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As Students Struggle With Anxiety, a California School Tries to Help [kqed.org]

 

By Sasha Khokha, KQED, August 23, 2019

In 2004, the National Institute of Mental Health estimated that about a third of adolescents (ages 13-18) have been or will be seriously affected by anxiety in their lifetimes. More recently, a study published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics concluded that more than one in twenty U.S. children (ages 6-17) had anxiety or depression in 2011-2012. And a UCLA survey of college freshman conducted each year, found in 2017 that close to 39 percent frequently felt "overwhelmed by all I had to do."

Parents and educators are scrambling to understand why kids seem to be more anxious and how to help them.

This week, The California Report Magazine welcomes Katrina Schwartz to share findings from her recent time spent reporting on student anxiety for the MindShift podcast.

[Please click here to read more.]

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Emotional self regulation is a skill we learn as toddlers (or not) -- by the available presence of a loving carer.  A mom or a "mother substitute" who is there, available, attentive, and who externally co-regulates the child teaches a set of R brain skills for later self regulation and a right brain "knowing" that when feelings become intense, they *can* be readily modulated and managed.  

With mothers providing good care, if a baby is too agitated, the mother initiates a calming kind of treatment like rocking or cooing.  If a baby is bored and fretful,  she helps him get interested or amused about something.  If a baby is trying to connect, she connects back.  She mirrors and soothes all day long.

When teens are freaking out we need to think about how that phase of life was handled for them.   Many American babies are cared for in groups.  No one caregiver can have this kind of attentiveness towards four babies.  

Many parenting practices, such as too-early use of daycare, rigidly scheduled feeding, "Cry it out," corporal punishment, shouting, or not picking up a child to "teach" independence are outright *assaults* on the 'primal' system (of tons of holding and carrying and on-demand feeding and soothing) that human babies evolved to get.

ANTI ACES:  holding, carrying, babywearing, breastfeeding, comforting, vocalizing, skin to skin contact , touch, co-sleeping, and overall, empathic, "mind wise" care.

If trauma hurts mental health we need to practice anti-trauma parenting.  We also need to think about defining "trauma" from the point of view of a baby. 

Watch the "still face experiment" and tell me that isn't traumatic!!!!

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