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    confidence building

    With teen mental health deteriorating over five years, there ’s a likely culprit November 14, 2017 2.36pm GMT (The conversation.com)

    Around 2012, something started going wrong in the lives of teens.

    In just the five years between 2010 and 2015, the number of U.S. teens who felt useless and joyless – classic symptoms of depression – surged 33 percent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts increased 23 percent. Even more troubling, the number of 13- to 18-year-olds who committed suicide jumped 31 percent.
    In a new paper published in Clinical Psychological Science, my colleagues and I found that the increases in depression, suicide attempts and suicide appeared among teens from every background – more privileged and less privileged, across all races and ethnicities and in every region of the country. All told, our analysis found that the generation of teens I call “iGen” – those born after 1995 – is much more likely to experience mental health issues than their millennial predecessors.
    What happened so that so many more teens, in such a short period of time, would feel depressed, attempt suicide and commit suicide? After scouring several large surveys of teens for clues, I found that all of the possibilities traced back to a major change in teens’ lives: the sudden ascendance of the smartphone.
    All signs point to the screen
    Because the years between 2010 to 2015 were a period of steady economic growth and falling unemployment, it’s unlikely that economic malaise was a factor. Income inequality was (and still is) an issue, but it didn’t suddenly appear in the early 2010s: This gap between the rich and poor had been widening for decades. We found that the time teens spent on homework barely budged between 2010 and 2015, effectively ruling out academic pressure as a cause.
    However, according to the Pew Research Center, smartphone ownership crossed the 50 percent threshold in late 2012 – right when teen depression and suicide began to increase. By 2015, 73 percent of teens had access to a smartphone.
    Not only did smartphone use and depression increase in tandem, but time spent online was linked to mental health issues across two different data sets. We found that teens who spent five or more hours a day online were 71 percent more likely than those who spent only one hour a day to have at least one suicide risk factor (depression, thinking about suicide, making a suicide plan or attempting suicide). Overall, suicide risk factors rose significantly after two or more hours a day of time online.
    Of course, it’s possible that instead of time online causing depression, depression causes more time online. But three other studies show that is unlikely (at least, when viewed through social media use).
    Two followed people over time, with both studies finding that spending more time on social media led to unhappiness, while unhappiness did not lead to more social media use. A third randomly assigned participants to give up Facebook for a week versus continuing their usual use. Those who avoided Facebook reported feeling less depressed at the end of the week.
    The argument that depression might cause people to spend more time online doesn’t also explain why depression increased so suddenly after 2012. Under that scenario, more teens became depressed for an unknown reason and then started buying smartphones, which doesn’t seem too logical.
    What’s lost when we’re plugged in
    Even if online time doesn’t directly harm mental health, it could still adversely affect it in indirect ways, especially if time online crowds out time for other activities.
    For example, while conducting research for my book on iGen, I found that teens now spend much less time interacting with their friends in person. Interacting with people face to face is one of the deepest wellsprings of human happiness; without it, our moods start to suffer and depression often follows. Feeling socially isolated is also one of the major risk factors for suicide. We found that teens who spent more time than average online and less time than average with friends in person were the most likely to be depressed. Since 2012, that’s what has occurred en masse: Teens have spent less time on activities known to benefit mental health (in-person social interaction) and more time on activities that may harm it (time online).
    Teens are also sleeping less, and teens who spend more time on their phones are more likely to not be getting enough sleep. Not sleeping enough is a major risk factor for depression, so if smartphones are causing less sleep, that alone could explain why depression and suicide increased so suddenly.
    Depression and suicide have many causes: Genetic predisposition, family environments, bullying and trauma can all play a role. Some teens would experience mental health problems no matter what era they lived in.
    But some vulnerable teens who would otherwise not have had mental health issues may have slipped into depression due to too much screen time, not enough face-to-face social interaction, inadequate sleep or a combination of all three.
    It might be argued that it’s too soon to recommend less screen time, given that the research isn’t completely definitive. However, the downside to limiting screen time – say, to two hours a day or less – is minimal. In contrast, the downside to doing nothing – given the possible consequences of depression and suicide – seems, to me, quite high.
    It’s not too early to think about limiting screen time; let’s hope it’s not too late.

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    PEER PRESSURE – HOW CAN WE HELP AND TEACH OUR TEENAGERS THE IMPORTANCE OF MAKING GOOD CHOICES FOR THEMSELVES AND NOT FOR THEIR PEERS. (Teens aged between 13-16 years of age)

    I have run a number of workshops in schools over the past 12 months. The issues I see coming up over and over again that really concern me are:

    peer pressure,
    social media addiction,
    exam pressures,
    friendship issues,
    family expectations,
    sexual expectations,
    lack of communication at home,
    being judged by family (because of peers behaviour not their own) – this was a big one.

    Yes, peer pressure and many of these issues have been around since we were growing up but there are a few changes:
    Social Media
    Expectations (family and friends)
    Family communication
    Sexual expectations (a lot of this I blame on our boys learning from porn sites)
    and everything starts younger – much younger than our day.

    I am going to go through a few of the Q & A here to try to support parents, to help them to understand what the teens are thinking and what their main concerns are.

    15/16 year olds (starting 3rd year and 4th year)

    Q Do you control your phone or does your phone control you?

    A 70% said they controlled their phone/30% phone controlled them

    By the end of the workshop this changed to 50/50 – we discussed in length how their phones effect
    Friendship
    Family relationships
    Study
    Image concerns
    Confidence
    Mindset and so much more

    In my opinion we need these lessons as part of our curriculum, kids are crying out for support. How are they supposed to know how to live safely and healthily in this world run by technology if they are not shown?

    Q Do you think it is harder being a teenager now than in your parents time?

    ( I am going to write a few of their exact answers so ignore some grammar etc)

    A Yes, because things such as drinking, smoking are happening at much younger age and there is so much pressure to do it.

    Yes, more pressure.

    Because not everything was on social media so you are judged by social media accounts.

    Yes, because there is so much more pressure because of school exams.

    Yes they had no worries ( I had to smile at this one!)

    Yes because of the internet/social media being available to us an an early age.

    Yes, their life was not on social media.(over 50% of answers)

    Our kids are battling daily with so many pressures, we need to get them the support the need and deserve.
    Q Do you have any regrets over the past year or two?

    A Yes not doing as well as I would like in school and doing some stupid things I didn’t realise were wrong.

    Yes making stupid mistakes – e.g.. drinking.

    Not working as hard as I could in school – caring too much about boys.

    Yes embarrassing myself in front of people – trying to keep others happy

    Yes spending too much time on my phone

    Yes not doing the best for me always – trying to please my friends
    There is a lot of confusion around boys, drinking, smoking, friends, but I do find when we talk about these issues they do tend to see reason. They are very clever and open to advice, in fact I would go so far as to say they are crying out for it. (Again our curriculum fails them)

    As a mum of four I realise parents are not always the best people to talk to them about these issues. Although we have their best interests at heart, it doesn’t always come out the way we intend. Hence the reason why I set up these workshops.

    If anyone has any queries about any of the above or would be interested in organising a workshop for a group of teens, please contact me by email eileenkeanehaly@gmail.com or 08.8112110.

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    “Don’t try so hard to fit in and certainly don’t try so hard to be different, just try to be you.”

    I recently ran a workshop ‘Have a Positive Transition from Primary to Secondary School’ with a 6th class mixed group. I wanted to share this with you as it can be a big worry for many kids. The things the kids were looking forward to about starting 1st year and they things they were worried about.

    Things they were looking forward to:

    Different teachers
    Lots of new friends
    Different subjects
    New uniform
    Having a canteen
    Discos

    Things they were worried about; (some overlapped!)

    Different teachers – having a teacher who didn’t like them
    Finding it hard to make friends
    Homework – nervous of not being able to cope
    Lockers – nervous about getting books from lockers on time
    Getting lost in a big school
    Exams (this came up a lot)
    Discos
    If you have an older child, try to get them to go through some of these points. They may seem trivial to an older sibling or parent but they are important to the 12/13 year old starting into a new school.

    Help them to understand the importance of doing ‘their’ best and whether that ‘best’ is a D, C, B or A is irrelevant – once it is their best. Academia is important but so is friendship, family, past-times, mental and physical health. President of UCD recently commented on the number of 11 A students finishing school who cannot cope with life, cannot communicate, have no interests and few friends – this is not the ideal scenario for any of our kids. Balance is so important – try to remember academia is only one aspect of your child’s life.

    Help them to understand that many kids don’t make friends straight away – that is normal. When I work with 5th year students and ask them when do they think students make their ‘real’ friends in secondary school, the answer is always the same – 3rd or 4th year. This is really important as kids feel there is something ‘wrong’ with them if they haven’t found their ‘group’ in 1st year.

    Your 1st year student may be totally stressed out in the mornings because their hair is not right or their uniform is dirty or something else we, the parent, may think is not important but PLEASE remember, to them it IS important or else they would not be upset about it. Try to remember when you were starting secondary school;
    what were you nervous about
    what was important to you
    it is very easy to forget what it is like to be a 13 year old starting into a new phase of life.
    For some kids this will happen without a hitch, for others there may be a few pitfalls along the way. This is an age group I work with a lot so feel free to email me with any concerns you may have and I will do my best to support you.

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    HOW DO WE RAISE BRAVE, CONFIDENT KIDS?

    What did we do for fun when we were kids?

    Did we come home from school, spend 1/2 hours on homework and then take to the screen (phone, tablet, laptop)?
    Did we spend hours during our holidays chatting with our friends online, playing games online,
    relying on internet to communicate and entertain ourselves?
    Did we lean much of our behaviour and language from online games and shows?

    Little did we know the hours we spent building tree houses (not necessarily in trees), making up imaginary games with our friends or at times on our own, climbing trees, cycling our, walking half a mile to our friends house, baking cakes with mum (dad!!) or playing house for hours, truly believing those dolls were real babies – all of these activities taught us something.

    The benefits to this type of play;
    we learnt how to use our imagination
    we played how to play with our friends by using our imaginations
    we learnt how to beat our fears and eventually succeed in climbing that tree
    to entertain ourselves without the help of technology
    to be kids, to have fun, to be ourselves, to take chances and to be brave.

    What has happened over the past 15/20 years. Kids need to have freedom to develop
    emotionally and psychologically, they need to play with each other to learn the meaning of winning and losing and taking chances, they need freedom to learn how to be brave and to cope when things might not work out, kids need time without parents, to learn who they really are. We have become so obsessed with safety, work, academia and money and sometimes
    over parenting that many of our kids are losing out. Kids need to be allowed to feel independent (age relative), to stretch their limits and be allowed to fall occasionally but they will always pick themselves up – they are very resilient little people – if they are allowed to be.

    Try to encourage you daughter to climb that tree, to play on that new swing in the playground – without automatically warning her of the dangers. We tend to be more careful with girls, why is that? – some of the strongest, bravest people I know are women. If we want to raise brave
    confident, successful, happy kids, we need to teach them and allow them to be brave, to try new things, to make mistakes and more importantly to teach them how to deal with those mistakes and to learn from them. We must allow them to be themselves even if that may be someone we did not expect (the singer rather than the gaa player, the artist rather than the accountant!). Try to help them to get to know who they really are. Teach them about life without technology and social media. They do need reminding as this is the world they are growing up in – what seems normal to them is not necessarily right. Help them to understand the reality of that online world to be able to balance their online world and their real world. Set age appropriate boundaries in your home, that suit your family, you know your kids better than anyone. But, most importantly, try to ensure that they have ‘time’ to be kids, to play, to explore, to use their imagination, to learn from their mistakes, and to appreciate life.
    Our kids need to be brave and confident to survive this ever changing technologically run world. Try to give them the freedom they need to grow, show them how to enjoy life, to laugh out loud, to beat their fears, to be honest, loyal and trustworthy, show them by example – you will always be your child’s number 1 role model.

    10 Things I Want My Kids To Know – findingjoy.net
    1. Be Yourself
    2. Don’t Waste Time Worrying
    3. Appreciate the Little Things
    4. Stand Up For Your Friends & Family
    5. Don’t Whisper About Others
    6. You Are Not Your Emotion
    7. Always Be Willing To Learn
    8. Pick Your Battles
    9. Surround Yourself With Those Who Respect You
    10. Be Brave

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    THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-DEVELOPMENT FOR TEENAGERS

    I recently ran a Self-Development workshop with a Transition Year group and was surprised at their reactions.
    This workshop was aimed at helping the students to understand the importance of a number of topics;

    The importance of liking yourself – Positive Self-Esteem.
    The meaning of Friendship.
    Getting to know your Strengths and learning to understand what they mean.
    Thinking about Values and how they effect your every day life.
    The importance of Believing in Yourself and Setting Goals.
    The importance of having Dreams/Ambitions.

    During the workshop we had a lot of discussion about friendships and the importance of face to face communication. This is an area of concern, as when we looked at it most of the students said there was never a time they would be with friends when someone was not on their phone – never a time when they would all be talking together. This is a problem as people are not giving enough face to fact time to real friends and far too much online time to virtual friends (who may not be real friends at all). This was an eye-opener for many as we have to remember some of our kids know no different – this is the world they have grown up in. They began to realise the importance of spending real time with real friends.

    When it came to strengths, many of the students said this was not something they really thought about, but after the exercise they realised what great strengths they had, many of which they did not realise they had beforehand. Knowing their own individual strengths is an essential ingredient for them to live a happy fulfilled life – both personally and in their careers. We need to understand our strengths to understand who we are and who we want to be. We need to understand our strengths to understand what area of work we should aim for, to be happy and successful in our jobs.

    Setting Goals is one of my personal favourites. There is a saying “Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes”, to me this is so important. I have worked with so many teenagers and young adults who have spent months and years reading self-help books and motivation books, and when I ask them “So what have you done”?, they look at me blankly. You have to take the first step to change if you want anything to change, reading about it, writing about it will not ‘change it’. You have to ‘do’ something. This section really resonated with the students as I put the ball back in their court – told them they have to stop blaming parents, teachers, the weather – if they want something in life they have to get out there at get it – make the necessary changes in their lives and go for it. Everything worthwhile takes effort – nothing comes easy.

    Values – this section surprised me most of all as it was the area most of them said they really learned something about themselves in.
    What are Values –
    Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.
    When the things that you do and the way you behave match your values, life is usually good – you’re satisfied and content. But when these don’t align with your personal values, that’s when things feel… wrong. This can be a real source of unhappiness.
    This feeling of ‘wrong’ really made sense to them. The students wrote down the values they thought their age group ‘have’ and the values they thought their age group ‘should have’. What this did was it showed them that they all wanted the same things – yet many were living against their values to be part of their peer group or to be popular. We all need to take time out to allow ourselves to get to know ourselves better, and this is doubly true for our younger generation who have grown up with another voice in their heads – social media.

    I strongly believe our Educational Department and Department of Health has to look at this area and provide modules to help kids live in this every changing technological run world in a more positive and self aware way. We, their parents, teachers, mentors have to help them to get this support. We all grew up with 2 voices in our heads – our parents and our peers, kids today have a 3rd 24 hour voice in social media – they need support and advice to help them deal to with this voice in a positive and healthy way.

    Lack of face to face communication, low self-esteem, peer pressure, lack of understanding around friendships and relationships are a few of the growing concerns I see daily. We have to support kids and teenagers to understand the importance of realising the reality of social media v’s the real world. There are many positives to social media, but unfortunately there are many very damaging aspects also which I find very worrying.

    A few comments from the students after this workshop;
    “I feel like my age group can do things because of peer pressure. I think this workshop might open their eyes.”
    “I believe this workshop is needed because it helps people my age to realise that they can’t change something without putting effort in.”
    “this workshop shows us that social media is not that important and I need to start seeing my strengths and not be so harsh on myself.”
    “helped me to realise I have to stop putting myself down so much and be proud of myself.”
    “It really opened my eyes to things that I didn’t even notice were going on.”
    “taught me to be nicer to people and appreciate the important people in my life before its too late.”
    “it helped me to understand my values and to see how they effect my actions and my feelings towards other people.”
    “it showed me how important it is to be kind to myself instead of knocking myself.”
    ‘Im going to spend less time on my phone and more time with family and myself.”
    “it made me think about my personality and my values and helped me to understand who I want to be.”
    “spend more time with actual real friends and family and less time on my phone and virtual friends – and if we want something to happen just go out and make it happen.”
    “I am going to think more positively about myself and not always think about the bad things”
    “understand that not everything is about your phone and your appearance.”
    “how to look after myself the correct way – to take a break from social media””
    “it might encourage me to see myself differently and be grateful for all I have in my life”
    “the importance of valuing the people I am with in the moment and get off my phone when with people I value in my life”

    If you have any queries relating to any of the above, please do not hesitate to get in touch – Eileen

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    THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF-DEVELOPMENT FOR TEENAGERS

    I recently ran a Self-Development workshop with a Transition Year group and was surprised at their reactions.
    This workshop was aimed at helping the students to understand the importance of a number of topics;

    The importance of liking yourself – Positive Self-Esteem.
    The meaning of Friendship.
    Getting to know your Strengths and learning to understand what they mean.
    Thinking about Values and how they effect your every day life.
    The importance of Believing in Yourself and Setting Goals.
    The importance of having Dreams/Ambitions.

    During the workshop we had a lot of discussion about friendships and the importance of face to face communication. This is an area of concern, as when we looked at it most of the students said there was never a time they would be with friends when someone was not on their phone – never a time when they would all be talking together. This is a problem as people are not giving enough face to fact time to real friends and far too much online time to virtual friends (who may not be real friends at all). This was an eye-opener for many as we have to remember some of our kids know no different – this is the world they have grown up in. They began to realise the importance of spending real time with real friends.

    When it came to strengths, many of the students said this was not something they really thought about, but after the exercise they realised what great strengths they had, many of which they did not realise they had beforehand. Knowing their strengths is an essential ingredient for them to live a happy fulfilled life – both personally and in careers. We need to understand our strengths to understand who we are and who we want to be. We need to understand our strengths to understand what area of work we should aim for, to be happy and successful in our jobs.

    Setting Goals is one of my personal favourites. There is a saying “Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes”, to me this is so important. I have worked with so many teenagers and young adults who have spent months and years reading self-help books and motivation books, and when I ask them “So what have you done”?, they look at me blankly. You have to take the first step to change if you want anything to change, reading about it, writing about it will not Change it. You have to ‘do’ something. This section really resonated with the students as I put the ball back in their court – told them they have to stop blaming parents, teachers, the weather – if they want something in life they have to get out there at get it – make the necessary changes in their lives and go for it. Everything worthwhile takes effort – nothing comes easy.

    Values – this section surprised me most of all as it was the area most of them said they really learned something about themselves in.
    What are Values –
    Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work. They (should) determine your priorities, and, deep down, they’re probably the measures you use to tell if your life is turning out the way you want it to.
    When the things that you do and the way you behave match your values, life is usually good – you’re satisfied and content. But when these don’t align with your personal values, that’s when things feel… wrong. This can be a real source of unhappiness.
    This feeling of ‘wrong’ really made sense to them. The students wrote down the values they thought their age group ‘have’ and the values they thought their age group ‘should have’. What this did was it showed them that they all wanted the same things – yet many were living against their values to be part of their peer group or to be popular. We all need to take time out to allow ourselves to get to know ourselves better, and this is doubly true for our younger generation who have grown up with another voice in their heads – social media.

    I strongly believe our educational department has to look at this area and provide modules to help kids live in this every changing technological run world in a more positive and self aware way. We, their parents, teachers, mentors have to help them to get this support.

    Lack of face to face communication, low self-esteem, peer pressure, lack of understanding around friendships and relationships are a few of the growing concerns I see daily. We have to support them to understand the importance of realising the reality of social media v’s the real world. There are many positives to social media, but unfortunately there are many very damaging aspects also which I find very worrying.

    A few comments from the students after this workshop;
    “I feel like my age group can do things because of peer pressure. I think this workshop might open their eyes.”
    “I believe this workshop is needed because it helps people my age to realise that they can’t change something without putting effort in.”
    “this workshop shows us that social media is not that important and I need to start seeing my strengths and not be so harsh on myself.”
    “helped me to realise I have to stop putting myself down so much and be proud of myself.”
    “It really opened my eyes to things that I didn’t even notice were going on.”
    “taught me to be nicer to people and appreciate the important people in my life before its too late.”
    “it helped me to understand my values and to see how they effect my actions and my feelings towards other people.”
    “it showed me how important it is to be kind to myself instead of knocking myself.”
    ‘Im going to spend less time on my phone and more time with family and myself.”
    “it made me think about my personality and my values and helped me to understand who I want to be.”
    “spend more time with actual real friends and family and less time on my phone and virtual friends – and if we want something to happen just go out and make it happen.”
    “I am going to think more positively about myself and not always think about the bad things”
    “understand that not everything is about your phone and your appearance.”
    “how to look after myself the correct way – to take a break from social media””
    “it might encourage me to see myself differently and be grateful for all I have in my life”
    “the importance of valuing the people I am with in the moment and get off my phone when with people I value in my life”

    If you have any queries relating to any of the above, please do not hesitate to get in touch – Eileen

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    CONFIDENCE COACHING FOR KIDS

    Life Coaching is not just for adults – why wait?

    Confidence Coaching for Kids is a very effective way to help your child to deal with the ups and downs of growing up.  Every child will benefit from Confidence Coaching as it gives them the tools to deal with the many different challenges they may face on a daily basis;

    Dealing with peer pressure

    Learning to love themselves

    Knowing how to learn from their mistakes

    Learning how to to take responsibility for their actions

    Learning how to make and keep friends

    Learning how to make good decisions

     

    Stories are one of the most effective ways to make positive changes with kids.  Each of these workshops are explained through different stories in a fun and interactive way.

    Why wait?  

    Give your child the best gift you can give him – the tools to grow into a strong, confident, happy teenager and adult.

    “It’s not what Happens to you, but how you REACT to it that matters”. – Epictetus

     

     

     

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    COMMUNICATION – -PART 2 (11 yrs – 18 yrs)

     

    “COMMUNICATION – THE HUMAN CONNECTION – IS THE KEY TO PERSONAL AND CAREER SUCCESS.”

    11 years – 18 years

    Teenagers are naturally anxious or insecure about where they fit in the world. Part of their own development is getting an understanding of what relationships they want or need in their lives. What really matters to them is who they matter to and who values them. They are very good at detecting who is genuine in wanting to connect and communicate with them, and who has other motives.

    Tweens and teens are trying to become independent of you, their parents.   This is part of their psychological development at this stage – there are certain things parents need to know and much more importantly there are certain things parents do not need to know.  Give them their privacy.

    We need to give our kids trust. They need to believe we trust them – without trust we have nothing. I would always suggest ‘trust them until they give you a reason not to’. If they believe you trust them, they are unlikely to break that trust easily – If they believe you do not trust them, they may feel like they have nothing to break.

    Try not to make decisions about your teenager to please others – family, neighbours, friend’s parents. You know your own child, listen to yourself.

    The most effective way to communicate with teenagers is to show an interest in what they are doing. Let them know you are always there for them. Let them know they can come to you for help and advice, no matter what.
    Have a time in the day that you both know ye can talk to each other – in the car, at bedtime, dinnertime, whatever works for your family.

    If your teenager comes to you and you are openly shocked by what they have told you and react in a negative way, they may not come to you again. If you are shocked, try to take a breath, suggest you talk about it later on – give yourself time to take in what they said and then to act in a reasonable understanding manner, try to remember how you felt when you were a teen. If you react dramatically and negatively and are not supportive/understanding, it may be the last time they come to you with serious matters.  This does not mean you do not address the situation, it means you address the situation calmly and rationally.

    Do not break your trust with them – if they ask you not to say anything to anyone else, keep your word. If your teen hears you on the phone later to family or friends telling them about your conversation, this may also  stop your teen coming to you again.

    If communication has broken down, for whatever reason, do everything in your power to build it up again. Write to them, text them – just be sure to communicate with them. Do not harass them, do not badger them, this may push them away. Take it slowly, one step at a time.

    You know your own child better than anyone else.  Trust your gut.  Do not be afraid to ask for advice from someone you trust or someone in the parenting field.

    Feel free to email me should you have any concerns in this area.

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