• How do I talk to my kids about Vaping?

    Posted by Rebekah De Peo-Christner on 9/26/2019 4:00:00 PM

    You can't turn on the news anymore without hearing about the ever growing trend of vaping. Nearly 1 in every 9 high school students are vaping daily, and the number of middle schoolers using electronic cigarettes is steadily increasing. There is mounting evidence supporting the serious health concerns caused by e-cigarette use. As parents we can feel helpless and confused on how to protect our children from this growing phenomenon. Fortunately, there are some reputable resources that can help.  

    Partnership for Drug Free Kids has a great article that will help educate you on vaping as well as help guide you through how to speak to your teen regarding the dangers of electronic cigarettes. To read more go to: https://drugfree.org/article/how-to-talk-with-your-kids-about-vaping/

    If your teen has already tried vaping the website Smokefree is a great tool to help you and your teen work towards quitting. The site can be found at: https://teen.smokefree.gov/quit-vaping. Like any addiction, quitting can be difficult, so it is important to arm yourself with resources and strategies to help your teen be successful.

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  • Helping Your Child Navigate the Digital World

    Posted by Rene Shelton on 3/1/2019 4:00:00 PM

    This post is not to help with conversations.  These links are to help you provide the safety and security your child needs in the digital world.


    From our own district:  Denton ISD's technology department and librairians help students learn about digital responsibility.  The links on these pages will give you information about helping your child use technology safely and wisely.



    Common Sense Media provides parents with many tools to help, as well.  Click on the For Parents tab at the very top of the page and the Parents Need to Know tab in the green ribbon near the top of the page.


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  • Troublesome Internet Challenges

    Posted by Rene Shelton on 2/28/2019 2:00:00 PM

    Internet challenges come in several different formats.  Some are fun and harmless; others are troublesome and/or dangerous. This link describes 13 current online challenges your child probably already knows about. https://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/viral-youtube-challenges-internet-stunts-popular-with-kids


    Monitor your child’s use of technology. It is important to know what your child is watching and learning. Here is a suggestion to start a conversations with your child about things found online. 


    Our devices open up a completely different world in our fingertips. Just like in the real world, not everyone is respectful and not everything is safe. I want you to be safe even in the digital world.” 


    "Sometimes we find things or see things online that are troublesome.  Sometimes others want to show us things that are scary or that we just don't want to see.  If these things happen, look away, walk away, or put the machine away.  You do not have to look.  And, then talk to a trusted adult about what happened."


    Talk to your child about what they are watching. There are lots of helpful and fun things on the internet to see and learn, and there are a lot of other things, ranging from nonsense and foolishness to scary and/or dangerous.  Include this information in your conversation.


    “If you see things that are bothersome or scary or you can’t stop thinking about what you saw, talk to a trusted adult. Trusted adults include parents, guardians, teachers, school counselors, nurses, and others.”  Include others you and your child would consider as “trusted.” You may want to identify these individual by name.


    “If you see a challenge that you might want to try, talk to me (or another trusted adult) first.”


    If your child is interested in a particular challenge, ask why this challenge appears inviting.


    “Sometimes we see a lot of people doing things and we want to do it too. Let’s talk about how this challenge would work so we can figure out how well it would work and what the results would be.”  Then have a discussion about all aspects of the challenge, including the fun and what could go wrong.


    If the challenge includes making their own video, discuss digital footprints and whether this type of video is one that your child would want everyone from now on to be able to see.


    "If we did this in real life, would you want the entire state of Texas coming to watch? Would you want ____ to see it (i.e., mama, grandpa, your first boyfriend, your wife, your children?"


    If possible, find a challenge that you and your child are comfortable with and complete it together.  If you video a challenge, be sure everyone in the video is okay with sharing it and the limitations of who might have access to the video. 


    Model responsible digital citizenship. Children watch what we do and follow our examples.  


    Set up a family technology plan. This format is very helpful and has been created by a licensed counselor who understands our children’s love of technology.  https://www.yourbestfamily.com/creating-a-family-tech-plan.html


    Snopes is a website focused on fact-checking and investigation to determine the validity of internet information.  A search for specific challenges, (i.e., Momo) provides the reader with historical and verifiable information.  Please note a link is not here.  If you search of that particular challenge, please due it away from young children, as the manipulated photograph is ghoulish and freightening to children.

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  • How do I talk to my child about the series "13 Reasons Why"

    Posted by Rene Shelton on 5/22/2018

    Here are additional links which you might find helpful:


    From Common Sense Media:  10 Conversations to have with your teens after "13 Reasons Why" (Season 2)


    Recommendations and Resources from the Jed Foundation:  

    13 Reasons Why Season Two

    13 Reasons Why Season One


    Suicide Prevention information and LifeLine:  We Can All Prevent Suicide


    NASP: Talking About 13 Reasons Why and Guidance for Families


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  • Great Information from Common Sense Media

    Posted by Rene Shelton on 2/23/2018 1:00:00 PM

    Here are three more resources from Common Sense Media related to talking to your child about events happening in the news.


    How to Talk to Kids About Difficult News

    Teaching Kids Media Smarts During Breaking News

    Explaining the News to Our Kids


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  • How to talk about scary situations

    Posted by Rene Shelton on 2/15/2018 4:00:00 PM

    The news this week has been tragic and it has been extremely difficult to watch.  It seems that everyone has opinions about why the school shooting occured.  Often this means talking about all the factors which may have played a part in the decision of the alleged perpetrator.  This repeated discussion makes it difficult for parents manage thier own distress and attempt to reduce their children's anxiety and fear about safety while at school. 


    Here is information that you might find helpful:


    PBS.org created this page with several links to excellent information about how to talk and listen to your child's concerns, an age-by-age insight with tips, how to respond if your child's play begins to reflect violence in the news, and tips on getting conversations started about difficult topics in the news.

    Talking with Kids about the News


    The National School Psychology Association has provided helpful tips to remember when talking to children and teens about violence.

    Tips to help parents and teachers address student concerns about violence.


    The American Psychological Association has provided helpful things to remember about how to talk to your child and how to handle their distress, and yours.

    Talking to your child about school shootings.

    How to help your child manage their distress.

    How to help manage your own distress.


    For other entries related to this topic,  check the list on the right for other articles tagged "difficult news."

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  • Violence in the News Again

    Posted by Rene Shelton on 10/3/2017 10:00:00 AM

    The news this weekend has been tragic and it is difficult to watch.  It seems that every news outlet has been trying to make sense of the event.  Often this means running the same scenes over and over again.  The repetition makes it difficult for parents to keep up with the events without creating anxiety and fear in the children in their own home. 


    Here is information that you might find helpful:


    From:  PBS.org >> Talking with Kids about News.  This page has several links to excellent information about how to talk and listen to your child's concerns, an age-by-age insight with tips, how to respond if your child's play begins to reflect violence in the news, and tips on getting conversations started about difficult topics in the news.

    Talking with Kids about the News


    This PDF document helps you address questions from children and teens, like:  What happened?  Whose fault is it?  Is this going to change my life?  As well as questions you, as the parent might have, like:  Will talking about it make it worse?  What if talking upsets them more?  How can I tell if my kids need more than I can give? 

    Talking to your child about violence


    For other entries related to this topic,  check the list on the right for other articles tagged "difficult news."

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  • Natural Disasters - Hurricanes and Floods

    Posted by Rene Shelton on 9/13/2017

    Natural Disasters are very difficult to comprehend and process. They seem to chip away at our feelings of safety and security.  It is no different with children and adolescents.   



    From the American School Counselor Assocation, here are some things to remember:


    1.  As much as possible, keep routines normal.  There is a feeling of security in the predictability of knowing what is expected and what will happen next.  This includes attending school.


    2.  Limit your child's exposure to media.  Seeing traumatic things repeatedly is not helpful.  Also, limit your child's exposure to social media.  Often postings are more harmful than helpful.


    3.  Be honest with your child about the situation and share as much as they are developmentally able to handle.  


    4.  Listen to your child's concerns and fears. Explain that some concerns and fears are common to everyone living through the disaster.  When you can address the concerns, do so.  Never tell your child that everything will be okay.  It is not a promise you can absolutely keep.  What you can tell your child is that you will always work to keep them safe.  Then, focus on the next actions you will take to help the both of you get through the situation together.


    5.  Deal with your own responses to the stress of the situation.  If you are able, find a trusted adult to talk to - but do so outside of your child's hearing.  The fears of adults are often caught by the children.  Talking to a trusted adult or an adult who can help sets a good example for your child.


    6.  Reassure your child of your love and care for them.  Simply knowing someone cares about your well-being helps!



    Other sources of helpful information include:

    Helping Children Cope: Tips for Parents and Caregivers

    FEMA's Helping Children Cope with Disaster

    National Child Traumatic Stress Network's Helping Young Children Heal


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  • Violence in the News

    Posted by Rene Shelton on 8/14/2017

    Here are some links you might find helpful:


    Talking to kids about Charlottesville:



    From the National Association of School Psychologists, Talking to children adout violence:



    Click on the difficult news tag in the right column to find other helpful links.

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  • How do I talk to my child about cancer?

    Posted by Rene Shelton on 3/8/2017

    Sickness and disease touches all of our families.  Here is a link from the American Cancer Society with tips for helping children when a family member has cancer and helping them deal with the treatment.


    Helping Children When a Family Member Has Cancer: Dealing With Treatment


    Here is a booklet from PBS to help:



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