Understanding Self-Harm: What Parents Can Do

photo3Self-harm can be very difficult for parents to understand, and is oftentimes just as confusing for the young person who is doing it to themselves. Parents wonder just how serious the self-harming is, and if their child is trying to end his or her life. Self-harming incidents are often not one-in-the-same as suicide attempts, but there are obvious safety concerns associated with cutting and other types of self-harm. For example, sometimes children accidentally cut themselves too deep, causing serious injury. Here are some tips for parents who suspect their child may be self-harming.

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In Response to 420

In light of “420” we wanted to share some tips for talking with your kids about the drug culture of today’s society. 420, the code for celebrating drug culture and marijuana every year on April 20th, has become a celebration throughout the world – and many are using 420 as a way to promote their businesses, values, and products. For example, some fast foosnapchat logod chains offer specialty products or meals for customers who “get the munchies” on 420, and other shops have discounts for marijuana-related products and goods.

Even social media platforms are getting in on the action. Snapchat, a popular app used by kids and teens of all ages, even featured a “traveling bong” filter which puts the user’s face into a scene of people throughout time smoking marijuana. If you have kids on Snapchat, it’s likely they saw this filter and may have tried it out.

The question to ask: what sort of message is this sending to our kids? We encourage you to use these moments to talk to your child about drug use and the impact the drug culture has on youth today. Ask your child what he or she thinks about the fact that Snapchat is targeting youth with a bong filter. Is it really “just for fun” or could it have a deeper impact? What message does this send? What could the consequences be if you tried the bong filter and shared the Snap with your friends? Share your values about why you don’t want them using and ask your child for his or her opinions.

Check out our Chemical Health resources on our website for additional tips and tools for talking with your kids about substance use: By this time next year, hopefully you’ve had some open dialogue with your kids about why you don’t want them using drugs – one 420 or any other day of the year.

13 Tips for Parenting Your Teen

13 Tips for Parenting Your Teen
By: Elinor Robin, PhD

This article originally appeared on

Teenager-s-Problem-14104My mother would say that being a parent is the hardest job on the planet. Certainly it’s the only job you can’t quit or get fired from. And, there’s no pay — at least not in actual money. Instead, the way parenting works is that you, the parent, pour yourself into the universe surrounding this little being for about twenty years. Slowly, he or she hatches out of the environment you created, and goes on to do things his or her own way. If you see his way as a rejection or diminishing of what you believe is best and true, parenting may become your most frustrating life experience. On the other hand, parenting can be a very rewarding experience if you accept (even when you don’t agree with) your child and her decisions. This acceptance can be especially difficult during your child’s teenage years. Here are thirteen tips to make it easier to parent your teen.

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Why Does “You’re Grounded!” Never Seem to Work?

Screen shot 2016-03-10 at 9.54.33 AMWhy Does “You’re Grounded!” Never Seem to Work?
Exploring Discipline Techniques for your Tweens and Teens
By: Sarah Holmboe, M.A., YSB Parent Education Coordinator

Picture this: your teenager comes home past curfew and finds himself grounded for two weeks. He isn’t allowed to leave the house or contact his friends outside of school. It seems like a good plan… until the two weeks are up and he decides to stay out even later than before. He may think, “I was only grounded for two weeks. What’s the big deal?”

Grounding is one of the many discipline strategies parents turn to when their teens make poor decisions. So why does “You’re grounded!” never seem to work so well, and what can parents try instead?

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