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Opioids and Your Family

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A PARENT’S GREATEST GIFT: SELF MANAGEMENT » Is it Stress? Insights From Your Child’s Behavior and Emotions » Calming the Perfect Storm

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

» Navigating Self Time and Family Time


SM

The blue sky is the limit to what we can do together to make everyone happy and healthySM. So Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana is launching a statewide Big Blue Sky InitiativeSM to help fight opioid abuse, rising suicide rates and meth and heroin epidemics that can get in our way of living healthier, fuller lives. The Big Blue Sky InitiativeSM is ready to put resources in the hands of the communities we serve, so we all get through this together. By bringing health care providers, community groups and state government together to fight this fight, we can set a positive example for years to come. Because with everyone’s help, there’s hope.

Together the blue sky is the limit to what we can do to make everyone happy and healthySM.

Learn more at: bigblueskyinitiativemt.com A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


DECEMBER 2018

FEATURES

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A Parent’s Greatest Gift: Self Management

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Is it Stress? Insights From Your Child’s Behavior and Emotions

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Calming the Perfect Storm

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Opioids and Your Family

Navigating Self Time and Family Time

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

PARTNER AGENCY

PRODUCED IN CONJUNCTION WITH

TO ADVERTISE OR CONTRIBUTE Coleen Smith: (406) 324-1032 coleen@youthconnectionscoalition.org COVER PHOTO BY Floating Leaf Studios

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ON THE COVER

Our cover model is Vanessa Walsh. She is a senior student athlete at Helena High School. She plays volleyball, basketball and softball for the Bengals and has been a member of each program for all four years. She is also a member of several different clubs. Some of those include; Pure Performance, 3-7-77’s, HOSA, Link and other clubs as well. Looking into next year and the future, she is debating what she would like to pursue. She is looking to play college softball while deciding whether or not to be an elementary school teacher or have a medical degree, specifically in pediatrics. She would love to be able to impact and work with kids every day in her future.

ABOUT YOUTH CONNECTIONS

Youth Connections is a coalition of over 1100 community members representing parents, educators, churches, youthserving organizations, businesses, and more who want to make Helena a healthy and supportive place for kids and families. Youth Connections recognizes the need to reduce negative behaviors including substance use and violence while also working to increase positive opportunities and mental wellness for all our local kids. So how do we do that? We know there is no silver bullet to making communities great, and so we do LOTS of things that we know make communities better. We support agencies and businesses who offer youth activities because we know kids who are involved in positive activities aren’t involved in negative ones. We support student mentoring relationships because research shows it helps kids stay in school and be successful. We also know that when kids know better, they do better, so we support classroom education in the areas of bullying prevention and substance use prevention. Youth Connections also understands we must support the adults in kids’ lives and therefore we provide training, education, networks, and collaborative opportunities for parents and professionals to connect with others who care about kids. Youth Connections is well known for its quarterly publication, YC Magazine, a resource for parents and the entire community. These are just some of the projects we’re working on to serve our mission of engaging our community to create environments where youth thrive and succeed. For a comprehensive list of activities, services, and ways you can get involved, please visit our website at www.youthconnectionscoalition.org.

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Director FROM THE

e are very excited to present this issue of YC Magazine. The committee really focused on issues that parents deal with around the holidays. We know it can be a very stressful time for parents and kids. The feature article addressing selfmanagement starts a series of articles focusing on Social Emotional Learning. The state of Montana has invested a COLEEN lot of money on a project surveying SMITH parents to find out their thoughts on underage drinking and parenting issues to then develop a toolkit based on those needs. After the first of the year, there will be a statewide campaign rolling out with amazing resources to help our kids be safer and healthier. By giving resources to parents to be more successful, we can help kids be more successful. Stay tuned and check our website (youthconnectionscoalition.org) to see the new toolkit when it is rolled out. Exciting stuff!! We are thankful to the therapists at Intermountain for sharing ideas on how to identify stress in children and also giving us insight to what our tweens may be dealing with on a daily basis. “Calming the Perfect Storm” is aptly named! I know middle school was a stressful time for me, and it appears that things have not changed. We as parents sometimes forget that outward behaviors are a reflection of what’s going on inside. In our Confessions segment we have a follow up to September’s issue where a mom talked about her daughter ‘coming out’. This time we are hearing from the child’s perspective. It’s extremely well written, and we appreciate mom and daughter sharing their story with us. We hope it will help parents and children navigate what may feel like rough or murky waters. Lastly, with so much focus on the opioid crisis, we felt an article on opioids was a necessary topic. I had one parent ask what she should do when her child has to have oral surgery because addictions run in the family. Check it out to learn more. Thanks again to all our great advertisers who, without their support, this magazine would not be possible. CAN’T GET ENOUGH GREAT RESOURCES? FOLLOW US: Twitter: @Youthconx Facebook (for parents): Youth Connections Facebook (for kids): Find Your Spot Instagram: @Youthconx

COLEEN SMITH, YC DIRECTOR Phone: (406) 324-1032 coleen@youthconnectionscoalition.org


Have questions about your child’s development?

SCHEDULE APPOINTMENT Call Ray Bjork Learning Center

406.324.2900

The FREE Child Find Screening Clinic is for you!

S C RE E N I N G DAT E S

0–36 months by Family Outreach

Motor · Adaptive Behavior · Communication Social Emotional · Cognition · Autism Screening

34 months–5 years by Helena Preschool Staff

Motor · Hearing/Vision · Communication Cognition · Social Emotional · Self-Help

8 AM–NOON September 7 October 5 November 2 December 7 January 4 February 1 March 1 April 5

Screening takes approximately one hour. Results will be shared and follow-up recommendations made via mail.

January 25, 26, & 27 2019 at Sleeping Giant Lanes, Helena Bowl for Kids’ Sake Information: REGISTER: Sign up your team of 4 - 6 people at 406.442.7479 or bbbs-helena.org THEME: BIG 80’s Prom, “You either went, or want to go... BIG hair... BIG EVERYTHING Join us at Bowl for Kids’ Sake to celebrate all your fundraising and enjoy 2 games of bowling, pizza, and drinks! $100 fundraising minimum per person

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Join the Circle!

Connect facebook.com/PFLAGLewisAndClarkCounty Write LewisAndClarkPFLAG@gmail.com Meet 6pm, 3rd Tuesday of each month at the Lewis & Clark Library

Advocacy for policies to help LGBTQ+ people

Empowerment to proudly embrace one's identity

Join in January

and pay no joiner fee. Financial assistance is available.

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Education about LGBTQ+ issues

building a pro-LGBTQ+ community

When you join the Y, you’re committing to more than simply becoming healthier. You are supporting the values and programs that strengthen your community.

For more than a workout. For a better us.

youthconnectionscoalition.org

Support for LGBTQ+ people & allies

HELENA FAMILY YMCA Visit us at

helenaymca.org


CONFESSIONS FROM THE KITCHEN TABLE This is a child’s perspective of ‘coming out.’ P.S. I’m a lesbian.” I remember writing those words on a $2 card I’d bought from the craft store my mom worked at, sitting on my bed, begging my best friend to help me keep my courage. I knew my parents weren’t homophobic, but that didn’t make it any easier. Dozens of “what if ?” questions ran through my head for weeks before I finally came out. But finally, finally—I had found something that ‘fit.’ Something that felt genuine. Real. It took me years to figure out what fit. Now, after befriending countless other lesbians, I’ve learned that the long, grueling thought processes and identity shifts I went through weren’t uncommon at all for lesbians. Growing up, I always knew I liked girls, at least on a subconscious level. Boys never felt ‘right’, and in fifth grade, when all of the other girls in my class were talking about which boy they wanted to dance with at the graduation dance, I remember looking at a friend—and crush—of mine, and asking myself if it was really okay if I wanted to dance with girls instead of boys. At this point, I started trying to force myself to ‘like’ boys, too. I continued to try and force myself to at least like boys in addition to girls up for years, and it was infinitely frustrating. The idea that lesbians were

“closed minded” and “just misandrists and exclusionists!” was pumped into my brain as soon as I started trying to find my place, and even more upsetting, was the idea that the trauma that accompanied my childhood memories was the ‘reason’ I was a lesbian. I entertained both of these ideas until I simply couldn’t anymore. Throughout everything, I had people trying to “guide” me, but unfortunately, it took years for anyone around me to ever ask me if I had ever considered that maybe I was simply a lesbian. When I first started using the term ‘lesbian’ in reference to myself, it was hard. Knowing that ‘lesbian’ was thought of by many as a purely sexual term had to be one of the biggest roadblocks. But, after a few weeks of trying it out, I realized how right it felt. I was a lesbian, and that word doesn’t need to have any sexual connotation. It took a lot of crying in the shower, writing countless short stories featuring my personified insecurities, and the right people in my life to finally help me come to terms with and embrace the fact that I was a Lesbian, with a capital L—and that was okay. After coming out, it was—honestly—a bit of a rollercoaster. Everyone in my immediate family was okay with it, and did incredibly with the news. Obviously, there were a few frustrating questions and comments from those around me, and while

she didn’t want to talk about it, I knew it took my mom a while to really ‘come to terms’ with everything. If I could give a few words of advice to parents, they would be…don’t try and force your child to come out. Don’t joke around about things regarding their orientation unless you know they’re okay with it. Don’t take it too seriously or make it the only point of conversation, but don’t push it aside and ignore it. Don’t out them to people they haven’t given you permission to, especially other family members. Don’t act like it doesn’t exist. Don’t say things like ‘but you’re so young, your feelings will probably change as you age,’ or ‘I don’t care if you’re gay!’ Lastly, I’m going to repeat the first tip I mentioned—do not attempt to force your child to come out. Most of the time, all of the things I touched on are done with the purest, and kindest of intentions, but they can seriously damage your relationship with your child. If you’re guilty of any of the aforementioned, don’t feel bad, so long as you’re able to acknowledge that it wasn’t the greatest idea, and grow past it. Don’t focus on your past mistakes, focus on what you can do now and in the future to support your child. Work on getting past any misconceptions you have, and simply…love, and listen to your child. Really, that’s all. ■

YOU CAN SUBMIT YOUR STORY AT: coleen@youthconnectionscoalition.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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a parent’s greatest

SELF MANAG

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gift:

GEMENT By JENNIFER MILLER, M.ED.

“My teacher wants you to sign my test,” my son said as he placed a paper quickly on the table nowhere near where I was sitting and walked out of the room. My curiosity rose. Clearly, he was not eager to show it to me. Glancing at the content, it was immediately recognizable - the science test for which he had genuinely studied. But it appeared as is if he hadn’t cracked his book. How was this possible? asked what happened. And I began to understand when he said, “Mom, it was ‘bring-your-pet-to-school’ day.” My son is allergic to all animals furry. It’s an intense allergy that often ushers in a two-week sickness with wheezing and misery. Yet, and perhaps not surprisingly, there’s nothing my son loves more than animals. So on “bring-your-pet-to-school” day, it’s a painful reminder of his heartache over not having a dog or a cat. He came home that day and ran straight to his room - upset. So, it’s no wonder that a test he was well prepared to take resulted in a failed grade. He couldn’t focus. The acute sadness about his unique position among his classmates - that he remained petless - took over his ability to think. The ability to manage our most intense emotions can challenge even the most studious child making it impossible to focus. Children are faced with this issue not only in the midst of an important test but even on the playground when they are stopped in their tracks unable to respond after a classmate taunts them with cruel words like “No one likes you!” Or, at home, our child may melt down, shut her door, and refuse to come out when we need her to attend a family-obligated event. This inability to focus on a test, to respond to a bully on the playground, or to constructively communicate about an undesirable event is evidence of what is happening in a child’s brain - indeed anyone’s brain - when they are highly emotional. continued on page 9

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STONETREE CLIMBING CENTER

Unique Montana Gifts

Holiday Mini-Camp 12/26– 12/28

Adorable baby items

Unique jewelry

Wooden bowls/trays

Maranda Lee bags

Montana location signs

Parent’s Night Out 12/29 Winter Climbing Team 1/8-2/28

All items hand-crafted by Montana artists

Intro to Climbing (ages 4 and up) Birthday Parties Monday After School Drop off

38 S. Last Chance Gulch

465-2651

www.stonetreeclimbing.com

1222 Bozeman Ave.

You will save money. Students pursuing a general transfer degree taking the maximum number of credits pay only $1,694 per semester for tuition and fees. (Based on current tuition rates.) Higher education shouldn’t mean a lifetime of debt. Your student will be prepared to transfer and complete their degree. The average first-semester GPA for students that transferred from Helena College to 4-year colleges and universities across the Montana University System in the fall of 2017 was 3.12. Your student doesn’t have to wait until after graduating from high school to get started. Helena College allows high school students to take up to 11 Dual Credit and/or College Credit Only credits per semester. Call us. We want to help your student succeed.

406-447-6904 • helenacollege.edu

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406-534-0325


continued from page 7

Daniel Goleman, author of the bestseller Emotional Intelligence, called it “emotional hijacking.” The primal - or survival center of your brain called the amygdala - takes over thinking in those heated moments. If a tiger were hunting your daughter in the woods, it would serve to protect her as she focused only on fighting, fleeing, or freezing. But there are times when that fight, flight, or freeze focus does not help. Because in that moment, your child does not have access to the language, logic, and creativity that reside in the higher regions of the brain that might help her think of a clever response or solution. So too if a parent is yelling at or punishing a child and the child is upset, frightened, or awash with shame, they are unable to think about any lessons you might want to teach. Instead, their focus is on fight, flight, or freeze. So then, what restores higher level thinking skills when upset? Your child’s deep, slowed breath is like the whistle blowing at recess time. There was a chaotic mess of running, playing children (read: your internal upset mess) and when that whistle sounds, all children quietly move toward lining up. Deep breathing is that signaling function for your body. The message it sends is “All clear. Return to normal functioning.” Considering the fact that this mental hijacking occurs, how can you prepare your child to respond so that s/he doesn’t get harmed or harm others in those toughest moments? The answer lies in cultivating the skill of self-management. And selfmanagement can engage a host of other important social and emotional skills like impulse control, feelings identification, empathy for others, and responsible decision making. If we work with our children on multiple ways to calm down in a variety of settings, then they can respond to problems safely and constructively. In doing so, they can also more quickly return to learning, return to play, or return to cooperating with family plans while feeling more competent in the process. Check out the following ideas for how parents can best promote the invaluable skill of self-management at various ages and stages. 3 TO 5-YEAR-OLDS Teach the language of feelings. Remember when it was popular for parents and teachers to say to an upset child, “Use your words”? But what words? Children ages 3-5 have not learned the words to express

the whole body takeover that happens when they are angry or frustrated. So when you see your child is emotional, offer her language. “Seems like you’re feeling disappointed. Is that right?” The simple act of attempting to understand her feelings can release some of her built-up tension. As she becomes more adept at seeking understanding from those around her, she’ll grow in her ability to manage her upset effectively. 5 TO 7-YEAR-OLDS Promote self-discipline. Children, ages 5-7, are learning the rules of family and school life, and that learning sometimes involves testing or even breaking the rules to understand where the real boundaries lie. Parents can easily be baited into power struggles when they seek their child’s cooperation and he refuses. Using your own self-management skills are key. As you model, you’ll enjoy the multiplier effect improving your skills and your child’s. The person who is the most emotionally attached to a particular outcome has the least power. So first, if you are frustrated by your child who has just refused to get his shoes on, stop, breathe, and calm down first. Consider that any nagging you engage in could make you later and less successful. When calm, offer a limited but authentic choice. This gives your child a sense of control in a situation where he is attempting to gain power inappropriately. “Would you like to wear your red sneakers or your blue sandals? Either are fine.” Then, move on with your preparations with the expectation that he will do it. 8 TO 10-YEAR-OLDS Practice upstander skills. In a recent survey of U.S. kids by Highlights for Children, they found most children want to take action when they see an injustice, but they need to know what to say and do when a classmate says mean words and uses harmful actions against them or another. Give your child some practice in what to say. For example, when a girl on the playground says, “We don’t want you in our game” your child could be dumbstruck as her amygdala freezes her ability to respond. But if you practice (role playing with family members) some ways to assert herself without harming others like: “I want to play with classmates who want me to join their game,” she’ll be ready to self-manage with competence.

11 TO 14-YEAR-OLDS Brainstorm healthy ways to handle stress. It seems the pressure is on in every aspect of the tween and teens’ life as they tackle rigorous academics, participate in extracurricular activities, attempt to fit in, and find and keep friends. In addition to the many social and academic expectations, they are also in the midst of all of the awkwardness that comes with puberty. Helping your tween or teen develop coping strategies to manage pressure will serve him through high school, college, and beyond. So, brainstorm together. “When you are feeling stress, what can you do?” Make a long list of options and post it somewhere you can refer to later. “Can you take a brain break and walk outside away from your frustrating homework? Can you smell the fresh air and spend a little time outdoors?” These may seem like simple ideas to you, but your teen needs options for calming down when the pressure is mounting. Instead of building up and leading to a volcanic explosion, your tween can manage his stress along the way. This also begins a trusting dialogue in which you acknowledge stress is normal and expected so that when your teen is feeling the pressure, he may confide in you. Self-management just may be one of the greatest tests of our family life. How do we not harm the ones we love when we feel angry, anxious, or hurt? In a recent large survey of parents in the state of Montana, for example, many said they struggled with losing their temper and saying something to their child they later regretted. Those situations need not occur if parents have thought through what they’ll do in those “lose it” moments. How can we calm down to regain our brain’s full capacity? What will we say like ‘Mom needs a minute’? Where will we go? Will we walk outside and breathe in the fresh air? Let your family know your plan for dealing with upset in advance so that when you take a moment, they know that you are self-managing. This is what it means to parent with social and emotional learning. Imagine if you used self-management skills throughout your child’s developing years. When your child faced her toughest life moment and you weren’t there to save her, she’d have internalized the skill of self-management to regain focus, to respond constructively, and to bring her best. There may not be any greater gift a parent could give a child. ■

About The Author: Jennifer 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. Among other roles, she serves as lead writer for Parenting Montana: Tools for Your Child’s Success, a statewide media campaign to educate parents on social and emotional learning

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Check out who’s standing out in our community. IS THERE SOMEONE YOU’D LIKE TO NOMINATE? Please email coleen@youthconnectionscoalition.org and tell us why this individual has stood out in your crowd.

Derek Satre

FACES IN THE CROWD

WARREN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 3RD GRADE

Odds are if you have ever been to a Symphony Kids performance, you have seen Derek. He started attending them when the program began and now acts in as many as he can. He enjoys science, recess, and gym at school. On the weekends, he likes riding his dirt bike, fishing, and spending time with his family, especially his little brother. He wants to operate heavy equipment when he grows up. If you were to ask anyone about Derek, they would tell you how polite and kind he is. He is always the first to volunteer to lend a hand.

Sam

CLANCY SCHOOL, 8TH GRADE

Sam spent his summer as a Junior Counselor helping the elementary students who attend YMCA’s Day Camp. He was always helping and being a good role model for the younger kids. He was eager to help make the day go better and did anything he was asked. Sam is enthusiastic and always has a smile on his face. YMCA staff state he loves to help others and is very involved with the kids. Sam loves to read and enjoys playing video games and swimming. He is also learning to blacksmith. He is very responsible in his duties and those who work with him state he’s quite funny. Thanks, Sam, for your commitment to being a good role model.

Isabelle Melton

CAPITAL HIGH SCHOOL, 12TH GRADE

Isabelle maintains a 4.0 GPA and is a starting defender on the CHS Varsity soccer team. She also plays for the Arsenal Premier U18 team, is in her 27th season of soccer, and coaches a team of four-year old soccer players. Isabelle is a student at Grandstreet Theatre and studies vocal performance. Isabelle created the Soccer Soles program, on behalf of HYSA, after volunteering at a soccer camp and realizing there were children without proper gear which limited their enjoyment of the game. She is solely responsible for obtaining/distributing donations, marketing, and public relations for Soccer Soles; she has collected over 325 pairs of cleats for needy children in our community and donated over 250 hours of community service.

Teri Lillivedt

FAMILY OUTREACH

Congratulations, Teri, for celebrating 20 years of dedicated service to Family Outreach. Over the years, Teri has received multiple certifications and has been a prominent figure in determining how early intervention services are provided. Teri started as a Direct Service Provider during college then launched her career as a Family Support Specialist, spending countless hours supporting families of infants, toddlers, or children with developmental disabilities. She now leads the Helena Children’s Services office. Her coworkers describe her as kind, generous, supportive, passionate, understanding, and as having an infectious laugh. Her open door, humility, and guidance inspires her team to do more, empowers them to never give up, and ensures everyone is successful. Thanks Teri, for your dedication to Helena families!

Intermountain

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Intermountain is a visionary non-profit agency that has been impacting the lives of children and families for more than 100 years. Across Montana, Intermountain helps more than 2,300 kids, teens, and their families every year struggling with emotional or mental health issues, or with substance use. When families need help with the complex emotional challenges children and teens sometimes face, Intermountain offers innovative treatment developed from years of experience. Their caring professionals rely on relationship-based approach and client-centered treatment solutions to meet the individual needs of each child and family and help them heal. Their goal is to help every child and family they serve thrive and grow. Thank you, Intermountain, for caring for our families!

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Are you between 16 and 24 and need help finishing school, going to college or getting a job? The year-round youth program provides academic support, life skills and work readiness training, paid work experience, and career & college preparation activities. YouthBuild (YB) Helena is currently recruiting 16-24 year old youth who lack a diploma or high school equivalency certificate for the Jan—Sept 2019 program. YB provides carpentry pre-apprenticeship training, HiSet preparation, career and work readiness activities, and leadership opportunities. To qualify, individuals must meet eligibility requirements. CTI serves Broadwater, Jefferson and Lewis & Clark counties. Call 443-0800 for more information.

40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

Career Training Institute Youth Programs 347 North Last Chance Gulch Helena, MT

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!

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

1 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.

YMCA’s Family Engagement night at Bryant

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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BOUNDARIES & EXPECTATIONS Our Redeemer’s youth helping at Food Share

Mayor Collins with students at walk-to-school day

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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

CR Anderson orchestra students after watching an opera

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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 coleen@youthconnectionscoalition.org with a picture and the number of the asset the picture represents.

Not all pictures are guaranteed publication.

21 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.

Sharing future goals with Superintendent Ream

POSITIVE VALUES

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.

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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. HHS students preparing FAFSA to attend MSU

Pure Performance athletes learning teambuilding skills

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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.

Campers attending Intermountain’s Occupational Therapy camp

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IS IT STRESS?

insights from your child’s behavior and emotions By STEFFANI TURNER, LCSW

ast night, my normally laid back 11-year-old started sassing me at bed time. He subtly began to make fun of me and started to challenge some of the directions that I gave him to start getting ready for bed. As many parents would do, I gave him the warning that he was getting out of line – to which he swore he wasn’t. Is this sounding familiar yet? And then after I tucked him in bed, I started thinking, this isn’t how he usually behaves, especially around bed time… hmmmm? So, I went back in and asked what was going on and asked him about a few things that might be happening in the next few days. It was then, after some prompting and being curious that he was able to tell me how he “might, maybe be a LITTLE worried” about his upcoming first airplane trip. This is one of the million little ways our children let us know that they are stressed. They don’t usually just come out and say it. It would be great if they did. But often our children, especially our young children do not recognize that what they are feeling is “stress.” It is only by adults recognizing the signs and supporting our children that they learn to identify the feeling in their own bodies. So, how do we know our child is stressed? For infants and young toddlers, the cues can be very simple, they can be whimpering, crying or behaving restlessly. It could also be subtler than that, perhaps they appear frozen, or “spaced out.” They could be experiencing an uncomfortable sensation in their body, they could be hungry or need a diaper change and possibly they just feel disconnected and need some snuggles from their parents. As our children get older, their cues continue to adapt and change with their

needs. They also learn through all the little interactions they have with their caregivers. If a child cries and their mom is attentive and gives them comfort, they learn that crying is an acceptable cue to

We can’t make the test go away or make sure their best friend doesn’t stay mad at them, but we can understand, be with, validate and support them. We can’t fix it all, but by being there helping them handle the feeling, we are teaching them that this feeling doesn’t feel great, but it’s not the end of the world.

get their need met. But if the crying is met with yelling, they may learn that crying is not a good idea. Children can be open and out there with their cues of stress, they may be irritable, grumpy, angry, picking on others, weepy, or very busy. Or they could

be subtler, isolating themselves, becoming very quiet, perhaps being overly concerned about something. Whatever it is, a change in your child’s behavior is their attempt at trying to tell you something. And it’s probably not what they are saying with their words! So, what does a child need when they are stressed? They need us to “be there” with them and for them, according to Circle of Security cofounder Kent Hoffman. They first need us to help them recognize what their feeling is. What are they stressing about? Be curious about how they are behaving and what they are thinking. I’m sure that before I asked my son what was going on, he didn’t recognize that he was stressing out about something; it can sneak up on us all. Once we help them recognize what the feeling is, then we can decide if an action can be taken or not. In the case of my son, I was able to educate him some about my experiences on an airplane. But I did NOT try to talk him out of his feelings of worry. Instead, I told him that I would be there with him and we would go through it together. Sometimes there is nothing we can do about whatever they are stressing about. We can’t make the test go away or make sure their best friend doesn’t stay mad at them, but we can understand, be with, validate and support them. We can’t fix it all, but by being there helping them handle the feeling, we are teaching them that this feeling doesn’t feel great, but it’s not the end of the world. So currently I’m wrapping up this short article while sitting on the plane with my son. Sure, he was a “LITTLE” worried, for all of a second, but now he’s excited, staring out the window taking pictures. He learned to deal with his worry over flying, helped by a caring adult and he’s off and away! ■

Steffani Turner, LCSW, is the Community Services Director at Intermountain in Helena. She has a Bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Social Work. She is the mother of two.

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calming the

PERFECT STORM By TRACIE DAHL, LCPC

ool clothes. Good grades. Lots of friends. The pressures of being an adolescent have always been great. However, there seem to be an increasing number of demands, stressors, and fears being experienced by youth today which are affecting their ability to socialize, attend school, and prepare for the future. It’s often difficult to clearly define all of the reasons for the rising anxiety and because of this, it can be just as challenging to generate solutions. Parents can easily describe many pressures from their own “tween” and teen years which bring back awkward memories and cringe-worthy recollections. However, the world has changed exponentially in the last several decades and continues to undergo rapid changes at an erratic and unpredictable pace. Societal change aside, understanding the stage of development that adolescents are going though between the ages of 10 and 15 is a significant part of understanding the anxiety that is created during this time frame. The physiological changes alone are progressing at a rate so great that the body is undergoing more developmental change than at any other time except from birth to two years old. Bones are growing faster than muscles. Fluctuations in basal metabolism occur. Puberty begins. Youth start to develop the capacity for abstract thought processes as the prefrontal cortex continues to develop. To make sense of the world around them, young adolescents, as learners, build upon their individual experiences and prior knowledge (Piaget, 1960). In order to understand how adolescents today are experiencing their world, constructing meaning out of it, and how this is affecting them, we must first recognize and

acknowledge the experiences that the world is giving to our adolescents, which serves up a perfect storm of exhaustion, confusion, and internalizing or externalizing behaviors. The world today is filled with what can only be perceived by teens as unsafe events. War, bullying, gun violence, natural disasters, and the constant stream of reporting of these events via every available media source from television to internet streams; there is a never ending, shock provoking flood of horrifying news. The time that children and adolescents spend absorbing this news via the media is also increasing and the method of absorption is rapid and relentless. There is no way to describe our youth’s use of social media other than “it’s complicated.” There are no empirical research studies to say with certainty, one way or another, whether the role that technology is playing in our children’s lives is good or bad. Teens themselves will attest that social media forges friendships, creates a sense of belonging, and provides support. However, they will also admit that it can create anxiety and contribute to depression and sleep deprivation. All of the above being considered, the task of fostering resiliency in the face of so much adversity may seem daunting. Adults must help adolescents learn how to navigate the perils, reduce anxiety, and build the strength and tools they will need when their instinct is to protect and shelter them as the adult response to the very real threats in the world today may also be an increase in fear and anxiety. Start by using supportive problem solving; giving adolescents the opportunity to learn to think for themselves instead of making decisions for them, which takes away their power. Any setbacks or mistakes become learning experiences,

while successes allow children the ability to feel truly capable of handling difficult situations. As a result, both their resilience and confidence will grow. Oftentimes, I have coached parents in my practice to ask their kids when they present a problematic situation to them to respond with the question, “Do you want me to help you with this or do you just need to vent?” Kids really just need someone they trust to talk through a situation and are searching for a way to find the answer for themselves. By just facilitating this process, adults can build very key components of responsibility and resiliency. Be a model of responsibility and allow children opportunities to help others. A child’s intrinsic need to help triggers anxiety in the face of tragic news while feeling helpless creates a sense of hopelessness about the state of the world we live in. Having the ability to actually help others reinforces both responsibility and a sense of empathy while giving kids a sense of ownership and investment in their own destiny, an appreciation of how their actions affect and impact others, and a genuine feeling of positivity and success. Finally, approach life with a healthy dose of optimism, hope, and courage. We must remember that what is reported on the news and coming across our social media platforms is largely (some research studies estimate up to 90%) negative and this translates into negative thought patterns, so it is apparent why anxiety, fear, and depression are triggered. As adults we can choose to be optimistic about situations, people, and the future and we can choose hope while instilling courage in adolescents. The solution lies in changing our mindset, shifting our view, and promoting strengths instead of weaknesses. ■

Tracie Dahl is the Day Treatment Director for Intermountain in Helena. Previously, Tracie worked primarily with middle school-aged students and families as a School Based Outpatient Therapist and has worked with all age levels in school-based counseling since 2010. Tracie is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and holds a M.Ed.

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NUMBERS Why should I talk to my kids about drugs/alcohol and what do I say? Whether your child smokes, drinks, or uses drugs is more likely to be determined by what they learn from home than anything they learn at school. The key is to know the facts and stick to them. For example, if a teen states, “Marijuana is all-natural,” you can reply, “So is arsenic.” If they say, “Everyone is doing it,” you can state that according to the most recent survey of teens, the majority are not choosing to drink and do drugs. We know that the earlier and more often an adolescent smokes, drinks, or uses drugs, the more likely they are to become addicted. Every day they don’t use reduces the chances they’ll develop mental or physical illnesses or suffer from a substance-related accident. Think of it as a war where you’re batting the forces of evil to keep your kids safe— because that’s what you’re doing. Explain to your child that experimenting with drugs at an early age can change his/her brain permanently, even if he/ she just experiments once or twice. With drugs, there is no way of knowing what has been added to the substance. The threat of damage to the brain from heavy drinking can be one of the best arguments you can make to your teen for saying no. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, teens who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to become alcohol dependent than those who wait until 21. Daily marijuana use in high school is associated with a six-fold increase in depression and anxiety later in life. Probably not the life we envision for our kids. Try this effective script: “I expect you not to drink or do drugs until you’re 21 (if at all). It’s dangerous, illegal, and unhealthy for kids your age to be at parties where drugs/ alcohol are provided. The possible consequences of drunk driving, aggressive sexual advances, and alcohol poisoning are things I don’t want you to experience. It’s not that I don’t trust you, it’s that I know how easily things can get out of hand where kids are using drugs or alcohol. I’m concerned with your health and safety.” Talk early. Talk often. Stick to the facts. It’s hard to argue with science. Here are some resources: www.drugabuse.gov www.drugfree.org

www.theparenttoolkit.org www.talkingwithkids.org www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov

HAVE A QUESTION?

coleen@youthconnectionscoalition.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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2

The number of escalators in all of Wyoming.

200

The number of muscles used to take a step.

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

167.04

The highest speed recorded on a bicycle (mph).

46,001

The world record for most push ups in a day.

68

Percentage of people that experience “phantomvibration syndrome” (feeling their phone is buzzing when it’s not)


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navigating

SELF TIME AND FAMILY TIME By TINA EBLEN, Super Mom

think most of us are looking for balance in life. Especially as a parent, I am constantly looking at how to balance several aspects of my life – parenting, working, social life, spiritual life, working out and sleeping. At one point in my life, I had hoped that maybe someone would add more time to each day so I could accomplish more, but then I would have to prioritize more. We only have 24 hours in a day and the experts tell us that we should be getting between seven and eight hours of sleep a night, so that leaves me with only 16 hours to get everything that needs to be done, done. I am also a working mom, I usually work from 8:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. and I work through lunch, so work accounts for another eight hours. The remaining eight hours are split up between getting ready for work in the morning, running kids to after school activities, cooking dinner and eating, cleaning up the house, making sure homework is done, working out and getting things ready for the next day. How could I possibly fit in one more thing? I had to get smarter with my time and become more organized. I had to figure out how to balance my life with everything that was going on in my family. So, this was my journey on learning how to create that balance in my life. Two and a half years ago I experienced a medical emergency which put me on bed rest for four days. This medical emergency opened my eyes to my poor physical health. I decided to set a goal and incorporate physical activity, specifically biking. I signed up for a biking competition and asked people to sponsor me which forced me to complete my goal. How could I add a new hobby, a new activity, or a new relationship when I have a family to care for? Communication Communication was the first step in this process. I found that adding a new activity to my life would impact my whole family. I

How could I possibly fit in one more thing? I had to get smarter with my time and become more organized. I had to figure out how to balance my life with everything that was going on in my family.

sat my kids down and explained the plan to incorporate this new activity of biking into my daily routine. I explained that I would need their support and encouragement to make this activity stick. I also stressed that I needed to make a change in my physical health. This helped them understand that mom needed to be healthier in order to keep taking good care of them. Timing Determining when was the second step. I had to look at my schedule and decide when would be the best time to add this activity. I found that I needed to add my new activity in the morning. For my family and me, the morning was the easiest time to add something new. Now it was quite an adjustment to start biking at 5:30 in the morning but I found that way I could get in what I needed before the kids woke up. This ultimately allowed me more time to spend with my children.

Scheduling The third step was looking at and rearranging our weekly schedule. I started looking at our schedule. What could I do smarter and free up more time in the evening so I would be able to get to bed sooner? I started writing down the week’s schedule on Sunday so everyone in the family could see what was happening over the next week. Re-organizing Preparing/organizing for the week ahead was the last step. I started making a dinner menu and really looking at it strategically. For example, I would make a crockpot meal on Monday and then save the leftovers for another night. Having dinners lined up for the week allowed me to add at least 30 minutes- to one hour to my life. Circling back, communication was the key to making this work. Again, involving my family in this change was the most important piece to implementing this new activity. I found that having the support of my family and loved ones, made the implementation of the new activity easier. The family would discuss how things were going over the week and I allowed my children to give feedback as well. The first couple of weeks I made some time to get used to this new activity. I think of all the activities that one could use these steps for to add a new activity: sport/working out, craft club, book club, going back to school/taking a class and even a new relationship. All of these things can impact the balance of life and family. Now, life is unexpected and sometimes unpredictable. It’s important to be patient and give ourselves and our families some grace. There are times when life throws curve balls; however, I have found that if I get back on schedule and begin organizing again, then it falls back into place. ■

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opioids

AND YOUR FAMILY By SHELBY KOPPANY, PHARM.D. Candidate, 2020

rug overdose deaths are widespread in the United States. It is crucial to recognize the dangers that can be associated with the misuse of opioids. The term “opiate” refers natural or synthetic compounds derived from the opium poppy. Common prescription opioids include hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, morphine, and fentanyl. In the body, these substances bind to opioid receptors and work to reduce pain. While these medications can be effective and beneficial when used correctly, misuse can have devastating outcomes. Along with pain relief, euphoria is commonly associated with opioids. Euphoria is an intense feeling often considered “the high.” Other effects of opioids include: sedation, mental clouding, constipation, and respiratory depression. Decreased breathing (respiratory depression) is a major concern and is often the cause of death following an overdose. Signs of opioid overdose: abnormally small pupil size, loss of consciousness that does not return upon stimulation, and slowed breathing. If these symptoms are observed, it is important to contact help immediately. The use of alcohol with opioids can further increase the risk of overdose. There are times when a child may be prescribed opioids to treat pain from an injury or surgery. These medications are safe and

effective when used as prescribed. It is always important to ask your child’s provider and pharmacist about medication dose, frequency, side effects, and length of treatment. Always mention any other medications your child is taking, including prescription, nonprescription, and herbal products. It is also important to discuss any family history of substance use disorder. There are important steps you can take to avoid misuse and diversion. Store opioids in a secure location where access is limited to adults that will be dosing the medication. Start with the lowest recommended dose and monitor your child carefully. Non-prescription pain relief products, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can often be used in conjunction with opioids to minimize opioid exposure. Dispose of remaining medication immediately when it is no longer needed. Most cities have drug take-back locations at local police stations or local pharmacies and many communities hold drug take back events twice a year. Visit DEATakeBack.com to find locations, dates, and times. Although prescription drug abuse is a widespread issue, there are measures that can be taken to deter this issue from affecting your household. Never hesitate to ask your trusted healthcare professional when questions arise regarding opioid use and safety. ■

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Keep Your Holiday Cheer

D E S I G N . D I F F E R E N T.

HELENA + BOZEMAN

architects-sma .com

406.442.4933

Photos by Longviews Studios, Inc. & Lara Swimmer Photography

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All Year! • Be Active • Eat Smart • Be Sun Wise • Be Tobacco Free www.LewisAndClarkHealth.org Be Active • Eat Smart • Get Screened • Be Sunwise • Be Tobacco Free


S n g i S g warnin at e b y a m o h w e of someon

e D I C I U S f O rISK

> > > > > > >

abrupt cha

nality nge in perso

y prized Giving awa s possession ide attempts Previous suic se or alcohol u g u r d in e s Increa er rbance, eith eating distu or loss weight gain her too rbance, eit tu is d p e le S o little much or to on rate frustrati le to to y it il Inab

> > > > > > > > > >

Withd rawal and re bellio Isolati usnes ng and s choosi time a ng to s lone pend Declin e in pe rsonal Flat af hygien fect or e depre ssed m Unusu ood al (varie ly long grie s with f differe reaction nt you Overa ll s th) hopele ense of sad ness a ssness nd Increa se in h ostilit y Decre ase in ac perfor mance ademic Diffic ulty co ncentr ating Recen t famil y disrup or rela tion tional

what you can do tO save a lIFe

> If you see the signs, ask the person, “are you suicidal?” > Offer hope, don’t leave them alone, and tell others the person to the nearest eR, call the police, take them to > take a health care professional or > Call the Montana Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

www.prc.mt.gov/suicideprevention


Youth Connections 1025 N Rodney Helena, MT 59601

Profile for Deanna Johnson

YC Magazine - Helena, December 2018  

YC Magazine - Helena, December 2018