Leading Teen Motivational Speaker Inspires in Canada Jeff Yalden at Lakes District Secondary School By Roger Yale for Jeff Yalden, Youth Motivational Speaker The second leg of teen motivational speaker Jeff Yalden’s trip to British Columbia found him in the Village of Burns Lake, which is touted as the gateway to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, a protected area encompassing a jaw-dropping 3,790 square miles of Western Canadian splendor. “One of the things I really enjoy about what I do is having the opportunity to look out the windshield and see beautiful country in different parts of the world,” he said. Yalden was brought in by an organization called the Nechako area Children and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative [CYMHSU], which is in place to provide mental health and substance abuse support to individuals and families in British Columbia. He spoke to an assembly of grades 8-12 at Lakes District Secondary School on Thursday, February 23. “This was a very intimate session with about 500 kids. We spoke for two hours about mental health, dealing with anger, perseverance, anxiety, how to deal with your emotions, and self-esteem,” he said. Jeff was impressed with the positive vibe as soon as he arrived. “My favorite part of walking into a school is when you see the positive inspiration that surrounds them every day. I think it’s important to dress up the school and make it a home – and environment that fosters learning, love and caring – perseverance and overcoming challenges. I love it.” School staffers cited high stress levels in the 12th graders from factors like academics and peer pressure, and Yalden drew on tried-and-true topics from his motivational toolbox – including transition, resilience and mental health. “The best way to build self-esteem is to be challenged with something and to be able to work your way through it,” he said. He also urged students who felt overwhelmed to find adults that they trust and respect – and whose opinions they value – and don’t be afraid to go to them. “If you ask me, overnight success takes 15 to 20 years,” he said. He asked the students what they were willing to work hard to accomplish, and placed the responsibility directly on their shoulders. “As parents, we do the best we can but we are not perfect. Sometimes we want to give you our wisdom and experience – but ultimately this is your life. This is your dream. This is your world.” Yalden told them to be sure to write down their dreams, turn them into plans and back up those plans with consistent action. Of course, many things can threaten to take a person out of purpose – but we can get back on track by asking better questions. “Many of us deal with abuse. We deal with alcoholism, blended families, divorce and financial struggles. I get it. But I want every one of you to understand that through the struggles – the trials and tribulations – you still have a purpose and a life to live. Start at the beginning, and value yourself,” he said. Jeff Yalden has addressed more than 4000 teen audiences in all 50 states, every province in Canada and 49 countries. Find out more at www.jeffyalden.com. Jeff’s speaking calendar fills up fast. Book him now by calling 800-948-9289. TAGS: British Columbia, Jeff Yalden, Teen Motivational Speaker, Burns Lake, Lakes District Secondary School, Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, Children and Youth Mental Health and Substance Use Collaborative, Youth Motivational Speaker, Suicide Prevention Speaker, Parenting, Responsibility, Canada, Mental Health Awareness, Secondary School Speaker, School Assembly Speaker, Canadian Mental Health, Teen Mental Health Speaker
Top Teen Suicide Prevention Speaker Visits Vanderhoof, British Columbia Jeff Yalden Galvanizes Nechako Valley Secondary School By Roger Yale for Jeff Yalden, Teen Motivational Speaker Vanderhoof, British Columbia, is a small Canadian municipality nearly a thousand miles north of Seattle. It was the first stop on a two-day speaking trip for North America’s top teen motivational speaker, Jeff Yalden. “The one thing I notice that is really different about being up in Canada is the people,” he said. Canadians are real nice and instantly they become like family.” Yalden was booked for a full day at Nechako Valley Secondary School on February 22, which included a school assembly, visits with at-risk kids and a Parent/Community program focusing on teen mental health and suicide prevention. Nechako Valley Secondary School serves grades 7-12, boasts more than 600 students and has been in place since 1955. Yalden said he spent a lot of time visiting with all the seventh and eighth graders in individual classrooms after meeting his contact, local government employee Debra Sewell and school principal Ken Young. “One of the things I love about coming into a community and getting ready to speak early is that you get to speak to the principal and the people who brought you in and ask them, ‘if you were speaking to these kids, what would you want to say.’” He also had the opportunity to meet a young lady named Ashley, 19, who is part of a Local Action Team in Vanderhoof. “Ashley is doing great things with the local government – trying to reduce the stigma of mental health, encouraging people to step up and do and say something,” he said. Many of the kids told Yalden that he was hilarious and the assembly was funny. “Well, I’m not really brought in to be funny, but sometimes you’ve got to deliver the content through humor – and that was great.” During the assembly, he stressed the importance of personal responsibility and living in the now. “If we can’t appreciate now, then we will never be grateful for what that can be about. If life knocks you down, you get back up and strive to get back ‘in purpose,’” he said. Yalden spoke about recent suicides in the United States, including the suicide of high school senior Quai Horton in Des Moines, Iowa. Horton left many direct verbal clues on social media prior to making what Yalden calls the forever decision to take his own life. “One of the things we want to teach our young people is – the right thing to do is when you know something is going on with one of your friends and to be able to say something – and to get your friend the help that they need. That’s what a good friend does,” he said. Later, Yalden met with a small group of at-risk kids, meeting them on their level. “At first, they didn’t want anything to do with it, but once I started using a little bit of the language that they were very used to using – that turned into just an absolutely incredible hour-long conversation.” He was also happy with the turnout at the evening’s Parent/Community program. “I was impressed with the enthusiastic and caring team of staff/teachers and school administration, and very, very impressed with the local mental health community that is rallying to bring all of this to their communities up here in British Columbia.” Find out why Jeff is the perfect choice for your school, organization or event by visiting www.jeffyalden.com. Why wait? Book Jeff now by calling 800-948-9289. TAGS: British Columbia, Jeff Yalden, Teen Suicide, Vanderhoof, Nechako Valley Secondary School., Suicide Prevention, Teen Suicide Prevention, Parenting, Responsibility, Youth Motivational Speaker, Vanderhoof Local Action Team, Canada, Mental Health Awareness, Secondary School Speaker, School Assembly Speaker, Canadian Mental Health, Teen Mental Health Speaker
Teen Suicide . . . A Message to Parents!Teen Suicide seems to be happening more and more in communities all over the country. Teens want answers, Parents are overreacting, Schools are getting blamed, and everyone wants action and a plan now. The greatest influence on our teens at the time of a teen suicide is the role a parent plays in their lives and especially at this very moment under these tragic circumstances. Parents, with their greater life experiences and wisdom, can place the events in a child’s life in its proper context or perspective. Teens look to adults for an interpretation of events, and measure the meaning of it, including the degree of danger they are in, by the reaction of their parents and other adults around them. It is critical that our teens are able to maintain a positive view of the world and a positive opinion of themselves in spite of the circumstances.
The Grieving Process:Grieving is a natural and temporary response to an important loss. People do not respond to a death related loss in any particular stage, progression, or pace. Some believe that the process is more like a roller-coaster type pattern in which waves of various emotions are experienced. It is important to encourage children to cry if they feel sad. It can be said that when we feel really sad, letting ourselves cry is as important to our mental health as is eating when we are hungry, drinking when we are thirsty, and sleeping when we are tired. Most individuals return to their regular routines within one to three days. Yet a sustained period of bereavement may last four to six weeks. An intermittent patters of bereavement continues in the form of painful thoughts and feelings which often resurface in the future more intensely at birth and death dates, holidays and special events, places or other experiences that are reminders of the deceased. Memories of the deceased may change or diminish over time but the deceased friend will not be forgotten.
Common Reactions to the Death of a Friend:In addition to sadness, it is common for people to feel confusion, fear, anger, self-blame and guilt. Other common reactions include feelings of loneliness, a sense of responsibility or regret, reminders and dreams of the deceased, concentration difficulties, minor sleeping difficulties and mild somatic complaints.
What Can Parents Do?A parent’s emotional response to a grieving teen can reduce the emotional effect or make it worse for the teen.
- Here are suggested parental responses: Be physically present, show warmth and compassion, be patient, allow the teen to talk about it, listen carefully, acknowledge feelings, show an understanding of what happened, give reasonable reassurance and follow through on promises and agreements made. Teens will try to make some sense of what happened and it is important for them to come to a resolution about the event. Carefully challenge any negative conclusions and reinforce the positive ones.
- The following parental behaviors can be harmful: Focus on self instead of the teen, deny the seriousness of the event, shrug off the teen’s feelings, tell the teen not to think or talk about it, make assumptions, overreact with anxiety or anger, withdraw from the teen, or make major changes in the normal household activities and routines.
Reactions to be concerned about:Some teens, because of their emotional proximity to the death event, may be more prone to develop the psychological symptoms of Major Depression. There are two causes for Major Depression. One is the result of a neuro-chemical imbalance in the brain. The other results from an experience such as a significant loss. Your teen may have Major Depression if the following five (or more) symptoms have been present during the same two week period:
- Feeling really unhappy, sad or empty inside most of the day, nearly every day
- An obvious loss of interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, friends and activities most of the day, nearly every day
- Weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (more than 5% of body weight in a month)
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much nearly every day
- Slowness of thought, speech and activity or extreme agitation/restlessness
- Feelings of low energy or fatigue nearly every day
- Feeling hopeless, worthless, shame or a lot of guilt nearly every day
- Difficulty concentrating, making basic decisions and doing school work nearly every day
- Frequent thoughts of death or suicide
Being a parent of a teenager can be very challenging, distressing, and sometimes worrying. Many teenagers tend to push against the system in an attempt to gain a sense of independence; making parents feel criticized, rejected and confused. This can cause many problems within the family as emotions are high and there is a constant power struggle between the teenager and parents. It is very important for parents to understand what is going on inside the mind and the body of the teenager.
Understanding TeenagersThe average teenager’s body transforms at an alarming rate. This is, by the way, one of the main reasons why they sleep a lot. As their hormones move and surge, both the brain and the body respond in a different way. For instance, these hormones cause their emotions to go on a rollercoaster ride – this is why they have so many mood swings. Boys for instance, have to deal with a sharp surge of testosterone in their bodies while girls endure high estrogen levels. Hormones however, are only a small part of the entire story.
Tips for Coping with TeenagersKeeping these biological changes in mind, it is very important for parents to be understanding and supportive during these critical times. Here are some tips for you to better cope with your teenager.
- Be there for them – Contrary to what it seems, your child does want you to be there for them. Just give them a little time and let them handle the situation at their own pace.
- Reassure them – Many teenagers easily get scared by all the transformation that takes place including physical and biological. It is very important that you reassure them from time to time that everything is perfectly normal and that they have nothing to worry about.
- Be consistent with discipline – According to research, consistent boundaries that respect a teenager’s limits are the best way to provide them a sense of security whilst they are handling their inner turmoil.
- Be approving and supportive – A number of studies have confirmed that both girls and boys have a high level of self-esteem in their adolescence if they believe they have the approval and support of their family.
- Be patient – Patience is key to solving such problems. Parents have to be patient with the random outbursts of their teenagers and the mood swings. Impatient parents only make matters worse for themselves and their children.
- Be honest – Being supportive for your teenager does not mean that you sacrifice your own emotions and life. There will be times when you yourself will be feeling low. Be honest and upfront and tell your teenager how you feel. This will tell them that it is perfectly fine not to be perfect.
- Be hopeful – Give your teenager hope that everything will pass and things will turn to be just fine. Hope goes a long way in encouraging them to cope with their mental and physical changes.
Adolescence is not easy. It affects not only the teenager but also parents. The former undergoes many changes, including sexual, physical, hormonal, emotional, intellectual, and social – the combined pressures of all these changes can often become overwhelming for them and may lead to a number of mental health issues. Mental health problems are a major concern as some can be life threatening. Here are a few guidelines for parents and caretakers to positively identify any mental health issues that their children may be suffering from.
Mental Health Problems Are TreatableFirst of all, it is imperative to understand that mental health conditions can be treated. You can speak to a pediatrician, the local health department, the school’s representatives, and health care professionals regarding the treatment options available to you.
Keeping an Eye Open: Danger Signs to Look Out ForExcessive sleeping that is beyond the typical teenage fatigue. This could indicate substance abuse or depression.
- Loss of self-esteem
- Unexpected decline in their academic performance
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Significant personality shifts, such as excessive anger and aggressiveness
Key Mental Health IssuesSome of the key mental health issues that teens need to be monitored for are:
- Eating disorders
- Drug abuse
- Changes in the sleeping patterns
- Excessive moodiness and/or unexpected weeping
- Eating habits that cause weight gain/loss
- Excessive secrecy or paranoia
- Excessive isolation
- Abandonment of social groups and friends
- Obsessive concerns for body image
- Anorexia – averting food and significant changes in their eating habits.
- Bulimia – forced vomiting after eating food. You need to be on the lookout for significant weight loss without any changes in their eating habits.
For 23 years, I have worked with teens and parents in multiple capacities – speaking engagements, television, life coaching, intervention, and coaching. It’s been an honor and a privilege to have found myself in this field of work. Over the past 10 days, I have had the opportunity to sit back and read the sad and unfortunate circumstances in regards to the loss of Leelah Alcorn, the transgender from Ohio that committed suicide. I sit back and reflect as a parent and think who am I to judge. We all have opinions. I certainly am not and haven’t been a perfect parent or role model. I’ve made my mistakes and have been judged. I’ve had my successes and been applauded. As I age, I continually learn so much and look back and learn from the lessons I’ve lived knowing what I did wrong and how I could have done better. Being healthy and balanced in my heart and head has been a journey with counseling and my relationship with God. Everyday, I try and be a man that lives a positive life and supports and loves unconditionally my inner circle of people and my family. What exactly does that mean though? Through anything will I love unconditionally? Through anything will I support unconditionally? My opinion depends on the circumstances and personally, I have dealt with many circumstances to have learned from and to where I now teach from. Life’s lessons have certainly made me who I am and who I am today is a much better communicator and motivator as a result of experience and age. I think this is the case for us all. When I look at the situation from Leelah Alcorn and I think, “What if that were my child?” First, I want to hope that I would have been closer to “her”, and to know that my son, “Joshua”, that I brought into the world was having emotional issues that I needed to understand. Then, regardless of how I felt or how I thought, I wanted to do what is right as a parent and what is right and best for my child. In this circumstance, I would unconditionally love and support my child, “Leelah”, and embrace her. No question! When it comes to sexuality, my child being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, this is my child and I will love and support my child. I would act from my heart even if this challenged my faith. Where does that love and support change? What if my child was addicted to meth, heroine, crack-cocaine, prescription drugs, or alcohol? How would I respond then? Completely different situation because now I am dealing with an addiction that is different than an emotion. Having dealt with addiction and seen it firsthand, I have come to learn that to enable a behavior is to hurt the person more than you could be helping the person. I am not one to enable anyone. Personally, I think we’ve become a society that is failing our children because we are trying to hard to protect them from failure and mistakes. We can’t shelter our children from the real world. I feel that we as parents, teachers, coaches, and counselors it is our responsibility to teach our youth and children about personal responsibility and accountability. Teach them that life isn’t easy. Life is hard. Life isn’t fair. Life will never be fair. Tough love? Perhaps! Put the responsibility where it belongs. This doesn’t change the fact that I love my child unconditionally, it just changes that I am not going to support the behavior which is a result of the addiction. This is choices versus consequences. If my child chooses to get help, I am supportive and there through the process every step of the way. If the addiction is stronger than the desire and my child isn’t getting help and tearing apart the family – stealing, fighting, disrespecting, etc. I will not tolerate that and I will put boundaries on the relationship. I will let my child hit rock bottom. You can’t over parent addiction. Addiction needs the help of professionals and in my opinion it needs to be dealt with in residential care. I am not supporting the behavior, but this doesn’t change my love which still is unconditional. The point I am trying to make is that as parents we need to look at every situation differently and deal with the situation at hand. Many families have issues within the walls of their home. Don’t let your neighbors influence your parenting. Don’t try and be the almighty perfect family because you’re living a life protected by a facade. You brought your children in the world and society has an influence on them – the music, media, marketing. Nature verse nurture, too. Your faith has an influence on your morals and values, but is that more important that the circumstances at hand? Sometimes we need to change and pray about it, but what is important here is that our child knows we unconditionally love them no matter what. The support may never be understood, but that is parenting. Parenting everyday is never understood. In the case of Leelah Alcorn, I think the demise of her death is very sad and didn’t need to happen. She didn’t feel love nor she didn’t feel support. That is sad. She left saying, “Let my death mean something!” I want to honor that. What does her death mean to you as a parent in how you love and support your child? Whether it is grades, sports, friends, sexuality, drugs, or anything else. How are you going to show your child your support and love? How are you going to parent and teach? What message do you want your child to get? Parenting is about being a part of your children’s lives and knowing who they are and being there for them in the good times and the bad times. It’s being their inspiration and the disciplinarian. It’s listening and offering advice and support. It’s correcting actions and behaviors, too. Parenting isn’t easy. Nobody every said it was. You will fail and cry, because you did things wrong. You will laugh and applaud, because you did things right, too. To judge yourself daily as a parent is to be expecting too much of yourself and trying to be the “Perfect” parent. You are a family and that is what is most important. In the end, I want my children to know I love them and I’ll support them. I may not support their choices and decisions, but I will listen. They need to know that I will give tough love when I have to. I will not enable them because enabling is setting up our youth, whether our children, our students, our athletes, whomever, for failure and a life of hurt. I want to be a role model and let my actions speak louder than my parenting. I want them to be happy, but what does happy really mean? I want them to be good and to do what is right, but who is to say, “What is really right?” I hope in the end, my children grow up and become young people that that live a life of meaning, live a life of fulfillment, and are rewarded for who they are, how they live, and in the manner in which they’ve lived – as a result of what I may have taught them. Just my thoughts . . . Who is Jeff Yalden Jeff Yalden is a Teen and Family Communicator. A Suicide Prevention Specialist and a Teen Motivational Speaker. He is the author of “Your Life Matters.” Jeff is the Host of “The Jeff Yalden Show”, on WMRC 1490 Radio and his Podcast for teens and parents can be found at www.JeffYalden.com/itunes. Follow Jeff on Social Media @JeffYalden and visit his website at www.JeffYalden.com.
NetLingo. It has a continually updating list of online acronyms, along with their various meanings and origins. As any parent will tell you, dealing with teenagers and preteens is a fine balancing act. You want to give them freedom to explore, but you also need to keep tabs on what they’re doing. Click here for 5 dangerous apps you don’t know your kid is using. I recommend friending or following your kids on any sites they use. If they know you’re watching, they’re less likely to do something they shouldn’t. Plus, you can keep an eye to make sure they aren’t revealing information they shouldn’t or talking to people who aren’t safe. Of course, you never know what sites they might be using that you don’t know about. That’s where monitoring and tracking apps and software come in handy. You can keep tabs on everything they do online. Just be sure to communicate with your kids about why certain sites are bad so they can grow into responsible digital citizens. In fact, you should start before they’re teens with my 10 Commandments for Kids Online. It’s a contract between you and your child about the do’s and don’ts of our digital life. Jeff Yalden is a youth motivational speaker and celebrity teen and family life coach. Visit Jeff at www.JeffYalden.com.Warning: Can be shocking to some! Your kid has something to hide CD9: Short for “Code 9,” which means parents are around. KPC: Keeping Parents Clueless MOS: Mom Over Shoulder P911: Parent Alert PAL: Parents Are Listening PAW: Parents Are Watching PIR: Parent In Room POS: Parent Over Shoulder Your kid’s personal information or safety is at risk ASL: Age/Sex/Location F2F: Face to Face. Asking for a meeting or video chat LMIRL: Let’s Meet In Real Life NAZ: Name/Address/ZIP MOOS: Member of the Opposite Sex MOSS: Member of the Same Sex MORF or RUMORF: Male or Female, or Are Your Male or Female? RU/18: Are You Over 18? WUF: Where You From? WYCM: Will You Call Me? WYRN: What’s Your Real Name? Your kid shouldn’t be involved in this 143, 459 or ILU: I love you 1174: Invited to a wild party 420: Marijuana GNOC: Get Naked On Cam GYPO: Get Your Pants Off AMEZRU: I Am Easy, Are You? IWSN: I Want Sex Now KFY or K4Y: Kiss For You KOTL: Kiss On The Lips NIFOC: Nude In Front Of The Computer RUH: Are You Horny? TDTM: Talk Dirty To Me Not every acronym is bad BRB: Be Right Back CWYL: Chat With You Later CYT: See You Tomorrow IMHO: In My Humble Opinion IMNSHO: In My Not So Humble Opinion L8R: Later LMK: Let Me Know NM: Never Mind ROTFL: Rolling On The Floor Laughing SOHF: Sense Of Humor Failure If you’re curious about another acronym that you’ve stumbled across in your kids’ texts or chat, look it up on