How does Early Intervention Apply to Teens?

By Michael Huntley, M.A., L.P.
YSB Program Director

YSB, and its counterparts around the country, were created 2015 Annual Reportmore than 30 years ago to provide early intervention services for youth that may have been labeled as “delinquent” at that time. YSB continues to uphold this valuable tradition of early intervention in all of our work – and we know it works. As you can see in our 2015 Annual Report, we have fine-tuned a variety of ways to help families learn how to make better decisions which lead to better outcomes, from Diversion Services to Counseling and Parent Education.

YSB Annual Report 2015

Early Intervention is often thought of as a medical, or educational, screening tool used with young children to detect disruptions in development. But early intervention isn’t just for toddlers. At its core, it simply refers to the early identification of behavioral concerns and responding to them with strategies for improvement, rather than allowing them to grow or worsen.

At YSB we apply this approach with young people, through the age of 18. But it’s not just the youth that are served. We involve the parents and the whole family when possible, for the most positive outcome. Through this approach the whole community ultimately benefits.

As a result, we were honored to receive the Woodbury Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Nonprofit of the Year award and we remain committed to continuing to develop and expand our programs and services to help families be successful.

In an effort to continue to meet the ever changing needs of the community, we launched a Parent Education program in 2014 which experienced tremendous growth in 2015 and is on track to more than double in 2016. Our experienced staff delivered parenting presentations on a variety of topics at various venues including schools, churches and businesses.

To better address needs of some of our Diversion Program participants, we redesigned some of the awareness classes to make them even more meaningful and effective. And we provided a therapist at the St. Croix Valley Alternative Learning Center who worked with our Chemical Health Specialist to provide early intervention strategies to meet the needs of teens attending that school.

We believe that if young people and their families are provided with accurate information and effective support, they can make better choices in their lives – and things will improve. I have worked at YSB for almost three decades, and I see this everyday. I am proud that we continue to provide respectful and high-quality early intervention to hundreds of families across Washington County and beyond every year.

We invite you to read our Annual Report to learn more about YSB, our supporters and our impact in 2015- and join our mission by SUPPORTING YSB!

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3 Ways to Keep Kids Safe (and Kind) Online

As part of its Internet & American Life Project, in 2011 the Screen shot 2016-05-24 at 4.21.17 PMPew Research Center conducted a survey on teens’ experiences of online cruelty. The survey revealed some interesting information about how teens and parents are communicating about online experiences.

According to the survey:
  • 58{a64e5c7e062cd1e4e2f9421eef92c66acc8bb07332f04d4f529edfa6a926861d} of teen Internet and cell phone users say their parents have been the biggest influence on what they think is appropriate or inappropriate when using the Internet or a cell phone.
  • Of the teens that reported witnessing or experiencing online cruelty, only 36{a64e5c7e062cd1e4e2f9421eef92c66acc8bb07332f04d4f529edfa6a926861d} sought advice from parents for how to handle it, whereas 53{a64e5c7e062cd1e4e2f9421eef92c66acc8bb07332f04d4f529edfa6a926861d} reached out to a peer. Younger teen girls (ages 12-13) were more likely to rely on friends and peers for advice than older girls.
  • While most parents do talk with their teens about safe and risky online behavior, only about half of parents utilize parental controls to manage their child’s online experiences, and only 34{a64e5c7e062cd1e4e2f9421eef92c66acc8bb07332f04d4f529edfa6a926861d} use parental controls to restrict cell phone usage. (94{a64e5c7e062cd1e4e2f9421eef92c66acc8bb07332f04d4f529edfa6a926861d} have talked with their teens about what should and should not be shared online; 93{a64e5c7e062cd1e4e2f9421eef92c66acc8bb07332f04d4f529edfa6a926861d} have talked about internet and cell phone safety; 87{a64e5c7e062cd1e4e2f9421eef92c66acc8bb07332f04d4f529edfa6a926861d} have talked with their child about what he or she does on the internet.)

So what can parents do to help keep their kids safe (and kind) online?

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E-Cigarettes and the FDA

On Thursday, May 5, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finalized a rule that will extend its authority to all tobacco products – including e-cigarettes. What does this mean? First of all, there will now be FEDERAL laws prohibiting retailers from selling e-cigarettes to people under 18. Before this ruling, each state had its own rules (in Minnesota, the age requirement was still 18).

Secigs2econd of all, the FDA will now be able to prevent misleading claims about e-cigarettes by evaluating their ingredients and how they are made. The FDA will also share the potential risks of e-cigarettes and tobacco products.

In the coming months, all e-cigarette manufacturers will be required to show that their products “meet the applicable health standards” set by the FDA – this includes revealing their ingredients, product design, health risks, and appeal to youth and non-users.

More research needs to be done on e-cigarettes, but the research that has been done shows that e-cigarettes may contain a mix of harmful chemicals that can lead to short- and long-term health effects, and that many e-cigarettes contain varying levels of nicotine (even if they claim to be nicotine-free). These new FDA regulations hope to protect us from these and other potential dangers of e-cigarettes.

Although the rule goes into effect in 90 days, the FDA expects that it may take up to 2 years for all manufacturers to submit their products for approval, during which time they will continue to sell. In the meantime, parents – we encourage you to continue to have discussions with your kids about the harmful effects of e-cigarettes.

For more information, visit

Supporting Kids Through Grief

When kids lose someone important in their lives, it is often a challenging time for parents. What should we do? What should (or shouldn’t) we say? How can I help my child that is hurting? Here are some tips for helping your child through a significant loss:

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Helping Kids Cope with Stress

This article originally appeared on

KH-CMYK_Logo-URL(WHT)To adults, childhood can seem like a carefree time. But kids still experience stress. Things like school and their social life can sometimes create pressures that can feel overwhelming for kids. As a parent, you can’t protect your kids from stress — but you can help them develop healthy ways to cope with stress and solve everyday problems.

Kids deal with stress in both healthy and unhealthy ways. And while they may not initiate a conversation about what’s bothering them, they do want their parents to reach out and help them cope with their troubles.

But it’s not always easy for parents to know what to do for a child who’s feeling stressed.

Here are a few ideas…

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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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