Newsletter – April 2023

April 2023 School Counselor Newsletter

Dear St. John Families,

Do you relate to any of these modern day parenting dilemmas? “How can I impose expectations for chores, homework and following rules when my kids are already totally stressed out?”; “What can I do if they refuse to go to school after watching news about school shootings?”; and “Isn’t it useless to try to control my teen’s social media consumption?”

If so, you’re not alone! Local parenting expert, Dr. Laura Kastner wrote an article sharing a parenting tip she calls the “both/and” approach for handling these complex parenting dilemmas. Check out the full article here, but below is a brief overview.

According to Dr. Kastner, the “both/and” approach means that “you both validate your child’s feelings (and your own!) and express your wise-minded perspective or parental decision.” Here’s an example Dr. Kastner shares:

Example: A 14-year-old who has been struggling with her school performance has a meltdown about her outstanding school assignments. During her emotional flooding and weeping, she says she can’t possibly do anything but chill out with her phone.

Validate:“It is a terrible feeling when the mountain just seems too high to climb. You look at those eight math assignments and you just want to hide. You are exhausted from your long day at school. You don’t know where to start with the burden of doing more work. That totally makes sense!”

Parental decision:“And after you chill for a while, I’m going to bring you your favorite steamed milk with vanilla. I’m going to sit with you and do my email, while you take a crack at one assignment. We’ll figure this out together because I know how upset you are.”

This is a great parenting tool and it’s relevant for children of all ages! If you’re looking for more parenting tips, Dr. Kastner has published a number of parenting books and on May 2nd she’s also giving a talk on “Building Your Child’s Superpower of Stress Resilience.”


Ms. Shaw

April Resources

– Setting and enforcing healthy limits around children’s video game usage can be a challenging parenting issue. Here’s a great article on how to know if your child’s video game habit is a problem, strategies to control their habit, and recommendations for limits that should be set around gaming.

– Empowering children to be independent problem solvers is an important lifelong skill and something that is emphasized through our social-emotional learning curriculum here at school. You can reinforce this at home by working with your child to create a Wheel of Choice that includes peaceful problem solving strategies.

– Mindfulness and meditation is a powerful and evidence-based strategy to improve mental health. Take a look at these 8 meditation apps for kids and teens.