Stress is a growing problem among teens nationally that may be a factor in teen substance use and other mental health problems.  o STRESSED TEEN facebook

In Union County, 

  • 34% of 11th grade;
  • 27% of 9th grade students; and
  • 26% of 7th grade students in Union County report having “high” levels of stress in the past month. (Union County YRBS 2014)

While worry or fear is normal in all children, on-going stress and anxiety can be crippling to some teens. Long-term stress response can weaken the immune system and cause physical problems.

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October 2015


Okay, so you probably figured that out by now! In the midst of raising teens, parent’s need to remind themselves that while their child is rapidly growing, some parts of their brain haven’t caught up yet.

The parts of the teen brain responsible for decision-making and emotion are the last to fully develop.

The regions in the back of the brain responsible for physical activity, coordination and interest in recreation develop more rapidly, which can explain why some teens have an interest in high energy, sometimes dangerous activities. Likewise, areas of the brain responsible for emotion are also rapidly developing which can cause teens to be overly sensitive or have more dramatic mood swings.

Parents should keep in perspective that teens can’t always control their feelings or understand their behaviors. More importantly, during this period of time, teens don’t always have the ability to think about the risks involved with some situations or the possible long-term consequences.

As a parent, your role is critical.
-Talk with your teen about possible dangerous situations,
-Establish clear roles and expectations of behavior,
-Know your teen’s friends and their parents, and
-Engage kids in positive activities.

February 2015

OMG Mom and Dad!

Take a deep breath… your teen might be Sexting. 

According to the 2014 Union County Youth Risk Behavior Survey, of 7th, 9th and 11th grade students; 18.5% report being asked to send a Sext and 10.5% said they had sent a Sext.

It’s highly likely that your teen knows what a Sext is, but do you? Sexting usually involves sending sexually explicit content; images or text, via mobile messaging.

Teens may not realize the social backlash as well as potential criminal implications if messages or photos are shared. Also, apps like Snapchat, may give the false impression that the image will disappear, but a smart phone screenshot can be taken of the photo, saved and further distributed.

As parents talk to your children often about the responsibilities of having a phone, how to handle a request to send a Sext and what to do if they receive one.

  • Remind your child they are worth more than degrading themselves for someone else’s enjoyment.

  • Explain again that a piece of content can live forever in cyberspace.

  • Consider setting up a contract with your child so they understand their phone will be monitored.

  • Help your teen know be safe and drug-free.

Talk with your kids. What you say matters.

*Wallace, Kelly, “Chances Are, Your Teen Has Sexted”, CNN, Jan. 2, 2015.

January 2015

If you found out your child’s best friend is smoking marijuana what would you do?

Put yourself in the other parents’ shoes. If someone knew your child was experimenting with drugs and didn’t tell you, would you be upset? Of course you would. Parents are the first line of defense against drugs, but in order for parents to intervene, they must be aware. Even if it is uncomfortable, it is important to share this information with the other parents as soon as possible.

What does your child have to say? Just because your teen’s friend is using, doesn’t necessarily mean your teen is using. Ask anyway. Youth who spend time with friends who drink alcohol or use other drugs, are automatically at an increased risk of using themselves. Some of the biggest reasons include pressure to join in and a reduced sense of harm.

What you can do?

  • Know your child’s friends and their parents

  • Monitor (and limit, if necessary) your child’s time spent with certain friends

  • Do not allow an over-night with a child you suspect smokes, drinks or uses other drugs

  • Be present when your child has friends in your home

  • Be specific about your expectations and family rules about not using and consequences for poor choices

  • Randomly text your child to check in when he/she is at a friend’s house

  • Let other parents know that you would want to hear from them if they had concerns about your child

For additional information and to obtain the Know! Parent Workbook, go to

May 2014

It’s not unusual for teens to feel “stressed out” or “down”. The many physical, emotional and social changes that occur in adolescence can make life difficult for teens and their parents. Unrealistic expectations around academics, athletics, relationships or appearance can make matters worse. Parents need to learn about the signs of teen depression and the risk of suicide.

You Need To Know

Results from the 2014 Union County Youth Risk Behavior Survey of 7th, 9th and 11th grade students show:

  • 42.3% of students in Union County reported having moderate to high rates of depression.
  • 20.6% of students reporting having thoughts about attempting suicide in the past year.

Teens have an over-active impulse to seek pleasure and less ability to consider the consequences. As a result they can put themselves more at risk for problems with alcohol and other drugs. In some cases, teens may experiment with alcohol, drugs or become involved in unhealthy relationships to try to feel better.

Teens need their parent’s guidance more than ever to understand all the emotional and physical changes they are going through.

Here’s What You Can Do …

  • Openly talk & listen to your teen about their feelings and what is stressful. 
  • Don’t judge; your teen’s feelings are very real to them at the time. 
  • Share your observations and concerns as a way to further conversation. 
  • Lead by example to show your child healthy ways to relieve stress. 
  • Get professional help. Left untreated depression can be life threatening. 
  • Be aware if you have a family history of depression or addiction.

For more information on teen depression visit

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