January 2016

"Spotlight on Parenting"

In Case You Missed It...Summaries of Local Programs for Parents/Families

Below are brief summaries of recent events  for parents in our community

Brain Development in Adolescence
Age of Opportunity

On Thursday, November 19, 2015, as part of The Shipley School's Social, Emotional and Ethical Development (SEED) program, Laurence Steinberg, PhD. presented on the Brain Development in Adolescence.
Presenter:  Dr. Steinberg is a psychologist who has done extensive research that is focused on a range of topics in the study of contemporary adolescence, including adolescent brain development, risk-taking and decision-making, parent-adolescent relationships, adolescent employment, high school reform, and juvenile justice.  He is a professor at Temple University and has previously taught at Cornell, University of California, Irvine and the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Dr. Steinberg recently published a book titled Age of Opportunity, Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence that is based upon his research on adolescent brain development.  He concludes that adolescence spans a longer period of time than in earlier generations, that the brain is malleable, and that adolescence is more important to one's development than early childhood. 
Reasons for the Program: Obesity, exposure to chemicals in the environment (ie., pesticides, cosmetics, plastics), and increased exposure to artificial light (ie., smart phones, tablets, computers) are contributors to the earlier onset of puberty (the beginning of adolescence).  Dr. Steinberg defined the end of adolescence as when the individual has transitioned into adulthood, which he defined as being employed, getting married and starting a family.   This transition into adulthood has extended because of economic factors including being in school longer and therefore being financially supported by parents.
Main Takeaways:  Dr. Steinberg discussed the plasticity of the brain, specifically the pre-frontal cortex which is the most advanced part of the human brain.  It dictates how the rest of the brain functions and is responsible for "executive functions" such as planning ahead, taking risks vs. safety, and self-regulation.  Risk taking is thought to be more prevalent among adolescents due to an increase in sex hormones which increases dopamine, the pleasure neurohormone. In other words, if something makes one feel good, he will continue doing it despite the risk involved.  It is also thought that peer relationships lead to an activation of dopamine and therefore increases risky behavior within the peer group.  
According to Dr. Steinberg, the most important cognitive trait is self-regulation.  He has found that self-regulation leads to success in school, the workplace, and that individuals have more satisfying relationships with people.  Dr. Steinberg feels the pre-frontal cortex must be stimulated by challenging teenagers and giving them goals that are realistically attainable.  He emphasized that putting stress on teenagers is counterproductive and produces an excess of cortisol.  Appropriately challenging adolescents can help to increase intelligence, social, and emotional growth.  Mindfulness training, getting at least 8-9 hours of sleep per night and exercise are also important factors in building self-regulation.
Finally, Dr. Steinberg answered the question, "Why do people remember adolescence the most?".  He coined the term "reminiscence bump" to explain that as adults, we are likely to recall "first" experiences such as going to a concert because the adolescent brain is highly malleable to such intense sensory experiences.  This is why he feels that adolescence is more important to development than any other stage of development, including early childhood.

For More Information: www.laurencesteinberg.com

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"Speak Out"

This dynamic "Speak Out" presentation was held at The New Leaf Club on
September 28, 2015.
Presenters:  Carl Antisell, Chapter Lead of Young People in Recovery, Laura Herzog, a high school senior in long term recovery that speaks in high schools and middle schools about healthier decision making, and six other youth in long term recovery from substance use disorder.
Reasons for the Program:  The panelists spoke for about ten minutes each on some of the red flags and warning signs that preceded their struggle with substance use disorder, and then they all spoke about how they found recovery and what recovery has allowed them to accomplish in their lives. The main objective of the night was to reduce the stigma around addiction by showing people that a person in recovery is much different from a person struggling in addiction. By having these conversations, young people like the panelists can get help sooner, and then serve as examples of sobriety and recovery to their peers.
There was also a lead up event to a large rally held in Washington, DC on October 4th - Unite to Face Addiction. 
Main Takeaways:
  • Have conversations in your family early and often about drugs and alcohol. You might not always have the right thing to say, but having these conversations leaves the door open for your child to ask for help and for you to notice any changes or concerning behaviors.
  • The following red flags could accompany a substance abuse issue: decline in grades; decline in motivation; loss of interest or engagement in favorite clubs, hobbies or activities; too much or too little sleep; change in friends.   
  • If you are concerned your child could have an addiction, get support.  You could reach out to your child's pediatrician and/or school counselor(s) as a first step.
  • Having a child in recovery is not a negative thing. Empower them to redefine their negative experiences by helping others going through the same thing.
  • If you have a child who is struggling, you deserve support too. Seek out support groups or counseling for yourself while your child seeks recovery When parents are active in their recovery along with the child, the family can heal faster.
For More Information....
Other Local resources:


Community Events

"Straight Talk" sponsored by Montgomery County Drug Court
Mon., January 18, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
The New Leaf Club
For further details, Click Here
The Representation Project
"Miss Representation" exposes
how mainstream media contributes
to the under-representation of
women in positions of power and influence in America.
Thurs., January 21, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
Bryn Mawr Film Institute
For further details, Click Here

Continue the Conversation: Parent Coffee.  Topic is Mental Health
Friday, February 12, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.
Speak Up! at 528 Lancaster Avenue
For further details, Click Here

Sleep and the Adolescent Brain
Sun., February 21, 2016 at 2:00 p.m.
Radnor Middle School
For further details, Click Here

Speak Up! On Sports
(For All High School Students,
Parents, and Coaches) 
Thurs., February 25, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
The Haverford School
For further details, Click Here

Continue the Conversation: Parent Coffee.  Topic is Gender Identity
Friday, March 11, 2016 at 8:30 a.m.
Speak Up! at 528 Lancaster Avenue
For further details, Click Here

In The News 
How to Live Wisely
A number of campuses have recently started to offer an opportunity for students to grapple with questions 
such as "How Do I Have A 
Happy Life?" 
Read More

Watching TV Can Boost 
Emotional Intelligence 
Engaging with quality fiction has the same positive impact whether you're reading or watching it. Read More

Seven Ways Parents Can Help
13-Year Olds Start Their
Social Media Lives Right
Children who felt like their parents were monitoring their activity online were noticeably less distressed by online conflict. Read More

How To Be Emotionally Intelligent
 Knowledge, smarts and vision
help make a great leader but 
emotional intelligence counts too. Read More

Why You Shouldn't Pay
Children For Grades
No matter how much we may want it
to, money can't buy smarts, motivation 
or school success.Read More 

Is The Drive For Success Making
Our Children Sick?

The drive for success is eroding children's health and undermining their potential. Modern education is actually making them sick.  Read More

The Global Search for Education:  How Should We Measure Success
  Despite the ever-increasing homework load, kids are still not learning the important skills they need to succeed
in the world 
-- skills such as
resilience, creativity, collaboration
and critical thinking. 
Read More

Four Surprising Ways To Raise
Your Child's Self-Esteem 
he positive reinforcement we
heaped on our young children
does not seem to work as effectively during the teen years. Read More

How To Survive
The College Admissions Madness  The nature of a student's college experience - the work that he or she
puts into it, the self-examination that's undertaken, the resourcefulness that's honed - matters more than the name of the institution attended. Read More

For further information,
visit our website at
The Coalition for Youth of Lower Merion and Narberth is a partnership of community agencies and individuals working together to create a safe and healthy environment for youth in our region. Since 1999, the Coalition has been working with local organizations, schools and individuals to build assets in our children, our families, and our community, to help reduce stress, alcohol use, drug use, violence, and other risky behaviors among youth.

Coalition for Youth 

P.O. Box 23, Narberth, PA 19063

(484) 337-8731