>Teen Pregnancies and Abortions Decline
Fewer teens are getting pregnant and fewer pregnant teens are having abortions, according to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC provided data for the years 1990-2003, showing that teen pregnancies were 15% of the total in 1990, but only 12% in 2003. The percentage of pregnancies ending in abortion also declined, said spokesperson Stephanie Ventura, because more teens are opting to keep their babies.
If your teenage daughter is pregnant and also engaging in risky behaviors, she may benefit from a therapeutic program for pregnant teens like the one offered at an adolescent residential treatment center like Youth Care.
Funding Plan Seeks to Boost Mentoring of At-Risk Youth
Two decades ago, Frederica Wilson established the organization that would become 5000 Role Models of Excellence, a mentorship program for at-risk youth in Miami-Dade County, Florida. Legislation has recently been introduced that would expand this program, as well as other programs like it.
"Advocates for the dropout intervention strategies say they envision Role Models someday taking root in every county, and possibly every school, in the state. The idea is to match at-risk minority youth with successful black men in school-based programs. The goal is to reduce the number of African-American youths who drop out of school and enter prison."
If passed, the legislation would create a state-sanctioned method of funneling both private and public money into Role Models and other similar programs. Source: Miami-Dade Sun-Sentinel
Symptoms of Depression Often Hidden
Randy Cameron was shocked, as was his whole family, when his teenaged niece committed suicide. Even though she struggled with depression, no one thought suicide was a possibility.
"Teens possess a lack of, or inadequate, coping skills in handling depression, MacDonald said. In her profession, she sees 16-year-olds living the lives of 20-year-olds. They may be going to school, but they are working jobs and in relationships... It's a difficult task to get teens to admit their own feelings..."
Joyce MacDonald is a high school counselor who has seen her share of troubled teens. She emphasizes the important of recognizing the signs of depression, like a sudden change in grades or mood. Source: Leduc Representative
Labels: depression, treatment_programs, symptoms
Let Kids Know They're Valued
Currently, there are many stories in the news about teenagers who have violently acted out against either a peer or an adult. Teens are beating up fellow students, threatening to kill teachers, and some are committing suicide.
"We can't look at these situations as isolated and mere anecdotal examples of dysfunctional kids. After all, suicide is still among the leading causes of teenage deaths. And too many youths resort to resolving their beefs by trying to snuff somebody out or bust them up."
Stan Simpson, a columnist for The Hartford Courant
, believes these troubled kids all have a couple of things in common: an unstable home and the feeling that no one understands them or cares. He urges adults to take time to remind the young people in their lives how valuable they are and how much they are loved and appreciated. Source: The Hartford Courant
Study Casts Doubt on Antidepressants
A study conducted through the University of Hull in the United Kingdom has found that anti-depression medication may only benefit people who are severely depressed and not people who have moderate to mild depression.
"The finding 'means that depressed people can improve without chemical treatments,' lead author Irving Kirsch said in a statement."
While that may be true, Kirsch and others warned that no one should suddenly stop taking a prescription medication. People who are mildly or moderately depressed should talk with their doctor about alternative treatment possibilities such as psychotherapy. Source: Canada.com.
Toronto Police Recruit Teens
A $5.3 million project is aiming to help 850 Toronto teens find paid summer jobs. One hundred of those jobs will be with the Toronto police force.
"Wexford Collegiate student Tara Omorogbe, 18, said she sees officers in a new light after doing filing and computer work for the Toronto police last summer as part of the Youth in Police Initiative... Omorogbe said she learned communication skills that applied to her co-op as she works toward a career as a midwife."
The summer job program is part of a large-scale initiative called Youth Opportunities Strategy. When choosing potential work places, Youth Opportunities organizers look for employers that want to offer more than just a job. The ideal employer is interested in mentoring young people as well. Source: TorontoSun.com.
Rush to Diagnose Can Harm Troubled Children
When a child is having trouble at school, with friends, or at home, parents want to know as quickly as possible what's causing the problem and how they can fix it. Rushing to find an answer, however, could do more harm than good.
"'Parents tend to get fixated on a diagnosis,' [Steven E.] Curtis said. 'A lot of people jump to conclusions.' His...book, released earlier this week by Lifespan Press and available in most bookstores and online, outlines a different way to tackle problem behavior."
He suggests that parents first make a list of concerns they have about a child's behavior. Next, he suggests they observe the child and share their insights with clinicians who can help them explore possible causes. He emphasizes the importance of careful observation and deliberate diagnosis, so children aren't receiving "help" that doesn't actually help. Source: Columbian.com.
While rushing isn't good, waiting can only prolong problems.
Suicide's Stigma Hampers Prevention
Susan Wylie, counseling coordinator at the University of Alaska Southeast, wants to send a message to parents and educators: Break the stigma surrounding mental illness. One of the best ways to prevent teen suicide is by talking about it, but social stigmas often prevent that kind of open dialogue.
"Mental illness affects a majority of people who commit suicide, according to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, a national group dedicated to suicide prevention and based in Bloomington, Minn. And one in five teens experience depression before becoming adults, Wylie said."
Know the warning signs, and don't be afraid to talk to a teenager that you think is exhibiting some of the warning signs. You may be the only person who gives him the opportunity to talk. Read more at JuneauEmpire.com.
Mental illness in teens is a real and serious issue facing many families. An adolescent residential treatment center can offer the therapy and counseling needed to help teenagers and their families. Youth Care is a licensed treatment center for teens in Utah.
Gangs are "Family" for Disconnected Youth
Gang activity in Limerick City, Ireland, isn't much different than it is in the United States. Police officials are seeing an increasing number of disconnected teens drawn into gangs, where they find the sense of belonging and purpose they don't get at home.
"[Chief Superintendent, Willie Keane] said that 'crime gangs are using young people' from dysfunctional families who do not have proper parenting at home, or where no role models exist in the family. He said that, as a result, no sense of responsibility was being instilled in these youths."
One of the greatest concerns is that gang members seem to be getting younger. People who are barely teenagers are being drawn to gangs and taught how to fight and even how to kill. Source: Limerick Post
Program Helps Teens Find Jobs
A $125,000 state grant is allowing a Massachusetts program to continue helping at-risk teens find jobs. The program, Youth Build, exists for the sole purpose of getting kids off the streets and into jobs where they can develop marketable skills.
"'The initiatives that we're putting in place with the funding is to really help these youth get back on track, help them and guide them to find their way so they can be successful occupationally, educationally, and throughout their entire lives,' said Berkshire Regional Employment Board youth director Heather Sherry."
Not only do the kids benefit from this program, but so do local businesses who are feeling the pinch of a depleted workforce. Read more at CapitalNews9.com
Brain Development During Adolescence Makes Teens Risk-takers and Sensation-seekers
Adolescence is a time of "great risk taking and opportunity" because of changes that occur in brain development, according to Dr. Jay Giedd, writing in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Changes in the brain during the teen years affect cognition, emotion, and behavior.
Dr. Giedd's study is the result of the National Institute of Mental Health's Longitudinal Brain Imagining Project, begun in 1989. About 2,000 people are undergoing brain imagining scans every two years as well as neuropsychological and behavior assessments and DNA tests. The 387 subjects ages 3 to 27 are serving as models of brain development.
Gray matter in the human brain increases in volume until the early teens, and then decreases through old age. During adolescence, brain development is a refining process, with increased connectivity and integration of disparate functions, changing reward systems and frontal/limbic balance, Dr. Giedd writes. The brain's "executive functions" increase during adolescence. Executive functions might include the regulation of emotion, response inhibition, organization, long-range planning, and the ability to pay attention.
"The teen brain is not a broken or defective adult brain," Dr. Giedd said. However, the changes and the "enormous plasticity" of the adolescent brain may make teenagers more likely to take risks and seek new sensations and experiences.
Bullies Have Trouble in Relationships, Not Just at School But Also at Home
More than one-third of children ages 10-18 in a new study report that they bully their friends "at moderate levels." However, over 40% told researchers from Queen's and York University they never bully anyone.
Researchers studying over 870 children found that bullying seems to drop off as children get into high school. Less than 10% admitted to "consistently high levels of bullying from elementary to the end of high school." The majority stopped when they entered high school.
Psychology professor Wendy Craig, lead author of the study, found that young bullies had conflicts with their parents and peers, and lacked a sense of right and wrong. They tended to pick friends who were bullies, too.
Dr. Craig and her colleagues are trying to design programs for this small, high-risk group, in order to prevent "a career path of bullying that leads to numerous criminal and relationship problems in adolescence and adulthood."
This study appears in the journal Child Development.
A private boarding school may offer the kind of structured environment a bully, or a victim of bullying, needs. Find one at Boarding Schools Info.
New Bills Aimed at Helping Homeless Teens
The Indiana House has passed a bill aimed at providing real help for homeless and runaway teenagers. The legislature also requires the state Housing and Community Development Authority to try and count the number of homeless teens in the state.
"House Bill 1165 does several things: Lifts the legal and regulatory barriers preventing homeless shelters and food pantries from assisting unaccompanied 16- and 17-year olds, extends the deadline that an emergency shelter has to notify a parent or legal guardian if a homeless teen shows up at its door. Previously it was 24 hours; now the notification time is 72 hours."
In addition, the bill allows kids in foster care to stay in the foster care system until they're 21, as long as they have a job or are improving their education. Read more at CourierPress.com.
Teens' Decisions in Early Adolescence Linked to Aggressive Behaviors Later On
A study from the University of Arizona reveals that the decisions teens make about whether to act aggressively in early adolescence influence their future behaviors as young adults. This is the first research that indicates decision-making and behavior are related over time.
Researchers asked 522 middle and high school students and their parents to complete questionnaires about aggressive behaviors such as fighting, lying, bullying, and stealing. When the teens were in grades 8 and then grade 11, they watched videos that presented situations in which they could choose to act aggressively. For example, in one scenario, a teen picks up an abandoned backpack and then someone picks a fight with him. The first teen has to decide whether to fight back.
The results of the study indicate that there is a link between antisocial conduct and judgments about aggressive behaviors in early, middle, and late adolescence, and that the way teens evaluate aggressive behaviors influences their own behaviors and decisions.
This study appears in the journal Child Development.
D.A. Hopes to Help Teens Before It's Too Late
Joe Early became the Worcester County (Massachusetts) District Attorney in 2006, declaring as one of his priorities the improvement of the juvenile court system. Early hopes that timely intervention will prevent some teens from becoming career criminals.
"'If you take 100 percent of the kids in the juvenile system, 80 percent of them are going to be fine, they may get in trouble once or twice, but they have a social network to fall back on and get back on track,' Early said. 'Five percent, no matter what you do, are incorrigible and are going to be repeat offenders. Then there's 15 percent that could go either way. Those are the ones we are going after.'"
Efforts are being focused not only on the juvenile justice system, but also on school districts, community groups, and social services. Early is also working to increase the availability of parenting classes for pregnant women. As part of his strategy to reduce the number of repeat teen offenders, Early has moved 10 of his best prosecutors and the assistant district attorney to the juvenile court system. Read more at SentinelandEnterprise.com.