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Children's Health

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Study Pinpoints High-Risk Times for School Violence


Rosemary Rubin, MS, a school counselor and consultant for the Los Angeles Unified School District Suicide Prevention Unit, was not surprised with the study findings. "It basically shows what all of us in the school system have known: transition times are very hard for kids."

Says Anderson, "We hope that the [study findings] might be helpful to school administrators and teachers as well as parents, just to alert them that these are high-risk time periods for students." Anderson says parents can help by being aware of the stresses a child might feel at the start of each semester and help them deal with these transitions.

What else can parents do?

Here are some tips from Rubin and Kuranz:

  • Get a complete physical for a child that is showing signs of depression or other problems -- to rule out any physical cause.
  • Listen to and talk with your children, and be available. "Even teens who push their parents away want to know that their parents are there for them," says Rubin.
  • Teach your child coping skills. "We have to help kids learn how to deal better with life stresses," says Rubin.
  • If you sense a problem with your child, don't be afraid to get help. "There is a stigma associated in our society with mental illness; but it's better to get help for your child than to have something happen to your child," says Rubin.
  • Call the school counselor to discuss any concerns.
  • Look for changes in normal behavior and patterns, like changes in eating, sleeping, and 'hanging out' habits.
  • Ask your child questions. "Parents have to keep pushing, practicing, and using different strategy to get information from the kids. Look for opportune times," says Kuranz. He says his own teenage children are more likely to open up while in the car with him.

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