Let’s Talk About Teen Dating Violence

You’re at a family gathering. Your kids trade TikToks with cousins while you pass out cookies and cider.   Your 14-year-old, John, walks into the kitchen when Uncle Pete yells, “I heard someone has a girlfriend!”   “Oohs” and “aahs” fill the room. John, red faced, spins around to get the heck out.   Uncle Pete calls after him, “You make sure you’re treating that girl right!”    Maybe Uncle Pete is teasing, but what if you took the question seriously:   Is John treating his girlfriend “right?”   Is he being treated “right?”   What does “right” look like? What about “wrong?”  February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. So, let’s tackle some common questions.  What is teen dating violence?   It’s easy to go on the defense - John is your son, he would never hurt a fly. But teen dating violence isn’t only physical.   Dating abuse is a pattern of behaviors meant to gain power over a partner. Abuse can take many forms: physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, and online. About 1 in 3 teens experiences some kind of dating abuse in the United States. In teen relationships, abusive control could include:  Telling a partner not to spend time with friends or family  Asking them to repeatedly skip activities to spend time together instead  Needing to know where they are always  Accusing [...]

2022-02-02T11:35:18-05:00February 14th, 2022|Family & Youth|

The Evolution of the School Counselor

Growing up as a student in the public school system, there were school community members who were seen as staples of the building. Of course, everyone knew their principal, their teachers, whether general education or specialist teachers, and the nurse. However, there was one community member who often went unnoticed: the school counselor.  During my days as a student, we called them “guidance counselors.” Oftentimes they worked in isolation and solely “guided” students as they prepared to transition from one school to the next. I didn’t need to see my counselors often as it pertained to their role as the counselor; however, because I was involved in many school activities, I came in contact with them quite often.  Although the role of the school counselor today is quite different from the role of the guidance counselor of 20-plus years ago, my counselors – Mrs. Glover, Mr. Deleon, and Mr. Rubin – will always be considered educators who made an impact on my life. It was these three educators who inspired me to do what I feel is my life’s calling. As the profession of school counseling evolved, the role of the school counselor changed. We are more than just “vocational advisors;” we are certified/licensed professionals who work to improve success for all students. No longer are we providing “random acts [...]

2022-02-02T13:27:05-05:00February 7th, 2022|Family & Youth|

Emotional Building Blocks for the Youngest Explorer

How often do we really think about how busy a baby is? The human infant is a marvelous package. If all goes well, the newborn emerges on their birthday with a wonderful set of equipment for exploring, acting on, and adapting to the world they enter. Vision, although initially limited, gradually expands to colors and to greater distances. Hearing may be a bit muffled at first, but gradually improves. The basics of taste, touch, and smell are also there.  Combined with what appears to be aimless exuberance in wriggling arms and legs, these senses and motions make an infant as busy and as great an explorer of a new world as any we learned about in history. This exploration involves not only the physical world, but also the emotional and social world. Lately, many have focused more on school-aged children and the demands and crises they face.  However, it’s important to remember that to cope with difficult times in life, all children rely on emotional lessons they started learning from the day they were born. It’s important that in those early days parents, caregivers, and other significant people in infants’ lives be loving teachers, guides, and models for the skills that babies are developing, even if it’s hard to see that development from day to day. Here are some important [...]

2021-11-18T16:36:31-05:00December 1st, 2021|Family & Youth|

Remembering Life: Infant Loss and Grief

One of the toughest questions I have to answer often as a mother is, “How many children do you have?” I never thought such a simple question could turn my world upside down. If I am in a good place mentally, I might reply, “Do you want the real answer?”   I was one of those people who did things according to plan: met a great guy, dated for a while, got engaged, got married, and then got pregnant… quickly. Everything was going according to my plan. I now look back at those times and cringe because I was so innocent and unaware. Life is not always simple. It doesn’t always go according to plan.  I was about to learn some hard truths in a real way.  We planned a family gender reveal for the night of my 20 week anatomy scan, expecting the sex of our baby to be the focus of the appointment. But during the scan, a leg abnormality was found on my son.  I didn’t want to rob our families of the excitement of finding out the sex of the FIRST grandbaby, so I masked my fear at the party that night. Thinking back, this was when my journey of strength truly began. While I wanted to lay in bed and cry, I pulled it together. I [...]

2021-10-01T09:30:40-04:00October 1st, 2021|Family & Youth, Women's Health|
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