What Parents Can Do to Support Their Children

By Mitchel Malkus

Over the past two weeks, the Washington, DC community has experienced the tragic deaths of four teenagers. Schools and community organizations, including CESJDS, responded quickly to support young people and their families with resources, gatherings and discussion groups.

For anyone who works with teens, is a parent, or has responsibility for the well-being of children, news of the death of an adolescent is devastating. Since I heard the news of these deaths, I have been asking myself what more I could do to respond to the crisis among our teenagers. Research indicates that over the past five years, the number of U.S. teens who felt useless and joyless — classic symptoms of depression — surged 33 percent in large national surveys. Teen suicide attempts have increased 23 percent during this time-period.

CESJDS, like many other schools, runs ongoing wellness and prevention programs for students. We have structures in place for students to report concerns about their peers to adults, and we have developed strong partnership with families in our community.

One action item I gave myself after the recent deaths was to collect a short list of the best wisdom about what parents can do to support their children, and to share that widely both within and beyond our community. Below is a list of advice I have compiled from local schools, principals and organizations.

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