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Severn School Tackles Adolescent Stress in Forum

The school is looking to provide parents with the tools they need to spot, and cope with their student’s stress.

Severn School is hosting a parent forum Wednesday to address issues of adolescent stress. The seminar will help parents identify stress and offer tips for managing the pressure their children feel.

“The parent forum titled Adolescent Stress and Anxiety is aimed at providing parents the support they need to manage relevant issues in the lives of their children,” said Severn middle school guidance counselor Mary Foard.

Gail Lewis, a psychiatric nurse practitioner will be the guest speaker for the forum. Lewis has been working in the Severna Park community for more than 20 years and has two children who went to Severn.

Foard said offering parent support is a vital component of the educational program at Severn School. She also said that student stress is a prominent issue not only for students at Severn but everywhere.

“Stress and anxiety is a fundamental component of most kids’ adolescent experience,” Foard said. “It’s just extremely important to educate parents and also kids on how to effectively cope with stress.”

Having the skills to cope with stress is something that Foard said needs to be learned at an early age. That way students can take the skills they learned in school with them into the real world.

In an effort to manage student anxiety, Severn School already has many tools in place. The school has full-time counselors for each level, and it offers life skill classes that are not graded and just offer support.

“We also have all kinds of peer counseling and tutoring and the students are trained by a counselor,” Foard said. “You cannot slip through the cracks here. Between the small staff to student ratio and the constant collaboration we do our best to get a good handle on every child.”

Wednesday’s seminar is only open to parents of Severn School students, but Foard offered the following tips for parents who need help dealing with their child’s anxiety. 

  • Make sure your child is not entirely consumed by whatever is causing them stress, but also make sure they aren’t completely ignoring it.
  • Effectively managing stress means you need to focus on the component of the stressor that you have control over.
  • Consider reasonable problem solving and do what you can to manage the stressor in a way that is helpful.
  • It’s important to offer a distraction from the stress and physical activity is best for that.
  • It’s very important that parents maintain a constant and consistent dialogue with their children. You have to know your kid.

The forum on Adolescent Stress and Anxiety will be held on Wednesday at 8:15 a.m. in Koch Alumni Room. The event is open to both Middle School and Upper School Parents.

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