The world has always had difficult times. Thinking about the first half of the 20th century, for instance, we went from WWI to the 1918 flu pandemic to the Great Depression to WWII. That’s a lot.
The 24-hour News Cycle
Although families were obviously affected directly by the tragedies of the past, back then, if you weren’t affected directly, it was possible to compartmentalize them. Limiting your exposure was relatively simple: When you were done reading the newspaper, you were done getting the news. You could listen to the radio in the evening but be free of it the rest of the day. Even when television was ubiquitous starting in the 1960s, the news was for the most part limited to certain hours of the day: you could watch TV all the time, but your exposure to the news was still limited to the news shows. If you didn’t want your kids to be exposed, simply watching the 11PM news, after they went to bed, and not talking about the news in front of them took care of that problem.
Things aren’t so simple today, when we all, through our devices, are bombarded by the news 24/7. We literally can’t get away from it, and that includes our children. Once you give them a device, to a great extent you have given up any control you have over what they see. So they can watch ISIS behead a journalist or a police officer kill a Black man, or do research into how severe global climate change really is. As if that isn’t bad enough, there are all of the talking heads who so often appear on “news” shows and make things sound so much worse. It is easy for kids to get traumatized by these awful things, and there is very little you can do about it, short of taking your child’s phone away.
We thought that this recent article in Contemporary Pediatrics on cell phone use and its effects on very young children would be of interest to our readers.
We cannot emphasize enough that you need to turn your phones off when you are with your children, even very young children. If they are older, have your children turn their phones off, too, when you are spending time together.
Once your phone is off, engage with your kids. Give them your full attention. Make eye contact. Have meals together—with everyone’s phone turned off. Be fully present; your child’s mental health depends on it.
One explanation of why young children react in this way to distracted parents is here. This subject has also come up in our first few podcast episodes.
Although it is a struggle to come up with many silver linings to COVID, one silver lining for us at Jeff Levin Coaching is it has given us time in the office to catch up on some things we have always wanted to do. One of those things is a podcast—we are happy to announce The Reconnection Project Podcast series. Read more
In an April 12, 2020, interview with MSNBC’s Stephanie Rule, New York Times columnist David Brooks said that the coronavirus was like “an x-ray on our society…we know ourselves better when you are in a valley. So I am hopeful that we’re going to have a great reset.”
COVID Update: I continue to work with individuals and families using the Weekend/Family Intensive program. I will work in-person with families within a reasonable driving distance when COVID protocols can be followed. Also, many families are now coming to me to work in person and stay at a nearby hotel. If in-person is not possible, using Zoom is a bit tougher for new clients, especially Weekend/Family Intensive families, but it’s working just fine for many families who need help now and can’t wait for the pandemic to be over. As always, I am happy to work for as many hours as it takes for your family to make progress, and if we have to use Zoom we can arrange as many Zoom sessions as are needed for me to work with all the people involved.
Please feel free to contact me to discuss your situation with you to see if I am a good fit for your child and family.
We designed the Weekend/Family Intensive program for families who are really struggling and need immediate help.
With the Weekend/Family Intensive, Jeff comes to you (or the family comes to him) or uses Zoom to work with the entire family over the course of a weekend. He gives you an evaluation and a lot of feedback, and then works with all parties involved to develop a plan for moving forward.
The Weekend Intensive also works well for families who are not close enough geographically for weekly sessions. Usually, after an intense weekend of work, everyone is comfortable enough with each other for work to continue via Zoom, phone, text, email, etc.
Below is a video where Jeff explains the Weekend Intensive in more detail. As always, feel free to contact Jeff to discuss whether this program can help your teen or 20-something and your family.
Finding Common Ground:
Partnering with Parents, Educators, & Students
to Reduce Anxiety & Stress in the Public Schools
March 4, 5-7pm, Puritan Backroom, Manchester, New Hampshire
Sponsored by The Reconnection Project/Jeff Levin Coaching
School administrators are invited to enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a relaxing, solution-focused forum with your colleagues on the new challenges caused by the epidemic of increased stress and anxiety. The discussion will include:
- The increasing number of parents seemingly at cross-purposes with school staff.
- Breaking down the seeming vastness of the anxiety issue into manageable, conquerable steps.
5-5:30: Registration and Introductions
Remarks by Stephen Sierpina, Windham H.S. principal
Jeff Levin, Reconnection Project Founder
5:30-6: Discussion of the issues: How pervasive is the stress/anxiety in your school community?
6-7: Solutions: How can we work over time with parents, our staffs, and, of course, the students to reconnect the school community and reduce student stress, anxiety, and all of the negative behaviors they engender?
Preregistration would be appreciated, but drop-ins are also welcome: Contact Jeff Levin at (603) 496-0305 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to receive more emails about reducing stress in schools? Join our mailing list.
When school started, I heard about several kids who went to college—very good colleges to which the students had happily anticipated going for months—and after only a few days, called their parents to pick them up and take them home.
I see this more and more. Some will go back to school. Others will sit in their parents’ basements playing video games, with their parents wringing their hands because they do not know what to do. This can go on for years, and failure-to-launch young adults make up a large part of my business.
What I find when I talk with these teens and 20-somethings are young people who have never faced adversity, are full of shame and doubt, and lack a sense of themselves or autonomy. When I talk with the parents, I find adults who thought they did everything right and are mystified about where things went wrong.
How did they get there? And, more importantly, how to get them past this? Read more