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Summer and Substances

June 2019

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DECISIONS, DECISIONS...

How Can We Prepare Our Children to Make Responsible Choices? » Parenting with Dual Families » Talking to Your Child About Drugs and Alcohol

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DRIVE

HIGH GET A DUI Driving under the influence of marijuana will get you a DUI, even if you have a green card. BE SMART. DRIVE RESPONSIBLY.

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While the use of medical marijuana is legal in Montana, driving under the influence is not.


JUNE 2019

FEATURES

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Decisions, Decisions...How Can We Prepare Our Children to Make Responsible Choices?

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Parenting with Dual Families

Talking to Your Child About Drugs and Alcohol

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Five Technology Rules Every Parent Must Follow

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Summer and Substances

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 Wandering Albatross Photography youthconnectionscoalition.org

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ON THE COVER

Director FROM THE

Seth is a senior at Capital High. He has always had wonderful sense of the world and people around him. He loves to make people laugh and is a friend to everyone. He has a passion for learning about history and government and when he can’t sleep, can be found reading the U.S. Constitution or Flag Code. Seth is constantly challenging himself and in his senior year, set a goal to reach a 4.0 each semester – a goal he has met through hard work and dedication. Trying to keep up with his schedule between 2 AP classes, Drama Club President, acting and stage work in all school productions can be quite the challenge. Somehow he makes it look easy.

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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s I write this (in the middle of April), it is snowing. It has been a long, hard winter. It makes the wonderful summers here in Montana that much sweeter. With that warmer weather and another school year in the rear view mirror, it’s important that we as parents and community members understand and be prepared for the potential down side. We know substance use increases COLEEN in the summer months. Kids are bored, SMITH have more unsupervised free time, and have easier access to alcohol and prescription drugs in homes where parents work all day. Our Summer and Substances article shares ways to help make this summer safe and healthy. We continue our series in Social Emotional Learning by focusing on good decision making. This is a skill that can help our kids all through their lives, and most especially during the summer when they won’t have as many adults around to help guide those decisions. In the end, it makes our jobs as parents that much easier, and who doesn’t love that?! We are fortunate to be able to reprint another article from Dr. Tim Elmore. This one gives us a perspective from a child, which we may not stop and think about with our social media posting. Certainly none of us would purposely embarrass or humiliate our children, but we forget that posting pictures of them that they may not think are funny or becoming is actually hurting them. It was an eye-opening article for me. We are starting a series for our Confessions of the Kitchen Table. We are so grateful to have a family who is willing to share their story in the hopes of helping others. It’s so scary to have a child who struggles to be mentally well and we don’t know what to do to help them. Next issue will focus on interventions. After that we’ll hear from the child who went through the struggles. We hope there are topics in this issue that can help everyone have a safe and healthy summer! After all, it will be snowing again before we know it (argh). 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


JULY 11-13

JULY 11-13

JULY 11-13

CARROLL COLLEGE COLLEGE - NELSON STADIUM CARROLL - NELSON STADIUM CARROLL COLLEGE - NELSON STADIUM

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12 Game Anniversary Celebration Women’s Kids’ Clinic July July 11720pm20 July 13 July 12 1 pm Kickoff 9 - 11 am Anniversary Celebration Women’s Game Kids’ Clinic th

th

All Soccer ClassicCelebration Alumni welcome! 20th Anniversary Kids’ Men’s 7 pm 9 -Clinic 11 amGame 3 pm Kickoff All Soccer Classic Alumni welcome! 9 - 11 am 7 pm

Women’s Game 1 pm Kickoff 1 Men’s pm Kickoff Game

Shodair Children’s Hospital brings Montana’s best 3 pm Kickoff All Soccer Classic Alumni welcome! Men’s Game women and men high school players to Helena to play in the 20th Annual Shodair Soccer Classic.

pm Kickoff Shodair Children’s Hospital brings 3 Montana’s best ARTWORK women and men high school players to Helena to They will spend time at Shodair bringing some fun Shodair Children’s Hospital brings Montana’s best play in the 20th Annual Shodair to patients and also help the Helena Youth Soccer Soccer Classic.

Rule No 4

treat yourself

a Kids’school Clinic hosted players by Shodair. women andAssociation men run high to Helena to ARTWORK The Kids’ Clinic is free and openShodair to children play in the 20th Annual Soccer Classic. They will spend time at Shodair bringing some fun between the ages of 5 and 12 to come and learn to patients and also help the about soccer from the players.

Helena Youth Soccer

Association run a Kids’ Clinic hosted by Shodair. ARTWORK

To register for the Kids’ Clinic or They will timeClassic at Shodair bringing some to learn more about thespend Shodair Soccer The Kids’ Clinic is free and open to children visit shodair.org or call 406.444.7560.

fun to patients and also help the Helena Youth Soccer between the ages of 5 and 12 to come and learn Association run a Kids’ Clinic hosted by Shodair. about soccer from the players.

ToThe register forClinic the Kids’ Clinicand or open to children Kids’ is free to learn more about the Shodair Soccer Classic between the ages of 5 and 12 to come and learn visit shodair.org or call 406.444.7560.

about soccer from the players.

To register for the Kids’ Clinic or to learn more about the Shodair Soccer Classic visit shodair.org or call 406.444.7560.

To heal, help, and inspire hope.

est. 1984

To heal, help, and inspire hope.

To heal, help, and inspire hope.

Summer Camps 2019 Spend the summer as a scientist at Montana’s premier science camp for kids, and explore the world around you! Find camp descriptions and registration at montanalearning.org youthconnectionscoalition.org

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CONFESSIONS FROM THE KITCHEN TABLE Editor’s note: With more and more youth struggling to be mentally well, we wanted to share the story of a family who has lived it, and they too, hope their story can help others. We want to thank the family for sharing their journey.

for red flags is not black and white, but looking at the entire picture over time, to developing patterns is essential to early intervention. The following red flags, when combined, are beneficial for knowing when outside intervention is needed:

hen I used to lay my middle daughter down in her crib to sleep, joy would course through my heart at her remarkable being. She was another picture of a healthy, happy child, and I delighted in her very being. As a parent, I worked so diligently, so purposefully to provide her with everything she needed to grow up healthy, happy, and resilient. Never in my wildest imagination would I have believed that at the age of 14 she would struggle for her life, and that I would be navigating counselors, emergency rooms, psychiatric hospitals, and residential boarding schools. In a society where parents are easily blamed, I would also come to terms with the fact that I was not to blame for this struggle. In honesty, there was no one single factor I could blame and the navigation would be long, arduous, rewarding, emotional, and deeply personal. As a parent whose child struggles, I now share a story in which watching for red flags, seeking proper interventions, and taking care of myself have defined a difficult journey in which joy remains available. As a parent, I want my children to balance independence and interdependence, to find and implement what works for them. I want to support their choices. However, when the choices become self-limiting and harmful, it does not happen overnight. Watching

WITHDRAWAL. Withdrawal can take many forms. In general it is movement away from what was previously enjoyable such as activities, positive friendships, family engagement, and school. It is wise to watch for any changes in these areas of life while considering other possible red flags. Withdrawal from anything that promotes thriving could lead to a life of surviving. ACADEMIC REGRESSION. I had not hovered over my children because they had established patterns of responsibility within their academic experiences. However, when other factors presented, I chose to research what was happening academically. To my dismay, my daughter’s grades, across all subjects, had transitioned from As and Bs on daily assignments and tests to a series of 0s and Fs. Although I would have liked a teacher to reach out and ask questions, I learned when I communicated with them, that they feared my response. This was clearly an indicator that something had changed. SELF-HARM. Self-harm comes in multiple forms. For us, it was cutting that was discovered by her sister. However, alcohol, drugs, sexual activity, picking, pinching, and extreme risk taking are behaviors that create a feeling. It was through this discovery that she was able to verbalize that she couldn’t “feel,”

meaning she could not recall when she had last experienced happiness, sadness, anger, or fear. She simply felt empty and cutting allowed her to feel. PEER CULTURE. For my daughter, she withdrew from healthy friendships, justifying a move into a negative peer culture with friends who had little adult supervision, little motivation to succeed, and lots of motivation to oppose adult intervention. This ultimately led to complete isolation from any healthy friendships into a single relationship which was defined by emotional manipulation and rebellion. Once negative peer culture surfaced, as a parent, I lost most any influence I had except for further isolating her to home and school without any peer interaction. This is an unhealthy and dangerous position for adolescents to be. Even with school support, she made harmful choices within the school that resulted in us making a difficult decision to remove her and complete her year at home. SUICIDAL/RUN AWAY RISK. Twice in our journey, the risk of imminent harm surfaced with the second resulting in an emergency room visit and admission to an acute children’s psychiatric unit to ensure her safety. As suicidal risk declined and she returned to the same setting, her thoughts shifted to running away. The common thread was that she was looking for an escape. As my daughter’s red flags appeared, I worked hard as her mother to provide and seek effective interventions. The next installment of this series will look at those interventions. ■

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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decisions, decisions

How Can We Prepare Our Chi to Make Responsible Choices By JENNIFER MILLER, M.ED.

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s...

ildren s?

“I don’t like playing anymore, but all my friends are joining the team again,” relays my eleven-yearold son, Ethan, voicing his debate over whether to commit to another season of baseball. He has played for a number of years cultivating valuable friendships along the way. But, as he’s grown, the coaches, parents, and kids alike have become more competitive. And so too has the pressure. than has enjoyed the game less as the emphasis on performance has increased. This spring, he was faced with the challenging decision: Do I continue to do something I’ve always done because my friends expect me to or do I follow my interests and motivation? Children are at the very beginning stages of developing decision-making skills. They grow from basing decisions on chance with games like “Rock, Paper, Scissors” or “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe” to weighing pros and cons like whether to rejoin a baseball team that’s grown stressful. Then, in the teen years, youth face tempting risks like whether to follow peer pressure to try alcohol despite the fact that most parents — as confirmed in a recent survey of Montana parents — disapprove of underage drinking. Children will increasingly have to decide when to accommodate friends, when to assert their needs, when to show care for others, and when and how they should think ahead about consequences that might result from their actions. Young children rely on adults to establish and enforce the rules. Their central concern focuses on their own safety and secure attachment to their parents and educators. But, by the age of nine, children move to the next stage of moral development in which the care of others and their social relationships takes priority. This is also a time when children begin inventing their own rules among their peers through games. They weigh social values when decision making like belonging to a friend group, contributing to a team, or meeting parent and teacher expectations, comes into play. This new level of decision making is aided by the fact that children gain the ability to continued on page 9

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continued from page 7

see from others’ perspectives. This empathy is a skill that requires lots of practice. You may hear your child trying to read others’ minds but not exactly hitting the mark with their inferences: “Wendy stared at me in the hallway. My hair must look so weird today.” But actually Wendy was consumed with her own worries. She was staring aimlessly lost in her thoughts, not taking notice of your daughter’s hair. We can help by offering our own empathy for our child’s feelings and questioning negative perceptions: “I hear you’re feeling upset that she disapproved of your hair. Are you sure? Could it be that she was just having a bad day?” Children around eight years old also gain the added decision-making support of selftalk. Though we, as adults, may view that inner voice as a way to criticize ourselves for our imperfections, in fact, it serves a critical self-regulating role. Instead of a child requiring a mom to warn her not to go near a hot fire, your child begins to tell herself, “Danger! Don’t go near the fire,” and guiding herself. She’s learned from years of hearing your warnings, and whether or not you are present to guide her, it’s been internalized. This is why our eights, nines, and tens seem more competent and trustworthy. Their internal warning system has been turned on, and they have enough life experience to help them avoid danger and make positive choices. What does it mean to teach our children responsible decision making? The Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning defines it as “the ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on considerations of ethical standards, safety concerns, the realistic evaluation of the consequences that stem from actions and the wellbeing of self and others.” Children do not automatically connect their actions to a reaction. Yet, authentic responsible decision making requires consequential thinking. Preparing our children for independence in future years will require us to offer them numerous small chances to make decisions so that they are ready for the big choices to come. In fact, our children’s brain development will not solidify the rational, logical thinking required of the adult years until they are in their early to mid-twenties, so our ongoing practice of little choices helps strengthen those neural connections.

So, how can we prepare our children at any age to make responsible decisions? Here are some suggestions: 3-5-YEAR-OLDS: Offer frequent, limited, authentic choices. Young children are working on mastering numerous everyday life tasks like getting shoes on or putting toys away though they are not yet fully competent. These can add up to daily frustrations as a child refuses help while asserting, “I can do it myself!” Instead of getting sucked into daily power struggles, why not offer your child a sense of control, the chance to exercise their burgeoning skills as well as gain valuable practice in making small choices? Be certain both options are acceptable to you so that the choice is truly theirs to make. The most mundane of options — “Do you want to pick up the Lego set or books?” — can offer your young child a sense of agency and the motivation to go with it. So, think twice before you go ahead and grab the pink socks. Instead, discover the power of offering, “Will it be pink or red today? You choose.” 5-7-YEAR-OLDS: Become informed and establish rules together. As children are learning the rules of school, it’s a perfect opportunity to discuss home rules. What are some important principles your family values? Keep it simple and positive — what to do, not what not to do. “People before screens” is a favorite in our family. Then, as you go about your everyday life, talk about how it applies. When friend Aidan comes to the door to play, we turn off screens and take advantage of the play opportunity. Also, get into the habit of becoming informed together. Why should you limit screen time? Do you know how unlimited screen time can impact a child’s growing brain? Research and learn together. Then, create rules collaboratively. Your child will learn that in order to make responsible decisions, it’s important to become informed first and learn the relevant facts. 8-10-YEAR-OLDS: Learn about social justice and fairness issues. In the Highlights State of the Kid survey of 2,000 U.S. kids, ninety-three percent of 6-12-year-olds said they would take action if they saw someone doing or saying something mean. Because of our children’s raised social awareness at this age, it’s an ideal time to introduce them to issues of fairness around the world. Why are some people treated unfairly because of learning differences, color, creed, or mate

preference? How can we reflect on these issues expanding our children’s circle of concern? And, how can we guide them to act with compassion since clearly they have the desire? Begin in your home community by identifying areas of need and working as a family to find ways to act with kindness, to include those who are excluded, and to serve others in need. 11-14-YEAR-OLDS: Follow through on repairing harm. Children make mistakes in order to learn, and sometimes those choices can harm others. Whether it’s hurt feelings or a broken toy, in order to learn responsibility our children need to repair the harm they’ve caused. Our children might naturally react by shying away from the person they’ve harmed, hoping that time will cure all. That’s why our support is critical. How can we help them follow through by mending a broken fence or by offering a sincere apology? If we assign a punishment such as, “Go to your room! You’re grounded!” Or “No iPad for a week,” we miss the opportunity to teach the natural, real world outcomes of their behavior that always exist if we pay attention. How will our child learn consequential thinking when we teach them that breaking a neighbor’s china teacup equates to no iPad for a week? Our angry child will come to the conclusion that we are simply trying to cause them pain. They cannot see any logical connection because there isn’t one. Instead you might say, “You broke Mrs. Jackson’s teacup when you were throwing the ball in the house. How do you think you could repair it as well as the relationship with Mrs. Jackson?” If their idea is safe and reasonable, support it by guiding alongside them as they follow through on actions and words to repair harm caused. If you help your child reflect thoughtfully on their choices, you’ll create a habit that will serve them for a lifetime. Discuss what their highest priorities are and how this choice does or does not align with them. Share your own family values and how they impact your decision making. Most importantly, project ahead to the future. If you choose to play on the team, how will you feel in August at your final game — happy or burned out? As parents, we frequently face the most challenging decisions of our lives in raising our children to be confident, compassionate, and independent future adults. As we guide our children to practice taking responsibility through their everyday choices, we take essential steps toward that greater goal. ■

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” is available now for pre-order. youthconnectionscoalition.org

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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.

Dontae Velarde

FACES IN THE CROWD

BROADWATER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 5TH GRADE

Dontae is a champion in and out of the classroom. His coach, Duran Caferro, Jr., said, “I have trained countless number of boxers. Dontae is one of the most dedicated and hard-working boxers that I’ve ever trained. He is a former recipient of the Muhammad Ali award, which goes to the boxer who is a champion both inside and outside the ring. His hard work and dedication has paid off. He has over 30 bouts with several state and regional titles and has been ranked as high as number four in the nation.” The staff and students at Broadwater couldn’t agree more! He’s a great leader and his classmates look to him for guidance, both socially and academically.

Ryan Burke

HELENA MIDDLE SCHOOL, 8TH GRADE

What a great young man to have at Helena Middle School! Ryan demonstrates responsible behavior both in his work and actions at school. Ryan’s smile and joyous demeanor brighten the classroom. Students around him see him as a mentor. In class he gives 100% to everything he does, from a small assignment, to class discussions, to major projects and class presentations, and he is very humble. This young man displays great leadership skills and his friendly, kind ways are an excellent example to others. Thanks, Ryan, for being a great role model to your peers and classmates.

Treven Maharg

HELENA HIGH SCHOOL, 12TH GRADE

Treven is a member of HHS National Honor Society, an HHS Salutatorian, and a Helena Education Foundation Distinguished Achiever. He is active in 4-H, Youth Group, Young Life, Helena High Soccer, Link Crew, and Key Club. His hobbies include fly fishing and spending time outdoors. Inspired by Tim Tebow’s Night to Shine, a prom for individuals with disabilities, Treven and his friend Tanner, who was born with Down Syndrome, created Night with the Stars. In April 2018 and 2019, with the help of many volunteers and community donations, 120 individuals with disabilities and their care providers experienced a magical evening filled with music, dancing, photos, food, and fun. You’re an inspiration to us all. Thank you, Treven!

Kim Gardner

INTERMOUNTAIN

Kim has been active in advocacy and services for children and families for the last 25 years. She has extensive experience in program administration and development, clinical supervision, the legislative process, and residential and community-based mental health and substance use treatment services. She has provided respite foster care for several years. Kim serves on the Youth Connections drug abuse reduction task force and is a frequent author of articles for the magazine. She has a strong passion for kids and families, volunteering to make community presentations after hours, helping with drug take backs, and advocating for systems changes through the Community Action Team to help families be successful. Thank you Kim for your tireless dedication to area families!

Lewis & Clark Suicide Prevention Coalition

COMMUNITY PARTNER

The Lewis & Clark Suicide Prevention Coalition exists to build capacity and increase access to community education about suicide and to support interventions and policies. Their website acts as a clearinghouse for suicide prevention information, including local data and resources, ongoing projects, partner organizations and their work, upcoming training opportunities available in the county, as well as a menu of educational programs you can choose from to schedule for your business, organization, religious institution, group, or club. Their message is simple: Suicide is preventable. Depression is treatable. Mental wellness and recovery are possible. We thank them for their commitment to local families. For more information or to get involved, visit: https://lcsuicideprevention.org/.

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40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

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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!

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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

5 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.

Principal of the Day at Kessler

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

Sharing their commitment to being beautiful inside 4-H youth showing off their ribbons

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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

Pure Performance members teaching healthy choices

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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.

34 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.

Friends at Night with the Stars

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.

Girls Thrive at Stonetree Climbing having fun

Students working the science circus

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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.

HHS basketball donating to Bryant School

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PARENTING with dual families

Two Vital Ways to Support a Positive Summer Visit with a Parent By KELLY KILLHAM, LCSW arenting through divorce is difficult, to say the least, but one of many main points reiterated tirelessly from experts is that children should maintain important, independent relationships with each parent whether the household is married, single, or divorced because it fosters good judgment, character, and values. While being separated for the summer may be difficult for child and parent, it is definitely in the best interest of supporting such a relationship. Parenting in a consistent manner is demanding for any household, let alone navigating the difficulty of working toward building a working relationship with a former partner. There are two components to be considered when preparing your child and yourself for an extended visit with their mother or father following a divorce or separation: the practicalities of the visit and the emotional issue for parents and child of adjusting to the change. Be sure the other parent is aware of details vital to summer activities such as swim level, hiking level, or biking level. Communicate regarding your child’s favorite foods, habits, i.e. needing a nightlight or even friends that they will miss and would like to contact over the summer. While something may seem like a small detail, knowing and sharing aspects of your child’s day-today life will help support their adjustment so that they can enjoy the visit, which will in turn helps foster that positive independent relationship with their other parent. Make sure that the communication plan is clear, including whether the child will have access to a cell phone, Skype, or other methods of communication, as well as set up a schedule. This will be supportive in terms of helping your child to adjust to a new place because it will ease both your anxiety and theirs. It has been shown that children who are allowed consistent and open communication with both their parents through divorce adjust better to the change.

Children frequently demonstrate or express in a multitude of imaginative ways that communication between mom and dad is key whether separated, single, divorced, or even intact as a family. In one instance, a child specifically stated that being able to contact either mom or dad when needed has been vital in her being able to cope with emotions and be successful with

RESOURCES Mom’s House, Dad’s House: Making Two Homes for Your Child Isolina Ricci, PhD The CoParenting Toolkit: The Essential Supplement for Mom’s House, Dad’s House Isolina Ricci, PhD “A Parent’s Guide to Making Child-Focused Visitation Decisions” svnworldwide.org/visitation-decisions.asp

the transition to and from each parent’s household. When planning and preparing for the visit (or always), make certain that positive communication is of the utmost priority. Positive communication supports the second component, taking care of your child’s emotions, as well as your own. It could go without saying that divorce, separation, and coping with two households is emotionally loaded for children and parents alike. However, helping your child to name and process through emotions such as fear, anxiety, and worry (if applicable) prior to the trip is vital. Working through

emotions with a trusted adult builds selfesteem and security in children. Equally as important is the parent’s ability to cope with their own anxiety. Helping your child to share their worries with their other parent in order to foster trust is a great way to support their relationship. It’s important to remember, you cannot help them through freaking out when you are freaking out, so find sources to support you in working through your difficulties with being separated from your child/children for an extended period of time. One idea might be making a list of long overdue tasks to be accomplished for helping yourself through the absence. Another might be to reconnect with an old friend. Be supportive of your child’s excitement, and supportive of their having that positive independent relationship with their other parent because it will largely benefit your child in the long run. If children are older and will miss social activities and events with their friends, processing and understanding their potential anger, sadness, and frustration will also help you and the other parent to help your child to adjust and work through their difficulties. Whatever the emotion, helping your child through the emotion and helping your coparenting partner to understand the emotion will support the positive experience, and the positive relationship that you wish to build will in turn help your child to become a happy well-adjusted positive person later in life. In summary, when preparing for your child’s extended summer visit, take care of the details and take care of yourself. Help your child through the emotional difficulties and support their positive emotions in order to foster that positive relationship with their other parent as well as build your working relationship with the other parent. Hopefully the results will be a positive, well-adjusted child with two great families. ■

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TALKING TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT

drugs & alcohol By MATTHEW QUINN, LCPC, CADC

oday kids as young as ten years old are beginning to experiment with alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco. Because the brain is not fully developed until the mid-twenties, young people are more likely to take risks compared to adults. When the brain is still developing, addictive substances physically alter its structure and function faster and more intensely than in adults. These effects interfere with brain development, which can affect decisionmaking, judgment, impulse control, emotion, and memory. Using drugs or alcohol at an early age also increases the risk of addiction. For many parents, discussing this topic can be difficult, but research confirms the idea that when parents talk to their children about drugs and alcohol, they are much less likely to become users. If you’re thinking about starting the conversation with your kids, consider taking these steps: START WHEN THEY’RE YOUNG It’s better to start talking with your child before he or she reaches the teenage years. As a parent, it’s important to make sure your child is aware of your values and concerns. Start early and continue the discussion throughout the teenage years. HAVE A CLEAR MESSAGE It’s important to explain that not all kids try drugs and alcohol and using these substances is not a rite of passage. Even using alcohol or drugs once or twice can cause health problems, lead to trouble with school or the law, and create problems with friends and family. Even if you used drugs or alcohol as a teenager, it’s okay to talk to your kids about not using. In fact, if you had any negative experiences or consequences because of your use, you may want to tell your kids about it.

EXPLAIN THE CONSEQUENCES OF DRUG AND ALCOHOL USE It’s essential that parents be parents to their children, and not try to be their friends. Teens will hear many messages about drugs and alcohol that are unclear and mixed. A parent who wants to be the “cool” parent may be communicating that drugs aren’t dangerous or risky. Without being too rigid or judgmental, let your children know that there are consequences for using drugs and alcohol, and that their healthy development can be affected.

Listening is the difference between a real conversation and a lecture — and kids hate lectures.

make the conversation age appropriate — a conversation about drugs is very different with a 10-year-old than with a 16-year-old. SET A GOOD EXAMPLE Your kids watch what you do, even more than you may think. Set a good example with your own behavior and be conscious of your own substance use, even if it’s just having a glass of wine or a beer. LOOK FOR SIGNS OF DRUG USE Be aware of any indication that drug use is happening. These signs can include: + Any changes in personal appearance or behavior such as red or watery eyes, or changes to eating or sleeping habits. + Changes in mood, such as lack of motivation, depression or extreme hyperactivity, or other unexplained mood swings. + Missing possessions, lack of money. + Poor school attendance, increased need for discipline or changes in grades. + Possession of drug paraphernalia.

USE TEACHABLE MOMENTS Talk regularly to your child about drugs and use every opportunity you can. For example, if there’s a story in the news about drugs or a related topic like depression, use that as a reason to have a discussion. Also, it’s vital to understand that frequent, regular conversations are needed to get the message across — once is not enough. Listening is critical! Listening is the difference between a real conversation and a lecture — and kids hate lectures. Show your children that you value their thoughts and feelings. Get involved and stay involved as they develop and grow. Listen to their struggles and stresses. Also,

+ Secretiveness about possessions and personal space, increased isolation. GET HELP AT THE FIRST SIGN OF TROUBLE Parents don’t always take substance use seriously at first, especially with alcohol and marijuana. They may think it’s just a phase, but then can be overwhelmed when casual use becomes a real problem. Don’t underestimate the risks of drug use. Seek out a professional and ask for help. Your child’s future may depend on it! When a teen’s substance use is treated early, it frequently leads to abstinence and can result in no further problems. This is even true when the use is mild or moderate. ■

About The Author: Matthew Quinn provides community relations for Rosecrance Health Network in the western suburbs of Chicago. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in psychology at the University of Notre Dame and Master’s Degree in clinical psychology at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. Matthew is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) and Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) in Illinois. He has been counseling adolescents and adults in individual, couples, and family counseling for the past 15 years.

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NUMBERS How do I set an appropriate curfew?

288

As kids move into their teenage years, it’s important to give them enough freedom to learn how to make their own choices, which helps them lead independent lives. Setting reasonable boundaries on their activities and time out with friends can help them make responsible decisions and develop healthy habits; curfews are part of striking that balance. There’s no one right answer for setting a time, but there are strategies for setting realistic curfews: + How much structure does your child need? If they struggle to make responsible choices without firm boundaries in place, a consistent time might work the best for them. + What’s their sleep schedule? If they have an early morning, an earlier curfew may benefit their health and productivity. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, teenagers need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep per day. Getting enough sleep is important for their mental and physical health, as well as helping them excel in school and other activities.

The most number of years a library book was overdue.

1000

The number of species of bananas; we only eat one of them.

2–3

+ What are the plans? If they want to attend a special event that goes past their usual curfew, it may be reasonable to adjust their curfew. Try getting their input on what they feel is a reasonable curfew based on the circumstances. If they feel they had a say, they may be more willing to follow the curfew. If their proposed time seems unreasonable, let them know why and clearly state when they are expected home. Whatever curfew is set, it’s important to communicate clearly what the expectation is, what to do if they’re running late, and then hold them accountable. An example of a consequence may be cutting their usual curfew back by 30 minutes, which they can earn back after proving they can stick to the new time. If they do break curfew, it’s important to let them know that you’re happy that they arrived home safely, but that you were worried. As sometimes happens, worry comes across as mad. At that point it’s best to tell them you’ll talk about the consequences in the morning when you’re feeling calmer. Just as in adulthood, circumstances happen that are beyond their control, and they may have to break curfew, for example poor weather conditions that make it dangerous for them to drive. Setting the expectation to call before missing curfew rather than making excuses afterward prevents worry and confusion.

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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The number of hours an elephant sleeps per day.

1.2 million

The number of mosquitos, sucking once each, that it would take to drain all the blood from a human.

.028

The speed in mph that a Heinz ketchup bottle squirts.

189

The number of things named after George Washington.


KNOW THE FACTS With the upcoming summer season quickly approaching, Butte Cares wanted to remind everyone of the facts regarding buying alcohol for minors. In an effort to reduce underage drinking, we launched our Sticker Shock Campaign. Please look for this STOP sign sticker on cooler doors at Town Pump and Thriftway.

P O ST

1 2 21 ORS

MIN Y FOR

T BU

DON’

ns mea

AW!

EL IT’S TH

Parents and teens are often unclear about the laws and have misconceptions about the consequences of underage drinking. Please note that certain city or counties may have stricter laws (ordinances), laws change, and that this information is not a substitute for legal advice.

What are the Legal Consequences for Adults? It is a misdemeanor offense to supply someone under the age of 21 with alcohol or to provide your child under the age of 21 with an intoxicating level of alcohol. Fines can be up to $500*. Social host (person who provides alcohol) liabilities vary depending on local laws and in many cities in Montana, social hosts can be charged with a misdemeanor. Montana state law allows for civil liability because of providing alcohol to someone underage. Liability limit for non-economic damages is $250,000 and for punitive damages is $250,000*. Stop and think before purchasing any alcoholic beverage for a minor. You’re not being a friend or helping them have a good time. You’re breaking the law and contributing to the delinquency of our youth. Did You Know? Drinking can cause significant and long-lasting changes in the structure and function of the brain. Early use of alcohol can cause permanent learning disabilities*. The longer youth delay using alcohol the less likely they are to develop a problem with alcohol later in life*. For additional information on Underage Drinking please visit ParentingMontana.org at the following link https://parentingmontana.org/underage-drinking-what-does-the-law-say/ Why Butte Cares Our vision is a community where parents and adults thrive and where youth can learn and grow in a healthy, safe and drug free environment. Alcohol abuse continues to be the highest ranking problem for our youth which drives our efforts in prevention throughout the entire Southwest Region of Montana. Thank you to Town Pump,Thriftway and Summit Beverage who partnered with us to get the word out about the dangers of underage drinking. * Information taken from ParentingMontana.org

Butte Cares


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5 TECHNOLOGY RULES every parent must follow By DR. TIM ELMORE

onia Bokhari was an 8th grader when she joined the world of social media for the first time. She was excited, to say the least, to jump on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms her friends were already on. What she discovered made her feel betrayed. Upon setting up her profile, she quickly found out her mom and sister had been posting about her for her entire life. Right before her young teenage eyes, were pictures of her that made her feel awkward and even a little violated: + Pictures of her as a young child in her underwear, her mom had posted. + Stories of silly things she had done, her older sister had shared. + Accounts of funny statements she’d made as a sister or daughter. In a recent article in Fast Company magazine Sonia said when she was younger, she could hardly wait to participate in social media. Upon reflection, she later wrote: “Then, several months ago, when I turned 13, my mom gave me the green light and I joined Twitter and Facebook. The first place I went, of course, was my mom’s profiles. That’s when I realized that while this might have been the first time I was allowed on social media, it was far from the first time my photos and stories had appeared online. When I saw the pictures that she had been posting on Facebook for years, I felt utterly embarrassed, and deeply betrayed.” What her mother and sister thought was “cute” and “innocent” felt much different to the other person in the photo, which was Sonia. THE LESSON FOR ADULTS AS WE APPROACH SOCIAL MEDIA I only bring this up because adult leaders—parents, teachers, coaches, youth workers—must practice what we preach. If we want our kids to handle social media well, and be careful about what they post, we should think twice about posting THEIR photos on line for all to see. Sonia said it would have been different if her mom had merely shared some of those personal pictures to family members or close friends. Instead—her mom and sister felt the need to broadcast them on-line. Sonia wrote: “Teens get a lot of warnings that we aren’t mature enough to understand that everything we post online is permanent, but parents should also reflect about their use of social media and how it could potentially impact their children’s lives as we become young adults.” Well said, Sonia.

The fact is—our portable devices have both connected us and divided us. Both teens and adults have felt compelled to post comments or content on-line. Some, I’m concerned, are more consumed with posting their life, than living their life. Several middle school and high school students openly acknowledged (in our focus groups) that they are “addicted to their portable devices.” This addiction that both adults and teens have, has hindered rational thinking. Technology has become our master rather than our servant. Recently, I heard a Florida businessman say: “When our phones had leashes, we were free. Now our phones are free, and we have leashes.” That statement says it all. FIVE RULES OF THUMB FOR ADULTS USING SOCIAL MEDIA So let me offer some simple ideas to consider when it comes to smart devices: 1. Keep your time on social media under two hours a day. Research tells us that more than two hours is unhealthy. People are more vulnerable to anxiety and depression when on social media for longer. 2. Get permission before you post. If you include others in a picture, ask for their permission. This gives them dignity and enables them to retain agency on what’s posted about them. 3. Check your motives. As an adult, ask yourself why you want to post pics of your kids or students? If the pics don’t communicate respect for them, it’s best to not post them. 4. Think reputation, not entertainment. Try trading places with the people you’re about to post online. If you were them, would you like this photo or post? How will it affect their reputation? 5. Only post what adds value to others. Many posts on Instagram, for instance, are for the selfish pleasure of the one posting; often they’re narcissistic. Think of how the post benefits others first. ■

About The Author: im 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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summer

AND SUBSTANCES By KIM YORK, Counselor

ummer is here! Our kids having been dreaming about summer break from school, and experiencing warm weather free time. We know that although this is the dream of most teenagers, it can be a worrisome time for parents. Because there is a lot of unstructured, unmonitored time, parents have the right to be concerned. During the summer, the rate of accidents involving teens is higher. Alcohol drinking and substance abuse rises by over 70%, not to mention a higher number of car crashes. How can parents keep their children safe during the summer and yet allow their teenagers some freedoms? The answer involves parents knowing they have the right to manage the unsupervised time of their children. Enforcing the rules of the 4 Ws is one successful strategy. Who are you going to be with? Where are you going? What are you going to be doing? When are you going to be home? Along with the 4 Ws, comes the parental responsibility of following through. It is not unreasonable to show up at the “Where,” call the parent of the “Who,” follow up on the

“What” and set the limit of “When” to be home. Additionally, parents need to be aware of other risks out there to which their teen may be exposed. Unsupervised bon fires, lake parties, overnight stays, camping, and other get-togethers where alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs are present are not uncommon in the summer. “Rave” events advertised through social media are held frequently throughout the summer. These events have music and a party atmosphere where access to illegal substances is prevalent. There are numerous concerts and summer events where unsupervised youth have opportunity to access drugs as well. Expecting teenagers to contribute to the household chores, find a job, volunteer, participate in summer camps/activities are also part of the mix. We know that a teenager who is busy, has less of a chance to socialize in an unhealthy way. Parents who are pro-active in their teenager’s activities during the summer months, have better outcomes when it comes to keeping their adolescent safe. Discussing the 4 Ws, providing accountability, and keeping teens busy are strategies that are proven effective. ■

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Parents Unite To Prevent Underage Substance Abuse

Let’s face it, it’s difficult to start a conversation about underage substance abuse; the important thing is that you start.

www.letsfaceitmt.com

LET’S FACE IT Parents Unite To Prevent Underage Substance Abuse


In Montana, parents want what’s best for their kids.

ParentingMontana.org has information

and tools for parents of children at every age.

TOOLS FOR YOUR CHILD’S SUCCESS This product was supported [in part] by CFDA 93.959 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of SAMHSA or Health and Human Services.


Youth Connections 1025 N Rodney Helena, MT 59601

presents featured sponsor:

Helena’s premier health and wellness event also sponsored by:

Saturday, August 10 8:30 a.m. – Noon Centennial Park and Great Northern Town Center: One-mile fun run starts 9 a.m. Health & wellness fair Free T-shirt gets kids complimentary admission to the Great Northern Carousel, ExplorationWorks and the YMCA pool!

special thanks to:

register by August 1st at sphealth.org

Great Northern Town Center

Profile for Deanna Johnson

YC Magazine, Helena - June 2019  

YC Magazine, Helena - June 2019