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“Promoting Teen Wellness” Dr. Candell Recap

<img class="size-full wp-image-7887 alignleft lazyload" src="" alt="candell" width="199" height="174" />As part of our Health and Wellness Week at Bishop O’Dowd High School, Dr. Adrienne Candell ’83 spoke to the parent community about adolescent mental health in a presentation titled “Promoting Teen Wellness.”  Download the PDF »

Dr. Candell’s talk began with a review of the prevalence of adolescent mental health issues and the changes in behavior and mood that teens often exhibit when they are struggling.  Noting the how biology, stress, and parent-child relationship are all contributing factors in adolescent mental health, Dr. Candell helped parents explore ways that their relationship with their teen can add to or reduce teen stress.  Parents can add stress by focusing on the negative, nagging and lecturing,  overemphasizing academic achievement, and overreacting to what is normal teen behavior.  These stressors can have a compounding effect for teens as they often lead to decreases in motivation and concentration and then a further decline in academic performance.  Dr. Candell explained that the dramatic feelings and extreme thinking that parents often see in their teen can be seen as evidence of the developing teenage brain.  Furthermore, the desire to be different from parents, to explore parts of their own personality, and have private life with peers can all be normal ways that teens search for self-identity.  Adolescent stress increases when parents respond to these challenges with efforts to be excessively controlling.

To help parents work with these challenges, Dr. Candell recommended that parents distinguish the non-negotiable limits from those that are open to negotiation and to enlist their teen to be engaged in the process of setting limits. Creating buy-in, communicating calmly, openly, and authentically, listening, and providing unsolicited affirmations are all ways to build the parent-child relationship to help reduce stress. Parents in attendance had opportunities to share their experience of both being both stressed by their teen and a source of stressful their teen.


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