heritage and what that meant about his identity were separating him out and hurting him and his friend. Growing our children’s social awareness poses a number of challenges for the adults who love them. First, if we are to prepare our children for contributing to our global community, we have to recognize and admit bias. We must challenge our own thinking as we raise important questions for our children to consider. This puts us in the uncomfortable position of not knowing it all. Yet, that model of vulnerability, of standing in the face of challenge and admitting we have much to learn, will aid us considerably with our next challenge. As our children develop greater social awareness, their social anxiety rises in direct proportion. Why? As our children work to exercise their perspective-taking muscle, they make wrong interpretations about others’ thoughts and feelings. After all, we are not born mind readers. Empathy requires practice. In the preteen years, feelings of heightened sensitivity complicate this as children’s brains and bodies are dramatically changing. The preteen through teen years can feel isolating as our children become increasingly anxious about their peers’ potential criticisms of who they are. Our opportunity to show vulnerability will not only model what our children are experiencing — “It’s okay not to know it all” — but also open the door to a more trusting connection where parent and teen can wrestle with the tough questions together. There are a number of ways we can help our children and teens become more socially aware. Here are some specific ideas. 3- TO 5-YEAR-OLDS Practice physical awareness. Our young children are working hard to figure out how their bodies can cooperate with the hopes of their minds and hearts. Through pretend play, they work on their fine and gross motor skills. They are interested in learning about their own body parts and curious about others’. This is an ideal time to practice body

awareness. For example, play the game “What does your body tell you? What do others’ bodies tell you?” According to The Definitive Book of Body Language, body language is five times more powerful than words! Work on identifying facial expressions, body postures, and ways of moving that communicate emotion. This focus will assist a child in noticing nonverbal cues from others. Discuss race, culture, differences, and commonalities. Use children’s books to spur conversation. Because children are more regularly engaging in play with others, this is an ideal time to talk about differences and commonalities. There are people with a variety of skin colors, different beliefs about a higher power, and a range of traditions around the world. What can we learn from those differences? And, how many commonalities can we discover? Be sure to seek common ground as there is always more that unites us than divides us. Also, practice acting with kindness and inclusion. Model bringing others in the circle of play who were not naturally there. The seeds of exclusion can be planted at this stage; it’s critical that we offer children the chance to practice inclusion. 6-TO-8-YEAR-OLDS Act as a feelings detective. Children require practice in naming emotions in order to manage them and grow a sense of empathy for others. Create a dinnertime game to discover what Dad is feeling when we ask him, “How was your day?” Use errand runs to see if you can figure out what people are feeling through their facial expressions. When your child comes home and tells a story about classmates, ask the question: “How do you think they were feeling?” These simple games will simultaneously promote valuable selfawareness, self-management (name it to tame it), and social awareness skills. Advance your conversations on inclusion and equity. Your child may be encountering children from other cultures, races, and abilities for the first time as they enter elementary school. Make a point of discussing race, culture, and differing beliefs and abilities whenever the topic may arise. Equate “different” with “an opportunity to learn and value” versus “weird.” At the beginning of each school year, you might ask: “How would you feel in a new school where you didn’t know anyone? Can we come up with ways that you could welcome the new students and help them feel comfortable?”

9-TO-12-YEAR-OLDS Prepare with peer tools. How do you coach your child when they encounter mean words or actions at school? Consider offering your child some simple ways to stop harm without causing more and move to safety. You might practice together saying, “Stop. You know that’s wrong (or unkind),” and then walk away. Isabella could have coached her son to help his friend, Dakota, by agreeing to walk him away when verbally attacked. Did you know more than half of bullying attempts stop when another child intervenes? Agree with friends to help one another stay safe. Then, express compassion: “You know when someone is lashing out, they are hurting inside.” Criticizing other children may put your child in harm’s way. Instead, how can you express empathy and compassion while keeping your child safe? Share stories of fairness and justice. Children at this age are keenly attuned to issues of fairness. Build on this rising insight by discussing the complexities of acting in just ways. When friends make poor choices, ask, “What other choice did they have? How would those choices have resulted in different outcomes?” Point out ways in the larger world that individuals and cultures struggle for rights and talk together about ideas to solve those big problems. Read age-appropriate biographies together about Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, or Rosa Parks to learn about those who risked their lives for justice. FOR 13-TO-18-YEAR-OLDS Engage in powerful conversations. Teens are ready to engage in powerful conversations about more complex issues. Movies, social media, and everyday experiences provide opportunities to practice empathizing. Asking your teen questions like: “What would it be like to be in someone else’s situation? How would you have reacted if you had been them?” Or “Have you seen examples of people being mistreated because of their race, ethnicity, or other differences? How did that make you feel? What could you do about it?” Practicing social awareness with your child is a meaningful contribution to our next generation. Offering your child access to your own open mind and grappling with some of our world’s toughest issues of fairness and justice together will strengthen yours and your child’s empathy and compassion. You may just change the world for the better in your own backyard. ■

About The Author: Jennifer S. Miller, M.Ed., author of the popular site, Confident Parents, Confident Kids, has twenty years of experience helping adults become more effective with the children they love through social and emotional learning. She serves as a writer for ParentingMontana.org: Tools for Your Child’s Success, a statewide media campaign to educate parents on social and emotional learning. Her book, “Confident Parents, Confident Kids; Raising Emotional Intelligence in Ourselves and Our Kids — From Toddlers to Teenagers” releases November 5, 2019. www.achcmi.org

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Check out who’s standing out in our community. IS THERE SOMEONE YOU’D LIKE TO NOMINATE? Please visit http://achcmi.org/student-nomination-form/ and tell us why this individual has stood out in your crowd.

Zachary Kanfer

FACES IN THE CROWD

ROYAL OAK MIDDLE SCHOOL, 8TH GRADE

Zack doesn’t vape or do drugs of any kind. He has no interest in doing so. He knows they are not good for him or any of his peers, and he talks about being healthy and staying away from vaping and drugs because they do not belong in succeeding in school or the future. Zack wants to set a good example for other kids. He works hard to be a good and responsible student and to have a healthy emotional self. In addition, he knows that drugs, etc. would get in the way of his athletics. The Royal Oak Community Coalition is proud to have Zack be a part of the community!

Norman Yacoob

LAMPHERE HIGH SCHOOL, JUNIOR

Norman is the Madison Heights Community Coalition’s Student Representative. He volunteers his time for coalition and several events in the community such as the MH Fire Department Open House, the MH Police Department Bike Rodeo, and the annual MH Library book sale. He is also involved with several clubs at LHS, including SADD, NHS, and Link Crew. Norman takes several AP classes and succeeds at nearly everything he does. He strives to make our community a better place and is always filled with fun ideas and activities for students. He challenges himself to make changes to make Madison Heights a better place for students and families. MHCC is fortunate to have Norman and his positive energy and attitude.

Areena Chavda

NOVI HIGH SCHOOL, JUNIOR

Areena is a creative and helpful student. She joined the volunteer pool for the Novi Rotary Foundation’s Feed the Need Program two summers ago, and she has not stopped seeking new opportunities to serve Novi and the surrounding community. This year she will be hosting her own program for children in STEAM. Her delightful disposition and smile are a welcomed sight each day at the program. The Novi Community Coalition is proud of Areena for using her gifts to teach at such a young age and her commitment to making meaningful connections with everyone around her.

Nicole Watts and Milani Hall

NOVI HIGH SCHOOL, FRESHMEN

Nicole and Milani reached out to the Novi Community Coalition to organize a personal care and household item drive to support the families who need it the most in the Novi Rotary Foundation’s Feed the Need Summer Lunch Program. They planned and collected dozens of boxes of items, and the campaign is a community effort. With the teamwork and community effort, they reached their goal of 300 kits delivered this past August to families in the program. We are proud of their efforts, particularly since they just started high school this fall and are already determined to be civic minded and intentional in their mission to help others.

Hanna Khor

INTERNATIONAL ACADEMY WEST, JUNIOR

Hanna is an active member of Lakes Area Community Coalition’s Youth Action Board, as well as a full voting member of the LACC Board of Directors. At our recent community-wide prevention summit, Hanna presented local data on youth substance use and parent perception along with WLCSD Deputy Superintendent Dr. Chris Delgado and Dr. Darren Lubbers, PhD. She is a confident and engaging public speaker and a powerful representative for the youth in the Lakes Area. Hanna is passionate about substance use prevention, and we are thankful for her work on behalf of the coalition.

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40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

40 Developmental Assets are essential qualities of life that help young people thrive, do well in school, and avoid risky behavior. Youth Connections utilizes the 40 Developmental Assets Framework to guide the work we do in promoting positive youth development. The 40 Assets model was developed by the Minneapolis-based Search Institute based on extensive research. Just as we are coached to diversify our financial assets so that all our eggs are not in one basket, the strength that the 40 Assets model can build in our youth comes through diversity. In a nutshell, the more of the 40 Assets youth possess, the more likely they are to exhibit positive behaviors and attitudes (such as good health and school success) and the less likely they are to exhibit risky behaviors (such as drug use and promiscuity). It’s that simple: if we want to empower and protect our children, building the 40 Assets in our youth is a great way to start. Look over the list of Assets on the following page and think about what Assets may be lacking in our community and what Assets you can help build in our young people. Do what you can do with the knowledge that even through helping build one asset in one child, you are increasing the chances that child will grow up safe and successful. Through our combined efforts, we will continue to be a place where Great Kids Make Great Communities.

Turn the page to learn more!

Report anything that threatens your safety or the safety of others.

The 40 Developmental Assets® may be reproduced for educational, noncommercial uses only. Copyright © 1997 Search Institute®, 615 First Avenue NE, Suite 125, Minneapolis, MN 55413; 800-888-7828; www.search-institute.org. All rights reserved.

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assets in action

40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

4 SUPPORT

1. Family support: Family life provides high levels of love and support. 2. Positive family communication: Young person and her or his parent(s) communicate positively, and young person is willing to seek advice and counsel from parent(s). 3. Other adult relationships: Young person receives support from three or more nonparent adults. 4. Caring neighborhood: Young person experiences caring neighbors. 5. Caring school climate: School provides a caring, encouraging environment. 6. Parent involvement in school: Parent(s) are actively involved in helping young person succeed in school.

Lakes Area youth helping at DEA National Takeback Day

EMPOWERMENT

7. Community values youth: Young person perceives that adults in the community value youth. 8. Youth as resources: Young people are given useful roles in the community. 9. Service to others: Young person serves in the community one hour or more per week. 10. Safety: Young person feels safe at home, at school, and in the neighborhood.

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Troy youth enjoying summer camp

Volunteering to put Save A Life kits together

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BOUNDARIES & EXPECTATIONS

11. Family boundaries: Family has clear rules and consequences and monitors the young person’s whereabouts. 12. School boundaries: School provides clear rules and consequences. 13. Neighborhood boundaries: Neighbors take responsibility for monitoring young people’s behavior. 14. Adult role models: Parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior. 15. Positive peer influence: Young person’s best friends model responsible behavior. 16. High expectations: Both parent(s) and teachers encourage the young person to do well.

CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME

Holly High School Youth Action Board kick off

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17. Creative activities: Young person spends three or more hours per week in lessons or practice in music, theater, or other arts. 18. Youth programs: Young person spends three or more hours per week in sports, clubs, or organizations at school and/or in the community. 19. Religious community: Young person spends one or more hours per week in activities in a religious institution. 20. Time at home: Young person is out with friends “with nothing special to do” two or fewer nights per week.


If you or your child would like to submit a picture that represents one of the 40 Developmental Assets, please email jbrenner@achcmi.org with a picture and the number of the asset the picture represents.

Not all pictures are guaranteed publication.

35 COMMITMENT TO LEARNING

21. Achievement motivation: Young person is motivated to do well in school. 22. School engagement: Young person is actively engaged in learning. 23. Homework: Young person reports doing at least one hour of homework every school day. 24. Bonding to school: Young person cares about her or his school. 25. Reading for pleasure: Young person reads for pleasure three or more hours per week.

POSITIVE VALUES

26. Caring: Young person places high value on helping other people. 27. Equality and social justice: Young person places high value on promoting equality and reducing hunger and poverty. 28. Integrity: Young person acts on convictions and stands up for her or his beliefs. 29. Honesty: Young person “tells the truth even when it is not easy.” 30. Responsibility: Young person accepts and takes personal responsibility. 31. Restraint: Young person believes it is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol or other drugs.

SOCIAL COMPETENCIES

32. Planning and decision making: Young person knows how to plan ahead and make choices. 33. Interpersonal competence: Young person has empathy, sensitivity, and friendship skills. 34. Cultural competence: Young person has knowledge of and comfort with people of different cultural/racial/ethnic backgrounds. 35. Resistance skills: Young person can resist negative peer pressure and dangerous situations. 36. Peaceful conflict resolution: Young person seeks to resolve conflict nonviolently.

Bucket Fillers in Greater West Bloomfield

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Clawson cares about their youth

Youth recognition event

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POSITIVE IDENTITY

37. Personal power: Young person feels he or she has control over “things that happen to me.” 38. Self-esteem: Young person reports having a high self-esteem. 39. Sense of purpose: Young person reports that “my life has a purpose.” 40. Positive view of personal future: Young person is optimistic about her or his personal future.

Youth in Southfield making a difference

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THE FIVE SOURCES OF

stress in teens Dr. Tim Elmore

had lives with his grandparents whose income is so low they live well below the poverty line in his school district. Because the school is understaffed and has only one counselor, Chad is consistently living in distress, possessing no coping skills. Sara is bullied and sexually harassed as a middle school student. Her grades and demeanor reflect the poor school climate she endures on campus. She is withdrawn and doesn’t ask for help, even though she’s in survival mode. Peyton has been sent to the vice principal’s office four times since the beginning of the school year. There appear to be no significant problems at home, but Peyton spends far too much time on smartphones and is reacting to social media posts. STRESS LEVELS YOU MAY NOT KNOW ABOUT All of these scenarios are sources of stress in students. The stress begins as early as elementary school and extends all the way through college. According to the Wall Street Journal, “One recent study found that the rate of moderate to severe depression among U.S. college students rose from 23.2% in 2007 to 41.1% in 2018, while rates of moderate to severe anxiety jumped from 17.9% in 2013 to 34.4% in 2018.” I have found that anxiety and depression often begin with high stress levels. FIVE COMMON SOURCES OF STRESS IN TEENS 1. The Filtered Life Living in a world of constant updates leads to something called “FOMO”—the fear of missing out. Students are constantly comparing themselves to others they see on Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest. This often leads to feelings of stress and anxiety. Alexander Brent, a law student from the University of Tennessee, put it this way: “Social media provides a filtered view of our

One recent study found that the rate of moderate to severe depression among U.S. college students rose from 23.2% in 2007 to 41.1% in 2018, while rates of moderate to severe anxiety jumped from 17.9% in 2013 to 34.4% in 2018. friends and peers—the good shines through while the bad stays hidden. This can make us feel as if everyone is happier than we are, as if we’re the only ones with problems, and as if our problems can’t be solved.” 2. The Constant Notifications You already see the influence of the smartphone—and what it does to us all. Students from Generation Z have grown up with smartphones, not just cell phones. Thousands of pings, notifications, pop-ups, and personal messages bombard them daily, minimally distracting them, but often damaging them in a far worse manner. The most common word today’s college students use to describe their lives is overwhelmed. 3. The Supervised Norms Today’s parents, teachers, and coaches are conditioned to prescribe every minute of the young people they lead. Kids’ lives are so overly prescribed that by the time they hit college, many of them don’t have any experience with self-direction.

Elizabeth Hildebrandt, from the University of Toledo, describes this new reality this way: “The typical college student arrives on campus after 18 years of being scheduled and micromanaged by parents. College preparation begins at least at age five, when kids can be shuttled from activity to activity—apparently that’s what ‘successful parents’ must do.” 4. The Undue Pressure Students tell me they feel pressure from every direction: college applications, scholarship competitions, test scores, parental hopes and fears, club sports, you name it. In fact, when we ask high school students in focus groups what causes them the most stress, school is the number one answer. Emily Kaib, a student at Vanderbilt University, describes her feelings this way: “College is so expensive that students feel as if they have to be perfect. Otherwise, they might think they’re failing themselves and their families, who have invested so much in them and their futures.” 5. The Instant Gratification Perhaps no greater cause of misplaced expectations exists than a culture of instant gratification. The fact that young people can easily gratify almost any desire means that they often grow accustomed—even addicted—to that gratification. This can lead to a lack of resilience in tough situations. Alexander Brent, from Tennessee, revealed the consequences of growing up in a culture of instant gratification this way: “By pressing a few buttons we can have meals delivered to our homes; receive step-by-step directions to our destinations; and even find people to date. This ability to satisfy our wants and needs instantly has created a tendency in many of us to panic when faced with real problems. We often lack the ability to grind through adversity, as we’ve come to expect quick and easy solutions. When things don’t go smoothly right away, they can seem hopeless.” ■

About The Author: Tim Elmore is an international speaker and best-selling author of more than 30 books, including Generation iY: The Secrets to Connecting With Teens & Young Adults in the Digital Age, Artificial Maturity: Helping Kids Meet the Challenges of Becoming Authentic Adults, the Habitudes® series, and 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid. He is founder and president of Growing Leaders, an organization equipping today’s young people to become the leaders of tomorrow. Sign up to receive Tim’s blog at www.growingleaders.com/blog and get more information on Growing Leaders at www.GrowingLeaders.com and @GrowingLeaders @TimElmore. Used with permission. All content contained within this article is the property of Growing Leaders, Inc. and is protected by international copyright laws, and may not be reproduced, republished, distributed, transmitted, displayed, broadcast or otherwise exploited in any manner without the express prior written permission of Growing Leaders. Growing Leaders, Inc. names and logos and all related trademarks, tradenames, and other intellectual property are the property of Growing Leaders and cannot be used without its express prior written permission.

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what is NEGATIVE PEER CULTURE By KELLY ACKERMAN, LCPC

ne of the major tasks in the tween and teen years is self-identity in which kids search not to identify who they are, but how they fit into the world. Additionally, they begin to transition more toward a peer-view of the world where acceptance and peer influence increases. This movement toward independence and peer culture is normal and exciting. Identifying with and connecting with peers in healthy, positive ways often affirms healthy choices, decisions and improves mental health and family relationships. However, parents often find themselves in a losing battle when kids make decisions to identify with a negative peer culture that may increase unsafe risky behaviors, disobedience or declining motivation. Please note that a negative peer culture is not made of “bad” kids, but the dynamic of the group leads to behaviors that often increase tension between the parent and child, and the school and the child while limiting the potential of the child. Of course, starting early as a family to engage in conversations about healthy peer groups is best practice, however, it is never too late to enrich relationships with children and continue to support healthy decision making. Included here are three starting points for parents to maintain positive influence in the lives of their children as it relates to friends and peer groups. GET TO KNOW YOUR CHILD THROUGH LISTENING AND REINFORCING THE POSITIVE Preteens and teens are eager to move toward independence. Actively listening to their feelings and thoughts without attempting to change them becomes a key relationship builder during this developmental change. It is a time to be curious and ask questions rather than instructing and telling which can result in distancing, isolation, or rebellion. As teens begin to question who they are, they may discover they have a

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It is possible to share a different viewpoint than the child without needing to be “right.” Keep their development in mind and remember they have a need to explore different options without causing dramatic reactions from the adults around them whom they look to for support. different thought about the world than what they’d been told. Listening fully to those differences without shutting them down will build trust and relationships, strengthening your credibility and trust as a parent. It is possible to share a different viewpoint than the child without needing to be “right.” Keep their development in mind and remember they have a need to explore different options without causing dramatic reactions from the adults around them whom they look to for support. TAKE TIME TO DEFINE VALUES When our behaviors are not in line with our values, it creates internal conflict often in the form of negative self-talk. However, very few people take time to define their core values. Through defining values, we then have a concrete compass to guide our choices and decisions. It is important that each family member define their own set of values and for the family to define a set to utilize for

boundary and rule setting. These values can be different with the understanding that family expectations will be decided based on family values. Yet, gentle confrontation can be utilized with a child who is making decisions that do not align with his/her personal values. This personal set allows for an internal motivation during the adolescent search for self. KNOW WHEN TO SEEK HELP Notice when your child begins to shift into a peer group with whom you are not comfortable, and engage in asking about how the group supports the child’s values and growth. Make it a priority to meet and get to know the peers in the group, setting limits when you become aware of unhealthy patterns. If your child begins to refuse to change friendships or seems stuck in a negative group, seek the help of professionals, school teachers and administration, and let your child know that you love them enough to help them to make this change. When negative peer groups are not addressed, the behaviors and struggles are not likely to change, and will most likely result in further consequences. However, as a parent, you have limited ability to assert control because adolescents will sometimes stop at nothing to exert their own power and control. Seeking outside help is a positive step to showing up for your child when your influence is no longer being considered.

Parents play a key role in the lives of their pre-teens and teens. However, that role begins to weaken as children make the normal, developmentally-appropriate shift to increased peer influence and involvement. It is important to recognize this developmental task and offer support in positive ways to increase the likelihood that children will gravitate to and choose friends who will support their growth and development in healthy, fun, and motivating ways. ■


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NUMBERS Is my child addicted to screens? Games and social media apps have become the preferred coping mechanism for kids. For some, it is the only coping mechanism they know. Whether recovering from a bad day or suffering from the teenage angst that comes with hormones, brain development, and navigating difficult social situations, teens say the ability to escape with technology helps them from dwelling on life situations they can’t control. Unfortunately, brain research is finding that the stress and anxiety students use technology to escape from is exacerbated by its use. Video games are only engaging to individuals if they raise blood pressure to a level that floods the body with cortisol (the body’s stress hormone). Studies also show that cortisol is also released with every text or snapchat left on “read”, and while waiting for the number of “likes” and “views”. Moreover, everyone else’s life looks a little more awesome than ours, since very few people are posting anything but their best, completely filtered self. None of this is new information to parents, but many are asking, “How do I know if my child is addicted or just doing the same thing all of his/her friends are doing?” Things to consider:

400

The average number of times a child laughs a day.

13 MILLION

The weight in pounds of the tallest snowman.

3,000

1) Is the person beginning to choose videogames or technology over interactions with friends and family? 2) Does the person feel anxious, depressed, or moody when attempting to cut down on his/her use?

The speed in mph a crack travels when glass breaks.

3) Is the person neglecting school work or other activities in order to spend more time online? 4) Are the person’s closest friends people from an online community (video games or chat groups), more than people he/she sees in daily life? 5) Is the person using technology for longer periods of time in order to get the same sense of satisfaction and wellbeing? 6) Does the person need to immediately respond to an alert on their phone, computer, or gaming device?

200,000 The number of glasses of milk a cow produces in her lifetime.

A Duke University study reported that teens who use screens four hours a day or more are at higher risk for mental health issues (the maximum hours recommended is 2). A word of caution ... as you begin to question your child’s screen time, they will be checking yours, as well. If you are like me, you may need to find a different way to keep your patience in a grocery line.

33

The percentage of dog owners who say they’ve talked to their pet on the phone.

RECOMMENDED READING: Glow Kids by Nicholas Kadaras iGen by Jean Twenge

HAVE A QUESTION?

email: jbrenner@achcmi.org We cannot guarantee all questions will be published; however, we will do our best to respond to all questions submitted.

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The number of years summer lasts on Uranus.


For more details on this free program for your school or community group info@achcmi.org or (248) 221-7101

For upcoming trainings, www.achcmi.org/events or call (248) 221 7101 www.achcmi.org

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OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY

and the parent/child connection: Activities and Strategies for the Developing Child and Adolescent By MILY WASHUT, MOTR/L s a Pediatric Occupational Therapist, I have been lucky enough to work with many families and parents – each as unique as the child I’m working with. I stress the importance of carry over in the home setting to ensure the strategies and skills we address in therapy are reinforced to increase success and independence. This may be as simple as utilizing a visual schedule in the home to help with transitions with a morning routine or the use of tight squeezes and “big hugs” from the parent to give their child increased deep pressure input when they’re showing signs of their sensory system being out of balance. This also requires the promotion of a healthy and positive parent (caregiver)/child relationship and stresses the importance of connection for regulation, learning, and the ability to thrive in different environments and at different stages and ages. Self-regulation is frequently addressed and discussed in my field. As more extensive research is done behind the neurology of connection and child development, new programs are being implemented and developed to support the child, family, and professional to increase successes, attain new skills, and refine existing skills. Many of these pertain to social-emotional development – especially throughout childhood. Another “angle” where Occupational Therapists have a unique take on parent/ child connection is through extensive knowledge of childhood and brain development. This knowledge provides us with the ability to help parents in parenting through a place of appropriate developmental timelines while also promoting connection. For example, some children may show a “chronological age” far superior to their developmental and regulatory skills. In these instances, we help parents take things back to a more developmental level to look at the

bigger picture and to help make these connections in a place where the child better understands and is successful before increasing expectations or parenting requirements. Each strategy and “game plan” is unique to each child and family. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) notes the acknowledgement of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) to “prepare the children of today to be productive, caring, and responsible citizens”. Where does this start? Connection throughout childhood. This begins to develop in utero and lasts not only throughout childhood, but throughout the lifespan. All 50 states in the United States have even developed SEL standards for preschool programming, only further highlighting the importance of these foundational skills in being a successful peer, friend, family member, coworker…the list is endless. One of my personal favorite programs is the “Positive Discipline” program developed by Dr. Jane Nelsen. This program utilizes a tool referred to as “Connection before Correction”. This particular tool addresses the importance of connection to establish a trust and a feeling of safety before the child is open to successful correction. Also popular is the “connection before regulation” saying that’s been seen floating around so many OT and parenting websites. Basically, before a child can be open to correction, open to regulating their sensory system (this can look different for every child, sensory processing and sensory processing disorder is something many children I see struggle with and regulation before expectations is huge), this connection must be established and in place. So how do we develop these connections? Like I stated above, it starts early and the importance of connection doesn’t stop as our children age. There are MANY different strategies and activities than the ideas I’ll give here, so please…take these, make them your own.

PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN. Simple, but can be so difficult to do in the world we’re currently living in. As adults and parents, we have responsibilities that need tending to (sometimes immediately), but when we look at the importance of connection with our children we have to look at what this means. Being able to put your phone in a drawer or out of sight in the time it takes to do an activity or have a conversation with your child promotes eye contact, engagement, and sends the message of “you are most important” is huge. SNUGGLE THOSE BABIES There has been extensive research in the area of physical touch and brain development in infants. I’ve also found this can be very generational. You may have to kindly tell grandma, that no, you’re not going to “spoil” your child; you’re simply helping them promote healthy connections and relationships. CARVE OUT SPECIAL TIME As a mom to a vibrant and hysterical twoyear old, I’ve been lucky to focus solely on her, as she’s our first (and currently only) child. No matter what your family makeup is, it is important to have special time, special routines, or special one-on-one time with each of your children to promote connection and growth. SHOW INTEREST Adolescents and teenagers can be a tough age group to really feel connected to as they develop and establish their independence. However, it is important to check in and establish an open rapport and conversation without fear of judgment. This will look different for everyone, but by showing interest in his or her life, friends, and his or her interests, that parent/child connection can still exist and thrive. ■

About The Author: Emily Washut is a licensed and registered Occupational Therapist practicing in the state of Wyoming. She is the co-founder and Director of Occupational Therapy for Trilogy Therapy, LLC, focused on promoting a mixed model of teletherapy and onsite practice to serve rural and underserved school districts. www.achcmi.org

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THE ALLIANCE OF COALITIONS FOR HEALTHY COMMUNITIES Keep Them Safe, Keep Them Healthy! Randy Root, Executive Director Huron Valley Community Coalition To be honest, I have been reluctant to schedule presentations by people who want to share their stories of recovery from addiction. Those who expressed interest have tended to want to frighten kids away from drugs and alcohol. Research shows that scare tactics usually don’t produce the desired outcomes. So I have just thanked them for their concern and politely declined. Keep Them Safe, Keep Them Healthy (KTSKTH) seemed to be something different though. First of all, I figured if the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities had put the program together, I knew it had been vetted for its prevention value. Secondly, The Alliance demonstrated KTSKTH, allowing me to invite school leaders to join me in deciding whether it was right for students at Huron Valley Schools (HVS). After hearing more about the program, we all felt the Alliance had something special to share. KTSKTH brings in young people in recovery to talk to our students. With Huron Valley, Angela led the program. I’ve heard Angela speak several times – she did seven presentations to our freshmen in our three high schools. She tells a story how even a person who seems least likely to use drugs and alcohol can end up coping with the disease of addiction. Its Angela’s story, therefore appropriate for her to tell, not me. While parts of Angela’s journey could certainly scare people, she avoids dwelling on that. Rather, she focuses on the turning points that eventually led to serious problems. Many of her choices along the way didn’t seem like a big deal in and of themselves. But she does a wonderful job connecting these decisions, explaining to teens how these little things can bring about big consequences. She promotes healthy decision making and empowers them to do so. She also talks about her relationships with family and friends and how they affected her. She doesn’t blame others for the problems she had. Instead, she makes sure kids understand the pitfalls of toxic relationships and the positive impact of healthy ones. Angela isn’t a stereotypical motivational speaker with lots of volume and arm waving. Her style is gentle and engaging. I think this approach gives a truer sense of who she is and reinforces the message that addiction isn’t just something that happens to “bad people.” A question and answer session follows the formal presentation. The kids were a little reluctant to ask questions at first. Once the speaker breaks the ice by telling them it’s OK to ask personal questions, lots of good conversation ensues. From there, the youth break out into focus groups for more in depth conversation. From the school side, the administrators are given a comprehensive evaluation and customized 'next steps' plan to promote increased prevention efforts and ways to continue to empower their youth and increase positive and healthy decision making. Judging by student attentiveness, questions and teacher feedback, I believe the message was understood and appreciated. I enthusiastically encourage other coalitions to work with their local schools to offer this outstanding free presentation to youth. In fact, upon the request of our superintendent of schools, we plan to expand it in Huron Valley. For more information on this free program to all Oakland County Middle and High Schools, please connect with Corey James, Prevention Program Manager at cjames@achcmi.org

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IMPACTS OF MARIJUANA

on the teenage brain By NICOLE HACKLEY, Prevention Technical Assistance Leader

ately, the topic of marijuana is being brought up in more and more conversations. Federal laws still classify it as a Schedule 1 Drug, meaning it is a substance or chemical with no currently accepted medical use, a high potential for abuse and the ability to create severe psychological and/or physical dependence. As 11 states with recreational marijuana laws have legalized its use for adults over 21, and medicinal marijuana can only be obtained by a medical professional in 33 other states, the perception of risk in using marijuana has decreased among youth-meaning they do not see using the drug as risky. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), youth ages 12-17 have reported a significant decrease in the perception of harm of weekly marijuana use from 40.6% in 2015 to 34.9% in 2018. Substance abuse prevention professionals work to increase perception of risk of drug use, with the goal of reducing usage rates. They do this because the effects of marijuana on the developing teen brain can have lifetime repercussions. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that one in six youth who try marijuana will become addicted. Affecting the

hippocampus part of the brain, it impairs attention, memory and concentration. When people begin using marijuana as teenagers, the drug may impair thinking, memory, and learning functions and affect how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions. At a time when mental health is at the forefront of problems being discussed in America, it is important to point out a clear relationship between youth marijuana use and the increase of major psychiatric episodes. Those who used cannabis more than ten times before age 18 were 2-3 times more likely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. This statistic alone is disturbing, but is compounded by the knowledge that the average concentration of THC, the active drug in marijuana, has more than tripled from about 4% in 1995 to 13.18% in 2017. Higher doses can lead to acute toxic psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions. Parents and caregivers want their kids to grow up and be the healthiest, best versions of themselves. Marijuana greatly restricts that, so it’s imperative parents talk to their kids about how dangerous this drug is, and that its effects can lead to a lifetime of problems. For additional information visit: samhsa.gov/marijuana. ■www.achcmi.org

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Text jjStart My Quit" to 855-891-9989 or call. Free, confidential help. Just for teens.

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Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities 895 N. Opdyke Road, Suite D Auburn Hills, MI 48326

Oakland County Prevention Coalitions

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Profile for Deanna Johnson

YC Mag, ACHC - January 2020  

YC Mag, ACHC - January 2020