Los Angeles,
06:33 AM

L.A. Parent: Back to School

With a new school year quickly approaching, L.A. Parent magazine recently interviewed Suzanne Silverstein, MA, APR, founding director of the Cedars-Sinai Psychological Trauma Center and the Share & Care program, about how to help kids open up about sensitive topics, including anxiety and bullying.

Cedars-Sinai’s Share & Care program has been helping at-risk children and adolescents in the Los Angeles Unified School District cope with mental-health challenges for more than 35 years. Through the program, professional counselors provide services to students who are experiencing emotional and academic difficulties due to traumatic situations and stress. 

Using art therapy, the 12-week Share & Care curriculum is intended to facilitate emotional nurturing, healthy self-esteem and positive coping skills.

From her direct experience working with children and adolescents, Silverstein says that many children experiencing distress at school may “have a stomachache or headache. Or, they won’t want to go to school.”

If that’s the case, she recommends parents model and share.

“Maybe the parent faced a challenge or had a hard time in school. If the parent describes their experience, that begins to give kids permission to open up. If parents talk about their feelings, then a child tends to be more comfortable talking about his or her feelings.”

And if your child reveals something distressing, Silverstein recommends parents listen.

“Hear what your child is saying, but don’t lose your temper. You want to understand it from your child’s point of view. Then it would be helpful if the parent goes and talks with the teacher.”

Click here to read the complete story from L.A. Parent, including when to seek professional help with a school-related situation.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Dealing with Bullying: A Guide for Parents