Helping Children Through Grief: What is normal? When does a child need extra help?

Helping Children Through Grief: What is normal? When does a child need extra help?

Just as every adult processes grief a little differently, the same is true of children. As I like to continually remind the grieving people and organizations we serve, “Normal grief symptoms and feelings span a very wide road.”  In most cases, the overwhelming, intense emotions and behaviors a child may be experiencing fall well within the normal range, especially in the immediate aftermath of a tragic loss.  The list of symptoms below are considered normal responses to a traumatic event but they should begin to subside after first 24-48 hours.

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Announcing Our SBFC Inspiration Award Recipient, Mitzi Cress

Announcing Our SBFC Inspiration Award Recipient, Mitzi Cress

It is with great appreciation that we announce Mitzi Cress, Principal, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, as the South Bay Families Connected Inspiration Award recipient for the 2016-2017 school year. Her limitless dedication to, and advocacy for teen wellness and substance use prevention serve as an inspiration to all who strive to improve the lives of youth.

Following are thoughts from just some of the people who have been inspired by Mitzi. Be sure not to miss Eliza Santarosa’s piece at the end for a moving overview of some of the ways Mitzi has impacted our community, as well as the ripple effect that she has set in motion.

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Dr. Mike Matthews -- 2017 Thoughts on Advanced Placement

Dr. Mike Matthews -- 2017 Thoughts on Advanced Placement

 In the last two years, we have ramped up our focus on student stress here in MBUSD, and we are not alone.  We have joined other districts with a similar interest through Stanford’s Challenge Success initiative.  We study the issue with 6 other high performing districts across the country in the 21st Century Superintendents’ Consortium.  So please allow me to give you some of my thoughts about AP classes and student stress.

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Points to Consider about TV Show "13 Reasons Why", a blog by Dr. Greg Allen

Points to Consider about TV Show "13 Reasons Why", a blog by Dr. Greg Allen

Many kids and adults have heard of the show “13 Reasons Why” (2017) released on Netflix. The show is based on a bestselling novel called 13 Reasons. Both the show and book are about a teen girl's retrospective look at reasons why she committed suicide, which she articulates in audio tapes and she sends to 13 people, mailing them on the day of her death. The book/show includes graphic discussion of rape, underage drinking, sexism, and survivor's guilt.

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Let's Stop the (March) College Madness!

Let's Stop the (March) College Madness!

I’m the mother of two young adults, and I remember March well: When my kids were seniors, we were consumed with anxiety about coming college admissions decisions. When they were juniors, we were in the middle of the SAT/ACT prep and test-taking grind. Sophomore spring was spent debating just how many “rigorous” classes they could cram into their junior year schedules and just how little sleep they needed; maybe a zero period WAS doable! 

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Confessions of a Reformed Helicopter Mom

Confessions of a Reformed Helicopter Mom

Greetings to all you SBFC parents out there! I have a difficult confession to make: I once was a helicopter parent. In my defense, ten years ago when my husband’s and my two oldest kids were teens, books with titles like, How to Raise an Adult, Grit, and The Gift of a Skinned Knee, did not dominate the parenting sections of bookstores across the country, or make the top of the New York Times Best Sellers list...

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The Strand Family Shares Their Story, Part 3

The Strand Family Shares Their Story, Part 3

Cyndi Stand of Manhattan Beach shares with SBFC the tragic story of her son Justin's ongoing struggle with addiction, and ultimately, his death in January of this year. "So now I find myself at my final chapter of my blog about our family and the demons of drugs.  The havoc that is brought into the family: the fear, the sadness, the anger, and the bewilderment is paralyzing.  I will briefly continue the story of our descent into the abyss of drug addiction  and then offer you my thoughts looking back."

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Thoughts on the Brock Turner Case

Thoughts on the Brock Turner Case

So much swirling in my head over the Stanford swimmer rape case. So many social and moral issues all wrapped into one tragic story. I find myself, embarrassed, guilty because when I read about the case months ago and saw the headline, "Stanford, Olympic hopeful, rape" I thought to myself,  how very sad...that poor boy's life is ruined, a stupid mistake. I didn't really give much thought or pay attention to the rest of the story. How very wrong. 

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The Strand Family Shares Their Story, Part 2

The Strand Family Shares Their Story, Part 2

Cyndi Stand of Manhattan Beach shares with SBFC the tragic story of her son Justin's ongoing struggle with addiction, and ultimately, his death in January of this year. "What is interesting to me as I look back to the high school years, is that I remember thinking that every family I knew was completely ‘normal’ and that my family was not. I felt so alone as we started our struggle with a child who was experimenting with drugs.  I didn’t want to share with anyone this ‘ugly thing’ taking hold in my otherwise ‘normal’ home.  So, as in our case, we attempted to deal with it on our own, quietly."

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Parenting Tips from Jonathan Scott

Parenting Tips from Jonathan Scott

I recently attended a MCHS Families Connected event, a presentation by Jonathan Scott of Miles to Go Drug Education. He firmly believes that the majority of teens want to please their parents and that by following a few key steps, parents can dramatically reduce the likelihood that their teens will be harmed by drug and alcohol use. So what are those steps?

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Let's Stop the March College Madness

Let's Stop the March College Madness

For those of us with students in the middle of the college admissions process, March Madness has a whole new meaning! If you’ve got a senior, you're consumed with worry about coming college admissions decisions, all of which are released by April 1. I’d like to offer a different perspective, one based on my own children’s experiences and the experiences of the many students I’ve college-counseled over the years. 

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