Page 1

ALSO

What is Kratom and Why is it Dangerous?

MARCH 2018

|

youthconnectionscoalition.org

POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT: NO BUTS ABOUT IT » The 40 Developmental Assets: Positive Values » The Importance of Play

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

» Celebrating Failure


MARCH 2018

FEATURES Reinforcement: 6 Positive No Buts About It

14 The 40 Developmental Assets: Positive Values 16 The Importance of Play 20 Celebrating Failure 23 Kratom: What is it and Why is it Dangerous?

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 and By the Numbers BROUGHT TO YOU BY

PROUD RECIPIENT OF FUNDS FROM

PRODUCED IN CONJUNCTION WITH

TO ADVERTISE OR CONTRIBUTE Coleen Smith: (406) 324-1032 coleen@youthconnectionscoalition.org COVER PHOTO BY Megan Lane Photography

youthconnectionscoalition.org

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

March 2018

1


ON THE COVER

Caleb Ferguson is a senior at Helena High School who loves sports and has been a 3-sport athlete each year of high school. He played cornerback in football, point guard in basketball and does pole vault and triple jump in track. He is on target to earn 8 varsity letters – 2 in football and 3 each in basketball and track. Caleb also enjoys outdoor activities, particularly hunting, fishing, and water activities. Caleb is planning to attend college in the fall, but is still undecided as to where, as he is hoping to pursue track and field.

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.

2

March 2018

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

youthconnectionscoalition.org

Director FROM THE

h, March. Spring teases us with an occasional nice day, kids start getting antsy to get out of school, and our tempers may be short from being stuck inside over the winter. It’s not warm enough to garden, not cold enough to enjoy winter sports, and there’s invariably mud everywhere – truly a clean fanatic’s nightmare. During this tenuous time of year, the magazine committee chose to focus on COLEEN articles to help parents through these SMITH next couple of months. You may notice that the word “positive” is in several of the article titles. This was not by accident. We are always fortunate to have such great authors contribute to the magazine. They have succeeded to produce once again. Daniel Champer’s article on positive reinforcement is such a great reminder of how focusing on the positive always gets us better results than focusing on the negative. My parents were pros at this. Instead of ‘don’t forget your homework’, it was always ‘remember to take your homework.’ They constantly focused on the benefits of positive words, knowing that those would stick in our heads better than the negative ones. In an effort to focus on positive behaviors, we are highlighting the benefits of play – for all ages, all year long. We know that’s how small children learn, but it also benefits all students in their academics, helps rest the brain, and is a stress reliever. The YMCA is a great partner, and we appreciate what they do for the kids to encourage them to play as well as know the benefits of being active for all of us. We appreciate their contributions to YC Magazine. We have found a gem in our “Confessions” author. She has a knack for sharing her stories that we have all probably experienced, and is able to find humor in them. It helps us realize we’re all in this great adventure of parenting together. I hope you have a great spring, can focus on the positive, and enjoy dancing in the rain. Please leave your boots by the door. 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


Rule No 9

CANCER

date nights Relax together. Laugh together. And make a Lucca’s date night a priority.

Colorectal cancer is the 3rd most common cancer among both men and women. Talk to your doctor about getting screened and what you can do to prevent it.

Be Active • Eat Smart • Get Screened • Be Sunwise • Be Tobacco Free

Named Montana’s Best Restaurant by Business Insider magazine

youthconnectionscoalition.org

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

March 2018

3


Have questions about your child’s development? The FREE Child Find Screening Clinic is for you!

0 to 36 months

34 months to 5 years

by Family Outreach

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

by Helena Preschool Staff

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

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

Call Ray Bjork Learning Center to schedule your appointment: 406.324.2900 8 AM–NOON: SEPT 8 / OCT 6 / NOV 3 / DEC 1 / JAN 5 / FEB 2 / MARCH 2 / APRIL 6

SAVE THE DATE! HEALTHY KIDS DAY APRIL 21, 2018

HELENA FAMILY YMCA•helenaymca.org•406.442.9622

4

March 2018

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

youthconnectionscoalition.org

BOUNCY SLIDE•GAMES ARTS & CRAFTS•FACE PAINTING•HEALTHY SNACKS•SUMMER PROGRAM REGISTRATION


CONFESSIONS FROM THE KITCHEN TABLE The Adventures of the Traveling Mustard Yellow Pants hat do you do when your child wants to wear that crazy outfit to school? That one outfit that you know definitely isn’t the norm? The one that they may leave the house in beaming with pride, but return home in a puddle of tears? Ugh. The joys of parenting. I remember years ago asking my daughter to get dressed. She was about three years old at the time and came downstairs in a nightgown and rain boots. I thought it was an interesting choice. Luckily that day we didn’t have to leave the house, so I didn’t fight the issue. As my daughter got older sometimes her choices in clothing was with the norm. I do remember one crazy pair of winter snow boots. They were fun for a 10-year-old girl. They were black with blue fur at the top and blue hearts embroidered down the sides. She loved them. The first day she wore them to class, she came home and told me that one of her classmates came up to her and told her that she thought her boots were ugly. I remembered asking my daughter how that made her feel. She said that she just told her that she liked them and that is all that mattered and she continued to wear

them. (I know not all kids have that level of self-esteem at the age of 10.) Now fast forward to present day. I have a son in the second grade who is an extreme extrovert. He is not afraid to talk to anyone. We struggle with personal boundaries. I find myself saying “personal bubble” constantly when we are in public, which is all okay. The other major struggle I have with him is his choice of clothing. He loves to stand out; however we all know that kids can be mean and tease kids that go against the norm. We recently had a situation where my son wanted to wear his mustard colored pants (which were hand me downs from a good friend) to school. Now, I know there is nothing wrong with mustard colored pants. Most likely I would even wear mustard colored pants if I had them, however as an adult I would probably be considered more fashion forward. As my son was getting dressed that morning I heard my fears start creeping into my brain (my shark music was playing at full blast). I was thinking – “what will the other kids think of the mustard colored pants or will some kid come up and tell him he looks ‘like a dork’?” Then I thought about

how amazing my son is for following what he likes and not following the crowd. There are times when I want to march to the beat of my own drum but I was too afraid of being gawked and laughed at. I started to realize that I was projecting my fears on to my son. I know that he may or may not get gawked at, pointed at or be teased. On the other hand, what amazing courage he had to follow his likes and dislikes. He doesn’t have to follow the crowd. Maybe it will be harder for him, but maybe not. I figured he will build resilience while wearing what he feels comfortable in. So, he wore the mustard colored pants. I don’t know if he got teased or laughed at. He didn’t come home in tears and in fact he ended up wearing the mustard colored pants four days in a row. Perhaps his classmates look to him as a fashionista(?). I look at my son and I swell with pride for being able to do something that I struggle with as an adult and I commend all the kids and adults out in the world that are so confident and resilient. I have learned to embrace my son’s individuality. There may be bumps along the way but that is how we learn who we are. ■

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.

youthconnectionscoalition.org

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

March 2018

5


POSITIVE REINFOR

no buts a By DANIEL CHAMPER, LCPC

6

March 2018

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

youthconnectionscoalition.org


RCEMENT:

about it

Her name was Bertha, and she was every bit as old as her name makes her sound. Her Q-tip hair barely bobbed above the tip of the broom that she used to meticulously sweep the street in front of her house as I mowed her yard every week during the summer. y hair, on the other hand, was long and greasy and fully soaked with half a bottle of spray-in hair dye that effectively made me resemble a pubescent skunk. I’m also convinced that my teenage body had more similarities with that skunk than just how I looked. I couldn’t mow in a straight line to save my life and I’m sure she got tired of seeing my baggy jeans and my Three Stooges t-shirts week in and week out. But, every single time I passed her with my mower she would say something nice to me. She would compliment my work ethic, my commitment, my toothy smile, and my “unique style.” I loved mowing Bertha’s yard. And it had way more to do with the ten thousand compliments than the ten dollars I received for a job poorly done. Most individuals can very quickly conjure up a list of “Bertha’s” that have positively influenced their life in a similar way. We are biologically wired to desire and crave positive interaction and reinforcement. The awkward part is, we just aren’t very good at it as a society. Coaches of professional sports teams are fired the minute after the end a losing season. Public figures are plastered all over the headlines whenever an impropriety is discovered. It takes approximately 2.5 seconds of reading comments online and on social media to see how prevalent the bend towards negative reinforcement is in our culture. We aren’t always as good at providing a healthy level of positive reinforcement as parents either. It becomes embarrassingly easy to spend all of our time as parents correcting our children rather than praising them for the areas in which they do succeed. Or, we become victims of the crippling adult disease known as the “buts.” Johnny, I’m continued on page 9

YC MAGAZINE

|

March 2018

7


STONETREE CLIMBING CENTER Half-day camps every week of summer After School Programs Marketing + Print + Mail + Graphic Design Clothing Decoration (Embroidery & DTG) Promotional Items + Gift Ideas + Signage

Come see our lobby full of unique gifts & cards! 40 W. Lawrence St. | 406-449-2847 AllegraHelena.com | AllegraPromotions.com

8

March 2018

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

youthconnectionscoalition.org

Birthday Parties

1222 Bozeman Avenue 406-534-0325

www.stonetreeclimbing.com


continued from page 7

Popular research...suggests that an appropriate proportion of feedback is five to seven positive reinforcements to every one negative reinforcement used. super-duper proud that you cleaned your room, BUT you left five dishes in the sink. Suzie, great job on the B in math; BUT, next time let’s get that “A” we all want. We often think that negative versus positive reinforcement is a tit for tat sort of affair. One positive should allow us one free negative, right? Wrong! I am not advocating for a “free for all” parenting style in which we all let our children turn feral and terrorize the aisles of the local Walmart. We don’t have to compliment our children for throwing a great punch or spraying really pretty graffiti on the local church. In fact, negative reinforcement is a very necessary and effective tool when used appropriately. The problem is in the proportion. A ton of research exists in the area of positive versus negative reinforcement. The common thread is that both of these reward styles are necessary and serve a role in the development and support of a child. Popular research in this area also suggests that an appropriate proportion of feedback is five to seven positive reinforcements to every one negative reinforcement used. Seven to one! That means if you have a two-year-old or a 16-year-old, you need to be providing positive reinforcement to them approximately one million times a day to keep the proportion balanced. Okay, maybe not a million, but A LOT. Raising children is hard work. It is often exhausting and being positive frequently falls by the wayside. But, there are a few easy ways to make positive interaction a habit so we can achieve that optimal reinforcement ratio. Be clear about expectations. The ability to think in the abstract doesn’t develop in children until late adolescence or young adulthood. This means that if a kid still lives at home, then most likely they are unable to understand the meaning of an unclear limit. Rules and expectations must be very clear and concise so that they are simpler to follow for children and easier

to evaluate and reward for adults. “Don’t make a mess” isn’t as clear as “put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher and put away anything you take out.” Reframe negative feedback into positive feedback. Turn phrases like “don’t do that” or “that is wrong” into opportunities to achieve success together. Phrases such as “let’s try it this way” help to create collaboration and positivity when completing a task or activity. We can even redirect behavior with phrases like ‘I like when you…’ instead of ‘don’t’. Build positive reinforcement into your routine. Many of the tasks and behaviors that children are reinforced for are preexisting expectations. Younger children can be expected to clear their own dishes from the dinner table. Older children could be expected to empty garbage cans on Wednesday and take it to the curb. Schedule a day or time in the week to evaluate these expectations. This will give you a chance to provide positive feedback on a regular basis. Sticker charts and chore charts are also structured ways that allow for positive feedback within the routine of a classroom or family setting. Reward positive behavior immediately. Don’t wait until you feel like it. If you see something good, reward it immediately. Children will have an instant gratification of a job well done, which reinforces the positive behaviors you’re trying to enforce. With teens if we wait until hours later, they may not even remember what they did to earn the positive feedback. As adults, if our boss waits a week to praise us on a great presentation, it loses the impact we feel rather than if she told us during the meeting. Avoid bribery. Positive reinforcement is the addition of a reward following a desired behavior.

Bribery is a promise of something in an attempt to influence behavior. In fact, years of research about paying for good grades suggest that external rewards like money reduce internal motivation. When a financial “carrot” is dangled in front of them for a good grade, the emphasis is put on the reward instead of encouraging them to excel and love learning. The child begins to perform not because of intellectual curiosity and interest in a subject, but for the reward. It will eventually backfire. Kids are smart. They will begin to up the ante wanting more money for harder tasks. Make sure that all positives are given after the goal is achieved. Be specific and clear. General positive feedback such as “great job” or “good work” does not necessarily meet the criteria of positive reinforcement. Praise or rewards must be tied to a specific behavior or action that is being praised in order to be effective. Otherwise, you are leaving it up to the child to decide what they are being rewarded for. (Good luck with that.) “You did a great job cleaning your room. You organized your toys so well, you’ll be able to find them easily next time” works better than, “good job cleaning.” You won’t want them to think that you’re praising that they threw all their dirty laundry in the closet and closed the door. I had a friend who told her daughter to clean off her dresser. Suzy went in and wiped everything on to the floor. Cleaned off yes, but not what mom had in mind. Several years ago, I was deeply saddened to hear that Bertha had passed away at the ripe old age of 98. But, as I reflected on my memories of how deeply her positivity had impacted my life I realized that most of the things that Bertha had praised are still present in my life today (except for the skunk hair). Our young people need praise and encouragement, not negativity and disapproval. Be Bertha. Change the world. No buts about it. ■

Daniel Champer is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor who currently serves as the clinical manager of School Based Services for Intermountain. Daniel provides clinical leadership and oversight to teams of mental health professionals who provide therapeutic services in public school settings in Helena, Montana.

youthconnectionscoalition.org

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

March 2018

9


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.

Aliza Jane Sark

FACES IN THE CROWD

ST. ANDREW SCHOOL, 5TH GRADE

Aliza Jane won the Youth Best in Show award at the Festival of Trees for her display called “Christmas in Zoo York!” She collected scrap metal, among other activities, to raise money so she could purchase the stuffed animals and other “zoo” toys. She made it clear to all that she wanted the tree and all its toys to go to the children of Intermountain and the anonymous buyer agreed, purchasing the tree for $800 and donating it back to Intermountain, where Aliza Jane and her mom set it up in Bridger Cottage a few days after the close of the Festival. Aliza Jane is a great model of selfless giving and sharing.

Cora Ackerman

HELENA MIDDLE SCHOOL, 8TH GRADE

Cora is a quiet-natured girl full of humor and has a heart for her peers who are not widely accepted by the crowd. She is full of talent few would know because she has no need, and sometimes no desire, to be on display. She has an ability to express herself through beautiful artwork, musical talent, and her superb imagination when with her family and friends. Cora’s tender heart is full of compassion for people, animals, and nature. She is quick to notice someone else’s struggles and often will extend a sincere hand to hold or a hug. She hopes to someday be an art or math teacher, being a positive influence in the lives of the next generation.

Gracie Gribbons CAPITAL HIGH SCHOOL, 12TH GRADE

Gracie is a senior at Capital High School and close to completing her Gold Award in Girl Scouts. She has championed a personal cause by educating the Helena community about therapy and service animals for her Gold Award Project. She enjoys camping, fishing, art projects, Special Olympics, 4-H, and chill time watching TV with her therapy dog “Izzy.” She has wonderful persistence to do her best. She has enjoyed gaining work experience at The Painted Pot, The Carousel, a local pet store, helping in a home daycare, and working for the softball concessions. Gracie, you are amazing!

Erin Carr FAMILY SUPPORT SPECIALIST, FAMILY OUTREACH

Erin has been a Family Support Specialist with Family Outreach for over six years, supporting children and families with disabilities. She enjoys seeing kids flourish and achieve their full potential, and has lots of stories of success. Erin spearheads the Family Outreach Christmas Committee, helping to connect families with sponsors for assistance during the holidays. Prior to working at Family Outreach, Erin was a teacher for 10 years. She is often on the hiking trail or training for an upcoming race by running around her neighborhood. Erin completed her first marathon in October 2017. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her nephew, awaiting the arrival of her niece, and cheering for the Chicago Bears.

Elevate Montana Helena Affiliate

COMMUNITY PARTNER

Elevate Montana Helena Affiliate is a coalition of partners that strives to raise awareness about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), their long-term health effects, the power of resiliency in overcoming ACEs, and creating a more compassionate and connected community. They have organized free events such as screenings of the movies Paper Tigers and Resilience, as well as offer ACE presentations on a regular basis. They are attempting to set up a baby changing station at Farmer’s Market and are working on implementing an initiative called Handle with Care that would give school staff a heads up about a potentially traumatic event, so they can help kids be successful. Thanks, EMHA, for caring about our kids and families!

10

March 2018

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

youthconnectionscoalition.org


• 406 Checking w/ Free Visa Check Card • Free Online & Mobile Banking Proud to support Helena youth and Youth Connections!

3094 N Sanders Street | 5 W Lyndale Avenue Helena: 447-9000 $100 minimum opening deposit with no minimum balance/service charge.

©2018 Stockman Bank | Member FDIC

stockmanbank.com

Teach your little buckaroo

to live tobacco FREE!

Today is the perfect time to start a tobacco-free future together

40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

Begin your financial journey with us!

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!

We can help! www.LewisAndClarkHealth.org

• Be Active • Eat Right • Get Screened • Be Sunwise • Be Tobacco Free •

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.

youthconnectionscoalition.org

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

March 2018

11


assets in action

40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

7 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.

HMS Choir Club before community performance

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.

1

12

Grandpa spending time reading to Aurora Mr. McKay with “Bob” honoring kids making good choices

18

BOUNDARIES & EXPECTATIONS

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

CONSTRUCTIVE USE OF TIME

Enjoying activities at YMCA afterschool program

12

March 2018

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

youthconnectionscoalition.org

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.

26 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.

Helping a neighbor before playing a game

POSITIVE VALUES

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

22

40 Helena High first place team in the weld-off

Students sharing their love of ‘fishies’

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.

33

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.

Friends having fun together

youthconnectionscoalition.org

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

March 2018

13


positive VALUES By KELLY ACKERMAN, Parent Educator

14

March 2018

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

youthconnectionscoalition.org


YC Magazine highlights 40 Developmental Assets in each issue. These assets are evidence-based to positively contribute to the development of children across their lifespan.

esearch clearly shows that the more assets a young person has, the less likely they are to participate in risk-taking behaviors during adolescence including drug and alcohol use, violence, illicit drug use, and sexual activity. Sadly, the average young person has less than half of these assets according to Search Institute. This article is one in a series to highlight the eight categories of assets in order to more fully engage families, schools, agencies, businesses, and community members in ensuring our children experience as many assets as possible. POSITIVE VALUES This developmental asset consists of the following six aspects: 1. CARING 2. EQUALITY & JUSTICE 3. INTEGRITY 4. HONESTY 5. RESPONSIBILITY 6. RESTRAINT There is most certainly a wide range of values that are expressed, witnessed, observed, and internalized over the course of lifespan. It is often difficult for communities, schools, and sometimes families to agree on what values are most important or which ones should be taught universally to all children; however, values help to guide behavior. The values become internalized within the person, ultimately guiding thinking and behavior. Specifically, values play a greater role in determining behavior rather than fear of consequences or the consideration of what others might think. Therefore, positive values benefit both an individual as well as society, making it clear that promoting positive values is a worthwhile effort.

When considering how these values are best internalized by youth, adults must specifically ask and promote behavior that reflects the underlying values, and the values need to be consistently represented and reinforced by adults across various roles in the lives of young people, including adults in the home, the neighborhood, the school, and the community. This makes it clear that all community members play an active part in the development of these six key positive values. Character values allow young people to make good decisions. Four of the six values within this asset are character values. Integrity is demonstrated when a young person acts on convictions and stands up for his or her beliefs. For instance, a young child may cry out to an adult to stop before stepping on a spider to take the spider outside because of the belief that killing something is wrong. An adolescent may choose to take an alternate viewpoint than a teacher based on deep-rooted beliefs that are in direct conflict with a teacher’s request. Honesty is demonstrated when a young person tells the truth even when it is not easy. For instance, a young person may admit to having taken $20 off the kitchen table so that s/he could go to a movie with friends. Within honesty, it is still ok, and necessary, to enforce consequences, but acknowledging the honesty is equally as important, because it takes great character to exercise the truth when consequences are involved. Responsibility is accepting and taking personal responsibility. This can be witnessed when a child cleans up toys after playing or when accepting a lower grade on an assignment because it was not completed on time. Responsibility is readily modeled for young people any time initiative is taken, or consequences for actions are accepted without complaint, denial, or blame. Restraint is the belief that is important not to be sexually active or to use alcohol and other drugs. Holding this particular value is more important than fear of

consequences or the fear of what others may think. Although restraint is a character value, it has great effects on the community by reducing sexually transmitted diseases, decreasing early pregnancies, and reducing alcohol and drug related accidents and deaths. However, the consequences themselves are not the driving forces, the internally held value of restraint which can be promoted at an early age is the value that is most effective. Prosocial values are those that directly impact other individuals, the community, and greater society. These values may arise simultaneously and as a result of character values. Caring is defined as placing high value on helping other people. When caring is expressed, empathy is being developed and built. Empathy allows youth to learn how to see things from other perspectives, rather than being focused solely on oneself. A sense of the importance of others results in action to promote respect toward others. For instance, from caring comes the willingness to help another student who has gotten hurt, is struggling in a class, or who is sitting alone in lunch room. Equality and justice arises when caring is expressed. This places a high value on promoting equality and ending hunger and poverty. Although many do not agree on how this should be played out, it is within the context of caring that understanding hunger and poverty and injustice begins to take root. There is no doubt that positive values result in individual and societal benefit. Explicitly expecting behaviors that demonstrate these values consistently and settings provides children and adolescents to adopt and internalize each value. This process is an ongoing one that requires solid relationships. Each individual, family, neighbor, school employee, and community member can actively take part in this process in a positive and effective way which results in a future generation of healthy, respectful children who grow into productive, compassionate adults. â–

youthconnectionscoalition.org

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

March 2018

15


play

THE IMPORTANCE OF By DAVID SMITH, CEO, YMCA of Helena

Parents are often guilty of over-programming their children. But one trend emerging to change this habit is the encouragement of unstructured play, also known as sandlot play.

andlot experiences involve setting aside time at gyms and fields to allow kids to play pickup games. The Aspen Institute’s Project Play suggests sandlot experiences as a way to meet one of eight key challenges that keep kids from lifelong physical activity: overstructured experiences. By reintroducing unstructured play, organizations and parents can spark kids’ creativity and promote a love of physical activity that can last a lifetime. Unstructured play in childhood is also associated with higher levels of academic creativity among college students, according to a 2014 University of Texas study. Children who spend more time in less structured activities are better able to set their own goals and take action on them. Those studies came on the heels of others showing informal play is protective against injury in competitive young athletes. To learn more, let’s start with the need to be active: fewer than half of children ages 6 to 11 meet the U.S. Surgeon General’s recommendation for engaging in at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. Traditionally, one way to address that deficit is through sport activity, especially team sports, as children often enjoy playing in groups. But fewer of them are doing so now than just a few years ago. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), 40 percent of kids played team sports on a regular basis in 2013, down from 44.5 percent in 2008.

16

March 2018

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

Further, only 52.2 percent took part in those activities even once during the year, down from 58.6 percent. In other words, kids may not want to play organized sports as much as their parents want them to compete. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports obesity affects about 12.7 million children and adolescents. This poses greater risks for many health problems such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers. This is why the CDC recommends kids should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. We can encourage this quite simply by letting (read: encouraging) children to play. For generations of Americans, casual play—from the sandlot to the recreation center—was a foundational experience, a kid-directed zone that rewarded expression, fostered social skills, and demanded some degree of inclusion. It also delivered hours of physical activity, without that ever being the goal. The silliness of play, the apparently random weirdness of it all, is what makes it so effective. Play lets children learn by randomly and variably trying out a range of actions and ideas, and then working out the consequences. Children who pretend, and grown-ups who immerse themselves in the imaginary realms of fiction and drama,

youthconnectionscoalition.org

are considering what would happen if the world were different, and working out the consequences. Play enhances confidence and fortitude, making it easier for children to face future challenges. Experts recognize the need to reintroduce free play where possible. “To promote lifelong, intrinsically motivated sport participation, it is imperative to build a foundation during childhood,” sports psychologist Jean Coté writes. “Inclusion of high amounts of deliberate play activities early in development provides that motivational foundation.” Some children will pursue elite-level sports in adolescence, motivated by dreams of competing at the state, national, college, or professional levels. Many more will follow a local competitive sport track, through school, club, or community sports. The rest may choose less-structured activities and will have developed the skills and desire to enjoy a variety of sports throughout their lives, from cycling and rock climbing to neighborhood or company softball teams to swimming, biking, and yoga. But contrary to popular assumption, athletes are more likely to play at the college level and beyond if they wait until later to specialize in one sport. Both health and performance are served if the preteen years are treated as a development zone, with activities that build physical literacy. So, parents, we need to get out of the way more often—and let the game, and child peers, be the teacher. ■


NUMBERS Q. I’ve heard about the Wait Until 8th pledge.

68

What is it?

A.

This campaign encourages parents to band together and commit to not give their child a smart phone until the 8th grade. If they already have the phone, the cat is out of the bag and it will be impossible to put it back. There are many reasons the campaign cites for needing to limit technology for kids until 8th grade. One reason is to let kids be kids a little longer. Once in the hands of kids, smart phones quickly change childhood for children. Instead of playing outdoors, spending time with friends and family, reading, playing sports, enjoying activities that stimulate their creativity, they spend hours comparing themselves to others on Snapchat and Instagram and catching up on YouTube videos. Children spend anywhere from three to seven hours a day in front of a screen. There is research that shows kids who spend a lot of time on social media have increased depressive symptoms. Other research shows dependence on smart phones may produce some of the same addictive brain responses similar to alcohol, drug, and gambling addictions. (Have you tried to go without your smart phone for a couple of days? It’s scary how addictive it is.) When children overuse technology, the constant stimulation of the brain causes the hormone cortisol to rise. Too much cortisol can inhibit a child from feeling calm. The loss of tranquility can lead to serious anxiety disorders. Academics can also suffer. Studies show that after a child receives a smartphone, the child’s grades are likely to suffer. Another study found that children who attend schools with smart phone bans did better on tests. We also know that the blue light that phones emit inhibits the body’s ability to produce serotonin, which causes us to be sleepy. The blue light from the phone signals the brain that it’s day time and we need to stay awake. In addition, kids have been known to check social media and their text messages from friends in the middle of the night. Sleep disturbance in childhood is known to have adverse effects on health, including poor diet, obesity, weakened immune system, stunted growth, and mental health issues. For additional information and to take the pledge, visit: waituntil8th.org.

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.

The percentage that stress is relieved by reading.

1

The percentage of the world’s population that is served at a McDonalds daily.

46,001

The number of pushups performed in one day.

40

The number of minutes a sloth can hold his breath.

3

The number of chickens there are on earth per person.

800

The amount in tons of chocolate sold at the Brussels Airport each year. SOURCE: www.thefactsite.com; funfactz.com

18

March 2018

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

youthconnectionscoalition.org


We’re All Smiles at Intermountain!

Meet our Psychiatric Services Team at Intermountain’s Community Service Center!

We are accepting new clients for psychiatric assessment and medication management customized for children and youth ages 5-18. At Intermountain we incorporate the expertise and rely on the support of the psychologists, therapists and other providers Steffani Turner, LCSW, Director of Outpatient Services; Micki McCubbins, RN, BSN, Nurse Manager; Jody Mack, here. We accept all insurances. Physician’s Assistant-Certified; Emily Michalski-Weber, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner; Julie Gardner, LPN

To schedule an appointment, please call (406) 443-2977.

3240 Dredge Drive Helena, MT 59601 www.intermountain.org

Helena CHristian sCHool “Following Christ’s call to impact the world”

ugh o r th ool rade h c -s Pre 12th G

Serving The Helena Community over 30 years

Educate - Build - Inspire

Bus Service Available ■ After School Care Available ■ Enrolling Now ■ Tours Available Accredited through ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) and AdvancEd 3384 CANYON FERRY ROAD (406)442-3821

www.helenachristian.org youthconnectionscoalition.org

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

March 2018

19


celebrating FAILURE By KATHLEEN GAZY, Former Parent Educator

20

March 2018

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

youthconnectionscoalition.org


Can you imagine actually praying that your child will make mistakes? Have you thought about being glad when your children make poor choices? Do you have a tendency to rush in during these moments and “overparent,” determined to save your child from even the tiniest failure?

ne of the greatest barriers to our children’s successes is our own fear of their failures, but what if we did begin to think of these failures as a gift? Learning to embrace this way of thinking can help us to let go of overparenting tendencies. When we can watch our children experience these life lesson opportunities, and respond with empathy as they do fail, our kids learn that a successful life is discovered as they walk through the natural consequences of their choices. There have been numerous studies in regard to overparenting. These are parents who don’t allow their children to make any choices on their own, and attempt to protect their children from real and potential consequences. One study done at Queensland University of Technology, by Judith Locke, et. al., characterized overparenting as a “misguided attempt to improve [a] child’s current and future personal and academic success.” Some examples of overparenting from the Queensland study included:

+

Cutting up a 10-year-old’s food.

+ Bringing a separate plate of food for a 16-year-old to a party as he is a picky eater.

+ Carrying a child instead of allowing him to walk. + Not allowing an older child to use public transport, attend a school camp, or learn to drive.

+ Parents fighting for the child to have what they want rather than tough it out and face the consequences.

+ Monitoring their adolescent child while hanging out at a coffee shop, not leaving the child with any autonomy.

+ Preventing the child from being able to problem solve by racing to their rescue, and never allowing for failure or struggle.

+ Rushing to school at the whim of a phone call from their

child to deliver items such as forgotten lunches, forgotten assignments, forgotten uniforms, etc.

+ Come to student’s locker to check on whether daughter has all she needs to take home in the afternoon.

+ Do student’s homework for them.

These parents have a constant habit of stepping in and taking control of situations in order to help their children avoid difficulties. Ultimately, what overparenting succeeds in doing, as these parents step in to save kids from their mistakes, is to undermine their children’s own sense of independence, and destroy their self confidence. The wisest parents have the understanding that children who are allowed to learn from mistakes while they are still at home will be less likely to make horrific mistakes later on. These parents are allowing their children to learn healthy decision making through real life consequences. Jim and Charles Fay, Co-Founder and President of Love and Logic Institute have been teaching these ideas for decades. Although they have many parenting techniques, Love and Logic basically teaches these two rules:

1

Adults set firm limits in loving ways without anger, lecture, or threats.

a child’s choice causes a 2 When problem, the adult hands the problem back in loving ways.

Their premise is simple: “Children learn the best lessons when they’re given a task, allowed to make their own choices, and given the opportunity to fail.” Love and Logic further challenges parents by actually asking them to look forward to their children’s mistakes, and even be excited when this happens. Giving our children choices and allowing the opportunity to fail can be a win-win situation. If their choices are successful? Wonderful! We want our children to experience many successes in life, and have the satisfaction of knowing that the success came from their own efforts. If they fail, Love and Logic reminds us that it’s okay; the failure is taking place while the children are young, still living in the home, while the cost of the failure is still small, and coupled with love and empathy from their parents. When we take away the fear of failure, we create a fundamental change in our approach to parenting. If we see our children’s mistakes and failures as opportunities rather than something to be mad or embarrassed about, this can take enormous pressure off of parenting. This new way of thinking may even open us up to the possibility that parenting our kids through difficult times can actually be kind of satisfying. Maybe even fun. That is worth celebrating! ■

+ Facebook has a filtering feature that can allow teenagers to hide certain posts from

parents or other adults. Use your best judgment to determine if your child be | March 2018 youthconnectionscoalition.org | YCmight MAGAZINE filtering the posts that you see.

+ Most parents are surprised to learn that their child has social media accounts on sites you

21


Rx Drug Education Forum

LET’S TALK Thurs, April 26, 6 P.M.

Blue Cross Blue Shield Education Center | 3645 Alice Street Andy Duran, tips for parents on preventing Rx drug abuse Carroll College students report on DUI-drugs community perception Panel of local experts: Adolescent Licensed Addiction Counselor, MHP Drug Recognition Expert, Parent of child with substance use disorder, Pharmacist, Missouri River Drug Task Force Mock bedroom—can you find the red flags of use hidden in plain sight?

SPONSORED BY

DON’T PUT YOURSELF AND OTHERS IN

jeopardy!

RX DRUGS

OTC DRUGS

DUI

IMPAIRED

ARRESTED ARRESTED FOR FOR Rx Rx DRUGGED DRUGGED DRIVING DRIVING

$ 200

$ 200

ALCOHOL ALCOHOL

$ 200

$ 200

$ 400

$ 400

MARIJUANA MARIJUANA

SLOWED SLOWED REACTION REACTION TIME TIME

$ 400

$ 600

SOME SOME DRUGS DRUGS IMPAIR IMPAIR YOUR YOUR ABILITY ABILITY TO TO DRIVE DRIVE

INHALANTS INHALANTS

$ 600

TIGER TIGER WOODS WOODS

$ 800

$ 800

OTC OTC MEDS MEDS

$ 800

$ 800

DUI–EVEN DUI–EVEN IF IF TAKEN TAKEN AS AS PRESCRIBED PRESCRIBED IF IMPAIRED IF IMPAIRED

$ 1000

Rx Rx DRUGS DRUGS

DROWSY DROWSY

JOHN JOHN STAMOS STAMOS

DRIVE UNIMPAIRED 22

March 2018

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

youthconnectionscoalition.org


KRATOM:

What is it and why is it dangerous? By KIMBERLY GARDNER, LCSW, LAC

lthough Kratom is touted as “all natural,” it has sent people to the emergency room, and there have been calls to the poison control center after use. The drug is addictive, and withdrawal effects are similar to opiates, like heroin and prescription pain killers. Kratom by itself is not associated with fatal overdose, but commercial forms of the drug are sometimes laced with other compounds that have caused deaths. The DEA has labeled it a ‘drug of concern.’ Kratom is a relatively new drug to the U.S. It comes from a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, with leaves that contain psychoactive (mind-altering) opioid compounds. The drug may be bought in leaf form but it is more likely to be purchased as a capsule filled with powdered or chopped up leaf material and used for tea or smoking. Some people chew it or eat it in food. It is sometimes sold as a green powder in packets labeled “not for human consumption.” It is easily accessible by ordering from online, at head shops, and even in convenience stores and gas stations. While technically “legal” in most states across America, it is still a concerning drug with a potential for abuse, dependency, and even addiction.

The drug is abused for its sedative or stimulating effects. At low doses, it is a stimulant, making a person more talkative, sociable and energetic. At higher doses, it creates lethargy and euphoria. But the experience is not pleasant for every user. The effects of Kratom come on rather quickly and last between five and seven hours, although high doses can last longer. It is heavily promoted as legal and undetectable, which makes it popular with youth who aren’t of legal age to purchase alcohol and who are afraid of being arrested with marijuana or other drugs. However, Kratom can be detected by some drug tests. The effects of Kratom are: nervousness, nausea and/or vomiting which can be severe and prolonged, delusions, respiratory depression, hallucinations, paranoia, and aggressive or combative behavior, to name a few. As with anything, even if it’s touted as “all natural” that doesn’t mean it is safe, especially for youth. Herbal remedies, such as Kratom, do affect the developing brain, so it’s important to discuss the dangers of this and other drugs with young people. ■

youthconnectionscoalition.org

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

March 2018

23


SUMMER FUN!

Active play and learning opportunities for kids of all ages

ORGANIC SUSTAINABLE LOCAL

we are MAKING

• Full day camps (7:30–5:30) include field trips, outdoor fun, park and pool play • Half day preschool camps • Half day skills camps for dance, cheer tumbling, gymnastics and ninja sport • Low instructor-camper ratio and snacks provided at every camp

Also check out evening gymnastics and cheer classes, plus Open Gym and Parent’s Night Out

Details & Online Registration: hacmt.com (406) 442-6782 • 3340 McHugh Ln

OUR HELENA HOME STRONGER TOGETHER

switch to thecu4u.org

eWIC is here

AND IT’S EASY-PEASEY! Using WIC supplemental nutrition benefits for pregnant women, new moms, and children up to age 5 is now faster and easier — as easy as swiping a credit card! “I no longer feel embarrrassed using WIC benefits!” says Brandi, a Helena WIC client.

Have you heard?

an equal opportunity provider

457-8912 • 1930 Ninth Avenue, Helena publichealth@lccountymt.gov

24

March 2018

|

YC MAGAZINE

|

youthconnectionscoalition.org


406.457.0000 | PureViewHealthCenter.org | Helena, MT


Youth Connections 1025 N Rodney Helena, MT 59601

Profile for Deanna Johnson

YC Mag Helena March 2018  

YC Mag Helena March 2018