We’re sure you have a thousand questions about treatment and recovery—more questions than we could possibly have answered during the admissions process. There’s a world of knowledge out there for you. We’ve compiled a wealth of articles, blogs, and resources to help you navigate this challenging process.

Click the article links on this page to learn more.


How to Handle Family Members Who Deny Mental Illness

When your teenager receives a diagnosis for a mental health disorder, one thing you realize is that you need all the support you can get. Support from your spouse, co-parent, or partner. Support from your own parents, siblings, and friends: from wherever and whomever, every little bit counts. You may tough it out at the […]

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Teens and Mental Health in the News: The NBC Report

It’s been a year. The vaccines are here. Public health officials, in collaboration with state, municipal, and community resources, are in the process of distributing doses to as many people in the U.S. as they can. They’re doing it as quickly as possible, under challenging circumstances. Whether this means our kids will be back in […]

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How to Get Your Teen to Eat More Vegetables

March is National Nutrition Month. The latest research on the relationship between diet and emotions shows that food has a significant impact on how we feel. A poor diet can make adolescents more vulnerable to negative emotions (such as anger and anxiety) as well as mental health disorders like depression. On the other hand, eating a healthy, nutrient-rich […]

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Compassionate Parenting Promotes Generosity in Kids

Giving doesn’t always come naturally to kids. Whether your child is a toddler or a teen, childhood is often a time that’s “all about me.” Lecturing, bribing, and nagging might work every once in a while, but they won’t turn your child into an instinctive giver. Instead, generosity is a practice that must be cultivated. […]

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When Is It Time to Seek Alcohol Treatment for Adolescents?

Alcohol is the most abused substance among teens in the U.S. Most parents understand their teenager is likely to experiment with alcohol at some point during adolescence. That goes for all teens, and most parents understand their teen is not immune. From students who do everything by the book to students who love to rebel […]

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For Parents: How to Understand Changes in Psychiatric Medication

Are psychiatrists guessing about what to prescribe? If you have a teenager with a mental health disorder that requires medication, you may become discouraged if the first medication their psychiatrist prescribes does not improve their symptoms or offer them any relief. We understand how hard that can be. The types of mental health conditions that […]

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How do Adolescent DBT Programs Help Depressed and Anxious Teens?

An adolescent DBT program empowers teens to make their own choices and live life on their own terms. There are several evidence-based therapeutic approaches that can help adolescents manage the symptoms of depression and anxiety and live a life free from major impairment or daily disturbance. Research shows that the most effective treatment for depression […]

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CDC Report – Mental Health ER Visits for Kids and Teens Increased in 2020

Officials predicted negative consequences for youth – and now we have the data. In the weeks and months following the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic here in the U.S., professionals who work with children and adolescents warned that young people might experience a wide range of negative consequences as a result of the various mitigation […]

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When Alcohol Causes the Most Harm

Alcohol can damage the brain and body at every age and stage of life. Addiction to alcohol – also known as alcohol used disorder (AUD) – increases the problems alcohol causes. Long-term daily exposure to alcohol can lead to significant dysfunction, disability, and, in some cases, death. A 2020 study identified three specific time periods […]

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Report: Almost Half of California Teens in Psychological Distress

A policy brief published on January 27th by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research reveals a set of statistics that are a genuine cause for alarm for parents of teenagers living in California. Data collected throughout 2019 by researchers for the annual California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) show that what many parents, teachers, and […]

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Psychiatric Medication and Disordered Eating – Is There a Connection?

It’s an established scientific fact that some medications prescribed for mental health disorders have a direct effect on appetite and eating. Stimulant medications for conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can cause a decrease in appetite, which may lead to weight loss. Some studies connect early exposure to ADHD medication to adult obesity, […]

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Best Mindfulness and Meditation Apps for Teens

You hear all about mindfulness these days. In case you missed the basics, staying mindful means slowing down and paying close attention to this present moment, without judgment. Deep breathing, meditation, walking, and yoga are all mindfulness practices that promote positive wellbeing and mental health. While especially beneficial to those struggling with mental health and […]

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February is Black History Month

Evolve Clinicians Share What Black History Means to Them This month is Black History Month in the United States. It comes at an opportune time: just a few weeks ago, Kamala Harris made history when she took the oath of office as America’s first Black Vice President. This month is an ideal opportunity to celebrate […]

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Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month 2021: Know Your Worth

The theme for TDVAM 2021 is about self-empowerment, self-respect, and self-esteem. This year’s message is for all teens, with a special focus on teens who have experienced dating violence and for teens who date and want to prevent dating violence. Advocates from LoveisRespect – the organization responsible for TDVAM – created the theme to remind […]

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February is Boost Your Self-Esteem Month. What Exactly is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is a phrase most of us encounter early in life. Our first understanding of self-esteem is typically a simple one. If we like ourselves and think well of ourselves, then we learn we have what the adults in our lives call high self-esteem. But if we don’t particularly like ourselves, think negatively about ourselves, […]

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Is My Teen Addicted to Vaping?

The CDC has some startling statistics on teen vaping use. Last year, more than 3 million high school students in America – that’s almost 20 percent of high school students overall – reported vaping. In middle schools, that number was 5 percent. While lower, it’s still a shockingly high statistic for children 11-13 years old. […]

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National School Counselor’s Week 2021

Every year the American School Counselor Association (ACSA) celebrates National School Counselor’s Week (NSCW) during the first week of February. This year, the dates for this special week of recognition are February 1st-5th.  The ACSA created a hashtag for this year – #NSCW21 – as well as a theme to unify their goals 2021: “School […]

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7th Graders in Walnut Creek Riding with Drivers Who Used Alcohol or Drugs

If you’re a parent, teacher, or any kind of professional who works with youth in Contra Costa County, you might be interested in the current rates of adolescent substance use in cities such as Walnut Creek, Lamorinda, Danville, San Ramon, and others. While our past articles focused on substance use in high school students, this […]

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Community Virtual Parent Support Group

To help parents cope during this uncertain time, Evolve Treatment Centers for Teens invites all members of the community to an open, virtual Parent Support Group. During this weekly group, parents and caregivers can gain practical guidance and emotional support. It will be facilitated by Ellen Bloch, LCSW, licensed clinician and Director of Outpatient Programs […]

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Monitoring the Future Survey 2020: Key Findings

In 1975, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded a comprehensive nationwide survey of nicotine, alcohol, and drug use among high school students, college students, and young adults in the U.S. Conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, the Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF) began with […]

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Cigarettes, E-Cigarettes, and Substance Use in Adolescents

If you follow our articles and blogs, you may have noticed we spend time and energy writing about tobacco use. More specifically, we write about e-cigarette use – a.k.a. vaping nicotine – and its dramatic increase in prevalence in the adolescent population over the past five years. In a recent article highlighting the results of […]

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Research Report: The ABCD Study Renews Funding

In 2013, a group of public health agencies in the U.S. formed a partnership to launch a research initiative called Collaborative Research on Addiction and the National Institutes of Health (CRAN). The agencies directly involved in initiating CRAN were the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), […]

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How to Talk to Children and Teens About Natural Disasters

By any reasonable standard, the past year has been a doozy. We used that special technical term because we’re all tired of writing and reading the word unprecedented. Let’s leave the pandemic out of it for a moment – as a simple thought exercise – and look back at the events we typically think of […]

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New CDC Guidelines on Exercise and Activity: What They Say for Adolescents

In 1996, the Surgeon General of the United States released a report that served as a wake-up call about the general state of health and wellness of people in the U.S. The Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health outlined serious issues in two areas. First, the report identified a disturbing, wide-ranging, population-level prevalence […]

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Research Report: Boost Happiness and Wellbeing by Getting Outside

The shelter-in-place guidelines that have been in effect for millions of people in the U.S. since March take their toll. Evidence shows an increase in the symptoms of mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, as well as an increase in binge-drinking, consumption of recreational drugs, and opioid-related overdose deaths. Over the past year, we’ve […]

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Does Teen Vaping Lead to Adult Smoking?

In 2013, a group of over twenty researchers began an ambitious project: The Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH). The goal of the project was to perform a “…longitudinal assessment of patterns of use of a spectrum of tobacco products, including initiation, cessation, relapse, and transitions between products, as well as factors associated with […]

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Research Report: Quarterly Patterns of Adolescent Marijuana Use

In the summer and fall of 2020, researchers at New York University conducted an in-depth analysis of marijuana use data from the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). The study, released online in January 2021 and scheduled for publication in February 2021, assessed quarterly trends in past-month marijuana use among people […]

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ADHD, Girls, and Sports

In years past, adults limited the types of sports girls played. In many cases, adults – both male and female – discouraged girls from participating in sports at all. They’d say things such as: “It’s not ladylike.” “Sports are for boys.” “Girls should learn…” We won’t even finish that last sentence, because simply typing these […]

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January is Codependency Awareness Month

Most of us have heard the term codependency and carry a working definition of what it means in our heads. Most of us also believe it’s an official clinical diagnosis, like those found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Behavioral Disorders (DSM-5), the go-to reference manual mental health professionals use every day to diagnose […]

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80% of Young Adults Report Depression During COVID-19, Study Says

The mental health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are just beginning to be understood. According to early studies, young adults feel the impact of social isolation and loneliness more than other age groups. For many, the pandemic derailed their hopes and plans during a critical transition into adulthood. Lost wages, less time with friends, missing […]

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National Hobby Month: Where do Hobbies Come From?

Every year during the month of January, people in the U.S. celebrate National Hobby Month. Enthusiasts around the country share information about their hobbies with friends, try new hobbies that interest them, and dive deeper into the hobbies and activities they love. It seems like hobbies have been around forever. They’re a natural way to […]

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Five Steps to Achieve and Maintain Mental Wellness

Now that we’re well into 2021, we won’t mention why we want it to be an amazing year, or why we – at the very least – want it to be better than 2020. To be fair, we give January and February 2020 a pat on the back. For most of us, they were fine, […]

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A History of Drug Use Part I: Prehistory to The Classical Era

Drugs and People: A Long, Strange Trip Earliest Human Drug Use: Archaeological Evidence Evidence confirming human drug use dates back further than most of us realize. While written documentation from the Pre-Classical (2,000 B.C.E – 1,000 B.C.E.) and Classical (1,000 B.C.E – 500 C.E) periods conclusively verify the use of opium, cannabis, alcohol, tobacco, and […]

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Why Is My Teen so Mean to Me? Part 5: Support for Parents

In this series of articles on teen defiance and chronic conflicts with parents called “Why Is My Teen So Mean to Me?” we’ve discussed the root causes of some of the most challenging behavioral issues teens develop. We’ve shared what kinds of treatment are available. We discussed immersive mental health treatment programs, such as intensive […]

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What’s the Difference Between a Psychiatrist and a Psychologist?

Parents of children who need support for a mental, behavioral, or alcohol/substance use disorder have to learn a lot of information fairly quickly. When they first learn their child has a condition or disorder that benefits from treatment, they learn everything they can about the diagnosis. Parents of kids diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) […]

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Divorced? How To Co-Parent Effectively When a Teen is in Treatment

In the 21st century, divorce is common. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), about 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. At the same time, statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that millions of teens around the world have been diagnosed with an emotional, mental, or behavioral […]

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Virtual School: How to Reset for a Better Second Semester

By now we should all be experts at virtual school. We had a practice run last spring, time to recalibrate over the summer, and then a second shot at virtual school this fall. This article is for families that haven’t quite got the hang of virtual school yet. We understand. Virtual school is not for […]

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Making New Year’s Resolutions for 2021

Last year at this time we published an article about New Year’s Resolutions. What we talked about was unconventional, as far as New Year’s resolutions go. We didn’t advise making typical resolutions like learning a new skill, exercising more, being more responsible with money, or losing weight – although we think those are all great […]

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What Do You Do in the Middle of an Adolescent Meltdown?

In our article  “What Causes Adolescent Meltdowns? ” we shared that adolescents with oppositional defiance disorder (ODD), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), conduct disorder, sensory processing disorder, or other behavioral issues can have frequent meltdowns or temper tantrums. So can teens with depression, anxiety, panic disorder, emotion […]

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Winter Break: Time for a COVID Mental Health Check-In

The holidays are finally here. Which means the new year is right around the corner. This means that very soon, we all get to put 2020 behind us, and look forward to a better 2021. We don’t need to reiterate why everyone is excited to turn the page. We know every one of you is […]

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Kate Atwood Dispels Two Myths About Childhood Loss and Grief

In a recent Ted Talk, grief specialist Kate Atwood spoke about the topic of childhood loss and grief. The statistics on childhood loss are alarming. For example, did you know that one in fourteen children in the U.S. will experience the death of a parent or sibling before they turn eighteen? In some states that […]

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What Causes Adolescent Meltdowns?

Most parents think meltdowns should only happen during toddlerhood, and – if they last past toddlerhood – they should end by late childhood. Just so we’re on the same page, experts generally agree that toddlerhood happens between ages two and five, and childhood ends at around age twelve. By the time adolescence arrives at age […]

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This Movement on Instagram Might Help You Stay Sober

We’ve talked a lot about social media in our blogs and articles. We’ve covered the dangers for teens and the ways it can help teens. Most content about social media and teens focuses on the negative aspects. Facebook. Instagram. Snapchat. Kik. Twitter. AskFM. On all of these sites, teens frequently glorify drugs and alcohol, partying, […]

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How Blended Families Make the Holidays Work

When we think of blended families in the U.S. we often forget we have an iconic example of a blended family that was mainstream, popular, and widely accepted by the public as a new norm in our society – and that was 50 years ago. Can you name the family? If you guessed instantly that […]

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Five Holiday Co-parenting Tips

When parents who aren’t married agree to share the responsibility of raising a child together, it’s called co-parenting. We think of co-parenting duos most often as divorced parents, but they’re not the only types of co-parents. Some unmarried couples have children together, and if they decide to continue raising their children together when they break […]

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Parents: Consider Treatment for Teens Over Christmas Break

2020 has been a year to remember. Or forget. We can’t decide. Either way, everyone will be glad to put 2020 in the rearview mirror. This time last year, we were gearing up for the second half of the winter holidays, highlighted by Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Day. This year, things are completely […]

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Three Steps For Supporting Teens When Their Heroes Go Wrong

Fandom is a significant part of many teens’ lives. Connecting with other people who share a passion for a particular TV series, book series, movie franchise, musician, or sports figure can be a great way for teens to build meaningful relationships and celebrate the things they love. But every hero is still human, and if […]

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Why Is My Teen so Mean to Me? Part 4: Treatment for Teens

This series discusses teens with behavioral challenges. We’ve shared the causes of parental defiance and the co-occurring mental health issues that your teen might also be struggling with. Now, we’re going to talk about what treatment options are available—for your teen. Treatment for teens with behavioral challenges usually involves a multi-faceted approach. This can include […]

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How to Treat Psychosis or Schizophrenia in Teens

If your teen has a mental health issue involving psychosis, it’s undoubtedly a nerve-wracking time.  Schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, PTSD, and even depression or anxiety can involve frightening psychotic episodes. Teens can start hallucinating. They can start entertaining delusions, such as thinking they have certain powers, or someone is watching or following them. They can become […]

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9 Surprising Signs of Teen Depression

Sometimes the signs of teen depression are easy to recognize. Your teen is sad most of the time. Their sleeping and eating habits change. They don’t care about their friends, hobbies, or much else anymore. Other times, the signs are harder to detect and can be easily confused with other issues. Here are a few […]

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Help! I Think My Teen is Hallucinating

When a teen sees, hears, or feels things that aren’t real, they are hallucinating. “When we say reality, we mean ‘consensus reality,’ because everyone’s reality is different, of course,” clarifies Lauren Cona, LCSW, Program Director at Evolve Residential Treatment Center in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley. Cona has years of experience working with adolescents struggling […]

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Prevalence of School Bullying in Santa Barbara: How Parents Can Help

Public school students in most school districts in California take the California Healthy Kids Survey every year. This is a confidential, anonymous self-report survey that asks elementary and secondary school students about safety at school, support, academic involvement, substance use, and mental health issues. Many of the questions ask students about their experiences of bullying […]

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Holiday Season at Evolve: Our Chefs Bring More Than Food to the Table

Thanksgiving and the winter holidays are often associated with special meals and old-fashioned comfort food. The on-site chefs at our residential treatment centers understand this and bring in the holiday cheer by preparing delicious Thanksgiving meals for our teenagers and staff. We’re thankful for our chefs all year round because they bring comfort and warmth […]

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How We Celebrate the Holiday Season at Evolve

With Thanksgiving coming up this week, and Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanzaa right around the corner, everyone here at Evolve is getting excited about the holidays. At our residential treatment centers, our house managers are planning decorations, brainstorming holiday activities, and coordinating special meals with our onsite chefs. They’re attending to the details that will make […]

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Diwali at Evolve

Last week, our teenagers at Evolve Ojai participated in a fun and interesting diversity and cultural awareness group. This group coordinates with our gardening group and culinary creations group to introduce our teens to various aspects of the many different cultures around the world. They learn about celebrations and rituals that people hold dear. This […]

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How to Manage Thanksgiving With A Troubled Teen During COVID

If you have a troubled teen in the house, you’re more than aware they can throw a monkey wrench into the works during the holidays. You want everyone to be happy and you want everything to run smoothly, but you’re worried sick your unruly teen might throw a tantrum during dinner, embarrass you in front […]

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Get Your Teen Interested in Thanksgiving Again, Despite COVID

The winter holidays are upon us – but this year the holidays are going to be different than any year in recent memory. In the U.S., the six-week period between mid-November and New Year’s Day – in a typical holiday season – is the most publicly festive time of the year. These holidays take over […]

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5 Ways to Help Your Tired Teen Wake Up in The Morning 

If you’re like most parents, you struggle to get your teenager up in the morning. Bleary-eyed and grumbling, they can’t seem to get out of bed before 10am. Obviously, this creates problems. You become frustrated they’re asleep 10 minutes after the alarm goes off. They’re unwilling to leave the comfort of their bed, so you […]

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November 21st is National Adoption Day

Each year on November 21st, adoption awareness advocates recognize and celebrate National Adoption Day. A group of national adoption organizations – including The Dave Thomas Foundation, The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, The Alliance for Children’s Rights, and The Children’s Action Network – held the first National Adoption Day on November 18th, 2000. That day, […]

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The Importance of Keeping Up Holiday Traditions During COVID-19

It’s tempting to look at the upcoming holiday season, throw up your hands, and say, “COVID has changed everything, so why bother?” We get it. We’re tired and frustrated, too. But there’s no way we’re giving up on the holidays – and we don’t think you should, either. We’re not giving up on the holidays […]

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Why Starting Treatment at Evolve Over Thanksgiving is a Good Idea

If your teenager has a mental health or substance use disorder, you may have considered residential treatment for them at some point in the past. If they have a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, you understand that if they spend a period of time focusing solely on healing and recovery, […]

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Learning Difficulties Linked to Poor Connections in the Brain

What causes learning difficulties? Researchers have long believed that learning difficulties stem from specific regions of the brain. For example, studies link ADHD to the cerebellum, prefrontal cortex, striatum, and other areas. However, a recent study from the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at the University of Cambridge found that the connectivity between different […]

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Leading Adolescent Psychiatrists Join Evolve Treatment Centers

Evolve Treatment Centers is excited to announce the addition of Shikha Verma, MD, as Medical Director, Northern California, Melissa E. Vallas, MD, as Medical Director, Southern California, and the launch of our Clinical Advisory Board, which will be led by Bradley Peterson, MD. Dr. Verma is a board-certified General and Child and Adolescent psychiatrist. She has […]

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How Many High School Teens in Santa Barbara Use Drugs? Where Do They Get Them?

If you’re a Santa Barbara resident – a parent, teen, or a professional who works with adolescents – the current data on substance use among high school students in your area may be of interest. The following information comes from the California Healthy Kids Survey. Officials administer the anonymous survey to every school district in […]

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November is National Inspirational Role Models Month

Each November, people across the United States recognize and celebrate National Inspirational Role Models Month. This is a month to appreciate the people in our lives who set positive examples we aspire to emulate. Role models perform a vital function: through their character, accomplishments, and behavior, they show us what’s possible in life. Although we […]

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The Importance of Parental Unity When Raising Teens

Parenting experts often say it’s important to keep a united front in front of children. That means parents should back each other up, even when they disagree. Let’s look at an example: Your adolescent comes home past curfew, reeking of marijuana. Your teen knows using marijuana is against family rules, yet it’s the second it’s […]

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Practicing Gratitude: Tips for Teens

November is National Gratitude Month. Please take the time to click the link above and read our article on gratitude. It contains useful information about what gratitude is, the benefits of gratitude, the research behind gratitude, and how we can practice gratitude in our lives. Thank you in advance for reading that article – we […]

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November is National Gratitude Month

In the words of the famous Roman orator and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero: “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the mother of all the others.” The ancients knew about gratitude. We know about gratitude today, too. It’s one of the first big lessons we learn when we’re kids. Our parents tell us […]

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Clinicians: Here’s How to Get Teens to Attend Telehealth Sessions

During the coronavirus pandemic, many things that used to happen in-person have shifted to online platforms such as Zoom. For teens, that includes school, birthday parties, get-togethers, and yes – therapy. So, in this virtual world, how do therapists ensure teens make it to their virtual therapy sessions? One of our clinicians developed a system, […]

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National Stress Awareness Day 2020

Okay, seriously. We need to start this post by saying what we’re all thinking: “Stress Awareness Day? Are you kidding me? 2020 is basically Stress Awareness YEAR.” We can’t argue with facts. January and February seemed pretty normal, all told. But then, boom, COVID hit, and we’ve all been living with a heightened level of […]

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Mental Health and Addiction Statistics: Teens in Beverly Hills

What are the rates of suicidal ideation for teens in Beverly Hills? What percentage of high school teens in Beverly Hills use drugs? We have the answers. Every year, the California Department of Education Coordinated School Health and Safety Office administers a survey to public school students in school districts across the state. This annual […]

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Teen Technology Use During COVID-19

Just when you thought your teen couldn’t spend more time online, COVID-19 struck. Researchers were already documenting unprecedented levels of teen screen time prior to the pandemic. Early data suggests those rates have increased significantly. In a report from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, sixty-three percent of parents reported their teens […]

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Is My Teen Addicted to Shopping?

It seems like your teen is always shopping. At the mall or the outlets, alone or with friends, whether there’s a big sale going on or not. They come home with myriad purchases that seem unnecessary and trivial. Worst of all, they never use the things they buy or get any satisfaction out of them, […]

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Rates of Mental Health Symptoms and Substance Use in Santa Barbara High Schools

Teens in the Santa Barbara Unified School District (SBUSD) took a survey last year to gauge their rates of substance use and mental health issues. This survey, called the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS), asked public school students statewide about a number of different issues in their lives: family connectedness, safety and crime at school, […]

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Digital Self-Harm: What It Is and Why Teens Do It

Hannah Smith, fourteen years old, received waves of horrible, abusive messages on ASKfm, a social media site popular with teens. On August 6, 2013, she committed suicide. Her parents immediately blamed cyberbullies, until an investigation proved that the aggressive posts hadn’t come from peers: She wrote them herself. Self-Bullying Hannah is not the only one. […]

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LGBTQ History Month: Looking Back, Moving Forward

by Toby LaPlant October is LGBTQ History Month in the United States. While one month isn’t nearly enough time to learn the names of every person who marched, spoke, took action, wrote, organized, and dreamed of a better life for themselves, their friends, or their family, it’s a great chance to get to know some […]

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Palo Alto, CA: Mental Health and Suicide Statistics for Teens

Palo Alto has received considerable attention in recent years from media and mental health professionals concerned about its alarming rates of teen suicide. In this affluent Bay Area town, seven adolescents ended their own lives in the span of just ten years. And, over the past decade, there has been an unusual amount of teen […]

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On Social Media, Delete Does Not Really Exist

Teens, we get it. Social media is an essential part of your life. Especially during this pandemic, when a virtual connection is the only way you can stay in touch with friends. “Okay,” you’re thinking, “Where’s the ‘but’?” We’re not here to argue against unlimited screen time – your parents have that covered. We’re also […]

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Is My Teen Vomiting From Smoking Marijuana?

Marijuana is popular among teens. According to the most recent Monitoring the Future Survey, 45 percent of high school seniors said they’d tried marijuana at least once, and around six percent of them use marijuana every day. That’s about one in every 16 students. The advent of new e-cigarettes, such as the Juul, which looks […]

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How to Parent a Young Activist

by Toby LaPlant Political engagement isn’t just for people above the voting age. Some of the most vocal and respected leaders of efforts to change public policy on education, climate change, LGBTQ rights, and more are people in their teens. Young people like Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, and Gavin Grimm have addressed governments, organized protests, […]

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October is Emotional Wellness Month

Since 2004, wellness advocates across the U.S. have recognized October as National Emotional Wellness Month. This year, we encourage you to join us as we take this time to raise awareness about the importance of emotional wellness, monitor our emotional wellness, and share what we know about emotional wellness to help our friends, colleagues, and […]

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How to Help Your Teenager Handle a Family Move

Moving is traumatic – and not just for children. It’s stressful for everyone: adults, adolescents, and even the elderly. In fact, in terms of trauma, moving is one of the most significant life stressors, coming only after death and divorce, according to University Hospitals of Northeastern Ohio. Like any other trauma, moving can cause mental […]

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Alcohol and Substance Use Disorder in Teens

Recent statistics suggest that a growing number of adolescents struggle with alcohol or substance use disorder. The numbers are alarming: 1.3 million adolescents aged 12-17, and 5.8 million young adults aged 18-25, met the clinical criteria for alcohol use disorder. And, even more worryingly, there is a significant treatment gap for this age group, with […]

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Understanding Peer Pressure in LGBTQ Spaces

Most people understand the bullying, exclusion, and violence that LGBTQ youth sometimes face from straight and/or non-LGBTQ people in their wider community. But something many people don’t know is that the pressure to look and act certain ways that teens experience from their LGBTQ peers can be just as damaging to their wellbeing. As television, […]

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How to Help Your Teenager Make Friends

For teenagers, a solid group of friends can enrich life and make the ups and downs of adolescence a fun, shared experience. Friends can help teens manage school, romance, family troubles, sports, and everything else that goes along with being a teen. But not all teens make friends easily, and sometimes life events interrupt friendships […]

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Struggling With Mom and Dad? Try Talking To Your Aunt or Uncle

Aunts and uncles can be like a second set of parents. Lots of kids have that cool aunt or fun-loving uncle who spoils you, takes you on outings, or loves telling stories about when you were in diapers. And lots of kids can think of a favorite aunt or uncle they feel comfortable confiding in. […]

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Parents of Teens In Treatment: Do You Take Care of Yourself, Too?

You know those safety speeches flight attendants give before takeoff? “In case of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks above your seat will deploy. Put your mask on first and then assist your child or other passengers” The reason is simple: you can’t take care of your child – or anyone else – if […]

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Must-Have Conversations for Parents and LGBTQ Teens

Communication is Essential Taking the time to have conversations about tough or uncomfortable subjects with your teen can go a long way to helping them stay safe, happy, and healthy beyond their teenage years. Creating an environment of open communication is an ongoing challenge for any parent, but for parents of LGBTQ teens, there are […]

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How to Tell if a Teen Needs Residential Treatment

If you worry your teen is getting off track this fall, you’re not alone. Parents across the country understand that the stress and disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic can have a wide range of negative consequences for their teens. Shelter-in-place orders, social distancing guidelines, and virtual school all mean things teens previously took for […]

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When Should a Parent Seek Professional Help for a Teen with Depression?

Most parents understand teenagers will display the symptoms of depression – and possibly additional mental health disorders – at some point during adolescence, which child development experts define as the time between ages twelve and eighteen. Parents know and understand emotions may fluctuate dramatically during this time because they were teens once, themselves. They also […]

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How Do I Know if My Teen Needs More Intensive Treatment?

Mental Health Support For Teens One of the most difficult things about parenting a teenager is watching them struggle with things you can’t control. If your teen has a mental health disorder, you may feel helpless, sad, anxious, or angry about what they go through every day. You do everything you can to support them. […]

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Is Moving Traumatic for Adolescents? 

As a parent, you may be faced with an impending move to a new house. Or perhaps you’ve already moved. You may have made the decision to move because of finances, career, schools, location, family, or other factors. Now you wonder about the effect moving can have on adolescents and teens. Perhaps you notice some […]

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Does Your Child Think Your Depression Is Their Fault?

“It’s my fault mom gets sad.” Even if you don’t say they’re at fault or give your children a reason to have thoughts like this, they may blame themselves for your depression. And if they do, they’re more likely to suffer from their own depression and anxiety, say researchers from Southern Methodist University (SMU). Moms […]

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Psychosis, Schizophrenia and Prodromal Symptoms in Teens: What’s the Difference?

If your teen is experiencing hallucinations or delusions, you might hear certain terms being thrown around by mental health professionals. Like “psychosis.” “Prodromal symptoms.” “Schizophrenia.” What exactly do these terms mean? And how are they different? What is Psychosis? First, let’s talk about psychosis. When someone is experiencing psychosis, they are experiencing “a break from […]

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Suicide Prevention Month During COVID-19

This year, Suicide Prevention Month – as well as Suicide Prevention Week and World Suicide Prevention Day – feels different than in years past. That’s because it’s taking place during a pandemic. With COVID-19 now being our new normal, many new things have become commonplace. Masks are as essential as our keys. Social distancing is […]

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How to Keep Teens Connected to the LGBTQ Community During Covid-19

This year, many teens are starting the new school year from home. While some teens benefit from the flexibility of distance learning, nearly every student worries about the loss of in-person time with classmates, teachers, and friends. For teens who identify as LGBTQ, a semester of social distancing may mean being apart from the only […]

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National Recovery Month 2020: Celebrating Connections

For over 20 years – since 1999 – the Substance Abuse and Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) organized and promoted National Recovery Month (Recovery Month) every September. The goal of Recovery Month is to spread awareness, reduce stigma, and educate individuals and families about the importance of mental health and substance use treatment and services. This […]

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How Do I Help My Teen Succeed at Virtual School This Fall?

This time last year, parents and teens were buying new school supplies and getting excited to go back to school. This year, though, the situation looks drastically different. Some school districts say they won’t open for in-person classes at all. Others are considering a hybrid schedule of virtual learning combined with limited face-to-face lessons. And […]

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My Grandchild Needs Mental Health Treatment: What Can I Do?

Grandparents have a unique role in a child’s life. Often serving as quasi-parents, grandmothers and grandfathers have the opportunity to shower their grandkids with love and attention while avoiding the typically difficult duties of parenting, such as discipline, changing diapers, mealtimes, and bedtime. In their exceptional roles, grandparents may see sides of their grandchildren that […]

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Why Do Teens Like ASKfm?

ASKfm is a question-and-answer site largely populated by teens. Almost half of its users are between thirteen and eighteen years old. Like many anonymous social media platforms, the site has become infamous for cyberbullying. In fact, several suicides have been linked to ASKfm. Articles in publications like The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, and Business […]

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Why LGBTQ Identity Labels Are Important

The list of labels people use to describe their sexual orientation and their gender looks dramatically different than it used to. Surveys on sexual orientation as recent as five years ago included options like gay, lesbian, bisexual, and straight. The acronym LGBTQ, which itself grew from the umbrella term gay, which became GLB, then LGBT, […]

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The Impact of Divorce on Adolescents

After the death of a parent, divorce is the second most traumatic event in a child’s life. And yet, for various reasons, divorce is common in the United States. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), about 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce. For those couples who have children, […]

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What Parents Can Do About Teen Nightmares

Many parents know that nightmares, and night terrors, are common in young children. What they don’t realize is that they’re prevalent during adolescence and the teen years, too. Though nightmares tend to decrease after the age of ten, they don’t always disappear completely. It’s normal for adolescents, teenagers, and even adults to have occasional nightmares. […]

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The Suicide Contagion Effect in Teens

In Palo Alto, California, the teen suicide rate is about five times the nation’s average. In this affluent Bay Area town, seven adolescents ended their own lives in the span of just ten years. Many of these suicides happened in waves, or clusters. A suicide cluster, according to the CDC, is “a group of suicides […]

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International Overdose Awareness Day 2020

What is Overdose? Most of us have an idea of what overdose means: it’s what happens when you take too much of something – a drug or medication – and experience negative consequences. If that’s what you think overdose is, you’ve got it right. Now, let’s check with the experts to see how they define […]

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How Dogs Improve Your Mental Health

There’s a reason why people say dogs are a (hu)man’s best friend. If you own one of these furry creatures, you already know why. Dogs are usually friendly and comforting. They offer a special form of companionship. Many pet owners wouldn’t hesitate to say they love their dog, and that their dog is a valuable […]

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Research Report: Wisconsin Student Athletes, COVID-19, and Depression

We recently published an article about the relationship between teen mental health, coronavirus, and high school sports. That piece was based on a study initiated by a Canadian high school student who analyzed the effect of coronavirus lockdown on student athletes in her school district in Ontario. She found that after six weeks of shelter-in-place […]

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With Schools in Limbo, How Can Parents Plan for the School Year?

On July 13th, officials in Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco announced public schools will resume classes on August 17th online, rather than in-person. Some parents, concerned about their child attending school during the pandemic, are relieved. The hashtag #NotMyChild trended on Twitter last week in the U.S. Concerned parents across the country said […]

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How Many 7th Graders in Lafayette, California Think Daily Marijuana Use is Okay?

Too many. During the 2017-2018 school year, the California Healthy Kids Survey asked students in Lafayette, California about their substance use habits and their opinions on substance use. Lafayette is a small city in Contra Costa County, California, situated between Berkeley and Walnut Creek in the East Bay. It’s adjacent to the towns of Moraga and […]

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Is Middle Child Syndrome Real?

Alfred Adler, an early psychoanalyst, and contemporary of Sigmund Freud, was the first to theorize that birth order affects personality. According to Adler, your personality is directly influenced whether you’re the youngest child, oldest child, or somewhere in between. Note that birth-order studies are mainly correlative. And – as it’s important to understand – correlation […]

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Does Virtual Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (eCBT) Work for Depression?

Events in the year 2020 changed life in the U.S. in countless ways. One change many of us experience directly is the shift to virtual work and school. Those aren’t the only things that shifted, though. Social contact, live music, and in-person events – from awards shows to graduations to conventions – now frequently occur […]

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How Do Teachers Feel About Returning to Virtual Teaching?

The Santa Monica Unified School District (SMUSD) will resume classes via distance-learning this year. For Ms. Orah Gidanian, a special-education instructor at the Santa Monica Alternative School House (SMASH), this makes sense. “While I am definitely nervous thinking about how this will impact our students’ academic futures and their families, I didn’t see how we […]

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Telehealth, Addiction Treatment, and COVID-19

When the coronavirus pandemic arrived in the U.S., another nationwide health crisis was in full swing: the opioid epidemic. Related to the opioid epidemic was another troubling aspect of addiction in the U.S. that was beginning to get attention: the treatment gap, which refers to the difference between the number of people diagnosed with alcohol […]

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National Exercise With Your Child Week

Every year since 2010, people in the U.S. have participated in National Exercise With Your Child Week during the first full calendar week in the month of August. The week was founded by Shiela Madison to promote family physical fitness. This year, working out as a family is more likely in years past. With most […]

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Help! I’m Anxious About My Teen Returning to School!

By now you might have heard most schools won’t reopen for in-person classes this fall. Or, perhaps your school is still uncertain about the possibility, and haven’t announced their final decision. Whatever the case may be, you know this: your anxiety is skyrocketing. You don’t know how to plan for the school year. You’re stressed […]

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LA Unified School District: Substance Use and Mental Health Report

The Los Angeles County Unified School District is the largest school district in Los Angeles County. It represents about 42 percent of the public-school students in Los Angeles County. If you’ve ever been curious about rates of mental health and substance use disorder in LA County, there’s a yearly report that has your answer: The […]

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COVID-19, High School Athletes, and Mental Health

The coronavirus pandemic touches almost every facet of life for people in the U.S. The way we work, the way we play, the way we socialize – it’s nearly impossible to find an area of day-to-day living that coronavirus does not affect. At the start of the pandemic, most of us thought we were at […]

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With School Closures, Not all Students Are Upset. Some Are Thrilled.

It’s back to school season. Which means, during COVID, back to homeschooling. In many districts, schools won’t open as usual this fall. Due to surging infection rates around the country, many schools will continue the distance-learning model. There’s also no projected date for when in-person classes will resume. And while many adolescents and parents bemoan […]

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Mental Health and Suicide Statistics for Teens in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County has received attention in recent years from media and mental health professionals concerned about the alarming rates of mental health issues among youth. For example, in Palo Alto, specifically, there were an unusual amount of teen suicide clusters over the past decade. Between two Palo Alto high schools, the suicide rate is […]

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July 26th is National Aunt and Uncle Day

Research shows that, like grandparents, aunts and uncles play a unique part in a child’s or adolescent’s life. In an interview with Forbes, Melanie Notkin, bestselling author of Savvy Auntie: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers, and All Women Who Love Kids, says that the more aunts and uncles a child has, the […]

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My Teen Couldn’t Handle Virtual Learning This Spring. Should I Have Them Evaluated?

The nationwide pandemic abruptly shifted all schools to a distance-learning model last spring. And while some students might have thrived in this new educational setting, many students suffered. This article addresses this latter category: those whose academic performance suffered – maybe severely – when schools shifted to a virtual platform. If this happened to your […]

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In Moraga, California, Twenty-Five Percent of Fifth Graders Have Tried Alcohol

If you’re a parent, teacher, or professional who works with youth in Contra Costa County, California, you might be interested in the current rates of adolescent substance use in cities such as Danville, San Ramon, Walnut Creek, Lafayette, and Moraga. While our past articles have focused on substance use in high school students, this article […]

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The Positive Impact of the Grandchild-Grandparent Bond on Mental Health

Everyone knows that grandparents have a special, unique bond with their grandchildren. In certain situations, this bond is sometimes deeper than the parent-child bond. But did you know that studies show being close with your grandparents – and vice versa – has positive effects on mental health? Being Close to the Grands Means Better Adolescent […]

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Why Is My Teen So Negative?

When it comes to your teen, the cup is always half-empty. No – scratch that. It’s always completely empty. Even when a situation has redeeming qualities, your teen sees it as all bad. They get stuck in a cloud of disappointment, misery, or gloom, and nothing you say changes their opinion. You keep wondering: Why […]

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My Teen is Suicidal. How Can I Help Them?

If your teen struggles with thoughts of suicide or has attempted suicide in the past, we’re sure you know they need mental health treatment as soon as possible. At this point, you might be trying to determine what kind of treatment facility is best for them. Below is an overview of the various treatment options […]

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National Parenting Gifted Children Week 2020: July 20-24

Parenting is one of the greatest joys in life. Parenting any child is a challenge and a blessing. You get to watch a human being grow right before your eyes, from infancy to adulthood. Along the way, you see them learn to walk and talk. You teach them how to do everything from tying their […]

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Happy National Parents’ Day 2020 

You are awesome. You probably don’t hear it often, especially if you’re raising teenagers, but it’s true. And there’s no better time to celebrate you than National Parents’ Day. On July 26, 2020, and every year on the fourth Sunday of July, the nation honors the vital role parents serve in their families and communities. […]

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Art Therapy for Anxious Teens

Most teen treatment centers offer art therapy as a supplemental treatment to traditional talk therapies like dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This evidence-based treatment often benefits people with trauma – especially childhood trauma. Art is also a productive medium for opening up treatment-resistant teens. It can help them become more comfortable […]

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Help! My Teen Lies Compulsively. What Can I Do?

Teens often lie. That’s a fact. Research shows roughly 96 percent of teens lie to their parents at least once in any given year. Teens typically lie to protect themselves or their friends, avoid embarrassment, avoid hurting someone’s feelings, or cover up emotions. But there’s a difference between typical teen lying and compulsive lying. While it’s […]

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What Causes Psychosis in Teens?

Witnessing your teen going through a psychotic episode can be confusing and scary. You may wonder what the cause of psychosis is, and why your teen developed it. While every teen is different, and everyone’s clinical history and symptoms vary, there are a few common causes of psychosis. We list them here. Teen Mental Illness […]

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My Grandchild Needs Mental Health Treatment, But Their Parents Won’t Listen to Me

You’re pretty sure your grandchild has a mental health, behavioral, or a substance use issue. Whether it’s depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), suicidal thoughts, oppositional-defiant disorder (ODD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), bipolar disorder (BD), or another mental health issue, you’re certain they need treatment, whether it’s at a residential home, a […]

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Understanding the Biology and Genetics of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a leading cause of global disability, with well-defined symptoms characterized largely by persistent mood instability. The classic presentation of the disease includes episodes of extreme elation and severe depression, with periods of relatively stable mood in between. Manic swings may include not only significant elevation in mood, but also related changes […]

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This One Simple Plan Can Help You Rescue Your Teen from Danger

Think back to when you were a teen. Did you ever feel deeply uncomfortable in a social setting but were unable to leave without negative social repercussions? It could have been at a party, at a friend’s house, or outside school after the bell rang. Perhaps someone pulled out a bottle of alcohol and suggested […]

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July is BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month

In 2005, Bebe Moore Campbell, national spokesperson for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI-LA), began a collaboration with NAMI peer Linda Wharton-Boyd that led to the launch of the first Minority Mental Health Awareness Month (MMHAM). Here’s how Campbell described the goal and message of the first MMHAM: “We need a national campaign to […]

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Danville and San Ramon, CA: Mental Health and Suicide Statistics for Teens

Teens in the San Ramon Unified School District took a survey last year to gauge their rates of substance use and mental health issues. This survey, called the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS), asked public school students statewide about a number of different issues in their lives: family connectedness, safety and crime at school, bullying, […]

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Suicide Statistics in L.A. County: 2019

Suicides are on the rise in LA county. Last year, the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (LACDMH) and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) released the 2019 Suicide Prevention Report to the Community. The following statistics come from that report, as well as the California School Climate, Health and Learning surveys (CalSCHLS): […]

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The Trick to Avoiding a COVID-19 Mask Induced Panic Attack

In many parts of the U.S., new rules require citizens to wear facemasks whenever they leave home. The orders are meant to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives. But many teens feel wearing a mask is uncomfortable. It covers their mouth and nose. It gets hot. Now that it’s summertime, the heart make […]

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Does My Teen Have Psychosis?

The NIMH has some startling statistics about psychosis. Every year in America, about 100,000 teens and young adults experience their first psychotic break. Three out of 100 people will experience psychosis at least once in their lives. And the most common time for someone to experience a psychotic break is during the teenage and college […]

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Mental Health/Suicide Statistics for Teens in Contra Costa County, CA

The most recent data on substance use and mental health issues among Contra Costa County residents is from 2015/2016. That’s the last year that Contra Costa, countywide, participated in the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS). Contra Costa County includes the following cities and towns: Antioch Brentwood Clayton Concord Danville El Cerrito Hercules Lafayette Martinez Moraga […]

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How To Help Teens Resist Online Extremism

On average, teens spend more than 7 hours each day watching videos, reading posts, and sharing information on the internet. Cat videos can be completely harmless and fan forums for television shows and music can be great ways for young people to have fun and connect with friends. But your teen’s favorite apps and social […]

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How Contra Costa County, CA is Tackling the Opioid Crisis

The coronavirus pandemic dominates headlines across the country. Meanwhile, the opioid epidemic continues to disrupt the lives of families and individuals in every state. It hit midwestern states, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, the hardest, but no state is immune – certainly not California. According to Contra Costa Health Services in Contra Costa County, California: […]

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Parents of Teens: Reminders for a Safe Fourth of July During COVID-19

This year, the Fourth of July may be difficult for teens. Many organizations have canceled in-person celebrations due to COVID-19. Beaches are closed. Traditional fireworks displays have been canceled. All this comes on the heels of cancelled proms, end-of-year trips, graduations, and summer camps. These disappointments are hard for teens. Now, no holiday weekend to […]

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Seven Ways Teens Can Celebrate the Fourth of July During COVID-19

It’s the Fourth of July! Woohoo! Head to the beach, have a cookout, and watch fireworks with your friends and family. But this year – probably not. Obviously the situation is a little different. With coronavirus cases rising all over America, local and state officials are urging families to stay home and remember that despite […]

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One Word That Can Harm Your Relationship With Your Teen

“Just snap out of it.” “Can’t you just get out of bed already?” “Just decide to be in a good mood, and you will be!” How many times have you uttered these phrases – or similar ones – to your teenager? While you think you’re being helpful, the word “just” invalidates any message you’re trying […]

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Drugs That Can Cause Psychosis in Teens

Having a psychotic episode can be scary – for the teen undergoing it, and the parent witnessing it. Psychosis can best be described as an out-of-mind experience. It involves hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. While many are aware of the relationship between psychosis to mental health disorders (like schizophrenia), less is known about drug-induced psychosis. Many […]

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L.A. County Teens: Mental Health and Addiction Statistics

Every year, the California Department of Education Coordinated School Health and Safety Office administers a survey to public school students in school districts across the state. This annual survey is called the “California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS)”. Officials administer this anonymous and confidential survey to public school students in grades five, seven, nine, and eleven […]

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Does My Teen Have Bipolar Disorder?

Katy Perry’s Hot ‘n Cold describes your teen’s mood swings perfectly. Your teenager goes through major ups-and-downs. They vacillate between episodes of enthusiasm and joy and periods of sadness and lethargy. Yes, of course, everyone tells you that adolescent mood swings are common, but how do you know whether your teen’s symptoms are typical or […]

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The Impact of COVID-19 on Teens with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by repetitive, obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that often intrude upon a person’s day-to-day life. This anxiety disorder is a common psychiatric disorder for adolescents. Evidence shows that between one and three percent of children and teens struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Some common types of obsession include worrying about something […]

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Report: The Most Commonly Abused Drugs in LA County

Addiction and substance use is a nationwide problem. But specific areas of the country show specific trends and drug patterns. For example, the 2019 Los Angeles County Sentinel Community Site (SCS) Drug Use Patterns and Trends Report shows the current statistics of drug use in Los Angeles County. Dr. Mary-Lynn Brecht of UCLA authored the […]

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Media Consumption, Protests, and Teen Mental Health

Media coverage of the nationwide protests occurring in response to the tragic death of George Floyd has been nearly constant since Memorial Day. Every second a new video appears: from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles, demonstrators are out in the streets, making their voices heard. And your adolescent is watching it all unfold, […]

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Five Tips for Making Your Practice a Safe Space for LGBTQ+ Teens

June is Pride Month! In honor of #Pride, we asked Clarissa Harwell, LCSW for advice on making the therapy room a safe and welcoming space for teens who identify as LGBTQIA. Clarissa works for Uplift Family Services in the Bay Area and also has a private practice in Campbell, California. In addition to working with […]

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Academic Performance and Drug Use Among Teens Who Date

Dating is a big part of being a teenager. Movies, pop music, books, and social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook glorify teen love, teen crushes, being boy-crazy, girl-crazy, or non-binary they/them crazy. To be clear, by crazy we mean obsessed, and by obsessed we don’t mean clinically. We mean the can’t-stop-thinking-about-my-crush kind of obsession, […]

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Anxiety in Children: Do Kids Worry About Politics?

With everything that’s going on in the world right now, you may find yourself wondering if your child worries about the news. News once aimed at adults and timed to air after younger kids went to bed now airs almost 24/7. Adults also receive constant news updates on their smartphones, or check social media to […]

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LGBTQ Teens: How Gay-Straight Alliances Boost Mental Health

Adolescence is a turbulent time for any teen. As the developing brain prioritizes sensation, learning, and exploration over risk mitigation, teens navigate a precarious path toward self-actualization and learn to build strong relationships both within and outside their peer groups. While recent research reframes adolescent risk-taking behavior as a natural adaptation – part of an […]

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The Impact of the Protests on Teen Mental Health

Over the past few months, most families across the country have lived in relative isolation due to shelter-in-place orders designed to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We’ve written several articles on the various ways this affects teens: they’ve missed school, missed seeing their friends in person, and missed milestone events like proms and […]

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Suicide Attempts Surge In This California County

When the coronavirus pandemic hit, experts predicted it might significantly impact teen mental health. With no real school or extracurricular activities, and limited opportunities for socializing or getting out of the house, professionals guessed that teens with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, self-injurious behavior, and suicidal ideation might be more at risk than ever. We […]

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Grandfamilies in 2020: An Overview

In the U.S., many grandparents are primary caregivers for their grandchildren. According to a University of Michigan/AARP Poll, ten percent of grandparents care for their grandchildren full time. This number includes children ranging in age from infancy to adolescence. These numbers have doubled since 1970, leading to a sharp rise in grandfamilies. While the reasons […]

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Parents: During Coronavirus, Being Okay is the New Perfect

Many parents are struggling through COVID-19. Juggling childcare, cooking, homeschooling, and cleaning is no easy feat when you get zero breaks or vacation days during the week. As an added stress, many parents are either working from home, out on the front lines of duty as essential workers, or have been laid off. In such […]

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Should I Let My Teen Watch 13 Reasons Why?

You might have heard of the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. It’s about an adolescent girl who commits suicide and the drama that occurs in her high school thereafter. The protagonist is 17-year-old Hannah Baker, who faces bullying, sexual assault, gossip, and betrayal from friends before choosing to end her life. In 13 cassette tapes […]

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Parents: Do You Know the Dangers of OnlyFans?

There’s a new trend hitting Generation Z – and it’s a problem. It’s called OnlyFans. On this UK-based website, anyone can post explicit content and set up a paywall for “fans” to access it. While technically the site claims only individuals 18+ have access, many teens find ways to bypass the age restriction. Unfortunately, this […]

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How to Plan A Teen Summer During the COVID-19 Crisis

We live in a time of uncertainty. As the COVID-19 crisis spread across the United States, this spring was anything but normal – and the summer does not look like it will be a typical one, either. Most schools remain closed, so many teens won’t return to campus until next fall. And even though some […]

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Can I Force My Teen to Go to Therapy or Mental Health/Drug Treatment?

Many parents struggle with teens who have emotional, behavioral, or substance abuse issues — like depression, anxiety, trauma, ODD, DMDD, ADHD, prodromal psychosis, or addiction. What makes it even harder is when these teens are reluctant to go to therapy or seek mental health/substance abuse treatment. There are a number of reasons why teens can […]

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Mental Health Treatment for Adolescents: An Overview

If your teenager has a mental health issue and needs treatment, it may be difficult to know where to find the best available support. Adolescent mental health treatment comes in many forms. Generally speaking, most mental health centers offer treatment for teen anxiety, treatment for teen depression, and treatment for teen substance use disorders. Specialty […]

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Calling Transgender Teens by Their Chosen Name Reduces Suicide Risk

Recently, Starbucks – yes, the coffee shop – ran an advertising campaign in support of transgender teens. The popular ad, called #WhatsYourName, capitalizes on Starbucks’ well-known custom of personalizing each customer’s coffee cup. The short clip, which won a Diversity in Advertising Award and aired in the United Kingdom, follows a young teen throughout their […]

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June is Gay Pride Month: How it’s Happening During COVID-19

Gay Pride has come a long way since June of 1970, when the first Gay Pride Parade was held. That year, to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, a small group of gay and lesbian activists got a permit to parade along a short route, from the corner of Sixth Avenue and Waverly […]

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What Is Medical Trauma in Teens? 

You’ve heard of trauma. And you know all about medical illness. But have you heard of medical trauma? Medical trauma occurs after someone undergoes a serious medical procedure or illness. Teens diagnosed with chronic or terminal illnesses may struggle with medical trauma, as can those with life-threatening injuries or surgeries. Research shows, for example, that […]

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How Does COVID-19 Affect Summer Jobs for Teens?

Summer is almost here. It’s a time of longer days and warmer temperatures, and most teens look forward to a break from school – and more time to sleep in. But, as any parent knows, summers can be a precarious time for young adults. Too much unstructured time can lead to counterproductive habits, boredom, and […]

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Non-Binary Gender Identities: An Introduction

For some teens, exploring their gender identity is an important part of figuring out who they are. Most people are familiar with two gender identities – man and woman. But some cultures recognize a third gender identity. They view gender as something that can be more complex than two categories allow. The term non-binary is […]

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Do All Teens Date?

If you’re a teenager, you’ve probably thought about dating. Maybe you’ve decided you don’t want to date at all, maybe you’ve decided you want to date some, and maybe you’ve decided you want to date a lot. We have some good news for you: no matter which category you’re in, you have company. This means […]

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Diagnosing ADHD: Different Countries, Different Approaches

ADHD Controversy Over the past decade, there’s been widespread public debate about the increase in reported rates of ADHD diagnosis in the USA and how they compare to those in the rest of the world, particularly countries in Western Europe such as France. Though it’s possible to trace this discussion back as far as the […]

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How Understanding Grief and Loss Can Help During COVID-19

You don’t know anyone who passed away due to COVID-19. So how come you feel like you’re grieving? Because you might very well be. During this pandemic, many are experiencing different types of losses. Whether it’s loss of a job, social interaction, money, missing a special ceremony or milestone event, or even the loss of […]

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Nick Loffree Talks Diet, Exercise, and Sleep

About Nick Loffree Nick Loffree leads weekly qiqong classes for teens in the Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs (PHP/IOP) at Evolve Treatment Centers. While teaching, Nick often talks about his personal journey through complementary medicine and self-healing. He first started practicing Qigong (an exercise involving meditative breathing coordinated with slow, fluid movement) after discovering […]

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How Does Buprenorphine (Suboxone) Help Treat Teen Opioid Addiction?

The most commonly prescribed medication for teens with an opioid use disorder is Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine was approved in 2002 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for adolescents age 16 and over. One qualitative study of more than twenty-thousand teens and young adults in the U.S. showed that buprenorphine […]

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Why Is My Teen so Mean to Me? Part 3: Mental Health Issues

Every teen behaves in ways that are frustrating at least on occasion, and perhaps even numerous times. While some measure of defiance in teens is normal as they strive to assert their burgeoning independence, very frequent occurrences of noncompliant, blatantly defiant or angry behavior can indicate a mental health disorder. As we mentioned in the […]

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Handling Sibling Fighting During Coronavirus Lockdown

“Stop it!” “That’s mine!” “Don’t touch me!” If your day is filled with this kind of bickering among your children, you’re not alone. Sheltering in place has led to rising family tensions in many households. It’s hard to be in close quarters day in and day out, but there’s a silver lining: this is an […]

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Five Tips for Keeping Your Teen Active in Quarantine

With much of the country under stay-at-home orders, the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect every aspect of our daily lives. This is perhaps particularly true for parents of teenagers. Without the structure of a normal school day, you may find that your teenager is bouncing off the walls – or staying up late texting friends, […]

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Help! My Teen Wants to Vape and Smoke During COVID Lockdown

Coronavirus is stressful. We get that. It’s annoying that schools are closed. That, if you’re a senior, you won’t get to have a real graduation from high school. Students are missing prom, end-of-the-year trips, birthday parties, and all the other milestone celebrations that COVID-19 has postponed or eliminated. It’s stressful for adolescents not to be […]

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Family DBT at Evolve: How We Do It

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is all about change. From emotions to behaviors to modes of thinking, the essence of DBT lies in learning how to transform life-interrupting thoughts, emotions, and actions to life-affirming thoughts, emotions, and actions. At Evolve Treatment Centers, we take a comprehensive approach to treatment in order to address all aspects of […]

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My Teen is Suicidal: Is it Safe to Go to the Hospital During COVID-19?

If you’re the parent of a teen living with mental health or addiction issues, COVID-19 is probably especially difficult. With no real school or extracurricular activities to keep your teen busy, and limited opportunities for socializing or to even getting out of the house, teens with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, self-injurious behavior, […]

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Help! My Teen Relapsed During the COVID-19 Lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic has our society at a virtual standstill. But some things don’t stop for a virus. One example: recovery from an alcohol or substance use disorder. Recovery is an ongoing, life-long process that takes the work, care, and diligent attention of the person in recovery. It also takes the care and attention of […]

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Home Life During COVID-19: Do You Model Good Behavior?

One of the oldest, most common, and oft-repeated adages you hear when raising or teaching kids is this: They don’t do what you say, they do what you do. Younger kids – and early teens – also tend to think like you think and take the attitudes you take about things happening in the world, […]

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COVID-19 Parent Questions: How Do I Set Boundaries for My Teen?

One of the most important jobs for a parent is to teach their children how the world works. One of the most important lessons about how the world works is this: you have to play by the rules, or you’ll get in trouble. At home, you get in trouble with your parents. At school, you […]

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Seven Ways to Have a Birthday Party for Your Teen During Coronavirus

If your teen’s birthday is coming up, they’re probably feeling a mixture of emotions right now. They’re excited for their birthday, but they may already feel let down about the party. Or by the fact it’s not happening – at least not the way they wanted it to. COVID-19 social distancing requirements don’t really allow […]

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Recovery at Home During COVID-19: Online AA and NA

The coronavirus pandemic creates challenges in almost every aspect of life. Teenagers in recovery from an alcohol or substance use disorder face obstacles that many other teens do not. They’re trying to stay sober when their previous support options, such as in-person therapy, group counseling, or regular meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous […]

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Mental Health Awareness Month 2020: Tools 2 Thrive

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. At the beginning of 2020, no one could have predicted where we are now: in the middle of a worldwide health crisis, the coronavirus pandemic. Our physical health and wellbeing are front and center in everyone’s mind, which is critical for getting the pandemic under control. Everyone is doing […]

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Home Life During COVID-19: Is My Teenager Craving Drugs? How Can I Tell?

Parents of teens who live with alcohol or substance use disorders face an additional challenge during the coronavirus pandemic. On top of everything new happening, such as telework, virtual school, shelter-in-place orders, and all the details related to COVID-19 that now make up part of their lives, they’re concerned how recovery is going for their […]

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It’s Mother’s Day. And My Teen Hates Me.

Your friends are posting pictures of the flowers, cards, and presents they got from their kids. Or the brunch they’re enjoying with their smiling teens. At home, of course.  It’s a COVID Mother’s Day, after all. Or some sweet photo of them embracing their daughter or son. You feel pangs of emotion. Self-pity. Jealousy. Guilt. […]

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Help! My Teen is Self-Harming During Coronavirus

COVID-19 has many parents of teens confused. Especially parents of teens with mental health issues. If you’re a parent in that category, you might have thought living under the same roof as your adolescent would decrease the severity of their emotional, behavioral, or substance use issues. After all, you wake up together, eat together, and […]

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Home Life During COVID-19: The Power of the To-Do List

Here we are. Late spring, 2020, and the year isn’t going at all the way anyone planned. If you’re not in a state with strict stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines, you’re in a state wondering if and when the orders and guidelines will arrive – if ever. If you’re approaching week five or six […]

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Home Life During COVID-19: Look for the Belly Laughs

Life under shelter-in-place orders is something new for us all. It’s not a staycation, it’s not a break from real life, and it’s not a holiday. But what is it? It’s our new normal, for now. During this new normal, families across the country spend far more time at home with one another than they […]

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The COVID-19 Parent Trick: Act Naturally

It’s COVID-19 lockdown time. Okay, maybe not complete lockdown. But you’re at home like millions of other people around the country. You and your spouse work from home, your kids go to school online, and you spend your days doing your best to keep everyone healthy and happy. Let’s say you have a big family […]

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Arrgggh! Why is My Teen so Messy?

Clothes haphazardly scattered around the room. One sneaker under a sweaty shirt. Another hidden beneath the unmade bed. An almost-empty snack bag full of crumbs perched at the edge of the nightstand, precariously close to spilling. Last night’s wet towel on the bed. And random knickknacks strewn around the room: batteries, charger cables, dirty laundry, […]

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How to Talk to Your Teen About Consent

The #MeToo movement brought to light the alarming frequency of sexual assault cases in the U.S. and around the world. The phenomenon was instigated by several high-profile women who alleged equally high-profile men sexually assaulted them. Naturally, the national conversation turned to the issue of consent. Teaching Children About Consent Though teaching your teen about […]

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Parents Want to Know: What Is Huffing?

Huffing is a method teens use to inhale substances recreationally. Teens huff inhalants, such as aerosol bottles of air freshener or deodorants, by spraying them into a towel and then pressing the towel to the nose or mouth. They then inhale the concentrated fumes to achieve a short-term high. Parents need to know this fact: […]

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How Teen Drug Rehab Programs Help Prevent Relapse

The highest quality drug rehab centers or dual diagnosis treatment centers for teens have two goals: To help teens recover from addiction. To help those teens prevent relapse. That second goal is very important. Even if a teen stays sober while in a drug rehab center, the true challenge comes after discharge from the substance […]

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How to Schedule Your Teen During COVID-19

We all have one big problem right now: the coronavirus pandemic. It manifests in different ways for different people. First, the suffering of the victims and their families: this disease is causing tragic loss in every community across the nation. Second, the frontline healthcare workers: their bravery is unmatched. They’re the heroes of this difficult […]

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Teens, the Internet, and COVID-19

With the majority of the U.S. population now home due to COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, millions of teens are spending more time online. Almost all high schools have shifted their regular academic classes to Zoom or other digital platforms. Local governments have banned most forms of outside entertainment, which means teens are spending an increasing amount […]

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How Much Anxiety is Normal During COVID-19?

The coronavirus pandemic has unleashed a wave of panic across the nation—and the world. It’s not without reason. As of this writing, COVID-19 has affected the health of millions of people. In the USA alone, it’s claimed the lives of over ten thousand people and the number is rising. Public health officials say the virus […]

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How to Help Your College Kid With COVID-19 Stress

The stress of the coronavirus pandemic affects everyone. The doctors, nurses, and frontline healthcare workers working every day feel it. Their patients sick with COVID-19 feel it. Their families feel it, too. Public health officials, elected officials, business owners, public safety officers, people who work in essential industries, people who lost their jobs, people who […]

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COVID-19: How Isolation Can Be Dangerous for At-Risk Teens

Medical experts from around the world have one unanimous message for everyone during the coronavirus pandemic: stay home. Most cities and states in the U.S. have issued strict shelter-in-place orders, intended to curb the spread of COVID-19. Rallying cries of “stay home, save lives” and “flatten the curve” scroll across news feeds everywhere. While isolation […]

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month: I Ask for Consent

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) in the United States. The first SAAM was organized by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) in 2001, which makes this year – 2020 – the 19th anniversary of SAAM. The purpose of the month is to raise awareness about the grim reality of sexual assault, share […]

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Bullying: Five Reasons Kids Bully Other Kids

Did you recently get the dreaded call from the Assistant Principal at Middle School? The one who handles discipline issues? Did they break the unfortunate news that your kid has been bullying other kids? DON’T PANIC – BUT DO TAKE IT SERIOUSLY This doesn’t mean your kid is a bad person or you’re a bad […]

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April is Stress Awareness Month: What is Toxic Stress?

Each year during Stress Awareness Month, we publish a series of articles about stress. We talk about what it is, why we experience it, and what we can do about it. We also offer statistics on the prevalence of stress in our communities and advice on how to handle stress that becomes chronic, toxic, or […]

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April is Stress Awareness Month: What is Chronic Stress?

Each year during Stress Awareness Month, we publish a series of articles about stress: what it is, why we experience it, and what we can do about it. We also offer statistics on the prevalence of stress in our communities and advice on how to handle stress that becomes chronic, toxic, or dangerous to our […]

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April 10th is National Siblings Day

National Siblings Day (NSD) was founded in 1999 by Claudia Evart, a New York resident who lost both of her siblings at an early age. She organized the first NSD at the same time she launched the Siblings Day Foundation, a non-profit organization with the sole mission of promoting and honoring NSD. The purpose of […]

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COVID-19: What to Do When Your Teen Breaks Shelter-in-Place Rules

Some teens have heard and understood all the reasons they should follow COVID-19 shelter-in-place and social distancing guidelines but refuse to follow them. For some teens, the fact that every time they break the rules they endanger other people’s lives doesn’t matter. They do not care. Some will make jokes about it, gloat about it, […]

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How to Deal With Teen Disappointments During COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted every aspect of life as we know it: healthcare, economy, travel, politics, communal life, education, and more. Local governments have shut down schools, most likely for the rest of the school year. This means high school teens will probably miss important milestones like prom and graduation. Sophomores may not receive […]

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My Teen Is Violating Coronavirus Stay-at-Home Orders: What Can I Do?

As of this week, more than half of the states in the U.S. have implemented some form of stay-at-home policy, in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. These orders urge all residents to stay home unless they need to leave for essential reasons (e.g. food, medicine, doctors). At the same time, state governments have […]

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Tips for Working from Home During COVID-19: Are My Changes Really Saved in Drive?

The coronavirus pandemic has changed daily life for millions of people in the U.S. Social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the White House COVID-19 Task Force, combined with state and local shelter-in-place advisories – some of which are mandatory and enforceable – mean public offices, storefronts, and points of sale […]

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Five Lessons About Emotions Teens Can Learn from The Movie Inside Out

Sometimes a movie is so educational and entertaining that it can teach you more about a subject than a textbook. And it can do it while making you laugh, cry, or both. Great movies like that can change your perspective on the world. Inside Out, a Pixar-animated story about an 11-year-old pre-teen girl named Riley, […]

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Should You Care About Your Teen’s Grades?

Many parents wonder how much they should be involved in their children’s education. Should they help their child do homework and study for tests? Should they advocate for their child in school if they feel that a teacher isn’t being fair? And most importantly, how much should they care about grades? These are all important […]

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National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week 2020 Part Three: The Treatment Gap

This year, National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week takes place between March 30th and April 5th. Organizers and advocates invite teens, parents, teachers, school administrators, public policymakers, and anyone involved in the life of teenagers to get on board with the theme for 2020: NDAFW 2020: SHATTER THE MYTHS About Alcohol and Drug Use. This […]

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National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week 2020 Part Two: Drug Use Among Adolescents

This year, National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week takes place between March 30th and April 5th. Organizers and advocates invite teens, parents, teachers, school administrators, public policymakers, and anyone involved in the life of teenagers to get on board with the theme for 2020: NDAFW 2020: SHATTER THE MYTHS About Alcohol and Drug Use This […]

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National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week 2020 Part One: Shatter the Myths

In 2010, scientists and experts on drug and alcohol use from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) launched a public awareness campaign to offer teenagers real facts about alcohol and drug use among their peer group. The purpose of the campaign was twofold: Present teenagers the latest data on alcohol and drugs. Refute myths […]

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Seven Privacy Reminders for Parents of Teens During COVID-19

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been felt around the entire globe. There are hundreds of thousands of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, and the number is still on the rise. To contain the spread of the virus, most state and local governments in the U.S. have shut down non-essential businesses, banned social gatherings, and […]

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How to Handle Anxiety During COVID-19 

Wherever you live, you are likely experiencing the impact of coronavirus. Schools and non-essential businesses are probably closed. Restaurants, theme parks, libraries, movie theaters: same. As of this writing, COVID-19 has already affected the health and lives of millions of people around the world. It’s already claimed the lives of more than a thousand people […]

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Teletherapy for Teens During COVID-19

The coronavirus outbreak has changed almost every aspect of life as we know it. California and many other states have closed all non-essential businesses. Schools are shuttered – with no confirmed date when they will reopen. Theme parks, sports events, zoos, theaters, and other entertainment options are closed – also with no confirmed date when […]

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Eight Things To Do With Your Teen While They’re Home Due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the entire world, including the U.S. The majority of schools around the country, including in Los Angeles, have closed their doors. In California, there is a strict shelter-in-place policy. Public health organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have issued social distancing […]

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The Danger of Drinking Games for Teens

Celebrations in the U.S. often feature alcohol. At sports events, concerts, parties, and sometimes school dances and proms, it’s quite common to see young adults and teenagers with alcoholic beverages in hand. This even happens when alcohol isn’t officially allowed at these events. Teens manage to sneak in alcohol anyway. Or they may pregame the […]

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Why Is My Teenager so Sad All the Time? Do They Have Depression?

Your teen, it seems, is always moping about something or another. Every time you look at them, their body language cries miserable. When they’re not crying, they’re either sulking or moody. They rarely smile, answer you in monosyllables, and seem to spend all their time in their room. A grey cloud seems to hang perpetually […]

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Three Ways to Talk to a Treatment-Resistant Teen

If you’re a parent or caregiver of a teen with mental health, behavioral, and/or substance abuse issues, you might be pushing for them to seek professional treatment. However, as you’ve probably seen, this is easier said than done. Evidence shows that most teens resist mental health or substance use treatment. Whether they refuse for practical […]

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No Time for Family Dinner? Try These Ideas

Research shows that regular family dinners have tremendous benefits for children and teens. Eating dinner together as a family can increase self-esteem, academic performance, and reduce the likelihood of adolescent depression. They create a secure, positive, warm environment for the child. Regular family dinners – which the research defines as eating dinner together at least five […]

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Five Ways to Convince Your Teen to Go to Mental Health or Drug Rehab (When They Don’t Want To)

If your child is like most teens, they’re reluctant about seeking help for a mental health or alcohol/substance use problem. Even if they receive a diagnosis for a disorder like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), alcohol/substance use disorder (AUD/SUD) […]

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Research Report: Teens Who Self-Harm Often Learn from Friends

If you have a teen who harms themselves intentionally – a behavior called non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) by mental health professionals – you might feel confused, helpless, and hopeless. It’s disturbing to realize your adolescent is hurting themselves on purpose. It’s even more painful to realize there’s not much you can do to control it, short […]

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The Parent Trap: How to Avoid Default Parent Syndrome

There’s a phenomenon that regularly occurs in parenting that we need to discuss. It’s called default parent syndrome. You probably know what we’re talking about: when one parent becomes the default parent and one parent becomes the back-up parent. Parenting magazines, websites, and the mainstream news media have picked up on this. They highlight one […]

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Common Household Products Teens Use to Get High

Teens who experiment with illegal drugs or use prescription drugs recreationally can develop a substance use disorder, or what most people call an addiction. Teens can become addicted to heroin, opioid pain relievers, benzodiazepines, marijuana, hallucinogens, and many other drugs. When addiction escalates, teens can become resourceful, creative – and irresponsible – in their quest […]

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March 21st is National Teenager Day

This year, National Teenager Day falls on the first day of Spring: Saturday, March 21st. That means you get to celebrate two amazing things at once: the magic of Spring, and the joy of teenagers. That’s right, we said the joy of teenagers. We mean it. If there’s a teenager in your life, March 21st […]

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National Single Parent Day 2020

When people think of a single parent, most envision a single mom. A young, single mom. They’re not wrong: there are more young, single moms than any other type of single parent in the U.S. But not all single parents are moms. And they’re not all young. Single parents can dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts, uncles, […]

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March Is Non-Suicidal Self-Injury Awareness Month

Each year during the month of March, advocates join to raise awareness about the phenomenon of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). Physicians and mental health professionals may refer to NSSI as self-injury (SI), self-harm (SH), deliberate self-harm (DSH), and self-mutilation (SM).  Informally, NSSI is known as cutting. The purpose of this article is to participate in this […]

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March 19th Is Incredible Kid Day

Every year, we celebrate Incredible Kid Day on the third Thursday in March. This year, Incredible Kid Day – or Absolutely Incredible Kid Day, as it’s properly called – comes on March 21st. Founded in 1997, the purpose of Absolutely Incredible Kid Day is simple: tell the kids in your life what makes them incredible. […]

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What is Wilderness Therapy?

Before you read this article, make sure you read our article “Is Wilderness Therapy Right for My Teenager?” The Origins of Wilderness Therapy Wilderness Therapy programs originate in the work of Kurt Hahn, a German educator who founded Outward Bound (OB) in the early 1940s as a way to teach British sailors how to survive […]

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Busy Parents: Five Tips for Finding Quality Family Time

Everyone says one of the best ways to keep a family together is by having regular family dinners. Parents and kids sit down around the table and catch up on the events of the day. They talk about plans for tomorrow, discuss important family matters, or just take the time to enjoy a nice meal […]

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What Medications Are Used in Medication Assisted Treatment for Teens?

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a way for adolescents to detox from, and overcome, their opiate addiction. By taking specific, FDA-approved, physician-prescribed drugs, teens are able to gradually taper off their heroin or opioid addiction without experiencing strong opioid cravings or the painful symptoms of withdrawal. For these reasons, MAT helps limit the risk of relapse. […]

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Is Technology in the Classroom Distracting?

Technology in the classroom is as much a part of education now as pencils and paper were fifty years ago. The technology we discuss in this article, though, is digital technology: the phones, tablets, and laptops students use during class. We’re not going to talk about PowerPoint presentations, online homework assignments, or research conducted on […]

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Brand New To Exercising? These Tips Can Help

Exercise and Recovery The evidence is in. Regular exercise can help people in recovery. Studies show that an exercise routine can help people in recovery from alcohol and substance use disorders, combat depression, relieve anxiety, decreases cravings, and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Regular exercise also offers people in recovery new alternatives to old habits, decreases […]

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My Teen Has an Eating Disorder: How do I Find Help?

Eating disorders affect millions of teens around the world. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), about 3-5 percent of adolescents in the U.S. live with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or an otherwise specified feeding and eating disorder. Additionally, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness. If your teen […]

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Too Much Too Soon: The Long-Term Effects of Academic Preschools

Early Childhood: The Foundations of Learning Child development experts recognize that early childhood education is crucial to the long-term academic success of an individual. Research shows that the first five years of life set the stage for everything that comes afterwards, and that during this time, children’s brains are most receptive to learning language and […]

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Parenting Basics: The Difference Between Discipline and Punishment

Parenting is one of the most rewarding experiences in life. It’s also one of the most challenging. Along with the laughter, joy, and love, children bring into the lives of their parents, they also bring tears, tantrums, and frustration. It’s up to parents to guide children into adulthood, give them the fundamental tools they need […]

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Eat Your Breakfast: Study Shows Impact on Grades

We’ve all heard this at least a thousand and one times: “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” When the adults in our lives say this when we’re little, it makes sense. We need to get fuel in our bellies to give us the energy to make it through the day. As we […]

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What Teens do With Their Downtime (And Why They Should Have Hobbies)

The average American teenager spends about nine hours sleeping and about seven and a half hours participating in school-related activities on any given weekday during the school year. That means they have roughly seven and a half hours of downtime every day to fill however they choose. Which makes us wonder: How do our teenagers […]

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My Teen Has Anxiety About Climate Change. Do They Need Mental Health Treatment?

Disclaimer: This article is about understanding the issues involved in climate change as it relates to teen anxiety. It is neither a public endorsement nor criticism of climate change policies or the climate change movement. Evolve Treatment Centers has one goal: to help adolescents struggling with behavioral, emotional, and substance use disorders. This generation shows […]

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Why is Adolescent Polydrug Use so Harmful?

When an individual uses two or more substances at the same time, the practice is called polydrug use. Polydrug use is particularly common among adolescents experimenting with alcohol and drugs. How Common Is Polydrug Use in Teens? One study of teens in California, conducted by the RAND research institute in Los Angeles, found that 29% […]

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The Benefits of Play Therapy for Young Children and Adolescents

What Is Play Therapy? Play therapy was developed early in the 20th century as a way for psychiatrists, psychotherapists, teachers and other childcare professionals to help young children positively and productively handle a wide range of emotional and psychological challenges. The underlying premise of play therapy is to meet children at their own level, where […]

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Why Is My Teenager so Mean to Me? Part 1: When to Seek Help

If you have a teenager, you may at times wonder why they are—to put it simply—so mean to you. They might insult you either alone or in front of others, with snide or sarcastic comments on your appearance, personality, parenting, or any other aspect of your life. Their verbal aggression could include cursing and harassment. […]

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Mindfulness Self-Assessment: How Do You Know if You’re Mindful?

People who teach yoga and mindfulness practices are often asked “What exactly is mindfulness?” They answer the question in a variety of different ways mostly depending on the context in which the question is asked, and the nature of the audience they’re addressing. Recently, a group of yoga teachers developed a new and interesting way […]

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February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month: #1Thing

Early Roots: Protecting Families In 1981, advocates for women and children created Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM) to raise awareness about domestic violence and spread reliable facts and knowledge about its prevalence and consequences. Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM) is the product of that same awareness and advocacy movement. The goals of DVAM and […]

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The Relationship Between Alcohol Use, Substance Use, and Parenting Style

Scores of peer-reviewed scientific journal studies that examine the relationship between parenting styles and the use of alcohol and drugs are available to the public. The majority of this research focuses on the effect of parenting style on alcohol and drug use among adolescents. In this area of research, scientists identify four primary parenting styles […]

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Why Seeking out Rejection Can Help Teens Overcome Anxiety

If you’re like many teens, you’re scared of rejection. You really want to ask your crush or friend out, but what if they say no? Your dream is to snag a certain internship or summer job, but how will you ever be accepted? You want to apply to some top colleges, but is it even […]

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This One DBT Skill Can Lift Most Teens’ Negative Moods

Opposite Action is a very popular Dialectical Behavior Therapy skill among teens.  In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), teens learn a variety of practical skills they can use to change unhealthy and ineffective behaviors. These skills are divided into four core modules: Emotion Regulation, Mindfulness, Distress Tolerance, and Interpersonal Effectiveness. One well-known skill in the Emotion […]

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Eat Your Vegetables: Diet and Health in Childhood and Adolescence

An alarming trend has emerged over the past three decades in the United States: children and adolescents are falling victim to a wide array of health problems. According to studies released by the CDC, the Kaiser Foundation, and countless peer-reviewed academic journal publications, data indicate that obesity, asthma, and type 2 diabetes are all on […]

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January is National Hobby Month: Top Ten Benefits of Hobbies for Teens

Sometimes, hobbies are just fun, and nothing else. And that’s what makes them so great. They occupy a space in life that’s not work, school, or family. Everyone needs that: a part of life where there’s no pressure and very few expectations. Hobbies can be that. But hobbies can be also be much more. They […]

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January 2020: National Stalking Awareness Month

Stalking is a serious crime that can cause severe emotional damage to the person being stalked. Stalking can also be a precursor to sexual and non-sexual violence, rape, and murder. Did that sentence get your attention? Good. That’s why we wrote it: stalking needs your attention. It needs all our attention. It needs national attention. […]

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What Does It Mean That My Teen Has Prodromal Symptoms of Psychosis?

If your teen has been acting strangely over the past few days and weeks, you might have taken them to a mental health professional, who stated that your child could be in the prodromal stages of psychosis. What does it mean if your teen is prodromal? This means that your teen is showing the introductory […]

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Someone Is Stalking My Teen Online. What Do I Do?

Here at Evolve Treatment Centers, our utmost priority is the safety and security of adolescents and teens everywhere. That’s why we’re committed to spreading awareness on the dangers of the dark web, unfiltered social media access, and the unfortunate reality of child sex trafficking/grooming. Grooming and stalking go hand-in-hand. Many child predators will start talking […]

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Why Is My Teenager so Angry All the Time?

Your teen, it seems, is constantly angry about something or the other. They snap back at you at every possible opportunity. They’re grouchy when things don’t go their way. Even the littlest things make them grumpy and irritated. You keep wondering: Why is my teen always so angry? Is this normal? Some Teen Anger Is […]

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Pros and Cons of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Your teen is addicted to heroin or other opioids. You’ve been getting lots of advice. Mental health professionals have told you about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), 12-Step programs (e.g. Nar-Anon), and adolescent drug rehab centers. You’ve also heard about detoxification (often referred to as detox), and Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). For teens […]

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Can Music Help Treat Depression?

A report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017 shows that depression is one of the most common chronic diseases on earth. The numbers are staggering: around 322 million people live with some form of clinical depression. That’s close to five percent of the entire population of the planet. This is a serious, […]

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Sleep and Teens With ADHD

Parents of teens with ADHD hear everything under the sun about their kid’s diagnosis. Family, friends, teachers, and mental health professionals dole out all kinds of advice, free of charge, all day every day. They’re not the only ones. Everyone seems to have an opinion. If you’re the parent of a teen with ADHD, the […]

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Helping Teens With Grief and Loss

Parents have an instinct to shield their children from the hardships of life. It’s natural: protecting children is what parents do. But parents know they can’t – and shouldn’t – sequester their children in a protective bubble until they’re eighteen. That doesn’t help anyone. Kids need to learn hard lessons, understand how to cope with […]

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Topics in Recovery: Obstacles to Treatment

If you’ve followed the news at all over the past three years, you know about the ongoing opioid crisis in the U.S. Many of the articles in the media and many of the speeches made by politicians and addiction experts regularly include the phrases obstacles to treatment or barriers to treatment in reference to organizing […]

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Recovery Tips: How to Find an Exercise Routine You Can Stick To

When we wrote our New Year’s resolutions articles this year, we intentionally avoided talking about tangible, goal-oriented resolutions like saving money, losing weight, or picking up a new hobby, such as playing a musical instrument. That may seem counter-intuitive, because almost all New Year’s resolutions involve setting and achieving goals similar to those. Most people […]

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How Qigong Helps with Mental Health Issues Like Anxiety and Depression

Evolve is a proponent of experiential therapies, which promote mental health and prevent relapse. Experiential therapies (like equine-assisted therapy, surf therapy, music, art and more) provide fun, healthy outlets for teens, expose them to new ways of expressing themselves, and help them discover what a “life worth living” looks like for them. A new experiential […]

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Does My Teen Have a Psychosomatic Disorder?

Your child has been complaining of a stomachache. Or a headache. Or ear pain, chest pain, nausea: take your pick. Problem is, the doctor can’t find anything wrong. He’s checked out your adolescent, and everything looks all clear—physically, that is. Which leaves you puzzled. It doesn’t make sense that your teen is exaggerating their symptoms. […]

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Raising Empathetic Children

“Learning to stand in somebody else’s shoes, to see through their eyes, that’s how peace begins.  And it’s up to you to make that happen. Empathy is a quality of character that can change the world.” – Barack Obama Crisis of Conscience A person watching the mainstream news media over the past couple of years […]

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The Role of Exercise in Teen Depression Treatment

Teen depression is a complex disease that doesn’t always respond to traditional therapeutic approaches. Many mental health treatment providers use a trial-and-error approach to establish what works and what doesn’t for each client. Initially, the therapies treatment centers use include antidepressant medications and talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Complementary approaches like exercise […]

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Morning Yoga: A Tool for Recovery

In many addiction recovery programs, regular physical exercise is considered to be a top line behavior. Extensive research in exercise physiology demonstrates that exercise helps alleviate stress, increases a sense of well-being, and boosts self –confidence in those who exercise regularly. In recent years, addiction treatment centers, addiction therapists, and addiction experts have included another […]

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Mindful Walking: A Tool for Recovery

Mindfulness practices have been recognized as effective strategies in the treatment of the effects of stress, anxiety, and depression since the 1970s. Pioneered by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at The University of Massachusetts, mindfulness-based stress reduction techniques are now employed by clinicians across the world in the treatment of mental health, alcohol, and substance use disorders. […]

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Handling Childhood Anger

Emotions. Some of us are ready and willing to talk about them openly, and some of us keep them to ourselves. Most of us fall somewhere in between: we’ll talk about some emotional issues with other people, but there are certain subjects that never really see the light of day. It’s different for everyone—we grow […]

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Exercise, Sleep, and Adolescents

Over the past two years, we’ve published four articles on the role sleep plays in the lives of adolescents. One article was about sleep in a second-hand way. We talked about the impact of school start times on academic performance among teenagers in Seattle. Later start times meant more sleep, which translated into better graders […]

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Is it Okay to Track Your Teenager?

Many teens withdraw from their parents during adolescence. It’s a natural part of development. Teens want to search, learn, and experience the world all on their own. Privacy and independence become of paramount importance. However, these values often clash with parents’ desires to protect their children. As a parent, you want to know what your […]

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New Year’s Resolutions 2020: A New Approach

Last December we published a post with this title: “Are New Year’s Resolutions Even Worth Making?” Our answer – even though statistically speaking, most people don’t keep their resolutions – was easy to reach: “Yes, they absolutely are.” Why? Because we work in a field where we every day, we help people rebuild their lives […]

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How People in Recovery Define Recovery

There’s a funny thing about recovery: the people who define what recovery is aren’t necessarily in recovery themselves. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you’re a doctor, for instance, you don’t have to have an illness to be able to identify and treat it. But it is a curious thing. It’s so curious that […]

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How Dialectical Behavior Therapy Treats PTSD in Adolescents

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious psychological disorder that develops in some teens after they’ve been through something traumatic. Traumas can include neglect or abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional). Family violence. A car accident, death of a loved one, or natural disasters. War. School shootings. Terrorist attacks like 9/11, or even just exposure to […]

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How to Keep Your Teen Busy During Winter Break

Holidays are supposed to be a wonderful time for the whole family. Kids are out of school. Relatives come to town. We need no excuses for eating good food, lingering too long at the table, and falling asleep in a comfortable chair at three o’clock in the afternoon. All so we can get up and […]

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Parents of Troubled Teens: Self-Care Over the Holidays

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years, you’ve heard all about self-care. It’s all the rage. Self-care posts are big on social media. You can see your friends taking yoga retreats, asking for recommendations for mani-pedis, posting about how much they loved the massage they got, or trying to recruit […]

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Holiday Mental and Emotional Wellness Check-In for Teens

Parents of teens are used to seeing changes in their kids. They watch them grow from the cutest infants imaginable who need literally everything done for them to little humans who can walk, talk, and tie their own shoes. They watch them go off to preschool or elementary school, where they make friends, discover hobbies, […]

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How to Support a Loved One in Recovery: Five Tips for the Holidays

If you have a friend or loved one who’s in treatment for a mental health disorder, or in recovery from an alcohol or substance use disorder, you probably want to help them in any way you can. And you should help them, if you can, because the fact you know about what they’re going through […]

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Why Treatment at Evolve During Christmas is a Good Idea

If your teenager is living with a mental health or substance use disorder, you may not have thought of starting treatment over the Christmas holidays. At first blush, you might not think it’s a great idea. Away from family, away from the familiar, away from the rituals that make holidays important. Good points, all of […]

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What Motivates 15-Year-old Americans to Do Well on Tests?

Every three years, high school students from over sixty countries take a series of standardized tests designed to assess their proficiency in core subject areas such as mathematics, reading, and science. The test is part of a larger effort, called the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), which helps education policymakers compare their students and […]

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Why Is My Teen Always so Tired? Do They Have Depression?

If you have a teen, you may  wonder why they always seem to be sleeping. Or tired. They might have a hard time getting up in the morning, and you’ve heard reports that they’re falling asleep in class. Or they may come straight home from school and take a nap. True, school keeps them busy. […]

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Adverse Childhood Experiences: Early Trauma and Adult Mortality

Professionals working in clinical medicine and general healthcare have known about the long-term effects of early trauma on the development of chronic disease in adulthood for over twenty years. Until recently, however, most of these professionals worked in mental health, and understood early trauma in terms of its impact on psychological issues – mood and […]

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How to Navigate Recovery During the Holidays

December is here, which means we’re already in the thick of the winter holidays here in the U.S. Halloween warmed us up. Thanksgiving made it real. Now the big break is just around the corner. Kids will be out of school for a couple of weeks, families will travel near and far for vacations or […]

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Treatment Now, Home for the Holidays

Adolescence brings a host of changes to the life of any family. Sometimes, those changes are difficult to handle. The teens themselves may not know what’s going on, even if the changes are painful and confusing. And if the changes are painful and confusing, they may try to ignore them, suppress them, or deal with […]

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Adolescent Mental Health in Minnesota: Change to Chill

Awareness about mental health issues increases every day. That’s a positive development, when we consider that not long ago, the entire subject was close to taboo. Stigma around mental health disorders and treatment for mental health disorders kept people from seeking the support they needed. This environment had a disproportionate effect on adolescents, because many […]

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Adolescent Mental Health in Washington State: New Legislation

This spring, lawmakers in the state of Washington passed a bill changing the rights of parents and teenagers about two important – and sometimes controversial – aspects of treatment for mental health and substance use disorders: consent to treatment and access to treatment information. Until the passage of House Bill 1874, teenagers had robust rights […]

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Homeless Youth: Increased Risk of Mental Health Disorders

In our recent article November is Homeless Youth Awareness Month, we offered basic information everyone should know about youth and adolescent homelessness. We covered the overall numbers, identified the primary reasons youth and teens become homeless or experience homelessness, and listed a series of evidence-based recommendations made by private and public entities that can help […]

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My Teen has Oppositional Defiant Disorder: How Will DBT Help?

If your teen has Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or ODD, life can be a never-ending power struggle. While it’s normal to have an increase in conflicts with parents during adolescence, teens with ODD are constantly irritable, sarcastic, or aggressive (either verbally or physically). They may frequently shrug off rules and use obscenities or curse words. You […]

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Get Your Teen Interested in Thanksgiving (Again)

The winter holidays are upon us. In the U.S., the six-week period between mid-November and New Year’s Day is the most publicly festive time of the year. These holidays take over normal life, more or less, and almost everyone gets involved in some way or another. Cities and towns across the country decorate their Main […]

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Homeless Youth Awareness Month 2019

We have a problem in the United States: homelessness. It’s a problem that affects everyone. From small towns to big cities, from federal to state to local governments, from our progressive coastal cities to our more traditional rural interior, homelessness reaches every corner of our country. Every November, The Coalition for Homeless Youth, The National […]

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Sleep and Anxiety: The Connection

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. Overall wellness starts with three basic things: Healthy food. Plenty of sleep. Regular activity. You know what good food means: whole grains, plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein. And cut back on the sugar and processed foods. That’s how you avoid obesity, heart […]

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New Study Confirms DBT Effective Treatment for Teens who Self-Harm

A study published last July in the American Journal of Public Health revealed a troubling set of statistics about the prevalence of self-harming behaviors among adolescents in the United States. In a sample set of over 60,000 teens, researchers found that: More than 17% of adolescents reported engaging in self-harming behavior Roughly 11% of adolescent […]

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How to Avoid a Holiday Relapse

For most teenagers, the winter holidays mean lots family time. If you’re a teenager in treatment for an alcohol or substance use disorder, family time can be very challenging. From Thanksgiving all the way through to New Year’s Day, you’ll go to parties, dinners, and get-togethers that bring everyone together to eat, drink, and share […]

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A New Approach to Improving Problem Solving Skills for Kids

When you ask an adult what they do, whether it’s at work, home, or at play, one answer you often hear is some variation of this: “Well, to tell you the truth, I wear many hats.” We all know what they mean, because we can all relate. At work, we might be a manager, a […]

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Adoption Awareness Month: Adoption and Early Trauma

This is the fourth article in our series on adoption and teens for National Adoption Awareness Month. You don’t have to read the first two articles in the series to benefit from the information in this one, but it helps. Our first article, November is Adoption Awareness Month – A Focus on Teens presents the […]

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November is Child Safety Protection Month

Every year in November, child health and welfare advocates organize resources and spend the month raising awareness about childhood safety. Most of the information shared during Child Safety Protection Month is directed toward infants, toddlers, and school age children. Safety experts offer helpful tips and advice about things like crib safety, kitchen safety, and bathroom […]

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How to Help an Adopted Teen Navigate Adolescence

This is the third article in our series on adoption and teens for National Adoption Awareness Month. You don’t have to read the first two articles in the series to benefit from the information in this one, but it helps. Our first article, November is Adoption Awareness Month – A Focus on Teens presents the […]

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Adoption Awareness Month: The Challenges for Adopted Teens

This is the second article in our series on adoption and teens for National Adoption Awareness Month. You don’t have to read the first article in the series to benefit from the information in this one, but it helps: November is Adoption Awareness Month – A Focus on Teens presents the latest figures on the […]

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November is Adoption Awareness Month: A Focus on Adopted Teens

Adolescence is a challenging time for any teenager. Puberty launches their bodies and brains into a radical series of changes during the transition from youth to adulthood. Powerful hormones course through their bodies as the part of their brain responsible for rational decision-making and impulse control – the prefrontal cortex – develops the capacity to […]

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My Teen Is So Impulsive…Do They Have BPD?

Your daughter goes on shopping sprees, ordering piles of clothes or accessories she really doesn’t need. Or your son drives erratically, leaving you to hang on for dear life while he speeds down the street. Your teen forgets things everywhere, is extremely spontaneous, and doesn’t think before acting. Or perhaps your son or daughter gets […]

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Halloween: Tips for Teen Trick-or-Treating

So. Your super-mature, mom-and-dad-I’m-almost-an-adult- stop-treating-me-like-a-child! teenager wants to go trick or treating this year, and you’re skeptical. With good reason. But before you dismiss the idea out of hand, consider this: under all that independence, under all that “differentiation” – a.k.a. the developmental process of defining their own identity aside from you – your teen […]

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National Poll: Should Teens go Trick-or-Treating?

Here’s a practical question for parents: Should you let your teen go trick-or-treating this year? For most people in the U.S. the debate is open. It depends on the teen, what they plan to do, and who they’re planning to do it with. In some towns, however, the question has been asked and answered: in […]

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I’m Too Old For Halloween! (No You’re Not)

So, Mr. and Ms. Teenager. You think you’re too old for Halloween? Think all that fun Halloween stuff is for little kids? Think again. No one is too old to have fun on Halloween. But maybe you’re totally over trick-or-treating. Fair enough: that’s your choice. Before you write it off entirely, however, we want you […]

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When Mom Smokes: How Smoking Affects Your Newborn

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) identifies nicotine as one of the most addictive substances on earth. For some people with tobacco use disorder, kicking the habit is every bit as challenging as quitting heroin. However, for new mothers – as hard as it may be – quitting is one of the best things […]

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Adderall Misuse and Abuse in Teens and Young Adults

Adderall is a powerful central nervous system stimulant used primarily to treat ADHD and ADD in children and adults. It’s a prescription drug that works by boosting two specific brain chemicals: norepinephrine, which is associated with attention and response, and dopamine, which is associated with reward-seeking behavior and pleasure. How is Adderall Abused? Adderall is […]

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Pediatric Cannabis Intoxication: Issues After Legalization

Pediatric cannabis intoxication has become a serious public health issue in states where marijuana has been legalized. A substantial spike in emergency room visits and calls to poison control centers are an unintended consequence of the decriminalization of marijuana. The Los Angeles Times reported that in 2017, California’s poison control centers received 588 calls regarding […]

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I’ve Met Someone Online. They Want to Meet in Person. Now What?

So, you met a guy online. Or a girl. (For purposes of stylistic ease, we are using the male pronoun here, but this person could be of any gender.) It could have been Facebook. Kik. Fortnite. He seems so nice. Flattering. Sweet. And he really likes you, it seems. He understands, accepts, and supports you […]

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Can a Teen Be Diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder?

Diagnosing a teen with Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD, is “tricky,” says Alyson Orcena, LMFT, Executive Clinical Director of Evolve Treatment Centers. That’s because some of its defining features are very common to adolescents in general. Emotional instability, moodiness, identity issues, and sensitivity to rejection are all fairly typical in teens. Historically, this is why […]

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Teens and Prescription Drugs: A Growing Problem

Prescription drug abuse among teens is a concern across the country, and the results can be tragic. All too often, trouble begins when teens experiment with leftover meds in the bathroom medicine cabinet. There are several reasons why kids turn to prescription drugs. Teens often take drugs to get high or to relax, cope with […]

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I Caught My Teen Sexting. Now What?

You might have gotten the call from another parent, who was appalled. Or the school administrator. Or maybe you found out about it yourself. Inadvertently saw some of the photos on your teen’s phone. Read some of the racy texts. How you discovered it doesn’t matter. Ultimately, you caught your teen sexting. Help! My Teen […]

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What Causes Borderline Personality Disorder in Teens?

Borderline personality disorder in teens is marked by high levels of impulsivity, repeated self-harming and suicidal attempts, conflicted relationships with others, and high emotional sensitivity and reactivity. But what causes this disorder? Experts can’t point to one single cause of borderline personality disorder (BPD) in adolescents. Mental health professionals believe it is caused by several […]

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Six Ways You Can Validate a Teen (And Anyone Else!)

Your adolescent is upset about something or another. Maybe he or she is crying. You know what the experts say: validate, validate, validate. Because children and teens are not always looking to problem-solve. They’re looking to be validated. But what exactly does it mean to validate, and how do you do it? Dialectical Behavior Therapy […]

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What Age Should My Child Get a Phone?

The time has come. Your child, or adolescent, is asking for a phone. But not just any phone will do, of course. They need a smartphone. Preferably the latest model.  “Everyone has one,” they’re telling you. (Which may not be 100% true, by the way.) But before you go and purchase said smartphone, you decide […]

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Research Report: Cannabidiol (CBD) for Opioid Use Disorder

As the nation wrestles with the opioid epidemic, health scientists work to find new, evidence-based methods to help people struggling with opioid addiction. Research shows that a combination of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), therapy, and social support is the most effective way to treat opioid addiction. The benefits of MAT are significant. Over 40 years of […]

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How To Treat A Teen With Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline personality disorder in teens is marked by a host of symptoms. There’s emotional instability and extreme bouts of moodiness. Identity issues. Chaotic relationships. Self-harming behavior and suicidal ideation. While many of these issues sound like they’re common in teens, adolescents with borderline personality disorder experience them much more intensely than others. “Their emotions can […]

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Polysubstance Use in Adolescents

Recent research indicates that adolescents (12-17) who misuse more than one substance – or engage in polysubstance use – may be at higher risk to develop substance use disorders in adulthood. Some evidence also suggests that this same age group may be more likely to move from polysubstance misuse of cigarettes and marijuana to polysubstance […]

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The Benefits of Yoga for Children and Adolescents

Yoga in the United States Yoga is a form of exercise that comes from India and is reputed to be at least four-thousand years old. The original Indian yoga was deeply related to spiritual practice, and included heavy doses of prayer, chanting, devotional singing, and seated meditation. The type of yoga practiced most commonly in […]

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Parenting Practices in the U.S. and Abroad

In the U.S., there are almost as many approaches to parenting as there are families. Bedtimes, dinner times, screen time, you name it: some parents are rigid and some are strict. The same is true for supervision: some parents might let their eight-year-old child ride a bike to a friend’s house several blocks away all […]

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When a Teen Goes from As to Cs (or Worse) What Should a Parent Do?

At the end of school last year, your teen was sitting pretty. The solid final report card looked like this: Math: A Science: B+ English: A History: A Spanish: B A solid GPA.  A little over 3.5. That’s good. So far this year, things seem to be going well, from everything you can tell. Your […]

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How to Talk to Your Kids About Stranger Danger…On the Internet

Before you hand your teen a phone, you need to have a talk with them. Just like the conversation about the birds and the bees, this kind of talk is of paramount importance in your teen’s life. This talk is about stranger danger…on the internet. As a parent, you have a responsibility to keep your […]

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How Horses Can Help Teens Overcome Mental Health Issues

Equine-assisted therapy, which involves interacting with horses, is a widely used therapeutic tool, especially with adolescents. The unique sensitivity of horses, and their oft-cited characteristic of being “nonjudgmental”, helps teens develop the same characteristics towards themselves. In equine-assisted therapy (EAT), teens are required to be fully present. They need to watch for and respond to […]

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October is Bullying Prevention Month

Every year during the month of October, students, teachers, parents, and school administrators unite to raise awareness about bullying. Bullying Prevention Month was first organized in 1999 as an initiative of Love Our Children USA, a non-profit dedicated to ending violence and neglect against children in all its forms. In 2003, Love Our Children founder […]

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Why Sex Trafficking Victims Need Mental Health Treatment

Sex trafficking is a complex, multilayered issue. Vulnerable young adolescents and teens are recruited by predators, who play on their emotions and weaknesses to eventually gain their trust and then take control. How It All Starts Maricela Vega, a Master’s-level counselor at Evolve Treatment Centers San Diego PHP/IOP, says that many teen girls who become […]

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Is a Sex Trafficker Talking to Your Daughter Online?

According to a study by The University of Toledo in Ohio, sex traffickers are increasingly using the internet, specifically social media, to recruit and sell adolescents. The study found that traffickers are able to exploit the teens even without ever meeting face to face. Usually, traffickers are preying on vulnerable young teens—usually girls. Through 16 […]

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DBT, Fitness, and Depression

While exercise has not yet been shown to cure any mental health disorder on its own, there are mountains of evidence showing its benefits on mood, self-concept, and work ethic. Exercise has a huge effect on a teen’s emotional wellbeing and even improves cognition. It also has a host of physical benefits: it increases heart […]

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Grandparents: Keep Your Medications Safe

Kids love going over to their grandparent’s house, and grandparents adore visits from their grandchildren. We’re sure there are exceptions to this, but for the most part we’re confident of the accuracy of that statement. After all, what’s not to love? From the grandparents’ perspective, they get all the love and adoration of the kids […]

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Childhood Obesity Awareness Month: Obesity and Adolescent Mental Health

Last year, we published an article for Childhood Obesity Awareness Month that answered this question: What do treatment for substance use, mental health disorders, and obesity have in common? You can read that article in full – Substance Use, Obesity, and Mental Health Treatment: Changing the Paradigm – or read the quick summary that follows. […]

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September is National Pain Awareness Month

Pain Awareness Month: The History Pain Awareness Month began in 2001, when a group of organizations and concerned parties united with a common goal: “To bring awareness to chronic pain and highlight of pain affects individuals, families, communities, and the nation.” This year’s theme for Pain Awareness Month –  #LetsTalkAboutPain –  is designed to reduce […]

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How Art Therapy Will Help With Trauma

What does painting have to do with mental health? Lots, actually. Art therapy is a popular intervention for those with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, low self-esteem, trauma, and more. PTSD and other childhood attachment issues like neglect are particularly amenable to art therapy. Many studies analyzing children with PTSD find that the participants in the treatment […]

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TikTok: A Ticking Time Bomb for Teens

Some call the app “digital karaoke.” On it, teens can create 3-15-second videos of themselves singing, lip-syncing, dancing, or doing anything at all – antics and silly pranks included — to background music. The videos, by default, loop on repeat, making it often addictive to keep watching. Popular TikTok videos mostly show young adolescents, often […]

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Parents, Teens, and Independence

In a recent article in Time Magazine, Ziauddin Yousafazi, father of Malala Yousafazi, the youngest-ever recipient of the Noble Peace Prize, made the following statement: “Good parents should want their children to be independent as early as possible.” Most parents would agree with that sentiment. However, there are ideas embedded in that statement that mean […]

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How to Help Your ADHD Teen Get Organized for School

Parents of teens diagnosed with ADHD know their children need strategies to help keep them focused and complete classwork and homework on time. They also know this: it takes more than a day planner and daily verbal reminders to make that happen. It takes planning, creativity, patience, and cooperation. It takes time and energy – […]

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Together We Are Stronger: September is National Recovery Month

We’ve come a long way since the first National Recovery Month in 1989. A lot has changed. The way we view and treat addiction, the way we view and treat mental and behavioral health disorders, and the way we, as a society talk about both addiction and mental health disorders. If we go back thirty […]

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With This New Method, Teens Are Now Smoking Marijuana Everywhere—Even in Class

Since California legalized the use of marijuana for adults, the substance has also become more readily accessible to underage minors, who use it recreationally – which is illegal. Marijuana use has become so rampant and pervasive that teens are now smoking everywhere they can—including school. Whereas it’s relatively common knowledge that many high school adolescents […]

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Nature: What Kids and Teens Need

The electronic age is here. Almost everyone has a cellphone with them 24/7, and computers are everywhere. You’re most likely reading this article on a computer or smart phone right now. Screen time is a reality for almost all of us: many adults sit in front of a computer screen for a majority of their […]

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The Best and Worst States for Teachers in the United States: 2018

Each year, the analysts at WalletHub apply their considerable analytical skills to rank the Best and Worst States for Teachers in the U.S. To determine their rankings, the WalletHub number crunchers look at 22 criteria (including average teacher salary, average teacher/student ratio, average work hours per week per teacher and everything in between) across two primary […]

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Hostile Aggression in Sports: What Causes Some Athletes to Fight During a Game?

If you’ve ever watched a youth sports game, you’ll inevitably see some athletes playing more aggressively than others. Certain teens will push, roughhouse, and be overly hostile to their opponents, even going above and beyond the instrumental aggression necessary to win. Two Types of Aggression Researchers identify two types of aggression related to sports: instrumental […]

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September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day

September is National Suicide Prevention Month in the U.S. In honor of this month, we’ll share resources and highlight ways that everyone can make a difference in the life of a suicidal teen or adult. In this post, we share awareness of World Suicide Prevention Day, which occurs this year on Tuesday, September 10th. Please […]

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Suicide Prevention Month: Five Action Steps

September is National Suicide Prevention Month in the U.S. In honor of this month, we’ll share resources and highlight ways that everyone can make a difference in the life of a suicidal teen or adult. In this post, we’ll offer five practical steps you can take if you know someone is contemplating suicide. Please read […]

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Snapchat: Is It Safe for My Teen?

You may have heard of Snapchat. It’s a popular messaging app whose unique feature is that it self-destructs photos and videos (snaps) after sending them. Users can only view their snaps once before they disappear. Millions of teens use Snapchat every day. In fact, along with Instagram, it is one of the leading social media […]

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The Link Between Aggression and Male Jock Culture

In previous articles, we discussed the link between sports and aggression. We presented studies indicating that athletes in high-contact sports (like football or wrestling, for example) are more likely to be aggressive even off the playing field. However, we concluded by reminding parents that there could be several factors at play (no pun intended!) in […]

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The Academic Benefits of Arts Education in Schools

Public schools in the U.S. face a monumental task: educating an incredibly large and diverse population of students. A report from The National Center for Education Statistics shows that just over 50 million students enrolled in public schools in the fall of 2018. Of those students, 24 million were Caucasian, 7.8 million were African-American, 14 […]

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Why Do Parents Get Angry During Their Kids’ Sports Games?

If you’ve ever been to a teen sports game, you’ve probably witnessed a fight at least once. It starts out, sometimes, with some muttering behind the coach or referee’s back. The parents raise their voices. There’s yelling, maybe even cursing. And then a fight breaks out. Tensions run high at sports games. Especially youth games. […]

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How Snapchat Streaks Are Getting Teens Addicted to the App

According to a national survey of American teenagers conducted by the University of Chicago, around three-quarters of adolescents aged 13-17 use Snapchat regularly. Snapchat’s main draw is that it erases photos and videos just seconds after receipt. Most teens use the app to share lighthearted, spontaneous moments. The app’s design is playful and fun. You […]

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Are Certain Sports Making My Teen Aggressive?

Note: this is just one part of our series on Sports: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, where we discuss all the ways athletic participation can influence teens. Read our previous articles here and here. The most aggressive sports player in history might arguably be Jack Tatum. Tatum was a football player with the […]

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Should I Be Concerned? My Teen Is on ASKfm

ASKfm is a social media platform, based in Europe, with more than 200 million users around the world. It’s particularly popular with teens. In fact, more than 40% of its users are adolescents ages 13 – 18. On the site, users ask and answer questions to each other—directly or anonymously. Such questions can range from […]

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Warning Labels on Alcohol Products: Do They Work?

Most of us grew up with warning labels on products around the house. We saw labels on things like cleaning products, bug spray, and rat poison. Some household items even had labels with the classic pirate’s skull and crossbones, letting us know that the contents were actual poison that could kill you if ingested. All […]

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Rage at Sports Games and Its Effect on Adolescents

In 2000, two angry parents got into a fight at their sons’ hockey game. This wasn’t just any fight, though. Thomas Junta got upset about some rough play on the ice. Fellow parent and referee Michael Costin responded brusquely. “That’s what hockey is all about,” he said. A serious fistfight ensued. In the end, Costin […]

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The Connection Between Childhood Bullying, Depression, and Genetics  

Bullying is an unpleasant human behavior that everyone knows and understands. Most of us associate bullying with childhood and elementary school.  But as we know, bullies don’t always go away after elementary school. Some keep it up in middle school and high school, and some persist with their bullying behavior well into adulthood. Fortunately, one […]

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Diagnosing ADHD in First Graders

Over the past two decades, rates of ADHD diagnosis in children and adolescents have increased steadily. According to data released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2016, approximately 6.1 million children age 4-17 – 9.4% – received an ADHD diagnosis at some point during their lives. Of these children, 2.4 million age 6-11 […]

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The Benefits of Sports for Teens

Eight million teens played sports in high school last year, based on a survey by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). That was a record-breaking high. In fact, the number of high school athletes has been increasing for the last three decades. With so many adolescents playing sports, it’s worthwhile to talk […]

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The Connection Between Parenting Style and Bullying

We’ll open this article with an assertion we found in several blog posts and articles while researching this topic: Children who get bullied by their parents will bully other kids when they get a chance. Next, we’ll ask you a question: Do you agree with that statement? If you do, research supports your opinion. Studies […]

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This School’s Mental Health Awareness Program Tackles Real-Life Teen Stressors

Sometimes, the signs are clearly visible—people can read you like a book. Other times, no one can even guess what you’re struggling with inside. This dichotomy was the inspiration behind Colorado’s new statewide mental health campaign, “Below the Surface.” This attention-grabbing awareness campaign stemmed from a wave of student suicides in high schools around Colorado […]

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Balancing It All: Are Teens Too Busy These Days?

For adolescents juggling school, homework, extracurricular activities, social commitments, SAT/ACTs, and maybe even college applications, the day may never seem long enough. Phew…just writing out that list made us need to take a breath! Teens these days are as busy as ever. Is it Good to be Busy? Many feel that it’s good to be […]

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Underage Drinking: Overall Numbers in Decline in the U.S.

The age for legal purchase and consumption of alcohol in the U.S. is 21 years old – but everyone in the U.S. knows that a large majority of people start drinking – or try alcohol for the first time – during their teenage years. Underage drinking in the adolescent population is a problem for many […]

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Mindfulness and Positive Body Image

We’re close to twenty years into the 21st century. It’s a safe bet to say that almost anyone reading this blog has heard of mindfulness. And that’s not surprising, because although it’s still considered a complementary or alternative therapy in the medical and mental health communities, and many members of the general public still think […]

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School or Mental Health Treatment? The Difficult Dilemma

So. Your teen needs professional treatment for certain mental health issues. At an adolescent rehab center. You’re fine with them going, except for one major issue: You don’t want them to fall behind in school. We get you. Education is important. Leaving school for weeks at a time can make your teen fall behind in […]

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Five Reasons Not to Put Off a Teen’s Treatment Because of School

We invite you to engage in a hypothetical. Say, for instance, school starts next week. In California, it does. So that’s not hypothetical. But stick with us. Let’s say school starts next week and your adolescent child has just received a clinical diagnosis indicating they have a mental health disorder. Let’s say the diagnosis is […]

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Does Your School Have Narcan On Hand?

Your school has a fire alarm. Fire extinguisher on each floor. Earthquake drills, if you live in California. Active-shooter drills, because it’s the 21st century. AED unit, in case of heart complications. EpiPen, for allergies. But does your school have Narcan, in case of a drug overdose? What is Narcan? First, what is Narcan? When […]

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Parents, How Involved in School Should You Be?

If you have a teen, it’s hard to know what to do at any given moment. While you love your child, and want the best for them, there are so many grey areas in teen parenting that can leave you scratching your head. Take school, for example. Your high school daughter comes in seething because […]

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How to Parent a Teen When You Have an Uncooperative Spouse

There are many reasons why you may not have a spouse who’s on the same page as you, parenting-wise. Our parenting philosophies tend to stem from the way we were parented ourselves. So you might be the strict parent, who consistently enforces rules and consequences, while your husband is the laid-back type who throws those […]

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How to Survive the Transition From Middle School to High School

For a teen, perhaps one of the most nerve-wracking academic transitions is the one between middle school and high school. There’s a new, bigger school building you have to acclimate to.  New peers, which mean new cliques. Brand-new teachers and classes—and many of them. A faster pace at school. Anticipating all of these new social […]

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Kids, PE Class, and Motivation: What Matters?

When Do Kids Stop Liking PE? A group of researchers in Switzerland studied a group of 1,200 kids age 8-12 for two years to determine their feelings about their physical education (PE) classes. The researchers launched the study to examine possible explanations for the worldwide trend in youth obesity and overweight. According to the World […]

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Teens, Sleep, and ADHD

ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed developmental disorders in children and teenagers. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), based on the 2016 National Survey on Children’s Health (NSCH), show the following prevalence of ADHD in children age 2-17 in 2016: 9.4% have received an ADHD diagnosis – that’s about […]

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Air Pollution and Childhood Brain Development

The impact of air pollution on general health is well-known. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicate that airborne contaminants such as ground-level ozone and particulate matter such as dirt, soot, and smoke increase the likelihood of developing: Lung cancer Cardiovascular disease Asthma Pneumonia Bronchitis In addition, exposure to ground-level ozone and particulate matter is […]

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Does Being a Tiger-Mom Lead to Success, or Problems?

When Amy Chua released her controversial memoir Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, parents around the country were outraged. The mother of two teenage daughters (now both Harvard graduates), Chua described her no-nonsense, super-strict approach to parenting. She expected straight A’s in every class besides gym or drama, made her kids practice piano and violin […]

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July 28th is National Parent’s Day

In 1994, President Bill Clinton signed a Congressional Resolution into law declaring the last Sunday of every July as National Parent’s Day. The resolution, sponsored by Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, established the day as a way of “…recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in the rearing of children.” National Parent’s Day is […]

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WIC Enhancements Improve Maternal and Infant Health

If you’ve never heard of WIC, it’s a Federally funded program designed to improve lifelong health and nutrition behavior for a specific population of U.S. citizens. WIC is an acronym for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. That’s the population the WIC program was created to serve: pregnant women, mothers with […]

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What to Do When a Teen Spurns the Family Faith

Adolescence is a time of separation and individuation. Teens are drawn to creating their own identity and exploring the world on their own. They may begin examining the ideals they grew up with and analyzing them from a different lens. During this period of time, adolescents also begin experimenting. They become eager to try new […]

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Behavioral Health Terms: A Quick Guide

The Language of Behavioral Health Whether you’re a parent, teacher, school administrator, primary caregiver, or simply a concerned friend or relative, keeping up with the latest behavioral health terminology can be challenging. Sometimes words used in the context of health care mean something different than what they mean in their day-to-day context. Also, as time […]

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College and Career Academies: Trends in High School Education

It’s an exciting time in post-secondary education in the United States. After resting on our collective laurels for several decades, test data from the late 1990s and early 2000s revealed the test scores of students from Europe and Asia had surpassed those of students in the U.S. They made the most gains in STEM subjects: […]

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Team Sports, Adverse Childhood Experiences, and Mental Health

A story published by National Public Radio (NPR) in May caught our attention. Here’s the headline: “Playing Teen Sports May Protect From Some Damages of Childhood Trauma” Like many things we see in the media that intersect with our specialty – helping adolescents struggling with mental health and/or substance use disorders – we thought to […]

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Vaping, Teens, and Delinquent Behavior

The media is filled with conflicting news about vaping. On the one hand, research shows e-cigarettes and vaping are an effective component in smoking-cessation programs, i.e. helping people quit. On the other hand, the development of products like the Juul – a vape device that looks like a computer flash drive – and the marketing […]

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The Relationship Between Teacher Depression and Student Behavior

The Mood Makes the Class In an article published in 2014 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology entitled “Pathways From Teacher Depression and Child-Care Quality to Child Behavioral Problems” researchers describe a clear relationship between depression in preschool teachers and emerging behavioral issues displayed by their students. Teachers, parents, and professional child service […]

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Codependency and Teens: When Friendships Turn Toxic

Adults often overlook codependency among teens. It’s easy to understand why: it’s often masked as extreme loyalty to a friend or other individual, when it’s really a harmful, toxic relationship that needs to end. In a codependent friendship or relationship, the dynamic often looks like this: Friend 1 has a warm, friendly, seemingly helpful type […]

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News in Addiction Research: Oxytocin Reduces Alcohol Consumption

Across the country, people with alcohol and substance use disorders work with physicians, nurses, therapists, and counselors every day to overcome addiction. They learn about how addiction affects their bodies, brains, and emotions. They participate in coping skills groups, relapse prevention groups, and in some cases receive therapy for co-occurring disorders. The clinicians who work […]

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Exercise for Children With ADHD

Increasing Prevalence of ADHD Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) has been a hot topic in education, pediatric medicine, and parenting for decades. The condition has been known in various forms by various names for at least a hundred years, but the current definition was crystallized in the year 2000 by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) […]

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Breaking the Myth: Heroin is Not a Party Drug

Parents often call us when their adolescent is having substance abuse issues. Sometimes, when they mention that their teen has used heroin, they’ll follow up with a statement like, “But they say they’ve only tried it a couple of times at a party…” Unfortunately, we’re here to break your bubble: Heroin is not a social […]

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Summer Volunteer Options for Teenagers

Summer is here. If you have a teen around the house and you’re looking to keep them busy doing something productive until school starts, don’t worry. We have a great idea that might be the perfect solution. We realize we’re nearing the midpoint of summer – let’s call it July 4th – and it’s a […]

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Why Benzodiazepines are Dangerous for Teens

Two years ago, popular celebrity Lena Dunham shared her personal experience with benzodiazepines, otherwise known as benzos.  Although her doctor prescribed benzos to manage her anxiety, Dunham found that she was becoming dependent on them. So much so, in fact, that she was taking the medication about every day for three years. They are only […]

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Playing Games With Your Kids: Win, Lose, or Draw?

Playing Games: Fun and Learning Parents and child development experts alike agree that play is an essential part of growing up. Kids learn while playing – there’s really no argument there. Like lion cubs wrestling in the den, we recognize that the games children play prepare them for life as adults. While our kids aren’t […]

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Why Summer Break is a Good Time for Residential Treatment for Teens

Summertime. Long lazy days by the pool, endless twilight, and family beach vacations. That’s what summer means for most families with kids, from toddlers through teenagers. But if your teenager struggles with a mental health or substance use disorder, then summer break might mean something completely different. It may mean practical opportunity to get your […]

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Gay Pride Month: Spotlight on Substance Use and LGBTQ Teens

For decades, research on rates of alcohol, substance use, and addiction in the adult LGBTQ community yielded conflicting data. Many studies showed high rates of binge drinking and illicit drug use in gay men. Others showed high rates of alcohol use disorder in lesbians. Still, other studies showed no significant differences in alcohol and drug […]

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June is Gay Pride Month

Every year in June, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, and Intersex community organizes and participates in a series of marches, festivals, celebrations, and events to raise knowledge and awareness about the presence and history of LGBTQ individuals in our society. Collectively, the events are known as Gay Pride Month. It’s a worldwide phenomenon. Gay […]

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June is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Month

In 2010, Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota moved to create a national day of awareness for the mental health condition known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was moved by the heartbreaking suicide of Staff Sergeant Joe Biel, who suffered from PTSD and took his own life after returning home from his second combat tour […]

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Sobriety Tips for Summer: How to Say No

Funny thing about no. It’s probably the first word you ever learned: “No.” You don’t remember it, but we can guarantee your parents do. Want cereal? No! Want cake? No! Want to play with Sally the Stuffed Seal? No! Toddlers love saying no. They’ll say no to anything and everything, just because. No one is […]

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Teenage Jobs: The Pros and Cons

Preparing to Launch Most parents agree that one of the primary objectives of raising a child is preparing them for life in the real world. After teaching basic moral ethical behavior – be kind, be honest, always say please and thank you – the next thing parents do is strive to instill some sort of […]

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How the Mediterranean Diet Can Help a Teen with Depression

If you have been diagnosed with depression, there are a number of lifestyle changes you can make that can help your treatment progress. One is diet. Specifically, the Mediterranean diet. A Spanish study analyzed the effects of the Mediterranean diet on almost 10,000 participants. Results found a correlation of the diet to a reduced risk […]

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Sniffing Heroin: Not a Big Deal Compared to Injecting, Right?

Everyone knows that injecting heroin is objectively dangerous. In addition to the damage caused by the substance itself, using a syringe and needle increases your risks of overdose, in addition to getting an infection. Those who use heroin intravenously have a higher risk of death than those who use heroin by other means. That’s why […]

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The Dark Web: What It Is, and Why It’s Bad for Your Teen

You may have heard of the dark web. It’s the underground Internet that you can only access through special software, and it’s full of nefarious activity. The dark web hides your location and identity. As such, it is frequented by teens who want their digital activities to stay hidden. On the dark web black markets, […]

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My Friend Told Me They Want to Die. What Should I Do?

You’re a teen, and you’re having a late-night DMC with your friend. In the midst of the conversation, he or she admits they’ve thought about dying. It may have come out as a casual confession or a tearful admission. Whatever it is and however it came out, it’s clear to you they’re thinking about suicide. […]

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Does Your Teen Have a Finsta? The Dark Side of This Secret Instagram

You may have heard of Insta. It’s short for Instagram, a popular social media photo-sharing app that’s a favorite of teens and adolescents around the world. But Finsta? What is it? Finsta is a combination of two words: Fake and Instagram. It’s a secret account that can only be accessed if you know someone has […]

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Child Sex Trafficking: California’s Huge Problem, and What It Means For Teens

California has a huge sex trafficking problem, especially when it comes to adolescents. According to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC), the largest majority of the human trafficking cases reported in the U.S. each year originate in California. In fact, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are three of the ten worst child […]

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Summer, Teens, and Driving: The Deadly Season

The three-month period between Memorial Day and Labor Day – known in the Northern Hemisphere as summer – is beloved for many reasons. School’s out. It’s vacation time. The days are long. Twilight lasts for hours. For most teenagers, ideal summer day goes something like this: wake up late, go to the pool, forget to […]

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Does Your Teen Have Kik? How to Stay Safe on This App

You’re probably on Facebook. You know about Instagram and Snapchat. You’re familiar with Whatsapp and Twitter. Maybe you even know about Finsta. But have you heard of Kik? Kik is the secret messaging app most parents don’t know about. For millions of teens in the U.S., it’s quickly gaining steam as a popular way to […]

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Why Am I Always So Sad? Do I Have Depression?

If you’re a teen, it’s normal to have days when you’re feeling down. The everyday stresses of school, parents, friends, social media, exams, extracurricular activities, and more—they’re real. They loom large. And they can occasionally cause you to break down crying, make you want to lock yourself in your room and sleep the day away, […]

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

In 1949, the non-profit organization Mental Health America (MHA) held the first Mental Health Awareness Month, which is also called Mental Health Month. The goal of Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) is the same as the overall organizational goal of MHA: to raise awareness about the needs of people living with mental illness and promote […]

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Mental Health Awareness Month: Adolescent Depression and Anxiety

Seventy years ago, the non-profit advocacy group Mental Health America (MHA) held the first Mental Health Awareness Month, also known as Mental Health Month. The goal of Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) is to raise awareness about the needs of people living with mental illness and promote the general mental health and well-being of all […]

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Where is Your Teen Going This Summer?

International Summer Programs for Teenagers International summer travel programs for teenagers have been around since the early 1960s. The first programs were organized by summer camps and private schools whose administrators realized that some of their students, particularly those between the ages of 14 and 17, were at a crossroads. They didn’t need a summer […]

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Summer Planning for Teens: The Benefits of Summer Camp

The Benefits of Summer Camp Summer is coming. Our cultural obsession with the phrase “Winter is Coming” has parents across the nation chuckling. Sure – we love Game of Thrones as much as anyone. And we fear the White Walkers as much as anyone: they’re scary. But for some parents, nothing strikes fear into their […]

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Summer Planning for a Troubled Teen

When the teenage years arrive, behavioral issues become far more difficult to manage than when your kids were younger. Things once black and white become confounding shades of gray. When a teenager experiences emotional distress, you can’t always fix it with a hug. When they display disturbing behavior, simple behavior management strategies – like taking […]

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Natural Consequences for Teens

We recently posed an open question on our Facebook page: “Hey Parents of Teens! What Do You Want to Know? What topic would be the most helpful for you? If you’ve ever thought, I wish I had a guide to deal with this problem! Now is your chance to ask for that guide.” Members of […]

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May is Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month

In May of 2007, the National Education Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder (NEABPD) organized hearings before congress to educate legislators about Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). A year later, in April, 2008 the U.S. House of Representatives declared May as Borderline Personality Disorder Awareness Month. BPD is one of the most misunderstood diagnoses in mental health. It also […]

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In the News: The Link Between Cannabis Use and Psychosis

A study posted on March 19th, 2019 by the U.K. medical journal The Lancet – “The Contribution of Cannabis Use to Variation in the Incidence of Psychotic Disorder Across Europe” caused quite a stir in the U.S. media in the weeks following its publication. The headlines generated by several high-volume, high-exposure media outlets trended toward […]

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My Teen Experienced an Extreme Trauma: What Can I Do?

We recently posed a question on social media: “Hey Parents of Teens! What Do You Want to Know? What topic would be the most helpful for you? If you’ve ever thought, ‘I wish I had a guide to deal with this problem!’ Now is your chance to ask for that guide.” Members of our community […]

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How Does DBT Treat DMDD?

Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder, or DMDD, is a relatively new psychiatric disorder published in the latest DSM-5 (2013). The diagnosis was created for children with behavioral symptoms that overlap with oppositional defiant disorder (ODD), bipolar disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), but do not exactly match any of them. Psychiatrists were misdiagnosing too many […]

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Alcohol Awareness Month: Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow

In 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) established Alcohol Awareness Month. Their goal was to reduce stigma around alcohol and alcoholism by reaching out to the nation each April with facts about alcohol, alcohol abuse, and recovery. In the beginning, a primary purpose of Alcohol Awareness Month was countering the idea […]

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How to Help a Teen With Extreme Social Anxiety

We recently posed a question on social media: “Hey Parents of Teens! What Do You Want to Know? What topic would be the most helpful for you? If you’ve ever thought, ‘I wish I had a guide to deal with this problem!’ Now is your chance to ask for that guide.” Members of our community […]

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Transgender Teens: A Parent’s Guide

Adolescence is a time of radical transformation. Teens develop physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. They form their own identities, distinct from their parents. They engage in an evolving, instinctive process of trial and error to learn about themselves and find their place in the world. Through a series of successes, failures, and everything in between, […]

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Bring Our Daughters to Work Day is April 25th

1992 was the “Year of the Woman.” Four women won seats in the U.S. Senate and twenty-four won seats in the House of Representatives, which simultaneously tripled the number of women in the Senate and broke the record for the largest number of women elected to the House in any single election year. 1992 was […]

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What Will My Teen’s Discharge Plan Look Like?

Your teen is getting treatment at a teen rehab center. Now what? While treatment can be challenging, it can be equally difficult for your child to maintain progress after leaving the more supervised and structured elements of a teen rehab center. Your adolescent will be re-exposed to all the stressors in their environments (like their […]

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What is the Relapse Prevention Model?

Relapse Prevention Therapy is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. It primarily treats addiction and substance abuse but also treats mental health disorders like depression, OCD, and more. According to a foundational study on Relapse Prevention (RP), the therapy “seeks to identify high-risk situations in which an individual is vulnerable to relapse and to use both […]

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How Does Behavioral Activation Work for Depression?

Behavioral Activation (BA) is an evidence-based treatment for depression. It is a component in behavioral therapies (like CBT, DBT, and ABA) or can be used as a standalone treatment in itself. BA is based on the idea that experience and behavior affect one’s mood. This method encourages teens to engage in rewarding activities that ultimately […]

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The Consequences of Sexual Assault

This month – April – is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We’ve already posted one article about sexual assault: Sexual Assault Awareness Month: History, Facts, and Figures During February of this year, we posted several articles about teen dating violence. We discussed the warning signs and gave tips and advice about what to do if you […]

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Military Families, Military Teens: Unique Families, Unique Challenges

The 21st century news cycle keeps our attention piqued all day every day. Scandals pop up and disappear before our eyes. Issues come and issues go. During this incessant media rollercoaster, regular citizens of the U.S. could not be blamed for missing the fact that we’re living through a period in history that our children’s […]

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Sexual Assault Awareness Month: History, Facts, and Figures

What is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM)? The first official SAAM occurred in April 2001, organized by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC). The roots of the movement that led to the first SAAM can be traced back generally to the social activism of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and specifically to […]

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Evidence-Based Treatment in Mental Health: What Does It Mean?

When your child was diagnosed with their mental health, substance abuse, or behavioral disorder, you probably started researching various therapies and medications. Friends and family members might have also come to you with their own recommendations, some of which may have sounded uncommon or non-mainstream. (Ahem, Bach flower remedies…we’re looking at you.) As it turns […]

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National Siblings Day: April 10th

Siblings. If you have them, there were probably times growing up when you wish you didn’t. And if you don’t have them, there were probably times growing up when you wish you did. National Siblings Day is an official commemorative day in the U.S., recognized by Congress, The Office of The President of the United […]

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Exercise: A Quick and Easy Way for Teens to Deal With Stress

Exercise and You If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times: a regular exercise regimen keeps you healthy, strong, emotionally balanced, and adds years to your life. Experts recommend at least an hour of activity a day for children, teenagers, adults, and people of retirement age. No matter how old you are, […]

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Is Your Teen Stressed? Know the Signs

When kids or teenagers tell adults they’re stressed, adults tend to take it with a grain of salt. After all, how stressed can they be? They don’t pay the bills, they’re not planning for retirement, and they don’t have to deal with overbearing bosses, annoying coworkers, or paying taxes. However. Here’s a dose of science-based […]

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Choosing a Safe Teen Rehab Center: 11 Questions You Need To Ask Admissions

When choosing a mental health residential rehab center for your teen, there are lots of factors you’d want to take into consideration. Is the program licensed and accredited? Will insurance cover the majority of the cost? Which evidence-based treatments are offered? But perhaps the most important question you need to ask is: How will my […]

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Stress Awareness Month: Cortisol

Cortisol and Stress: A Quick Primer Cortisol is something we can’t live without. It’s a hormone produced by our endocrine system, essential to both our daily functioning and our long-term survival. It has three primary functioons in our body: it helps us eat, sleep, and handle stress. It’s more complex than that, of course. It’s […]

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In the News: The Link Between Adolescent Depression and Social Media Use

If you check online news feeds regularly, you’ve probably noticed a trend over the past three months: there’s been an abundance of headlines in national media outlets linking social media use with depression in adolescents. When we see these types of headlines, we take them with a grain of salt. Online news media survives by […]

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Teen Stress and Anxiety: Facts and Statistics

April is Stress Awareness Month. We will publish a series of helpful articles on the topic over the next few weeks, so keep checking back or follow us on Facebook to get notified. Stress is part of life for everyone. From children to adolescents to adults, we all deal with some amount of stress every […]

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Spring Break: Is it Okay to Say No?

This is our second spring break post of this season. In our first spring break post, we discussed spring break in general and offered some ideas to keep your teen busy this time around, in case you don’t have a family trip or anything else planned already. In this post, we’re going to expand on […]

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What is Seeking Safety?

Seeking Safety is a relatively modern evidence-based treatment model that treats co-occurring posttraumatic stress disorder and substance abuse. Lisa M. Najavits, Ph.D. began developing the Seeking Safety treatment model in the 1990s, with assistance from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. She published the research-based Seeking Safety treatment manual in 2002. Substance Abuse and PTSD […]

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How Movement and Exercise Help Children

Movement and Children Children love to move. Take them to the playground and just watch. They run, jump, climb, swing, hop, twirl, roll and fling their bodies around in any way they can think of. They always seem to be creating fun ways to exercise their bodies. Anyone who has any experience working with children […]

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Spring Break Is Coming: Teens Rejoice While Some Parents Cringe

Most school districts around the country schedule a week of spring break between mid-March and mid-April. That means spring break is right around the corner. If you haven’t made family plans yet, it’s time to get started. And if you have, we offer sincere congratulations. You’re ahead of the game, and we’re all a bit […]

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National Teenager Day

This year, National Teenager Day falls on the same day as Incredible Kid Day – or rather Absolutely Incredible Kid Day – so parents and teens get to celebrate two novel holidays on one day: Thursday, March 21st, 2019. You may ask yourself: What is it with all these holidays? Who makes these things up? […]

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National Single Parent’s Day

Some people say parenting is the hardest job on earth. If that’s true, then single parenting is in a category all by itself. And if that’s true, then being the single parent of teenage children – well, let’s just say anyone doing that job alone deserves special recognition. This post will focus on them. But […]

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How to Help Kids With Anxiety

The latest statistics on anxiety show that anxiety is the most widespread and regularly occurring psychological challenge faced by people in the U.S. No segment of the population is immune. From young children to retired adults, anxiety affects over 40 million people across the country and it’s estimated that the health care bill for anxiety […]

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Incredible Kid Day: Find the Good

The third Thursday of every March is Incredible Kid Day. It’s not just Incredible Kid Day, it’s Absolutely Incredible Kid Day. This fun holiday is an opportunity for you to recognize you kid’s general awesomeness. Use it honor their achievements and remind them how much you love them. You may do this every day, but […]

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Talking to Young Children: Words Count

30 Million Words: Worlds of Difference In 2003, early childhood development researchers Betty Hart and Todd R. Risley published a paper entitled “The Early Catastrophe: The 30 Million Word Gap by Age 3.” In this study, Hart and Risley studied the language acquisition processes of children from 42 families across three different categories: professional families, […]

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Adolescent Self-Injury: An Overview

In honor of Adolescent Self-Injury Awareness Month, which occurs annually during the month of March, we’re helping raise awareness about this important topic by posting useful information here on our blog, on our Facebook page, and on our Twitter account. This post offers a brief history of Adolescent Self-Injury Awareness Day and Month, then moves […]

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Does DBT Work for Teen Depression?

Chances are, you’ve heard of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). In the world of teen mental health treatment, DBT has been gaining more and more popularity over the years. Whether you first learned about it from a friend, family member, your child’s school counselor or therapist, or even Selena Gomez, there’s a reason why therapists are […]

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The Importance of Giving Kids Responsibilities

Early Training for Life Parents, grandparents, and primary caregivers teach children so many things that it’s hard to know where to start naming them. They teach kids to walk, talk, eat, tie their shoes, brush their teeth, and dress themselves. They teach them how to treat others, how to say please and thank you, how […]

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Delayed High School Start Times in Seattle: Positive Outcomes

In the 2016-2017 school year, the Seattle Public School District took a risk. Based on policy recommendations published in a 2014 report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), district officials implemented a system-wide delay in high school start times. Here’s the AAP claim that triggered the change: “[We] recognize insufficient sleep in adolescents [is] […]

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Teen Dating Violence: What To Do If Your Teen is Abusive

If you discover your teen is violent or abusive toward their signifcant other, you need to do something about it. Read this list – and if you feel like you’re out of your depth, pay special attention to #10: Get Professional Help. Ten Steps to Take Right Away Do not ignore it. Hiding your head […]

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What is the DBT House of Treatment?

With every passing year, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is gaining more and more exposure in the mental health world. Parents and therapists recognize DBT’s remarkable value in helping teens with emotional dysregulation, self-harming behavior, suicidal ideation, and other mental health and/or behavioral issues.   But even if you’re familiar with DBT, did you know that […]

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Wilderness Camp vs Boarding School vs RTC and More

If your teen received a recommendation to attend a rehab center for his or her diagnosed substance abuse, mental health, or behavioral issue, you might be a bit overwhelmed at all the available options. Residential treatment centers, inpatient hospitalization, wilderness camps, therapeutic boarding schools, military schools…What’s the difference? Read on as we delve into some […]

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Depression in Boys: Challenges in Diagnosis

Not long ago, schools kept boys and girls separate. Many private schools still do. Take a quick look online and you’ll find a sizeable list of schools with names ending in “…School for Boys” or “…School for Girls.” While the notion of separate boy’s and girl’s schools seems archaic, their fouding principles are logical. At […]

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Comprehensive DBT vs. DBT-Informed Teen Rehab Centers

There are many rehab centers that offer Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) treatment for teens. But you may notice that some treatment centers specify that they are “comprehensive,” while others note that they are “DBT-informed.” What’s the difference? When Dr. Marsha Linehan developed Dialectical Behavior Therapy in the 1980s, she delineated four components of treatment. These […]

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How Can Parents Tell If a Teen Is a Perpetrator of Dating Violence?

Teen Dating Violence: One Part of a Bigger Problem  Relationship abuse is an issue that eats at the very core of our society. The long-term consequences of abuse are almost too many to list: PTSD, alcohol and substance use disorders, depression, difficulty forming healthy relationships – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In […]

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So Your Teen Has A Valentine’s Day Date (And You Don’t Like It)

Parents:  So Your Teen Has A Valentine’s Day Date You’re there. The day you knew was coming. Your teenager is going out on their first real date, and it’s on February 14th: Valentine’s Day. You’re freaking out. You tell your friends about it, and they say things like: “How cute!” “That’s adorable!” “Exciting!” And all […]

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The One Thing to Do to Increase Your Self-Love

February 13th is International Self-Love Day. The fact that this day of self-love comes right before Valentine’s Day, the day of showing love to others, conveys an important message to struggling teens and their families: Taking care of yourself first is a prerequisite to showing love to others. In honor of the day, we’re sharing […]

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The Seven Core Issues of Adoption

One thing most people don’t know is that the issues around adoption apply to three groups of people: the adoptive children, the adoptive parents, and the birth parents. These three groups are know as the adoptive triad. Each of the issues below are present for all three groups. While every child, adoptive family, and birth […]

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Teen Dating Violence: Eleven Signs to Watch For

Teen Dating Violence Warning Signs in Victims Unexplained bruises or injuries Discoloration, pain, or bleeding in, on, or around genitals Pain during urination or bowel movements Symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases. Visit the CDC website for a fact sheet on STDs. Abrupt changes in academic performance Increase in anxiety Mood swings Symptoms of depression: persistent […]

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Five Myths About Parenting by Same-Sex Couples

As a companion piece to our post, “Top Five Facts About Adoption by Same-Sex Parents,” we decided to offer this post. We’ll debunk common myths about parenting by same-sex couples. We’ll address facts about same-sex parents and the children they raise. Hopefully, we’ll clear up some misconceptions left over from generations of opposition to even […]

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What to Do If Your Teen Lies to You

If it hasn’t happened in your family yet, count yourself among the lucky. If it never happens, count yourself among the blessed. The rest of us mere mortals have to deal with the uncomfortable fact that teens lie to their parents. Not always, and not about everything, but it happens – and that’s life. Here […]

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Top Nine Components of an Adolescent Addiction Treatment Program

In September of 2004, the Journal of the Americen Medical Association: Pediatrics published a far-ranging study on the treatment of adolescents with alcohol and/or substance use disorders. Twenty-two subject matter experts, including ten researchers, nine clinicians, and three senior policy-makers identified nine components common to the most highly regarded treatment programs available: 1. Assessment and […]

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Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month: Know the Facts

On October 5th, 2017, the dam broke. Journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey published this article in The New York Times detailing three decades of sexual misconduct by the influential Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein. The story featured an interview with celebrity actress Ashley Judd, who recounted experiences with Weinstein during which he attempted to […]

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Top Five Facts About Adoption by Same-Sex Couples

In the landmark ruling of Obergefell vs. Hodges in 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States declared same-sex marriage legal in all fifty states.  A year later, a federal judge overturned a law in Mississippi banning adoption by same-sex parents. This made same-sex adoption legal in all 50 states in the U.S. Here are […]

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How Income Differences Affect Parenting Options

An article published in 2014 in the online version of The Economist magazine discusses a very tricky topic that’s still relevant almost five years later. The article examines how the class divide in the U.S. leads to different styles of parenting. “Choose Your Parents Wisely” uses two case studies: a family from an upper-income neighborhood […]

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Is My Teen A Stalker? How Can I Tell?

This subject is tricky. Stalking is a very real and potentially dangerous pattern of activity that often escalates from behaviors such as excessive phoning or texting to surveillance, threats, intimidation, property damage, violence, and in some cases, even sexual assault and murder. Studies on stalking predominantly focus on the victims, and rightly so: they’re victims […]

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Drug and Alcohol Facts Week: The Latest Data on Adolescent Drinking

In 2010, a group of scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) launched an important initiative. Their goal: teach teenagers the real facts about drug use and drug addiction. By real facts, we – and the scientists who began the initiative – mean those facts supported by research, backed by data, and published […]

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Drug and Alcohol Facts Week: The Latest Data on Adolescent Drug Use

In 2010, a group of scientists at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) launched an initiative to teach teenagers the real facts about drug use and drug addiction. By real facts, we – and the scientists who began the initiative – mean those facts supported by research, backed by data, and published in peer-reviewed […]

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Monitoring the Future 2018: Vaping Increase for Teens

In 1975, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) funded the first large-scale, nationwide survey of nicotine, alcohol, and drug use among high school students, college students, and young adults in the U.S. Conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan, the Monitoring the Future Survey began with […]

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How to Choose a Teen Rehab Center

Essential Elements of Teen Rehab In 2003, a group of experts on teen addiction treatment launched a project with an ambitious goal: “to conduct the first systematic evaluation of the quality of highly regarded adolescent substance abuse treatment programs in the United States.” They published their findings in a report that outlined nine core elements […]

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Five Steps to Take if You’re Being Stalked

The first thing to know is that stalking is a crime in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and on all Federal land. Here’s the legal definition of stalking: “A pattern of behavior directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.” If someone is calling, texting, showing up, posting […]

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Top Five Tips for Parents of Bipolar Teens

Census data says there are roughly 21 million adolescents age 14-19 in the U.S. Mental health statistics say about 3% of adolescents age 13-18 have some form of bipolar disorder. Our informal math says these numbers mean over half a million teens in our country struggle with bipolar disorder. It’s important for parents of bipolar […]

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National Stalking Awareness Month: Know the Facts About Stalking

Stalk: (verb) To pursue or approach stealthily. The first time most of us heard the word stalk, we learned that definition. Probably while watching a nature documentary when we were kids. The camera focused on a harmless animal, like a mouse, going about its business – eating cheese, twitching its whiskers, playing with its little […]

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Top Six Reasons Teens Lie to Their Parents

Let’s be real: your teenager has probably lied or will lie to you about something at some point during their teen years. If they haven’t and never will, then you’re lucky – research shows roughly 96% of teens lie to their parents at least once in any given year. Unless you’re in that fortunate 4%, […]

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Home Schooling: What, Why, and How?

What Is Homeschooling? One question that every parent has to answer sooner or later is this: how am I going to best prepare my child for a successful life? Every parent has a slightly different answer to this question, but almost unanimously, parents and experts alike agree that a solid education is the best foundation […]

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The Early College High School Initiative

A New Trend in Education: Early College High Schools Early College High School. At first read, this combination of words seems like a contradiction in terms. Traditionally speaking, college and high school are two separate segments of education. There has always been a small percentage of advanced students who begin college far earlier than most […]

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When a Teen Runs Away But Always Comes Back: Should Parents Be Worried?

There’s a simple answer to this question: yes. While we prefer the phrases actively concerned and making plans to remedy the situation as opposed to worry, what we mean is that running away is nothing to take lightly. If your teen runs away, especially more than once, it increases their risk of developing a host […]

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Top Hobbies for Teens (That Aren’t Sports, Computers, or Gaming)

Data from the American Time Use Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows that most teenagers have about five hours of spare time on any given weekday. That’s after school, homework, and eating. The best way to fill that time? A hobby, of course. But what if you aren’t interested in typical […]

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Helping Kids Deal With Stress

Kids and Stress Stress, stress, stress. For most adults, stress is an unavoidable part of modern life. Stress can come from work, relationships, financial problems, and even from friends. When we’re in school, we learn that stress is what causes ecosystems and organisms to change. When we’re adults, we learn that stress is one of […]

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Are New Year’s Resolutions Even Worth Making?

At this time every year, about forty percent of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions. That’s roughly one hundred thirty million people. On one level, this is encouraging. It shows that in general, we’re optimistic about the future. We want to change something in our lives for the better and have plans to put that change […]

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Why Teenagers Should Have Hobbies

On any given weekday during the school year, the average American teenager spends about eight and a half hours sleeping and about six and a half hours in school. This leaves nine hours of their waking time unaccounted for. Which leaves us with an important question: what do our teenagers do during those nine hours? […]

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What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

If you have the winter blahs, they might be more than just a personality quirk. They may well be a specific sub-type of depression. According to the well-known psychiatrist who coined the phrase in 1984, they could be a legitimate psychiatric disorder known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of […]

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Tips for Traveling With Kids Over the Holidays

Over the River and Through the Woods The holiday season is upon us. Over the next two weeks, families across the country will pack up their suitcases and go traveling. Some will visit friends, relatives, and loved ones. Others will take special holiday family trips together. Wherever you’re going and whatever you’re doing, there’s one […]

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Winter Break: Time to Check In with Your Teen

When your kids reach high school, family dynamics shift. In elementary school, you take care of almost every aspect of their lives. You get them out of bed, fed, and off to school. Then you ferry them to and from after-school activities. You help with homework, if they had it at all. When they have […]

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Naughty or Nice? Christmas Gifts for Teens

The Spirit of Christmas Family, friends, food…and gifts. Lots of gifts. That’s what Christmas is about for millions of people in the U.S. Of course, not everyone celebrates Christmas, but if you do – and you have a teenager – you’re probably wondering what to get them this year. And at the same time, you’re […]

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Five Co-Parenting Tips for the Holidays

Holiday Rituals Matter The holidays are a time meant for love, joy, laughter, shared meals, and time spent with family. This is just as true for non-traditional families as it is for families with both parents living at home. Even for families from cultures where it’s not customary to celebrate the same winter holidays that […]

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How to Avoid Teen Holiday Drama

First of all, congratulations: clicking on this article is a proactive step toward managing any potential problems your teenager might cause over the holidays. You know from personal experience this time of year can bring out the best and worst in people. You know family time can be tough. There’s nothing wrong with admitting that […]

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Five Tips for Talking to Your Teen

Talking to your teen can be tricky. If they’ve reached the point where they don’t really love to engage with you about regular day-to-day things, don’t worry: that’s natural. There are, however, ways to draw them out. You can get them talking again, but there’s a catch: though your teen’s world is all about them, […]

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Winter Break for Teens

If you’re wondering what to do with your teenager over the winter holidays, you’re not alone. It’s not an easy thing to figure out. Time off school means down time. And down time can mean trouble. Even for teens who have no history of behavioral issues, the temptation to explore and experiment is powerful. It’s […]

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Why Winter Break is a Good Time to Start Treatment for Teens

The winter holidays mean many things for many people. If your teenager struggles with a mental health or substance use disorder, then this year the winter holidays might mean something you never expected: a realistic window to get your teenager into treatment. Your teen may have fallen into negative behavior patterns this year at school, […]

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Five Holiday Tips for Blended Families

Make the Holidays Work for Everyone Statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2015 revealed that there were over 32 million remarried couples in the United States and that almost 22 million of those remarriages involved children. Unless there has been a dramatic shift in marriage dynamics over the last three years, this means […]

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How to Manage Thanksgiving With A Troubled Teen

If you have a troubled teen in the house, you’re more than aware they can throw a monkey wrench into the works. You want everyone to be happy and you want everything to run smoothly, but you’re worried sick your unruly teen might throw a tantrum during dinner, embarrass you in front of your own […]

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Topics in Education: What is Social Constructionism?

From Social Theory to Educational Method Social Constructionism is a theory of sociology that has exerted an enormous influence on the development of modern education. Social Constructionism, also known as Social Constructivism, comes from the ideas of a Russian psychologist named Lev Vygotsky who lived and worked during the end of the 19th and early […]

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Community Trauma: The Long View

Over the past week, Californians have experienced a string of tragic and traumatic events. A mass shooting at a dance party in a club in Thousand Oaks, quickly followed by devastating and destructive wildfires in West Los Angeles and Northern California. Families torn apart, communities erased from the map, close to five hundred buildings destroyed, […]

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Community Trauma: What to Watch for in Youth

Over the past weeks, our communities have experienced an unprecedented amount of loss to violence and disaster. It seems we’re not given an opportunity to begin the grieving process for one before news that another shooting has struck our schools, places of worship, centers for healing, or venues for social events. The wildfires in California […]

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Adoption Awareness Month: The Effect of Early Trauma on Adopted Adolescents

Our first post for Adoption Awareness Month discussed the seven major issues common to all adopted children. Let’s recap those before diving into the specific effects early trauma has on the physiological, social, and emotional development of children. The seven core issues of adoption are: loss, rejection, guilt/shame, grief, identity, intimacy, and control/mastery. While every […]

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Should Parents Worry If a Straight-A Teen is Partying?

Before we address the nuances of this question, let’s get five practical points out of the way: Drinking alcohol is illegal for anyone under 21. Smoking marijuana in states where it’s legal is illegal for anyone under 21. Taking prescription drugs without a prescription is illegal. Using controlled substances is illegal. If your kid gets […]

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Children’s Physical Health in the United States

The National Report Card: Hard Facts In 2016, the non-profit organization The National Physical Activity Plan Alliance  published a comprehensive report on the current state of children’s health in the U.S. called “The United States 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.” The goal of the report was to offer an objective take […]

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The Importance of Maternal Mental Health

The latest statistics on maternal mental health indicate that at least one out of every five new mothers in the U.S. experiences some form of mental health challenge that makes it difficult for her to offer her children the full amount of care they need. Considering that almost four million children are born each year […]

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What Parents Should Do When Their Teenager Lies to Them

Let’s cut to the chase. It’s almost one hundred percent certain your teenager has lied or will lie to you about something at some point during their teen years. A prerequisite for learning anything of value from this article is admitting that fact to yourself. And yes: it’s not without a sense of irony that […]

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Homeless Youth Awareness Month: Debunking Myths

Facts About Homeless Youth in the United States  November is Homeless Youth Awareness Month. We’re going to share facts and statistics throughout the month about homelessness, homeless families, and homeless youth. We’ll start this effort by acknowledging that homelessness is a problem we all need to address together. Local, state, and federal agencies, in cooperation […]

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How Holiday Traditions Help Kids of All Ages

Routines, Rituals, and Families: Staying Grounded There’s an interesting paradox that’s central to teaching and parenting. In order to do either one effectively, it’s important to keep kids interested in what’s going on by offering new takes on old lessons, inventing fun ways to do mundane things, and finding fresh approaches to regular daily activities. […]

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Adoption and Teens: Identity, Acceptance, and Trust

Adolescence is a challenging time for almost all teenagers. Puberty launches their bodies and brains into a radical series of changes during this pivotal transition from youth to adulthood. Powerful new hormones course through their bloodstream as the part of their brain responsible for rational decision-making and impulse control – the prefrontal cortex – develops […]

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Other Kids Are Spreading Rumors About My Teen – What Can I Do

As writer, producer, and actor Meghan Ryan Lamontagne said in a blog post last year on the teen-oriented, girl-power, pop-culture website Sweety High: “Rumors are the worst.” You might have forgotten exactly how bad being the object of untrue, hurtful gossip can feel. Then your teenage son and daughter comes home in tears, disconsolate over […]

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Common Sense Media: Teen Social Media Use 2012-2018

The researchers at Common Sense Media deliver again: this time, with an in-depth look at social media use among adolescents. The report “Social Media, Social Life: Teens Reveal Their Experiences” examines answers to salient questions that adults – including parents, educators, mental health professionals, and public policy makers –  want to know about teen social […]

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Five Things to Do If Your Kid Is Acting Like a Bully

What should you do if you find out from another parent or a school representative that your kid has been bullying other kids? First, accept the fact that it’s happening and engage the situation directly. Second, leave your emotions out of it. Look at bullying as a behavior that needs to be modified with the […]

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Teen Halloween: Tricks or Treats?

Question: Should teenagers go trick-or-treating on Halloween, or are they too old for it? For most people in the U.S. the debate is open. The answer clearly depends on the teen, what their actual plans are, and the group of friends they’re planning to celebrate the holiday with. In the state of Virginia, though, there […]

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Another Parent Called the School About My Teen: What Should I Do?

You’re going to hear from your teenager’s school a lot during the middle and high school years. Some of the communication will be good news, some will be no-so-great news, and most of it will be pedestrian PTA-meeting type stuff. But sometimes you get that call. The one where you find out another parent called […]

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Adolescent Overachievers: Stress, Perfectionism, and Mental Health

There’s a lot of pressure on teenagers these days. Pressure from parents, pressure from society, and pressure from peers. Parents pressure teens to get good grades, get into college, or find a vocation suitable to their natural skills and talents. Society pressures teens to work hard, get ahead, and more and more, do something amazing […]

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Halloween Costumes: Perpetuating Negative Stigma

While researching ideas for articles to share with you for Halloween, we came across something that hadn’t occurred to us: the fact that many Halloween costumes reinforce negative stigma attached to mental illness. An article in Psychology Today points out that some of the most respected and widely-read news outlets in the nation, including the […]

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Is My Kid the Bully? What Should I Do?

Every parent has a list of phone calls they don’t want to get from school. It’s a basic list. If you’re a parent, here are the top three things we know you don’t want to hear when the phone rings and your caller ID tells you it’s the school: Your child is sick or has […]

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October 10th is World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day 2018: A Focus on Youth and Adolescents On October 10th, 1992, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the first annual World Mental Health Day. Their goal was twofold: to promote mental health advocacy and educate the general public on issues related to mental health. Advocacy and education remained the focus for […]

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Mental Health Support for Military Families

The Effect of War on Military Families The U.S. has been involved in two wars overseas for close to two decades. The men and women of our military have been in harm’s way in Afghanistan since 2001. They’ve been in Iraq since 2003. Despite troop drawdowns in the past few years in both countries, we […]

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If a Parent Thinks Their Teenager is Being Sexually Abused, How Can They Be Sure?

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: their child being abused. Sexually, emotionally, or physically, it doesn’t matter which – they’re all virtually unbearable to conceive. And that’s for us, the adults, thinking about it from the outside. We have life experience, we have perspective, and we have a fully developed prefrontal cortex that enables us to […]

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Substance Use, Mental Health, and Obesity: Changing the Paradigm

What do treatment for substance use, mental health disorders, and obesity have in common? For decades, we treated them exactly wrong: as if they were signs of personal weakness, moral failings, or a lack of willpower on the part of the person struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder or the person struggling […]

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Wraparound Services in Schools

What are Wraparound Services?  Wraparound services originated in the 1980s based on the work of children’s health professionals and developmental psychologists seeking effective ways to help children with significant behavioral, emotional and developmental learning challenges. Through the 1990s and 2000s, wraparound services evolved into a comprehensive system which include not only children with significant challenges, […]

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Trends In Education: Place-Based Education

What is Place-Based Education? Parents, teachers, school leaders, and public policy makers have their hands full keeping up with the latest trends in education. It’s a complex process. First, creative thinkers propose new ideas for better serving our students. Second, teachers apply these theoretical models in the classroom. Third, school leaders learn about the success […]

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School Shooters: How Can Parents Not Know?

School shootings are a problem that horrifies everyone who hears about them. And over the past few years, everyone has heard about them. The news media makes sure of that: depending on which outlet and methodology you prefer, the number of school shootings in the United States in 2018 is between 17-23. CNN reports the […]

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My Teen is Counting – Does She Have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?

What is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? The gold standard diagnostic manual for mental and behavioral health disorders, the DSM-V, defines Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder as a neurological disorder characterized by obsessions and compulsions that take up at least an hour a day and cause a significant amount of psychological and emotional distress. Statistics show that about one in […]

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The Importance of Setting Boundaries for Kids

Being the Bad Guy One of the most difficult parts of being a parent is knowing when to say no. Generally speaking, once a child learns to speak and understand language, any given parent soon reaches a point when they feel like every other word out of their mouth is “No” or “Stop.” And just […]

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The Common Sense Census Part 1: A Report on Media Use by Tweens and Teens

In November 2015, Common Sense Media published a large-scale study that examines the way young people in the United States use media and technology. The study, conducted over six weeks in the early spring of 2015, included 2,658 children age eight to eighteen. Tweens were defined as children age eight to twelve. Teens were defined […]

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The Communication Conundrum

How Teenagers Hear Criticism Parents often find it challenging to offer constructive feedback or criticism to their children. Especially when those children enter their teenage years. Though it’s not a universal absolute, the following pattern is familiar to almost all parents of teens. It goes like this: a parent attempts to initiate a conversation with […]

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The Children of 9/11: How Are They Now?

The Children of 9/11 The attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and The Pentagon outside Washington, D.C. were the largest attacks on the U.S. soil by a foreign entity since Pearl Harbor. Historians, war buffs, and armchair foreign policy experts can quibble about the details of this claim, but one thing […]

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Trends in Teen Violence: 1991-2015

Anyone who pays close attention to the news media would think the world is getting more dangerous by the minute. Local news seems to lead every broadcast with crime. A robbery here. A murder there. A kidnapping nearby. National news highlights tragically violent stories over positive stories every day. We know about the college student […]

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CRAFT: Family-Based Approaches to the Treatment-Resistant Adolescent

Intervention. Obviously a scary word. It’s also a word most of us associate with another relatively scary word. Or phrase, rather. Tough love. We all know what tough love is. Tough love is when you tell someone you care deeply about something they don’t want to hear. For example, tough love can be trivial, between […]

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Smartphones and Parent-Child Interactions

Smart Phones: Positives and Negatives For adults in the 21st century, smart phones make up a big part of day-to-day life. Whether we use them for work or for socializing, most people don’t leave home without them. In fact, we often hear someone say, “I’m lost without my phone – it’s how I run my […]

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August 31st: International Overdose Awareness Day

Drug Overdose: A Worldwide Problem, Prevalent in the United States Most people can define the word overdose without consulting a dictionary. It’s what happens when someone takes too much of an illegal drug or a prescription medication. That’s a solid understanding of the word, which does not need an elaborate explanation. In addition, we might […]

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Parenting and Technology

Parenting in the Technological Era  In the 21st century – The Information Age – technology is advancing at a faster pace than it ever has in the history of human civilization. For most of our time on earth, great leaps in technology were separated by enormous spans of years that most of us learned in […]

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Should Teenagers Work During the School Year?

In the Los Angeles County Unified School District, the first day of school is August 14th. That’s only two weeks away. Are you ready? Is your teenager ready? One thing parents consider this time of year is whether they should allow – or perhaps require – their teenagers to work during the upcoming school year. […]

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Harvard Study: Meditation Study Shows Growth in Several Key Brain Areas

Meditation Changes the Brain For several decades, the effectiveness of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) practices have been known to help alleviate the symptoms of a wide range of emotional, behavioral and psychiatric challenges. From helping people battle anxiety, depression, mood swings and post-traumatic stress disorder to increasing overall well-being and developing peace-of-mind, activities such as […]

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The Benefits of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Teens

Helping Children with Mental Health Challenges In May of 2014, the Centers for Disease Control released the first ever comprehensive, federally funded report on the state of children’s mental health in the U.S. Using data collected between the years 2005 and 2011, the report estimates that close to twenty percent of children ages 3-17 experience […]

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The Trauma-Informed Classroom

Every Child Has a Story One thing teachers learn very quickly when they step into the classroom is that every child under their care has a slightly different approach to learning. While many students respond well to traditional teaching methods, others don’t. Although sensitive and creative teachers have always found fresh and interesting ways to […]

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Self-Harming Behavior: Nine Warning Signs

If you suspect your teenager is engaging in self-harm, keep an eye out for the following warning signs: Wearing long sleeves or pants summer Cuts, scratches, bruises, carvings, or burns anywhere on their body Spending time with friends or acquaintances who harm themselves Missing patches of hair, including eyelashes or eyebrows Sharp objects hidden in […]

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How Evolve Treatment Helps Teens Who Are Suicidal

Teen Suicide and Self-Harm Are Preventable As a parent, the thought that one of your children may consider harming themselves is one of the most terrifying, perplexing, and heart-wrenching ideas imaginable. At Evolve Treatment Centers, we’re experts in helping teens identify and process the thoughts and feelings that lead to self-harming behaviors, suicidal ideation, and […]

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When Teenagers Catch Their Bad Behavior On Video

What happens when teens catch their own bad behavior on video? The answer is simple: they share it. On YouTube, on Facebook, on Snapchat, or by sending video files via text, instant/direct message, or email to their friends. Who then share it with their friends. Who, in turn, share it with their friends. And on […]

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Residential Treatment for Self-Harming Behaviors

Evolve Treatment: 24/7 Supervision in a Safe, Healthy Setting If you’ve recently discovered your teenager engages in self-harming behaviors such as cutting, branding, excessive scratching, or biting, you’re probably in a state of shock. It’s not an easy thing to understand. But once the initial flood of emotions passes, it’s your job as a parent […]

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Summer Mental Health Check-in: College Students

Home for the Summer  Parents who send their children off to college often wrestle with conflicting emotions. On the one hand, an empty nest can be quiet and easy to manage, while on the other hand, the same quiet that comes from the absence of teenagers can carry a tinge of sadness and leave moms, […]

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Preventing Teen Suicide: One School’s Approach

The upward trend in suicide reported by the CDC this spring sent shockwaves across the United States. Mental health professionals, teachers, and parents expressed a mixture of anxiety, frustration, and disbelief. The news media covered not one, but two alarming reports. First, the CDC report. Then, another published by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Both […]

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Lead Exposure and Children’s Mental Health

A Brief History of Lead and Humans Human beings have a long relationship with lead. Historical evidence shows we first mined lead around 6,500 B.C.E. in the area of modern-day Turkey. Because of its low melting point and workability, lead has been used for countless purposes since ancient times. We use it as a food […]

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Common Sense Media: The Digital Census 2017

Children’s Screen Time 2011-2017 In the fall of 2013, the non-profit media research group Common Sense Media released a landmark study on children’s media use in America. It was the first large-scale survey on how our children use digital technology and media. Common Sense promotes safe and responsible use of media for children and families. […]

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The Charter School Movement

Charter Schools: A Viable Option for Families  As most parents know, education is the key to getting ahead in life. Whether that means taking an accelerated academic path that involves college, graduate school and pursuing a professional occupation, taking a vocational path that involves learning a skill and pursuing a technical occupation, or finishing high […]

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Ten Things the #neveragain Movement Says About Today’s Teens

Disclaimer: Evolve Treatment Centers has one goal, which is to help adolescents struggling with behavioral, emotional, and substance use disorders. This brief article discusses a movement started by adolescents, which makes it important to us. Understanding issues front and center in the lives of adolescents helps us help them. This article is about understanding, which […]

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What’s in a Grade?

Forward-thinking teachers, school administrators, and policy makers rarely achieve legitimate consensus on big issues in education. They stake claims on all sides of critical questions facing schools across the country. From the length of school days to which subjects are most important to the best way to prepare students for the modern workplace, competing experts […]

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Trends in Education: Social and Emotional Learning

Educating our Children: What Matters Most Parents, teachers, school administrators, and policy makers engage in a robust and ongoing debate about the primary goal of education in the U.S. Relevant stakeholders in the conversation seem to have come to a loose consensus in recent years. That consensus: the primary goal of education is to prepare […]

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The Effect of Musical Training on Learning Mathematics

For decades, there’s been a buzz in educational circles about the positive relationship which exists between music and mathematics. Some of this research has examined the effect of listening to classical music during math lessons and before math tests. It’s unearthed positive results. This particular wrinkle in scholarship and the positive correlations identified between music […]

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Teens, Sleep Habits, and Mental Health: What’s the Relationship?

A recent article from Reuters led with the following headline: “Teen night owls more prone to emotional and behavioral problems.” This piqued our interest. Let’s get something out of the way immediately. Although the information in the article is based on a scientific survey of almost 5,000 students age 12-18, the data is correlative, rather […]

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How to Help Your Teen Avoid Being Lured by an Online Predator

In late May, 2018, police in Sarasota County, Florida arrested 21 adult men on charges stemming from their intent to have sex with teenage boys and girls. A story in the Bradenton Herald details the outcome of Operation Intercept V, a police sting mounted by Sarasota County police to “protect children in Sarasota County from […]

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2016: Best Year in U.S History for High School Completion

The Importance of Finishing High School The National Institute for Educational Statistics reports that individuals who graduate from high school earn an average of just over forty thousand dollars a year, and individuals who do not graduate from high school earn an average of just over twenty thousand dollars a year. When looking closely at […]

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Play, Work, Participate

How to Get Kids on Track Once children reach school age, one of the first questions on a parent’s mind is this: how do I get my kids to do what I want them to do? The answer to this question gets even trickier when kids become adolescents. Whether it’s cleaning up their rooms, chewing […]

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Why Homework Matters: It’s Not About The Grades

For parents and kids alike, homework can be a tough nut to crack. It seems like there are two types of people in the world, with regards to homework. There are those who don’t mind it very much, and those for whom doing homework is like pulling teeth. The homework situation is complicated by the […]

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Pushing Back: Is Technology Addiction Real?

The news media loves a crisis. That’s how they sell papers, increase viewership, and get website clicks. Big crises are easy to push: international incidents, natural disasters, and salacious scandals sell themselves because everyone wants to know what’s going on. But when there is no crisis, media outlets try to create one in order to […]

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The One Hundred Deadliest Days of Summer

Increased Risk of Teen Car Crashes and Fatalities The three-month period between Memorial Day and Labor Day – known in the Northern Hemisphere as summer – is famous for many things and beloved for many reasons. School’s out. Families go on vacation. Kids of all ages go to camp. Teenagers get their first jobs, hang […]

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Top Ten Signs Your Teen is Stressed

Teens and Stress When parents hear their teenage children complain about stress, most laugh out loud, roll their eyes, and say something like this: “Kid, you have no idea what real stress is. Just wait until you have real responsibilities. Come talk to me when you get a job, have a mortgage and monthly bills […]

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Vaping, E-Cigarettes, and Health: What Parents and Teens Should Know

E-Cigarettes and Vaping: Harmful or Harmless? We’re writing this article in reaction to an increase in the number of news stories cropping up in the media recently about E-Cigarettes. They range from shocking, vehemently anti-e-cigarette articles, such as Pennsylvania teen develops lung problems after only three weeks of vaping (May 17th, 2018),  to more measured […]

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Is My Teen Just Shy, or Does She Have Social Anxiety Disorder?

Figuring out The Shy Kid Anyone who spends time with children knows they come in all shapes, sizes, and personality types. One of the most important and most difficult jobs as a parent, teacher, or caregiver is figuring out what kind of child it is you’re dealing with. A free spirit? A loose cannon? A […]

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Marijuana Decriminalization: Effect on Use in Teenagers

Back in 2012, when citizens in the states of Washington and Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana use, critics predicted doom and gloom. People who see marijuana as a gateway to harder drugs like cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine were convinced things would go haywire. Legal pot would mean easier access for everyone, not just the […]

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Ten Signs a Teen is Abusing Substances

Teenagers experiment. Teenagers push boundaries and take risks they shouldn’t. They hang around with the people their parents warn them against. Sometimes only because of the warning. And teenagers get in cars they shouldn’t get in with those same people they shouldn’t have been hanging around in the first place. Adults know all these things […]

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Grading for Learning

What’s in a Grade? One of the most challenging aspects of education lies in assessment. Whether in public school, private school, or home-school, teachers work to determine how much a student learns. Traditionally, assessment means grades. And grades are typically assigned by combining homework, projects, and tests scores into a single letter grade for each […]

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Online Charter Schools: Great Option or Epic Fail?

Summer is here. Which means it’s time for parents to look back over the school year and answer an important question: Is my child in the right place? The answer to that question is different for every family, and every family has different criteria upon which they base their answer. Some families prioritize academics, some […]

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California Department of Health Report: STDs in CA at All-Time High

Adolescent Substance Use, Risky Behavior, and STDs Risk-taking is one of the primary characteristics of adolescence. We’ve discussed this phenomenon in detail in our article Understanding Adolescent Development. The short explanation of why adolescents take more risks than adults has to with brain development: the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for emotions, develops […]

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Teaching Discipline Without Abuse

Discipline, Abuse, and Power: Five Years of Headlines About five years ago, the news media burgeoned with disturbing news about domestic partner abuse and child abuse. Then the 2016 presidential election and all the attendant drama immediately following it drowned all that out. In light of the #metoo movement and the rollercoaster of domestic and […]

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Childhood Mental Health and Adult Employment

Childhood Mental Health: Emotional Fundamentals Most adults are well aware that the lessons children learn in their early years lay the foundation for success later in life. That includes educators, parents, and mental health professionals. Whether they’re educated at home, in a public school, or in a private school, a robust amount of early education […]

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In the News: Upward Trend in Suicidal Ideation and Suicide Attempts by Teens

A report published in March by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) showed an increase in hospital visits by young people for suicidal ideation (SI) and suicide attempts (SA). In the report, researchers analyzed billing data from emergency room and outpatient visits from 45 children’s hospitals across the United States. Numbers for SI and SA […]

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Parents: Mental Health Care for Youth on the Rise

Mental Health Care for Youth in the USA Over the past twenty years, there’s been a positive trend in general public attitudes toward both mental health care and individuals struggling with emotional and psychological issues. Due in large part to the efforts of organizations such as The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), emotional and […]

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Dialing in the Diagnosis: What is Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder?

Getting the correct diagnosis for your teen is an essential first step if they struggle with emotional, mood, behavioral, and/or substance use disorders. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is the go-to, authoritative bible mental health professionals use to identify and diagnose mental disorders in children, adolescents, and adults. It’s a comprehensive […]

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The National Report Card 2017: How Are We Doing?

We got our report card last month. It didn’t come home in an intimidating, official white envelope carefully placed in our backpacks. No one had to sign it and turn it back the next day and no one hid it from their parents. No one got in trouble for poor marks, no one got a […]

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Understanding Adolescent Development

The Time of Change Anyone involved in the life of a child knows that there’s only one constant: change. Children come to us as infants, move through toddlerhood, the preschool years, middle childhood and pre-adolescence. All of the transition from one of these developmental stages to the next involves major changes, but there’s one thing […]

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Deciphering the Code: 21st Century Teen Slang

What are They Even Saying? We’ll start this post by reminding all the parents out there of the first rule of teen slang: It’s for teens.  Try it out at your own peril. At worst, your teens will roll their eyes and groan, and at best, you might score one or two hipster points. Which […]

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Treatment Spotlight: Family DBT at Evolve

As you may know from reading our article Treatment Spotlight: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) at Evolve, DBT is all about change. From emotions to behaviors to modes of thinking, the essence of DBT lies in learning how to transform life-interrupting thoughts, emotions, and actions to life-affirming thoughts, emotions, and actions. We take a comprehensive approach […]

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Positive Parenting

Words Matter Children look to their parents or primary caregivers for almost everything. From providing the basic necessities like food and shelter to modeling how to talk, how to behave and how to interact with other people, most parents and caregivers realize that they are their children’s primary conduits to the world. Parents and caregivers […]

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Parents: How to Help Your Teen Set Healthy Dating Boundaries

Parents face a tough set of decisions when their teens reach dating age. We’re talking about actual romantic dating, not elementary and middle school crushes that are all sugar and no spice. There comes a point when your child moves past the days of that simple, timeless note, passed through an intermediary at the lunch […]

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Martial Arts for Kids and Teens Boost Confidence

It’s a well-known fact that young people need exercise and plenty of it. Research shows that a consistent routine of regular exercise for forty-five minutes to an hour every day helps kids in a wide variety of ways. Generally speaking, parents are aware of the basic benefits of exercise, such as increased fitness, weight control, […]

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Save the Rod, Spare the Child

Punitive v. Restorative Discipline: What’s the Difference? The early 21st century is an amazing time to live. Compared to one hundred years ago – 1918 – life for the average person in the U.S. is straight out of the pages of a science fiction novel. High-speed planes, trains, and automobiles allow us to cover previously […]

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Twice Exceptional Children

One of the greatest challenges in education is what to do with children who don’t fit inside the box. For teachers in public or private schools and parents who home-school their children, it’s always easiest when kids perform consistently . Or at least peform within readily understandable degrees of variation across subject areas. They accomplish […]

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Helping Teens Navigate High School Cliques

Teenage Cliques: The More Things Change Research on teenage social groups shows that even though there are hundreds of names for teenage cliques and that their names may change from place to place, teenagers have the tendency to group themselves into four basic categories, or cliques. Most schools have their share of what we call […]

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The Value of Family Dinner

The Reset Button Family life in the 21st century can be very busy, especially for families with children. No matter what the situation, schedules fill up quickly. Regardless of the number of children, the location, or the economic situation, every day gets jam-packed with activities. Parents often feel like life is too hectic. Everyone runs […]

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Teens in Addiction Treatment: Why Aftercare Matters

We know you may not really enjoy your time in treatment. It may be the hardest, loneliest, most challenging period in your life. Maybe you’re counting down the days until your discharge. Maybe you’re even counting down the hours, minutes, seconds, nanoseconds, and picoseconds. To that we say, where’d you get such a fancy watch? […]

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What Is the Most Difficult Year of Parenting?

The Impossible Question: Which Parenting Year Is Hardest? As anyone who has ever raised a child knows, parenting is no easy task. This is crystal clear even to people without kids. All it takes is a sibling, a friend or a neighbor with kids to understand that the job of parenting is multi-faceted and virtually […]

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Exercise and Recovery: The Foundation of Total Health

The comprehensive health benefits of a regular exercise routine are well-documented. The importance of staying active, keeping fit, and participating in some type of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity several times a week has been repeated so often by health professionals and media figures over the past twenty years it’s almost become white noise. We’ve heard it […]

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International Summer Travel Programs for Teenagers

What’s Your Teenager Doing This Summer? Parents of teenagers face a decision at the end of every school year. What am I going to do with my teen over the summer months? It’s not a simple question. While it’s true that students do need a break from the rigor of day-to-day academics, it’s also true […]

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Blended Learning and the 21st Century Classroom

Education in the 21st Century Education in the 21st century is changing rapidly. From preschool to graduate school, teaching methods, curricula and modes of delivering subject content have undergone a radical transformation. At the preschool and kindergarten levels, alternative approaches such as Waldorf, Montessori,  and others have altered the landscape of early education. In the […]

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The Missing Piece: Emotional Literacy in Education

The Foundation of Performance: Emotional Literacy & Intelligence Education in the United States and around the world focuses primarily on results. There may be radically different approaches to the brass tacks of teaching children how to read, write, and do arithmetic. But the goal of education for almost every culture in every country is to […]

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Allowing Children to Fail

Failure, Adversity, and Resilience Most people who’ve lived a little bit agree: the tough times shape us. Over the course of a lifetime, it’s how we handle the most challenging situations that really define who we are. Somewhere along the way we’re taught that adversity builds character, mistakes are opportunities to learn and in order […]

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What Happens if My Teenager Gets a DUI?

The list of things parents worry about seems endless. When kids are young, the worries are fundamental. You’re preoccupied with covering the basics like food, clothing, and shelter. You make sure your babies get plenty of hugs and kisses. Your concerns keep pace alongside them as they grow: you want them to make friends in […]

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Trends in Treatment: Brain Imaging and Recovery

Neuroimaging and Addiction Treatment: What It is and How It Can Help Modern medicine is like a miracle. Today we can treat diseases, injuries, and chronic conditions that not long ago would have left many of us dead or disabled. This is true for everything from cancer to heart disease to broken bones and torn […]

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Prevent Parenting Burn Out

The Life of a Busy Parent: A Recipe for Burnout Parents can have a lot to think about. After the rush of childbirth and the excitement of infancy, the responsibilities start to add up. The job of parenting can seem to be endless. If you’re the primary caregiver to your children, your day probably starts […]

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Long-Term Effects of Cyber and Traditional Bullying

The Negative Effects of Bullying The first scientific studies on bullying began to appear in the 1970s. Since then, the negative effects of bullying for both bullying victims and the individuals engaging in bullying behaviors have been well documented. A landmark study published in Children & Schools: A Journal of the National Association of Social […]

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Talk to Your Teen: Health Consequences of Alcohol Abuse

As the parent of a teenager, you’ve got a lot on your mind. You want the best for your kids, so you pay monitor their grades, their friends, their extracurricular activities, and their social life – especially once they hit high school. Unless you live under a rock, you’re concerned about the opioid epidemic sweeping […]

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Planning for Summer With a Troubled Teen

People love giving advice when you’re a new or expecting parent. They’re filled with brilliant insights on the best way to do everything. They tell you how to feed your child, get them to sleep, get them a head start on their academics, and how to discipline them. You name it, you get a boatload […]

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Treatment Spotlight: Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) at Evolve

Here in the Parenting Tips and Advice section of our website, we share articles designed to increase awareness and understanding of issues relevant to parents of adolescents experiencing behavioral challenges or emotional distress. We focus on topics related to the treatment of and recovery from significant mental health issues such as substance use and mood […]

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The Pros and Cons of Teenage Jobs

Preparing for Adult Life Most parents and primary caregivers agree that one of the primary objectives of raising a child is preparing him or her for life out in the real world. Every family has its own set of values it passes on to its children. Some value empathy, some value respect, and some value […]

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My Teen Was Arrested – Is Her Life Over?

Every parent of teenagers knows adolescence can be a turbulent time. Most teenagers go through a period when they push boundaries, test limits, and experiment with risky behaviors. Not all of them are rebellious, but almost all of them dabble in things they know they shouldn’t. Parents, especially in the 21st century, tend to tolerate […]

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My Teen is Partying Too Much and Spring Break Terrifies Me

So. You suspect your teenager has decided to take a walk on the wild side. You’ve seen the warning signs. New friends, loss of interest in old activities, missing curfew, glassy eyes, funny breath, unpredictable moods, and falling grades. Add them all up, and the sum total is nothing good. Which means you more than […]

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Teens, Recovery, and You: Why Family Participation Matters

There’s a little-known fact about recovery from mental health and substance use disorders: the person in treatment is not the only one who changes. A growing body of research shows that achieving and maintaining long-term, sustainable mental health and sobriety is far more likely when members of the immediate family engage in the therapeutic process […]

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The Myth of Multitasking: Media, Teens, and Homework

Our society values productivity above almost everything else. We place such a high priority on our ability to work toward multiple deadlines and simultaneously juggle a variety of projects we’ve reached the point where it’s virtually a cultural fetish. A fetish we call multitasking. There’s a popular belief that multitasking is a good thing. Which […]

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My Teenager is Coming Home from Residential Treatment: What Happens Now?

The transition from alcohol or substance abuse treatment back to home life can be an emotionally charged time for everyone involved. For parents, it’s often a mirror image of the days and weeks immediately preceding treatment. Before you placed your teenager in a residential program, you probably felt a disconcerting and uncomfortable jumble of sadness, […]

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Self-Care While Your Teen is in Treatment

When your teenager enters treatment for a substance abuse and/or co-occurring mental health disorders, it’s easy to put all the focus on them. After all, you’re the parent. You’ve been there every step of the way. From diapers to first steps to midnight fevers – unwritten law of the universe: the fever pops after working […]

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Parent Quiz: Am I Enabling My Teen’s Addiction?

Parents always want what’s best for their kids. It starts the moment they’re born, if not before. Most parents see their child for the first time and think something along lines of “Well, I know what I’m doing for the next eighteen years.” Parents of grown children chuckle at this sentiment: they know the parenting […]

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My Teen Is Anxious All the Time: Should I Worry?

Be sure to have your teen read Is My Anxiety Normal? Let’s start this conversation with a quick reality check: if your teen is anxious all the time, then yes, you should be actively concerned about it and try to find the underlying cause. What you should not do, however, is add fuel to the […]

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My LGBTQ Teen Has an Addiction Problem: Does She Need a Custom Program?

Adolescence is a time of radical transformation. This transitional period between youth and adulthood is characterized significant change in virtually every area of life. Teens develop physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. They form their own identities – separate and distinct from their parents – and engage in an evolving, instinctive process of trial and error […]

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Is My Teen Addicted to Their Cellphone? Is That a Problem?

When you were young, you probably heard this line about a thousand times from your parents: “Too much television is going to rot your brain.” Every time they said it, you’d roll your eyes – internally if you had strict parents – and think to yourself: “There’s no way something so good could be so […]

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Positive Effects of Drama Programs in Education

Arts in Education “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” -Albert Einstein           Over the past decade or so, an increasing emphasis has been placed on the importance of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) related classes in primary, middle and […]

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Help! My Teenager is on the Verge of Getting Expelled from School! What Can I Do?

If you’re the parent of an unruly adolescent who’s actively pushing boundaries, this is the moment you’ve feared. This is when the novelty seeking, the authority challenging, the limit testing, and the roller-coaster ride of teen identity formation comes up against a hard boundary: expulsion from school. The fun and games are over. There’s no […]

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Life-Long Sports in Schools and Homes

The Importance of an Active Life Over the past decade, the fact that young people need to stay active has been well documented in scores of books, scientific journals, health and wellness websites and parenting blogs. It’s now common knowledge that regular exercise helps in the fight against obesity, which can stave off a number […]

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A Fresh Start for the New Year

New Year’s Resolutions can be tricky. We make them with all the best intentions in the world, but the fact is, most of them fall by the wayside after a few weeks. We start out strong, but then real life happens: family commitments cut into exercise time. A hectic work schedule means those healthy lunches […]

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How to Talk to an Internet-Obsessed Teen About Sex

We’ll cut to the chase on this topic: the best way to talk to an internet-obsessed teen about sex is openly and honestly. This article will offer tips, advice, and introduce ideas to help you with the how and the what of your open and honest conversation. We’ll back up our suggestions with links to […]

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I Think My Athlete Son is Using Steroids: Is it Really That Bad?

Yes, it’s really that bad. For the sake of clarity, we’ll define exactly what we’re talking about when we say using steroids. In this context, what we mean is teenage boys using anabolic steroids to improve athletic performance. Anabolic steroids are synthetic, laboratory-made versions of the naturally occurring hormone testosterone, which is produced and secreted […]

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I’m a Recovering Addict: Did I Doom My Teen to Become an Addict?

Good question. The fact you’re asking it probably means you’re on the right track. Addicts consumed by their substance abuse are often so deep in their own issues they don’t have the wherewithal to formulate questions – or muster the energy to care – about the effects of their addiction on others. Understanding the impact […]

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Does My Teen Need More Intensive Treatment?

One of the most difficult things about parenting a teenager is watching them struggle with things you can’t control – especially when they have a mental health disorder. You may feel helpless, sad, anxious, or angry about what they go through on a daily basis. It doesn’t seem fair that young people should have to […]

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Expanding Understanding: Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences and Long-Term Health In 1998, the Centers for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente Health Systems partnered to launch an ambitious study on the effect of adverse childhood experiences on an individual’s long-term physical, mental, social and emotional health. Known today as the ACE Study, it is widely recognized that the publication of […]

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Camarillo: Drugs, Drinking, and Your Teenager

Since January, the Ventura County Sherriff’s Department has made dozens of drug-related arrests and confiscated marijuana, methamphetamine, heroin, and controlled prescription drugs worth over 8.4 million dollars – all in the Camarillo area. That’s not including the massive operation conducted this summer in nearby Los Padres National Forest in coordination with the California Department of […]

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Helping Your Teen with Social Anxiety Face the World

Anxiety is a regular part of daily life. From children to adolescents to adults, we all experience relative degrees of anxiety as we navigate the world. Anxiety stems from fear: fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, or fear of bad things happening at some point in the future. Despite its negative connotations, anxiety can be […]

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Is My Teen Depressed or Just Moody?

If you’re the parent of a teenager, chances are you’re riding a rollercoaster of emotion along with your child. It might have started when they were as young as eleven or twelve years old, or it might have started right on schedule at age thirteen. Either way, like it or not, there you are: strapped […]

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The Recovery High School Movement

Teenagers who enter residential, partial hospitalization, or residential treatment for alcohol or substance abuse disorders face a big challenge when they finish their time in rehab: returning to high school. Life after rehab challenges anyone, young or old, but teenagers who go back to their old school fight an uphill battle. Many teenagers in treatment […]

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Contemporary Family Therapy

When it comes to treating substance abuse and mental health in teens, it’s important to ensure the family is included in the treatment program. Incorporating the family, at the right time, is paramount to long-term recovery. What is Family Therapy? Family therapy can take place in many ways. Some family therapy sessions will include the […]

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Expeditionary Learning: A Journey to Knowledge

“To start a school is to proclaim what it means to be human.” This phrase, written in 1996 by Harvard University professor Meg Campbell in collaboration with a group of educators from the well-known organization Outward Bound in an article entitled “The Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound Design,” has inspired a generation of school administrators, teachers […]

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Body Image and the Adolescent Male

Body Image and the Media It’s widely recognized in the U.S. and around the world that young women are susceptible to developing body image issues. This phenomenon is a direct result of film, media, and advertising: for decades, images of thin women wearing bikini bathing suits have been used to sell everything from deodorant to […]

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Talking About Suicide: Cry for Attention or Cause for Intervention?

Teenagers say all kinds of things that make parents scratch their heads. Sometimes their words are typical hormone-driven melodrama. “I hate you!” or “You never understand me!” or “I can’t wait til I’m 18 so I can move out!” are often followed by stomping feet and a slamming door. Most parents know when their kids […]

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Empathy or Achievement – What We’re Teaching Our Kids

The Empathy Gap Over the past decade or so, schools in the U.S. have been playing a game of catch-up. When it became obvious in the early 2000s that students in other countries were outperforming U.S. students in core academic areas such as math and science, alarm bells went off all over the country. Programs […]

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Is it a Behavioral Issue or a Cry for Help?

Adolescence is a difficult time. Teens go through many physical and mental changes that can complicate their thoughts and emotions. They may struggle to express themselves, and parents may have a hard time understanding them. While some behaviors are a normal part of growing up, others indicate a call for help. By recognizing these signs, parents […]

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What Parents Should Know About Teenagers Brains

The Mind of a Teenager What’s going on in the mind of a teenager? That’s a million-dollar question. If parents, teachers or doctors could figure that out, a great deal of the stress of parenting teenagers would be relieved. Teenagers sometimes do things that, to quote the famous song by Will Smith, “Parents just don’t […]

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Social Media: Can Teens Live Offline, Even for a Second?

The Social Impact of Social Media on Teens Social media impacts how teens look at friendship and intimacy in profound and sometimes disturbing ways. Internet culture pushes them to pursue likes, shares, comments, and retweets as a path to social connection. The problem with this phenomenon is that those virtual interactions give an illusion of connection, […]

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Summer Matters: Benefits of Summer Camps for Teens

“There’s a hundred and four days of summer vacation, and school comes along just to end it! So the annual problem with our generation, is finding a good way to spend it…”  -Opening lyric of “Phineas and Ferb” theme song Summer comes along every year, and every year parents have to decide what they’re going […]

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Seven Signs of Teen Substance Abuse

Adolescence is not easy. Teenagers face a double-whammy: they’re going through in internal physiological revolution while simultaneously learning the rules of society and coming to grips with the inevitable transition to adulthood. As parents, a great deal of this transformation can make your growing kid act distant, reactive, and for lack of a better word, […]

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The Positive Effect of Meditation on Adolescent Academic Performance

The Mindfulness Movement and Adolescent Behavior Over the past four decades, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Techniques have been proven effective in alleviating a wide variety of emotional and psychological challenges in adults, adolescents, and children. In the medical and scientific world, MBSR was first legitimized by research performed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn at the […]

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Resource for Parents of Children With Mental Health Issues

Support for Parents of Children With Mental Health Issues Parenting is one of the most rewarding jobs in life. Children remind us of what’s most important: joy, laughter, and honest human connections. It’s often said that having children is like “watching your heart walk around outside your body.” They take us back to basics, and […]

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Modes of Psychotherapy for Adolescents and Children

Therapy for Adolescents and Children There are many reasons why adolescents and children might need to seek the help of a psychiatrist, psychotherapist or counselor. The most commonly held conception is that only children with significant issues need to talk to a professional, but this is not always the case. Although it is true that […]

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Healthy Foods for Kids With ADHD

ADHD: A Very Brief History Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) first became an officially recognized diagnosis by the medical community in the late 1980s. Before then, it was referred to by various names—Attention Deficit Disorder With and Without Hyperactivity (early 1980s), Hyperactivity (1970s), and Hyperkinetic Reaction of Childhood (1950s-1960s). Pediatricians and children’s health care specialists […]

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Complementary Health Approaches for Children

Modern Medicine and Complementary Medicine Modern medicine is truly amazing. In 2014, people are able to survive accidents and live with diseases that even as recently as 50 years ago would have been debilitating or even fatal. X-ray and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) technologies allow us to peer inside our bodies without the damage caused […]

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How to Handle Family Members Who Deny Mental Illness

When your teenager receives a diagnosis for a mental health disorder, one thing you realize is that you need all the support you can get. Support from your spouse, co-parent, or partner. Support from your own parents, siblings, and friends: from wherever and whomever, every little bit counts. You may tough it out at the […]

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Teens and Mental Health in the News: The NBC Report

It’s been a year. The vaccines are here. Public health officials, in collaboration with state, municipal, and community resources, are in the process of distributing doses to as many people in the U.S. as they can. They’re doing it as quickly as possible, under challenging circumstances. Whether this means our kids will be back in […]

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