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Last year, 13 Reasons Why debuted on Netflix and soared in the ratings before many parents and teachers had even heard of it. It felt like every middle and high school student watched it, even many elementary students tuned in.  The show chronicled the story of a 17-year-old girl who takes her own life. She leaves behind a series of 13 audiotapes naming the people who contributed to her suicide.  Parents, teachers, and even members of student services were not prepared to answer all of the questions and concerns generated by the show.  In our district, counseling departments saw a sharp increase in the number of suicidal threats by students at all grade levels.

Netflix has announced the upcoming release of Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why.  Although Netflix has not given a formal release date, promotional information seems to suggest it could be soon. As parents and guardians decide whether to allow their children to watch it, this information sheet (13 Reasons Why Information) from the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has some important information and recommendations to consider. In the WS/FCS, school counselors, psychologists, and social workers are also available to help parents and guardians with additional concerns.   
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How many times have you told your child to "calm down?" This article provides a breakdown of specific activities that can help your child calm down based on their age.  Psychotherapist Amy Morin, who has a new book out called 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don't Do, says that children need to be able to control their tempers in order to succeed in life.  Being able to deal with stress, anger, frustration and anxiety requires a specific set of skills.  Not all children just inherently "know" these skills; sometimes we have to directly teach our children how to calm down.   Morin shares some visualization tactics in her book to help children learn to regulate their own emotions.  Here are some examples:


Preschool: "Stop and Smell the Pizza" teaches young children that slow, deep breaths can relax the body and reduce anger.


School Age: "Change the Channel" provides a task for children to keep their hands busy and also provides a "brain switch," or shift in focus.  Morin notes that this should only be used when children are feeling stuck or if their emotions are becoming destructive.


Teens: "Lengthen the Fuse" identifies things that could help your teen handle stress in a healthy way.

And - if some of these appeal to our readers - there's absolutely no reason that adults can't implement these strategies for themselves!  :)
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I've been a school psychologist for many years now.  In my early years, I remember watching the news about Columbine and trying to figure out how I would help the students at my schools cope with their feelings when the violence made no sense to me. After all of these years, I continue to struggle with this dilemma. Although recent news has brought more of these unspeakable acts to our attention, I also realize that many children are struggling to deal with serious trauma in their own lives. Many of these children are quite young and have not had the opportunity to learn skills to help them cope. Enter Sesame Street.  Sesame Workshop, the program's nonprofit educational division, saw that children needed these strategies to help them deal with unexpected stressful events, such as divorce, abuse, and natural disasters.  The videos teach children how to express emotion and reduce the stress they feel.  They also come with a learning guide to help adults know how to respond and support children. To learn more about these videos, visit Sesame Street Videos
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