Youth Connections, Helena - March 2020

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Warning Signs of Substance Use

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THE COMPLETE DOWNLOAD ON SCREEN ADDICTION » Who Should You Trust with Your Mental Health? » No Reason to Lose Sleep

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» What Children Really Need


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INSIDE MARCH 2020

FEATURES

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The Complete Download on Screen Addiction

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Who Should You Trust with Your Mental Health?

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No Reason to Lose Sleep What Children Really Need

Warning Signs of Substance Use and How to Address it with Your Child 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

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ON THE COVER

8th grader Willa Bishop attends Helena Middle School. When not hitting the books at HMS, she can be found tinkering away with her robotics team, Fusion Robotics, playing volleyball, trying a new recipe (preferably Mexican or anything breakfast), skiing at Great Divide, enjoying the great outdoors, and spending time with friends. In the future, she plans to attend college, travel the world, and explore a career in medicine or another STEM-based 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.

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Director W FROM THE

e’re in the homestretch of the school year again. Families are starting to think about scheduling kiddos for summer activities and camps, kids are getting spring fever and (hopefully) wanting to get outside, and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel where school is concerned. This can be an exciting, but also stressful time. Kids are starting to realize COLEEN there’s limited time to improve grades, SMITH so that can create added stress. Research has shown that any more than two hours a day using technology will increase depression and anxiety. The magazine committee has chosen some meaty topics to address this issue, starting out with screen addiction. Did you know there are now facilities that focus strictly on treating screen addictions? It’s a very real problem affecting many youth. With all that increased depression and anxiety comes angst for parents. “How do we know the questions to ask a counselor to find the right one? What if all the counselors are full – what can I do in the meantime?” We are lucky to have an article to address these issues! Just like when our child is physically ill, it’s very worrisome when our child is struggling to be mentally well. This article can walk parents through some steps to take to hopefully make this stressful time more manageable. Kelly has again shared her expertise on What Children Need. We always try to give our kids what we never had, but if what we had was lots of quality time with parents/family/ other adults, we received the greatest gift of all. Sure, it’s fun to have new toys, a special trip, or the latest gadget, but it’s the TIME spent with special people that creates the lasting memories. In our Q&A we touch on time with family. Researchers consistently say that kids need family time more than most anything else. I hope you’ll take some special time with kiddos these next couple of months before summer arrives, when longer hours and warmer days take us all in separate directions. 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


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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.


CONFESSIONS FROM THE KITCHEN TABLE Bullying: I Never Thought it Would be My Kid

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ate one evening I received a call from my teenage son who informed me that he just had a concerning conversation with his sister. I stopped what I doing to really focus on the conversation. He informed me that his sister stated that she was depressed and had a plan to take her own life. Needless to say, I was shocked. I never thought in a million years that my kid would have thoughts like that. My thoughts then turned to sadness. My child was in so much pain that she was thinking of taking her life. I immediately thought, what can I do about this and how can I stop the pain. I then explained to my teenage son that I needed to address this with his sister. I proceeded to pick up my youngest. I started with the normal conversations of, “How was your day?” You see my youngest is really good at displaying happiness. She is that kid that hugs everyone and everyone becomes a friend. So, I gingerly started to ask some probing questions like, “How have you been feeling lately?” Then I stated that I loved her and there is nothing she would share or tell me that would change that. I watched her carefully after I stated that and her smile fell and she turned to me to say, “I’m struggling”. I shared with her that her brother talked to me about the conversation they had and he was worried about the dark

thoughts she was having. I asked her what was bothering her the most. She stated it was the kid at school that kept saying, “You should be a boy” or “Aren’t you a boy?” Then she shared, “I don’t want to go back to school.” I asked if she had talked to her teachers. She stated that she did go to her teachers and nothing changed. My initial instinct was to storm into the school and demand some answers. After making sure my child was safe and under constant supervision, I went to work on using the tools I had available to help her. As soon as I got home, I contacted her brain health provider to get some advice on what to do. Next, I wrote an email to her school counselor, teacher and principal. I first heard from her brain health provider and they stated that I should take her to her primary care doctor to get blood work completed to make sure none of her feelings were associated with something medical like low Vitamin D or thyroid issues. The next morning, I went to the school to talk to whomever was available. I arrived and the counselor was available and I talked with her. She assured me that she had talked to the other child and their parents. I also had a conversation with her teacher who had no idea how much my daughter was struggling. I know that bullying can be a way that children express feelings when they are

stressed. Simply, I know that hurting kids hurt other kids. I checked in with my daughter over the next couple days and also made sure she was being supported. I asked about school and the bullying situation, and she said it had been much better. I also got the results of her blood work and everything was normal. Her pediatrician also talked to me about making sure she was getting plenty of sleep. I thought everything was getting back on track, then I got a call from the school counselor. The counselor was calling to check in on my daughter but also to talk to me about a situation where my daughter was bullying another child. Apparently she had been aggressively hugging another child even when the child had asked her to stop. I was mortified! How could this be? I had no idea the tables would be turned. My daughter was struggling with being bullied; how could she put someone else in the same position? Then I was reminded by the school counselor that this is not uncommon for children who are bullied to then bully someone else. Bullying is real and it can happen to any of our children. I learned that I need to pay attention to when my kids have used all the tools in their toolkit and the problem still exists, and constantly remind myself that children have real stress and it impacts them. ■

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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the complete down

SCREEN ADD By KATIE HARLOW, LCSW – Intermountain Clinical Director

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nload on

DICTION

If you are in a public place reading this article, I invite you to take a look around to see how many children’s heads are bowed toward the light of a screen (phone, tablet, or other). Chances are it’s quite a few thanks to the digital age we live in.

T

he truth is, screens play a part in shaping our children’s lives at home and at school, and they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. While screens have benefits (access to greater global knowledge and educational resources being shared in real-time, just to name a few) they, like all other aspects of life, should be used in moderation. BEHAVIORAL ADDICTION VS SUBSTANCE ADDICTION Some may have heard, and even used, the phrase “screen addiction.” For those who haven’t, this phrase has been used to identify a rapidly growing phenomenon observable among all populations but highly noticeable in young adults, teens, tweens, and children. According to studies from the nonprofit group Common Sense Media, our children average the following screen times by age per day: + (13-19 years) average roughly 9 hours + (10-12 years) average roughly 6 hours + (0 to 8 years) average roughly 2.5 hours Does this mean a teen spending nearly a third of their day, or a tween spending nearly a fourth of their day in front of a screen is addicted? Not necessarily. To understand why use does not equate addiction, it is important to understand the difference between behavioral addiction and physical addiction. Behavioral addiction such as “screen addiction” is similar to physical addiction such as to alcohol, meth, or heroin, except that when it comes to behavior, the addiction is to the feeling the user gets from interaction rather than physical need. Even though “screen addiction” is not physical, the lack of screen interaction can cause similar reactions of intense emotional and negative behavioral responses when the screen is absent or taken away. This is because the same is true for all addiction - the source of the addiction becomes the greatest priority. This priority can be greater than life needs such as sleeping, eating, continued on page 9

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continued from page 7

bathing, and interpersonal interaction. NOTE: Age can determine the capacity for addiction. For children under the age of 12, behavioral addictions do not necessarily occur due to a lack of what is needed for an addiction to exist – mainly a high capacity for self-reflection and self-regulation (selfdetermined change of behavior). This is why a negative reaction, such as having a meltdown, in response to the loss of screen time would not typically be seen as addiction in children under the age of 12. However, if a child under the age of 12 demonstrates self-reflection and the ability to self-regulate, behavioral addictions can occur. HOW TO IDENTIFY SCREEN ADDICTION Before we dive into the identification of, and if needed, “screen addiction” correction, think about your children for a second and see if the following nine statements describe them: + It is hard for my child to stop using screen media. + Screen media is the only thing that seems to motivate my child. + Screen media is all that my child seems to think about. + My child’s screen media use interferes with family activities. + My child’s screen media use causes problems for the family. + My child becomes frustrated when he/she cannot use screen media. + The amount of time my child wants to use screen media keeps increasing. + My child sneaks using screen media. + When my child has had a bad day, screen media seems to be the only thing that helps them feel better. After Sarah E. Domoff of Central Michigan University and a team of researchers studied parents, their children, and issues surrounding screen use, they developed the Problematic Media Use Measure (PMUM) and the Problematic Media Use Measure Short Form (PMUM SF). The above statements are from the PMUM SF. If these statements resonated in your child’s behavior, they may struggle with some degree of screen addiction. TIPS TO OVERCOME SCREEN ADDICTION AND PREVENT IT The new Canadian Paediatric Society has published 2019 guidelines for promoting healthy screen use in school-aged children and adolescents. Here are six of their recommendations to address and improve your child’s relationship with their screen:

Age can determine the capacity for addiction. For children under the age of 12 behavioral addictions do not necessarily occur due to a lack of what is needed for an addiction to exist – mainly a high capacity for self-reflection and self-regulation 1. Lead with Empathy Communicating with your child about sensitive issues is best done when they know you are firmly on their side and only have their best interest in mind. This means, approaching the topic of screen media with understanding and empathy will set all conversation up for success. + Acknowledge how you understand screen media can be fun (share positive ways you use your screen media). + Acknowledge how screen media is a part of socializing and connecting with their peers (show them how you positively use screen media to connect with your friends). + Let them know your interest in their screen time comes from a place of wanting them to develop in a healthy and positive way. 2. Set Screen-time Limits: Here are suggested screen times by age: + No screen time for children younger than 2 years (except for video-calling with friends and family). + Less than 1 hour per day of routine or regular screen time for children 2 to 5 years old. + For children 5 and older screen time should be monitored and balanced with other activities (media time at school and in childcare is addressed below). + Avoid all screens for at least 1 hour before bedtime. 3. Develop a Family Media Plan Each family media plan will be unique but should include the following: + Individualized time and content limits.

+ Utilization of parental controls and privacy settings. + Co-viewing and talking about content with your children to discourage the use of multiple devices at the same time. + Obtain all passwords and log-in information for their devices. + Discuss appropriate online behaviors. 4. Encourage Meaningful Screen Time As stated earlier, you should communicate how screen time can be fun. You can also show them how screen time can be beneficial. + Work with your children to choose age-appropriate content and recognize problematic content or behaviors together. + Become part of your children’s media lives (work with their schools and child-care to help them consider developing their own plans screen use). + Usher your children toward educational apps (reading, puzzles, reasoning games) rather than apps that promote activities involving violent games, excessive social media engagement, or selfie-driven interactions. 5. Be a Strong Example Remember, your children look to you for guidance. Changing your screen behavior will be a good way to direct theirs. + Review your own media habits and plan time for alternative play and activities. + Encourage daily “screen-free” times for the whole family. + Turn off your screens when they aren’t in use (this includes TVs). + Avoid your screen at least 1 hour before bedtime. 6. Monitor for Signs of Problematic Use (Prevention) Signs include: + Complaints about boredom and sadness in the absence of screen media. + Excessive talk about online experiences. + Use that interferes with sleep, school, personal interactions, offline play, and physical activity. + Emotional outbursts around the removal of screen media. Screens are here to stay. Finding ways to help your child(ren) understand how to use these tools in moderation will not only help them interact with technology in a healthy way, it may also encourage greater family connection. ■

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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.

Carolyn Wedll

FACES IN THE CROWD

PRICKLY PEAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, 2ND GRADE

Carolyn is a student that loves to lend a hand and watches out for “the little guy.” She is the type of person that doesn’t wait to be asked or told what to do, she simply does it! In kindergarten she was a helper and friend to a special-needs classmate that had difficulty communicating and controlling his responses. She understood his challenges and always welcomed him in class activities. Through first and second grade she has been a dependable friend for a medically fragile student that often has to stay indoors for recess, and can sometimes use an extra “push” with the wheelchair. Carolyn shows others what it means to be a friend and advocate for others.

Hailey Burger

CR ANDERSON MIDDLE SCHOOL, 8TH GRADE

Faith, family, friends, school and sports are very important in Hailey’s life. She is passionate about rodeo and is a member of the National Junior High School Rodeo Association, Montana High School Rodeo Association and the Helena Rodeo Team. She loves to spend time with her animals and has a special bond with her horses. Her favorite event is goat tying. She qualified for the National Finals Junior High Rodeo in both goat tying and pole bending in 2019. Hailey is a kind person and has touched many lives with her caring and sharing personality. She is a fierce competitor and loves to win. Her hard work and dedication helps her accomplish her goals and achieve success.

Bella Nyman

PROJECT FOR ALTERNATIVE LEARNING, 11TH GRADE

Bella was Shodair Children’s Hospital Champion in 2019 and is currently one of ten national champions for the Children’s Miracle Network. Her teacher said, “I have worked with thousands of students throughout my career, but Bella stands out as one of the most resilient, hard-working, compassionate, intelligent, and driven people I’ve ever met. Her story is motivational, her willingness to help others is immense, and her care for the world and people around her is to be admired. Bella has had to fight through a lot to get to where she is, but she doesn’t hide that part of her past. In fact, just the opposite; she embraces her story and uses it to help others in need. She is one-of-a-kind.”

Kelly Ackerman

THERAPIST

Kelly is a therapist in private practice. She is a facilitator of Circle of Security Parenting as well as Love and Logic. She is a former board member of Youth Connections and is a frequent contributor to YC Magazine, sharing her expertise and passion for helping kids and families. She is a mom to three amazing girls who are active in the arts, which she actively supports. She believes all kids have value and worth and that active work to seek, find and engage is the key, which is done through listening to the message they tell themselves and try to tell others. Though busy with work and volunteering, she always makes time for what is important. Thanks for your contributions, Kelly!

MAPS Media Institute

COMMUNITY PARTNER

MAPS was established in 2004 as an educational nonprofit whose mission is “to empower, inspire and prepare Montana’s next generation for future success through professional media arts instruction, engaging community service and compassionate mentoring.” MAPS has afterschool and summer programs in Ravalli, Lewis & Clark, and Lake Counties. The MAPS Media Lab or “Road Show”, facilitates media workshops with students in rural and Reservation communities. All of MAPS programming is free-of-charge. In 2017, MAPS was recognized with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Programs award, an honor given to the top 12 creative youth organizations in the country. Their key to success is putting professional equipment into the hands of students with the guidance of compassionate, skilled artist-educators. For information: mapmediainstitute.com.

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Your next cleaning job, just mention “Youth Connections” when you call.

40 DEVELOPMENTAL ASSETS

healthy environment healthy kids

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!

(406) 442-1923 | www.RainbowIntl.com

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

14 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.

CEO of the YMCA exercising with youth

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 Boy Scouts help at Festival of Trees Dad and daughter spending quality time together

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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

Our Redeemer’s Lutheran Church youth group having fun

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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.

30 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.

CHS Business Professionals of America compete at MSU

POSITIVE VALUES

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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.

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.

Winners from HHS of the Weld Off Reading for fun at Kessler

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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.

Friends enjoying safe and healthy game night

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who should you trust with YOUR MENTAL HEALTH? By DANIEL CHAMPER, LCPC - Intermountain Clinical Director

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hen you have a headache, you can take ibuprofen to feel better regardless of the brand. This is because ibuprofen must follow a chemical manufacturing standard allowing it to be called ibuprofen. Unfortunately, psychotherapy (therapy) is not ibuprofen. While there are standards of care that accompany every psychotherapist (provider) licensed to provide care, the therapy they provided will ultimately be as unique as the provider themselves. Because of this, it is important to understand the following three things: 1. What therapy is. 2. What questions to ask a new-to-you provider before making an appointment. 3. What the qualities of good therapy and of less-good therapy are. WHAT IS THERAPY? Psychotherapy (sometimes referred to as “talk therapy” or simply “therapy”), is a practice meant to assist children, youth, families, and adults as they address a broad variety of mental health concerns (such as depression and anxiety), emotional distress, co-occurring substance use, suicidal thoughts or ideation, trauma, and other life-impacting stress. The ultimate intention of therapy is to help someone cope with, alleviate, eliminate, or regain control of troublesome symptoms so they can ultimately experience increased emotional well-being and overall mental health. THREE QUESTIONS TO ASK A NEW PROVIDER BEFORE YOU MAKE AN APPOINTMENT: 1. What is their area of expertise? Because there are thousands of mental health and relationship issues it is reasonable to expect your provider to specialize in one or more, but not all. It is good to make sure they have the skillset to address your concerns and age (some providers are age-specific – adults OR children). 2. How will they measure progress? It is reasonable to learn how a provider will track your progress throughout your sessions. If they have no answer to this question you might need to find someone who can. 3. What kind of license do they hold and are they licensed to practice in your state?

The process to become a licensed provider takes a serious commitment. Licensed providers must earn a Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree, obtain provisional licensure, complete work experience, pass state or professional examinations, obtain state licensure, and meet continuing education requirements. Providers must be licensed by the states in which they practice. THREE EASILY IDENTIFIABLE QUALITIES OF GOOD (AND LESS-GOOD) THERAPY 1. Therapy is Not About Making a Friend While there are many opportunities in life to develop friendships and personal relationships, therapy should not provide one of them. Good Therapy: + This provider should ensure your relationship stays professional (example: you will always feel like they are there operating in a professional capacity to address your needs). + They should maintain professional language (example: no profanity) and body posture (example: sitting upright and attentively listening). + They should work with you and guide you toward the mutually agreed upon outcome you hope to achieve from your sessions. + They should focus solely on you, your needs, and your time. Less-Good Therapy: + This provider might be casual around you in language (example: swearing) and gestures (example: lying down) during your session. + They might ask you to hangout outside of your sessions. + They ask unrelated personal questions that are prying or voyeuristic. + They might not help you formulate or work toward the mutually agreed upon outcome you hope to achieve from your sessions. + They might multitask (example: look at, or use their phone or computer) during your session. 2. Evidence-based Practice is a Must Therapy lives and evolves just like all other medical practice, however, though it responds to new research and current information, any intervention used should be evidence-based (the integration of the best available research with clinical expertise in the context of patient

characteristics, culture, and preferences). Good Therapy: + This provider should offer individualized solutions based on tried and tested scientific research with proof of effective application. + They should be able to clearly explain the reasoning behind what they are proposing you try or what they are asking you to do. + If you are confused, they should work to explain what they are proposing or asking without inserting opinion. + They should be able to explain any suggested course of action they suggest through scientific research . Less-Good Therapy: + This provider might use language such as “In my opinion…” or “If I had to guess…” + They might offer vague explanations which you may not understand. + If pressed for an explanation they may say things like “You will get it after a few more sessions…” or “This is really big stuff to try to understand right away…” 3. Personal Judgment Should Not Exist If you have arrived at the need to see a provider, chances are you have worked through a variety of thoughts and opinions to get there. Because of this, therapy should always be judgment-free. Good Therapy: + Sessions with this provider should feel like an experience rather than a lecture. + This provider should offer acceptance, and ask questions to help them fully understand you without agreeing or disagreeing with what you tell them. + This provider should give understanding, undivided attention, empathy, acceptance, positive encouragement, and support. Less-Good Therapy: + This provider might use judgmental phrases in the vein of “that’s crazy…” or “I wouldn’t have done that…” + They might offer advice. + They might make assumptions without seeking clarification. + They might be condescending, or dismissive. Though these tools are just the start of understanding the difference between good therapy and less-good therapy, they should help you begin to make better decisions around who to trust with your mental health. ■

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no reason

TO LOSE SLEEP By DANIEL CHAMPER, LCPC - Intermountain Clinical Director

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eadened eyes stare. Pasty skin shimmers. Colorless tongues drool. Listless arms dangle. Guttural sounds emit. Rancid odors waft. Zombies? Not likely. There are many more believable explanations for all of these ghastly signs. Would you care to guess along with me? Teenagers? Parents of newborns? New night shift employees? Single parents working three jobs? If you have ever been in any of these situations then you most likely can (somewhat) humorously conjure up memories in which you resembled the description listed above. But what do all of these life situations have in common? The common link for all of the aforementioned circumstances and descriptions is sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation is commonly defined as the condition of not achieving adequate restful sleep. Symptoms of sleep deprivation are many. The list includes irritability, impaired judgment, slower reaction times, increased depression, inability to focus, weakened immune system, and on and on. We live in a culture of constant technological stimulation and are constantly confronted with the idea that success has a direct positive correlation with personal drive and industry. We text, type, and tweet. We crush candies and binge watch 80’s sitcoms late into the night. We allow work to follow us into the once sacred space of our living rooms and kitchens. Teenagers and adolescents, who formerly found relief from the pressure of social engagement in their bedrooms, have found these sanctuaries invaded by technological socialization throughout the evening and into the wee hours of the morning. This trend is often compounded by mounting pressure to perform and excel in the academic, vocational, and extracurricular arenas. In short, we live in a society custom built for restricted sleep habits. The topic of sleep is vast, and science is still attempting to learn all it can about an immensely complex subject. As a result, we

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Teenagers and adolescents, who formerly found relief from the pressure of social engagement in their bedrooms, have found these sanctuaries invaded by technological socialization throughout the evening and into the wee hours of the morning. continue to learn more and more about the positive and negative effects that sleep has on our waking lives. According to a recent study completed by Alexandra Agostini, from the Centre for Sleep Research at the University of South Australia, sleep deprivation has a snowballing nature. She also found that for teenagers and adolescents, this “sleep debt” cannot be fully paid by sleeping in on the weekends. And, we all know that many teenagers and adolescents rarely receive the 9 to 10 hours of nightly sleep that is widely recommended throughout the health community. Another concept related to sleep that has emerged alongside the increased use of technology is the idea of sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene refers to the quality of sleep that one receives. This quality can be negatively affected by stimulation close to bed time. Sleep hygiene can decline as a result of many different activities. Increased aerobic activity, technological and lightrelated stimulation, increased anxiety and constant thoughts all contribute to poor

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sleep quality. Basically, anything that rouses physiological or psychological activation within 30 to 45 minutes of sleep can have an adverse effect on the quality of sleep that one receives. And so it appears that we are about to head into the murky waters of the age old debate over quality versus quantity. Wrong. When it comes to sleep, both quality and quantity are equally important. Much of this is not news. The zombielike creatures that shuffle into our mirrors, kitchens, and classrooms each morning make us painfully aware of the lack of sleep that our society receives. Energy drinks and coffee mugs the size of a flower pot are simply symptom reducers that make it possible to function at a fraction of our potential. Change must be intentional and supported. We cannot simply will ourselves and our children to better sleep habits and routines. So where do we start? First, we must evaluate the extent of the problem. Track the number of (quality) hours of sleep you or your child receives each day for a period of at least a month. Then, set a goal. You will never increase the quality of your rest if your goal is simply “better.” Be specific with your goal (including a time or date for achievement). Be sure to set this expectation with your child in a clear and collaborative manner. Next, identify all factors that negatively affect the quality and / or quantity of sleep that is received. Remember to consider activity level, technology use, social pressures, and anxious or racing thoughts that you or your child may experience within an hour of your target bed time. Finally, get to work (AKA rest). If these steps are followed yet positive results are not experienced, seek medical attention for yourself or your child as there are many sleep disorders that can be treated by your primary care provider. Zombies have taken over television, movies, and video games. With a little bit of knowledge and effort in the area of sleep management, we can keep them from taking over our homes, schools, and places of employment. ■



NUMBERS How do I keep my child busy but not over scheduled for summer? Great question! We as parents want our children to have things to do; we want to know that they’re in a safe place and having fun; we want them to advance any of their interests like theatre, music, dance, or sports. Unfortunately, having every second of every day scheduled for them the entire summer may seem like qualifications for parent of the year, but there’s research that says kids need down time. Overscheduling kids leads to the same stress-related health and psychological problems that overscheduled adults experience. The goal is to develop a balance so there’s structure, but also free time. Signs your child may be over-scheduled: + Complaints of headaches, pains, or just not feeling right + Not sleeping well + What used to be fun, isn’t any more + Grades dropping + Signs of depression and anxiety + Little contact with friends + Needs parent direction for what to do next Over-scheduling is really about being so organized there’s not a moment for kids to be kids, nor is there time for families to be a family. Limiting organized activities gives everyone the opportunity for downtime, including mom and dad. It’s critical that kids get time to relax, play, and time with family. Summer is a great time to schedule family time in the evenings. Go for bike rides, to the park, take the dog for a walk, or play lawn games. Instead of stressing about dinner make some sandwiches and go on a picnic. To avoid summer learning loss, schedule time for reading. Make weekly trips to the library to keep the reading supply fresh. Schedule time for kids to “study” something. This gives them the opportunity to learn more about what interests them. For children who do attend all day camps, make sure their evenings are free for play. Researchers recommend 20 minutes a day, five days a week to spend time as a family playing games, shooting hoops, whatever. It’s been shown to be effective in developing imaginations and increasing family bonding, which decreases risk-taking behaviors and even obesity as kids get older. It’s important to keep them busy so they’re not getting into trouble, but don’t forget to schedule family and downtime.

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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44

The total number of days of sleep a new parent loses the first year.

760

The number of thunderstorms every hour on earth.

2,000

The number of balloons a blue whale can inflate with one breath.

50

The percentage of pizzas in America that are pepperoni.

1

The percentage of water on earth that is drinkable (even though 70% of it is covered by water).

8

The number of bees it takes their whole life to make a teaspoon of honey.


We offer prevention, evaluation, treatment, rehabilitation, and performance enhancement for physically active youth. 1302 Prospect Ave. Suite C in Helena

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est. 1984

Summer Camps 2020 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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WHAT CHILDREN

really need By Kelly Ackerman, LCPC

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or just a moment, close your eyes and let your mind wander back to childhood. What is it you remember growing up with the family you had? Stay there for as long as it takes to really identify what feeling is deeply rooted in your growing up: happy, sad, angry, afraid, worried, ashamed? The truth is you cannot change it, nor could you hand pick the family in which your memories were made which gave root to the overall feeling of your childhood. Now, allow yourself to place those memories carefully back in the places of the mind from which you found them. Take a few deep breaths and transition into your role as a parent. Close your eyes and focus on your family now, especially your children and call to mind what memories you would like them to look back upon and what feeling you would wish them to recall in 15-20 years. In this space, know that you have some power to actively participate in the forming of these memories with your children. As you ponder, think about some foundational key elements in actively creating memories with your children that both you and your child can recall with fondness, love, and happiness. PRESENCE This word encompasses the daily manner in which when your children are telling you about their day, no matter how dramatic, you are looking them in the eyes and are captured by their feelings and the important details in a way that you won’t forget them. You have interest in their daily actions, their friendships, their experiences at school and with their siblings without having to solve problems, but could confidently summarize exactly what they share with you. Additionally, presence means you meet them in their lives in the places that matter: school performances, sporting events, art shows, etc. Your presence sends the message, “I care about you enough to see you and celebrate who you are.” Presence is being physically, emotionally and mentally attending.

As a therapist, the most common desire of all kids I see is wanting their parent(s) to play with them every day. The good news is that play can be experienced during a child-centered time or during a time when it is time to do the spring cleaning in the yard.

PLAY Whether your child is one or 17, play creates a mutual joy in which laughter springs forth and quality time is shared. Tap in to your inner child to connect through creativity, humor, silliness during this extraordinary time to bond and create the lasting shared pleasure that all of us need. As a therapist, the most common desire of all kids I see is wanting their parent(s) to play with them every day. The good news is that play can be experienced during a child-centered time or during a time when it is time to do the spring cleaning in the yard. MEALS In the rush of the day, meals can be challenging. Yet, at meal time, all the tasks and demands of the day can be set aside

and the company of each other can be enjoyed. It is a time to unplug and model that true self-care means taking the time to fuel our bodies with nutritious food and in the company of those we most love. This important ritual sets an important pace for the day whether it be the time we begin our day or the time in which we all return together to check in and share each other’s company. In silence, or in laughter, meal time allows for daily organization that is an essential self-care practice and sends the message of reconvening as a family is a priority. READING Sharing a book is bonding in which imagination, exploration of ideas, and growth of self are experienced within the safety of a close, loving relationship. Although bedtime stories are often associated with childhood, this tradition can carry throughout high school although it may need to be modified at times due to the change or schedules and routines. My children are now teens and we continue bedtimes stories regularly, setting days in which we can all agree to be home together. Reading opens new worlds and experiences while creating memories of feeling safe and loved. LOVE The most important message to send is one of love. Love comes from sharing an unconditional positive regard toward your child(ren) no matter what is experienced. Often as parents we are flooded with fears of “what ifs” and thoughts that our children need to meet certain standards to be successful. Finding security within the relationship of parent(s) regardless of the mistakes made, the accomplishments experienced (or lack of ), and genuinely sharing emotions that can be gently held, communicates the love that will last lifetime, leaving positive feelings when our children close their eyes and look back. ■

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It’s never too early to learn about money. We can help with savings accounts, savings plans for college and more.

SAVINGS THAT MAKE YOU SMILE!

Gift Certificates:

give the gift of Lucca’s Available Online, by Phone, and in Person

Montana’s Brand of Banking Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender

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WARNING SIGNS

of substance use

and How to Address Substance Use with Your Child By KENDALL SMALL, LAC, Florence Crittenton

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here are many concerns with raising children in a technology heavy era, one concern being potential substance use. Symptoms of substance use can be difficult to recognize due to the commonality of behaviors that are associated with being a teen such as mood swings, sleeping more than normal, and breaking rules. When your child has specific interests and hobbies it may be easier to spot any shifts in behavior. It is important to remember there are many factors that can cause a substance use disorder. Substance use in adolescence does not guarantee on-going addiction problems in adulthood. The following are potential warning signs of substance use: + Isolation from friends or family + Changing friend groups drastically + Mood swings + Missing school + Losing interest in hobbies, activities, or sports + Sneaking out or breaking curfew + Rapid weight gain or loss + Hostility or quickness to anger + Behavioral problems at school or at home + Substance use paraphernalia Many factors can attribute to a substance use disorder such as

genetic factors, environmental factors or exposure to substance use, and age of first use. The age of first use can increase the likelihood of developing an addiction. The younger a child uses, the more likely they are to develop a substance use disorder. Research has shown that brains are not fully developed until sometime in a person’s twenties, making the brain especially susceptible to chemicals altering brain wiring. Exposure to substances from family and/or friends can “normalize” substance use allowing children to believe this is a normal part of life. Children are often trying to find their place in the world and how they fit. If your child is spending significant time with others who abuse substances, the likelihood that they will abuse substances increases. Parents and caregivers can help prevent substance use and abuse by being willing to discuss the topic and potential consequences that may arise from using substances. When discussing substance use, a parent may be asked about their substance use history. It can be helpful to disclose with children how substances have impacted your life or people you know. It is important to set clear boundaries and expectations with children and enforce consequences when necessary. If you are concerned about your child abusing substances seek professional help from a licensed addiction counselor, doctor, clinical therapist, or other community resources. Additional information can be found at: https://drugfree.org/. ■ youthconnectionscoalition.org

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Health and Relaxation

Support Groups

Exercise

24-Hour Crisis Hotlines

Emergency Room

Mental Health Now What to do when professional help is not immediately available Eating healthy food; drinking plenty of water; getting plenty of sleep; and body relaxation thru yoga, meditation and massage can be instant ways to eliminate everyday stress and mental strain

Exercise releases mood improving chemicals like endorphins and serotonin. Regular exercise can also help to reduce stress, depression and anxiety.

Social support can be a powerful resource. Seeking out support groups in your community and educating yourself about poor mental health symptoms and diagnosis can be a useful coping tool.

A crisis hotline is a phone number you can call to get immediate emergency telephone counseling, usually provided by trained volunteers. NAMI: 800-950-NAMI Text help to 741-741

When safety is a concern, a trip to the emergency room might be required for: A suicide attempt Assault or threat against another person Hearing voices/paranoia Drug/alcohol use If you call 911, tell the operator it is a mental health emergency and ask for responders with Crisis Intervention Team Training.

Build a Foundation for her Future Talk to your kids about a career in construction. Learn more at www.mtagc.org and click on “Let’s Build MT”

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